Page images
[ocr errors]

been seated before we discovered the once, take several circuits round the major in the adjoining box. He was meadow, and afterwards descend, a few standing up, his arms folded in the man- at a time, upon the ground upon which ner of Napoleon, and like him he wore we were waiting for their appearance. a green coat buttoned up close to the Not knowing the secret, my curiosity neck, and decorated with two or three still increased, especially as I observed orders, which he had won in the Italian that the whole of them not only descendwars, and above all, the never-to-be-for- ed, but that they seemed to have stationed gotten little cocked hat. Soon after the themselves, as it were, in various parts of empress entered her box, accompanied the field. But this was not all ; for

upon by a brilliant suite ; but presently the a closer inspection, I found their heads audience were thrown into amazement were absolutely fixed in the ground, from by some confusion in the royal box. whence, after a struggle of some duraMaria Louisa had caught a glimpse of tion, I saw them successively rising, and the counterfeit presentment of her apparently with a white cap on their deceased husband, and her confusion and heads, which I soon perceived to be made astonishment were exhibited in the most of strong cartridge paper. It was now palpable manner. The king of Sardinia that this comedy commenced, and began was forced to order him on duty, ten to take a tragical turn; for the crows, to leagues from Genoa, as his person kept liberate themselves, putting themselves in the soldiers in constant excitement, who a number of laughable attitudes, brought never failed to present arms in passing forward the peasants, who, clapping their him. I understood previous to my hands and setting up a loud cry, the moleaving Genoa, that Maria Louisa had tion of the crows became the most consent for the officer and presented him fused imaginable.' Flight, 'if such an with a gold snuff-box, with the emperor's awkward movement deserve the name, likeness set in brilliants.

was in all direcions; striking against An English East-India captain was each other with such force, as frealso remarkable for his resemblance to quently to bring them to the ground. Napoleon.

It should be observed, that the noise

of their talons scratching upon the thick MISCELLANIES.

paper caps that inclosed their heads, had no small effect; till in the end, taking to

our fire-arms, we were employed near an CURIOUS MODE OF CATCHING CROWS IN

hour in shooting them : at the termina

tion of which, I was informed by my A recent traveller give the following re- friends, that holes being purposely dug markable account of crow-shooting in in the ground, and filled with paper of a Italy. Being called up (says the au- conical form, the narrow extremities of thor) early in the morning, a few days the latter containing each a piece of raw after Christmas, we proceeded with two meat, it was the smell of the meat that servants about a mile from the city of brought the crows to the spot. It is furMilan, and entered a large meadow co- ther to be observed, that the inside of vered with hoar froast, when my friends paper cap was copiously larded with conducted me to a cottage, a little on one bird-lime, attached so much the closer side of the meadow, where we found five by the pressure of the crows' heads after or six peasants, with a good fire, se- the meat, that it was impossible for them veral fowling-pieces, and abundance of to disengage themselves. J. H. ammunition in readiness. Being told that every thing was prepared, we drank coffee till the peasants, who had left us The mind is always undergoing fine about an hour, returned and informed us changes. Impressions fade, and their that we might proceed as soon as we distinct new edge is worn off. As an pleased. We, however, advanced no fur- example: observe a portrait of some ther than the porch of the house, where, friend during his presence, and again as we waited some time without the ap- during his absence. In the first case, pearance of any crows, I was eager to fire the likeness will lose much of its resemat them, but my friend checked my ar- blance and power to strike. You comdour. "Stay,' said he, they will descend pare it with the original, and a thousand presently, and approach so near to us, points of difference appear. But when that we may shoot them without trouble. the original is away, the picture grows And soon after, to my utter astonishment, upon you, and attains at last almost the I observed them stop their course all at force of reality.

M. N.




[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]






[ocr errors]

MANORIAL ARCHIVES; fire is literally assembling on the hearth.

You are completely screened off from

the rest of the apartment, and seem to

be in a regular cabinet. STORIES

Unfortunately, I saw it in the dogGUILFORD.

days, and the intense heat of the weather

left me no alternative but to admire the (For the Parlerre.)

groups of gay flowers and cool green

boughs that adorned, but certainly “ Though what ailed me, I might not, well as

usurped, the hospitable grate. Mean they, Rake up some foreworn tales that smothered lay while imagination was not idle ;-how In chimney corners, smoked with winter fires, could she with such a provocative before To read and rock asleep our drowsy sires ? her ? No man bis threshold better knows than I; Brute's first arrival and first victory,

And oh! thought I, what a grand Saint George's Sorrell, or his Cross of Blood, asylum for Caius Marcius to have dig. Arthur's Round Board, or Caledonian Wood; nified with his muffled majesty! What Or holy battles of bold Charlemagne,

a hearth for Milton's Goblin to have What knights of his did Salem's siège maintain; How the mad rival of fair Angelice

basked his hairy length! What a shrine Was physicked from the new-found Paradise. for the little Olympus of domestic deities High stories they!”

to stand ranged around its sacred peneBishop Hall's Satires.

tralia !

But, better than all, what a glorious THE fire-place in the old Parsonage retreat, what a nook, what a nest of parlour at Elston is worthy of volumes., comfort, when the night falls, and the It is a huge arched recess or alcove, curtains are drawn, and the snow hisses about five feet deep, ten wide, and six against the casement, and the wind high; so that to sit around this parlour swoofs round the chimneys, and the


court-gates slam, and the weathercocks The soft purple sky, jewelled with whine, and the mighty Fire, that master stars, the paradisal perfumes from groves magician of the hour, shakes with a of orange and palm, the silver sparkles roaring laugh his lambent crest, and of the marble fountain soothing the still scatters liveliness and lustre through the and tepid air, the gushing cadences of room! ---Oh at that time, within the the nightingale, the tall, pillared paverge of this fire-side, to listen and re- vilion, wooing the spirit-like breezes to late, among old and dear associates, the wander and whisper round its painted legend and the lay-enchanted glasses galleries, or flit through the gilt lattice ringing their crystal chimes between of its balconies ;—all these appliances every pause of conversation's pleasurable had much in themselves to divide and din, -with no light but the fire that now distract attention from the story-teller of kindles the animated eye of a narrator, Italian gardens. now plays on the anxious cheek of a But when the dark night, early listener, and ever and anon emblazes the swooping down on the woods and towers crimson grape-juice, as it flows in mo- of English homes, drove within their derate, yet exhilarating course

gates, and gathered round their fireGiving a gentle kiss to every ' lip'

sides, both young and old, high and low, He overtaketh in his pilgrimage." from the stirring excitement of out-door this would be indeed enjoyment, oftener toil or sport ; when rain, and sleet, and talked of, alas! than experienoed.

wind, stalked by door and window, grim Or, if alone, how delightfully could I warders as they were, and forbade all ensconce myself in the remotest corner egress; when the well-spread board had of this fire-side, poring over some excit- exhausted its gratifications, and the very ing or absorbing volume. Then, while wine-cup had ceased to charm, then did without the indignant night groaned, as

that domestic fane, the chimney vault, the tempest violated her solemn and manifest its glories unveiled; then did melancholy reign, I would look around the feudal focus vindicate philosophy for

the cheerfulness and tranquillity appropriating its Roman title to express within, uninvaded by the storm, and the centre of attraction ! unmolested by the gloom, exclaiming

Alone and paramount, the monarch with Mulla's Bard :

of flame convened his court around him,

and in his honour did men receive that Let no lamenting cries, nor dolefnl tears, Be heard all night within, por yet without;

enchanting tissue of record, fable, story, Ne let false wbispers, breeding hidden fears,

ballad, jest,—that, crusted with tradi. Break gentle sleep with misconceived doubt; tion's tarnished gold, hangs, from age to Let no deluding dreams, nor dreadful sights, Make sudden, sad affrights ;

age, like some antique regal canopy, over Ne let house-fires, nor lightnings, helpless his dusky and time-honoured throne. harms,

The intense interest these tales inNe let the Ponk, nor other evil sprights ; Ne let mischievous witches, with

their charms, spired transported the auditory into the Ne let hobgoblins, names whose sense we see

very scenes and actions they heard renot,

lated ; and the tapestried walls of the Fray us with things that be not. Let not the skriech-owl nor the stork be heard, of the vassal's cottage, fleeted away, to

baron's hall, as well as the smoky rafters Nor the night-raven, that still deadly yells, Nor damned ghosts, called up with mighty disclose the pomp of palaces, the gatherspells,

ing of warriors, the knightly tournament, Nor griesly vultures, make us once affeard :

the bowers of ladies, the miracles of Let none of these their dreary accents ring, Ne let the woods them answer!

saints, the bloody combat, the radiant

bridal, with all the feats of Crusaders Undoubtedly the fire-side is the Mag- and Saracens, sorcerers and assassins, nus Apollo of romance, the cradle at flaming dragons, red-plumed paladins, once, and the nurse of legendary lore. and distressed damsels. Look at the superiority of our northern tales over the voluptuous lucubrations of that we call dark (and a magnificent

In days of yore-those stormy days softer and sunnier realms, and you may darkness it was !) the amusement of trace it to the influence of the long story-telling was at its height of popuwinter nights, the heartsome homes, and larity. Speaking of fire-side romances, the hearth-flame ;-the talkative, the amusing, the ethereal hearth - flame,-, revivers of drowsy age at midnight.

an old writer says, “ They have been the which at once inspires our fancies, and Old and young have, with such tales, suggests our recreation.

chimed matins till the cock crew in the morning.

Bachelors and maidens have * Spenser's Epithalamium.

compassed the Christmas fire-block till



the curfew bell rang candle out. The derer by knocking down a staircase, so old shepherd and the young plough boy, that all access to the upper rooms is deafter their day's labour, have carolled nied. But nature follows in his track, out the same to make them merry and heals or hides the wounds which hé withal; and who but they have made inflicts. Where the rent masonry gapés long nights seem short, and heavy toils in jagged fissures, she spreads a scarf of

silken moss, and covers up the scar; This good old fashion is now rapidly where moulded arch, and flowery capidisappearing; or rather, has completely tal lie at loggerheads, tumbling, and sunk below the horizon. But I am not choaking up the court, she bids the fragoing to snivel and howl over modern grant gill spread a carpet, and the eglandegeneracy; neither will I spit upon tine hang its rose-broidered bannerols ;those insipidities it has substituted for and, in short, with such a patient affec. the ancient, the red-lettered, the illumi. tion doth she brood over the relics of her nated chronicles of the fire-side. I rival sister, that ere long, she builds for would only hazard one little assertion :- the poor downfallen pile, a beautiful There are no grandmothers now a

mausoleum of branching shrubs, glossy days, neither are there any children ! turf, and sweet and coloured flowers. we are all full-grown, well-informed You forget the gorgeous majesty of the young gentlemen, and young ladies ; fabric, in contemplating the veiled loveli. sunning ourselves in the very meridian ness of the ruin. of intellect, wearing round our brows the But the old mansion of Wolfhamscote, aureola of perfection! But

though of some pretension in its day, “ My pensive public, wherefore look you sad?

was always a gloomy, melancholy-lookI had a grandmother;”

ing pile. It was large enough in conand some of the fruits resulting from science, and no builder's brain, in that that inestimable advantage you may

most romantic epoch of English architecgather, if you like ;-the alternative is ture,--the reigns of the Tudors,-could

have rioted in a more lavish exuberance obvious.

of style than Wolfhamscote displayed.

Decoration actually seemed to have wanLADY OF WOLFHAMSCOTE.

toned, ay run wild, in the carvework, and stripework, and pendants, and finials, and little pillared balconies, of the capri.

cious old building. “Now, when as all the world in silence deepe

In the first place, you were especially Yshrowded was, and every mortal wight Was drowned in the depths of deadly sleepe,

struck with the irregular size and mould Fair Malecasta, whose engrieved spright of the different portions of the house. Could find no rest in such perplexed plight, Now a tall slender tower, challenging

Lightly arose out of her weary bed, And under the black vele of guilty night,

the very skies ;—then a beetle-browed Her with a scarlott mantle covered,

crouching wing, whose single row of That was with gold and ermines faire enveloped.” windows seemed stooping to kiss the FAERY QUEEN E. B. III, C. 1.

moat. The tiers of gables were all at WOLFHAMSCOTE Hall was one of those odds — some smiled complacently side fantastic variegated old houses, which by side ;—some shouldered each other are now so fast vanishing from earth, gruffly,—and even turned their backs ;either demolished by the onslaught of some had broad jolly faces; others looked pitiless improvement, or abandoned to narrow, and stiff, and sour ; here a bold the more respectful, if not less fatal ad- well-proportioned square advanced from vances of decay. In the first instance, a the building, emblazed with a sunbroad smart modern tenement generally starts oriel; and, close by,—the house shrunk, up in all the comfortable impertinences as if it had got the stitch, into a conof bright red-brick, smug-faced stucco, tracted recess, disclosing its one grim white sash, 'green door, and brass ill-conditioned window. knocker. But in the latter case, time The windows themselves looked as if goes lazily, as if reluctantly, to work; they had been slapped at random into here tumbling down a battlement, there the edifice, countless in multitude, incalmumbling up a pillar,-undermining a culable in situation, and in general apturret or two, by way of change, and, pearance so little germane to each other, for a freak, Alinging three tiers of cham- that they seemed to be specimens of every bers into one, by eating away the main- window that had ever been invented, beams of foors and ceilings. And from the Temple of Solomon, to the hut sometimes he flouts the inquisitive wan. of a Lapland witch. The chimneys! a




wilderness of columns-a very Palmyra bowing and splitting beneath the bulk of of the housetop,--high and low, thick its branches, and the branches themselves and thin, twisted and fluted, connected demanding supporters ;-while, like the in arches, or corniced imposts—they spoke fabulous carbuncle of eastern lore, the to you, as plainly as brick and mortar bursting fruit shone in dark red colours could articulate, “I am the great hall through the massy foliage. chimney; and I warm the lady's bowers, Nothing now remains of Wolfhamscote and I climb up from the kitchen, &c. Hall but the tall desolate banquet-house,

forming an angle in the garden wall by But oh! the clatter and glitter, and the river bank, its stone coigns furred fuss and flutter, and parade and pompo- with moss, its scaly bricks sheathed with sity of the weathercocks ; generally at the silvery gray and mouldering gold of mortal feud with each other, and dis- lichens the old and idle turf mantling playing their banners in the most antago- at its foundations, and filling up its nistic quarters; unanimous only, when unlatticed window-frames with sable cura general fit of the sullens seized them, tain,-one melancholy solitary yew. and then they all pointed wrong.

I still haunt the spot and feel Within the mansion there were such multitudes of chamber and galleries,

“In the gray eve, by moss-grown boughs con

fined, and stairs fronting all the cardinal points, How grand the wordless language of the wind, that you might have adopted the Roman When twilight deepens, and the king of day luxury of a summer and winter house Without one painted banner steals away:

’Neath the decayed leaves of the spicy wood, under one roof. Nay, the very master Near the white weltering of the antumnal flood; of the mansion himself might chance to By the peaked summer-house, the gabled grange, stumble on some apartment, the stories The creaking gates, the barn's enormous range, of whose tapestry were unknown to him, Felt my blood tingle, and my soul rejoice, and the prospect from its windows en- Interpreting the tones, that wailing through, tirely new,

Thrilled the black hollows of the shuddering Yet was Wolfhamscote Manor-house of a dreary dismal complexion, which not Very different was this scene in the all its freakish magnificence could dissi- close of autumn 16, during the early pate; and though far from lonely-for part of the great rebellion, when a young the highway to L- traversed the great officer of the royal army rode at full speed gateway at the end of the avenue,—yet it up the avenue that led from the highway had that forbidding, I had almost said to the principal porch of Wolfhamscote that menacing air—that touch me not Hall. solemnity about it, which strangely belied It was Allhallow's-eve, and the Novemits charity to the poor, its hospitality to ber moon sailed above the gardens and the stranger, and its magnificence to the orchards of the venerable mansion, which guest. Even the broad blue Trent, that seemed to stand forth bold and bare, rolled his gallarit tide below the garden exulting in the ghastly glimmer of the walls, failed to impart a charm on the night. apprehensive dismality of Wolfhamscote White gleaming through the trunks of Hall.

the elm avenue, the river ran swirling This quaint piece of antiquity is but and gurgling by; and when the horseman, faintly impictured on my youthful tablets having reached the centre of the avenue, of memory: yet what I retain of it is reined in his steed, and slackened his most deliciously dreamy and bright. pace, the deep low moaning of the

My uncle had the curacy of the parish; night-wind could only be heard at interand, on occasions, my little sister and vals, as it lulled through the black boughs myself used to be jingled over in a post- and rustled among the bulrushes, while chaise (a high luxury in my younger the owl hissed and hooted from the sedays) to the church.

questered granaries behind the shelter of Well do I remember that pleasant their clustering pines. smell of honeysuckles, and the heavy The horseman drew a deep breath as moist flagrance of the freshly-stacked he halted in front of the great porch, and, hay; and the clang and jangle of the old looking up at the house, whose wildly lovery, that served as a campanile to the garnished frontispiece seemed to dilate lowly Saxon church; and that grandæval in shadowy grandeur, as he approached, mulberry tree, in the manor-hall garden, thus soliloquised :that Mammoth of fruit trees, over- “ So! I am safe at last! whew! I shadowing many a rood with its matted had well nigh fallen into the hands of the piles of broad leaves ; its venerable trunk Philistines ! A plague on my hot tem

« PreviousContinue »