of opening the moor may be altered. There is no boundary fence between the raps and doles; they lie between the rhines or ditches in open country.

see how many of their neighbors who defile | number or description in every case. By in are spared to come out again. Those mutual agreement, the time and condition who remain behind will die the ensuing year. Instead of asking whether service has begun in church, the rustic folk will say, "Has prayer gone in yet?" Not far from the Parrett are three or four places where grafts of the Holy Thorn from Glastonbury are supposed to grow, and the people go to see them blossom on old Christmas day. There is a tradition amongst many old people that it is better to celebrate old Christmas day than the new one. Until recently there was quite a mass of local traditions, songs, and literature; but the national schools are doing their levelling work.

Although the West Somerset folk are often hearty enough in their way, a tone of pessimism is prevalent among them when they speak of one another. When a good man has departed this life they rarely speak of him in ecstatic language, or apply such adjectives as "splendid" or "capital to his virtues; the utmost they say is, "Woll, you never heard nairer zoul speak bad o un." Two negatives are often used where one would do.

[ocr errors]

The question seems to be: How did the ownership of a Sharp Ham right, for example, give the owner the communal privileges over adjoining moors? Perhaps it may have arisen from the fulfilment of a common duty; and this would be either draining the moor by the rhines, or helping to dam back the inroads of the tides. For ages the problem of diking and draining was before the dwellers in the valley of the Parrett; the pastures of their flocks, their houses, and their very existence depended upon its being done successfully. The tide has long since encroached upon the land, and right opposite the mouth of the Parrett there is said to be a submerged forest and lands, for which tithe rent-charge used to figure for the benefit of the neighboring clergyman, with power to distrain upon Father Nep tune if he thought fit. In these raps and doles the Church was not forgotten. The On the marshes close to the mouth of rector of a parish distant nearly thirty the Parrett a very curious land tenure, miles, and he of another distant eight peculiar to this neighborhood, is found. miles, have a Sharp Ham right, and a The moors or marshes are valued highly privilege to stockage if they choose. as affording most nutritious food for stock, These rights show in their way the history and from miles round sheep and oxen are of church endowments, and their haphazsent there for change of herbage, the salt ard and sporadic character. There are and sea breezes having a most wonderful also in existence in these curious moors effect upon them. On the east side of certain rights called Hopping Rights. the river the tract known as Pawlett Hams This is when the ownership and rights of used to let at £7 or £8 an acre yearly in stockage passes from one rap to another, the good days. On the west side the so that the owner seems to "swop" (exmoors known as Wick Moor, North Ham, change) with a neighbor from one year to and Sharp Ham, comprising about two another. These hopping rights can only hundred and twenty-five acres, are owned exist, of course, when there is a ditch or by twenty to thirty proprietors. But their rhine between the raps. Here, therefore, proprietorship is exercised in a very pe- along this portion of the valley of the culiar way. It is a kind of communal Parrett there is a tract of land where, in tenure of a very unique and puzzling the ordinary sense, there is no freehold, character. The ownership of a rap or no leasehold, no copyhold. Nor is there dole in one moor will give stockage rights a common; nor are there common rights, in the adjoining moor. For example, a as usually understood; nor is there any Sharp Ham right will carry with it a stock-lord of the manor. Were some valuable age right in Wick Moor. Further, there is a distinction between the "Foresheer" and the stockage right. A proprietor may have the exclusive right to cut a sheer of grass on one lot, and yet not have the stockage to himself afterwards. The time when "stockage " begins varies in the different moors, and here and there no mowing or foresheer is allowed. Further, the ownerships of a "rap" in one place and of a "dole" in another do not involve the right to pasture stock of the same

cargoes to be jettisoned outside, and the flotsam and jetsam cast up upon the foreshore of these reclaimed moors, it would be difficult to say to whom, after the crown, a share of the property would go. The mineral wealth of coal, so plentiful in Cardiff just opposite, does not, owing to a "fault," extend to the Sharp Ham rights; otherwise, another knotty question of property would arise.

Within a summer day, or even within two or three days, it is impossible to wan

der very far up the valley of the Parrett they thought were glittering gold mines in and trace its head waters, which rise in North Parrett, within sight of the English Channel. But its most interesting reaches are the lower ones, where the tide ebbs and flows. Far back in the magic pages of history are the heroic figures of the good King Arthur and of Alfred, with all the glamour of chivalric deeds. The mists that curl round the osiers and rhines, and slowly ascend the feet of the Polden hills, seem, to the imaginative mind, like a white shroud that folds upon ancient men and days, and gives stately proportions to the figures that then moved upon the earth. The knights are dead, and their swords are rust,

Their souls are with the saints — I trust.

the Arctic seas, and so for many weeks
they ballasted their ships with the falla-
cious heaps shining only with mica, imag-
ining that the true Eldorado was not in
Mexico or in Pera, which they left to the
Spaniards, but under the Pole. The
Bridgwater captains, one of whom, by the
way, was almost wrecked in the ice-floes
of the north, were, as might be guessed,
bitterly disappointed when, in company
with the ships of Fowey and Barnstaple,
they returned empty-handed. Sad at heart
they must have drifted back again up the
Parrett, to be awakened, however, shortly
(1588) by the great Armada stir, and win
gold ducats and fame from the Spaniards.
Does not Bridgwater boast of an Armada
chest, taken, doubtless, full of gold, and
treasured now for all men to see in the
Custom House by the banks of the Par-

Generation upon generation of adventurers have floated over Parrett's flood, borne up and down, like the flotsam and jetsam of the tide in their brief span of

glided between the tall osier beds, snaring the wildfowl, and fled, it may be, along the narrow lanes of water to some island refuge from a foreign foe; the strong, fair

But floating down the stream of time come other men, more in touch with us, and more apparent in their influences as build-rett? ers up of our national history. In 1492 a new world had sprung into light across the seas far to the westward down the Channel, and the breasts of the sailors of the West were moved. There were ru-life. The Briton, in his rude skin coracle, mors of the discovery of Newfoundland, and all the visions of Transatlantic riches. Long had the Bristol pilots guided their ships to the fisheries of Iceland; and now, beyond the boundaries of that former Ul-haired viking from the north, in his long tima Thule, placed in the North Atlantic, in the wake of Lief the Lucky, the bold Scandinavian explorer, the desire arose to solve that one great geographical problem of the age- the North-West Passage. Sebastian Cabot, at the end of the fifteenth century, lived in Bristol, and enlisted the aid and sympathy of the sailors of the Bristol Channel, both up the Severn and up the Parrett. "The sailors of Bridg. water were renowned for their love of enterprise," we are told, and joined in that expedition under one of the Cabots, which gave us Newfoundland, our earliest Transatlantic colony. The eastern peninsula of Newfoundland was called "The Peninsula of Avalon." Might not this name be a trace of the Western mariners, and a memorial of a west-country valley.

Then in pious old Martin Frobisher's days there is another expedition to find the "Straits of Anian" and the kingdom of the great khân, and the passage by way of the north to the eastern seas. Here again the sailors of the Parrett are to the fore. There is the Ema of Bridgwater, and the Emanuel of Bridgwater, vessels found in Frobisher's third expedition. It may be mentioned that at Meta Incognita, at the entrance of Hudson's Straits, Frobisher and his fleet turned aside to what

boat, flashing the proud crest of the Raven from his bows, was a rover southward to the farthest Gades; the sailors of great King Alfred, on their warlike galleys from Athelney, swept along by the measured stroke of sixty stout oarsmen, a patriot crew, were charged by the king to sally forth and ask and give no quarter in the fight. Then, later still, at the new birth of the Western world, in brave Plantagenet times, when religion had stirred men's hearts to the very core, haply a crusader passed onward with face sternly set towards the Holy Land, and bound by vow to win the sepulchre from the Moslem foe. After him, in stately Tudor days, there swept down the retreating flood the adven turous bark of some gallant Elizabethan captain, bound northwards to the fishing banks of distant Iceland, or to the glit tering Eldoradoes of hyperborean seas, invading in his turn the homes of the ancient vikings for fish or gold. Or, per haps, half in fear of Moorish outrage, and of Algerine pirates, there stole down the stream a Western merchant's sole venture, a tall carrack, made to fight or trade, bound on the southern tack, where the Portuguese showed the way, past Cape Bojador and Cape Verde, to the Gulf of Guinea, for oil and ivory.

Here, too, the great Blake, watching in his boyhood the tide ebb and flow daily past his feet, nurtured his bold spirit, and hardened his iron nerve, destined in time, by both sea and land, to carve a deathless name, carrying to haughty Moor at Tunis and at Tangier, and to boasting Spaniard at Santa Cruz, an example of bull-dog courage and fearlessness, and an intima tion of England's destiny. Here, too, not far from Parrett's banks, as an undertone of grief in the midst of sounding pæans, were heard the baleful sounds of civil war and here, on Sedgmoor's fatal field, was the site of the last battle fought on English soil, when brother slew brother at the bidding of rival kings. Then we come within the times of spoken tradition. Old men tell of what they have heard from others, and we emerge into the "light of common day." WILLIAM GRESWELL.

From Murray's Magazine. THACKERAY'S PORTRAITS OF HIMSELF. "He was a cynic! You might read it writ

In that broad brow, crowned with its silver hair, In those blue eyes, with childlike candor lit, In that sweet smile his lips were wont to wear." TOM TAYLOR.

NEARLY thirty years ago the Times rendered itself remarkable by being the only daily paper to refrain from making special critical allusion to the genius of a man just dead, who was the greatest artist in his own line the world has ever seen, and probably ever will see. Yes, Thackeray lay silent forever in his house on Palace Green, and Printing House Square afforded him an obituary notice which, by its length, would hardly have gratified the relatives of a defunct city alderman. "God," said Charlotte Brontë, "made him second to no man," and the world knows how just was her estimate.

To those of us who hold his memory green, and I own myself in this respect second to none, perhaps no purely selfish disappointment was ever keener than that with which we learnt that no exhaustive biography of this greatest of all novelists would ever be written. The reasons for this are well known, and as honorable to the man himself as to those nearest and dearest who have survived him. But, pungent and heartfelt though our regret must ever be that we, who never knew him or even saw him in the flesh, cannot live, weep, laugh, sympathize, and fight his battles o'er again in an authentic biography, and so gain grace and strength to

struggle on bravely and devotedly as he did, yet we must ever remember what great things we have received from him, and loyally acquiesce in his expressed desire.

Happily there is no limit placed upon our use of that part of him which he chose to give to the world. Whatever the circumstances of his life may have been with which the world is not to be made familiar, whatever the joys, the triumphs, the bitternesses, the despairs which he encountered (and he was as human as any of us) which are never destined to be disclosed, yet, maugre these, what a priceless legacy of human sympathy and appreciation he has made us heirs to! Do you suppose it cost him nothing to tell us what he has of himself under the thin guise of his favorite heroes? Do you suppose that he has only given us of his head, and that his heart's blood is not circulating and palpitating beneath those immortal pages which stir us with their hidden meaning? I tell you no one need regret that he knows not the man Thackeray. He is there for the finding in "Vanity Fair," in "Esmond," "Pendennis," "Philip," and perhaps even more in the "Roundabout Papers," if you only take the trouble to look for him. You may know him as well as, nay better than, your most inimical friends or your most friendly enemies, and, in his portrayals, be sure he has never spared himself, though with others he has dealt how gently, how tenderly !

Nor is it only in his writings that we find this laying bare of himself, consciously of his foibles, his weaknesses, his cynicism, unconsciously of his manliness, his reverence, his sympathy. As all who know him are aware, before taking to literature it was his intention to become an artist, and he studied in Paris with that object. Mighty little, however, of the art did he learn there. Indeed I suppose no one ever made half such good pictures with less technical skill than he did. That his books, illustrated by his own hand, are among the most satisfactory wedding of pen and pencil in the language is a remarkable fact of which I have written elsewhere. As Trollope has most appropriately remarked: "How often have I wished that characters of my own creating might be sketched as faultily!"

It was characteristic of the man to be able to do with worse tools what a skilled workman with every modern appliance would very probably fail in, because of the strength of inspiration which lay behind. Where the inspiration failed, the result was hopelessly bad. For example,

when he wanted to take the place vacant by poor Seymour's untimely death, as illustrator of "Pickwick," there could be and was no hesitation about his rejection. It requires, most particularly, great technical skill to translate the thoughts of another into picture. And this skill Thackeray certainly did not possess. Like William Blake, though of course longo intervallo, his pictures, divorced from their explanatory letter-press, are chaotic and unintelligible. Wedded thereto, they are pretty nearly all that pictorial illustra tion should be.

I want in this article to point out and illustrate one particular phase of Thackeray's deliberate and unsparing use of himself, as not only a psychological model, to which I have alluded above, but also as a painter's model. It is but a small matter, but one, I am inclined to think, which will be of interest to all admirers of his high-towering genius.

Thackeray's drawings are generally looked upon as essentially the garniture of his more serious work, but it must not be forgotten that the pictorial was a distinct and important phase of his artistic development. One might indeed almost say that he was a picture-maker at the quadrature, a novelist at the full.


As novelist, we know that the covering which he drew over what he felt were his own shortcomings was in effect diaphaHe never intended to hide himself. He no more expected people to be unaware of his presence than the queen does when she travels as the Countess of Balmoral. All he wanted was that his confidences should be respected. One is reminded of Addison's heroine "whose bosom appeared all of crystal, and so won derfully transparent, that I saw every thought in her heart."

So it was too in his pictures. He looked in the glass and poked fun at himself and others with the utmost impartiality. His broken nose, his "goggles," his pursed-up mouth, "those blue eyes with childlike candor lit," indeed himself we find cropping up in his drawings in the most unexpected manner, and in all sorts of compromising and ridiculous situations.

He was not over-considerate of his own feelings when, in America, as Trollope tells us, "he met at dinner a literary gentleman of high character, middle-aged, and of most dignified deportment. The gentleman was one whose character and acquirements stood very high-deservedly so- but who, in society, had that air of wrapping his toga round him, which adds,

or is supposed to add, many cubits to a man's height. But he had a broken nose. At dinner he talked much of the tender passion, and did so in a manner which stirred up Thackeray's feeling of the ridiculous. What has the world come to,' said Thackeray out loud to the table, when two broken-nosed old fogies like you and me sit talking about love to each other?' The gentleman was astounded, and could only sit wrapping his toga in silent dismay for the rest of the evening.'

So we see all through, in castigating others he never dreamt of sparing himself. In a collection of his letters, published by Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co., there is an admirably humorous pen-and-ink drawing by him of an imaginary equestrian statue of himself. If any one for a moment doubts that the face of Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh is that of Mr. William Makepeace Thackeray, transferred from a body of six foot four inches to one of at least a foot shorter, they have but to put the above sketch side by side with half the pictures in the Christmas books to be convinced. It only differs from these portraits of M. A. Titmarsh in that the six foot four is, instead of being curtailed, rather accentuated than otherwise.

Or, if additional evidence is wanted, compare with these the portrait of Thackeray in the picture of the Fraserians, published at the beginning of “A Gallery of Illustrious Literary Characters," by Daniel Maclise. The likeness of this face to that of Mr. Michael Angelo Titmarsh is undeniable.

At the commencement of "Mrs. Perkins's Ball" we find an exceedingly clever blending of ball-room exigencies with the requirements of the conventional titlepage, and, tucked away in the right-hand corner behind Mr. Beaumaris, "the handsome young man," we find Mr. Michael Angelo Thackeray, as we are inclined to call him, broken nose, spectacles, and all.

Nor must mention be omitted of that young gentleman's armorial bearings which surmount the door a pair of spectacles crossed on a shield, surmounted by a fool's cap and with two jesters' wands as supporters.

Thackeray did not habitually sign his drawings; but in some few instances this crossed pair of spectacles may be found giving a picture his imprimatur. As one example of this, the reader may refer to the frontispiece to "Dr. Birch and his Young Friends," where this symbol will be found on the paper held in the dunce's hand.

On the title-page to "Our Street," the | Miss Fanny. On page 175 he is making intent observer will again discover Mr. a wry face over the natural waters of Titmarsh's portrait. Miss Clapperclaw is Rougetnoirburg. On page 183 he gives here represented looking out of her accusa withering glance of scorn at the incontomed window and keeping her eye on the stant Fanny Kicklebury, who has thrown doings of her neighbors. She has screwed him over for the heavy dragoon. Whilst against that window, at a convenient angle, on page 193 we find him contemplating one of those detective-looking glasses by that German bed which eventually he was which an occupant of the room can see not destined to enjoy alone, but to pass without herself being seen. In that mirror the night in company with anthropopha behold the reflection of an infinitesimal gous wretched reptiles who took their gentleman walking down the street, so horrid meal off an English Christian. small indeed that three of him, top-hat, spectacles, and all might easily be accommodated on one's little finger-nail.

As early as 1842, before his permanent connection with Punch, we find in the "Irish Sketch Book" two or three portraits of himself with uncurtailed body. The first and only noticeable one is a picture of Mr. Titmarsh sitting on a crowded Irish car, with his arm encircling the waist of a demure little Irish lass, and it was not until a hideous row of houses informed them that they were at Killarney that his companion suddenly let go his hand and, by a certain uneasy motion of the waist, gave him notice to withdraw the other too. "And so," he goes on, rattled up to the Kenmare Arms; and so ended, not without a sigh on my part, one of the merriest six hours' rides that five

On page 70* of the same Christmas book we find him drinking tea in the background, whilst the detestable Clarence Bulbul in the foreground is telling the lovely Miss Pim that she would fetch twenty thousand piastres in the market at Constantinople. On page 76 we find him talking to the charming Miss Short, whilst | Charley Bonham, near at hand, is pouring out his fulsome rhapsodies in the ears of Diana White. "Lovely, lovely Diana White; were it not for three or four other engagements, I know a heart that would suit you to a T." On page 78, the incorrigible Michael is flirting in the doorway yachtsmen-one Cockney, five women with Clarissa Newboy, who is in a pink paletôt trimmed with swansdown. That is the last we have of him as a gay bachelor in "Our Street."


He next turns up in "Doctor Birch and his Young Friends" as assistant master in the academy at Rodwell Regis, and professor of the English and French languages, flower-painting, and the German flute. On page 87 we find him engaged in teaching the young idea how to shoot." On page 100 he is discovering Miss Birch eating jam with a spoon out of Master Wiggins's trunk in the box room. On page 113 he witnesses Lord Gaunt's eldest son, the noble Plantagenet Gaunt-Gaunt and nephew of the Most Honorable the Marquis of Steyne, flirting with Miss Rosa Birch. "What a pretty match it would make! It is true she has the sense on her side, and poor Plantagenet is an idiot; but there he is, a zany with such expectations and such a pedigree!"


and a child, the carman, and a countryman with an alpeen, ever took in their lives.' But life is not always rosy, and woman is not always kind, and the next day he gets a severe snubbing from his yesterday's fair and kind companion. Sic transit.

In his drawings for Punch we are not often favored with his "counterfeit presentment." Indeed in only one of his larger pictures does he make use of himself as a model. The scene is laid in a railway carriage on the Great Western Railway. Thackeray is represented, apparently reading the Sunday Times, but in reality listening to a conversation between an old gentleman and a Miss Wiggetts. By Thackeray's side is a cocontributor to Punch. Who this is I have not discovered.

The above-mentioned is one of a series of drawings called "Authors' Miseries."

He wrote many papers for Punch under the pseudonym of "Our Fat Contributor," but in none of these does he identify himself with the author, or favor us with a representation of his own personal ap

In the Christmas of 1850 again we have our young gentleman making a voyage on the Rhine in company with " the Kickle-pearance. burys" and other distinguished person- In an account of adventures at Brighton ages. On page 163 he flirts with pretty it is some one very different from Thack

• The references in this article are to the collected

"Christmas Books," in Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co.'s Popular Edition.

eray who, mounted on one of Jiggot's hacks, goes out riding with young Golde nose and his lovely sister Violet to his

« ElőzőTovább »