Obrazy na stronie
PDF

like a kid upon the mountains. I perceived that my little Jewess was still asleep; she had been unusually fatigued the night before. I know not whether Mordecai's hour of rising were come; if it were, he was careful not to disturb his guest. I put on the garments he had prepared; I gazed upon the mirror he had left in my apartment. I can recollect no sensation in the course of my life so unexpected and surprising as what I felt at that moment. The evening before I had seen my hair white, and my face ploughed with furrows; I looked fourscore. What I beheld now was totally different, yet altogether familiar; it was myself—myself as I had appeared on the day of my marriage with Marguerite de Damville; the eyes, the mouth, the hair, the complexion, every circumstance, point by point, the same. I leaped a gulf of thirty-two years. I waked from a dream, troublesome and distressful beyond all description; but it vanished like the shades of night upon the burst of a glorious morning in July, and left not a trace behind. I knew not how to take away my eyes from the mirror before me. I soon began to consider that, if it were astonishing to me that, through all the regions of my countenance, I could discover no trace of what I had been the night before, it would be still more astonishing to my host. This sort of sensation I had not the smallest ambition to produce: one of the advantages of the metamorphosis I had sustained, consisted in its tendency, in the eyes of all that saw me, to cut off every species of connection between my present and my former self. It fortunately happened that the room in which I slept, being constructed upon the model of many others in Spain, had a stair at the further end, with a trap-door in the ceiling, for the purpose of enabling the inhabitant to ascend on the roof in the cool of the day. The roofs were flat, and so constructed that there was little difficulty in passing along them from house to house, from one end of the street to the other. I availed myself of the opportunity, and took leave of the residence of my kind host in a way perfectly unceremonious, determined, however, speedily to transmit to him the reward I had promised. It may easily be believed that Mordecai was not less rejoiced at the absence of a guest whom the vigilance of the Inquisition rendered an uncommonly dangerous one, than I was to quit his habitation. I closed the trap after me, and clambered from roof to roof to a considerable distance. At length I encountered the occasion of an open window, and fortunately descended, unseen by any human being, into the street.

[ocr errors]

Mns AMELIA OPIE (Miss Alderson of Norwich) commenced her literary career in 1801, when she ublished her domestic and pathetic tale of The rather and Daughter. Without venturing out of ordinary life, Mrs Opie invested her narrative with deep interest, by her genuine painting of nature and passion, her animated dialogue, and feminine delicacy of feeling. Her first novel went through eight editions, and is still popular. A long series of works of fiction proceeded from the pen of this lady. Her Simple Tales, in four volumes, 1806; New Tales, four volumes, 1818; Temper, or Domestic Scenes, a tale, in three volumes; Tales of Real Life, three volumes; Tales of the Heart, four volumes; Madeline (1822); are all marked by the same characteristics—the portraiture of domestic life, drawn with a view to regulate the heart and affections. In 1828 Mrs Opie published a moral treatise, entitled Detraction Displayed, in order to expose that “most common of all vices, which she says justly is found ‘in every class or rank in society, from the peer to the peasant, from the master to the valet, from the mistress to the maid, from the

most learned to the most ignorant, from the man of genius to the meanest capacity. The tales of this lady have been thrown into the shade by the brilliant fictions of Scott, the stronger moral delineations of Miss Edgeworth, and the generally masculine character of our more modern literature. She is, like Mackenzie, too uniformly pathetic and tender. “She can do nothing well, says Jeffrey, ‘that requires to be done with formality, and therefore has not succeeded in copying either the concentrated force of weighty and deliberate reason, or the severe and solemn dignity of majestic virtue. To make amends, however, she represents admirably everything that is amiable, generous, and gentle.’ Perhaps we should add to this the power of exciting and harrowing up the feelings in no ordinary degree. Some of her short tales are full of gloomy and terrific painting, alternately resembling those of Godwin and Mrs Radcliffe.

In Miss Sedgwick's Letters from Abroad (1841) we find the following notice of the then venerable novelist: “I owed Mrs Opie a grudge for having made me in my youth cry my eyes out over her stories; but her fair cheerful face forced me to forget it. She long ago forswore the world and its vanities, and adopted the Quaker faith and costume; but I fancied that her elaborate simplicity, and the fashionable little train to her pretty satin gown, indicated how much easier it is to adopt a theory than to change one's habits.”

Mrs Opie survived till 1853, and was in her eighty-fourth year at the time of her death. An interesting volume of Memorials of the accomplished authoress, selected from her letters, diaries, and other manuscripts, by Miss Brightwell, was published in 1854. After the death of her husband in 1807, Mrs Opie resided chiefly in her native town of Norwich, but often visited London, where her company was courted by the literary and fashionable circles. In 1825 she was formally admitted into the Society of Friends or Quakers, but her liveliness of character and goodness of heart were never diminished. Her old age was eminently cheerful and happy.

ANNA M.A RIA POP TER.

This lady was a daughter of an Irish officer, who died shortly after her birth, leaving a widow and several children, with but a small patrimony for their support. Mrs Porter took her family into Scotland, while ANNA MARIA was still in her nurse-maid's arms, and there, with her only and elder sister Jane, and their brother, Sir Robert Ker Porter, she received the rudiments of her education. Sir Walter Scott, when a student at college, was intimate with the family, and, we are told, ‘was very fond of either teasing the little female student when very gravely cngaged with her book, or more often fondling her on his knees, and telling her stories of witches and warlocks, till both forgot their former playful merriment in the marvellous interest of the tale. Mrs Porter removed to Ireland, and subsequently to London, chiefly with a view to the education of her children. Anna Maria became an authoress at the age of twelve. Her first work bore the appropriate title of Artless Tales, the first volume being published in 1793, and a second in 1795. In 1797 she came forward again with a tale entitled Walsh Colville; and in the following year a novel in three volumes, Octavia, was produced. A numerous series of works of fiction now proceeded from Miss Porter—The Lake of Killarney, 1804; A Sailor's Friendship and a Soldier's Love, 1805 is: The Hungarian Brothers, 1807; Don Sebastian, or the House of Braganza, 1809; Ballad Romances, and other Poems, 1811; The Recluse of Norway, 1814; The Village of Mariendorpt; The Fast of St Magdalen; Tales of ity for Youth; The Knight # John; Roche Blanche; and Honor O'Hara. Altogether, the works of this lady amount to about fifty volumes. In private life Miss Porter was much beloved for her unostentatious piety and active benevolence. She died at Bristol while on a visit to her brother, Dr Porter of that city, on the 21st of June 1832, aged fifty-two. The most popular, and perhaps the best of Miss Porter's novels, is her Don Sebastian. In all of them she portrays the domestic affections and the charms of benevolence and virtue with warmth and earnestness, but in Don Sebastian we have an interesting though melancholy plot and characters finely discriminated and drawn. Miss JANE PORTER, sister of Anna Maria, is authoress of two romances, Thaddeus of Warsaw, 1803, and The Scottish Chiefs, 1810; both were highly popular. The first is the best, and contains a good plot and some impassioned scenes. The second fails entirely as a picture of national manners —the Scottish patriot Wallace, for example, being represented as a sort of drawing-room hero—but is written with great animation and picturesque effect. In appeals to the tender and heroic passions, and in vivid scene-painting, both these ladies have evinced genius, but their works want the permanent interest of real life, variety of character, and dialogue. A third novel by Miss Porter has been published, entitled The Pastor's Fireside. Late in life she wrote a work, Sir Edward Seafoard's Diary, which has a good deal of the truthfulness of style and incident so remarkable in Defoe. Miss Jane Porter died at Bristol in 1850, aged seventy-four.

MISS EDGE WORTH.

MARLA EDGEwoRTH, one of our best painters of national manners, whose works stimulated the genius of Scott, and have delighted and instructed generations of readers, commenced her career as an authoress about the year 1800. She was of a respectable Irish family, long settled at Edgeworthtown, county of Longford, and it was on their property that Goldsmith was born. Her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1744–1817), was himself a man attached to literary pursuits, and took great pleasure in exciting and directing the talents of his daughter.”

* Mr Edgeworth wrote a work on Professional Education, one volume, quarto, 1808; also some papers in the Philosophical Transactions, including an essay on Spring and Wheel Carriages, and an account of a telegraph which he invented. This gentleman was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and was afterwards sent to Oxford. Before he was twenty, he ran off with Miss Elers, a young lady of Oxford, to whom he was married at Gretna Green. He then embarked on a life of fashionable gaiety and dissipation, and in 1770 succeeded, by the death of his father, to his Irish property. During a visit to Lichfield, he became enamoured of Miss Honora Sneyd, a cousin of Anna Seward's, and married her shortly after the death of his wife. In six years this lady died of consumption, and he married her sister, a circumstance which exposed him to a good deal of observation and censure. After a matrimonial union of seventeen years, his third wife died of the same malady as her sister; and, although past fifty, Mr Edgeworth scarce lost a year till he was united to an Irish lady, Miss Beaufort. His latter years were spent in active exertions to benefit Ireland, by reclaiming bog-land, introducing agricultural and mechanical improvements, and promoting education. Among his numerous schemes, was an attempt to educate his eldest son on the plan delineated in Rousseau's Emile. He *#im in jacket and trousers, with arms and legs bare,

Whenever the latter thought of writing any essay or story, she always submitted to him the first rough plans; and his ready invention and infinite resource, when she had run into difficulties or absurdities, never failed to extricate her at her utmost need. ‘It was the happy experience of this, says Miss Edgeworth, ‘and my consequent reliance on his ability, decision, and perfect truth, that relieved me from the vacillation and anxiety to which I was so much subject, that I am sure I should not have written or finished anything without his support. He inspired in my mind a degree of hope and confidence, essential, in the first instance, to the full exertion of the mental powers, and necessary to insure perseverance in any occupation. An able work, the joint production of Mr and Miss Edgeworth, appeared in 1801 under the title of an Essay on Irish Bulls. Besides some critical and humorous illustration, the authors did justice to the better traits of the Irish character, and illustrated them by some interesting and pathetic stories. The same object was pursued in the tale Castle Rackrent, and in Belinda, a novel of real life and ordinary characters. In 1804 Miss Edgeworth came forward with three volumes of Popular Tales, characterised by the features of her genius—‘a genuine display of nature, and a certain tone of rationality and good sense, which was the more pleasing, because in a novel it was then new.’ The practical cast of her father's mind probably assisted in directing Miss Edgeworth's talents into

and allowed him to run about wherever he pleased, and to do nothing but what was agreeable to himself. In a few years he found that the scheme had succeeded completely, so far as related to the body; the youth's health, strength, and agility were conspicuous; but the state of his mind induced some perplexity. He had all the virtues that are found in the hut of the savage; he was quick, fearless, generous; but he knew not what it was to obey. It was impossible to induce him to do anything that he did not please, or prevent him from doing anything that he did please. Under the former head, learning, even of the lowest description, was never included. In fine, this child of nature grew up perfectly ungovernable, and never could or would apply to anything; so that there remained no alternative but to allow him to follow his own inclination of going to sea! Maria Edgeworth was by her father's first marriage: she was born in Oxfordshire, and was twelve years old before she was taken to Ireland. The family were involved in the troubles of the Irish rebellion (1798), and were obliged to make a precipitate retreat from their house, and leave it in the hands of the rebels; but it was spared from being pillaged by one of the invaders, to whom Mr Edgeworth had previously done some kindness. Their return home, when the troubles were over, is thus described by Miss Edgeworth in her father's memoirs. It serves to shew the affection which subsisted between the landlord and his dependents.

“When we came near Edgeworthtown, we saw many wellknown faces at the cabin doors looking out to welcome us. One man, who was digging in his field by the roadside, when he looked up as our horses passed, and saw my father, let fall his spade and clasped his hands; his face, as the morning sun shone upon it, was the strongest picture of joy I ever saw. The village was a melancholy spectacle; windows shattered and doors broken. But though the mischief done was great, there had been little pillage. Within our gates we found all property safe; literally “not a twig touched, nor a leaf harmed.” Within the house everything was as we had left it. Amap that we had been consulting was still open on the library table, with pencils, and slips of paper containing the first lessons in arithmetic, in which some of the young people (Mr Edgeworth's children by his second and third wife) had been engaged the morning we had been driven from home; a pansy, in a glass of water, which one of the children had been copying, was still on the chimney-piece. These trivial circumstances, marking repose and tranquillity, struck us at this moment with an unreasonable sort of surprise, and all that had passed seemed like an incoherent dream.'

this useful and unromantic channel. It appeared strange at first, and the best of the authoress's critics, Francis Jeffrey, said at the time, ‘that it required almost the same courage to get rid of the jargon of fashionable life, and the swarms of peers, foundlings, and seducers, as it did to sweep away the mythological persons of antiquity, and to introduce characters who spoke and acted like those who were to peruse their adventures. In 1806 appeared Leonora, a novel, in two volumes. A moral purpose is here aimed at, and the same skill is displayed in working up ordinary incidents into the materials of powerful fiction; but the plot is painful and disagreeable. The seduction of an exemplary husband by an abandoned female, and his subsequent return to his injured but forgiving wife, is the groundwork of the story. Irish charac

ters figure off in Leonora as in the Popular Tales.

In 1809 Miss Edgeworth issued three volumes of Tales of Fashionable Life, more powerful and various than any of her previous productions. The history of Lord Glenthorn affords a striking picture of ennui, and contains some excellent delineation of character; while the story of Almeria represents the misery and heartlessness of a life of mere fashion. Three other volumes of Fashionable Tales were issued in 1812, and fully supported the authoress's reputation. The number of tales in this series was three-Vivian, illustrating the evils and perplexities arising from vacillation and infirmity of purpose; Emilie de Coulanges, depicting the life and manners of a fashionable French lady; and The Absentee—by far the best of the three stories— written to expose the evils and mortifications of the system which the authoress saw too many instances of in Ireland, of persons of fortune

Miss Edgeworth's House.

forsaking their country seats and native vales for the frivolity, scorm, and expense of fashionable London society. In 1814, Miss Edgeworth entered still more extensively and sarcastically into the manners and characters in high-life, by her novel of Patronage, in four volumes. The miseries resulting from a dependence on the patronage of the great—a system which, she says, is “twice accursed—once in giving, and once in receiving'—are drawn in vivid colours, and contrasted with the cheerfulness, the buoyancy of spirits, and the manly virtues arising from honest and independent exertion. In 1817 our authoress supplied the public with two other tales, Harrington and Ormond. The first was written to counteract the illiberal prejudice entertained by many against the Jews: the second is an Irish tale, equal to any of the former. The death of Mr Edgeworth in 1817 made a break in the literary exertion of his accomplished daughter, but she completed a memoir which that gentleman had begun of himself, and which was published in two volumes in 1820. In 1822, she returned to her course of moral instruction, and published in that year, Rosamond, a Sequel to Early Lessons, a work for juvenile readers, of which an earlier specimen had been published. A further continuation appeared in 1825, under the title of Harriet and Lucy, four volumes. These tales had been begun fifty years before by Mr Edgeworth, at a time “when no one of any literary character,

excepting Dr Watts and Mrs Barbauld, condescended to write for children.’ It is worthy of mention, that, in the autumn of 1823, Miss Edgeworth, accompanied by two of her sisters, made a visit to Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford. She not only, he said, completely answered, but exceeded the expectations which he had formed, and he was particularly pleased with the naiveté and good-humoured ardour of mind which she united with such formidable powers of acute observation. “Never, says Mr Lockhart, “did I see a brighter day at Abbotsford than that on which Miss Edgeworth first arrived there; never can I forget her look and accent when she was received by him at his archway, and exclaimed, “Everything about you is exactly what one ought to have had wit enough to dream.” The weather was beautiful, and the edifice and its appurtenances were all but complete; and day after day, so long as she could remain, her host had always some new plan of gaiety. Miss Edgeworth remained a fortnight at Abbotsford. Two years afterwards, she had an opportunity of repaying the hospitalities of her entertainer, by receiving him at Edgeworthtown, where Sir Walter met with as cordial a welcome, and where he found “neither mud hovels nor naked peasantry, but snug cottages and smiling faces all about. Literary fame had spoiled neither of these eminent persons, nor unfitted

them for the common business and enjoyment of

[graphic]

life. “We shall never, said Scott, “learn to feel and respect our real calling and destiny, unless we have taught ourselves to consider everything as moonshine compared with the education of the heart.’ “Maria did not listen to this without some water in her eyes; her tears are always ready when any generous string is touched (for, as Pope says, “the finest minds, like the finest metals, dissolve the easiest”); but she brushed them gaily aside, and said: “You see how it is; Dean Swift said he had written his books in order that people might learn to treat him like a great lord. Sir Walter writes his in order that he may be able to treat his people as a great lord ought to do.”” In 1834 Miss Edgeworth reappeared as a novelist: her Helen, in three volumes, is fully equal to her Fashionable Tales, and possesses more of ardour and pathos. The gradations of vice and folly, and the unhappiness attending falsehood and artifice, are strikingly depicted in this novel, in connection with characters—that of Lady Davenant, for example— drawn with great force, truth, and nature. This was the latest work of fiction we had from the pen of the gifted authoress. She died in 1849, aged eighty-three or eighty-four. The good and evil of this world supplied Miss Edgeworth with materials sufficient for her purposes as a novelist. Of poetical or romantic feeling she exhibited scarcely a single instance. She was a strict utilitarian. Her knowledge of the world was extensive and correct, though in some of her representations of fashionable folly and dissipation she borders upon caricature. The plan of confining a tale to the exposure and correction of one particular vice, or one erroneous line of Qonduct, as Joanna Baillie confined her dramas each to the elucidation of one particular passion, would have been a hazardous experiment in common hands. Miss Edgeworth overcame it by the ease, spirit, and variety of her delineations, and the truly masculine freedom with which she exposes the crimes and follies of mankind. Her sentiments are so just and true, and her style so clear and forcible, that they compel an instant assent to her moral views and deductions, though sometimes, in winding up her tale, and distributing justice among her characters, she is not always very consistent or probable. Her delineations of her countrymen have obtained just praise. The highest compliment paid to them is the statement of Scott, that ‘the rich humour, pathetic tenderness, and admirable tact’ of these Irish portraits led him first to think that something might be attempted for his own country of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth so fortunately achieved for Ireland. He excelled his model, because, with equal knowledge and practical sagacity, he possessed that higher order of imagination, and more extensive sympathy with man and nature, which is more powerful, even for moral uses and effects, than the most clear and irresistible reasoning. The object of Miss Edgeworth, to inculcate instruction, and the style of the preceptress, occasionally interfere with the cordial sympathies of the reader, even in her Irish descriptions; whereas in Scott this is never apparent. He deals more with passions and feelings than with mere manners and peculiarities, and by the aid of his poetical imagination, and careless yet happy eloquence of expression, imparts the air of romance to ordinary incidents and characters. It must be admitted, however, that in originality and in fertility of invention Miss Edgeworth is inferior to none of her contemporary novelists. She never repeats

[ocr errors]

her incidents, her characters, dialogues, or plots, and few novelists have written more. Her brief and rapid tales fill above twenty closely printed volumes, and may be read one after the other without any feeling of satiety or sense of repetition.

[An Irish Landlord and Scotch Agent.]

“I was quite angry, says Lord Glenthorn, “with Mr M‘Leod, my agent, and considered him as a selfish, hardhearted miser, because he did not seem to sympathise with me, or to applaud my generosity. I was so much irritated by his cold silence, that I could not forbear pressing him to say something. “I doubt then,” said he, “since you desire me to speak my mind, my lord —I doubt whether the best way of encouraging the industrious is to give premiums to the idle.” But idle or not, these poor wretches are so miserable, that I cannot refuse to give them something; and surely when one can do it so easily, it is right to relieve misery, is it not? “Undoubtedly, my lord, but the difficulty is to relieve present misery, without creating more in future. Pity for one class of beings sometimes makes us cruel to others. I am told that there are some Indian Brahmins so very compassionate, that they hire beggars to let fleas feed upon them; I doubt whether it might not be better to let the fleas starve.” “I did not in the least understand what Mr M'Leod meant; but I was soon made to comprehend it by crowds of eloquent beggars who soon surrounded me: many who had been resolutely struggling with their difficulties, slackened their exertions, and left their labour for the easier trade of imposing upon my credulity. The money I had bestowed was wasted at the dram-shop, or it became the subject of family quarrels; and those whom I had relieved, returned to my honour, with fresh and insatiable expectations. All this time my industrious tenants grumbled, because no encouragement was given to them; and looking upon me as a weak good-natured fool, they combined in a resolution to ask me for long leases or a reduction of rent. “The rhetoric of my tenants succeeded, in some instances; and again, I was mortified by Mr M'Leod's silence. I was too proud to ask his opinion. I ordered, and was obeyed. A few leases for long terms were signed and sealed; and when I had thus my own way completely, I could not refrain from recurring to Mr M‘Leod's opinion. “I doubt, my lord,” said he, “whether this measure may be as advantageous as you hope. These fellows, these middle-men, will underset the land, and live in idleness, whilst they rack a parcel of wretched under-tenants.” But they said they would keep the land in their own hands and improve it; and that the reason why they could not afford to improve before was, that they had not long leases. “It may be doubted whether long leases alone will make improving tenants; for in the next county to us there are many farms of the Dowager-lady Ormsby's land, let at ten shillings an acre, and her tenantry are beggars: and the land now at the end of the leases is worn out, and worse than at their commencement.” “I was weary of listening to this cold reasoning, and resolved to apply no more for explanations to Mr M‘Leod; yet I did not long keep this resolution: infirm of purpose, I wanted the support of his approbation, at the very time I was jealous of his interference. “At one time I had a mind to raise the wages of labour; but Mr M'Leod said: “It might be doubted whether the people would not work less, when they £ with less work have money enough to support them.' “I was puzzled, and then I had a mind to lower the wages of labour, to force them to work or starve. Still provoking, Mr. M'Leod said: “It might be doubted whether it would not be better to leave them alone.”

‘I gave marriage-portions to the daughters of my tenants, and rewards to those who had children; for I had always heard that legislators should encourage population. Still Mr M'Leod hesitated to approve: he observed “that my estate was so populous, that the complaint in each family was, that they had not land for the sons. It might be doubted whether, if a farm could support but ten people, it were wise to encourage the birth of twenty. It might be doubted whether it were not better for ten to live, and be well-fed, than for twenty to be born, and to be half-starved.”

“To encourage manufactures in my town of Glenthorn, I proposed putting a clause in my leases, compelling my tenants to buy stuffs and linens manufactured at Glenthorn, and nowhere else. Stubborn M'Leod, as usual, began with: “I doubt whether that will not encourage the manufacturers at Glenthorn to make bad stuffs and bad linen, since they are sure of a sale, and without danger of competition.”

“At all events I thought my tenants would grow rich and independent if they made everything at home that they wanted: yet Mr M'Leod perplexed me by his “doubt whether it would not be better for a man to buy shoes, if he could buy them cheaper than he could make them.” He added something about the division of labour, and Smith's Wealth of Nations. To which I could only answer, Smith's a Scotchman. I cannot express how much I dreaded Mr M'Leod's I doubt, and it may be doubted.’

[An Irish Postilion.]

From the inn-yard came a hackney chaise, in a most deplorably crazy state; the body mounted up to a prodigious height, on unbending springs, nodding forwards, one door swinging open, three blinds up, because they could not be let down, the perch tied in two places, the iron of the wheels half off, half loose, wooden pegs for linch-pins, and ropes for harness. The horses were worthy of the harness; wretched little dog-tired creatures, that looked as if they had been driven to the last gasp, and as if they had never been rubbed down in their lives; their bones starting through their skin; one lame, the other blind; one with a raw back, the other with a galled breast; one with his neck poking down over his collar, and the other with his head dragged forward by a bit of a broken bridle, held at arm's-length by a man dressed like a mad beggar, in half a hat and half a wig, both awry in opposite directions; a long tattered coat, tied round his waist by a hay-rope; the jagged rents in the skirts of this coat shewing his bare legs, marbled of many colours; while something like stockings hung loose about his ankles. The noises he made, by way of threatening or encouraging his steeds, I pretend not to describe. In an indignant voice I called to the landlord: ‘I hope these are not the horses—I hope this is not the chaise intended for my servants. The innkeeper, and the pauper who was preparing to officiate as postilion, both in the same instant exclaimed: “Sorrow better chaise in the county!’ “Sorrow” said I—‘what do you mean by sorrow?’ ‘That there's no better, plase your honour, can be seen. We have two more, to be sure; but one has no top, and the other no bottom. Any way, there’s no better can be seen than this same.’ ‘And these horses!’ cried I: ‘why, this horse is so lame he can hardly stand. ‘Oh, plase your honour, though he can't stand, he’ll go fast enough. He has a great deal of the rogue in him, plase your honour. He’s always that way at first setting out.” “And that wretched animal with the galled breast !” “He’s all the better for it when once he warms; it's he that will go with the speed of light, plase your honour. Sure, is not he Knockecroghery? and didn't I give fifteen guineas for him, barring the luckpenny, at the fair of Knocke*her,and he rising four year old at the same time?’

8

Then seizing his whip and reins in one hand, he clawed up his stockings with the other; so with one easy step he got into his place, and seated himself, coachman-like, upon a well-worn bar of wood, that served as a coach-box. “Throw me the loan of a trusty, Bartly, for a cushion, said he. A frieze-coat was thrown up over the horses' heads. Paddy caught it. “Where are you, Hosey?' cried he to a lad in charge of the leaders. ‘Sure I'm only rowling a wisp of straw on my leg, replied Hosey. “Throw me up, added this paragon of postilions, turning to one of the crowd of idle bystanders. ‘Arrah, push me up, can't ye?” A. man took hold of his knee, and threw him upon the horse. He was in his seat in a trice. Then clinging by the mane of his horse, he scrambled for the bridle which was under the other horse's feet, reached it, and, well satisfied with himself, looked round at Paddy, who looked back to the chaise-door at my angry servants, ‘secure in the last event of things. In vain the Englishman, in monotonous anger, and the Frenchman in every note of the gamut, abused Paddy. Necessity and wit were on Paddy's side. He parried all that was said against his chaise, his horses, himself, and his country with invincible comic dexterity; till at last, both his adversaries, dumbfounded, clambered into the vehicle, where they were instantly shut up in straw and darkness. Paddy, in a triumphant tone, called to my postilions, bidding them “get on, and not be stopping the way any longer.’

One of the horses becomes restive:

“Never fear, reiterated Paddy. “I’ll engage I’ll be up wid him. Now for it, Knockecroghery ! Oh the rogue, he thinks he has me at a nonplush; but I’ll shew him the differ.’

After this brag of war, Paddy whipped, Knockecroghery kicked, and Paddy, seemingly unconscious of danger, sat within reach of the kicking horse, twitching up first one of his legs, then the other, and shifting as the animal aimed his hoofs, escaping every time as it were by miracle. With a mixture of temerity and presence of mind, which made us alternately look upon him as a madman and a hero, he gloried in the danger, secure of success, and of the sympathy of the spectators.

“Ah! didn't I compass him cleverly then? Oh the villain, to be browbating me ! I’m too 'cute for him yet. See there, now, he’s come to; and I’ll be his bail he’ll go asy enough wid me. Ogh ! he has a fine spirit of his own; but it’s I that can match him. 'Twould be a poor case if a man like me couldn’t match a horse any way, let alone a mare, which this is, or it never would be so vicious.'

[ocr errors]

Lord William had excellent abilities, knowledge, and superior qualities of every sort, all depressed by excessive timidity, to such a degree as to be almost useless to himself and to others. Whenever he was, either for the business or pleasure of life, to meet or mix with numbers, the whole man was, as it were, snatched from himself. He was subject to that nightmare of the soul who seats himself upon the human breast, oppresses the heart, palsies the will, and raises spectres of dismay which the sufferer combats in vain—that cruel enchantress who hurls her spell even upon childhood, and when she makes youth her victim, pronounces: ‘Henceforward you shall never appear in your natural character. Innocent, you shall look guilty; wise, you shall look silly; never shall you have the use of your natural faculties. That which you wish to say, you shall not say; that which you wish to do, you shall not do. You shall appear reserved when you are enthusiastic-insensible, when your heart sinks into melting tenderness. In the presence of those whom you most wish to please, you shall be most awkward; and when appro: by

« PoprzedniaDalej »