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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey CrayonGent.
by Washington Irving

The Author's Account of Himself
The Voyage
The Wife
Rip Van Winkle
English Writers on America
Rural Life in England
The Broken Heart
The Art of Book-making
A Royal Poet
The Country Church
The Widow and her Son
A Sunday in London
The Boar's Head Tavern
The Mutability of Literature
Rural Funerals
The Inn Kitchen
The Spectre Bridegroom
Westminster Abbey
The Stage-Coach
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
The Christmas Dinner
London Antiques
Little Britain
Traits of Indian Character
Philip of Pokanoket
John Bull
The Pride of the Village
The Angler
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow



I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere
spectator of other men's fortunes and adventures, and how they
play their parts; which, methinks, are diversely presented unto
me, as from a common theatre or scene.--BURTON.


THE following paperswith two exceptionswere written in
Englandand formed but part of an intended series for which I
had made notes and memorandums. Before I could mature a plan
howevercircumstances compelled me to send them piecemeal to the
United Stateswhere they were published from time to time in
portions or numbers. It was not my intention to publish them in
Englandbeing conscious that much of their contents could be
interesting only to American readersandin truthbeing
deterred by the severity with which American productions had been
treated by the British press.

By the time the contents of the first volume had appeared in this
occasional mannerthey began to find their way across the
Atlanticand to be insertedwith many kind encomiumsin the
London Literary Gazette. It was saidalsothat a London
bookseller intended to publish them in a collective form. I
determinedthereforeto bring them forward myselfthat they
might at least have the benefit of my superintendence and
revision. I accordingly took the printed numbers which I had
received from the United Statesto Mr. John Murraythe eminent
publisherfrom whom I had already received friendly attentions
and left them with him for examinationinforming him that should
he be inclined to bring them before the publicI had materials
enough on hand for a second volume. Several days having elapsed
without any communication from Mr. MurrayI addressed a note to
himin which I construed his silence into a tacit rejection of
my workand begged that the numbers I had left with him might be
returned to me. The following was his reply:

MY DEAR SIR: I entreat you to believe that I feel truly obliged
by your kind intentions towards meand that I entertain the most
unfeigned respect for your most tasteful talents. My house is
completely filled with workpeople at this timeand I have only
an office to transact business in; and yesterday I was wholly
occupiedor I should have done myself the pleasure of seeing

If it would not suit me to engage in the publication of your
present workit is only because I do not see that scope in the
nature of it which would enable me to make those satisfactory
accounts between uswithout which I really feel no satisfaction
in engaging--but I will do all I can to promote their
circulationand shall be most ready to attend to any future plan
of yours.

With much regardI remaindear sir
Your faithful servant

This was dishearteningand might have deterred me from any
further prosecution of the matterhad the question of
republication in Great Britain rested entirely with me; but I
apprehended the appearance of a spurious edition. I now thought
of Mr. Archibald Constable as publisherhaving been treated by
him with much hospitality during a visit to Edinburgh; but first
I determined to submit my work to Sir-Walter (then Mr.) Scott
being encouraged to do so by the cordial reception I had
experienced from him at Abbotsford a few years previouslyand by
the favorable opinion he had expressed to others of my earlier

writings. I accordingly sent him the printed numbers of the
Sketch-Book in a parcel by coachand at the same time wrote to
himhinting that since I had had the pleasure of partaking of
his hospitalitya reverse had taken place in my affairs which
made the successful exercise of my pen all-important to me; I
begged himthereforeto look over the literary articles I had
forwarded to himandif he thought they would bear European
republicationto ascertain whether Mr. Constable would be
inclined to be the publisher.

The parcel containing my work went by coach to Scott's address in
Edinburgh; the letter went by mail to his residence in the
country. By the very first post I received a replybefore he had
seen my work.

I was down at Kelso,said hewhen your letter reached
Abbotsford. I am now on my way to town, and will converse with
Constable, and do all in my power to forward your views--I assure
you nothing will give me more pleasure.

The hinthoweverabout a reverse of fortune had struck the
quick apprehension of Scottandwith that practical and
efficient good-will which belonged to his naturehe had already
devised a way of aiding me. A weekly periodicalhe went on to
inform mewas about to be set up in Edinburghsupported by the
most respectable talentsand amply furnished with all the
necessary information. The appointment of the editorfor which
ample funds were providedwould be five hundred pounds sterling
a yearwith the reasonable prospect of further advantages. This
situationbeing apparently at his disposalhe frankly offered
to me. The workhoweverhe intimatedwas to have somewhat of a
political bearingand he expressed an apprehension that the tone
it was desired to adopt might not suit me. "Yet I risk the
question added he, because I know no man so well qualified for
this important taskand perhaps because it will necessarily
bring you to Edinburgh. If my proposal does not suityou need
only keep the matter secret and there is no harm done. `And for
my love I pray you wrong me not.' If on the contrary you think it
could be made to suit youlet me know as soon as possible
addressing Castle StreetEdinburgh."

In a postscriptwritten from Edinburghhe addsI am just come
here, and have glanced over the Sketch-Book. It is positively
beautiful, and increases my desire to crimp you, if it be
possible. Some difficulties there always are in managing such a
matter, especially at the outset; but we will obviate them as
much as we possibly can.

The following is from an imperfect draught of my replywhich
underwent some modifications in the copy sent:

I cannot express how much I am gratified by your letter. I had
begun to feel as if I had taken an unwarrantable liberty; but,
somehow or other, there is a genial sunshine about you that warms
every creeping thing into heart and confidence. Your literary
proposal both surprises and flatters me, as it evinces a much
higher opinion of my talents than I have myself.

I then went on to explain that I found myself peculiarly unfitted
for the situation offered to menot merely by my political
opinionsbut by the very constitution and habits of my mind. "My
whole course of life I observed, has been desultoryand I am
unfitted for any periodically recurring taskor any stipulated
labor of body or mind. I have no command of my talentssuch as

they areand have to watch the varyings of my mind as I would
those of a weathercock. Practice and training may bring me more
into rule; but at present I am as useless for regular service as
one of my own country Indians or a Don Cossack.

I must, therefore, keep on pretty much as I have begun; writing
when I can, not when I would. I shall occasionally shift my
residence and write whatever is suggested by objects before me,
or whatever rises in my imagination; and hope to write better and
more copiously by and by.

I am playing the egotist, but I know no better way of answering
your proposal than by showing what a very good-for-nothing kind
of being I am. Should Mr. Constable feel inclined to make a
bargain for the wares I have on hand, he will encourage me to
further enterprise; and it will be something like trading with a
gypsy for the fruits of his prowlings, who may at one time have
nothing but a wooden bowl to offer, and at another time a silver

In replyScott expressed regretbut not surpriseat my
declining what might have proved a troublesome duty. He then
recurred to the original subject of our correspondence; entered
into a detail of the various terms upon which arrangements were
made between authors and booksellersthat I might take my
choice; expressing the most encouraging confidence of the success
of my workand of previous works which I had produced in
America. "I did no more added he, than open the trenches with
Constable; but I am sure if you will take the trouble to write to
himyou will find him disposed to treat your overtures with
every degree of attention. Orif you think it of consequence in
the first place to see meI shall be in London in the course of
a monthand whatever my experience can command is most heartily
at your command. But I can add little to what I have said above
except my earnest recommendation to Constable to enter into the

* I cannot avoid subjoining in a note a succeeding paragraph of
Scott's letterwhichthough it does not relate to the main
subject of our correspondencewas too characteristic to be
emitted. Some time previously I had sent Miss Sophia Scott small
duodecimo American editions of her father's poems published in
Edinburgh in quarto volumes; showing the "nigromancy" of the
American pressby which a quart of wine is conjured into a pint
bottle. Scott observes: "In my hurryI have not thanked you in
Sophia's name for the kind attention which furnished her with the
American volumes. I am not quite sure I can add my ownsince you
have made her acquainted with much more of papa's folly than she
would ever otherwise have learned; for I had taken special care
they should never see any of those things during their earlier
years. I think I have told you that Walter is sweeping the
firmament with a feather like a maypole and indenting the
pavement with a sword like a scythe--in other wordshe has
become a whiskered hussar in the 18th Dragoons."
Before the receipt of this most obliging letterhoweverI had
determined to look to no leading bookseller for a launchbut to
throw my work before the public at my own riskand let it sink
or swim according to its merits. I wrote to that effect to Scott
and soon received a reply:

I observe with pleasure that you are going to come forth in
Britain. It is certainly not the very best way to publish on
one's own accompt; for the booksellers set their face against the

circulation of such works as do not pay an amazing toll to
themselves. But they have lost the art of altogether damming up
the road in such cases between the author and the public, which
they were once able to do as effectually as Diabolus in John
Bunyan's Holy War closed up the windows of my Lord
Understanding's mansion. I am sure of one thing, that you have
only to be known to the British public to be admired by them, and
I would not say so unless I really was of that opinion.

If you ever see a witty but rather local publication called
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazineyou will find some notice of your
works in the last number: the author is a friend of mineto whom
I have introduced you in your literary capacity. His name is
Lockharta young man of very considerable talentand who will
soon be intimately connected with my family. My faithful friend
Knickerbocker is to be next examined and illustrated. Constable
was extremely willing to enter into consideration of a treaty for
your worksbut I foresee will be still more so when

Your name is upand may go

From Toledo to Madrid.

------And that will soon be the case. I trust to be in London
about the middle of the monthand promise myself great pleasure
in once again shaking you by the hand."

The first volume of the Sketch-Book was put to press in London
as I had resolvedat my own riskby a bookseller unknown to
fameand without any of the usual arts by which a work is
trumpeted into notice. Still some attention had been called to it
by the extracts which had previously appeared in the Literary
Gazetteand by the kind word spoken by the editor of that
periodicaland it was getting into fair circulationwhen my
worthy bookseller failed before the first month was overand the
sale was interrupted.

At this juncture Scott arrived in London. I called to him for
helpas I was sticking in the mireandmore propitious than
Herculeshe put his own shoulder to the wheel. Through his
favorable representationsMurray was quickly induced to
undertake the future publication of the work which he had
previously declined. A further edition of the first volume was
struck off and the second volume was put to pressand from that
time Murray became my publisherconducting himself in all his
dealings with that fairopenand liberal spirit which had
obtained for him the well-merited appellation of the Prince of

Thusunder the kind and cordial auspices of Sir Walter ScottI
began my literary career in Europe; and I feel that I am but
dischargingin a trifling degreemy debt of gratitude to the
memory of that golden-hearted man in acknowledging my obligations
to him. But who of his literary contemporaries ever applied to
him for aid or counsel that did not experience the most prompt
generousand effectual assistance?

W. I.



The Author's Account of Himself
The Voyage
The Wife
Rip Van Winkle
English Writers on America
Rural Life in England
The Broken Heart
The Art of Book-making
A Royal Poet
The Country Church
The Widow and her Son
A Sunday in London
The Boar's Head Tavern
The Mutability of Literature
Rural Funerals
The Inn Kitchen
The Spectre Bridegroom
Westminster Abbey
The Stage-Coach
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
The Christmas Dinner
London Antiques
Little Britain
Traits of Indian Character
Philip of Pokanoket
John Bull
The Pride of the Village
The Angler
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


I am of this mind with Homerthat as the snaile that crept out
of her shel was turned eftsoones into a toad I and thereby was
forced to make a stoole to sit on; so the traveller that
stragleth from his owne country is in a short time transformed
into so monstrous a shapethat he is faine to alter his mansion
with his mannersand to live where he cannot where he

I was always fond of visiting new scenesand observing strange
characters and manners. Even when a mere child I began my
travelsand made many tours of discovery into foreign parts and
unknown regions of my native cityto the frequent alarm of my
parentsand the emolument of the town crier. As I grew into
boyhoodI extended the range of my observations. My holiday
afternoons were spent in rambles about the surrounding country. I
made myself familiar with all its places famous in history or
fable. I knew every spot where a murder or robbery had been
committedor a ghost seen. I visited the neighboring villages
and added greatly to my stock of knowledgeby noting their
habits and customsand conversing with their sages and great
men. I even journeyed one long summer's day to the summit of the
most distant hillwhence I stretched my eye over many a mile of
terra incognitaand was astonished to find how vast a globe I


This rambling propensity strengthened with my years. Books of
voyages and travels became my passionand in devouring their
contentsI neglected the regular exercises of the school. How
wistfully would I wander about the pier-heads in fine weather
and watch the parting shipsbound to distant climes; with what
longing eyes would I gaze after their lessening sailsand waft
myself in imagination to the ends of the earth!

Further reading and thinkingthough they brought this vague
inclination into more reasonable boundsonly served to make it
more decided. I visited various parts of my own country; and had
I been merely a lover of fine sceneryI should have felt little
desire to seek elsewhere its gratificationfor on no country had
the charms of nature been more prodigally lavished. Her mighty
lakesher oceans of liquid silver; her mountainswith their
bright aerial tints; her valleysteeming with wild fertility;
her tremendous cataractsthundering in their solitudes; her
boundless plainswaving with spontaneous verdure; her broad
deep riversrolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her
trackless forestswhere vegetation puts forth all its
magnificence; her skieskindling with the magic of summer clouds
and glorious sunshine;--nonever need an American ok beyond his
own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery.

But Europe held forth all the charms of storied and poetical
association. There were to be seen the masterpieces of artthe
refinements of highly cultivated societythe quaint
peculiarities of ancient and local custom. My native country was
full of youthful promise; Europe was rich in the accumulated
treasures of age. Her very ruins told the history of the times
gone byand every mouldering stone was a chronicle. I longed to
wander over the scenes of renowned achievement--to treadas it
werein the footsteps of antiquity--to loiter about the ruined
castle--to meditate on the falling tower--to escapein short
from the commonplace realities of the presentand lose myself
among the shadowy grandeurs of the past.

I hadbesides all thisan earnest desire to see the great men
of the earth. We haveit is trueour great men in America: not
a city but has an ample share of them. I have mingled among them
in my timeand been almost withered by the shade into which they
cast me; for there is nothing so baleful to a small man as the
shade of a great oneparticularly the great man of a city. But I
was anxious to see the great men of Europe; for I had read in the
works of various philosophersthat all animals degenerated in
Americaand man among the number. A great man of Europethought
Imust therefore be as superior to a great man of Americaas a
peak of the Alps to a highland of the Hudson; and in this idea I
was confirmed by observing the comparative importance and
swelling magnitude of many English travellers among uswhoI
was assuredwere very little people in their own country. I will
visit this land of wondersthought Iand see the gigantic race
from which I am degenerated.

It has been either my good or evil lot to have my roving passion
gratified. I have wandered through different countries and
witnessed many of the shifting scenes of life. I cannot say that
I have studied them with the eye of a philosopherbut rather
with the sauntering gaze with which humble lovers of the
picturesque stroll from the window of one print-shop to another;
caught sometimes by the delineations of beautysometimes by the
distortions of caricatureand sometimes by the loveliness of

landscape. As it is the fashion for modern tourists to travel
pencil in handand bring home their portfolios filled with
sketchesI am disposed to get up a few for the entertainment of
my friends. WhenhoweverI look over the hints and memorandums
I have taken down for the purposemy heart almost fails meat
finding how my idle humor has led me astray from the great object
studied by every regular traveller who would make a book. I fear
I shall give equal disappointment with an unlucky
landscape-painterwho had travelled on the Continentbut
following the bent of his vagrant inclinationhad sketched in
nooksand cornersand by-places. His sketch-book was
accordingly crowded with cottagesand landscapesand obscure
ruins; but he had neglected to paint St. Peter'sor the
Coliseumthe cascade of Ternior the bay of Naplesand had not
a single glacier or volcano in his whole collection.


ShipsshipsI will descrie you

Amidst the main

I will come and try you

What you are protecting

And projecting

What's your end and aim.

One goes abroad for merchandise and trading

Another stays to keep his country from invading

A third is coming home with rich and wealthy lading.

Hallo! my fanciewhither wilt thou go?


To an American visiting Europethe long voyage he has to make is
an excellent preparative. The temporary absence of worldly scenes
and employments produces a state of mind peculiarly fitted to
receive new and vivid impressions. The vast space of waters that
separate the hemispheres is like a blank page in existence. There
is no gradual transition by whichas in Europethe features and
population of one country blend almost imperceptibly with those
of another. From the moment you lose sight of the land you have
leftall is vacancyuntil you step on the opposite shoreand
are launched at once into the bustle and novelties of another

In travelling by land there is a continuity of sceneand a
connected succession of persons and incidentsthat carry on the
story of lifeand lessen the effect of absence and separation.
We dragit is truea lengthening chainat each remove of our
pilgrimage; but the chain is unbroken; we can trace it back link
by link; and we feel that the last still grapples us to home. But
a wide sea voyage severs us at once. It makes us conscious of
being cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled lifeand
sent adrift upon a doubtful world. It interposes a gulfnot
merely imaginarybut realbetween us and our homes--a gulf
subject to tempestand fearand uncertaintyrendering distance
palpableand return precarious.

Suchat leastwas the case with myself. As I saw the last blue
lines of my native land fade away like a cloud in the horizonit
seemed as if I had closed one volume of the world and its
concernsand had time for meditationbefore I opened another.
That landtoonow vanishing from my viewwhich contained all
most dear to me in life; what vicissitudes might occur in
it--what changes might take place in mebefore I should visit it

again! Who can tellwhen he sets forth to wanderwhither he may
be driven by the uncertain currents of existence; or when he may
return; or whether it may be ever his lot to revisit the scenes
of his childhood?

I saidthat at sea all is vacancy; I should correct the
impression. To one given to day-dreamingand fond of losing
himself in reveriesa sea voyage is full of subjects for
meditation; but then they are the wonders of the deep and of the
airand rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes. I
delighted to loll over the quarter-railing or climb to the
main-topof a calm dayand muse for hours together on the
tranquil bosom of a summer's sea; to gaze upon the piles of
golden clouds just peering above the horizonfancy them some
fairy realmsand people them with a creation of my own; --to
watch the gently undulating billows rolling their silver volumes
as if to die away on those happy shores.

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe with
which I looked downfrom my giddy heighton the monsters of the
deep at their uncouth gambols: shoals of porpoises tumbling about
the bow of the ship; the grampusslowly heaving his huge form
above the surface; or the ravenous sharkdartinglike a
spectrethrough the blue waters. My imagination would conjure up
all that I had heard or read of the watery world beneath me; of
the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the
shapeless monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the
earth; and of those wild phantasms that swell the tales of
fishermen and sailors.

Sometimes a distant sailgliding along the edge of the ocean
would be another theme of idle speculation. How interesting this
fragment of a worldhastening to rejoin the great mass of
existence! What a glorious monument of human invention; which has
in a manner triumphed over wind and wave; has brought the ends of
the world into communion; has established an interchange of
blessingspouring into the sterile regions of the north all the
luxuries of the south; has diffused the light of knowledgeand
the charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together
those scattered portions of the human racebetween which nature
seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier.

We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a distance.
At seaevery thing that breaks the monotony of the surrounding
expanse attracts attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship
that must have been completely wrecked; for there were the
remains of handkerchiefsby which some of the crew had fastened
themselves to this sparto prevent their being washed off by the
waves. There was no trace by which the name of the ship could be
ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for many
months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about itand long
sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. But wherethought Iis the
crew? Their struggle has long been over--they have gone down
amidst the roar of the tempest--their bones lie whitening among
the caverns of the deep. Silenceoblivionlike the waveshave
closed over themand no one can tell the story of their end.
What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what prayers offered
up at the deserted fireside of home! How often has the mistress
the wifethe motherpored over the daily newsto catch some
casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! How has
expectation darkened into anxiety--anxiety into dread--and dread
into despair! Alas! not one memento may ever return for love to
cherish. All that may ever be knownis that she sailed from her
portand was never heard of more!

The sight of this wreckas usualgave rise to many dismal
anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the eveningwhen
the weatherwhich had hitherto been fairbegan to look wild and
threateningand gave indications of one of those sudden storms
that will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a summer
voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lampin the cabin
that made the gloom more ghastlyeveryone had his tale of
shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short
one related by the captain:

As I was once sailing,said hein a fine, stout ship, across
the banks of Newfoundland, one of those heavy fogs that prevail
in those parts rendered it impossible for us to see far ahead,
even in the daytime; but at night the weather was so thick that
we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of the
ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch
forward to look out for fishing smacks, which are accustomed to
anchor oo the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and
we were going at a great rate through the water. Suddenly the
watch gave the alarm of `a sail ahead!'--it was scarcely uttered
before we were upon her. She was a small schooner, at anchor,
with her broadside toward us. The crew were all asleep, and had
neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just amidships. The
force, the size, and weight of our vessel, bore her down below
the waves; we passed over her and were hurried on our course. As
the crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two
or three half-naked wretches, rushing from her cabin; they just
started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I
heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that
bore it to our ears, swept us out of all further hearing. I shall
never forget that cry! It was some time before we could put the
ship about, she was under such headway. We returned, as nearly as
we could guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. We
cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired
signal-guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of any
survivors: but all was silent--we never saw or heard any thing of
them more.

I confess these storiesfor a timeput an end to all my fine
fancies. The storm increased with the night. The sea was lashed
into tremendous confusion. There was a fearfulsullen sound of
rushing waves and broken surges. Deep called unto deep. At times
the black volume of clouds overhead seemed rent asunder by
flashes of lightning which quivered along the foaming billows
and made the succeeding darkness doubly terrible. The thunders
bellowed over the wild waste of watersand were echoed and
prolonged by the mountain waves. As I saw the ship staggering and
plunging among these roaring cavernsit seemed miraculous that
she regained her balanceor preserved her buoyancy. Her yards
would dip into the water; her bow was almost buried beneath the
waves. Sometimes an impending surge appeared ready to overwhelm
herand nothing but a dexterous movement of the helm preserved
her from the shock.

When I retired to my cabinthe awful scene still followed me.
The whistling of the wind through the rigging sounded like
funereal wailings. The creaking of the masts; the straining and
groaning of bulkheadsas the ship labored in the weltering sea
were frightful. As I heard the waves rushing along the side of
the shipand roaring in my very earit seemed as if Death were
raging around this floating prisonseeking for his prey: the
mere starting of a nailthe yawning of a seammight give him

A fine dayhoweverwith a tranquil sea and favoring breeze
soon put all these dismal reflections to flight. It is impossible
to resist the gladdening influence of fine weather and fair wind
at sea. When the ship is decked out in all her canvasevery sail
swelledand careering gayly over the curling waveshow lofty
how gallantshe appears--how she seems to lord it over the deep!

I might fill a volume with the reveries of a sea voyage; for with
me it is almost a continual reverie--but it is time to get to

It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of "land!" was
given from the mast-head. None but those who have experienced it
can form an idea of the delicious throng of sensations which rush
into an American's bosomwhen he first comes in sight of Europe.
There is a volume of associations with the very name. It is the
land of promiseteeming with everything of which his childhood
has heardor on which his studious years have pondered.

From that timeuntil the moment of arrivalit was all feverish
excitement. The ships of warthat prowled like guardian giants
along the coast; the headlands of Irelandstretching out into
the channel; the Welsh mountains towering into the clouds;--all
were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the MerseyI
reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with
delight on neat cottageswith their trim shrubberies and green
grass-plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with
ivyand the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow
of a neighboring hill;--all were characteristic of England.

The tide and wind were so favorablethat the ship was enabled to
come at once to her pier. It was thronged with people; some idle
lookers-on; otherseager expectants of friends or relations. I
could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship was consigned. I
knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were
thrust into his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfullyand
walking to and froa small space having been accorded him by the
crowdin deference to his temporary importance. There were
repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore
and the shipas friends happened to recognize each other. I
particularly noticed one young woman of humble dressbut
interesting demeanor. She was leaning forward from among the
crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shoreto
catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and
sad; when I heard a faint voice call her name.--It was from a
poor sailor who had been ill all the voyageand had excited the
sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was finehis
messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shadebut
of late his illness had so increased that he had taken to his
hammockand only breathed a wish that he might see his wife
before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the
riverand was now leaning against the shroudswith a
countenance so wastedso paleso ghastlythat it was no wonder
even the eye of affection did not recognize him. But at the sound
of his voiceher eye darted on his features: it readat oncea
whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her handsuttered a faint
shriekand stood wringing them in silent agony.

All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of acquaintances--the
greetings of friends--the consultations of men of business. I
alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to meetno cheering
to receive. I stepped upon the land of my forefathers--but felt
that I was a stranger in the land.


----In the service of mankind to be

A guardian god below; still to employ

The mind's brave ardor in heroic aims

Such as may raise us o'er the grovelling herd

And make us shine for ever--that is life.


ONE of the first places to which a stranger is taken in Liverpool
is the Athenaeum. It is established on a liberal and judicious
plan; it contains a good libraryand spacious reading-roomand
is the great literary resort of the place. Go there at what hour
you mayyou are sure to find it filled with grave-looking
personagesdeeply absorbed in the study of newspapers.

As I was once visiting this haunt of the learnedmy attention
was attracted to a person just entering the room. He was advanced
in lifetalland of a form that might once have been
commandingbut it was a little bowed by time--perhaps by care.
He had a noble Roman style of countenance; a a head that would
have pleased a painter; and though some slight furrows on his
brow showed that wasting thought had been busy thereyet his eye
beamed with the fire of a poetic soul. There was something in his
whole appearance that indicated a being of a different order from
the bustling race round him.

I inquired his nameand was informed that it was
ROSCOE. I drew back with an involuntary feeling of veneration.
Thisthenwas an author of celebrity; this was one of those men
whose voices have gone forth to the ends of the earth; with whose
minds I have communed even in the solitudes of America.
Accustomedas we are in our countryto know European writers
only by their workswe cannot conceive of themas of other men
engrossed by trivial or sordid pursuitsand jostling with the
crowd of common minds in the dusty paths of life. They pass
before our imaginations like superior beingsradiant with the
emanations of their geniusand surrounded by a halo of literary

To findthereforethe elegant historian of the Medici mingling
among the busy sons of trafficat first shocked my poetical
ideas; but it is from the very circumstances and situation in
which he has been placedthat Mr. Roscoe derives his highest
claims to admiration. It is interesting to notice how some minds
seem almost to create themselvesspringing up under every
disadvantageand working their solitary but irresistible way
through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in
disappointing the assiduities of artwith which it would rear
legitimate dulness to maturity; and to glory in the vigor and
luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of
genius to the windsand though some may perish among the stony
places of the worldand some be chokedby the thorns and
brambles of early adversityyet others will now and then strike
root even in the clefts of the rockstruggle bravely up into
sunshineand spread over their sterile birthplace all the
beauties of vegetation.

Such has been the case with Mr. Roscoe. Born in a place
apparently ungenial to the growth of literary talent--in the very
market-place of trade; without fortunefamily connectionsor

patronage; self-promptedself-sustainedand almost self-taught
he has conquered every obstacleachieved his way to eminence
andhaving become one of the ornaments of the nationhas turned
the whole force of his talents and influence to advance and
embellish his native town.

Indeedit is this last trait in his character which has given
him the greatest interest in my eyesand induced me particularly
to point him out to my countrymen. Eminent as are his literary
meritshe is but one among the many distinguished authors of
this intellectual nation. Theyhoweverin generallive but for
their own fameor their own pleasures. Their private history
presents no lesson to the worldorperhapsa humiliating one
of human frailty or inconsistency. At bestthey are prone to
steal away from the bustle and commonplace of busy existence; to
indulge in the selfishness of lettered eas; and to revel in
scenes of mentalbut exclusive enjoyment.

Mr. Roscoeon the contraryhas claimed none of the accorded
privileges of talent. He has shut himself up in no garden of
thoughtnor elysium of fancy; but has gone forth into the
highways and thoroughfares of lifehe has planted bowers by the
waysidefor the refreshment of the pilgrim and the sojourner
and has opened pure fountainswhere the laboring man may turn
aside from the dust and heat of the dayand drink of the living
streams of knowledge. There is a "daily beauty in his life on
which mankind may meditate, and grow better. It exhibits no lofty
and almost useless, because inimitable, example of excellence;
but presents a picture of active, yet simple and imitable
virtues, which are within every man's reach, but which,
unfortunately, are not exercised by many, or this world would be
a paradise.

But his private life is peculiarly worthy the attention of the
citizens of our young and busy country, where literature and the
elegant arts must grow up side by side with the coarser plants of
daily necessity; and must depend for their culture, not on the
exclusive devotion of time and wealth; nor the quickening rays of
titled patronage; but on hours and seasons snatched from the
purest of worldly interests, by intelligent and public-spirited

He has shown how much may be done for a place in hours of leisure
by one master-spirit, and how completely it can give its own
impress to surrounding objects. Like his own Lorenzo de' Medici,
on whom he seems to have fixed his eye, as on a pure model of
antiquity, he has interwoven the history of his life with the
history of his native town, and has made the foundations of his
fame the monuments of his virtues. Wherever you go, in Liverpool,
you perceive traces of his footsteps in all that is elegant and
liberal. He found the tide of wealth flowing merely in the
channels of traffic; he has diverted from it invigorating rills
to refresh the garden of literature. By his own example and
constant exertions, he has effected that union of commerce and
the intellectual pursuits, so eloquently recommended in one of
his latest writings;* and has practically proved how beautifully
they may be brought to harmonize, and to benefit each other. The
noble institutions for literary and scientific purposes, which
reflect such credit on Liverpool, and are giving such an impulse
to the public mind, have mostly been originated, and have all
been effectively promoted, by Mr. Roscoe; and when we consider
the rapidly increasing opulence and magnitude of that town, which
promises to vie in commercial importance with the metropolis, it
will be perceived that in awakening an ambition of mental

improvement among its inhabitants, he has effected a great
benefit to the cause of British literature.

* Address on the opening of the Liverpool Institution.
In America, we know Mr. Roscoe only as the author; in Liverpool
he is spoken of as the banker; and I was told of his having been
unfortunate in business. I could not pity him, as I heard some
rich men do. I considered him far above the reach of pity. Those
who live only for the world, and in the world, may be cast down
by the frowns of adversity; but a man like Roscoe is not to be
overcome by the reverses of fortune. They do but drive him in
upon the resources of his own mind, to the superior society of
his own thoughts; which the best of men are apt sometimes to
neglect, and to roam abroad in search of less worthy associates.
He is independent of the world around him. He lives with
antiquity, and with posterity: with antiquity, in the sweet
communion of studious retirement; and with posterity, in the
generous aspirings after future renown. The solitude of such a
mind is its state of highest enjoyment. It is then visited by
those elevated meditations which are the proper aliment of noble
souls, and are, like manna, sent from heaven, in the wilderness
of this world.

While my feelings were yet alive on the subject, it was my
fortune to light on further traces of Mr. Roscoe. I was riding
out with a gentleman, to view the environs of Liverpool, when he
turned off, through a gate, into some ornamented grounds. After
riding a short distance, we came to a spacious mansion of
freestone, built in the Grecian style. It was not in the purest
style, yet it had an air of elegance, and the situation was
delightful. A fine lawn sloped away from it, studded with clumps
of trees, so disposed as to break a soft fertile country into a
variety of landscapes. The Mersey was seen winding a broad quiet
sheet of water through an expanse of green meadow land, while the
Welsh mountains, blended with clouds, and melting into distance,
bordered the horizon.

This was Roscoe's favorite residence during the days of his
prosperity. It had been the seat of elegant hospitality and
literary retirement. The house was now silent and deserted. I saw
the windows of the study, which looked out upon the soft scenery
I have mentioned. The windows were closed--the library was gone.
Two or three ill-favored beings were loitering about the place,
whom my fancy pictured into retainers of the law. It was like
visiting some classic fountain, that had once welled its pure
waters in a sacred shade, but finding it dry and dusty, with the
lizard and the toad brooding over the shattered marbles.

I inquired after the fate of Mr. Roscoe's library, which had
consisted of scarce and foreign books, from many of which he had
drawn the materials for his Italian histories. It had passed
under the hammer of the auctioneer, and was dispersed about the
country. The good people of the vicinity thronged liked wreckers
to get some part of the noble vessel that had been driven on
shore. Did such a scene admit of ludicrous associations, we might
imagine something whimsical in this strange irruption in the
regions of learning. Pigmies rummaging the armory of a giant, and
contending for the possession of weapons which they could not
wield. We might picture to ourselves some knot of speculators,
debating with calculating brow over the quaint binding and
illuminated margin of an obsolete author; of the air of intense,
but baffled sagacity, with which some successful purchaser
attempted to dive into the black-letter bargain he had secured.

It is a beautiful incident in the story of Mr. Roscoe's
misfortunes, and one which cannot fail to interest the studious
mind, that the parting with his books seems to have touched upon
his tenderest feelings, and to have been the only circumstance
that could provoke the notice of his muse. The scholar only knows
how dear these silent, yet eloquent, companions of pure thoughts
and innocent hours become in the season of adversity. When all
that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain their
steady value. When friends grow cold, and the converse of
intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, these
only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and
cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope, nor
deserted sorrow.

I do not wish to censure; but, surely, if the people of Liverpool
had been properly sensible of what was due to Mr. Roscoe and
themselves, his library would never have been sold. Good worldly
reasons may, doubtless, be given for the circumstance, which it
would be difficult to combat with others that might seem merely
fanciful; but it certainly appears to me such an opportunity as
seldom occurs, of cheering a noble mind struggling under
misfortunes by one of the most delicate, but most expressive
tokens of public sympathy. It is difficult, however, to estimate
a man of genius properly who is daily before our eyes. He becomes
mingled and confounded with other men. His great qualities lose
their novelty; we become too familiar with the common materials
which form the basis even of the loftiest character. Some of Mr.
Roscoe's townsmen may regard him merely as a man of business;
others, as a politician; all find him engaged like themselves in
ordinary occupations, and surpassed, perhaps, by themselves on
some points of worldly wisdom. Even that amiable and
unostentatious simplicity of character, which gives the nameless
grace to real excellence, may cause him to be undervalued by some
coarse minds, who do not know that true worth is always void of
glare and pretension. But the man of letters, who speaks of
Liverpool, speaks of it as the residence of Roscoe.--The
intelligent traveller who visits it inquires where Roscoe is to
be seen. He is the literary landmark of the place, indicating its
existence to the distant scholar.--He is like Pompey's column at
Alexandria, towering alone in classic dignity.

The following sonnet, addressed by Mr. Roscoe to his books, on
parting with them, has already been alluded to. If anything can
add effect to the pure feeling and elevated thought here
displayed, it is the conviction, that the who leis no effusion of
fancy, but a faithful transcript from the writer's heart.


As one who, destined from his friends to part,

Regrets his loss, but hopes again erewhile

To share their converse and enjoy their smile,
And tempers as he may affliction's dart;

Thus, loved associates, chiefs of elder art,

Teachers of wisdom, who could once beguile

My tedious hours, and lighten every toil,
I now resign you; nor with fainting heart;

For pass a few short years, or days, or hours,
And happier seasons may their dawn unfold,
And all your sacred fellowship restore:
When, freed from earth, unlimited its powers.

Mind shall with mind direct communion hold,
And kindred spirits meet to part no more.


The treasures of the deep are not so precious

As are the concealed comforts of a man

Lock'd up in woman's love. I scent the air

Of blessings, when I came but near the house,

What a delicious breath marriage sends forth-

The violet bed's no sweeter!


I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which
women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those
disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him
in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer
sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character,
that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more
touching, than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been
all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial
roughness, while threading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly
rising in mental force to be the comforter and support of her
husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness
the bitterest blasts of adversity.

As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the
oak, and been and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the
hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its
caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs, so is it
beautifully ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the mere
dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his
stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity; winding
herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly
supporting the drooping head, and binding up the broken heart.

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a blooming
family, knit together in the strongest affection. I can wish you
no better lot said he, with enthusiasm, than to have a wife
and children. If you are prosperousthere they are to share your
prosperity; if otherwisethere they are to comfort you." And
indeedI have observed that a married man falling into
misfortuneis more apt to retrieve his situation in the world
than a single one; partlybecause he is more stimulated to
exertion by the necessities of the helpless and beloved beings
who depend upon him for subsistencebut chiefly because his
spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic endearmentsand his
self-respect kept alive by findingthatthough all abroad is
darkness and humiliationyet there is still a little world of
love at homeof which he is the monarch. Whereasa single man
is apt to run to waste and self-neglect; to fancy himself lonely
and abandonedand his heart to fall to ruinlike some deserted
mansionfor want of an inhabitant.

These observations call to mind a little domestic storyof which
I was once a witness. My intimate friendLesliehad married a
beautiful and accomplished girlwho had been brought up in the
midst of fashionable life. She hadit is trueno fortunebut
that of my friend was ample; and he delighted in the anticipation
of indulging her in every elegant pursuitand administering to
those delicate tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery
about the sex.--"Her life said he, shall be like a fairy


The very difference in their characters produced a harmonious
combination; he was of a romanticand somewhat serious cast; she
was all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture
with which he would gaze upon her in companyof which her
sprightly powers made her the delight: and howin the midst of
applauseher eye would still turn to himas if there alone she
sought favor and acceptance. When leaning on his armher slender
form contrasted finely with his tallmanly person. The fond
confiding air with which she looked up to him seemed to call
forth a flush of triumphant pride and cherishing tendernessas
if he doated on his lovely burden from its very helplessness.
Never did a couple set forward on the flowery path of early and
well-suited marriage with a fairer prospect of felicity.

It was the misfortune of my friendhoweverto have embarked his
property in large speculations; and he had not been married many
monthswhenby a succession of sudden disastersit was swept
from himand he found himself reduced to almost penury. For a
time he kept his situation to himselfand went about with a
haggard countenanceand a breaking heart. His life was but a
protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupportable was the
necessity of keeping up a smile in the presence of his wife; for
he could not bring himself to overwhelm her with the news. She
sawhoweverwith the quick eyes of affectionthat all was not
well with him. She marked his altered looks and stifled sighs
and was not to be deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at
cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly powers and tender
blandishments to win him back to happiness; but she only drove
the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause to love
herthe more torturing was the thought that he was soon to make
her wretched. A little whilethought heand the smile will
vanish from that cheek--the song will die away from those
lips--the lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow and
the happy heart which now beats lightly in that bosomwill be
weighed downlike mineby the cares and miseries of the world.

At length he came to me one dayand related his whole situation
in a tone of the deepest despair. When I had heard him throughI
inquired: "Does your wife know all this?"--At the question he
burst into an agony of tears. "For God's sake!" cried heif you
have any pity on me don't mention my wife; it is the thought of
her that drives me almost to madness!

And why not?said I. "She must know it sooner or later: you
cannot keep it long from herand the intelligence may break upon
her in a more startling manner than if imparted by yourself; for
the accents of those we love soften the harshest tidings.
Besidesyou are depriving yourself of the comforts of her
sympathy; and not merely thatbut also endangering the only bond
that can keep hearts together--an unreserved community of thought
and feeling. She will soon perceive that something is secretly
preying upon your mind; and true love will not brook reserve; it
feels undervalued and outragedwhen even the sorrows of those it
loves are concealed from it."

Oh, but my friend! to think what a blow I am to give to all her
future prospects,--how I am to strike her very soul to the earth,
by telling her that her husband is a beggar! that she is to
forego all the elegancies of life--all the pleasures of
society--to shrink with me into indigence and obscurity! To tell
her that I have dragged her down from the sphere in which she
might have continued to move in constant brightness--the light of

every eye--the admiration of every heart!--How can she bear
poverty? She has been brought up in all the refinements of
opulence. How can she bear neglect? She has been the idol of
society. Oh, it will break her heart--it will break her heart!

I saw his grief was eloquentand I let it have its flow; for
sorrow relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had subsided
and he had relapsed into moody silenceI resumed the subject
gentlyand urged him to break his situation at once to his wife.
He shook his head mournfullybut positively.

But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary she should
know it, that you may take the steps proper to the alteration of
your circumstances. You must change your style of living--nay,
observing a pang to pass across his countenancedon't let that
afflict you. I am sure you have never placed your happiness in
outward show--you have yet friends, warm friends, who will not
think the worse of you for being less splendidly lodged: and
surely it does not require a palace to be happy with Mary--

I could be happy with her,cried heconvulsivelyin a
hovel!--I could go down with her into poverty and the dust!--I
could--I could--God bless her!--God bless her!cried he
bursting into a transport of grief and tenderness.

And believe me, my friend,said Istepping upand grasping
him warmly by the handbelieve me, she can be the same with
you. Ay, more; it will be a source of pride and triumph to
her--it will call forth all the latent energies and fervent
sympathies of her nature; for she will rejoice to prove that she
loves you for yourself. There is in every true woman's heart a
spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight
of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams, and blazes in the
dark hour of adversity. No man knows what the wife of his bosom
is--no man knows what a ministering angel she is--until he has
gone with her through the fiery trials of this world.

There was something in the earnestness of my mannerand the
figurative style of my languagethat caught the excited
imagination of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had to deal with; and
following up the impression I had madeI finished by persuading
him to go home and unburden his sad heart to his wife.

I must confessnotwithstanding all I had saidI felt some
little solicitude for the result. Who can calculate on the
fortitude of one whose life has been a round of pleasures? Her
gay spirits might revolt at the darkdownward path of low
humility suddenly pointed out before herand might cling to the
sunny regions in which they had hitherto revelled. Besidesruin
in fashionable life is accompanied by so many galling
mortificationsto whichin other ranksit is a stranger. In
shortI could not meet Lesliethe next morningwithout
trepidation. He had made the disclosure.

And how did she bear it?

Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for
she threw her arms around my neck, and asked if this was all that
had lately made me unhappy.--But, poor girl,added heshe
cannot realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of
poverty but in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry,
where it is allied to love. She feels as yet no privation; she
suffers no loss of accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. When
we come practically to experience its sordid cares, its paltry

wants, its petty humiliations--then will be the real trial.

But,said Inow that you have got over the severest task,
that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world into the
secret the better. The disclosure may be mortifying; but then it
is a single misery, and soon over: whereas you otherwise suffer
it, in anticipation, every hour in the day. It is not poverty, so
much as pretence, that harasses a ruined man--the struggle
between a proud mind and an empty purse-the keeping up a hollow
show that must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear
poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting.On this
point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no false pride
himselfand as to his wifeshe was only anxious to conform to
their altered fortunes.

Some days afterwardshe called upon me in the evening. He had
disposed of his dwelling-houseand taken a small cottage in the
countrya few miles from town. He had been busied all day in
sending out furniture. The new establishment required few
articlesand those of the simplest kind. All the splendid
furniture of his late residence had been soldexcepting his
wife's harp. Thathe saidwas too closely associated with the
idea of herself it belonged to the little story of their loves;
for some of the sweetest moments of their courtship were those
when he had leaned over that instrumentand listened to the
melting tones of her voice.--I could not but smile at this
instance of romantic gallantry in a doating husband.

He was now going out to the cottagewhere his wife had been all
day superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become
strongly interested in the progress of his family storyandas
it was a fine eveningI offered to accompany him.

He was wearied with the fatigues of the dayandas we walked
outfell into a fit of gloomy musing.

Poor Mary!at length brokewith a heavy sighfrom his lips.

And what of her,asked Ihas anything happened to her?

What,said hedarting an impatient glanceis it nothing to be
reduced to this paltry situation--to be caged in a miserable
cottage--to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of
her wretched habitation?"

Has she then repined at the change?

Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good-humor.
Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her;
she has been to me all love, and tenderness, and comfort!

Admirable girl!exclaimed I. "You call yourself poormy
friend; you never were so rich--you never knew the boundless
treasures of excellence you possessed in that woman."

Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were
over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first
day of real experience; she has been introduced into a humble
dwelling,--she has been employed all day in arranging its
miserable equipments,--she has, for the first time, known the
fatigues of domestic employment,--she has, for the first time,
looked around her on a home destitute of every thing
elegant--almost of every thing convenient; and may now be sitting
down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of

future poverty.

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could
not gainsayso we walked on in silence.

After turning from the main road up a narrow laneso thickly
shaded with forest-trees as to give it a complete air of
seclusionwe came in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough
in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a
pleasing rural look. A wild vine had overrun one end with a
profusion of foliage; a few trees threw their branches gracefully
over it; and I observed several pots of flowers tastefully
disposed about the doorand on the grass-plot in front. A small
wicket-gate opened upon a footpath that wound through some
shrubbery to the door. Just as we approachedwe heard the sound
of music--Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. It was
Mary's voice singingin a style of the most touching simplicity
a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forwardto
hear more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel-walk. A
bright beautiful face glanced out at the windowand vanished--a
light footstep-was heard--and Mary came tripping forth to meet
us. She was in a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers
were twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek;
her whole countenance beamed with smiles--I had never seen her
look so lovely.

My dear George,cried sheI am so glad you are come; I have
been watching and watching for you; and running down the lane,
and looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful
tree behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most
delicious strawberries, for I know you are fond of them--and we
have such excellent cream--and everything is so sweet and still
here-Oh!--said sheputting her arm within hisand looking up
brightly in his faceOh, we shall be so happy!

Poor Leslie was overcome.--He caught her to his bosom--he folded
his arms round her--he kissed her again and again--he could not
speakbut the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often
assured methat though the world has since gone prosperously
with himand his life hasindeedbeen a happy oneyet never
has he experienced a moment of more exquisite felicity.



By WodenGod of Saxons

From whence comes Wensdaythat is Wodensday

Truth is a thing that ever I will keep

Unto thylke day in which I creep into

My sepulchre-


[The following Tale was found among the papers of the late
Diedrich Knickerbockeran old gentleman of New Yorkwho was
very curious in the Dutch History of the province and the manners
of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical
researcheshoweverdid not lie so much among books as among
men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics;
whereas he found the old burghersand still moretheir wives

rich in that legendary loreso invaluable to true history.
Wheneverthereforehe happened upon a genuine Dutch family
snugly shut up in its low-roofed farm-houseunder a spreading
sycamorehe looked upon it as a little clasped volume of
black-letterand studied it with the zeal of a bookworm.

The result of all these researches was a history of the province
during the reign of the Dutch governorswhich he published some
years since. There have been various opinions as to the literary
character of his workandto tell the truthit is not a whit
better than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous
accuracywhich indeed was a little questioned on its first
appearancebut has since been completely established; and it is
now admitted into all historical collectionsas a book of
unquestionable authority.

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work;
and now that he is dead and goneit cannot do much harm to his
memory to say that his time might have been much better employed
in weightier labors. Hehoweverwas apt to ride his hobby his
own way; and though it did now and then kick up the dust a little
in the eyes of his neighborsand grieve the spirit of some
friendsfor whom he felt the truest deference and affectionyet
his errors and follies are remembered "more in sorrow than in
anger and it begins to be suspected, that he never intended to
injure or offend. But however his memory may be appreciated by
critics, it is still held dear among many folks, whose good
opinion is well worth having; particularly by certain
biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to imprint his likeness
on their new-year cakes, and have thus given him a chance for
immortality, almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo
medal, or a Queen Anne's farthing.]

WHOEVER has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the
Kaatskill mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great
Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river,
swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the
surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of
weather, indeed, every hour of the day produces some change in
the magical hues and shapes of these mountains; and they are
regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect
barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are
clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the
clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape
is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their
summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow
and light up like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have
descried the light smoke curling up from a Village, whose shingle
roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the
upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It
is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by
some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province,
just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter
Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!), and there were some of the
houses of the original settlers standing within a few years,
built of small yellow bricks, brought from Holland, having
latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to
tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten),
there lived, many years since, while the country was yet a
province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of the

name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles
who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter
Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina.
He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his
ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, good-natured
man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient henpecked
husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that
meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity;
for those men are apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad,
who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers,
doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace
of domestic tribulation, and a curtain-lecture is worth all the
sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and
long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some
respects, be considered a tolerable blessing, and if so, Rip Van
Winkle was thrice blessed.

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good
wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took
his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they
talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all
the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too,
would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their
sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot
marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and
Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was
surrounded by a troop of them hanging on his skirts, clambering
on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity;
and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighborhood.

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion
to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be for want of
assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a
rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day
without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a
single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder,
for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up
hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He
would never refuse to assist a neighbor even in the roughest
toil, and was a foremost man in all country frolics for husking
Indian corn, or building stone fences; the women of the village,
too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such
little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for
them. In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's business
but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his
farm in order, he found it impossible.

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was
the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country;
everything about it went wrong, in spite of him. His fences were
continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray, or
get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his
fields than anywhere else; the rain always made a point of
setting in just as he had some out-door work to do; so that
though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his
management, acre by acre, until there was little more left than a
mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the
worst-conditioned farm in the neighborhood.

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to
nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own likeness,
promised to inherit the habits, with the old clothes, of his
father. He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his
mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast-off

galligaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one hand, as
a fine lady does her train in bad weather.

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of
foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat
white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or
trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a
pound. If left to himself, he would have whistled life away, in
perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his
ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was
bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was
incessantly going, and every thing he said or did was sure to
produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of
replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use,
had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his
head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always
provoked a fresh volley from his wife, so that he was fain to
draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house--the
only side which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband.

Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much
henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as
companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil
eye, as the cause of his master's going so often astray. True it
is, in all points of spirit befitting in honorable dog, he was as
courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods--but what courage
can withstand the evil-doing and all-besetting terrors of a
woman's tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house, his crest
fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his legs,
he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong
glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a
broomstick or ladle, he would fly to the door with yelping

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of
matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a
sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with
constant use. For a long while he used to console himself, when
driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual club of the
sages, philosophers, and other idle personages of the village,
which held its sessions on a bench before a small inn, designated
by a rubicund portrait of his Majesty George the Third. Here they
used to sit in the shade through a long, lazy summer's day,
talking listlessly over village gossip, or telling endless,
sleepy stories about nothing. But it would have been worth any
statesman's money to have heard the profound discussions which
sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper fell into
their hands from some passing traveller. How solemnly they would
listen to the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the
school-master, a dapper learned little man, who was not to be
daunted by the most gigantic word in the dictionary; and how
sagely they would deliberate upon public events some months after
they had taken place.

The opinions of this junto were completely controlled by Nicholas
Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord of the inn, at
the door of which he took his seat from morning till night, just
moving sufficiently to avoid the sun, and keep in the shade of a
large tree; so that the neighbors could tell the hour by his
movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It is true, he was
rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. His
adherents, however (for every great man has his adherents),
perfectly understood him, and knew how to gather his opinions.
When any thing that was read or related displeased him, he was

observed to smoke his pipe vehemently, and to send forth,
frequent, and angry puffs; but when pleased, he would inhale the
smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit it in light and placid
clouds, and sometimes, taking the pipe from his mouth, and
letting the fragrant vapor curl about his nose, would gravely nod
his head in token of perfect approbation.

From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was at length routed by
his termagant wife, who would suddenly break in upon the
tranquillity of the assemblage, and call the members all to
nought; nor was that august personage, Nicholas Vedder himself,
sacred from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, who
charged him outright with encouraging her husband in habits of

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only
alternative, to escape from the labor of the farm and the clamor
of his wife, was to take gun in hand, and stroll away into the
woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at the foot of a
tree, and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf, with whom
he sympathized as a fellow-sufferer in persecution. Poor Wolf
he would say, thy mistress leads thee a dog's life of it; but
never mindmy ladwhilst I live thou shalt never want a friend
to stand by thee!" Wolf would wag his taillook wistfully in his
master's faceand if dogs can feel pityI verily believe he
reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart.

In a long ramble of the kindon a fine autumnal dayRip had
unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the
Kaatskill mountains. He was after his favorite sport of
squirrel-shootingand the still solitudes had echoed and
re-echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatiguedhe
threw himselflate in the afternoonon a green knollcovered
with mountain herbagethat crowned the brow of a precipice. From
an opening between the treeshe could overlook all the lower
country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance
the lordly Hudsonfarfar below himmoving on its silent but
majestic coursewith the reflection of a purple cloudor the
sail of a lagging barkhere and there sleeping on its glassy
bosom and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glenwild
lonelyand shaggedthe bottom filled with fragments from the
impending cliffsand scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of
the setting sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this scene;
evening was gradually advancing; the mountains began to throw
their long blue shadows over the valleys; he saw that it would be
dark long before he could reach the village; and he heaved a
heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors of Dame
Van Winkle.

As he was about to descendhe heard a voice from a distance
hallooing: "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He looked around
but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight
across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have deceived him
and turned again to descendwhen he heard the same cry ring
through the still evening airRip Van Winkle! Rip Van
Winkle!--at the same time Wolf bristled up his backand giving
a low growlskulked to his master's sidelooking fearfully down
into the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over
him; he looked anxiously in the same directionand perceived a
strange figure slowly toiling up the rocksand bending under the
weight of something he carried on his back. He was surprised to
see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented placebut

supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of his
assistancehe hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approachhe was still more surprised at the
singularity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short
square-built old fellowwith thick bushy hairand a grizzled
beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion--a cloth jerkin
strapped round the waist--several pairs of breechesthe outer
one of ample volumedecorated with rows of buttons down the
sidesand bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulders a stout
kegthat seemed full of liquorand made signs for Rip to
approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy and
distrustful of this new acquaintanceRip complied with his usual
alacrity; and mutually relieving each otherthey clambered up a
narrow gullyapparently the dry bed of a mountain torrent. As
they ascendedRip every now and then heard long rolling peals
like distant thunderthat seemed to issue out of a deep ravine
or rather cleft between lofty rockstoward which their rugged
path conducted. He paused for an instantbut supposing it to be
the muttering of one of those transient thunder-showers which
often take place in the mountain heightshe proceeded. Passing
through the ravinethey came to a hollowlike a small
amphitheatresurrounded by perpendicular precipicesover the
brinks of which impending trees shot their branchesso that you
only caught glimpses of the azure skyand the bright evening
cloud. During the whole time Rip and his companion had labored on
in silence; for though the former marvelled greatly what could be
the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountainyet
there was something strange and incomprehensible about the
unknownthat inspired aweand checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheatrenew objects of wonder presented
themselves. On a level spot in the centre was a company of
odd-looking personages playing at ninepins. They were dressed in
quaint outlandish fashion; some wore short doubletsothers
jerkinswith long knives in their beltsand most of them had
enormous breechesof similar style with that of the guide's.
Their visagestoowere peculiar; one had a large headbroad
faceand small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to
consist entirely of noseand was surmounted by a white
sugar-loaf hatset off with a little red cock's tail. They all
had beardsof various shapes and colors. There was one who
seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentlemanwith a
weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced doubletbroad belt
and hangerhigh-crowned hat and featherred stockingsand
high-heeled shoeswith roses in them. The whole group reminded
Rip of the figures in an old Flemish paintingin the parlor of
Dominie Van Schaickthe village parsonand which had been
brought over from Holland at the time of the settlement.

What seemed particularly odd to Rip wasthat though these folks
were evidently amusing themselvesyet they maintained the
gravest facesthe most mysterious silenceand werewithalthe
most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing
interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the
ballswhichwhenever they were rolledechoed along the
mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.

As Rip and his companion approached themthey suddenly desisted
from their playand stared at him with such a fixed statue-like
gazeand such strange uncouthlack-lustre countenancesthat
his heart turned within himand his knees smote together. His
companion now emptied the contents of the keg into large flagons
and made signs to him to wait upon the company. He obeyed with

fear and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in profound silence
and then returned to their game.

By degreesRip's awe and apprehension subsided. He even
venturedwhen no eye was fixed upon himto taste the beverage
which he found had much of the flavor of excellent Hollands. He
was naturally a thirsty souland was soon tempted to repeat the
draught. One taste provoked another; and he reiterated his visits
to the flagon so oftenthat at length his senses were
overpoweredhis eyes swam in his headhis head gradually
declinedand he fell into a deep sleep.

On wakinghe found himself on the green knoll whence he had
first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes--it was a
bright sunny morning. The birds were hopping and twittering among
the bushesand the eagle was wheeling aloftand breasting the
pure mountain breeze. "Surely thought Rip, I have not slept
here all night." He recalled the occurrences before he fell
asleep. The strange man with the keg of liquor--the mountain
ravine--the wild retreat among the rocks--the woe-begone party at
ninepins--the flagon--"Oh! that flagon! that wicked flagon!"
thought Rip--"what excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle?"

He looked round for his gunbut in place of the clean well-oiled
fowling-piecehe found an old firelock lying by himthe barrel
encrusted with rustthe lock falling offand the stock
worm-eaten. He now suspected that the grave roysterers of the
mountains had put a trick upon himandhaving dosed him with
liquorhad robbed him of his gun. Wolftoohad disappeared
but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. He
whistled after him and shouted his namebut all in vain; the
echoes repeated his whistle and shoutbut no dog was to be seen.

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's gambol
and if he met with any of the partyto demand his dog and gun.
As he rose to walkhe found himself stiff in the jointsand
wanting in his usual activity. "These mountain beds do not agree
with me thought Rip, and if this frolicshould lay me up with
a fit of the rheumatismI shall have a blessed time with Dame
Van Winkle." With some difficulty he got down into the glen: he
found the gully up which he and his companion had ascended the
preceding evening; but to his astonishment a mountain stream was
now foaming down itleaping from rock to rockand filling the
glen with babbling murmurs. Hehowevermade shift to scramble
up its sidesworking his toilsome way through thickets of birch
sassafrasand witch-hazel; and sometimes tripped up or entangled
by the wild grape vines that twisted their coils and tendrils
from tree to treeand spread a kind of network in his path.

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened through the
cliffs to the amphitheatre; but no traces of such opening
remained. The rocks presented a high impenetrable wallover
which the torrent came tumbling in a sheet of feathery foamand
fell into a broad deep basinblack from the shadows of the
surrounding forest. Herethenpoor Rip was brought to a stand.
He again called and whistled after his dog; he was only answered
by the cawing of a flock of idle crowssporting high in the air
about a dry tree that overhung a sunny precipice; and whosecure
in their elevationseemed to look down and scoff at the poor
man's perplexities. What was to be done? The morning was passing
awayand Rip felt famished for want of his breakfast. He grieved
to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it
would not do to starve among the mountains. He shook his head
shouldered the rusty firelockandwith a heart full of trouble

and anxietyturned his steps homeward.

As he approached the villagehe met a number of peoplebut none
whom he newwhich somewhat surprised himfor he had thought
himself acquainted with every one in the country round. Their
dresstoowas of a different fashion from that to which he was
accustomed. They all stared at him with equal marks of surprise
and whenever they cast eyes upon himinvariably stroked their
chins. The constant recurrence of this gestureinduced Rip
involuntarilyto dothe samewhento his astonishmenthe
found his beard had grown a foot long!

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of strange
children ran at his heelshooting after himand pointing at his
gray beard. The dogstoonot one of which he recognized for an
old acquaintancebarked at him as he passed. The very village
was altered: it was larger and more populous. There were rows of
houses which he had never seen beforeand those which had been
his familiar haunts had disappeared. Strange names were over the
doors--strange faces at the windows--everything was strange. His
mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether both he and the
world around him were not bewitched. Surely this was his native
villagewhich he had left but a day before. There stood the
Kaatskill mountains--there ran the silver Hudson at a
distance--there was every hill and dale precisely as it had
always been--Rip was sorely perplexed--"That flagon last night
thought he, has addled my poor head sadly!"

It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his own
housewhich he approached with silent aweexpecting every
moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. He found the
house gone to decay--the roof had fallen inthe windows
shatteredand the doors off the hinges. A half-starved dogthat
looked like Wolfwas skulking about it. Rip called him by name
but the cur snarledshowed his teethand passed on. This was an
unkind cut indeed.--"My very dog sighed poor Rip,has
forgotten me!"

He entered the housewhichto tell the truthDame Van Winkle
had always kept in neat order. It was emptyforlornand
apparently abandoned. This desolateness overcame all his
connubial fears--he called loudly for his wife and children--the
lonely chambers rang for a moment with his voiceand then all
again was silence.

He now hurried forthand hastened to his old resortthe village
inn--but it too was gone. A large rickety wooden building stood
in its placewith great gaping windowssome of them brokenand
mended with old hats and petticoatsand over the door was
paintedThe Union Hotel, by Jonathan Doolittle.Instead of the
great tree that used to shelter the quiet little Dutch inn of
yorethere now was reared a tall naked polewith something on
the top that looked like a red nightcapand from it was
fluttering a flagon which was a singular assemblage of stars
and stripes--all this was strange and incomprehensible. He
recognized on the signhoweverthe ruby face of King George
under which he had smoked so many a peaceful pipebut even this
was singularly metamorphosed. The red coat was changed for one of
blue and buffa sword was held in the hand instead of a sceptre
the head was decorated with a cocked hatand underneath was
painted in large charactersGENERAL WASHINGTON.

There wasas usuala crowd of folk about the doorbut none
that Rip recollected. The very character of the people seemed

changed. There was a busybustlingdisputatious tone about it
instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy tranquillity. He
looked in vain for the sage Nicholas Vedderwith his broad face
double chinand fair long pipeuttering clouds of
tobacco-smokeinstead of idle speeches; or Van Bummelthe
schoolmasterdoling forth the contents of an ancient newspaper.
In place of thesea leanbilious-looking fellowwith his
pockets full of handbillswas haranguingvehemently about
rights of citizens-elections--members of
Congress--liberty--Bunker's hill--heroes of seventy-six-and other
wordswhich were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the bewildered
Van Winkle.

The appearance of Ripwith his longgrizzled beardhis rusty
fowling-piecehis uncouth dressand the army of women and
children at his heelssoon attracted the attention of the tavern
politicians. They crowded round himeying him from head to foot
with great curiosity. The orator bustled up to himanddrawing
him partly asideinquiredon which side he voted?Rip stared
in vacant stupidity. Another short but busy little fellow pulled
him by the armand rising on tiptoeinquired in his ear
whether he was Federal or Democrat.Rip was equally at a loss
to comprehend the question; when a knowingself-important old
gentlemanin a sharp cocked hatmade his way through the crowd
putting them to the right and left with his elbows as he passed
and planting himself before Van Winklewith one arm akimbothe
other resting on his canehis keen eyes and sharp hat
penetratingas it wereinto his very souldemanded in an
austere toneWhat brought him to the election with a gun on his
shoulder, and a mob at his heels; and whether he meant to breed a
riot in the village?

Alas! gentlemen,cried Ripsomewhat dismayedI am a poor,
quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of the
King, God bless him!

Here a general shout burst from the bystanders-a tory! a tory! a
spy! a refugee! hustle him! away with him!" It was with great
difficulty that the self-important man in the cocked hat restored
order; and having assumed a tenfold austerity of browdemanded
again of the unknown culpritwhat he came there forand whom he
was seeking. The poor man humbly assured him that he meant no
harmbut merely came there in search of some of his neighbors
who used to keep about the tavern.

Well--who are they?--name them.

Rip bethought himself a momentand inquiredWhere's Nicholas

There was a silence for a little whilewhen an old man replied
in a thinpiping voiceNicholas Vedder? why, be is dead and
gone these eighteen years! There was a wooden tombstone in the
churchyard that used to tell all about him, but that's rotten and
gone too.

Where's Brom Dutcher?

Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some
say he was killed at the storming of Stony-Point--others say he
was drowned in a squall at the foot of Antony's Nose. I don't
know --he never came back again.

Where's Van Bummel, the schoolmaster?

He went off to the wars, too; was a great militia general, and
is now in Congress.

Rip's heart died awayat hearing of these sad changes in his
home and friendsand finding himself thus alone in the world.
Every answer puzzled him tooby treating of such enormous lapses
of timeand of matters which he could not understand:
war--Congress-Stony-Point;--he had no courage to ask after any
more friendsbut cried out in despairDoes nobody here know
Rip Van Winkle?

Oh, Rip Van Winkle!exclaimed two or three. "Ohto be sure!
that's Rip Van Winkle yonderleaning against the tree."

Rip lookedand beheld a precise counterpart of himself as he
went up the mountain; apparently as lazyand certainly as
ragged. The poor fellow was now completely confounded. He doubted
his own identityand whether he was himself or another man. In
the midst of his bewildermentthe man in the cocked hat demanded
who he wasand what was his name?

God knows!exclaimed he at his wit's end; "I'm not myself--I'm
somebody else--that's me yonder-no--that's somebody elsegot
into my shoes--I was myself last nightbut I fell asleep on the
mountainand they've changed my gunand everything's changed
and I'm changedand I can't tell what's my nameor who I am!"

The by-standers began now to look at each othernodwink
significantlyand tap their fingers against their foreheads.
There was a whisperalsoabout securing the gunand keeping
the old fellow from doing mischief; at the very suggestion of
whichthe self-important man with the cocked hat retired with
some precipitation. At this critical moment a freshcomely woman
pressed through the throng to get a peep at the gray-bearded man.
She had a chubby child in her armswhichfrightened at his
looksbegan to cry. "HushRip cried she, hushyou little
fool; the old man won't hurt you." The name of the childthe air
of the motherthe tone of her voiceall awakened a train of
recollections in his mind.

What is your name, my good woman?asked he.

Judith Cardenier.

And your father's name?

Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name, but it's twenty years
since he went away from home with his gun, and never has been
heard of since,--his dog came home without him; but whether he
shot himself, or was carried away by the Indians, nobody can
tell. I was then but a little girl.

Rip had but one more question to ask; but he put it with a
faltering voice:

Where's your mother?

Ohshe too had died but a short time since; she broke a
blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New-England pedler.

There was a drop of comfortat leastin this intelligence. The
honest man could contain himself no longer. He caught his
daughter and her child in his arms. "I am your father!" cried

he-"Young Rip Van Winkle once-old Rip Van Winkle now--Does nobody
know poor Rip Van Winkle!"

All stood amazeduntil an old womantottering out from among
the crowdput her hand to her browand peering under it in his
face for a moment exclaimedsure enough! it is Rip Van
Winkle--it is himself. Welcome home again, old neighbor. Why,
where have you been these twenty long years?

Rip's story was soon toldfor the whole twenty years had been to
him but as one night. The neighbors stared when they heard it;
some were seen to wink at each otherand put their tongues in
their cheeks; and the self-important man in the cocked hatwho
when the alarm was overhad returned to the fieldscrewed down
the corners of his mouthand shook his head--upon which there
was a general shaking of the head throughout the assemblage.

It was determinedhoweverto take the opinion of old Peter
Vanderdonkwho was seen slowly advancing up the road. He was a
descendant of the historian of that namewho wrote one of the
earliest accounts of the province. Peter was the most ancient
inhabitant of the villageand well versed in all the wonderful
events and traditions of the neighborhood. He recollected Rip at
onceand corroborated his story in the most satisfactory manner.
He assured the company that it was a facthanded down from his
ancestorthe historianthat the Kaatskill mountains had always
been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the
great Hendrick Hudsonthe first discoverer of the river and
countrykept a kind of vigil there every twenty yearswith his
crew of the Half-moon; being permitted in this way to revisit the
scenes of his enterpriseand keep a guardian eye upon the river
and the great city called by his name. That his father had once
seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at ninepins in the
hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heardone summer
afternoonthe sound of their ballslike distant peals of

To make a long story shortthe company broke upand returned to
the more important concerns of the election. Rip's daughter took
him home to live with her; she had a snugwell-furnished house
and a stout cheery farmer for a husbandwhom Rip recollected for
one of the urchins that used to climb upon his back. As to Rip's
son and heirwho was the ditto of himselfseen leaning against
the treehe was employed to work on the farm; but evinced an
hereditary disposition to attend to any thing else but his

Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of
his former croniesthough all rather the worse for the wear and
tear of time; and preferred making friends among the rising
generationwith whom be soon grew into great favor.

Having nothing to do at homeand being arrived at that happy age
when a man can be idle with impunityhe took his place once more
on the benchat the inn doorand was reverenced as one of the
patriarchs of the villageand a chronicle of the old times
before the war.It was some time before he could get into the
regular track of gossipor could be made to comprehend the
strange events that had taken place during his torpor. How that
there had been a revolutionary war--that the country had thrown
off the yoke of old England--and thatinstead of being a subject
to his Majesty George the Thirdhe was now a free citizen of the
United States. Ripin factwas no politician; the changes of
states and empires made but little impression on him; but there

was one species of despotism under which he had long groanedand
that was--petticoat government. Happilythat was at an end; he
had got his neck out of the yoke of matrimonyand could go in
and out whenever he pleasedwithout dreading the tyranny of Dame
Van Winkle. Whenever her name was mentionedhoweverhe shook
his headshrugged his shouldersand cast up his eyes; which
might pass either for an expression of resignation to his fate
or joy at his deliverance.

He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr.
Doolittle's hotel. He was observedat firstto vary on some
points every time he told itwhich wasdoubtlessowing to his
having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely to
the tale I have relatedand not a manwomanor child in the
neighborhoodbut knew it by heart. Some always pretended to
doubt the reality of itand insisted that Rip had been out of
his headand that this was one point on which he always remained
flighty. The old Dutch inhabitantshoweveralmost universally
gave it full credit. Even to this daythey never hear a
thunder-storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskillbut they
say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game of ninepins;
and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the
neighborhoodwhen life hangs heavy on their handsthat they
might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon.


The foregoing taleone would suspecthad been suggested to Mr.
Knickerbocker by a little German superstition about the Emperor
Frederick der Rothbart and the Kypphauser mountain; the subjoined
notehoweverwhich had appended to the taleshows that it is
an absolute factnarrated with his usual fidelity.

The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, but
nevertheless I give it my full belief, for I know the vicinity of
our old Dutch settlements to have been very subject to marvellous
events and appearances. Indeed, I have heard many stranger
stories than this, in the villages along the Hudson; all of which
were too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. I have even
talked with Rip Van Winkle myself, who, when last I saw him, was
a very venerable old man, and so perfectly rational and
consistent on every other point, that I think no conscientious
person could refuse to take this into the bargain; nay, I have
seen a certificate on the subject taken before a country justice,
and signed with cross, in the justice's own handwriting. The
story, therefore, is beyond the possibility of doubt.

D. K."


The following are travelling notes from a memorandum-book of Mr.

The Kaatsberg or Catskill mountains have always been a region
full of fable. The Indians considered them the abode of spirits
who influenced the weatherspreading sunshine or clouds over the
landscapeand sending good or bad hunting seasons. They were
ruled by an old squaw spiritsaid to be their mother. She dwelt
on the highest peak of the Catskillsand had charge of the doors
of day and night to open and shut them at the proper hour. She
hung up the new moons in the skiesand cut up the old ones into
stars. In times of droughtif properly propitiatedshe would
spin light summer clouds out of cobwebs and morning dewand send
them off from the crest of the mountainflake after flakelike

flakes of carded cottonto float in the air; untildissolved by
the heat of the sunthey would fall in gentle showerscausing
the grass to springthe fruits to ripenand the corn to grow an
inch an hour. If displeasedhowevershe would brew up clouds
black as inksitting in the midst of them like a bottle-bellied
spider in the midst of its web; and when these clouds brokewoe
betide the valleys!

In old timessay the Indian traditionsthere was a kind of
Manitou or Spiritwho kept about the wildest recesses of the
Catskill mountainsand took a mischievous pleasure in wreaking
all kind of evils and vexations upon the red men. Sometimes he
would assume the form of a beara pantheror a deerlead the
bewildered hunter a weary chase through tangled forests and among
ragged rocksand then spring off with a loud ho! ho! leaving him
aghast on the brink of a beetling precipice or raging torrent.

The favorite abode of this Manitou is still shown. It is a rock
or cliff on the loneliest port of the mountainsandfrom the
flowering vines which clamber about itand the wild flowers
which abound in its neighborhoodis known by the name of the
Garden Rock. Near the foot of it is a small lakethe haunt of
the solitary bitternwith water-snakes basking in the sun on the
leaves of the pond-lilies which lie on the surface. This place
was held in great awe by the Indiansinsomuch that the boldest
hunter would not pursue his game within its precincts. Once upon
a timehowevera hunter who had lost his way penetrated to the
Garden Rockwhere he beheld a number of gourds placed in the
crotches of trees. One of these he seized and made off with it
but in the hurry of his retreat he let it fall among the rocks
when a great stream gushed forthwhich washed him away and swept
him down precipiceswhere he was dished to piecesand the
stream made its way to the Hudsonand continues to flow to the
present daybeing the identical stream known by the name of the


Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nationrousting
herself like a strong man after sleepand shaking her invincible
locks; methinks I see her as an eaglemewing her mighty youth
and kindling her endazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam.--MILTON

IT is with feelings of deep regret that I observe the literary
animosity daily growing up between England and America. Great
curiosity has been awakened of late with respect to the United
Statesand the London press has teemed with volumes of travels
through the Republic; but they seem intended to diffuse error
rather than knowledge; and so successful have they beenthat
notwithstanding the constant intercourse between the nations
there is no people concerning whom the great mass of the British
public have less pure informationor entertain more numerous

English travellers are the best and the worst in the world. Where
no motives of pride or interest intervenenone can equal them
for profound and philosophical views of societyor faithful and
graphical description of external objects; but when either the
interest or reputation of their own country comes in collision
with that of anotherthey go to the opposite extremeand forget
their usual probity and candorin the indulgence of splenetic

remarkand an illiberal spirit of ridicule.

Hencetheir travels are more honest and accuratethe more
remote the country described. I would place implicit confidence
in an Englishman's description of the regions beyond the
cataracts of the Nile; of unknown islands in the Yellow Sea; of
the interior of India; or of any other tract which other
travellers might be apt to picture out with the illusions of
their fancies. But I would cautiously receive his account of his
immediate neighborsand of those nations with which he is in
habits of most frequent intercourse. However I might be disposed
to trust his probityI dare not trust his prejudices.

It has also been the peculiar lot of our country to be visited by
the worst kind of English travellers. While men of philosophical
spirit and cultivated minds have been sent from England to
ransack the polesto penetrate the desertsand to study the
manners and customs of barbarous nationswith which she can have
no permanent intercourse of profit or pleasure; it has been left
to the broken-down tradesmanthe scheming adventurerthe
wandering mechanicthe Manchester and Birmingham agentto be
her oracles respecting America. From such sources she is content
to receive her information respecting a country in a singular
state of moral and physical development; a country in which one
of the greatest political experiments in the history of the world
is now performing; and which presents the most profound and
momentous studies to the statesman and the philosopher.

That such men should give prejudicial accounts of Americais not
a matter of surprise. The themes it offers for contemplationare
too vast and elevated for their capacities. The national
character is yet in a state of fermentation: it may have its
frothiness and sedimentbut its ingredients are sound and
wholesome; it has already given proofs of powerful and generous
qualities; and the whole promises to settle down into something
substantially excellent. But the causes which are operating to
strengthen and ennoble itand its daily indications of admirable
propertiesare all lost upon these purblind observers; who are
only affected by the little asperities incident to its present
situation. They are capable of judging only of the surface of
things; of those matters which come in contact with their private
interests and personal gratifications. They miss some of the snug
conveniences and petty comforts which belong to an old
highly-finishedand over-populous state of society; where the
ranks of useful labor are crowdedand many earn a painful and
servile subsistenceby studying the very caprices of appetite
and self-indulgence. These minor comfortshoweverare
all-important in the estimation of narrow minds; which either do
not perceiveor will not acknowledgethat they are more than
counterbalanced among usby great and generally diffused

They mayperhapshave been disappointed in some unreasonable
expectation of sudden gain. They may have pictured America to
themselves an El Doradowhere gold and silver aboundedand the
natives were lacking in sagacityand where they were to become
strangely and suddenly richin some unforeseen but easy manner.
The same weakness of mind that indulges absurd expectations
produces petulance in disappointment. Such persons become
embittered against the country on finding that thereas
everywhere elsea man must sow before he can reap; must win
wealth by industry and talent; and must contend with the common
difficulties of natureand the shrewdness of an intelligent and
enterprising people.

Perhapsthrough mistaken or ill-directed hospitalityor from
the prompt disposition to cheer and countenance the stranger
prevalent among my countrymenthey may have been treated with
unwonted respect in America; andhaving been accustomed all
their lives to consider themselves below the surface of good
societyand brought up in a servile feeling of inferioritythey
become arroganton the common boon of civility; they attribute
to the lowliness of others their own elevation; and underrate a
society where there are no artificial distinctionsand whereby
any chancesuch individuals as themselves can rise to

One would supposehoweverthat information coming from such
sourceson a subject where the truth is so desirablewould be
received with caution by the censors of the press; that the
motives of these mentheir veracitytheir opportunities of
inquiry and observationand their capacities for judging
correctlywould be rigorously scrutinizedbefore their evidence
was admittedin such sweeping extentagainst a kindred nation.
The very reversehoweveris the caseand it furnishes a
striking instance of human inconsistency. Nothing can surpass the
vigilance with which English critics will examine the credibility
of the traveller who publishes an account of some distant and
comparatively unimportant country. How warily will they compare
the measurements of a pyramidor the description of a ruin; and
how sternly will they censure any inaccuracy in these
contributions of merely curious knowledgewhile they will
receivewith eagerness and unhesitating faiththe gross
misrepresentations of coarse and obscure writersconcerning a
country with which their own is placed in the most important and
delicate relations. Naythey will even make these apocryphal
volumes text-bookson which to enlargewith a zeal and an
ability worthy of a more generous cause.

I shall nothoweverdwell on this irksome and hackneyed topic;
nor should I have adverted to itbut for the undue interest
apparently taken in it by my countrymenand certain injurious
effects which I apprehend it might produce upon the national
feeling. We attach too much consequence to these attacks. They
cannot do us any essential injury. The tissue of
misrepresentations attempted to be woven round usare like
cobwebs woven round the limbs of an infant giant. Our country
continually outgrows them. One falsehood after another falls off
of itself. We have but to live onand every day we live a whole
volume of refutation.

All the writers of England unitedif we could for a moment
suppose their great minds stooping to so unworthy a combination
could not conceal our rapidly growing importance and matchless
prosperity. They could not conceal that these are owingnot
merely to physical and localbut also to moral causes--to the
political libertythe general diffusion of knowledgethe
prevalence of soundmoraland religious principleswhich give
force and sustained energy to the character of a peopleand
which in facthave been the acknowledged and wonderful
supporters of their own national power and glory.

But why are we so exquisitely alive to the aspersions of England?
Why do we suffer ourselves to be so affected by the contumely she
has endeavored to cast upon us? It is not in the opinion of
England alone that honor livesand reputation has its being. The
world at large is the arbiter of a nation's fame: with its
thousand eyes it witnesses a nation's deedsand from their

collective testimony is national glory or national disgrace

For ourselvesthereforeit is comparatively of but little
importance whether England does us justice or not; it is
perhapsof far more importance to herself. She is instilling
anger and resentment into the bosom of a youthful nationto grow
with its growthand strengthen with its strength. If in America
as some of her writers are laboring to convince hershe is
hereafter to find an invidious rivaland a gigantic foeshe may
thank those very writers for having provoked rivalshipand
irritated hostility. Every one knows the all-pervading influence
of literature at the present dayand how much the opinions and
passions of mankind are under its control. The mere contests of
the sword are temporary; their wounds are but in the fleshand
it is the pride of the generous to forgive and forget them; but
the slanders of the pen pierce to the heart; they rankle longest
in the noblest spirits; they dwell ever present in the mindand
render it morbidly sensitive to the most trifling collision. It
is but seldom that any one overt act produces hostilities between
two nations; there existsmost commonlya previous jealousy and
ill-willa predisposition to take offence. Trace these to their
causeand how often will they be found to originate in the
mischievous effusions of mercenary writerswhosecure in their
closetsand for ignominious breadconcoct and circulate the
venom that is to inflame the generous and the brave.

I am not laying too much stress upon this point; for it applies
most emphatically to our particular case. Over no nation does the
press hold a more absolute control than over the people of
America; for the universal education of the poorest classes makes
every individual a reader. There is nothing published in England
on the subject of our countrythat does not circulate through
every part of it. There is not a calumny dropt from an English
pennor an unworthy sarcasm uttered by an English statesman
that does not go to blight good-willand add to the mass of
latent resentment. Possessingthenas England doesthe
fountain-head whence the literature of the language flowshow
completely is it in her powerand how truly is it her dutyto
make it the medium of amiable and magnanimous feeling--a stream
where the two nations might meet together and drink in peace and
kindness. Should shehoweverpersist in turning it to waters of
bitternessthe time may come when she may repent her folly. The
present friendship of America may be of but little moment to her;
but the future destinies of that country do not admit of a doubt;
over those of Englandthere lower some shadows of uncertainty.
Shouldthena day of gloom arrive--should those reverses
overtake herfrom which the proudest empires have not been
exempt--she may look back with regret at her infatuationin
repulsing from her side a nation she might have grappled to her
bosomand thus destroying her only chance for real friendship
beyond the boundaries of her own dominions.

There is a general impression in Englandthat the people of the
United States are inimical to the parent country. It is one of
the errors which have been diligently propagated by designing
writers. There isdoubtlessconsiderable political hostility
and a general soreness at the illiberality of the English press;
butcollectively speakingthe prepossessions of the people are
strongly in favor of England. Indeedat one time they amounted
in many parts of the Unionto an absurd degree of bigotry. The
bare name of Englishman was a passport to the confidence and
hospitality of every familyand too often gave a transient
currency to the worthless and the ungrateful. Throughout the

countrythere was something of enthusiasm connected with the
idea of England. We looked to it with a hallowed feeling of
tenderness and venerationas the land of our forefathers--the
august repository of the monuments and antiquities of our
race--the birthplace and mausoleum of the sages and heroes of our
paternal history. After our own countrythere was none in whose
glory we more delighted--none whose good opinion we were more
anxious to possess--none toward which our hearts yearned with
such throbbings of warm consanguinity. Even during the late war
whenever there was the least opportunity for kind feelings to
spring forthit was the delight of the generous spirits of our
country to show thatin the midst of hostilitiesthey still
kept alive the sparks of future friendship.

Is all this to be at an end? Is this golden band of kindred
sympathiesso rare between nationsto be broken
forever?--Perhaps it is for the best--it may dispel an allusion
which might have kept us in mental vassalage; which might have
interfered occasionally with our true interestsand prevented
the growth of proper national pride. But it is hard to give up
the kindred tie! and there are feelings dearer than
interest--closer to the heart than pride--that will still make us
cast back a look of regret as we wander farther and farther from
the paternal roofand lament the waywardness of the parent that
would repel the affections of the child.

Short-sighted and injudicioushoweveras the conduct or England
may be in this system of aspersionrecrimination on our part
would be equally ill-judged. I speak not of a prompt and spirited
vindication of our countryor the keenest castigation of her
slanderers--but I allude to a disposition to retaliate in kind
to retort sarcasm and inspire prejudicewhich seems to be
spreading widely among our writers. Let us guard particularly
against such a temper; for it would double the evilinstead of
redressing the wrong. Nothing is so easy and inviting as the
retort of abuse and sarcasm; but it is a paltry and an
unprofitable contest. It is the alternative of a morbid mind
fretted into petulancerather than warmed into indignation. If
England is willing to permit the mean jealousies of tradeor the
rancorous animosities of politicsto deprave the integrity of
her pressand poison the fountain of public opinionlet us
beware of her example. She may deem it her interest to diffuse
errorand engender antipathyfor the purpose of checking
emigration: we have no purpose of the kind to serve. Neither have
we any spirit of national jealousy to gratify; for as yetin all
our rivalships with Englandwe are the rising and the gaining
party. There can be no end to answerthereforebut the
gratification of resentment--a mere spirit of retaliation--and
even that is impotent. Our retorts are never republished in
England; they fall shortthereforeof their aim; but they
foster a querulous and peevish temper among our writers; they
sour the sweet flow of our early literatureand sow thorns and
brambles among its blossoms. What is still worsethey circulate
through our own countryandas far as they have effectexcite
virulent national prejudices. This last is the evil most
especially to be deprecated. Governedas we areentirely by
public opinionthe utmost care should be taken to preserve the
purity of the public mind. Knowledge is powerand truth is
knowledge; whoeverthereforeknowingly propagates a prejudice
wilfully saps the foundation of his country's strength.

The members of a republicabove all other menshould be candid
and dispassionate. They areindividuallyportions of the
sovereign mind and sovereign willand should be enabled to come

to all questions of national concern with calm and unbiassed
judgments. From the peculiar nature of our relations with
Englandwe must have more frequent questions of a difficult and
delicate character with herthan with any other
nation--questions that affect the most acute and excitable
feelings: and asin the adjustment of theseour national
measures must ultimately be determined by popular sentimentwe
cannot be too anxiously attentive to purify it from all latent
passion or prepossession.

Openingtooas we doan asylum for strangers every portion of
the earthwe should receive all with impartiality. It should be
our pride to exhibit an example of one nationat least
destitute of national antipathiesand exercisingnot merely the
overt acts of hospitalitybut those more rare and noble
courtesies which spring from liberality of opinion.

What have we to do with national prejudices? They are the
inveterate diseases of old countriescontracted in rude and
ignorant ageswhen nations knew but little of each otherand
looked beyond their own boundaries with distrust and hostility.
Weon the contraryhave sprung into national existence in an
enlightened and philosophic agewhen the different parts of the
habitable worldand the various branches of the human family
have been indefatigably studied and made known to each other; and
we forego the advantages of our birthif we do not shake off the
national prejudicesas we would the local superstitionsof the
old world.

But above all let us not be influenced by any angry feelingsso
far as to shut our eyes to the perception of what is really
excellent and amiable in the English character. We are a young
peoplenecessarily an imitative oneand must take our examples
and modelsin a great degreefrom the existing nations of
Europe. There is no country more worthy of our study than
England. The spirit of her constitution is most analogous to
ours. The manners of her people--their intellectual
activity--their freedom of opinion--their habits of thinking on
those subjects which concern the dearest interests and most
sacred charities of private lifeare all congenial to the
American character; andin factare all intrinsically
excellent: for it is in the moral feeling of the people that the
deep foundations of British prosperity are laid; and however the
superstructure may be timewornor overrun by abusesthere must
be something solid in the basisadmirable in the materialsand
stable in the structure of an edifice that so long has towered
unshaken amidst the tempests of the world.

Let it be the pride of our writersthereforediscarding all
feelings of irritationand disdaining to retaliate the
illiberality of British authorsto speak of the English nation
without prejudiceand with determined candor. While they rebuke
the indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our countrymen
admire and imitate every thing Englishmerely because it is
Englishlet them frankly point out what is really worthy of
approbation. We may thus place England before us as a perpetual
volume of referencewherein are recorded sound deductions from
ages of experience; and while we avoid the errors and absurdities
which may have crept into the pagewe may draw thence golden
maxims of practical wisdomwherewith to strengthen and to
embellish our national character.


Oh! friendly to the best pursuits of man

Friendly to thoughtto virtue and to peace

Domestic life in rural pleasures past!


THE stranger who would form a correct opinion of the English
charactermust not confine his observations to the metropolis.
He must go forth into the country; he must sojourn in villages
and hamlets; he must visit castlesvillasfarm-houses
cottages; he must wander through parks and gardens; along hedges
and green lanes; he must loiter about country churches; attend
wakes and fairsand other rural festivals; and cope with the
people in all their conditionsand all their habits and humors.

In some countriesthe large cities absorb the wealth and fashion
of the nation; they are the only fixed abodes of elegant and
intelligent societyand the country is inhabited almost entirely
by boorish peasantry. In Englandon the contrarythe metropolis
is a mere gathering-placeor general rendezvousof the polite
classeswhere they devote a small portion of the year to a hurry
of gayety and dissipationandhaving indulged this kind of
carnivalreturn again to the apparently more congenial habits of
rural life. The various orders of society are therefore diffused
over the whole surface of the kingdomand the more retired
neighborhoods afford specimens of the different ranks.

The Englishin factare strongly gifted with the rural feeling.
They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties of natureand a
keen relish for the pleasures and employments of the country.
This passion seems inherent in them. Even the inhabitants of
citiesborn and brought up among brick walls and bustling
streetsenter with facility into rural habitsand evince a tact
for rural occupation. The merchant has his snug retreat in the
vicinity of the metropoliswhere he often displays as much pride
and zeal in the cultivation of his flower-gardenand the
maturing of his fruitsas he does in the conduct of his
businessand the success of a commercial enterprise. Even those
less fortunate individualswho are doomed to pass their lives in
the midst of din and trafficcontrive to have something that
shall remind them of the green aspect of nature. In the most dark
and dingy quarters of the citythe drawing-room window resembles
frequently a bank of flowers; every spot capable of vegetation
has its grass-plot and flower-bed; and every square its mimic
parklaid out with picturesque tasteand gleaming with
refreshing verdure.

Those who see the Englishman only in townare apt to form an
unfavorable opinion of his social character. He is either
absorbed in businessor distracted by the thousand engagements
that dissipate timethoughtand feelingin this huge
metropolis. He hasthereforetoo commonlya look of hurry and
abstraction. Wherever he happens to behe is on the point of
going somewhere else; at the moment he is talking on one subject
his mind is wandering to another; and while paying a friendly
visithe is calculating how he shall economize time so as to pay
the other visits allotted to the morning. An immense metropolis
like Londonis calculated to make men selfish and uninteresting.
In their casual and transient meetingsthey can but deal briefly
in commonplaces. They present but the cold superfices of
character--its rich and genial qualities have no time to be
warmed into a flow.

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to his
natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold
formalities and negative civilities of town; throws off his
habits of shy reserveand becomes joyous and free-hearted. He
manages to collect round him all the conveniences and elegancies
of polite lifeand to banish its restraints. His country-seat
abounds with every requisiteeither for studious retirement
tasteful gratificationor rural exercise. Bookspaintings
musichorsesdogsand sporting implements of all kindsare at
hand. He puts no constrainteither upon his guests or himself
butin the true spirit of hospitalityprovides the means of
enjoymentand leaves every one to partake according to his

The taste of the English in the cultivation of landand in what
is called landscape gardeningis unrivalled. They have studied
Nature intentlyand discovered an exquisite sense of her
beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those charms which
in other countriesshe lavishes in wild solitudesare here
assembled round the haunts of domestic life. They seem to have
caught her coy and furtive gracesand spread themlike
witcheryabout their rural abodes.

Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of English
park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid green
with here and there clumps of gigantic treesheaping up rich
piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades
with the deer trooping in silent herds across them; the hare
bounding away to the covert; or the pheasantsuddenly bursting
upon the wing. The brooktaught to wind in natural meanderings
or expand into a glassy lake--the sequestered poolreflecting
the quivering treeswith the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom
and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters; while
some rustic templeor sylvan statuegrown green and dank with
agegives an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion.

These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but what
most delights meis the creative talent with which the English
decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. The rudest
habitationthe most unpromising and scanty portion of landin
the hands of an Englishman of tastebecomes a little paradise.
With a nicely discriminating eyehe seizes at once upon its
capabilitiesand pictures in his mind the future landscape. The
sterile spot grows into loveliness under his hand; and yet the
operations of art which produce the effect are scarcely to be
perceived. The cherishing and training of some trees; the
cautious pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and
plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of a
green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep of blue
distanceor silver gleam of water;-all these are managed with a
delicate tacta pervading yet quiet assiduitylike the magic
touchings with which a painter finishes up a favorite picture.

The residence of people of fortune and refinement in the country
has diffused a degree of taste and elegance in rural economy that
descends to the lowest class. The very laborerwith his thatched
cottage and narrow slip of groundattends to their
embellishment. The trim hedgethe grass-plot before the door
the little flower-bed bordered with snug boxthe woodbine
trained up against the walland hanging its blossoms about the
lattice; the pot of flowers in the window; the hollyprovidently
planted about the houseto cheat winter of its drearinessand
to throw in a semblance of green summer to cheer the fireside;
all these bespeak the influence of tasteflowing down from high

sourcesand pervading the lowest levels of the public mind. If
ever Loveas poets singdelights to visit a cottageit must be
the cottage of an English peasant.

The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of the
English has had a great and salutary effect upon the national
character. I do not know a finer race of men than the English
gentlemen. Instead of the softness and effeminacy which
characterize the men of rank in most countriesthey exhibit a
union of elegance and strengtha robustness of frame and
freshness of complexionwhich I am inclined to attribute to
their living so much in the open airand pursuing so eagerly the
invigorating recreations of the country. The hardy exercises
produce also a healthful tone of mind and spiritsand a
manliness and simplicity of mannerswhich even the follies and
dissipations of the town cannot easily pervertand can never
entirely destroy. In the countrytoothe different orders of
society seem to approach more freelyto be more disposed to
blend and operate favorably upon each other. The distinctions
between them do not appear to be so marked and impassable as in
the cities. The manner in which property has been distributed
into small estates and farms has established a regular gradation
from the noblementhrough the classes of gentrysmall landed
proprietorsand substantial farmersdown to the laboring
peasantry; and while it has thus banded the extremes of society
togetherhas infused into each intermediate rank a spirit of
independence. Thisit must be confessedis not so universally
the case at present as it was formerly; the larger estates
havingin late years of distressabsorbed the smallerandin
some parts of the countryalmost annihilated the sturdy race of
small farmers. ThesehoweverI believeare but casual breaks
in the general system I have mentioned.

In rural occupationthere is nothing mean and debasing. It leads
aman forth among scenes of natural grandeur and beauty; it
leaves him to the workings of his own mindoperated upon by the
purest and most elevating of external influences. Such a man may
be simple and roughbut he cannot be vulgar. The man of
refinementthereforefinds nothing revolting in an intercourse
with the lower orders in rural lifeas he does when he casually
mingles with the lower orders of cities. He lays aside his
distance and reserveand is glad to waive the distinctions of
rankand to enter into the honestheartfelt enjoyments of
common life. Indeedthe very amusements of the country bring
men more and more together; and the sound hound and horn blend
all feelings into harmony. I believe this is one great reason why
the nobility and gentry are more popular among the inferior
orders in England than they are in any other country; and why the
latter have endured so many excessive pressures and extremities
without repining more generally at the unequal distribution of
fortune and privilege.

To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society may also be
attributed the rural feeling that runs through British
literature; the frequent use of illustrations from rural life;
those incomparable descriptions of Naturethat abound in the
British poets--that have continued down from "The Flower and the
Leaf of Chaucer, and have brought into our closets all the
freshness and fragrance of the dewy landscape. The pastoral
writers of other countries appear as if they had paid Nature an
occasional visit, and become acquainted with her general charms;
but the British poets have lived and revelled with her--they have
wooed her in her most secret haunts--they have watched her
minutest caprices. A spray could not tremble in the breeze--a

leaf could not rustle to the ground--a diamond drop could not
patter in the stream--a fragrance could not exhale from the
humble violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints to the
morning, but it has been noticed by these impassioned and
delicate observers, and wrought up into some beautiful morality.

The effect of this devotion of elegant minds to rural occupations
has been wonderful on the face of the country. A great part of
the island is rather level, and would be monotonous, were it not
for the charms of culture; but it is studded and gemmed, as it
were, with castles and palaces, and embroidered with parks and
gardens. It does not abound in grand and sublime prospects, but
rather in little home scenes of rural repose and sheltered quiet.
Every antique farm-house and moss-grown cottage is a picture; and
as the roads are continually winding, and the view is shut in by
groves and hedges, the eye is delighted by a continual succession
of small landscapes of captivating loveliness.

The great charm, however, of English scenery, is the moral
feeling that seems to pervade it. It is associated in the mind
with ideas of order, of quiet, of sober well-established
principles, of hoary usage and reverend custom. Every thing seems
to be the growth of ages of regular and peaceful existence. The
old church of remote architecture, with its low, massive portal;
its Gothic tower; its windows rich with tracery and painted
glass, in scrupulous preservation; its stately monuments of
warriors and worthies of the olden time, ancestors of the present
lords of the soil; its tombstones, recording successive
generations of sturdy yeomanry, whose progeny still plough the
same fields, and kneel at the same altar;--the parsonage, a
quaint irregular pile, partly antiquated, but repaired and
altered in the tastes of various ages and occupants;--the stile
and foot-path leading from the churchyard, across pleasant
fields, and along shady hedgerows, according to an immemorial
right of way;--the neighboring village, with its venerable
cottages, its public green sheltered by trees, under which the
forefathers of the present race have sported;--the antique family
mansion, standing apart in some little rural domain, but looking
down with a protecting air on the surrounding scene; all these
common features of English landscape evince a calm and settled
security, a hereditary transmission of homebred virtues and local
attachments, that speak deeply and touchingly for the moral
character of the nation.

It is a pleasing sight, of a Sunday morning, when the bell is
sending its sober melody across the quiet fields, to behold the
peasantry in their best finery, with ruddy faces, and modest
cheerfulness, thronging tranquilly along the green lanes to
church; but it is still more pleasing to see them in the
evenings, gathering about their cottage doors, and appearing to
exult in the humble comforts and embellishments which their own
hands have spread around them.

It is this sweet home-feeling, this settled repose of affection
in the domestic scene, that is, after all, the parent of the
steadiest virtues and purest enjoyments; and I cannot close these
desultory remarks better, than by quoting the words of a modern
English poet, who has depicted it with remarkable felicity:

Through each gradation, from the castled hall,

The city dome, the villa crowned with shade,

But chief from modest mansions numberless,

In town or hamlet, shelt'ring middle life,

Down to the cottaged vale, and straw-roof'd shed;

This western isle has long been famed for scenes

Where bliss domestic finds a dwelling-place;

Domestic bliss, that, like a harmless dove,

(Honor and sweet endearment keeping guard,)

Can centre in a little quiet nest

All that desire would fly for through the earth;

That can, the world eluding, be itself

A world enjoyed; that wants no witnesses

But its own sharers, and approving Heaven;

That, like a flower deep hid in rock cleft,

Smiles, though 't is looking only at the sky.*

* From a poem on the death of the Princess Charlotte, by the
Reverend Rann Kennedy, A.M.

I never heard

Of any true affection, but 't was nipt

With care, that, like the caterpillar, eats

The leaves of the spring's sweetest book, the rose.


IT is a common practice with those who have outlived the
susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up in the
gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all love
stories, and to treat the tales of romantic passion as mere
fictions of novelists and poets. My observations on human nature
have induced me to think otherwise. They have convinced me that,
however the surface of the character may be chilled and frozen by
the cares of the world, or cultivated into mere smiles by the
arts of society, still there are dormant fires lurking in the
depths of the coldest bosom, which, when once enkindled, become
impetuous, and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed,
I am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to the full
extent of his doctrines. Shall I confess it?--I believe in broken
hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed love! I do
not, however, consider it a malady often fatal to my own sex; but
I firmly believe that it withers down many a lovely woman into an
early grave.

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His nature leads
him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. Love is but
the embellishment of his early life, or a song piped in the
intervals of the acts. He seeks for fame, for fortune for space
in the world's thought, and dominion over his fellow-men. But a
woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is
her world; it is there her ambition strives for empire--it is
there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her
sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the
traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is
hopeless--for it is a bankruptcy of the heart.

To a man, the disappointment of love may occasion some bitter
pangs; it wounds some feelings of tenderness--it blasts some
prospects of felicity; but he is an active being--he may
dissipate his thoughts in the whirl of varied occupation, or may
plunge into the tide of pleasure; or, if the scene of
disappointment be too full of painful associations, he can shift
his abode at will, and taking, as it were, the wings of the
morning, can fly to the uttermost parts of the earthand be at

But woman's is comparatively a fixeda secludedand meditative
life. She is more the companion of her own thoughts and feelings;
and if they are turned to ministers of sorrowwhere shall she
look for consolation? Her lot is to be wooed and won; and if
unhappy in her loveher heart is like some fortress that has
been capturedand sackedand abandonedand left desolate.

How many bright eyes grow dim--how many soft cheeks grow
pale--how many lovely forms fade away into the tomband none can
tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! As the dove will
clasp its wings to its sideand cover and conceal the arrow that
is preying on its vitals--so is it the nature of womanto hide
from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a
delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate
she scarcely breathes it to herself; but when otherwiseshe
buries it in the recesses of her bosomand there lets it cower
and brood among the ruins of her peace. With herthe desire of
her heart has failed--the great charm of existence is at an end.
She neglects all the cheerful exercises which gladden the
spiritsquicken the pulsesand send the tide of life in
healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is broken--the
sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams--"dry
sorrow drinks her blood until her enfeebled frame sinks under
the slightest external injury. Look for her, after a little
while, and you find friendship weeping over her untimely grave,
and wondering that one, who but lately glowed with all the
radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily be brought down
to darkness and the worm." You will be told of some wintry
chillsome casual indispositionthat laid her low;--but no one
knows of the mental malady which previously sapped her strength
and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler.

She is like some tender treethe pride and beauty of the grove;
graceful in its formbright in its foliagebut with the worm
preying at its heart. We find it suddenly witheringwhen it
should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its
branches to the earthand shedding leaf by leafuntilwasted
and perished awayit falls even in the stillness of the forest;
and as we muse over the beautiful ruinwe strive in vain to
recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smitten it
with decay.

I have seen many instances of women running to waste and
self-neglectand disappearing gradually from the earthalmost
as if they had been exhaled to heaven; and have repeatedly
fancied that I could trace their deaths through the various
declensions of consumptioncolddebilitylanguormelancholy
until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love. But an
instance of the kind was lately told to me; the circumstances are
well known in the country where they happenedand I shall but
give them in the manner in which they were related.

Every one must recollect the tragical story of young E----the
Irish patriot; it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During
the troubles in Irelandhe was triedcondemnedand executed
on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public
sympathy. He was so young--so intelligent--so generous--so
brave--so every thing that we are apt to like in a young man. His
conduct under trialtoowas so lofty and intrepid. The noble
indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against
his country--the eloquent vindication of his name--and his
pathetic appeal to posterityin the hopeless hour of
condemnation--all these entered deeply into every generous

bosomand even his enemies lamented the stern policy that
dictated his execution.

But there was one heart whose anguish it would be impossible to
describe. In happier days and fairer fortuneshe had won the
affections of a beautiful and interesting girlthe daughter of a
late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the
disinterested fervor of a woman's first and early love. When
every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; when blasted in
fortuneand disgrace and danger darkened around his nameshe
loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. Ifthen
his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foeswhat must
have been the agony of herwhose whole soul was occupied by his
image? Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb
suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on
earth--who have sat at its thresholdas one shut out in a cold
and lonely worldwhence all that was most lovely and loving had

But then the horrors of such a grave!--so frightfulso
dishonored! There was nothing for memory to dwell on that could
soothe the pang of separation--none of those tenderthough
melancholy circumstances which endear the parting scene--nothing
to melt sorrow into those blessed tearssent like the dews of
heavento revive the heart in the parting hour of anguish.

To render her widowed situation more desolateshe had incurred
her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachmentand was
an exile from the parental roof. But could the sympathy and kind
offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in
by horrorshe would have experienced no want of consolationfor
the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The
most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families
of wealth and distinction. She was led into societyand they
tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her
griefand wean her from the tragical story of her loves. But it
was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity that scathe
and scorch the soul--which penetrate to the vital seat of
happiness--and blast itnever again to put forth bud or blossom.
She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasurebut was as
much alone there as in the depths of solitude; walking about in a
sad reveryapparently unconscious of the world around her. She
carried with her an inward woe that mocked at all the
blandishments of friendshipand "heeded not the song of the
charmercharm he never so wisely."

The person who told me her story had seen her at a masquerade.
There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness more striking
and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering
like a spectrelonely and joylesswhere all around is gay--to
see it dressed out in the trappings of mirthand looking so wan
and woe-begoneas if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor
heart into momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling
through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter
abstractionshe sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra
andlooking about for some time with a vacant airthat showed
her insensibility to the garish sceneshe beganwith the
capriciousness of a sickly heartto warble a little plaintive
air. She had an exquisitevoice; but on this occasion it was so
simpleso touchingit breathed forth such a soul of
wretchedness--that she drew a crowdmute and silentaround her
and melted every one into tears.

The story of one so true and tender could not but excite great

interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely
won the heart of a brave officerwho paid his addresses to her
and thought that one so true to the deadcould not but prove
affectionate to the living. She declined his attentionsfor her
thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former
lover. Hehoweverpersisted in his suit. He solicited not her
tendernessbut her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of
his worthand her sense of her own destitute and dependent
situationfor she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a
wordhe at length succeeded in gaining her handthough with the
solemn assurancethat her heart was unalterably another's.

He took her with him to Sicilyhoping that a change of scene
might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable
and exemplary wifeand made an effort to be a happy one; but
nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had
entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slowbut
hopeless declineand at length sunk into the gravethe victim
of a broken heart.

It was on her that Moorethe distinguished Irish poetcomposed
the following lines:

She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps
And lovers around her are sighing:
But coldly she turns from their gazeand weeps
For her heart in his grave is lying.

She sings the wild song of her dear native plains
Every note which he loved awaking--
Ah! little they thinkwho delight in her strains
How the heart of the minstrel is breaking!

He had lived for his love--for his country he died
They were all that to life had entwined him--
Nor soon shall the tears of his country be dried
Nor long will his love stay behind him!

Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest
When they promise a glorious morrow;
They'll shine o'er her sleeplike a smile from the west
From her own loved island of sorrow!


If that severe doom of Synesius be true--"It is a greater
offence to steal dead men's laborthan their clothes--what
shall become of most writers?


I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecundity of the press, and
how it comes to pass that so many heads, on which Nature seems to
have inflicted the curse of barrenness, should teem with
voluminous productions. As a man travels on, however, in the
journey of life, his objects of wonder daily diminish, and he is
continually finding out some very simple cause for some great
matter of marvel. Thus have I chanced, in my peregrinations about
this great metropolis, to blunder upon a scene which unfolded to
me some of the mysteries of the book-making craft, and at once
put an end to my astonishment.

I was one summer's day loitering through the great saloons of the

British Museum, with that listlessness with which one is apt to
saunter about a museum in warm weather; sometimes lolling over
the glass cases of minerals, sometimes studying the hieroglyphics
on an Egyptian mummy, and some times trying, with nearly equal
success, to comprehend the allegorical paintings on the lofty
ceilings. Whilst I was gazing about in this idle way, my
attention was attracted to a distant door, at the end of a suite
of apartments. It was closed, but every now and then it would
open, and some strange-favored being, generally clothed in black,
would steal forth, and glide through the rooms, without noticing
any of the surrounding objects. There was an air of mystery about
this that piqued my languid curiosity, and I determined to
attempt the passage of that strait, and to explore the unknown
regions beyond. The door yielded to my hand, with all that
facility with which the portals of enchanted castles yield to the
adventurous knight-errant. I found myself in a spacious chamber,
surrounded with great cases of venerable books. Above the cases,
and just under the cornice, were arranged a great number of
black-looking portraits of ancient authors. About the room were
placed long tables, with stands for reading and writing, at which
sat many pale, studious personages, poring intently over dusty
volumes, rummaging among mouldy manuscripts, and taking copious
notes of their contents. A hushed stillness reigned through this
mysterious apartment, excepting that you might hear the racing of
pens over sheets of paper, and occasionally the deep sigh of one
of these sages, as he shifted his position to turn over the page
of an old folio; doubtless arising from that hollowness and
flatulency incident to learned research.

Now and then one of these personages would write something on a
small slip of paper, and ring a bell, whereupon a familiar would
appear, take the paper in profound silence, glide out of the
room, and return shortly loaded with ponderous tomes, upon which
the other would fall, tooth and nail, with famished voracity. I
had no longer a doubt that I had happened upon a body of magi,
deeply engaged in the study of occult sciences. The scene
reminded me of an old Arabian tale, of a philosopher shut up in
an enchanted library, in the bosom of a mountain, which opened
only once a year; where he made the spirits of the place bring
him books of all kinds of dark knowledge, so that at the end of
the year, when the magic portal once more swung open on its
hinges, he issued forth so versed in forbidden lore, as to be
able to soar above the heads of the multitude, and to control the
powers of Nature.

My curiosity being now fully aroused, I whispered to one of the
familiars, as he was about to leave the room, and begged an
interpretation of the strange scene before me. A few words were
sufficient for the purpose. I found that these mysterious
personages, whom I had mistaken for magi, were principally
authors, and were in the very act of manufacturing books. I was,
in fact, in the reading-room of the great British Library, an
immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, many of
which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read: one
of these sequestered pools of obsolete literature to which modern
authors repair, and draw buckets full of classic lore, or pure
Englishundefiled wherewith to swell their own scanty rills of

Being now in possession of the secret, I sat down in a corner,
and watched the process of this book manufactory. I noticed one
lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none but the most
worm-eaten volumes, printed in black letter. He was evidently
constructing some work of profound erudition, that would be

purchased by every man who wished to be thought learned, placed
upon a conspicuous shelf of his library, or laid open upon his
table--but never read. I observed him, now and then, draw a large
fragment of biscuit out of his pocket, and gnaw; whether it was
his dinner, or whether he was endeavoring to keep off that
exhaustion of the stomach, produced by much pondering over dry
works, I leave to harder students than myself to determine.

There was one dapper little gentleman in bright-colored clothes,
with a chirping gossiping expression of countenance, who had all
the appearance of an author on good terms with his bookseller.
After considering him attentively, I recognized in him a diligent
getter-up of miscellaneous works, which bustled off well with the
trade. I was curious to see how he manufactured his wares. He
made more stir and show of business than any of the others;
dipping into various books, fluttering over the leaves of
manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a morsel out of another,
line upon lineprecept upon precepthere a little and there a
little." The contents of his book seemed to be as heterogeneous
as those of the witches' cauldron in Macbeth. It was here a
finger and there a thumbtoe of frog and blind worm's sting
with his own gossip poured in like "baboon's blood to make the
medley slab and good."

After allthought Imay not this pilfering disposition be
implanted in authors for wise purposes? may it not be the way in
which Providence has taken care that the seeds of knowledge and
wisdom shall be preserved from age to agein spite of the
inevitable decay of the works in which they were first produced?
We see that Nature has wiselythough whimsically provided for
the conveyance of seeds from clime to climein the maws of
certain birds; so that animalswhichin themselvesare little
better than carrionand apparently the lawless plunderers of the
orchard and the corn-fieldarein factNature's carriers to
disperse and perpetuate her blessings. In like mannerthe
beauties and fine thoughts of ancient and obsolete authors are
caught up by these flights of predatory writersand cast forth
again to flourish and bear fruit in a remote and distant tract of
time. Many of their worksalsoundergo a kind of
metempsychosisand spring up under new forms. What was formerly
a ponderous historyrevives in the shape of a romance--an old
legend changes into a modern play--and a sober philosophical
treatise furnishes the body for a whole series of bouncing and
sparkling essays. Thus it is in the clearing of our American
woodlands; where we burn down a forest of stately pinesa
progeny of dwarf oaks start up in their place; and we never see
the prostrate trunk of a tree mouldering into soilbut it gives
birth to a whole tribe of fungi.

Let us not thenlament over the decay and oblivion into which
ancient writers descend; they do but submit to the great law of
Naturewhich declares that all sublunary shapes of matter shall
be limited in their durationbut which decreesalsothat their
element shall never perish. Generation after generationboth in
animal and vegetable lifepasses awaybut the vital principle
is transmitted to posterityand the species continue to
flourish. Thusalsodo authors beget authorsand having
produced a numerous progenyin a good old age they sleep with
their fathersthat is to saywith the authors who preceded
them--and from whom they had stolen.

Whilst I was indulging in these rambling fancies I had leaned my
head against a pile of reverend folios. Whether it was owing to
the soporific emanations for these works; or to the profound

quiet of the room; or to the lassitude arising from much
wandering; or to an unlucky habit of napping at improper times
and placeswith which I am grievously afflictedso it wasthat
I fell into a doze. Stillhowevermy imagination continued
busyand indeed the same scene continued before my mind's eye
only a little changed in some of the details. I dreamt that the
chamber was still decorated with the portraits of ancient
authorsbut that the number was increased. The long tables had
disappearedandin place of the sage magiI beheld a ragged
threadbare throngsuch as may be seen plying about the great
repository of cast-off clothesMonmouth Street. Whenever they
seized upon a bookby one of those incongruities common to
dreamsmethought it turned into a garment of foreign or antique
fashionwith which they proceeded to equip themselves. I
noticedhoweverthat no one pretended to clothe himself from
any particular suitbut took a sleeve from onea cape from
anothera skirt from a thirdthus decking himself out
piecemealwhile some of his original rags would peep out from
among his borrowed finery.

There was a portlyrosywell-fed parsonwhom I observed ogling
several mouldy polemical writers through an eyeglass. He soon
contrived to slip on the voluminous mantle of one of the old
fathersand having purloined the gray beard of another
endeavored to look exceedingly wise; but the smirking commonplace
of his countenance set at naught all the trappings of wisdom. One
sickly-looking gentleman was busied embroidering a very flimsy
garment with gold thread drawn out of several old court-dresses
of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Another had trimmed himself
magnificently from an illuminated manuscripthad stuck a nosegay
in his bosomculled from "The Paradise of Dainty Devices and
having put Sir Philip Sidney's hat on one side of his head,
strutted off with an exquisite air of vulgar elegance. A third,
who was but of puny dimensions, had bolstered himself out bravely
with the spoils from several obscure tracts of philosophy, so
that he had a very imposing front, but he was lamentably tattered
in rear, and I perceived that he had patched his small-clothes
with scraps of parchment from a Latin author.

There were some well-dressed gentlemen, it is true, who only
helped themselves to a gem or so, which sparkled among their own
ornaments, without eclipsing them. Some, too, seemed to
contemplate the costumes of the old writers, merely to imbibe
their principles of taste, and to catch their air and spirit; but
I grieve to say, that too many were apt to array themselves, from
top to toe, in the patchwork manner I have mentioned. I shall not
omit to speak of one genius, in drab breeches and gaiters, and an
Arcadian hat, who had a violent propensity to the pastoral, but
whose rural wanderings had been confined to the classic haunts of
Primrose Hill, and the solitudes of the Regent's Park. He had
decked himself in wreaths and ribbons from all the old pastoral
poets, and, hanging his head on one side, went about with a
fantastical, lackadaisical air, babbling about green field." But
the personage that most struck my attention was a pragmatical old
gentleman in clerical robeswith a remarkably large and square
but bald head. He entered the room wheezing and puffingelbowed
his way through the throng with a look of sturdy self-confidence
andhaving laid hands upon a thick Greek quartoclapped it upon
his headand swept majestically away in a formidable frizzled

In the height of this literary masqueradea cry suddenly
resounded from every sideof "Thieves! thieves!" I lookedand
lo! the portraits about the walls became animated! The old

authors thrust outfirst a headthen a shoulderfrom the
canvaslooked down curiously for an instant upon the motley
throngand then descendedwith fury in their eyesto claim
their rifled property. The scene of scampering and hubbub that
ensued baffles all description. The unhappy culprits endeavored
in vain to escape with their plunder. On one side might be seen
half a dozen old monksstripping a modern professor; on another
there was sad devastation carried into the ranks of modern
dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcherside by sideraged
round the field like Castor and Polluxand sturdy Ben Jonson
enacted more wonders than when a volunteer with the army in
Flanders. As to the dapper little compiler of farragos mentioned
some time sincehe had arrayed himself in as many patches and
colors as harlequinand there was as fierce a contention of
claimants about himas about the dead body of Patroclus. I was
grieved to see many mento whom I had been accustomed to look up
with awe and reverencefain to steal off with scarce a rag to
cover their nakedness. Just then my eye was caught by the
pragmatical old gentleman in the Greek grizzled wigwho was
scrambling away in sore affright with half a score of authors in
full cry after him. They were close upon his haunches; in a
twinkling off went his wig; at every turn some strip of raiment
was peeled awayuntil in a few momentsfrom his domineering
pomphe shrunk into a littlepursychopp'd bald shot,and
made his exit with only a few tags and rags fluttering at his

There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of this
learned Theban that I burst into an immoderate fit of laughter
which broke the whole illusion. The tumult and the scuffle were
at an end. The chamber resumed its usual appearance. The old
authors shrunk back into their picture-framesand hung in
shadowy solemnity along the walls. In shortI found myself wide
awake in my cornerwith the whole assemblage of hookworms gazing
at me with astonishment. Nothing of the dream had been real but
my burst of laughtera sound never before heard in that grave
sanctuaryand so abhorrent to the ears of wisdomas to
electrify the fraternity.

The librarian now stepped up to meand demanded whether I had a
card of admission. At first I did not comprehend himbut I soon
found that the library was a kind of literary "preserve subject
to game-laws, and that no one must presume to hunt there without
special license and permission. In a word, I stood convicted of
being an arrant poacher, and was glad to make a precipitate
retreat, lest I should have a whole pack of authors let loose
upon me.


Though your body be confined

And soft love a prisoner bound,

Yet the beauty of your mind

Neither check nor chain hath found.

Look out nobly, then, and dare

Even the fetters that you wear.


ON a soft sunny morning in the genial month of May I made an
excursion to Windsor Castle. It is a place full of storied and
poetical associations. The very external aspect of the proud old
pile is enough to inspire high thought. It rears its irregular

walls and massive towers, like a mural crown around the brow of a
lofty ridge, waves its royal banner in the clouds, and looks down
with a lordly air upon the surrounding world.

On this morning, the weather was of that voluptuous vernal kind
which calls forth all the latent romance of a man's temperament,
filling his mind with music, and disposing him to quote poetry
and dream of beauty. In wandering through the magnificent saloons
and long echoing galleries of the castle I passed with
indifference by whole rows of portraits of warriors and
statesmen, but lingered in the chamber where hang the likenesses
of the beauties which graced the gay court of Charles the Second;
and as I gazed upon them, depicted with amorous, half-dishevelled
tresses, and the sleepy eye of love, I blessed the pencil of Sir
Peter Lely, which bad thus enabled me to bask in the reflected
rays of beauty. In traversing also the large green courts with
sunshine beaming on the gray walls and glancing along the velvet
turf, my mind was engrossed with the image of the tender, the
gallant, but hapless Surrey, and his account of his loiterings
about them in his stripling days, when enamoured of the Lady

With eyes cast up unto the maiden's tower
With easie sighssuch as men draw in love."

In this mood of mere poetical susceptibilityI visited the
ancient keep of the castlewhere James the First of Scotland
the pride and theme of Scottish poets and historianswas for
many years of his youth detained a prisoner of state. It is a
large gray towerthat has stood the brunt of agesand is still
in good preservation. It stands on a mound which elevates it
above the other parts of the castleand a great flight of steps
leads to the interior. In the armorya Gothic hall furnished
with weapons of various kinds and agesI was shown a coat of
armor hanging against the wallwhich had once belonged to James.
Hence I was conducted up a staircase to a suite of apartmentsof
faded magnificencehung with storied tapestrywhich formed his
prisonand the scene of that passionate and fanciful amour
which has woven into the web of his story the magical hues of
poetry and fiction.

The whole history of this amiable but unfortunate prince is
highly romantic. At the tender age of elevenhe was sent from
home by his fatherRobert III.and destined for the French
courtto be reared under the eye of the French monarchsecure
from the treachery and danger that surrounded the royal house of
Scotland. It was his mishapin the course of his voyageto fall
into the hands of the Englishand he was detained prisoner by
Henry IV.notwithstanding that a truce existed between the two

The intelligence of his capturecoming in the train of many
sorrows and disastersproved fatal to his unhappy father. "The
news we are told, was brought to him while at supperand did
so overwhelm him with grief that he was almost ready to give up
the ghost into the hands of the servants that attended him. But
being carried to his bedchamberhe abstained from all foodand
in three days died of hunger and grief at Rothesay."*

* Buchanan.
James was detained in captivity above eighteen years; butthough
deprived of personal libertyhe was treated with the respect due
to his rank. Care was taken to instruct him in all the branches

of useful knowledge cultivated at that periodand to give him
those mental and personal accomplishments deemed proper for a
prince. Perhaps in this respect his imprisonment was an
advantageas it enabled him to apply himself the more
exclusively to his improvementand quietly to imbibe that rich
fund of knowledge and to cherish those elegant tastes which have
given such a lustre to his memory. The picture drawn of him in
early life by the Scottish historians is highly captivatingand
seems rather the description of a hero of romance than of a
character in real history. He was well learntwe are toldto
fight with the sword, to joust, to tourney, to wrestle, to sing
and dance; he was an expert mediciner, right crafty in playing
both of lute and harp, and sundry other instruments of music, and
was expert in grammar, oratory, and poetry.*

* Ballenden's translation of Hector Boyce.
With this combination of manly and delicate accomplishments
fitting him to shine both in active and elegant lifeand
calculated to give him an intense relish for joyous existenceit
must have been a severe trialin an age of bustle and chivalry
to pass the spring-time of his years in monotonous captivity. It
was the good fortune of Jameshoweverto be gifted with a
powerful poetic fancyand to be visited in his prison by the
choicest inspirations of the muse. Some minds corrodeand grow
inactiveunder the loss of personal liberty; others grow morbid
and irritable; but it is the nature of the poet to become tender
and imaginative in the loneliness of confinement. He banquets
upon the honey of his own thoughtsandlike the captive bird
pours forth his soul in melody.

Have you not seen the nightingale

A pilgrim coop'd into a cage

How doth she chant her wonted tale

In that her lonely hermitage!

Even there her charming melody doth prove

That all her boughs are treesher cage a grove.+

+ Roger L'Estrange.
Indeedit is the divine attribute of the imaginationthat it is
irrepressibleunconfinable--that when the real world is shut
outit can create a world for itselfandwith a necromantic
powercan conjure up glorious shapes and forms and brilliant
visionsto make solitude populousand irradiate the gloom of
the dungeon. Such was the world of pomp and pageant that lived
round Tasso in his dismal cell at Ferrarawhen he conceived the
splendid scenes of his Jerusalem; and we may consider The King's
Quair* composed by James during his captivity at Windsoras
another of those beautiful breakings forth of the soul from the
restraint and gloom of the prison-house.

The subject of the poem is his love for the lady Jane Beaufort
daughter of the Earl of Somersetand a princess of the
blood-royal of Englandof whom he became enamoured in the course
of his captivity. What gives it a peculiar valueisthat it may
be considered a transcript of the royal bard's true feelingsand
the story of his real loves and fortunes. It is not often that
sovereigns write poetry or that poets deal in fact. It is
gratifying to the pride of a common manto find a monarch thus
suingas it werefor admission into his closetand seeking to
win his favor by administering to his pleasures. It is a proof of
the honest equality of intellectual competitionwhich strips off
all the trappings of factitious dignitybrings the candidate

down to a level with his fellow-menand obliges him to depend on
his own native powers for distinction. It is curioustooto get
at the history of a monarch's heartand to find the simple
affections of human nature throbbing under the ermine. But James
had learnt to be a poet before he was a king; he was schooled in
adversityand reared in the company of his own thoughts.
Monarchs have seldom time to parley with their hearts or to
meditate their minds into poetry; and had James been brought up
amidst the adulation and gayety of a courtwe should neverin
all probabilityhave had such a poem as the Quair.

* Quairan old term for book.
I have been particularly interested by those parts of the poem
which breathe his immediate thoughts concerning his situationor
which are connected with the apartment in the Tower. They have
thus a personal and local charmand are given with such
circumstantial truth as to make the reader present with the
captive in his prison and the companion of his meditations.

Such is the account which he gives of his weariness of spirit
and of the incident which first suggested the idea of writing the
poem. It was the still mid-watch of a clear moonlight night; the
starshe sayswere twinkling as fire in the high vault of
heavenand "Cynthia rinsing her golden locks in Aquarius." He
lay in bed wakeful and restlessand took a book to beguile the
tedious hours. The book he chose was Boetius' Consolations of
Philosophya work popular among the writers of that dayand
which had been translated by his great prototypeChaucer. From
the high eulogium in which he indulgesit is evident this was
one of his favorite volumes while in prison; and indeed it is an
admirable text-book for meditation under adversity. It is the
legacy of a noble and enduring spiritpurified by sorrow and
sufferingbequeathing to its successors in calamity the maxims
of sweet moralityand the trains of eloquent but simple
reasoningby which it was enabled to bear up against the various
ills of life. It is a talismanwhich the unfortunate may
treasure up in his bosomorlike the good King Jameslay upon
his nightly pillow.

After closing the volume he turns its contents over in his mind
and gradually falls into a fit of musing on the fickleness of
fortunethe vicissitudes of his own lifeand the evils that had
overtaken him even in his tender youth. Suddenly he hears the
bell ringing to matinsbut its soundchiming in with his
melancholy fanciesseems to him like a voice exhorting him to
write his story. In the spirit of poetic errantry he determines
to comply with this intimation; he therefore takes pen in hand
makes with it a sign of the cross to implore a benedictionand
sallies forth into the fairy-land of poetry. There is something
extremely fanciful in all thisand it is interesting as
furnishing a striking and beautiful instance of the simple manner
in which whole trains of poetical thought are sometimes awakened
and literary enterprises suggested to the mind.

In the course of his poemhe more than once bewails the peculiar
hardness of his fatethus doomed to lonely and inactive life
and shut up from the freedom and pleasure of the world in which
the meanest animal indulges unrestrained. There is a sweetness
howeverin his very complaints; they are the lamentations of an
amiable and social spirit at being denied the indulgence of its
kind and generous propensities; there is nothing in them harsh
nor exaggerated; they flow with a natural and touching pathos
and are perhaps rendered more touching by their simple brevity.

They contrast finely with those elaborate and iterated repinings
which we sometimes meet with in poetrythe effusions of morbid
minds sickening under miseries of their own creatingand venting
their bitterness upon an unoffending world. James speaks of his
privations with acute sensibilitybut having mentioned them
passes onas if his manlv mind disdained to brood over
unavoidable calamities. When such a spirit breaks forth into
complainthowever briefwe are aware how great must be the
suffering that extorts the murmur. We sympathize with Jamesa
romanticactiveand accomplished princecut off in the
lustihood of youth from all the enterprisethe noble usesand
vigorous delights of lifeas we do with Miltonalive to all the
beauties of nature and glories of artwhen he breathes forth
brief but deep-toned lamentations over his perpetual blindness.

Had not James evinced a deficiency of poetic artificewe might
almost have suspected that these lowerings of gloomy reflection
were meant as preparative to the brightest scene of his story
and to contrast with that refulgence of light and loveliness
that exhilarating accompaniment of bird and songand foliage and
flowerand all the revel ofthe yearwith which he ushers in
the lady of his heart. It is this scenein particularwhich
throws all the magic of romance about the old castle keep. He had
risenhe saysat daybreakaccording to customto escape from
the dreary meditations of a sleepless pillow. "Bewailing in his
chamber thus alone despairing of all joy and remedy, for
tired of thoughtand woe-begone he had wandered to the window
to indulge the captive's miserable solace, of gazing wistfully
upon the world from which he is excluded. The window looked forth
upon a small garden which lay at the foot of the tower. It was a
quiet, sheltered spot, adorned with arbors and green alleys, and
protected from the passing gaze by trees and hawthorn hedges.

Now was there made fast by the tower's wall,
A garden faire, and in the corners set
An arbour green with wandis long and small
Railed about, and so with leaves beset
Was all the place and hawthorn hedges knet,
That lyf* was none, walkyng there forbye,
That might within scarce any wight espye.

So thick the branches and the leves grene,
Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And midst of every arbour might be seen,
The sharpe, grene, swete juniper,
Growing so fair with branches here and there,
That as it seemed to a lyf without,
The boughs did spread the arbour all about.

And on the small grene twistis+ set

The lytel swete nightingales, and sung

So loud and clear, the hymnis consecrate

Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,

That all the garden and the wallis rung

Right of their song---

* Lyf, Person. + Twistis, small boughs or twigs.
NOTE--The language of the quotations is generally modernized.
It was the month of May, when every thing was in bloom, and he
interprets the song of the nightingale into the language of his
enamoured feeling:

Worship, all ye that lovers be, this May;

For of your bliss the kalends are begun,
And sing with us, Away, winter, away.

Come, summer, come, the sweet season and sun.

As he gazes on the scene, and listens to the notes of the birds,
he gradually relapses into one of those tender and undefinable
reveries, which fill the youthful bosom in this delicious season.
He wonders what this love may be of which he has so often read,
and which thus seems breathed forth in the quickening breath of
May, and melting all nature into ecstasy and song. If it really
be so great a felicity, and if it be a boon thus generally
dispensed to the most insignificant beings, why is he alone cut
off from its enjoyments?

Oft would I think, O Lord, what may this be,

That love is of such noble myght and kynde?

Loving his folke, and such prosperitee,

Is it of him, as we in books do find;

May he oure hertes setten* and unbynd:

Hath he upon oure hertes such maistrye?

Or is all this but feynit fantasye?

For giff he be of so grete excellence
That he of every wight hath care and charge,
What have I gilt+ to him, or done offense,
That I am thral'd, and birdis go at large?

* Setten, incline.
+ Gilt, what injury have I done, etc.
In the midst of his musing, as he casts his eye downward, he
beholds the fairest and the freshest young floure" that ever he
had seen. It is the lovely Lady Janewalking in the garden to
enjoy the beauty of that "fresh May morrowe." Breaking thus
suddenly upon his sight in a moment of loneliness and excited
susceptibilityshe at once captivates the fancy of the romantic
princeand becomes the object of his wandering wishesthe
sovereign of his ideal world.

There isin this charming scenean evident resemblance to the
early part of Chaucer's Knight's Talewhere Palamon and Arcite
fall in love with Emiliawhom they see walking in the garden of
their prison. Perhaps the similarity of the actual fact to the
incident which he had read in Chaucer may have induced James to
dwell on it in his poem. His description of the Lady Jane is
given in the picturesque and minute manner of his masterand
being doubtless taken from the lifeis a perfect portrait of a
beauty of that day. He dwells with the fondness of a lover on
every article of her apparelfrom the net of pearlsplendent
with emeralds and sapphiresthat confined her golden haireven
to the "goodly chaine of small orfeverye"* about her neck
whereby there hung a ruby in shape of a heartthat seemedhe
sayslike a spark of fire burning upon her white bosom. Her
dress of white tissue was looped up to enable her to walk with
more freedom. She was accompanied by two female attendantsand
about her sported a little hound decorated with bellsprobably
the small Italian hound of exquisite symmetry which was a parlor
favorite and pet among the fashionable dames of ancient times.
James closes his description by a burst of general eulogium:

In her was youthbeautywith humble port
Bountyrichesseand womanly feature:
God better knows than my pen can report
Wisdomlargesse+ estate++ and cunning& sure.

In every point so guided her measure
In wordin deedin shapein countenance
That nature might no more her child advance.

* Wrought gold.
+ Largessebounty.
++ Estatedignity.
& Cunningdiscretion.
The departure of the Lady Jane from the garden puts an end to
this transient riot of the heart. With her departs the amorous
illusion that had shed a temporary charm over the scene of his
captivityand he relapses into lonelinessnow rendered tenfold
more intolerable by this passing beam of unattainable beauty.
Through the long and weary day he repines at his unhappy lotand
when evening approachesand Phoebusas he beautifully expresses
ithad "bade farewell to every leaf and flower he still
lingers at the window, and, laying his head upon the cold stone,
gives vent to a mingled flow of love and sorrow, until, gradually
lulled by the mute melancholy of the twilight hour, he lapses,
half-sleepinghalf swoon into a vision, which occupies the
remainder of the poem, and in which is allegorically shadowed out
the history of his passion.

When he wakes from his trance, he rises from his stony pillow,
and, pacing his apartment, full of dreary reflections, questions
his spirit, whither it has been wandering; whether, indeed, all
that has passed before his dreaming fancy has been conjured up by
preceding circumstances, or whether it is a vision intended to
comfort and assure him in his despondency. If the latter, he
prays that some token may be sent to confirm the promise of
happier days, given him in his slumbers. Suddenly, a turtledove
of the purest whiteness comes flying in at the window, and
alights upon his hand, bearing in her bill a branch of red
gilliflower, on the leaves of which is written, in letters of
gold, the following sentence:

Awake! Awake! I bring, lover, I bring
The newis glad, that blissful is and sure
Of thy comfort; now laugh, and play, and sing,
For in the heaven decretit is thy cure.

He receives the branch with mingled hope and dread; reads it with
rapture; and this he says was the first token of his succeeding
happiness. Whether this is a mere poetic fiction, or whether the
Lady Jane did actually send him a token of her favor in this
romantic way, remains to be determined according to the fate or
fancy of the reader. He concludes his poem by intimating that the
promise conveyed in the vision and by the flower, is fulfilled by
his being restored to liberty, and made happy in the possession
of the sovereign of his heart.

Such is the poetical account given by James of his love
adventures in Windsor Castle. How much of it is absolute fact,
and how much the embellishment of fancy, it is fruitless to
conjecture; let us not, however, reject every romantic incident
as incompatible with real life, but let us sometimes take a poet
at his word. I have noticed merely those parts of the poem
immediately connected with the tower, and have passed over a
large part which was in the allegorical vein, so much cultivated
at that day. The language, of course, is quaint and antiquated,
so that the beauty of many of its golden phrases will scarcely be
perceived at the present day, but it is impossible not to be
charmed with the genuine sentiment, the delightful artlessness

and urbanity, which prevail throughout it. The descriptions of
Nature too, with which it is embellished, are given with a truth,
a discrimination, and a freshness, worthy of the most cultivated
periods of the art.

As an amatory poem, it is edifying, in these days of coarser
thinking, to notice the nature, refinement, and exquisite
delicacy which pervade it; banishing every gross thought, or
immodest expression, and presenting female loveliness, clothed in
all its chivalrous attributes of almost supernatural purity and

James flourished nearly about the time of Chaucer and Gower, and
was evidently an admirer and studier of their writings. Indeed,
in one of his stanzas he acknowledges them as his masters; and in
some parts of his poem we find traces of similarity to their
productions, more especially to those of Chaucer. There are
always, however, general features of resemblance in the works of
contemporary authors, which are not so much borrowed from each
other as from the times. Writers, like bees, toll their sweets in
the wide world; they incorporate with their own conceptions, the
anecdotes and thoughts current in society; and thus each
generation has some features in common, characteristic of the age
in which it lives.

James belongs to one of the most brilliant eras of our literary
history, and establishes the claims of his country to a
participation in its primitive honors. Whilst a small cluster of
English writers are constantly cited as the fathers of our verse,
the name of their great Scottish compeer is apt to be passed over
in silence; but he is evidently worthy of being enrolled in that
little constellation of remote but never-failing luminaries who
shine in the highest firmament of literature, and who, like
morning stars, sang together at the bright dawning of British

Such of my readers as may not be familiar with Scottish history
(though the manner in which it has of late been woven with
captivating fiction has made it a universal study) may be curious
to learn something of the subsequent history of James and the
fortunes of his love. His passion for the Lady Jane, as it was
the solace of his captivity, so it facilitated his release, it
being imagined by the Court that a connection with the
blood-royal of England would attach him to its own interests. He
was ultimately restored to his liberty and crown, having
previously espoused the Lady Jane, who accompanied him to
Scotland, and made him a most tender and devoted wife.

He found his kingdom in great confusion, the feudal chieftains
having taken advantage of the troubles and irregularities of a
long interregnum, to strengthen themselves n their possessions,
and place themselves above the power of the laws. James sought to
found the basis of his power in the affections of his people. He
attached the lower orders to him by the reformation of abuses,
the temperate and equable administration of justice, the
encouragement of the arts of peace, and the promotion of every
thing that could diffuse comfort, competency, and innocent
enjoyment through the humblest ranks of society. He mingled
occasionally among the common people in disguise; visited their
firesides; entered into their cares, their pursuits, and their
amusements; informed himself of the mechanical arts, and how they
could best be patronized and improved; and was thus an
all-pervading spirit, watching with a benevolent eye over the
meanest of his subjects. Having in this generous manner made

himself strong in the hearts of the common people, he turned
himself to curb the power of the factious nobility; to strip them
of those dangerous immunities which they had usurped; to punish
such as had been guilty of flagrant offences; and to bring the
whole into proper obedience to the Crown. For some time they bore
this with outward submission, but with secret impatience and
brooding resentment. A conspiracy was at length formed against
his life, at the head of which was his own uncle, Robert Stewart,
Earl of Athol, who, being too old himself for the perpetration of
the deed of blood, instigated his grandson, Sir Robert Stewart,
together with Sir Robert Graham, and others of less note, to
commit the deed. They broke into his bedchamber at the Dominican
convent near Perth, where he was residing, and barbarously
murdered him by oft-repeated wounds. His faithful queen, rushing
to throw her tender body between him and the sword, was twice
wounded in the ineffectual attempt to shield him from the
assassin; and it was not until she had been forcibly torn from
his person, that the murder was accomplished.

It was the recollection of this romantic tale of former times,
and of the golden little poem, which had its birthplace in this
tower, that made me visit the old pile with more than common
interest. The suit of armor hanging up in the hall, richly gilt
and embellished, as if to figure in the tourney, brought the
image of the gallant and romantic prince vividly before my
imagination. I paced the deserted chambers where he had composed
his poem; I leaned upon the window, and endeavored to persuade
myself it was the very one where he had been visited by his
vision; I looked out upon the spot where he had first seen the
Lady Jane. It was the same genial and joyous month; the birds
were again vying with each other in strains of liquid melody;
every thing was bursting into vegetation, and budding forth the
tender promise of the year. Time, which delights to obliterate
the sterner memorials of human pride, seems to have passed
lightly over this little scene of poetry and love, and to have
withheld his desolating hand. Several centuries have gone by, yet
the garden still flourishes at the foot of the tower. It occupies
what was once the moat of the keep; and, though some parts have
been separated by dividing walls, yet others have still their
arbors and shaded walks, as in the days of James, and the whole
is sheltered, blooming, and retired. There is a charm about the
spot that has been printed by the footsteps of departed beauty,
and consecrated by the inspirations of the poet, which is
heightened, rather than impaired, by the lapse of ages. It is,
indeed, the gift of poetry, to hallow every place in which it
moves; to breathe around nature an odor more exquisite than the
perfume of the rose, and to shed over it a tint more magical than
the blush of morning.

Others may dwell on the illustrious deeds of James as a warrior
and a legislator; but I have delighted to view him merely as the
companion of his fellow-men, the benefactor of the human heart,
stooping from his high estate to sow the sweet flowers of poetry
and song in the paths of common life. He was the first to
cultivate the vigorous and hardy plant of Scottish genius, which
has since become so prolific of the most wholesome and highly
flavored fruit. He carried with him into the sterner regions of
the north, all the fertilizing arts of southern refinement. He
did every thing in his power to win his countrymen to the gay,
the elegant, and gentle arts, which soften and refine the
character of a people, and wreathe a grace round the loftiness of
a proud and warlike spirit. He wrote many poems, which,
unfortunately for the fulness of his fame, are now lost to the
world; one, which is still preserved, called Christ's Kirk of

the Green shows how diligently he had made himself acquainted
with the rustic sports and pastimes, which constitute such a
source of kind and social feeling among the Scottish peasantry;
and with what simple and happy humor he could enter into their
enjoyments. He contributed greatly to improve the national music;
and traces of his tender sentiment and elegant taste are said to
exist in those witching airs, still piped among the wild
mountains and lonely glens of Scotland. He has thus connected his
image with whatever is most gracious and endearing in the
national character; he has embalmed his memory in song, and
floated his name to after-ages in the rich streams of Scottish
melody. The recollection of these things was kindling at my
heart, as I paced the silent scene of his imprisonment. I have
visited Vaucluse with as much enthusiasm as a pilgrim would visit
the shrine at Loretto; but I have never felt more poetical
devotion than when contemplating the old tower and the little
garden at Windsor, and musing over the romantic loves of the Lady
Jane, and the Royal Poet of Scotland.


A gentleman!

What o' the woolpack? or the sugar-chest?

Or lists of velvet? which is 't, pound, or yard,

You vend your gentry by?


THERE are few places more favorable to the study of character
than an English country church. I was once passing a few weeks at
the seat of a friend who resided in, the vicinity of one the
appearance of which particularly struck my fancy. It was one of
those rich morsels of quaint antiquity, which gives such a
peculiar charm to English landscape. It stood in the midst of a
country filled with ancient families, and contained within its
cold and silent aisles the congregated dust of many noble
generations. The interior walls were encrusted with monuments of
every age and style. The light streamed through windows dimmed
with armorial bearings, richly emblazoned in stained glass. In
various parts of the church were tombs of knights, and highborn
dames, of gorgeous workmanship, with their effigies in colored
marble. On every side, the eye was struck with some instance of
aspiring mortality, some haughty memorial which human pride had
erected over its kindred dust in this temple of the most humble
of all religions.

The congregation was composed of the neighboring people of rank,
who sat in pews sumptuously lined and cushioned, furnished with
richly-gilded prayer-books, and decorated with their arms upon
the pew doors; of the villagers and peasantry, who filled the
back seats and a small gallery beside the organ; and of the poor
of the parish, who were ranged on benches in the aisles.

The service was performed by a snuffling, well-fed vicar, who had
a snug dwelling near the church. He was a privileged guest at all
the tables of the neighborhood, and had been the keenest
fox-hunter in the country, until age and good living had disabled
him from doing anything more than ride to see the hounds throw
off, and make one at the hunting dinner.

Under the ministry of such a pastor, I found it impossible to get
into the train of thought suitable to the time and place; so,
having, like many other feeble Christians, compromised with my

conscience, by laying the sin of my own delinquency at another
person's threshold, I occupied myself by making observations on
my neighbors.

I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice the
manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, that there
was the least pretension where there was the most acknowledged
title to respect. I was particularly struck, for instance, with
the family of a nobleman of high rank, consisting of several sons
and daughters. Nothing could be more simple and unassuming than
their appearance. They generally came to church in the plainest
equipage, and often on foot. The young ladies would stop and
converse in the kindest manner with the peasantry, caress the
children, and listen to the stories of the humble cottagers.
Their countenances were open and beautifully fair, with an
expression of high refinement, but at the same time a frank
cheerfulness and engaging affability. Their brothers were tall,
and elegantly formed. They were dressed fashionably, but
simply--with strict neatness and propriety, but without any
mannerism or foppishness. Their whole demeanor was easy and
natural, with that lofty grace and noble frankness which bespeak
free-born souls that have never been checked in their growth by
feelings of inferiority. There is a healthful hardiness about
real dignity, that never dreads contact and communion with
others, however humble. It is only spurious pride that is morbid
and sensitive, and shrinks from every touch. I was pleased to see
the manner in which they would converse with the peasantry about
those rural concerns and field-sports in which the gentlemen of
the country so much delight. In these conversations there was
neither haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the other,
and you were only reminded of the difference of rank by the
habitual respect of the peasant.

In contrast to these was the family of a wealthy citizen, who had
amassed a vast fortune, and, having purchased the estate and
mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neighborhood, was endeavoring
to assume all the style and dignity of an hereditary lord of the
soil. The family always came to church en prince. They were
rolled majestically along in a carriage emblazoned with arms. The
crest glittered in silver radiance from every part of the harness
where a crest could possibly be placed. A fat coachman, in a
three-cornered hat richly laced and a flaxen wig, curling close
round his rosy face, was seated on the box, with a sleek Danish
dog beside him. Two footmen in gorgeous liveries, with huge
bouquets, and gold-headed canes, lolled behind. The carriage rose
and sunk on its long springs with a peculiar stateliness of
motion. The very horses champed their bits, arched their necks,
and glanced their eyes more proudly than common horses; either
because they had caught a little of the family feeling, or were
reined up more tightly than ordinary.

I could not but admire the style with which this splendid pageant
was brought up to the gate of the churchyard. There was a vast
effect produced at the turning of an angle of the wall--a great
smacking of the whip, straining and scrambling of the horses,
glistening of harness, and flashing of wheels through gravel.
This was the moment of triumph and vainglory to the coachman. The
horses were urged and checked, until they were fretted into a
foam. They threw out their feet in a. prancing trot, dashing
about pebbles at every step. The crowd of villagers sauntering
quietly to church opened precipitately to the right and left,
gaping in vacant admiration. On reaching the gate, the horses
were pulled up with a suddenness that produced an immediate stop,
and almost threw them on their haunches.

There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to alight, pull
down the steps, and prepare everything for the descent on earth
of this august family. The old citizen first emerged his round
red face from out the door, looking about him with the pompous
air of a man accustomed to rule on 'Change, and shake the Stock
Market with a nod. His consort, a fine, fleshy, comfortable dame,
followed him. There seemed, I must confess, but little pride in
her composition. She was the picture of broad, honest, vulgar
enjoyment. The world went well with her; and she liked the world.
She had fine clothes, a fine house, a fine carriage, fine
children--everything was fine about her: it was nothing but
driving about and visiting and feasting. Life was to her a
perpetual revel; it was one long Lord Mayor's Day.

Two daughters succeeded to this goodly couple. They certainly
were handsome, but had a supercilious air that chilled admiration
and disposed the spectator to be critical. They were
ultrafashionable in dress, and, though no one could deny the
richness of their decorations, yet their appropriateness might be
questioned amidst the simplicity of a country church. They
descended loftily from the carriage, and moved up the line of
peasantry with a step that seemed dainty of the soil it trod on.
They cast an excursive glance around, that passed coldly over the
burly faces of the peasantry, until they met the eyes of the
nobleman's family, when their countenances immediately brightened
into smiles, and they made the most profound and elegant
courtesies, which were returned in a manner that showed they were
but slight acquaintances.

I must not forget the two sons of this inspiring citizen, who
came to church in a dashing curricle with outriders. They were
arrayed in the extremity of the mode, with all that pedantry of
dress which marks the man of questionable pretensions to style.
They kept entirely by themselves, eying every one askance that
came near them, as if measuring his claims to respectability; yet
they were without conversation, except the exchange of an
occasional cant phrase. They even moved artificially, for their
bodies, in compliance with the caprice of the day, had been
disciplined into the absence of all ease and freedom. Art had
done everything to accomplish them as men of fashion, but Nature
had denied them the nameless grace. They were vulgarly shaped,
like men formed for the common purposes of life, and had that air
of supercilious assumption which is never seen in the true

I have been rather minute in drawing the pictures of these two
families, because I considered them specimens of what is often to
be met with in this country--the unpretending great, and the
arrogant little. I have no respect for titled rank, unless it be
accompanied with true nobility of soul; but I have remarked, in
all countries where artificial distinctions exist, that the very
highest classes are always the most courteous and unassuming.
Those who are well assured of their own standing are least apt to
trespass on that of others; whereas, nothing is so offensive as
the aspirings of vulgarity, which thinks to elevate itself by
humiliating its neighbor.

As I have brought these families into contrast, I must notice
their behavior in church. That of the nobleman's family was
quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they appeared to have any
fervor of devotion, but rather a respect for sacred things, and
sacred places, inseparable from good-breeding. The others, on the
contrary, were in a perpetual flutter and whisper; they betrayed

a continual consciousness of finery, and the sorry ambition of
being the wonders of a rural congregation.

The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to the
service. He took the whole burden of family devotion upon
himself; standing bolt upright, and uttering the responses with a
loud voice that might be heard all over the church. It was
evident that he was one of these thorough Church-and-king men,
who connect the idea of devotion and loyalty; who consider the
Deity, somehow or other, of the government party, and religion a
very excellent sort of thingthat ought to be countenanced and
kept up."

When he joined so loudly in the serviceit seemed more by way of
example to the lower ordersto show them thatthough so great
and wealthyhe was not above being religious; as I have seen a
turtle-fed alderman swallow publicly a basin of charity soup
smacking his lips at every mouthful and pronouncing it "excellent
food for the poor."

When the service was at an endI was curious to witness the
several exits of my groups. The young noblemen and their sisters
as the day was finepreferred strolling home across the fields
chatting with the country people as they went. The others
departed as they camein grand parade. Again were the equipages
wheeled up to the gate. There was again the smacking of whips
the clattering of hoofsand the glittering of harness. The
horses started off almost at a bound; the villagers again hurried
to right and left; the wheels threw up a cloud of dustand the
aspirin family was rapt out of sight in a whirlwind.


Pittie olde agewithin whose silver haires
Honour and reverence evermore have rain'd.

THOSE who are in the habit of remarking such matters must have
noticed the passive quiet of an English landscape on Sunday. The
clacking of the millthe regularly recurring stroke of the
flailthe din of the blacksmith's hammerthe whistling of the
ploughmanthe rattling of the cartand all other sounds of
rural labor are suspended. The very farm-dogs bark less
frequentlybeing less disturbed by passing travellers. At such
times I have almost fancied the wind sunk into quietand that
the sunny landscapewith its fresh green tints melting into blue
hazeenjoyed the hallowed calm.

Sweet dayso pureso calmso brigh'

The bridal of the earth and sky.

Well was it ordained that the day of devotion should be a day of
rest. The holy repose which reigns over the face of nature has
its moral influence; every restless passion is charmed downand
we feel the natural religion of the soul gently springing up
within us. For my partthere are feelings that visit mein a
country churchamid the beautiful serenity of naturewhich I
experience nowhere else; and if not a more religiousI think I
am a better man on Sunday than on any other day of the seven.

During my recent residence in the countryI used frequently to
attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aislesits

mouldering monumentsits dark oaken panellingall reverend with
the gloom of departed yearsseemed to fit it for the haunt of
solemn meditation; butbeing in a wealthyaristocratic
neighborhoodthe glitter of fashion penetrated even into the
sanctuary; and I felt myself continually thrown back upon the
worldby the frigidity and pomp of the poor worms around me. The
only being in the whole congregation who appeared thoroughly to
feel the humble and prostrate piety of a true Christian was a
poor decrepit old womanbending under the weight of years and
infirmities. She bore the traces of something better than abject
poverty. The lingerings of decent pride were visible in her
appearance. Her dressthough humble in the extremewas
scrupulously clean. Some trivial respecttoohad been awarded
herfor she did not take her seat among the village poorbut
sat alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived
all loveall friendshipall societyand to have nothing left
her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising and
bending her aged form in prayer; habitually conning her
prayer-bookwhich her palsied hand and failing eyes could not
permit her to readbut which she evidently knew by heartI felt
persuaded that the faltering voice of that poor woman arose to
heaven far before the responses of the clerkthe swell of the
organor the chanting of the choir.

I am fond of loitering about country churchesand this was so
delightfully situatedthat it frequently attracted me. It stood
on a knollround which a small stream made a beautiful bend and
then wound its way through a long reach of soft meadow scenery.
The church was surrounded by yew treeswhich seemed almost
coeval with itself. Its tall Gothic spire shot up lightly from
among themwith rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I
was seated there one still sunny morning watching two laborers
who were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most remote
and neglected corners of the churchyardwherefrom the number
of nameless graves aroundit would appear that the indigent and
friendless were huddled into the earth. I was told that the
new-made grave was for the only son of a poor widow. While I was
meditating on the distinctions of worldly rankwhich extend thus
down into the very dustthe toll of the bell announced the
approach of the funeral. They were the obsequies of povertywith
which pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest
materialswithout pall or other coveringwas borne by some of
the villagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold
indifference. There were no mock mourners in the trappings of
affected woebut there was one real mourner who feebly tottered
after the corpse. It was the aged mother of the deceasedthe
poor old woman whom I had seen seated on the steps of the altar.
She was supported by a humble friendwho was endeavoring to
comfort her. A few of the neighboring poor had joined the train
and some children of the village were running hand in handnow
shouting with unthinking mirthand now pausing to gazewith
childish curiosity on the grief of the mourner.

As the funeral train approached the gravethe parson issued from
the church-porcharrayed in the surplicewith prayer-book in
handand attended by the clerk. The servicehoweverwas a mere
act of charity. The deceased had been destituteand the survivor
was penniless. It was shuffled throughthereforein formbut
coldly and unfeeling. The well-fed priest moved but a few steps
from the church door; his voice could scarcely be heard at the
grave; and never did I hear the funeral servicethat sublime and
touching ceremonyturned into such a frigid mummery of words.

I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the ground. On

it were inscribed the name and age of the deceased--"George
Somersaged 26 years." The poor mother had been assisted to
kneel down at the head of it. Her withered hands were claspedas
if in prayer; but I could perceiveby a feeble rocking of the
bodyand a convulsive motion of the lipsthat she was gazing on
the last relics of her son with the yearnings of a mother's

Preparations were made to deposit the coffin in the earth. There
was that bustling stirwhich breaks so harshly on the feelings
of grief and affection; directions given in the cold tones of
business; the striking of spades into sand and gravel; whichat
the grave of those we loveisof all soundsthe most
withering. The bustle around seemed to waken the mother from a
wretched revery. She raised her glazed eyesand looked about
with a faint wildness. As the men approached with cords to lower
the coffin into the graveshe wrung her handsand broke into an
agony of grief. The poor woman who attended her took her by the
arm endeavoring to raise her from the earthand to whisper
something like consolation: "Naynow--naynow--don't take it so
sorely to heart." She could only shake her headand wring her
handsas one not to be comforted.

As they lowered the body into the earththe creaking of the
cords seemed to agonize her; but whenon some accidental
obstructionthere was a jostling of the coffinall the
tenderness of the mother burst forthas if any harm could come
to him who was far beyond the reach of worldly suffering.

I could see no more--my heart swelled into my throat--my eyes
filled with tears; I felt as if I were acting a barbarous part in
standing by and gazing idly on this scene of maternal anguish. I
wandered to another part of the churchyardwhere I remained
until the funeral train had dispersed.

When I saw the mother slowly and painfully quitting the grave
leaving behind her the remains of all that was dear to her on
earthand returning to silence and destitutionmy heart ached
for her. Whatthought Iare the distresses of the rich? They
have friends to soothe--pleasures to beguile--a world to divert
and dissipate their griefs. What are the sorrows of the young?
Their growing minds soon close above the wound--their elastic
spirits soon rise beneath the pressure--their green and ductile
affections soon twine round new objects. But the sorrows of the
poorwho have no outward appliances to soothe--the sorrows of
the agedwith whom life at best is but a wintry dayand who can
look for no after-growth of joy--the sorrows of a widowaged
solitarydestitutemourning over an only sonthe last solace
of her years--these are indeed sorrows which make us feel the
impotency of consolation.

It was some time before I left the churchyard. On my way
homewardI met with the woman who had acted as comforter: she
was just returning from accompanying the mother to her lonely
habitationand I drew from her some particulars connected with
the affecting scene I had witnessed.

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from
childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottagesand by
various rural occupationsand the assistance of a small garden
had supported themselves creditably and comfortablyand led a
happy and a blameless life. They had one sonwho had grown up to
be the staff and pride of their age. "Ohsir!" said the good
womanhe was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to

every one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did one's
heart good to see him of a Sunday, drest out in his best, so
tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to
church; for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm than
on her good man's; and, poor soul, she might well be proud of
him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round.

Unfortunatelythe son was temptedduring a year of scarcity and
agricultural hardshipto enter into the service of one of the
small craft that plied on a neighboring river. He had not been
long in this employwhen he was entrapped by a press-gangand
carried off to sea. His parents received tidings of his seizure
but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of
their main prop. The fatherwho was already infirmgrew
heartless and melancholy and sunk into his grave. The widowleft
lonely in her age and feeblenesscould no longer support
herselfand came upon the parish. Still there was a kind feeling
towards her throughout the villageand a certain respect as
being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the
cottage in which she had passed so many happy daysshe was
permitted to remain in itwhere she lived solitary and almost
helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the
scanty productions of her little gardenwhich the neighbors
would now and then cultivate for her. It was but a few days
before the time at which these circumstances were told methat
she was gathering some vegetables for her repastwhen she heard
the cottage-door which faced the gardensuddenly opened. A
stranger came outand seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly
around. He was dressed in seamen's clotheswas emaciated and
ghastly paleand bore the air of one broken by sickness and
hardships. He saw her and hastened towards herbut his steps
were faint and faltering; he sank on his knees before her and
sobbed like a child. The poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant
and wandering eye. "Ohmy deardear mother! don't you know your
son? your poor boyGeorge?" It wasindeedthe wreck of her
once noble lad; who shattered by woundsby sickness and foreign
imprisonmenthadat lengthdragged his wasted limbs homeward
to repose among the scenes of his childhood.

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting
where sorrow and joy were so completely blended: stillhe was
alive! he was come home! he might yet live to comfort and cherish
her old age! Naturehoweverwas exhausted in him; and if any
thing had been wanting to finish the work of fatethe desolation
of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched
himself on the pallet on which his widowed mother had passed many
a sleepless nightand he never rose from it again.

The villagerswhen they heard that George Somers had returned
crowded to see himoffering every comfort and assistance that
their humble means afforded. He was too weakhoweverto
talk--he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant
attendant; and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other

There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of
manhoodthat softens the heartand brings it back to the
feelings of infancy. Who that has languishedeven in advanced
lifein sickness and despondencywho that has pined on a weary
bed in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign landbut has
thought on the mother "that looked on his childhood that
smoothed his pillow, and administered to his helplessness? Oh,
there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son,
that transcends all other affections of the heart. It is neither

to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened
by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice
every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every
pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame and exult
in his prosperity; and, if misfortune overtake him, he will be
the dearer to her from misfortune; and if disgrace settle upon
his name, she will still love and cherish him in spite of his
disgrace; and if all the world beside cast him off, she will be
all the world to him.

Poor George Somers had known what it was to be in sickness, and
none to soothe--lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He
could not endure his mother from his sight; if she moved away,
his eye would follow her. She would sit for hours by his bed
watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a
feverish dream, and look anxiously up until he saw her bending
over him; when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and
fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he

My first impulse on hearing this humble tale of affliction was to
visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniary
assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on
inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted
them to do everything that the case admitted; and as the poor
know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not venture
to intrude.

The next Sunday I was at the village church, when, to my
surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the aisle to
her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar.

She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her
son; and nothing could be more touching than this struggle
between pious affection and utter poverty--a black ribbon or so,
a faded black handkerchief, and one or two more such humble
attempts to express by outward signs that grief which passes
show. When I looked round upon the storied monuments, the stately
hatchments, the cold marble pomp with which grandeur mourned
magnificently over departed pride, and turned to this poor widow,
bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and
offering up the prayers and praises of a pious though a broken
heart, I felt that this living monument of real grief was worth
them all.

I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the
congregation, and they were moved by it. They exerted themselves
to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten her
afflictions. It was, however, but smoothing a few steps to the
grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was missed
from her usual seat at church, and before I left the neighborhood
I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she had quietly
breathed her last, and had gone to rejoin those she loved, in
that world where sorrow is never known and friends are never


* Part of a sketch omitted in the preceding editions.
IN a preceding paper I have spoken of an English Sunday in the
country and its tranquillizing effect upon the landscape; but

where is its sacred influence more strikingly apparent than in
the very heart of that great Babel, London? On this sacred day
the gigantic monster is charmed into repose. The intolerable din
and struggle of the week are at an end. The shops are shut. The
fires of forges and manufactories are extinguished, and the sun,
no longer obscured by murky clouds of smoke, pours down a sober
yellow radiance into the quiet streets. The few pedestrians we
meet, instead of hurrying forward with anxious countenances, move
leisurely along; their brows are smoothed from the wrinkles of
business and care; they have put on their Sunday looks and Sunday
manners with their Sunday clothes, and are cleansed in mind as
well as in person.

And now the melodious clangor of bells from church towers summons
their several flocks to the fold. Forth issues from his mansion
the family of the decent tradesman, the small children in the
advance; then the citizen and his comely spouse, followed by the
grown-up daughters, with small morocco-bound prayer-books laid in
the folds of their pocket-handkerchiefs. The housemaid looks
after them from the window, admiring the finery of the family,
and receiving, perhaps, a nod and smile from her young
mistresses, at whose toilet she has assisted.

Now rumbles along the carriage of some magnate of the city,
peradventure an alderman or a sheriff, and now the patter of many
feet announces it procession of charity scholars in uniforms of
antique cut, and each with a prayer-book under his arm.

The ringing of bells is at an end; the rumbling of the carriage
has ceased; the pattering of feet is heard no more; the flocks
are folded in ancient churches, cramped up in by-lanes and
corners of the crowded city, where the vigilant beadle keeps
watch, like the shepherd's dog, round the threshold of the
sanctuary. For a time everything is hushed, but soon is heard the
deep, pervading sound of the organ, rolling and vibrating through
the empty lanes and courts, and the sweet chanting of the choir
making them resound with melody and praise. Never have I been
more sensible of the sanctifying effect of church music than when
I have heard it thus poured forth, like a river of joy, through
the inmost recesses of this great metropolis, elevating it, as it
were, from all the sordid pollutions of the week, and bearing the
poor world-worn soul on a tide of triumphant harmony to heaven.

The morning service is at an end. The streets are again alive
with the congregations returning to their homes, but soon again
relapse into silence. Now comes on the Sunday dinner, which, to
the city tradesman, is a meal of some importance. There is more
leisure for social enjoyment at the board. Members of the family
can now gather together, who are separated by the laborious
occupations of the week. A school-boy may be permitted on that
day to come to the paternal home; an old friend of the family
takes his accustomed Sunday seat at the board, tells over his
well-known stories, and rejoices young and old with his
well-known jokes.

On Sunday afternoon the city pours forth its lesions to breathe
the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine of the parks and rural
environs. Satirists may say what they please about the rural
enjoyments of a London citizen on Sunday, but to me there is
something delightful in beholding the poor prisoner of the
crowded and dusty city enabled thus to come forth once a week and
throw himself upon the green bosom of nature. He is like a child
restored to the mother's breast; and they who first spread out
these noble parks and magnificent pleasure-grounds which surround

this huge metropolis have done at least as much for its health
and morality as if they had expended the amount of cost in
hospitals, prisons, and penitentiaries.



A tavern is the rendezvousthe exchangethe staple of good
fellows. I have heard my great-grandfather tellhow his
great-great-grandfather should saythat it was an old proverb
when his great-grandfather was a childthat `it was a good wind
that blew a man to the wine.'"


IT is a pious custom in some Catholic countries to honor the
memory of saints by votive lights burnt before their pictures.
The popularity of a saintthereforemay be known by the number
of these offerings. Oneperhapsis left to moulder in the
darkness of his little chapel; another may have a solitary lamp
to throw its blinking rays athwart his effigy; while the whole
blaze of adoration is lavished at the shrine of some beatified
father of renown. The wealthy devotee brings his huge luminary of
waxthe eager zealothis seven-branched candlestick; and even
the mendicant pilgrim is by no means satisfied that sufficient
light is thrown upon the deceased unless he hangs up his little
lamp of smoking oil. The consequence isthat in the eagerness to
enlightenthey are often apt to obscure; and I have occasionally
seen an unlucky saint almost smoked out of countenance by the
officiousness of his followers.

In like manner has it fared with the immortal Shakespeare. Every
writer considers it his bounden duty to light up some portion of
his character or worksand to rescue some merit from oblivion.
The commentatoropulent in wordsproduces vast tomes of
dissertations; the common herd of editors send up mists of
obscurity from their notes at the bottom of each page; and every
casual scribbler brings his farthing rushlight of eulogy or
research to swell the cloud of incense and of smoke.

As I honor all established usages of my brethren of the quillI
thought it but proper to contribute my mite of homage to the
memory of the illustrious bard. I was for some timehowever
sorely puzzled in what way I should discharge this duty. I found
myself anticipated in every attempt at a new reading; every
doubtful line had been explained a dozen different waysand
perplexed beyond the reach of elucidation; and as to fine
passagesthey had all been amply praised by previous admirers;
nayso completely had the bardof latebeen overlarded with
panegyric by a great German critic that it was difficult now to
find even a fault that had not been argued into a beauty.

In this perplexity I was one morning turning over his pages when
I casually opened upon the comic scenes of Henry IV.and wasin
a momentcompletely lost in the madcap revelry of the Boar's
Head Tavern. So vividly and naturally are these scenes of humor
depictedand with such force and consistency are the characters
sustainedthat they become mingled up in the mind with the facts
and personages of real life. To few readers does it occur that
these are all ideal creations of a poet's brainand thatin
sober truthno such knot of merry roisterers ever enlivened the
dull neighborhood of Eastcheap.

For my partI love to give myself up to the illusions of poetry.
A hero of fiction that never existed is just as valuable to me as
a hero of history that existed a thousand years since andif I
may be excused such an insensibility to the common ties of human
natureI would not give up fat Jack for half the great men of
ancient chronicle. What have the heroes of yore done for me or
men like me? They have conquered countries of which I do not
enjoy an acreor they have gained laurels of which I do not
inherit a leafor they have furnished examples of hair-brained
prowesswhich I have neither the opportunity nor the inclination
to follow. Butold Jack Falstaff! kind Jack Falstaff! sweet Jack
Falstaff! has enlarged the boundaries of human enjoyment; he has
added vast regions of wit and good-humorin which the poorest
man may reveland has bequeathed a never-failing inheritance of
jolly laughterto make mankind merrier and better to the latest

A thought suddenly struck me. "I will make a pilgrimage to
Eastcheap said I, closing the book, and see if the old Boar's
Head Tavern still exists. Who knows but I may light upon some
legendary traces of Dame Quickly and her guests? At any rate
there will be a kindred pleasure in treading the halls once vocal
with their mirth to that the toper enjoys in smelling to the
empty caskonce filled with generous wine."

The resolution was no sooner formed than put in execution. I
forbear to treat of the various adventures and wonders I
encountered in my travels; of the haunted regions of Cock Lane;
of the faded glories of Little Britain and the parts adjacent;
what perils I ran in Cateaton Street and Old Jewry; of the
renowned Guildhall and its two stunted giantsthe pride and
wonder of the city and the terror of all unlucky urchins; and how
I visited London Stoneand struck my staff upon it in imitation
of that arch-rebel Jack Cade.

Let it suffice to saythat I at length arrived in merry
Eastcheapthat ancient region of wit and wassailwhere the very
names of the streets relished of good cheeras Pudding Lane
bears testimony even at the present day. For Eastcheapsays old
Stowwas always famous for its convivial doings. The cookes
cried hot ribbes of beef roasted, pies well baked, and other
victuals: there was clattering of pewter pots, harpe, pipe, and
sawtrie.Alas! how sadly is the scene changed since the roaring
days of Falstaff and old Stow! The madcap roisterer has given
place to the plodding tradesman; the clattering of pots and the
sound of "harpe and sawtrie to the din of carts and the accurst
dinging of the dustman's bell; and no song is heard, save, haply,
the strain of some syren from Billingsgate, chanting the eulogy
of deceased mackerel.

I sought, in vain, for the ancient abode of Dame Quickly. The
only relict of it is a boar's head, carved in relief in stone,
which formerly served as the sign, but at present is built into
the parting line of two houses which stand on the site of the
renowned old tavern.

For the history of this little abode of good fellowship I was
referred to a tallow-chandler's widow opposite, who had been born
and brought up on the spot, and was looked up to as the
indisputable chronicler of the neighborhood. I found her seated
in a little back parlor, the window of which looked out upon a
yard about eight feet square laid out as a flower-garden, while a
glass door opposite afforded a distant view of the street,

through a vista of soap and tallow candles--the two views, which
comprised, in all probability, her prospects in life and the
little world in which she had lived and moved and had her being
for the better part of a century.

To be versed in the history of Eastcheap, great and little, from
London Stone even unto the Monument, was doubtless, in her
opinion, to be acquainted with the history of the universe. Yet,
with all this, she possessed the simplicity of true wisdom, and
that liberal communicative disposition which I have generally
remarked in intelligent old ladies knowing in the concerns of
their neighborhood.

Her information, however, did not extend far back into antiquity.
She could throw no light upon the history of the Boar's Head from
the time that Dame Quickly espoused the valiant Pistol until the
great fire of London when it was unfortunately burnt down. It was
soon rebuilt, and continued to flourish under the old name and
sign, until a dying landlord, struck with remorse for double
scores, bad measures, and other iniquities which are incident to
the sinful race of publicans, endeavored to make his peace with
Heaven by bequeathing the tavern to St. Michael's Church, Crooked
Lane, toward the supporting of a chaplain. For some time the
vestry meetings were regularly held there, but it was observed
that the old Boar never held up his head under church government.
He gradually declined, and finally gave his last gasp about
thirty years since. The tavern was then turned into shops; but
she informed me that a picture of it was still preserved in St.
Michael's Church, which stood just in the rear. To get a sight of
this picture was now my determination; so, having informed myself
of the abode of the sexton, I took my leave of the venerable
chronicler of Eastcheap, my visit having doubtless raised greatly
her opinion of her legendary lore and furnished an important
incident in the history of her life.

It cost me some difficulty and much curious inquiry to ferret out
the humble hanger-on to the church. I had to explore Crooked Lane
and divers little alleys and elbows and dark passages with which
this old city is perforated like an ancient cheese, or a
worm-eaten chest of drawers. At length I traced him to a corner
of a small court surrounded by lofty houses, where the
inhabitants enjoy about as much of the face of heaven as a
community of frogs at the bottom of a well.

The sexton was a meek, acquiescing little man, of a bowing, lowly
habit, yet he had a pleasant twinkling in his eye, and if
encouraged, would now and then hazard a small pleasantry, such as
a man of his low estate might venture to make in the company of
high churchwardens and other mighty men of the earth. I found him
in company with the deputy organist, seated apart, like Milton's
angels, discoursing, no doubt, on high doctrinal points, and
settling the affairs of the church over a friendly pot of ale;
for the lower classes of English seldom deliberate on any weighty
matter without the assistance of a cool tankard to clear their
understandings. I arrived at the moment when they had finished
their ale and their argument, and were about to repair to the
church to put it in order; so, having made known my wishes, I
received their gracious permission to accompany them.

The church of St. Michael's, Crooked Lane, standing a short
distance from Billingsgate, is enriched with the tombs of many
fishmongers of renown; and as every profession has its galaxy of
glory and its constellation of great men, I presume the monument
of a mighty fishmonger of the olden time is regarded with as much

reverence by succeeding generations of the craft, as poets feel
on contemplating the tomb of Virgil or soldiers the monument of a
Marlborough or Turenne.

I cannot but turn aside, while thus speaking of illustrious men,
to observe that St. Michael's, Crooked Lane, contains also the
ashes of that doughty champion, William Walworth, Knight, who so
manfully clove down the sturdy wight, Wat Tyler, in Smithfield--a
hero worthy of honorable blazon, as almost the only Lord Mayor on
record famous for deeds of arms, the sovereigns of Cockney being
generally renowned as the most pacific of all potentates.*

* The following was the ancient inscription on the monument of
this worthy, which, unhappily, was destroyed in the great
Hereunder lyth a man of Fame,

William Walworth callyd by name:

Fishmonger he was in lyfftime here,

And twise Lord Maior, as in books appere;

Who, with courage stout and manly myght,

Slew Jack Straw in Kyng Richard's sight.

For which act done, and trew entent,

The Kyng made him knyght incontinent

And gave him armes, as here you see,

To declare his fact and chivaldrie.

He left this lyff the yere of our God

Thirteen hundred fourscore and three odd.

An error in the foregoing inscription has been corrected by the
venerable Stow. Whereas saith he, it hath been far spread
abroad by vulgar opinionthat the rebel smitten down so manfully
by Sir William Walworththe then worthy Lord Maiorwas named
Jack Strawand not Wat TylerI thought good to reconcile this
rash-conceived doubt by such testimony as I find in ancient and
good records. The principal leadersor captainsof the commons
were Wat Tyleras the first man; the second was Johnor Jack
Strawetc.etc.--STOW'S London.

Adjoining the churchin a small cemeteryimmediately under the
back window of what was once the Boar's Headstands the
tombstone of Robert Prestonwhilom drawer at the tavern. It is
now nearly a century since this trusty drawer of good liquor
closed his bustling career and was thus quietly deposited within
call of his customers. As I was clearing away the weeds from his
epitaph the little sexton drew me on one side with a mysterious
airand informed me in a low voice that once upon a timeon a
dark wintry nightwhen the wind was unrulyhowlingand
whistlingbanging about doors and windowsand twirling
weathercocksso that the living were frightened out of their
bedsand even the dead could not sleep quietly in their graves
the ghost of honest Prestonwhich happened to be airing itself
in the churchyardwas attracted by the well-known call of
Waiter!from the Boar's Headand made its sudden appearance in
the midst of a roaring clubjust as the parish clerk was singing
a stave from the "mirre garland of Captain Death;" to the
discomfiture of sundry train-band captains and the conversion of
an infidel attorneywho became a zealous Christian on the spot
and was never known to twist the truth afterwardsexcept in the
way of business.

I beg it may be rememberedthat I do not pledge myself for the
authenticity of this anecdotethough it is well known that the
churchyards and by-corners of this old metropolis are very much

infested with perturbed spirits; and every one must have heard of
the Cock Lane ghostand the apparition that guards the regalia
in the Tower which has frightened so many bold sentinels almost
out of their wits.

Be all this as it maythis Robert Preston seems to have been a
worthy successor to the nimbletongued Franciswho attended upon
the revels of Prince Hal; to have been equally prompt with his
Anon, anon, sir;and to have transcended his predecessor in
honesty; for Falstaffthe veracity of whose taste no man will
venture to impeachflatly accuses Francis of putting lime in his
sackwhereas honest Preston's epitaph lands him for the sobriety
of his conductthe soundness of his wineand the fairness of
his measure.* The worthy dignitaries of the churchhoweverdid
not appear much captivated by the sober virtues of the tapster;
the deputy organistwho had a moist look out of the eyemade
some shrewd remark on the abstemiousness of a man brought up
among full hogsheadsand the little sexton corroborated his
opinion by a significant wink and a dubious shake of the head.

* As this inscription is rife with excellent moralityI
transcribe it for the admonition of delinquent tapsters. It is no
doubtthe production of some choice spirit who once frequented
the Boar's Head.
Bacchusto give the toping world surprise

Produced one sober sonand here he lies.

Though rear'd among full hogsheadshe defy'd

The charms of wineand every one beside.

O readerif to justice thou 'rt inclined

Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind.

He drew good winetook care to fill his pots

Had sundry virtues that excused his faults.

You that on Bacchus have the like dependence

Pray copy Bob in measure and attendance.

Thus far my researchesthough they threw much light on the
history of tapstersfishmongersand Lord Mayorsyet
disappointed me in the great object of my questthe picture of
the Boar's Head Tavern. No such painting was to be found in the
church of St. Michael's. "Marry and amen said I, here endeth
my research!" So I was giving the matter upwith the air of a
baffled antiquarywhen my friend the sextonperceiving me to be
curious in everything relative to the old tavernoffered to show
me the choice vessels of the vestrywhich had been handed down
from remote times when the parish meetings were held at the
Boar's Head. These were deposited in the parish club-roomwhich
had been transferredon the decline of the ancient
establishmentto a tavern in the neighborhood.

A few steps brought us to the housewhich stands No. 12 Miles
Lanebearing the title of The Mason's Armsand is kept by
Master Edward Honeyballthe "bully-rock" of the establishment.
It is one of those little taverns which abound in the heart of
the city and form the centre of gossip and intelligence of the
neighborhood. We entered the barroomwhich was narrow and
darklingfor in these close lanes but few rays of reflected
light are enabled to struggle down to the inhabitantswhose
broad day is at best but a tolerable twilight. The room was
partitioned into boxeseach containing a table spread with a
clean white clothready for dinner. This showed that the guests
were of the good old stampand divided their day equallyfor it
was but just one o'clock. At the lower end of the room was a
clear coal firebefore which a breast of lamb was roasting. A

row of bright brass candlesticks and pewter mugs glistened along
the mantelpieceand an old fashioned clock ticked in one corner.
There was something primitive in this medley of kitchenparlor
and hall that carried me back to earlier timesand pleased me.
The placeindeedwas humblebut everything had that look of
order and neatness which bespeaks the superintendence of a
notable English housewife. A group of amphibious-looking beings
who might be either fishermen or sailorswere regaling
themselves in one of the boxes. As I was a visitor of rather
higher pretensionsI was ushered into a little misshapen back
roomhaving at least nine corners. It was lighted by a
sky-lightfurnished with antiquated leathern chairsand
ornamented with the portrait of a fat pig. It was evidently
appropriated to particular customersand I found a shabby
gentleman in a red nose and oil-cloth hat seated in one corner
meditating on a half empty pot of porter.

The old sexton had taken the landlady asideand with an air of
profound importance imparted to her my errand. Dame Honeyball was
a likelyplumpbustling little womanand no bad substitute for
that paragon of hostessesDame Quickly. She seemed delighted
with an opportunity to obligeandhurrying upstairs to the
archives of her housewhere the precious vessels of the parish
club were depositedshe returnedsmiling and courtesyingwith
them in her hands.

The first she presented me was a japanned iron tobacco-box of
gigantic sizeout of whichI was toldthe vestry had smoked at
their stated meetings since time immemorialand which was never
suffered to be profaned by vulgar handsor used on common
occasionsI received it with becoming reverencebut what was my
delight at beholding on its cover the identical painting of which
I was in quest! There was displayed the outside of the Boar's
Head Tavernand before the door was to be seen the whole
convivial group at tablein full revelpictured with that
wonderful fidelity and force with which the portraits of renowned
generals and commodores are illustrated on tobacco-boxesfor the
benefit of posterity. Lesthoweverthere should be any mistake
the cunning limner had warily inscribed the names of Prince Hal
and Falstaff on the bottoms of their chairs.

On the inside of the cover was an inscriptionnearly
obliteratedrecording that this box was the gift of Sir Richard
Gorefor the use of the vestry meetings at the Boar's Head
Tavernand that it was "repaired and beautified by his
successorMr. John Packard1767." Such is a faithful
description of this august and venerable relicand I question
whether the learned Scriblerius contemplated his Roman shieldor
the Knights of the Round Table the long-sought San-grealwith
more exultation.

While I was meditating on it with enraptured gazeDame
Honeyballwho was highly gratified by the interest it excited
put in my hands a drinking-cup or goblet which also belonged to
the vestryand was descended from the old Boar's Head. It bore
the inscription of having been the gift of Francis Wythers
Knightand was heldshe told mein exceeding great value
being considered very "antyke." This last opinion was
strengthened by the shabby gentleman with the red nose and
oilcloth hatand whom I strongly suspected of being a lineal
descendant from the variant Bardolph. He suddenly aroused from
his meditation on the pot of porterand casting a knowing look
at the gobletexclaimedAy, ay! the head don't ache now that
made that there article.

The great importance attached to this memento of ancient revelry
by modern churchwardensat first puzzled me; but there is
nothing sharpens the apprehension so much as antiquarian
research; for I immediately perceived that this could be no other
than the identical "parcel-gilt goblet on which Falstaff made
his loving but faithless vow to Dame Quickly, and which would, of
course, be treasured up with care among the regalia of her
domains, as a testimony of that solemn contract.*

* Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt gobletsitting in
my Dolphin chamberat the round tableby a sea-coal fireon
Wednesdayin Whitsun-weekwhen the prince broke thy head for
likening his father to a singing man at Windsor; thou didst swear
to me thenas I was washing thy woundto marry meand make me
my ladythy wife. Canst thou deny it?"--Henry IV.Part 2.
Mine hostessindeedgave me a long history how the goblet had
been handed down from generation to generation. She also
entertained me with many particulars concerning the worthy
vestrymen who have seated themselves thus quietly on the stools
of the ancient roisterers of Eastcheapandlike so many
commentatorsutter clouds of smoke in honor of Shakespeare.
These I forbear to relatelest my readers should not be as
curious in these matters as myself. Suffice it to saythe
neighborsone and allabout Eastcheapbelieve that Falstaff
and his merry crew actually lived and revelled there. Naythere
are several legendary anecdotes concerning him still extant among
the oldest frequenters of the Mason's Armswhich they give as
transmitted down from their forefathers; and Mr. M'Kashan Irish
hair-dresserwhose shop stands on the site of the old Boar's
Headhas several dry jokes of Fat Jack'snot laid down in the
bookswith which he makes his customers ready to die of

I now turned to my friend the sexton to make some further
inquiriesbut I found him sunk in pensive meditation. His head
had declined a little on one side; a deep sigh heaved from the
very bottom of his stomachandthough I could not see a tear
trembling in his eyeyet a moisture was evidently stealing from
a corner of his mouth. I followed the direction of his eye
through the door which stood openand found it fixed wistfully
on the savory breast of lambroasting in dripping richness
before the fire.

I now called to mind that in the eagerness of my recondite
investigationI was keeping the poor man from his dinner. My
bowels yearned with sympathyand putting in his hand a small
token of my gratitude and goodnessI departed with a hearty
benediction on himDame Honeyballand the parish club of
Crooked Lane--not forgetting my shabbybut sententious friend
in the oil-cloth hat and copper nose.

Thus have I given a "tedious brief" account of this interesting
researchfor whichif it prove too short and unsatisfactoryI
can only plead my inexperience in this branch of literatureso
deservedly popular at the present day. I am aware that a more
skilful illustrator of the immortal bard would have swelled the
materials I have touched upon to a good merchantable bulk
comprising the biographies of William WalworthJack Strawand
Robert Preston; some notice of the eminent fishmongers of St.
Michael's; the history of Eastcheapgreat and little; private
anecdotes of Dame Honeyball and her pretty daughterwhom I have
not even mentioned; to say nothing of a damsel tending the breast

of lamb (and whomby the wayI remarked to be a comely lass
with a neat foot and ankle);--the whole enlivened by the riots of
Wat Tylerand illuminated by the great fire of London.

All this I leaveas a rich mineto be worked by future
commentatorsnor do I despair of seeing the tobacco-boxand the
parcel-gilt goblet which I have thus brought to light the
subject of future engravingsand almost as fruitful of
voluminous dissertations and disputes as the shield of Achilles
or the far-famed Portland Vase.



I know that all beneath the moon decays

And what by mortals in this world is brought

In time's great periods shall return to nought.

I know that all the muses' heavenly rays

With toil of sprite which are so dearly bought

As idle soundsof few or none are sought-

That there is nothing lighter than mere praise.


THERE are certain half-dreaming moods of mind in which we
naturally steal away from noise and glareand seek some quiet
haunt where we may indulge our reveries and build our air castles
undisturbed. In such a mood I was loitering about the old gray
cloisters of Westminster Abbeyenjoying that luxury of wandering
thought which one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection
when suddenly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster
schoolplaying at footballbroke in upon the monastic stillness
of the placemaking the vaulted passages and mouldering tombs
echo with their merriment. I sought to take refuge from their
noise by penetrating still deeper into the solitudes of the pile
and applied to one of the vergers for admission to the library.
He conducted me through a portal rich with the crumbling
sculpture of former ageswhich opened upon a gloomy passage
leading to the chapter-house and the chamber in which Doomsday
Book is deposited. Just within the passage is a small door on the
left. To this the verger applied a key; it was double lockedand
opened with some difficultyas if seldom used. We now ascended a
dark narrow staircaseandpassing through a second door
entered the library.

I found myself in a lofty antique hallthe roof supported by
massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted by a
row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from the floor
and which apparently opened upon the roofs of the cloisters. An
ancient picture of some reverend dignitary of the Church in his
robes hung over the fireplace. Around the hall and in a small
gallery were the booksarranged in carved oaken cases. They
consisted principally of old polemical writersand were much
more worn by time than use. In the centre of the library was a
solitary table with two or three books on itan inkstand without
inkand a few pens parched by long disuse. The place seemed
fitted for quiet study and profound meditation. It was buried
deep among the massive walls of the abbey and shut up from the
tumult of the world. I could only hear now and then the shouts of
the school-boys faintly swelling from the cloistersand the
sound of a bell tolling for prayers echoing soberly along the
roofs of the abbey. By degrees the shouts of merriment grew

fainter and fainterand at length died away; the bell ceased to
tolland a profound silence reigned through the dusky hall.

I had taken down a little thick quartocuriously bound in
parchmentwith brass claspsand seated myself at the table in a
venerable elbow-chair. Instead of readinghoweverI was
beguiled by the solemn monastic air and lifeless quiet of the
placeinto a train of musing. As I looked around upon the old
volumes in their mouldering coversthus ranged on the shelves
and apparently never disturbed in their reposeI could not but
consider the library a kind of literary catacombwhere authors
like mummiesare piously entombed and left to blacken and
moulder in dusty oblivion.

How muchthought Ihas each of these volumesnow thrust aside
with such indifferencecost some aching head! how many weary
days! how many sleepless nights! How have their authors buried
themselves in the solitude of cells and cloistersshut
themselves up from the face of manand the still more blessed
face of Nature; and devoted themselves to painful research and
intense reflection! And all for what? To occupy an inch of dusty
shelf--to have the titles of their works read now and then in a
future age by some drowsy churchman or casual straggler like
myselfand in another age to be lost even to remembrance. Such
is the amount of this boasted immortality. A mere temporary
rumora local sound; like the tone of that bell which has tolled
among these towersfilling the ear for a momentlingering
transiently in echoand then passing awaylike a thing that was

While I sat half-murmuringhalf-meditatingthese unprofitable
speculations with my head resting on my handI was thrumming
with the other hand upon the quartountil I accidentally
loosened the clasps; whento my utter astonishmentthe little
book gave two or three yawnslike one awaking from a deep sleep
then a husky hemand at length began to talk. At first its voice
was very hoarse and brokenbeing much troubled by a cobweb which
some studious spider had woven across itand having probably
contracted a cold from long exposure to the chills and damps of
the abbey. In a short timehoweverit became more distinctand
I soon found it an exceedingly fluentconversable little tome.
Its languageto be surewas rather quaint and obsoleteand its
pronunciation whatin the present daywould be deemed
barbarous; but I shall endeavoras far as I am ableto render
it in modern parlance.

It began with railings about the neglect of the worldabout
merit being suffered to languish in obscurityand other such
commonplace topics of literary repiningand complained bitterly
that it had not been opened for more than two centuries--that the
dean only looked now and then into the librarysometimes took
down a volume or twotrifled with them for a few momentsand
then returned them to their shelves. "What a plague do they
mean?" said the little quartowhich I began to perceive was
somewhat choleric--"what a plague do they mean by keeping several
thousand volumes of us shut up hereand watched by a set of old
vergerslike so many beauties in a haremmerely to be looked at
now and then by the dean? Books were written to give pleasure and
to be enjoyed; and I would have a rule passed that the dean
should pay each of us a visit at least once a year; orif he is
not equal to the tasklet them once in a while turn loose the
whole school of Westminster among usthat at any rate we may now
and then have an airing."

Softly, my worthy friend,replied I; "you are not aware how
much better you are off than most books of your generation. By
being stored away in this ancient library you are like the
treasured remains of those saints and monarchs which lie
enshrined in the adjoining chapelswhile the remains of their
contemporary mortalsleft to the ordinary course of Naturehave
long since returned to dust."

Sir,said the little tomeruffling his leaves and looking big
I was written for all the world, not for the bookworms of an
abbey. I was intended to circulate from hand to hand, like other
great contemporary works; but here have I been clasped up for
more than two centuries, and might have silently fallen a prey to
these worms that are playing the very vengeance with my
intestines if you had not by chance given me an opportunity of
uttering a few last words before I go to pieces.

My good friend,rejoined Ihad you been left to the
circulation of which you speak, you would long ere this have been
no more. To judge from your physiognomy, you are now well
stricken in years: very few of your contemporaries can be at
present in existence, and those few owe their longevity to being
immured like yourself in old libraries; which, suffer me to add,
instead of likening to harems, you might more properly and
gratefully have compared to those infirmaries attached to
religious establishments for the benefit of the old and decrepit,
and where, by quiet fostering and no employment, they often
endure to an amazingly good-for-nothing old age. You talk of your
contemporaries as if in circulation. Where do we meet with their
works?. What do we hear of Robert Grosteste of Lincoln? No one
could have toiled harder than he for immortality. He is said to
have written nearly two hundred volumes. He built, as it were, a
pyramid of books to perpetuate his name: but, alas! the pyramid
has long since fallen, and only a few fragments are scattered in
various libraries, where they are scarcely disturbed even by the
antiquarian. What do we hear of Giraldus Cambrensis, the
historian, antiquary, philosopher, theologian, and poet? He
declined two bishoprics that he might shut himself up and write
for posterity; but posterity never inquires after his labors.
What of Henry of Huntingdon, who, besides a learned history of
England, wrote a treatise on the contempt of the world, which the
world has revenged by forgetting him? What is quoted of Joseph of
Exeter, styled the miracle of his age in classical composition?
Of his three great heroic poems, one is lost forever, excepting a
mere fragment; the others are known only to a few of the curious
in literature; and as to his love verses and epigrams, they have
entirely disappeared. What is in current use of John Wallis the
Franciscan, who acquired the name of the tree of life? Of William
of Malmsbury--of Simeon of Durham--of Benedict of
Peterborough--of John Hanvill of St. Albans--of----

Prithee, friend,cried the quarto in a testy tonehow old do
you think me? You are talking of authors that lived long before
my time, and wrote either in Latin or French, so that they in a
manner expatriated themselves, and deserved to be forgotten;* but
I, sir, was ushered into the world from the press of the renowned
Wynkyn de Worde. I was written in my own native tongue, at a time
when the language had become fixed; and indeed I was considered a
model of pure and elegant English.

(I should observe that these remarks were couched in such
intolerably antiquated termsthat I have had infinite difficulty
in rendering them into modern phraseology.)

I cry you mercy,said Ifor mistaking your age; but it
matters little. almost all the writers of your time have likewise
passed into forgetfulness, and De Worde's publications are mere
literary rarities among book-collectors. The purity and stability
of language, too, on which you found your claims to perpetuity,
have been the fallacious dependence of authors of every age, even
back to the times of the worthy Robert of Gloucester, who wrote
his history in rhymes of mongrel Saxon.+ Even now many talk of
Spenser's `well of pure English undefiled,' as if the language
ever sprang from a well or fountain-head, and was not rather a
mere confluence of various tongues perpetually subject to changes
and intermixtures. It is this which has made English literature
so extremely mutable, and the reputation built upon it so
fleeting. Unless thought can be committed to something more
permanent and unchangeable than such a medium, even thought must
share the fate of everything else, and fall into decay. This
should serve as a check upon the vanity and exultation of the
most popular writer. He finds the language in which he has
embarked his fame gradually altering and subject to the
dilapidations of time and the caprice of fashion. He looks back
and beholds the early authors of his country, once the favorites
of their day, supplanted by modern writers. A few short ages have
covered them with obscurity, and their merits can only be
relished by the quaint taste of the bookworm. And such, he
anticipates, will be the fate of his own work, which, however it
may be admired in its day and held up as a model of purity, will
in the course of years grow antiquated and obsolete, until it
shall become almost as unintelligible in its native land as an
Egyptian obelisk or one of those Runic inscriptions said to exist
in the deserts of Tartary. I declare added I, with some
emotion, when I contemplate a modern libraryfilled with new
works in all the bravery of rich gilding and bindingI feel
disposed to sit down and weeplike the good Xerxeswhen he
surveyed his armypranked out in all the splendor of military
arrayand reflected that in one hundred years not one of them
would be in existence."

* "In Latin and French hath many soueraine wittes had great
delyte to enditeand have many noble thinges fulfildebut
certes there ben some that speaken their poisye in Frenchof
which speche the Frenchmen have as good a fantasye as w ave in
hearying of Frenchmen's Englishe."--CHAUCER'S Testament of Love.
+ Holinsh di his ChronicleobservesAfterwards, also, by
diligent vell f Geffry Chaucer and John Gowre, in the time of
Richard the Second, and after them of John Scogan and John
Lydgate, monke of Berrie, our said toong was brought to an
excellent passe, notwithstanding that it never came unto the type
of perfection until the time of Queen Elizabeth, wherein John
Jewell, Bishop of Sarum, John Fox, and sundrie learned and
excellent writers, have fully accomplished the ornature of the
same to their great praise and mortal commendation.
Ah,said the little quartowith a heavy sighI see how it
is: these in modern scribblers have superseded all the good old
authors. I suppose nothing is read nowadays but Sir Philip
Sidney's Arcadia, Sackville's stately plays and Mirror for
Magistrates, or the fine-spun euphuisms of the `unparalleled John

There you are again mistaken,said I; "the writers whom you
suppose in voguebecause they happened to be so when you were
last in circulationhave long since had their day. Sir Philip
Sidney's Arcadiathe immortality of which was so fondly
predicted by his admirers* and whichin truthwas full of

noble thoughtsdelicate imagesand graceful turns of language
is now scarcely ever mentioned. Sackville has strutted into
obscurity; and even Lylythough his writings were once the
delight of a courtand apparently perpetuated by a proverbis
now scarcely known even by name. A whole crowd of authors who
wrote and wrangled at the timehave likewise gone down with all
their writings and their controversies. Wave after wave of
succeeding literature has rolled over themuntil they are buried
so deepthat it is only now and then that some industrious diver
after fragments of antiquity brings up a specimen for the
gratification of the curious.

* "Live ever sweete booke; the simple image of his gentle witt
and the golden pillar of his noble courage; and ever notify unto
the world that thy writer was the secretary of eloquencethe
breath of the musesthe honey bee of the daintyest flowers of
witt and artethe pith of morale and intellectual virtuesthe
arme of Bellona in the fieldthe tongue of Suada in the chamber
the spirits of Practise in esseand the paragon of excellence in
print."-Harvey Pierce's Supererogation.
For my part,I continuedI consider this mutability of
language a wise precaution of Providence for the benefit of the
world at large, and of authors in particular. To reason from
analogy, we daily behold the varied and beautiful tribes of
vegetables springing up, flourishing, adorning the fields for a
short time, and then fading into dust, to make way for their
successors. Were not this the case, the fecundity of nature would
be a grievance instead of a blessing. The earth would groan with
rank and excessive vegetation, and its surface become a tangled
wilderness. In like manner, the works of genius and learning
decline and make way for subsequent productions. Language
gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of authors
who have flourished their allotted time; otherwise the creative
powers of genius would overstock the world, and the mind would be
completely bewildered in the endless mazes of literature.
Formerly there were some restraints on this excessive
multiplication. Works had to be transcribed by hand, which was a
slow and laborious operation; they were written either on
parchment, which was expensive, so that one work was often erased
to make way for another; or on papyrus, which was fragile and
extremely perishable. Authorship was a limited and unprofitable
craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the leisure and solitude of
their cloisters. The accumulation of manuscripts was slow and
costly, and confined almost entirely to monasteries. To these
circumstances it may, in some measure, be owing that we have not
been inundated by the intellect of antiquity--that the fountains
of thought have not been broken up, and modern genius drowned in
the deluge. But the inventions of paper and the press have put an
end to all these restraints. They have made every one a writer,
and enabled every mind to pour itself into print, and diffuse
itself over the whole intellectual world. The consequences are
alarming. The stream of literature has swollen into a
torrent--augmented into a river-expanded into a sea. A few
centuries since five or six hundred manuscripts constituted a
great library; but what would you say to libraries, such as
actually exist, containing three or four hundred thousand
volumes; legions of authors at the same time busy; and the press
going on with fearfully increasing activity, to double and
quadruple the number? Unless some unforeseen mortality should
break out among the progeny of the Muse, now that she has become
so prolific, I tremble for posterity. I fear the mere fluctuation
of language will not be sufficient. Criticism may do much; it
increases with the increase of literature, and resembles one of

those salutary checks on population spoken of by economists. All
possible encouragement, therefore, should be given to the growth
of critics, good or bad. But I fear all will be in vain; let
criticism do what it may, writers will write, printers will
print, and the world will inevitably be overstocked with good
books. It will soon be the employment of a lifetime merely to
learn their names. Many a man of passable information at the
present day reads scarcely anything but reviews, and before long
a man of erudition will be little better than a mere walking

My very good sir,said the little quartoyawning most drearily
in my faceexcuse my interrupting you, but I perceive you are
rather given to prose. I would ask the fate of an author who was
making some noise just as I left the world. His reputation,
however, was considered quite temporary. The learned shook their
heads at him, for he was a poor, half-educated varlet, that knew
little of Latin, and nothing of Greek, and had been obliged to
run the country for deer-stealing. I think his name was
Shakespeare. I presume he soon sunk into oblivion.

On the contrary,said Iit is owing to that very man that the
literature of his period has experienced a duration beyond the
ordinary term of English literature. There rise authors now and
then who seem proof against the mutability of language because
they have rooted themselves in the unchanging principles of human
nature. They are like gigantic trees that we sometimes see on the
banks of a stream, which by their vast and deep roots,
penetrating through the mere surface and laying hold on the very
foundations of the earth, preserve the soil around them from
being swept away by the ever-flowing current, and hold up many a
neighboring plant, and perhaps worthless weed, to perpetuity.
Such is the case with Shakespeare, whom we behold defying the
encroachments of time, retaining in modern use the language and
literature of his day, and giving duration to many an indifferent
author, merely from having flourished in his vicinity. But even
he, I grieve to say, is gradually assuming the tint of age, and
his whole form is overrun by a profusion of commentators, who,
like clambering vines and creepers, almost bury the noble plant
that upholds them.

Here the little quarto began to heave his sides and chuckle
until at length he broke out into a plethoric fit of laughter
that had wellnigh choked him by reason of his excessive
corpulency. "Mighty well!" cried heas soon as he could recover
breathmighty well! and so you would persuade me that the
literature of an age is to be perpetuated by a vagabond
deer-stealer! by a man without learning! by a poet! forsooth--a
poet!And here he wheezed forth another fit of laughter.

I confess that I felt somewhat nettled at this rudenesswhich
howeverI pardoned on account of his having flourished in a less
polished age. I determinedneverthelessnot to give up my

Yes,resumed I positivelya poet; for of all writers he has
the best chance for immortality. Others may write from the head,
but he writes from the heart, and the heart will always
understand him. He is the faithful portrayer of Nature, whose
features are always the same and always interesting. Prose
writers are voluminous and unwieldy; their pages crowded with
commonplaces, and their thoughts expanded into tediousness. But
with the true poet every thing is terse, touching, or brilliant.
He gives the choicest thoughts in the choicest language. He

illustrates them by everything that he sees most striking in
nature and art. He enriches them by pictures of human life, such
as it is passing before him. His writings, therefore, contain the
spirit, the aroma, if I may use the phrase, of the age in which
he lives. They are caskets which inclose within a small compass
the wealth of the language--its family jewels, which are thus
transmitted in a portable form to posterity. The setting may
occasionally be antiquated, and require now and then to be
renewed, as in the case of Chaucer; but the brilliancy and
intrinsic value of the gems continue unaltered. Cast a look back
over the long reach of literary history. What vast valleys of
dulness, filled with monkish legends and academical
controversies! What bogs of theological speculations! What dreary
wastes of metaphysics! Here and there only do we behold the
heaven-illumined bards, elevated like beacons on their
widely-separated heights, to transmit the pure light of poetical
intelligence from age to age.*

I was just about to launch forth into eulogiums upon the poets of
the day when the sudden opening of the door caused me to turn my
head. It was the vergerwho came to inform me that it was time
to close the library. I sought to have a parting word with the
quartobut the worthy little tome was silent; the clasps were
closed: and it looked perfectly unconscious of all that had
passed. I have been to the library two or three times sinceand
have endeavored to draw it into further conversationbut in
vain; and whether all this rambling colloquy actually took place
or whether it was another of those old day-dreams to which I am
subjectI have neverto this momentbeen able to discover.

* Thorow earth and waters deepe
The pen by skill doth passe:
And featly nyps the worldes abuse
And shoes us in a glasse
The vertu and the vice
Of every wight alyve;
The honey comb that bee doth make
Is not so sweet in hyve
As are the golden leves
That drops from poet's head!
Which doth surmount our common talke
As farre as dross doth lead.


Here's a few flowers! but about midnight more:

The herbs that have oil them cold dew o' the night

Are strewings fitt'st for graves---

You were as flowers now withered; even so

These herblets shallwhich we upon you strow.


AMONG the beautiful and simple-hearted customs of rural life
which still linger in some parts of England are those of strewing
flowers before the funerals and planting them at the graves of
departed friends. Theseit is saidare the remains of some of
the rites of the primitive Church; but they are of still higher
antiquityhaving been observed among the Greeks and Romansand
frequently mentioned by their writersand were no doubt the
spontaneous tributes of unlettered affectionoriginating long

before art had tasked itself to modulate sorrow into song or
story it on the monument. They are now only to be met with in the
most distant and retired places of the kingdomwhere fashion
and innovation have not been able to throng in and trample out
all the curious and interesting traces of the olden time.

In Glamorganshirewe are toldthe bed whereon the corpse lies
is covered with flowersa custom alluded to in one of the wild
and plaintive ditties of Ophelia:

White his shroud as the mountain snow

Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which be-wept to the grave did go
With true love showers.

There is also a most delicate and beautiful rite observed in some
of the remote villages of the south at the funeral of a female
who has died young and unmarried. A chaplet of white flowers is
borne before the corpse by a young girl nearest in agesizeand
resemblanceand is afterwards hung up in the church over the
accustomed seat of the deceased. These chaplets are sometimes
made of white paperin imitation of flowersand inside of them
is generally a pair of white gloves. They are intended as emblems
of the purity of the deceasedand the crown of glory which she
has received in heaven.

In some parts of the countryalsothe dead are carried to the
grave with the singing of psalms and hymns--a kind of triumph
to show,says Bournethat they have finished their course
with joy, and are become conquerors.ThisI am informedis
observed in some of the northern countiesparticularly in
Northumberlandand it has a pleasingthough melancholy effect
to hear of a still evening in some lonely country scene the
mournful melody of a funeral dirge swelling from a distanceand
to see the train slowly moving along the landscape.

Thusthusand thuswe compass round

Thy harmless and unhaunted ground

And as we sing thy dirgewe will

The daffodill

And other flowers lay upon

The altar of our lovethy stone.


There is also a solemn respect paid by the traveller to the
passing funeral in these sequestered places; for such spectacles
occurring among the quiet abodes of Naturesink deep into the
soul. As the mourning train approaches he pausesuncoveredto
let it go by; he then follows silently in the rear; sometimes
quite to the graveat other times for a few hundred yardsand
having paid this tribute of respect to the deceasedturns and
resumes his journey.

The rich vein of melancholy which runs through the English
characterand gives it some of its most touching and ennobling
gracesis finely evidenced in these pathetic customsand in the
solicitude shown by the common people for an honored and a
peaceful grave. The humblest peasantwhatever may be his lowly
lot while livingis anxious that some little respect may be paid
to his remains. Sir Thomas Overburydescribing the "faire and
happy milkmaid observes, thus lives sheand all her care is
that she may die in the spring-timeto have store of flowers
stucke upon her winding-sheet." The poetstoowho always

breathe the feeling of a nationcontinually advert to this fond
solicitude about the grave. In The Maid's Tragedyby Beaumont
and Fletcherthere is a beautiful instance of the kind
describing the capricious melancholy of a broken-hearted girl:

When she sees a bank
Stuck full of flowersshewith a sighwill tell
Her servantswhat a pretty place it were
To bury lovers in; and made her maids
Bluck 'emand strew her over like a corse.

The custom of decorating graves was once universally prevalent:
osiers were carefully bent over them to keep the turf uninjured
and about them were planted evergreens and flowers. "We adorn
their graves says Evelyn, in his Sylva, with flowers and
redolent plantsjust emblems of the life of manwhich has been
compared in Holy Scriptures to those fading beauties whose roots
being buried in dishonorriseagain in glory." This usage has
now become extremely rare in England; but it may still be met
with in the churchyards of retired villagesamong the Welsh
mountains; and I recollect an instance of it at the small town of
Ruthvenwhich lies at the head of the beautiful vale of Clewyd.
I have been told also by a friendwho was present at the funeral
of a young girl in Glamorganshirethat the female attendants had
their aprons full of flowerswhichas soon as the body was
interredthey stuck about the grave.

He noticed several graves which had been decorated in the same
manner. As the flowers had been merely stuck in the groundand
not plantedthey had soon witheredand might be seen in various
states of decay; some droopingothers quite perished. They were
afterwards to be supplanted by hollyrosemaryand other
evergreenswhich on some graves had grown to great luxuriance
and overshadowed the tombstones.

There was formerly a melancholy fancifulness in the arrangement
of these rustic offeringsthat had something in it truly
poetical. The rose was sometimes blended with the lilyto form a
general emblem of frail mortality. "This sweet flower said
Evelyn, borne on a branch set with thorns and accompanied with
the lilyare natural hieroglyphics of our fugitiveumbratile
anxiousand transitory lifewhichmaking so fair a show for a
timeis not yet without its thorns and crosses." The nature and
color of the flowersand of the ribbons with which they were
tiedhad often a particular reference to the qualities or story
of the deceasedor were expressive of the feelings of the
mourner. In an old poementitled "Corydon's Doleful Knell a
lover specifies the decorations he intends to use:

A garland shall be framed
By art and nature's skill,
Of sundry-colored flowers,
In token of good-will.

And sundry-colored ribbons
On it I will bestow;
But chiefly blacke and yellowe
With her to grave shall go.

I'll deck her tomb with flowers

The rarest ever seen;

And with my tears as showers

I'll keep them fresh and green.

The white rose, we are told, was planted at the grave of a
virgin; her chaplet was tied with white ribbons, in token of her
spotless innocence, though sometimes black ribbons were
intermingled, to bespeak the grief of the survivors. The red rose
was occasionally used, in remembrance of such as had been
remarkable for benevolence; but roses in general were
appropriated to the graves of lovers. Evelyn tells us that the
custom was not altogether extinct in his time, near his dwelling
in the county of Surrey, where the maidens yearly planted and
decked the graves of their defunct sweethearts with rose-bushes."
And Camden likewise remarksin his Britannia: "Here is also a
certain customobserved time out of mindof planting rose-trees
upon the gravesespecially by the young men and maids who have
lost their loves; so that this churchyard is now full of them."

When the deceased had been unhappy in their lovesemblems of a
more gloomy character were usedsuch as the yew and cypressand
if flowers were strewnthey were of the most melancholy colors.
Thusin poems by Thomas StanleyEsq. (published in 1651)is
the following stanza:

Yet strew

Upon my dismall grave

Such offerings as you have

Forsaken cypresse and yewe;

For kinder flowers can take no birth

Or growth from such unhappy earth.

In The Maid's Tragedya pathetic little airis introduced
illustrative of this mode of decorating the funerals of females
who had been disappointed in love:

Lay a garland on my hearse
Of the dismall yew
Maidenswillow branches wear
Say I died true.

My love was falsebut I was firm
From my hour of birth;
Upon my buried body lie
Lightlygentle earth.

The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine and
elevate the mind; and we have a proof of it in the purity of
sentiment and the unaffected elegance of thought which pervaded
the whole of these funeral observances. Thus it was an especial
precaution that none but sweet-scented evergreens and flowers
should be employed. The intention seems to have been to soften
the horrors of the tombto beguile the mind from brooding over
the disgraces of perishing mortalityand to associate the memory
of the deceased with the most delicate and beautiful objects in
nature. There is a dismal process going on in the graveere dust
can return to its kindred dustwhich the imagination shrinks
from contemplating; and we seek still to think of the form we
have lovedwith those refined associations which it awakened
when blooming before us in youth and beauty. "Lay her i' the
earth says Laertes, of his virgin sister,

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh

May violets spring.

Herrick, also, in his Dirge of Jephtha pours forth a fragrant
flow of poetical thought and image, which in a manner embalms the
dead in the recollections of the living.

Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice,

And make this place all Paradise:

May sweets grow here! and smoke from hence

Fat frankincense.

Let balme and cassia send their scent

From out thy maiden monument.

* * * * *

May all shie maids at wonted hours

Come forth to strew thy tombe with flowers!

May virgins, when they come to mourn

Male incense burn

Upon thine altar! then return

And leave thee sleeping in thy urn.

I might crowd my pages with extracts from the older British
poets, who wrote when these rites were more prevalent, and
delighted frequently to allude to them; but I have already quoted
more than is necessary. I cannot, however, refrain from giving a
passage from Shakespeare, even though it should appear trite,
which illustrates the emblematical meaning often conveyed in
these floral tributes, and at the same time possesses that magic
of language and appositeness of imagery for which he stands

With fairest flowers,
Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave; thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azured harebell like thy veins; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine; whom not to slander,
Outsweetened not thy breath.

There is certainly something more affecting in these prompt and
spontaneous offerings of Nature than in the most costly monuments
of art; the hand strews the flower while the heart is warm, and
the tear falls on the grave as affection is binding the osier
round the sod; but pathos expires under the slow labor of the
chisel, and is chilled among the cold conceits of sculptured

It is greatly to be regretted that a custom so truly elegant and
touching has disappeared from general use, and exists only in the
most remote and insignificant villages. But it seems as if
poetical custom always shuns the walks of cultivated society. In
proportion as people grow polite they cease to be poetical. They
talk of poetry, but they have learnt to check its free impulses,
to distrust its sallying emotions, and to supply its most
affecting and picturesque usages by studied form and pompous
ceremonial. Few pageants can be more stately and frigid than an
English funeral in town. It is made up of show and gloomy parade:
mourning carriages, mourning horses, mourning plumes, and
hireling mourners, who make a mockery of grief. There is a grave
digged says Jeremy Taylor, and a solemn mourningand a great
talk in the neighborhoodand when the daies are finishedthey
shall beand they shall be remembered no more." The associate in
the gay and crowded city is soon forgotten; the hurrying
succession of new intimates and new pleasures effaces him from
our mindsand the very scenes and circles in which he moved are
incessantly fluctuating. But funerals in the country are solemnly
impressive. The stroke of death makes a wider space in the
village circleand is an awful event in the tranquil uniformity
of rural life. The passing bell tolls its knell in every ear; it

steals with its pervading melancholy over hill and valeand
saddens all the landscape.

The fixed and unchanging features of the country also perpetuate
the memory of the friend with whom we once enjoyed themwho was
the companion of our most retired walksand gave animation to
every lonely scene. His idea is associated with every charm of
Nature; we hear his voice in the echo which he once delighted to
awaken; his spirit haunts the grove which he once frequented; we
think of him in the wild upland solitude or amidst the pensive
beauty of the valley. In the freshness of joyous morning we
remember his beaming smiles and bounding gayety; and when sober
evening returns with its gathering shadows and subduing quietwe
call to mind many a twilight hour of gentle talk and sweet-souled

Each lonely place shall him restore
For him the tear be duly shed;
Beloved till life can charm no more
And mourn'd till pity's self be dead.

Another cause that perpetuates the memory of the deceased in the
country is that the grave is more immediately in sight of the
survivors. They pass it on their way to prayer; it meets their
eyes when their hearts are softened by the exercises of devotion;
they linger about it on the Sabbathwhen the mind is disengaged
from worldly cares and most disposed to turn aside from present
pleasures and present loves and to sit down among the solemn
mementos of the past. In North Wales the peasantry kneel and pray
over the graves of their deceased friends for several Sundays
after the interment; and where the tender rite of strewing and
planting flowers is still practisedit is always renewed on
EasterWhitsuntideand other festivalswhen the season brings
the companion of former festivity more vividly to mind. It is
also invariably performed by the nearest relatives and friends;
no menials nor hirelings are employedand if a neighbor yields
assistanceit would be deemed an insult to offer compensation.

I have dwelt upon this beautiful rural custombecause as it is
one of the lastso is it one of the holiestoffices of love.
The grave is the ordeal of true affection. It is there that the
divine passion of the soul manifests its superiority to the
instinctive impulse of mere animal attachment. The latter must be
continually refreshed and kept alive by the presence of its
objectbut the love that is seated in the soul can live on long
remembrance. The mere inclinations of sense languish and decline
with the charms which excited themand turn with shuddering
disgust from the dismal precincts of the tomb; but it is thence
that truly spiritual affection risespurified from every sensual
desireand returnslike a holy flameto illumine and sanctify
the heart of the survivor.

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse
to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to healevery other
affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to
keep openthis affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.
Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that
perished like a blossom from her arms though every recollection
is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the
most tender of parentsthough to remember be but to lament? Who
even in the hour of agonywould forget the friend over whom he
mourns? Whoeven when the tomb is closing upon the remains of
her he most lovedwhen he feels his heartas it werecrushed
in the closing of its portalwould accept of consolation that

must be bought by forgetfulness? Nothe love which survives the
tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its
woesit has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming
burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection
when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present
ruins of all that we most loved is softened away into pensive
meditation on all that it was in the days of its lovelinesswho
would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may
sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety
or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloomyet who would
exchange it even for the song of pleasure or the burst of
revelry? Nothere is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song.
There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the
charms of the living. Ohthe grave! the grave! It buries every
errorcovers every defectextinguishes every resentment! From
its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender
recollections. Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy
and not feel a compunctious throb that he should ever have warred
with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him?

But the grave of those we loved--what a place for meditation!
There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of
virtue and gentlenessand the thousand endearments lavished upon
us almost unheeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy; there it
is that we dwell upon the tendernessthe solemnawful
tendernessof the parting scene. The bed of deathwith all its
stifled griefs--its noiseless attendance--its mutewatchful
assiduities. The last testimonies of expiring love! The feeble
flutteringthrilling--ohhow thrilling!--pressure of the hand!
The faintfaltering accentsstruggling in death to give one
more assurance of affection! The last fond look of the glazing
eyeturning upon us even from the threshold of existence!

Aygo to the grave of buried love and meditate! There settle the
account with thy conscience for every past benefit
unrequited--every past endearment unregardedof that departed
being who can never-never--never return to be soothed by thy

If thou art a childand hast ever added a sorrow to the soul or
a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent; if thou
art a husbandand hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured
its whole happiness in thy arms to doubt one moment of thy
kindness or thy truth; if thou art a friendand hast ever
wrongedin thought or word or deedthe spirit that generously
confided in thee; if thou art a loverand hast ever given one
unmerited pang to that true heart which now lies cold and still
beneath thy feet--then be sure that every unkind lookevery
ungracious wordevery ungentle action will come thronging back
upon thy memory and knocking dolefully at thy soul: then be sure
that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the graveand
utter the unheard groan and pour the unavailing tearmore deep
more bitter because unheard and unavailing.

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers and strew the beauties of
Nature about the grave; console thy broken spiritif thou canst
with these tender yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning
by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead
and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge
of thy duties to the living.


In writing the preceding article it was not intended to give a

full detail of the funeral customs of the English peasantrybut
merely to furnish a few hints and quotations illustrative of
particular ritesto be appendedby way of noteto another
paperwhich has been withheld. The article swelled insensibly
into its present formand this is mentioned as an apology for so
brief and casual a notice of these usages after they have been
amply and learnedly investigated in other works.

I must observealsothat I am well aware that this custom of
adorning graves with flowers prevails in other countries besides
England. Indeedin some it is much more generaland is observed
even by the rich and fashionable; but it is then apt to lose its
simplicity and to degenerate into affectation. Brightin his
travels in Lower Hungarytells of monuments of marble and
recesses formed for retirementwith seats placed among bowers of
greenhouse plantsand that the graves generally are covered with
the gayest flowers of the season. He gives a casual picture of
filial piety which I cannot but transcribe; for I trust it is as
useful as it is delightful to illustrate the amiable virtues of
the sex. "When I was at Berlin says he, I followed the
celebrated Iffland to the grave. Mingled with some pomp you might
trace much real feeling. In the midst of the ceremony my
attention was attracted by a young woman who stood on a mound of
earth newly covered with turfwhich she anxiously protected from
the feet of the passing crowd. It was the tomb of her parent; and
the figure of this affectionate daughter presented a monument
more striking than the most costly work of art."

I will barely add an instance of sepulchral decoration that I
once met with among the mountains of Switzerland. It was at the
village of Gersauwhich stands on the borders of the Lake of
Lucerneat the foot of Mount Rigi. It was once the capital of a
miniature republic shut up between the Alps and the lakeand
accessible on the land side only by footpaths. The whole force of
the republic did not exceed six hundred fighting menand a few
miles of circumferencescooped out as it were from the bosom of
the mountainscomprised its territory. The village of Gersau
seemed separated from the rest of the worldand retained the
golden simplicity of a purer age. It had a small churchwith a
burying-ground adjoining. At the heads of the graves were placed
crosses of wood or iron. On some were affixed miniaturesrudely
executedbut evidently attempts at likenesses of the deceased.
On the crosses were hung chaplets of flowerssome withering
others freshas if occasionally renewed. I paused with interest
at this scene: I felt that I was at the source of poetical
descriptionfor these were the beautiful but unaffected
offerings of the heart which poets are fain to record. In a gayer
and more populous place I should have suspected them to have been
suggested by factitious sentiment derived from books; but the
good people of Gersau knew little of books; there was not a novel
nor a love-poem in the villageand I question whether any
peasant of the place dreamtwhile he was twining a fresh chaplet
for the grave of his mistressthat he was fulfilling one of the
most fanciful rites of poetical devotionand that he was
practically a poet.


Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?

DURING a journey that I once made through the NetherlandsI had

arrived one evening at the Pomme d'Orthe principal inn of a
small Flemish village. It was after the hour of the table d'hote
so that I was obliged to make a solitary supper from the relics
of its ampler board. The weather was chilly; I was seated alone
in one end of a great gloomy dining-roomandmy repast being
overI had the prospect before me of a long dull evening
without any visible means of enlivening it. I summoned mine host
and requested something to read; he brought me the whole literary
stock of his householda Dutch family Biblean almanac in the
same languageand a number of old Paris newspapers. As I sat
dozing over one of the latterreading old news and stale
criticismsmy ear was now and then struck with bursts of
laughter which seemed to proceed from the kitchen. Every one that
has travelled on the Continent must know how favorite a resort
the kitchen of a country inn is to the middle and inferior order
of travellersparticularly in that equivocal kind of weather
when a fire becomes agreeable toward evening. I threw aside the
newspaper and explored my way to the kitchento take a peep at
the group that appeared to be so merry. It was composed partly of
travellers who had arrived some hours before in a diligenceand
partly of the usual attendants and hangers-on of inns. They were
seated round a great burnished stovethat might have been
mistaken for an altar at which they were worshipping. It was
covered with various kitchen vessels of resplendent brightness
among which steamed and hissed a huge copper tea-kettle. A large
lamp threw a strong mass of light upon the groupbringing out
many odd features in strong relief. Its yellow rays partially
illumined the spacious kitchendying duskily away into remote
cornersexcept where they settled in mellow radiance on the
broad side of a flitch of bacon or were reflected back from
well-scoured utensils that gleamed from the midst of obscurity. A
strapping Flemish lasswith long golden pendants in her ears and
a necklace with a golden heart suspended to itwas the presiding
priestess of the temple.

Many of the company were furnished with pipesand most of them
with some kind of evening potation. I found their mirth was
occasioned by anecdotes which a little swarthy Frenchmanwith a
dry weazen face and large whiskerswas giving of his
love-adventures; at the end of each of which there was one of
those bursts of honest unceremonious laughter in which a man
indulges in that temple of true libertyan inn.

As I had no better mode of getting through a tedious blustering
eveningI took my seat near the stoveand listened to a variety
of travellers' talessome very extravagant and most ver dull.
All of themhoweverhave faded from my treacherous memory
except onewhich I will endeavor to relate. I fearhoweverit
derived its chief zest from the manner in which it was toldand
the peculiar air and appearance of the narrator. He was a
corpulent old Swisswho had the look of a veteran traveller. He
was dressed in a tarnished green travelling-jacketwith a broad
belt round his waistand a pair of overalls with buttons from
the hips to the ankles. He was of a full rubicund countenance
with a double chinaquiline noseand a pleasant twinkling eye.
His hair was lightand curled from under an old green velvet
travelling-cap stuck on one side of his head. He was interrupted
more than once by the arrival of guests or the remarks of his
auditorsand paused now and then to replenish his pipe; at which
times he had generally a roguish leer and a sly joke for the
buxom kitchen-maid.

I wish my readers could imagine the old fellow lolling in a huge
arm-chairone arm a-kimbothe other holding a curiously twisted

tobacco-pipe formed of genuine ecume de merdecorated with
silver chain and silken tasselhis head cocked on one sideand
a whimsical cut of the eye occasionally as he related the
following story.



He that supper for is dight

He lyes full coldI trowthis night!

Yestreen to chamber I him led

This night Gray-steel has made his bed!


ON the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwalda wild and
romantic tract of Upper Germany that lies not far from the
confluence of the Main and the Rhinethere stood manymany
years since the castle of the Baron Von Landshort. It is now
quite fallen to decayand almost buried among beech trees and
dark firs; above whichhoweverits old watch-tower may still be
seen strugglinglike the former possessor I have mentionedto
carry a high head and look down upon the neighboring country.

The baron was a dry branch of the great family of
Katzenellenbogen+ and inherited the relics of the property and
all the prideof his ancestors. Though the warlike disposition
of his predecessors had much impaired the family possessionsyet
the baron still endeavored to keep up some show of former state.
The times were peaceableand the German nobles in general had
abandoned their inconvenient old castlesperched like eagles'
nests among the mountainsand had built more convenient
residences in the valleys; stillthe baron remained proudly
drawn up in his little fortresscherishing with hereditary
inveteracy all the old family feudsso that he was on ill terms
with some of his nearest neighborson account of disputes that
had happened between their great-great-grandfathers.

* The erudite readerwell versed in good-for-nothing lorewill
perceive that the above Tale must have been suggested to the old
Swiss by a little French anecdotea circumstance said to have
taken place in Paris.
+ I.e.CAT'S ELBOW--the name of a family of those partsand
very powerful in former times. The appellationwe are toldwas
given in compliment to a peerless dame of the familycelebrated
for a fine arm.
The baron had but one childa daughterbut Naturewhen she
grants but one childalways compensates by making it a prodigy;
and so it was with the daughter of the baron. All the nurses
gossipsand country cousins assured her father that she had not
her equal for beauty in all Germany; and who should know better
than they? She hadmoreoverbeen brought up with great care
under the superintendence of two maiden auntswho had spent some
years of their early life at one of the little German courtsand
were skilled in all branches of knowledge necessary to the
education of a fine lady. Under their instructions she became a
miracle of accomplishments. By the time she was eighteen she
could embroider to admirationand had worked whole histories of
the saints in tapestry with such strength of expression in their
countenances that they looked like so many souls in purgatory.

She could read without great difficultyand had spelled her way
through several Church legends and almost all the chivalric
wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made considerable
proficiency in writing; could sign her own name without missing a
letterand so legibly that her aunts could read it without
spectacles. She excelled in making little elegant
good-for-nothinglady-like knicknacks of all kindswas versed
in the most abstruse dancing of the dayplayed a number of airs
on the harp and guitarand knew all the tender ballads of the
Minnelieders by heart.

Her auntstoohaving been great flirts and coquettes in their
younger dayswere admirably calculated to be vigilant guardians
and strict censors of the conduct of their niece; for there is no
duenna so rigidly prudent and inexorably decorous as a
superannuated coquette. She was rarely suffered out of their
sight; never went beyond the domains of the castle unless well
attendedor rather well watched; had continual lectures read to
her about strict decorum and implicit obedience; andas to the
men--pah!--she was taught to hold them at such a distance and in
such absolute distrust thatunless properly authorizedshe
would not have cast a glance upon the handsomest cavalier in the
world--nonot if he were even dying at her feet.

The good effects of this system were wonderfully apparent. The
young lady was a pattern of docility and correctness. While
others were wasting their sweetness in the glare of the world
and liable to be plucked and thrown aside by every handshe was
coyly blooming into fresh and lovely womanhood under the
protection of those immaculate spinsterslike a rosebud blushing
forth among guardian thorns. Her aunts looked upon her with pride
and exultationand vaunted thatthough all the other young
ladies in the world might go astrayyet thank Heavennothing of
the kind could happen to the heiress of Katzenellenbogen.

Buthowever scantily the Baron Von Landshort might be provided
with childrenhis household was by no means a small one; for
Providence had enriched him with abundance of poor relations.
Theyone and allpossessed the affectionate disposition common
to humble relatives--were wonderfully attached to the baronand
took every possible occasion to come in swarms and enliven the
castle. All family festivals were commemorated by these good
people at the baron's expense; and when they were filled with
good cheer they would declare that there was nothing on earth so
delightful as these family meetingsthese jubilees of the heart.

The baronthough a small manhad a large souland it swelled
with satisfaction at the consciousness of being the greatest man
in the little world about him. He loved to tell long stories
about the stark old warriors whose portraits looked grimly down
from the walls aroundand he found no listeners equal to those
who fed at his expense. He was much given to the marvellous and a
firm believer in all those supernatural tales with which every
mountain and valley in Germany abounds. The faith of his guests
exceeded even his own: they listened to every tale of wonder with
open eyes and mouthand never failed to be astonishedeven
though repeated for the hundredth time. Thus lived the Baron Von
Landshortthe oracle of his tablethe absolute monarch of his
little territoryand happyabove all thingsin the persuasion
that he was the wisest man of the age.

At the time of which my story treats there was a great family
gathering at the castle on an affair of the utmost importance: it
was to receive the destined bridegroom of the baron's daughter. A

negotiation had been carried on between the father and an old
nobleman of Bavaria to unite the dignity of their houses by the
marriage of their children. The preliminaries had been conducted
with proper punctilio. The young people were betrothed without
seeing each otherand the time was appointed for the marriage
ceremony. The young Count Von Altenburg had been recalled from
the army for the purposeand was actually on his way to the
baron's to receive his bride. Missives had even been received
from him from Wurtzburgwhere he was accidentally detained
mentioning the day and hour when he might be expected to arrive.

The castle was in a tumult of preparation to give him a suitable
welcome. The fair bride had been decked out with uncommon care.
The two aunts had superintended her toiletand quarrelled the
whole morning about every article of her dress. The young lady
had taken advantage of their contest to follow the bent of her
own taste; and fortunately it was a good one. She looked as
lovely as youthful bridegroom could desireand the flutter of
expectation heightened the lustre of her charms.

The suffusions that mantled her face and neckthe gentle heaving
of the bosomthe eye now and then lost in reverieall betrayed
the soft tumult that was going on in her little heart. The aunts
were continually hovering around herfor maiden aunts are apt to
take great interest in affairs of this nature. They were giving
her a world of staid counsel how to deport herselfwhat to say
and in what manner to receive the expected lover.

The baron was no less busied in preparations. He hadin truth
nothing exactly to do; but he was naturally a fumingbustling
little manand could not remain passive when all the world was
in a hurry. He worried from top to bottom of the castle with an
air of infinite anxiety; he continually called the servants from
their work to exhort them to be diligent; and buzzed about every
hall and chamberas idly restless and importunate as a
blue-bottle fly on a warm summer's day.

In the mean time the fatted calf had been killed; the forests had
rung with the clamor of the huntsmen; the kitchen was crowded
with good cheer; the cellars had yielded up whole oceans of
Rhein-wein and Ferre-wein; and even the great Heidelberg tun had
been laid under contribution. Everything was ready to receive the
distinguished guest with Saus und Braus in the true spirit of
German hospitality; but the guest delayed to make his appearance.
Hour rolled after hour. The sunthat had poured his downward
rays upon the rich forest of the Odenwaldnow just gleamed along
the summits of the mountains. The baron mounted the highest tower
and strained his eyes in hopes of catching a distant sight of the
count and his attendants. Once he thought he beheld them; the
sound of horns came floating from the valleyprolonged by the
mountain-echoes. A number of horsemen were seen far below slowly
advancing along the road; but when they had nearly reached the
foot of the mountain they suddenly struck off in a different
direction. The last ray of sunshine departedthe bats began to
flit by in the twilightthe road grew dimmer and dimmer to the
viewand nothing appeared stirring in it but now and then a
peasant lagging homeward from his labor.

While the old castle of Landshort was in this state of perplexity
a very interesting scene was transacting in a different part of
the Odenwald.

The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursuing his route
in that sober jog-trot way in which a man travels toward

matrimony when his friends have taken all the trouble and
uncertainty of courtship off his hands and a bride is waiting for
him as certainly as a dinner at the end of his journey. He had
encountered at Wurtzburg a youthful companion-in-arms with whom
he had seen some service on the frontiers--Herman Von
Starkenfaustone of the stoutest hands and worthiest hearts of
German chivalry--who was now returning from the army. His
father's castle was not far distant from the old fortress of
Landshortalthough an hereditary feud rendered the families
hostile and strangers to each other.

In the warm-hearted moment of recognition the young friends
related all their past adventures and fortunesand the count
gave the whole history of his intended nuptials with a young lady
whom he had never seenbut of whose charms he had received the
most enrapturing descriptions.

As the route of the friends lay in the same directionthey
agreed to perform the rest of their journey togetherand that
they might do it the more leisurelyset off from Wurtzburg at an
early hourthe count having given directions for his retinue to
follow and overtake him.

They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their
military scenes and adventures; but the count was apt to be a
little tedious now and then about the reputed charms of his bride
and the felicity that awaited him.

In this way they had entered among the mountains of the Odenwald
and were traversing one of its most lonely and thickly wooded
passes. It is well known that the forests of Germany have always
been as much infested by robbers as its castles by spectres; and
at this time the former were particularly numerousfrom the
hordes of disbanded soldiers wandering about the country. It will
not appear extraordinarythereforethat the cavaliers were
attacked by a gang of these stragglersin the midst of the
forest. They defended themselves with braverybut were nearly
overpowered when the count's retinue arrived to their assistance.
At sight of them the robbers fledbut not until the count had
received a mortal wound. He was slowly and carefully conveyed
back to the city of Wurtzburgand a friar summoned from a
neighboring convent who was famous for his skill in administering
to both soul and body; but half of his skill was superfluous; the
moments of the unfortunate count were numbered.

With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair instantly
to the castle of Landshort and explain the fatal cause of his not
keeping his appointment with his bride. Though not the most
ardent of lovershe was one of the most punctilious of menand
appeared earnestly solicitous that his mission should be speedily
and courteously executed. "Unless this is done said he, I
shall not sleep quietly in my grave." He repeated these last
words with peculiar solemnity. A request at a moment so
impressive admitted no hesitation. Starkenfaust endeavored to
soothe him to calmnesspromised faithfully to execute his wish
and gave him his hand in solemn pledge. The dying man pressed it
in acknowledgmentbut soon lapsed into delirium--raved about his
bridehis engagementshis plighted word--ordered his horse
that he might ride to the castle of Landshortand expired in the
fancied act of vaulting into the saddle.

Starkenfaust bestowed a sigh and a soldier's tear on the untimely
fate of his comrade and then pondered on the awkward mission he
had undertaken. His heart was heavy and his head perplexed; for

he was to present himself an unbidden guest among hostile people
and to damp their festivity with tidings fatal to their hopes.
Stillthere were certain whisperings of curiosity in his bosom
to see this far-famed beauty of Katzenellenbogenso cautiously
shut up from the world; for he was a passionate admirer of the
sexand there was a dash of eccentricity and enterprise in his
character that made him fond of all singular adventure.

Previous to his departure he made all due arrangements with the
holy fraternity of the convent for the funeral solemnities of his
friendwho was to be buried in the cathedral of Wurtzburg near
some of his illustrious relativesand the mourning retinue of
the count took charge of his remains.

It is now high time that we should return to the ancient family
of Katzenellenbogenwho were impatient for their guestand
still more for their dinnerand to the worthy little baronwhom
we left airing himself on the watch-tower.

Night closed inbut still no guest arrived. The baron descended
from the tower in despair. The banquetwhich had been delayed
from hour to hourcould no longer be postponed. The meats were
already overdonethe cook in an agonyand the whole household
had the look of a garrisonthat had been reduced by famine. The
baron was obliged reluctantly to give orders for the feast
without the presence of the guest. All were seated at tableand
just on the point of commencingwhen the sound of a horn from
without the gate gave notice of the approach of a stranger.
Another long blast filled the old courts of the castle with its
echoesand was answered by the warder from the walls. The baron
hastened to receive his future son-in-law.

The drawbridge had been let downand the stranger was before the
gate. He was a tall gallant cavaliermounted on a black steed.
His countenance was palebut he had a beamingromantic eye and
an air of stately melancholy. The baron was a little mortified
that he should have come in this simplesolitary style. His
dignity for a moment was ruffledand he felt disposed to
consider it a want of proper respect for the important occasion
and the important family with which he was to be connected. He
pacified himselfhoweverwith the conclusion that it must have
been youthful impatience which had induced him thus to spur on
sooner than his attendants.

I am sorry,said the strangerto break in upon you thus

Here the baron interrupted him with a world of compliments and
greetingsforto tell the truthhe prided himself upon his
courtesy and eloquence. The stranger attempted once or twice to
stem the torrent of wordsbut in vainso he bowed his head and
suffered it to flow on. By the time the baron had come to a pause
they had reached the inner court of the castleand the stranger
was again about to speakwhen he was once more interrupted by
the appearance of the female part of the familyleading forth
the shrinking and blushing bride. He gazed on her for a moment as
one entranced; it seemed as if his whole soul beamed forth in the
gaze and rested upon that lovely form. One of the maiden aunts
whispered something in her ear; she made an effort to speak; her
moist blue eye was timidly raisedgave a shy glance of inquiry
on the strangerand was cast again to the ground. The words died
awaybut there was a sweet smile playing about her lipsand a
soft dimpling of the cheek that showed her glance had not been
unsatisfactory. It was impossible for a girl of the fond age of

eighteenhighly predisposed for love and matrimonynot to be
pleased with so gallant a cavalier.

The late hour at which the guest had arrived left no time for
parley. The baron was peremptoryand deferred all particular
conversation until the morningand led the way to the untasted

It was served up in the great hall of the castle. Around the
walls hung the hard-favored portraits of the heroes of the house
of Katzenellenbogenand the trophies which they had gained in
the fieldand in the chase. Hacked corseletssplintered
jousting-spearsand tattered banners were mingled with the
spoils of sylvan warfare: the jaws of the wolf and the tusks of
the boar grinned horribly among crossbows and battle-axesand a
huge pair of antlers branched immediately over the head of the
youthful bridegroom.

The cavalier took but little notice of the company or the
entertainment. He scarcely tasted the banquetbut seemed
absorbed in admiration of his bride. He conversed in a low tone
that could not be overheardfor the language of love is never
loud; but where is the female ear so dull that it cannot catch
the softest whisper of the lover? There was a mingled tenderness
and gravity in his manner that appeared to have a powerful effect
upon the young lady. Her color came and went as she listened with
deep attention. Now and then she made some blushing replyand
when his eye was turned away she would steal a sidelong glance at
his romantic countenanceand heave a gentle sigh of tender
happiness. It was evident that the young couple were completely
enamored. The auntswho were deeply versed in the mysteries of
the heartdeclared that they had fallen in love with each other
at first sight.

The feast went on merrilyor at least noisilyfor the guests
were all blessed with those keen appetites that attend upon light
purses and mountain air. The baron told his best and longest
storiesand never had he told them so well or with such great
effect. If there was anything marvelloushis auditors were lost
in astonishment; and if anything facetiousthey were sure to
laugh exactly in the right place. The baronit is truelike
most great menwas too dignified to utter any joke but a dull
one; it was always enforcedhoweverby a bumper of excellent
Hockheimerand even a dull joke at one's own tableserved up
with jolly old wineis irresistible. Many good things were said
by poorer and keener wits that would not bear repeatingexcept
on similar occasions; many sly speeches whispered in ladies' ears
that almost convulsed them with suppressed laughter; and a song
or two roared out by a poor but merry and broad-faced cousin of
the baron that absolutely made the maiden aunts hold up their

Amidst all this revelry the stranger guest maintained a most
singular and unseasonable gravity. His countenance assumed a
deeper cast of dejection as the evening advancedandstrange as
it may appeareven the baron's jokes seemed only to render him
the more melancholy. At times he was lost in thoughtand at
times there was a perturbed and restless wandering of the eye
that bespoke a mind but ill at ease. His conversations with the
bride became more and more earnest and mysterious. Lowering
clouds began to steal over the fair serenity of her browand
tremors to run through her tender frame.

All this could not escape the notice of the company. Their gayety

was chilled by the unaccountable gloom of the bridegroom; their
spirits were infected; whispers and glances were interchanged
accompanied by shrugs and dubious shakes of the head. The song
and the laugh grew less and less frequent: there were dreary
pauses in the conversationwhich were at length succeeded by
wild tales and supernatural legends. One dismal story produced
another still more dismaland the baron nearly frightened some
of the ladies into hysterics with the history of the goblin
horseman that carried away the fair Leonora--a dreadful story
which has since been put into excellent verseand is read and
believed by all the world.

The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound attention. He
kept his eyes steadily fixed on the baronandas the story drew
to a closebegan gradually to rise from his seatgrowing taller
and talleruntil in the baron's entranced eye he seemed almost
to tower into a giant. The moment the tale was finished he heaved
a deep sigh and took a solemn farewell of the company. They were
all amazement. The baron was perfectly thunderstruck.

What! going to leave the castle at midnight? Why, everything was
prepared for his reception; a chamber was ready for him if he
wished to retire.

The stranger shook his head mournfully and mysteriously: "I must
lay my head in a different chamber to-night."

There was something in this reply and the tone in which it was
uttered that made the baron's heart misgive him; but he rallied
his forces and repeated his hospitable entreaties.

The stranger shook his head silentlybut positivelyat every
offerandwaving his farewell to the companystalked slowly
out of the hall. The maiden aunts were absolutely petrified; the
bride hung her head and a tear stole to her eye.

The baron followed the stranger to the great court of the castle
where the black charger stood pawing the earth and snorting with
impatience. When they had reached the portalwhose deep archway
was dimly lighted by a cressetthe stranger pausedand
addressed the baron in a hollow tone of voicewhich the vaulted
roof rendered still more sepulchral.

Now that we are a lone,said heI will impart to you the
reason of my going. I have a solemn, an indispensable

Why,said the baroncannot you send some one in your place?

It admits of no substitute--I must attend it in person; I must
away to Wurtzburg cathedral----

Ay,said the baronplucking up spiritbut not until
to-morrow--to-morrow you shall take your bride there.

No! no!replied the strangerwith tenfold solemnitymy
engagement is with no bride--the worms! the worms expect me! I am
a dead man--I have been slain by robbers--my body lies at
Wurtzburg--at midnight I am to be buried--the grave is waiting
for me--I must keep my appointment!

He sprang on his black chargerdashed over the drawbridgeand
the clattering of his horse's hoofs was lost in the whistling of
the night blast.

The baron returned to the hall in the utmost consternationand
related what had passed. Two ladies fainted outrightothers
sickened at the idea of having banqueted with a spectre. It was
the opinion of some that this might be the wild huntsmanfamous
in German legend. Some talked of mountain-spritesof
wood-demonsand of other supernatural beings with which the good
people of Germany have been so grievously harassed since time
immemorial. One of the poor relations ventured to suggest that it
might be some sportive evasion of the young cavalierand that
the very gloominess of the caprice seemed to accord with so
melancholy a personage. Thishoweverdrew on himthe
indignation of the whole companyand especially of the baron
who looked upon him as little better than an infidel; so that he
was fain to abjure his heresy as speedily as possible and come
into the faith of the true believers.

Butwhatever may have been the doubts entertainedthey were
completely put to an end by the arrival next day of regular
missives confirming the intelligence of the young count's murder
and his interment in Wurtzburg cathedral.

The dismay at the castle may well be imagined. The baron shut
himself up in his chamber. The guestswho had come to rejoice
with himcould not think of abandoning him in his distress. They
wandered about the courts or collected in groups in the hall
shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders at the troubles
of so good a manand sat longer than ever at tableand ate and
drank more stoutly than everby way of keeping up their spirits.
But the situation of the widowed bride was the most pitiable. To
have lost a husband before she had even embraced him--and such a
husband! If the very spectre could be so gracious and noblewhat
must have been the living man? She filled the house with

On the night of the second day of her widowhood she had retired
to her chamberaccompanied by one of her auntswho insisted on
sleeping with her. The auntwho was one of the best tellers of
ghost-stories in all Germanyhad just been recounting one of her
longestand had fallen asleep in the very midst of it. The
chamber was remote and overlooked a small garden. The niece lay
pensively gazing at the beams of the rising moon as they trembled
on the leaves of an aspen tree before the lattice. The castle
clock had just tolled midnight when a soft strain of music stole
up from the garden. She rose hastily from her bed and stepped
lightly to the window. A tall figure stood among the shadows of
the trees. As it raised its head a beam of moonlight fell upon
the countenance. Heaven and earth! she beheld the Spectre
Bridegroom! A loud shriek at that moment burst upon her earand
her auntwho had been awakened by the music and had followed her
silently to the windowfell into her arms. When she looked again
the spectre had disappeared.

Of the two femalesthe aunt now required the most soothingfor
she was perfectly beside herself with terror. As to the young
ladythere was something even in the spectre of her lover that
seemed endearing. There was still the semblance of manly beauty
andthough the shadow of a man is but little calculated to
satisfy the affections of a lovesick girlyet where the
substance is not to be had even that is consoling. The aunt
declared she would never sleep in that chamber again; the niece
for oncewas refractoryand declared as strongly that she would
sleep in no other in the castle: the consequence wasthat she
had to sleep in it alone; but she drew a promise from her aunt

not to relate the story of the spectrelest she should be denied
the only melancholy pleasure left her on earth--that of
inhabiting the chamber over which the guardian shade of her lover
kept its nightly vigils.

How long the good old lady would have observed this promise is
uncertainfor she dearly loved to talk of the marvellousand
there is a triumph in being the first to tell a frightful story;
it ishowoverstill quoted in the neighborhood as a memorable
instance of female secrecy that she kept it to herself for a
whole weekwhen she was suddenly absolved from all further
restraint by intelligence brought to the breakfast-table one
morning that the young lady was not to be found. Her room was
empty--the bed had not been slept in--the window was open and the
bird had flown!

The astonishment and concern with which the intelligence was
received can only be imagined by those who have witnessed the
agitation which the mishaps of a great man cause among his
friends. Even the poor relations paused for a moment from the
indefatigable labors of the trencherwhen the auntwho had at
first been struck speechlesswrung her hands and shrieked out
The goblinthe goblin! she's carried away by the goblin!"

In a few words she related the fearful scene of the gardenand
concluded that the spectre must have carried off his bride. Two
of the domestics corroborated the opinionfor they had heard the
clattering of a horse's hoofs down the mountain about midnight
and had no doubt that it was the spectre on his black charger
bearing her away to the tomb. All present were struck with the
direful probability for events of the kind are extremely common
in Germanyas many well-authenticated histories bear witness.

What a lamentable situation was that of the poor baron! What a
heartrending dilemma for a fond father and a member of the great
family of Katzenellenbogen! His only daughter had either been
rapt away to the graveor he was to have some wood-demon for a
son-in-lawand perchance a troop of goblin grandchildren. As
usualhe was completely bewilderedand all the castle in an
uproar. The men were ordered to take horse and scour every road
and path and glen of the Odenwald. The baron himself had just
drawn on his jack-bootsgirded on his swordand was about to
mount his steed to sally forth on the doubtful questwhen he was
brought to a pause by a new apparition. A lady was seen
approaching the castle mounted on a palfreyattended by a
cavalier on horseback. She galloped up to the gatesprang from
her horseandfalling at the baron's feetembraced his knees.
It was his lost daughterand her companion--the Spectre
Bridegroom! The baron was astounded. He looked at his daughter
then at the spectreand almost doubted the evidence of his
senses. The lattertoowas wonderfully improved in his
appearance since his visit to the world of spirits. His dress was
splendidand set off a noble figure of manly symmetry. He was no
longer pale and melancholy. His fine countenance was flushed with
the glow of youthand joy rioted in his large dark eye.

The mystery was soon cleared up. The cavalier (forin truthas
you must have known all the whilehe was no goblin) announced
himself as Sir Herman Von Starkenfaust. He related his adventure
with the young count. He told how he had hastened to the castle
to deliver the unwelcome tidingsbut that the eloquence of the
baron had interrupted him in every attempt to tell his tale. How
the sight of the bride had completely captivated him and that to
pass a few hours near her he had tacitly suffered the mistake to

continue. How he had been sorely perplexed in what way to make a
decent retreatuntil the baron's goblin stories had suggested
his eccentric exit. Howfearing the feudal hostility of the
familyhe had repeated his visits by stealth--had haunted the
garden beneath the young lady's window--had wooed--had won--had
borne away in triumph--andin a wordhad wedded the fair.

Under any other circumstances the baron would have been
inflexiblefor be was tenacious of paternal authority and
devoutly obstinate in all family feuds; but be loved his
daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he rejoiced to find her
still alive; andthough her husband was of a hostile houseyet
thank Heaven! he was not a goblin. There was somethingit must
he acknowledgedthat did not exactly accord with his notions of
strict veracity in the joke the knight had passed upon him of his
being a dead man; but several old friends presentwho had served
in the warsassured him that every stratagem was excusable in
loveand that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege
having lately served as a trooper.

Mattersthereforewere happily arranged. The baron pardoned the
young couple on the spot. The revels at the castle were resumed.
The poor relations overwhelmed this new member of the family with
loving-kindness; he was so gallantso generous--and so rich. The
auntsit is truewere somewhat scandalized that their system of
strict seclusion and passive obedience should be so badly
exemplifiedbut attributed it all to their negligence in not
having the windows grated. One of them was particularly mortified
at having her marvellous story marredand that the only spectre
she had ever seen should turn out a counterfeit; but the niece
seemed perfectly happy at having found him substantial flesh and
blood. And so the story ends.


When I beholdwith deep astonishment

To famous Westminster how there resorte

Living in brasse or stoney monument

The princes and the worthies of all sorte;

Doe not I see reformde nobilitie

Without contemptor prideor ostentation

And looke upon offenselesse majesty

Naked of pomp or earthly domination?

And how a play-game of a painted stone

Contents the quiet now and silent sprites

Whome all the world which late they stood upon

Could not content nor quench their appetites.

Life is a frost of cold felicitie

And death the thaw of all our vanitie.


ON one of those sober and rather melancholy days in the latter
part of autumn when the shadows of morning and evening almost
mingle togetherand throw a gloom over the decline of the year
I passed several hours in rambling about Westminster Abbey. There
was something congenial to the season in the mournful
magnificence of the old pileand as I passed its threshold it
seemed like stepping back into the regions of antiquity and
losing myself among the shades of former ages.

I entered from the inner court of Westminster Schoolthrough a
longlowvaulted passage that had an almost subterranean look

being dimly lighted in one part by circular perforations in the
massive walls. Through this dark avenue I had a distant view of
the cloisterswith the figure of an old verger in his black gown
moving along their shadowy vaultsand seeming like a spectre
from one of the neighboring tombs. The approach to the abbey
through these gloomy monastic remains prepares the mind for its
solemn contemplation. The cloisters still retain something of the
quiet and seclusion of former days. The gray walls are discolored
by damps and crumbling with age; a coat of hoary moss has
gathered over the inscriptions of the mural monumentsand
obscured the death's heads and other funeral emblems. The sharp
touches of the chisel are gone from the rich tracery of the
arches; the roses which adorned the keystones have lost their
leafy beauty; everything bears marks of the gradual dilapidations
of timewhich yet has something touching and pleasing in its
very decay.

The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into the square of
the cloistersbeaming upon a scanty plot of grass in the centre
and lighting up an angle of the vaulted passage with a kind of
dusky splendor. From between the arcades the eye glanced up to a
bit of blue sky or a passing cloudand beheld the sun-gilt
pinnacles of the abbey towering into the azure heaven.

As I paced the cloisterssometimes contemplating this mingled
picture of glory and decayand sometimes endeavoring to decipher
the inscriptions on the tombstones which formed the pavement
beneath my feetmy eye was attracted to three figures rudely
carved in reliefbut nearly worn away by the footsteps of many
generations. They were the effigies of three of the early abbots;
the epitaphs were entirely effaced; the names alone remained
having no doubt been renewed in later times (Vitalis. Abbas.
1082and Gislebertus Crispinus. Abbas. 1114and Laurentius.
Abbas. 1176). I remained some little whilemusing over these
casual relics of antiquity thus left like wrecks upon this
distant shore of timetelling no tale but that such beings had
been and had perishedteaching no moral but the futility of that
pride which hopes still to exact homage in its ashes and to live
in an inscription. A little longerand even these faint records
will be obliterated and the monument will cease to be a memorial.
Whilst I was yet looking down upon the gravestones I was roused
by the sound of the abbey clockreverberating from buttress to
buttress and echoing among the cloisters. It is almost startling
to hear this warning of departed time sounding among the tombs
and telling the lapse of the hourwhichlike a billowhas
rolled us onward towards the grave. I pursued my walk to an
arched door opening to the interior of the abbey. On entering
here the magnitude of the building breaks fully upon the mind
contrasted with the vaults of the cloisters. The eyes gaze with
wonder at clustered columns of gigantic dimensionswith arches
springing from them to such an amazing heightand man wandering
about their basesshrunk into insignificance in comparison with
his own handiwork. The spaciousness and gloom of this vast
edifice produce a profound and mysterious awe. We step cautiously
and softly aboutas if fearful of disturbing the hallowed
silence of the tombwhile every footfall whispers along the
walls and chatters among the sepulchresmaking us more sensible
of the quiet we have interrupted.

It seems as if the awful nature of the place presses down upon
the soul and hushes the beholder into noiseless reverence. We
feel that we are surrounded by the congregated bones of the great
men of past timeswho have filled history with their deeds and
the earth with their renown.

And yet it almost provokes a smile at the vanity of human
ambition to see how they are crowded together and jostled in the
dust; what parsimony is observed in doling out a scanty nooka
gloomy cornera little portion of earthto those whomwhen
alivekingdoms could not satisfyand how many shapes and forms
and artifices are devised to catch the casual notice of the
passengerand save from forgetfulness for a few short years a
name which once aspired to occupy ages of the world's thought and

I passed some time in Poet's Cornerwhich occupies an end of one
of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. The monuments are
generally simplefor the lives of literary men afford no
striking themes for the sculptor. Shakespeare and Addison have
statues erected to their memoriesbut the greater part have
bustsmedallionsand sometimes mere inscriptions.
Notwithstanding the simplicity of these memorialsI have always
observed that the visitors to the abbey remained longest about
them. A kinder and fonder feeling takes place of that cold
curiosity or vague admiration with which they gaze on the
splendid monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger about
these as about the tombs of friends and companionsfor indeed
there is something of companionship between the author and the
reader. Other men are known to posterity only through the medium
of historywhich is continually growing faint and obscure; but
the intercourse between the author and his fellowmen is ever new
activeand immediate. He has lived for them more than for
himself; he has sacrificed surrounding enjoymentsand shut
himself up from the delights of social lifethat he might the
more intimately commune with distant minds and distant ages. Well
may the world cherish his renownfor it has been purchased not
by deeds of violence and bloodbut by the diligent dispensation
of pleasure. Well may posterity be grateful to his memoryfor he
has left it an inheritance not of empty names and sounding
actionsbut whole treasures of wisdombright gems of thought
and golden veins of language.

From Poet's Corner I continued my stroll towards that part of the
abbey which contains the sepulchres of the kings. I wandered
among what once were chapelsbut which are now occupied by the
tombs and monuments of the great. At every turn I met with some
illustrious name or the cognizance of some powerful house
renowned in history. As the eye darts into these dusky chambers
of death it catches glimpses of quaint effigies--some kneeling in
nichesas if in devotion; others stretched upon the tombswith
hands piously pressed together; warriors in armoras if reposing
after battle; prelateswith crosiers and mitres; and nobles in
robes and coronetslying as it were in state. In glancing over
this sceneso strangely populousyet where every form is so
still and silentit seems almost as if we were treading a
mansion of that fabled city where every being had been suddenly
transmuted into stone.

I paused to contemplate a tomb on which lay the effigy of a
knight in complete armor. A large buckler was on one arm; the
hands were pressed together in supplication upon the breast; the
face was almost covered by the morion; the legs were crossedin
token of the warrior's having been engaged in the holy war. It
was the tomb of a crusaderof one of those military enthusiasts
who so strangely mingled religion and romanceand whose exploits
form the connecting link between fact and fictionbetween the
history and the fairytale. There is something extremely
picturesque in the tombs of these adventurersdecorated as they

are with rude armorial bearings and Gothic sculpture. They
comport with the antiquated chapels in which they are generally
found; and in considering them the imagination is apt to kindle
with the legendary associationsthe romantic fictionthe
chivalrous pomp and pageantry which poetry has spread over the
wars for the sepulchre of Christ. They are the relics of times
utterly gone byof beings passed from recollectionof customs
and manners with which ours have no affinity. They are like
objects from some strange and distant land of which we have no
certain knowledgeand about which all our conceptions are vague
and visionary. There is something extremely solemn and awful in
those effigies on Gothic tombsextended as if in the sleep of
death or in the supplication of the dying hour. They have an
effect infinitely more impressive on my feelings than the
fanciful attitudesthe over wrought conceitsthe allegorical
groups which abound on modern monuments. I have been struck
alsowith the superiority of many of the old sepulchral
inscriptions. There was a noble way in former times of saying
things simplyand yet saying them proudly; and I do not know an
epitaph that breathes a loftier consciousness of family worth and
honorable lineage than one which affirms of a noble house that
all the brothers were brave and all the sisters virtuous.

In the opposite transept to Poet's Corner stands a monument which
is among the most renowned achievements of modern artbut which
to me appears horrible rather than sublime. It is the tomb of
Mrs. Nightingaleby Roubillac. The bottom of the monument is
represented as throwing open its marble doorsand a sheeted
skeleton is starting forth. The shroud is falling from his
fleshless frame as he launches his dart at his victim. She is
sinking into her affrighted husband's armswho strives with vain
and frantic effort to avert the blow. The whole is executed with
terrible truth and spirit; we almost fancy we hear the gibbering
yell of triumph bursting from the distended jaws of the spectre.
But why should we thus seek to clothe death with unnecessary
terrorsand to spread horrors round the tomb of those we love?
The grave should be surrounded by everything that might inspire
tenderness and veneration for the deador that might win the
living to virtue. It is the place not of disgust and dismaybut
of sorrow and meditation.

While wandering about these gloomy vaults and silent aisles
studying the records of the deadthe sound of busy existence
from without occasionally reaches the ear--the rumbling of the
passing equipagethe murmur of the multitudeor perhaps the
light laugh of pleasure. The contrast is striking with the
deathlike repose around; and it has a strange effect upon the
feelings thus to hear the surges of active life hurrying along
and beating against the very walls of the sepulchre.

I continued in this way to move from tomb to tomb and from chapel
to chapel. The day was gradually wearing away; the distant tread
of loiterers about the abbey grew less and less frequent; the
sweet-tongued bell was summoning to evening prayers; and I saw at
a distance the choristers in their white surplices crossing the
aisle and entering the choir. I stood before the entrance to
Henry the Seventh's chapel. A flight of steps leads up to it
through a deep and gloomy but magnificent arch. Great gates of
brassrichly and delicately wroughtturn heavily upon their
hingesas if proudly reluctant to admit the feet of common
mortals into this most gorgeous of sepulchres.

On entering the eye is astonished by the pomp of architecture and
the elaborate beauty of sculptured detail. The very walls are

wrought into universal ornament encrusted with traceryand
scooped into niches crowded with the statues of saints and
martyrs. Stone seemsby the cunning labor of the chiselto have
been robbed of its weight and densitysuspended aloft as if by
magicand the fretted roof achieved with the wonderful
minuteness and airy security of a cobweb.

Along the sides of the chapel are the lofty stalls of the Knights
of the Bathrichly carved of oakthough with the grotesque
decorations of Gothic architecture. On the pinnacles of the
stalls are affixed the helmets and crests of the knightswith
their scarfs and swordsand above them are suspended their
bannersemblazoned with armorial bearingsand contrasting the
splendor of gold and purple and crimson with the cold gray
fretwork of the roof. In the midst of this grand mausoleum stands
the sepulchre of its founder--his effigywith that of his queen
extended on a sumptuous tomb--and the whole surrounded by a
superbly-wrought brazen railing.

There is a sad dreariness in this magnificencethis strange
mixture of tombs and trophiesthese emblems of living and
aspiring ambitionclose beside mementos which show the dust and
oblivion in which all must sooner or later terminate. Nothing
impresses the mind with a deeper feeling of loneliness than to
tread the silent and deserted scene of former throng and pageant.
On looking round on the vacant stalls of the knights and their
esquiresand on the rows of dusty but gorgeous banners that were
once borne before themmy imagination conjured up the scene when
this hall was bright with the valor and beauty of the land
glittering with the splendor of jewelled rank and military array
alive with the tread of many feet and the hum of an admiring
multitude. All had passed away; the silence of death had settled
again upon the placeinterrupted only by the casual chirping of
birdswhich had found their way into the chapel and built their
nests among its friezes and pendants--sure signs of solitariness
and desertion.

When I read the names inscribed on the bannersthey were those
of men scattered far and wide about the world--some tossing upon
distant seas: some under arms in distant lands; some mingling in
the busy intrigues of courts and cabinets--all seeking to
deserve one more distinction in this mansion of shadowy
honors--the melancholy reward of a monument.

Two small aisles on each side of this chapel present a touching
instance of the equality of the gravewhich brings down the
oppressor to a level with the oppressed and mingles the dust of
the bitterest enemies together. In one is the sepulchre of the
haughty Elizabeth; in the other is that of her victimthe lovely
and unfortunate Mary. Not an hour in the day but some ejaculation
of pity is uttered over the fate of the lattermingled with
indignation at her oppressor. The walls of Elizabeth's sepulchre
continually echo with the sighs of sympathy heaved at the grave
of her rival.

A peculiar melancholy reigns over the aisle where Mary lies
buried. The light struggles dimly through windows darkened by
dust. The greater part of the place is in deep shadowand the
walls are stained and tinted by time and weather. A marble figure
of Mary is stretched upon the tombround which is an iron
railingmuch corrodedbearing her national emblem--the thistle.
I was weary with wanderingand sat down to rest myself by the
monumentrevolving in my mind the chequered and disastrous story
of poor Mary.

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the abbey. I could
only hearnow and thenthe distant voice of the priest
repeating the evening service and the faint responses of the
choir; these paused for a timeand all was hushed. The
stillnessthe desertionand obscurity that were gradally
prevailing around gave a deeper and more solemn interest to the

For in the silent grave no conversation

No joyful tread of friendsno voice of lovers

No careful father's counsel--nothing's heard

For nothing isbut all oblivion

Dustand an endless darkness.

Suddenly the notes of the deep-laboring organ burst upon the ear
falling with doubled and redoubled intensityand rollingas it
werehuge billows of sound. How well do their volume and
grandeur accord with this mighty building! With what pomp do they
swell through its vast vaultsand breathe their awful harmony
through these caves of deathand make the silent sepulchre
vocal! And now they rise in triumphant acclamationheaving
higher and higher their accordant notes and piling sound on
sound. And now they pauseand the soft voices of the choir break
out into sweet gushes of melody; they soar aloft and warble along
the roofand seem to play about these lofty vaults like the pure
airs of heaven. Again the pealing organ heaves its thrilling
thunderscompressing air into musicand rolling it forth upon
the soul. What long-drawn cadences! What solemn sweeping
concords! It grows more and more dense and powerful; it fills the
vast pile and seems to jar the very walls--the ear is
stunned--the senses are overwhelmed. And now it is winding up in
full jubilee--it is rising from the earth to heaven; the very
soul seems rapt away and floated upwards on this swelling tide of

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a strain
of music is apt sometimes to inspire: the shadows of evening were
gradually thickening round me; the monuments began to cast deeper
and deeper gloom; and the distant clock again gave token of the
slowly waning day.

I rose and prepared to leave the abbey. As I descended the flight
of steps which lead into the body of the buildingmy eye was
caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessorand I ascended the
small staircase that conducts to itto take from thence a
general survey of this wilderness of tombs. The shrine is
elevated upon a kind of platformand close around it are the
sepulchres of various kings and queens. From this eminence the
eye looks down between pillars and funeral trophies to the
chapels and chambers belowcrowded with tombswhere warriors
prelatescourtiersand statesmen lie mouldering in their "beds
of darkness." Close by me stood the great chair of coronation
rudely carved of oak in the barbarous taste of a remote and
Gothic age. The scene seemed almost as if contrived with
theatrical artifice to produce an effect upon the beholder. Here
was a type of the beginning and the end of human pomp and power;
here it was literally but a step from the throne to the
sepulchre. Would not one think that these incongruous mementos
had been gathered together as a lesson to living greatness?--to
show iteven in the moment of its proudest exaltationthe
neglect and dishonor to which it must soon arrive--how soon that
crown which encircles its brow must pass awayand it must lie
down in the dust and disgraces of the tomband be trampled upon

by the feet of the meanest of the multitude. Forstrange to
telleven the grave is here no longer a sanctuary. There is a
shocking levity in some natures which leads them to sport with
awful and hallowed thingsand there are base minds which delight
to revenge on the illustrious dead the abject homage and
grovelling servility which they pay to the living. The coffin of
Edward the Confessor has been broken openand his remains
despoiled of their funereal ornaments; the sceptre has been
stolen from the hand of the imperious Elizabeth; and the effigy
of Henry the Fifth lies headless. Not a royal monument but bears
some proof how false and fugitive is the homage of mankind. Some
are plunderedsome mutilatedsome covered with ribaldry and
insult--all more or less outraged and dishonored.

The last beams of day were now faintly streaming through the
painted windows in the high vaults above me; the lower parts of
the abbey were already wrapped in the obscurity of twilight. The
chapels and aisles grew darker and darker. The effigies of the
kings faded into shadows; the marble figures of the monuments
assumed strange shapes in the uncertain light; the evening breeze
crept through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave; and
even the distant footfall of a vergertraversing the Poet's
Cornerhad something strange and dreary in its sound. I slowly
retraced my morning's walkand as I passed out at the portal of
the cloistersthe doorclosing with a jarring noise behind me
filled the whole building with echoes.

I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of the objects I
had been contemplatingbut found they were already falling into
indistinctness and confusion. Namesinscriptionstrophieshad
all become confounded in my recollectionthough I had scarcely
taken my foot from off the threshold. Whatthought Iis this
vast assemblage of sepulchres but a treasury of humiliation--a
huge pile of reiterated homilies on the emptiness of renown and
the certainty of oblivion? It isindeedthe empire of death;
his great shadowy palace where he sits in state mocking at the
relics of human glory and spreading dust and forgetfulness on the
monuments of princes. How idle a boastafter allis the
immortality of a name! Time is ever silently turning over his
pages; we are too much engrossed by the story of the present to
think of the characters and anecdotes that gave interest to the
past; and each age is a volume thrown aside to be speedily
forgotten. The idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of
our recollectionand will in turn be supplanted by his successor
of tomorrow. "Our fathers says Sir Thomas Browne, find their
graves in our short memoriesand sadly tell us how we may be
buried in our survivors." History fades into fable; fact becomes
clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription moulders from
the tablet; the statue falls from the pedestal. Columnsarches
pyramidswhat are they but heaps of sandand their epitaphs but
characters written in the dust? What is the security of a tomb or
the perpetuity of an embalmment? The remains of Alexander the
Great have been scattered to the windand his empty sarcophagus
is now the mere curiosity of a museum. "The Egyptian mummies
which Cambyses or time hath sparedavarice now consumeth;
Mizraim cures woundsand Pharaoh is sold for balsams."*

What then is to ensure this pile which now towers above me from
sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums? The time must come when
its gilded vaults which now spring so loftilyshall lie in
rubbish beneath the feet; when instead of the sound of melody and
praise the wind shall whistle through the broken arches and the
owl hoot from the shattered tower; when the garish sunbeam shall
break into these gloomy mansions of deathand the ivy twine

round the fallen column; and the fox-glove hang its blossoms
about the nameless urnas if in mockery of the dead. Thus man
passes away; his name passes from record and recollection; his
history is as a tale that is toldand his very monument becomes
a ruin.

* Sir T. Browne.

But is oldoldgood old Christmas gone? Nothing but the hair of
his goodgray old head and beard left? WellI will have that
seeing I cannot have more of him.

A man might then behold
At Christmasin each hall
Good fires to curb the cold
And meat for great and small.
The neighbors were friendly bidden
And all had welcome true
The poor from the gates were not chidden
When this old cap was new.

NOTHING in England exercises a more delightful spell over my
imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs and rural
games of former times. They recall the pictures my fancy used to
draw in the May morning of lifewhen as yet I only knew the
world through booksand believed it to be all that poets had
painted it; and they bring with them the flavor of those honest
days of yorein whichperhaps with equal fallacyI am apt to
think the world was more homebredsocialand joyous than at
present. I regret to say that they are daily growing more and
more faintbeing gradually worn away by timebut still more
obliterated by modern fashion. They resemble those picturesque
morsels of Gothic architecture which we see crumbling in various
parts of the countrypartly dilapidated by the waste of ages and
partly lost in the additions and alterations of latter days.
Poetryhoweverclings with cherishing fondness about the rural
game and holiday revel from which it has derived so many of its
themesas the ivy winds its rich foliage about the Gothic arch
and mouldering towergratefully repaying their support by
clasping together their tottering remainsandas it were
embalming them in verdure.

Of all the old festivalshoweverthat of Christmas awakens the
strongest and most heartfelt associations. There is a tone of
solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality and
lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and elevated enjoyment.
The services of the Church about this season are extremely tender
and inspiring. They dwell on the beautiful story of the origin of
our faith and the pastoral scenes that accompanied its
announcement. They gradually increase in fervor and pathos during
the season of Adventuntil they break forth in full jubilee on
the morning that brought peace and good-will to men. I do not
know a grander effect of music on the moral feelings than to hear
the full choir and the pealing organ performing a Christmas
anthem in a cathedraland filling every part of the vast pile
with triumphant harmony.

It is a beautiful arrangementalsoderived from days of yore

that this festivalwhich commemorates the announcement of the
religion of peace and lovehas been made the season for
gathering together of family connectionsand drawing closer
again those bands of kindred hearts which the cares and pleasures
and sorrows of the world are continually operating to cast loose;
of calling back the children of a family who have launched forth
in life and wandered widely asunderonce more to assemble about
the paternal hearththat rallying-place of the affectionsthere
to grow young and loving again among the endearing mementos of

There is something in the very season of the year that gives a
charm to the festivity of Christmas. At other times we derive a
great portion of our pleasures from the mere beauties of Nature.
Our feelings sally forth and dissipate themselves over the sunny
landscapeand we "live abroad and everywhere." The song of the
birdthe murmur of the streamthe breathing fragrance of
springthe soft voluptuousness of summerthe golden pomp of
autumnearth with its mantle of refreshing greenand heaven
with it deep delicious blue and its cloudy magnificence--all
fill us with mute but exquisite delightand we revel in the
luxury of mere sensation. But in the depth of winterwhen Nature
lies despoiled of every charm and wrapped in her shroud of
sheeted snowwe turn for our gratifications to moral sources.
The dreariness and desolation of the landscapethe short gloomy
days and darksome nightswhile they circumscribe our wanderings
shut in our feelings also from rambling abroadand make us more
keenly disposed for the pleasure of the social circle. Our
thoughts are more concentrated; our friendly sympathies more
aroused. We feel more sensibly the charm of each other's society
and are brought more closely together by dependence on each other
for enjoyment. Heart calleth unto heartand we draw our
pleasures from the deep wells of loving-kindness which lie in the
quiet recesses of our bosomsand whichwhen resorted to
furnish forth the pure element of domestic felicity.

The pitchy gloom without makes the heart dilate on entering the
room filled with the glow and warmth of the evening fire. The
ruddy blaze diffuses an artificial summer and sunshine through
the roomand lights up each countenance in a kindlier welcome.
Where does the honest face of hospitality expand into a broader
and more cordial smilewhere is the shy glance of love more
sweetly eloquentthan by the winter fireside? and as the hollow
blast of wintry wind rushes through the hallclaps the distant
doorwhistles about the casementand rumbles down the chimney
what can be more grateful than that feeling of sober and
sheltered security with which we look round upon the comfortable
chamber and the scene of domestic hilarity?

The Englishfrom the great prevalence of rural habit throughout
every class of societyhave always been found of those festivals
and holidayswhich agreeably interrupt the stillness of country
lifeand they werein former daysparticularly observant of
the religious and social rites of Christmas. It is inspiring to
read even the dry details which some antiquaries have given of
the quaint humorsthe burlesque pageantsthe complete
abandonment to mirth and good-fellowship with which this festival
was celebrated. It seemed to throw open every door and unlock
every heart. It brought the peasant and the peer togetherand
blended all ranks in one warmgenerous flow of joy and kindness.
The old halls of castles and manor-houses resounded with the harp
and the Christmas caroland their ample boards groaned under the
weight of hospitality. Even the poorest cottage welcomed the
festive season with green decorations of bay and holly--the

cheerful fire glanced its rays through the latticeinviting the
passengers to raise the latch and join the gossip knot huddled
round the hearth beguiling the long evening with legendary jokes
and oft-told Christmas tales.

One of the least pleasing effects of modern refinement is the
havoc it has made among the hearty old holiday customs. It has
completely taken off the sharp touchings and spirited reliefs of
these embellishments of lifeand has worn down society into a
more smooth and polishedbut certainly a less characteristic
surface. Many of the games and ceremonials of Christmas have
entirely disappearedandlike the sherris sack of old Falstaff
are become matters of speculation and dispute among commentators.
They flourished in times full of spirit and lustihoodwhen men
enjoyed life roughlybut heartily and vigorously--times wild and
picturesquewhich have furnished poetry with its richest
materials and the drama with its most attractive variety of
characters and manners. The world has become more worldly. There
is more of dissipationand less of enjoyment. Pleasure has
expanded into a broaderbut a shallower streamand has forsaken
many of those deep and quiet channels where it flowed sweetly
through the calm bosom of domestic life. Society has acquired a
more enlightened and elegant tonebut it has lost many of its
strong local peculiaritiesits homebred feelingsits honest
fireside delights. The traditionary customs of golden-hearted
antiquityits feudal hospitalitiesand lordly wassailingshave
passed away with the baronial castles and stately manor-houses in
which they were celebrated. They comported with the shadowy hall
the great oaken galleryand the tapestried parlorbut are
unfitted to the light showy saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the
modern villa.

Shornhoweveras it isof its ancient and festive honors
Christmas is still a period of delightful excitement in England.
It is gratifying to see that home-feeling completely aroused
which holds so powerful a place in every English bosom. The
preparations making on every side for the social board that is
again to unite friends and kindred; the presents of good cheer
passing and repassingthose tokens of regard and quickeners of
kind feelings; the evergreens distributed about houses and
churchesemblems of peace and gladness--all these have the most
pleasing effect in producing fond associations and kindling
benevolent sympathies. Even the sound of the Waitsrude as may
be their minstrelsybreaks upon the mid-watches of a winter
night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I have been awakened
by them in that still and solemn hour "when deep sleep falleth
upon man I have listened with a hushed delight, and, connecting
them with the sacred and joyous occasion, have almost fancied
them into another celestial choir announcing peace and good-will
to mankind.

How delightfully the imagination, when wrought upon by these
moral influences, turns everything to melody and beauty! The very
crowing of the cock, heard sometimes in the profound repose of
the country, telling the night-watches to his feathery dames
was thought by the common people to announce the approach of this
sacred festival.

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes

Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated

This bird of dawning singeth all night long;

And thenthey sayno spirit dares stir abroad

The nights are wholesome--then no planets strike

No fairy takesno witch hath power to charm

So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."

Amidst the general call to happinessthe bustle of the spirits
and stir of the affections which prevail at this period what
bosom can remain insensible? It isindeedthe season of
regenerated feeling--the season for kindling not merely the fire
of hospitality in the hallbut the genial flame of charity in
the heart.

The scene of early love again rises green to memory beyond the
sterile waste of years; and the idea of homefraught with the
fragrance of home-dwelling joysreanimates the drooping spirit
as the Arabian breeze will sometimes waft the freshness of the
distant fields to the weary pilgrim of the desert.

Stranger and sojourner as I am in the landthough for me no
social hearth may blazeno hospitable roof throw open its doors
nor the warm grasp of friendship welcome me at the thresholdyet
I feel the influence of the season beaming into my soul from the
happy looks of those around me. Surely happiness is reflective
like the light of heavenand every countenancebright with
smiles and glowing with innocent enjoymentis a mirror
transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever-shining
benevolence. He who can turn churlishly away from contemplating
the felicity of his fellow-beingsand can sit down darkling and
repining in his loneliness when all around is joyfulmay have
his moments of strong excitement and selfish gratificationbut
he wants the genial and social sympathies which constitute the
charm of a merry Christmas.


Omne bene

Sine poena

Tempua est ludendi.

Venit hora

Absque mora

Libros deponendi.


IN the preceding paper I have made some general observations on
the Christmas festivities of Englandand am tempted to
illustrate them by some anecdotes of a Christmas passed in the
country; in perusing which I would most courteously invite my
reader to lay aside the austerity of wisdomand to put on that
genuine holiday spirit which is tolerant of folly and anxious
only for amusement.

In the course of a December tour in YorkshireI rode for a long
distance in one of the public coaches on the day preceding
Christmas. The coach was crowdedboth inside and outwith
passengers whoby their talkseemed principally bound to the
mansions of relations or friends to eat the Christmas dinner. It
was loaded also with hampers of game and baskets and boxes of
delicaciesand hares hung dangling their long ears about the
coachman's boxpresents from distant friends for the impending
feast. I had three fine rosy-cheeked school boys for my
fellow-passengers insidefull of the buxom health and manly
spirit which I have observed in the children of this country.
They were returning home for the holidays in high gleeand
promising themselves a world of enjoyment. It was delightful to
hear the gigantic plans of the little roguesand the

impracticable feats they were to perform during their six weeks'
emancipation from the abhorred thraldom of bookbirchand
pedagogue. They were full of anticipations of the meeting with
the family and householddown to the very cat and dogand of
the joy they were to give their little sisters by the presents
with which their pockets were crammed; but the meeting to which
they seemed to look forward with the greatest impatience was with
Bantamwhich I found to be a ponyandaccording to their talk
possessed of more virtues than any steed since the days of
Bucephalus. How he could trot! how he could run! and then such
leaps as he would take!--there was not a hedge in the whole
country that he could not clear.

They were under the particular guardianship of the coachmanto
whomwhenever an opportunity presentedthey addressed a host of
questionsand pronounced him one of the best fellows in the
world. IndeedI could not but notice the more than ordinary air
of bustle and importance of the coachmanwho wore his hat a
little on one side and had a large bunch of Christmas greens
stuck in the buttonhole of his coat. He is always a personage
full of mighty care and businessbut he is particularly so
during this seasonhaving so many commissions to execute in
consequence of the great interchange of presents. And here
perhapsit may not be unacceptable to my untravelled readers to
have a sketch that may serve as a general representation of this
very numerous and important class of functionarieswho have a
dressa mannera languagean air peculiar to themselves and
prevalent throughout the fraternity; so that wherever an English
stage-coachman may be seen he cannot be mistaken for one of any
other craft or mystery.

He has commonly a broadfull facecuriously mottled with red
as if the blood had been forced by hard feeding into every vessel
of the skin; he is swelled into jolly dimensions by frequent
potations of malt liquorsand his bulk is still further
increased by a multiplicity of coatsin which he is buried like
a cauliflowerthe upper one reaching to his heels. He wears a
broad-brimmedlow-crowned hat; a huge roll of colored
handkerchief about his neckknowingly knotted and tucked in at
the bosom; and has in summer-time a large bouquet of flowers in
his buttonholethe presentmost probablyof some enamored
country lass. His waistcoat is commonly of some bright color
stripedand his small-clothes extend far below the kneesto
meet a pair of jockey boots which reach about halfway up his

All this costume is maintained with much precision; he has a
pride in having his clothes of excellent materialsand
notwithstanding the seeming grossness of his appearancethere is
still discernible that neatness and propriety of person which is
almost inherent in an Englishman. He enjoys great consequence and
consideration along the road; has frequent conferences with the
village housewiveswho look upon him as a man of great trust and
dependence; and he seems to have a good understanding with every
bright-eyed country lass. The moment he arrives where the horses
are to be changedhe throws down the reins with something of an
air and abandons the cattle to the care of the ostlerhis duty
being merely to drive from one stage to another. When off the box
his hands are thrust into the pockets of his great coatand he
rolls about the inn-yard with an air of the most absolute
lordliness. Here he is generally surrounded by an admiring throng
of ostlersstableboysshoeblacksand those nameless hangers-on
that infest inns and tavernsand run errands and do all kind of
odd jobs for the privilege of battening on the drippings of the

kitchen and the leakage of the tap-room. These all look up to him
as to an oracletreasure up his cant phrasesecho his opinions
about horses and other topics of jockey loreandabove all
endeavor to imitate his air and carriage. Every ragamuffin that
has a coat to his back thrusts his hands in the pocketsrolls in
his gaittalks slangand is an embryo Coachey.

Perhaps it might be owing to the pleasing serenity that reigned
in my own mind that I fancied I saw cheerfulness in every
countenance throughout the journey. A stage-coachhowever
carries animation always with itand puts the world in motion as
it whirls along. The hornsounded at the entrance of the
villageproduces a general bustle. Some hasten forth to meet
friends; some with bundles and bandboxes to secure placesand in
the hurry of the moment can hardly take leave of the group that
accompanies them. In the meantime the coachman has a world of
small commissions to execute. Sometimes he delivers a hare or
pheasant; sometimes jerks a small parcel or newspaper to the door
of a public house; and sometimeswith knowing leer and words of
sly importhands to some half-blushinghalf-laughing house-maid
an odd-shaped billet-doux from some rustic admirer. As the coach
rattles through the village every one runs to the windowand you
have glances on every side of fresh country faces and blooming
giggling girls. At the corners are assembled juntos of village
idlers and wise menwho take their stations there for the
important purpose of seeing company pass; but the sagest knot is
generally at the blacksmith'sto whom the passing of the coach
is an event fruitful of much speculation. The smithwith the
horse's heel in his lappauses as the vehicle whirls by; the
cyclops round the anvil suspend their ringing hammers and suffer
the iron to grow cool; and the sooty spectre in brown paper cap
laboring at the bellows leans on the handle for a momentand
permits the asthmatic engine to heave a long-drawn sighwhile he
glares through the murky smoke and sulphurous gleams of the

Perhaps the impending holiday might have given a more than usual
animation to the countryfor it seemed to me as if everybody was
in good looks and good spirits. Gamepoultryand other luxuries
of the table were in brisk circulation in the villages; the
grocers'butchers'and fruiterers' shops were thronged with
customers. The housewives were stirring briskly aboutputting
their dwellings in orderand the glossy branches of holly with
their bright-red berries began to appear at the windows. The
scene brought to mind an old writer's account of Christmas
preparation: "Now capons and hensbesides turkeysgeeseand
duckswith beef and muttonmust all diefor in twelve days a
multitude of people will not be fed with a little. Now plums and
spicesugar and honeysquare it among pies and broth. Now or
never must music be in tunefor the youth must dance and sing to
get them a heatwhile the aged sit by the fire. The country maid
leaves half her marketand must be sent again if she forgets a
pack of cards on Christmas Eve. Great is the contention of holly
and ivy whether master or dame wears the breeches. Dice and cards
benefit the butler; and if the cook do not lack withe will
sweetly lick his fingers."

I was roused from this fit of luxurious meditation by a shout
from my little travelling companions. They had been looking out
of the coach-windows for the last few milesrecognizing every
tree and cottage as they approached homeand now there was a
general burst of joy. "There's John! and there's old Carlo! and
there's Bantam!" cried the happy little roguesclapping their

At the end of a lane there was an old sober-looking servant in
livery waiting for them; he was accompanied by a superannuated
pointer and by the redoubtable Bantama little old rat of a pony
with a shaggy mane and long rusty tailwho stood dozing quietly
by the roadsidelittle dreaming of the bustling times that
awaited him.

I was pleased to see the fondness with which the little fellows
leaped about the steady old footman and hugged the pointerwho
wriggled his whole body for joy. But Bantam was the great object
of interest; all wanted to mount at onceand it was with some
difficulty that John arranged that they should ride by turns and
the eldest should ride first.

Off they set at lastone on the ponywith the dog bounding and
barking before himand the others holding John's handsboth
talking at once and overpowering him with questions about home
and with school anecdotes. I looked after them with a feeling in
which I do not know whether pleasure or melancholy predominated;
for I was reminded of those days whenlike themI had known
neither care nor sorrow and a holiday was the summit of earthly
felicity. We stopped a few moments afterwards to water the
horsesand on resuming our route a turn of the road brought us
in sight of a neat country-seat. I could just distinguish the
forms of a lady and two young girls in the porticoand I saw my
little comradeswith BantamCarloand old Johntrooping along
the carriage-road. I leaned out of the coach-windowin hopes of
witnessing the happy meetingbut a grove of trees shut it from
my sight.

In the evening we reached a village where I had determined to
pass the night. As we drove into the great gateway of the innI
saw on one side the light of a rousing kitchen-fire beaming
through a window. I enteredand admiredfor the hundredth time
that picture of convenienceneatnessand broad honest
enjoymentthe kitchen of an English inn. It was of spacious
dimensionshung round with copper and tin vessels highly
polishedand decorated here and there with a Christmas green.
Hamstonguesand flitches of bacon were suspended from the
ceiling; a smoke-jack made its ceaseless clanking beside the
fireplaceand a clock ticked in one corner. A well-scoured deal
table extended along one side of the kitchenwith a cold round
of beef and other hearty viands upon itover which two foaming
tankards of ale seemed mounting guard. Travellers of inferior
order were preparing to attack this stout repastwhile others
sat smoking and gossiping over their ale on two high-backed oaken
settles beside the fire. Trim housemaids were hurrying backwards
and forwards under the directions of a fresh bustling landlady
but still seizing an occasional moment to exchange a flippant
word and have a rallying laugh with the group round the fire. The
scene completely realized Poor Robin's humble idea of the
comforts of midwinter:

Now trees their leafy hats do bare

To reverence Winter's silver hair;

A handsome hostessmerry host

A pot of ale now and a toast

Tobacco and a good coal fire

Are things this season doth require.*

* Poor Robin's Almanack1684.
I had not been long at the inn when a post-chaise drove up to the

door. A young gentleman stept outand by the light of the lamps
I caught a glimpse of a countenance which I thought I knew. I
moved forward to get a nearer viewwhen his eye caught mine. I
was not mistaken; it was Frank Bracebridgea sprightly
good-humored young fellow with whom I had once travelled on the
Continent. Our meeting was extremely cordialfor the countenance
of an old fellow-traveller always brings up the recollection of a
thousand pleasant scenesodd adventuresand excellent jokes. To
discuss all these in a transient interview at an inn was
impossible; andfinding that I was not pressed for time and was
merely making a tour of observationhe insisted that I should
give him a day or two at his father's country-seatto which he
was going to pass the holidays and which lay at a few miles'
distance. "It is better than eating a solitary Christmas dinner
at an inn said he, and I can assure you of a hearty welcome in
something of the old-fashioned style." His reasoning was cogent
and I must confess the preparation I had seen for universal
festivity and social enjoyment had made me feel a little
impatient of my loneliness. I closedthereforeat once with his
invitation; the chaise drove up to the doorand in a few moments
I was on my way to the family mansion of the Bracebridges.


Saint Francis and Saint Benedight

Blesse this house from wicked wight;

From the night-mare and the goblin

That is hight good fellow Robin;

Keep it from all evil spirits

Fairiesweezelsratsand ferrets:

From curfew time

To the next prime.


IT was a brilliant moonlight nightbut extremely cold; our
chaise whirled rapidly over the frozen ground; the postboy
smacked his whip incessantlyand a part of the time his horses
were on a gallop. "He knows where he is going said my
companion, laughing, and is eager to arrive in time for some of
the merriment and good cheer of the servants' hall. My father
you must knowis a bigoted devotee of the old schooland prides
himself upon keeping up something of old English hospitality. He
is a tolerable specimen of what you will rarely meet with
nowadays in its puritythe old English country gentleman; for
our men of fortune spend so much of their time in townand
fashion is carried so much into the countrythat the strong rich
peculiarities of ancient rural life are almost polished away. My
fatherhoweverfrom early yearstook honest Peacham* for his
textbookinstead of Chesterfield; he determined in his own mind
that there was no condition more truly honorable and enviable
than that of a country gentleman on his paternal landsand
therefore passes the whole of his time on his estate. He is a
strenuous advocate for the revival of the old rural games and
holiday observancesand is deeply read in the writersancient
and modernwho have treated on the subject. Indeedhis favorite
range of reading is among the authors who flourished at least two
centuries sincewhohe insistswrote and thought more like
true Englishmen than any of their successors. He even regrets
sometimes that he had not been born a few centuries earlierwhen
England was itself and had its peculiar manners and customs. As
he lives at some distance from the main roadin rather a lonely
part of the countrywithout any rival gentry near himhe has

that most enviable of all blessings to an Englishman--an
opportunity of indulging the bent of his own humor without
molestation. Being representative of the oldest family in the
neighborhoodand a great part of the peasantry being his
tenantshe is much looked up toand in general is known simply
by the appellation of `The Squire'--a title which has been
accorded to the head of the family since time immemorial. I think
it best to give you these hints about my worthy old fatherto
prepare you for any eccentricities that might otherwise appear

* Peacham's Complete Gentleman1622.
We had passed for some time along the wall of a parkand at
length the chaise stopped at the gate. It was in a heavy
magnificent old styleof iron bars fancifully wrought at top
into flourishes and flowers. The huge square columns that
supported the gate were surmounted by the family crest. Close
adjoining was the porter's lodgesheltered under dark fir trees
and almost buried in shrubbery.

The postboy rang a large porter's bellwhich resounded though
the still frosty airand was answered by the distant barking of
dogswith which the mansion-house seemed garrisoned. An old
woman immediately appeared at the gate. As the moonlight fell
strongly upon herI had a full view of a little primitive dame
dressed very much in the antique tastewith a neat kerchief and
stomacherand her silver hair peeping from under a cap of snowy
whiteness. She came curtseying forthwith many expressions of
simple joy at seeing her young master. Her husbandit seemed
was up at the house keeping Christmas Eve in the servants' hall;
they could not do without himas he was the best hand at a song
and story in the household.

My friend proposed that we should alight and walk through the
park to the hallwhich was at no great distancewhile the
chaise should follow on. Our road wound through a noble avenue of
treesamong the naked branches of which the moon glittered as
she rolled through the deep vault of a cloudless sky. The lawn
beyond was sheeted with a slight covering of snowwhich here and
there sparkled as the moonbeams caught a frosty crystaland at a
distance might be seen a thin transparent vapor stealing up from
the low grounds and threatening gradually to shroud the

My companion looked around him with transport. "How often said
he, have I scampered up this avenue on returning home on school
vacations! How often have I played under these trees when a boy!
I feel a degree of filial reverence for themas we look up to
those who have cherished us in childhood. My father was always
scrupulous in exacting our holidays and having us around him on
family festivals. He used to direct and superintend our games
with the strictness that some parents do the studies of their
children. He was very particular that we should play the old
English games according to their original formand consulted old
books for precedent and authority for every `merrie disport;' yet
I assure you there never was pedantry so delightful. It was the
policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that
home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this
delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent
could bestow."

We were interrupted by the clamor of a troop of dogs of all sorts
and sizesmongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound, and curs of lower

degree,that disturbed by the ring of the porter's bell and the
rattling of the chaisecame boundingopen-mouthedacross the

`----The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me!'

cried Bracebridgelaughing. At the sound of his voice the bark
was changed into a yelp of delightand in a moment he was
surrounded and almost overpowered by the caresses of the faithful

We had now come in full view of the old family mansionpartly
thrown in deep shadow and partly lit up by the cold moonshine. It
was an irregular building of some magnitudeand seemed to be of
the architecture of different periods. One wing was evidently
very ancientwith heavy stone-shafted bow windows jutting out
and overrun with ivyfrom among the foliage of which the small
diamond-shaped panes of glass glittered with the moonbeams. The
rest of the house was in the French taste of Charles the Second's
timehaving been repaired and alteredas my friend told meby
one of his ancestors who returned with that monarch at the
Restoration. The grounds about the house were laid out in the old
formal manner of artificial flower-bedsclipped shrubberies
raised terracesand heavy stone balustradesornamented with
urnsa leaden statue or twoand a jet of water. The old
gentlemanI was toldwas extremely careful to preserve this
obsolete finery in all its original state. He admired this
fashion in gardening; it had an air of magnificencewas courtly
and nobleand befitting good old family style. The boasted
imitation of Nature in modern gardening had sprung up with modern
republican notionsbut did not suit a monarchical government; it
smacked of the leveling system. I could not help smiling at this
introduction of politics into gardeningthough I expressed some
apprehension that I should find the old gentleman rather
intolerant in his creed. Frank assured mehoweverthat it was
almost the only instance in which he had ever heard his father
meddle with politics; and he believed that he had got this notion
from a member of Parliament who once passed a few weeks with him.
The squire was glad of any argument to defend his clipped yew
trees and formal terraceswhich had been occasionally attacked
by modern landscape gardeners.

As we approached the house we heard the sound of musicand now
and then a burst of laughter from one end of the building. This
Bracebridge saidmust proceed from the servants' hallwhere a
great deal of revelry was permittedand even encouragedby the
squire throughout the twelve days of Christmasprovided
everything was done conformably to ancient usage. Here were kept
up the old games of hoodman blindshoe the wild marehot
cocklessteal the white loafbob appleand snap dragon; the
Yule-clog and Christmas candle were regularly burntand the
mistletoe with its white berries hung upto the imminent peril
of all the pretty housemaids.*

* The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at
Christmasand the young men have the privilege of kissing the
girls under itplucking each time a berry from the bush. When
the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.
So intent were the servants upon their sports that we had to ring
repeatedly before we could make ourselves heard. On our arrival
being announced the squire came out to receive usaccompanied by
his two other sons--one a young officer in the armyhome on a

leave of absence; the other an Oxonianjust from the university.
The squire was a fine healthy-looking old gentlemanwith silver
hair curling lightly round an open florid countenancein which
the physiognomistwith the advantagelike myselfof a previous
hint or twomight discover a singular mixture of whim and

The family meeting was warm and affectionate; as the evening was
far advancedthe squire would not permit us to change our
travelling dressesbut ushered us at once to the companywhich
was assembled in a large old-fashioned hall. It was composed of
different branches of a numerous family connectionwhere there
were the usual proportion of old uncles and auntscomfortable
married damessuperannuated spinstersblooming country cousins
half-fledged striplingsand bright-eyed boarding-school hoydens.
They were variously occupied--some at a round game of cards;
others conversing around the fireplace; at one end of the hall
was a group of the young folkssome nearly grown upothers of a
more tender and budding agefully engrossed by a merry game; and
a profusion of wooden horsespenny trumpetsand tattered dolls
about the floor showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings
whohaving frolicked through a happy dayhad been carried off
to slumber through a peaceful night.

While the mutual greetings were going on between young
Bracebridge and his relatives I had time to scan the apartment. I
have called it a hallfor so it had certainly been in old times
and the squire had evidently endeavored to restore it to
something of its primitive state. Over the heavy projecting
fireplace was suspended a picture of a warrior in armorstanding
by a white horseand on the opposite wall hung a helmet
bucklerand lance. At one end an enormous pair of antlers were
inserted in the wallthe branches serving as hooks on which to
suspend hatswhipsand spursand in the corners of the
apartment were fowling-piecesfishing-rodsand other sporting
implements. The furniture was of the cumbrous workmanship of
former daysthough some articles of modern convenience had been
added and the oaken floor had been carpetedso that the whole
presented an odd mixture of parlor and hall.

The grate had been removed from the wide overwhelming fireplace
to make way for a fire of woodin the midst of which was an
enormous log glowing and blazingand sending forth a vast volume
of light and heat: thisI understoodwas the Yule-clogwhich
the squire was particular in having brought in and illumined on a
Christmas Eveaccording to ancient custom.*

* The Yule-clog is a great log of woodsometimes the root of a
treebrought into the house with great ceremony on Christmas
Evelaid in the fireplaceand lighted with the brand of last
year's clog. While it lasted there was great drinkingsinging
and telling of tales. Sometimes it was accompanied by Christmas
candles; but in the cottages the only light was from the ruddy
blaze of the great wood fire. The Yule-clog was to burn all
night; if it went outit was considered a sign of ill luck.
Herrick mentions it in one of his songs:

Comebring with a noise

My metricmerrie boys

The Christmas Log to the firing;

While my good dameshe

Bids ye all be free

And drink to your hearts' desiring.

The Yule-clog is still burnt in many farm-houses and kitchens in
Englandparticularly in the northand there are several
superstitions connected with it among the peasantry. If a
squinting person come to the house while it is burningor a
person barefootedit is considered an ill omen. The brand
remaining from the Yule-clog is carefully put away to light the
next year's Christmas fire.

It was really delightful to see the old squire seated in his
hereditary elbow-chair by the hospitable fireside of his
ancestorsand looking around him like the sun of a system
beaming warmth and gladness to every heart. Even the very dog
that lay stretched at his feetas he lazily shifted his position
and yawned would look fondly up in his master's facewag his
tail against the floorand stretch himself again to sleep
confident of kindness and protection. There is an emanation from
the heart in genuine hospitality which cannot be describedbut
is immediately felt and puts the stranger at once at his ease. I
had not been seated many minutes by the comfortable hearth of the
worthy old cavalier before I found myself as much at home as if I
had been one of the family.

Supper was announced shortly after our arrival. It was served up
in a spacious oaken chamberthe panels of which shone with wax
and around which were several family portraits decorated with
holly and ivy. Besides the accustomed lightstwo great wax
taperscalled Christmas candleswreathed with greenswere
placed on a highly polished beaufet among the family plate. The
table was abundantly spread with substantial fare; but the squire
made his supper of frumentya dish made of wheat cakes boiled in
milk with rich spicesbeing a standing dish in old times for
Christmas Eve. I was happy to find my old friendminced piein
the retinue of the feast andfinding him to be perfectly
orthodoxand that I need not be ashamed of my predilectionI
greeted him with all the warmth wherewith we usually greet an old
and very genteel acquaintance.

The mirth of the company was greatly promoted by the humors of an
eccentric personage whom Mr. Bracebridge always addressed with
the quaint appellation of Master Simon. He was a tight brisk
little manwith the air of an arrant old bachelor. His nose was
shaped like the bill of a parrot; his face slightly pitted with
the small-poxwith a dry perpetual bloom on itlike a
frostbitten leaf in autumn. He had an eye of great quickness and
vivacitywith a drollery and lurking waggery of expression that
was irresistible. He was evidently the wit of the familydealing
very much in sly jokes and innuendoes with the ladiesand making
infinite merriment by harping upon old themeswhich
unfortunatelymy ignorance of the family chronicles did not
permit me to enjoy. It seemed to be his great delight during
supper to keep a young girl next to him in a continual agony of
stifled laughterin spite of her awe of the reproving looks of
her motherwho sat opposite. Indeedhe was the idol of the
younger part of the companywho laughed at everything he said or
did and at every turn of his countenance. I could not wonder at
it; for be must have been a miracle of accomplishments in their
eyes. He could imitate Punch and Judy; make an old woman of his
handwith the assistance of a burnt cork and
pocket-handkerchief; and cut an orange into such a ludicrous
caricature that the young folks were ready to die with laughing.

I was let briefly into his history by Frank Bracebridge. He was
an old bachelorof a small independent incomewhich by careful

management was sufficient for all his wants. He revolved through
the family system like a vagrant comet in its orbitsometimes
visiting one branchand sometimes another quite remoteas is
often the case with gentlemen of extensive connections and small
fortunes in England. He had a chirpingbuoyant disposition
always enjoying the present moment; and his frequent change of
scene and company prevented his acquiring those rusty
unaccommodating habits with which old bachelors are so
uncharitably charged. He was a complete family chroniclebeing
versed in the genealogyhistoryand intermarriages of the whole
house of Bracebridgewhich made him a great favorite with the
old folks; he was a beau of all the elder ladies and
superannuated spinstersamong whom he was habitually considered
rather a young fellow; and he was master of the revels among the
childrenso that there was not a more popular being in the
sphere in which he moved than Mr. Simon Bracebridge. Of late
years he had resided almost entirely with the squireto whom he
had become a factotumand whom he particularly delighted by
jumping with his humor in respect to old times and by having a
scrap of an old song to suit every occasion. We had presently a
specimen of his last-mentioned talentfor no sooner was supper
removed and spiced wines and other beverages peculiar to the
season introducedthan Master Simon was called on for a good old
Christmas song. He bethought himself for a momentand thenwith
a sparkle of the eye and a voice that was by no means bad
excepting that it ran occasionally into a falsetto like the notes
of a split reedhe quavered forth a quaint old ditty:

Now Christmas is come

Let us beat up the drum

And call all our neighbors together;

And when they appear

Let us make them such cheer

As will keep out the wind and the weather&c.

The supper had disposed every one to gayetyand an old harper
was summoned from the servants' hallwhere he had been strumming
all the eveningand to all appearance comforting himself with
some of the squire's home-brewed. He was a kind of hanger-onI
was toldof the establishmentandthough ostensibly a resident
of the villagewas oftener to be found in the squire's kitchen
than his own homethe old gentleman being fond of the sound of
harp in hall.

The dancelike most dances after supperwas a merry one: some
of the older folks joined in itand the squire himself figured
down several couple with a partner with whom he affirmed he had
danced at every Christmas for nearly half a century. Master
Simonwho seemed to be a kind of connecting link between the old
times and the newand to be withal a little antiquated in the
taste of his accomplishmentsevidently piqued himself on his
dancingand was endeavoring to gain credit by the heel and toe
rigadoonand other graces of the ancient school; but he had
unluckily assorted himself with a little romping girl from
boarding-schoolwho by her wild vivacity kept him continually on
the stretch and defeated all his sober attempts at elegance: such
are the ill-sorted matches to which antique gentlemen are
unfortunately prone.

The young Oxonianon the contraryhad led out one of his maiden
auntson whom the rogue played a thousand little knaveries with
impunity: he was full of practical jokesand his delight was to
tease his aunts and cousinsyetlike all madcap youngstershe
was a universal favorite among the women. The most interesting

couple in the dance was the young officer and a ward of the
squire'sa beautiful blushing girl of seventeen. From several
shy glances which I had noticed in the course of the evening I
suspected there was a little kindness growing up between them;
and indeed the young soldier was just the hero to captivate a
romantic girl. He was tallslenderand handsomeandlike most
young British officers of late yearshad picked up various small
accomplishments on the Continent: he could talk French and
Italiandraw landscapessing very tolerablydance divinely
butabove allhe had been wounded at Waterloo. What girl of
seventeenwell read in poetry and romancecould resist such a
mirror of chivalry and perfection?

The moment the dance was over he caught up a guitarandlolling
against the old marble fireplace in an attitude which I am half
inclined to suspect was studiedbegan the little French air of
the Troubadour. The squirehoweverexclaimed against having
anything on Christmas Eve but good old English; upon which the
young minstrelcasting up his eye for a moment as if in an
effort of memorystruck into another strainand with a charming
air of gallantry gave Herrick's "Night-Piece to Julia:"

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee

The shooting stars attend thee

And the elves also

Whose little eyes glow

Like the sparks of firebefriend thee.

No Will-o'-the-Wisp misligbt thee;

Nor snake nor slow-worm bite thee;

But on thy way

Not making a stay

Since ghost there is none to affright thee

Then let not the dark thee cumber;

What though the moon does slumber

The stars of the night

Will lend thee their light

Like tapers clear without number.

ThenJulialet me woo thee

Thusthus to come unto me

And when I shall meet

Thy silvery feet

My soul I'll pour into thee.

The song might or might not have been intended in compliment to
the fair Juliafor so I found his partner was called; she
howeverwas certainly unconscious of any such applicationfor
she never looked at the singerbut kept her eyes cast upon the
floor. Her face was suffusedit is truewith a beautiful blush
and there was a gentle heaving of the bosombut all that was
doubtless caused by the exercise of the dance; indeedso great
was her indifference that she amused herself with plucking to
pieces a choice bouquet of hot-house flowersand by the time the
song was concluded the nosegay lay in ruins on the floor.

The party now broke up for the night with the kind-hearted old
custom of shaking hands. As I passed through the hall on my way
to my chamberthe dying embers of the Yule-clog still sent forth
a dusky glowand had it not been the season when "no spirit
dares stir abroad I should have been half tempted to steal from
my room at midnight and peep whether the fairies might not be at
their revels about the hearth.

My chamber was in the old part of the mansion, the ponderous
furniture of which might have been fabricated in the days of the
giants. The room was panelled, with cornices of heavy carved
work, in which flowers and grotesque faces were strangely
intermingled, and a row of black-looking portraits stared
mournfully at me from the walls. The bed was of rich thought
faded damask, with a lofty tester, and stood in a niche opposite
a bow window. I had scarcely got into bed when a strain of music
seemed to break forth in the air just below the window. I
listened, and found it proceeded from a band which I concluded to
be the Waits from some neighboring village. They went round the
house, playing under the windows. I drew aside the curtains to
hear them more distinctly. The moonbeams fell through the upper
part of the casement; partially lighting up the antiquated
apartment. The sounds, as they receded, became more soft and
aerial, and seemed to accord with the quiet and moonlight. I
listened and listened--they became more and more tender and
remote, and, as they gradually died away, my head sunk upon the
pillow and I fell asleep.


Dark and dull night, flie hence away,

And give the honor to this day

That sees December turn'd to May.

. . . . . . .

Why does the chilling winter's morne

Smile like a field beset with corn?

Or smell like to a meade new-shorne,

Thus on the sudden?--come and see

The cause why things thus fragrant be.


WHEN I woke the next morning it seemed as if all the events of
the preceding evening had been a dream, and nothing but the
identity of the ancient chamber convinced me of their reality.
While I lay musing on my pillow I heard the sound of little feet
pattering outside of the door, and a whispering consultation.
Presently a choir of small voices chanted forth an old Christmas
carol, the burden of which was-

Rejoice, our Saviour he was born

On Christmas Day in the morning.

I rose softly, slipt on my clothes, opened the door suddenly, and
beheld one of the most beautiful little fairy groups that a
painter could imagine. It consisted of a boy and two girls, the
eldest not more than six, and lovely as seraphs. They were going
the rounds of the house and singing at every chamber door, but my
sudden appearance frightened them into mute bashfulness. They
remained for a moment playing on their lips with their fingers,
and now and then stealing a shy glance from under their eyebrows,
until, as if by one impulse, they scampered away, and as they
turned an angle of the gallery I heard them laughing in triumph
at their escape.

Everything conspired to produce kind and happy feelings in this
stronghold of old-fashioned hospitality. The window of my chamber
looked out upon what in summer would have been a beautiful
landscape. There was a sloping lawn, a fine stream winding at the
foot of it, and a tract of park beyond, with noble clumps of

trees and herds of deer. At a distance was a neat hamlet, with
the smoke from the cottage chimneys hanging over it, and a church
with its dark spire in strong relief against the clear cold sky.
The house was surrounded with evergreens, according to the
English custom, which would have given almost an appearance of
summer; but the morning was extremely frosty; the light vapor of
the preceding evening had been precipitated by the cold, and
covered all the trees and every blade of grass with its fine
crystalizations. The rays of a bright morning sun had a dazzling
effect among the glittering foliage. A robin, perched upon the
top of a mountain-ash that hung its clusters of red berries just
before my window, was basking himself in the sunshine and piping
a few querulous notes, and a peacock was displaying all the
glories of his train and strutting with the pride and gravity of
a Spanish grandee on the terrace walk below.

I had scarcely dressed myself when a servant appeared to invite
me to family prayers. He showed me the way to a small chapel in
the old wing of the house, where I found the principal part of
the family already assembled in a kind of gallery furnished with
cushions, hassocks, and large prayer-books; the servants were
seated on benches below. The old gentleman read prayers from a
desk in front of the gallery, and Master Simon acted as clerk and
made the responses; and I must do him the justice to say that he
acquitted himself with great gravity and decorum.

The service was followed by a Christmas carol, which Mr.
Bracebridge himself had constructed from a poem of his favorite
author, Herrick, and it had been adapted to an old church melody
by Master Simon. As there were several good voices among the
household, the effect was extremely pleasing, but I was
particularly gratified by the exaltation of heart and sudden
sally of grateful feeling with which the worthy squire delivered
one stanza, his eye glistening and his voice rambling out of all
the bounds of time and tune:

'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth
And givest me Wassaile bowles to drink
Spiced to the brink;
Lord'tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soiles my land:
And giv'st me for my bushell sowne
Twice ten for one."

I afterwards understood that early morning service was read on
every Sunday and saint's day throughout the yeareither by Mr.
Bracebridge or by some member of the family. It was once almost
universally the case at the seats of the nobility and gentry of
Englandand it is much to be regretted that the custom is
falling into neglect; for the dullest observer must be sensible
of the order and serenity prevalent in those households where the
occasional exercise of a beautiful form of worship in the morning
givesas it werethe keynote to every temper for the day and
attunes every spirit to harmony.

Our breakfast consisted of what the squire denominated true old
English fare. He indulged in some bitter lamentations over modern
breakfasts of tea and toastwhich he censured as among the
causes of modern effeminacy and weak nerves and the decline of
old English heartiness; andthough he admitted them to his table
to suit the palates of his guestsyet there was a brave display
of cold meatswineand ale on the sideboard.

After breakfast I walked about the grounds with Frank Bracebridge
and Master Simonor Mr. Simonas he was called by everybody but
the squire. We were escorted by a number of gentlemanlike dogs
that seemed loungers about the establishmentfrom the frisking
spaniel to the steady old stag-houndthe last of which was of a
race that had been in the family time out of mind; they were all
obedient to a dog-whistle which hung to Master Simon's
buttonholeand in the midst of their gambols would glance an eye
occasionally upon a small switch he carried in his hand.

The old mansion had a still more venerable look in the yellow
sunshine than by pale moonlight; and I could not but feel the
force of the squire's idea that the formal terracesheavily
moulded balustradesand clipped yew trees carried with them an
air of proud aristocracy. There appeared to be an unusual number
of peacocks about the placeand I was making some remarks upon
what I termed a flock of them that were basking under a sunny
wallwhen I was gently corrected in my phraseology by Master
Simonwho told me that according to the most ancient and
approved treatise on hunting I must say a muster of peacocks. "In
the same way added he, with a slight air of pedantry, we say a
flight of doves or swallowsa bevy of quailsa herd of deerof
wrensor cranesa skulk of foxesor a building of rooks." He
went on to inform me thataccording to Sir Anthony Fitzherbert
we ought to ascribe to this bird "both understanding and glory;
forbeing praisedhe will presently set up his tailchiefly
against the sunto the intent you may the better behold the
beauty thereof. But at the fall of the leafwhen his tail
fallethhe will mourn and hide himself in corners till his tail
come again as it was."

I could not help smiling at this display of small erudition on so
whimsical a subject; but I found that the peacocks were birds of
some consequence at the hallfor Frank Bracebridge informed me
that they were great favorites with his fatherwho was extremely
careful to keep up the breed; partly because they belonged to
chivalryand were in great request at the stately banquets of
the olden timeand partly because they had a pomp and
magnificence about them highly becoming an old family mansion.
Nothinghe was accustomed to sayhad an air of greater state
and dignity than a peacock perched upon an antique stone

Master Simon had now to hurry offhaving an appointment at the
parish church with the village choristerswho were to perform
some music of his selection. There was something extremely
agreeable in the cheerful flow of animal spirits of the little
man; and I confess I had been somewhat surprised at his apt
quotations from authors who certainly were not in the range of
every-day reading. I mentioned this last circumstance to Frank
Bracebridgewho told me with a smile that Master Simon's whole
stock of erudition was confined to some half a dozen old authors
which the squire had put into his handsand which he read over
and over whenever he had a studious fitas he sometimes had on a
rainy day or a long winter evening. Sir Anthony Fitzherbert's
Book of HusbandryMarkham's Country Contentmentsthe Tretyse of
Huntingby Sir Thomas CockayneKnightIsaac Walton's Angler
and two or three more such ancient worthies of the pen were his
standard authorities; andlike all men who know but a few books
he looked up to them with a kind of idolatry and quoted them on
all occasions. As to his songsthey were chiefly picked out of
old books in the squire's libraryand adapted to tunes that were
popular among the choice spirits of the last century. His
practical application of scraps of literaturehoweverhad

caused him to be looked upon as a prodigy of book-knowledge by
all the groomshuntsmenand small sportsmen of the

While we were talking we heard the distant toll of the village
belland I was told that the squire was a little particular in
having his household at church on a Christmas morning
considering it a day of pouring out of thanks and rejoicing; for
as old Tusser observed-

At Christmas be merry, and thankful withal,
And feast thy poor neighbors, the great with the small.

If you are disposed to go to church,said Frank BracebridgeI
can promise you a specimen of my cousin Simon's musical
achievements. As the church is destitute of an organ, he has
formed a band from the village amateurs, and established a
musical club for their improvement; he has also sorted a choir,
as he sorted my father's pack of hounds, according to the
directions of Jervaise Markham in his Country Contentments: for
the bass he has sought out all the `deep, solemn mouths,' and for
the tenor the `loud-ringing mouths,' among the country bumpkins,
and for `sweet-mouths,' he has culled-with curious taste among
the prettiest lasses in the neighborhood; though these last, he
affirms, are the most difficult to keep in tune, your pretty
female singer being exceedingly wayward and capricious, and very
liable to accident.

As the morningthough frostywas remarkably fine and clearthe
most of the family walked to the churchwhich was a very old
building of gray stoneand stood near a village about half a
mile from the park gate. Adjoining it was a low snug parsonage
which seemed coeval with the church. The front of it was
perfectly matted with a yew tree that had been trained against
its wallsthrough the dense foliage of which apertures had been
formed to admit light into the small antique lattices. As we
passed this sheltered nest the parson issued forth and preceded

I had expected to see a sleek well-conditioned pastorsuch as is
often found in a snug living in the vicinity of a rich patron's
tablebut I was disappointed. The parson was a littlemeagre
black-looking manwith a grizzled wig that was too wide and
stood off from each ear; so that his head seemed to have shrunk
away within itlike a dried filbert in its shell. He wore a
rusty coatwith great skirts and pockets that would have held
the church Bible and prayer-book: and his small legs seemed still
smaller from being planted in large shoes decorated with enormous

I was informed by Frank Bracebridge that the parson had been a
chum of his father's at Oxfordand had received this living
shortly after the latter had come to his estate. He was a
complete black-letter hunterand would scarcely read a work
printed in the Roman character. The editions of Caxton and Wynkyn
de Worde were his delightand he was indefatigable in his
researches after such old English writers as have fallen into
oblivion from their worthlessness. In deferenceperhapsto the
notions of Mr. Bracebridge he had made diligent investigations
into the festive rites and holiday customs of former timesand
had been as zealous in the inquiry as if he had been a boon
coinpanion; but it was merely with that plodding spirit with
which men of adust temperament follow up any track of study
merely because it is denominated learning; indifferent to its

intrinsic naturewhether it be the illustration of the wisdom or
of the ribaldry and obscenity of antiquity. He had pored over
these old volumes so intensely that they seemed to have been
reflected into his countenance; whichif the face be indeed an
index of the mindmight be compared to a title-page of

On reaching the church-porch we found the parson rebuking the
gray-headed sexton for having used mistletoe among the greens
with which the church was decorated. It washe observedan
unholy plantprofaned by having been used by the Druids in their
mystic ceremonies; andthough it might be innocently employed in
the festive ornamenting of halls and kitchensyet it had been
deemed by the Fathers of the Church as unhallowed and totally
unfit for sacred purposes. So tenacious was he on this point that
the poor sexton was obliged to strip down a great part of the
humble trophies of his taste before the parson would consent to
enter upon the service of the day.

The interior of the church was venerablebut simple; on the
walls were several mural monuments of the Bracebridgesand just
beside the altar was a tomb of ancient workmanshipon which lay
the effigy of a warrior in armor with his legs crosseda sign of
his having been a crusader. I was told it was one of the family
who had signalized himself in the Holy Landand the same whose
picture hung over the fireplace in the hall.

During service Master Simon stood up in the pew and repeated the
responses very audiblyevincing that kind of ceremonious
devotion punctually observed by a gentleman of the old school and
a man of old family connections. I observed too that he turned
over the leaves of a folio prayer-book with something of a
flourish; possibly to show off an enormous seal-ring which
enriched one of his fingers and which had the look of a family
relic. But he was evidently most solicitous about the musical
part of the servicekeeping his eye fixed intently on the choir
and beating time with much gesticulation and emphasis.

The orchestra was in a small galleryand presented a most
whimsical grouping of heads piled one above the otheramong
which I particularly noticed that of the village tailora pale
fellow with a retreating forehead and chinwho played on the
clarinetand seemed to have blown his face to a point; and there
was anothera short pursy manstooping and laboring at a
bass-violso as to show nothing but the top of a round bald
headlike the egg of an ostrich. There were two or three pretty
faces among the female singersto which the keen air of a frosty
morning had given a bright rosy tint; but the gentlemen
choristers had evidently been chosenlike old Cremona fiddles
more for tone than looks; and as several had to sing from the
same bookthere were clusterings of odd physiognomies not unlike
those groups of cherubs we sometimes see on country tombstones.

The usual services of the choir were managed tolerably wellthe
vocal parts generally lagging a little behind the instrumental
and some loitering fiddler now and then making up for lost time
by travelling over a passage with prodigious celerity and
clearing more bars than the keenest fox-hunter to be in at the
death. But the great trial was an anthem that had been prepared
and arranged by Master Simonand on which he had founded great
expectation. Unluckilythere was a blunder at the very outset:
the musicians became flurried; Master Simon was in a fever;
everything went on lamely and irregularly until they came to a
chorus beginningNow let us sing with one accord,which seemed

to be a signal for parting company: all became discord and
confusion: each shifted for himselfand got to the end as
well--orratheras soon--as he couldexcepting one old
chorister in a pair of horn spectacles bestriding and pinching a
long sonorous nosewho happened to stand a little apartand
being wrapped up in his own melodykept on a quavering course
wriggling his headogling his bookand winding all up by a
nasal solo of at least three bars' duration.

The parson gave us a most erudite sermon on the rites and
ceremonies of Christmasand the propriety of observing it not
merely as a day of thanksgiving but of rejoicingsupporting the
correctness of his opinions by the earliest usages of the Church
and enforcing them by the authorities of Theophilus of Caesarea
St. CyprianSt. ChrysostomSt. Augustineand a cloud more of
saints and fathersfrom whom he made copious quotations. I was a
little at a loss to perceive the necessity of such a mighty array
of forces to maintain a point which no one present seemed
inclined to dispute; but I soon found that the good man had a
legion of ideal adversaries to contend withhaving in the course
of his researches on the subject of Christmas got completely
embroiled in the sectarian controversies of the Revolutionwhen
the Puritans made such a fierce assault upon the ceremonies of
the Churchand poor old Christmas was driven out of the land by
proclamation of Parliament.* The worthy parson lived but with
times pastand knew but little of the present.

Shut up among worm-eaten tomes in the retirement of his
antiquated little studythe pages of old times were to him as
the gazettes of the daywhile the era of the Revolution was mere
modern history. He forgot that nearly two centuries had elapsed
since the fiery persecution of poor mince-pie throughout the
land; when plum porridge was denounced as "mere popery and
roast beef as anti-christian, and that Christmas had been brought
in again triumphantly with the merry court of King Charles at the
Restoration. He kindled into warmth with the ardor of his contest
and the host of imaginary foes with whom he had to combat; he had
a stubborn conflict with old Prynne and two or three other
forgotten champions of the Roundheads on the subject of Christmas
festivity; and concluded by urging his hearers, in the most
solemn and affecting manner, to stand to the traditional customs
of their fathers and feast and make merry on this joyful
anniversary of the Church.

* From the Flying Eagle a small gazette, published December
24, 1652: The House spent much time this day about the business
of the Navyfor settling the affairs at seaand before they
rosewere presented with a terrible remonstrance against
Christmas daygrounded upon divine Scriptures2 Cor. v. 16; I
Cor. xv. 1417; and in honor of the Lord's Daygrounded upon
these ScripturesJohn xx. I; Rev. i. 10; Psalms cxviii. 24; Lev.
xxiii. 711; Mark xv. 8; Psalms lxxxiv. 10in which Christmas
is called Anti-christ's masseand those Masse-mongers and
Papists who observe itetc. In consequence of which parliament
spent some time in consultation about the abolition of Christmas
daypassed orders to that effectand resolved to sit on the
following daywhich was commonly called Christmas day."
I have seldom known a sermon attended apparently with more
immediate effectsfor on leaving the church the congregation
seemed one and all possessed with the gayety of spirit so
earnestly enjoined by their pastor. The elder folks gathered in
knots in the churchyardgreeting and shaking handsand the
children ran about crying Ule! Ule! and repeating some uncouth

rhymes* which the parsonwho had joined usinformed me had
been banded down from days of yore. The villagers doffed their
hats to the squire as he passedgiving him the good wishes of
the season with every appearance of heartfelt sincerityand were
invited by him to the hall to take something to keep out the cold
of the weather; and I heard blessings uttered by several of the
poorwhich convinced me thatin the midst of his enjoyments
the worthy old cavalier had not forgotten the true Christmas
virtue of charity.

* "Ule! Ule!
Three puddings in a pule;
Crack nuts and cry ule!"
On our way homeward his heart seemed overflowed with generous and
happy feelings. As we passed over a rising ground which commanded
something of a prospectthe sounds of rustic merriment now and
then reached our ears: the squire paused for a few moments and
looked around with an air of inexpressible benignity. The beauty
of the day was of itself sufficient to inspire philanthropy.
Notwithstanding the frostiness of the morning the sun in his
cloudless journey had acquired sufficient power to melt away the
thin covering of snow from every southern declivityand to bring
out the living green which adorns an English landscape even in
mid-winter. Large tracts of smiling verdure contrasted with the
dazzling whiteness of the shaded slopes and hollows. Every
sheltered bank on which the broad rays rested yielded its silver
rill of cold and limpid waterglittering through the dripping
grassand sent up slight exhalations to contribute to the thin
haze that hung just above the surface of the earth. There was
something truly cheering in this triumph of warmth and verdure
over the frosty thraldom of winter; it wasas the squire
observedan emblem of Christmas hospitality breaking through the
chills of ceremony and selfishness and thawing every heart into a
flow. He pointed with pleasure to the indications of good cheer
reeking from the chimneys of the comfortable farm-houses and low
thatched cottages. "I love said he, to see this day well kept
by rich and poor; it is a great thing to have one day in the
yearat leastwhen you are sure of being welcome wherever you
goand of havingas it werethe world all thrown open to you;
and I am almost disposed to join with Poor Robin in his
malediction on every churlish enemy to this honest festival:

`Those who at Christmas do repine,
And would fain hence dispatch him,
May they with old Duke Humphry dine,
Or else may Squire Ketch catch'em.'

The squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of the games
and amusements which were once prevalent at this season among the
lower orders and countenanced by the higherwhen the old halls
of castles and manor-houses were thrown open at daylight; when
the tables were covered with brawn and beef and humming ale; when
the harp and the carol resounded all day long; and when rich and
poor were alike welcome to enter and make merry.* "Our old games
and local customs said he, had a great effect in making the
peasant fond of his homeand the promotion of them by the gentry
made him fond of his lord. They made the times merrier and kinder
and betterand I can truly saywith one of our old poets

`I like them well: the curious preciseness
And all-pretended gravity of those
That seek to banish hence these harmless sports,
Have thrust away much ancient honesty.'

The nation,continued heis altered; we have almost lost our
simple true-hearted peasantry. They have broken asunder from the
higher classes, and seem to think their interests are separate.
They have become too knowing, and begin to read newspapers,
listen to ale-house politicians, and talk of reform. I think one
mode to keep them in good-humor in these hard times would be for
the nobility and gentry to pass more time on their estates,
mingle more among the country-people, and set the merry old
English games going again.

* "An English gentlemanat the opening of the great day--i.e. on
Christmas Day in the morning--had all his tenants and neighbors
enter his hall by daybreak. The strong beer was broachedand the
black-jacks went plentifully aboutwith toastsugar and nutmeg
and good Cheshire cheese. The Hackin (the great sausage) must be
boiled by daybreakor else two young men must take the maiden
(i.e. the cook) by the arms and run her round the market-place
till she is shamed of her laziness."--Round about our Sea-Coal
Such was the good squire's project for mitigating public
discontent: andindeedhe had once attempted to put his
doctrine in practiceand a few years before had kept open house
during the holidays in the old style. The country-people
howeverdid not understand how to play their parts in the scene
of hospitality; many uncouth circumstances occurred; the manor
was overrun by all the vagrants of the countryand more beggars
drawn into the neighborhood in one week than the parish officers
could get rid of in a year. Since then he had contented himself
with inviting the decent part of the neighboring peasantry to
call at the hall on Christmas Dayand with distributing beef
and breadand ale among the poorthat they might make merry in
their own dwellings.

We had not been long home when the sound of music was heard from
a distance. A band of country ladswithout coatstheir
shirt-sleeves fancifully tied with ribbonstheir hats decorated
with greensand clubs in their handswas seen advancing up the
avenuefollowed by a large number of villagers and peasantry.
They stopped before the hall doorwhere the music struck up a
peculiar airand the lads performed a curious and intricate
danceadvancingretreatingand striking their clubs together
keeping exact time to the music; while onewhimsically crowned
with a fox's skinthe tail of which flaunted down his backkept
capering round the skirts of the dance and rattling a Christmas
box with many antic gesticulations.

The squire eyed this fanciful exhibition with great interest and
delightand gave me a full account of its originwhich he
traced to the times when the Romans held possession of the
islandplainly proving that this was a lineal descendant of the
sword dance of the ancients. "It was now he said, nearly
extinctbut he had accidentally met with traces of it in the
neighborhoodand had encouraged its revival; thoughto tell the
truthit was too apt to be followed up by the rough cudgel play
and broken heads in the evening."

After the dance was concluded the whole party was entertained
with brawn and beef and stout home-brewed. The squire himself
mingled among the rusticsand was received with awkward
demonstrations of deference and regard. It is true I perceived
two or three of the younger peasantsas they were raising their
tankards to their mouthswhen the squire's back was turned

making something of a grimaceand giving each other the wink;
but the moment they caught my eye they pulled grave faces and
were exceedingly demure. With Master Simonhoweverthey all
seemed more at their ease. His varied occupations and amusements
had made him well known throughout the neighborhood. He was a
visitor at every farmhouse and cottagegossiped with the farmers
and their wivesromped with their daughtersandlike that type
of a vagrant bachelorthe humblebeetolled the sweets from all
the rosy lips of the country round.

The bashfulness of the guests soon gave way before good cheer and
affability. There is something genuine and affectionate in the
gayety of the lower orders when it is excited by the bounty and
familiarity of those above them; the warm glow of gratitude
enters into their mirthand a kind word or a small pleasantry
frankly uttered by a patron gladdens the heart of the dependant
more than oil and wine. When the squire had retired the merriment
increasedand there was much joking and laughterparticularly
between Master Simon and a haleruddy-facedwhite-headed farmer
who appeared to be the wit of the village; for I observed all his
companions to wait with open months for his retortsand burst
into a gratuitous laugh before they could well understand them.

The whole house indeed seemed abandoned to merriment: as I passed
to my room to dress for dinnerI heard the sound of music in a
small courtandlooking through a window that commanded itI
perceived a band of wandering musicians with pandean pipes and
tambourine; a pretty coquettish housemaid was dancing a jig with
a smart country ladwhile several of the other servants were
looking on. In the midst of her sport the girl caught a glimpse
of my face at the windowandcoloring upran off with an air
of roguish affected confusion.


Lonow is come our joyful'st feast!

Let every man be jolly.

Eache roome with yvie leaves is drest

And every post with holly.

Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke

And Christmas blocks are burning;

Their ovens they with bak't meats choke

And all their spits are turning.

Without the door let sorrow lie

And iffor coldit hap to die

Wee'l bury 't in a Christmas pye

And evermore be merry.


I HAD finished my toiletand was loitering with Frank
Bracebridge in the librarywhen we heard a distant thwacking
soundwhich he informed me was a signal for the serving up of
the dinner. The squire kept up old customs in kitchen as well as
halland the rolling-pinstruck upon the dresser by the cook
summoned the servants to carry in the meats.

Just in this nick the cook knock'd thrice

And all the waiters in a trice

His summons did obey;

Each serving-manwith dish in hand

March'd boldly uplike our train-band

Presented and away.*

* Sir John Suckling.
The dinner was served up in the great hallwhere the squire
always held his Christmas banquet. A blazing crackling fire of
logs had been heaped on to warm the spacious apartmentand the
flame went sparkling and wreathing up the wide-mouthed chimney.
The great picture of the crusader and his white horse had been
profusely decorated with greens for the occasionand holly and
ivy had like-wise been wreathed round the helmet and weapons on
the opposite wallwhich I understood were the arms of the same
warrior. I must ownby the byI had strong doubts about the
authenticity of the painting and armor as having belonged to the
crusaderthey certainly having the stamp of more recent days;
but I was told that the painting had been so considered time out
of mind; and that as to the armorit had been found in a
lumber-room and elevated to its present situation by the squire
who at once determined it to be the armor of the family hero; and
as he was absolute authority on all such subjects in his own
householdthe matter had passed into current acceptation. A
sideboard was set out just under this chivalric trophyon which
was a display of plate that might have vied (at least in variety)
with Belshazzar's parade of the vessels of the temple: "flagons
canscupsbeakersgobletsbasinsand ewers the gorgeous
utensils of good companionship that had gradually accumulated
through many generations of jovial housekeepers. Before these
stood the two Yule candles, beaming like two stars of the first
magnitude; other lights were distributed in branches, and the
whole array glittered like a firmament of silver.

We were ushered into this banqueting scene with the sound of
minstrelsy, the old harper being seated on a stool beside the
fireplace and twanging, his instrument with a vast deal more
power than melody. Never did Christmas board display a more
goodly and gracious assemblage of countenances; those who were
not handsome were at least happy, and happiness is a rare
improver of your hard-favored visage. I always consider an old
English family as well worth studying as a collection of
Holbein's portraits or Albert Durer's prints. There is much
antiquarian lore to be acquired, much knowledge of the
physiognomies of former times. Perhaps it may be from having
continually before their eyes those rows of old family portraits,
with which the mansions of this country are stocked; certain it
is that the quaint features of antiquity are often most
faithfully perpetuated in these ancient lines, and I have traced
an old family nose through a whole picture-gallery, legitimately
handed down from generation to generation almost from the time of
the Conquest. Something of the kind was to be observed in the
worthy company around me. Many of their faces had evidently
originated in a Gothic age, and been merely copied by succeeding
generations; and there was one little girl in particular, of
staid demeanor, with a high Roman nose and an antique vinegar
aspect, who was a great favorite of the squire's, being, as he
said, a Bracebridge all over, and the very counterpart of one of
his ancestors who figured in the court of Henry VIII.

The parson said grace, which was not a short familiar one, such
as is commonly addressed to the Deity in these unceremonious
days, but a long, courtly, well-worded one of the ancient school.
There was now a pause, as if something was expected, when
suddenly the butler entered the hall with some degree of bustle:
he was attended by a servant on each side with a large wax-light,
and bore a silver dish on which was an enormous pig's head
decorated with rosemary, with a lemon in its mouth, which was

placed with great formality at the head of the table. The moment
this pageant made its appearance the harper struck up a flourish;
at the conclusion of which the young Oxonian, on receiving a hint
from the squire, gave, with an air of the most comic gravity, an
old carol, the first verse of which was as follows

Caput apri defero

Reddens laudes Domino.

The boar's head in hand bring I,

With garlands gay and rosemary.

I pray you all synge merily

Qui estis in convivio.

Though prepared to witness many of these little eccentricities,
from being apprised of the peculiar hobby of mine host, yet I
confess the parade with which so odd a dish was introduced
somewhat perplexed me, until I gathered from the conversation of
the squire and the parson that it was meant to represent the
bringing in of the boar's head, a dish formerly served up with
much ceremony and the sound of minstrelsy and song at great
tables on Christmas Day. I like the old custom said the
squire, not merely because it is stately and pleasing in itself
but because it was observed at the college at Oxford at which I
was educated. When I hear the old song chanted it brings to mind
the time when I was young and gamesomeand the noble old college
halland my fellow-students loitering about in their black
gowns; many of whompoor lads! are now in their graves."

The parsonhoweverwhose mind was not haunted by such
associationsand who was always more taken up with the text than
the sentimentobjected to the Oxonian's version of the carol
which he affirmed was different from that sung at college. He
went onwith the dry perseverance of a commentatorto give the
college readingaccompanied by sundry annotationsaddressing
himself at first to the company at large; butfinding their
attention gradually diverted to other talk and other objectshe
lowered his tone as his number of auditors diminisheduntil he
concluded his remarks in an under voice to a fat-headed old
gentleman next him who was silently engaged in the discussion of
a huge plateful of turkey.*

* The old ceremony of serving up the boar's head on Christmas Day
is still observed in the hall of Queen's CollegeOxford. I was
favored by the parson with a copy of the carol as now sungand
as it may be acceptable to such of my readers as are curious in
these grave and learned mattersI give it entire:
The boar's head in hand bear I

Bodeck'd with bays and rosemary

The table was literally loaded with good cheerand presented an
epitome of country abundance in this season of overflowing
larders. A distinguished post was allotted to "ancient sirloin
as mine host termed it, being, as he added, the standard of old
English hospitalityand a joint of goodly presenceand full of
expectation." There were several dishes quaintly decoratedand
which had evidently something traditional in their
embellishmentsbut about whichas I did not like to appear
overcuriousI asked no questions.

I could nothoweverbut notice a pie magnificently decorated
with peacock's feathersin imitation of the tail of that bird
which overshadowed a considerable tract of the table. Thisthe
squire confessed with some little hesitationwas a pheasant pie

though a peacock pie was certainly the most authentical; but
there had been such a mortality among the peacocks this season
that he could not prevail upon himself to have one killed.*

And I pray youmy mastersbe merry
Quot estis in convivio
Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes domino.

The boar's headas I understand

Is the rarest dish in all this land

Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland

Let us servire cantico.

Caput apri deferoetc.

Our steward hath provided this

In honor of the King of Bliss

Which on this day to be served is

In Reginensi Atrio.

Caput apri deferoetc.etc.etc.

* The peacock was anciently in great demand for stately
entertainments. Sometimes it was made into a pieat one end of
which the head appeared above the crust in all its plumagewith
the beak richly gilt; at the other end the tail was displayed.
Such pies were served up at the solemn banquets of chivalrywhen
knights-errant pledged themselves to undertake any perilous
enterprisewhence came the ancient oathused by Justice
Shallowby cock and pie.
The peacock was also an important dish for the Christmas feast;
and Massingerin his "City Madam gives some idea of the
extravagance with which this, as well as other dishes, was
prepared for the gorgeous revels of the olden times:

Men may talk of Country Christmasses,
Their thirty pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carps' tongues;
Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris: the carcases of three
fat wethers bruised for gravy to make sauce for a single peacock!

It would be tedious, perhaps, to my wiser readers, who may not
have that foolish fondness for odd and obsolete things to which I
am a little given, were I to mention the other makeshifts or this
worthy old humorist, by which he was endeavoring to follow up,
though at humble distance, the quaint customs of antiquity. I was
pleased, however, to see the respect shown to his whims by his
children and relatives; who, indeed, entered readily into the
full spirit of them, and seemed all well versed in their parts,
having doubtless been present at many a rehearsal. I was amused,
too, at the air of profound gravity with which the butler and
other servants executed the duties assigned them, however
eccentric. They had an old-fashioned look, having, for the most
part, been brought up in the household and grown into keeping
with the antiquated mansion and the humors of its lord, and most
probably looked upon all his whimsical regulations as the
established laws of honorable housekeeping.

When the cloth was removed the butler brought in a huge silver
vessel of rare and curious workmanship, which he placed before
the squire. Its appearance was hailed with acclamation, being the
Wassail Bowl, so renowned in Christmas festivity. The contents
had been prepared by the squire himself; for it was a beverage in
the skilful mixture of which he particularly prided himself,
alleging that it was too abstruse and complex for the

comprehension of an ordinary servant. It was a potation, indeed,
that might well make the heart of a toper leap within him, being
composed of the richest and raciest wines, highly spiced and
sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about the surface.*

* The Wassail Bowl was sometimes composed of ale instead of wine,
with nutmeg, sugar, toast, ginger, and roasted crabs; in this way
the nut-brown beverage is still prepared in some old families and
round the hearths of substantial farmers at Christmas. It is also
called Lamb's Wool, and is celebrated by Herrick in his Twelfth
Next crowne the bowle full

With gentle Lamb's Wool;

Add sugarnutmegand ginger

With store of ale too

And thus ye must doe

To make the Wassaile a swinger.

The old gentleman's whole countenance beamed with a serene look
of indwelling delight as he stirred this mighty bowl. Having
raised it to his lipswith a hearty wish of a merry Christmas to
all presenthe sent it brimming round the boardfor every one
to follow his exampleaccording to the primitive style
pronouncing it "the ancient fountain of good feelingwhere all
hearts met together."+

+ "The custom of drinking out of the same cup gave place to each
having his cup. When the steward came to the doore with the
Wasselhe was to cry three timesWasselWasselWasseland
then the chappell (chaplain) was to answer with a
There was much laughing and rallying as the honest emblem of
Christmas joviality circulated and was kissed rather coyly by the
ladies. When it reached Master Simonhe raised it in both hands
and with the air of a boon companion struck up an old Wassail

The brown bowle

The merry brown bowle

As it goes round-about-a



Let the world say what it will

And drink your fill all out-a.

The deep canne

The merry deep canne

As thou dost freely quaff-a



Be as merry as a king

And sound a lusty laugh-a.*

* From Poor Robin's Almanack.
Much of the conversation during dinner turned upon family topics
to which I was a stranger. There washowevera great deal of
rallying of Master Simon about some gay widow with whom he was
accused of having a flirtation. This attack was commenced by the
ladiesbut it was continued throughout the dinner by the
fat-headed old gentleman next the parson with the persevering
assiduity of a slow houndbeing one of those long-winded jokers

whothough rather dull at starting gameare unrivalled for
their talents in hunting it down. At every pause in the general
conversation he renewed his bantering in pretty much the same
termswinking hard at me with both eyes whenever he gave Master
Simon what he considered a home thrust. The latterindeed
seemed fond of being teased on the subjectas old bachelors are
apt to beand he took occasion to inform mein an undertone
that the lady in question was a prodigiously fine woman and drove
her own curricle.

The dinner-time passe away in this flow of innocent hilarity
andthough the old hall may have resounded in its time with many
a scene of broader rout and revelyet I doubt whether it ever
witnessed more honest and genuine enjoyment. How easy it is for
one benevolent being to diffuse pleasure around him! and how
truly is a kind heart a fountain of gladnessmaking everything
in its vicinity to freshen into smiles! The joyous disposition of
the worthy squire was perfectly contagious; he was happy himself
and disposed to make all the world happyand the little
eccentricities of his humor did but seasonin a mannerthe
sweetness of his philanthropy.

When the ladies had retiredthe conversationas usualbecame
still more animated; many good things were broached which had
been thought of during dinnerbut which would not exactly do for
a lady's ear; andthough I cannot positively affirm that there
was much wit utteredyet I have certainly heard many contests of
rare wit produce much less laughter. Witafter allis a mighty
tartpungent ingredientand much too acid for some stomachs;
but honest good-humor is the oil and wine of a merry meetingand
there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes
are rather small and the laughter abundant.

The squire told several long stories of early college pranks and
adventuresin some of which the parson had been a sharerthough
in looking at the latter it required some effort of imagination
to figure such a little dark anatomy of a man into the
perpetrator of a madcap gambol. Indeedthe two college chums
presented pictures of what men may be made by their different
lots in life. The squire had left the university to live lustily
on his paternal domains in the vigorous enjoyment of prosperity
and sunshineand had flourished on to a hearty and florid old
age; whilst the poor parsonon the contraryhad dried and
withered away among dusty tomes in the silence and shadows of his
study. Stillthere seemed to be a spark of almost extinguished
fire feebly glimmering in the bottom of his soul; and as the
squire hinted at a sly story of the parson and a pretty milkmaid
whom they once met on the banks of the Isisthe old gentleman
made an "alphabet of faces which, as far as I could decipher
his physiognomy, I verily believe was indicative of laughter;
indeed, I have rarely met with an old gentleman that took
absolute offence at the imputed gallantries of his youth.

I found the tide of wine and wassail fast gaining on the dry land
of sober judgment. The company grew merrier and louder as their
jokes grew duller. Master Simon was in as chirping a humor as a
grasshopper filled with dew; his old songs grew of a warmer
complexion, and he began to talk maudlin about the widow. He even
gave a long song about the wooing of a widow which he informed me
he had gathered from an excellent black-letter work entitled
Cupid's Solicitor for Love, containing store of good advice for
bachelors, and which he promised to lend me; the first verse was
to effect.

He that will woo a widow must not dally
He must make hay while the sun doth shine;
He must not stand with her, shall I, shall I,
But boldly say, Widow, thou must be mine.

This song inspired the fat-headed old gentleman, who made several
attempts to tell a rather broad story out of Joe Miller that was
pat to the purpose; but he always stuck in the middle, everybody
recollecting the latter part excepting himself. The parson, too,
began to show the effects of good cheer, having gradually settled
down into a doze and his wig sitting most suspiciously on one
side. Just at this juncture we were summoned to the drawing room,
and I suspect, at the private instigation of mine host, whose
joviality seemed always tempered with a proper love of decorum.

After the dinner-table was removed the hall was given up to the
younger members of the family, who, prompted to all kind of noisy
mirth by the Oxonian and Master Simon, made its old walls ring
with their merriment as they played at romping games. I delight
in witnessing the gambols of children, and particularly at this
happy holiday season, and could not help stealing out of the
drawing-room on hearing one of their peals of laughter. I found
them at the game of blindman's-buff. Master Simon, who was the
leader of their revels, and seemed on all occasions to fulfill
the office of that ancient potentate, the Lord of Misrule,* was
blinded in the midst of the hall. The little beings were as busy
about him as the mock fairies about Falstaff, pinching him,
plucking at the skirts of his coat, and tickling him with straws.
One fine blue-eyed girl of about thirteen, with her flaxen hair
all in beautiful confusion, her frolic face in a glow, her frock
half torn off her shoulders, a complete picture of a romp, was
the chief tormentor; and, from the slyness with which Master
Simon avoided the smaller game and hemmed this wild little nymph
in corners, and obliged her to jump shrieking over chairs, I
suspected the rogue of being not a whit more blinded than was

* At Christmasse there was in the Kinges house, wheresoever hee
was lodged, a lorde of misrule or mayster of merie disportes, and
the like had ye in the house of every nobleman of honor, or good
worshipper were he spirituall or temporall.--STOW.
When I returned to the drawing-room I found the company seated
round the fire listening to the parson, who was deeply ensconced
in a high-backed oaken chair, the work of some cunning artificer
of yore, which had been brought from the library for his
particular accommodation. From this venerable piece of furniture,
with which his shadowy figure and dark weazen face so admirably
accorded, he was dealing out strange accounts of the popular
superstitions and legends of the surrounding country, with which
he had become acquainted in the course of his antiquarian
researches. I am half inclined to think that the old gentleman
was himself somewhat tinctured with superstition, as men are very
apt to be who live a recluse and studious life in a sequestered
part of the country and pore over black-letter tracts, so often
filled with the marvelous and supernatural. He gave us several
anecdotes of the fancies of the neighboring peasantry concerning
the effigy of the crusader which lay on the tomb by the church
altar. As it was the only monument of the kind in that part of
the country, it had always been regarded with feelings of
superstition by the good wives of the village. It was said to get
up from the tomb and walk the rounds of the churchyard in stormy
nights, particularly when it thundered; and one old woman, whose
cottage bordered on the churchyard, had seen it through the

windows of the church, when the moon shone, slowly pacing up and
down the aisles. It was the belief that some wrong had been left
unredressed by the deceased, or some treasure hidden, which kept
the spirit in a state of trouble and restlessness. Some talked of
gold and jewels buried in the tomb, over which the spectre kept
watch; and there was a story current of a sexton in old times who
endeavored to break his way to the coffin at night, but just as
he reached it received a violent blow from the marble hand of the
effigy, which stretched him senseless on the pavement. These
tales were often laughed at by some of the sturdier among the
rustics, yet when night came on there were many of the stoutest
unbelievers that were shy of venturing alone in the footpath that
led across the churchyard.

From these and other anecdotes that followed the crusader
appeared to be the favorite hero of ghost-stories throughout the
vicinity. His picture, which hung up in the hall, was thought by
the servants to have something supernatural about it; for they
remarked that in whatever part of the hall you went the eyes of
the warrior were still fixed on you. The old porter's wife, too,
at the lodge, who had been born and brought up in the family, and
was a great gossip among the maid-servants, affirmed that in her
young days she had often heard say that on Midsummer Eve, when it
was well known all kinds of ghosts, goblins, and fairies become
visible and walk abroad, the crusader used to mount his horse,
come down from his picture, ride about the house, down the
avenue, and so to the church to visit the tomb; on which occasion
the church-door most civilly swung open of itself; not that he
needed it, for he rode through closed gates, and even stone
walls, and had been seen by one of the dairymaids to pass between
two bars of the great park gate, making himself as thin as a
sheet of paper.

All these superstitions I found had been very much countenanced
by the squire, who, though not superstitious himself, was very
fond of seeing others so. He listened to every goblin tale of the
neighboring gossips with infinite gravity, and held the porter's
wife in high favor on account of her talent for the marvellous.
He was himself a great reader of old legends and romances, and
often lamented that he could not believe in them; for a
superstitious person, he thought, must live in a kind of

Whilst we were all attention to the parson's stories, our ears
were suddenly assailed by a burst of heterogeneous sounds from
the hall, in which were mingled something like the clang of rude
minstrelsy with the uproar of many small voices and girlish
laughter. The door suddenly flew open, and a train came trooping
into the room that might almost have been mistaken for the
breaking up of the court of Faery. That indefatigable spirit,
Master Simon, in the faithful discharge of his duties as lord of
misrule, had conceived the idea of a Christmas mummery or
masking; and having called in to his assistance the Oxonian and
the young officer, who were equally ripe for anything that should
occasion romping and merriment, they had carried it into instant
effect. The old housekeeper had been consulted; the antique
clothespresses and wardrobes rummaged and made to yield up the
relics of finery that had not seen the light for several
generations; the younger part of the company had been privately
convened from the parlor and hall, and the whole had been
bedizened out into a burlesque imitation of an antique mask.*

* Maskings or mummeries were favorite sports at Christmas in old
times, and the wardrobes at halls and manor-houses were often

laid under contribution to furnish dresses and fantastic
disguisings. I strongly suspect Master Simon to have taken the
idea of his from Ben Jonson's Masque of Christmas."

Master Simon led the vanas "Ancient Christmas quaintly
apparelled in a ruff, a short cloak, which had very much the
aspect of one of the old housekeeper's petticoats, and a hat that
might have served for a village steeple, and must indubitably
have figured in the days of the Covenanters. From under this his
nose curved boldly forth, flushed with a frost-bitten bloom that
seemed the very trophy of a December blast. He was accompanied by
the blue-eyed romp, dished up, as Dame Mince Pie in the
venerable magnificence of a faded brocade, long stomacher, peaked
hat, and high-heeled shoes. The young officer appeared as Robin
Hood, in a sporting dress of Kendal green and a foraging cap with
a gold tassel.

The costume, to be sure, did not bear testimony to deep research,
and there was an evident eye to the picturesque, natural to a
young gallant in the presence of his mistress. The fair Julia
hung on his arm in a pretty rustic dress as Maid Marian." The
rest of the train had been metamorphosed in various ways; the
girls trussed up in the finery of the ancient belles of the
Bracebridge lineand the striplings bewhiskered with burnt cork
and gravely clad in broad skirtshanging sleevesand
full-bottomed wigsto represent the character of Roast Beef
Plum Puddingand other worthies celebrated in ancient maskings.
The whole was under the control of the Oxonian in the appropriate
character of Misrule; and I observed that he exercised rather a
mischievous sway with his wand over the smaller personages of the

The irruption of this motley crew with beat of drumaccording to
ancient customwas the consummation of uproar and merriment.
Master Simon covered himself with glory by the stateliness with
whichas Ancient Christmashe walked a minuet with the peerless
though giggling Dame Mince Pie. It was followed by a dance of all
the characterswhich from its medley of costumes seemed as
though the old family portraits had skipped down from their
frames to join in the sport. Different centuries were figuring at
cross hands and right and left; the Dark Ages were cutting
pirouettes and rigadoons; and the days of Queen Bess jigging
merrily down the middle through a line of succeeding generations.

The worthy squire contemplated these fantastic sports and this
resurrection of his old wardrobe with the simple relish of
childish delight. He stood chuckling and rubbing his handsand
scarcely hearing a word the parson saidnotwithstanding that the
latter was discoursing most authentically on the ancient and
stately dance of the Pavonor peacockfrom which he conceived
the minuet to be derived.* For my partI was in a continual
excitement from the varied scenes of whim and innocent gayety
passing before me. It was inspiring to see wild-eyed frolic and
warm-hearted hospitality breaking out from among the chills and
glooms of winterand old age throwing off his apathy and
catching once more the freshness of youthful enjoyment. I felt
also an interest in the scene from the consideration that these
fleeting customs were posting fast into oblivionand that this
was perhaps the only family in England in which the whole of them
was still punctiliously observed. There was a quaintnesstoo
mingled with all this revelry that gave it a peculiar zest: it
was suited to the time and place; and as the old manor-house
almost reeled with mirth and wassailit seemed echoing back the
joviality of long departed years.+

* Sir John Hawkinsspeaking of the dance called the Pavonfrom
pavoa peacocksaysIt is a grave and majestic dance; the
method of dancing it anciently was by gentlemen dressed with caps
and swords, by those of the long robe in their gowns, by the
peers in their mantles, and by the ladies in gowns with long
trains, the motion whereof, in dancing, resembled that of a
peacock.--History of Music.
+ At the time of the first publication of this paper the picture
of an old-fashioned Christmas in the country was pronounced by
some as out of date. The author had afterwards an opportunity of
witnessing almost all the customs above describedexisting in
unexpected vigor in the skirts of Derbvshire and Yorkshirewhere
he passed the Christmas holidays. The reader will find some
notice of them in the
author's account of his sojourn at Newstead Abbey.
But enough of Christmas and its gambols; it is
time for me to pause in this garrulity. Methinks I hear the
questions asked by my graver readersTo what purpose is all
this? how is the world to be made wiser by this talk?Alas! is
there not wisdom enough extant for the instruction of the world?
And if notare there not thousands of abler pens laboring for
its improvement? It is so much pleasanter to please than to
instruct--to play the companion rather than the preceptor.

Whatafter allis the mite of wisdom that I could throw into
the mass of knowledge! or how am I sure that my sagest deductions
may be safe guides for the opinions of others? But in writing to
amuseif I fail the only evil is in my own disappointment. If
howeverI can by any lucky chancein these days of evilrub
out one wrinkle from the brow of care or beguile the heavy heart
of one moment of sorrow; if I can now and then penetrate through
the gathering film of misanthropyprompt a benevolent view of
human natureand make my reader more in good-humor with his
fellow-beings and himself--surelysurelyI shall not then have
written entirely in vain.


----I do walk

Methinks like Guide Vauxwith my dark lanthorn

Stealing to set the town o' fire; i' th' country

I should be taken for William o' the Wisp

Or Robin Goodfellow.


I AM somewhat of an antiquity-hunterand am

fond of exploring London in quest of the relics of old times.
These are principally to be found in the depths of the city
swallowed up and almost lost in a wilderness of brick and mortar
but deriving poetical and romantic interest from the commonplace
prosaic world around them. I was struck with an instance of the
kind in the course of a recent summer ramble into the city; for
the city is only to be explored to advantage in summer-timewhen
free from the smoke and fog and rain and mud of winter. I had
been buffeting for some time against the current of population
setting through Fleet Street. The warm weather had unstrung my
nerves and made me sensitive to every jar and jostle and
discordant sound. The flesh was wearythe spirit faintand I
was getting out of humor with the bustling busy throng through

which I had to strugglewhen in a fit of desperation I tore my
way through the crowdplunged into a by-laneandafter passing
through several obscure nooks and anglesemerged into a quaint
and quiet court with a grassplot in the centre overhung by elms
and kept perpetually fresh and green by a fountain with its
sparkling jet of water. A student with book in hand was seated on
a stone benchpartly readingpartly meditating on the movements
of two or three trim nursery-maids with their infant charges.

I was like an Arab who had suddenly come upon an oasis amid the
panting sterility of the desert. By degrees the quiet and
coolness of the place soothed my nerves and refreshed my spirit.
I pursued my walkand camehard byto a very ancient chapel
with a low-browed Saxon portal of massive and rich architecture.
The interior was circular and lofty and lighted from above.
Around were monumental tombs of ancient date on which were
extended the marble effigies of warriors in armor. Some had the
hands devoutly crossed upon the breast; others grasped the pommel
of the swordmenacing hostility even in the tombwhile the
crossed legs of several indicated soldiers of the Faith who had
been on crusades to the Holy Land.

I wasin factin the chapel of the Knights Templarsstrangely
situated in the very centre of sordid traffic; and I do not know
a more impressive lesson for the many of the world than thus
suddenly to turn aside from the highway of busy money-seeking
lifeand sit down among these shadowy sepulchreswhere all is
twilightdustand forget-fullness.

In a subsequent tour of observation I encountered another of
these relics of a "foregone world" locked up in the heart of the
city. I had been wandering for some time through dull monotonous
streetsdestitute of anything to strike the eye or excite the
imaginationwhen I beheld before me a Gothic gateway of
mouldering antiquity. It opened into a spacious quadrangle
forming the courtyard of a stately Gothic pilethe portal of
which stood invitingly open.

It was apparently a public edificeandas I was
antiquity-huntingI ventured inthough with dubious steps.
Meeting no one either to oppose or rebuke my intrusionI
continued on until I found myself in a great hall with a lofty
arched roof and oaken galleryall of Gothic architecture. At one
end of the hall was an enormous fireplacewith wooden settles on
each side; at the other end was a raised platformor daisthe
seat of stateabove which was the portrait of a man in antique
garb with a long robea ruffand a venerable gray beard.

The whole establishment had an air of monastic quiet and
seclusionand what gave it a mysterious charm wasthat I had
not met with a human being since I had passed the threshold.

Encouraged by this lonelinessI seated myself in a recess of a
large bow windowwhich admitted a broad flood of yellow
sunshinecheckered here and there by tints from panes of colored
glasswhile an open casement let in the soft summer air. Here
leaning my bead on my hand and my arm on an old oaken tableI
indulged in a sort of reverie about what might have been the
ancient uses of this edifice. It had evidently been of monastic
origin; perhaps one of those collegiate establishments built of
yore for the promotion of learningwhere the patient monkin
the ample solitude of the cloisteradded page to page and volume
to volumeemulating in the productions of his brain the
magnitude of the pile he inhabited.

As I was seated in this musing mood a small panelled door in an
arch at the upper end of the hall was openedand a number of
gray-headed old menclad in long black cloakscame forth one by
oneproceeding in that manner through the hallwithout uttering
a wordeach turning a pale face on me as he passedand
disappearing through a door at the lower end.

I was singularly struck with their appearance; their black cloaks
and antiquated air comported with the style of this most
venerable and mysterious pile. It was as if the ghosts of the
departed yearsabout which I had been musingwere passing in
review before me. Pleasing myself with such fanciesI set out
in the spirit of romanceto explore what I pictured to myself a
realm of shadows existing in the very centre of substantial

My ramble led me through a labyrinth of interior courts and
corridors and dilapidated cloistersfor the main edifice had
many additions and dependenciesbuilt at various times and in
various styles. In one open space a number of boyswho evidently
belonged to the establishmentwere at their sportsbut
everywhere I observed those mysterious old gray men in black
mantlessometimes sauntering alonesometimes conversing in
groups; they appeared to be the pervading genii of the place. I
now called to mind what I had read of certain colleges in old
timeswhere judicial astrologygeomancynecromancyand other
forbidden and magical sciences were taught. Was this an
establishment of the kindand were these black-cloaked old men
really professors of the black art?

These surmises were passing through my mind as my eye glanced
into a chamber hung round with all kinds of strange and uncouth
objects--implements of savage warfarestrange idols and stuffed
alligators; bottled serpents and monsters decorated the
mantelpiece; while on the high tester of an old-fashioned
bedstead grinned a human skullflanked on each side by a dried

I approached to regard more narrowly this mystic chamberwhich
seemed a fitting laboratory for a necromancerwhen I was
startled at beholding a human countenance staring at me from a
dusky corner. It was that of a smallshrivelled old man with
thin cheeksbright eyesand graywiryprojecting eyebrows. I
at first doubted whether it were not a mummy curiously preserved
but it movedand I saw that it was alive. It was another of
these black-cloaked old menandas I regarded his quaint
physiognomyhis obsolete garband the hideous and sinister
objects by which he was surroundedI began to persuade myself
that I had come upon the arch-mago who ruled over this magical

Seeing me pausing before the doorhe rose and invited me to
enter. I obeyed with singular hardihoodfor how did I know
whether a wave of his wand might not metamorphose me into some
strange monster or conjure me into one of the bottles on his
mantelpiece? He provedhoweverto be anything but a conjurer
and his simple garrulity soon dispelled all the magic and mystery
with which I had enveloped this antiquated pile and its no less
antiquated inhabitants.

It appeared that I had made my way into the centre of an ancient
asylum for superannuated tradesmen and decayed householderswith
which was connected a school for a limited number of boys. It was

founded upwards of two centuries since on an old monastic
establishmentand retained somewhat of the conventual air and
character. The shadowy line of old men in black mantles who had
passed before me in the halland whom I had elevated into magi
turned out to be the pensioners returning from morningservice
in the chapel.

John Hallumthe little collector of curiosities whom I had made
the arch magicianhad been for six years a resident of the
placeand had decorated this final nestling-place of his old age
with relics and rarities picked up in the course of his life.
According to his own accounthe had been somewhat of a
travellerhaving been once in Franceand very near making a
visit to Holland. He regretted not having visited the latter
countryas then he might have said he had been there.He was
evidently a traveller of the simple kind.

He was aristocratical too in his notionskeeping aloofas I
foundfrom the ordinary run of pensioners. His chief associates
were a blind man who spoke Latin and Greekof both which
languages Hallum was profoundly ignorantand a broken-down
gentleman who had run through a fortune of forty thousand pounds
left him by his fatherand ten thousand poundsthe marriage
portion of his wife. Little Hallum seemed to consider it an
indubitable sign of gentle blood as well as of lofty spirit to be
able to squander such enormous sums.

P.S.--The picturesque remnant of old times into which I have thus
beguiled the reader is what is called the Charter House
originally the Chartreuse. It was founded in 1611on the remains
of an ancient conventby Sir Thomas Suttonbeing one of those
noble charities set on foot by individual munificenceand kept
up with the quaintness and sanctity of ancient times amidst the
modern changes and innovations of London. Here eighty broken-down
menwho have seen better daysare provided in their old age
with foodclothingfueland a yearly allowance for private
expenses. They dine togetheras did the monks of oldin the
hall which had been the refectory of the original convent.
Attached to the establishment is a school for forty-four boys.

Stowwhose work I have consulted on the subjectspeaking of the
obligations of the gray-headed pensionerssaysThey are not to
intermeddle with any business touching the affairs of the
hospital, but to attend only to the service of God, and take
thankfully what is provided for them, without muttering,
murmuring, or grudging. None to wear weapon, long hair, colored
boots, spurs, or colored shoes, feathers in their hats, or any
ruffian-like or unseemly apparel, but such as becomes
hospital-men to wear.And in truth,adds Stowhappy are they
that are so taken from the cares and sorrows of the world, and
fixed in so good a place as these old men are; having nothing to
care for but the good of their souls, to serve God, and to live
in brotherly love.

For the amusement of such as have been interested by the
preceding sketchtaken down from my own observationand who may
wish to know a little more about the mysteries of LondonI
subjoin a modicum of local history put into my hands by an
odd-looking old gentlemanin a small brown wig and a
snuff-colored coatwith whom I became acquainted shortly after
my visit to the Charter House. I confess I was a little dubious
at first whether it was not one of those apocryphal tales often
passed off upon inquiring travellers like myselfand which have
brought our general character for veracity into such unmerited

reproach. On making proper inquirieshoweverI have received
the most satisfactory assurances of the author's probityand
indeed have been told that he is actually engaged in a full and
particular account of the very interesting region in which he
residesof which the following may be considered merely as a


What I write is most true . . . . . I have a whole booke of cases
lying by mewhich if I should sette foorthsome grave auntients
(within the hearing of Bow Bell) would be out of charity with me.


IN the centre of the great City of London lies a small
neighborhoodconsisting of a cluster of narrow streets and
courtsof very venerable and debilitated houseswhich goes by
the name of LITTLE BRITAIN. Christ Church School and St.
Bartholomew's Hospital bound it on the west; Smithfield and Long
Lane on the north; Aldersgate Streetlike an arm of the sea
divides it from the eastern part of the city; whilst the yawning
gulf of Bull-and-Mouth Street separates it from Butcher Lane and
the regions of Newgate. Over this little territorythus bounded
and designatedthe great dome of St. Paul'sswelling above the
intervening houses of Paternoster RowAmen Cornerand Ave-Maria
Lanelooks down with an air of motherly protection.

This quarter derives its appellation from having beenin ancient
timesthe residence of the Dukes of Brittany. As London
increasedhoweverrank and fashion rolled off to the westand
tradecreeping on at their heelstook possession of their
deserted abodes. For some time Little Britain became the great
mart of learningand was peopled by the busy and prolific race
of booksellers: these also gradually deserted itandemigrating
beyond the great strait of Newgate Streetsettled down in
Paternoster Row and St. Paul's Churchyardwhere they continue to
increase and multiply even at the present day.

Butthough thus fallen into declineLittle Britain still bears
traces of its former splendor. There are several houses ready to
tumble downthe fronts of which are magnificently enriched with
old oaken carvings of hideous facesunknown birdsbeastsand
fishesand fruits and flowers which it would perplex a
naturalist to classify. There are alsoin Aldersgate Street
certain remains of what were once spacious and lordly family
mansionsbut which have in latter days been subdivided into
several tenements. Here may often be found the family of a petty
tradesmanwith its trumpery furnitureburrowing among the
relics of antiquated finery in great rambling time-stained
apartments with fretted ceilingsgilded cornicesand enormous
marble fireplaces. The lanes and courts also contain many smaller
housesnot on so grand a scalebutlike your small ancient
gentrysturdily maintaining their claims to equal antiquity.
These have their gable ends to the streetgreat bow windows with
diamond panes set in leadgrotesque carvingsand low arched

* It is evident that the author of this interesting communication
has includedin his general title of Little Britainman of
those little lanes and courts that belong immediately to Cloth

In this most venerable and sheltered little nest have I passed
several quiet years of existencecomfortably lodged in the
second floor of one of the smallest but oldest edifices. My
sitting-room is an old wainscoted chamberwith small panels and
set off with a miscellaneous array of furniture. I have a
particular respect for three or four high-backedclaw-footed
chairscovered with tarnished brocadewhich bear the marks of
having seen better daysand have doubtless figured in some of
the old palaces of Little Britain. They seem to me to keep
together and to look down with sovereign contempt upon their
leathern-bottomed neighborsas I have seen decayed gentry carry
a high head among the plebeian society with which they were
reduced to associate. The whole front of my sitting-room is taken
up with a bow windowon the panes of which are recorded the
names of previous occupants for many generationsmingled with
scraps of very indifferent gentleman-like poetrywritten in
characters which I can scarcely decipherand which extol the
charms of many a beauty of Little Britain who has longlong
since bloomedfadedand passed away. As I am an idle personage
with no apparent occupationand pay my bill regularly every
weekI am looked upon as the only independent gentleman of the
neighborhoodandbeing curious to learn the internal state of a
community so apparently shut up within itselfI have managed to
work my way into all the concerns and secrets of the place.

Little Britain may truly be called the heart's core of the city
the stronghold of true John Bullism. It is a fragment of London
as it was in its better dayswith its antiquated folks and
fashions. Here flourish in great preservation many of the holiday
games and customs of yore. The inhabitants most religiously eat
pancakes on Shrove Tuesdayhot cross-buns on Good Fridayand
roast goose at Michaelmas; they send love-letters on Valentine's
Dayburn the Pope on the Fifth of Novemberand kiss all the
girls under the mistletoe at Christmas. Roast beef and
plum-pudding are also held in superstitious venerationand port
and sherry maintain their grounds as the only true English wines
all others being considered vile outlandish beverages.

Little Britain has its long catalogue of city wonderswhich its
inhabitants consider the wonders of the worldsuch as the great
bell of St. Paul'swhich sours all the beer when it tolls; the
figures that strike the hours at St. Dunstan's clock; the
Monument; the lions in the Tower; and the wooden giants in
Guildhall. They still believe in dreams and fortune-tellingand
an old woman that lives in Bull-and-Mouth Street makes a
tolerable subsistence by detecting stolen goods and promising the
girls good husbands. They are apt to be rendered uncomfortable by
comets and eclipsesand if a dog howls dolefully at night it is
looked upon as a sure sign of death in the place. There are even
many ghost-stories currentparticularly concerning the old
mansion-housesin several of which it is said strange sights are
sometimes seen. Lords and ladiesthe former in full-bottomed
wigshanging sleevesand swordsthe latter in lappetsstays
hoopsand brocadehave been seen walking up and down the great
waste chambers on moonlight nightsand are supposed to be the
shades of the ancient proprietors in their court-dresses.

Little Britain has likewise its sages and great men. One of the
most important of the former is a talldry old gentleman of the
name of Skrymewho keeps a small apothecary's shop. He has a
cadaverous countenancefull of cavities and projectionswith a
brown circle round each eyelike a pair of horn spectacles. He
is much thought of by the old womenwho consider him as a kind
of conjurer because he has two or three stuffed alligators

hanging up in his shop and several snakes in bottles. He is a
great reader of almanacs and newspapersand is much given to
pore over alarming accounts of plotsconspiraciesfires
earthquakesand volcanic eruptions; which last phenomena he
considers as signs of the times. He has always some dismal tale
of the kind to deal out to his customers with their dosesand
thus at the same time puts both soul and body into an uproar. He
is a great believer in omens and predictions; and has the
prophecies of Robert Nixon and Mother Shipton by heart. No man
can make so much out of an eclipseor even an unusually dark
day; and he shook the tail of the last comet over the heads of
his customers and disciples until they were nearly frightened out
of their wits. He has lately got hold of a popular legend or
prophecyon which he has been unusually eloquent. There has been
a saying current among the ancient sibylswho treasure up these
thingsthat when the grasshopper on the top of the Exchange
shook hands with the dragon on the top of Bow Church steeple
fearful events would take place. This strange conjunctionit
seemshas as strangely come to pass. The same architect has been
engaged lately on the repairs of the cupola of the Exchange and
the steeple of Bow Church; andfearful to relatethe dragon and
the grasshopper actually liecheek by jolein the yard of his

Others,as Mr. Skryme is accustomed to saymay go
star-gazing, and look for conjunctions in the heavens, but here
is a conjunction on the earth, near at home and under our own
eyes, which surpasses all the signs and calculations of
astrologers.Since these portentous weathercocks have thus laid
their heads togetherwonderful events had already occurred. The
good old kingnotwithstanding that he had lived eighty-two
yearshad all at once given up the ghost; another king had
mounted the throne; a royal duke had died suddenly; anotherin
Francehad been murdered; there had been radical meetings in all
parts of the kingdom; the bloody scenes at Manchester; the great
plot in Cato Street; andabove allthe queen had returned to
England! All these sinister events are recounted by Mr. Skyrme
with a mysterious look and a dismal shake of the head; and being
taken with his drugsand associated in the minds of his auditors
with stuffed-sea-monstersbottled serpentsand his own visage
which is a title-page of tribulationthey have spread great
gloom through the minds of the people of Little Britain. They
shake their heads whenever they go by Bow Churchand observe
that they never expected any good to come of taking down that
steeplewhich in old times told nothing but glad tidingsas the
history of Whittington and his Cat bears witness.

The rival oracle of Little Britain is a substantial cheesemonger
who lives in a fragment of one of the old family mansionsand is
as magnificently lodged as a round-bellied mite in the midst of
one of his own Cheshires. Indeedhe is a man of no little
standing and importanceand his renown extends through Huggin
lane and Lad laneand even unto Aldermanbury. His opinion is
very much taken in affairs of statehaving read the Sunday
papers for the last half centurytogether with the Gentleman's
MagazineRapin's History of Englandand the Naval Chronicle.
His head is stored with invaluable maxims which have borne the
test of time and use for centuries. It is his firm opinion that
it is a moral impossible,so long as England is true to
herselfthat anything can shake her: and he has much to say on
the subject of the national debtwhichsomehow or otherhe
proves to be a great national bulwark and blessing. He passed the
greater part of his life in the purlieus of Little Britain until
of late yearswhenhaving become rich and grown into the

dignity of a Sunday canehe begins to take his pleasure and see
the world. He has therefore made several excursions to Hampstead
Highgateand other neighboring townswhere he has passed whole
afternoons in looking back upon the metropolis through a
telescope and endeavoring to descry the steeple of St.
Bartholomew's. Not a stage-coachman of Bull-and-Mouth Street but
touches his hat as he passesand he is considered quite a patron
at the coach-office of the Goose and GridironSt. Paul's
Churchyard. His family have been very urgent for him to make an
expedition to Margatebut he has great doubts of those new
gimcracksthe steamboatsand indeed thinks himself too advanced
in life to undertake sea-voyages.

Little Britain has occasionally its factions and divisionsand
party spirit ran very high at one timein consequence of two
rival "Burial Societies" being set up in the place. One held its
meeting at the Swan and Horse-Shoeand was patronized by the
cheesemonger; the other at the Cock and Crownunder the auspices
of the apothecary: it is needless to say that the latter was the
most flourishing. I have passed an evening or two at eachand
have acquired much valuable information as to the best mode of
being buriedthe comparative merits of churchyardstogether
with divers hints on the subject of patent iron coffins. I have
heard the question discussed in all its bearings as to the
legality of prohibiting the latter on account of their
durability. The feuds occasioned by these societies have happily
died of late; but they were for a long time prevailing themes of
controversythe people of Little Britain being extremely
solicitous of funeral honors and of lying comfortably in their

Besides these two funeral societies there is a third of quite a
different castwhich tends to throw the sunshine of good-humor
over the whole neighborhood. It meets once a week at a little
old-fashioned house kept by a jolly publican of the name of
Wagstaffand bearing for insignia a resplendent half-moonwith
a most seductive bunch of grapes. The whole edifice is covered
with inscriptions to catch the eye of the thirsty wayfarer; such
as "TrumanHanburyand Co's Entire WineRumand Brandy
Vaults Old TomRumand Compounds etc. This indeed has been
a temple of Bacchus and Momus from time immemorial. It has always
been in the family of the Wagstaffs, so that its history is
tolerably preserved by the present landlord. It was much
frequented by the gallants and cavalieros of the reign of
Elizabeth, and was looked into now and then by the wits of
Charles the Second's day. But what Wagstaff principally prides
himself upon is that Henry the Eighth, in one of his nocturnal
rambles, broke the head of one of his ancestors with his famous
walking-staff. This, however, is considered as rather a dubious
and vain-glorious boast of the landlord.

The club which now holds its weekly sessions here goes by the
name of the Roaring Lads of Little Britain." They abound in old
catchesgleesand choice stories that are traditional in the
place and not to be met with in any other part of the metropolis.
There is a madcap undertaker who is inimitable at a merry song
but the life of the cluband indeed the prime wit of Little
Britainis bully Wagstaff himself. His ancestors were all wags
before himand he has inherited with the inn a large stock of
songs and jokeswhich go with it from generation to generation
as heirlooms. He is a dapper little fellowwith bandy legs and
pot bellya red face with a moist merry eyeand a little shock
of gray hair behind. At the opening of every club night he is
called in to sing his "Confession of Faith which is the famous

old drinking trowl from Gammer Gurton's Needle." He sings itto
be surewith many variationsas he received it from his
father's lips; for it has been a standing favorite at the
Half-Moon and Bunch of Grapes ever since it was written; nayhe
affirms that his predecessors have often had the honor of singing
it before the nobility and gentry at Christmas mummerieswhen
Little Britain was in all its glory.*

* As mine host of the Half-Moon's Confession of Faith may not be
familiar to the majority of readersand as it is a specimen of
the current songs of Little BritainI subjoin it in its original
orthography. I would observe that the whole club always join in
the chorus with a fearful thumping on the table and clattering of
pewter pots.
I cannot eate but lytle meate
My stomacke is not good
But sure I thinke that I can drinke
With him that weares a hood.
Though I go baretake ye no care
I nothing am a colde
I stuff my skyn so full within
Of joly good ale and olde.
Chorus. Backe and syde go barego bare
Both foote and hand go colde
ButbellyGod send thee good ale ynoughe
Whether it be new or olde.

I have no rostbut a nut brawne toste
And a crab laid in the fyre;
A little breade shall do me steade
Much breade I not desyre.
No frost nor snownor windeI trowe

Can hurte meeif I wolde
I am so wrapt and throwly lapt
Of joly good ale and olde.

Chorus. Backe and syde go barego bareetc.

And Tyb my wifethatas her lyfe
Loveth well good ale to seeke
Full oft drynkes sheetyll ye may see
The teares run downe her cheeke.
Then doth shee trowle to me the bowle
Even as a mault-worme sholde
And saythsweete harteI took my parte
Of this jolly good ale and olde.
Chorus. Backe and syde go barego bareetc.

Now let them drynketyll they nod and winke
Even as goode fellowes sholde doe
They shall not mysse to have the blisse
Good ale doth bring men to;
And all poore soules that have scowred bowles
Or have them lustily trolde
God save the lyves of them and their wives
Whether they be yonge or olde.
Chorus. Backe and syde go barego bareetc.

It would do one's heart good to hearon a club nightthe shouts
of merrimentthe snatches of songand now and then the choral
bursts of half a dozen discordant voiceswhich issue from this
jovial mansion. At such times the street is lined with listeners
who enjoy a delight equal to that of gazing into a confectioner's
window or snuffing up the steams of a cook-shop.

There are two annual events which produce great stir and
sensation in Little Britain: these are St. Bartholomew's Fair and
the Lord Mayor's Day. During the time of the Fairwhich is held
in the adjoining regions of Smithfieldthere is nothing going on
but gossiping and gadding about. The late quiet streets of Little
Britain are overrun with an irruption of strange figures and
faces; every tavern is a scene of rout and revel. The fiddle and
the song are heard from the taproom morningnoonand night; and
at each window may be seen some group of boon companionswith
half-shut eyeshats on one sidepipe in mouth and tankard in
handfondling and prosingand singing maudlin songs over their
liquor. Even the sober decorum of private familieswhich I must
say is rigidly kept up at other times among my neighborsis no
proof against this saturnalia. There is no such thing as keeping
maid-servants within doors. Their brains are absolutely set
madding with Punch and the Puppet-Showthe Flying Horses
Signior Politothe Fire-Eaterthe celebrated Mr. Paapand the
Irish Giant. The children too lavish all their holiday money in
toys and gilt gingerbreadand fill the house with the
Lilliputian din of drumstrumpetsand penny whistles.

But the Lord Mayor's Day is the great anniversary. The Lord Mayor
is looked up to by the inhabitants of Little Britain as the
greatest potentate upon earthhis gilt coach with six horses as
the summit of human splendorand his processionwith all the
sheriffs and aldermen in his trainas the grandest of earthly
pageants. How they exult in the idea that the king himself dare
not enter the city without first knocking at the gate of Temple
Bar and asking permission of the Lord Mayor; for if he did
heaven and earth! there is no knowing what might be the
consequence. The man in armor who rides before the Lord Mayor
and is the city championhas orders to cut down everybody that
offends against the dignity of the city; and then there is the
little man with a velvet porringer on his headwho sits at the
window of the state coach and holds the city swordas long as a
pikestaff. Odd's blood! if he once draws that swordMajesty
itself is not safe.

Under the protection of this mighty potentatethereforethe
good people of Little Britain sleep in peace. Temple Bar is an
effectual barrier against all interior foes; and as to foreign
invasionthe Lord Mayor has but to throw himself into the Tower
call in the train-bandsand put the standing army of Beef-eaters
under armsand he may bid defiance to the world!

Thus wrapped up in its own concernsits own habitsand its own
opinionsLittle Britain has long flourished as a sound heart to
this great fungous metropolis. I have pleased myself with
considering it as a chosen spotwhere the principles of sturdy
John Bullism were garnered uplike seed cornto renew the
national character when it had run to waste and degeneracy. I
have rejoiced also in the general spirit of harmony that
prevailed throughout it; for though there might now and then be a
few clashes of opinion between the adherents of the cheesemonger
and the apothecaryand an occasional feud between the burial
societiesyet these were but transient clouds and soon passed
away. The neighbors met with good-willparted with a shake of
the handand never abused each other except behind their backs.

I could give rare descriptions of snug junketing parties at which
I have been presentwhere we played at All-FoursPope-Joan
Tom-come-tickle-meand other choice old gamesand where we
sometimes had a good old English country dance to the tune of Sir

Roger de Coverley. Once a year also the neighbors would gather
together and go on a gypsy party to Epping Forest. It would have
done any man's heart good to see the merriment that took place
here as we banqueted on the grass under the trees. How we made
the woods ring with bursts of laughter at the songs of little
Wagstaff and the merry undertaker! After dinnertoothe young
folks would play at blindman's-buff and hide-and-seekand it was
amusing to see them tangled among the briersand to hear a fine
romping girl now and then squeak from among the bushes. The elder
folks would gather round the cheesemonger and the apothecary to
hear them talk politicsfor they generally brought out a
newspaper in their pockets to pass away time in the country. They
would now and thento be sureget a little warm in argument;
but their disputes were always adjusted by reference to a worthy
old umbrella-maker in a double chinwhonever exactly
comprehending the subjectmanaged somehow or other to decide in
favor of both parties.

All empireshoweversays some philosopher or historianare
doomed to changes and revolutions. Luxury and innovation creep
infactions ariseand families now and then spring up whose
ambition and intrigues throw the whole system into confusion.
Thus in letter days has the tranquillity of Little Britain been
grievously disturbed and its golden simplicity of manners
threatened with total subversion by the aspiring family of a
retired butcher.

The family of the Lambs had long been among the most thriving and
popular in the neighborhood: the Miss Lambs were the belles of
Little Britainand everybody was pleased when Old Lamb had made
money enough to shut up shop and put his name on a brass plate on
his door. In an evil hourhoweverone of the Miss Lambs had the
honor of being a lady in attendance on the Lady Mayoress at her
grand annual ballon which occasion she wore three towering
ostrich feathers on her head. The family never got over it; they
were immediately smitten with a passion for high life; set up a
one-horse carriageput a bit of gold lace round the errand-boy's
hatand have been the talk and detestation of the whole
neighborhood ever since. They could no longer be induced to play
at Pope-Joan or blindman's-buff; they could endure no dances but
quadrilleswhich nobody had ever heard of in Little Britain; and
they took to reading novelstalking bad Frenchand playing upon
the piano. Their brothertoowho had been articled to an
attorneyset up for a dandy and a criticcharacters hitherto
unknown in these partsand he confounded the worthy folks
exceedingly by talking about Keanthe Operaand the "Edinburgh

What was still worsethe Lambs gave a grand ballto which they
neglected to invite any of their old neighbors; but they had a
great deal of genteel company from Theobald's RoadRed Lion
Squareand other parts towards the west. There were several
beaux of their brother's acquaintance from Gray's Inn Lane and
Hatton Gardenand not less than three aldermen's ladies with
their daughters. This was not to be forgotten or forgiven. All
Little Britain was in an uproar with the smacking of whipsthe
lashing of in miserable horsesand the rattling and jingling of
hackney-coaches. The gossips of the neighborhood might be seen
popping their night-caps out at every windowwatching the crazy
vehicles rumble by; and there was a knot of virulent old cronies
that kept a look-out from a house just opposite the retired
butcher's and scanned and criticised every one that knocked at
the door.

This dance was a cause of almost open warand the whole
neighborhood declared they would have nothing more to say to the
Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lambwhen she had no engagements
with her quality acquaintancewould give little humdrum
tea-junketings to some of her old croniesquite,as she would
sayin a friendly way;and it is equally true that her
invitations were always acceptedin spite of all previous vows
to the contrary. Naythe good ladies would sit and be delighted
with the music of the Miss Lambswho would condescend to strum
an Irish melody for them on the piano; and they would listen with
wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's anecdotes of Alderman Plunket's
familyof Portsoken Wardand the Miss Timberlakesthe rich
heiresses of Crutched Friars but then they relieved their
consciences and averted the reproaches of their confederates by
canvassing at the next gossiping convocation everything that had
passedand pulling the Lambs and their rout all to pieces.

The only one of the family that could not be made fashionable was
the retired butcher himself. Honest Lambin spite of the
meekness of his namewas a roughhearty old fellowwith the
voice of a liona head of black hair like a shoe-brushand a
broad face mottled like his own beef. It was in vain that the
daughters always spoke of him as "the old gentleman' addressed
him as "papa" in tones of infinite softnessand endeavored to
coax him into a dressing-gown and slippers and other gentlemanly
habits. Do what they mightthere was no keeping down the
butcher. His sturdy nature would break through all their
glozings. He had a hearty vulgar good-humor that was
irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive daughters
shudderand he persisted in wearing his blue cotton coat of a
morningdining at two o'clockand having a "bit of sausage with
his tea."

He was doomedhoweverto share the unpopularity of his family.
He found his old comrades gradually growing cold and civil to
himno longer laughing at his jokesand now and then throwing
out a fling at "some people" and a hint about "quality binding."
This both nettled and perplexed the honest butcher; and his wife
and daughterswith the consummate policy of the shrewder sex
taking advantage of the circumstanceat length prevailed upon
him to give up his afternoon's pipe and tankard at Wagstaff'sto
sit after dinner by himself and take his pint of port--a liquor
he detested--and to nod in his chair in solitary and dismal

The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the streets in
French bonnets with unknown beauxand talking and laughing so
loud that it distressed the nerves of every good lady within
hearing. They even went so far as to attempt patronageand
actually induced a French dancing master to set up in the
neighborhood; but the worthy folks of Little Britain took fire at
itand did so persecute the poor Gaul that he was fain to pack
up fiddle and dancing-pumps and decamp with such precipitation
that he absolutely forgot to pay for his lodgings.

I had flattered myselfat firstwith the idea that all this
fiery indignation on the part of the community was merely the
overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners and their
horror of innovationand I applauded the silent contempt they
were so vociferous in expressing for upstart prideFrench
fashions and the Miss Lambs. But I grieve to say that I soon
perceived the infection had taken holdand that my neighbors
after condemningwere beginning to follow their example. I
overheard my landlady importuning her husband to let their

daughters have one quarter at French and musicand that they
might take a few lessons in quadrille. I even sawin the course
of a few Sundaysno less than five French bonnetsprecisely
like those of the Miss Lambsparading about Little Britain.

I still had my hopes that all this folly would gradually die
awaythat the Lambs might move out of the neighborhoodmight
dieor might run away with attorneys' apprenticesand that
quiet and simplicity might be again restored to the community.
But unluckily a rival power arose. An opulent oilman diedand
left a widow with a large jointure and a family of buxom
daughters. The young ladies had long been repining in secret at
the parsimony of a prudent fatherwhich kept down all their
elegant aspirings. Their ambitionbeing now no longer
restrainedbroke out into a blazeand they openly took the
field against the family of the butcher. It is true that the
Lambshaving had the first starthad naturally an advantage of
them in the fashionable career. They could speak a little bad
Frenchplay the pianodance quadrillesand had formed high
acquaintances; but the Trotters were not to be distanced. When
the Lambs appeared with two feathers in their hatsthe Miss
Trotters mounted four and of twice as fine colors. If the Lambs
gave a dancethe Trotters were sure not to be behindhand; and
though they might not boast of as good companyyet they had
double the number and were twice as merry.

The whole community has at length divided itself into fashionable
factions under the banners of these two families. The old games
of Pope-Joan and Tom-come-tickle-me are entirely discarded; there
is no such thing as getting up an honest country dance; and on my
attempting to kiss a young lady under the mistletoe last
ChristmasI was indignantly repulsedthe Miss Lambs having
pronounced it "shocking vulgar." Bitter rivalry has also broken
out as to the most fashionable part of Little Britainthe Lambs
standing up for the dignity of Cross-Keys Squareand the
Trotters for the vicinity of St. Bartholomew's.

Thus is this little territory torn by factions and internal
dissensionslike the great empire whose name it bears; and what
will be the result would puzzle the apothecary himselfwith all
his talent at prognosticsto determinethough I apprehend that
it will terminate in the total downfall of genuine John Bullism.

The immediate effects are extremely unpleasant to me. Being a
single manandas I observed beforerather an idle
good-for-nothing personageI have been considered the only
gentleman by profession in the place. I stand therefore in high
favor with both partiesand have to hear all their cabinet
counsels and mutual backbitings. As I am too civil not to agree
with the ladies on all occasionsI have committed myself most
horribly with both parties by abusing their opponents. I might
manage to reconcile this to my consciencewhich is a truly
accommodating onebut I cannot to my apprehension: if the Lambs
and Trotters ever come to a reconciliation and compare notesI
am ruined!

I have determinedthereforeto beat a retreat in timeand am
actually looking out for some other nest in this great city where
old English manners are still kept upwhere French is neither
eatendrunkdancednor spokenand where there are no
fashionable families of retired tradesmen. This foundI will
like a veteran rathasten away before I have an old house about
my earsbid a longthough a sorrowful adieu to my present
abodeand leave the rival factions of the Lambs and the Trotters

to divide the distracted empire of LITTLE BRITAIN.


Thou soft-flowing Avonby thy silver stream
Of things more than mortal sweet Shakespeare would dream
The fairies by moonlight dance round his green bed
For hallow'd the turf is which pillow'd his head.


TO a homeless manwho has no spot on this wide world which he
can truly call his ownthere is a momentary feeling of something
like independence and territorial consequence whenafter a weary
day's travelhe kicks off his bootsthrusts his feet into
slippersand stretches himself before an inn-fire. Let the world
without go as it maylet kingdoms rise or fallso long as he
has the wherewithal to pay his bill he isfor the time being
the very monarch of all he surveys. The armchair is his throne
the poker his sceptreand the little parlorsome twelve feet
squarehis undisputed empire. It is a morsel of certainly
snatched from the midst of the uncertainties of life; it is a
sunny moment gleaming out kindly on a cloudy day: and he who has
advanced some way on the pilgrimage of existence knows the
importance of husbanding even morsels and moments of enjoyment.
Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?thought Ias I gave
the fire a stirlolled back in my elbow-chairand cast a
complacent look about the little parlor of the Red Horse at

The words of sweet Shakespeare were just passing through my mind
as the clock struck midnight from the tower of the church in
which he lies buried. There was a gentle tap at the doorand a
pretty chambermaidputting in her smiling faceinquiredwith a
hesitating airwhether I had rung. I understood it as a modest
hint that it was time to retire. My dream of absolute dominion
was at an end; so abdicating my thronelike a prudent potentate
to avoid being deposedand putting the Stratford Guide-Book
under my arm as a pillow companionI went to bedand dreamt all
night of Shakespearethe jubileeand David Garrick.

The next morning was one of those quickening mornings which we
sometimes have in early springfor it was about the middle of
March. The chills of a long winter had suddenly given way; the
north wind had spent its last gasp; and a mild air came stealing
from the westbreathing the breath of life into Natureand
wooing every bud and flower to burst forth into fragrance and

I had come to Stratford on a poetical pilgrimage. My first visit
was to the house where Shakespeare was bornand whereaccording
to traditionhe was brought up to his father's craft of
wool-combing. It is a small mean-looking edifice of wood and
plastera true nestling-place of geniuswhich seems to delight
in hatching its offspring in by-corners. The walls of its squalid
chambers are covered with names and inscriptions in every
language by pilgrims of all nationsranksand conditionsfrom
the prince to the peasantand present a simple but striking
instance of the spontaneous and universal homage of mankind to
the great poet of Nature.

The house is shown by a garrulous old lady in a frosty red face
lighted up by a cold blueanxious eyeand garnished with

artificial locks of flaxen hair curling from under an exceedingly
dirty cap. She was peculiarly assiduous in exhibiting the relics
with which thislike all other celebrated shrinesabounds.
There was the shattered stock of the very matchlock with which
Shakespeare shot the deer on his poaching exploits. Theretoo
was his tobacco-boxwhich proves that he was a rival smoker of
Sir Walter Raleigh: the sword also with which he played Hamlet;
and the identical lantern with which Friar Laurence discovered
Romeo and Juliet at the tomb. There was an ample supply also of
Shakespeare's mulberry treewhich seems to have as extraordinary
powers of self-multiplication as the wood of the true crossof
which there is enough extant to build a ship of the line.

The most favorite object of curiosityhoweveris Shakespeare's
chair. It stands in a chimney-nook of a small gloomy chamber just
behind what was his father's shop. Here he may many a time have
sat when a boywatching the slowly revolving spit with all the
longing of an urchinor of an evening listening to the cronies
and gossips of Stratford dealing forth churchyard tales and
legendary anecdotes of the troublesome times of England. In this
chair it is the custom of every one that visits the house to sit:
whether this be done with the hope of imbibing any of the
inspiration of the bard I am at a loss to say; I merely mention
the factand mine hostess privately assured me thatthough
built of solid oaksuch was the fervent zeal of devotees the
chair had to be new bottomed at least once in three years. It is
worthy of notice alsoin the history of this extraordinary
chairthat it partakes something of the volatile nature of the
Santa Casa of Lorettoor the flying chair of the Arabian
enchanter; forthough sold some few years since to a northern
princessyetstrange to tellit has found its way back again
to the old chimney-corner.

I am always of easy faith in such mattersand am ever willing to
be deceived where the deceit is pleasant and costs nothing. I am
therefore a ready believer in relicslegendsand local
anecdotes of goblins and great menand would advise all
travellers who travel for their gratification to be the same.
What is it to us whether these stories be true or falseso long
as we can persuade ourselves into the belief of them and enjoy
all the charm of the reality? There is nothing like resolute
good-humored credulity in these mattersand on this occasion I
went even so far as willingly to believe the claims of mine
hostess to a lineal descent from the poetwhenunluckily for my
faithshe put into my hands a play of her own compositionwhich
set all belief in her own consanguinity at defiance.

From the birthplace of Shakespeare a few paces brought me to his
grave. He lies buried in the chancel of the parish churcha
large and venerable pilemouldering with agebut richly
ornamented. It stands on the banks of the Avon on an embowered
pointand separated by adjoining gardens from the suburbs of the
town. Its situation is quiet and retired; the river runs
murmuring at the foot of the churchyardand the elms which grow
upon its banks droop their branches into its clear bosom. An
avenue of limesthe boughs of which are curiously interlacedso
as to form in summer an arched way of foliageleads up from the
gate of the yard to the church-porch. The graves are overgrown
with grass; the gray tombstonessome of them nearly sunk into
the earthare half covered with mosswhich has likewise tinted
the reverend old building. Small birds have built their nests
among the cornices and fissures of the wallsand keep up a
continual flutter and chirping; and rooks are sailing and cawing
about its lofty gray spire.

In the course of my rambles I met with the gray-headed sexton
Edmondsand accompanied him home to get the key of the church.
He had lived in Stratfordman and boyfor eighty yearsand
seemed still to consider himself a vigorous manwith the trivial
exception that he had nearly lost the use of his legs for a few
years past. His dwelling was a cottage looking out upon the Avon
and its bordering meadowsand was a picture of that neatness
orderand comfort which pervade the humblest dwellings in this
country. A low whitewashed roomwith a stone floor carefully
scrubbedserved for parlorkitchenand hall. Rows of pewter
and earthen dishes glittered along the dresser. On an old oaken
tablewell rubbed and polishedlay the family Bible and
prayer-bookand the drawer contained the family library
composed of about half a score of well-thumbed volumes. An
ancient clockthat important article of cottage furniture
ticked on the opposite side of the roomwith a bright
warming-pan hanging on one side of itand the old man's
horn-handled Sunday cane on the other. The fireplaceas usual
was wide and deep enough to admit a gossip knot within its jambs.
In one corner sat the old man's granddaughter sewinga pretty
blue-eyed girland in the opposite corner was a superannuated
crony whom he addressed by the name of John Angeand whoI
foundhad been his companion from childhood. They had played
together in infancy; they had worked together in manhood; they
were now tottering about and gossiping away the evening of life;
and in a short time they will probably be buried together in the
neighboring churchyard. It is not often that we see two streams
of existence running thus evenly and tranquilly side by side; it
is only in such quiet "bosom scenes" of life that they are to be
met with.

I had hoped to gather some traditionary anecdotes of the bard
from these ancient chroniclersbut they had nothing new to
impart. The long interval during which Shakespeare's writings lay
in comparative neglect has spread its shadow over his history
and it is his good or evil lot that scarcely anything remains to
his biographers but a scanty handful of conjectures.

The sexton and his companion had been employed as carpenters on
the preparations for the celebrated Stratford Jubileeand they
remembered Garrickthe prime mover of the fetewho
superintended the arrangementsand whoaccording to the sexton
was "a short punch manvery lively and bustling." John Ange had
assisted also in cutting down Shakespeare's mulberry treeof
which he had a morsel in his pocket for sale; no doubt a
sovereign quickener of literary conception.

I was grieved to hear these two worthy wights speak very
dubiously of the eloquent dame who shows the Shakespeare house.
John Ange shook his head when I mentioned her valuable and
inexhaustible collection of relicsparticularly her remains of
the mulberry tree; and the old sexton even expressed a doubt as
to Shakespeare having been born in her house. I soon discovered
that he looked upon her mansion with an evil eyeas a rival to
the poet's tombthe latter having comparatively but few
visitors. Thus it is that historians differ at the very outset
and mere pebbles make the stream of truth diverge into different
channels even at the fountain-head.

We approached the church through the avenue of limesand entered
by a Gothic porchhighly ornamentedwith carved doors of
massive oak. The interior is spaciousand the architecture and
embellishments superior to those of most country churches. There

are several ancient monuments of nobility and gentryover some
of which hang funeral escutcheons and banners dropping piecemeal
from the walls. The tomb of Shakespeare is in the chancel. The
place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms wave before the pointed
windowsand the Avonwhich runs at a short distance from the
wallskeeps up a low perpetual murmur. A flat stone marks the
spot where the bard is buried. There are four lines inscribed on
itsaid to have been written by himselfand which have in them
something extremely awful. If they are indeed his ownthey show
that solicitude about the quiet of the grave which seems natural
to fine sensibilities and thoughtful minds:

Good friendfor Jesus' sakeforbeare

To dig the dust inclosed here.

Blessed be he that spares these stones

And curst be he that moves my bones.

Just over the gravein a niche of the wallis a bust of
Shakespeareput up shortly after his death and considered as a
resemblance. The aspect is pleasant and serenewith a
finely-arched forehead; and I thought I could read in it clear
indications of that cheerfulsocial disposition by which he was
as much characterized among his contemporaries as by the vastness
of his genius. The inscription mentions his age at the time of
his deceasefifty-three years--an untimely death for the world
for what fruit might not have been expected from the golden
autumn of such a mindsheltered as it was from the stormy
vicissitudes of lifeand flourishing in the sunshine of popular
and royal favor?

The inscription on the tombstone has not been without its effect.
It has prevented the removal of his remains from the bosom of his
native place to Westminster Abbeywhich was at one time
contemplated. A few years since alsoas some laborers were
digging to make an adjoining vaultthe earth caved inso as to
leave a vacant space almost like an archthrough which one might
have reached into his grave. No onehoweverpresumed to meddle
with his remains so awfully guarded by a malediction; and lest
any of the idle or the curious or any collector of relics should
be tempted to commit depredationsthe old sexton kept watch over
the place for two daysuntil the vault was finished and the
aperture closed again. He told me that he had made bold to look
in at the holebut could see neither coffin nor bones--nothing
but dust. It was somethingI thoughtto have seen the dust of

Next to this grave are those of his wifehis favorite daughter
Mrs. Halland others of his family. On a tomb close byalsois
a full-length effigy of his old friend John Combeof usurious
memoryon whom he is said to have written a ludicrous epitaph.
There are other monuments aroundbut the mind refuses to dwell
on anything that is not connected with Shakespeare. His idea
pervades the place; the whole pile seems but as his mausoleum.
The feelingsno longer checked and thwarted by doubthere
indulge in perfect confidence: other traces of him may be false
or dubiousbut here is palpable evidence and absolute certainty.
As I trod the sounding pavement there was something intense and
thrilling in the idea that in very truth the remains of
Shakespeare were mouldering beneath my feet. It was a long time
before I could prevail upon myself to leave the place; and as I
passed through the churchyard I plucked a branch from one of the
yew treesthe only relic that I have brought from Stratford.

I had now visited the usual objects of a pilgrim's devotionbut

I had a desire to see the old family seat of the Lucys at
Charlecotand to ramble through the park where Shakespearein
company with some of the roisterers of Stratfordcommitted his
youthful offence of deer-stealing. In this harebrained exploit we
are told that he was taken prisoner and carried to the keeper's
lodgewhere he remained all night in doleful captivity. When
brought into the presence of Sir Thomas Lucy his treatment must
have been galling and humiliating; for it so wrought upon his
spirit as to produce a rough pasquinade which was affixed to the
park gate at Charlecot.*

This flagitious attack upon the dignity of the knight so incensed
him that he applied to a lawyer at Warwick to put the severity of
the laws in force against the rhyming deer-stalker. Shakespeare
did not wait to brave the united puissance of a knight of the
shire and a country attorney. He forthwith abandoned the pleasant
banks of the Avon and his paternal trade; wandered away to
London; became a hanger-on to the theatres; then an actor; and
finally wrote for the stage; and thusthrough the persecution of
Sir Thomas LucyStratford lost an indifferent wool-comber and
the world gained an immortal poet. He retainedhoweverfor a
long timea sense of the harsh treatment of the lord of
Charlecotand revenged himself in his writingsbut in the
sportive way of a good-natured mind. Sir Thomas is said to be the
original of Justice Shallowand the satire is slyly fixed upon
him by the justice's armorial bearingswhichlike those of the
knighthad white luces+ in the quarterings.

* The following is the only stanza extant of this lampoon:
A parliament membera justice of peace

At home a poor scarecrowat London an asse

If lowsie is Lucyas some volke miscalle it

Then Lucy is lowsiewhatever befall it.

He thinks himself great;

Yet an asse in his state

We allow by his ears but with asses to mate

If Lucy is lowsieas some volke miscalle it

Then sing lowsie Lucy whatever befall it.

+ The luce is a pike or jackand abounds in the Avon about
Various attempts have been made by his biographers to soften and
explain away thisearly transgression of the poet; but I look
upon it as one of those thoughtless exploits natural to his
situation and turn of mind. Shakespearewhen younghad
doubtless all the wildness and irregularity of an ardent
undisciplinedand undirected genius. The poetic temperament has
naturally something in it of the vagabond. When left to itself it
runs loosely and wildlyand delights in everything eccentric and
licentious. It is often a turn up of a diein the gambling
freaks of fatewhether a natural genius shall turn out a great
rogue or a great poet; and had not Shakespeare's mind fortunately
taken a literary biashe might have as daringly transcended all
civil as he has all dramatic laws.

I have little doubt thatin early lifewhen running like an
unbroken colt about the neighborbood of Stratfordhe was to be
found in the company of all kinds of odd anomalous characters
that he associated with all the madcaps of the placeand was one
of those unlucky urchins at mention of whom old men shake their
heads and predict that they will one day come to the gallows. To
him the poaching in Sir Thomas Lucy's park was doubtless like a

foray to a Scottish knightand struck his eagerand as yet
untamedimagination as something delightfully adventurous.*

* A proof of Shakespeare's random habits and associates in his
youthful days may be found in a traditionary anecdotepicked up
at Stratford by the elder Irelandand mentioned in his
Picturesque Views on the Avon.
About seven miles from Stratford lies the thirsty little
market-town of Bedfordfamous for its ale. Two societies of the
village yeomanry used to meetunder the appellation of the
Bedford topersand to challenge the lovers of good ale of the
neighboring villages to a contest of drinking. Among othersthe
people of Stratford were called out to prove the strength of
their heads; and in the number of the champions was Shakespeare
whoin spite of the proverb that "they who drink beer will think
beer was as true to his ale as Falstaff to his sack. The
chivalry of Stratford was staggered at the first onset, and
sounded a retreat while they had yet the legs to carry them off
the field. They had scarcely marched a mile when, their legs
failing them, they were forced to lie down under a crab tree,
where they passed the night. It was still standing, and goes by
the name of Shakespeare's tree.

In the morning his companions awaked the bard, and proposed
returning to Bedford, but he declined, saying he had enough,
having drank with

Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston,

Haunted Hilbro', Hungry Grafton,

Dudging Exhall, Papist Wicksford,

Beggarly Broom, and Drunken Bedford.

The villages here alluded to says Ireland, still bear the
epithets thus given them: the people of Pebworth are still famed
for their skill on the pipe and tabor; Hilborough is now called
Haunted Hilborough; and Grafton is famous for the poverty of its

The old mansion of Charlecot and its surrounding park still
remain in the possession of the Lucy familyand are peculiarly
interesting front being connected with this whimsical but
eventful circumstance in the scanty history of the bard. As the
house stood at little more than three miles' distance from
StratfordI resolved to pay it a pedestrian visitthat I might
stroll leisurely through some of those scenes from which
Shakespeare must have derived his earliest ideas of rural

The country was yet naked and leaflessbut English scenery is
always verdantand the sudden change in the temperature of the
weather was surprising in its quickening effects upon the
landscape. It was inspiring and animating to witness this first
awakening of spring; to feel its warm breath stealing over the
senses; to see the moist mellow earth beginning to put forth the
green sprout and the tender bladeand the trees and shrubsin
their reviving tints and bursting budsgiving the promise of
returning foliage and flower. The cold snow-dropthat little
borderer on the skirts of winterwas to be seen with its chaste
white blossoms in the small gardens before the cottages. The
bleating of the new-dropt lambs was faintly heard from the
fields. The sparrow twittered about the thatched eaves and
budding hedges; the robin threw a livelier note into his late
querulous wintry strain; and the larkspringing up from the

reeking bosom of the meadowtowered away into the bright fleecy
cloudpouring forth torrents of melody. As I watched the little
songster mounting up higher and higheruntil his body was a mere
speck on the white bosom of the cloudwhile the ear was still
filled with his musicit called to mind Shakespeare's exquisite
little song in Cymbeline:

Hark! hark! the lark at heav'n's gate sings
And Phoebus 'gins arise
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies.

And winking mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes;
With every thing that pretty bin
My lady sweet arise!

Indeedthe whole country about here is poetic ground: everything
is associated with the idea of Shakespeare. Every old cottage
that I saw I fancied into some resort of his boyhoodwhere he
had acquired his intimate knowledge of rustic life and manners
and heard those legendary tales and wild superstitions which he
has woven like witchcraft into his dramas. For in his timewe
are toldit was a popular amusement in winter evenings "to sit
round the fireand tell merry tales of errant knightsqueens
witchesfairiesgoblinsand friars."*

* Scotin his "Discoverie of Witchcraft enumerates a of these
fireside fancies: And they have so fraid us with host
satyrspansfaunessyrenskit with the can sticketritons
changelingsincubusRobin-goodfellowthe spoornethe mare
the man in the okethe hell-wainethe fier drakethe puckle
Tom ThombehobgoblinsTom Tumblerbonelessand such other
bugsthat we were afraid of our own shadowes."
My route for a part of the way lay in sight of the Avonwhich
made a variety of the most fancy doublings and windings through a
wide and fertile valley--sometimes glittering from among willows
which fringed its borders; sometimes disappearing among groves or
beneath green banks; and sometimes rambling out into full view
and making an azure sweep round a slope of meadow-land. This
beautiful bosom of country is called the Vale of the Red Horse. A
distant line of undulating blue hills seems to be its boundary
whilst all the soft intervening landscape lies in a manner
enchained in the silver links of the Avon.

After pursuing the road for about three milesI turned off into
a footpathwhich led along the borders of fields and under
hedgerows to a private gate of the park; there was a stile
howeverfor the benefit of the pedestrianthere being a public
right of way through the grounds. I delight in these hospitable
estatesin which every one has a kind of property--at least as
far as the footpath is concerned. It in some measure reconciles a
poor man to his lotandwhat is moreto the better lot of his
neighborthus to have parks and pleasure-grounds thrown open for
his recreation. He breathes the pure air as freely and lolls as
luxuriously under the shade as the lord of the soil; and if he
has not the privilege of calling all that he sees his ownhe has
notat the same timethe trouble of paying for it and keeping
it in order.

I now found myself among noble avenues of oaks and elmswhose
vast size bespoke the growth of centuries. The wind sounded
solemnly among their branchesand the rooks cawed from their
hereditary nests in the tree-tops. The eye ranged through a long
lessening vistawith nothing to interrupt the view but a distant
statue and a vagrant deer stalking like a shadow across the

There is something about these stately old avenues that has the
effect of Gothic architecturenot merely from the pretended
similarity of formbut from their bearing the evidence of long
durationand of having had their origin in a period of time with
which we associate ideas of romantic grandeur. They betoken also
the long-settled dignity and proudly-concentrated independence of
an ancient family; and I have heard a worthy but aristocratic old
friend observewhen speaking of the sumptuous palaces of modern
gentrythat "money could do much with stone and mortarbut
thank Heaven! there was no such thing as suddenly building up an
avenue of oaks."

It was from wandering in early life among this rich sceneryand
about the romantic solitudes of the adjoining park of Fullbroke
which then formed a part of the Lucy estatethat some of
Shakepeare's commentators have supposed he derived his noble
forest meditations of Jaques and the enchanting woodland pictures
in "As You Like It." It is in lonely wanderings through such
scenes that the mind drinks deep but quiet draughts of
inspirationand becomes intensely sensible of the beauty and
majesty of Nature. The imagination kindles into reverie and
rapturevague but exquisite images and ideas keep breaking upon
itand we revel in a mute and almost incommunicable luxury of
thought. It was in some such moodand perhaps under one of those
very trees before mewhich threw their broad shades over the
grassy banks and quivering waters of the Avonthat the poet's
fancy may have sallied forth into that little song which breathes
the very soul of a rural voluptuary

Unto the greenwood tree

Who loves to lie with me

And tune his merry throat

Unto the sweet bird's note

Come hithercome hithercome hither.

Here shall he see

No enemy

But winter and rough weather.

I had now come in sight of the house. It is a large building of
brick with stone quoinsand is in the Gothic style of Queen
Elizabeth's dayhaving been built in the first year of her
reign. The exterior remains very nearly in its original state
and may be considered a fair specimen of the residence of a
wealthy country gentleman of those days. A great gateway opens
from the park into a kind of courtyard in front of the house
ornamented with a grassplotshrubsand flower-beds. The gateway
is in imitation of the ancient barbacanbeing a kind of outpost
and flanked by towersthough evidently for mere ornament
instead of defence. The front of the house is completely in the
old style with stone-shafted casementsa great bow-window of
heavy stone-workand a portal with armorial bearings over it
carved in stone. At each corner of the building is an octagon
tower surmounted by a gilt ball and weather-cock.

The Avonwhich winds through the parkmakes a bend just at the
foot of a gently-sloping bank which sweeps down from the rear of

the house. Large herds of deer were feeding or reposing upon its
bordersand swans were sailing majestically upon its bosom. As I
contemplated the venerable old mansion I called to mind
Falstaff's encomium on Justice Shallow's abodeand the affected
indifference and real vanity of the latter:

Falstaff. You have a goodly dwelling and a rich.
Shallow. Barrenbarrenbarren; beggars allbeggars allSir
John:--marrygood air"

Whatever may have been the joviality of the old mansion in the
days of Shakespeareit had now an air of stillness and solitude.
The great iron gateway that opened into the courtyard was locked
there was no show of servants bustling about the place; the deer
gazed quietly at me as I passedbeing no longer harried by the
moss-troopers of Stratford. The only sign of domestic life that I
met with was a white cat stealing with wary look and stealthy
pace towards the stablesas if on some nefarious expedition. I
must not omit to mention the carcass of a scoundrel crow which I
saw suspended against the barn-wallas it shows that the Lucys
still inherit that lordly abhorrence of poachers and maintain
that rigorous exercise of territorial power which was so
strenuously manifested in the case of the bard.

After prowling about for some timeI at length found my way to a
lateral portalwhich was the every-day entrance to the mansion.
I was courteously received by a worthy old housekeeperwhowith
the civility and communicativeness of her ordershowed me the
interior of the house. The greater part has undergone alterations
and been adapted to modern tastes and modes of living: there is a
fine old oaken staircaseand the great hallthat noble feature
in an ancient manor-housestill retains much of the appearance
it must have had in the days of Shakespeare. The ceiling is
arched and loftyand at one end is a gallery in which stands an
organ. The weapons and trophies of the chasewhich formerly
adorned the hall of a country gentlemanhave made way for family
portraits. There is a widehospitable fireplacecalculated for
an ample old-fashioned wood fireformerly the rallying-place of
winter festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is the huge
Gothic bow-windowwith stone shaftswhich looks out upon the
courtyard. Here are emblazoned in stained glass the armorial
bearings of the Lucy family for many generationssome being
dated in 1558. I was delighted to observe in the quarterings the
three white luces by which the character of Sir Thomas was first
identified with that of Justice Shallow. They are mentioned in
the first scene of the "Merry Wives of Windsor where the
justice, is in a rage with Falstaff for having beaten his men
killed his deerand broken into his lodge." The poet had no
doubt the offences of himself and his comrades in mind at the
timeand we may suppose the family pride and vindictive threats
of the puissant Shallow to be a caricature of the pompous
indignation of Sir Thomas.

Shallow. Sir Hugh, persuade me not: I will make a Star Chamber
matter of it; if he were twenty John Falstaffs, he shall not
abuse Sir Robert Shallow, Esq.

Slender. In the county of Gloster, justice of peace and coram.

Shallow. Ay, cousin Slender, and custalorum.

Slender. Ay, and ratolorum too, and a gentleman born, master
parson; who writes himself Armigero in any bill, warrant,
quittance, or obligation, Armigero.

Shallow. Ay, that I do; and have done any time these three
hundred years.

Slender. All his successors gone before him have done't, and all
his ancestors that come after him may; they may give the dozen
white luces in their coat. . . .

Shallow. The council shall hear it; it is a riot.

Evans. It is not meet the council hear of a riot; there is no
fear of Got in a riot; the council, hear you, shall desire to
hear the fear of Got, and not to hear a riot; take your vizaments
in that.

Shallow. Ha! o' my life, if I were young again, the sword should
end it!

Near the window thus emblazoned hung a portraitby Sir Peter
Lelyof one of the Lucy familya great beauty of the time of
Charles the Second: the old housekeeper shook her head as she
pointed to the pictureand informed me that this lady had been
sadly addicted to cardsand had gambled away a great portion of
the family estateamong which was that part of the park where
Shakespeare and his comrades had killed the deer. The lands thus
lost had not been entirely regained by the family even at the
present day. It is but justice to this recreant dame to confess
that she had a surpassingly fine hand and arm.

The picture which most attracted my attention was a great
painting over the fireplacecontaining likenesses of Sir Thomas
Lucy and his family who inhabited the hall in the latter part of
Shakespeare's lifetime. I at first thought that it was the
vindictive knight himselfbut the housekeeper assured me that it
was his son; the only likeness extant of the former being an
effigy upon his tomb in the church of the neighboring hamlet of

* This effigy is in white marbleand represents the knight in
complete armor. Near him lies the effigy of his wifeand on her
tomb is the following inscription; whichif really composed by
her husbandplaces him quite above the intellectual level of
Master Shallow:
Here lyeth the Lady Joyce Lucy wife of Sir Thomas Lucy of
Charlecot in ye county of WarwickKnightDaughter and heir of
Thomas Acton of Sutton in ye county of Worcester Esquire who
departed out of this wretched world to her heavenly kingdom ye 10
day of February in ye yeare of our Lord God 1595 and of her age
60 and three. All the time of her lyfe a true and faythful
servant of her good Godnever detected of any cryme or vice. In
religion most soundein love to her husband most faythful and
true. In friendship most constant; to what in trust was committed
unto her most secret. In wisdom excelling. In governing of her
housebringing up of youth in ye fear of God that did converse
with her moste rare and singular. A great maintayner of
hospitality. Greatly esteemed of her betters; misliked of none
unless of the envyous. When all is spoken that can be saide a
woman so garnished with virtue as not to be bettered and hardly
to be equalled by any. As shee lived most virtuotisly so shee
died most Godly. Set downe by him yt best did knowe what hath byn
written to be true.

Thomas Lucye.

The picture gives a lively idea of the costume and manners of the
time. Sir Thomas is dressed in ruff and doubletwhite shoes with
roses in themand has a peaked yelloworas Master Slender
would saya cane-colored beard.His lady is seated on the
opposite side of the picture in wide ruff and long stomacherand
the children have a most venerable stiffness and formality of
dress. Hounds and spaniels are mingled in the family group; a
hawk is seated on his perch in the foregroundand one of the
children holds a bowall intimating the knight's skill in
huntinghawkingand archeryso indispensable to an
accomplished gentleman in those days.*

* Bishop Earlespeaking of the country gentleman of his time
observesHis housekeeping is seen much in the different
families of dogs and serving-men attendant on their kennels; and
the deepness of their throats is the depth of his discourse. A
hawk he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceedingly
ambitious to seem delighted with the sport, and have his fist
gloved with his jesses.And Gilpinin his description of a Mr.
HastingsremarksHe kept all sorts of hounds that run buck,
fox, hare, otter, and badger; and had hawks of all kinds both
long and short winged. His great hall was commonly strewed with
marrow-bones, and full of hawk perches, hounds, spaniels, and
terriers. On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the
choicest terriers, hounds, and spaniels.
I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall had
disappeared; for I had hoped to meet with the stately elbow-chair
of carved oak in which the country squire of former days was wont
to sway the sceptre of empire over his rural domainsand in
which it might be presumed the redoubled Sir Thomas sat enthroned
in awful state when the recreant Shakespeare was brought before
him. As I like to deck out pictures for my own entertainmentI
pleased myself with the idea that this very hall had been the
scene of the unlucky bard's examination on the morning after his
captivity in the lodge. I fancied to myself the rural potentate
surrounded by his body-guard of butlerpagesand blue-coated
serving-men with their badgeswhile the luckless culprit was
brought inforlorn and chopfallenin the custody of
gamekeepershuntsmenand whippers-inand followed by a rabble
rout of country clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious
housemaids peeping from the half-opened doorswhile from the
gallery the fair daughters of the knight leaned gracefully
forwardeyeing the youthful prisoner with that pity "that dwells
in womanhood." Who would have thought that this poor varletthus
trembling before the brief authority of a country squireand the
sport of rustic boorswas soon to become the delight of princes
the theme of all tongues and agesthe dictator to the human mind
and was to confer immortality on his oppressor by a caricature
and a lampoon?

I was now invited by the butler to walk into the gardenand I
felt inclined to visit the orchard and harbor where the justice
treated Sir John Falstaff and Cousin Silence "to a last year's
pippin of his own graftingwith a dish of caraways;" but I bad
already spent so much of the day in my ramblings that I was
obliged to give up any further investigations. When about to take
my leave I was gratified by the civil entreaties of the
housekeeper and butler that I would take some refreshment--an
instance of good old hospitality whichI grieve to saywe
castle-hunters seldom meet with in modern days. I make no doubt
it is a virtue which the present representative of the Lucys
inherits from his ancestors; for Shakespeareeven in his
caricaturemakes Justice Shallow importunate in this respectas

witness his pressing instances to Falstaff:

By cock and pye, Sir, you shall not away to-night. . . . . I
will not excuse you; you shall not be excused; excuses shall not
be admitted; there is no excuse shall serve; you shall not be
excused. . . . Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens;
a joint of mutton; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell
`William Cook.'

I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My mind had
become so completely possessed by the imaginary scenes and
characters connected with it that I seemed to be actually living
among them. Everything brought them as it were before my eyes
and as the door of the dining-room opened I almost expected to
hear the feeble voice of Master Silence quavering forth his
favorite ditty:

'Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all,
And welcome merry Shrove-tide!

On returning to my inn I could not but reflect on the singular
gift of the poetto be able thus to spread the magic of his mind
over the very face of Natureto give to things and places a
charm and character not their ownand to turn this "working-day
world" into a perfect fairy-land. He is indeed the true
enchanterwhose spell operatesnot upon the sensesbut upon
the imagination and the heart. Under the wizard influence of
Shakespeare I had been walking all day in a complete delusion. I
had surveyed the landscape through the prism of poetrywhich
tinged every object with the hues of the rainbow. I had been
surrounded with fancied beingswith mere airy nothings conjured
up by poetic poweryet whichto mehad all the charm of
reality. I had heard Jaques soliloquize beneath his oak; had
beheld the fair Rosalind and her companion adventuring through
the woodlands; andabove allhad been once more present in
spirit with fat Jack Falstaff and his contemporariesfrom the
august Justice Shallow down to the gentle Master Slender and the
sweet Anne Page. Ten thousand honors and blessings on the bard
who has thus gilded the dull realities of life with innocent
illusionswho has spread exquisite and unbought pleasures in my
chequered pathand beguiled my spirit in many a lonely hour with
all the cordial and cheerful sympathies of social life!

As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my returnI paused to
contemplate the distant church in which the poet lies buriedand
could not but exult in the malediction which has kept his ashes
undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed vaults. What honor could
his name have derived from being mingled in dusty companionship
with the epitaphs and escutcheons and venal eulogiums of a titled
multitude? What would a crowded corner in Westminster Abbey have
beencompared with this reverend pilewhich seems to stand in
beautiful loneliness as his sole mausoleum! The solitude about
the grave may be but the offspring of an overwrought sensibility;
but human nature is made up of foibles and prejudicesand its
best and tenderest affections are mingled with these factitious
feelings. He who has sought renown about the worldand has
reaped a full harvest of worldly favorwill findafter all
that there is no loveno admirationno applauseso sweet to
the soul as that which springs up in his native place. It is
there that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honor among his
kindred and his early friends. And when the weary heart and
failing head begin to warn him that the evening of life is
drawing onhe turns as fondly as does the infant to the mother's
arms to sink to sleep in the bosom of the scene of his childhood.

How would it have cheered the spirit of the youthful bard when
wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful worldhe cast back a
heavy look upon his paternal homecould he have foreseen that
before many years he should return to it covered with renown;
that his name should become the boast and glory of his native
place; that his ashes should be religiously guarded as its most
precious treasure; and that its lessening spireon which his
eyes were fixed in tearful contemplationshould one day become
the beacon towering amidst the gentle landscape to guide the
literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb!


I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin
hungry, and he gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and
naked, and he clothed him not.--Speech of au Indian Chief.

THERE is something in the character and habits of the North
American savagetaken in connection with the scenery over which
he is accustomed to rangeits vast lakesboundless forests
majestic riversand trackless plainsthat isto my mind
wonderfully striking and sublime. He is formed for the
wildernessas the Arab is for the desert. His nature is stern
simpleand enduringfitted to grapple with difficulties and to
support privations. There seems but little soil in his heart for
the support of the kindly virtues; and yetif we would but take
the trouble to penetrate through that proud stoicism and habitual
taciturnity which lock up his character from casual observation
we should find him linked to his fellow-man of civilized life by
more of those sympathies and affections than are usually ascribed
to him.

It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of America in
the early periods of colonization to be doubly wronged by the
white men. They have been dispossessed of their hereditary
possessions by mercenary and frequently wanton warfareand their
characters have been traduced by bigoted and interested writers.
The colonists often treated them like beasts of the forestand
the author has endeavored to justify him in his outrages. The
former found it easier to exterminate than to civilize; the
latter to vilify than to discriminate. The appellations of savage
and pagan were deemed sufficient to sanction the hostilities of
both; and thus the poor wanderers of the forest were persecuted
and defamednot because they were guiltybut because they were

The rights of the savage have seldom been properly appreciated or
respected by the white man. In peace he has too often been the
dupe of artful traffic; in war he has been regarded as a
ferocious animal whose life or death was a question of mere
precaution and convenience. Man is cruelly wasteful of life when
his own safety is endangered and he is sheltered by impunityand
little mercy is to be expected from him when he feels the sting
of the reptile and is conscious of the power to destroy.

The same prejudiceswhich were indulged thus earlyexist in
common circulation at the present day. Certain learned societies
haveit is truewith laudable diligenceendeavored to
investigate and record the real characters and manners of the
Indian tribes; the American governmenttoohas wisely and
humanely exerted itself to inculcate a friendly and forbearing

spirit towards them and to protect them from fraud and
injustice.* The current opinion of the Indian characterhowever
is too apt to be formed from the miserable hordes which infest
the frontiers and hang on the skirts of the settlements. These
are too commonly composed of degenerate beingscorrupted and
enfeebled by the vices of societywithout being benefited by its
civilization. That proud independence which formed the main
pillar of savage virtue has been shaken downand the whole moral
fabric lies in ruins. Their spirits are humiliated and debased by
a sense of inferiorityand their native courage cowed and
daunted by the superior knowledge and power of their enlightened
neighbors. Society has advanced upon them like one of those
withering airs that will sometimes breed desolation over a whole
region of fertility. It has enervated their strengthmultiplied
their diseasesand superinduced upon their original barbarity
the low vices of artificial life. It has given them a thousand
superfluous wantswhilst it has diminished their means of mere
existence. It has driven before it the animals of the chasewho
fly from the sound of the axe and the smoke of the settlement and
seek refuge in the depths of remoter forests and yet untrodden
wilds. Thus do we too often find the Indians on our frontiers to
be the mere wrecks and remnants of once powerful tribeswho have
lingered in the vicinity of the settlements and sunk into
precarious and vagabond existence. Povertyrepining and hopeless
povertya canker of the mind unknown in savage lifecorrodes
their spirits and blights every free and noble quality of their
natures. They become drunkenindolentfeeblethievishand
pusillanimous. They loiter like vagrants about the settlements
among spacious dwellings replete with elaborate comfortswhich
only render them sensible of the comparative wretchedness of
their own condition. Luxury spreads its ample board before their
eyesbut they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over
the fieldsbut they are starving in the midst of its abundance;
the whole wilderness has blossomed into a gardenbut they feel
as reptiles that infest it.

* The American Government has been indefatigable in its exertions
to ameliorate the situation of the Indiansand to introduce
among them the arts of civilization and civil and religious
knowledge. To protect them from the frauds of the white traders
no purchase of land from them by individuals is permittednor is
any person allowed to receive lands from them as a present
without the express sanction of government. These precautions are
strictly enforced.
How different was their state while yet the undisputed lords of
the soil! Their wants were few and the means of gratification
within their reach. They saw every one round them sharing the
same lotenduring the same hardshipsfeeding on the same
alimentsarrayed in the same rude garments. No roof then rose
but was open to the homeless stranger; no smoke curled among the
trees but he was welcome to sit down by its fire and join the
hunter in his repast. "For says an old historian of New
England, their life is so void of careand they are so loving
alsothat they make use of those things they enjoy as common
goodsand are therein so compassionate that rather than one
should starve through wantthey would starve all; thus they pass
their time merrilynot regarding our pompbut are better
content with their ownwhich some men esteem so meanly of." Such
were the Indians whilst in the pride and energy of their
primitive natures: they resembled those wild plants which thrive
best in the shades of the forestbut shrink from the hand of
cultivation and perish beneath the influence of the sun.

In discussing the savage character writers have been too prone to
indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate exaggerationinstead
of the candid temper of true philosophy. They have not
sufficiently considered the peculiar circumstances in which the
Indians have been placedand the peculiar principles under which
they have been educated. No being acts more rigidly from rule
than the Indian. His whole conduct is regulated according to some
general maxims early implanted in his mind. The moral laws that
govern him areto be surebut few; but then he conforms to them
all; the white man abounds in laws of religionmoralsand
mannersbut how many does he violate!

A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is their
disregard of treatiesand the treachery and wantonness with
whichin time of apparent peacethey will suddenly fly to
hostilities. The intercourse of the white men with the Indians
howeveris too apt to be colddistrustfuloppressiveand
insulting. They seldom treat them with that confidence and
frankness which are indispensable to real friendshipnor is
sufficient caution observed not to offend against those feelings
of pride or superstition which often prompt the Indian to
hostility quicker than mere considerations of interest. The
solitary savage feels silentlybut acutely. His sensibilities
are not diffused over so wide a surface as those of the white
manbut they run in steadier and deeper channels. His pridehis
affectionshis superstitionsare all directed towards fewer
objectsbut the wounds inflicted on them are proportionably
severeand furnish motives of hostility which we cannot
sufficiently appreciate. Where a community is also limited in
numberand forms one great patriarchal familyas in an Indian
tribethe injury of an individual is the injury of the whole
and the sentiment of vengeance is almost instantaneously
diffused. One council-fire is sufficient for the discussion and
arrangement of a plan of hostilities. Here all the fighting-men
and sages assemble. Eloquence and superstition combine to inflame
the minds of the warriors. The orator awakens their martial
ardorand they are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation
by the visions of the prophet and the dreamer.

An instance of one of those sudden exasperationsarising from a
motive peculiar to the Indian characteris extant in an old
record of the early settlement of Massachusetts. The planters of
Plymouth had defaced the monuments of the dead at Passonagessit
and had plundered the grave of the Sachem's mother of some skins
with which it had been decorated. The Indians are remarkable for
the reverence which they entertain for the sepulchres of their
kindred. Tribes that have passed generations exiled from the
abodes of their ancestorswhen by chance they have been
travelling in the vicinityhave been known to turn aside from
the highwayandguided by wonderfully accurate traditionhave
crossed the country for miles to some tumulusburied perhaps in
woodswhere the bones of their tribe were anciently deposited
and there have passed hours in silent meditation. Influenced by
this sublime and holy feelingthe Sachem whose mother's tomb had
been violated gathered his men togetherand addressed them in
the following beautifully simple and pathetic harangue--a curious
specimen of Indian eloquence and an affecting instance of filial
piety in a savage:

When last the glorious light of all the sky was underneath this
globe and birds grew silent, I began to settle, as my custom is,
to take repose. Before mine eyes were fast closed methought I saw
a vision, at which my spirit was much troubled; and trembling at
that doleful sight, a spirit cried aloud, 'Behold, my son, whom I

have cherished, see the breasts that gave thee suck, the hands
that lapped thee warm and fed thee oft. Canst thou forget to take
revenge of those wild people who have defaced my monument in a
despiteful manner, disdaining our antiquities and honorable
customs? See, now, the Sachem's grave lies like the common
people, defaced by an ignoble race. Thy mother doth complain and
implores thy aid against this thievish people who have newly
intruded on our land. If this be suffered, I shall not rest quiet
in my everlasting habitation.' This said, the spirit vanished,
and I, all in a sweat, not able scarce to speak, began to get
some strength and recollect my spirits that were fled, and
determined to demand your counsel and assistance.

I have adduced this anecdote at some lengthas it tends to show
how these sudden acts of hostilitywhich have been attributed to
caprice and perfidymay often arise from deep and generous
motiveswhich our inattention to Indian character and customs
prevents our properly appreciating.

Another ground of violent outcry against the Indians is their
barbarity to the vanquished. This had its origin partly in policy
and partly in superstition. The tribesthough sometimes called
nationswere never so formidable in their numbers but that the
loss of several warriors was sensibly felt; this was particularly
the case when they had been frequently engaged in warfare; and
many an instance occurs in Indian history where a tribe that had
long been formidable to its neighbors has been broken up and
driven away by the capture and massacre of its principal
fighting-men. There was a strong temptationthereforeto the
victor to be mercilessnot so much to gratify any cruel revenge
as to provide for future security. The Indians had also the
superstitious belieffrequent among barbarous nations and
prevalent also among the ancientsthat the manes of their
friends who had fallen in battle were soothed by the blood of the
captives. The prisonershoweverwho are not thus sacrificed are
adopted into their families in the place of the slainand are
treated with the confidence and affection of relatives and
friends; nayso hospitable and tender is their entertainment
that when the alternative is offered them they will often prefer
to remain with their adopted brethren rather than return to the
home and the friends of their youth.

The cruelty of the Indians towards their prisoners has been
heightened since the colonization of the whites. What was
formerly a compliance with policy and superstition has been
exasperated into a gratification of vengeance. They cannot but be
sensible that the white men are the usurpers of their ancient
dominionthe cause of their degradationand the gradual
destroyers of their race. They go forth to battle smarting with
injuries and indignities which they have individually suffered
and they are driven to madness and despair by the wide-spreading
desolation and the overwhelming ruin of European warfare. The
whites have too frequently set them an example of violence by
burning their villages and laying waste their slender means of
subsistenceand yet they wonder that savages do not show
moderation and magnanimity towards those who have left them
nothing but mere existence and wretchedness.

We stigmatize the Indiansalsoas cowardly and treacherous
because they use stratagem in warfare in preference to open
force; but in this they are fully justified by their rude code of
honor. They are early taught that stratagem is praiseworthy; the
bravest warrior thinks it no disgrace to lurk in silenceand
take every advantage of his foe: he triumphs in the superior

craft and sagacity by which he has been enabled to surprise and
destroy an enemy. Indeedman is naturally more prone to subtilty
than open valorowing to his physical weakness in comparison
with other animals. They are endowed with natural weapons of
defencewith hornswith tuskswith hoofsand talons; but man
has to depend on his superior sagacity. In all his encounters
with thesehis proper enemieshe resorts to stratagem; and when
he perversely turns his hostility against his fellow-manhe at
first continues the same subtle mode of warfare.

The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to our enemy
with the least harm to ourselves; and this of course is to be
effected by stratagem. That chivalrous courage which induces us
to despise the suggestions of prudence and to rush in the face of
certain danger is the offspring of society and produced by
education. It is honorablebecause it is in fact the triumph of
lofty sentiment over an instinctive repugnance to painand over
those yearnings after personal ease and security which society
has condemned as ignoble. It is kept alive by pride and the fear
of shame; and thus the dread of real evil is overcome by the
superior dread of an evil which exists but in the imagination. It
has been cherished and stimulated also by various means. It has
been the theme of spirit-stirring song and chivalrous story. The
poet and minstrel have delighted to shed round it the splendors
of fictionand even the historian has forgotten the sober
gravity of narration and broken forth into enthusiasm and
rhapsody in its praise. Triumphs and gorgeous pageants have been
its reward: monumentson which art has exhausted its skill and
opulence its treasureshave been erected to perpetuate a
nation's gratitude and admiration. Thus artificially excited
courage has risen to an extraordinary and factitious degree of
heroismandarrayed in all the glorious "pomp and circumstance
of war this turbulent quality has even been able to eclipse
many of those quiet but invaluable virtues which silently ennoble
the human character and swell the tide of human happiness.

But if courage intrinsically consists in the defiance of danger
and pain, the life of the Indian is a continual exhibition of it.
He lives in a state of perpetual hostility and risk. Peril and
adventure are congenial to his nature, or rather seem necessary
to arouse his faculties and to give an interest to his existence.
Surrounded by hostile tribes, whose mode of warfare is by ambush
and surprisal, he is always prepared for fight and lives with his
weapons in his hands. As the ship careers in fearful singleness
through the solitudes of ocean, as the bird mingles among clouds
and storms, and wings its way, a mere speck, across the pathless
fields of air, so the Indian holds his course, silent, solitary,
but undaunted, through the boundless bosom of the wilderness. His
expeditions may vie in distance and danger with the pilgrimage of
the devotee or the crusade of the knight-errant. He traverses
vast forests exposed to the hazards of lonely sickness, of
lurking enemies, and pining famine. Stormy lakes, those great
inland seas, are no obstacles to his wanderings: in his light
canoe of bark he sports like a feather on their waves, and darts
with the swiftness of an arrow down the roaring rapids of the
rivers. His very subsistence is snatched from the midst of toil
and peril. He gains his food by the hardships and dangers of the
chase: he wraps himself in the spoils of the bear, the panther,
and the buffalo, and sleeps among the thunders of the cataract.

No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the Indian in his
lofty contempt of death and the fortitude with which he sustains
his cruelest affliction. Indeed, we here behold him rising
superior to the white man in consequence of his peculiar

education. The latter rushes to glorious death at the cannon's
mouth; the former calmly contemplates its approach, and
triumphantly endures it amidst the varied torments of surrounding
foes and the protracted agonies of fire. He even takes a pride in
taunting his persecutors and provoking their ingenuity of
torture; and as the devouring flames prey on his very vitals and
the flesh shrinks from the sinews, he raises his last song of
triumph, breathing the defiance of an unconquered heart and
invoking the spirits of his fathers to witness that he dies
without a groan.

Notwithstanding the obloquy with which the early historians have
overshadowed the characters of the unfortunate natives, some
bright gleams occasionally break through which throw a degree of
melancholy lustre on their memories. Facts are occasionally to be
met with in the rude annals of the eastern provinces which,
though recorded with the coloring of prejudice and bigotry, yet
speak for themselves, and will be dwelt on with applause and
sympathy when prejudice shall have passed away.

In one of the homely narratives of the Indian wars in New England
there is a touching account of the desolation carried into the
tribe of the Pequod Indians. Humanity shrinks from the
cold-blooded detail of indiscriminate butchery. In one place we
read of the surprisal of an Indian fort in the night, when the
wigwams were wrapped in flames and the miserable inhabitants shot
down and slain in attempting to escape, all being despatched and
ended in the course of an hour." After a series of similar
transactions "our soldiers as the historian piously observes,
being resolved by God's assistance to make a final destruction
of them the unhappy savages being hunted from their homes and
fortresses and pursued with fire and sword, a scanty but gallant
band, the sad remnant of the Pequod warriors, with their wives
and children took refuge in a swamp.

Burning with indignation and rendered sullen by despair, with
hearts bursting with grief at the destruction of their tribe, and
spirits galled and sore at the fancied ignominy of their defeat,
they refused to ask their lives at the hands of an insulting foe,
and preferred death to submission.

As the night drew on they were surrounded in their dismal
retreat, so as to render escape impracticable. Thus situated,
their enemy plied them with shot all the timeby which means
many were killed and buried in the mire." In the darkness and fog
that preceded the dawn of day some few broke through the
besiegers and escaped into the woods; "the rest were left to the
conquerorsof which many were killed in the swamplike sullen
dogs who would ratherin their self-willedness and madnesssit
still and be shot through or cut to pieces" than implore for
mercy. When the day broke upon this handful of forlorn but
dauntless spiritsthe soldierswe are toldentering the swamp
saw several heaps of them sitting close together, upon whom they
discharged their pieces, laden with ten or twelve pistol bullets
at a time, putting the muzzles of the pieces under the boughs,
within a few yards of them; so as, besides those that were found
dead, many more were killed and sunk into the mire, and never
were minded more by friend or foe.

Can any one read this plain unvarnished tale without admiring the
stern resolutionthe unbending pridethe loftiness of spirit
that seemed to nerve the hearts of these self-taught heroes and
to raise them above the instinctive feelings of human nature?
When the Gauls laid waste the city of Romethey found the

senators clothed in their robes and seated with stern
tranquillity in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered
death without resistance or even supplication. Such conduct was
in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indian
it was reviled as obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the
dupes of show and circumstance! How different is virtue clothed
in purple and enthroned in statefrom virtue naked and destitute
and perishing obscurely in a wilderness!

But I forbear to dwell on these gloomy pictures. The eastern
tribes have long since disappeared; the forests that sheltered
them have been laid lowand scarce any traces remain of them in
the thickly-settled States of New Englandexcepting here and
there the Indian name of a village or a stream. And such must
sooner or laterbe the fate of those other tribes which skirt
the frontiersand have occasionally been inveigled from their
forests to mingle in the wars of white men. In a little while
and they will go the way that their brethren have gone before.
The few hordes which still linger about the shores of Huron and
Superior and the tributary streams of the Mississippi will share
the fate of those tribes that once spread over Massachusetts and
Connecticut and lorded it along the proud banks of the Hudsonof
that gigantic race said to have existed on the borders of the
Susquehannaand of those various nations that flourished about
the Potomac and the Rappahannock and that peopled the forests of
the vast valley of Shenandoah. They will vanish like a vapor from
the face of the earth; their very history will be lost in
forgetfulness; and "the places that now know them will know them
no more forever." Or ifperchancesome dubious memorial of them
should surviveit may be in the romantic dreams of the poetto
people in imagination his glades and groveslike the fauns and
satyrs and sylvan deities of antiquity. But should he venture
upon the dark story of their wrongs and wretchednessshould he
tell how they were invadedcorrupteddespoileddriven from
their native abodes and the sepulchres of their fathershunted
like wild beasts about the earthand sent down with violence and
butchery to the graveposterity will either turn with horror and
incredulity from the tale or blush with indignation at the
inhumanity of their forefathers. "We are driven back said an
old warrior, until we can retreat no farther--our hatchets are
brokenour bows are snappedour fires are nearly extinguished;
a little longer and the white man will cease to persecute usfor
we shall cease to exist!"



As monumental bronze unchanged his look:

A soul that pity touch'dbut never shook;

Train'd from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier

The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook

Impassive--fearing but the shame of fear

stoic of the woods--a man without a tear.


IT is to be regretted that those early writers who treated of the
discovery and settlement of America have not given us more
particular and candid accounts of the remarkable characters that
flourished in savage life. The scanty anecdotes which have
reached us are full of peculiarity and interest; they furnish us
with nearer glimpses of human natureand show what man is in a

comparatively primitive state and what he owes to civilization.
There is something of the charm of discovery in lighting upon
these wild and unexplored tracts of human nature--in witnessing
as it werethe native growth of moral sentimentand perceiving
those generous and romantic qualities which have been
artificially cultivated by society vegetating in spontaneous
hardihood and rude magnificence.

In civilized lifewhere the happinessand indeed almost the
existenceof man depends so much upon the opinion of his
fellow-menhe is constantly acting a studied part. The bold and
peculiar traits of native character are refined away or softened
down by the levelling influence of what is termed good-breeding
and he practises so many petty deceptions and affects so many
generous sentiments for the purposes of popularity that it is
difficult to distinguish his real from his artificial character.
The Indianon the contraryfree from the restraints and
refinements of polished lifeand in a great degree a solitary
and independent beingobeys the impulses of his inclination or
the dictates of his judgment; and thus the attributes of his
naturebeing freely indulgedgrow singly great and striking.
Society is like a lawnwhere every roughness is smoothedevery
bramble eradicatedand where the eye is delighted by the smiling
verdure of a velvet surface; hehoweverwho would study Nature
in its wildness and variety must plunge into the forestmust
explore the glenmust stem the torrentand dare the precipice.

These reflections arose on casually looking through a volume of
early colonial history wherein are recordedwith great
bitternessthe outrages of the Indians and their wars with the
settlers New England. It is painful to perceiveeven from these
partial narrativeshow the footsteps of civilization may be
traced in the blood of the aborigines; how easily the colonists
were moved to hostility by the lust of conquest; how merciless
and exterminating was their warfare. The imagination shrinks at
the idea of how many intellectual beings were hunted from the
earthhow many brave and noble heartsof Nature's sterling
coinagewere broken down and trampled in the dust.

Such was the fate of PHILIP OF POKANOKETan Indian warrior whose
name was once a terror throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut.
He was the most distinguished of a number of contemporary sachems
who reigned over the Pequodsthe Narragansettsthe Wampanoags
and the other eastern tribes at the time of the first settlement
of New England--a band of native untaught heroes who made the
most generous struggle of which human nature is capablefighting
to the last gasp in the cause of their countrywithout a hope of
victory or a thought of renown. Worthy of an age of poetry and
fit subjects for local story and romantic fictionthey have left
scarcely any authentic traces on the page of historybut stalk
like gigantic shadows in the dim twilight of tradition.*

* While correcting the proof-sheets of this article the author is
informed that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished an
heroic poem on the story of Philip of Pokanoket
When the Pilgrimsas the Plymouth settlers are called by their
descendantsfirst took refuge on the shores of the New World
from the religious persecutions of the Oldtheir situation was
to the last degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in numberand
that number rapidly perishing away through sickness and
hardshipssurrounded by a howling wilderness and savage tribes
exposed to the rigors of an almost arctic winter and the
vicissitudes of an ever-shifting climatetheir minds were filled

with doleful forebodingsand nothing preserved them from sinking
into despondency but the strong excitement of religious
enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by
Massasoitchief sagamore of the Wampanoagsa powerful chief who
reigned over a great extent of country. Instead of taking
advantage of the scanty number of the strangers and expelling
them from his territoriesinto which they had intrudedhe
seemed at once to conceive for them a generous friendshipand
extended towards them the rites of primitive hospitality. He came
early in the spring to their settlement of New Plymouthattended
by a mere handful of followersentered into a solemn league of
peace and amitysold them a portion of the soiland promised to
secure for them the good-will of his savage allies. Whatever may
be said of Indian perfidyit is certain that the integrity and
good faith of Massasoit have never been impeached. He continued a
firm and magnanimous friend of the white mensuffering them to
extend their possessions and to strengthen themselves in the
landand betraying no jealousy of their increasing power and
prosperity. Shortly before his death he came once more to New
Plymouth with his son Alexanderfor the purpose of renewing the
covenant of peace and of securing it to his posterity.

At this conference he endeavored to protect the religion of his
forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionariesand
stipulated that no further attempt should be made to draw off his
people from their ancient faith; butfinding the English
obstinately opposed to any such conditionhe mildly relinquished
the demand. Almost the last act of his life was to bring his two
sonsAlexander and Philip (as they bad been named by the
English)to the residence of a principal settlerrecommending
mutual kindness and confidenceand entreating that the same love
and amity which had existed between the white men and himself
might be continued afterwards with his children. The good old
sachem died in peaceand was happily gathered to his fathers
before sorrow came upon his tribe; his children remained behind
to experience the ingratitude of white men.

His eldest sonAlexandersucceeded him. He was of a quick and
impetuous temperand proudly tenacious of his hereditary rights
and dignity. The intrusive policy and dictatorial conduct of the
strangers excited his indignationand he beheld with uneasiness
their exterminating wars with the neighboring tribes. He was
doomed soon to incur their hostilitybeing accused of plotting
with the Narragansetts to rise against the English and drive them
from the land. It is impossible to say whether this accusation
was warranted by facts or was grounded on mere suspicions. It is
evidenthoweverby the violent and overbearing measures of the
settlers that they had by this time begun to feel conscious of
the rapid increase of their powerand to grow harsh and
inconsiderate in their treatment of the natives. They despatched
an armed force to seize upon Alexander and to bring him before
their courts. He was traced to his woodland hauntsand surprised
at a hunting-house where he was reposing with a band of his
followersunarmedafter the toils of the chase. The suddenness
of his arrest and the outrage offered to his sovereign dignity so
preyed upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage as to
throw him into a raging fever. He was permitted to return home on
condition of sending his son as a pledge for his re-appearance;
but the blow he had received was fataland before he reached his
home he fell a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit.

The successor of Alexander was Metamocetor King Philipas he
was called by the settlers on account of his lofty spirit and
ambitious temper. Thesetogether with his well-known energy and

enterprisehad rendered him an object of great jealousy and
apprehensionand he was accused of having always cherished a
secret and implacable hostility towards the whites. Such may very
probably and very naturally have been the case. He considered
them as originally but mere intruders into the countrywho had
presumed upon indulgence and were extending an influence baneful
to savage life. He saw the whole race of his countrymen melting
before them from the face of the earththeir territories
slipping from their handsand their tribes becoming feeble
scatteredand dependent. It may be said that the soil was
originally purchased by the settlers; but who does not know the
nature of Indian purchases in the early periods of colonization?
The Europeans always made thrifty bargains through their superior
adroitness in trafficand they gained vast accessions of
territory by easily-provoked hostilities. An uncultivated savage
is never a nice inquirer into the refinements of law by which an
injury may be gradually and legally inflicted. Leading facts are
all by which he judges; and it was enough for Philip to know that
before the intrusion of the Europeans his countrymen were lords
of the soiland that now they were becoming vagabonds in the
land of their fathers.

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility and
his particular indignation at the treatment of his brotherhe
suppressed them for the presentrenewed the contract with the
settlersand resided peaceably for many years at Pokanoketor
asit was called by the EnglishMount Hope* the ancient seat
of dominion of his tribe. Suspicionshoweverwhich were at
first but vague and indefinitebegan to acquire form and
substanceand he was at length charged with attempting to
instigate the various eastern tribes to rise at onceand by a
simultaneous effort to throw off the yoke of their oppressors. It
is difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit
due to these early accusations against the Indians. There was a
proneness to suspicion and an aptness to acts of violence on the
part of the whites that gave weight and importance to every idle
tale. Informers abounded where tale-bearing met with countenance
and rewardand the sword was readily unsheathed when its success
was certain and it carved out empire.

* Now BristolRhode Island.
The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the
accusation of one Sausamana renegado Indianwhose natural
cunning had been quickened by a partial education which be had
received among the settlers. He changed his faith and his
allegiance two or three times with a facility that evinced the
looseness of his principles. He had acted for some time as
Philip's confidential secretary and counsellorand had enjoyed
his bounty and protection. Findinghoweverthat the clouds of
adversity were gathering round his patronhe abandoned his
service and went over to the whitesand in order to gain their
favor charged his former benefactor with plotting against their
safety. A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and several
of his subjects submitted to be examinedbut nothing was proved
against them. The settlershoweverhad now gone too far to
retract; they had previously determined that Philip was a
dangerous neighbor; they had publicly evinced their distrustand
had done enough to insure his hostility; accordingthereforeto
the usual mode of reasoning in these caseshis destruction had
become necessary to their security. Sausamanthe treacherous
informerwas shortly afterwards found dead in a pondhaving
fallen a victim to the vengeance of his tribe. Three Indiansone
of whom was a friend and counsellor of Philipwere apprehended

and triedand on the testimony of one very questionable witness
were condemned and executed as murderers.

This treatment of his subjects and ignominious punishment of his
friend outraged the pride and exasperated the passions of Philip.
The bolt which had fallen thus at his very feet awakened him to
the gathering stormand he determined to trust himself no longer
in the power of the white men. The fate of his insulted and
broken-hearted brother still rankled in his mind; and he had a
further warning in the tragical story of Miantonimoa great
Sachem of the Narragansettswhoafter manfully facing his
accusers before a tribunal of the colonistsexculpating himself
from a charge of conspiracy and receiving assurances of amity
had been perfidiously despatched at their instigation. Philip
therefore gathered his fighting-men about himpersuaded all
strangers that he could to join his causesent the women and
children to the Narragansetts for safetyand wherever he
appeared was continually surrounded by armed warriors.

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and
irritationthe least spark was sufficient to set them in a
flame. The Indianshaving weapons in their handsgrew
mischievous and committed various petty depredations. In one of
their maraudings a warrior was fired on and killed by a settler.
This was the signal for open hostilities; the Indians pressed to
revenge the death of their comradeand the alarm of war
resounded through the Plymouth colony.

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times we
meet with many indications of the diseased state of the public
mind. The gloom of religious abstraction and the wildness of
their situation among trackless forests and savage tribes had
disposed the colonists to superstitious fanciesand had filled
their imaginations with the frightful chimeras of witchcraft and
spectrology. They were much given also to a belief in omens. The
troubles with Philip and his Indians were precededwe are told
by a variety of those awful warnings which forerun great and
public calamities. The perfect form of an Indian bow appeared in
the air at New Plymouthwhich was looked upon by the inhabitants
as a "prodigious apparition." At HadleyNorthamptonand other
towns in their neighborhood "was heard the report of a great
piece of ordnancewith a shaking of the earth and a considerable
echo."* Others were alarmed on a still sunshiny morning by the
discharge of guns and muskets; bullets seemed to whistle past
themand the noise of drums resounded in the airseeming to
pass away to the westward; others fancied that they heard the
galloping of horses over their heads; and certain monstrous
births which took place about the time filled the superstitious
in some towns with doleful forebodings. Many of these portentous
sights and sounds may be ascribed to natural phenomena--to the
northern lights which occur vividly in those latitudesthe
meteors which explode in the airthe casual rushing of a blast
through the top branches of the forestthe crash of fallen trees
or disrupted rocksand to those other uncouth sounds and echoes
which will sometimes strike the ear so strangely amidst the
profound stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have startled
some melancholy imaginationsmay have been exaggerated by the
love for the marvellousand listened to with that avidity with
which we devour whatever is fearful and mysterious. The universal
currency of these superstitious fancies and the grave record made
of them by one of the learned men of the day are strongly
characteristic of the times.

* The Rev. Increase Mather's History.

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often
distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and savages. On
the part of the whites it was conducted with superior skill and
successbut with a wastefulness of the blood and a disregard of
the natural rights of their antagonists: on the part of the
Indians it was waged with the desperation of men fearless of
deathand who had nothing to expect from peace but humiliation
dependenceand decay.

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy clergyman
of the timewho dwells with horror and indignation on every
hostile act of the Indianshowever justifiablewhilst he
mentions with applause the most sanguinary atrocities of the
whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer and a traitorwithout
considering that he was a true-born prince gallantly fighting at
the head of his subjects to avenge the wrongs of his familyto
retrieve the tottering power of his lineand to deliver his
native land from the oppression of usurping strangers.

The project of a wide and simultaneous revoltif such had really
been formedwas worthy of a capacious mindand had it not been
prematurely discovered might have been overwhelming in its
consequences. The war that actually broke out was but a war of
detaila mere succession of casual exploits and unconnected
enterprises. Stillit sets forth the military genius and daring
prowess of Philipand whereverin the prejudiced and passionate
narrations that have been given of itwe can arrive at simple
factswe find him displaying a vigorous minda fertility of
expedientsa contempt of suffering and hardshipand an
unconquerable resolution that command our sympathy and applause.

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hopehe threw himself
into the depths of those vast and trackless forests that skirted
the settlements and were almost impervious to anything but a wild
beast or an Indian. Here he gathered together his forceslike
the storm accumulating its stores of mischief in the bosom of the
thundercloudand would suddenly emerge at a time and place least
expectedcarrying havoc and dismay into the villages. There were
now and then indications of these impending ravages that filled
the minds of the colonists with awe and apprehension. The report
of a distant gun would perhaps be heard from the solitary
woodlandwhere there was known to be no white man; the cattle
which had been wandering in the woods would sometimes return home
wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about the
skirts of the forests and suddenly disappearingas the lightning
will sometimes be seen playing silently about the edge of the
cloud that is brewing up the tempest.

Though sometimes pursued and even surrounded by the settlersyet
Philip as often escaped almost miraculously from their toils
andplunging into the wildernesswould be lost to all search or
inquiry until he again emerged at some far distant quarter
laying the country desolate. Among his strongholds were the great
swamps or morasses which extend in some parts of New England
composed of loose bogs of deep black mudperplexed with
thicketsbramblesrank weedsthe shattered and mouldering
trunks of fallen treesovershadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The
uncertain footing and the tangled mazes of these shaggy wilds
rendered them almost impracticable to the white manthough the
Indian could thread their labyrinths with the agility of a deer.
Into one of thesethe great swamp of Pocasset Neckwas Philip
once driven with a band of his followers. The English did not
dare to pursue himfearing to venture into these dark and

frightful recesseswhere they might perish in fens and miry pits
or be shot down by lurking foes. They therefore invested the
entrance to the Neckand began to build a fort with the thought
of starving out the foe; but Philip and his warriors wafted
themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea in the dead of night
leaving the women and children behindand escaped away to the
westwardkindling the flames of war among the tribes of
Massachusetts and the Nipmuck country and threatening the colony
of Connecticut.

In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehension. The
mystery in which he was enveloped exaggerated his real terrors.
He was an evil that walked in darknesswhose coming none could
foresee and against which none knew when to be on the alert. The
whole country abounded with rumors and alarms. Philip seemed
almost possessed of ubiquityfor in whatever part of the
widely-extended frontier an irruption from the forest took place
Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious notions also
were circulated concerning him. He was said to deal in
necromancyand to be attended by an old Indian witch or
prophetesswhom he consulted and who assisted him by her charms
and incantations. Thisindeedwas frequently the case with
Indian chiefseither through their own credulity or to act upon
that of their followers; and the influence of the prophet and the
dreamer over Indian superstition has been fully evidenced in
recent instances of savage warfare.

At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset his
fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces had been
thinned by repeated fights and he had lost almost the whole of
his resources. In this time of adversity he found a faithful
friend in Canonchet. chief Sachem of all the Narragansetts. He
was the son and heir of Miantonimothe great sachem whoas
already mentionedafter an honorable acquittal of the charge of
conspiracyhad been privately put to death at the perfidious
instigations of the settlers. "He was the heir says the old
chronicler, of all his father's pride and insolenceas well as
of his malice towards the English;" he certainly was the heir of
his insults and injuries and the legitimate avenger of his
murder. Though he had forborne to take an active part in this
hopeless waryet he received Philip and his broken forces with
open arms and gave them the most generous countenance and
support. This at once drew upon him the hostility of the English
and it was determined to strike a signal blow that should involve
both the Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was therefore
gathered together from MassachusettsPlymouthand Connecticut
and was sent into the Narragansett country in the depth of
winterwhen the swampsbeing frozen and leaflesscould be
traversed with comparative facility and would no longer afford
dark and impenetrable fastnesses to the Indians.

Apprehensive of attackCanonchet had conveyed the greater part
of his storestogether with the oldthe infirmthe women and
children of his tribeto a strong fortresswhere he and Philip
had likewise drawn up the flower of their forces. This fortress
deemed by the Indians impregnablewas situated upon a rising
mound or kind of island of five or six acres in the midst of a
swamp; it was constructed with a degree of judgment and skill
vastly superior to what is usually displayed in Indian
fortificationand indicative of the martial genius of these two

Guided by a renegado Indianthe English penetratedthrough
December snowsto this stronghold and came upon the garrison by

surprise. The fight was fierce and tumultuous. The assailants
were repulsed in their first attackand several of their bravest
officers were shot down in the act of storming the fortress
sword in hand. The assault was renewed with greater success. A
lodgment was effected. The Indians were driven from one post to
another. They disputed their ground inch by inchfighting with
the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were cut to pieces
and after a long and bloody battlePhilip and Canonchetwith a
handful of surviving warriorsretreated from the fort and took
refuge in the thickets of the surrounding forest.

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole was
soon in a blaze; many of the old menthe womenand the children
perished in the flames. This last outrage overcame even the
stoicism of the savage. The neighboring woods resounded with the
yells of rage and despair uttered by the fugitive warriorsas
they beheld the destruction of their dwellings and heard the
agonizing cries of their wives and offspring. "The burning of the
wigwams says a contemporary writer, the shrieks and cries of
the women and childrenand the yelling of the warriors
exhibited a most horrible and affecting sceneso that it greatly
moved some of the soldiers." The same writer cautiously adds
They were in much doubt then, and afterwards seriously inquired,
whether burning their enemies alive could be consistent with
humanity, and the benevolent principles of the gospel.*

* MS. of the Rev. W. Ruggles.
The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of
particular mention: the last scene of his life is one of the
noblest instances on record of Indian magnimity.

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal defeatyet
faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause which he had
espousedhe rejected all overtures of peace offered on condition
of betraying Philip and his followersand declared that "he
would fight it out to the last manrather than become a servant
to the English." His home being destroyedhis country harassed
and laid waste by the incursions of the conquerorshe was
obliged to wander away to the banks of the Connecticutwhere he
formed a rallying-point to the whole body of western Indians and
laid waste several of the English settlements.

Early in the spring he departed on a hazardous expeditionwith
only thirty chosen mento penetrate to Seaconckin the vicinity
of Mount Hopeand to procure seed corn to plant for the
sustenance of his troops. This little hand of adventurers had
passed safely through the Pequod countryand were in the centre
of the Narragansettresting at some wigwams near Pautucket
Riverwhen an alarm was given of an approaching enemy. Having
but seven men by him at the timeCanonchet despatched two of
them to the top of a neighboring hill to bring intelligence of
the foe.

Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English and Indians
rapidly advancingthey fled in breathless terror past their
chieftainwithout stopping to inform him of the danger.
Canonchet sent another scoutwho did the same. He then sent two
moreone of whomhurrying back in confusion and affrighttold
him that the whole British army was at hand. Canonchet saw there
was no choice but immediate flight. He attempted to escape round
the hillbut was perceived and hotly pursued by the hostile
Indians and a few of the fleetest of the English. Finding the
swiftest pursuer close upon his heelshe threw offfirst his

blanketthen his silver-laced coat and belt of peagby which
his enemies knew him to be Canonchet and redoubled the eagerness
of pursuit.

At lengthin dashing through the riverhis foot slipped upon a
stoneand he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This accident so
struck him with despair thatas he afterwards confessedhis
heart and his bowels turned within him, and he became like a
rotten stick, void of strength.

To such a degree was he unnerved thatbeing seized by a Pequod
Indian within a short distance of the riverhe made no
resistancethough a man of great vigor of body and boldness of
heart. But on being made prisoner the whole pride of his spirit
arose within himand from that moment we findin the anecdotes
given by his enemiesnothing but repeated flashes of elevated
and prince-like heroism. Being questioned by one of the English
who first came up with himand who had not attained his twenty
second yearthe proud-hearted warriorlooking with lofty
contempt upon his youthful countenancerepliedYou are a
child--you cannot understand matters of war; let your brother or
your chief come: him will I answer.

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life on condition
of submitting with his nation to the Englishyet he rejected
them with disdainand refused to send any proposals of the kind
to the great body of his subjectssaying that he knew none of
them would comply. Being reproached with his breach of faith
towards the whiteshis boast that he would not deliver up a
Wampanoag nor the paring of a Wampanoag's nailand his threat
that he would burn the English alive in their houseshe
disdained to justify himselfhaughtily answering that others
were as forward for the war as himselfand "he desired to hear
no more thereof."

So noble and unshaken a spiritso true a fidelity to his cause
and his friendmight have touched the feelings of the generous
and the brave; but Canonchet was an Indiana being towards whom
war had no courtesyhumanity no lawreligion no compassion: he
was condemned to die. The last words of his that are recorded are
worthy the greatness of his soul. When sentence of death was
passed upon himbe observed "that he liked it wellfor he
should die before his heart was soft or he had spoken anything
unworthy of himself." His enemies gave him the death of a
soldierfor he was shot at Stoning ham by three young Sachems of
his own rank.

The defeat at the Narraganset fortress and the death of Canonchet
were fatal blows to the fortunes of King Philip. He made an
ineffectual attempt to raise a head of war by stirring up the
Mohawks to take arms; butthough possessed of the native talents
of a statesmanhis arts were counteracted by the superior arts
of his enlightened enemiesand the terror of their warlike skill
began to subdue the resolution of the neighboring tribes. The
unfortunate chieftain saw himself daily stripped of powerand
his ranks rapidly thinning around him. Some were suborned by the
whites; others fell victims to hunger and fatigue and to the
frequent attacks by which they were harassed. His stores were all
captured; his chosen friends were swept away from before his
eyes; his uncle was shot down by his side; his sister was carried
into captivity; and in one of his narrow escapes he was compelled
to leave his beloved wife and only son to the mercy of the enemy.
His ruin,says the historianbeing thus gradually carried on,
his misery was not prevented, but augmented thereby; being

himself made acquainted with the sense and experimental feeling
of the captivity of his children, loss of friends, slaughter of
his subjects, bereavement of all family relations, and being
stripped of all outward comforts before his own life should be
taken away.

To fill up the measure of his misfortuneshis own followers
began to plot against his lifethat by sacrificing him they
might purchase dishonorable safety. Through treachery a number of
his faithful adherentsthe subjects of Wetamoean Indian
princess of Pocasseta near kinswoman and confederate of Philip
were betrayed into the hands of the enemy. Wetamoe was among them
at the timeand attempted to make her escape by crossing a
neighboring river: either exhausted by swimming or starved with
cold and hungershe was found dead and naked near the
water-side. But persecution ceased not at the grave. Even death
the refuge of the wretchedwhere the wicked commonly cease from
troublingwas no protection to this outcast femalewhose great
crime was affectionate fidelity to her kinsman and her friend.
Her corpse was the object of unmanly and dastardly vengeance: the
head was severed from the body and set upon a poleand was thus
exposed at Taunton to the view of her captive subjects. They
immediately recognized the features of their unfortunate queen
and were so affected at this barbarous spectacle that we are told
they broke forth into the "most horrid and diabolical

However Philip had borne up against the complicated miseries and
misfortunes that surrounded himthe treachery of his followers
seemed to wring his heart and reduce him to despondency. It is
said that "he never rejoiced afterwardsnor had success in any
of his designs." The spring of hope was broken--the ardor of
enterprise was extinguished; he looked aroundand all was danger
and darkness; there was no eye to pity nor any arm that could
bring deliverance. With a scanty band of followerswho still
remained true to his desperate fortunesthe unhappy Philip
wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hopethe ancient dwelling
of his fathers. Here he lurked about like a spectre among the
scenes of former power and prosperitynow bereft of homeof
familyand of friend. There needs no better picture of his
destitute and piteous situation than that furnished by the homely
pen of the chroniclerwho is unwarily enlisting the feelings of
the reader in favor of the hapless warrior whom he reviles.
Philip,he sayslike a savage wild beast, having been hunted
by the English forces through the woods above a hundred miles
backward and forward, at last was driven to his own den upon
Mount Hope, where he retired, with a few of his best friends,
into a swamp, which proved but a prison to keep him fast till the
messengers of death came by divine permission to execute
vengeance upon him.

Even in this last refuge of desperation and despair a sullen
grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture him to ourselves
seated among his care-worn followersbrooding in silence over
his blasted fortunesand acquiring a savage sublimity from the
wildness and dreariness of his lurking-place. Defeatedbut not
dismayed--crushed to the earthbut not humiliated--he seemed to
grow more haughty beneath disasterand to experience a fierce
satisfaction in draining the last dregs of bitterness. Little
minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunebut great minds rise
above it. The very idea of submission awakened the fury of
Philipand he smote to death one of his followers who proposed
an expedient of peace. The brother of the victim made his escape
and in revenge betrayed the retreat of his chieftainA body of

white men and Indians were immediately despatched to the swamp
where Philip lay crouchedglaring with fury and despair. Before
he was aware of their approach they had begun to surround him. In
a little while he saw five of his trustiest followers laid dead
at his feet; all resistance was vain; he rushed forth from his
covertand made a headlong attempt to escapebut was shot
through the heart by a renegado Indian of his own nation.

Such is the scanty story of the brave but unfortunate King
Philippersecuted while livingslandered and dishonored when
dead. Ifhoweverwe consider even the prejudiced anecdotes
furnished us by his enemieswe may perceive in them traces of
amiable and loftly character sufficient to awaken sympathy for
his fate and respect for his memory. We find that amidst all the
harassing cares and ferocious passions of constant warfare he was
alive to the softer feelings of connubial love and paternal
tenderness and to the generous sentiment of friendship. The
captivity of his "beloved wife and only son" are mentioned with
exultation as causing him poignant misery: the death of any near
friend is triumphantly recorded as a new blow on his
sensibilities; but the treachery and desertion of many of his
followersin whose affections he had confidedis said to have
desolated his heart and to have bereaved him of all further
comfort. He was a patriot attached to his native soil--a prince
true to his subjects and indignant of their wrongs--a soldier
daring in battlefirm in adversitypatient of fatigueof
hungerof every variety of bodily sufferingand ready to perish
in the cause he had espoused. Proud of heart and with an
untamable love of natural libertyhe preferred to enjoy it among
the beasts of the forests or in the dismal and famished recesses
of swamps and morassesrather than bow his haughty spirit to
submission and live dependent and despised in the ease and luxury
of the settlements. With heroic qualities and bold achievements
that would have graced a civilized warriorand have rendered him
the theme of the poet and the historianhe lived a wanderer and
a fugitive in his native landand went downlike a lonely bark
foundering amid darkness and tempestwithout a pitying eye to
weep his fall or a friendly hand to record his struggle.


An old songmade by an aged old pate

Of an old worshipful gentleman who had a great estate

That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate

And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate.

With an old study fill'd full of learned old books

With an old reverend chaplainyou might know him by his

With an old buttery-hatch worn quite off the hooks

And an old kitchen that maintained half-a-dozen old cooks.

Like an old courtieretc.--Old Song.

THERE is no species of humor in which the English more excel than
that which consists in caricaturing and giving ludicrous
appellations or nicknames. In this way they have whimsically
designatednot merely individualsbut nationsand in their
fondness for pushing a joke they have not spared even themselves.
One would think that in personifying itself a nation would be apt
to picture something grandheroicand imposing; but it is
characteristic of the peculiar humor of the Englishand of their
love for what is bluntcomicand familiarthat they have

embodied their national oddities in the figure of a sturdy
corpulent old fellow with a three-cornered hatred waistcoat
leather breechesand stout oaken cudgel. Thus they have taken a
singular delight in exhibiting their most private foibles in a
laughable point of viewand have been so successful in their
delineations that there is scarcely a being in actual existence
more absolutely present to the public mind than that eccentric
personageJohn Bull.

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character thus drawn
of them has contributed to fix it upon the nationand thus to
give reality to what at first may have been painted in a great
measure from the imagination. Men are apt to acquire
peculiarities that are continually ascribed to them. The common
orders of English seem wonderfully captivated with the beau ideal
which they have formed of John Bulland endeavor to act up to
the broad caricature that is perpetually before their eyes.
Unluckilythey sometimes make their boasted Bullism an apology
for their prejudice or grossness; and this I have especially
noticed among those truly homebred and genuine sons of the soil
who have never migrated beyond the sound of Bow bells. If one of
these should be a little uncouth in speech and apt to utter
impertinent truthsbe confesses that he is a real John Bull and
always speaks his mind. If he now and then flies into an
unreasonable burst of passion about trifleshe observes that
John Bull is a choleric old bladebut then his passion is over
in a moment and he bears no malice. If he betrays a coarseness of
taste and an insensibility to foreign refinementshe thanks
Heaven for his ignorance--he is a plain John Bull and has no
relish for frippery and knick-knacks. His very proneness to be
gulled by strangers and to pay extravagantly for absurdities is
excused under the plea of munificencefor John is always more
generous than wise.

Thusunder the name of John Bull he will contrive to argue every
fault into a meritand will frankly convict himself of being the
honestest fellow in existence.

However littlethereforethe character may have suited in the
first instanceit has gradually adapted itself to the nationor
rather they have adapted themselves to each other; and a stranger
who wishes to study English peculiarities may gather much
valuable information from the innumerable portraits of John Bull
as exhibited in the windows of the caricature-shops. Still
howeverhe is one of those fertile humorists that are
continually throwing out new portraits and presenting different
aspects from different points of view; andoften as he has been
describedI cannot resist the temptation to give a slight sketch
of him such as he has met my eye.

John Bullto all appearanceis a plaindownright
matter-of-fact fellowwith much less of poetry about him than
rich prose. There is little of romance in his naturebut a vast
deal of strong natural feeling. He excels in humor more than in
wit; is jolly rather than gay; melancholy rather than morose; can
easily be moved to a sudden tear or surprised into a broad laugh;
but he loathes sentiment and has no turn for light pleasantry. He
is a boon companionif you allow him in to have his humor and to
talk about himself; and he will stand by a friend in a quarrel
with life and pursehowever soundly he may be cudgelled.

In this last respectto tell the truthhe has a propensity to
be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded personagewho thinks
not merely for himself and familybut for all the country round

and is most generously disposed to be everybody's champion. He is
continually volunteering his services to settle his neighbor's
affairsand takes it in great dudgeon if they engage in any
matter of consequence without asking his advicethough he seldom
engages in any friendly office of the kind without finishing by
getting into a squabble with all partiesand then railing
bitterly at their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his
youth in the noble science of defenceand having accomplished
himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons and become a
perfect master at boxing and cudgel-playhe has had a
troublesome life of it ever since. He cannot hear of a quarrel
between the most distant of his neighbors but he begins
incontinently to fumble with the head of his cudgeland consider
whether his interest or honor does not require that he should
meddle in the broil. Indeedhe has extended his relations of
pride and policy so completely over the whole country that no
event can take place without infringing some of his finely-spun
rights and dignities. Couched in his little domainwith these
filaments stretching forth in every directionhe is like some
cholericbottle-bellied old spider who has woven his web over a
whole chamberso that a fly cannot buzz nor a breeze blow
without startling his repose and causing him to sally forth
wrathfully from his den.

Though really a good-heartedgood-tempered old fellow at bottom
yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst of contention. It
is one of his peculiaritieshoweverthat he only relishes the
beginning of an affray; he always goes into a fight with
alacritybut comes out of it grumbling even when victorious; and
though no one fights with more obstinacy to carry a contested
pointyet when the battle is over and he comes to the
reconciliation he is so much taken up with the mere shaking of
hands that he is apt to let his antagonist pocket all that they
have been quarrelling about. It is notthereforefighting that
he ought so much to be on his guard against as making friends. It
is difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing; but put him in a
good humor and you may bargain him out of all the money in his
pocket. He is like a stout ship which will weather the roughest
storm uninjuredbut roll its masts overboard in the succeeding

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroadof pulling
out a long purseflinging his money bravely about at
boxing-matcheshorse-racescock-fightsand carrying a high
head among "gentlemen of the fancy:" but immediately after one of
these fits of extravagance he will be taken with violent qualms
of economy; stop short at the most trivial expenditure; talk
desperately of being ruined and brought upon the parish; and in
such moods will not pay the smallest tradesman's bill without
violent altercation. He isin factthe most punctual and
discontented paymaster in the worlddrawing his coin out of his
breeches pocket with infinite reluctancepaying to the uttermost
farthingbut accompanying every guinea with a growl.

With all his talk of economyhoweverhe is a bountiful provider
and a hospitable housekeeper. His economy is of a whimsical kind
its chief object being to devise how he may afford to be
extravagant; for he will begrudge himself a beefsteak and pint of
port one day that he may roast an ox wholebroach a hogshead of
aleand treat all his neighbors on the next.

His domestic establishment is enormously expensivenot so much
from any great outward parade as from the great consumption of
solid beef and puddingthe vast number of followers he feeds and

clothesand his singular disposition to pay hugely for small
services. He is a most kind and indulgent masterandprovided
his servants humor his peculiaritiesflatter his vanity a little
now and thenand do not peculate grossly on him before his face
they may manage him to perfection. Everything that lives on him
seems to thrive and grow fat. His house-servants are well paid
and pampered and have little to do. His horses are sleek and lazy
and prance slowly before his state carriage; and his house-dogs
sleep quietly about the door and will hardly bark at a

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-housegray with
ageand of a most venerable though weather-beaten appearance. It
has been built upon no regular planbut is a vast accumulation
of parts erected in various tastes and ages. The centre bears
evident traces of Saxon architectureand is as solid as
ponderous stone and old English oak can make it. Like all the
relics of that styleit is full of obscure passagesintricate
mazesand dusty chambersandthough these have been partially
lighted up in modern daysyet there are many places where you
must still grope in the dark. Additions have been made to the
original edifice from time to timeand great alterations have
taken place; towers and battlements have been erected during wars
and tumults: wings built in time of peace; and out-houses
lodgesand offices run up according to the whim or convenience
of different generationsuntil it has become one of the most
spaciousrambling tenements imaginable. An entire wing is taken
up with the family chapela reverend pile that must have been
exceedingly sumptuousandindeedin spite of having been
altered and simplified at various periodshas still a look of
solemn religious pomp. Its walls within are storied with the
monuments of John's ancestorsand it is snugly fitted up with
soft cushions and well-lined chairswhere such of his family as
are inclined to church services may doze comfortably in the
discharge of their duties.

To keep up this chapel has cost John much money; but he is
staunch in his religion and piqued in his zealfrom the
circumstance that many dissenting chapels have been erected in
his vicinityand several of his neighborswith whom he has had
quarrelsare strong papists.

To do the duties of the chapel he maintainsat a large expense
a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most learned and
decorous personage and a truly well-bred Christianwho always
backs the old gentleman in his opinionswinks discreetly at his
little peccadilloesrebukes the children when refractoryand is
of great use in exhorting the tenants to read their Biblessay
their prayersandabove allto pay their rents punctually and
without grumbling.

The family apartments are in a very antiquated tastesomewhat
heavy and often inconvenientbut full of the solemn magnificence
of former timesfitted up with rich though faded tapestry
unwieldy furnitureand loads of massygorgeous old plate. The
vast fireplacesample kitchensextensive cellarsand sumptuous
banqueting-halls all speak of the roaring hospitality of days of
yoreof which the modern festivity at the manor-house is but a
shadow. There arehowevercomplete suites of rooms apparently
deserted and time-wornand towers and turrets that are tottering
to decayso that in high winds there is danger of their tumbling
about the ears of the household.

John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice

thoroughly overhauledand to have some of the useless parts
pulled downand the others strengthened with their materials;
but the old gentleman always grows testy on this subject. He
swears the house is an excellent house; that it is tight and
weather-proofand not to be shaken by tempests; that it has
stood for several hundred yearsand therefore is not likely to
tumble down now; that as to its being inconvenienthis family is
accustomed to the inconveniences and would not be comfortable
without them; that as to its unwieldy size and irregular
constructionthese result from its being the growth of centuries
and being improved by the wisdom of every generation; that an old
familylike hisrequires a large house to dwell in; new
upstart families may live in modern cottages and snug boxes; but
an old English family should inhabit an old English manor-house.
If you point out any part of the building as superfluoushe
insists that it is material to the strength or decoration of the
rest and the harmony of the wholeand swears that the parts are
so built into each other that if you pull down oneyou run the
risk of having the whole about your ears.

The secret of the matter isthat John has a great disposition to
protect and patronize. He thinks it indispensable to the dignity
of an ancient and honorable family to be bounteous in its
appointments and to be eaten up by dependents; and sopartly
from pride and partly from kind-heartednesshe makes it a rule
always to give shelter and maintenance to his superannuated

The consequence isthatlike many other venerable family
establishmentshis manor is incumbered by old retainers whom he
cannot turn offand an old style which he cannot lay down. His
mansion is like a great hospital of invalidsandwith all its
magnitudeis not a whit too large for its inhabitants. Not a
nook or corner but is of use in housing some useless personage.
Groups of veteran beef-eatersgouty pensionersand retired
heroes of the buttery and the larder are seen lolling about its
wayscrawling over its lawnsdozing under its treeor sunning
themselves upon the benches at its doors. Every office and
out-house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and their
families; for they are amazingly prolificand when they die off
are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry mouths to be provided
for. A mattock cannot be struck against the most mouldering
tumble-down tower but out popsfrom some cranny or loopholethe
gray pate of some superannuated hanger-onwho has lived at
John's expense all his lifeand makes the most grievous outcry
at their pulling down the roof from over the head of a worn-out
servant of the family. This is an appeal that John's honest heart
never can withstand; so that a man who has faithfully eaten his
beef and pudding all his life is sure to be rewarded with a pipe
and tankard in his old days.

A great part of his park also is turned into paddockswhere his
broken-down chargers are turned loose to graze undisturbed for
the remainder of their existences--a worthy example of grateful
recollection whichif some of his neighbors were to imitate
would not be to their discredit. Indeedit is one of his great
pleasures to point out these old steeds to his visitorsto dwell
on their good qualitiesextol their past servicesand boast
with some little vain-gloryof the perilous adventures and hardy
exploits through which they have carried him.

He is givenhoweverto indulge his veneration for family usages
and family encumbrances to a whimsical extent. His manor is
infested by gangs of gypsies; yet he will not suffer them to be

driven offbecause they have infested the place time out of mind
and been regular poachers upon every generation of the family. He
will scarcely permit a dry branch to be lopped from the great
trees that surround the houselest it should molest the rooks
that have bred there for centuries. Owls have taken possession of
the dovecotebut they are hereditary owls and must not be
disturbed. Swallows have nearly choked up every chimney with
their nests; martins build in every frieze and cornice; crows
flutter about the towers and perch on every weather-cock; and old
gray-headed rats may be seen in every quarter of the house
running in and out of their holes undauntedly in broad daylight.
In shortJohn has such a reverence for everything that has been
long in the family that he will not hear even of abuses being
reformedbecause they are good old family abuses.

All these whims and habits have concurred woefully to drain the
old gentleman's purse; and as he prides himself on punctuality in
money matters and wishes to maintain his credit in the
neighborhoodthey have caused him great perplexity in meeting
his engagements. Thistoohas been increased by the
altercations and heart-burnings which are continually taking
place in his family. His children have been brought up to
different callings and are of different ways of thinking; and as
they have always been allowed to speak their minds freelythey
do not fail to exercise the privilege most clamorously in the
present posture of his affairs. Some stand up for the honor of
the raceand are clear that the old establishment should be kept
up in all its statewhatever may be the cost; otherswho are
more prudent and considerateentreat the old gentleman to
retrench his expenses and to put his whole system of housekeeping
on a more moderate footing. He hasindeedat timesseemed
inclined to listen to their opinionsbut their wholesome advice
has been completely defeated by the obstreperous conduct of one
of his sons. This is a noisyrattle-pated fellowof rather low
habitswho neglects his business to frequent ale-houses--is the
orator of village clubs and a complete oracle among the poorest
of his father's tenants. No sooner does he hear any of his
brothers mention reform or retrenchment than up he jumpstakes
the words out of their mouthsand roars out for an overturn.
When his tongue is once going nothing can stop it. He rants about
the room; hectors the old man about his spendthrift practices;
ridicules his tastes and pursuits; insists that he shall turn the
old servants out of doorsgive the broken-down horses to the
houndssend the fat chaplain packingand take a field-preacher
in his place; naythat the whole family mansion shall be
levelled with the groundand a plain one of brick and mortar
built in its place. He rails at every social entertainment and
family festivityand skulks away growling to the ale-house
whenever an equipage drives up to the door. Though constantly
complaining of the emptiness of his purseyet he scruples not to
spend all his pocket-money in these tavern convocationsand even
runs up scores for the liquor over which he preaches about his
father's extravagance.

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting agrees with
the old cavalier's fiery temperament. He has become so irritable
from repeated crossings that the mere mention of retrenchment or
reform is a signal for a brawl between him and the tavern oracle.
As the latter is too sturdy and refractory for paternal
disciplinehaving grown out of all fear of the cudgelthey have
frequent scenes of wordy warfarewhich at times run so high that
John is fain to call in the aid of his son Toman officer who
has served abroadbut is at present living at home on half-pay.
This last is sure to stand by the old gentlemanright or wrong

likes nothing so much as a rocketingroistering lifeand is
ready at a wink or nod to out sabre and flourish it over the
orator's head if he dares to array himself against parental

These family dissensionsas usualhave got abroadand are rare
food for scandal in John's neighborhood. People begin to look
wise and shake their heads whenever his affairs are mentioned.
They all "hope that matters are not so bad with him as
represented; but when a man's own children begin to rail at his
extravagancethings must be badly managed. They understand he is
mortgaged over head and ears and is continually dabbling with
money-lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gentlemanbut
they fear he has lived too fast; indeedthey never knew any good
come of this fondness for huntingracing revellingand
prize-fighting. In shortMr. Bull's estate is a very fine one
and has been in the family a long whilebutfor all thatthey
have known many finer estates come to the hammer."

What is worst of allis the effect which these pecuniary
embarrassments and domestic feuds have had on the poor man
himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation and smug rosy
face which he used to presenthe has of late become as
shrivelled and shrunk as a frost-bitten apple. His scarlet
gold-laced waistcoatwhich bellied out so bravely in those
prosperous days when he sailed before the windnow hangs loosely
about him like a mainsail in a calm. His leather breeches are all
in folds and wrinklesand apparently have much ado to hold up
the boots that yawn on both sides of his once sturdy legs.

Instead of strutting about as formerly with his three-cornered
hat on one sideflourishing his cudgeland bringing it down
every moment with a hearty thump upon the groundlooking every
one sturdily in the faceand trolling out a stave of a catch or
a drinking-songhe now goes about whistling thoughtfully to
himselfwith his head drooping downhis cudgel tucked under his
armand his hands thrust to the bottom of his breeches pockets
which are evidently empty.

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at presentyet for all
this the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant as ever.
If you drop the least expression of sympathy or concernhe takes
fire in an instant; swears that he is the richest and stoutest
fellow in the country; talks of laying out large sums to adorn
his house or buy another estate; and with a valiant swagger and
grasping of his cudgel longs exceedingly to have another bout at

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all thisyet I
confess I cannot look upon John's situation without strong
feelings of interest. With all his odd humors and obstinate
prejudices he is a sterling-hearted old blade. He may not be so
wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himselfbut he is at
least twice as good as his neighbors represent him. His virtues
are all his own--all plainhomebredand unaffected. His very
faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His
extravagance savors of his generosityhis quarrelsomeness of his
couragehis credulity of his open faithhis vanity of his
prideand his bluntness of his sincerity. They are all the
redundancies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own
oakrough withoutbut sound and solid within; whose bark
abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth and
grandeur of the timber; and whose branches make a fearful
groaning and murmuring in the least storm from their very

magnitude and luxuriance. There is somethingtooin the
appearance of his old family mansion that is extremely poetical
and picturesque; and as long as it can be rendered comfortably
habitable I should almost tremble to see it meddled with during
the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his advisers
are no doubt good architects that might be of service; but many
I fearare mere levellerswhowhen they bad once got to work
with their mattocks on this venerable edificewould never stop
until they had brought it to the groundand perhaps buried
themselves among the ruins. All that I wish isthat John's
present troubles may teach him more prudence in future--that he
may cease to distress his mind about other people's affairs; that
he may give up the fruitless attempt to promote the good of his
neighbors and the peace and happiness of the worldby dint of
the cudgel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get his
house into repair; cultivate his rich estate according to his
fancy; husband his income--if he thinks proper; bring his unruly
children into order--if he can; renew the jovial scenes of
ancient prosperity; and long enjoy on his paternal lands a green
an honorableand a merry old age.


May no wolfe howle; no screech owle stir

A wing about thy sepulchre!

No boysterous winds or stormes come hither

To starve or wither

Thy soft sweet earth! butlike a spring

Love kept it ever flourishing.


IN the course of an excursion through one of the remote counties
of EnglandI had struck into one of those cross-roads that lead
through the more secluded parts of the countryand stopped one
afternoon at a village the situation of which was beautifully
rural and retired. There was an air of primitive simplicity about
its inhabitants not to be found in the villages which lie on the
great coach-roads. I determined to pass the night thereand
having taken an early dinnerstrolled out to enjoy the
neighboring scenery.

My rambleas is usually the case with travellerssoon led me to
the churchwhich stood at a little distance from the village.
Indeedit was an object of some curiosityits old tower being
completely overrun with ivy so that only here and there a jutting
buttressan angle of gray wallor a fantastically carved
ornament peered through the verdant covering. It was a lovely
evening. The early part of the day had been dark and showerybut
in the afternoon it had cleared upandthough sullen clouds
still hung overheadyet there was a broad tract of golden sky in
the westfrom which the setting sun gleamed through the dripping
leaves and lit up all Nature into a melancholy smile. It seemed
like the parting hour of a good Christian smiling on the sins and
sorrows of the worldand givingin the serenity of his decline
an assurance that he will rise again in glory.

I had seated myself on a half-sunken tombstoneand was musing
as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted houron past scenes
and early friends--on those who were distant and those who were
dead--and indulging in that kind of melancholy fancying which has
in it something sweeter even than pleasure. Every now and then
the stroke of a bell from the neighboring tower fell on my ear;

its tones were in unison with the sceneandinstead of jarring
chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before I
recollected that it must be tolling the knell of some new tenant
of the tomb.

Presently I saw a funeral train moving across the village green;
it wound slowly along a lanewas lostand reappeared through
the breaks of the hedgesuntil it passed the place where I was
sitting. The pall was supported by young girls dressed in white
and anotherabout the age of seventeenwalked beforebearing a
chaplet of white flowers--a token that the deceased was a young
and unmarried female. The corpse was followed by the parents.
They were a venerable couple of the better order of peasantry.
The father seemed to repress his feelingsbut his fixed eye
contracted browand deeply-furrowed face showed the struggle
that was passing within. His wife hung on his armand wept aloud
with the convulsive bursts of a mother's sorrow.

I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was placed in
the centre aisleand the chaplet of white flowerswith a pair
of white gloveswas hung over the seat which the deceased had

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of the funeral service
for who is so fortunate as never to have followed some one he has
loved to the tomb? But when performed over the remains of
innocence and beautythus laid low in the bloom of existence
what can be more affecting? At that simple but most solemn
consignment of the body to the grave-"Earth to earthashes to
ashesdust to dust!"--the tears of the youthful companions of
the deceased flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to
struggle with his feelingsand to comfort himself with the
assurance that the dead are blessed which die in the Lord; but
the mother only thought of her child as a flower of the field cut
down and withered in the midst of its sweetness; she was like
Rachelmourning over her children, and would not be comforted.

On returning to the inn I learnt the whole story of the deceased.
It was a simple oneand such as has often been told. She had
been the beauty and pride of the village. Her father had once
been an opulent farmerbut was reduced in circumstances. This
was an only childand brought up entirely at home in the
simplicity of rural life. She had been the pupil of the village
pastorthe favorite lamb of his little flock. The good man
watched over her education with paternal care; it was limited and
suitable to the sphere in which she was to movefor he only
sought to make her an ornament to her station in lifenot to
raise her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of her parents
and the exemption from all ordinary occupations had fostered a
natural grace and delicacy of character that accorded with the
fragile loveliness of her form. She appeared like some tender
plant of the garden blooming accidentally amid the hardier
natives of the fields.

The superiority of her charms was felt and acknowledged by her
companionsbut without envyfor it was surpassed by the
unassuming gentleness and winning kindness of her manners. It
might be truly said of her:

This is the prettiest low-born lass, that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself;
Too noble for this place.

The village was one of those sequestered spots which still retain
some vestiges of old English customs. It had its rural festivals
and holiday pastimesand still kept up some faint observance of
the once popular rites of May. Theseindeedhad been promoted
by its present pastorwho was a lover of old customs and one of
those simple Christians that think their mission fulfilled by
promoting joy on earth and good-will among mankind. Under his
auspices the May-pole stood from year to year in the centre of
the village green; on Mayday it was decorated with garlands and
streamersand a queen or lady of the May was appointedas in
former timesto preside at the sports and distribute the prizes
and rewards. The picturesque situation of the village and the
fancifulness of its rustic fetes would often attract the notice
of casual visitors. Among theseon one May-daywas a young
officer whose regiment had been recently quartered in the
neighborhood. He was charmed with the native taste that pervaded
this village pageantbutabove allwith the dawning loveliness
of the queen of May. It was the village favorite who was crowned
with flowersand blushing and smiling in all the beautiful
confusion of girlish diffidence and delight. The artlessness of
rural habits enabled him readily to make her acquaintance; be
gradually won his way into her intimacyand paid his court to
her in that unthinking way in which young officers are too apt to
trifle with rustic simplicity.

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. He never
even talked of lovebut there are modes of making it more
eloquent than languageand which convey it subtilely and
irresistibly to the heart. The beam of the eyethe tone of
voicethe thousand tendernesses which emanate from every word
and look and action--these form the true eloquence of loveand
can always be felt and understoodbut never described. Can we
wonder that they should readily win a heart youngguilelessand
susceptible? As to hershe loved almost unconsciously; she
scarcely inquired what was the growing passion that was absorbing
every thought and feelingor what were to be its consequences.
Sheindeedlooked not to the future. When presenthis looks
and words occupied her whole attention; when absentshe thought
but of what had passed at their recent interview. She would
wander with him through the green lanes and rural scenes of the
vicinity. He taught her to see new beauties in Nature; he talked
in the language of polite and cultivated lifeand breathed into
her ear the witcheries of romance and poetry.

Perhaps there could not have been a passion between the sexes
more pure than this innocent girl's. The gallant figure of her
youthful admirer and the splendor of his military attire might at
first have charmed her eyebut it was not these that had
captivated her heart. Her attachment had something in it of
idolatry. She looked up to him as to a being of a superior order.
She felt in his society the enthusiasm of a mind naturally
delicate and poeticaland now first awakened to a keen
perception of the beautiful and grand. Of the sordid distinctions
of rank and fortune she thought nothing; it was the difference of
intellectof demeanorof mannersfrom those of the rustic
society to which she had been accustomedthat elevated him in
her opinion. She would listen to him with charmed ear and
downcast look of mute delightand her cheek would mantle with
enthusiasm; or if ever she ventured a shy glance of timid
admirationit was as quickly withdrawnand she would sigh and
blush at the idea of her comparative unworthiness.

Her lover was equally impassionedbut his passion was mingled
with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun the connection in

levityfor he had often heard his brother-officers boast of
their village conquestsand thought some triumph of the kind
necessary to his reputation as a man of spirit. But he was too
full of youthful fervor. His heart had not yet been rendered
sufficiently cold and selfish by a wandering and a dissipated
life: it caught fire from the very flame it sought to kindleand
before he was aware of the nature of his situation he became
really in love.

What was he to do? There were the old obstacles which so
incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His rank in
lifethe prejudices of titled connectionshis dependence upon a
proud and unyielding fatherall forbade him to think of
matrimony; but when he looked down upon this innocent beingso
tender and confidingthere was a purity in her mannersa
blamelessness in her lifeand a beseeching modesty in her looks
that awed down every licentious feeling. In vain did he try to
fortify himself by a thousand heartless examples of men of
fashionand to chill the glow of generous sentiment with that
cold derisive levity with which he had heard them talk of female
virtue: whenever he came into her presence she was still
surrounded by that mysterious but impassive charm of virgin
purity in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can live.

The sudden arrival of orders for the regiment to repair to the
Continent completed the confusion of his mind. He remained for a
short time in a state of the most painful irresolution; he
hesitated to communicate the tidings until the day for marching
was at handwhen he gave her the intelligence in the course of
an evening ramble.

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. It broke in
at once upon her dream of felicity; she looked upon it as a
sudden and insurmountable eviland wept with the guileless
simplicity of a child. He drew her to his bosom and kissed the
tears from her soft cheek; nor did he meet with a repulsefor
there are moments of mingled sorrow and tenderness which hallow
the caresses of affection. He was naturally impetuousand the
sight of beauty apparently yielding in his armsthe confidence
of his power over herand the dread of losing her forever all
conspired to overwhelm his better feelings: he ventured to
propose that she should leave her home and be the companion of
his fortunes.

He was quite a novice in seductionand blushed and faltered at
his own baseness; but so innocent of mind was his intended victim
that she was at first at a loss to comprehend his meaningand
why she should leave her native village and the humble roof of
her parents. When at last the nature of his proposal flashed upon
her pure mindthe effect was withering. She did not weep; she
did not break forth into reproach; she said not a wordbut she
shrunk back aghast as from a vipergave him a look of anguish
that pierced to his very soulandclasping her hands in agony
fledas if for refugeto her father's cottage.

The officer retired confoundedhumiliatedand repentant. It is
uncertain what might have been the result of the conflict of his
feelingshad not his thoughts been diverted by the bustle of
departure. New scenesnew pleasuresand new companions soon
dissipated his self-reproach and stifled his tenderness; yet
amidst the stir of campsthe revelries of garrisonsthe array
of armiesand even the din of battleshis thoughts would
sometimes steal back to the scenes of rural quiet and village
simplicity--the white cottagethe footpath along the silver

brook and up the hawthorn hedgeand the little village maid
loitering along itleaning on his arm and listening to him with
eyes beaming with unconscious affection.

The shock which the poor girl had received in the destruction of
all her ideal world had indeed been cruel. Faintings and
hysterics had at first shaken her tender frameand were
succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. She had beheld from
her window the march of the departing troops. She had seen her
faithless lover borne offas if in triumphamidst the sound of
drum and trumpet and the pomp of arms. She strained a last aching
gaze after him as the morning sun glittered about his figure and
his plume waved in the breeze; he passed away like a bright
vision from her sightand left her all in darkness.

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after story.
It waslike other tales of lovemelancholy. She avoided society
and wandered out alone in the walks she had most frequented with
her lover. She soughtlike the stricken deerto weep in silence
and loneliness and brood over the barbed sorrow that rankled in
her soul. Sometimes she would be seen late of an evening sitting
in the porch of the village churchand the milk-maidsreturning
from the fieldswould now and then overhear her singing some
plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She became fervent in her
devotions at churchand as the old people saw her approachso
wasted awayyet with a hectic gloom and that hallowed air which
melancholy diffuses round the formthey would make way for her
as for something spiritualand looking after herwould shake
their heads in gloomy foreboding.

She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tombbut
looked forward to it as a place of rest. The silver cord that had
bound her to existence was loosedand there seemed to be no more
pleasure under the sun. If ever her gentle bosom had entertained
resentment against her loverit was extinguished. She was
incapable of angry passionsand in a moment of saddened
tenderness she penned him a farewell letter. It was couched in
the simplest languagebut touching from its very simplicity. She
told him that she was dyingand did not conceal from him that
his conduct was the cause. She even depicted the sufferings which
she had experiencedbut concluded with saying that she could not
die in peace until she had sent him her forgiveness and her

By degrees her strength declined that she could no longer leave
the cottage. She could only totter to the windowwherepropped
up in her chairit was her enjoyment to sit all day and look out
upon the landscape. Still she uttered no complaint nor imparted
to any one the malady that was preying on her heart. She never
even mentioned her lover's namebut would lay her head on her
mother's bosom and weep in silence. Her poor parents hung in mute
anxiety over this fading blossom of their hopesstill flattering
themselves that it might again revive to freshness and that the
bright unearthly bloom which sometimes flushed her cheek might be
the promise of returning health.

In this way she was seated between them one Sunday afternoon; her
hands were clasped in theirsthe lattice was thrown openand
the soft air that stole in brought with it the fragrance of the
clustering honeysuckle which her own hands had trained round the

Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible: it spoke
of the vanity of worldly things and of the joys of heaven: it

seemed to have diffused comfort and serenity through her bosom.
Her eye was fixed on the distant village church: the bell had
tolled for the evening service; the last villager was lagging
into the porchand everything had sunk into that hallowed
stillness peculiar to the day of rest. Her parents were gazing on
her with yearning hearts. Sickness and sorrowwhich pass so
roughly over some faceshad given to hers the expression of a
seraph's. A tear trembled in her soft blue eye. Was she thinking
of her faithless lover? or were her thoughts wandering to that
distant churchyardinto whose bosom she might soon be gathered?

Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard: a horseman galloped to the
cottage; he dismounted before the window; the poor girl gave a
faint exclamation and sunk back in her chair: it was her
repentant lover. He rushed into the house and flew to clasp her
to his bosom; but her wasted formher deathlike countenance--so
wanyet so lovely in its desolation--smote him to the souland
he threw himself in agony at her feet. She was too faint to
rise--she attempted to extend her trembling hand--her lips moved
as if she spokebut no word was articulated; she looked down
upon him with a smile of unutterable tendernessand closed her
eyes forever.

Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village story.
They are but scantyand I am conscious have little novelty to
recommend them. In the present rage also for strange incident and
high-seasoned narrative they may appear trite and insignificant
but they interested me strongly at the time; andtaken in
connection with the affecting ceremony which I had just
witnessedleft a deeper impression on my mind than many
circumstances of a more striking nature. I have passed through
the place sinceand visited the church again from a better
motive than mere curiosity. It was a wintry evening: the trees
were stripped of their foliagethe churchyard looked naked and
mournfuland the wind rustled coldly through the dry grass.
Evergreenshoweverhad been planted about the grave of the
village favoriteand osiers were bent over it to keep the turf

The church-door was open and I stepped in. There hung the chaplet
of flowers and the glovesas on the day of the funeral: the
flowers were witheredit is truebut care seemed to have been
taken that no dust should soil their whiteness. I have seen many
monuments where art has exhausted its powers to awaken the
sympathy of the spectatorbut I have met with none that spoke
more touchingly to my heart than this simple but delicate memento
of departed innocence.


This day Dame Nature seem'd in love

The lusty sap began to move

Fresh juice did stir th' embracing vines

And birds had drawn their valentines.

The jealous trout that low did lie

Rose at a well-dissembled flie.

There stood my friendwith patient skill

Attending of his trembling quill.


IT is said that many an unlucky urchin is induced to run away
from his family and betake himself to a seafaring life from

reading the history of Robinson Crusoe; and I suspect thatin
like mannermany of those worthy gentlemen who are given to
haunt the sides of pastoral streams with angle-rods in hand may
trace the origin of their passion to the seductive pages of
honest Izaak Walton. I recollect studying his Complete Angler
several years since in company with a knot of friends in America
and moreover that we were all completely bitten with the angling
mania. It was early in the yearbut as soon as the weather was
auspiciousand that the spring began to melt into the verge of
summerwe took rod in hand and sallied into the countryas
stark mad as was ever Don Quixote from reading books of chivalry.

One of our party had equalled the Don in the fulness of his
equipmentsbeing attired cap-a-pie for the enterprise. He wore a
broad-skirted fustian coatperplexed with half a hundred
pockets; a pair of stout shoes and leathern gaiters; a basket
slung on one side for fish; a patent roda landing netand a
score of other inconveniences only to be found in the true
angler's armory. Thus harnessed for the fieldhe was as great a
matter of stare and wonderment among the country folkwho had
never seen a regular angleras was the steel-clad hero of La
Mancha among the goatherds of the Sierra Morena.

Our first essay was along a mountain brook among the Highlands of
the Hudson--a most unfortunate place for the execution of those
piscatory tactics which had been invented along the velvet
margins of quiet English rivulets. It was one of those wild
streams that lavishamong our romantic solitudesunheeded
beauties enough to fill the sketch-book of a hunter of the
picturesque. Sometimes it would leap down rocky shelvesmaking
small cascadesover which the trees threw their broad balancing
sprays and long nameless weeds hung in fringes from the impending
banksdripping with diamond drops. Sometimes it would brawl and
fret along a ravine in the matted shade of a forestfilling it
with murmursand after this termagant career would steal forth
into open day with the most placiddemure face imaginableas I
have seen some pestilent shrew of a housewifeafter filling her
home with uproar and ill-humorcome dimpling out of doors
swimming and curtseying and smiling upon all the world.

How smoothly would this vagrant brook glide at such times through
some bosom of green meadowland among the mountainswhere the
quiet was only interrupted by the occasional tinkling of a bell
from the lazy cattle among the clover or the sound of a
woodcutter's axe from the neighboring forest!

For my partI was always a bungler at all kinds of sport that
required either patience or adroitnessand had not angled above
half an hour before I had completely "satisfied the sentiment
and convinced myself of the truth of Izaak Walton's opinion, that
angling is something like poetry--a man must be born to it. I
hooked myself instead of the fish, tangled my line in every tree,
lost my bait, broke my rod, until I gave up the attempt in
despair, and passed the day under the trees reading old Izaak,
satisfied that it was his fascinating vein of honest simplicity
and rural feeling that had bewitched me, and not the passion for
angling. My companions, however, were more persevering in their
delusion. I have them at this moment before eyes, stealing along
the border of the brook where it lay open to the day or was
merely fringed by shrubs and bushes. I see the bittern rising
with hollow scream as they break in upon his rarely-invaded
haunt; the kingfisher watching them suspiciously from his dry
tree that overhangs the deep black millpond in the gorge of the
hills; the tortoise letting himself slip sideways from off the

stone or log on which he is sunning himself; and the panic-struck
frog plumping in headlong as they approach, and spreading an
alarm throughout the watery world around.

I recollect also that, after toiling and watching and creeping
about for the greater part of a day, with scarcely any success in
spite of all our admirable apparatus, a lubberly country urchin
came down from the hills with a rod made from a branch of a tree,
a few yards of twine, and, as Heaven shall help me! I believe a
crooked pin for a hook, baited with a vile earthworm, and in half
an hour caught more fish than we had nibbles throughout the day!

But, above all, I recollect the goodhonestwholesomehungry"
repast which we made under a beech tree just by a spring of pure
sweet water that stole out of the side of a hilland howwhen
it was overone of the party read old Izaak Walton's scene with
the milkmaidwhile I lay on the grass and built castles in a
bright pile of clouds until I fell asleep. All this may appear
like mere egotismyet I cannot refrain from uttering these
recollectionswhich are passing like a strain of music over my
mind and have been called up by an agreeable scene which I
witnessed not long since.

In the morning's stroll along the banks of the Aluna beautiful
little stream which flows down from the Welsh hills and throws
itself into the Deemy attention was attracted to a group seated
on the margin. On approaching I found it to consist of a veteran
angler and two rustic disciples. The former was an old fellow
with a wooden legwith clothes very much but very carefully
patchedbetokening poverty honestly come by and decently
maintained. His face bore the marks of former stormsbut present
fair weatherits furrows had been worn into an habitual smile
his iron-gray locks hung about his earsand he had altogether
the good-humored air of a constitutional philosopher who was
disposed to take the world as it went. One of his companions was
a ragged wight with the skulking look of an arrant poacherand
I'll warrant could find his way to any gentleman's fish-pond in
the neighborhood in the darkest night. The other was a tall
awkward country ladwith a lounging gaitand apparently
somewhat of a rustic beau. The old man was busy in examining the
maw of a trout which he had just killedto discover by its
contents what insects were seasonable for baitand was lecturing
on the subject to his companionswho appeared to listen with
infinite deference. I have a kind feeling towards all "brothers
of the angle" ever since I read Izaak Walton. They are menhe
affirmsof a "mildsweetand peaceable spirit;" and my esteem
for them has been increased since I met with an old Tretyse of
fishing with the Anglein which are set forth many of the maxims
of their inoffensive fraternity. "Take good hede sayeth this
honest little tretyse, that in going about your disportes ye
open no man's gates but that ye shet them again. Also ye shall
not use this forsayd crafti disport for no covetousness to the
encreasing and sparing of your money onlybut principally for
your solaceand to cause the helth of your body and specyally of
your soule."*

I thought that I could perceive in the veteran angler before me
an exemplification of what I had read; and there was a cheerful
contentedness in his looks that quite drew me towards him. I
could not but remark the gallant manner in which he stumped from
one part of the brook to anotherwaving his rod in the air to
keep the line from dragging on the ground or catching among the
bushesand the adroitness with which he would throw his fly to
any particular placesometimes skimming it lightly along a

little rapidsometimes casting it into one of those dark holes
made by a twisted root or overhanging bank in which the large
trout are apt to lurk. In the meanwhile he was giving
instructions to his two disciplesshowing them the manner in
which they should handle their rodsfix their fliesand play
them along the surface of the stream. The scene brought to my
mind the instructions of the sage Piscator to his scholar. The
country around was of that pastoral kind which Walton is fond of
describing. It was a part of the great plain of Cheshireclose
by the beautiful vale of Gessfordand just where the inferior
Welsh hills begin to swell up from among fresh-smelling meadows.
The day toolike that recorded in his workwas mild and
sunshinywith now and then a soft-dropping shower that sowed the
whole earth with diamonds.

* From this same treatise it would appear that angling is a more
industrious and devout employment than it is generally
considered: "For when ye purpose to go on your disportes in
fishynge ye will not desyre greatlye many persons with youwhich
might let you of your game. And that ye may serve God devoutly in
saying effectually your customable prayers. And thus doyingye
shall eschew and also avoyde many vicesas ydelnesswhich is
principall cause to induce man to many other vicesas it is
right well known."
I soon fell into conversation with the old anglerand was so
much entertained thatunder pretext of receiving instructions in
his artI kept company with him almost the whole daywandering
along the banks of the stream and listening to his talk. He was
very communicativehaving all the easy garrulity of cheerful old
ageand I fancy was a little flattered by having an opportunity
of displaying his piscatory lorefor who does not like now and
then to play the sage?

He had been much of a rambler in his dayand had passed some
years of his youth in Americaparticularly in Savannahwhere he
had entered into trade and had been ruined by the indiscretion of
a partner. He had afterwards experienced many ups and downs in
life until he got into the navywhere his leg was carried away
by a cannon-ball at the battle of Camperdown. This was the only
stroke of real good-fortune he had ever experiencedfor it got
him a pensionwhichtogether with some small paternal property
brought him in a revenue of nearly forty pounds. On this he
retired to his native villagewhere he lived quietly and
independentlyand devoted the remainder of his life to the
noble art of angling.

I found that he had read Izaak Walton attentivelyand he seemed
to have imbibed all his simple frankness and prevalent
good-humor. Though he had been sorely buffeted about the world
he was satisfied that the worldin itselfwas good and
beautiful. Though he had been as roughly used in different
countries as a poor sheep that is fleeced by every hedge and
thicketyet he spoke of every nation with candor and kindness
appearing to look only on the good side of things; andabove
allhe was almost the only man I had ever met with who had been
an unfortunate adventurer in America and had honesty and
magnanimity enough to take the fault to his own doorand not to
curse the country. The lad that was receiving his instructionsI
learntwas the son and heir-apparent of a fat old widow who kept
the village innand of course a youth of some expectationand
much courted by the idle gentleman-like personages of the place.
In taking him under his carethereforethe old man had probably
an eye to a privileged corner in the tap-room and an occasional

cup of cheerful ale free of expense.

There is certainly something in angling--if we could forget
which anglers are apt to dothe cruelties and tortures inflicted
on worms and insects--that tends to produce a gentleness of
spirit and a pure serenity of mind. As the English are methodical
even in their recreationsand are the most scientific of
sportsmenit has been reduced among them to perfect rule and
system. Indeedit is an amusement peculiarly adapted to the mild
and highly-cultivated scenery of Englandwhere every roughness
has been softened away from the landscape. It is delightful to
saunter along those limpid streams which wanderlike veins of
silverthrough the bosom of this beautiful countryleading one
through a diversity of small home scenery--sometimes winding
through ornamented grounds; sometimes brimming along through rich
pasturagewhere the fresh green is mingled with sweet-smelling
flowers; sometimes venturing in sight of villages and hamlets
and then running capriciously away into shady retirements. The
sweetness and serenity of Nature and the quiet watchfulness of
the sport gradually bring on pleasant fits of musingwhich are
now and then agreeably interrupted by the song of a birdthe
distant whistle of the peasantor perhaps the vagary of some
fish leaping out of the still water and skimming transiently
about its glassy surface. "When I would beget content says
Izaak Walton, and increase confidence in the power and wisdom
and providence of Almighty GodI will walk the meadows by some
gliding streamand there contemplate the lilies that take no
careand those very many other little living creatures that are
not only createdbut fed (man knows not how) by the goodness of
the God of Natureand therefore trust in Him."

I cannot forbear to give another quotation from one of those
ancient champions of angling which breathes the same innocent and
happy spirit:

Let me live harmlesslyand near the brink

Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place:

Where I may see my quillor corkdown sink

With eager bite- of Pikeor Bleakor Dace;

And on the world and my Creator think:

Whilst some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace:

And others spend their time in base excess

Of wineor worsein war or wantonness.

Let them that willthese pastimes still pursue
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill;
So I the fields and meadows green may view
And daily by fresh rivers walk at will
Among the daisies and the violets blue
Red hyacinth and yellow daffodil.*

On parting with the old angler I inquired after his place of
abodeandhappening to be in the neighborhood of the village a
few evenings afterwardsI had the curiosity to seek him out. I
found him living in a small cottage containing only one roombut
a perfect curiosity in its method and arrangement. It was on the
skirts of the villageon a green bank a little back from the
roadwith a small garden in front stocked with kitchen herbs and
adorned with a few flowers. The whole front of the cottage was
overrun with a honeysuckle. On the top was a ship for a
weathercock. The interior was fitted up in a truly nautical
stylehis ideas of comfort and convenience having been acquired
on the berth-deck of a man-of-war. A hammock was slung from the
ceiling which in the daytime was lashed up so as to take but

little room. From the centre of the chamber hung a model of a
shipof his own workmanship. Two or three chairsa tableand a
large sea-chest formed the principal movables. About the wall
were stuck up naval balladssuch as "Admiral Hosier's Ghost
All in the Downs and Tom Bowling intermingled with pictures
of sea-fights, among which the battle of Camperdown held a
distinguished place. The mantelpiece was decorated with
sea-shells, over which hung a quadrant, flanked by two wood-cuts
of most bitter-looking naval commanders. His implements for
angling were carefully disposed on nails and hooks about the
room. On a shelf was arranged his library, containing a work on
angling, much worn, a Bible covered with canvas, an odd volume or
two of voyages, a nautical almanac, and a book of songs.

* J. Davors.
His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye, and a
parrot which he had caught and tamed and educated himself in the
course of one of his voyages, and which uttered a variety of
sea-phrases with the hoarse brattling tone of a veteran
boatswain. The establishment reminded me of that of the renowned
Robinson Crusoe; it was kept in neat order, everything being
stowed away" with the regularity of a ship of war; and he
informed me that he "scoured the deck every morning and swept it
between meals."

I found him seated on a bench before the doorsmoking his pipe
in the soft evening sunshine. His cat was purring soberly on the
thresholdand his parrot describing some strange evolutions in
an iron ring that swung in the centre of his cage. He had been
angling all dayand gave me a history of his sport with as much
minuteness as a general would talk over a campaignbeing
particularly animated in relating the manner in which he had
taken a large troutwhich had completely tasked all his skill
and warinessand which he had sent as a trophy to mine hostess
of the inn.

How comforting it is to see a cheerful and contented old ageand
to behold a poor fellow like thisafter being tempest-tost
through lifesafely moored in a snug and quiet harbor in the
evening of his days! His happinesshoweversprung from within
himself and was independent of external circumstancesfor he had
that inexhaustible good-nature which is the most precious gift of
Heavenspreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of
thoughtand keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest

On inquiring further about himI learnt that he was a universal
favorite in the village and the oracle of the tap-roomwhere he
delighted the rustics with his songsandlike Sindbad
astonished them with his stories of strange lands and shipwrecks
and sea-fights. He was much noticed too by gentlemen sportsmen of
the neighborhoodhad taught several of them the art of angling
and was a privileged visitor to their kitchens. The whole tenor
of his life was quiet and inoffensivebeing principally passed
about the neighboring streams when the weather and season were
favorable; and at other times he employed himself at home
preparing his fishing-tackle for the next campaign or
manufacturing rodsnetsand flies for his patrons and pupils
among the gentry.

He was a regular attendant at church on Sundaysthough he
generally fell asleep during the sermon. He had made it his
particular request that when he died he should be buried in a

green spot which he could see from his seat in churchand which
he had marked out ever since he was a boyand had thought of
when far from home on the raging sea in danger of being food for
the fishes: it was the spot where his father and mother had been

I have donefor I fear that my reader is growing wearybut I
could not refrain from drawing the picture of this worthy
brother of the angle,who has made me more than ever in love
with the theorythough I fear I shall never be adroit in the
practiceof his art; and I will conclude this rambling sketch in
the words of honest Izaak Waltonby craving the blessing of St.
Peter's Master upon my readerand upon all that are true lovers
of virtue, and dare trust in His providence, and be quiet, and go



A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye
And of gay castles in the clouds that pays
For ever flushing round a summer sky.
Castle of Indolence

IN the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the
eastern shore of the Hudsonat that broad expansion of the river
denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zeeand
where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the
protection of St. Nicholas when they crossedthere lies a small
market-town or rural port which by some is called Greensburgbut
which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry
Town. This name was givenwe are toldin former days by the
good housewives of the adjacent country from the inveterate
propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern
on market days. Be that as it mayI do not vouch for the fact
but merely advert to it for the sake of being precise and
authentic. Not far from this villageperhaps about two miles
there is a little valleyor rather lap of landamong high
hillswhich is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A
small brook glides through itwith just murmur enough to lull
one to reposeand the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping
of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon
the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that when a stripling my first exploit in
squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut trees that shades
one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontimewhen
all Nature is peculiarly quietand was startled by the roar of
my own gun as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was
prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should
wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its
distractions and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled
lifeI know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place and the peculiar character
of its inhabitantswho are descendants from the original Dutch
settlersthis sequestered glen has long been known by the name
of SLEEPY HOLLOWand its rustic lads are called the Sleepy
Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy
dreamy influence seems to hang over the land and to pervade the

very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High
German doctor during the early days of the settlement; others
that an old Indian chiefthe prophet or wizard of his tribe
held his powwows there before the country was discovered by
Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it isthe place still continues
under the sway of some witching power that holds a spell over the
minds of the good peoplecausing them to walk in a continual
reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefsare
subject to trances and visionsand frequently see strange sights
and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood
abounds with local taleshaunted spotsand twilight
superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the
valley than in any other part of the countryand the nightmare
with her whole ninefoldseems to make it the favorite scene of
her gambols.

The dominant spirithoweverthat haunts this enchanted region
and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air
is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is
said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper whose head had
been carried away by a cannonball in some nameless battle during
the Revolutionary Warand who is ever and anon seen by the
country-folk hurrying along in the gloom of night as if on the
wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valleybut
extend at times to the adjacent roadsand especially to the
vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeedcertain of the
most authentic historians of those partswho have been careful
in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this
spectreallege that the body of the trooperhaving been buried
in the churchyardthe ghost rides forth to the scene of battle
in nightly quest of his headand that the rushing speed with
which he sometimes passes along the Hollowlike a midnight
blastis owing to his being belated and in a hurry to get back
to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstitionwhich
has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of
shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides by
the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned
is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valleybut is
unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time.
However wide awake they may have been before they entered that
sleepy regionthey are sure in a little time to inhale the
witching influence of the air and begin to grow imaginative--to
dream dreams and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laudfor it is in
such little retired Dutch valleysfound here and there embosomed
in the great State of New Yorkthat populationmannersand
customs remain fixedwhile the great torrent of migration and
improvementwhich is making such incessant changes in other
parts of this restless countrysweeps by them unobserved. They
are like those little nooks of still water which border a rapid
stream where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at
anchor or slowly revolving in their mimic harborundisturbed by
the rush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed
since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollowyet I question
whether I should not still find the same trees and the same
families vegetating in its sheltered bosom.

In this by-place of Nature there abodein a remote period of
American history--that is to saysome thirty years since--a

worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Cranewho sojournedoras
he expressed ittarried,in Sleepy Hollow for the purpose of
instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of
Connecticuta State which supplies the Union with pioneers for
the mind as well as for the forestand sends forth yearly its
legions of frontier woodmen and country schoolmasters. The
cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was
tallbut exceedingly lankwith narrow shoulderslong arms and
legshands that dangled a mile out of his sleevesfeet that
might have served for shovelsand his whole frame most loosely
hung together. His head was smalland flat at topwith huge
earslarge green glassy eyesand a long snip noseso that it
looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck to tell
which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of
a hill on a windy daywith his clothes bagging and fluttering
about himone might have mistaken him for the genius of Famine
descending upon the earth or some scarecrow eloped from a

His school-house was a low building of one large roomrudely
constructed of logsthe windows partly glazed and partly patched
with leaves of old copybooks. It was most ingeniously secured at
vacant hours by a withe twisted in the handle of the door and
stakes set against the window-shuttersso thatthough a thief
might get in with perfect easehe would find some embarrassment
in getting out---an idea most probably borrowed by the architect
Yost Van Houtenfrom the mystery of an eel-pot. The school-house
stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situationjust at the foot
of a woody hillwith a brook running close by and a formidable
birch tree growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of
his pupils' voicesconning over their lessonsmight be heard in
a drowsy summer's day like the hum of a bee-hiveinterrupted now
and then by the authoritative voice of the master in the tone of
menace or commandorperadventureby the appalling sound of
the birch as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path
of knowledge. Truth to sayhe was a conscientious manand ever
bore in mind the golden maximSpare the rod and spoil the
child.Ichabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled.

I would not have it imaginedhoweverthat he was one of those
cruel potentates of the school who joy in the smart of their
subjects; on the contraryhe administered justice with
discrimination rather than severitytaking the burden off the
backs of the weak and laying it on those of the strong. Your mere
puny striplingthat winced at the least flourish of the rodwas
passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice were
satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little tough
wrong-headedbroad-skirted Dutch urchinwho sulked and swelled
and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he called
doing his duty by their parents;and he never inflicted a
chastisement without following it by the assuranceso
consolatory to the smarting urchinthat "he would remember it
and thank him for it the longest day he had to live."

When school-hours were over he was even the companion and
playmate of the larger boysand on holiday afternoons would
convoy some of the smaller ones home who happened to have pretty
sisters or good housewives for mothers noted for the comforts of
the cupboard. Indeed it behooved him to keep on good terms with
his pupils. The revenue arising from his school was smalland
would have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily
breadfor he was a huge feederandthough lankhad the
dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his maintenance
he wasaccording to country custom in those partsboarded and

lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed.
With these he lived successively a week at a timethus going the
rounds of the neighborhood with all his worldly effects tied up
in a cotton handkerchief.

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his
rustic patronswho are apt to consider the costs of schooling a
grievous burden and schoolmasters as mere droneshe had various
ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted
the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms
helped to make haymended the fencestook the horses to water
drove the cows from pastureand cut wood for the winter fire. He
laid asidetooall the dominant dignity and absolute sway with
which he lorded it in his little empirethe schooland became
wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. He found favor in the eyes
of the mothers by petting the childrenparticularly the
youngest; and like the lion boldwhich whilom so magnanimously
the lamb did holdhe would sit with a child on one knee and rock
a cradle with his foot for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocationshe was the singing-master of
the neighborhood and picked up many bright shillings by
instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no
little vanity to him on Sundays to take his station in front of
the church-gallery with a band of chosen singerswherein his
own mindhe completely carried away the palm from the parson.
Certain it ishis voice resounded far above all the rest of the
congregationand there are peculiar quavers still to be heard in
that churchand which may even be heard half a mile offquite
to the opposite side of the mill-pond on a still Sunday morning
which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of
Ichabod Crane. Thusby divers little makeshifts in that
ingenious way which is commonly denominated "by hook and by
crook the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably enough, and was
thought, by all who understood nothing of the labor of headwork,
to have a wonderfully easy life of it.

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the
female circle of a rural neighborhood, being considered a kind of
idle, gentleman-like personage of vastly superior taste and
accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, indeed,
inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance,
therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table
of a farmhouse and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes
or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver tea-pot.
Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles
of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the
churchyard between services on Sundays, gathering grapes for them
from the wild vines that overrun the surrounding trees; reciting
for their amusement all the epitaphs on the tombstones; or
sauntering, with a whole bevy of them, along the banks of the
adjacent mill-pond, while the more bashful country bumpkins hung
sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and address.

From his half-itinerant life, also, he was a kind of travelling
gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to
house, so that his appearance was always greeted with
satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of
great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and
was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's History of New England
Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple

credulity. His appetite for the marvellous and his powers of
digesting it were equally extraordinary, and both had been
increased by his residence in this spellbound region. No tale was
too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was often
his delight, after his school was dismissed in the afternoon, to
stretch himself on the rich bed of clover bordering the little
brook that whimpered by his school-house, and there con over old
Mather's direful tales until the gathering dusk of the evening
made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, as he
wended his way by swamp and stream and awful woodland to the
farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of
Nature at that witching hour fluttered his excited
imagination--the moan of the whip-poor-will* from the hillside;
the boding cry of the tree-toad, that harbinger of storm; the
dreary hooting of the screech-owl, or the sudden rustling in the
thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The fire-flies,
too, which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and
then startled him as one of uncommon brightness would stream
across his path; and if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle
came winging his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet
was ready to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck
with a witch's token. His only resource on such occasions, either
to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm
tunes; and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their
doors of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his
nasal melody, in linked sweetness long drawn out floating from
the distant hill or along the dusky road.

* The whip-poor-will is a bird which is only heard at night. It
receives its name from its note, which is thought to resemble
those words.
Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long
winter evenings with the old Dutch wives as they sat spinning by
the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the
hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and
goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted
bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless
horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes
called him. He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of
witchcraft and of the direful omens and portentous sights and
sounds in the air which prevailed in the earlier times of
Connecticut, and would frighten them woefully with speculations
upon comets and shooting stars, and with the alarming fact that
the world did absolutely turn round and that they were half the
time topsy-turvy.

But if there was a pleasure in all this while snugly cuddling in
the chimney-corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from
the crackling wood-fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared
to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his
subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset
his path amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With
what wistful look did be eye every trembling ray of light
streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How
often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which,
like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How often did he
shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the
frosty crust beneath his feet, and dread to look over his
shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close
behind him! And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by
some rushing blast howling among the trees, in the idea that it
was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of
the mind that walk in darkness; and though be had seen many
spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in
divers shapes in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an
end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life
of it, in despite of the devil and all his works, if his path had
not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal
man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put
together, and that was--a woman.

Among the musical disciples who assembled one evening in each
week to receive his instructions in psalmody was Katrina Van
Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch
farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen, plump as a
partridge, ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her
father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her
beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a little of a
coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a
mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off
her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold which her
great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam, the
tempting stomacher of the olden time, and withal a provokingly
short petticoat to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the
country round.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex, and
it is not to be wondered at that so tempting a morsel soon found
favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her in
her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture
of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it
is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond the
boundaries of his own farm, but within those everything was snug,
happy, and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth but
not proud of it, and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance,
rather than the style, in which he lived. His stronghold was
situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green,
sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers are so fond
of nestling. A great elm tree spread its broad branches over it,
at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the softest and
sweetest water in a little well formed of a barrel, and then
stole sparkling away through the grass to a neighboring brook
that bubbled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the
farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have served for a church,
every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the
treasures of the farm; the flail was busily resounding within it
from morning to night; swallows and martins skimmed twittering
about the eaves; and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned
up, as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their
wings or buried in their bosoms, and others, swelling, and
cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine
on the roof. Sleek, unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose
and abundance of their pens, whence sallied forth, now and then,
troops of sucking pigs as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron
of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole
fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the
farmyard, and guinea-fowls fretting about it, like ill-tempered
housewives, with their peevish, discontented cry. Before the
barn-door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a
warrior, and a fine gentleman, clapping his burnished wings and
crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart--sometimes tearing
up the earth with his feet, and then generously calling his
ever-hungry family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel
which he had discovered.

The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this sumptuous
promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind's eye he
pictured to himself every roasting-pig running about with a
pudding in his belly and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were
snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie and tucked in with a
coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy;
and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married
couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers
he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon and juicy
relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up,
with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of
savory sausages; and even bright Chanticleer himself lay
sprawling on his back in a side-dish, with uplifted claws, as if
craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit disdained to ask
while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his
great green eyes over the fat meadow-lands, the rich fields of
wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards
burdened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of
Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit
these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea how
they might be readily turned into cash and the money invested in
immense tracts of wild land and shingle palaces in the
wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, and
presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of
children, mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household
trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath, and he beheld
himself bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels,
setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Lord knows where.

When he entered the house the conquest of his heart was complete.
It was one of those spacious farmhouses with high-ridged but
lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style handed down from the
first Dutch settlers, the low projecting eaves forming a piazza
along the front capable of being closed up in bad weather. Under
this were hung flails, harness, various utensils of husbandry,
and nets for fishing in the neighboring river. Benches were built
along the sides for summer use, and a great spinning-wheel at one
end and a churn at the other showed the various uses to which
this important porch might be devoted. From this piazza the
wondering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed the centre of
the mansion and the place of usual residence. Here rows of
resplendent pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes.
In one corner stood a huge bag of wool ready to be spun; in
another a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of
Indian corn and strings of dried apples and peaches hung in gay
festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red peppers;
and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best parlor, where
the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables shone like
mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs,
glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-oranges and
conch-shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of
various-colored birds' eggs were suspended above it; a great
ostrish egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a corner
cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old
silver and well-mended china.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of
delight the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study
was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van
Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real
difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of
yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery

dragons, and such-like easily-conquered adversaries to contend
with, and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and
brass and walls of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of
his heart was confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man
would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas pie, and then
the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the
contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette
beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were forever
presenting new difficulties and impediments, and he had to
encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood,
the numerous rustic admirers who beset every portal to her heart,
keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to
fly out in the common cause against any new competitor.

Among these the most formidable was a burly, roaring, roistering
blade of the name of Abraham--or, according to the Dutch
abbreviation, Brom--Van Brunt, the hero of the country round,
which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was
broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair
and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air
of fun and arrogance. From his Herculean frame and great powers
of limb, he had received the nickname of BROM BONES, by which he
was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill
in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He
was foremost at all races and cockfights, and, with the
ascendancy which bodily strength acquires in rustic life, was the
umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side and giving
his decisions with an air and tone admitting of no gainsay or
appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic, but
had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and with all
his overbearing roughness there was a strong dash of waggish
good-humor at bottom. He had three or four boon companions who
regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he scoured
the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles
around. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap
surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail; and when the folks at a
country gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance,
whisking about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by
for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along
past the farm-houses at midnight with whoop and halloo, like a
troop of Don Cossacks, and the old dames, startled out of their
sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had
clattered by, and then exclaim, Aythere goes Brom Bones and
his gang!" The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture of awe
admirationand good-willand when any madcap prank or rustic
brawl occurred in the vicinity always shook their heads and
warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it.

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming
Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantriesandthough
his amorous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and
endearments of a bearyet it was whispered that she did not
altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it ishis advances were
signals for rival candidates to retire who felt no inclination to
cross a line in his amours; insomuchthat when his horse was
scene tied to Van Tassel's paling on a Sunday nighta sure sign
that his master was courting--oras it is termed
sparking--withinall other suitors passed by in despair and
carried the war into other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to
contendandconsidering all thingsa stouter man than he would
have shrunk from the competition and a wiser (*)man would have
despaired. He hadhowevera happy mixture of pliability and

perseverance in his nature; he was in form and spirit like a
supple jack--yieldingbut although; though he benthe never
broke and though he bowed beneath the slightest pressureyet the
moment it was awayjerk! he was as erect and carried his head as
high as ever.

To have taken the field openly against his rival would have been
madness for he was not man to be thwarted in his amoursany more
than that stormy loverAchilles. Ichabodthereforemade his
advances in a quiet and gently-insinuating manner. Under cover of
his character of singing-masterhe made frequent visits at the
farm-house; not that he had anything to apprehend from the
meddlesome interference of parentswhich is so often a
stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Balt Van Tassel was an
easyindulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his
pipeandlike a reasonable man and an excellent fatherlet her
have her way in everything. His notable little wifetoohad
enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage her poultry
foras she sagely observedducks and geese are foolish things
and must be looked afterbut girls can take care of themselves.
Thus while the busy dame bustled about the house or plied her
spinning-wheel at one end of the piazzahonest Balt would sit
smoking his evening pipe at the otherwatching the achievements
of a little wooden warrior whoarmed with a sword in each hand
was most valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn.
In the meantimeIchabod would carry on his suit with the
daughter by the side of the spring under the great elmor
sauntering along in the twilightthat hour so favorable to the
lover's eloquence.

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To
me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some
seem to have but one vulnerable pointor door of accesswhile
otheres have a thousand avenues and may be captured in a thousand
different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the
formerbut still greater proof of generalship to maintain
possession of the latterfor the man must battle for his
fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common
hearts is therefore entitled to some renownbut he who keeps
undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero.
Certain it isthis was not the case with the redoubtable Brom
Bones; and from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advancesthe
interests of the former evidently declined; his horse was no
longer seen tied at the palings on Sunday nightsand a deadly
feud gradually arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy

Bromwho had a degree of rough chivalry in his naturewould
fain have carried matters to open warfareand have settled their
pretensions to the lady according to the mode of those most
concise and simple reasonersthe knights-errant of yore--by
single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious of the superior
might of his adversary to enter the lists against him: he had
overheard a boast of Bonesthat he would "double the
schoolmaster up and lay him on a shelf of his own school-house;"
and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was
something extremely provoking in this obstinately pacific system;
it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of rustic
waggery in his disposition and to play off boorish practical
jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical
persecution to Bones and his gang of rough riders. They harried
his hitherto peaceful domains; smoked out his singing school by
stopping up the chimney; broke into the schoolhouse at night in
spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and window stakes

and turned everything topsy-turvy; so that the poor schoolmaster
began to think all the witches in the country held their meetings
there. Butwhat was still more annoyingBrom took all
opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his
mistressand had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the
most ludicrous mannerand introduced as a rival of Ichabod'sto
instruct her in psalmody.

In this waymatters went on for some time without producing any
material effect on the relative situation of the contending
powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon Ichabodin pensive mood
sat enthroned on the lofty stool whence he usually watched all
the concerns of his little literary realm. In his hand he swayed
a ferulethat sceptre of despotic power; the birch of justice
reposed on three nails behind the thronea constant terror to
evildoers; while on the desk before him might be seen sundry
contraband articles and prohibited weapons detected upon the
persons of idle urchinssuch as half-munched applespopguns
whirligigsfly-cagesand whole legions of rampant little paper
gamecocks. Apparently there had been some appalling act of
justice recently inflictedfor his scholars were all busily
intent upon their books or slyly whispering behind them with one
eye kept upon the masterand a kind of buzzing stillness reigned
throughout the school-room. It was suddenly interrupted by the
appearance of a negro in tow-cloth jacket and trowsersa
round-crowned fragment of a hat like the cap of Mercuryand
mounted on the back of a raggedwildhalf-broken coltwhich he
managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clattering up to
the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a
merry-making or "quilting frolic" to be held that evening at
Mynheer Van Tassel's; andhaving delivered his message with that
air of importance and effort at fine language which a negro is
apt to display on petty embassies of the kindhe dashed over the
brookand was seen scampering away up the hollowfull of the
importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school-room. The
scholars were hurried through their lessons without stopping at
trifles; those who were nimble skipped over half with impunity
and those who were tardy had a smart application now and then in
the rear to quicken their speed or help them over a tall word.
Books were flung aside without being put away on the shelves
inkstands were overturnedbenches thrown downand the whole
school was turned loose an hour before the usual timebursting
forth like a legion of young impsyelping and racketing about
the green in joy at their early emancipation.

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at his
toiletbrushing and furbishing up his bestand indeed only
suit of rusty blackand arranging his locks by a bit of broken
looking-glass that hung up in the school-house. That he might
make his appearance before his mistress in the true style of a
cavalierbe borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was
domiciliateda choleric old Dutchman of the name of Hans Van
Ripperandthus gallantly mountedissued forth like a
knight-errant in quest of adventures. But it is meet I shouldin
the true spirit of romantic storygive some account of the looks
and equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he bestrode
was a broken-down plough-horse that had outlived almost
everything but his viciousness. He was gaunt and shaggedwith a
ewe neck and a head like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were
tangled and knotted with burrs; one eye had lost its pupil and
was glaring and spectralbut the other had the gleam of a
genuine devil in it. Stillhe must have had fire and mettle in

his dayif we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He
hadin factbeen a favorite steed of his master'sthe choleric
Van Ripperwho was a furious riderand had infusedvery
probablysome of his own spirit into the animal; forold and
broken down as he lookedthere was more of the lurking devil in
him than in any young filly in the country.

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with
short stirrupswhich brought his knees nearly up to the pommel
of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers'; he
carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand like a sceptre; and
as his horse jogged on the motion of his arms was not unlike the
flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool hat rested on the top
of his nosefor so his scanty strip of forehead might be called
and the skirts of his black coat fluttered out almost to his
horse's tail. Such was the appearance of Ichabod and his steed as
they shambled out of the gate of Hans Van Ripperand it was
altogether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with in
broad daylight.

It wasas I have saida fine autumnal daythe sky was clear
and sereneand Nature wore that rich and golden livery which we
always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put
on their sober brown and yellowwhile some trees of the tenderer
kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange
purpleand scarlet. Streaming files of wild-ducks began to make
their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might
be heard from the groves of beech and hickory nutsand the
pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighboring

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the
fulness of their revelry they flutteredchirping and frolicking
from bush to bush and tree to treecapricious from the very
profusion and variety around them. There was the honest cock
robinthe favorite game of stripling sportsmenwith its loud
querulous note; and the twittering blackbirdsflying in sable
clouds; and the golden-winged woodpeckerwith his crimson crest
his broad black gorgetand splendid plumage; and the cedar-bird
with its red-tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail and its little
monteiro cap of feathers; and the blue jaythat noisy coxcomb
in his gay light-blue coat and white under-clothesscreaming and
chatteringbobbing and nodding and bowingand pretending to be
on good terms with every songster of the grove.

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way his eyeever open to every
symptom of culinary abundanceranged with delight over the
treasures of jolly Autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of
apples--some hanging in oppressive opulence on the treessome
gathered into baskets and barrels for the marketothers heaped
up in rich piles for the cider-press. Farther on he beheld great
fields of Indian cornwith its golden ears peeping from their
leafy coverts and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty
pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath themturning up
their fair round bellies to the sunand giving ample prospects
of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant
buckwheat-fieldsbreathing the odor of the beehiveand as he
beheld them soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty
slapjackswell buttered and garnished with honey or treacle by
the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel.

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and "sugared
suppositions he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills
which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty

Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down into the
west. The wide bosom of the Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy,
excepting that here and there a gentle undulation waved and
prolonged the blue shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber
clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them.
The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a
pure apple green, and from that into the deep blue of the
mid-heaven. A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the
precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater
depth to the dark-gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop
was loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the
tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast, and as the
reflection of the sky gleamed along the still water it seemed as
if the vessel was suspended in the air.

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the
Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and
flower of the adjacent country--old farmers, a spare
leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue
stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles; their
brisk withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long-waisted
shortgowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and pincushions
and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside; buxom lasses,
almost as antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw
hat, a fine ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of
city innovation; the sons, in short square-skirted coats with
rows of stupendous brass buttons, and their hair generally queued
in the fashion of the times, especially if they could procure an
eel-skin for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the
country as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having come to
the gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil--a creature, like
himself full of metal and mischief, and which no one but himself
could manage. He was, in fact, noted for preferring vicious
animals, given to all kinds of tricks, which kept the rider in
constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable, well-broken
horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit.

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that burst
upon the enraptured gaze of my hero as he entered the state
parlor of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those of the bevy of buxom
lasses with their luxurious display of red and white, but the
ample charms of a genuine Dutch country teat-able in the
sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped-up platters of cakes of
various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced
Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tenderer
oily koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and
short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family
of cakes. And then there were apple pies and peach pies and
pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover
delectable dishes of preserved plums and peaches and pears and
quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens;
together with bowls of milk and cream,--all mingled
higgledy-piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with
the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the
midst. Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time to discuss
this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with my
story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry as his
historian, but did ample justice to every dainty.

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated in
proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and whose
spirits rose with eating as some men's do with drink. He could

not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, and
chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be lord of
all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendor. Then,
he thought, how soon he'd turn his back upon the old
school-house, snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van Ripper and
every other niggardly patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue
out of doors that should dare to call him comrade!

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with a face
dilated with content and good-humor, round and jolly as the
harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, but
expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap on the
shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing invitation to fall to and
help themselves."

And now the sound of the music from the common roomor hall
summoned to the dance. The musician was an old gray-headed negro
who had been the itinerant orchestra of the neighborhood for more
than half a century. His instrument was as old and battered as
himself. The greater part of the time he scraped on two or three
stringsaccompanying every movement of the bow with a motion of
the headbowing almost to the ground and stamping with his foot
whenever a fresh couple were to start.

Ichobod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his vocal
powers. Not a limbnot a fibre about him was idle; and to have
seen his loosely hung frame in full motion and clattering about
the room you would have thought Saint Vitus himselfthat blessed
patron of the dancewas figuring before you in person. He was
the admiration of all the negroeswhohaving gatheredof all
ages and sizesfrom the farm and the neighborhoodstood forming
a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and windowgazing
with delight at the scenerolling their white eyeballsand
showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to ear. How could the
flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and joyous? The
lady of his heart was his partner in the danceand smiling
graciously in reply to all his amorous oglingswhile Brom Bones
sorely smitten with love and jealousysat brooding by himself in
one corner.

When the dance was at an end Ichabod was attracted to a knot of
the sager folkswhowith old Van Tasselsat smoking at one end
of the piazza gossiping over former times and drawing out long
stories about the war.

This neighborhoodat the time of which I am speakingwas one of
those highly favored places which abound with chronicle and great
men. The British and American line had run near it during the
war; it had therefore been the scene of marauding and infested
with refugeescow-boysand all kinds of border chivalry. Just
sufficient time had elapsed to enable each storyteller to dress
up his tale with a little becoming fictionand in the
indistinctness of his recollection to make himself the hero of
every exploit.

There was the story of Doffue Martlinga large blue-bearded
Dutchmanwho had nearly taken a British frigate with an old iron
nine-pounder from a mud breastworkonly that his gun burst at
the sixth discharge. And there was an old gentleman who shall be
namelessbeing too rich a mynheer to be lightly mentionedwho
in the battle of Whiteplainsbeing an excellent master of
defenceparried a musket-ball with a small swordinsomuch that
he absolutely felt it whiz round the blade and glance off at the
hilt: in proof of which he was ready at any time to show the

swordwith the hilt a little bent. There were several more that
had been equally great in the fieldnot one of whom but was
persuaded that he had a considerable hand in bringing the war to
a happy termination.

But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and apparitions
that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in legendary treasures
of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these
shelteredlong-settled retreats but are trampled under foot by
the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our
country places. Besidesthere is no encouragement for ghosts in
most of our villagesfor they have scarcely had time to finish
their first nap and turn themselves in their graves before their
surviving friends have travelled away from the neighborhood; so
that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds they have
no acquaintance left to call upon. This is perhaps the reason why
we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our long-established Dutch

The immediate causes howeverof the prevalence of supernatural
stories in these partswas doubtless owing to the vicinity of
Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very air that blew
from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of
dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Several of the Sleepy
Hollow people were present at Van Tassel'sandas usualwere
doling out their wild and wonderful legends. Many dismal tales
were told about funeral trains and mourning cries and wailings
heard and seen about the great tree where the unfortunate Major
Andre was takenand which stood in the neighborhood. Some
mention was made also of the woman in white that haunted the dark
glen at Raven Rockand was often heard to shriek on winter
nights before a stormhaving perished there in the snow. The
chief part of the storieshoweverturned upon the favorite
spectre of Sleepy Hollowthe headless horsemanwho had been
heard several times of late patrolling the countryandit was
saidtethered his horse nightly among the graves in the

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to have
made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a
knoll surrounded by locust trees and lofty elmsfrom among which
its decent whitewashed walls shine modestly forthlike Christian
purity beaming through the shades of retirement. A gentle slope
descends from it to a silver sheet of water bordered by high
treesbetween which peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the
Hudson. To look upon its grass-grown yardwhere the sunbeams
seem to sleep so quietlyone would think that there at least the
dead might rest in peace. On one side of the church extends a
wide woody dellalongwhich raves a large brook among broken
rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the
streamnot far from the churchwas formerly thrown a wooden
bridge; the road that led to it and the bridge itself were
thickly shaded by overhanging treeswhich cast a gloom about it
even in the daytimebut occasioned a fearful darkness at night.
Such was one of the favorite haunts of the headless horsemanand
the place where he was most frequently encountered. The tale was
told of old Brouwera most heretical disbeliever in ghostshow
he met the horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow
and was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush
and brakeover hill and swampuntil they reached the bridge
when the horseman suddenly turned into a skeletonthrew old
Brouwer into the brookand sprang away over the tree-tops with a
clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice-marvellous
adventure of Brom Boneswho made light of the galloping Hessian
as an arrant jockey. He affirmed that on returning one night from
the neighboring village of Sing-Sing he had been over taken by
this midnight trooper; that he had offered to race with him for a
bowl of punchand should have won it toofor Daredevil beat the
goblin horse all hollowbut just as they came to the church
bridge the Hessian bolted and vanished in a flash of fire.

All these talestold in that drowsy undertone with which men
talk in the darkthe countenances of the listeners only now and
then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a pipesank deep
in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid them in kind with large
extracts from his invaluable authorCotton Matherand added
many marvellous events that had taken place in his native state
of Connecticut and fearful sights which he had seen in his
nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow.

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered
together their families in their wagonsand were heard for some
time rattling along the hollow roads and over the distant hills.
Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind their favorite
swainsand their light-hearted laughtermingling with the
clatter of hoofsechoed along the silent woodlandssounding
fainter and fainter until they gradually died awayand the late
scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod
only lingered behindaccording to the custom of country lovers
to have a tete-a-tete with the heiressfully convinced that he
was now on the high road to success. What passed at this
interview I will not pretend to sayfor in fact I do not know.
SomethinghoweverI fear memust have gone wrongfor he
certainly sallied forthafter no very great intervalwith an
air quite desolate and chop-fallen. Oh these women! these women!
Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish
tricks? Was her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere
sham to secure her conquest of his rival? Heaven only knowsnot
I! Let it suffice to sayIchabod stole forth with the air of one
who had been sacking a hen-roostrather than a fair lady's
heart. Without looking to the right or left to notice the scene
of rural wealth on which he had so often gloatedhe went
straight to the stableand with several hearty cuffs and kicks
roused his steed most uncourteously from the comfortable quarters
in which he was soundly sleepingdreaming of mountains of corn
and oats and whole valleys of timothy and clover.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod
heavy-hearted and crestfallenpursued his travel homewards along
the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Townand
which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was
as dismal as himself. Far below him the Tappan Zee spread its
dusky and indistinct waste of waterswith here and there the
tall mast of a sloop riding quietly at anchor under the land. In
the dead hush of midnight he could even hear the barking of the
watch-dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it was so
vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this
faithful companion of man. Now and thentoothe long-drawn
crowing of a cockaccidentally awakenedwould sound farfar
offfrom some farm-house away among the hills; but it was like a
dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him
but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricketor perhaps
the guttural twang of a bull-frog from a neighboring marshas if
sleeping uncomfortably and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the

afternoon now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew
darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky
and driving clouds occasionally had them from his sight. He had
never felt so lonely and dismal. He wasmoreoverapproaching
the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost-stories had
been laid. In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip tree
which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the
neighborhood and formed a: kind of landmark. Its limbs were
gnarled and fantasticlarge enough to form trunks for ordinary
treestwisting down almost to the earth and rising again into
the air. It was connected with the tragical story of the
unfortunate Andrewho had been taken prisoner hard byand was
universally known by the name of Major Andre's tree. The common
people regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition
partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake
and partly from the tales of strange sights and doleful
lamentations told concerning it.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree he began to whistle: he
thought his whistle was answered; it was but a blast sweeping
sharply through the dry branches. As he approached a little
nearer he thought he saw something white hanging in the midst of
the tree: he paused and ceased whistlingbut on looking more
narrowly perceived that it was a place where the tree had been
scathed by lightning and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he
heard a groan: his teeth chattered and his knees smote against
the saddle; it was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon another
as they were swayed about by the breeze. He passed the tree in
safetybut new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the
road and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glen known by the
name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough logslaid side by side
served for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the road
where the brook entered the wood a group of oaks and chestnuts
matted thick with wild grape-vinesthrew a cavernous gloom over
it. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. It was at this
identical spot that the unfortunate Andre was capturedand under
the covert of those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen
concealed who surprised him. This has ever since been considered
a haunted streamand fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy
who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he summoned
uphoweverall his resolutiongave his horse half a score of
kicks in the ribsand attempted to dash briskly across the
bridge; but instead of starting forwardthe perverse old animal
made a lateral movement and ran broadside against the fence.
Ichabodwhose fears increased with the delayjerked the reins
on the other side and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it
was all in vain; his steed startedit is truebut it was only
to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of
brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both
whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowderwho
dashed forwardsnuffing and snortingbut came to a stand just
by the bridge with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider
sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by
the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In
the dark shadow of the grove on the margin of the brook he beheld
something hugemisshapenblackand towering. It stirred not
but seemed gathered up in the gloomlike some gigantic monster
ready to spring upon the traveller.

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with

terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late;
and besideswhat chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin
if such it waswhich could ride upon the wings of the wind?
Summoning upthereforea show of couragehe demanded in
stammering accentsWho are you?He received no reply. He
repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there
was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexible
Gunpowderandshutting his eyesbroke forth with involuntary
fervor into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm
put itself in motionand with a scramble and a bound stood at
once in the middle of the road. Though the night was dark and
dismalyet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be
ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions and
mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of
molestation or sociabilitybut kept aloof on one side of the
roadjogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowderwho had
now got over his fright and waywardness.

Ichabodwho had no relish for this strange midnight companion
and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the
Galloping Hessiannow quickened his steed in hopes of leaving
him behind. The strangerhoweverquickened his horse to an
equal pace. Ichabod pulled upand fell into a walkthinking to
lag behind; the other did the same. His heart began to sink
within him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tunebut his
parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth and he could not
utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged
silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and
appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a
rising groundwhich brought the figure of his fellow-traveller
in relief against the skygigantic in height and muffled in a
cloakIchabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was
headless! but his horror was still more increased on observing
that the headwhich should have rested on his shoulderswas
carried before him on the pommel of the saddle. His terror rose
to desperationhe rained a shower of kicks and blows upon
Gunpowderhoping by a sudden movement to give his companion the
slip; but the spectre started full jump with him. Awaythen
they dashed through thick and thinstones flying and sparks
flashing at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in
the air as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's
head in the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow;
but Gunpowderwho seemed possessed with a demoninstead of
keeping up itmade an opposite turn and plunged headlong down
hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow shaded
by trees for about a quarter of a milewhere it crosses the
bridge famous in goblin storyand just beyond swells the green
knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.

As yet the panic of the steed bad given his unskillful rider an
apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he had got halfway
through the hollow the girths of the saddle gave away and he felt
it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommel and
endeavored to hold it firmbut in vainand had just time to
save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neckwhen the
saddle fell to the earthand he heard it trampled under foot by
his pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Ripper's wrath
passed across his mindfor it was his Sunday saddle; but this
was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on his haunches
and (unskilled rider that he was) he had much ado to maintain his
seatsometimes slipping on one sidesometimes on anotherand
sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse's back-bone with

a violence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder.

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the
church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a silver
star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not mistaken.
He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees
beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones' ghostly
competitor had disappeared. "If I can but reach that bridge
thought Ichabod, I am safe." Just then he heard theblack steed
panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he
felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribsand old
Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the
resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod
cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanishaccording
to rulein a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the
goblin rising in his stirrupsand in the very act of hurling his
head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile
but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash;
he was tumbled headlong into the dustand Gunpowderthe black
steedand the goblin rider passed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was foundwithout his saddle and
with he bridle under his feetsoberly cropping the grass at his
master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast;
dinner-hour camebut no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the
school-house and strolled idly about the banks of the brook but
no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel some
uneasiness about the fate of poor Ichabod and his saddle. An
inquiry was set on footand after diligent investigation they
came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the
church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of
horses' hoofsdeeply dented in the road and evidently at furious
speedwere traced to the bridgebeyond whichon the bank of a
broad part of the brookwhere the water ran deep and blackwas
found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabodand close beside it a
spattered pumpkin.

The brook was searchedbut the body of the schoolmaster was not
to be discovered. Hans Van Ripperas executor of his estate
examined the bundle which contained all his worldly effects. They
consisted of two shirts and a halftwo stocks for the necka
pair or two of worsted stockingsan old pair of corduroy
small-clothesa rusty razora book of psalm tunes full of dog's
earsand a broken pitch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of
the school-housethey belonged to the communityexcepting
Cotton Mather's History of Witchcrafta New England Almanacand
a book of dreams and fortune-telling; in which last was a sheet
of foolscap much scribbled and blotted in several fruitless
attempts to make a copy of verses in honor of the heiress of Van
Tassel. These magic books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith
consigned to the flames by Hans Van Ripperwho from that time
forward determined to send his children no more to school
observing that he never knew any good come of this same reading
and writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster possessed--and he
had received his quarter's pay but a day or two before--he must
have had about his person at the time of his disappearance.

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church on the
following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were collected in
the churchyardat the bridgeand at the spot where the hat and
pumpkin had been found. The stories of Brouwerof Bonesand a
whole budget of others were called to mindand when they had
diligently considered them alland compared them with the
symptoms of the present casethey shook their heads and came to

the conclusion that Ichabod had been carried off by the galloping
Hessian. As he was a bachelor and in nobody's debtnobody
troubled his head any more about himthe school was removed to a
different quarter of the hollow and another pedagogue reigned in
his stead.

It is true an old farmerwho had been down to New York on a
visit several years afterand from whom this account of the
ghostly adventure was receivedbrought home the intelligence
that Ichabod Crane was still alive; that he had left the
neighborhoodpartly through fear of the gob in and Hans Van
Ripperand partly in mortification at having been suddenly
dismissed by the heiress; that he had changed his quarters to a
distant part of the countryhad kept school and studied law at
the same timehad been admitted to the barturned politician
electioneeredwritten for the newspapersand finally had been
made a justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom Bones toowho
shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the blooming
Katrina in triumph to the altarwas observed to look exceedingly
knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was relatedand always
burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which
led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he
chose to tell.

The old country wiveshoweverwho are the best judges of these
mattersmaintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by
supernatural means; and it is a favorite story often told about
the neighborhood round the interevening fire. The bridge became
more than ever an object of superstitious aweand that may be
the reason why the road has been altered of late yearsso as to
approach the church by the border of the mill-pond. The
schoolhousebeing desertedsoon fell to decayand was reported
to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue; and the
plough-boyloitering homeward of a still summer eveninghas
often fancied his voice at a distance chanting a melancholy psalm
tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.



THE preceding tale is given almost in the precise words in which
I heard it related at a Corporation meeting of the ancient city
of Manhattoesat which were present many of its sagest and most
illustrious burghers. The narrator was a pleasantshabby
gentlemanly old fellow in pepper-and-salt clotheswith a sadly
humorous faceand one whom I strongly suspected of being poor
he made such efforts to be entertaining. When his story was
concluded there was much laughter and approbationparticularly
from two or three deputy aldermen who had been asleep the greater
part of the time. There washoweverone talldry-looking old
gentlemanwith beetling eyebrowswho maintained a grave and
rather severe face throughoutnow and then folding his arms
inclining his headand looking down upon the flooras if
turning a doubt over in his mind. He was one of your wary men
who never laugh but upon good grounds--when they have reason and
the law on their side. When the mirth of the rest of the company
had subsided and silence was restoredhe leaned one arm on the
elbow of his chairand sticking the other akimbodemandedwith
a slight but exceedingly sage motion of the head and contraction
of the browwhat was the moral of the story and what it went to

The story-tellerwho was just putting a glass of wine to his
lips as a refreshment after his toilspaused for a moment
looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite deferenceand
lowering the glass slowly to the tableobserved that the story
was intended most logically to prove-

That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and
pleasures--provided we will but take a joke as we find it;

Thatthereforehe that runs races with goblin troopers is
likely to have rough riding of it.

Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a
Dutch heiress is a certain step to high preferment in the state.

The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer after
this explanationbeing sorely puzzled by the ratiocination of
the syllogismwhile methought the one in pepper-and-salt eyed
him with something of a triumphant leer. At length he observed
that all this was very wellbut still he thought the story a
little on the extravagant--there were one or two points on which
he had his doubts.

Faith, sir,replied the story-telleras to that matter, I
don't believe one-half of it myself.

D. K.

Golittle bookeGod send thee good passage

And specially let this be thy prayere

Unto them all that thee will read or hear

Where thou art wrongafter their help to call

Thee to correct in any part or all.

CHAUCER'S Belle Dame sans Mercie.

IN concluding a second volume of the Sketch Book the Author
cannot but express his deep sense of the indulgence with which
his first has been receivedand of the liberal disposition that
has been evinced to treat him with kindness as a stranger. Even
the criticswhatever may be said of them by othershe has found
to be a singularly gentle and good-natured race; it is true that
each has in turn objected to some one or two articlesand that
these individual exceptionstaken in the aggregatewould amount
almost to a total condemnation of his work; but then he has been
consoled by observing that what one has particularly censured
another has as particularly praised; and thusthe encomiums
being set off against the objectionshe finds his workupon the
wholecommended far beyond its deserts.

* Closing the second volume of the London edition.
He is aware that he runs a risk of forfeiting much of this kind
favor by not following the counsel that has been liberally
bestowed upon him; for where abundance of valuable advice is
given gratis it may seem a man's own fault if he should go
astray. He only can say in his vindication that he faithfully
determined for a time to govern himself in his second volume by
the opinions passed upon his first; but he was soon brought to a
stand by the contrariety of excellent counsel. One kindly advised
him to avoid the ludicrous; another to shun the pathetic; a third
assured him that he was tolerable at descriptionbut cautioned

him to leave narrative alone; while a fourth declared that he had
a very pretty knack at turning a storyand was really
entertaining when in a pensive moodbut was grievously mistaken
if he imagined himself to possess a spirit of humor.

Thus perplexed by the advice of his friendswho each in turn
closed some particular pathbut left him all the world beside to
range inhe found that to follow all their counsels wouldin
factbe to stand still. He remained for a time sadly
embarrassedwhen all at once the thought struck him to ramble on
as he had begun; that his work being miscellaneous and written
for different humorsit could not be expected that any one would
be pleased with the whole; but that if it should contain
something to suit each readerhis end would be completely
answered. Few guests sit down to a varied table with an equal
appetite for every dish. One has an elegant horror of a roasted
pig; another holds a curry or a devil in utter abomination; a
third cannot tolerate the ancient flavor of venison and
wild-fowl; and a fourthof truly masculine stomachlooks with
sovereign contempt on those knick-knacks here and there dished up
for the ladies. Thus each article is in condemned in its turn
and yet amidst this variety of appetites seldom does a dish go
away from the table without being tasted and relished by some one
or other of the guests.

With these considerations he ventures to serve up this second
volume in the same heterogeneous way with his first; simply
requesting the readerif he should find here and there something
to please himto rest assured that it was written expressly for
intelligent readers like himself; but entreating himshould he
find anything to disliketo tolerate itas one of those
articles which the author has been obliged to write for readers
of a less refined taste.

To be serious: The author is conscious of the numerous faults and
imperfections of his workand well aware how little he is
disciplined and accomplished in the arts of authorship. His
deficiencies are also increased by a diffidence arising from his
peculiar situation. He finds himself writing in a strange land
and appearing before a public which he has been accustomed from
childhood to regard with the highest feelings of awe and
reverence. He is full of solicitude to deserve their approbation
yet finds that very solicitude continually embarrassing his
powers and depriving him of that case and confidence which are
necessary to successful exertion. Stillthe kindness with which
he is treated encourages him to go onhoping that in time he may
acquire a steadier footing; and thus he proceedshalf venturing
half shrinkingsurprised at his own good-fortune and wondering
at his own temerity.