Soon after this our old tin candle- business and my enjoyment—during sticks were superseded by bronze- term time I am happy-in the vacathis may be designated the age of tion I am miserable-would that I brass !

were a dormouse to sleep away the I need not pursue further the muta- tedious interval ! bility of human affairs—the philoso

Ambitious reader, you are coming phic reader has already perceived that to the bar! I know you are, I know human affairs are transitory and evan- you must be, unless you are already escent—that reform bills and bills of à clergyman or a doctor ; for your fare are enacted, discussed, objected dear paternal father and mother have to, and forgotten, and that an equal discovered that you are a genius; and obscurity awaits the names of Lord the only sphere for their genius is the Jobn Russell and Dick the waiter! profession of the law ! Perhaps you Eatables and empires disappear have had the bad luck to distinguish drinkables like dynasties are swallowed yourself at college, or at the spouting and forgotten. But this is a trite sub- club; if so, may the Lord have mercy ject-and trite subjects are not the upon you-you are decidedly undone! subjects for me!

My young friend, I have been jocuThe professional student will not lar ; I am now serious. As you value fail to have observed, if he has followed your future happiness, take your own my description with the attention it advice in the disposal of your life, and deserves, that there are two different let your father and mother mind their classes of lawyers- those, to wit, who own business ; do not let them delude are never seen at Westminster Hall, you into a fatal confidence that you and those who are never seen any are clever, or that you are loquacious. where else-lawyers who are all teeth, Loquacity and cleverness, as such, and lawyers who are, on the contrary, have little to do in amassing an indeall jaw!

pendence. Do not desert the profesI do not, I honestly confess, belong sion of arms, as Erskine did, for thelaw to the talking class; I might have -believe me, you are not an Erskine, been born deaf and dumb for all the --nor the profession of medicine, as opportunity I have ever had of dis- did Sir James Macintosh, for the playing my forensic powers ; I have law---fifty such sucking geniuses as therefore, in common with nine hun- yourself, could not make

one Sir James dred and ninety-nine barristers out of Macintosh. Look to your prospects ! every thousand, turned my attention look to your prospects ! I repeat, for exclusively to mastication. Of course, the third time, look to your prospects! I would gladly have done the other and of a profession let your prospects thing if I could have got it to do; but, govern the choice. Then may your God help me! my father was not a fate be happier than mine; then, in successful attorney, which I take to some unenvied sphere of quiet and be the true and only essential preli- successful industry, may you decently minary towards being a successful maintain your wife, and creditably barrister; indeed, I do not think any rear your children; then may you see one belonging to me ever saw that the friend of your bosom at your hosrare and curious animal an attorney, pitable board ; then may you lend a and it was for this very reason, I be helping hand to a fellow Christian in lieve, that they put me to the barris- distress to me, perhaps, who began terial business!

the race of life thoughtlessly, and with Accordingly, I am grown old, and foolish confidence of success, now, in as I grew old I grew poor.

The lit- the evening of my days, comfortless, tle substance that in trade, commerce, childless, without society, solace, or or manufacture, might have served as station ; in loneliness passing away my the nucleus of an independence, I have appointed time in a naked garret, too dissipated in the vain pursuit of a happy to be permitted the opportunity profession that has never yielded me of scribbling for my daily bread! a shilling My dinner is now my



There is nothing in which the ca- the 66 Sir Oracles" of taste and ton. price of fashion is more strikingly ma- There is something supremely absurd nifested than in travelling. In this in this eagerness on the part of our instance, as in numerous others, John middle classes to follow blindly wherBull seems to take a pride in showing ever fashion leads the way. Only ima. himself the mere creature of imitation. gine Russell Square, with Burton CresAs when the foremost sheep in a flock cent and half the Regent's Park at its leap a ditch, or scramble through a heels, rushing off to Cheltenham or hedge, all the rest make a point of per. Brighton, or across the water to Spa or forming the same feat; so when the Baden-Baden, for no better reason leaders of ton, at the close of the than that the list of “ fashionable ara London season, order their horses' rivals" in these watering-places occuheads to be turned in any particular pies an imposing space in the columns direction, a host of the middle classes of the Morning Post! We laugh at -imitatorum servum pecus--are sure

the French for their vanity, and they to follow in the track of their chariot may well laugh at us for the sacrifices wheels. Next to being fashionable we make in order to be thought genhimself, the best thing is, in John teel. This is the rock against which Bull's estimation, to be seen in the we are constantly wrecking our peace haunts of people of “mark and like- of mind. We had rather cease to live, lihood.” If he goes to Brighton, it than not live à-la-mode. In a word, is not so much because he likes the we are the slaves of the lamp—and place—for who that has the slightest that lamp is, Fashion ! taste for the picturesque can like such I cannot say I have any sympathy a bleak, formal, gewgaw town ?-as with this puny, sickly ambition so prebecause it is frequented by the beau valent among our middle classes--esmonde. Aristocratic Cheltenham is pecially those of the metropolis; and visited for the same reason; as, for rea- still less can I enter into the feelings sons diametrically the reverse, some of which too often prompt them to unthe loveliest little nooks in the king- derrate their own country, and to dom remain unnoticed, save by poor fancy that the word “ Continent” has artists and still poorer poets. Many a genteeler and more imposing sound. years ago Weymouth was all the rage, Britain, so far as my travelling expebecause it was the favourite resort of rience enables me to form an opinion, royalty. Next came the Highland is unquestionably the noblest, the most influenza, when John Bull scampered, marvellous, and—taking into considerlike a lunatic, across the Border, in ation its lavish varieties of the suorder that he might be enabled to boast blime and beautiful-the most pictuthat he had seen those romantic re

resque country in the world. gions which Scott's Lady of the merous towns and cities, and their inLake had just made the town talk. habitants, are unrivalled in intelli. In 1814, the silly fellow must needs gence, industry, and opulence; its rush to Paris, the presence of the Al- Menai bridge and its railroads are lied Sovereigns there having made a equal in grandeur of design, and supetrip to the French capital indispensable rior in utility, to the boasted passes of to his notions of gentility. His next the Simplon; its proud “meteor-flag." fancy was for the Rhine and Switzer- streams in every port, and is familiar land, whither he was seduced by the with every wave; and its armies are example of Byron; for how could he the conquerors of Waterloo. Then, as possibly confess to ignorance of the regards its scenery, which our would. scenes depicted in so celebrated a poem be fashionable tourists are so prone to as Childe Harold ? Just now, he is depreciate,–in the heart of its Scotall for the Spas of Germany, Captain tish and Welsh Alps are to be found Head's popular Bubbles of Brunnen glens, waterfalls, and green, sunny, having recently brought these water- winding strips of valleys, quite as roing-places under the special notice of mantic as any that ono meets with

Its nuour vil.

even among the snowy ranges of the never be without a gipsy encampJura or the Pyrenees; and in the soft- ment, its clear gravelly springs, its ness and luxuriance of its sylvan land. one rustic mill, graceful in its simpliscapes, Provence, renowned in song, city as Rembrandt's, and its broad will not bear an instant's comparison daisied meadows, through which winds with it. Let St John—as he has done the sleepy Loddon, here in the open in his delightful tale of Margaret sunshine, and there under the shade of Ravenscroft-speak in raptures of trees which turn an untrained arch the " wooded Apennines,” Ī, being a above its head? How well I know man of moderate expectations, am every spot of ground in this neigh. quite satisfied with the shades and bourhood! Here I spent the only six “green retreats” of Windsor Forest, weeks (far too brief) of a chequered even though they be but twenty miles life I would ever desire to spend over distant from Cockaigne. Talk of again. Happy moments such as these Tempe and Arcadia ! I care not for are like the refreshing springs that the the prose of Elian or the verse of wearied traveller meets with in the Theocritus; give me the view from desert, and that give him strength to the summit of the Long Walk, whence resume his journey. But if " the eye ranges over a rich and appa- lage" be deemed too tame and homely, rently an endless variety of all that pass on, pursuing the high-road, to the constitutes the perfection of home adjacent town of Reading, and an scenery-hill and dale, wood and wa- easy two-hours' walk shall bring you ter; flowery knolls, alive with the hum to the retired out-of-the-way hamlet of bees; far-stretching glades and of Caversham, whose many scenic atthick groves, from whose shady depths tractions have been eloquently insisted comes the distinct, mellow note of on by Sergeant Talfourd in a sonnet that “wandering voice," the cuckoo; worthy of his theme. sloping lawns, whereon the quiet sheep It was a painting of this pretty little feed, and the sun lies like a smile from village which hung near the bowheaven ; majestic avenues of oaks, window in the Picture Gallery, that elms, and beeches; and, in the remote suggested the foregoing remarks. The distance, the Royal castle-worthy of artist, I suspect, was Havell, and there England's monarchs-rearing up its was much in his sketch that reminded noble head as though it were the me of Gainsborough, whose freshness, guardian spirit of the scene !

vigour, and rare truth of delineation, Landscapes superior to this are not, had been imitated with happy effect. I am persuaded, to be found in any The perspective, in particular, was part of Europe, let our enthusiasts for managed with consummate tact; and all that lies on the other side the Chan the disposition of the cattle in the forenel say what they will to the contrary. ground, together with the rich warm How would the refined Claude, or the colouring of the clouds, and of the vigorous Ruysdael, with his greater autumn-tinted foliage of Caversham truth and exactitude of details, have park, showed that the artist had been exulted in the contemplation of such a a close observer of nature, even while prospect! But, exquisite as it is, it is he availed himself of hints furnished by no means peculiar to the Forest, for by the great masters of English landthe whole country is picturesque in an scape-painting. The subjoined tale is eminent degree. What, for instance, in illustration of this sketch; and, if it can be lovelier of its kind, than Miss possess no other recommendation, it Mitford's village of Three-mile-cross, has at least the merit of being correct with its wild common, which should in its local descriptions.


[blocks in formation]

* More exercise, my dear sir-you « Just so, doctor, and that's the should really take much more exer- reason why I always make a point of cise ; for, with a constitution such as walking five or six times up and down yours, I know no other way of pre. my study before breakfast, and the serving health.”

same number of times before dinner ;

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

to say nothing of an occasional stroll building, with two clipped yews in down the lane, and a ten minutes' turn front, which stood halfway down a in my garden before lunch. If this shady lane that terminated in the Lonbe not exercise, I know not what the don road, on the outskirts of the town word means ; unless, indeed, you of Reading. In person, Waddilove would have me jump over the chairs was of the middle height; he had a and tables, or play at leap.frog or goodly, though not a preposterous hop-scotch with my housekeeper !" paunch; and legs as sturdy as those

• My dear Mr Waddilove, when I which we so often see in the possestalk of exercise, I mean that you sion of a drayman. His face was a should take a good long walk every dead white, like plaster of Paris ; he day-say, three or four miles—so that was bald as a turnip, and wore a wig ; you may feel something like a whole- and had a thick under-lip, which droopsome, moderate fatigue.”

ed over an expansive chin, one-half of “ Three or four miles! You're jok, which was always imbedded in a pad. ing-why, such an exertion would be ded neckcloth. my death! No, Thompson, prescribe All men have their peculiarities, and any remedy but that. It is the very the one prominent feature in Miles's worst form in which martyrdom can idiosyncrasy was his abhorrence of develope itself."

pedestrian exercise. For days together « Well, if you will not be advised he never stirred outside his gates. by me in this respect, at least go out Even to talk of walking roused his more into society than you are in the spleen, for it brought to mind a rash habit of doing, which is in itself a sort peripatetic experiment which he had of exercise, by the stimulus it gives been prevailed on to make in the year to”.

1814, when he crawled upwards of four Right, doctor, so it is; and it is miles along the dusty high-road, under this conviction which has induced me a blistering sun, in order to get a peep to accept our mutual friend, Captain at the Allied Sovereigns on their way Capulet's invitation for tomorrow. back to London from Oxford ; and He is going to leave Caversham in a returned home with a face scorching day or two for the sea-side, and has hot, fingers swollen to the size of asked me to a farewell dinner. I sausages, the stitch in his side, and doubt, however, whether I shall be the cramp in both legs! When, in able to go, so very indifferent is my addition to this peculiarity, I observe health. The dyspeptic symptoms that that Waddilove was a bit of an epi. I spoke to you of last week, have”- cure, and addicted at times to absence

5. Like all your other maladies, real of mind, I have said all that is neces. or imaginary, their origin in want of sary to prove that he was one of those exercise."

quiet homespun characters, whom “ Pshaw, doctor, you're a man of young ladies are apt to look on as od. one idea-always harping on the same dities, and quiz as such. string!"

Immediately on the apothecaryquitFinding further remonstrance use- ting him, Miles rang the bell for his less, at least for the present, the apo- housekeeper, and told her to hasten thecary, who was a shrewd man of the instantly into the town, and desire world, contented himself with giving Toulmin's coach to be ready at the his patient a few commonplace direc- door next day at five o'clock, in order tions with regard to regimen, in order to convey him to Caversham, where to keep up the appearance of paying his friend Capulet resided. As this attention to his case, and then took his vehicle was something of a curioleave, with a promise that he would sity, a passing mention of it may not look in again in a day or two.

be amiss. It was a sort of cross beMr Miles Waddilove, as may be tween a carriage and a hackney.coach inferred from the above conversation, of the olden time ; its box was low and

; was a gentleman of lethargic, and spacious ; its ill.conditioned wheels somewhat hypochondriacal, tempera- stood out afar from its sides, like the ment, and of studious and secluded red ears of a Yorkshire ostler; and habits. He was a bachelor, about its two ends, back and front, came forty-five years of age; was tolerably down with a gradual slant inwards independent in circumstances; and re- from the roof, which, instead of being sided in an old-fashioned red brick flat, bellied out like the top crust of a




gooseberry pie. Being the only coach After plodding straight on for in Reading that was let out on hire on nearly half-an-hour, he reached that the principle of the London hackney. long, irregular, picturesque bridge coach, it was generally known by the which spans the Thames, there of name of the - town-tub;” and in its imposing breadılı, and leads direct inrickety motion, and, above all, in its to the village of Caversham, Arrived extraordinary genius for upsetting, it at this spot, he might have admiredhad the rare merit of rivalling even an for few can behold it without admiraIrish post-chaise !

tion--the singular sylvan beauty of Punctual to the hour appointed, this the landscape about him; the flowery eccentric vehicle drew up at Waddi- meadows stretching for miles along love's door, who in a few minutes made the nearest bank of the river; the his appearance, attired in all the finery wooded uplands of the distant Mapleof black shorts and silks, with his best durham; and the rich autumn-tinted bob-wig newly frizzed and powdered. foliage of Caversham park, which He was in high glee at the idea of shone with a thousand gorgeous colhaving escaped a hot dusty walk; and ours in the setting sun; the broad as the “ town-tub” went clattering reaches of the lake-like Thames, with down Friar Street on its way to the the numerous cottage lawns and neighbouring little village of Cavers flower-gardens sloping down its edge; ham, he kept humming the tune of the straggling village at the foot of “Old King Cole," which he always did the bridge, and the high chalk cliffs when in good humour, and glancing immediately beyond it, planting their every now and then, with visible satis- white feet in the stream, and redeemfaction, at the magnificent clocks which ing, by their bold precipitous charan halfway up his silk stockings. racter, what might otherwise have

He was thus pleasantly occupied, seemed too tame in the landscape ;when suddenly, just as he had accom- all this, Miles, had he been so disposed, plished about a third of his journey, a might have regarded with just admiraloud crash was heard-off flew one of tion : but his thoughts were otherwise the wheels, and down came the coach occupied, dwelling with more comon its side, right in the middle of the placency on the rich soups, juicy road! Fortunately, Mr Waddilove, meats, and luscious wines that awaited though not a little alarmed, sustained him at his journey's end, and alone no injury from the catastrophe, and reconciled him to his unforeseen walk. was promptly extricated by the cool The clock struck six as he turned off and collected coachman, whom long the bridge into the village. He halted. experience had taught to look on an The last stroke rung like a knell in upset quite as a matter of course. On his ear. At that very moment the examining into the nature of the in- servants were bringing in the first juries sustained by the town-tub; it

He should then be too late was found that it would take upwards for the soup and fish! Horrid anticiof an hour to remedy them; and, as pation! Nevertheless, there was still» such a delay was not to be thought of a faint chance; and, buoyed up by this under the circumstances, poor Miles, reflection, he quickened his pace al. groaning bitterly, as a recollection of most to a trot, but had yet to toit bis walk in 1814 flashed across bis through the village and up the hill mind, proceeded on his road on foot, that rises beyond it, ere he could reach this being the only chance he had left the desired haven. of reaching Caversham in time for At length he arrived at his friend's dinner.

house, and the first agreeable moIt was a dry, warm, autumn evening, ment he had known since his ejection with just enough wind to put the dust from the town-tub was, when he rang into a state of brisk activity-a special the garden-bell, and saw an old female annoyance when one happens to be servant hurrying down the gravelwalking in full dress, and is anxious walk to answer the summons. to wear a becoming aspect, as was - Is dinner on table ?” he enquired just now the case with Waddilove, in tremulous accents, that betrayed the who lost much time in his various great interest he took in the question, tackings and manœuvrings to avoid “ Dinner!" replied the old dame, the wbirling clouds that beset him at who was rather hard of hearing-did certain turns and angles of the road. you say dinner, sir?" NO, CCLXXXY, YOL, XLVI,




« ElőzőTovább »