Page images
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

To the Editor.

posing a drunkard of their fraternity. The

Bath. following is the manner in which the “obSir, I beg leave to transmit for your use sequies” to the intoxicated are performed the following attempt at description of an If a chairman, known to have been old and singular custom, performed by the “ dead” drunk over night, does not apchairman of this my native city, which pear on his station before ten o'clock on perhaps you are not altogether a stranger the succeeding morning, the “ undertaker," to, and vihich is still kept up among them as Angļice, his partner, proceeds, with such a often as an opportunity permits for its per- number of attendants as will suffice for the formance. Its origin I have not been able ceremony, to the house of the late unforto trace, but its authenticity you may rely tunate. If he is found in bed, as is usually on, as it is too often seen to be forgotten the case, from the effects of his sacrifice to by your Bath readers. I have also ac- the “jolly God," they pull him out of his companied it with the above imperfect nest, hardly permitting him to dress, and sketch, as a further illustration of their place him on the “ bier,”—a chairman's manner of burying the “dead," alias, ex horse,-and, throwing a coat over him,


a very

which they designate a “pall,” they perc is not fery precise: My great-grandfather (the ambulate the circuit of his station in the most remote of it, that I ever recollect to have following order :

heard mentioned) possessed considerable pro1. The sexton-a man tolling a small perty at Halsbury, a parish in the neighbourhand-beli.

hood ot Ashburton ; but whether acquired or in2. Two mutes each with a black stock. herited, I never thought of asking, and do not

know. ing on a stick.

He was probably a native of Devonshire, for 3. The torch bearer-a man carrying a

there he spent the last years of his life; spent lighted lantern.

thein, too, in some sort of consideration, for Mr. 4. The corpse" borne on the hearse," T. (a very respectable surgeon of Ashburton) carried by two chairmen, covered with the loved to repeat to me, when I first grew into aforesaid pall.

notice, that he had frequently hunted with his The procession is closed by the “mourn- hounds.* ers” following after, two and two; as many

My grandfather was on ill terms with him: I joining as choose, from the station to which believe, not without sufficient reason, for be was the drunkard belongs.

extravagant and dissipated. My father never After exposing him in this manner to

mentioned his name, but my mother would the gaze of the admiring crowd that throng That he spent much, I know; but I am inclined

sometimes tell me that he had ruined the family. about, they proceed to the public-house he

to think, that his undutiful conduct occasioned has been in the habit of using, where his

my great-grandfather to bequeath a cousiderable “ wake” is celebrated in joviality and part of his property from him. mirth, with a gallon of ale at his expense. My father, I fear, revenged in some measure It often happens that each will contribute the cause of my great-grandfather. He was, as a trifle towards a further prolongation of I have heard my mother say,

wild the carousal, to entrap others into the same young man, who could be kepi to nothing." He dead!y snare; and the day is spent in bait

was sent to the grammar-school at Exeter; from ing for the chances of the next morning, as

which he made his escape, and entered on none are exempt who are not at their post this situation by my grandfather, and left his

board a man of war. He was reclaimed from before the prescribed hour.

school a second time, to wander in some vagaI am, &c.

bond society.t He was now probably given up; W. G.

for he was, on his return from this notable ad

venture, reduced to article himself to a plumber William Gifford, Esq.

and glazier, with whom he luckily staid long

cnough to learn the business. I suppose his On Sunday. morning, the 31st of Decem- father was now dead, for he became possessed ber, 1826, at twenty minutes before one of two small estates, married my mother, : (the o'clock, died, “ at his house in James- daughter of a carpenter at Ashburton,) and street, Buckingham-gate, in the seventy- self; which he did, with some credit

, at South

thought himself rich enough to set up for himfirst year of his age, William Gifford, Esq., Molton. Why he chose to fix there, I never inauthor of the Baviad and Mæviad,'translator of “ Juvenal and Persius,' and editor quired; but I learned from my mother, that after

a residence of four or five years, he thoughtlessly of the 'Quarterly Review, from its com

engaged in a dangerous frolic, which drove mencement down to the beginning of the him once more to sea : this was an attempt to year just past. To the translation of ‘Ju- excite a riot in a Methodist chapel; for which venal' is prefixed a memoir of himself, his companions were prosecuted, and he fled. which is perhaps as modest and pleasant a My father was a good seaman, and was soon piece of autobiography as ever was writ- made second in command in the Lyon, a large ten."— The Times, January 1, 1827.

armed transport in the service of government : while my mother (then with child of me) re

turned to her native place, Ashburton, where I INTERESTING

was born, in April, 1756. Memoir of Mr. Gifford.

The matter is of no consequence-no, not even to BY HIMSELF-VERBATIM.

myself. From my family I derived nothing but a name,

which is more, perhaps, than I shall leave : but (to I am about to enter on a very uninteresting check the sneers of rude vn!garity) that family was subject : but all my friends tell me that it is among the most ancient and respectable of this part of

the country, and, not more than three generations from necessary to account for the long delay of the

the present, was counted among the wealthiest. --- Ines following work ; and I can only do it by advert:ng to the circumstances of my life. Will He had gone with Bamfylde Moor Carew, then an this be accepted as an apology?

1 Her maiden name was Elizabeth Cain. My father's I know but little of my family and that little christian name was Edward.



The resources of my mother were very scanty. nately she determined to prosecute my father's They arose from the rent of three or four small business ; for which purpose she engaged a fields, which yet remained unsold. With these, couple of journeymen, who, finding her ignorant however, she did what she could for me; and as of every part of it, wasted her property, and emsoon as I was old enough to be trusted out of her bezzled her money. What the consequence of sight, sent me to a schoolmistress of the name of this double fraud would have been, there was no Parret, from whom I learned in due time to read. opportunity of knowing, as, in somewhat less I cannot boast much of my acquisitions at this than a twelvemonth, my poor mother followed school; they consisted merely of the contents of my father to the grave. She was an excellent the “Child's Spelling Book :" but from my woman, bore my father's infirmities with patience mother, who had stored up the literature of a and good humour, loved her children dearly, and country town, which, about half a century ago, died at last, exhausted with anxiety and grief amounted to little more than what was dissemi- more on their account than her own. nated by itinerani ballad-singers, or rather, I was not quite thirteen when this happened ; readers, I had acquired much curious knowledge my little brother was hardly two; and we had of Catskin, and the Golden Bull, and the Bloody not a relation nor a friend in the world. Every Gardener, and many other histories equally in- thing that was left, was seized by a person of the structive and amusing.

name of Carlile, for money advanced to my My father returned from sea in 1764. He mother. It may be supposed that I could not had been at the siege of the Havannah; and dispute the justice of his claims; and as no one though he received more than a hundred pounds else interfered, he was suffered to do as he liked. for prize money, and his wages were consider. My little brother was sent to the alms-house, able; yet, as he had not acquired any strict whither his nurse followed him out of pure affechabits of economy, he brought home bui a tri- tion : and I was taken to the house of the person fling sum. The little property yet left was there. I have just mentioned, who was also my godfore turned into money ; a trifle more was got father. Respect for the opinion of the town by agreeing to renounce all future pretensions to (which, whether correct or not, was, that he had an estate at Totness ;* and with this my father amply repaid himself by the sale of my mother's set up a second time as a glazier and house effects) induced him to send me again to school, painter. I was now about eight years old, and where I was more diligent than before, and more was put to the freeschool, (kept by Hugh Smer- successful. I grew fond of arithmetic, and my don,) to learn to read, and write and cipher. master began to distinguish me; but these Here I continued about three years, making a golden days were over in less than three months most wretched progress, when my father fell sick

Carlile sickened at the expense; and, as the and died. He had not acquired wisdom from people were now indifferent to my fate, he his misfortunes, but continued wasting his time looked round for an opportunity of ridding himin unprofitable pursuits, to the great detriment self of a useless charge. He had previously of his business. · He loved drink for the sake of attempted to engage me in the drudgery of society, and to this he fell a niartyr; dying of husbandry. I drove the plough for one day to a decayed and ruined constitution before he was gratify him ; but I left it with a firm resolution forty. The town's people thought him a shrewd tu do so no more, and in despite of his threats and sensible man, and regretted his death. As and promises, adhered to my determination. In for me, I never greatly loved him ; I had not this, I was guided no less by necessity than will. grown up with him; and he was too prone to During my father's life, in attempting to clamber repulse my little advances to familiarity, with up a table, I had fallen backward, and drawn it coldness, or anger.

He had certainly some after me : its edge fell upon my breast, and I reason to be displeased with me, for I learned never recovered the effects of the blow; of little at school, and nothing at home, although he which I was made extremely sensible on any would now and then attempt to give me some

extraordinary exertion. Ploughing, therefore, insight into his business. As impressions of any was out of the question, and, as I have already kind are not very strong at the age of eleven or said, I utterly refused to follow it. twelve, I did not long feel his loss; nor was it a

As I could write and cipher, (as the phrase subject of much sorrow to me, that my mother is,) Carlile next thought of sending me to New. was doubtful of her ability to continue me at foundland, to assist in a storehouse. For this school, though I had by this time acquired a purpose he negotiated with a Mr. Holdsworthy love for reading

of Dartmouth, who agreed to fit me out. I left I never knew in what circumstances my mother Ashburton with little expectation of seeing it was left : most probably they were inadequate to

again, and indeed with little care, and rode with her support, without some kind of exertion, espe. my godfather to the dwelling of Mr. Holdscially as she was now burthened with a second worthy. On seeing me, this great man observed child about six or eight months old. Unfortu- with a look of pity and contempt, that I was

s too small," and sent me away sufficiently

mortified, I expected to be very ill received by This consisted of several houses, which had been thoughtlessly suffered to fall into decay, and of which

my godfather, but he said nothing. He did the rents had been so long unclaimed, that they could

not however choose to take me back himself, not now be recovered inless by an expensive litigation. but sent me in the passage-boat to Totness, from

was to

whence I was to walk home, On the passage, sent a man and horse to bring ine to Ashburton ; the boat was driven by a midnight storm on the and desiring me to set out without delay. My rocks, and I escaped almost by miracle.

master, as well as myself, supposed My godfather had now humbler views for me, spend the holydays there ; and he therefore and I had little heart to resist any thing. He made no objection to my going. We were, proposed to send me on board one of the Tor- however, both mistaken. bay fishing-boats ; I ventured, however, to re- Since I had lived at Brixham, I had broken monstrate against this, and the matter was com off all connection with Ashburton. I had no repromised by my consenting to go on board a lation there but my poor brother,* who was yet coaster. A coaster was speedily found for me too young for any kind of correspondence; and at Brixham, and thither I went when little more the conduct of my godfather towards me, did than thirteen.

not entitle him to any portion of my gratitude, or My master, whose name was Full, though a kind remembrance. I lived therefore in a sort gross and ignorant, was not an ill-natured, of sullen independence on all I had formerly man; at least, not to me: and my mistress used known, and thought without regret of being me with unvarying kindness; moved perhaps by abandoned by every one to my fate. But I had my weakness and tender years. In return, I not been overlooked. The women of Brixham, did what I could to requite her, and my good who travelled to Ashburton twice a week with will was not overlooked.

fish, and who had known my parents, did not Our vessel was not very large, nor our crew see me without kind concern, running about the very numerous. On ordinary occasions, such as beach in a ragged jacket and trousers. They short trips to Dartmouth, Plymouth, &c. it con- mentioned this to the people of Ashburton, and sisted only of my master, an apprentice nearly never without commiserating my change of conout of his time, and myself: when we had to go dition. This tale, often repeated, awakened at further, to Portsmouth for example, an additional length the pity of their auditors, and, as the next hand was hired for the voyage.

step, their resentment against the man who had In this vessel (the Two Brothers) I continued reduced me to such a state of wretchedness. In nearly a twelvemonth ; and here I got acquaint- a large town, this would have had little effect; ed with nautical terms, and contracted a love but in a place like Ashburton, where every refor the sea, which a lapse of thirty years has port speedily becomes the common property of but little diminished.

all the inhabitants, it raised a murmur which my It will be easily conceived that my life was a godfather found himself either unable or unwilllife of hardship. I was not only a shipboy on ing to encounter : he therefore determined to the high and giddy mast," but also in the cabin, recall me; which he could easily do, as I wanted where every menial office fell to my lot: yet if some months of fourteen, and was not yet I was restless and discontented, I can safely bound. say, it was not so much on account of this, as of All this, I learned on my arrival ; and my my being precluded from all possibility of read- heart, which had been cruelly shut up, now ing; as my master did not possess, nor do I opened to kinder sentiments, and fairer views. recollect seeing during the whole time of my After the holydays I returned to my darling abode with him, a single book of any descrip- pursuit, arithmetic: my progress was now so tion, except the Coasting Pilot.

rapid, that in a few months I was at the head of As my lot seemed to be cast, however, I was the school, and qualified to assist my master hot negligent in seeking such information as (Mr. E. Furlong) on any extraordinary emerpromised to be useful ; and I therefore fre

gency. As he usually gave me a trifle on those quented, at_my leisure hours, such vessels as

occasions, it raised a thought in me, that by endropt into Torbay. On attempting to get on gaging with him as a regular assistant, and board one of these, which I did at midnight, I undertaking the instruction of a few evening missed my footing, and fell into the sea. The scholars, I might, with a little additional aid, be floating away of the boat alarmed the man on

enabled to support myself. God knows, my deck, who came to the ship's side just in time to see me sink. He immediately threw out several ropes, one of which providentially (for I • Of my brother here introduced for the last time, I was unconscious of it) intangled itself about me, must yet say a few words. He was literally, and I was drawn up to the surface, till a boat

The child of misery baptized in tears ; could be got round. The usual methods were and the short passage of his life did not belie the taken to recover me, and I awoke in bed the melancholy presage of his infancy. When he was seven ideas of support at this time were of no very hatred, I made no progress in it; and was conextravagant nature. I had, besides, another ob- sequently little regarded in the family, of which ject in view. Mr. Hugh' Smerdon (my first I sunk by degrees into the common drudge: master) was now grown old and infirm ; it this did not much disquiet me, for my spirits seemed unlikely that he should hold out above were now humbled. I did not however quite three or four years; and I fondly flattered my- resign the hope of one day succeeding to Mr. self that, notwithstanding my youth, I might Hugh Smerdon, and therefore secretly prosepossibly be appointed to succeed him. I was in cuted my favourite study, at every interval of my fifteenth year, when I built these castles : a leisure. storm, however, was collecting, which unex- These intervals were not very frequent; and pectedly burst upon me, and swept them all when the use I made of then was found out, away.

years old, the parish bound him out to a husbandman next morning, remembering nothing but the

of the name of Leman, with whom he endured incredihorror "I felt, when I first found myself unable ble hardships, which I had it not in my power to alleto cry out for assistance.

At nine years of age he broke his thigh, and I This was not my only escape, but I forbear to

took that opportunity to teach him to read and write.

When my own situation was improved, I persuaded him speak of them. An escape of another kind was

to try the sea ; he did so; and was taken on board the now preparing for me, which deserves all my Egmont, on condition that his master should receive notice, as it was decisive of my future fate. his wages. The time was now fast approaching when

I could serve him, but he was doomed to know no On Christmas day (1770) I was surprised by

favourable change of fortune: he fell sick, and died at a message from my godfather, saying that he had Cork.


they were rendered still less so. I could not On mentioning my little plan to Carlile, he guess the motives for this at first; but at length treated it with the utmost contempt; and told I discovered that my master destined his youngme, in his turn, that as I had learned enough, est son for the situation to which I aspired. and more than enough, at school, he must be I possessed at this time but one book in the considered as having fairly discharged his duty; world: it was a treatise on algebra, given to me (so, indeed, he had ;) he added, that he had by a young woman, who had found it in a been negotiating with his cousin, a shoemaker lodging-house. I considered it as a treasure ; of some respectability, who had liberally agreed but it was a treasure locked up; for it supposed to take me without a fee, as an apprentice. ! the reader to be well acquainted with simple was so shocked at this intelligence, that I did equation, and I knew nothing of the matter. not remonstrate ; but went in sullenness and My master's son had purchased Fenning's Introsilence to my new master, to whom I was soon duction : this was precisely what I wanted; but after bound, * till I should attain the age of he carefully concealed it from me, and I was twenty-one.

indebted to chance alone for stumbling upon his The family consisted of four journeymen, two hiding-place. I sat up for the greatest part of sons about my own age, and an apprentice some- several nights successively, and, before he suswhat older. In these there was nothing re- pected that his treatise was discovered, had markable; but my master himself was the completely mastered it. I could now enter strangest creature !-He was a Presbyterian, upon my own; and that carried me pretty far whose reading was entirely confined to the into the science. small tracts published on the Exeter Contro- This was not done without difficulty. I had versy. As these (at least his portion of them) not a farthing on earth, nor a friend to give me were all on one side, he entertained no doubt one: pen, ink, and paper, therefore, (in deof their infallibility, and being noisy and disputa. spite of the Rippant remark of Lord Orford,) cious, was sure to silence his opponents; and be- were, for the most part, as completely out of my came, in consequence of it, intolerably arrogant reach, as a crown and sceptre. There was iva and conceited. He was not, however, indebted deed a resource; but the utmost caution and solely to his knowledge of the subject for his tri- secrecy were necessary in applying to it. I umph: he was possessed of Fenning's Dictionary, beat out pieces of leather as smooth as possible, and he made a most singular use of it. His custom and wrought my problems on them with a was to fix on any word in common use, and then blunted awl: for the rest, my memory was to get by heart the synonym, or periphrasis by tenacious, and I could multiply and divide by it, which it was explained in the book; this he

to a great extent. constantly substituted for the simple term, and Hitherto I had not so much as dreamed of as his opponents were commonly ignorant of his poetry: indeed I scarcely knew it by name; meaning, his victory was complete.

and, whatever may be said of the force of naWith such a man I was not likely to add ture, I certainly never “ lisp'd in numbers." I mach to my stock of knowledge, small as it was; Tecollect the occasion of my first attempt : it is, and, indeed, nothing could well be smaller. At like all the rest of my non-adventures, of so unthis period, I had read nothing but a black letter important a nature, that I should blush to call romance, called Parismus and Parismenus, and the attention of the idlest reader to it, but for a few loose magazines which my mother had the reason alleged in the introductory parabrought from South Molton. With tbe Bible, graph. A person, whose name escapes me, had indeed, I was well acquainted; it was the undertaken to paint a sign for an ale-house : it favourite study of my grandmother, and reading was to have been a lion, but the unfortunate it frequently with ber, had impressed it strongly · artist produced a dog. On this awkward affair, on my mind; these then, with the Imitation of

one of my acquaintance wrote a copy of what Thomas a Kempis, which I used to read to my we called verse: I liked it; but fancied I mother on her death-bed, constituted the whole could compose something more to the purpose : of my literary acquisitions.

I made the experiment, and by the unanimous As I hated my new profession with a perfect suffrage of my shopmates was allowed to have

succeeded. "Notwithstanding this encourage• My indenture, which now lies before me, is dated

ment, I thought no more of verse, till another the 1st of January, 1772.

occurrence, as trifling as the former, furnished

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »