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face at the time was rather flushed, for he was
to all appearance partially intoxicated. For a
moment he seemed surprised at the singular-
looking couple before him, but recovering him-
self, he cast an impudent look on Pepina, and
said,

" What, tired, my pretty girl? I hope you
are going my way, and then I can have the
pleasure of offering you my arm."

"I neither want your arm nor your acquaint-
ance," said Pepina. "Go on your way and
leave us alone."

" Come, come, now," said the soldier, in a
cajoling manner, and advancing close to her,
"do not speak in that cruel manner. Ill-tem-
per doesn't become such a pretty countenance,
does it, old gentleman? Is this pretty girl
your daughter or your grand-daughter?"

" Neither," said Tomaso, rising from the
bank in a great passion at the impertinent be-
haviour of the soldier. " That lady is my
wife. "

"Your wife? Nonsense ! " said the soldier.
"You don't mean to tell me that that lovely
creature could ever have chosen such a withered
old baboon as you are?"

" I told you the truth," said Tomaso; "and
what is more, if I hear any further impertin-
ence from you, I will chastise you so severely
that you will not forget the lesson the longest
day you live."

The only answer the soldier gave to Tomaso's
threat was a loud laugh, and then walking up
to Pepina, who had also risen from the bank,
and putting his arm round her waist, he said
to her,

"Come with me, my dear, and never mind
him. You are far too handsome to be the wife
of such a crabbed old fool as he is."

Pepina, enraged at the soldier's impertinence,
told him to leave her alone ; and by way of giv-
ing point to her words, she gave him a sound
box on the ear.

"A fair challenge, by Jove!" said the sol-



TOMASO AND PEPINA.



217



dier. " There is the same penalty for that all
the world over, and I claim it now." So say-
ing, he put his arm round her neck and gave
her a hearty kiss.

Both husband and wife now set upon him,
and buffeted him soundly; indeed, so sudden j
aad hearty were they in their attacks, that the
soldier was completely taken by surprise. He
struggled violently to disengage himself, but
found it no easy matter, for their combined
strength was quite equal to his own. At last,
however, by a violent effort, he managed to re-
base himself, and standing at a short distance,
lie remained for some moments to gather his
scattered wits, so completely had they been
dispersed by the vigorous attack of his two
assailants. When he had somewhat succeeded,
he said to Pepina,

" I forgive you, young lady, for I cannot
revenge myself upon you ; but that amiable
old gentleman shall suffer for his behaviour
to-morrow morning, 1 can tell him. I suppose
you are going to Bellaggio, and unfortunately
I am going the other way. I am already
somewhat behind time, and my sergeant is not
particularly forgiving, so I must be off. But
we shall meet again, old gentleman, and then,
if you do not give me satisfaction, I will cudgel
your old body till it is black and blue all over.
Two hours after daybreak to-morrow I will be
with you; so look for me." Saying this, he
started off in the direction of the inn they had
lately passed.

Tomaso and his wife now continued their
road to Bellaggio, naturally very indignant at
the behaviour of the soldier. Little conversa-
tion passed between the old couple, and at last
there was a dead silence, which continued till
darkness had set in. When they had come to
within about a quarter of an hour's walk of
Bellaggio, Pepina's attention was aroused by
the sound of some one sobbing bitterly, and on
listening more attentively, she found that it
proceeded from Tomaso, who was walking a few
paces in advance of her. She hastened up to
him and found her suspicions were correct, and
that he was crying like a child.

" What is the matter with you, my dear?"
she said to him. " Why do you cry so? It is not,
I hope, at the rude behaviour of the soldier. I
think we have given him a good lesson, and
we may now treat him with contempt. "

" I do not care one straw about him : and if
he puts his threat into force to-morrow, 1 think
he will find me as completely his match as he
did to-day," said Tomaso, totally ignoring the
p;irt Pepina had taken in the fray, which had
been far more effective than his own. " I am



unhappy from another cause. You are, in ap-
pearance, young and beautiful, while I am old
and decrepit. All admire you, and all will
ridicule me for having a wife so young and
handsome; and I see that my life will, for the
future, be one of utter misery, for I love you
dearly, and cannot bear the idea of others pay-
ing you the attentions you will receive. 1 am
afraid I made a very foolish bargain after all."

" But there is no difficulty in getting oft' it,
you know, dear," said Pepina. " The astro-
loger told us that, if we repented of the trans-
action, we could change to our former condition
any time before next Sunday, when we shall
have been married fifty years."

" But if I do change," said Tomaso, still
crying, " I do not see that I shall gain much
by it. I shall then have an old man's mind in
an old man's body; while you will still remain
in person young and beautiful."

" But why should I remain young and beau-
tiful?" said Pepina, artlessly. " He gave me
the power to change if I wished it, as fully as
he did to you."

" And you would really give up youth and
beauty to please me?" said Tomaso, in a tone
of mingled surprise and delight.

"Certainly," said his wife, "Why not?
Just let us at once wish ourselves old again in
mind and body, and so put an end to all un-
pleasantness between us."

Tomaso, of course, willingly agreed to this
suggestion, and the transformation immedi-
ately took place. How it was effected it was
impossible to say, so dense was the darkness
around them. Tomaso's mind was now again
that of an old man, while Pepina's form was
once more that of an old woman, her body
bent, and her step slow and difficult. At last
they contrived to reach Bellaggio in safety, and
they put up for the night at a little inn at the
entrance to the town.

Next morning Tomaso rose early, and pro-
ceeded to the water-side to engage a boat to
carry him and his wife over to Menaggio.
Having secured one, he told the boatman to
remain in readiness, as he would return in a
few minutes. He then left the water-side, and
was on his way back to the inn to fetch Pepina
and settle with the landlord, when he heard
some one calling out to him, " Stop, I say, you
old baboon. You shan't escape me so easily
as that."

On hearing the voice, Tomaso turned round
and beheld the soldier of the previous evening,
with a couple of swords under his arm, and a
dozen of his comrades at his heels, advancing
towards him.



218



TOMASO AND PEPINA.



"So I have found you, my friend," said the
soldier. " You see I am a man of my word.
And now, in the presence of my honourable
comrades, I intend to wipe off the stain you
put on my honour yesterday evening."

"Leave me alone," said Tomaso. " I want
to have nothing to say to you."

"That I can easily imagine," said the sol-
dier ; "and I am perfectly willing to admit that
it is not an unreasonable wish on your part.
But, my friend, I take a totally different view
of the case, and satisfaction for the insult you
offered me yesterday I will have. I have
brought with me a couple of good swords, so
that you can have no excuse. Choose which
you like, and you shall have fair play. By-
the-by, where is your pretty wife? Yes, you
may laugh, comrades," he continued; "but
this old fellow has one of the handsomest girls
for a wife I ever saw in my life. That I will
say, although she was not particularly civil to
me last night. No matter; I shall easily find
the means to get into her good graces; and my
first step shall be to rid her of her ugly old
husband. I am sure she will be grateful to me
for that, so this will be something gained. I
only wish she were here now to see the pains I
am taking to make her a widow."

This wish was immediately accomplished, for
Pepina, who, witnessing the scene from the
window of the inn, had guessed the soldier's
intentions, now rushed through the crowd, and
after buffeting the fellow's face severely, she
seized him by the hair, which she pulled out
by handfuls at a time the soldier in vain at-
tempting to rid himself of her.

"Comrades," he called out, "for heaven's
sake take away this hag ; I shall not have a hair
left on my head if you don't."

But his companions, instead of assisting him,
roared with laughter, and asked him jeeringly
if this was the young beauty he had been rav-
ing so much about.

How long Pepina would have kept up the
struggle it is impossible to say, had it not been
put a stop to by the captain of the soldiers,
who came forward to inquire the cause of the
tumult.

" What is all this about?" he asked, as soon
as some of the men, in obedience to his orders,
had released their comrade from Pepina's
clutches.

" He wanted to murder my husband, who is
an infirm old man, and I am protecting him."

"And most efficiently, it appears," said the
captain. "And now what is your version of
thestory?" hecontinued.addressingthesoldicr.

" In the first place, captain," said the soldier,



"this hag is not the fellow's wife" here he
was interrupted by Pepina, who burst from the
men holding her, and rushing on the soldier,
assailed him even more vigorously than before,
exclaiming at the same time, " How dare you
say I am not his wife, when I have been married
to him for fifty years? I will soon prove to you
that I am."

Pepina was again drawn away from the sol-
dier, and the captain inquired of Tomaso whether
she was really his wife.

"She is, your excellency."

" Have you any complaint to make against
the soldier?"

" I have, your excellency; and a great one
too. He met us yesterday evening, and grossly
insulted my wife ; indeed, we had great diffi-
culty in getting away from him."

" Well, what have you to say in your de-
fence?" said the captain, turning to the soldier.

" I never insulted the old woman, captain,
nor did I ever see her before. It is true I saw
this fellow yesterday, but he was with a very
beautiful young woman whom he called his wife. "

The captain then inquired of Pepina whether
she was with her husband the previous evening,
and whether any other person had been with
them. He received for answer that there was
no one else present, and that she had not
quitted her husband's society even for a minute
during the whole of the day.

" Now," said the captain to the soldier,
"one thing is clear to me; and that is, that
you must have been drunk again yesterday
evening; for no one in his sober senses could
have mistaken this old woman for a handsome
young girl. I have warned you many times
that your drinking habits would at last bring
you into disgrace, and you have paid no atten-
tion to these warnings. But I will now give
you a lesson you will not easily forget. For
one month you shall remain in irons ; and the
next time I hear any complaint against you,
the sentence shall be confinement in irons for
one year. Take him into custody," said the
captain to his attendants, "and see that my
orders are carried out."

The soldier was immediately removed, and
the crowd shortly afterwards dispersed.

Tomaso, accompanied by his wife, and carry-
ing his bundle, then went to the boat which he
had engaged, and they were rowed across the
lake to Menaggio. In the evening they arrived
at their new dwelling, which they found very
commodious, and in excellent condition. They
resided in it during the remainder of their
lives, without anything worthy of notice occur-
ring to mar their happiness.



EXMOOR HARVEST-SONG. 219

EXMOOR HARVEST-SONG.

BY B. D. BLACKMORE.

The corn, oh the corn, 'tis the ripening of the corn !

Go unto the door, my lad, and look beneath the moon,

Thou canst see, beyond the woodrick, how it is yelloon:
'Tis the harvesting of wheat, and the barley must be shorn.

(Chorus.)
The corn, oh the corn, and the yellow, mellow corn !

Here's to the corn, with the cups upon the board!
We've been reaping all the day, and we'll reap again the morn,

And fetch it home to mow-yard, and then we'll thank the Lord

The wheat, oh the wheat, 'tis the ripening of the wheat !

All the day it has been hanging down its heavy head,

Bowing over on our bosoms with a beard of red:
'Tis the harvest, and the value makes the labour sweet.

(Chorus.)
The wheat, oh the wheat, and the golden, golden wheat !

Here's to the wheat, with the loaves upon the board !
We've been reaping all the day, and we never will be beat,

But fetch it all to mow-yard, and then we'll thank the Lord.

The barley, oh the barley, and the barley is in prime!

All the day it has been rustling with its bristles brown,

Waiting with its beard abowing, till it can be mown !
'Tis the harvest, and the barley must abide its time.

(Chorus.)
The barley, oh the barley, and the barley ruddy brown !

Here's to the barley, with the beer upon the board!
We'll go amowing, soon as ever all the wheat is down ;

When all is in the mow-yard, we'll stop, and thank the Lord.

The oats, oh the oats, 'tis the ripening of the oats!

All the day they have been dancing with their flakes of white,

Waiting for the girding-hook, to be the nags' delight:
'Tis the harvest, let them dangle in their skirted coats.

(Chorus.)
The oats, oh the oats, and the silver, silver oats!

Here's to the oats with the backstone on the board !
We'll go among them, when the barley has been laid in rotes:

When all is home to mow-yard, we'll kneel and thank the Lord.

The corn, oh the corn, and the blessing of the corn !

Come unto the door, my lads, and look beneath the moon,

We can see, on hill and valley, how it is yelloon,
With a breadth of glory, as when our Lord was born.

(Chorus.)
The corn, oh the corn, and the yellow, mellow corn !

Thanks for the corn, with our bread upon the board!
So shall we acknowledge it, before we reap the morn,

With our hands to heaven, and our knees unto the Lord.

From Lorna Doone.



A VISION OF MIGHTY BOOK-HUNTERS.



A VISION OF MIGHTY BOOK-
HUNTERS.

[John Hill Burton, LL.D., F.R S.E., born at Aber-
deen, 2'2d August, 1809. Educated at Marischal Col-
lege; called to the Scottish bar in 1S31; appointed
Fecretary to the Prison Board, Scotland, in 1854, and
subsequently historiographer royal for Scotland. Mr.
Burton contributed to the Westminst/r and Edinburgh
Rd'itw* and to Blacfacond. His principal works are :
Tlit Lift and C<irret^ndence of David Hume; Lives of
Siixon, Loi-d Lnvat, and Duncan Forbes of Culluden; Nar-
rating frum Criminal Trials in Scotland; History of
Scotland, from the Revolution to the Extinction of the
last Jacobite Insurrection ; Hiatnry of Scotland, from
Agricola's Invasion to the Revolution of 16S8; The Scot
Abroad; The Book-Hunter; and various legal works.]

As the first case, let us summon from the
shades my venerable friend Archdeacon Mea-
dow, as he was in the body. You see him now
tall, straight, and meagre, but with a grim
dignity in his air which warms into benignity
as he inspects a pretty little clean Elzevir, or
a tall portly Stephens, concluding his inward
estimate of the prize with a peculiar grunting
chuckle, known by the initiated to be an im-
portant announcement. This is no doubt one
of the milder and more inoffensive types, but
still a thoroughly confirmed and obstinate case.
Its parallel to the classes who are to be taken
charge of by their wiser neighbours is only too
close and awful; for have not sometimes the
female members of his household been known
on occasion of some domestic emergency or,
it may be, for mere sake of keeping the lost
man out of mischief to have been searching
for him on from bookstall unto bookstall, just
as the mothers, wives, and daughters of other
lost men hunt them through their favourite
taverns? Then, again, can one forget that
occasion of his going to London to be examined
by a committee of the House of Commons,
when he suddenly disappeared with all his
money in his pocket, and returned penniless,
followed by a waggon containing 372 copies of
rare editions of the Bible? All were fish that
came to his net. At one time you might find
him securing a minnow for sixpence at a stall
and presently afterwards he outbids some
princely collector, and secures with frantic
impetuosity, "at any price," a great fish he
has been patiently watching year after year.
His hunting-grounds were wide and distant,
and there were mysterious rumours about the
numbers of copies, all identically the same in
edition and minor individualities, which he
possessed of certain books. I have known him,



indeed, when beaten at an auction, turn round
resignedly and say, "Well, so be it but I
daresay I have ten or twelve copies at home, if
I could lay hands on them."

It is a matter of extreme anxiety to his
friends, and, if he have a well-constituted mind,
of sad misgiving to himself, when the collector
buys his first duplicate. It is like the first
secret dram swallowed in the forenoon the
first pawning of the silver spoons or any other
terrible first step downwards you may please to
liken it to. There is no hope for the patient
after this. It rends at once the veil of decorum
spun out of the flimsy sophisms by which he
has been deceiving his friends, and partially
deceiving himself, into the belief that his pre-
vious purchases were necessary, or, at all
events, serviceable for professional and literary
purposes. He now becomes shameless and
hardened; and it is observable in the career of
this class of unfortunates, that the first act of
duplicity is immediately followed by an access
of the disorder, and a reckless abandonment to
its propensities. The Archdeacon had long
passed this stage ere he crossed my path, and
had become thoroughly hardened. He was not
remarkable for local attachment; and in mov-
ing from place to place, his spoil, packed in
innumerable great boxes, sometimes followed
him, to remain unreleased during the whole
period of his tarrying in his new abode, so that
they were removed to the next stage of his
journey through life with modified incon-
venience.

Cruel as it may seem, I must yet notice
another and a peculiar vagary of his malady.
He had resolved, at least once in his life, to
part with a considerable proportion of his col-
lection better to suffer the anguish of such
an act than endure the fretting of continued
restraint. There was a wondrous sale by auc-
tion accordingly; it was something like what
may have occurred at the dissolution of the
monasteries at the Reformation, or when the
contents of some time-honoured public library
were realized at the period of the French Re-
volution. Before the affair was over, the
Archdeacon himself made his appearance in
the midst of the miscellaneous self-invited
guests who were making free with his treasures.
He pretended, honest man, to be a mere casual
spectator, who, having seen in passing the
announcement of a sale by auction, stepped in
like the rest of the public. By degrees he got
excited, gasped once or twice as if BMKtering
some desperate impulse, and at length fairly
bade. He could not brazen out the effect of
this escapade, however, and disappeared from



A VISION OF MIGHTY BOOK-HUNTERS.



221



the scene. It was remarked, however, that an
unusual number of lots were afterwards knocked
down to a military gentleman, who seemed to
have left portentously large orders with the
auctioneer. Some curious suspicions began to
arise, which were settled by that presiding
genius bending over his rostrum, and explain-
ing in a confidential whisper that the military
hero was in reality a pillar of the church so
disguised.

The archdeacon lay under what, among a
portion of the victims of his malady, was
deemed a heavy scandal. He was suspected of
reading his own books that is to say, when
he could get at them; for there are those who
may still remember his rather shamefaced ap-
parition of an evening, petitioning, somewhat
in the tone with which an old schoolfellow
down in the world requests your assistance to
help him to go to York to get an appointment
petitioning for the loan of a volume of which
he could not deny that he possessed number-
less copies lurking in divers parts of his vast
collection. This reputation of reading the
books in his collection, which should be sacred
to external inspection solely, is, with a certain
school of book-collectors, a scandal, such as it
would be among a hunting set to hint that a
man had killed a fox. In the dialogues, not
always the most entertaining, of Dibdin's
Bibliomania, there is this short passage: " 'I
will frankly confess,' rejoined Lysander, 'that
I am an arrant bibliomaniac that I love books
dearly that the very sight, touch, and mere
perusal . ' 'Hold, my friend,' again ex-
claimed Philemon, 'you have renounced your
profession you talk of reading books do
bibliomaniacs ever read books?'"

Yes, the archdeacon read books he devoured
them; and he did so to full prolific purpose.
His was a mind enriched with varied learning,
which he gave forth with full, strong, easy
flow, like an inexhaustible perennial spring
coming from inner reservoirs, never dry, yet
too capacious to exhibit the brawling, bubbling
symptoms of repletion. It was from a majestic
heedlessness of the busy world and its fame
that he got the character of indolence, and was
set down as one who would leave no lasting
memorial of his great learning. But when he
died, it was not altogether without leaving a
sign: for from the casual droppings of his pen
has been preserved enough to signify to many
generations of students in the walk he chiefly
affected how richly his mind was stored, and
how much fresh matter there is in those fields
of inquiry where compilers have left their
dreary tracks, for ardent students to cultivate



into a rich harvest. In him trulj' the biblio-
mania may be counted among the many illus-
trations of the truth so often moralized on,
that the highest natures are not exempt from
human frailty in some shape or other.

Let us now summon the shade of another
departed victim Fitzpatrick Smart, Esq. He
too, through a long life, had been a vigilant
and enthusiastic collector, but after a totally
different fashion. He was far from omnivorous.
He had a principle of selection peculiar and
separate from all others, as was his own indi-
viduality from other men's. You could not
classify his library according to any of the
accepted nomenclatures peculiar to the ini-
tiated. He was not a black-letter man, or a
tall-copyist, or an uncut man, or a rough-edge
man, or an early-English-dramatist, or an
Elzevirian, or a broadsider, or a pasquinader,
or an old -brown-calf man, or a Grangerite, or
a tawny-moroccoite, or a gilt-topper, a marbled-
insider, or an editio princeps man; neither did
he come under any of the more vulgar classifi-
cations of an antiquarian, or a belles-lettres, or
a classical collector. There was no way of
defining his peculiar walk save by his own
name it was the Fitzpatrick -Smart walk. In
fact, it wound itself in infinite windings through
isolated spots of literary scenery, if we may so
speak, in which he took a personal interest.
There were historical events, bits of family
history, chiefly of a tragic or a scandalous kind
efforts of art or of literary genius on which,
through some intellectual law, his mind and
memory loved to dwell; and it was in reference
to these that he collected. If the book were
the one desired by him, no anxiety and toil,
no payable price, was to be grudged for its
acquisition. If the book were an inch out of
his own line, it might be trampled in the mire
for aught he cared, be it as rare or costly as it
could be.

It was difficult, almost impossible, for others
to predicate what would please this wayward
sort of taste, and he was the torment of the
book-caterers, who were sure of a princely
price for the right article, but might have the
wrong one thrown in their teeth with con-
tumely. It was a perilous, but, if successful,
a gratifying thing to present him with a book.
If it happened to hit his fancy, he felt the full
force of the compliment, and overwhelmed the
giver with his courtly thanks. But it required
great observation and tact to fit one for such
an adventure, for the chances against an ordin-
ary thoughtless gift-maker were thousands to
one; and those who were acquainted with his



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