Page images
PDF
EPUB

and it is disgraceful to our country that no such monument exists, &c. &c.'

Mr. Rummins, feeling deeply for the honour of his natal town and of the kingdom at large, is resolved that this reproach shall no longer have cause for existence; and, regardless of time, labour, and expense, has determined to publish an enlarged and improved edition of his work.

Terms. This NATIONAL Edition in one volume, post octavo, embellished with four elegant lithographic engravings, to be published by SUBSCRIPTION, price four shillings; one half to be paid at the time of subscribing, and the other half to be paid on delivery of the copies. Only five hundred copies will be printed; and, to prevent delay, the work will go to press as soon as four hundred and fifty copies are subscribed for. To prevent trouble, subscriptions will be received by the author only."

Patriotic Rummins ! Plan for aiding the Funds of the Little-Pedlington Alms-houses.

“Mr. Rummins, having learnt with the deepest and most heart-felt regret, that the eloquent Sermon delivered on Sunday last by our highlygifted curate, the Rev. Jonathan Jubb, in favour of the above-named charity (although it melted the hearts, and drew tears from the eyes, of a numerous congregation) did not (from a variety of adverse causes) produce in a pecuniary point of view) the effect anticipated (only fourteen shillings and two-pence having been collected at the church-door;) submits to the Nobility, Gentry, Visitors, and towns-people of LittlePedlington, who are ever foremost in the heart-soothing work of Charity, the following plan for supplying the deficiency.

“Mr. R. proposes to publish, in aid of the funds of the said institution, an elegant engraving of his lately-acquired treasure, the Helmet of the time of King John! The drawing will be made on stone by Mr. R. himself; and, after five hundred copies are sold, at one shilling cach, to defray the necessary expenses, Mr. R. will PRESENT all that may afterwards remain, together with the copyright in the stone itself, to the trustees for the management of that praiseworthy institution; the whole of the profits thereof to be applied in aid of its funds !" Philanthropic Rummins !

Beautifying our ancient and venerable Church. “ The churchwardens and overseers of the parish of Little-Pedlington having, in the most prompt and liberal manner, complied with the wish of several of the parishioners,' that the roof of our ancient and venerable church be whitewashed;' Mr. Rummius suggests that a general meeting of the inhabitants of the place be held at the Green Dragon, on Wednesday next, at one o'clock, for the purpose of passing a vote of thanks to those gentlemen. Mr. R., regardless of all personal inconvenience to himself, will take the chair ; and hopes and trusts that the meeting will be as numerous as the occasion requires. Mr. R. having had the said vote of thanks (which he has gratuitously drawn up) printed on an elegantly-embossed card, each person, on entering the room, will have an opportunity of becoming possessed of this memorial of the occasion, price only sixpence."

Disinterested Rummins! Find me such an F. S. A. elsewhere than in Little-Pedlington!

« Little Master” entered the room. Six-feet-two, and stout in proportion. Port and demeanour dignified-I had almost said pompousbut what else ought I to have expected in so great a man? Speech, slow and solemn :-pro-nun-ci-a-ti-on precise, accurate even to inaccuracy, and so distinct as to be almost unintelligible—at least to one accustomed, as I had hitherto been, to the conversation of ordinary people, who utter their words in an every-day sort of manner. The great antiquary delivered each syllable separately---upon its own responsibility, as it were disconnected from its companions in the same word: in short, as a child does when it first get into " words of three syllables in its spelling-book. He wore a green shade over his eyes.

Slowly raising his head, so as to enable himself to see me beneath his green shade, he pointed, amongst the papers on the table, to the prospectus for his national edition; saying, in a sort of taking-it-forgranted tone, “ For this.” At the same time he put a pen into my hand. Unable to comprehend what he meant, I at once delivered to him Hobbleday's kind letter of introduction, and said, “ No, Sir; for this :” accompanying my words with a bow, and the involuntary “ a-hem ” which usually escapes one on feeling perfectly satisfied that that-(such or such a thing) --settles the business. Rummins first raised the letter to the tip of his nose; then, slowly lowering it, held it out at arm's length; turned it up-down-examined it length-ways, breadth-ways-looked at the superscription--the seal. At length he made the solemn inquiry-

“ From whom ?" -(pronouncing it woom)" and what may be its ob-ject or pur-pawt?

" It is, Sir,” replied I, a letter of introduction to you, with which your friend Mr. Hobbleday has favoured me. I, like the rest of the world, am desirous of viewing your museum ; but as my stay in this place till Friday, your public day, is uncertain; and Mr. Hobbleday being allowed by you to introduce a friend on any day—"

Here I was interrupted by a long-drawn “He!!!growled forth in a tone of mingled astonishment and disdaiv. I paused in awful doubt of what might next occur.

The F.S.A. having made three strides which carried him from onc end of the room to the other, and three strides back again, desired I would read the letter to him : the state of his eyes (in consequence of a cold he had taken) rendering it inconvenient to him to undertake the task himself. And he concluded with " He in-tro-de-oos to the Rumminsian Museum !”

Either (thought I) Hobbleday, carried away by his enthusiastic love of obliging--perhaps by his scarcely-merited friendship for me-has promised a little beyond his power to fulfil; or, it may be that I have chosen my time unluckily, have disturbed Mr. Rummins in his moments of profound meditation. In short, (and reason sufficient) it may be that Mr. Rummins is “ not i' the vein.". But here is Hobbleday's letter to the “ dearest friend he has in the world,” and, doubtless, that will set the matter right. Re-assured by this reflection I opened the letter and read :-“ Sir.” Somewhat disappointed that it was not “ Dear Rummius,” or My dear friend,” or at worst (that lowest degree in the scale of friendship) “ Dear Sir."

“Sir,-Pardon liberty-not my fault-bearer wants to see your

museum on a private day-wouldn't take such a liberty for myself, but you know how one is sometimes pestered—one don't like to refuse-so promised him letter of introduction. Onternoo, as the French say, don't know much of him—just took some wine with me at Scorewell's t'other afternoon,

1-so do as you like-don't put yourself to smallest inconvenience on account of, Sir, your very respectful humble servant,

T JOHN HOBBLEDAY. “ P.S. Can say you're busy. Leaves Lit. Ped. end of this week, so please say will be happy to oblige me any day next week--for won't be here. Please read this to yourself, and please destroy when read.”

Utterly confounded! Looked at Rummins. Rummins (who, in the excess of his astonishment, removed the green shade from his eyes) looked at me. I explained, and, as briefly as possible, stated the circumstances of my acquaintance with Hobbleday. Showed him Hobbleday's kind letter which had inclosed the introductions to himself and to Jubb. Broke open the introductory note to Jubb, and found it, in substance, a counterpart of the other.

Ex-tra-or-di-na-ry !” exclaimed the F.S.A.: " neither I, nor my illustrious friend, admit him to our houses : he is a bo-er."

“And,” said I, apprehensively and with hesitation--for I felt deeply anxious for the purity of Little-Pedlington in this one respect—"and a-humbug ?”

“E-mi-nent-ly so," replied Rummins.

“ And is it so ?” And a transitory wish crossed my mind that I were back again in London.

There was a pause, during which Mr. Rummins twiddled the corner of the subscription-sheet for his National Edition. “Unpleasant for you, Sir-very. If, Sir, you had an in-tro-duc-ti-on to me any sort of in-tro-duc-ti-on—"-and his eyes involuntarily fell on the subscription sheet.

Bewildered as I was, and scarcely conscious of what I was doing, I wrote down my name as a subscriber for two copies, and paid the subscription-money in full.

At the end of a flattering speech from the learned antiquary (how I had come to merit it I know not), I received an invitation for that very evening at six o'clock to tea; when not only should I see his museum, but I should also meet Jubb himself.

This piece of good fortune, seconded by an hour's brisk walking on the Snapshank-road, restored my spirits and my temper. On my return I found all the beauty and fashion of Little-Pedlington hastening to Hoppy's Public Breakfast at Yawkins's skittle-ground. I joined the crowd. Mr. Hobbleday had informed me he should be there : and having resolved upon the course I should pursue with respect to him, I paid my two shillings and entered.

P* (To be continued.)

1

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE BARBARIANS OF THE NORTH.

BY LEITCH RITCHIE.

It was in the middle of the month of May, in the present year, that I found myself established in the very centre of those hyperborean savages who are said to be about to pour upon civilized Europe by her eastern gates, and sweep away in the barbarian flood every trace of the arts, the literature, the religion, and the refinement of our amiable friends the Turks.

In this new and trying situation, I do not attempt to deny that it was with some catchings of the breath, and some flushings of the cheek, I looked around me, in order to fulfil the purpose of my mission. I was in Moscow-in a street called the Loubenka—and in a house named, in the French language (which the upper ranks of the natives understand), the Maison du Tartare Ismailof. I was abandoned by my companions of the diligence, who had gone east, west, north, and south, and been swallowed up and absorbed in the Muscovite metropolis. The droskiman who brought me to the door had unfeelingly pocketed my money and rumbled himself away. Even a dog, to whom I had extended the hand of fellowship in mounting the stairs, backed himself agaiust the wall, and looked coldly over his shoulder. I was alone.

I looked cautiously out of my window, from which, at length, I even protruded—but in a gradual, delicate, and inoffensive mannermy whole head. I discovered that I was one of the inhabitants of a very large house, in a hollow, oblong square, approached from the street by a covered passage. The side of the square opposite, and distant from my abode about the breadth of a reasonable street, was formed of a range of lofty and regular buildings, while the sides on either hand contained the dwellings, apparently, of a humble class of society.

Whatever the classes might be, however, into whose fellowship I was thus suddenly thrown, there was something not a little remarkable in the appearance of the individuals. I was by this time accustomed to the Russian kaftan, which is something between a cloak and a greatcoat, and to the long boots, the red sash, and above all, the picturesque beard: but my neighbours seemed to be true Asiatics, and reminded me of the personages of the “ Arabian Nights." Some of them squatted, cross-legged, on a bench before my window; others leaned against the wall, as motionless as statues, and others paced up and down the court with a long pipe in their mouths. These men were not barbarians of the north ; they were of the still more savage race which had enchained the very mind of Russia for centuries. They were the descendants of the wild Mogul, thus congregated in a dense colony in the city which their fathers had so often filled with blood and ashes. And in the very heart and middle of that colony had my destiny set me down!—Truly I had caught a Tatar !

It seemed to me that the sort of tranquillity which reigned in the court, and in the manner of the inhabitants, was not the tranquillity of a peaceful mind or peaceable intentions. The Tatars looked at one another with a gloomy significance; their eyes were frequently directed to a particular window, which, however, was not mine; and ever and

anon a messenger came and went, whose tidings were received with a raising of the eyebrow, and an inaudible motion of the lip. At length a wild scream broke from the window in question, and rent the air for more than a minute, when the calm Orientals started at once into bustle and agitation, hurrying across the court in different directions, and vanishing hastily into their houses.

A star, it appeared, had set in Israel. A magnate of the horde had that moment departed to the heaven of Mohammed. The scream which announced the event had hardly died away, when a thick bed of straw was spread in the middle of the court, and the yet warm corpse brought down and laid upon it. A circle of Tatars was then formed around the spot, each man sitting on his heels; and a monotonous, but not unpleasing chaunt gave solemnity to the stillness of the scene. The circumstance becoming known in the neighbourhood, the whole area was speedily filled with a mixed crowd of Russians and Tatars, all uncovered, and all watching in profound silence what was going on. In little more than a quarter of an hour the death-prayer was finished, and the mourners then gathered in towards the dead. They laid him at once upon a bier, and carried him away, without more ceremony, to his grave without the city. The man was safe enough under six feet of earth before the lingering warmth of life had altogether quitted his frame. The straw was then cleared away; the mourners hy-and-by came back to their houses, and the court returned to its usual order and repose.

When the hour at length stole on which belongs neither to night nor day, yet possesses all that is most beautiful in both, the Tatars again came out, one by one, from their dwellings, till every here and there a group was seen squatting in committee. The meaner houses, too, at the sides of the court, gave forth their denizens, who proved to be Russians. About a score of young men, girded with a bright-coloured sash, their shirt, of every gaudy hue, hanging over their trowsers to the knee, and their long hair prevented from falling into their eyes by chaplets of brass or tin, lounged out in groups of two or three at a time, and took possession of an outside stair, where they stood, leaned, or lay down, in the most picturesque attitudes imaginable. By-and-by, a corresponding train of damsels appeared at a little distance, and these either sat quietly upon a bench, or stood in small knots, with their arms round one another's waists. The re-union was to all appearance accidental; and each individual, I have no doubt, fancied that it really was so ; but yet this was the moment to which all had unconsciously been looking forward ever since the morning—and not only this morning, but every former one of their lives since the age of thirteen or fourteen. The appearance of the young women was the signal for a song from one of the young men. By-and-by, the air was changed by suggestion, and his comrades joined, singing in parts. Presently the voices of one, two, or more damsels were heard blending shrilly with the strain ; and at length, by slow degrees, and brought about as it were accidentally, a regular concert was begun, which continued long after I was unable, from the coming down of the night, to distinguish the figures of the singers. The music more nearly resembled the national melodies of the Scots than anything I have heard elsewhere on the continent. It was simple and melancholy, and if the performance did not require a vast knowledge of

« PreviousContinue »