« PreviousContinue »
ed staircase, whose strange turnings and windings spoke volumes for the ingenuity of the architect, who seemed to have exhausted his craft in setting convenience and order at defiance. We at length arrived, after a very dark and roundabout journey, to the second story, where the hostess ushered me into a snug little apartment, which had quite an air of comfort when compared with my desolate chamber at the inn. It was garnished with a goodly store of rush-bottomed chairs and quaint chests of drawers. Two or three saints smiled in coarse wood cuts from their cunningly carved frames, and the miniature corpse of Saint Catharine, done in wax-work, with her nun's smock, her rosary and rope girdle, and a crucifix on her bosom, quietly reposed beneath a glass case on the cupboard. I liked the looks both of my landlady and the room; and when she bolstered these good impressions by the promise of a decent dinner, consisting of a soup, a puchero with its manifold representatives from the animal and vegetable creation, and a supplementary hare or partridge, I closed at once with her proposition, and assured her I should come that very afternoon-cayga que cayga.*
I had no reason to regret my change of domicil or company. In truth I personally became acquainted with all the inmates of the house, from top to bottom, down to a quiet, meditative little ass, who was lodged in the Moorish fashion in a stable . quite underground, and beneath the kitchen of Dona Casera. This meek and unassuming little beast had rather a sinecure office, being only led forth twice a day by the kitchen maid, a strapping black-eyed Aragoneza, with three or four long earthen jars set in a wooden frame on his back, to bring water from a fountain near the Ebro. During the rest of the day, secure from the flies and heat, the Capitan or Captain, for such was his name, stood demurely in his stable, looking as grave as Archimedes in his study, or Diogenes in his tub. These subterranean quarters he shared with a tall, high-blooded charger, beneath whose belly he might have walked without touching his ears, and who every morning bore his master, a cavalry-colonel, gaily forth to muster or parade. Whether the diminutive and humble Captain felt his inferiority in rank and size to the colonel's charger, or whether nature had given the horse and the ass but little sympathy, certain it was that there was no sociability between the ill-paired fellow lodgers. The
* An idiomatic expression equivalent to Macbeth's come what come may.'
horse ate his barley in selfish solitude at one end of the dark chamber, and Capitan at the other munched his stingy pittance of refuse greens, envying, perchance, if envy could enter the head of an ass, the more luxurious repast of his favored companion.
WALLER TO HIS MISTRESS.
[ BY KENNETH QUIVORLEY. ]
(“There be those who say, that despite of the many verses which he wrote about this time to the Lady Dorothea Sidney, (his Sacharissa,) his wit was frequently not forthcoming, when most in quest; and that it was well for Mr. Waller that his marriage with Mrs. Banks, the great heiress of the city, who left him a rich widower at twenty-five, prevented the poet from realizing, as he might else have done, how much he who liveth by his wits is dependent not only upon his own humors, but those of others for his bread.-Memoirs of the Court of Charles II.]
I'll try no more—'tis all in vain
To rack for wit my head,
By thee is tenanted.
Oh! thou wert born to be my blight,
My bane upon this earth-
In which those eyes had birth.
Thou darkenest each hope that flings
O'er life one sunny ray;
I'll try no more—'tis all in vain
To rack for wit my head,
By thee is tenanted.
Ανδρα μου εννεπε, Μουσα, πολύτροπον."-HOMER. “Well," said Mr. Egerton Winthrop, as he was sipping his coffee one fine morning at about eleven o'clock, “I think I am done-done !"
“Who is there ?—Oh, Lupin, it is you.—Come in-come in; and shut that cursed door.”—
“Did you see the Pedrotti last night ?”
“Well, well—and you can hold your tongue sometimes—Besides-in short, I am-ruined.”
“Hum !— Well,” (slowly)“ I did suppose it must be pretty nearly so.” “Here,” turning out a pair of empty pockets, are my means-And here,” taking up a paper, “ is my credit-Narr' (reading) 'de bene essePlease to take notice'-and so forth-" To Mr. E. Winthrop'-Last night at the club I lost
that must be paid”— "Why, Egerton, you know
“Yes, yes, I know perfectly well that you will not lend money when you are not sure of getting it back again--But what shall I do ?”
“Matrimony-I suppose; it can be nothing else that you drag forth with such funereal solemnity."
“Yes;- Farewell forever hence, &c.'—But really, I am told, it is not so very bad.”
But-my life has not been quite that of which parents and guardians approve—And something must be done so soon”—
“There are difficulties-no doubt. Dine with me to-day- I have something in my head-alone, at five.”—
“At five !-And let us have the Brahmin."
“Dum moliuntur dum comuntur." -- TERENCE.
It was done- Toussaint had given the finishing touch. And the dress had been pulled, and pinned, and tucked, and—the Lord knows what-In, short there was nothing more to do.
And there was mamma, and grandmamma, and aunt Betsy, and aunt Sally, and aunt Nicky, and cousin Polly, and cousin Nancy,—in all thirty
What a noise they made ! The poor girl was twisted and turned; this one must have a look, and that one must have a look. They screamed admiration, like a chorus at the opera-to those who don't understand music. Such sounds! such gestures ! such looks!
(Chorus.) “Oh! here is papa! Papa must see her; throw it away; throw it away—that vile segar! There, papa, look !-What do you think? Her hair-so nice !-Is n't that dress—" (Papa.) “ Very pretty-very pretty, indeed.” (Chorus.) “Oh!-your hands!—his hands !-his hands!! - Don't touch !”—Thank—the heathen gods !-there's the carriage.
Rattle away !—In a tumult of delight-my pretty Fanny !-how hope, and fear, and joy, mingle and struggle in her young bosom! And the vague expectation of something terrible, yet delightful !—The opening of a mystery !-
It was her first ball.
I hate the man who loves not thee, Madeira !-He cannot know the world; he cannot be a gentleman; he cannot have a head; he cannot have a heart; he cannot have a palate-Not for such “the hand of Douglas”
But I am wrong, after all; there may be, there doubtless are, clever people, in a homely way, who yet by birth, and breeding, and education, and perchance the coarseness of the clay, whence they were fashioned, are unfitted, unable to enjoy, to understand the finer and more delicate sensations of which our nature is susceptible !
-Let'men of business, fox hunters, and prize-fighters muddle themselves over port ! Claret, I think, suits well the weak heads of fops, and the hungry stomachs of authors.- For all the tribes of German wines, the whole conjugation of heimer, Rhine and Rhone, and red and white;why I sincerely hope my friend Delmonico may be able to get rid of his present stock. For myself, I must positively decline drinking them again- en personne.' Champagne, bah !--- tis for vulgar mirth! for noisy boys-and giggling girls-for
But Madeira !-princely Madeira !- Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse! The vulgar know thee not, and thou know'st not them—My first love and my last!
As I raise thee to my lips, bright and clear, thy blush is like sunset, so rich, so warm !--For a moment I pause; I drink that breath rich with the
* From the press of the Hydrophobian Society ; in most editions, Kanistov,
perfumes of a hundred climes—This, thou hast caught from the “spicy breeze" of Ceylon; and, here is the native sweetness of thine own woodland isle. I can resist no longer-Come, to my-mouth !
Circe's cup; nonsense !- That made men brutes ; this might make brutes men, men demi-gods. "'Tis not so sweet as woman's lip?"_Ah ! Tom Moore, you never tasted it; the right sort. They don't get it in England. Woman's lip, after it, I grant you; and it was then perhaps you wrote.-But what were woman's lip or woman either without ?
Beautiful traveler !-Blest be thy lonely, distant home -Blest the blue Atlantic that wantons on its shore!--Blest be the winds that pipe in its valleys! Blest the mountain side where the sun warmed and ripened thee! Blest be thy parent vine! Blest be the careful old man who pruned its too great luxuriance! Blest the little boys and girls who gathered thy ripe clusters! Blest 'the wine-press to which thou didst yield thy virgin charms !
Oh! blest be the ship that first bore thee on the deep! Blest be each particular sail, rope, spar, and block from her topmast down to her keel! Blest be the very bilge-water in her hold, and the barnacles that grew to her bottom !-Blest be her captain !-Blest be her mates, her passengers, her men before the mast, her cabin boys !-Blest be her cook !_* * *
The world brightens :-Love, Friendship ;-ye are not illusions !--The poets have not feigned.--There are many whom I love, and who love me; Charles, Johr, Dick; these men would die for me, or I for them ; cheerfully, gladly. And my wife loves me; very much, very much !-She has her ways,—but she loves me—And my children!-What a delightful thing to have a large family! Mine is perhaps a little too large : I am a happy
I believe I am drunk.
“I wish,” said Mr. Winthrop, “it was some other father.”
“Why,” said his friend, " they are not quite in the first circle to be sure; rather, rather"
“Oh !-that's nothing-you know he has a son; you must have seen him. The youngster had a notion for fashion—there were some conveniences about it, and I took him under my wing. He would play ; I warned him against this; but one night I became winner from him of about five thousand dollars; this was rather beyond my young gentleman's present means—the father called upon me,-he wanted me to abate-I was obstinate; not a farthing; could not, a debt of that nature.--It was all paid.—But you see the old gentleman will not be disposed to regard me in the most favorable light"
« That is a difficulty." “No matter, I think something can be done ;-I have a notion of my