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A MORNING JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, FASHION, &c
VEIUTI IN SFECULO.
GLASGOW, THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 1832.
A NIGHT IN THE CRYPT.
And now, in madness,
Think not, gentle reader I that I am now about to conduct thee into any of those dank and lugubrious receptacles of the dead, such as the sage Doctor of our city had in contemplation to establish under a central and general mart of pigs and poultry. Imagine not that I purpose carrying thee through the intricate and appalling catacombs of Paris and Palermo, to pour forth sentimentality over the crossbone altar-pieces of the one, or to hold companionship with the stalwart, but consuming atomies of the other. Dream not, that I wish to emulate the sombre Strang in his treatise on Sepulchres and Sawlies, and, like him, to advocate the unspeakable advantages of a Glasgow cemetery d la Pere la Chaise. No, gentle reader, I have assuredly no such melancholy duty to perform, my object is of a far gayer and livelier nature. The crypt whither I would lead thee, though situated, like that fancied one of the Doctor's, beneath a mighty commercial mart, and replete though it be with many sorts of spirits, is nevertheless such as to inspire courage rather than to awaken fear. The crypt to which I would now go, though illumined like that of the matchless subterranean Cltateau en Espagne, of our able statist, with all the brilliant appliances of good coal-gas, is altogether free from any pestilential vapours, being filled with living, not with dead men's bones. In this crypt, the only species of interment which takes place within its gay precincts is, that of fresh and well-fed Pandorc oysters being dropped down into the gaping grave of the gourmand's gullet—the only burial, that of consigning nightly a uxtrren-fuW of Welsh rabbits to their legitimate, although it is to be hoped not their lust, resting place! The crypt, in fine, to which I would now take thee, and counsel thee occasionally to return, boasts, in fact, a society as brilliant, and as many tinted as the Rainbow —a community, with the voices as cheerful and chanticleering as the Cock, and a squad of wags and wittlings as bright and sparkling as those of the Cider-cellar. But to the point:—
Last week, then, after sallying forth from a regular blow-out party, redolent with chicken turtle and old Johanisberger, it was suggested by one of the party, who had retreated along with me, that the day's business ought to be wound up in the crypt—where, by the way, the whole business of life must be ultimately completed. To this proposal I at first objected, on account of the lateness of the hour, and from a secret suspicion that lurked in my mind, that the ill-assorted marriage of cold punch and claret in my stomach required no third party to be present. My companions, however, having urged me with some anxiety to accompany them, I at length acceded, and ere a few moments had elapsed, found myself in front of that fell bar where %o many How-Towdies are daily condemned to be drawn and quartered, and where so many ale bibbers are nightly called up to answer with their coin for the
"deeds done in the body." Having cast a longing, nay almost a Burking, eye towards the various subjects laid out for that evening's dissection, I pushed my way into the Belle salle a manger, but lo! not a single shrine among the many, dedicated to the spiritual comforters of London, Paris, Lisbon, and Washington, could afford us accommodation. The fact is, every brassrodded and scarlet-curtained temple had each its own "hole and corner" meeting of worshippers busy in the orgies of Bacchus or Heliogabulus. We demanded if we could get on board the " Ship," but we were told with a sigh, that the berths were at that moment all secured by a batch of old and new baillies busy taking measures against the approaching cholera. We asked if we might enter the " Star," but we were answered, that that luminary was already crowded with the sons of her brother Mars, in deep forgetfulness of the proposed reduction in the army. We next enquired if we could gain admittance to the " Sun," but the negative shake of the waiter's head mournfully intimated that Phaeton, Phoebus, or whatever the ancients would have called it, could that evening afford us no light nor comfort. We had now but one hope left, and that was to obtain possession of the great " Globe" itself. The demand was of so ambitious a nature, that our tongues faultered as we whispered the magnificent monosyllable to our bustling attendant. The ominous grin, however, that played on his potato-trap, proclaimed that the men of Shuna still reigned paramount there. Sulkily we wheeled about, and prepared to travel homewards, when just at the moment we were on the move, which Heaven knows would have been better for us, the door of the huge Ball of Atlas slowly opened, and two Sexagenarian figures, inspired with at least a couple of double " Dawnies" slipt out of the apartment, and bolted past the glass door. "There is the ' Globe' at last for you, gentlemen," shouted the waiter with an air of satisfaction, and into the comfortable planet we went, thanking Heaven for our good fortune.
Somewhat lazy and dozy, I threw myself at once into the luxurious lounging crib of the President of the snug and sensible fraternity which there holds its regular evening assembly, while my companions ensconced themselves in the two elbow chairs that graced the sides of a blazing fire-place. The table was instantly cleared of glasses, and almost immediately covered with a snow-white cloth, while oysters, crabs, and lobsters were successively paraded, till Hunger at length declared a halt, and his brother Thirst seized the reins of government.
It would be here altogether impossible to go over a tithe of the highly interesting and edifying topics which seasoned each successive tumbler of gin-twist, suffice it to say, that hours passed, and Charlies shouted, and scalding burn [Anglice, hot water) was still the cry. In the midst of the wit and drollery, however, that was sported by my jolly and waggish companions, my eyes eventually began to twinkle—a dozziness came over my spirits—the lights of the gazelicr became dimmer and dimmer—the tongues of the speakers, like the sound of a bell in the receiver over an exhausting airpump, became less and less perceptible. I nodded, winked, and nodded again, till at length, fairly entrapped by the soother of humanity, I fell into the meshes of Morpheus.
Finding me fairly in a death-like snooze, my companions voted me comfortable, and a noo-convivia/ist—and as a just and appropriate punishment for the latter high misdemeanour, they proposed that I should be forthwith left where I was for the night. The gegg was a good one, and they now proposed to carry it into execution. Every thing was in their favour for accomplishing this project successfully. The hour had sent every inmate of the establishment, save a sleep-stupified stripling to bed,* and a stillness now reigned in the crypt of the Royal Exchange, as solemn as that in the crypt of St. Mungo. Extinguishing the gas in the Globe, my companions sliptout of the apartment—paid the bill to the strippling at the bar—and having quietly boiled out, the boy bolted the door. The sleepy stripling seeing the "Globe" in gloom passed on to his dormitory, and was soon snoring as snugly as a ship in the trade-winds!
Unconscious of my situation and solitude, I shunbered on, and then began to dream. The four-course dinner combined with the three-course supper, summoned up before my mind's eye the most hideous and most terrifying phantoms. At one moment I was pursued by an animal more hideous than the antideluvian mammoth; at another, I was tossing on a billow, exposed to the jaws of a monster more mighty than that which bore Jonah in its belly—again, I was galloping on the back of an aligatur to the summit of a pyramid—and, anon, I was flying, parched by thirst, through it stiffling and sulphureous atmosphere, in the basket of a gigantic balloon. This illusion was my best, and stuck to me longest. With the rapidity of the tempest, I flew over seas and rivers—over mountains and valleys—at length me thought Mount Etna appeared blazing forth fire and lava. I called out for mercy, as I saw myself nearing the crater of the mountain—I drew nearer and nearer, and nearer. Terror was roused to its utmost pitch—I smelt the sulphur—I felt the heat—I panted for breath—for one drop of cold water. I rallied my sinking energies, and made one vigorous effort to leap out, but at the very moment that I did so, the flame caught the balloon, and I was tossed headlong, like Empodocles, into the boiling and rumbling volcano.
I started from the President's chair at my fearfully imagined destiny, and thought myself in eternity, All around was dark, and although my eyes were open, my mind was still insensible to my real situation. In this plight, I saw a white sheeted figure dimly illumined by the rays of a waning moon, that insinuated themselves through the half open door of the "Globe," standing anxiously gazing at me, and still believing that my spirit had quitted its mortal coil, I faultered out, "Who art thou that awaits my coming to this realm of spirits—art thou a restless wanderer on the shores of Styx, or an angel of light come to conduct me to Paradise?" and springing forward under the impulse that frequently accompanies fear, clasped the sheeted figure in my extended arms. The warm flesh and blood of the supposed spirit, followed by the immediate exclamation of astonishment, and "oh! Mr. R. you are bumbazed, do you no ken the landlady o' the Crypt?" instantly recalled my scattered thoughts.
The illusion gone, I made a thousand apologies for what I had done. The landlady explained, that attracted by groans, she had risen from her bed, imagining the noise to proceed from the throat of some sick waiter. The affair was soon cleared up, and I sallied forth at four in the morning, vowing vengeance against my waggish companion, and resolving never to pass another such like night in the crypt.
TRAVELLERS' ROOM No. 1.
Smith And Jenkins. Scene.—Jenkins sitting Smoking, with a Pint of Port before him. [Enter Smith.]
Smith.—Well Master Jenkins, I am glad to see you making yourself comfortable.
Jenkins Comfortable! Why if a man can't make himself
comfortable in doors, he will find it a deuced hard matter to do it out of doors, in this here blackguard place.
Smith Why! what's ado now 1
Jenkins.—Ado! Why the devil's to do.
Smith—Well, Jenkins, if you can manage to do the old'un, I'll say you're up to a trick or two.
Jenkins—(Puffing out a mouthful of smoke. J—Ilark'ee, Master Smith, I'm not in a joking humour at present, and I'll tell you why, do you know all the accounts I opened here last journey, are like to turn out bad.
Smith.—You don't Say so!
Jenkins But I do though.
Smith—What! all of 'em?
Jenkins.—Why there be but three on 'em, thank God, but if there had been twenty I dare say it would have been all the same thing.
Smith—How could you be so stupid?
Jenkins.—I was as careful as I could be, and I'll tell you how it happened—last journey you know was my first trip to Scotland, and I know'd nothing of the folks in Glasgow, but in going about I saw three very well-filled business-like shops in our line, and took a memorandum of 'em, and in passing along Trongate Street as they call it, who should I meet but Jack Bounce, him you know as travels in the Tray line. Well, I axed him if he know'd the names I had marked. He said no, but he would take me to a canny Scotchman, a sort of a bill sweater, who know'd every body; well off we goes together, and he introduces me to this 'ere canny Scotchman as he called him, and told him I was a stranger come to do business in Glasgow, and wanted to have his opinion of some of the people of the place, so I mentioned my men, and he told me the first was dreeh, the second was unca dreek, and the third was dreeker and dreekcr; now I did not understand what he said, but Jack Bounce, who pretends to know all about Scotch, translated it for me when we come out, and gave me to understand that the first was good, the second very good, and the third the best of the three; so, after giving Bounce a bottle of wine for his translation, I bundled off to Dreek with my pattern cards, and pressed him hard for an order, which I got to the amount of eighty pounds. I then called on Unca Dreek, and by pressing him very hard, I got him down for one hundred pounds. I then set off to Dreeker and Dreeker, and by pressing him harder and harder, blow me, if I did not sell him two hundred pounds worth of goods. Well, the goods are all sent off, and we draws upon 'em in our usual way, but just before I left home, all three bills came back. From Dreek we received a letter enclosing twenty pounds to account. Unca Dreek sent an apology, but as for Dreeker and Dreeker, deuce take me, if he has said a single word on the subject. Now I've been to an Attorney or Writer as the call 'em here, to see if I can't make the gallows old Scotchman as gave us their character, cash up; but do you know ,when I told the case, he said Bounce's translation was all wrong, and that dreek, or dreich as he calls it, means a slow payer, that unco dreich is very slow, and dreicher and dreicher means, as we say in the South, worser and worser—now there's a pretty go—three hundred and sixty pounds and a bottle of wine all come to the pigs, for want of a good translator.
Smith It's a hard case, Master Jenkins; but what do you
mean to do?
Jenkins Why, I have not done much as yet; I called on
Dreek yesterday and he seemed quite happy to see me, and asked me to come and take a bit of dinner with him at four, and matters would be settled; so, thinking all was right I went, and there's three more guests, all social chaos, and we sat down to a piece of good roast beef, a cod's head and shoulders with oyster sauce, and a tureen full of sheep's head kail, which he said he had got entirely on my account, in order that I might know something about what is called a Scotch dinner, so we all got very merry and sat drinking away at toddy till near twelve, and you know we could do no business, then, so I looked in upon him this morning to settle matters.
Smith.—Well, and how did you come on?
Jenkins.—I took his bill again for the balance.
Stuith—The devil you did!
Jenkins.—Yes—having sat so long yesterday with my legs under his mahogany, the deuce take me if I could refuse him. Smith,—Well—
Jenkins Well, I have been to Unca Dreek, and he wanted
me to take sheep's head kail with him too; but no, I says, I had sheep's head kail yesterday, and I did not find myself much the better of it this morning, but if you'll settle our bill just now I shall be very glad if you dine with me at my Inn; this he declined, and asked me to walk to the back shop, and what, do you think, he proposed?
Smith.—I can't say, indeed.
Jenkins.—His bill, as I told you before, is one hundred pounds; well, he had the impudence to ask me to draw on him for one hundred and twenty pounds, and give him the odd twenty, and he would meet the whole when due.
Smith.—Which you was sheepish enough to do.
Jenkins.—Nay, Master Smith, I had declined his sheephead kail, else I don't know what I might have done—but this I did, I blew him up sky high, and told him I would arrest him in half an hour.
Smith.—Pooh! pooh, man! your Lawyer will tell you better than that—but now for Dreeker and Dreeker.
Jen/tins Ah! now for Dreeker and Dreeker, (buttoning up
his coat to the chin). I have not been to him yet, and I was just taking this extra pint to screw me up to my pitch; it is now out and I am off, and if he don't come up to the scratch and fork
out the blunt like a man, d me, if I don't give it him hot and
heavy; so good bye, Master Smith.
Smith Good bye, Master Jenkins—good luck to ye, my boy,
but take care of the sheepsbead kail.
Jenkins. —O let me alone for that; I won't be sheeptheaded any more.
As the Cholera marches onward towards our city, there have been increased preparations made for its reception. Like wise men, the folks here have not been quarrelling about, whether the coming disease be the same that carried off its thousands in India, and its thousands in Russia and Germany. They know that a disease exists which is carrying off people in the course of a few hours, and against such a frightful instrument of death they are arming themselves as well as poor mortals can. There are two consolations connected, however, with this distemper: First, that it passes over certain towns altogether, and Glasgow may be one of these; and the other is, that, although it should come among us, that its sojourn will not exceed a few weeks. Already, it is disappearing from Sunderland, and, by a letter which we have from Vienna this morning, we are happy to find that the fatal malady has there ceased its ravages. The following is an extract from our letter, and being from the very best source of information, is well worthy of the attention of our Medical Board and the community :—" You will be happy to learn that we have all providentially escaped the desolating influence of the Cholera. It was a sad and melancholy period the first month after its arrival among us. The vast number of poor victims to this cruel malady which hourly were carried past our house was indeed sufficient to appal the stoutest heart. I verily believe the greater number of those fell a sacrifice to fear and agitation; for, in the confusion of the first attack, no one seemed to know what to do, and what remedies to apply. When the physicians recovered themselves, however, and came to understand more perfectly the treatment of the cases, the victims to the disease became daily fewer. Emetics, camphor drops, and tea, were generally used with much success. This horrid plague is now, God be praised, completely out of this city. It is still, however, in the suburbs; but there is now no appre
hension of its return, since it has been long proved, beyond all doubt, that the disorder is Not Contagious, and every additional care proves more and more the truth of the assertion. What a saving of lives, and what a benefit to business, would the earlier knowledge of this fact have been to the world? There were two cases here lately which were of a frightful nature, and, after all hope had been abandoned, twenty-five drops of the enjeput oil were given, and caused an almost instantaneous relief from pain. The colour soon returned, and both were completely restored to health. This was told me by the physician who administered the remedy. Our physician had daily at least fifty-four, and frequently more patients to attend to, and out of all his cases he only lost one!"
This letter should pour comfort into the bosoms of all who are alarmed for the malady that rages at Gateshead; since it appears plain that, with care and immediate attention to the disease, its destructive power is easily checked. If it be true, also, what our correspondent seems to think undeniable, that the malady is not contagious, those who may be attacked have the prospect of obtaining greater and more unwearied attention from their attendants, while the folly of quarantines and lazarettos will be immediately abandoned. The Modern Athenians are in horror at the prospect of the approach of the malady. We trust the citizens of Glasgow have better sense than follow their example, and will bravely look the monster in the face. We verily believe that the disease which now threaten us, is, when once understood, not half so terrible as the typhus fever which is now raging among us.
THE SIGH OF LOVE.
The Sigh of Love, that silent steals
Is sweet as when the Spring reveals
The Tear of Love, at parting hour,
When young Affection owns its power
The Smile of Love—so fond, so dear,
Bright as the new-born gem appears
The Hope of Love!—oh! be it blest!
For Love of Hope was born; Hope is the dawn of passion chaste,
And Love the risen morn.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Hearing that a petition is to be sent up in favour of Stirret, we have withheld, for a few days, a paper, which is in types, upon that important case, and which was to have appeared to-day. We have no desire to prejudge any question.
The letter of " Philanthropus" has been received, for which we return our best thauks. It is difficult to hit at once on the most judicious course to reach the end which we have in view, but he may rest assured that no pains will be spared to make our Journal instructive as well as amusing. The idea of pursuing the Christian course of the Spectator, in devoting our Saturday's Paper to the more important concerns of this transitory life, was among the first resolutions the "Council of Ten" unanimously passed.
We are obliged to "Demophile" for the enclosure he sends us. The "Lectures" will be examined, and, if we can make any use of them, we shall do so.
"Nice Pickings" will have a place as soon as we have room.
If "A7— N." could give us any papers connected with the subjects to which he alludes, we would willingly find them a place. Anecdotes of some of the celebrated citizens of Glasgow would be invaluble.
•#* In order to insure this Publication being on the Breakfast Table every morning, it is requested that intending Subscribers will leave their names and addresses at the Publisher's
The fact which Mr. David Laurie has promulgated, concerning the perilous condition of all the London Bridges, owing to the removal of the weir, or dam, at the Old London Bridge, has set the whole wiseacres of our city dreaming about the probable consequences of removing the weir at the Jamaica Street Bridge. One talks of the fate of the Old Bridge being sealed, if the present absurd proposition be carried into effect; another talks of the pestilential mud that will be thrown up, and which, during every reflux of the tide, will be exposed to the sun's rays in front of the most beautiful portion of Glasgow—Carlton Place, and Clyde Street; a third talks of the terrible loss that will fall upon the proprietors of all houses in the neighbourhood of the Bridge during its building, perhaps a term of seven years/ a fourth, of the absolute folly of pulling down one of the most substantial and elegant structures that was ever erected, and which was calculated to stand for centuries; while a fifth, is throwing out hints about some hidden job connected with the Trust. In good sooth, this is no subject upon which men who have the welfare of the city ought to come instantly to a conclusion. 'J ake patience, Gentlemen, weigh the matter well, and perhaps it might be no bad method to arrive at a just opinion to take the sense of a meeting of the citizens. We can assure you they have a deeper interest in the question than you seem to imagine.
There is at present a serious dispute raging among certain matrons, at the west end of this city, whether it be a proof of gentility that the name of the householder be or be not affixed to the street door. Gentility, certainly, may be inferred as belonging to the proprietor of a mansion, from beholding a well-kuown aristocratical cognomen upon a brass plate, whereas the patronymics of MacTreddles or MacRump could only suggest ideas of vulgarity. We would therefore counsel the ladies of the Novi Homines always to stick to the number, especially to No. 1 if possible.
LONDON THEATRICALS. From our London Correspondent.
The Large and Minor Theatres are going on merrily with their Holiday Harlequinades. I think I alluded in one of my former letters to Mr. Ciiarleb Kemble's bad health. Within these few days the accounts are more favourable. He is recovering, but necessarily slowly. It is to be hoped that no other relapse shall occur. The last return of his disorder was occasioned by an injudicious desire on his part, and indeed on the part of those around him, that he should be restored to his profession as soon as possible. Owing to his indisposition Lord F. Leveson Gower has been kept in suspense regarding his tragedy of '* Catherine of Cleves." In the mean time Mr. Surle has a tragic drama in preparation at Drury Lane, as a counterpoise to that of Lord Gower's. Talking of Lord Francis—do you know that one of our most popular translating dramatists is about to open a public-bouse, in order, as he says, that his wife may have employment as well as himself! His ambition as a man and as an author thus seem to be upon a par; and it is therefore hardly to be regretted that he does not find the business of adaptation more profitable. Capt. PoLHILL, though anticipated by the lessee of the King's Theatre, it is said has not abandoned the idea of bringing out a piece founded on the story of Robert the Devil. You are perhaps not aware that this fable was adapted to the stage in England as long ago as the reign of Henry the Seventh, when it was played at Chester, and it was revived again in 1529. The only things at present I remember worth commuuicating, in the theatrical line, as the bagmen say, are that, Martin's menagerie has embarked for Dublin, and the intrepid " Coeur-de-Lion" goes afterwards to Ducrow at Liverpool and Manchester; that Mrs. Love (Emma's dutiful mama) has departed this life; and that a Miss Chambers, the daughter of Mr. Chambers, banker, has made a most successful debut at the Brighton Theatre.
FOREIGN THEATRICAL AND MUSICAL
The long-talked of Opera of Robert le Diable, by Meyerbeer, has been produced at Paris with a success equal to that which attended La Dame Blanche and Guillaume Tell.
Mr. Sinclair and Miss Hughes are amongst the English vocalists now exhibiting their talents in America.
A Mr. Canderbeck is at present producing such effects with his fiddle on the good people of New York, as to have acquired the title of the New York Paganini.
FOREIGN LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
An interssting Report by M. Qui.net, was lately presented to the Minister of Public Works in France for the purpose of procuring the assistance of government in publishing many Epic Poems of the Twelfth Century, in the French language! The MSS. are in the BMiotique du Roi, and in that of the Arsenal, where they have hitherto remained unknown. These poems consist of many thousand verses, and would fill 50 folio volumes. M. Quinet considers them as the popular reflection of the ancient Celtic traditions, in regard to the religious and historical monuments of the Celtic provinces.
At Milan, two new Historical Romances, after the manner of the famous Promissi Sposi of Mazoni, have lately made their appearance. The one by the author of Sibella Odaleta, is entitled Folchetlo Malespina Romanzo Slorico del Secolo, XII. In 3 vols. The other is Uberto Visconti, Romanzo Storico risguardante Milano a' tempi di Barnabo e Gian-Galcazzo Visconti, in one vol. by G. Campiglio.
The popular and prolific German novelist, Augustus La Fontaine, whose productions have been translated into nearly all the languages of Europe, and were even admitted into the Imperial Library at St. Cloud, died at Halle, on the 26th of April.
FEMALE FASHIONS FOR JANUARY.
A Dress of Oiseau crape over satin to correspond, the crape is figured in green, the corsage is crossed drapery before and behind; it is cut very low, and bordered by blond lace, which stands up round the bust. The sleeve is a single bouffant disposed in falling plaits. The skirt is trimmed round the border with a twisted rouleau of satin to correspond with the dress. The hat is composed of blue velvet, trimmed on the inside of the brim next the face with gaze ribbons to correspond. A schako of white cock's feathers, and knot of ribbon adorn the crown.
A MORNING JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, FASHION, &c
GLASGOW, FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 1832.
THE POWER OF PAINTING.
She looked on many a face with vacant eye,
She saw them watch her without asking why,
Not speechless though she spoke not; not a sigh
Believed her thoughts.
I Have often felt, whilst contemplating beautiful works of art, that the enjoyment they afforded, principally arose from their sympathizing with the state of my feelings at the time I beheld them, and that whenever this sympathy did not exist, whatever might be the merits of the artist, to me they were value-less, since they did not touch my heart.
Fatigued with the turmoil, and pursuits of active life, with what enjoyment have I retreated to my pictures, to enhale peace and serenity, while luxuriating over the beauties of my favourite 6unset by Claude,— or when cheered by prosperity and the kindness of friends, how often have I rejoiced with the happy groupes of Ostade and of Teniers!
Historical compositions, whilst they are made elevated in character, ought also more peculiarly to affect the feelings. It is not for the mere gazer, that the sculptor studies, or the artist paints. It is for him who can imbibe the sentiment of a pictoral production, who can transfer himself to the pictured scene, who for a time can become one of the artist's creations, that genius puts forth her design, and talent enriches the canvass. Alas! how limited is the number of those, who have power to enter into the spirit of such works,—and how apt are mankind to condemn, when they cannot comprehend! An unhappy contrast—an incorrect line —an inexpressive detail,ureanxiouslypointedto, whilst the general design and object of creative genius, is altogether forgotten. Yet pictures will be eloquent. Yes, and at times too they will find hearts that can respond to them.
More years have passed away than I would willingly number, since, one fine summer evening, my friend
Montague and I rode towards the Vicarage of F
in Devonshire. During the day, we had both been delighted with the varied prospects, which abound in that rich and fertile portion of England. A country, wealthy by her natural productions—the golden harvest waving luxuriantly—the fruit on every side assuming its rosy or russet hue, and occasionally the modest river Ex peeping over her green banks, after hiding herself for miles amid the foliage that adorn them,— all, all was loveliness,—it was a day of splendour aud of glory.
We had proceeded in silence for some time, proud of England, and rejoicing over her fertility and hiippiness, when my companion, who had spent his earlier years in this neighbourhood, directed my attention to a group of trees, gently agitated by the evening breeze, and situated at a short distance before us. "If, " said he, " Maria be as lovely, as when last she and I parted beneath these elms, I think, Sir, you shall soon see the fairest girl in Devonshire." To a young man of only twenty years, this was rather an interesting announcement, and, as I knew my friend had been long an inmate of the vicar's mansion, I could not for a moment doubt the correctness of his description. The vicarage,
which we now approached, was a modern building of large dimensions; and its white walls shone fair through the honeysuckle and vines, which had been trained along its front. As Montague had some time before written to announce our intended visit, we found the vicar at the porch, awaiting our arrival. We entered the parlour, where I was immediately introduced to his lady and two lovely girls, and I watched eagerly to ascertain which of them was Maria. I soon perceived however, that neither bore that name,; and I looked with some anxiety to my friend, when at length he enquired, " where is Maria?" The girls seemed unconscious of any peculiarity in the question, but the vicar and his wife turned at the same moment towards us, and with a look which I shall never forget, a look that did not say "we blame you for the question," but rather " we implore you, spare our feelings." My friend's inquiry was thus sadly, but effectually answered.
I attempted to relieve the embarrassment of the company, by expatiating on the beauty of the surrounding scenery, and each one of the party appeared to think it a duty to fill up every pause in the conversation with alacrity; but the question which had been put never seemed to be forgotten—and the night closed heavily and painfully over us—the string of sorrow had been touched, and all the other chords vibrated to it alone. The ladies at their usual hour retired. I was soon after conducted to my chamber, having left the vicar and my friend in the summer parlour, after having agreed, to depart at an early hour in the morning. Nothing occurred to interrupt my slumbers until midnight, when, suddenly, I heard a female voice singing delightfully a melody with which I was familiar; but, so soon as the song had proceeded a few bars, the melody was changed for another—and again for a third, leaving me to speculate on a circumstance, at once peculiar and incomprehensible. I now sunk into repose; nor did I awake, until it was announced to me, in the morning, that my friend waited for me. I found him already mounted, and slowly and silently we commenced our journey. His appearance was most melancholy. We proceeded for sometime, each occupied with his own painful reflections, until at length, unable to bear the suspense which the mysterious circumstances attending our visit had occasioned, I asked him, What of Maria? "Maria," said my friend with a firm voice, "Maria is insane."—I could have wept for him! Now, his every hope was blighted; and the affection of years dimmed, absorbed, and lost in the sorrows of that morning. No longer had we enjoyment from the fair face of nature—all seemed gloomy and sunless; and we agreed to separate immediately, and to return each to his respective home, as the most suitable arrangement in the present state of our perturbed feelings.
Eight years had passed away, and poor Maria's fate was a subject that frequently occupied my thoughts during the long interval. At length the death of a rich relation, induced me to visit London, and, during my stay, I entertained myself with the varied novelties, which, especially to the eye of a stranger, the metropolis of the world presents, in such a variety