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Or witched a churn or dairy-pan ;
But she, forsooth, must charm a man ! "

Poor Mabel, in her lonely home,
Sat by the window's narrow pane,
White in the moonlight's silver rain.

The river, on its pebbled rim,

Made music such as childhood knew ;
The door-yard tree was whispered through

By voices such as childhood's ear
Had heard in moonlights long ago ;
And through the willow boughs below

She saw the rippled water shine ;
Beyond, in waves of shade and light,
The hills rolled off into the night

Sweet sounds and pictures mocking so
The sadness of her human lot,
She saw and heard, but heeded not.

She strove to drown her sense of wrong,
And, in her old and simple way,
To teach her bitter heart to pray.

Poor child ! the prayer, begun in faith,
Grew to a low, despairing cry
Of utter misery : " Let me die !

" 0, take me from the scornful eyes,
And hide me where the cruel speech
And mocking finger may not reach !


* I dare not breathe my mother's name :
A daughter's right I dare not cri^ve
To weep above her unblest grave !

" Let me not live until my heart,
With few to pity, and with none
To love me, hardens into stone.

" O God ! have mercy on thy child,

Whose faith in thee grows weak and small,
And take me ere I lose it all ! "

A shadow on the moonlight fell,

And murmuring wind and wave became
A voice whose burden was her name.

Had then God heard her ? Had he sent
His angel down ? In flesh and blood,
Before her Esek Harden stood ?

He laid his hand upon her arm :

" Dear Mabel, this no more shall be ;
Who scoffs at you, must scoff at me.

" You know rough Esek Harden well ;
And if he seems no suitor gay,
And if his hair is touched with gray,

" The maiden grown shall never find

His heart less warm than when she smiled,
Upon his knees, a little child ! "

Her tears of grief were tears of joy,
As, folded in his strong embrace,
She looked in Esek Harden's face.


' O, truest friend of aU ! " she said,

" God bless you for your kindly thought,
And make me worthy of my lot ! "

He led her through his dewy fields,

To where the swinging lanterns glowed,
And through the doors the huskers showed

" Good friends and neighbors ! " Esek said,
" I 'm weary of this lonely life ;
In Mabel see my chosen wife !

" She greets you kindly, one and all ;
The past is past, and all offence
Falls harmless from her innocence.

" Henceforth she stands no more alone ;
You know what Esek Harden is ;
He brooks no wrong to him or his."

Now let the merriest tales be told,
And let the sweetest songs be sung,
That ever made the old heart young !

For now the lost has found a home ;
And a lone hearth shall brighter burn,
As all the household joys return !

O, pleasantly the harvest moon,
Between the shadow of the mows,
Looked on them through the great elm boughs !

On Mabel's curls of golden hair
On Esek's shaggy strength it fell ;
And the wind whispered, " It is well ! n




IF the Old Lady is a widow and lives alone, the man-
ners of her condition and time of life are so much the
more apparent. She generally dresses in plain silks, that
make a gentle rustling as she moves about the silence of
her room; and she wears a nice cap with a lace border,
that comes under the chin. In a placket at her side is an
old enamelled watch, unless it is locked up in a drawer
of her toilet, for fear of accidents. Her waist is rather
tight and trim than otherwise, as she had a fine one when
young ; and she is not sorry if you see a pair of her stock-
ings on a table, that you may be aware of the neatness of
her leg and foot Contented with these and other evident
indications of a good shape, and letting her young friends
understand that she can afford to obscure it a little, she
wears pockets, and uses them well too. In the one is
her handkerchief, and any heavier matter that is not likely
to come out with it, such as the change of a sixpence ; in
the other is a miscellaneous assortment, consisting of a
pocket-book, a bunch of keys, a needle-case, a spectacle-
case, crumbs of biscuit, a nutmeg and grater, a smelling-
bottle, and, according to the season, an orange or apple,
which after many days she draws out, warm and glossy,


to give to some little child that has well behaved itself.
She generally occupies two rooms, in the neatest condition
possible. In the chamber is a bed with a white coverlet,
built up high and round, to look well, and with curtains
of a pastoral pattern, consisting alternately of large plants,
and shepherds and shepherdesses. On the mantel-piece
are more shepherds and shepherdesses, with dot-eyed sheep
at their feet, all in colored ware : the man, perhaps, in a
pink jacket and knots of ribbons at his knees and shoes,
holding his crook lightly in one hand, and with the other
at his breast, turning his toes out and looking tenderly at
the shepherdess ; the woman holding a crook also, and
modestly returning his look, with a gypsy-hat jerked up
behind, a very slender waist, with petticoat and hips to
counteract, and the petticoat pulled up through the pocket-
holes, in order to show the trimness of her ankles. But
these patterns, of course, are various. The toilet is an-
cient, carved at the edges, and tied about with a snow-
white drapery of muslin. Beside it are various boxes,
mostly japan ; and the set of drawers are exquisite things
for a little girl to rummage, if ever little girl be so bold,
containing ribbons and laces of various kinds ; linen smell-
ing of lavender, of the flowers of which there is always
dust in the corners; a heap of pocket-books for a series
of years ; and pieces of dress long gone by, such as head-
fronts, stomachers, and flowered satin shoes, with enormous
heels. The stock of letters are under especial -lock and
key. So much for the bedroom. In the sitting-room is
rather a spare assortment of shining old mahogany furni-
ture, or carved arm-chairs equally old, with chintz dra-
peries down to the ground ; a folding or other screen, with
Chinese figures, their round, little-eyed, meek faces perking
sideways ; a stuffed bird, perhaps in a glass case (a living
one is too much for her) ; a portrait of her husband over
the mantel-piece, in a coat with frog-buttons, and a delicate


frilled hand lightly inserted in the waistcoat ; and opposite
him on the wall is a piece of embroidered literature,
framed and glazed, containing some moral distich or maxim,
worked in angular capital letters, with two trees or parrots
below, in their proper colors ; the whole concluding with an
ABC and numerals, and the name of the fair industrious,
expressing it to be "her work, Jan. 14, 1762." The rest
of the furniture consists of a looking-glass with carved
edges, perhaps a settee, a hassock for the feet, a mat for
the little dog, and a small set of shelves, in which are
the " Spectator " and " Guardian," the " Turkish Spy," a
Bible and Prayer-Book, " Young's Night Thoughts," with a
piece of laceXn it to flatten, " Mrs. Rowe's Devout Exer-
cises of the Heart," "Mrs. Glasse's Cookery," and perhaps
" Sir Charles Grandison," and " Clarissa." John Buncle "
is in the closet among the pickles and preserves. The
clock is on the landing-place between the . two room doors,
where it ticks audibly but quietly; and the landing-place,
as well as the stairs, is carpeted to a nicety. The house
is most in character, and properly coeval, if it is in a
retired suburb, and strongly built, with wainscot rather
than paper inside, and lockers in the windows. Before
the windows should be some quivering poplars. Here the
Old Lady receives a few quiet visitors to tea, and per-
haps an early game at cards: or you may see her going
out on the same kind of visit herself, with a light umbrella
running up into a stick and crooked ivory handle, and her
little dog, equally famous for his love to her and captious
antipathy to strangers. Her grandchildren dislike him on
holidays, and the boldest sometimes ventures to give him
a sly kick under the table. When she returns at night,
she appears, if the weather happens to be doubtful, in a
calash ; and her servant in pattens, follows half behind and
half at her side, with a lantern.

Her opinions are not many nor new. She thinks the


clergyman a nice man. The Duke of Wellington, in he-
opinion, is a very great man ; bnt she has a secret prefer-
ence for the Marquis of Granby. She thinks the young
women of the present day too forward, and the men not
respectful enough; but hopes her grandchildren will be
better; though she differs with her daughter in several
points respecting their management. She sets little value
on the new accomplishments; is a great though delicate
connoisseur in butcher's meat and all sorts of housewifery ;
and if you mention waltzes, expatiates on the grace and
fine breeding of the minuet She longs to have seen one
danced by Sir Charles Grandison, whom she almost con-
siders as a real person. She likes a walk of a summer's
evening, but avoids the new streets, canals, &c., and some-
times goes through the churchyard, where her children
and her husband lie buried, serious, but not melancholy.
She has had three great epochs in her life: her mar-
riage, her having been at court, to see the King and
Queen and Royal Family, and a compliment on her fig-
ure she once received, in passing, from Mr. "Wilkes, whom
she describes as a sad, loose man, but engaging. His
plainness she thinks much exaggerated. If anything takes
her at a distance from home, it is still the court ; but she
seldom stirs, even for that. The last time but one that
she went, was to see the Duke of Wttrtemberg ; and most
probably for the last time of all, to see the Princess Char-
lotte and Prince Leopold. From this beatific vision she
returned with the same admiration as ever for the fine,
comely appearance of the Duke of York and the rest of
the family, and great delight at having had a near view
of the Princess, whom she speaks of with smiling pomp
and lifted mittens, clasping them as passionately as she
can together, and calling her, in a transport of mixed
loyalty and self-love, a fine royal young creature, and
Daughter of England."



OUR Old Gentleman, in order to be exclusively him-
self, must be either a widower or a bachelor. Suppose
the former. We do not mention his precise age, which
would be invidious : nor whether he wears his own hair or
a wig ; which would be wanting in universality. If a wig,
it is a compromise between the more modern scratch and
the departed glory of the toupee. If his own hair, it is
white, in spite of his favorite grandson, who used to get
on the chair behind him, and pull the silver hairs out, ten
years ago. If he is bald at top, the hair-dresser, hovering
and breathing about him like a second youth, takes care
to give the bald place as much powder as the covered ,
in order that lie may convey to the sensoriuni within a
pleasing indistinctness of idea respecting the exact limits
of skin and hair. He is very clean and neat ; and, in
warm weather, is proud of opening his waistcoat half-way
down, and letting so much of his frill be seen, in order to
show his hardiness as well as taste. His watch and shirt-
buttons are of the best ; and he does not care if he has
two rings on a finger. If his watch ever failed him at
the club or coffee-house, he would take a walk every day
to the nearest clock of good character, purely to keep it
right. He has a cane at home, but seldom uses it, on
finding it out of fashion with his elderly juniors. He has
a small cocked hat for gala days, which he lifts higher
from his head than the round one, when bowed to. In
his pockets are two handkerchiefs (one for the neck at
night-time), his spectacles, and his pocket-book. The
pocket-book, among other things, contains a receipt for
a cough, and some verses cut out of an odd sheet of an
old magazine, on the lovely Duchess of A., beginning,

" When beauteous Mira walks the plain "


He intends this for a commonplace-book which he keeps,
consisting of passages in verse and prose, cut out of news-
papers and magazines, and pasted in columns ; some of
them rather gay. His principal other books are Shake-
speare's Plays and Milton's Paradise Lost ; the Spectator,
the History of England, the Works of Lady M. ~W. Mon-
tague, Pope, and Churchill ; Middleton's Geography ; the
Gentleman's Magazine ; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity ;
several plays with portraits in character ; Account of Eliz-
abeth Canning, Memoirs of George Ann Bellamy, Poetica
Amusements at Bath-Easton, Blair's Works, Elegant Ex-
tracts ; Junius as originally published ; a few pamplilets
on the American War, and Lord George Gordon, &c.,
and one on the French Revolution. In his sitting-rooms
are some engravings from Hogarth and Sir Joshua ; an
engraved portrait of the Marquis of Granby ; ditto of M.
le Comte de Grasse surrendering to Admiral Rodney ; a
humorous piece after Penny ; and a portrait of himself,
painted by Sir Joshua. His wife's portrait is in his cham-
ber, looking upon his bed. She is a little girl, stepping
forward with a smile, and a pointed toe, as if going to
dance. He lost her when she was sixty.

The Old Gentleman is an early riser, because he intends
to live at least twenty years longer. He continues to
take tea for breakfast, in spite of what is said against its
nervous effects; having been satisfied on that point some
years ago by Dr. Johnson's criticism on Hanway, and a
great liking for tea previously. His china cups and sau-
cers have been broken since his wife's death, all but one,
which is religiously kept for his use. He passes his morn-
ing in - walking or riding, looking in at auctions, looking
after his India bonds or some such money securities, fur-
thering some subscription set on foot by his excellent
friend Sir John, or cheapening a new old print for his
portfolio. He also hears of the newspapers ; not caring


to see them till after dinner at the coffee-house. He may
also cheapen a fish or so ; the fishmonger soliciting his
doubting eye as he passes, with a profound bow of recog-
nition. He eats a pear before dinner.

His dinner at the coffee-house is served up to him at
the accustomed hour, in the old accustomed way, and by
the accustomed waiter. If William did not bring it, the
fish would be sure to be stale, and the flesh new. He
eats no tart ; or if he ventures on a little, takes cheese
with it. You might as soon attempt to persuade him out
of his senses as that cheese is not good for digestion.
He takes port ; and if he has drunk more than usual,
and in a more private place, may be induced, by some
respectful inquiries respecting the old style of music, to
sing a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Mr. Lampe, such


" Chloe, by that borrowed kiss/'

" Come, gentle god of soft repose,"

or his wife's favorite ballad, beginning,

" At Upton on the hill,
There lived a happy pair."

Of course, no such exploit can take place in the coffee-
room ; but he will canvass the theory of that matter there
with you, or discuss the weather, or the markets, or the
theatres, or the merits of " my lord North " or " my lord
Rockingham " ; for he rarely says simply, lord ; it is gen-
erally " my lord," trippingly and genteelly off the tongue.
If alone after dinner, his great delight is the newspapfir ;
which he prepares to read by wiping his spectacles, care-
fully adjusting them on his eyes, and drawing the candle
close to him, so as to stand sideways betwixt his ocular
aim and the small type. He then holds the paper at
arm's length, and dropping his eyelids half down and his


mouth half open, takes cognizance of the day's informa-
tion. If he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened
by a new-comer, or when he suspects somebody is over-
anxious to get the paper out of his hand. On these occa-
sions he gives an important hem ! or so ; and resumes.

In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond of going to
the theatre, or of having a game of cards. If he enjoys
the latter at his own house or lodgings, he likes to pltiy
with some friends whom he has known for many years ;
but an elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet and
scientific ; and the privilege is extended to younger men
of letters ; who, if ill players, are good losers. Not that
he is a miser, but to win money at cards is like proving
his victory by getting the baggage ; and to win of a
younger man is a substitute for his not being able to beat
him at rackets. He breaks up early, whether at home
or abroad.

At the theatre, he likes a front row in the pit. He
comes early, if he can do so without getting into a squeeze,
and sits patiently waiting for the drawing up of the cur-
tain, with his hands placidly lying one over the other on
the top of his stick. He generously admires some of
the best performers, but thinks them far inferior to Gar-
rick, Woodward, and Clive. During splendid scenes, he
is anxious that the little boy should see.

He has been induced to look in at Vauxhall again, but
likes it still less than he did years back, and cannot bear
it in comparison with Ranelagh. He thinks everything
looks poor, flaring, and jaded. " Ah ! " says he, with a
sort of triumphant sigh, " Ranelagh was a noble place !
Such taste, such elegance, such beauty ! There was the
Duchess of A., the finest woman in England, sir ; and
Mrs. L., a mighty fine creature ; and Lady Susan what's
her name, that had that unfortunate affair with Sir Charles.
Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans."


The Old Gentleman is very particular in having his
slippers ready for him at the fire, whin he comes
home. He is also extremely choice in his stuff, and de-
lights to get a fresh box-full in Tavistock Street, in his
way to the theatre. His box is a curiosity from India.
He calls favorite young ladies by their Christian names,
however slightly acquainted with them ; and has a privi
iege of saluting all brides, mothers, and indeed every
species of lady, on the least holiday occasion. If the hus-
band, for instance, has met with a piece of luck, he
instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the wife on
the cheek. The wife then says, " My niece, sir, from
the country *Nj and he kisses the niece. The niece, see-
ing her cousin biting her lips at the joke, says, " My
.cousin Harriet, sir " ; and he kisses the cousin. He
tk never recollects such weather," except during the " Great
Frost," or when he rode down with " Jack Skrimshire to
Xewinarket." He grows young again in liis little grand-
children, especially the one which he thinks most like him-
self; which is the handsomest. Yet he likes best, perhaps,
the one most resembling his wife ; and will sit with him
on his lap, holding his hand in silence, for a quarter of
an hour together. He plays most tricks with the former,
and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general
who was the father of Zebedee's children. If his grand-
sons are at school, he often goes to see them ; and makes
them blush by telling the master or the upper scholars,
that they are fine boys, and of a precocious genius. He
is much struck when an old acquaintance dies, but adds
that lie lived too fast; and that poor Bob was a sad dog
in his youth ; " a very sad dog, sir ; mightily set upon
.1 short life and a merry one."

When he gets very old indeed, he will sit for whole
evenings, and say little or nothing ; but informs you, thai
there is Mrs. Jones (the housekeeper) " She '11 talk."



THE calmness of this noontide hour,
The shadow of this wood,
The fragrance of each wilding flower,

Are marvellously good ;
O, here crazed spirits breathe the balm
Of Nature's solitude !

It is a most delicious calm
That resteth everywhere,

The holiness of soul-sung psalm,
Of felt but voiceless prayer !

With hearts too full to speak their bliss.
God's creatures silent are.

They silent are ; but not the less

In this most tranquil hour
Of deep, unbroken dreaminess,

They own that Love and Power
Which, like the softest sunshine, rests

On every leaf and flower.

How silent are the song-filled nests
That crowd this drowsy tree,


How mute is every feathered breast

That swelled with melody !
And yet bright bead-like eyes declare

This hour is ecstasy.

Heart forth ! as uncaged bird through ail

And mingle in the tide
Of blessed things, that, lacking care,

Now full of beauty glide
Around thee, in their angel hues

Of joy and sinless pride.

Here, on this green bank that o'erviews

The far-retreating glen,
Beneath the spreading beech-tree muse,

Of all within thy ken ;
For lovelier scene shall never break

'On thy dimmed sight again.

Slow stealing from the tangled brake

That skirts the distant hill,
With noiseless hoof, two bright fawns make

For yonder lapsing rill ;
Meek children of the forest gloom,

Drink on, and fear no ill !

And buried in the yellow broom
That crowns the neighboring height,

Couches a loutish shepherd groom,
With all his flocks in sight ;

Which dot the green braes gloriously
With spots of living light.

It is a sight that filleth me
With meditative joy,


To mark these dumb things curiously
Crowd round their guardian boy ;

As if they felt this Sabbath hour
Of bliss lacked all alloy.

I bend me towards the tiny flower,
That underneath this tree

Opens its little breast of sweets
In meekest modesty,

And breathes the eloquence of love
In muteness, Lord ! to thee.

There is no breath of wind to move
The flag-like leaves, that spread

Their grateful shadow far above
This turf-supported head ;

All sounds are gone, all murmuringe
With living nature wed.


The babbling of the clear well-springs*,
The whisperings of the trees,

And all the cheerful jargonings
Of feathered hearts at ease,

That whilom filled the vocal wood,
Have hushed their minstrelsies.

The silentness of night doth brood
O'er this bright summer noon ;

And Nature, in her holiest mood,
Doth all things well attune

To joy, in the religious dreams
Of green and leafy June.

Far down the glen in distance gleams
The hamlet's tapering spire,


And, glittering in meridial beams,

Its vane is tongued with fire ;
And hark how sweet its silvery bell,

And hark the rustic choir !

The holy sounds float up the dell

To fill my ravished ear,
And now the glorious anthems swell

Of worshippers sincere,
Of hearts bowed in the dust, that shed

Faith's penitential tear.

Dear Lord ! thy shadow is forth spread

On all mine eye can see ;
And, filled at the pure fountain-head

Of deepest piety,
My heart loves all created things,

And travels home to thee.

Around me while the sunshine flings

A flood of mocky gold,
My chastened spirit once more sings,

As it was wont of old,
That lay of gratitude which burst

From young heart uncontrolled.

When in the midst of nature nursed,

Sweet influences fell
On chilly hearts that were athirst,

Like soft dews in the bell
Of tender flowers, that bowed their heads

And breathed a fresher smell,

So, even now this hour hath sped
In rapturous thought o'er me.


Feeling myself with nature wed,

A holy mystery,
A part of earth, a part of heaven,

A part, Great God ! of thee.

Fast fade the cares of life's dull sweven,

They perish as the weed,
While unto me the power is given,

A moral deep to read
In every silent throe of mind

External beauties breed.



NO one that had the misfortune to reside during the last
winter in the disturbed districts of the south of Eng-
land will ever forget the awful impression of .that terrible
time. The stilly gatherings of the misguided peasantry
amongst, the wild hills, partly heath and partly woodland,
of which so much of the northern part of Hampshire is com-
posed, dropping in one by one, and two by two in the
gloom of evening, or the dim twilight of a November morn-
ing ; or the open and noisy meetings of determined men at
noontide in the streets and greens of our Berkshire villages,
and even sometimes in the very churchyards, sallying forth
in small but resolute numbers to collect money or destroy
machinery, and compelling or persuading their fellow-labor-

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 10 of 66)