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The arrival of a stranger nearly related, but never before seen, is natarally anticipated with much curiosity; the events which had already occurred in connexion with Danvers had raised this to a high pitch ; at length
She (Mrs. Burton) beheld an old man, considerably bent by years, with yellow cheeks, white lips, and black teetb;-a few gray hairs strayed around his head, having escaped the confinement of a minute piy-tail, which stuck over his shoulder just under his left ear. He was dressed in a blue coat, with a bilious looking double-breasted calico waistcoat, pale nankeen breeches, salfron coloured silk stockings, professing to be white, and a pair of little nankeen gaiters over shoes, with buckles in them; he was, in short, a very fair specimen of that class of returned Qui-hi's ; individuals of which may be seen any fine spring day, trying to weather the windy corner of Cavendish Square; but as completely different from what Mary had fancied, as his mapner was from what she had hoped.
“ Well, Ma'am," said the old gentleman, gently pushing her away from him, she having, in the ardour of her feelings, rushed into his arms; “ well ma'am, and how d'ye do, eh-pretty well !-Deucedly altered since I saw you last-not so tall as I expected-your mother sent me your picture-cursed humbugs those painting fellows are-eh?”
Mary recollected the picture of the beau with the bouquet, and felt half inclined to join in the censure which the old gentleman levelled at the artists.
“ So ma'am," said be, “ you did not like my snake I hear, eh? nor those beautiful birds I sent you."
Unprepared for an attack at the moment of his arrival, Mary hesitated for an answer.
“I don't care Ma'am, you need not try to make a speech: I did not want you to have 'em; I hope my people paid for their keep; it shews what fools there are in the world; I meant them to have been yours ; now I've given 'em away to somebody else; it don't matter, I dare say, to you; some people don't like snakes; there's no accounting for taste, eh?"
“ My mother, Sir," said Mary
“Oh, your mother was a fool, and I dare say you're not much better! Í always told her so;-she had a very great respect for my opinions."
“ Why Sir," said Burton
“Oh don't make a fuss, Sir; when you know me longer you'll know me better, perhaps; I don't care a cowrie for the snakes--never did-did not know what to do with 'em, or I should'nt have thought of giving them to you-there's an end of that. Well-is'nt your name Mary, el ?"
“ It is, Sir.”
“So you have had a dead child Mary, eb?-great nonsense that Ma'amRice told me a great rigmarole about my snake ; what bad my snake to do with your child, eh ?"
Mary was overcome with the extraordinary abruptness of Mr. Danvers; and Burton seeing that she was so, caught up the conversation, by remarking that one of his children bad nearly been destroyed by it.
“ Stuff!- I don't believe a syllable of it; all trash-gammon-like the story of the squirrel in the Gentleman's Magazine, or the lie of Nic Scull the Surveyor
“ Dr. Mead believed in the power, Sir, and 1”.
* And who the devil, Sir, was Dr. Mead ? and, why the devil, Sir, should Dr. Mead know more about the matter than you or I? What does it signify? Don't let us talk about it-eh? Snug house you have got ;-cursed bad, all these jigamaree ornaments, eh?-hired it so, I suppose, eh ?"
“ No, Sir, my own taste, 14"
“Oh, my! you've got a taste-eh? and a genius, I suppose, eh, Miss Minikin?" patting Mrs. Burton under the chin.
“ We are satisfied, Sir," said Mary, " and contentment is itself a treasure.”.
“ So it is, my little preacher," said Danvers ;.“ but how do you pass your time, eh? I don't see any card tables : have you got a billiard room, eh !" ..
“ No," said Burton, “Sir, we play no cards.” “ No cards! then I'm off-I'm off ; I meant to have stayed six weeks with you, but I could as soon live without smoking as without cards”
Smoking !” mentally ejaculated Mrs. Burton. I use this expression, because I have found it in every novel which has been published for the last ten years, barring those splendid exceptions to all modern povels, Sir Walter Scott's ;--- I do not profess to understand it, but I imagine it to mean an ejaculation wbich is not intended to be ejaculated, and which, therefore, is no ejaculation at all.
“Oh?” replied the master of the house, “ we can easily make up a party for you at whist, Sir.”
“ That will do,” said Danyers," that will do; then I'm your man for a month, at least; however, I'll just change my dress—what time did you dine to-day, eh?”
“ We have not dined yet, Sir,” said Mary.
“I always dine at three, Ma'am, or not at all. I never eat tiffin; and nothing will induce me to alter my dinner hour: I don't care a fig for fashionthey spoiled Calcutta, by dining at night; night, Ma'am, is meant for playing cards-not for eating.”
“Oh, we shall regulate our hours by your wishes, Sir," said Burton, “ and I have no doubt, when we know your babits, you will find every thing smooth and comfortable."
“ You are very kind, Şir," said Danvers. “Pray, Mr. Burton, who was your father, eh ?
He held an office under government, in Scotland, Sir.” “What, one of their infernal jobs, eh? He was a respectable man, wasn't he, eh?”
" He was an excellent man a man of"
“ Hold your tongue, Sir, don't bore me with bis goodness, all son's fathers are excellent: gammon--trash-can't humbug me—I don't care what he was. I suppose he's dead, isn't he, eh?” "He is, Sir.”
Any more of ye?" “ I had a sister, Sir, who married an officer in the army: he was killed at Waterloo."
“ Serve him right," said the old gentleman; “stupid ass, be must have been, to have gone there. What became of his widow, eh ?”
She died, Sir--about four years since,” said Burton, with tears in his eyes.
I'm glad of it, poor body! out of her misery, eh? Did she get her husband's medal, eh ?"
“ I really don't know, Sir,"
“ She ought to have got it, you know, according to regulation: isn't your name Tom, eh ?”
" It is, Sir."
• I'm glad of it, eh? Now come, shew me my room, I'll just change my clothes, and be down again; and go you, Miss Polly,” added the old gentleman, addressing his niece, “and get cards ready, eh? You'll find me out by and by, eh, Polly ?"
From the above extract our readers will be prepared to expect the line of conduct pursued by old Danvers in the remainder of the narrative. Too testy to be endurable by any worthy person of either sex, he becomes enamoured of Miss Sally Podgers, the artful daughter of an old slopseller, who having amassed a large sum of money by selling slops, at Plymouth, has retired into that part of the country, and is invited by Burton to make up a party of whist for the old gentleman's amusement. The latter soon leaves Swandown Cottage in high dudgeon, perverting
every kind action and intention of his niece and her husband, with the most malignant ingenuity, and declaring that they shall never inherit a farthing of his property. He marries Sally Podgers; we do not learn how this measure affected his happiness, but from the circumstance of his leaving his widow only five hundred pounds a year for life, while he bequeaths all his immense wealth to Mrs. Burton, we conclude that the union was as unhappy as might have been expected, and that before he died he became sensible of his unkindness to his relations.
The bequest produces an effect by no means corresponding with the character which Burton had supported previously to this addition to their fortune. He becomes vain, ostentatious, and profuse. All his former prudence, good habits, and discernment, are destroyed. He spends large sums in articles of virtu; buys estates at more than double their value; contracts enormous debts in the most thoughtless manner; is dattered by ministers, and cajoled into two contested elections. These and other follies, dissipate his immense wealth, and when compelled to look into his affairs, he finds them in a situation truly appalling; he is obliged to sacrifice every thing: his wife acts the part of a real help.meet; and after the final settlement of all claims upon him, he remains possessed of about the same portion of wealth and comfort, as in the early stage of their union.
Unexpected riches have often produced the most ruinous effects upon the young, the uneducated, or the inexperienced, but we have never yet found within the limits of our own observation, a man, who having been brought up in easy circumstances, having passed through his early years with steadiness, having acquired moderate wealth, and shewn an aptitude to enjoy it with propriety, did not bear an accession to his income, with moderation. To such a man an increase or reverse of fortune is not productive of any mighty change. He has imbibed the principles, and gained the experience necessary to support the one, or contend with the other; and we must conclude, that had Burton really been the weak, vain, thoughtless man, represented in one part of his history, it would have displayed itself in fickleness, and levity, during his early years, and in acts of vanity, folly, and dissipation, during those immediately following, and it is really difficult to believe that any man who could relish the expensive fooleries which marked his days of affluence, could immediately return to comparative poverty and seclusion, not only without regret, but with pleasure and satisfaction.
The style of the Author is, for the most part, clear and unaffected, but occasionally there is a redundancy of expression, a superfluity of words and phrases, which is far from pleasing, and which seems to indicate a desire to extend his matter to the utmost, rather than contract it within that compass, which would be judicious in the writer, and agreeable to the reader.
THE APPORTIONMENT OF MEANS TO ENDS.
In contemplating the works of nature we are at a loss whether to admire most the grandeur and harmony of her plans, or the aptitude of the means employed to carry them into execution. How admirably adapted is each of the seasons to be the precursor of that which immediately succeeds it! and with what skill are they all combined, to promote by the most infallible means, the final object in view,—the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants. In direct contrast to this wisdom of nature, is the thoughtlessness of mankind in general, as evinced in the measures which they adopt for the prosecution of their designs. " There are many,” observes Lord Bacon," the logical part of whose minds is very good, but the mathematical, most unsound;" they can deduce consequences logically enough, but are unable to form a correct estimate of the value of those consequences, in relation to an end proposed. In every department of life we may find instances of this error of judgment; the ignorant and the learned, the high and the low, are liable in a greater or less degree to conceive wrong notions of the value of things, “ preferring those of show and sense, before those of substance and effect.” It not unfrequently happens therefore, that expecting the consummation of their intentions, they not only encounter disappointment, but perceive the object of their desires retarded, rather than advanced.
The accession of strength, which Francis the First of France, in his contest with Charles the Fifth, derived from the alliance of the Turkish Sultan, was infinitely counterbalanced by the odium which that measure drew upon him from all the nations of Christendom. Now the ji igment of the same Francis was shewn to much greater advantage, in his introducing the custom of ladies appearing at court: to which circumstance is partly owing the elegance and politeness of French manners and conversation: and no doubt the imitation of the practice by other princes has contributed to produce that gallantry towards the sex, which distinguishes modern society from that of the ancients.
The experience of every one in private life must furnish illustrations of the kind of character in question. How often do impolitic admirers,eager to extend the reputation of a friend,--frustrate by their inapt eulogiums, the object of their well-meant zeal; and for a trifling addition of praise, create doubts in the minds of sensible men, of the justness of their commendations, and at the same time excite envy in the malevolent.
Elegant accomplishments have their value; but without the more solid acquirements of learning, and the useful arts, they conduce but little to our advancement in life. But parents oftentimes, especially in the present day, instruct their children solely in the ornamental branches of education, permitting them to remain in woful ignorance of what might be really beneficial. Their showy girls, in consequence become elegant and helpless women, whilst their sons puffed up with those mistaken notions which are the natural effect of such an education, continue through life in a miserable state betwixt beggary and gentility.
But persons of this cast commit no less faults from rating some things below their real worth, than by attaching to others an undue degree of importance. Spenser, to recommend himself to the court, devoted his time and talents to the composition of the “Fairy Queen;" but Raleigh by a trifling yet politic act of courtesy, sought a readier access to the notice of his Sove
reign. The poet still continued in indigence, whilst Raleigh dated from this circumstance the first steps of his advancement.*
Perhaps our modern orators have erred in this particular, by not addicting themselves more sedulously to the practice of those arts which sway the imagination and passions of the generality of hearers. Though this objection is not so applicable to the character of our eloquence during the last thirty years, as to that of the preceding age ; but notwithstanding the improvements which have been introduced in this respect, there still remains a wide field for judicious innovation. Vehemence of tone and gesture, and the use of certain artifices which were employed by the great orators of antiquity, are almost disregarded, or certainly regarded as very subordinate considerations. And whether in the Senate, at the Bar, or in the Pulpit, our eloquence relies too much upon the force of mere unadorned argument; a circumstance which, in some degree, accounts for our seldom witnessing in the present day, those prodigious effects, which always accompanied the pleadings of a Cicero or Demosthenes.
The progress of philosophy in former times, was not more obstructed by the defect of mechanical auxiliaries, than by the mode in which philosophers prosecuted their inquiries. From Aristotle to Des Cartes, nearly all disdaining the humble process of observation and experiment, pretended to account for the phenomena of the universe by hypothesis and conjecture. The beautiful theories which resulted from their visionary speculations, obtained applause in their day, but proved them to be ill qualified for “interpreters of nature.”
In ort er to form a just estimate of the worth of things, there seems requisite a mind enlarged by study and reflection, and confirmed by experience. Good sense and common observation are in the ordinary transactions of life, sufficient to ensure success to our undertakings. But in more weighty affairs, a wider range of thought, a knowledge of the times, intercourse with men of business, and a profound insight into the human heart, are the uncommon, but necessary qualifications. Historians will instruct us in the measures most desirable to be pursued, but only a knowledge of present circumstances and necessities can inform us which are most suitable to the end we have in view. The Emperor Charles V. and Queen Elizabeth possessed these qualifications in an eminent degree; and by a prudent choice of ministers and a wise adoption of measures, they seldom failed in the execution of their designs.
TOPOGRAPHY. We announce with pleasure, the speedy publication of the second part of “ Modern Wiltshire,” by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. The first part contained the History of the Hundred of Mere, comprising the parishes of Mere, Stourton, West Knoyle, Maiden, Bradley, and Kingston Deverill. It is handsomely printed in folio, and illustrated with seven finely engraved portraits, including one of the Author, by Meyer; six plates of various Antiquarian subjects ; several of heraldry, a map, and other interesting topographical remains. The forthcoming number will comprise the Hundred of Heytsbury, but we will not anticipate its contents, which we know are of the most interesting description.
* I allude to the anecdote of his spreading his cloak in the mire, to prevent Elizabeth from soiling her feet.