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an opportunity, immediately enters in triumph, with buckets, brooms, and brushes, takes possession of the premises, and forthwith puts all his books and papers to rights, - to his utter confusion, and sometimes serious detriment.
A gentleman was sued by the executors of a tradesman, on a charge found against him in the deceased's books, to the amount of thirty pounds. The defendant was strongly impressed with the idea that he had discharged the debt and taken a receipt; but, as the transaction was of long standing, he knew not where to find the receipt. The suit went on in course, and the time approached when judgment would be obtained against him. He then sat seriously down to examine a large bundle of old papers, which he had untied and displayed on a table for that purpose. In the midst of his search, he was suddenly called away on business of importance. He forgot to lock the door of his room. The housemaid, who had been long looking out for such an opportunity, immediately entered with the usual implements, and, with great alacrity, fell to cleaning the room, and putting things to rights.
The first object that struck her eye was the confused situation of the papers on the table: these were without delay bundled together as so many dirty knives and forks; but in the action, a small piece of paper fell unnoticed on the floor, which happened to be the very receipt in question: as it had no very respectable appearance, it was soon after swept out with the common dirt of the room, and carried in the rubbish-pan into the yard. The tradesman had neglected to enter the credit in his book; the defendant could find nothing to obviate the charge, and so judgment went against him for the debt and costs. A fortnight after the whole was settled, and the money paid, one of found the receipt among the rubbish in the yard.
Recollections of Hannah More.
THE first literary lady, whom I remember ever to have seen, was one whose works yet remain to improve and edify her own sex in particular, and the world in general. She was invested, too, with a particular degree of interest, owing to the fact that she was among the latest remnants of the "blue stockings" of the last century. She had, in her youthful days, mingled in the gay circles of ton; had listened to the oracular sayings of Dr. Johnson; echoed the lively sallies which burst forth in Mrs. Delaney's little circle; bandied elegant trifles with that brilliant butterfly, Horace Walpole; had been petted by David Garrick; and, in her middle age, and in later years, had been the centre around whom bishops, princesses, and philanthropists, and many of meaner name and note, revolved. I refer to Miss, or, as she is more generally styled, Mrs. Hannah More.
I was but a little fellow when I first saw this celebrated woman; but although then scarcely seven years of age, I retain as vivid an impression of her person and manners, as if the interview had occurred only yesterday. Twenty-eight years have rolled over my head since then, and, during the interval, I have watched, on the disk of life's camera, hundreds of busy and noticeable figures go by, and then disappear in darkness forever; but my impressions of the learned old lady are as vivid as ever; and, as I sit, noting down this reminiscence, I can, by a very slight exercise of fancy, see her precise form, and hear her low-toned, musical voice, as distinctly as I did when the sober reality engrossed my
Hannah More was born in the immediate vicinity of my native city—in the same village, indeed, in which John Foster had for many years lived, and died; and, for a con
siderable portion of her life, she resided within a short distance of her birthplace, in a cottage which she built, and named Cowslip Green. After a seventeen years' residence in this rather lackadaisically-named locality, during which time she was visited by Mr. Wilberforce and other persons of note, she removed, in 1802, to Barley Wood, near the village of Wrington, in Somersetshire, about fourteen miles from the city of Bristol; and it was at this place that I first saw her.
My mother had, for many years, been on terms of great intimacy with Hannah More and her sisters; and I remember frequently having heard her, in our family circle, read letters which she had received from the celebrated authoress. My two sisters were then about commencing their education, and my mother, who possessed a great degree of reverence for the occupant of Barley Wood, presuming on the strength of an old acquaintanceship, had written to Mrs. More, to ask her advice, with respect to the course to be taken with their studies. This led to a friendly correspondence, and, at length, to an invitation to the "little girls" to spend a week, during the hay-making season, at Barley Wood; which was, I need scarcely say, accepted.
. At this time Mrs. More's "Sacred Dramas " popular; and from hearing my sisters' recitations of them, and occasionally enacting a part in them myself, I became pretty familiar with these compositions.. Mrs. More's name, too, was so frequently mentioned in terms of admiration, and almost reverence, in my father's house, that I felt a growing desire to see the individual whose lines I so often mentioned, and who was so looked up to. It was, therefore, with no little degree of childish delight that one morning I set out, with my mother, for the purpose of fetching home my sisters, who had been spending the promised week at Barley Wood.
I had very vague ideas then about people who wrote
books; they were mysterious personages to me; and in proportion to my delight in any particular work, was my estimate of the outward and visible appearances of its author. I could hardly, when I did think about the matter, realize the writer to be an actual flesh-and-blood reality. I used to think of him or her more as of a spirit communing with my spirit, than any thing else; but I have lived to know better, and to experience the sad reality that many, whose productions are of an almost imperishable nature, have themselves been, emphatically, but " of the earth, earthy."
There were no iron roads in those days, so intersecting the country, in all directions, that, viewed from a height, it appeared as if a monstrous gridiron had been laid on the earth; and on the road to Barley Wood not even a stagecoach ran; so that my mother and myself journeyed towards the place of our destination in what was called a tilted wagon. I had scarcely ever been in the country before; and, O, how keenly I enjoyed that homely ride in the early morning! for we were on our way soon after sunrise, as we intended to make a long day of it. In anticipation of the visit, I had, with a childish vanity, crammed myself with scraps of Mrs. More's poetry; and I well remember that I had learned by heart, in the hope that I should be asked to recite it to the authoress, "The Foolish Traveller, or a good Inn is a bad Home." As we ascended the high Somersetshire hills, I would alight from the cart, and, running on before it, gaze far into the hazy distance, expecting to view some such imposing-looking house as I anticipated seeing at the end of our journey; and I would ask a thousand questions about Mrs. More of my mother, until her patience was almost exhausted, and then I would recite, to make sure I had not forgotten it, the fable; and so things went on, until, at length, my mother held me, while I stood tiptoe on the front seat of the vehicle, and pointed out the long-wishedfor spot, when we were yet two miles from it.
We were on the turnpike road, and Barley Wood lay
about the distance I have mentioned from us, to the left. It was a picturesque cottage residence, on a hill side, embosomed amongst the trees. Behind it rose a gently-sloping hill, richly wooded; in front was a lawn of emerald verdure, enclosed by shrubbery, from which the ground gently declined, until it blended with the valley of Wrington. On our left were the Mendip Hills, and the Quantock range (famous because of the wanderings of Coleridge, Lloyd, Southey, and Wordsworth among them: it was among the Quantock Hills that the "Ancient Mariner" was composed) rose in the blue distance. The houses of the little village of Wrington lay beneath us, and its pretty tower formed a conspicuous object in the landscape.
As we descended the hill, my mother told me of Locke; and when we reached the village, and quitted the tilted cart, she led me towards the church, still speaking of the great man. The sharp air of the morning had made me hungry; so we went into a cottage near the churchyard indeed, it was in the pathway leading to it — and got a draught of milk, and piece of brown bread and butter; and after I had despatched these creature comforts, I was informed that I had taken my morning meal in the very room in which John Locke was born. The great philosopher was buried in the adjoining church.
Same Subject, concluded.
BARLEY WOOD was but a short distance from Wrington, and we determined to walk it. At 8 o'clock, we quitted the village, and when we had nearly reached Mrs. More's house, my two sisters, who had been watching us from the lawn, came dashing down the lane to meet us, their curls streaming in the wind, and their cheeks glowing with exercise.