Page images
PDF
EPUB

tensions to comeliness. A young English peasant girl, even if she is not absolutely pretty, is usually good looking. Her complexion is clear, and if the national plague, consumption, has not insidiously touched her, a sweet healthy colour glows upon her cheeks and lips, her motions are free and graceful, her step elastic, and although she lacks that courtly air which can only be acquired by mingling in high society, her natural and modest naiveté amply compensates for it.

Look at those half-dozen lasses, busily plying their rakes, and tell us if you cannot select a village beauty. You hesitate. Nay, then, we must even choose for you; or, as choice will perhaps be difficult where all are pretty, let us present them in succession. Do you admire light brown tresses, liquid blue eyes, and a bust slightly inclining to embonpoint? then here is Charlotte for you. One kiss of those tempting lips would amply repay a week of forced marches. Next comes a striking contrast; a damsel whose long sable locks escape from under her bonnet in profuse ringlets. What rich, melting black eyes she has! and how arch their expression! She is a rustic coquette, and has a host of lovers: no wonder, we will look at her no longer; another of those glances, aud we are but a lost poet. What a different being we find in her right-hand companion! Do you not observe the mild expression of her Madonna-like countenance? She blushes beneath your gaze :-gentle girl, coquetry would ill suit thy kind heart; or thine either, sweet Mary ******. Mary's well-formed figure and pretty face never showed to greater advantage than in that light dress and straw bonnet. She seems too delicate for out-door work, and is indeed unaccustomed to it, but she gladly escapes from her usual occupations to partake in the labours and pleasures of haymaking. Next to her, moves a light, sylph-like being, with bounding step and merry eye; she is scarcely sixteen, and her figure is not yet filled. At no period of her life is a woman more interesting than at this age. As we gaze upon her, fancy indulges in bright dreams of coming years, and we invest her with charms which afterwards she may fail to possess. Surely Eliza will fulfil the promise she gives of future goodness and beauty; at present she is indeed

"A rose with all its richest leaves yet folded." Last, though certainly not least, either in personal attractions, or sweetness of disposition, comes Ellen **. How brilliantly expressive are her fine dark eyes! how rich her ripe lips, sufficiently parted by a smile to show the pearls within! how peach-blossom-like the hue of her cheeks! and mark well the whiteness of her well turned forehead, overshadowed by a profusion of auburn tresses! She is-but, no matter-we have passed the group in review; and now, tell us, what think you of them? Ah, we see you are satisfied.

Truly, hayfields presenting such fair creatures for our admiration, are pleasant places to visit; and if all do not contain a galaxy of beauty like that we have just been delighted with, there are few in which we cannot find one or two blooming girls, whose fresh looks and comeliness peeresses might envy. A brilliant ball-room is, unquestion

ably, a very enchanting scene. The dazzling lights, rich music, and rare perfumes, lead the senses captive; and we admire the lovely women surrounding us, till we entirely forget how artificial a great part of the whole affair is; and thus surrender ourselves, in blind worship, to self-created divinities, altogether unmindful of what they owe to sparkling jewels and rich robes, to rouge and pearl powder.

Agreeable illusions please mankind; few wish to see them dissipated; hence we go on, day by day, cheating ourselves into the soothing belief that fiction is reality, and tinsel sterling gold. How many radiant lamp-light belles lose all their charms when stripped of adventitious ornaments, and viewed by sober day. Roses fly from cheeks they adorned-white brows take a sallow hue; and the change is sufficiently striking both to repel and cure the despairing lovers of the preceding evening, if they were only fortunate enough to witness it. Herein the young rustic damsel has a positive advantage over the fashionable lady. She needs not dread the tell-tale daylight, for her bloom is due to health, not to carmine; neither have late hours and crowded assemblies withered, in aught, the freshness of her beauty.

--If the sun, with ardent frown, Has slightly tinged her cheek with brown," how infinitely preferable is the glowing hue of that complexion to the swarthy stain caused by using noxious pigments.

Does Love dwell mostly in cities or in villages? amid the din of bustling streets, or in the quiet seclusion of rural groves? It would be difficult, very difficult, to say; for there is no place under heaven into which, at times, his holy and all-pet vading influence hath not entered. Prisons and palaces have alike received him; he has sprung to life on the wild sea when tempests vexed it, and manifested himself when its waves were calm; he has lived contentedly in the waste wilderness, and displayed unwearying devotion in the darkest nooks of over populous towns,-but, surely, his favourite haunts are peaceful hamlets, hidden in verdurous valleys, far from the noise and bustle of business or state. There, in lonely walks by clear moonlight, under the shadow of green trees, while the nightingales are warbling melodiously, should lovers' vows be sealed, with no other witnesses than their own hearts and the ever watching stars. Yet, suitable as such pleasant wanderings are to Love, in these his chosen retreats, there are many other scenes where his pure flame may be kindled, and the soft impeachment owned; and doubtless, often, when engaged together amongst the fresh hay-shaking it out in the warm sunbeams, or finally gathering in the fragrant crop-village youths have falteringly whispered those sentiments which spoken words are scarce eloquent enough to express, and written ones can never embody, while bashful maidens have acknowledged a passion destined hereafter to prove the blessing

or bane of their existence.

Stroll again through the hayfield. It is high noon,-there is scarcely a breeze stirring, and the deep blue sky is cloudless-all is silent, except the

hum of insects. Where are the haymakers? Look under yonder wide-spreading elms, whose mossed trunks and gnarled boughs seem to have defied more than a century's tempests, and you will see the joyful groups reclining upon the sweet hay, and busily discussing their mid-day meal; not even in thought envying the curious cates and costly wines of the great. Healthful labour has given them appetites which would make an alderman jealous to imagine; and their fare, though plain, is plentiful. There is abundance of cold beef, and nicely cured bacon, displaying its tempting streaks of red and white-and meat pies, and fruit pies, and cheese, and beautifully baked bread and if any man, with such "appliances and means to boot," simple though they be, cannot contrive to make an excellent meal, a month's confinement in the Penitentiary, or in a Union workhouse, would be serviceable to him. Neither is there any lack of drinkables. There is sweet milk for those who like it-and yonder large tin vessels contain nut-brown ale nice, sparkling beverage. How delicious it looks as it is poured foaming into those capacious horns. There are two places in which ale decidedly drinks bestin the cellar, and from a horn out of doors when you are warm and tired. Anywhere else it loses half its goodness.

The repast is soon over, but it is too hot to recommence labour immediately, and so the haymakers remain a little longer beneath the cool shade, singing, joking, and laughing. It seems actually impossible for any one to be morose in a hayfield. Thus passes the noontide hour pleasantly, and then-"all hands to work again." A fresh breeze has sprung up, mitigating the fervour of the atmosphere, and rendering exertion less fatiguing than it was a little while ago; so they move on gaily, collecting the luxuriant harvest, until, in two or three hours time, a fresh supply of ale makes its appearance. Another halt takes place; again the joke passes round, and, after a short rest, they return to their task, brisk and invigorated.

But evening draws on apace. The sinking sun throws lengthened shadows on the glade, and the air becomes yet cooler. Many acres of well-won bay have been this day got, but some yet remains ungathered. Never mind; the sky gives promise of a beautiful morrow, and the hour of repose is near. Wearied, but not exhausted, with their day's labour, the haymakers retire from the lively scene to their own dear homes-those safe and quiet cottages of which England has such just cause to be proud. There, under lowly roofs, upon humble couches, with roses and honeysuckles clustering round their chamber casements, the fair girls we so admired will be, ere long, sleeping tranquilly and securely; dreaming, it may, of love, and beholding, in the night watches, vistas of future happiness. Peace be with them! nor think it a dream, that angels indeed keep guard over the slumbers of innocence. When the lark trills his matin song, they will arise, blithe and gleesome as that heaven-seeking bird, and, with light hearts and smiling faces, hasten to resume their labours in THE HAYFIELD.

Banks of the Yore.

[blocks in formation]

"MR. ANYBODY."

BY J. J. REYNOLDS.

"Now, by two-headed Janus, Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time." MERCHANT OF VENICE.

Having already introduced that worthy trio of individuals, Messrs. Everybody, Nobody, and Somebody, to the reader, it now only remains for me to say a few words upon the last of the "Bodies," viz., Mr. Anybody, which I will now do without any further preface.

It is a very common observation in the world, that "Anybody is Nobody," but I am induced to think that the world in this instance (as it does by the way in a great many other instances) has come to a wrong conclusion. Undoubtedly there is in many points a striking resemblance between the pair, yet the propriety of laying it down as an axiom "undeniable and incontrovertible," at all events demands a doubt.

We are all well acquainted with "Nobody"— that he is a most insignificant fellow-spiritless, mean, and looked down upon by society at large. Not so "Anybody," he is an important member of the community, one whose name and actions are continually being called in question and scrupulously canvassed. Few undertakings of a public character are carried on without his having a finger in the pie; and, though it must be admitted the part he acts in the play is frequently a humble one, still it is quite sufficient with his other attributes to rescue his name from "the blank of dark oblivion" to which the many would wish to consign it.

Mr. Anybody is moreover endowed with a versatility of talents truly astonishing; and these talents he applies in a multitude of ways for the benefit of his fellow-mortals, being a most obliging creature-in fact, too obliging-for I am sadly afraid that it is the numerous and weighty matters he undertakes to perform, and his consequent inability to execute all which has given rise to the universally used expression, that Anybody is Nobody. When you hear a person saying "Anybody will do this, or Anybody will do that for you," and following such advice, the affair is entrusted to his care, it very frequently falls to your own lot to carry it out in the sequel; or from Anybody's dilatory habits it would never be done at all. In these and similar instances Anybody proves himself an arrant Nobody.

Truth bids me acknowledge that he is a notorious babbler, more given to tattling perhaps than ever were a bevy of scandal-loving damsels "over a cup of tea," in proof of which take the following:

The reader must imagine two "influentials" meeting in the street of a country town, and the one addressing the other in a portentous undertone, thus

"Well B. have you heard the news?" "What news? No, I have heard no news," says B., inquisitively.

"Why, that C.'s bank has stopped payment!" "You don't say so?" cries B.

"Yes, 'tis pretty true," continues A.

"But," (and here the speaker drops his voice to a whisper, scarcely audible,) "let me beg of you not to tell Anybody."

"You may rely on me," says his friend; and so they part.

Here we find no salvo as to secrecy, made with reference to any other person than Mr. Anybody, the informant being, no doubt, well aware of his gossiping propensities, and total inability to keep

a secret.

B, faithful to his promise, does not tell Anybody, but he imparts the intelligence to his very particular friend, whom he meets some twenty yards up the street, on the same promise. This gentleman retails it to Somebody, and from him, in the most natural way possible, it reaches the ears of Everybody, and then adieu to all secrecy.

I was once at one of the London minor theatres, and a portion of the evening's amusement was the performance of a company of acrobats. It was during one of their most difficult feats, which the majority of the audience, myself among the number, beheld with wonder and amaze, that an elderly gentleman with a plain matter-of-fact looking countenance, sitting at my right hand, exclaimed to the great edification of those around him,

6

"Stuff! 'pshaw! Anybody' can do that!" "Can he?" thought I; "then, forsooth, must be a very active fellow."

|

But the sneering, contemptuous way in which the old man gave utterance to the above, led me to infer that he had a very poor idea of the per formance, and that it required but little agility to execute it. And so it is-whenever a person, wise in his own conceit, seeks to run down a work in any branch of art, he is almost certain to express himself by saying, that Anybody could do it as well.

Hence it may be deduced that this same Mr. Anybody is a species of Caleb Quotem—a Jackof-all-no, not trades--accomplishments, possess ing many, excelling in none; a living realization of the truth of the well-known saying, that it is impossible for a man to reach the Temple of Fame if he treads more than one road.

Should Anybody read this (and such an event may come to pass), he will of course not feel offended at any remark made here—as I have "nothing extenuated, nor set down aught in malice." From the privacy he maintains, it is wholly impossible to form a correct estimate of his character. All must be done by inference; above everything, let him remember that it has ever been an indication of a great mind to disregard the petty insinuations of the evil-disposed.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

THE VOICE OF MOURNING.

BY ELLEN S. M.

Gone are the days of youth, Like early leaves, by cold winds shed, Like the noon's sun-beams have they fled, Like dreams of love and truth.

Gone are the days of mirth, The silv'ry laugh, the gleesome bound, The dear one's footsteps' welcome sound, Gone from the lonely earth. The voice of love is flown, Affection's watchful eye and tear, They linger now no longer here,

Heav'n, then, hath claimed its own.

For me no spring can bloom; No summer, with her dews and flow'rs, Nor autumn's rich and fruitful bow'rs;

I sigh but for the tomb.

From that shall spring fresh youth; E'en from the wintry grave shall rise Eternal summer in the skies,

For those who worship truth. No blossoms there shall fall, No scattered leaves proclaim their death, No tempests' cold and fatal breath Shall spread a funeral pall.

No lov'd one there shall die, No weeping mourner linger near; But God himself shall wipe the tear Of grief from ev'ry eye.

TO A LADY.

(In Reply to a Warning not to write for an Annual on the subject of Religion.) Not of RELIGION, dearest lady! Nay,

Why would'st thou fetter thus the Muse's wing, That joys on heavenward flight to soar away,

O'er these dim shades of sin and suffering? Behold yon way worn pilgrim, doom'd to bend

Beneath his weary load of toil and care! Tell him to think not of his journey's end

To speak not of the REST that waits him there! See yon poor mariner, as tempest-toss'd

His little bark reels o'er the foaming seaTell him to speak not of the friendly coast

His native port, just rising on his lee!

[blocks in formation]

his mind is ill at ease even in the hour of triumph, ere yet the full tide of his miseries had set in upon him. Thoughts like to these were passing within him, while his eyes wandered over all that was left of Ephesus.

VII. MUSTAPHA PRETENDER.

"Woe is me! Woe is me! Unhappy man that I am! The young Amuruth delights in the death of mere dogs, but whom my master bids me save. How shall I fulfil the sultan's wishes in preserving his younger children when Amuruth the sultan has made agreement with the Greek asks their heads, which he surely will? It is well emperor that they shall be kept in Constantinople out of their brother's reach. I hope the Christian will not be intimidated by the threats I shall have to send him, or the fair promises I shall have to make by command of Amuruth when Mahomet dies and his son wishes his brothers' death."

The confusion incident to Bayazeid's capture by Timour the Tartar, gave occasion to many bold bad men to work their way into power. Among the most remarkable of these were Sineis Pacha, of Smyma, whom Mahomet Bayazeid's youngest son, but immediate successor, once pardoned, and Mustapha, who, for a long time passed for Bayazeid's eldest son, of that name, but who died bravely fighting at the battle of Angora. The origin of this worthy, as well as I can trace it, is romantic enough, his connection with Sineis equally so, but the circumstances that threw the baleful shadow of his evil genius across the path of the well-meaning and faithful, but as it happened very unhappy Vizier Bayazeid, are of a nature to demand their being called forth from the bitter record of treachery and woe which constitutes oriental history, and being arranged as an historic romance of no trivial import.

glittering Kowasses made their appearance at the
While the grand vizier thus cogitated, some
foot of the hill whereon the Bayazeid's tent was
erected. Several of the vizier's people, with an
obedient start rushed down to meet them, and the
Seraskier stroked his beard, and endeavoured to
look as composed as if the apostrophe with which
he had commenced his soliloquy had never passed
his lips.
"Sineis Pacha of Nicopolis greets you,
Vizier
Effendi, by me his pipe-holder, and he greets you
the tongue of man can express. You are the
with more compliment and assurance of love than
light, &c. &c."

While Mahomet I. yet lived, and after the first outbreak and forgiveness of Sineis Pacha of Smyrna, who at the time governed Nicopolis, in Roumelia, Bayazeid Vizier, accompanied by Amuruth then but twelve years old, commanded the force sent against Pereligia the Novator, another trouble of the unquiet times. He succeeded in reducing the insurgents, or whatsoever they might be called, and it was on the evening of the day on which the

The same un

sions that followed, for are they not written with It is needless to repeat the hyperbolical expresperfect truth and fidelity by Morier and Fraser in their inimitable oriental tales. meaning flourish precedes all state dialogue, whether in Persia or Turkey. The reply of the grand vizier was also quite in conformity with the Novator had been crucified that I wish to intro-national custom of throwing away as few words duce him to my reader. There he sits, girt with many a gallant slave on a costly carpet, spread on the ground just without his tent. His jewelled scimitar is in his hand, his beads over his arm, his amber headed chibouk in his mouth; but the distorted corners of that mouth, and the nervous quiver of his eye-lid from time to time, show that

upon an inferior as possible. His reply consisted But though that is its literal meaning, its more of but the word peeke or "well," twice repeated. general construction admits of great latitude according to the intonation given in utterance. So the robe was kissed and the coffee sipped, and the messenger doubled up at a suitable distance on the extreme edge of the carpet.

"Sineis Pacha," continued the pipe-holder, will rejoice much at your successes against the infidels, more especially since it has pleased the prophet that you should be the sultan's red hand. By the sword in that hand, Sineis loves you, and deems you a happy man.

"Peckè, pecke," quoth the vizier, in a note amounting probably to, "I am much obliged."

"By the life of the sultan, I declare; yes, I, the humblest man of the thousands he commands, affirm it: Sineis loves Bayazeid; and why should he not? Did you not turn aside the scimitar that thirsted for his blood? How that Pacha does reverence you."

ROMANCE OF HISTORY.

ASIA MINOR.

BY T. M. RUSSELL.

Through the distorting media of the historical" annals of the middle ages, it is exceedingly difficult to discern the real figure and proportions of such personages as this Percligia. As he denounced, nay, warred against the Moslems, they have at once set him down for a Christian; but, amid the chaos of extravagant heresies and schisms of the time, we can find none with whose tenets those of Pereligia can be identified. Had he lived in the third century, he might have been sympathised with by the Manichees: if in the nineteenth, he would in the Socialists have found, in the laxity of their morals, very suitable disciples. When taken prisoner he defied his conquerors, very probably to avoid torments, to inflict death, the consequence of which was, he was for many years afterwards, though crucified publicly, believed by his followers still to exist.

"Peckè, peckè," said the great man, which perhaps meant, "I have no doubt he does."

"Now, Excellence, I humbly pray of you to consider wherefore did Sineis Pacha send his pipeholder from Nicopolis hither? certainly not merely

« PreviousContinue »