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HE pleasant month of February was at an end. It had
been so pleasant that everybody considered that the
extra day which Leap-Year presented to it was a wellmerited gift. March had begun its progress. The winds always blow in March, but the flowers sometimes won't follow the example, and put off their blowing. But this year they were all to the fore early, and Spring's approach was, in point of fact, a quick March with a lively air.
The birds were all singing merrily. They had paired and built their nests, so that the troubles of settling and furnishing were over, and they could give their minds to music. There were all sorts of birds and all sorts of songs, but they harmonised gloriously. Somebody told somebody else, who confided it to a third party, who wrote to the newspapers about it, that he believed he had heard a Cuckoo; but that was a little too strong for thepapers, especially as Parliament was sitting, for that has a fine tonic effect on editorial credulity. There have been editors who would swallow bushels of gigantic Gooseberries in the recess, but strain at a Toad in a block of stone during the session. The truth was, that what the somebody aforesaid heard and mistook for a Cuckoo was a dissipated Lark with a hiccup. It had been “in the Sun” early in the morning.
The Lambkins were particularly lively. In their happy state of innocence they frolicked about and kicked up their heels, as if there were no such thing in the world as what CAPTAIN MAYNE REID would describe as the Mentha officinalis or Common Mint. No suspicion of vinegar soured their sweet thoughtsthey dreamt not of cotolettes à la Soubise, or of the possible future of their small fry. They even admired the blue of the sky, as if
it were not the hue of the butcher's livery. The distant church bells shed the music of their sweet chimes upon the air, and wanton little zephyrs brought its echoes with them to compare them with the tinkle of the waterfall. The meadows were fresh and green, and in the arable land the busy
plough was taking its share in man's labour. Spring and Leap Year were taking summary measures for the re-decoration of the Theatre of Nature.
The trees were putting forth tiny leaves. The Horse Chestnuts were first, and had a start of the Oaks. The Elms were not far astern, but the Ashes had put off their display till Ember week. The Ashes are always late :-Nature reviewing her forces seems perpetually saying to them “ Ash you were !” However, the trees generally looked spring-like, and by their own leaves and with the kind permission of the sun and fine weather, would probably soon make a very respectable bough—a good many boughs, indeed—to the public.
As for the flowers they, as was said at the commencement of this preface, blew in profusion. There were innumerable daisies—pretty little blossoms, though they are as hard to get out of the lawn as BISHOP COLENSO. As for Violets-you had only to follow your nose, and you would find them :—that is, if your nose was anything better than a promontory whereon to set a pair of barnacles a-straddle. Snowdrops, Crocuses, Hyacinths, abounded, and there were blossoms on many a fruit tree, and the Lilacs and Laburnums were showing well for flower.
And then to crown the delights of Spring, and fill all hearts with mirth, sunshine, and merriment, that hardy perennial, FUN, came out with a volume. No sooner did it put forth its leaves, than a broader smile was observed on the face of Nature. The trees shook with a pleasant laughter. Fat little þuds that had been too lazy to open, split their sides with chuckling. The birds grew quite chirpy over it. The lambkins jumped at the notion of it. Even the waterfall joined in, and kept up a little silvery laugh as it hurried along chattering to its pebbles and whispering to its banks the good news that a new volume of FUN was out!
And thus Fun was welcomed everywhere. In the busy city it brought cheerful hints of the pleasant country, carols that reminded the town-pont prisoners of the singing of birds. Physicians rocommended it as wholesome diot for the ailing. They said the old system of blood-letting in Spring was obsolete, but that it was a good vernal practice to breathe the comic vein.
In quiet nooks of the pleasant country it amused and delighted thousands of readers, instructing them, too, in the doings of the busy world. East and west, north and south, its appearance was hailed with delight. Like the morning drum-beat of England which goes with the sun round the globe, a ripple of pleasant laughter spreading in widening circles from land to land announced the publication of
Much Ado about TABLE.
Nothing The next best thing
THE Monton Register, to being well is to
& St. Louis paper, know exactly what
under the heading of you ought to do when
“American Tin," says, you happen to be ill;
“The United States but a good many doc
are no longer depentors are too profoundly
dent on the Old World scientific to give you
for their saucepans ; practical advice in
in Southern Missouri plain English. We
there is tin enough to welcome in Mr. Wi
supply the kitchens LIAMS's little treatise
for a million years." on the Health-Resorts
Why this excitement ? of France and Italy" a
Saucepans may be pleasant exception to
made of other metal the general rule of
than tin, and to judge dulness amongst works
from the Alabama coron medical subjects.
respondence of MR. Himself an able and
SEWARD, the American experienced prac
supply of brass does titioner, and the son
not seem to be in any of one of the most emi
danger of giving out. nent physicians of the day, MR. WILLIAMS
Toole-Liberal! explains in a simple
A MARGATE corre. and intelligible way the
spondent informs us various advantages of
that bills have been and drawbacks of such
displayed in that town places as Hyères,
declaring that “On Cannes, Nice, and
Monday the Second of Mentone. So long as
September the wellour noble country shall
known comedian MR. retain its present pecu
J. L. TOOLE will apliarities of climate,
pear at the Theatre for there will always be
two nights only." We some thousands of
have the highest ad. English men and wo
miration for MR. men compelled to go
Toole, but we cannot abroad before the first
believe that even his of the November fogs;
undoubted versatility and we cannot com
can contrive to get two mend to them a more
nights out of Monday agreeable or useful
evening! guide than MR. WILLIAMS. That gentle
Bravo! man's book, we may add, is quite worth
It is stated that both reading even by those
LORD STANLEY and who have no direct
MR. DISRAELI will personal interest in
visit Ireland during the subject; its style
the recess. We under. is simple and pellucid;
stand that it is their and the author seems
intention to take the to have none of those
national bull by the violent prejudices
horns-Qy. those of which sometimes warp
dilemma ! the judgment, on professional subjects, of
A Tyrant. even the ablest men.
A WITNESS wai
asked the other day A Bit of Proverbial Philosophy by our own Tupper. by counsel to describe briefly the character of the prisoner, whi
was accused of getting drunk and tyrannizing over his wife an We have never heard of a case in which capital invested in playing
family. He answered that he should be inclined to style the accuse
to Aunt Sally has resulted in a profit. Yet the adherents of the ducal
, game persist in their patronage, doubtless on the principle “Once bit, twice sky."
The Latest from Ireland.
A FRIEND sends us a suggestion, which, if not positively witty, i A DEPUTATION from one of our metropolitan boroughs waited on comparatively funny. He propounds that a young lady who is no SIR MORTON PBTO the other day to present a sort of condoling address yet "out" is very like a schoolboy who is kept in for his Greel to him. Of course the borough of Fins has a sympathy with things Why? Don't you see ?-Because she is kept more at Home-er tha that are fishy.
OVED by his fears, pro
bably, THEODORUS has given up his captives; but the Abyssinian campaign has been the great topic of the day, and the papers teemed with letters on the subject from various correspondents. Of course everybody contradicted everybody else; but as -also, of course-Redtape and Routine would have taken their own line, without attending in the slightest degree to advice, the diversity of opinion would have been of no great consequence to any one save the Editors, who
were glad of it at this season of the year. The end of the campaign was plain to see—in fact, there could have been only one end, for the eyes of Europe were upon us, and our opponent would have been a barbarian with a disaffected army. But how great the waste of life and money would have been is a thing no one can tell. The most encouraging fact was the fact that the leaders of the expedition, and the main body of the troops composing it, were used to desultory savage warfare, had Indian experience, and were somewhat hardened to climate. The post of “Our Own Correspondent" was one eagerly sought, every paper in London having several volunteers. But it is not easy to find a man who, with the requisite literary ability, combines the physical qualities essential for go trying a post. The Times appointed RUSSELL-Crimean RugSELL - a capital man for the work; but I'm glad there is no need of his going, for fear of the suspension of “Dr. Brady” in Tinsley's during his absence. The Times, by the way, announced that "it might be, perhaps, interesting to the public to state that the competition for the privilege of representing that journal in Abyssinia had been exceedingly keen." In my very humble opinion, I don't think this is very dignified; but I dare say the Editor is out of town, and his locum tenens must be pardoned a few blunders, thongh we have had too many of them of late. A few years back, a dramatic critic of the Times who wrote to the Spectator to answer the critic of the Pall Mall would, I suspect, have been bowed out, even if his letter had been an able one, instead of the silly and incorrect twaddle we had in the Spectator of the 31st ultimo. However, to console us for the vagaries of a critic who can see no merit in any one save Miss TERRY and MR. TOM TAYLOR, we have some excellent articles on the New York Drama from the pen, I make bold to conjecture, of MR. OXENFORD.
I am very glad to see that the new Metropolitan Traffic Act is to come into operation in November. The regulations, on the whole, are sound and reasonable, and the circulation of the streets will be freed from many unnecessary hindrances which now flourish in defiance of sense and the police. The rule that no fare for a hackney carriage shall be less than a shilling is an act of justice to Cabby, who is often painted far blacker than truth approves. PICKFORD's vans, coal carts, and timber waggons will no longer be allowed to hold a reign of terror, and the dustman will be kept within limits. If a section or two had been added to render more stringent the present regulations about omnibuses and cabs, with a view to introducing cleanliness and comfort into these vehicles, the Act would be still more welcome.
The magazines are all out now. The Cornhill is a shade less ponlerous than usual. The illustration to the first story is “ nice;” that to the second not altogether so satisfactory. London Society is far from strong in the art line, though the little cuts to a well-written article on he Belgian Ball are so good that not even bad engraving could destroy heir merit. Belgravia is another magazine in which the art departnent is in sore need of reform ; some of the versification, too, is suseptible of improvement in point of rhyme. “Circe,” 'besides Yontaining a few cribs-not to say translations—from BALZAC is to be ondemned for the introduction of living personages under absurdly ransparent names; “Sir E. VERBOECK HOVEN, the animal painter," for xample, is simply an impertinence, though I'm sorry to say so, since, rom internal evidence, I am inclined to attribute this novel to the ame pen as one, if not both, of the other continued stories in the nagazine.