Page images
[ocr errors]

strained fun of the girls, were, I admit, when I recovered my composure in some degree, a great treat. While Daly, “ helping himself and passing the bottle" to me, kept up a fire of conversation, which, if the senior Dods had known anything of the world, would have convinced them in ten minutes that the part of measurer was an assumed one. It certainly was a sight to see the respectable lady of the house pleading the cause of her conservatory, and piling the choicest fruits upon the plate of the arbiter of her destinies, while Fanny's civilities to me were as zealously displayed. I would have given the world to own the truth; and I am sure, if we had done so, we should not have been the worse received ; for, independently of the excellence of the joke and the impudence of the proceeding, the relief which would have been afforded to the minds of the whole Doddery would have ensured us their eternal favour and affection.

Daly having finished the claret, and taken a last“ stopper over all,” as the sailors say, of sherry, gave me the signal' for departure. I, too, gladly took the hint, and drew back my chair. Fanny looked as if she thought we were in a hurry; however, it was getting late, and my master had some distance to pull. We accordingly rose and prepared to take leave. I bowed my adieu to the girls, and, I think, shook hands with Fanny, at which I saw Augusta toss back her head and throw up her eyes, as much as to say, "Well, Fanny!” meaning exactly the reverse. I bowed low to my Lady Dod, and Sir Timothy attended us to our boat. I stepped in; Daly was at the bow; Sir Timothy desired the man wbo had been left in charge of the funny to go away; and then I saw, with doubt and trepidation, the respectable dupe of Daly's consummate impudence shake him by the hand with a peculiarity of manner which particularly attracted my attention. I saw him in the execution of this manquvre press upon his palm a bank-note, with a flourish in the corner like the top of a raspberry tartlet.

I never was more agitated. If Daly took this bribe for saving the corner of the conservatory it was an act of swindling. The strawberries, grapes, and claret, were fit matters of joke, although it was carrying the joke a little too far; but money,—if he took that, I was resolved to avow the whole affair to Sir Timothy, show up my companion, and leave him to the fate he deserved. Judge my mingled delight and horror when I

“Sir! what I have done in your house or in your society to induce you to believe me capable of taking a bribe to compromise my duty, I really don't know. Mr. Higgins, I call you to witness that this person has had the insolence to put a fifty-pound bank-note into my hand. Witness, too, the manner in which I throw it back to him." Here he suited the word to the action. Learn, old gentleman,” continued he, with an anger so well feigned that I almost believed him in earnest, " that neither fifty nor fifty thousand pounds will warp an honest man from the duty he owes to his employers; and so, Sir, good night, and Tely upon it, your conservatory goes, -rely upon it, Sir Timothy;—it is the right line, and the short line,--and I feel it incumbent on me not only to tell the history of your petty bribe, but to prove my unimpeachable integrity by running the canal right under your dining-room windows; and so, Sir, good night.'

Saying which he jumped into the boat, and pulling away manfully,

heard him say,

left his unfortunate victim in all the horrors of defeated corruption, and the certainty of the destruction of his most favourite object, for the preservation of which he had actually crammed his betrayers, and committed himself to a perfect stranger.

I confess I regretted the termination of this adventure as much as I had apprehended its consequence in the beginning; however, Daly swore that it was right to leave the old gentleman in an agony of suspense for having entertained so mean an idea of his honour and honesty.

The thing seemed all like a dream, but I found myself awake when Daly ran the narrow nose of his boat into the nook at Teddington Church ; there I landed, and having shaken my extraordinary friend by the hand, proceeded to my mother's villa, while he continued his pull to Hampton Court.




O VALE and lake, within your mountain-urn

Smiling so tranquilly, and set so deep,
Oft doth your dreamy loveliness return,

Colouring the tender shadows of my sleep

With light Elysian :--for the hues that steep
Your shores in melting lustre seem to float
On golden clouds from spirit-lands remote,

Isles of the blest; and in our memory keep
Their place with holiest harmonies. Fair scene,

Most loved by evening and the dewy star,
Oh! ne'er may man, with touch unhallowed, jar
The perfect music of thy charm serene !
Still, still unchanged may one sweet region wear
Smiles that subdue the soul to love, and tears, and prayer !

Trees, gracious trees ! how rich a gift ye are,

Crown of the earth! to human hearts and eyes !
How doth the thought of home, in lands afar,

Linked with your forms and kindly whisperings rise?

How the whole picture of a childhood lies
Oft 'midst your boughs forgotten, buried deep,

Till gazing through them up the summer skies,
As hushed we stand, a breeze perchance may creep,

And old sweet leaf-sounds reach the inner world

Where memory coils; and lo! at once unfurled
The past, a glowing scroll, before our sight

Spreads clear! while gushing from their long.sealed urn'

Young thoughts, pure dreams, undoubting prayers return, And a lost mother's eye gives back its holy light.

[ocr errors]


And ye are strong to shelter ! all meek things,

All that need home and covert, love your shade :
Birds of shy song, and low-voiced quiet springs,

And stealthy violets, by the winds betrayed.
Childhood beneath your fresh green tents hath played
With his first primrose-wealth; there Love hath sought
A veiling gloom for his unuttered thought,

And silent grief, of day's keen glance afraid,
A refuge for his tears; and oft-times there
Hath lone devotion found a place of prayer, .

A native temple, solemn, ħushed, and dim;
For wheresoe'er your murmuring tremors thrill
The woody twilight, there man's heart hath still
Confessed a spirit's breath, and heard a ceaseless hymn.

O gentle story of the Indian Isle !

I loved thee in my lonely childhood well,
On the sea-shore, when day's last purple smile

Slept on the waters, and their hollow swell

And dying cadence lent a deeper spell
Unto thine ocean-pictures. 'Midst thy palms,

And strange bright birds, my fancy joyed to dwell,
And watch the Southern Cross through, midnight calms,
And track the spicy woods. Yet more I blessed

Thy vision of sweet love, kind, trustful, true,
Lighting the citron groves-a heavenly guest-

With such pure smiles as Paradise once knew.
Even then my young heart wept o'er this world's power
To reach and blight that holiest Eden flower.


Still that last look is solemn, though thy rays,

O Sun! to-morrow will give back, we know,

The joy to Nature's heart. Yet through the glow
Of clouds that mantle thy decline, our gaze
Tracks thee with love half fearful: and in days

When Earth too much adored thee, what a swell
Of mournful passion, deepening mighty lays,

Told how the dying bade thy light farewell;
O Sun of Greece! O glorious festal sun !
Lost, lost! for them thy golden hours were done,

And darkness lay before them. Happier far
Are we, not thus to thy bright wheels enchained,
Not thus for thy last parting unsustained,
Heirs of a purer day, with its unsetting star.

Calm scenes of patriarch life ! how long a power

Your unworn pastoral images retain
O'er the true heart, which, in its childhood's hour,

Drank their pure freshness deep! The camel's train,
Sept.---VOL. Xlll. No. clxv.

Winding in patience o'er the desert-plain,
The tent, the palm-tree, the reposing flock,
The gleaming fount, the shadow of the rock.

Oh! by how subtle, yet how strong a chain,
And in the influence of its touch how blest,
Are these things linked, for many a thoughtful breast,

With household memories, through all change endeared !
The matin-bird, the ripple of a stream,
Beside our native porch, the hearth-light's gleam,
The voices earliest by the soul revered !


ATTRACTION OF THE EAST. What secret current of man's nature turns

Unto the golden East, with ceaseless flow? Still, where the sunbeam at its fountain burns, The pilgrim-spirit would adore and glow.

Rapt in high thought, though weary, faint, and slow, Still doth the traveller through the deserts wind,

Led by those old Chaldean stars, which know Where passed the shepherd-fathers of mankind.

Is it some quenchless instinct, which from far Still points to where our alienated home

Lay in bright peace ? O thou, true Eastern Star !
Saviour, atoning Lord ! where'er we roam,

Draw still our hearts to thee; else, else how vain
Their hope the fair lost birthright to regain !


Not long thy voice amongst us may be heard,

Servant of God! thy day is almost done ;
The charm now lingering in thy look and word

Is that which hangs about the setting sun,

That which the meekness of decay hath won
Still from revering love.—Yet doth the sense

Of Life immortal--progress but begun-
Pervade thy mien with such clear eloquence,
That hope, not sadness breathes from thy decline;

And the loved flowers which round thee smile farewell

Of more than vernal glory seem to tell,
By thy pure spirit touched with light divine;
While we, to whom its parting gleams are given,
Forget the grave in trustful thoughts of Heaven.


Oh! what a joy to feel that in my breast

The founts of childhood's vernal fancies lay
Still pure, though heavily and long repress'd

By early-blighted leaves, which o'er their way

Dark summer-storms had heaped! But free, glad play Once more was given them ;-to the sunshine's glow, And the sweet wood-song's penetrating flow,

And to the wandering primrose-breath of May, And the rich hawthorn odours, forth they sprung,

Oh! not less freshly bright, that now a thought Of spiritual presence o'er them hung,

And of immortal lise !-a germ, unwrought In childhood's soul to power, now strong, serene, And full of love and light, colouring the whole blest scene!

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

“ As the heart of the angler thus ran over with amiability, he was benignantly impaling a live frog upon a hook, to which he afterwards sewed its flesh, for the purpose of torturing a fish to death, without a single motive for either, but his own momentary gratification.”

Description of Izaak Walton in Brambletye House." “ Scene. — The banks of a sedgy stream-it rains in torrents--Popjoy angling. He sits upon the wet ground, eyeing his quill. Enter a friend, warmly wrapped in a comfortable great coat, and sheltered by a large umbrella.

" Have you had a bite, Popjoy?' “ Popjoy.No.'”

Bell's Life in London,

It has been said a thousand and a thousand times, that only minds prone to reflection are susceptible of rural beauty. The truth, however, lies even deeper still. Whoever can feel with intense delight the glories of creation-a scene like that which is now slowly disclosing itself before my eyes from the mists of morning--a noble amphitheatre of wood, its gently undulating line of surface broken by a battlemented tower; the foreground, meadows intersected by a small serpentine stream lying in still and glassy smoothness; trees of all sorts of figures and dimensions, from the close dark-leaved alder, and the pale-green willow, to the tall and stately poplar intervening and marking the distances, with here and there the roof of a cottage and the smoke melting slow and unbroken into ether,

“ While not a breath disturbs the deep serene;"> whoever feels the uncalled, the intense delight which leads him through “ Nature up to Nature's God," and impresses, profoundly impresses, him with the loving-kindness of his Maker at sight of such a scene, his is the mind that truly loves the beauty of the country. The enjoyment is constitutional, and belongs to temperament. It is mine, and I own it, though fully aware that the good citizens of London, and particularly the West-enders, will vote me a dullard, and all like me a very stupid set. N'importe-happiness is only happiness, the way we wish it.

It was with such thoughts, or rather in such a way of thinking, that I set out on the evening of Sunday, July 20, to visit friends who reside within four miles of the eastern coast of Norfolk-if not the ultima Thule at least the penitus divisos orbe of England, and therefore because so seldom seen or spoken of by the residents of brighter regions, worth putting upon record with other memorabilia of the passing time. The richness of the coming harvest glowed like gold in the evening sun. To my mere faculty of vision, as well as in my boundless sense of Divine power and glory, there is no display of opulence that approaches the opulence of fields thus waving with the produce of the year. Were I to survey from its loftiest pinnacle the finest city of the earth, it would convey to me 10 such conception of wealth or splendour. It is not that I am incapable of estimating the labours of man, but it is that I can understand and value the universal bounty of nature. My soul is satiated through the single sense of sight; my eyes are enchanted with the affluence of colour, and the inimitable beauty of the substance; and an intuitive comprehension

« PreviousContinue »