« ForrigeFortsæt »
not be concealed from the uncle, who I guessed it was himself. When the gave him a severe lecture, but procu- time came, which he had put off to a red him a commission in an infantry moment of almost complete darkness. regiment destined for Spain. He was I opened the door to his fearful rap. to join it without delay; but the infa- It was he—I knew him at a glance, tuated fellow again risked himself, and as the lamp flashed over his face-and, lost the infantry commission also. He uncertain as was the light, it was now was ashamed or afraid to face his bright enough to let me see that he uncle, and enlisted (for he was a splen- was squalid, and in rags; that a feardid looking young man, who was in- ful and ferocious suspicion, which stantly accepted,) as a private soldier spoke volumes, as to the life he had in the twenty-sixth foot. I suppose lately led, lurked in his side-looking that he found his habits were too re- eyes ;
a year before fined and too firmly fixed to allow him spoke nothing but joy and couragė, to be satisfied with the scanty pay, and that a premature grayness had coand coarse food, and low company, of vered with pie-bald patches the once an infantry soldier. It is certain, that glossy black locks which straggled over he deserted in a fortnight after enlist- his unwashed face, or through his tatment. The measure of poor Tom's de- tered hat. gradation was not yet filled up. He I had that he asked,- perhaps more had not a farthing when he left the -in a paper in my hand. I put it twenty-sixth. He went to his uncle's into his. I had barely time to say at an hour when he knew that he “ O Tom !” when he caught my hand, would not be at home, and was with kissed it with burning lips, exclaimed difficulty admitted by the servant, who “ Don't speak to me- I am a wretch !” recognized him. He persuaded him at and, bursting from the grasp with last that he meant to throw himself on which I wished to detain him, fled the mercy of his uncle, and the man, with the speed of an arrow down the who loved him,--everybody of all de- street, and vanished into a lane. Purgrees who knew him loved him,-con- suit was hopeless. Many years elapsented to his admission. I am almost sed, and I heard not of him-no one ashamed to go on. He broke open
his heard of him. But about two years uncle's escritoire, and took from it ago I was at a coffee-house in the whatever money it contained-a hun- Strand, when an officer of what they dred pounds or thereabouts—and slunk called the Patriots of South America, out of the house. Heavens! what were staggered into the room. He was very my feelings when I heard this
when drunk. His tawdry and tarnished I saw him proclaimed in the newspa- uniform proclaimed the service to pers as a deserter, and a thief! A thief! which he belonged, and all doubt on -Tom Benson a thief ! I could not the subject was removed by his concredit the intelligence of my eyes or versation. It was nothing but a tismy ears.
He whom I knew only five sue of curses on Bolivar and his asmonths before-for so brief had his sociates, who, he asserted, had seduced career been-would have turned with him from his country, ruined his prosscorn and disgust from any action de pects, robbed him, cheated him, and viating a hair's-breadth from the high- insulted him. How true these reest honour. How he spent the next proaches might have been I knew not, six months of his life, I know not; but nor do I care, but a thought struck me about the end of that period a letter that Tom might have been of this arwas left at my door by a messenger, my, and I inquired, as, indeed, I did who immediately disappeared. It was of everybody coming from a foreign from him. It was couched in terms of country, if he knew anything of a man the most abject self-condemnation, and of the name of Benson. “ Do you ?”. the bitterest remorse. He declared he stammered out the drunken patriotwas a ruined man in character, in for- 'I do,” was my reply.--"Do you care tune, in happiness, in everything, and about him?" again asked the officer. conjured me, for the sake of former “I did—I do," again I retorted. friendship, to let him have five guineas, Why then," said he “ take a short which he said would take him to a stick in your hand, and step across to place of safety. From the description Valparaiso, there you will find him two of the messenger, who, Tom told me feet under ground, snugly wrapt up in his note, would return in an hour, in a blanket. I was his sexton myself,
and had not time to dig him a deeper he made a blow at me. I arrested his grave, and no way of getting a stouter arm, and cried, “ Jack, you would coffin. It will just do all as well. hạve been very sorry had you put Poor fellow, it was all the clothes he your intentions into effect.” He cohad for many a day before.” I was loured as if ashamed of his violence, shocked at the recital, but Holmes was but remained sullen and silent for a too much intoxicated to pursue the moment, and then left the room. We subject any farther. I called on him never have spoke since. He shortly in the morning, and learned that Ben- after went abroad, and we were thus son had joined as a private soldier in kept from meeting and explaining. this desperate service, under the name On his return, we joined different coof Maberly—that he speedily rose to a teries, and were of different sides in command—was distinguished for do- politics. In fact, I did not see him ing desperate actions, in which he for nearly seven years until last Monseemed quite reckless of life--had, day, when he passed me, with his wife however, been treated with consider- -a different person from his early able ingratitude-never was paid a passion, the girl on account of whom dollar-had lost his baggage--was we quarrelled-leaning on his arm. I compelled to part with almost all his looked at him, but he bent down his wearing apparel for subsistence, and eyes, pretending to speak to Mrs Dalhad just made his way to the sea-side, las. So be it. purposing to escape to Jamaica, when Then there was my brother-my he sunk, overcome by hunger and fa- own poor brother, one year younger tigue. He kept the secret of his name than myself. The verdict-commonly till the last moment, when he confided a matter of course-must have been it, and a part of his unhappy history, true in his case. What an inward reto Holmes. Such was the end of Ben- volution that must have been, which son, a man born to high expectations, could have bent that gay and freespirit, of cultivated mind, considerablegenius, that joyous and buoyant soul, to think generous heart, and honourable pur- of self-destruction. But I cannot speak poses.
of poor Arthur. These were my chief Jack Dallas I became acquainted friends, and I lost the last of them with at Brazen Nose. There was a about ten years ago ; and since that time that I thought I would have died time I know no one, the present comfor him-and, I believe, that his feel- pany excepted, for whom I care a farings towards me were equally warm. thing. Perhaps, if they had lived with Ten years ago we were the Damon and me as long as my other companions, I Pythias—the Pylades and Orestes of would have been as careless about our day. Yet I lost him by a jest. them, as I am about Will Thomson, He was wooing most desperately a Jack Megget, or my younger brothers. very pretty girl, equal to him in rank, I am often inclined to think, that my but rather meagre in the purse. He feelings towards them are but warmed kept it, however, a profound secret by the remembered fervour of boyhood, from his friends. By accident I found and made romantic by distance of time. it out, and when I next saw him, I I am pretty sure, indeed, that it is so. began to quiz him. He was surprised And, if we could call up Benson innoat the discovery, and very sore at the cent from the mould of South America quizzing. He answered so testily, that-Could restore poor, dear ArthurI proceeded to annoy him. He became make Dallas forget his folly__and let more and more sour, I more and more them live together again in my society, vexatious in my jokes. It was quite I should be speedily indifferent about wrong on my part; but God knows them too. My mind is as if slumberI meant nothing by it. I did not know ing, quite wrapped up in itself, and that he had just parted with his father, never wakes but to act a part. I rise who had refused all consent to the in the morning, to eat, drink, talkmatch, adding injurious insinuations to say what I do not think, to advoabout the mercenary motives of the cate questions which I care not foryoung lady. Dallas had been defend- to join companions whom I value not, ing her, but in vain ; and then, while to indulge in sensual pleasures which I in this mood, did I choose him as the despise-to waste my hours in trifling butt of my silly witticisms. At last amusements, or more triffing business, something I said-some mere piece of and to retire to my bed perfectly innonsense-nettled him so much, that different as to whether I am ever again VOL. XIV.
to see the shining of the sun. Yet, is tions, and bets on me at whist. I had my outside gay, and my conversation rather than ten thousand pounds be sprightly. Within I generally stag- in singleness of soul, in thoughtlessnate, but sometimes there comes a ness of brain, in honesty of intention, twinge, short indeed, but bitter. Then in solid contented ignorance, such as it is that I am, to all appearance, most Jemmy Musgrove. That I cannot be. volatile, most eager in dissipation; but N'importe. could you lift the covering which Booby as he is, he did hit a string shrouds the secrets of my bosom, you which I thought had lost its vibration would see that, like the inmates of the -had become indurated like all my hall of Eblis, my very heart was fire. other feelings. Pish! It is well that I
Ha-ha-ha!-say it again, Jemmy am alone. Surely the claret has made -say it again, man-do not be afraid. me maudlin, and the wine is oozing Ha-ha-ha!--too good, too good, out at my eyes. Pish !-What nonupon honour. I was crossed in love! Í sense. Ay, Margaret, it is exactly ten in love. You make me laugh-excuse years ago. I was then twenty, and a my rudeness-ha-ha-ha! No, no, fool. No, not a fool for loving you. By thank God, though I committed fol- Heavens, I have lost my wits to talk lies of various kinds, I escaped that this stuff! the wine has done its office, foolery. I see my prosing has infected and I am maundering. Why did I you, has made you dull. Quick, un- love you ? It was all my own perverse wire the champagne-letusdrivespirits stupidity. I was, am, and ever will into us by its generous tide. We are be, a blockhead, an idiot of the first growing muddy over the claret. I in water. And such a match for her to love ! Banish all gloomy thoughts, be driven into. She certainly should “A light heart and a thin pair of breeches have let me know more of her intenGoes thorough the world, my brave boys.” tions than she did. Indeed !-Why What say you to that? We should should she? Was she to caper after drown all care in the bowl-fie on the my whims, to sacrifice her happiness plebeian word, we should dispel it to my caprices, to my devotions of toby the sparkling bubbles of wine, fit day, and my sulkinesses, or, still worse, to be drank by the gods; that is your my levities of to-morrow? No, no, only true philosophy.
Margaret : never-never-never, even “ Let'us drink and be merry,
in thought, let me accuse you, model Dance, laugh, and rejoice,
of gentleness, of kindness, of goodness, With claret and sherry,
as well as of beauty. I am to blame Theorbo and voice.
myself, and myself alone.
I can see her now, can talk to her “ This changeable world
without passion, can put up with her To our joys is unjust ;
husband, and fondle her children. I All pleasure's uncertain, So down with your dust.
have repressed that emotion, 'and, in
doing so, all others. With that throb “ In pleasure dispose
lost, went all the rest. I am now a Your pounds, shillings, and pence, mere card in the pack, shuffled about For we all shall be nothing
eternally with the set, but passive and A hundred years hence.
senseless. I care no more for my neighWhat, not_another bottle ? --Only bour, than the King
of Diamonds cares one more !-Do not be so obstinate. for him of Clubs. Dear, dear MargaWell, if you must, why, all I can say ret, there is a lock of your hair enis, good night.
closed unknown to you in a little case
which lies over my heart. I seldom He is gone. A kind animal, but a dare to look at it. Let me kiss its aufool, exactly what is called the best burn folds once more, and remember creature in the world. I have that af- the evening I took it. But I am growfection for him that I have for Towler, ing more and more absurd. I drink and I believe his feelings towards mé your health then, and retire. are like Towler's, an animal love of
Here's a health to thee, Margaret, one whom he looks up to. An eating, Here's a health to thee; drinking, good-humoured, good-na- The drinkers are gone, tured varlet, who laughs at my jokes, And I am alone, when I tell him they are to be laughed So here's a health to thee. at, sees things exactly in the light that I see them in, backs me in my asser- Dear, dear Margaret.
ON THE PLUCKLESS SCHOOL OF POLITICS.
Dear Mr North,
as the instruments by which he would Some late events which have demon- carry it through. strated the jobbery of the Whigs, and There are a dozen or two members of the folly of some of the Tories, appear the chivalrous order of W.S., who hold to me worthy of being recorded, for a certain superiority over their brethren. the edification of the present, and ex- You will find that, like the names of ample of all future generations. I am, knights in the Red Book, these heroes myself, sir, an élève of the Pluckless are distinguished by a cross in our School, but my own plucklessness is Edinburgh Almanack. To some of not the result of the same motives these Grand Crosses of the Quill the which influence the rest of my bre- old gentleman addressed himself. Do thren. In the first place, I am a young not imagine that he appeared in the and nearly feeless advocate, and I am horrors of horns, hoof, and tail; he inclined to think, that if I ventured came in all gentle guise, and, carryopenly to avow the principles of real ing a powder puff in his hands, blew Toryism which I feel in my heart, the a cloud of vanity into their eyes, softfew semi-Tory writers who occasion ly insinuating that it would be a fine ally send me a sequestration fee of two thing for them to have the exclusive guineas at the beginning of a session, patronage of a chair in our University, for which they expect me to make all and distantly hinting, that if they could the motions in all the cases they may mount one sort of chair, the time might happen to have in Court till the end come when some of them, the said K. of it, would instantly desert me, and G. C.'s, might aspire to another. If encourage some seemingly moderate their body were qualified to teach law, and smooth-speaking Whig. But, se- who should say they were not fit to condly, I happen to have a small spark administer it likewise ? In short, these of modesty in my composition, and gentlemen determined, at the instigawhen I find my seniors at the bar, tion of the devil, in the shape of vaniand the avowed leaders of the Tories ty, to endeavour to get a lectureship in Scotland, succumbing to the Whig of conveyancing, which they had some scribes, I am not bold enough to stand years ago set agoing as a sort of penforward at the head of a sort of forlorn sionary situation for any member of hope, who might give me the slip in their Society who might have parted the very moment of the onset.
from his practice, erected into a ProfesTo you, however, my dear sir, I will sorship in the University. be candid and open ; to you I will dis- The bargain was easily struck ; the close those sentiments which I dare good old gentlemen thought they would not broach at a meeting of the Facul- steal a march on the Whigs by gainty, or even venture to suggest over a ing their most sweet voices in favour bottle of claret, at the table of any of of the measure, inasmuch as the premy employers. To you I will open up sent incumbent on the chair which a little specimen of Whig jobbery, and they proposed to transport to the Colwill shew you how it has been incu- lege, happened to be a member of that bated and fostered by some old To- deluded faction; while all the time ries, till the egg burst, and was found little did they suppose that in fact they to be addled. You must know, then, were the dupes of the very party they that Satan, the leader of the Whigs, meant to take in, and that the whole (they cannot fix on a leader for them- affair originated in a party maneuvre selves, so I take the liberty of naming to get another Whig professor forced the father of opposition for them,) Sa- into the University. tan, I say, regretting the trimming that This, as you know better than I do, some of his party had received at your , is a part of the present grand scheme hands, my dear Christopher, determi- of the Whigs, to obtain the command ned to lend them a helping hand in and control of all public seminaries, the way of a job, and in order to form and to exercise their tyranny over all ward the plot, he fixed on a few Tories private ones. They are, and have long
been, indefatigable in their exertions the proceeding, viz. their application for this purpose. Witness the jobbery in form to the Town Council, that they about the Lord-Rectorships at Glas- express themselves plainly, proposing gow and Aberdeen, and Jeffrey's grand that Mr Macvey Napier, the present humbug speech at the former Univer- lecturer, shall be the first professor. sity; witness the late affair of the My principal object in addressing Edinburgh Academy, which every bo- you, is to submit the reasons which I dy sees is just a plan to make the To- did not dare, from the fear of starvaries do the Whigs' work. The Sena- tion, to utter in the Faculty, but which tus Academicus of Edinburgh, by the induced me to vote with the majority constant and unremitting exertions of against Mr Cranstoun’s motion; and this indefatigable party, is now nearly this I do, because my reasons differ esequally divided, and the importance of sentially from those given by the perthrusting in one oppositionist can only sons who spoke on the question. Bebe thoroughly known to those who an- fore proceeding, however, I think it ticipate the effects of this great scheme, right to mention, that the Lord Prewhich, next to ministerial power, is sident informed these ambitious genthe main object of the Whigs. tlemen, that he did not conceive the
I need not tell you that, with their matter was one in which the Court usual cunning, the Whigs kept this was called upon to give an opinion. out of view, and gave the glory of the When the proposal was first laid beproposal entirely to their cat’s paws, fore the Faculty, they were of opinion the Tory commissioners.
that a report of the committee appointAccordingly, a proposal was drawn ed to consider a former proposal of the up, and submitted to the Court of Ses- -same sort, made in 1796, should be resion and the Faculty of Advocates. It is printed. This report contained many important to observe what this proposal solid objections against the erection of was. It was not a request that these such a professorship at all. It was held bodies should give the sanction of their that there was no occasion for a diviapprobation generally to the utility of a sion of the subjects of law and conveycourse of lectures on conveyancing, or ancing; that the lectures on the feuto the advantage to be gained by such dal law, the most important branch of course being delivered in the Univer- the course of municipal law already sity. No doubt the application was so established in the University, must worded as to lead at first sight to a be- necessarily embrace the leading doclief that this was all that was asked ; trines of conveyancing; while lecand due pains were taken both in the tures on conveyancing would sink into outset, and in the after proceedings in a mere dead letter, unless a complete the Faculty, to keep out of view the course of feudal law were delivered by real nature of the demand. It peeps the lecturer-so that the one chair out, however, even in the very first must necessarily interfere with the application to the Court and Faculty, other. This is a proposition which it and it is truly this: That their chair is impossible to deny; and when it is of conveyancing as at present existing, stated, that it was maintained by Dean together with the gentleman who at of Faculty Henry Erskine, * Mr Adpresent sits in it, should forthwith be am Rolland, Mr John Pringle, Mr A. transferred to the University. With- Balfour, Mr Solicitor-General (Blair), out this stipulation the Whigs would Mr G. Fergusson (Lord Hermand,) never have been satisfied, well know- Mr C. Boswell (Lord Balmuto,) Mr ing that if the proposal had been mere- A. F. Tytler (Lord Woodhouselee, ly prospective, the object of a Whig Mr W. (now Lord) Robertson, and vote in the University would have been Mr D. (now Baron) Hume, I should at best but problematical. According- humbly suppose it was entitled to ly the committee state, that they have some respect, especially as it was unagain resolved to solicit the boon of a animously adopted by the Faculty. University chair for their lectureship. At length, on a reconsideration of this But it is not until the very last step of report, which is a most able one, toge
* It is curious that Mr Erskine's name is kept out of view, and only his title, Dean of Faculty, given in the printed papers.-- While Mr Blair's name is given, as well as his title. There is a reason for this.