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THE CONTENTED VETERAN.
A Travelling Companion. I RESOLVED, a few years since, to amuse myself with a tour through the West Riding of Yorkshire, that seat of manufactures, which contributes so largely to our domestic comfort, and the support of our foreign commerce. I had letters of introduction to several respectable families residing at different places on my proposed route. I had heard much of the hospitality of this part of the kingdom, and entertained no doubt but that the liberality of their sentiments kept pace with the hospitality of their tables; and that practical accommodation to the wishes and desires of the guest, would be found strictly to accord with the kindness of the host. I took the mail to York, where I found one friend absent; another, whom I had formerly met at a bathing-place, and who had invited me, if ever I came to York, to make his house my home, no sooner saw me, than eagerly running up to me, he inquired, at what inn I had taken up my quarters? I replied, at the Falcon, in Micklegate. " Ah," replied he, “ good house. I'll come down after dinner, and take a glass of wine with you.” So saying, he brushed off. He had left the Minster to my enjoyment, and as I had only my own taste to consult, I spent my time in surveying that beautiful fabric. The walls, the castle, and the new walks, engaged and gratified my attention, nor did my bathing-place friend forget to spend bis evening in my service, and regret that he was obliged to leave York betimes the ensuing morning. I had no business to keep me there, and proceeded without delay to Leeds, where I found my letters of introduction procure me a reception of the heartiest kind. It seemed as if every one kept open house there; every table appeared to have a spare knife and fork for the stranger; and if I had had occasion to feel chagrin at the conduct of one inhabitant of York, it seemed as if all Leeds had united to counteract the impression I might have felt under it.
I had no hesitation in expressing my wish to see one of their extensive manufactories. The effect of this resembled an electric shock. Silence seized the whole company--they looked at each other, as if I had committed the most atrocious breach of decorum ; at length one recovering himself, replied in an under tone, scarcely louder than a whisper, “I doubt,-1 am afraid,- think it will be impossible.” Another replied, “ I never heard of any one being admitted.”—“ I have known," observed a third, “ I have known M— these dozen years, bụt if I were to ask him, I should only be refused.”_" And I,” said a fourth, “ am particus larly intimate with the young G— but I never could gain admission beyond the counting-house." In short, I found that the Leeds people were as jealous of their manufactories, as Spanish lords used to be of their ladies, and, as my York friend had been of the interior of his domicile. Vexed and disgusted at this unreasonable reserve, I retired from thence to try if I could succeed better at Bradford, Halifax, and elsewhere; but every where I found the same narrow spirit, to my no small mortification.
In all these places I heard of the spirit and liberality of the Liverpool people, and the magnificence of the town and port, and particularly of the display of it in their public buildings and institutions. I determined to hasten thither, expecting to find that gratification which I had not yet obtained.
Persons who have never seen London, may talk of the magnificence of Liverpool, but those only can speak of it. It is extensive, and has some buildings on a large and elegant scale ; but the town itself is not well built. The streets are irregular and ill paved, and the houses inferior to those in several of our provincial towns.
I soon quitted Liverpool, and took my passage in the canal boat to Manchester. We had not proceeded far on our voyage, before a man came on board, whose appearance strongly attracted my notice. He had passed the noon of life, but seemed strong and vigorous, save where accidental injuries of time and wear had interfered with him.
He had lost an eye, and bore the scars of several severe wounds on his face. He limped with his right leg, and carried his left arm in a sling ; but the expression of his countenance was that of cheerfulness, and the tone of his voice was quite in unison with it. I felt curious to know his history, and drew him into a conversation for that purpose. I found that he had been a soldier; had seen much service; and that the injuries done to his person, had been suffered in the service of his country.
“ How came you to be a soldier?” I inquired. “Sir,” he replied, “I was young and thoughtless, and wanted to be married to a girl in my own village; the lass was good to look at, and had the merriest black
of any one in the township. One day (it was the day they had been burning Bishop Blaize) I went to our Town House, where the young folks were to have a dance in the evening, and I expected to dance with her; but when she came, she danced with Jack Brighouse, a young chap, whose father was thought to have some cash, and though I asked her again and again, to dance with me, nothing but Jack Brighouse would suit her; so I went down into the tap, and whilst I was sitting there, and drinking to amuse myself, in comes a recruiting party. Well, thinks I, I'll ha' done wi' her, and Jack, and all, so I took the King's money, and marched off the next morning.'
" And was that fortunate ?" I asked.
“ Oh yes, it was mickle better to serve the king than to serve her; and besides, she turned out such a vixen, that she drove poor Jack mad, and spent all the brass that his father had toiled so many years for."
“ But you seem to have suffered much in the king's service,” I observed.
“ There are few but what do," he returned, “ but then I have a pension ; now if I had staid at home, I might have met with all these accidents and had no pension ; so, d’ye see, here too I am fortunate.”
,” said I, “ if you had staid at home, you would hardly have been wounded, and surely it's better to be sound in body than lame."
“Wounds are to be met with elsewhere than in the king's service," he replied, “ and how fares it then? There was Squire Brain's gamekeeper had nearly lost his life, and quite lost his leg, while watching the poachers; and his master said, as he could not walk after the game as he did before, he should keep him no longer; so the poor fellow, as he had no pension, was obliged to go to the poorhouse. So you see, I have served a better master, and am better off, than he. And again, it was much better work to watch and fight the French than the poachers; and if we did undergo many hardships, we always made up for it when we had the opporfunity, and there is nothing like hunger and want to get a good appetite, and make a man enjoy plenty.”
“ But your eye,” i interrupted him.
« Oh my eye! but that was a cold caught by laying abroad one rainy night at the siege of Bayonne, Several of my comrades lost both their eyes at that time, from sleeping upon the bare ground in their wet clothes. Now I have one left, so here too I have been fortunate."
“ And why do you carry your arm in a sling?” I inquired. . « At the battle of Toulouse we were attacked by the French cavalry-a dragoon struck at my head I was raising my musket to guard me, when by some accident it slipped from me, and I had no defence to make but by raising my hand, which was severely wounded; and it afterward inflamed so, that it has been stiff and useless ever since; but it saved my head, so that was fortunate again.”
“ And how came you lame in your leg?" I asked. • “In the same battle, after I was wounded in the arm, as I was sitting upon the ground, trying to stop the bleeding, for it bled sadly, and I was getting very faint, another French party came across us, and one of them had raised his sword to cut me down as he went by. Just then his horse slipped and fell, and came rolling upon me, and gave my leg a twist, from which it has never recovered: so here too was good fortune, for if his horse had not fallen, I should have been killed.”
“ And what do you intend to do when you get home?"
“ Why marry to be sure! I have a pension, and I can do something yet towards getting an honest living; there are plenty of girls in the country; more lasses than lads I trow, after so many have been lost in the war. They all like a soldier: I can tell many a tale to move their pity, and if they begin to pity they'll soon begin to love. All the lasses are not like Nanee Blackthorn, and I shall have a good home and cheerful fireside after all my marchings and campaignings: so who can say that I'm not fortunate ?"
Methought, If all had thy spirit, they would be fortunate too.
WHAT IS LOVE?
What is love.
Ask not cold and frigid age,
What is love.
Trust not youth's impetuous fire,
What is love.
Ask the tear that fills the eye,
This is love.
ALASCO. A Tragedy, in 5 Acts, by M. A. Shee. Svo. Sherwood,
Jones and Co. This tragedy has been excluded from the Stage, by the authority of the Lord Chamberlain, under the revision of the new licenser, George Colman, Esq. With this we have no concern, nor with the author's justificatory preface, extending through fifty-six pages; we only estimate it as a literary production, and do not regard it for any political or party purposes. Considered as a reading drama, it undoubtedly possesses many noble expressions and just sentiments, clothed in elegant language, but it appears to us to be deficient in that spirit of incident, and that variation of character, which should constitute it a favourite acting play. Difficult, and almost impossible it is, in the solitude of the closet, to portray with fidelity, and depict with energy, the varying passions which actuate human life: with the great dramatist, “to dip the pen in one's own heart.” The language of passion lengthens into declamation, emotions of love, and grief, and pity, and revenge, are detailed, rather than ejaculated, or coldly expressed by stage directions, rather than in appeals to the heart.
What endowments of nature, and not of art or education, are necessary to form a great dramatic writer, are evident from the few that any country has produced. Italy can shew a Goldoni, and Spain a Lope de Vega. France, in her Racine and Corneille, has accomplished all that the drama of that country, fettered as it has ever been by the sacred unities, can be able to effect. And our own Shakspeare has both formed and completed English Tragedy. These remarks have been necessarily suggested to us by the production of a new tragedy. But Alasco, though destined to remain in the library, is not inferior to its contemporaries or predecessors in many respects. It contains patriotic expressions and elegant speeches, nor is it deficient in interest. The author has fixed the scene in Poland. A chosen few in that unhappy country, are conspiring against the destroyers of their liberty, amongst whom a Baron Hohendahl, the Prussian governor of a Polish province, appears conspicuous. Count Alasco, a young Polish nobleman, the éléve of Colonel Walsingham, an English officer in the Prussian service, and privately married to his daughter Amantha, figures as a leader of the insurgents, in conjunction with his friend Conrad, Hohendahl, in love with Amantha, is informed by his spies of the meditated conspiracy; he admonishes Wale singham of this, and on expressing his fears for the safety of Amantha, procures her removal to his castle, Walsingham and Alasco meet, and the former severely reproaches the latter, to whom he had been a guardian and friend. Instead of contending with his benefactor, he throws him, self into his arms, but is secured as a prisoner through the stern integrity of Walsingham, who, however, goes to solicit his pardon, Hohendahi, who had attempted the virtue of Amantha, encounters Alasco, and is slain, Malinski, a Polish conspirator, cherishing an enmity against Alasco, in the manner of the conspirator in Venice Preserved, attempts his life in the prison, while sleeping, but is surprised by Conrad, and killed. Finally, Walsingham, having procured the pardon of Alasco, hastens to communicate the intelligence, but finds that Amantha, despairing of the safety of her lord, had destroyed herself. Overcome by this melancholy intelligence, he faints, and is borne from the stage. Alasco destroys himself, while Conrad vainly endeavours to prevent him. And thus concludes the drama,
which is sufficiently tragic in its denouement. In pursuance of the plan which we adopted in reviewing Mr. Croly's comedy, we present the reader with extracts, selected from different parts, and which appear to us to possess poetical beauty, though their dramatic effect might be doubtful.
LONELINESS OF MIND.
RECTITUDE AND ERROR.
I know what 'tis to dream ;---to whirl and toss