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Lion; the which noble beast, regardant, looked at us up the narrow passage, as if intending to dispute rather than invite our approach to the castle of his hospitable proprietor. On going nearer, we found that the grimness of his aspect was purely in our imaginations, the said lordly animal having in fact a countenance singularly humane, and very like a gentleman we knew once of the name of Collins. Not the Collins that yout' friends are acquainted with, but another.'
It not being within our plan to accept Collins's invitation, we turned to the left, and proceeded down the village, thinking of Dr Johnson. Seeing however an aged landlord at the door, we stepped back to ask him if he remembered the Doctor. He knew nothing of him, nor even of Mr Thrale; having come late, he said, to those parts. Resuming our way, we saw, at the end of the village, a decent-looking old man, with a sharp eye, and a hale countenance, who with an easy self-satisfied air, as if he had worked enough in his time, and was no longer under the necessity of overtroubling himself, sat indolently cracking stones in the road. We asked him if he knew Dr Johnson; and he said, with a jerk up of his eye,' “ Oh yes ;-I knew him well enough.” Seating myself on one side of his trench of stones, I proceeded to have that matter out with Master Whatman (for such was the name of my informant.) His information did not amount to much, but it contained one or two points which I do not remember to have met with, and every addition to our knowledge of such a man is valuable. Nobody will think it more so than yourself, who will certainly yearn over this part of my letter, and make much of it. The following is the sum total of what was related. Johnson, he said, wore a silk-waistcoat embroidered with silver, and all over snuff. The snuff he carried loose in his waistcoat pocket, and would take a handfull of it out with one hand, and help himself to it with the other. He would sometimes have his dinner brought out to him in the park, and set on the ground; 'and while he was waiting for it, would lie idly, and cut the grass with a knife. His manners were very goodnatured, and sometimes 'so childish, that people would have taken him for “ an ideot, like.” His voice was “ low.”—“Do you mean low in a gruff sense ?"_" No; it was rather feminine."_" Then perhaps, in one sense of the word, it
was high."-"Yes, it was.”And gentle?"_“Yes, very gentle.” (This, of course, was to people in general, and to the villagers. When he dogmatized, it became what Lord Pembroke called a " bow-wow." The late Mr Fuseli told us the same thing of Johnson's voice; we mean, that it was “high," in contradistinction to a bass voice.) To proceed with our village historian. Our informant recurred several times to the childish manners of Johnson, saying, that he often appeared “ quite simple, "-" just like a child,”-“almost foolish, like.” When he walked, he always seemed in a hurry. His walk was “ between a run and a shuffle." (Master Whatman was here painting a good portrait. I have often suspected, that the best likeness of Johnson was a whole length engraving of him, walking in Scotland, with that joke of his underneath about the stick that he lost in the isle of Mull. Boswell told him the stick would be returned. “ No, Sir," replied he;' “ consider the value of such a piece of timber here.” The manner of his walk in the picture is precisely that described by the villager.) Whatman concluded, by giving his opinion of Mrs Thrale, which he did in exactly the following words :-“She gathered a good deal of knowledge from him, but does not seem to have turned it to much account.” Wherever you now go about the country, you recognize the effects of that “ Two-penny Trash,” which the illiberal affect to hold in such contempt, and are really so afraid -of. They have reason; for people now canvass their pretensions in good set terms, who would have said nothing but Anan! to a question, thirty years back. Not that Mr Whatman discussed politics with us. Let no magnanimous Quarterly Reviewer try to get him turned out of a place on that score. We are speaking of the peasantry at large, and then, not merely of politics, but of questions of all sorts interesting to humanity, which the very clowns now discuss by the road-side, to an extent at which their
former leaders would not dare to discuss them. This is one reason, : among others, why knowledge must go on victoriously. Ao rea
zeal for the truth can discuss anything :-slavery can only go the length of its chain.
In quitting Streatham, we met a lady on horseback accompanied by three curs and a footman; which a milk-man facetiously termed a footman and “ three outriders." Entering Mitcham by the green where they play at cricket, we noticed a pretty, moderate-sized house, with the largest geraniums growing on each side the door that we ever beheld in that situation. Mitcham reminded me of its neighbour Merton, and of the days of my childhood ; but we would not go out of our way to see it. There was the little river Wandle however, turning a mill, and flowing between flowery meadows. The mill was that of a copper manufactory, at which the people work night as well as day, one half taking the duties alternately.
The reason given for this is, that by night, the river, not being interrupted by other demands upon it, works to better advantage; The epithet of " flowery," applied to the district, is no poetica." license. In the fields about Mitcham they cultivate herbs for the apothecaries ; so that, in the height of the season, you walk as in the Elysian fields,
in Li p ut, « In yellow meads of asphodel,
1.25 .... .'; . And amaranthine bowers.” ingriitting Apothecaries' Hall, we understand, is entirely supplied with this poetical part of medicine from some acres of ground belonging to Major Moor. A beautiful bed of poppies, as we entered Morden, glowed in the setting sun, like the dreams of Titian. It looked like a bed for Proserpina,-a glow of melancholy beauty, containing a joy perhaps beyond joy. Poppies, with their dark ruby cups, and crowned heads--the more than wine colour of their sleepy silk, and the funereal look of their anthers, seem to have a meaning about them, beyond other flowers. They look as if they held a mystery
at their hearts, like sleeping kings of Lether w it pdf 2010 5* The church of Mitchám has been rebuilt, if we recollect rightly, i but in the proper old style. Morden has a good old church, which
tempted us to look into the church-yard; but a rich man who lives v hear it, and who did not chuse his house to be approached on that side, had locked up the gate; so that there was no path through it except on Sundays. Can this be a lawful exercise of power? If people have a right to call any path their own, I should think it must be that which leads to the graves of their fathers and mothers; and next to them, such a path is the right of the traveller. The
traveller may be in some measure regarded as a representative of ! wandering humanity, and claims relationship with all whom he
finds attached to a place in idea. He and the dead, are all alike in
. a place, and yet apart from it.. Setting aside this remoter sentiment, it is surely, an inconsiderate thing in any man to shut up a church-yard from the villagers ; and should these pages meet the eye of the person in question, he is recommended to think better of it. Possibly I may not know the whole of the case; and on that account, though not that only, I mention no names; for the inhabitant with whom I talked on the subject, and whio regarded it in the same light, added, with a candour becoming his objections, that “the gentleman was a very good-natured gentleman too, and kind to the poor.” How, his act of power squares with his kindness, I do not know. Very good-natured people are sometimes very fond of having their own way; but this is a mode of indulging it, which a truly generous person, I should think, will on reflection, be glad to give up. Such a man, I am sure, can afford to concede a point, where others, who do not deserve the character, will try hard to retain every little proof of their importance. .
On the steps of the George Inn at Morden,--the rustic inn of a hamlet,+-stood a personage much grimmer than the White Lion of Streatham; looking, in fact, with his fiery eyes, his beak, and his old mouth and chin, very like the cock, or “grim leoun," of Chaucer. He was tall and thin, with a flapped hat over his eyesy and appeared as sulky and dissatisfied, as if he had quarrelled with the whole world, the exciseman in particular. We asked him, if he could let us have some tea. He said, “ Yes, he believed so;" and pointed with an indifferent, or rather hostile air, to a 'room at the side, which we entered. A buxom good-natured girl, with a squiot that was bewitching after the moral deformity of our friend's visage, served us up tea; and:“ tea, Sir,” as Johnson might have said, “inspires placidity.” The room was adorned with some engravings after Smirke, the subjects out of Shakspeare, which never look so well, I think, as when thus encountered on a journey. Shakspeare is in the highway of life, with exquisite side touches of the remoteness of the poet; and nobody links all kindly together as he does.
We afterwards found, in conversing with the villager above menu tioned, that our host of the George had got rich, and was preparing to quit for a new house he had built, in which he meant to turn gentleman farmer. Habit made him dislike to go; pride and his
wife (who yowed she would go whether he did or not) rendered him unable to stay; and so, between his grudging the new comer and the old rib, he was in as pretty a state of irritability as any successful non-suceeeder need be. People had been galling him all day, we suppose, with shewing how many pots of ale would be drank under the new tenant; and our arrival crowned the measure of his receipts and wretchedness by intimating, that “gentlefolks!" intended to come to tea.--Adieu till next week.
To the Worshipful and Right Social Master E. H.
and our other well-beloved Companions, one and all, these with all speed. Print, print; print for your life.
THE LATE FIRES. It is astonishing how-little imagination there is in the world, in matters not affecting men's immediate wants and importance. People seem to require a million thumps on the head, before they can learn to guard against a head-ache. This would be little; but the greater the calamity, the less they seem to provide against it. All the fires in this great metropolis, and the frightful catastrophes which are often the result, do not shew the inhabitants that they ought to take measures to guard against them, and that these measures are among the easiest things in the world. Every man, who has a family, and whose house is too high to allow of jumping out of the windows, ought to consider himself bound to have a fire-escape. What signifies all the care he has taken to be a good husband or father, and all the provision he has made for the well-being of his children in after life, if in one frightful moment, in the dead of night, with horror glaring in their faces, and tender and despairing words swala lowed up in burning and suffocation,-amidst cracking beams and rafters, sinking floors, and a whole yielding gulf of agony, they are all to cease to be !-to perish like so many vermin in a wall. · Fire escapes, even if they are not made so already (as we believe they are) can evidently be constructed in a most easy, cheap, and commodious manner. A basket and a double rope are sufficient. Or two or three would be better. It is the sudden sense of the height at which people sleep, and the despair of escape which consequently seizes them; for want of some such provision, that disables them from thinking