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and yet in hell, all at once, with the shifting mutations of the most rambling dream, and our judgment yet all the time awake, and neither able nor willing to detect the fallacy-is a proof of that hidden sanity which still guides the poet in his widest seeming-aberrations.
It is not enough to say that the whole episode is a copy of the mind's conceptions in sleep; it is, in some sort—but what a copy! Let the most romantic of us, that has been entertained all night with the spectacle of some wild and magnificent vision, recombine it in the morning, and try it by his waking judgment. That which appeared so shifting and yet so coherent while that faculty was passive, when it comes under cool examination shall appear so reasonless and so unlinked, that we are ashamed to have been so deluded; and to have taken, though but in sleep, a monster for a god. But the transitions in this episode are every whit as violent as in the most extravagant dream, and yet the waking judgment ratifies them.
AMONG the deaths in our obituary for this month, I observe with concern “At his cottage on the Bath road, Captain Jackson." Th name and attribution are common enough; bu feeling like reproach persuades me that this could have been no other, in fact, than my dear old friend, who some five-andtwenty years ago rented a tenement, which he was pleased to dignisy with the appellation here used, about a mile from Westbourn Green. Alack, how good men, and the good turns they do us, slide out of memory, and are recalled but by the surprise of some such sad memento as that which now lies before us!
He whom I mean was a retired half-pay officer, with a wife and two grown-up daughters, whom he maintained with the port and notions of gentlewomen upon that slender professional allowance. Comely girls they were too.
And was I in danger of forgetting this man ?-his cheerful suppers—the noble tone of hospitality, when first you set your foot in the cottage—the anxious ministerings about you, where little or nothing (God knows) was to be ministered. Althea's horn in a poor platter—the power of self enchantment, by which, in his magnificent wishes to entertain you, he multiplied his means to bounties.
You saw with your bodily eyes indeed what seemed a bare scrag-cold savings from the foregone meal-remnant hardly sufficient to send a mendicant from the door contented. But in the copious will—the revelling imagination of your hostthe “mind, the mind, Master Shallow," whole beeves were spread before you-hecatombs-no end appeared to the profusion.
It was the widow's cruise—the loaves and fishes; carving could not lessen nor helping diminish it—the stamina were left—the elemental bone still Aourished, divested of its accidents.
· Let us live while we can," methinks I hear the openhanded creature exclaim; “while we have, let us not want," “ here is plenty left ;” “want for nothing”—with many more such hospitable sayings, the spurs of appetite, and old concomitants of smoking boards and feast-oppressed chargers. Then sliding a slender ratio of Single Gloucester upon his wife's plate, or the daughter's, he would convey the remanent rind into his own, with a merry quirk of "the nearer the bone," &c., and declaring that he universally preferred the outside. For we had our table distinctions, you are to know, and some of us in a manner sat above the salt.
None but his guest or guests dreamed of tasting flesh luxuries at night, the fragments were verè hospitibus sacra. But of one thing or another there was always enough, and leavings : only he would sometimes finish the remainder crust, to show that he wished no savings.
Wine we had none; nor, except on very rare occasions, spirits ; but the sensation of wine was there. · Some thin kind of ale I remember—“ British beverage,” he would say. “Push about, my boys;" “ Drink to your sweethearts, girls." At every meager draught a toast must ensue, or a song. All the forms of good liquor were there, with none of the effects wanting. Shut your eyes,
would swear a capacious bowl of punch was foaming in the centre, with beams of generous Port or Madeira radiating to it from each of the table
You got flustered, without knowing whence; tipsy upon words; and reeled under the potency of his unperform ing bacchanalian encouragements: We had our songs
—“Why, soldiers, why," and the “ British Grenadiers”-in which last we were all obliged to bear chorus. Both the daughters sang. Their proficiency was a nightly theme—the masters he had given them—the “no-expense” which he spared to accomplish them in a science “so necessary to young women. But then-they could not sing“ without the instrument.”
Sacred, and, by me, never to be violated, secrets of poverty! Should I disclose your honest aims at grandeur, your makeshift efforts of magnificence? Sleep, sleep, with all thy broken keys, if one of the bunch be extant; thrummed by a thousand ancestral thumbs; dear, cracked spinet of dearer Louisa ! Without mention of mine, be dumb, thou thin accompanier of her thinner warble! A veil be spread over the dear delighted face of the well-deiuded father, who now haply listening to cherubic notes, scarce feels sincerer pleasure than when she awakened thy time-shaken chords responsive to the twitteringe of that slender image of a voice.
We were not without our literary talk either. It did not extend far, but as far as it went it was good. It was bottomed well; had good grounds to go upon. In the cottage was a room, which tradition authenticated to have been the same in which Glover, in his occasional retirements, had penned the greater part of his Leonidas. "This circumstance was nightly quoted, though none of the present inmates, that I could discover, appeared ever to have met with the poem in question. But that was no matter. Glover had written there, and the anecdote was pressed into the account of the family importance. It diffused a learned air through the apartment, the little side casement of which, (the poet's study window,) opening upon a superb view as far as the pretty spire of Harrow, over domains and patrimonial acres, not a rood nor square yard whereof our host could call his own, yet gave occasion to an immoderate expansion of-vanity shall I call it ?—in his bosom, as he showed them in a glowing summer evening. It was all his, he took it all in, and communicated rich portions of it to his guests. It was a part of his largess, his hospitality; it was going over his grounds ; he was lord for the time of showing them, and you the implicit lookers-up to his magnificence.
Ile was a juggler, who threw mists before your eyes-you had no time to detect his fallacies.
He would say
Hand me the silver sugar-tongs ;” and before you could discover it was a single spoon, and that plated, he would disturb and captivate your imagination by a misnomer of “the urn” for a teakettle ; or by calling a homely bench a sofa. Rich men direct you to their furniture, poor ones divert you from it; he neither did one nor the other, but by simply assuming that everything was handsome about him, you were positively at a demur what you did, or did not see, at the cottage. With nothing to live on, he seemed to live on everything. He had a stock of wealth in his mind; not that which is properly termed content, for
in truth, he was not to be contained at all, but overflowed all bounds by the force of a magnificent self-delusion.
Enthusiasm is catching; and even his wife, a sober native of North Britain, who generally saw things more as they were, was not proof against the continual collision of his credulity. Her daughters were rational and discreet young women ; in the main, perhaps, not insensible to their true circumstances. I have seen them assume a thoughtful air at times. But such was the preponderating opulence of his fancy, that I am persuaded, not for any half hour together, did they ever look their own prospects fairly in the face. There was no resisting the vortex of his temperament. His riotous imagination conjured up handsome settlements before their eyes, which kept them up in the eye of the world too, and seem at last to have realized themselves; for they both have married since, I am told, more than respectably.
It is long since, and my memory waxes dim on some subjects, or I should wish to convey some notion of the manner in which the pleasant creature described the circumstances of his own wedding-day. I faintly remember something of a chaise and four, in which he made his entry into Glasgow on that morning to fetch the bride home, or carry her thither, I forget which. It so completely made out the stanza of the old ballad :
“ When we came down through Glasgow town,
We were a comely sight to see ;
And I myself in cramasie." I suppose it was the only occasion upon which his own actual splendour at all corresponded with the world's notions on that subject. In homely cart, or travelling caravan, by whatever humble vehicle they chanced to be transported in less prosperous days, the ride through Glasgow came back upon his fancy, not as a humiliating contrast, but as a fair occasion for reverting to that one day's state. It seemed an “equipage etern” from which no power of fate or fortune, once mounted, had power thereafter to dislodge him.
There is some merit in putting a handsome face upon indigent circumstances. To bully and swagger away the sense of them before strangers may not be always discommendable. Tibbs and Bobadil, even when detected, have more of our admiration than contempt. But for a man to put the cheat upon himself; to play the Bobadil at home; and, steeped in poverty up to the lips, to fancy himself all the while chindeep in riches, is a strain of constitutional philosophy, and a mastery over fortune, which was reserved for my old friend Captain Jackso:
THE SUPERANNUATED MAN.
“ Sera tamen respexit Libertas.”
“ A clerk I was in London gay."
IF peradventure, reader, it has been thy lot to waste the golden years of thy life-thy shining youth-in the irksome confinement of an office; to have thy prison days prolonged through middle age down to decrepitude and silver hairs, without hope of release or respite ; to have lived to forget that there are such things as holydays, or to remember them but as the prerogatives of childhood ; then, and then only, will you be able to appreciate my deliverance.
It is now six-and-thirty years since I took my seat at the desk in Mincing-lane. Melancholy was the transition at fourteen from the abundant playtime, and the frequently intervening vacations of school-days, to the eight, nine, and sometimes ten hours' a day attendance at a counting-house. But time partially reconciles us to anything. I gradually became content-doggedly contented, as wild animals in cages.
It is true I had my Sundays to myself; but Sundays, admirable as the institution of them is for purposes of worship, are for that very reason the very worst adapted for days of unbending and recreation. In particular, there is a gloom for me attendant upon a city Sunday, a weight in the air. I miss the cheerful cries of London, the music, and the ballad-singers—the buzz and stirring murmur of the streets. Those eternal bells depress me. The closed shops repel me. Prints, pictures, all the glittering and endless succession of knacks and gewgaws, and ostentatiously displayed wares of tradesmen, which make a week-day saunter through the less busy parts of the metropolis so delightful--are shut out. No book-stalls deliciously to idle over—no busy faces to recreate the idle man who contemplates them ever passing bythe very face of business a charm by contrast to his temporary relaxation from it. Nothing to be seen but unhappy countenances or half happy at best-of emancipated 'prentices and litile tradesfolks, with here and there a servant-maid that has got leave to go out, who, slaving all the week, with