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Now and then, but not very frequently, groups of these children of nature may be seen wandering about the streets of Birmingham, with much the same sensations as the Indians experience at New York or Philadelphia. It was at Birmingham that the Roscio-mania, as Lord Byron calls it, first broke out, and in a few weeks indistinct rumours of Young Betty's fame caught some ears even in the coal-mines. One man, more curious or more idle than his fellows, determined to leave his work, and see the prodigy with his own eyes; and having so resolved, he proceeded, although in the middle of the week, to put on a clean shirt and a clean face, and would even have anticipated the Saturday's shaving, but he was preserved from such extravagance by the motive which prevented Mrs. Gilpin from allowing the chaise to draw up to her door on the eventful morning of the journey,
-lest all Should
that she was proud.
But notwithstanding this moderation he did not pass unobserved. The unwonted hue of the shirt and face were portents not to be disregarded : and he had no sooner taken the road to Birmingham, than he was met by an astonished brother, whose amazement, when at last it found vent in words, produced the following dialogue: “ Oi say, sirree, where be'st thee gwain * ?"_" Oi'm agwain to Brummajum.”_" What be’st agwain there for ?”_6 Oi’m agwain to see the Young Rocus. .“ What ?”—66 Oi tell thee Oi'm agwain to see the Young Rocus.”—“ Is it aloive ?”
I ought to thank my readers (if one by one they have not all dropped off before this time) for indulging me so long in my garrulity. But I had a reason for it. I wished to preserve some sketch, while the original is yet in existence, of a race which refinement, that fell destroyer of character, has hitherto spared. Soon will these be tales of other times! The primitive simplicity even of the Collieries is threatened. Already have the eyes of Bell and Lancaster searched out even this spot of innocent seclusion; and the voice of education will ere long be heard above the wild untutored sounds which have so long charmed the ears of the traveller.
M. D. H.
“ Peregrine,” said Lady Mary, “ write."
“O mes enfans! quelles âmes que celles qui ne sont inquiètes que des mouvemens de l'écliptique, ou que des moeurs et des arts des Chinois !"
How far our happiness may be advanced or endangered by the indulgence of a lively interest in all things and persons that chance throws in our way, is a point on which I never could make up my mind. I have seen the man of feeling wrapt up in the fervour of his affection or the enthusiasm of his benevolence, and I have believed him perfectly happy ; but I have seen him again when he has discovered that his affection had been wasted on a fool, and his benevolence lavished on a scoundrel, and I have believed him the most wretched of men. Again, I have looked on the man of the world in an hour of trouble or embarrassment, and I have envied his philosophy and his self-command ; but I have marked him too in the day of revel and exultation, and I have shrunk from the immobility of his features and the torpor of his smile.
I could never settle it to my satisfaction. Acute pleasure seems to be always the forerunner of intense pain; and weariness the inseparable demon which dogs the steps of gratification. I have examined all ranks and all faces ; I have looked into eyes and I have looked into folios; I have lost patience and I have lost time; I have made inquiries of many and enemies of not a few; and drawn confessions and conclusions from demoiselles who never had feelings, and from dowagers who have survived them, and from bards who have nourished them in solitude, and from barristers who have crushed them in Westminster Hall. The choice spirit who is loudest at his club to-night will be dullest in his chambers to-morrow, and the girl who is merriest at the dance will infallibly be palest at the breakfast table. How shall I decide? The equability which lives, or the excitement which dies? The beef without the mustard, or the mustard without the beef ?
Chance, or my kind stars, for I am very often inclined to believe in their agency, especially on fine moon-light nights, has flung me into a circle of acquaintance, where the pleasures and the pains attendant upon these different tempers of mind are continually forced upon my notice, and hold me delightfully balanced, like Mahomet's coffin, between earth and ether. Davenant Cecil is a being as thoroughly made up of sympathies and affections, as ever was a puppet of springs or a commentator of absurdities. He never experienced, he never could endure five minutes of calm weather; he is always carried up into the heaven and down again into the deep; every hope, every exertion, every circumstance, be it of light or of grave import, is to him equally productive of its exaltation or its depression ; like the Proserpina of fable he is in Olympus half the year, and in Tartarus the other. Marmaduke Villars has about as much notion of raptures and enthusiasm, as a Mohawk chief entertains of turtle soup, or a French milliner of the differential calculus. Except that he prefers claret to port, and Drury-lane to Covent-garden, and eau de Montpellier to eau de Cologne, I doubt whether he is conscious of any predilection for one thing or any aversion to another. Marmaduke is like Ladurlad in every thing except “ the fire in his heart, and the fire in his brain;" and Davenant is the Sorcerer Benshee, who rode on a fast horse, and talked with many, and jested with many, and laughed loudly, and wept wildly for the things he saw ; yet was he bound by his compact to the fiend to sit at no table, and to lie on no couch, and to speed forward by night and by day, sleeping never,
and resting never, even till his appointed hour. A short time ago, Davenant and myself received an invitation to spend a few days with Villars. His favourite hunter, Sir Peter, had thrown him or fallen with him, I forget which, and after being a little put to rights, as he expressed it, at the little country place where the accident happened, he had been removed to the hall, and ordered to keep himself quiet. There seemed to be some chance of his compliance with this admonition, as the rest of his family were all absent, and there was not a house within five miles ; but in order to counteract these favourable symptoms as much as possible, he summoned us to his sofa. Cecil and Villars are the antipodes of one another; and, as is commonly the case, are the fondest friends upon all occasions, because they never can agree upon one.
We went accordingly, and were rejoiced to find our friend, pale to be sure, and very intimate with crutches, but still apparently free from pain, and enjoying that medicinal level of spirits which is a better preservative against fever than you will easily find from the lancet or the draught. He congratulated himself upon the safety of his nose, which Mr. Perrott the apothecary had pronounced broken, and only lamented the loss of his boot, which it had been necessary to cut from his leg. In a short time we quite forgot that he
was in the slightest degree damaged, and conversed on divers topics without any intrusive compassion for his flannel and his slipper.
And first, as in duty bound, we began to discuss the Quarterly Magazine, and its past success, and its future hopes, and its patrons, and its contributors. Davenant was wonderfully angry because some “ fathomless blockheads” found obscurities in his Lyrical Poem. oIf there were any de. scendings into the deep fountains of thought, any abstruse researches into the mind of man,'-in short, to speak plainly, if there were any thing in the poem which a man might be very proud to risk his réputation upon, then one might be prepared for darkness and coldness in this improving and understanding age ;—but a mere fancy piece like this, as simple in design as it is in execution—you know, Marmaduke, that incapacity to comprehend must be either gross stupidity, or supreme affectation.”
“ I think much may be said for the blockheads,'” observed Marmaduke, shaking his head.
“ You think no such thing,” said Davenant, “and you feel that you think no such thing: I shall detest you, Villars, if you - write yourself down an ass,' merely for the sake of telling me I am one.
“ You know, my dear Davenant,” said Villars, “ you know you never detested any body in your life, except, perhaps, a few of the commentators upon Shakspeare, and the critic who considered Campbell the first poet of the day, and Wordsworth the second. But seriously I cannot conceive why you are ruffled about your verses ; you know they are admired, as Mr. Rigge says of his soap, by all the best judges; not to go out of our own circle, you know Lady Mary, and Tristram, and Gerard, who are worth all the world, think them about the best things going ; nay, I am not clear that our good friend Joyeuse has not some suspicion of the kind, only he never speaks a word of truth upon any subject. And, loaded as you are with all these accumulated commendations, you want to add the weight of my valueless voice to your burthen, and to"
“ There never was a man more mistaken ; what should I care for your opinion? It is not worth a straw, it is not worth • Gertrude of Wyoming' to me. But I am in a passion when I see a tolerably clever man making a fool of himself wilfully. I read the poem to your sister, and she understood it perfectly."
“ Then you persuaded her first that she was a clever girl, and she thought her comprehension would confirm the idea. I will wager a beauty against a bottle, or a haunch of venison against a page of rhyme, or The Pleasures of Hope' against · The Excursion,' or any other boundless odds which you like to suggest, that with the same object in view she shall admire the Iliad or dote upon the Koran.”
“ There is no answer to such an argument. All I know is, that Amelia found nothing difficult in the poem."
" What! she told you so, I suppose." " No; her eyes did.”
“ Then her eyes lied confoundedly. Never, my dear Davenant; never, while you live, believe in the language of the eyes. I would rather believe in the miracles of Apollonius, or the infallibility of the Pope of Rome, or the invincibility of the French army. I believed a pretty piercing pair once, which told me the wearer was very fond of a particular person, and I cultivated my whiskers accordingly, and did double duty at my glass. By Paphos and its patroness, she went off in a month with a tall captain of fusiliers, and left me to despondency and the new novel.”
“ And you longed to be so deceived again,” said Davenant.
" No: it was very fatiguing. Never, while you live, believe in the language of the eyes. But you will, because you were born to be a fool, and you must fulfil your destiny. As Rousseau says—he is somewhere about the room
“ I have him in my hand,” said Davenant; “ what à delightful little book ; I dote upon the size, and the binding, and the type, and the
“ Yes; he was of great service to me a fortnight ago, when my hurt was rather annoying at night. My people prescribd opium, and I used to take Jean Jacques instead. But this way is my treasure-house of reading: eh ! le voici !” and he led us up to a book-case where was conspicuously placed an immense edition of Voltaire, and began taking down the volumes and expressing the dotage of his delight with wonderful rapidity.--Ah! Alzire! charming--and Merope;-you are going to talk about Shakspeare, Davenant. Hold your tongue ;-a noisy, gross, fatiguing-no, no : the French stage for me!Eh! ma belle Zaire! the French stage for me ! 'tout dort, tout est tranquille, et-' and Candide! oh! I could laugh for a century. Et puis-la Pucelle! oh, pour le coup
And “le coup” came with a vengeance; for Davenant, who hates a French play worse than poison, had just found something overpoweringly ridiculous in the woes of " Orphelin de
la Chine," and bursting into an ungovernable shriek of laughter, dropped some six or seven quarto volumes upon the wounded foot of our unfortunate stoic. He fell on the floor, in agony, and almost in a passion,