Page images
PDF
EPUB

AMERICAN MODES OF THINKING.

HORSE SELLING.
FROM A RAMBLE THROUGH THE UNITED STATES.
BY S.A. FERRALL. JUST PUBLISHED.

A SCENE AT Tattersall's.—Gentlemen, what can you hesitate about? Only look at her! She is one of the most

beautiful creatures that I have ever had the honour of submit“ Near Mountpleasant, I stopped to dine at the house of ting to your potice! So gentle in her paces—indeed so safe a a Dutchman by descent. After dinner, the party adjourned, goer that a child might ride her. Her pedigree is excellent as is customary, to the bar-room, where divers political and -she is thorough-bred from her ear to her hoof; and the polemical topics were canvassed with the usual national Heralds College could not produce a more sound and satisfacwarmth. An account of his late Majesty's death was in. tory one. Sbe comes from a good house, I pledge my word, serted in a Philadelphia paper, and happened to be noticed Geotlemen. My Lord Duke, will you allow me to say L.250 by one of the politicians present, when the landlord asked for your Grace? She will, notwithstanding the excellence of me how we elected our king in England. I replied that your Grace's stud, be an ornament to it. She is a picturehe was not elected, but that he became king by birthright, complete to a shade; in fact, I could gaze upon her for ever, &c. A Kentuckian observed, placing his leg on the back Thank you, my Lord Duke, I was certain your Grace would

and always be struck with some new beauty she possesses. of the next chair, “ That's a kind of unnatural."

An, In- not let such an opportunity pass. There is not a horse-dealer dianian said, “ I don't believe in that system myself.”. A in the kingdom who can show such a fine creature! She is third—“ Do you mean to tell' me, that because the last above competition-I may say she is matchless! The Regent's king was a smart man, and knew his duty, that his son or Park might be betted to a mole-hill with safety that she has no his brother should be a smart man, and fit for the situa- paragon. Sir Henry, let me call your attention to Cleopatra ! tion?" I explained that we had a premier, minister, &c. ; She is like her namesake in the olden times--but beautiful when the last gentlemen replied, “ Then you pay half-a- without paint? She is pure Nature, and no vice! Her action, dozen men to do one man's business

. Yes, yes, that may of an hour but puffing is out of the question—you shall judge

Sir Henry-yes, her action-I could dilate upon it for a quarter do for Englishmen very well! but I guess it would not go for yourself Run her down, John—The Graces, I am sure, down here : no, no, Americans are a little more enlightened Sir Harry, were they to behold her movements, would be out than to stand that kind of wiggery.” During this conver- of temper with her captivating excellence ! Taglioni, 1 inust sation a person had stepped into the room, and had taken admit, can perform wonders with her pretty feet; but Cleopatra, his seat in silence. I was about to reply to the last ob- my Lord Duke, can distance the whole of them put together; servations of my antagonist, when this gentleman opened and positively leave the Opera House, with all its talent, in the out with “ Yes! that may do for Englishmen very well.” back ground. In fact, I am deficient in words to display ber He was an Englishman, I knew at once by his accent, and immense capabilities--L.300 Going !-Going! L.310. Thank I verily believe, the identical radical who set the village of you, my Lord Duke, she must be yours. For the last time, Bracebridge by the ears, and pitched the villagers to the going at L.310; but I will do the handsome thing, I will allow devil, on seeing them grin through a horse-collar, when you five minutes to compose your mind – I am well aware that they should have been calculating the interest of the na- lose sight of this han some creature, I do impress upon you to

such unparalleled beauty is very dazzling-therefore, before you tional debt, or conning over the list of sinecure placemen. remember that the opportunity once lost-L320 ; Sir Harry, He held in his hand, instead of Cobbelt's Register, the I am obliged to you—the world has always acknowledged you Greenrille Republican: he had substituted for his short as a man of great taste in matters of this kind ; and, without sleeved coat « a round-about :” he seemed to have put on Aattery, you have never shown it more than in the present flesh, and looked somewhat more contented. “ Yes, yes,” instance--according to the poet-"Beauty unadorned is adornhe says that may do for Englishmen very well, but it ed the most !” Going !-Cleopatra, my Lord Duke, will be won't do here. Here we make our own laws, and we keep in other hands if your Grace does not make up your mind in them too. It may do for Englishmen very well, to have your usual princely style of doing things—a good bidding will the liberty of paying taxes for the support of the nobility-make Cleopatra your own for ever; therefore, now's the time to have the liberty of being incarcerated in a jail for race in a canter! L.310. My Lord Duke, I can only express

to put on the distancing power, and your Grace will win the shooting the wild animals of the country—to have the liberty my gratitude to say, that you have done me honour--Going! of being seized by a press-gang, torn away from their wives -going !-in fact, gentlemen, I am like an artist in this case, and families and flogged at the discretion of my Lord Tom, I do not like to leave such a delightful picture, and I could dwell Dick, or Harry's bastard.” At this the Kentuckian upon the qualities of Cleopatra to the echo that applauds again guashed his teeth, and instinctively grasped his hunting

--but most certainly I have given you all a fair chance-Cleoknife; an old Indian doctor, who was squatting in one cor- patra is on the go-are you all silent ?-going for L.310 after ner of the room, said, slowly and emphatically, as his eyes all. What is that sum for one of the greatest English beauties zlared, his nostris dilated, and his lip curled with contempt,

ever submitted to the inspection of the public! 1.350—thank The Englishman is a dog ;" while a Georgian slave, who you, Sir Charles--worth your money at any price. I have stood behind his master's chair, grinned and chuckled with bear looking at again and again! (harming Cleopatra! I ain

witnessed your notice of Cleopatra for some tiine past she will delight, as he said, “ Poor Englishman, him meaner man glad to see she has so many suitors for her hand—I beg pardon, den black nigger.” “ To have,” continued the English- gentlemen-a slip will happen to the best of us—her feet, I man, “ the liberty of being transported for seven years for should have said, but, nevertheless, I am happy to see she has being caught learning the use of the sword or the musket. a host of admirers. I cannot bed myself, or else I would“ pake To have the tenth lamb, and the tenth sheaf seized, or the play," and Cleopatra should become a poble prize. L.370 blanket torn from off his bed, to pay a bloated, a plethoric Bravo! my Lord Duke! fur L.370 positively, yes positively, bishop or parson ; to be kicked and cuffed about by a parcel pon my honour, positively the last time or else the beautitul of Bourbon gendarmerie Liberty !-why hell sweat.” Cleopatra goes into the keeping of my Lord Duke. You are Here I slipped out at the side door into the water-melon sure, gentlemen, that you bave all done? Don't blame me,

blame yourselves! Going, once! Going, twice! Going, three patch As I receded, I heard the whole party burst out times ! [The auctioneer, after a long pause, and numerous into an obstreperous fit of laughter. A few broken sen- flourishes with his hammer, in hopes to obtain another bidding, bencas from the Kentuckian and the radical reached my ear, but the cock would not fight,' 'exclaimed) Gune !!! Cleve such as “ backed out"_“ damned aristocratie.” I return- patra belongs to the Duke. -Egan's Book of Sports. ed in about half an hour to pay my bill, when I could observe one or two of those doughty politicians who remained, National CHARACTER.–The Regent Duke of Orleans once berting at one most significantly. However, I _“ smiled asked a stranger, what were the different characters and distincand said nothing."

tions of the various nations in Europe. The only manner in - Tbere are two things eminently remarkable in Ame- which I can answer your Royal Highness is, to repeat to you the rica; the one is, that every American, from the highest to regard to a stranger who comes among them. In Spain, they

first questions which are asked ainong the several nations in the lowest, thinks the Republican form of government the ask, is he a nobleman of the first rank? In Germany, can he best; and the other, that the seditious and rebellious of all

be admitted into the Chapters? In France, is he in favour at tuuntries become there the most peaceable and contented courts? In Holland how much money has be? And in Engcitizens."

land, who is that man?

of age.

ELEMENTS OF THOUGHT.

wealth and property which society is united to defend,

and that which it is united to pull down.--Westminster POWER OF BEING USEFUL TO MANKIND. Review. For this neither splendid talents, nor profound learning,

MOTIVES TO MUTUAL CHARITY. nor great wealth, are required. A well-informed man of If three children, born four months ago, were to be good sense, filled with the resolution to obtain for the great brought up in separate apartments in a herniitage, entirely body of his fellow-creatures that high improvement, which shut out from all the world and taught nothing, only fed both their understandings and their morals are, by nature, and kept clean by a dumb man, dressed unlike any creature fitted to receive, may labour in this good work with the on the earth, let them be brought out and examined at certainty of success, if he have only that blessing of leisure, 21 years of age--each of them would have a yelp, a groan, for the sake of which riches are chiefly to be c .veted. Such or sigh, peculiar to man-none of them could speak, or a one, however averse by taste or habit, to the turmoil of understand any thing—they would not know a man, beast, public affairs, or the more ordinary strifes of the world, may bird, plant or tree—they would have no idea of God, in all quiet and innocence, enjoy the noblest gratification of angels, devils, heaven, or hell--they would not even knoro which the most aspiring nature is susceptible; he may influ- that they themselves must die ; such is the state of unence by his single exertions the character and fortunes of a taught man! Again,-If three children were born, four whole generation, and thus wield a power to be envied even months ago, of Protestant parents one by the wife of an by vulgar ambitiou, for the extent of its dominion-to be Aristocrat ; one by the wife of a beggar; one by the wife cherished by virtue itself for the unalloyed blessings it be- of a tradesman,--send the first to be brought up and edu. stows.--Brougham.

cated by a Mahometan, in Turkey; the second to be SYMPATHY-FORBEARANCE.

brought up and educated by a Roman Catholic, in Spain ;

the third to be brought up and educated by a Jew, in AmThe wisest and best men have always been the most in- sterdam. Let these mect in London when they are 21 dulgent. It has been finely said, " that indulgence is a jus

year's

The Aristocrat's son will be a Mahometan; tice which frail humanity has a right to expect from wis- the beggar's son a Roman Catholic; the tradesman's son a dom. Nothing has a greater tendency to dispose us to in- Jew. Now mark, ali the e were born of Christian parents, dulgence, to close our hearts against hatred, and to open professing the Protestant religion ; and if they had been them to the principles of a humane and mild morality, than brought up and educated by their parents, they would all a profound knowledge of the human heart. In this vicw, have been Protestant Christians instead of a Mahometan, a Wordsworth's rambling poem of Peter Bell is worth a vo

Roman Catholic, and a Jew. No man that ever reasoned lume of ethics. The wisest men have, accorilingły always been will believe, that any responsibility can possibly attach the most indulgen:. It was the saying of Plato, “Live with to the belief or religion of any of these three young men ; your inferiors and domestics, as with unfortunate friends." and, if so, no reasonable being can believe that any re• Must I always," says an Indian philosopher, “ hear the rich sponsibility can attach to himself for his belief, whether it crying out, “Lord destroy all who take from us the least be true or false : therefore, there neither can be merit or part of our possessions; while the poor man, with a plain- demerit for any man's religious belief. Now, it is evident tive voice and eyes lifted up to Heaven, cries, 'Lord ! give from this, that every sect should have kind feelings for me a small part of the goods dealt out in profusion to the cach other, and should esteem each other, as if they all be. rich;' if others less fortunate deprive me of a portion, in- lieved alike. Each man has only to say to himself, “ If stead of imprecating Thy vengeance, I shall consider these

I had been brought up and educated as my friend has thefts in the same manner as in seed time we see the doves been, who professes a religion different from mine, 1 should ranging over the fields in quest of their food.”

believe as he now does.” These facts of nature must LONDON FROM ST. PAUL's.Few objects are so su

speak conviction to every unprejudiced mind : by them all Wime—if by sublimity we understand that which completely the sects in the world may learn how to be undeceived, fills the imagination, to the utmost measure of its powers and to “ love one another." as the view of a huge city thus seen at once. It was a sight which awed me and made me melancholy. I was looking down upon the habitations of a million of human beings; The following passage has been pronounced by Wordsupon the single spot whereon were crowded together more worth, the poet, “one of the finest in the English lan. wealth, more splendour, more ingenuity, more wordly wis- guage.” It forms a note to the Poem of the Hurricane. dom, and, alas! more worldly blindness, poverty, depravity, Milton might have owned it with pride. “ A man is supdishonesty, and wretchedness than upon any othti' spot in posed to improve by going out into the world, by visiting the whole habitable earth !---Southey.

London : Artificial man does; he extends with his sphere; UNIVERSITIES AND SCHOOLS.— The institutions of men but, alas ! the sphere is microscopic; it is formed of mi. grow old, like men themselves, and, like women, they are nutiæ, and he surrenders luis genuine vision to the artist in always the last to perceive their own decay. When Uni. order to embrace it in his ken. His bodily senses grow versities were the only schools of learning, they were of great acute even to barren and inliuman pruriency, while his and important utility; as soon as there were others, they mental become proportionally obtuse. The reverse is rensed to be the best, because their forms were prescribed, the Man or Niind: he who is placed in the sphere of and they could adopt no improvement till long after it was Nature and of God might be a mock at Tattersall's and generally acknowledged.-Ibid.

Brooke's, ard a sneer at St. James's; he would certainly be DISHONEST WEALTH.-It is not wealth that is the swallowed alive by the first Pizarro that crossed him :evil; it is the habit of dishonesty that wealth has got into. but when he walks along the River of Amazons; when he The moment a man gets wealth, he begins to cast about for rests his eye on the unrivalled Andes; when he measures the means of getting more by the plunder of his neighbours; the long and watered Savannah; or contemplates from a and the government of the country, from the memory of sudden promontory the distant, vast, Pacific; and feels living men to the late accession of the Whig and Radical himself a free man in this vast threatre, and commanding dynasty, has been one great joint-stock committee of man- each ready-produced fruit of this wilderness, and each proagement, for the organization of the plans of individuals geny of this stream, his exalcation is not less than im, upon this point into an operative whole. Once or oftener perial. He is as gentle too as he is great ; his emotions of has the resistance to it been put down, by the skill of the tenderness keep pace with his elevation of sentiment ; for plunderers in confounding the attack on unjust wealth he says these were made by a good Being, who unsought by with attacks on wealth in the abstract, and the awkward me, placed me here to enjoy them. He becomes at once a ness of the assailants in leaving pegs for the fallacy to hang child and a king. Ilis mind is in himself; from hence he проп.

But honest men, as well as the devil, may grow argues, and from hence he acts; and he argues unerringly, wiser than of yore; and on no point have they attained and acts magisterially ; his mind in himself is also in his more light, than on the distinction between that kind of God, and therefore he loves, and therefore he soars.

ARTIFICIAL MAN.

[ocr errors]

THE STORY TELLER.

Betsy would one day sleep beside mamma in that grave;

and when I went to my bed, as I laid my little head on the ELIZABETH VILLIERS.

pillow, I used to wish I was sleeping in the grave with my A TALE FOR THE YOUNG.

papa and mamma; and in my childish dreams I used to My father is the curate of a village church, about five fancy myself there ; and it was a place within the ground, miles from Amwell. I was born in the parsonage house, all smooth, and soft, and green. I never made out any which joins the church-yard. The first thing I can remem- figure of mamma, but still it was the tombstone, and papa, ber was my father teaching me the alphabet from the let and the smooth green grass, and my head resting upon the ters on a tombstone that stood at the head of my nother's elbow of my father. grave. I used to tap at my father's study-door: I think I How long my uncle remained in this agony of grict 1 now hear him say, “Who is there? What do you want, know not ; to me it seemed a very long time. At last he little girl ?" “Go and see mamma. Go and learn pretty took me in his arms, and held me so tight that I began to letters." Many times in the day would my father lay aside cry, and ran home to my father, and told him that a gentlehis books and his papers to lead me to this spot, and make man was crying about mamma's pretty letters. me point to the letters, and then set me to spell syllables and No doubt it was a very affecting mecting between my words. In this manner the epitaph on my mother's tomb father and my uncle. I remember that it was the very first being my primer and spelling-book, I learned to read. day I ever saw my father weep; that I was in sad trouble,

I was one day sitting on a step placed across the church and went into the kitchen, and told Susan, our servant, that yard stile, when a gentleman passing by, heard me distinctly papa was crying; and she wanted to keep me with her, that repeat the letters which formed my mother's name, and then i might not disturb the conversation; but I would go back say, Eüzabeth Villiers, with a firm tonc, as if I had per- to the parlour to poor papa, and I went in softly, and crept formed some great matter. This gentleman was my uncle between my father's knees. My uncle offered to take me in James, my mother's brother : he was a lieutenant in the his arms, but I turned sullenly from him, and chung closer nary, and had left England a few weeks after the marriage to my father, having conceived a dislike to my uncle, beof my father and mother, and now returned home from a cause he made my father cry. long sea-voyage, he was coming to visit my mother; no Now I first learned that my mother's death was a heavy tidings of her decease having reached him, though she had affliction ; for I heard my father tell a melancholy story if been dead more than a twelvemonth.

her long illness, her death, and what he had suffered from When my uncle saw me sitting on the stile, and heard her loss. My uncle said, what a sad thing it was for iny me pronounce my mother's name, he looked earnestly in my father to be left with such a young child; but my father face, and began to fancy a resemblance to his sister, and to replied, his little Betsy was all his comfort, and that, but think I might be her child. I was too intent on my em- for me, he should have died with grief. How I could be ployment to observe him, and went spelling on. “Who any comfort to my father struck me with wonder. I knew has taught you to spell so prettily, my little maid ?" said I was pleased when he played and talked with me; but I my uncle. « Mamma," I replied; for I had an idea that thought that was all goodness and favour done to me, and the words on the tomb-stone were somehow a part of mam- I had no notion how I could make any part of his happi. ma, and that she had taught me. “ And who is mamma?” ness. The sorrow I now heard had suffered, was as new asked my uncle.“ Elizabeth Villiers," I replied; and then and strange to me. I had no idea that he had crer been my nncle called me his dear little niece, and said he would unhappy; his voice was always kind and cheerful; I had go with me to mamma; he took hold of my hand, intending never before seen him wcep, or shew any such signs of grief to lead me home, delighted that he had found out who I was, as those in which I used to express my little troubles. My because he imagined it would be such a pleasant surprise to thoughts on these subjects were confused and childish ; but his sister to see her little daughter bringing home her long from that time I never ceased pondering on the sad story of løst sailor uncle.

my dead mamma. I agreed to take him to mamma, but we had a dispute The next day I went by mere habit to the study door, to about the way thither. My uncle was for going along the call papa to the veloved grave; my mind misgave me, and road which led directly up to our house : I pointed to the I could not tap at the door. I went backwards and forchurch-yard, and said, that was the way to mamma. Though wards between the kitchen and the study, and what to do impatient of any delay, he was not willing to contest the with myself I did not know. My uncle met me in the pas point with his new relation, therefore he lifted me over the sage, and said, “ Betsy, will you come and walk with me in stile, and was then going to take me along the path to a the garden ?" This I refused, for this was not what I gate he knew was at the end of our garden; but no, I wanted, but the old amusement of sitting on the grave, and would not go that way neither; letting go his hand, I said, talking to papa. My uncle tried to persuade me, but still “ You do not know the way; I will shew you ;" and mak- I said, “No, no," and ran crying into the kitchen. As lie ing what haste / could among the long grass and thistles, followed me in there, Susan said, “ This child is so fretful and jumping over the low graves, he said, as he fol- to-day, I do not know what to do with her.” “ Aye,” said lowed what he called my wayward steps “What a posi- my uncle, “ I suppose my poor brother spoils her, having tive soul this little niece of mine is! I knew the way but one." This reflection on my papa made me quite in a to your mother's house before you were born, child." little passion of anger, for I had not forgot that with this At last I stopped at my mother's grave, and pointing new uncle, sorrow had first come into our dwelling: I to the tombstone said, “Here is mamma !” in a voice screamed loudly, till my father came out to know what it was of exultation, as if I had now convinced him that I knew all about. He sent my uncle into the parlour, and said, he the way best ; I looked up in his face to see him acknow- would manage the little wrangler by himself. When my ledge his mistake; bat, oh! what a face of sorrow did 1 | uncle was gone, I ceased crying ; my father forgot to lecture sep! I was so frightened, that I have but an imperfect re- me for my ill humour, or to enquire into the cause, and we collection of what followed. I remember I pulled his coat, were soon seated by the side of the tombstone. No lesson and cried, " Sir, sir!" and tried to move him. I knew not went on that day; no talking of pretty mamma sleeping in what to do; my mind was in a strange confusion; I thought the green grave; no jumping from the tombstone to the I had done something wrong, in bringing the gentleman to ground; no merry jokes or pleasant stories. I sat upon mamma to make him cry so sadly; but what it was I could my father's knee, looking up in his face, and thinking, not tell. This grave had always been a scene of delight to “ How sorry papa looks,” till, having been fatigued with me. In the house my father would often be weary of my crying, and now oppressed with thought, I fell fast asleep. prattle, and send me from him ; but here he was all my My uncle soon learned from Susan, that this place was own. I might say anything, and be as frolick some as I our constant haunt; she told him she did verily believe her pleased here ; all was cheerfulness and good humour in our master would never get the better of the death of her misvisits to mamma, as we called it. My father would tell me tress, while he continued to teach the child to read at the huw quietiy mamma slept there, and that he and his little tombstone ; for, though it might soothe his grief, it kept

it for ever fresh in his memory. The sight of his sis- | My books were now my chief amusement, though my ter's grave had been such a shock to my uncle, that he studies were often interrupted by a game of romps with my readily entered into Susan's apprehensions; and concluding, uncle, which too often ended in a quarrel, because he played that if I were set to study by some other means, there so roughly; yet long before this I dearly loved my uncle, would no longer be a pretence for these visits to the grave; and the improvement I made while he was with us was away my kind uncle hastened to the nearest market-town very great indeed. I could now read very well, and the to buy me some books.

continual habit of listening to the conversation of my father I heard the conference between my uncle and Susan, and and my uncle, made me a little woman in understandiug; I did not approve of his interfering in our pleasure. I saw so that my father said to him, “ James, you have made my him take his hat and walk out, and I secretly hoped he child quite a companionable little being." was gone beyond seas again, from whence Susan had told My father often left me alone with my uncle; sometimes me he had come. Where beyond seas was I could not tell ; to write his sermons, sometimes to visit the sick, or but I concluded it was somewhere a great way off. I took give counsel to his poor neighbours; then my uncle my seat on the church-yard stile, and kept looking down used to hold long conversations with me, telling me the road, and saying, “I hope I shall not see my uncle how I should strive to make my father happy, and enagain. I hope my uncle will not come from beyond seas deavour to improve myself when he was gone ;-how any more:" but I said this very softly, and had a kind of I began justly to understand why he had taken such pains notion that I was in a perverse ill-humoured fit. Here I to keep my father from visiting my mother's grave, that sat till my uncle returned from the market-town with his grave which I often stole privately to look at; but now new purchases. I saw him come walking very fast with a never without awe and reverence; for my uncle used to tell parcel under his arm. I was very sorry to see him, and I me what an excellent lady my mother was, and I now frowned, and tried to look very cross. He untied his par- thought of her as having been a real mamma, which before cel, and said, “ Betsy, I have brought you a pretty book." seemed an ideal something, no way connected with life. I turned my head away, and said, “ I don't want a book ;" And he told me that the ladies from the Manor-house, who but I could not help peeping again to look at it. In the sate in the best pew in the church, were not so graceful, hurry of opening the parcel, he had scattered all the books and the best women in the village were not so good, as was upon the ground, and there I saw fine gilt-covers and gay my sweet mamma; and that if she had lived, I should not pictures all Auttering about. What a fine sight !-All my have been forced to pick up a little knowledge from him, a resentment vanished, and I held up my face to kiss him, rough sailor, or to learn to knit and sew of Susan, but that that being my way of thanking my father for any extraor- she would have taught me all lady-like fine works, and dinary favour.

delicate behaviour, and perfect manners, and would have My uncle had brought himself into rather a troublesome selected for me proper books, such as were most fit to inoffice; he had heard me spell so well, that he thought there struct my mind, and of which he nothing knew. If ever in was nothing to do but to put books into my haud, and I my life I shall have any proper sense of what is excellent should read; yet, notwithstanding I spelt tolerably well, or becoming in the womanly character, I owe it to these the letters in my new library were so much smallar than i lessons of my rough unpolished uncle; for, in telling me had been accustomed to, they were like Greek characters to what my mother would have made nie, he taught me what me; I could make nothing at all of them. The honest to wish to be; and when, soon after my uncle left us, I was sailor was not to be discouraged by this difficulty; though introduced to the ladies at the Manor-house, instead of unused to play the schoolmaster, he taught me to read the hanging down my head with shame, as I should have done small print, with unwearied diligence and patience ; and before my ancle came, like a little village rustic, I tried whenever he saw my father and me look as if he wanted to to speak distinctly, with ease, and a modest gentleness, as resume our visits to the grave, he would propose some plea- my uncle had said my mother used to do: instead of sant ramble; and if my father said it was too far for the hanging down my head abashed, I looked upon them, and child to walk, he would set me on his shoulder, and say, thought what a pretty sight a fine lady was, and how well “Then Betsey shall ride;" and in this manner has he car- my mother must have appeared, since she was so much ried me many, many miles.

more graceful than these high ladies were; and when I In these pleasant excursions my uncle seldom forgot to heard them compliment my father on the adyairable behamake Susan furnish him with a luncheon, which, though viour of his child, and say how well he had brought me up, it generally happened every day, ade a constant surprise I thought to myself, “ Papa does not muchí mind my manto my papa and me, when, seated under some shady tree, ners if I am but a good girl; but it was my uncle that he pulled it out of his pocket

, and began to distribute his taught me to behave like mamma. I cannot now think my little store; and then I used to peep into the other pocket, uncle was so rough and unpolished as he said he was for his to see if there were not some currant wine there, and the little lessons were so good and so impressive, that I shall never forbottle of water for me; if, perchance, the water was forgot, get them, and I hope they will be of use to me as long as I then it made another joke,—that poor Betsy must be forced live: he would explain to me the meaning of all the woris to drink a little drop of wine. These are childish things he used, such as grace and elegance, modest diffidence and to tell of; and, instead of my own silly history, I wish I affectation, pointing out instances of what he meant by those could remember the entertaining stories my uncle used to words, in the manners of the ladies and their young relate of his voyages and traves, while we sat under the daughters who came to our church; for besides the ladies shady trees, eating our noon-tide meal.

of the Manor-house, many of the neighbouring families The long visit my uncle made us was such an important came to our church, because my father preached so well. event in my life, that 1 fear I shall tire your patience with It must have been early in the spring when my uncle talking of him, but when he is gone, the remainder of my went away, for the crocuses were just blown in the garden, story will be but short.

and the primroses had begun to peep from under the young The summer months passed away, but not swiftly ;-the budding hedge-rows I cried as if my heart would break, pleasant walks, and the charming stories of my uncle's when I had the last sight of him through a little opening adventures, made them seem like years to me; I remember among the trees, as he went down the road. My father the approach of winter by the warm great coat he bought for accompanied him to the market-town, from whence he was me, and how proud I was when I first put it on; and that to proceed in the stage-coach to London. How tedious I he called me Little Red Riding Hood, and bade me beware of thought all Susan's endeavours to comfort me were. The wolves ; and that I laughed, and said there were no such stile where I first saw my uncle, came into my mind, and things now : then he told me how many wolves, and bears, I thought I would go and sit ihere, and think about that and tigers, and lions, he had met with in uninhabited lands, day; but I was no sooner scated there, than I remembered that were like Robinson Crusoc's island. O these were how I had frightened him, by taking him so foolishly to happy days!

my mother's grave, and then again how naughty I had been In the winter our walks were shorter and less frequent. ' when I sate muttering to myself at this same stile, wishing

that he, who had gone so far to buy me books, might never excellent and virtuous pairs to whom Scotland come back any more : all my little quarrels with my uncle

owes her high moral and religious character came into my mind, now that I could never play with him again, and it almost broke my heart. I was forced to run among the nations of Europe. The father was a into the house to Susan, for that consolation I had just be- person of uncommon worth and intelligence, but fore despised.

not one of those whose portion is of this world.* Some days after this, as I was sitting by the fire with my The school education of Robert Burns was scanty father, after it was dark, and before the candles were and precarious, though his father made great exlighted, I gave him an account of my troubled conscience at the charth-stile, when I remembered how unkind I had ertions to educate all the family. At an age when been to my uncle when he first came, and how sorry I still boys more prosperously situated are dividing their was, whenever I thought of the many quarrels I had had time between learning and amusement, Burns was with him.

My father smiled, and took hold of my hand, saying, “ 1 exerting himself above his strength to assist his will tell you all about this, my little penitent. This is father and his father's family—at the age of a boy the sort of way in which we all feel, when those we love doing a man's work—ill-fed, and probably not are taken from us. When our dear friends are with us, very well-clothed ; and, worse than all, feeling, we go on enjoying their society, without much thought or with all the torturing sensibility of genius, the consideration of the blessing we are possessed of, nor do we miseries arising to himself and those he loved too nicely weigh the measure of our daily actions ;-we let them freely share our kind or our discontented moods : and,

from great poverty and unavoidable misfortune. if any little bickerings disturb our friendship, it does but | The pity that is felt for his misfortunes in afterthe more endear us to each other when we are in a hap- life may be alloyed by blame of his conduct, but pier temper. But these things come over us like grievous our sympathy for Burns and his vii tuous relatives, Your dear mamma and I had no quarrels; yet in the first during this season of his early hardships, is an un

What generous days of my lonely sorrow, how many things came into my mingled and a holy feeling. mind, that I might have doive to have made her happier. It young person ever perused the following passage is so with you, my child. You did all a child could do to of Burns' celebrated letter to Dr. Moore, without please your uncle, and dearly did he love you ; and these feeling his heart overflow with tenderness, and his little things which now disturb your tender mind, were remembered with delight by your uncle ; he was telling me

spirit burn with indignation ! in our last walk, just perhaps as you were thinking about “ My father was advanced in life when he married ; I it with sorrow, of the difficulty he had in getting into your was the eldest of seven children; and he, worn out by early good graces when he first came : he will think of these hardships, was unfit for labour. My father's spirit was things with pleasure when he is far away. Put away from soon irritated, but not easily broken. There was a freeyou this unfounded grief; only let it be a lesson to you, to dom in his lease in two years more; and to weather these be as kind as possible to those you love; and remember, we retrenched our expenses. We lived very poorly. I was when they are gone from you, you will never think you a dexterous ploughman for my age; and the next eldest to had been kind enough. Such feelings as you have now me was a brother (Gilbert), who could drive very well, and described, are the lot of humanity. So you will feel when help me to thrash the corn. A novel-writer might perhaps I am no more, and so will your children feel when you are have viewed these scenes with some satisfaction ; but so did dead. But your uncle will come back again, Betsy, and not I. My indignation yet boils at the recollection of the we will now think of where we are to get the cage to keeps factor's insolent threatening letters, which used to the talking parrot in, he is to bring home ; and go and tell set us all in tears." Susan to bring the candles, and ask her if the nice cake is almost baked, that she promised to give us for our tea.

In this manner the last years of the boyhood of [I have heard this beautiful story attributed to Flia, to Burns, and the first of his youthful manhood, the sister of Elia, and also to other female writers.—I can were passed, sustained by nothing save the warmth not say to whom its authorship belongs : nor is this of of his affections and the strength of his good much consequence. ]

spirit. If it were possible for penury, neglect, ROBERT BURNS.

and misfortune, to depress and to extinguish geBORN 1758-DIED 1796.

nius, the mind of Burns must have been early The leading circumstances of the life of Burns crushed into dulness; but, as is said of another are so familiarly known to every class of readers, vivifying principle, “Many strong waters cannot that it seems superfluous to go over them, unless quench it, neither can the fire consume it." in a manner very different from what can be at At the age of twenty-four, his younger brothers tempted in this limited publication. His own elo- being now able to assist their father in the man "quent and energetic letters, wherever his genuine nagement of their unlucky farm, Robert tried to feelings guided his pen, afford the truest insight establish himself as a flax-dresser in Irvine. This into his manly, and, in many points, noble char- project failed; by an accident his premises took acter, as a man and a man of genius. His single fire ; and, in conjunction with his brother Gilbert, letter to Dr. Moore is one of the most precious he took a small farm. In his letters, Burns often morsels of autobiography that the world possesses. jocularly speaks of his own early imprudence and Yet there is pleasure in enumerating the impor- want of thought, and probably over-rates his faults. tant circumstances of the life of Burns however

None of the biographers of Burns mention his mother, save as an cursorily, for they are all such as do honour to his excellent wife and mother in her

rank of life. I have heard a gentle.

man-himself a poet and a man of feeling and genius-who had oppormemory.

tunities of seeing this venerable matron in her latter years, say, that the Robert Burns was the eldest son of William mother was the poetical ancestor of Burns. This old lady certainly Burness or Burns, and Agnes Brown, a couple in scribing to my informant the localities of their residence near Alloway almost the lowest class of rural life in what was at hearing on dark nights “ the sea roaring on the shore, and the sealghs that time a poor country. They were one of those sowling. a in language more bold and figurative than ever cottage inda

« PreviousContinue »