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Reader. And pray, Mr. Indicator, how do you behave yourself in this respect? 3.35
Indic. Oh, Madam, perfectly, of course; like all advisers.
Reader. Nay, I allow that your mode of argument does not look quite so suspicious as the old way of sermonizing and severity, but I have my doubts, especially from that laugh of yours. If I should look in to-morrow morning Indic. Ah, Madam, the look in of a face like
any thing It shall fetch me up at nine, if you please--six, I meant
It does not enter within the plan, or perhaps we should rather say, the understood promises, of this little weekly publication, to relieve the Editor with much correspondence; but he is glad when he can indulge himself, in proportion; and he inserts with pleasure the following piece of poetry, which is very much to his heathenish taste.
VOX ET PRÆTEREA NIHIL.
- Like the low voice of Syrinx, when she ran
Orders received by the Booksellers, by the Newsmen, and by the Publisher,
JOSEPH APPLEYARD, No. 19, Catherine-street, Strand.-Price 2d. Printed by C. H. REYNELL, No. 45, Broad-street, Golden-square, London.
There he arriving round about doth flie,
No. XVI.-WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26th, 1820.
EXTREMES MEET; OR ALL LONDON AND NO LONDON.
In a village not far from the metropolis, lives a hearty old fellow, who is the comfort of all his neighbours with his vivacity and his pleasant stories. He goodnaturedly laughs when any one calls him old; and says he looks upon himself as a youth, who has white instead of brown hair, and that he took leave of his old age in the fortieth year of his life.
Happening to stroll as far as this village, one afternoon last summer, I fell into conversation with him, in consequence of putting my head into his cottage to ask my way to some remains of antiquity. He was sitting after dinner, with his spectacles on, reading a book, and getting up with a lively and willing face, said he would shew me the way if I pleased. I was glad accept his offer, and chat with him, for besides loving chearfulness for itself, a chearful old man gives one's own life a pleasant prospect. It seems a kind of baulk given to the gloomy aspect and pretensions of Death. I asked him what book he was reading.
" Why, Sir," said he, half laughing, taking off his spectacles, nodding at the same time his head, and giving a little tremulous jerk of his knee, -" you may think it an odd book for an old man to read, (it was the history of Philip Quarll) but I always tell my neighbours that they and the parish-register are mistaken, and that having returned to my native village, after a death of fifteen years in the city of London, I took up my life where I left it, at thirty, and so though they take me for seventy-five, am not more than fifty-five at most.'
You may imagine I was highly delighted with this notion of a metropolitan non-existence; I told him as much; and while he was reaching his hat down from a peg, took an opportunity of looking at his other books and his pictures about the room. Among the latter, were the Four Seasons, prodigiously red-lipped and smiling; and among the former, Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood's Garland, The Gardener's Calendar, an odd volume of Shakspeare, and De Foe's History of the Plague of London.
" You seem to have an antipathy to London?" said I. Why I must own, Sir," answered he, " there is no love lost between us. It would be very well, if it wasn't such a great overgrown, smoky, sickly, place; but they build, and they build, and all the gentry go there as if they were going to a fair; and so they stop when the fair is over, and make a dismal odd sojourning of it. There were two squires who went up to London, when I was a little boy, and got places there, as they are called. Very pretty places they left behind i hem, I know; but times were hard, and people said the squires couldn't descend. You know what they meant, Sir. So the squires not being able to descend, went up to town; and there I saw them and their's, when I went afterwards, squeezed up in tall narrow houses, not a fourth part of the size of their own pretty ones over the way yonder ; -you may see one of 'em, Sir, among the limes ;-it belongs now to a lawyer; and the other belongs to What's-bis-name there, the great distiller, who never sets eyes on it. Well, Sir, as I was saying, I saw the squires and their families, and young master, who gave me my dog here—Robin, Robin-ab, he's got out of door's we shall find him, when we go-but I'm keeping you, Sir-Nay, nay, I needu't keep you, Sir, for I can tell you my story as you go, and perhaps it may amuse you, as you seem fond of the country.” Here he took up his book again, and put it into his pocket; and then clapping the pocket smartly with one hand, and buitoning one of the buttons of his coat with the other, lifted a latch on the opposite side of the passage, and putting in his head with, “ Get the tea, Goody, for myself and neighbour Parkins," went out of the door with me. In an instant we were joined by Robin, who was a fine eager-looking dog, and seemed to have all his faculties ready for a scour.
Robin, Sir,” said he, “was given me when I was in London, and was then called Nero; but why they gave the poor beast such an ill name, I couldn't tell; and so, seeing what a delight he took whenever he saw a bit of green grass, or got near the Parks, and how he would dart away, and drive round and round, and roll, and scamper, and pant with joy ; I called him Robin, you see,-after Robin Hood, Sir, -who was a sort of prince too, you know, after a kind of a fashion, under his greenwood shade.'-Well, Sir, as I was saying about the squires; when I saw them living so humbly, as it were, or in such small houses, I thought to myself at first-Oh oh! what, does coming up to London help to bring up the thing they talk of in books, some for, and some against, about putting people in general more on a level with one another! I didn't think so, you know, Sir; but somehow or other, the fancy struck me. I know it's impossible for such a thing to be, unless people could be all born with the same brains and bodies, though I do think with some, that there is a much greater difference in the business than need be; though before it can be altered, it will take a vast deal of better learning in the poor and humble, and, as for that matter perhaps, in the rich and high too. Well, Sir, to cut this matter short, for I must confess I have got somehow or other a mighty trick of talking since I came back to my village, and can't tell a thing half so speedily as I could in London, and so I shall never get to my story. I saw the squires, and there instead of being grown humble, in one way at least, they had grown more grand a great deal,-only as I thought with a very odd sort of exchange. In their old homes here we are now going by one of 'em, Sir,-- you might have had a dance in the hall, and there were at least twenty rooms a-piece to 'em : but in London, - what they called the hall of one of the houses, wasn't much bigger than my own little passage, though exceeding trim and tight to be sure, I remember I almost broke the lamp-glass with the bundle at the end of my stick :- instead of the great piece of ground there in front of the house, and the roses and honeysuckles all over the windows, there was no ground at all, and only a dusty bit of a vine, which I thought looked better too than nothing ; and instead of the fine garden behind, and the paddock, and the kitchen-garden, and the fine prospect, I almost started when the footmán shewed me the back of the house, which was a bit of a yard, hardly big enough for a couple of boys to play at hop-scotch in, surrounded with the walls of other yards, and the backs of other houses. The house of the other squire had a bit of garden, to be sure,—long, and narrow, and with strips of brick wall, boxed flower-ground, and gravel, that almost set one's teeth on edge to look at, they seemed so hard and dry. I remember however I thought it a very pretty thing, afier I had been in London for a year or two.
I didn't know whether the squires were glad to see me or not. They spoke to me more familiarly than usual, and yet somehow or other, didn't seem so kind nor so un-proud. Their rooms were full of black and gilt furniture, mighty fine and gloomy as I thought; and coming out of Squire Wilson's, I ran against the physician, who was coming up the steps, and who cursed me in the oddest sweet tone of voice I ever heard swear. However he laughed the next minute.
“ Well, Sir; I've been talking to you a great deal about other people, but it shews you what I thought of going to London; and yet would you believe it, I lived in that very London for fifteen years afterwards, and for the last ten never stirred out of it! I didn't indeed! I'll tell you how it was. My young master, as I called him, the son of one of the squires,---(I was the village-carpenter's son, and he used to play with me) had got a place as well as his father, not under government though, but in the city, at a great banker's; and so, as there was a man wanting there to do a number of things,
go messages, and help to take care of the premises at night, he got me a place too. Young master, I know, intended kindly to me; and I thought it a
fine thing when I was sent for. I was not a clerk, to be sure, but then I was not a mere servant; and the under clerks and the housekeeper used to let me dine with them. soon got into what they called the routine of my business. I did a quantity of messages and things all day, and strolled a little
way out of town on Sundays, when it was not my turn to stop at home. Sometimes I'd walk about twenty miles out on a Sunday ; sometimes I went a nutting, sometimes a boating, and sometimes only loitered about the suburbs for fear of being caught in the rain with my new hat, and so poked about the new buildings, with a sixpenny cane, and eat apples and gingerbread. I looked in at church by ihe way; but always used to feel as if I said a kind of prayer in the fields, things were so beautiful there and grand. I remember ihere were two chief clerks in our office, one of whom was a Methodist, while the other laughed at the Methodists --- You are not a Methodist, are you Sir?-I thought not. You laugh differently, and seem to think there are good things in this world as well as in the next. Look, Sir, at the beautiful prospect there.--Ah, Molly, how d'ye do to-day? Why you look as kind and handsome as ever!-A dairy.maid, Sir, at Squire Smith's-bless her good-tempered face. Well, Sir, the Methodist wanted to make one of me; but no, no, thought I-I am not so sick or so selfish as that comes to; for I knew him and the rest of 'em well enough. So the other clerk used to laugh at him, when he made me argue, as they call it, and used to laugh at me too, for seeming to think more than I chose to say. There are some good men among 'em too, but they all seem so hard-hearted in their notions, whatever they may be in their conduct; whereas the laughing clerk, who could be the gravest and kindest gentleman in the world too when you wanted it, was soft-hearted both in his notions and conduct; and I take that to be the better side. For my part, I really wonder sometimes how such notions of a good God and his works can get abroad; but then I think of the great town, and all their plagues, and diseases, and driving of monies, and who's to wonder that people get sick and superstitious, and full of bad consciences, and think to get on in the next world as they do in this, with all sorts of bad opinions, both of themselves and their betters ?
« Bless me:-well I shall never get to my story, to be sure, and yet here we are at the top of the bill. Egad, Sir, this is
different air that comes in one's face, from that one meets on Snow-hill or Cheapside. Hah!-hah! Glorious indeed !” and so saying, the old youth took off his hat, and stood a minute, shutting his eyes, and drinking in, as it were, draughts of health. I enjoyed the freshness with him, and took off my gloves that I might feel as much of it as I could, lifting my palins to catch the breeze, for I was feverish with having stopped too long indoors. I told him so; upon which he put on his hat again with a sigh, and began moving down the hill;—Ah, young gentleman, said he (for so he called me in the fatherliness of his age) " now would I lay my life, that you are one of those studious persons who read so much about the fields, that they have not time to walk in them.” I laughed, and said it was a little too much the
" and yet,” added I, “ I have haunted the fields to the north-west of London ever since I was a lad, and hardly ever found another man in them,-never, at any rate, one who seemed on the same business of enjoyment.'
" You don't say so !" replied he, stopping for an instant, and turning