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teries and sculleries, redolent of antique hospitality : the immense caves of kitchens, kitchen fireplaces, cordial recesses; ovens whose first pies were baked four centuries ago; and spits which have cooked for Chaucer! Not the meanest minister among the dishes but is hallowed to me through his imagination, and the cook goes forth a manciple.
Antiquity! thou wondrous charm, what art thou? that, being nothing, art everything! When thou wert, ihou wert not antiquity-then thou wert nothing, but hadst a remoter antiquily, as thou calledst it, to look back to with blind veneration ; thou thyself being to thyself flat, jejune, modern! What mystery lurks in this retroversion ? or what half Januses* are we, that cannot look forward with the same idolatry with which we for ever revert! The mighty future is as nothing, being everything! the past is everything, being nothing !
What were thy dark ages ? Surely the sun rose as brightly then as now, and inan got him to his work in the morning. Why is it that we can never hear mention of them without an accompanying feeling, as though a palpable obscure had dimined the face of things, and that our ancestors wandered to and fro groping !
Above all thy rarities, old Oxenford, what do most arride and solace me, are thy repositories of mouldering learning thy shelves
What a place to be in is an old library! It seems as though all the souls of all the writers, that have bequeathed their labours to these Bodleians, were reposing here, as in some dormitory or middle state. I do not want to handle, to profane the leaves—their winding sheets. I could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odour of their old moth-scented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid she happy orchard.
Still less have I curiosity to disturb the elder repose of MSS. Those variæ lectiones, so tempting to the more erudite palates, do but disturb and unsettle my faith. I am no Herculanean raker. The credit of the three witnesses might have slept unimpeached for me. I leave these curiosities to Porson and to G. D.—whom, by-the-way, I found busy as a moth over some rotten archive, rummaged out of some seldom-explored press, in a nook at Oriel.
With long poring, he is grown almost into a book. He stood as passive as one by the side of the old shelves. I longed to new-coat him in Russia, and assign him his place. He might have mustered for a tall Scapula.
* Januses of one face.-SIR THOMAS BROWNE.
D. is assiduous in his visits to these seats of learning. No inconsiderable portion of his moderate fortune, I apprehend, is consumed in journeys between them and Clifford's Inn, where, like a dove on the asp's nest, he has long taken up his unconscious abode, amid an incongruous assembly of attorneys, attorneys' clerks, apparitors, promoters, vermin of the law, among whom he sits " in calm and sinless peace.” The fangs of the law pierce him not--the winds of litigation blow over his humble chambers—the hard sheriff's officer moves his hat as he passes-legal nor illegal discourtesy touches him-none thinks of offering violence or injustice to him--you would as soon “ strike an abstract idea."
D. has been engaged, he tells me, through a course of laborious years, in an investigation into all curious matter connected with the two universities ; and has lately lighted upon a manuscript collection of charters, relative to C—, by which he hopes to settle some disputed points-particularly that long controversy between them as to priority of foundation. The ardour with which he engages in these liberal pursuits, I am afraid, has not met with all the encouragement it deserved, either here or at C Your caputs, and heads of colleges, care less than anybody else about these questions. Contented to suck the milky fountains of their alma maters, without inquiring into the venerable gentlewomen's years, they rather hold such curiosities to be impertinent.--unreverend. They have their good glebe lands in manıı, and care not much to rake into the title deeds. I gather at least so much from other sources, for D. is not a man to complain.
D. started like an unbroke heiser, when I interrupted him. A priori, it was not very probable that we should liave met in Oriel. But D. would have done the same had I accosted him on the sudden in his own walks in Clifford's Inn, or in the Temple. In addition to a provoking short-sightedness, (the effect of late studies and watchings at the midnight oil,) D. is the most absent of men. He made a call the other morning at our friend M.'s in Bedford Square ; and, finding nobody at home, was ushered into the hall, where, asking for pen and ink, with great exactitude of purpose he enters m in the bookwhich ordinarily lies about in such places, to record the failures of the untimely or unfortunate visiter-and takes his leave with many ceremonies and professions of regret. Some two or three hours after, his walking destinies returned him into the same neighbourhood again, and again the quiet image of the fireside circle at M.'s--Mrs. M. presiding at it like a Queen Lar, with pretty A. S. at her sidestriking irresistibly on his fancy, he makes another call, (for
getting that they were “certainly not to return from o .e coun try before that day week,”) and, disappointed a second time inquires for pen and paper as before : again the book is brought, and in the line just above that in which he is about to print his second name, (his rescript,) his first name (scarce dry) looks out upon him like another Sosia, or as if a man should suddenly encounter his own duplicate! The effect may be conceived-D. made many a good resolution against such lapses in future. I hope he will not keep them too rigorously.
For with G. D. to be absent from the body, is sometimes (not to speak it profanely) to be present with the Lord. At the very time when, personally encountering thee, he passes on with no recognition ; or, being stopped, starts like a thing surprised : at that moment, reader, he is on Mount Tabor, or Parnassus; or co-sphered with Plato: or, with Harrington, framing “immortal commonwealths ;” devising some plan of amelioration to thy country, or thy species ; peradventure meditating some individual kindness or courtesy, to be done to thee thyself, the returning consciousness of which made him to start so guiltily at thy obtruded personal presence.
D. is delightful anywhere, but he is at the best in such places as these. He cares not much for Bath. He is out of his element at Buxton, at Scarborough, or Harrowgate. The Cam and the Isis are to him “ better than all the waters of Damascus." On the muses' hill he is happy, and good, as one of the shepherds on the Delectable Mountains ; and when he goes about with you to show you the halls and colleges, you think you have with you the Interpreter at the House Beautiful.
FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO.
In Mr. Lamb's “ Works,” published a year or two since, 1 6nd a magnificent eulogy on my old school,* such as it was, or now appears to him to have been, between the years 1782 and 1789. It happens, very oddly, that my own standing at Christ's was nearly corresponding with his ; and, with all
* Recollections of Christ's Hospital
gratitude to him for his enthusiasm for the cloisters, I think he has contrived to bring together whatever can be said in praise of them, dropping all the other side of the argument most ingeniously.
I remember L. at school; and can well recollect that he had some peculiar advantages, which I and others of his schoolfellows had not. His friends lived in town, and were near at hand ; and he had the privilege of going to see them, almost as often as he wished, through some invidious distinction, which was denied to us. The present worthy subtreasurer to the Inner Temple can explain how that happened. He had his tea and hot rolls in a morning, while we were battening upon our quarter of a penny loaf-our crug—moistened with attenuated small beer, in wooden piggins, smacking of the pitched leathern jack it was poured from. Our Monday's milk porridge, blue and tasteless, and the pease soup of Saturday, coarse and choking, were enriched for him with a slice of “ extraordinary bread and butter," from the hot loaf of the Temple. The Wednesday's mess of millet, somewhat less repugnant, (we had three banyan to four meat days in the week,) was endeared to his palate with a lump of double refined, and a smack of ginger (to make it go down the more glibly) or the fragrant cinnamon. In lieu of our half-pickled Sundays, or quite fresh boiled beef on Thursdays, (strong as caro equina,) with detestable marigolds floating in the pail to poison the broth--our scanty mutton crags on Fridays—and rather more savoury, but grudging, portions of the same flesh, rotten-roasted or rare, on the Tuesdays—(the only dish which excited our appetites, and disappointed our stomachs, in almost equal proportion)-he had his hot plate of roast veal, or the more tempting griskin (exotics unknown to our palates) cooked in the paternal kitchen, (a great thing,) and brought him daily by his maid or aunt! I remember the good old relative (in whom love forbade pride) squatting down upon some odd stone in a by-nook of the cloisters, disclosing the viands, (of higher regale than those cates which the ravens ministered to the 'Tishbite,) and the contending passions of L. at the unfolding. There was love for the bringer ; shame for the thing brought and the manner of its bringing ; sympathy for those who were too many to share in it; and, at top of all, hunger (eldest, strongest of the passions !) predominant, breaking down the stony fences of shame, and awkwardness, and a troubling over-consciousness.
I was a poor friendless boy. My parents, and those who should care for me, were far away. Those few acquaintances of theirs, which they could reckon upon being kind to me in the great city, after a little forced notice, which they had the grace to take of me on my first arrival in town, soon grew tired of my holyday visits. They seemed to them to recur too often, though I thought them few enough ; and, one after another, 1 hey all failed me, and I felt myself alone among
six hundred playmates.
Oh the cruelty of separating a poor lad from his early homestead! The yearnings which I used to have towards it in those unfledged years! How in my dreams would my native town (far in the west) come back, with its church, and trees, and faces! How I would wake weeping, and in the anguish of
my heart exclaim upon sweet Calne in Wiltshire !
To this late hour of my life, I trace impressions left by the recollection of those friendless holydays. The long warm days of summer never return but they bring with them a gloom from the haunting memory of those whole day leaves when, by some strange arrangement, we were turned out, for the livelong day, upon our own hands, whether we had friends to go to, or none. I remember those bathing excursions to the New River, which L. recalls with such relish, better, I think, than he can-for he was a home-seeking lad, and did not much care for such water pastimes : how merrily we would sally forth into the fields; and strip under the first warmth of the sun; and wanton like young dace in the streams; getting us appetites for noon, which those of us that were penniless (our scanty morning crust long since exhausted) had not the means of allaying—while the cattle, and the birds, and the fishes were at feed about us, and we had nothing to satisfy our cravings; the very beauty of the day, and the exercise of the pastime, and the sense of liberty, setting a keener edge upon them! How faint and languid, finally, we would return, towards nightfall, to our desired morsel, half rejoicing, half reluctant, that the hours of our uneasy liberty had expired!
It was worse in the days of winter, to go prowling about the streets objectless-shivering at cold windows of print shops, to extract a little amusement; or haply, as a last resort, in the hope of a little novelty, to pay a fifty times repeated visit (where our individual faces should be as well known to the warden as those of his own charges) to the lions in the Tower—to whose levee, by courtesy immemorial, we had a prescriptive title to admission.
L.'s governor (so we called the patron who presented us to the foundation) lived in a manner under his paternal roof. Any complaint which he had to make was sure of being attended to. This was understood at Christ's, and was an effectual screen to him against the severity of masters, or