Billeder på siden

house; and from it you can estimate what kind the inferior ones must have been. A sickening stroll of half an hour led me through filth, misery, and dilapidation; and having perceived the frequent excursions of “ the Maid of the Inn," from her own château to the adjacent hovels, from which she appeared to be gleaning the necessary articles for my consumption, I re-entered the General Wolfe. You may suppose I did not dally over my morning. repast, yet it required some longer time than I had calculated; the table equipage had severally to undergo ablution, and God knows I was not fastidious in my cleanliness, after all. I was miserable till I found myself once more in the open air. .

I cannot describe my feelings as I bent my steps towards the Mill: the road by which I left the town was bad and rugged; an ill-constructed splash-wall (the Irish name for a loose, thin fence of stones, placed at random upon each other) was all that divided the highway from the adjacent fields- not a tree, not a bush was visible. Many a time have I walked to Peter Martin's academy through an avenue, sheltered on either side by hawthorn hedges, and canopied above by ashen boughs ; I was now striding over a bare and broken causeway.

I hurried over the short mile wbich divided my father's house from the village, I stood above the little quiet valley where my parents had drawn their first breath, and where their last sigh had been breathed. I looked for the mill, the farm-yard, and the garden; but I looked in vain-like those who had occupied them, they were gone: I seated myself on a bank above them, and wept bitterly; a step startled me, and broke in upon my sorrow a middle-aged, de cent yeoman stood beside me, and in

quired, with a solicitude free from all appearance of impertinence, if I was unwell? I replied in the negative, and told him I was a stranger, affected after a long absence, by seeing places once familiar to me. His house was beside us, and he invited me to enter it. It was a clean, commodious dwelling, well slated, and in good repair, and, as I remember, occupied the spot where our old kiln-man's cottage stood. From the door I looked if I could possibly discover the foundation of my father's dwelling; but the ground on which it had been erected was now covered by a decayed brewery. The little gig-mill which had made my father's livelihood, had been removed, and its site occupied by a spacious bleach-mill. The topographical appearance of all around was altered, the fences having been taken away to make room for the bleaching-grounds.

“ There is a great change here, no doubt, within your memory," said my new acquaintance.

“ There is, indeed,” said I, with a heavy sigh.

“ How long is it, may I ask, since you were last here?”

“ Five and thirty long years."

He seemed astonished. Why then you remember old Ashworth’s gig.mill, and his house, and"

“ All-all; they have given place to those modern buildings"

My father,” said the man pulled them down."

“ What? was Thomas Morgan your father?"

No--my father purchased this place in an unlucky hour from Morgan.”

Mutual inquiries produced a mutual recognition. Stephens seemed delighted to have met with an acquaintance of bis father's; and while dinner was prepar


ing, we seated ourselves on a bench before the door, and he communicated particulars of which I was uninformed.

“My father, you know, was wealthy; he had three sons, of whom I am the youngest, and the sole survivor; my eldest brother was apprenticed to the linen trade, the second he intended for an attorney, and I was destined to be a brewer. The linen trade was then prosperous, and offered the fairest prospects of future opulence to those who embarked in its manufacture. father unfortunately speculated deeply, at the suggestion of my eldest brother, and so assured was he of the stability of that trade, that, contrary to his own desire, he brought my second brother home, and placed him in partnership with himself. mote the greater extension of his business, he purchased this property, and erected the mills which you see, and

In it my

In order to pro

« ForrigeFortsæt »