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As a sort of proemium to the relation of the following Adventure, I must preadmonish my readers, that I have always entertained a monstrous aversion to being roused from a comfortable sleep, by the appalling cry of
murder. Heaven defend us ! the very thought of such matters, even in broad day-light, causes a queer sensation about one's throat and fifth rib: but at the solemn hour of midnight,— just as the clock strikes twelve,'when the winds are howling, and casements creaking, with all the other paraphernalia of a portentous night, (vide Mysteries of Udolpho)-oh! it festers up the faculties, and acts as a scare-crow to the senses: Having premised thus much, and not in the least doubting that I have touched a sympathetic string in every bosom, I will forthwith proceed to relate my Adventure.
Those who have travelled in the north of Scotland, may perchance recollect the road between Kincardine and Dingwall. . On the right stands a decently snug tenement, from which a swinging appendage announces to all peregrinators, that excellent entertainment is there provided for man and beast.' In those parts it was my fortune to be travelling, on a bleak November evening, with no remarkably near prospect of supper or bed, when my eyes were suddenly gladdened by the appearance of the afore-mentioned sign; and so, it appears, were those of my horse, for without receiving previous notice from me, he instinctively halted at the door. I alighted, and after a comfortable supper, found myself snugly deposited in bed, next floor but one to the sky, the other floors being pre-engaged. But scarcely had gentle sleep diffused its balm over my eye-lids, when I was aroused by a horrible confusion of noises in an adjoining apartment, from which I was separated only by a slight partition. First I heard sundry stampings, and divers violent exclamations ; then I plainly distinguished half stifled cries of murder, and at last the groans
of one, as it were, in his last agony. I was on my feet in the twinkling of an eye, and the reader may imagine that there was no occasion to make use of my hands in doffing my night-cap; the first sound of the word · murder caused that to deposit itself very quietly on my pillow. My first movement was towards the door, from which I as quickly retreated, on discovering a murderous looking person through the half-opened door of the next apartment; not however before I had uttered a yell loud enough to rouse all the inmates of the house. I next made towards the window, but there saw nothing, save a fearful profundity, which, I was well aware, was terminated by a yard, paved with rough stones. 'Twas agony. resource was the chimney, in which I forthwith proceeded to enshell myself, taking good care to leave the space of a yard or two between me and the floor. Scarcely had I thus disposed of myself, when the landlord entered my apartment, followed by his wife and domestics; whose voice I no sooner distinguished, than I began very coolly to descend: but unfortunately, this being my first attempt at chimney-sweeping, I made such an unsweeper-like descent, that the landlord and his train thinking Old Nick was at hand, scampered off, myself following with all imaginable speed. Helter-skelter we rushed down the first flight of stairs; at the bottom of which, finding a door half open, with a night-capped head protruding, in order, no doubt, to discover the cause of such a disturbance, we all burglariously
entered, knocking down, in our tumultuous incourse, the lawful
possessor. There at length the foremost of our party wheeled to the right about, and the landlady, discovering me, hastily asked me what was the matter. I explained, as well as I could, the cause of my alarm; to which explanation, turning up the whites of her eyes, she replied, half testily, half laughing, "Qawhy, Gude safe as, Sir, 'twas nae mair than just Sanders Mac Grabbit, ane o' the play-folk, a skirlin the bit tregedy, as he's ganging to play in our barn, like.”—“Um!” re-answered I; and in less than five minutes my nasal organ was playing bass to my next door neighbour's treble.
The Muscat Wine of Montefiascone is called Est Est, from the following circumstancé. John Defoucris, a German, was so fond of good Wine, that when he travelled he always sent his Valet forward a post in advance, with these instructions:- That he should taste the Wine at every place where he stopped, and write under the bush the word “Est,” if it was tolerable, and" Est Est” if it was very good; but where he found it indifferent, he should leave the bush in statu quo. The bush is a bunch of evergreens, which is hung up over the entrance to a vineyard, or a house, to show that Wine is there sold, and gave rise to the maxim, "good Wine needs' no bush ;" as it was supposed judges would soon find where it was to be had good after once tasting, without a bush to remind them. Defoucris's Valet arrived at Montefiascone, and approved so much of the Wine, that he wrote up as agreed, Est Est.” His master soon followed, and got dead drunk to his entire satisfaction, but repeating the experiment too often, he drunk himself dead; and his Valet, a bit of a 'wag, wrote for him the following epitaph.
Propter nimium “ Est Est," ,
When youth's enchantments all shall fade,
And even friendship’s flame grow dim,
Believe that still, thou thinks't of him!
When other friends have ceased to mourn,
The wanderer who shall ne'er return!
It is my destin'd lot to stray ;
To light me on my dreary way!
But dreads to think th' oblivious sway
Wolsey and his Times. By GEORGE HOWARD. 8vo. London. Sher
wood and Co.
It fell to the lot of this statesman to administer the public affairs of the Kingdom of England under very peculiar circumstances. Born of poor, but honest parents, he had only the talents given him by nature, and improved by such education as they could afford to give him, and the benefit he might derive from their good example, to procure his advancement in life. The two last, in all ages, have done little, unless supported by the former; and at the period in which he lived, when the helps to learning were few, and difficult to be obtained, obstacles were placed in the way
of a poor but clever lad, which can scarcely be conceived at the present day, when instruction of every kind is so easily to be obtained. Yet Wolsey triumphed over all these ;-he found the means of studying at Oxford, and making friends there, who promoted his interests in that university. With no recommendation but his talents, he was entrusted with the expenditure of the college funds to erect a tower, which was to remain to future ages, a monument of the taste and splendour of that wealthy foundation. This he completed in a style of simple and elegant architecture, which has secured him the applause of competent judges, and continues to attract the notice and admiration of those who visit the university. Returning from thence into the country, he officiated as a priest and a tutor, and assiduously discharged the duties of both. In the latter character, ħe educated the sons of the Marquis of Dorset, and this proved the efficient means of his subsequent elevation; for the Marquis felt so much satisfaction at the care he had taken of, and the learning he had instilled into his sons, that he became his patron, and recommended him to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who received him into his household, as one of his domestic chaplains. In this situation he became known at court, and was employed by it, at least - upon one occasion, and that of no trifling nature. One of the most '
marked differences between men of great and moderate talents, is sure to be discovered in the use they make of the opportunities which are offered them. The former avail themselves of these opportunities with promptness and dexterity, while the latter overlook them, or hesitate and perplex both themselves and their friends, till the season has elapsed, and then wait for another, which probably never arrives. Wolsey evidently is to be numbered amongst the former, and the skill with which he improved every circumstance favourable to his good fortune is decisive, not only of his ability, but also of his diligent improvement of those great talents with which he was evidently gifted. He arrives at college a poor scholar, and leaves there, at the early age of twenty-seven years, a lasting monument of his architectural skill. He is called from the cares of a country parish, to the household of the primate of all England. Ordinary men, with no further training than had fallen to Wolsey’s lot, would have been astoanded at an invitation to undertake a solemn embassy, on important business, to the acknowledged highest temporal anthority in Europe. They would have shrunk from the task, or have felt that distrust, dismay and perplexity, as would have prevented the success of their mission. He ventured upon it, and executed it, with the ease of a man accustomed to courts, and trained to negociation : and, with a despatch that astonished his employer. Promoted by a young and ardent monarch, he is charged with the providing the military 26.
stores, and has teningthe preparation for a campaign; and this diligent priest and school-master, this successful diplomatist, exercises his talents in the military service of his country, with equal energy, and corresponding
He is required to administer the public affairs of the kingdom, and the highest law-offices, at the same time that the care of numerous dioceses and spiritual establishments devolve upon him : the former are conducted with so much firmness, decision, and judgment, that the realm had nevet had more quiet at home, or consideration abroad, than during this period; and his impartiality and discernment were so exercised in his legal functions, that the court in which he presided, attracted the causes from the other courts, till the delays necessarily arising from this accumulation of business, compelled the suitors reluctantly to apply elsewhere. The legantine authority, and consequent increase of engagements, might have been expected to have overwhelmed the faculties, and paralyzed the activity, of one whoše avocations were so numerous, pressing, and diversified; but, as if he had found out a secret, more valuable than that of the Philosopher's stone, that of multiplying time, he attended to these, and conducted important reformations in that church establishment, which was thus subjected to his authority; and which was so corrupted, that learned and able prelates openly expressed their despair of being able to effect any amendment of it. Nor did his labours cease here; amidst this succession of engagements, he found leisure to patronise learning, and correspond with learned men.
What was the character of the prince whom he served during this period? and the great men of the country who were his contemporaries? Was the former an able, wise, discreet, and consistent monarch, whose power was constantly exerted to sustain his minister in the due exercise of his authority, and the support of those measures, which, after mature deliberation, his wisdom had approved ? Were the latter, the disinterested and orderly chiefs of a well-regulated kingdom, during a period of extraordinary civilization, where no public feeling was more prevalent than zeal for the public good, and the best interests of the state and nation ? Every thing was the reverse of this. The king was perverse, impetuous, and obstinate; yielding to the impulse of his feelings, without consideration, and pursuing the accomplishment of his wishes, heedless of the consequences, either to himself or others. Capricious and inconstant, no minister could tell from the resolution of to-day, what would be his purpose to-morrow, farther than he could judge from considering the natural desires and propensities of a haughty and capricious monarch, possessing sufficient energy and activity to interrupt the wiser plans of his ministers, and perseyerance sufficient to overcome all opposition ; but who possessed not the least portion of moderation or patience :—who only enquired what he liked, and never cared whether it was for his private or for the public welfare. Yet, during twenty years Wolsey maintained himself in the confidence of this changeable and tyrannical master, and subdued aud softened a character, which, after his removal, broke forth into extravagancies, which never appeared during the long period he exercised his influence to restrain them.
The nobles of the kingdom' were the survivors of the wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, or their immediate descendants, men rude and ignorant; nursed in ages of turbulence and misrule; proud of
their lineage and feats, of arms; often not the most honourable; and Wolsey, speaking of them and himself, might justly use the language of Marius under like eircumstances, “they despise my mean birth, and I despise their mean character.” These he reduced to such order, that private individuals were more secure, both in their persons and property, than at any former period. The public accounts were examined, and defaulters made to reimburse the deficiencies due to the crown, without any respect of persons, the king's own brother-in-law not being spared, though the difficulty under which he laboured to raise the necessary sums, obliged him to retire from court for a long time; and what perhaps deserves the greatest thanks of posterity, he adopted such severe measures against perjury, which had been most shamefully and openly practised in all the courts, that they were in a great measure purged of it; and he laid the foundation of that integrity which has long been, and continues to be, so pre-eminently the glory of British Justice.
Great talents, and especially when exercised with a fearless impartiality, usually excite envy and animosities, which effectually prevent justice being done to their possessor, until he has been so long removed from the scene of action, that not only fear and hope have ceased to operate, but those persons who have felt the effects of them, together with their immediate connexions, have ceased to live. Even integrity and trust-worthiness are often disputed or denied during life-time, to those most worthy of them; and when opposing claimants are not only willing, but desirous of submitting their conflicting demands to the decision of the same arbiter, we have the strongest evidence of his acknowledged uprightness.
Henry and Francis were princes of ability, though the former yielded himself the slave of his passions; and the latter courted the perseverance and independence of a first-rate character. These princes, who had the best means of knowing Wolsey's candour and honesty, voluntarily named him their commissioner, to arrange their opposing claims, and bring them to a general issue; and the case is the more remarkable, because Francis first communicated to him those powers, which Henry, when informed of, did not hesitate to confirm, and also gave him equally extensive ones, on his own account.
Much has been said of Wolsey’s hanghtiness and ambition: a very little consideration will shew the justice with which these charges are urged against him. We have before noticed the fierce and violent eharacter of the higher ranks during this period. The lower ones were equally depressed, and there was no middle class, whose firmness and moderation might protect the one, whilst it checked the oppression of the other, and by lending a salutary power to the sovereign, might manifest its vital importance to every order of the state. It was Wolsey's business to give that protection to all, as might in the slow, but natural course of a wellregulated state of affairs, cause this middle class to rise into existence; but until that period arrived, the hąughtiness of the nobles must be checked ; and how could that be done, cinless by strong measures, conceived and executed with a boldness that disconcerted, and a vigour that paralyzed, the plans and efforts of the opposing party. The church was equally hostile to reformation. Her members were interested in the existing abuses, and the dread inspired by the new doctrines, united his opponents in that quarter. The independence of his own spirit, the display of his resources, which evinced his resolution, neither to be thwarted, nor diverted from bis