Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The enthusiasm kindled by any ardent pursuit, will animate not only its objects but its instruments with a living power and sympathy. The warrior regards the weapons that he wields, as rejoicing equally with himself in the strife of death. Thus, to borrow two of the boldest examples that Aristotle takes from Homer:

δε δουρα θραστικων απο χειρων, ,
Αλλα μεν εν σακεί μεγαλο παγεν όρμενα προσσω,
Πολλα δε και μεσσηγυ, παρος χροα λευκον επαυρέιν,
Εν γαιη ίσταντο, λιλαιομενα χρoος ασαι.
“ In his broad buekler many a weapon stood,

Its surface bristled with a quivering wood ;
And many a javelin, guiltless on the plain,
Marks the dry dust, and thirsts for blood in vain.”
Αιχμη δε στερνοιο

διεσσυτο

recesse wwoch, Προσσω εμενη . " The lance with eager joy transfix'd his purpose. The poetical murderer embreast,

bodies the same morbid terrors in a Speeding its onward course."

sublimer shape. In accordance with such imaginations,

-“ Thou sure and firm-set earth, the warrior-lyre bias, in the Feast of Hear not my steps which way they walk, Brougham Castle, been struck to the for fear full compass to which perhaps it was The very stones prate of my whereabouts." possible to swell this note without a

And the instigatress of murder gives jarring in its harmony.

utterance to thoughts of a similar “ Armour rusting in his halls,

spirit. On the blood of Clifford calls :

Come, thick night, Quell the Scot,' exclaims the lance; And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of • Bear me to the heart of France,'

hell, Is the longing of the shield.”

That my keen knife see not the wound it

makes.” And here, once for all, it may be repeated, that the animating influence We have not reserved room to dwell of every strong emotion is exerted not on that mixed condition of the intel. only on its direct objects, but on all lectual and moral faculties, which leads things that have a collateral relation to the personification of mere mental to it. “ As the moon brightens round abstractions. We shall afterwards, her the clouds of the night,” the heart, however, have an opportunity of illuswhen kindled to a glow, diffuses its trating this part of the subject, when radiance even on the darkest and dull we come to notice some of the ideas est surface that falls within its sphere. that have been thus kindled into life.

The last of the passions to which we In the mean time we may observe, that shall allude as awakening the personi. nothing but an earnest and intense fying faculty is that of fear, of which contemplation of such conceptions can the power is still more conspicuous recommend a serious attempt to perwhere it is combined with guilt. It is sonify them. The use of such figures probable that the horrors of remorse as mere matters of rhetorical ornaoperate partially in this way, by seems ment, unsupported by any poeti. ing to enlist even inanimate nature cal vision of the images employed, among the accusers of the criminal is distasteful to the judicious, and seland the avengers of his crime. Al dom successful with the most unthinkready, while the act is unaccomplish. ing. It produces, among other mised, he regards with preternatural sen chiefs, this bad result, that, by dimisitiveness every strange sound and nishing the relief that simplicity always sight, as a living witness testifying affords, it weakens the power of any against its perpetration. The vulgar genuine personification which may man of midnight violence bestows an come to be introduced. imprecation upon a jarring hinge, a Neither can we here dwell upon that creaking plank, or a glancing moon- other operation of the personifying beam, as if conspiring to interrupt his principle which is performed at the

bidding of fancy, without passion literal fact, or is dissatisfied with grand having much share in it. Fancy has generalities, it cannot feel the due inlearned from the workings of passion fluence of that spirit which operates by that such transmutations are practica. fallacies, but by fallacies more verable, and she has pressed the power cious than many physical demonstrathus discovered into her own service. tions. We can believe Atlas in dimness When her fictions are clothed with and in distance to be a king or a moral beauty, and finished with suitable hero, that bears the weight of heaven and congruous details, the mind re on his shoulders; but if we proceives them as pleasing possibilities, ceed, as somebody proposed to do and derives a new delight from admi- with Mount Athos, and carve him ring the ingenuity and skill which into the distinct features of a man, the they display. Hence, among other charm is gone. Quodcunque ostendis fruits, has sprung the voluminous code mihi sic, incredulus odi. The old of Æsop and his followers, of which extravagances of the metaphysical the elegant imaginations and intrinsic school of poets, illustrate the failure of truths find so ready credence in infant any attempt to please by such anaminds, and which many of the ripest logies as run for miles together, not understanding have found pleasure in merely upon all fours, but like censtudying as well as in imitating. tipedes upon fifty feet a side.

In concluding this branch of our Upon the same principle, a hot and observations, let us glance for an in- cold project, such as Darwin's in his stant at some of the feelings which Botanical Garden, for making perseem most inconsistent with the na sonification a vehicle of systematic tural exertion of the personifying science, is in its very conception hopepower. Any mean or degrading im less and contradictory; though we are pulses-any worldly or merely practi. all the better for the accomplished railcal views—any anxiety about minute ery of the Loves of the Triangles, to accuracy or mathematical truth, must show us its full absurdity. Such efimpede or destroy this imaginative forts may be permitted for a very short power. If the mind is fastened to the period to glitter as the frostwork of ground by sordid ties, it cannot aspire fancy; but, having neither warmth to an ethereal and creative energy. If nor durability, they are unfit either it is bent on ascertaining matter of for long or for lofty compositions.

TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR.

Part VIII.

“ FORTUNA sævo læta negotio, et
Ludum insolentem ludere pertinax,
Transmutat incertos honores,

Nunc mihi, nunc alii benigna.
Laudo manentem : SI CELERES QUATIT
PENNAS, RESIGNO QUÆ DEDIT, ET MEA
VIRTUTE ME INVOLVO, PROBAMQUE
PAUPERIEM SINE DOTE QUÆRO."

Hor, Carm. Lib.iii. 49.

The chief corner-stone suddenly an orphan boy of the name of Steggars, found wanting in the glittering fabric at first merely as a sort of errand-boy, of Mr Titmouse's fortune, so that to and to look after the office. He soon, the eyes of its startled architects, however, displayed so much sharpMessrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, it ness, and acquitted himself so creditseemed momentarily threatening to ably in any thing that he happened to tumble about their ears, was a certain be concerned in, a little above the run piece of evidence which, being a of his ordinary duties, that in the matter-of-fact man, I should like to course of a year or two he became a explain to the reader before we get on sort of clerk, and sat and wrote at any farther. In order, however, to the desk it had formerly been his sole do this effectually, I must go back to province to dust. Higher and higher an earlier period in the history than did he rise, in process of time, in his has been yet called to his attention. master's estimation; and at length If it shall have been unfortunate became quite a factotumas such, acenough to attract the hasty eye of the quainted with the whole course of superficial and impatient novel-reader, business that passed through the office. I make no doubt that by such a one Many interesting matters connected certain portions of what has gone be with the circumstances and connexions fore, and which could not fail of at of the neighbouring nobility and gentracting the attention of long-headed try were thus constantly brought people, as being not thrown in for under his notice, and now and then nothing, (and therefore to be borne in set him thinking whether the knowmind with a view to subsequent expla ledge thus acquired could not, in some nation,) have been entirely overlooked way, and at some time or another, be or forgotten. Now, I can fancy that turned to his own advantage ; for I the sort of reader whom I have in my am sorry to say that he was utterly eye, as one whose curiosity it is worth unworthy of the kindness and confisome pains to excite, and sustain, has dence of Mr Parkinson, who little more than once asked himself the fol. thought that in Steggars he had to lowing question, viz.

deal with—a rogue in grain. Such How did Messrs Quirk, Gammon, being his character, and such his opand Snap, first come to be acquainted oportunities, this worthy made a pracwith the precarious tenure by which tice of minuting down, from time to Mr Aubrey held the Yatton property? time, any thing of interest or importWhy, it chanced in this wise.

ance in the affairs which thus came Mr Parkinson of Grilston, who has under his notice-even laboriously been already introduced to the reader, copying long documents, when he succeeded to his late father, in one of thought them of importance enough the most respectable practices, as a for his purpose, and had the opportucountry attorney and solicitor in nity of doing so without attracting the Yorkshire. He was a highly honour attention of Mr Parkinson. He thus able, painstaking man, and deservedly silently acquired a mass of informaenjoyed the entire confidence of all his tion which might have enabled him to numerous and influential clients. Some occasion great annoyance, and even twelve years before the period at inflict serious injury; and the precise which this history commences, Mr object he had in view, was either to Parkinson, who a very kind- force himself, hereafter, into partnerhearted man, had taken into his service ship with his employer, (provided he

was

could get regularly introduced into a most serious effect upon the rights of the profession,) or even compel his Mr Aubrey." master's clients to receive him into Every line of this opinion, and also their confidence, adversely to Mr even of the Abstract of Title upon Parkinson, making it worth his while which it was written, did this quicka to keep the secrets of which he had sighted young scoundrel copy out, and become possessed. So careful ought deposit, as a great prize, in his desk, to be, and indeed generally are, at among other similar notes and memotorneys and solicitors, as to the cha- randa, little wotting his master the racters of those whom they thus re while of what he was doing. Some ceive into their employ. On the oc year or two afterwards, the relationcasion of Mr Aubrey's intended mar ship subsisting between Mr Parkinson riage with Miss St Clair, with a view and his clerk Steggars, was suddenly to the very liberal settlements which determined by a somewhat untoward he contemplated, a full abstract of his event; viz. by the latter's decamping title was laid by Mr Parkinson before with the sum of £700 sterling, being his conveyancer, in order to advise the amount of money due in a mortand prepare the necessary instruments. gage which he had been sent to reOwing to enquiries suggested by the ceive from a client of Mr Parkinson's. conveyancer, additional statements Steggars fled for it—but first having were laid before him; and produced bethought himself of the documents an opinion of a somewhat unsatisfac to which I have been alluding, and tory description, from which I shall which he carried with him to Lonlay before the reader the following don. Hot pursuit was made after the paragraph :

unfortunate delinquent, who was taken • There seems no reason for sup into custody two or three days after posing that any descendant of Stephen his arrival in town, while he was walkDreddlington is now in existence : ing about the streets, with the whole still, as it is by no means physically im of the sum which he had embezzled, possible that such a person may be in minus a few pounds, upon

his person, esse, it would no doubt be important in bank-notes. He quickly found his to the security of Mr Aubrey's title, way into Newgate. His natural sato establish clearly the validity of the gacity assured him that his case was conveyance by way of mortgage, exe rather an ugly one; but hope did not cuted by Harry Dreddlington, and desert him. which was afterwards assigned to « Well, my kiddy,” said the grimGeoffry Dreddlington on his paying visaged, greyheaded turnkey, as soon off the money borrowed by his decea as he had ushered Steggars into his sed uncle: since the descent of Mr snug little quarters;

“ here you are, Aubrey from Geoffry Dreddlington you see-isn't you?" would, in that event, clothe him with • I think I am," replied Steggars, an indefeasible title at law, by virtue with a sigh. of that deed; and any equitable rights “ Well-and if you want to have which were originally outstanding, a chance of not going across the water would be ed by lapse of time. But till you're a many years older, you'll the difficulty occuring to my mind on get yourself defended, and the sooner this part of the case is, that unless the better, d'ye see. There's Quirk, Harry Dreddlington, who executed Gammon, and Snap-my eyes! how that deed of mortgage, survived his they do thin our place, to be sure! father, (a point on which I have no The only thing's to get 'em soon; information,) the deed itself would have 'cause, ye see, they're so run after. been mere waste parchment, as the Shall I send them to you?" conveyance of a person who never Steggars answered eagerly in the had any interest in the Yatton pro- affirmative. In order to account for perty—and, of course, neither Geoffry this spontaneous good-nature on the Dreddlington, nor his descendant Mr part of Grasp, (the turnkey in quesAubrey, could derive any right what- tion,) I must explain that old Mr Quirk ever under such an instrument. In had for years secured a large criminal that case, such a contingency as I practice, by having in his interest most have above hinted at-I mean the ex. of the officers attached to the policeistence of any legitimate descendant offices and Newgate, to whom he of Stephen Dreddlington--might have gave, in fact, systematic gratuities, in

order to get their recommendations to Quirk rubbed his chin, hemmed, the persecuted individuals who came fidgeted about in his seat, took off his into their power. Very shortly after glasses, wiped them, replaced them; Grasp's messenger had reached Saf- and presently went through that cerefron Hill, with the intelligence that mony again. He then said that he " there was something new in the trap," bad had the honour of being concernold Quirk bustled down to Newgate, ed for a great number of gentlemen in and was introduced to Steggars, with Mr Steggars' “present embarrassed whom he was closeted for some time. circumstances," but who had always He took a lively interest in his new been able to command at least a fivecompanion, whose narrative of his pound note, at starting, to run a heat fight and capture he listened to in a for liberty. very kind and sympathizing way, and “ Come, come, old gentleman," promised to do for him whatever his quoth Steggars, earnestly, “I don't little skill and experience could do. want to go over the water before my He hinted, however, that, as Mr Stegtime, if I can help it; and I see you gars must be aware, a little ready know the value of what I've got! money would be required, in order to Such a gentleman as you can turn fee counsel—whereat Steggars looked every bit of paper I have in my box very dismal indeed, and, knowing the into a fifty-pound note”state of bis exchequer, imagined him

« All this is moonshine, my young self already on shipboard, on his way friend,” said old Quirk, in an irresoto Botany Bay. Old Mr Quirk asked lute tone and manner. him if he had no friends who would “ Ah! is it, though? To be able to raise a trifle for a “ chum in trouble," tell the owner of a fat ten thousand -and on answering in the negative, a year, that you can spring a mine he observed the enthusiasm of the re under his feet at any moment-eh?spectable old gentleman visibly and and no one ever know how you came by rapidly cooling down.

your knowledge. And if they wouldn't « But I'll tell you what, sir,” said do what was handsome, couldn't you poor Steggars, suddenly,“ if I haven't get the right heir—and wouldn't thatmoney, I may have money's worth at Lord ! it would make the fortunes of my command;- I've a little box, that's half-a-dozen of the first houses in the at my lodging, which those that got profession!" Old Quirk got a little me knew nothing of-and in which excited. there is a trifle or two about the fami “But mind, sir—you see" said lies and fortunes of some of the first Steggars, “if I get off, I'm not to be folk in Yatton, that would be precious cut out of the thing altogether-eh? well worth looking after, to those that I shall look to be taken into your emknow how to follow up such matters.” ploy, and dealt handsomely by”;

Old Quirk hereat pricked up bis “Oh lord !” exclaimed Quirk, inears, and asked his young friend how voluntarily-adding quickly—“Yes, he got possessed of such secrets. yes ! to be sure ! only fair ; but

« Oh fie! fie!” said he, gently, as let us first get you out of your presoon as Steggars had told him the sent difficulty, you know !” Steggars, practices of which I have already put having first exacted from him a writthe reader in possession.

ten promise to use his utmost exer“ Ah-you may say fie! fie! if you tions on his (Steggars') behalf, and like," quoth Steggars, earnestly; secure him the services of two of the “but the thing is, not how they were most eminent Old Bailey council-viz. come by, but what can be done with Mr Bluster and Mr Slang-gave Mr them, now they're got. For example, Quirk the number of the house where there's a certain member of parlia- bis precious box was, and a written ment in Yorkshire, that, high as he order to the landlord to deliver it up may hold his head, hath no more right to the bearer : after which Mr Quirk to the estates that yield him a good shook him cordially by the hand, and, ten thousand a-year than I have; but having quitted the prison, made his keeps some folk out of their own, that way straight to the house in question, could pay some other folk a round sum and succeeded in obtaining what he to be put in the way of getting their asked for. He faithfully performed own:” and that was only one of the his agreement with Steggars; for he good things he knew of.-Here old retained both Bluster and Slang for

« AnteriorContinuar »