Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

stole across my brain, than the shadows adjusted, and such sagacity of remark which now began to settle down on the when the affair is accomplished ; and the fair face of external nature. My heart jerking his noddle backwards and forAuttered for a moment, then made long wards to find how it works within its irregular throbs, and finally I became woollen trenches, seems at length to say, dizzy and faint, and almost fell to the “ All's well.” “ Devilish sharp evening,” ground with Jessy in my arms.

is likely enough to be the first observation, “ Was I in the presence of an evil if it comes from one under thirty years spirit?' said I to myself.

of age ; but the senators of the coach, Why,' said the young gentleman, the plump round-bellied sexagenarians, what has come over you, Saunders ? hint the chances of a severe winter, with I won't tell, man--so keep your own laconic sagacity, which would imply secret, and nobody will be a whit the that they are in the secret, but above wiser.'

all, because it is so much cleverer to “• Secret, sir!' said I, deeply stung; predict things to come, than dilate on * secret I have nane, sir-nane—that I things present.—Anybody could do the love the lassie, the haill parish kens, and latter ; but, excepting Joanna Southcote, I am not ashamed of it; but if you—ay, and Price Hohenlohe, who, in these you, sir, or any man, dares'

days, have we had worth speaking of in " Heyday-dares! What do you the trade of prophesying? To talk of mean by that, Master Skelp?-Dares!' cold in a coach, operates as certainly on

My recollection and self possession the inmates in producing a general chillreturned at this moment.

ing, as if a chemist had begun to mingle “I beg pardon, sir; I have been the ingredients of a freezing mixture. taken by surprise, and in my anxiety to Such a stir in the ant-hill, such puffing vindicate Jessy from all suspicion I have and blowing to collect the caloric, a new been very uncivil to you ; I am sorry arrangement of the neckcloth, and an for it.'

additional button to the body-coat; the “ The abjectness of this apology caus- upper benjamin, which had perhaps ed me to blush to the eyes, but it was strayed across the limbs of a more thinly made, as I thought, to serve my heart- clad neighbour, is instantly recalled, and dear girl, and gulping down my chagrin tightly fastened above and under, to preand wounded pride, I turned to go away. vent any more desertions; the window

“« Well, well, Dominie, I forgive you, glasses are sharply examined, and some man, and I believe there is nothing wrong unquestioned truisms discharged against between you two after all. I only spoke the negligence of the proprietors. Each in jest, man, and am in turn sorry to one dovetails his knees between those of have given you pain ; so gie's your hand his opposite fellow-traveller, and carefully -there--and I must have a kiss from arranges his well-stuffed pockets on his Miss Miller, the darling, or I never shall lap, to save his sandwiches from the believe that you both really and truly percussion of his neighbour, which he forgive me.'

dreads as much as Captain Parry would “We returned together to the village; an iceberg; and having thus arranged I would willingly have shaken off the everything, and provided against acciyoungster, but he insisted on seeing dents, ten to one but they throw themJessy home, and as I had no plea to selves back, and burying their head up prevent him, I submitted in great bitter- to the nose in their trot-cosey, like redness of spirit.”—Cruise of the Midge. breasts under their wing, put on a re

signed look, and wait for what may next THE NIGHT COACH.

betide them.

I have alluded to the general complaiHe who has travelled by night, need not sance of fellow-travellers on first setting be told of the comforts of the mail-coach out;-every man is brim-full of obserfrom the setting to the rising sun; and vation ; such a running over of acuteness even somewhile after this grand event, and facility of remark, that you suspect the jaded way-farer does not acknow. that if you had not Geoffrey Crayon ledge much benefit from the return of himself at your side, you had certainly his beams.

the rare fortune, at least, of having some There is a wonderful display of cheer- portion of his family. It is the kind of fulness among the passengers on taking exhilaration which a mask produces, place ; such a bustle with comforters for where, the real character being unknown, the neck; such a perking up of un- every one may assume what he chooses statuary-looking heads, while they are - when the little wit a man may have, You may

he may safely bring forth, because he would all be bishops; the bishops would calculates that the party will be broken faint if they were suspected to be of the up before his stock is exhausted. Old saints ; both classes abhor the idea of a arguments, like stale dishes, are garnish- curacy, and no one dislikes the reality of ed and served up as new ones ; illustra- it so much as he who possesses it; for all tions worn thread bare, till, from frequent these reasons, and to avoid misconstrucuse, they darken, rather than illustrate, tion, not a word of the pulpit, and no the subject to which they are applied, pretence to a Divine Legation while now come forth like giants refreshed, or among the ribalds of a mail-coach. А like antique jewels in a new setting. farmer is prudent on the subject of crops, Your merry fellows, and your ready fel. unless the receipt for his last rent is in lows, are now in their right place—they his pocket; and the grain pedlars at have no fear of meeting an officious Mark- Lane might be guessed at, by friend to hold up his finger at their best their shyness about the late averages. story, as if he would say, “ The joke is Generally speaking, no one lets himfamiliar to me ;" man cursed with such self out so freely as the sailor. He looks a companion, reminds me of a chamber always as if he was brimful - everycandlestick with an extinguisher hanging thing is a matter of novelty to him; he by its side. In compliance with the kind is as easily excited as a kitten with a of incognito to which the coach is so favour- straw or dangling thread. able, most people wish to assume every cha- discover him (if he does not make the racter but their own— no wonder; our disclosure himself) by his ill-brushed selves are to ourselves like an every-day coat, and his hat turned up on all sides suit, which, however good, becomes con- like a polygon. He is restless and watchfoundedly tiresome, and we put aside ful to learn the trim of the vessel, and if both, and gladly at times take the use of he has reached the rank of master, beanother, not that it can fit us better, but trays some anxiety to take the managebecause it shews us in a new light. ment. I travelled once from Chatham There is some shyness also about profes- with one of this class; not a word broke sion, in a coach, chiefly because our exact from him, though he was as eager and rank in it may not always be known, busy, now looking to this side, and now and which may be necessary to secure to that, as if it was a dark and gusty our respectability in it. By courtesy, night in the Chops of the Channel. We every one who buys and sells is called a were more than once interrupted by one merchant, but the claim to it is felt to be of those huge wagons which shew with doubtful, so long as the claimant stands Majesty the privilege of eight horses. behind a counter; and till that is aban. He seemed to shrink under its huge doned, therefore, little is said about the bulk, and, as it passed us, and threw a matter. Military folks, under the rank deep cloud around, to crouch into his of captain, are shy enough about their corner, to keep his frail bark from founcalling. Who would be thought an en- dering; but all his animation revived sign or a lieutenant? In so heroic a with a long line of carts, which nearly profession, what is the use of these beg- blocked up the road, and maintained a garly gradations, except to break the running fire with the coachman. Here spirit? Cornet Battier's affair has given he was again himself, amid this fotilla a death-blow to standard-bearers. A of cock-boats; Gulliver himself never captain is well enough-the name may looked more manfully when dragging at least be uttered with safety; majors the navy of Lilliput after him. Broadare pot-bellied and brimful of pride; side after broadside did he pour among colonels, conceited and regimental; ge- them, in all the variety of objurgation nerals—but they are for the most part and execration familiar to the gun-room; old, and ought therefore to be treated and, as we passed these land-pirates, as reverentially. These three last classes he called them, threw himself back on are much too consequential for a coach, his seat, and wound up his notions of and therefore not a word of the army- discipline and legislation, by growling list while they are between its doors. through his teeth, —-"By the Lord, there Lawyers are afraid of being mistaken should be a law to shoot these fellows!" for attorneys, who, they know, are con- By and by conversation slackens in the stantly pecked at by a company, like a coach,—observations are seldom made, hawk among singing-birds—and attor. and answers less frequently, and less neys are so little sure of themselves, that fully given; and if one, more adventhey are jealous lest they be supposed turous than the rest, will, in spite of all something even

The clergy these indications, continue to prate, he

worse.

А

is at length rewarded with the chilling tasked my imagination still harder, to monosyllables, Yes, and No, to all his ascertain the realities of objects to which inquiries, uttered in a tone which needs darkness and drowsiness had lent unreal no commentary on its meaning. I could forms and fantastic resemblances. I never learn why people are so jealous of have been delighted to yield myself up their appearance when sleeping; but you to these “thick coming fancies,” which may always notice that a drowsy man, transform the hedges into walls, flanked before he finally drops into the arms of with towers, and bristling with artillery ; Morpheus, peeps every now and then while the same romance of feeling conabout him to watch the effect of it on verts, with equal facility, the post-house the company; and if he discovers sly into the castle, with its gates and portwinks, or the remains of a smile lurking cullis. If, after the witching hour of about the mouth of his fellow-travellers, night, any reasonable person can doubt adieu to a nap for that evening. He that a bed is the fit and proper place to sits as much on the alert against such wait the coming of daylight, he is cured frailty of his nature, as if a cask of gun- of such heresies by seeing the reluctance powder was beneath him, and tasks his of the jaded horses who " go the next ingenuity to ascertain, from the shreds stage.” to leave their resting-places, and patches of the remarks of those about their heads bent down, their eyes halfhim, whether he had any share of the closed, and their ears drooping-in short, subject. I never heard one acknowledge a quadruped image of despair. The that they snored in sleep; it is as stoutly impatience and alacrity of the last driver denied as any of the deadly sins. to quit his charge, is contrasted by the man might own it to his confessor, or tardiness with which the new one assumes admit it on the rack, but nothing short it-his cautious examination of the harof either predicament could force the nessing, and peevishness of manner, I odious charge upon him, and yet the have sometimes thought was but a touch practice rests on good authority. I have of the sulks, on leaving his bed. John beard a grave judge charged with it, who has nothing of the knight-errant about warmly rebutted the allegation, but pled him, and has no particular relish for guilty to the minor offence of sleeping; nocturnal adventures. In the mean“ but then,” he added, “I always waken while, the officious hostler bustling about, at the most interesting part of the evi- now fastens a buckle, or undoes a strap, dence.” And, if to sleep be a proof of and pours his ready tale into the ear of a good conscience, how delightful must the dismounted coachman, who listens it be to a pious divine to hear low grunt- to this oracle of the manger, while he ings, like the jerkings of a bassoon, gives, like a Sunday paper, a summary breaking from some corner of his church, of the news since his last departure. which much satisfy him that he has at By this time all the outsides are snug least one saint within its walls.

insides of the bar, where a light yet glimAt length, as night advances, all is mers; and their angry call

may

be heard, bushed within the coach, and not a word while they fret their short minutes, till to interrupt that silence, but a propo- supplied with cigars, or the less ambisition “to shift legs” with your opposite guous refreshment of a glass of hot branneighbour, made with as little waste of dy. I could paint the appearance of the speech as possible; or, if it is your mis- night-waiter, even though I had a penfortune to be so plighted, you may be cil of less pretension than Hogarth's on one side importuned for more air the strange expression of a countenance, from the window, on the other for less, in which, strictly speaking, there is no without any regard to your own asthma expression_his eyes half closed, as if or lumbago. In this situation, I have the other portion of his optics was enough sat and watched the appearances of things for the duty-and his breeches unbutaround me; the harsh accents of the toned at the knees, leaving it a matter of driver occasionally fall heavy on the ear, doubt whether this economy of labour when unbroken by other sounds. You had most to do with his quitting bed, or hear an outside passenger ask the hour, dropping back into it again. I always which marks their slow progress, “to wonder what can make people sleep, when him that watcheth,” or impatiently I am not inclined to indulge that weakthumping with his feet, which speaks as ness myself; in other words, when it is plainly as a thermometer, of the coldness not in my power, I sit with cat-like of the night wind. I have strained my patience watching the dormice who eyes through the dim glasses, to catch slumber round me—the morning rays the mile-stones as we passed, and have seem more than usually slow, one might

BY DERWENT CONWAY.

think some accident had befallen them, As long, or longer than any of these that they were so long of coming forward. alternatives, does it seem till the chamAt first there is scarcely enough to ber-maid announces all is ready.- What illuminate the whole of our neighbours' can the hussey have been about all this visages; perhaps a nose and an eye, pro- while ? she has had her own sleep, and bably neither very good of their kind, does not think of others who want it; come into view, and these are served up but I shall speak to her pretty sharply in strong perspective. It must be a good about this at breakfast. Good-night, face indeed, that can stand this piece- good reader; my cap is already on my meal display of its parts. Chins that head, and, though half asleep, I do not had been smoothed with more than wont forget that I ought not to remain in ed rigour, to anticipate the toilette of a good company when en dishabille. L. second day, spite of all this care, are

Blackwood's Magazine. now rough, and perhaps grisly; neckcloths deranged and rumpled ; and if a A DAY BY THE DANUBE. female traveller has had the misfortune ta pass the night with you, the very squalor carceris seems to sit on her haggard cheek. And this is the Danube! I know not The events of yesterday appear as if they how it is, but almost every one has a dehad been pushed back a week in your re- sire, from his early youth, to see some collections. A land-journey to the Pole objects in preference to others, without could not have been more tedious than being able to assign any reason why; your progress from first setting out; and of all rivers the Danube had long you are not very sure if you are really been that which I had desired the most in good earnest awake, or ingeniously to look upon. Perhaps it was the name suspect that the birds, while they prune that impressed me, for there is certainly their wings, and trill their feeble notes something sonorous in it. Or it may be on the first blush of morning, are but that, when a child, I used to stop in the chirping through their sleep. But if evening, and listen to a blind woman the country seems dreary at these unwont- who sang, “ Alone on the banks of the ed hours, when night and morning strug- dark rolling Danube.” Her voice was gle for ascendancy, it falls far short of sweet, and there is something imposing the feeling of desolation which a sleep- in the image, “ dark rolling Danube." ing town exhibits, when, in broad day. The day I came in sight of it, however, light, not a soul is stirring, and every

not applicable; the sun was sound is hushed, as if it was the City bright, the water flowed pure and rapid, of the Plague”—when not an animal is and the gay fields of Hungary waved seen to move, the honest mastiff still yellow in the summer's breeze. I was watching at his post, and pug and poodle disappointed. It was not in accordance still slumbering on the hearth-rug. dream- with the ideas I had formed of it. I ing of their loves and quarrels. The would rather have seen a flood of dark cat alone is seen to rush across the street, waters flowing through gloomy forests; like a midnight brawler seeking to regain and I felt somewhat mortified that I his home before his absence be noticed. should so long have cherished a false

But I have now reached the end of image. I shut my eyes, and thought of my journey, as wearied of it as my readers the Danube; and it rolled before me probably with its description. The coach- dark and mighty. I opened them, and door is opened, but for a moment not

beheld it as it is. I had breakfasted at one rises; they are so closely fixed into Seid, about twelve miles distant; and I each other, that it looks as if they could now sat down under a walnut-tree, close only be raised in a mass, like raisins out by the river, to refresh myself with the of a jar.

In short, as Dr. Johnson contents of my haversack. There is would perhaps express himself, there is something soothing in the flowing of a more alacrity than facility of loco-mo- river; and my disagreeable feelings soon tion. When fairly disentangled from gave way to the beauty of the prospect the coach, they creep about as tenderly around me. I had not yet determined on their feet as if they were their neigh- the future course of my journey; whebours, and that they had not found out ther I should follow the river down to their right trim. They are tedious mo- the Black Sea, or up to its Alpine ments till the bed is ready

source; and

determined now to settle “ Long as to him who works for debt the day; the point. When one sits by a river's Long as the night to her whose love's away; Long as the year's dull circle seems to run,

side, and sees it flowing past, the mind When the bright minor pants for twenty-one."

naturally flows with it: it requires some

it was

thing of an effort to mount with it; so I again; and I determined, the moment speedily found myself passing through light-feathered fancy borne on its bosom Belgrade, Turkey, and launched into the should reach me, to arrest it. I was yet Black Sea. For a moment, fancy was ignorant where I should pass the night: arrested at Belgrade. Belgrade had the sun was getting low: so I finished been besieged; when, or by whom, I my flask of Hungarian wine, and made knew not, but it was the same thing, for a small eminence close at hand, to Belgrade had been besieged. But I left see if I could discover in which direction Belgrade, and entered Turkey; and then lay the nearest village. I perceived a imagination filled up its picture: Con- church tower, at about an hour's walk stantinople floated before my eyes; and down the river. It is all one, said I to its seraglio of dark-haired beauties; and myself, where I rest to-night,- I can the Hellespont, and its tale of love change my direction in the morning; and disaster; and then I passed into and I had just turned my back upon the Asia, and wandered among the ruins of Holy Alliance, when I perceived a young mighty cities, and ancient temples, where girl coming towards me, along the path Arabs and their camels were reposing; I had struck into, carrying in her arms and I saw the city of the prophet, and one of the prettiest little dogs I had ever its hundred mosques; and I heard the seen. Whether it was that the dog was voice of him who calls the Musselmen alarmed at the approach of a stranger, or to prayers; and the scenery of the Ara- that its mistress was for the moment bian Nights rose before me, and its won- more occupied with that event than by ders and enchantments; and I beheld the care of her favourite, I cannot preBagdat in its ancient magnificence, and tend to determine ; but, when within a the Caliph and his Vizier walking through few paces of me, the dog leapt from her it in disguise. I shall certainly follow arms, and fell into the river. The damthe river down to the Black Sea. There sel screamed, and ran to the edge, but is perhaps no one to whom that name the bank was too high for her to reach does not convey somewhat of a dismal the water. I immediately determined to image ; not, perhaps, that any one im- save the dog at all hazards. It may be agines its colour to be black; but there that I was less incited to the action by is always an idea of darkness and gloomi- the danger of the dog than by the grief ness connected with it. If there be any of its mistress; and when I call to reone who is insensible to this association, membrance her look of affection and let the metaphysicians bottle him up as agony, I know not which of the two I an exception to their theories of sugges. would prefer, to have it recorded as my tion. Whether this idea be inviting or motive, in my little catalogue of good no, depends upon the state of the mind; actions. The dog was carried out from to me it was revolting, after the bright- the bank a little way, and was rapidly ness of my Asiatic visions. I then looked descending the stream. At a short disup the river, and thought of ascending tance lower down, and only a few yards to its source. I should pass through from the bank, were some rocks, and not Vienna, the proud residence of the court more than two or three feet of water beof Austria, that inconceivable mixture twixt them and the shore. I instantly of kindness and oppression, paternal with broke off a branch of a tree, and in a regard to Austria, and despotic to all the moment gained the rocks. I lay down world besides. I should then traverse upon my face, and extended the branch, Germany : but here I was again obliged in hopes that the little animal would lay to leave the field to fancy. My igno. hold of it. A moment later, and he was rance, and not my will, consented; but lost; but my efforts were crowned with she travelled not the less blithely on her success : he seemed to exhaust his little way, that there was no finger-post to di- remaining strength in fixing his teeth in rect her wanderings : but a sad journey it, I drew him to me, and instantly she led me, through gay fields, and gained the shore. From the moment gloomy forests, across plains, and round that the maiden saw me interest myself green hills, up rugged steeps, ʼmong top- in her favour she had remained silent and pling rocks, and foaming cataracts, and motionless, the image of fear and anxat last left me in a desolate place, by the iety; but when I presented her favourite side of a clear fountain, where an eagle to her, joy and gratitude glistened in her and a chamois goat were quenching their eyes; she clasped it to her bosom, dripthirst. And this is the source of the ping as it was, kissed it over and over Danube! I could get no farther up, so again, held out her hand to me, smiled, I was obliged to follow the stream down caressed her dog again, and again gave

« ForrigeFortsæt »