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THE PEDESTRIAN :
Being from the Perambulatory Collection of John Shanks.
grace as the flat piece of lead on that Though naturally a modest man, pendulum-like article), swung, he I have taken leave to obtrude myself said, my “clattering hands,' each upon you at this time, for reasons about the size of a shoulder of which, when stated, may induce you mutton. to excuse so great a liberty. My He further profaned my person, appearance and manner, be it known
by calling my back " my trunk," to you, are generally supposed to because it is a little elongated; say. be somewhat remarkable, or, as my ing that my shoulder-blades stuck countrymen the Scotch say, kents out, particularly in certain of my pecle; and are becoming a subject movements, so that my coat looked of talk and observation in most as it were hung on pins, or on a places which I visit; so that, did dyer's frame. My knees, it was I not introduce myself to you, you averred, betokened great kneeling; might hear of me by some other and as to my feet, he swore it must hand, in a way, so as to give you have been from me that the Irisha prejudice by no means in my woman asked a shoe, to make of it favour. I have thought proper, a cradle for her child. therefore, to be beforehand with any Was it not very provoking to say who might be disposed to caricature all this of my person, besides affirmme to you, of which promptnessing, that my mouth and cars were you will, no doubt, see the prudence, very near neighbours; and that my as it may save me some trouble here. skinny, jaws were made frightful by after, besides giving me the advan my grey whiskers; and because, in tage of the first word in my own the course of shaving, I have left
the one something larger than the My name, Sir, is John Shanks; other, to call them by the names of not Cruikshanks, as I have some the great bear, and the little bear? times been miscalled. My appear. Now, Sir, I confess that this, and ance is allowed, by all worthy per, a great deal more, has gone abroad sons who have judgment in these of me; nevertheless, I can assure matters, to be quite gentlemanlike; you it is utterly false, and that I not that shabby-genteel, as others am a very tolerable looking youngish have impertinently said; and al. man; though, perhaps, a little bandy, though I have been protanely called particularly on one side ; but one “ Old Shanks,” I protest I am only does not know what will please in fifty years of age, which you will these new-fangled times ; for when I agree with me, Sir, in thinking, was a stripling of thirty, no gentleleaves me quite a young man. man was thought handsome who A half-grown sprig of divinity chose was not a little bandy, for that was disrespectfully to describe me then the fashion, a raw, unshapely, gaunt - looking It is also false to say that I stutman, with a very long neck, or ter and mumble, or that my voice thraple, as he termed it, which he sounds as if it came out of an empty had the assurance to say, was evi- cask. I have, indeed, a little asthdently meant for a rope. He went matic cough, that I am so accuson shamelessly to say, that my tomed to, I really should feel dull knowlty shoulders rose on each without it; and as for that nervous wing of me to a level with my jaws, twist in the mouth, and shake of the overlooking my person like promon- head that I occasionally have, I tories, from whence my arms, he never feel any inconvenience from protested, hung like the handles of it, excepting, that certain ill-reared an old-fashioned pump; at the lower persons sometimes burst oụt laughextremities of which (with as inuching in my face while I am speaking Eur. Mag. Vol. 83.
to them; but all sensible persons jeering and bawling after me, to think it a mark of uncommon wis come down and look at myself riding; dom, since the days of the learned and the gentlefolks swore I was Don Leviathan, Samuel Johnson.
Quixote come alive again, and offered But for my profession, Sir, it is me a spur and a barber's basin. not for me to put you in possession But for all this, Sir, I am a genof my private affairs. I travel about tleman, who has seen better days, the country, partly because it is my and have observed and suffered not humour to do so, and partly on a a few of the evils of life. Being apt little business. But I am not a ped- enough to complain myself, comlar, Sir, be assured-1 scorn the plainers frequently fall in my way; name; and when some have taken and as my pedestrian excursions me for a quack doctor, or a travelling bring me often into conversation preacher,--that is to say, an ambas- with those kind of " princes” who sador from heaven,-give me leave to are forced to walk on their legssay, I have always successfully con with those who are poor and jovial, vinced them that I was a gentle as well as with the dispirited and man; a little reduced to be sure, the complaining--as I have got a but when we became acquainted, facility in entering into people's they aeknowledged that I'had the humours, and as I can give groan very, stamp of gentility, which I for groan, and am considered kindcould not help shewing in all I said hearted and compassionate, I hear and did. Some even regretted, that many a sorrowful tale, and observe I was not constituted a converter
many, a strange character, Moreof souls; for they said the bend of over, being considered rather an odd my eyebrows, and the peculiar sound man, and above the quality of those of my voice, when I condescended I am apt to meet in my perambulato speechify to them, was exceed- tions, persons more readily open ingly impressive ; and were I to their mind to me than to their discourse to the villagers, of the new equals. A young woman tells me birth, or the new Jerusalem, or to of' her disappointments in love, “talk of hell, where devils dwell,” and an old man of his success or I could not fail to do wonderful disappointments in his avaricious execution.
schemes, for the mere pleasure of For my conveyance here and telling them. The one boasts of there, I am indebted to my poor her conquests, and the other of his limbs, or, as the boys say, to my sagacity and his craft, because these “ Shanks ;" for as Solonion saith are subjects on which they love to wisely, he has " seen servants on speak, when they can do it as they horses, and princes walking on their can to me without that suspicion feet.” I am, unfortunatel, one of and reservation, which experience im. these "princes ;" for I have, doubt poses upon the freedom of communiless, many princely qualities, whom cation among neighbours and equals, a “thraward fate” obliges-as is who may take advantage of the vulgarly said of me, to ride on weaknesses of each other. Now, Shanks's mare, while many of Na. Sir, not doubting but that you will ture's serving - men pass me con- take my part against any who would temptuously on horseback. In calumniate my character or ridicule deed, I have got rather a distaste at my person, I will, in return, give horse-riding, my last exploit in that you a few of the narratives and adway not being mixed with any ventures which have been communi“ pleasing remembrances," when cated to me in the course of my begin to think of it; for although excursions; and as I have an excelmy friend and countryman, Deacon lent memory, and do not shyt my Langladle, complimented me with eyes to what is worth remarking, a gratuitous ride upon his auld mare you shall have them as they have Margery, which he loved long and been given to me, with all possible well, náthless that she was rather truth and accuracy. lean and long-backed like myself, My road the other day lay through I could not get decently through a desolate moss in Scotland, lying the town of Thurlowton astride of between Kilmarnock and Glasgow, her, but the young folks should be well known by the game of the
Mearns Moor. The cheapness of rested a little, and if ye're gaun on coaching, and the increasingly lux to Glasgow, I shall be blythe of your urious ideas of the people render company, for ye are a reverend lookpedestrian travellers very rare upon ing gentleman, and solid, if ye will” a road like this ; and accordingly I -and she smiled mournfully had no company for many weary “think it worth your while to be the miles, which the desolateness of the travelling companion of a silly body, country made unusually tiresome who will not be apt to make you and dreary. The day was far ad laugh."_“Indeed I will be glad to vanced; and I was plodding on my be your companion, Mistress," I weary way, through black moss, said, “ and not the less so, that yoit with a little diversification of furzy seem rather sad, as I am sorry to hills and hollows ; a dribbling stream perceive; but perhaps I may be able crossed the road here and there, and to divert your mind as we proceed. my reveries were sometimes disturb. You may suppose I have not lived ed by a flight of crows, which croak until this day without my own share ed over my head, and helped to of the sorrows of life, nor would I blacken the scene around me. My be now travelling this road on foot spirits were dissipated by heat and if I had been among the fortunate fatigue; I was tired of the solitude, and the happy." The little woman and longed exceedingly to see a hu- looked in my face when I had said man face. At length I observed the this, and seemed impressed with figure of a woman at some distance, somewhat that she would say, but resting on a low wall that skirted restrained herself, and only looked the road, and clad in rusty black : a something which I cannot describe ; widow's bonnet nearly concealed her then giving a smile, as if in gratiface, which indeed raised compassion tude to me for putting myself on a in me when I came close to her, for level with her feelings, she proceedshe looked the widow most true to ed onwards. After walking a short nature; no affectation appeared with time in silence, she reached her hand her; grief of mind, and weakness to me, and said, “as you are so atand weariness from her journey, tentive, Sir, will you allow me to were most expressively marked on take your arm.
A woman," she her countenance. She was a little, continued, “ requires a staff to lean dark complexioned woman, rather upon through this world, partienpast the years of youth, but looking larly a weak broken hearted creamore injured by grief than years, ture like me ; but my staff is gone, and rather ordinary than otherwise, and I am to wander through the which somewhat disappointed me; world alone!" Here she stopt ; her for I never can get interested in the heart was full, and I did not interconversation of " an ordinary wo rupt her-but she seemed to strain man.” Nevertheless, I was glad to against her feelings, wiped away hier meet her upon this lonely road; and tears, and begged my pardon for obwhen we came to converse, she be truding her griefs upon a stranger. gan to interest me, from the feeling After some conversation, in which and seriousness of her conversation, she seemed to recover her spirits, and the depth of meaning which she she, at my request, agreed to beseemed to attach to every word she guile the time on the road by telling uttered. She had large black eyes, me ber story, which she did as folwhich gave extraordinary expression lows :to that feeling, and gave a melancholy and affecting air to all that she
The Widow's Story. said; and I afterwards thought I “ I need not take up your time, could perceive a comeliness in her Sir, with an account of my early face, and an elevation in her senti years. I enjoyed much in the comments which interested me exceed pany of an excellent mother, read ingly.
much, and anticipated much of the “Gude day, Mem," I said, ad expeeted happiness of life. But my dressing her; ye seem to be tired, father always called me a novelits a lang road this, and no that reading fool; and my mother shook heartsom."
Indeed, Sir," she an her head, and warned me against swered, “ I am tired, but I am now setting my heart upon any thing in
this world, exhorted me to endea grief, and whose counsel I was soon vour to conquer my sensibility, and greatly to miss. My support was to think soberly. As I grew up cut off by their death, and I had no I perceived, with sorrow,
that I was
relations alive, except a brother, who very destitute of personal attractions, was abroad, and could not be useful the grand object of value to a wo to me; but I had fortunately been man; and my mother told me, that bred to dress-making, in which buas to marriage,—what a woman's des- siness I now set up, and to which I tiny generally turns upon,- I might turned energetically for a livelihood. think myself fortunate if I obtained I got business by degrees, my mind a man in years, and in decent cir was kept employed, and I maintaincumstances; a plain man, who woulded myself as a traileswoman, respectake me for other qualities than per- table and independent. sonal beauty.”—Here ny gallantry “There now came some to my house obliged me to interrupt the lady, by in quality of suitors, but none such observing, that she must have been as my fancy had painted, or as I undervaluing herself, or my eyes could even think of as husbands. deceived me; but she only faintly One there was who had been pretty smiled, and proceeded :
intimate with my father; a coarse “ I enjoyed little of the pleasures man, upwards of forty, stingy, of youth, and scarcely knew any worldly, and easy in circumstances. thing of the interesting and hopeful His addresses at first frightened me, enjoyments of young females who at the bare idea of such a man being are sought after, admired and loved my companion for life, and the My good sense was praised, my eru- sharer of my bed. But as he bedition was talked of, sometimes came serious in his advances, I besneered at; but beauty! that dear gan to think of the folly of rejectsubject of interest to a woman, was ing him, particularly as 1 was now never mentioned in my presence, ex twenty-five, and had little chance, cept with reference to others, in such as I thought, of obtaining a young a way, as to shew me its value in the man whom I could love, or who eyes of men, and to give me a hum would feel the affection for me which ble opinion of myself. The young I thought naturally should belong men talked of books with me and to the conjugal state. In short, my father, but they made up their good sense,—if you please to call it party of pleasure without ever think.
so, -overcame my natural aversion ing of me; and prefered the silliest to him as a man; for I referred to coquets, the merest mental nonenti- the whole of life and its substantial ties, because of some girlish beauty comforts, and tried to reconcile my. of face or person. This was most self to complete disappointment for chagrining to me, as I had naturally life of any exercise for those feelings strong sensibility and much relish as far as regarded my husband, for the endearments of affection and which nature had so intimately conthe passions of the heart. The emu nected with my happiness. lations and preferences of the young “ But this conquest over myself party or the ball-room I was not des- and all that had been dear to my tined to partake of; to the look of imagination, that had still been the admiration or of interest, in public subject of my undeferred hope for or private, I was quite a stranger, many years, was not achieved for and the delicious evening walk with some time, nor without tears and a lover, the stolen whisper or inter- regrets more than I need tell. In view, I was fated never to enjoy. Old short, I reconciled my mind to marry men talked religion with me, young the man who was the very antipode men talked about the weather or the of the man I could have loved. I wars, but their little love topics and consented, and the day was fixed scandals among their rivals and when we should go together to the sweethearts, they feared to speak of next large town for some marriage in my presence, and love was never articles. In the morning when we mentioned, except in ridicule. were to have proceeded, I was ready
“ Meantime my father died, and was at the time appointed, but it rained soon followed by my excellent mo- a little, and he came not, nor for ther, whosc death caused me much the whole of the day did he make