Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE LEVER OF LIFE.

1826.

JOHN DRYDEN, one of the most famous poets and essayists, was born at Ald

THE LEVER OF LIFE. winkle 1631. He became Poet-laureate and died 1700, and is buried in Westmins

CHAPTER V. ter Abbey.

SLOWLY curled the wreaths of white “Hail! heaven-born muse! hail every sacred smoke above Mr. Angus's head as he page!

sat late that night, after Helen had left The glory of our isle and of our age; The inspired sun to Albion draws more nigh

him, to eujoy his accustomed cigar. The North at length teems with a work to vie | He always liked to pass an hour alone With Homer's flame and Virgil's majesty." in this way before retiring for the night.

His celebrated “ Alexander's Feast." | It was on occasions like this that many written in one night, has never been equal

of his most extensive and successful led in flight or fancy.

schemes had been planned ; and he had

established a kind of fanciful theory, WILLIAM GODWIN, born at Wisbeach, in 1756. was the author of Political Jus.

that as he sat and sent wreath after tice” and “Caleb Williams." He was an

wreath circling towards the ceiling, he avowed free-thinker, but his pen has done

could identify them with his varied much good to his posterity. He died April, speculations, and could augur good or

bad fortune according to the course SIR WALTER Scott, the poet and novelist,

pursued by these misty oracles. It

was a childish fancy, but it is in me was born in Edinburgh, 1771. He passed his youth in hunting, travelling, and

thods such as these, that minds stretchmarvellous adventures, and this, with his ed to their utmost capacity of endurance country's history and scenery, formed the in the restless struggles of ambition and great future romancer. His first work was aggrandisement seek to regain their * Specimens of Scottish Poetry.” He equilibrium. The conqueror who de ultimately realised a fortune 'by his cides the destinies of empires or the poems and novels, exceeding any other

fate of millions, and the millionaire writer. He died at Abbotsford, Sept.

who rules the markets, whether of gold 21st, 1832.

or labour-yield alike to the common OLIVER GOLDSMITH was born at Pallas, weaknesses of humanity, and demand rein Ireland, and educated at Dublin. His action and repose. The habit of link ing “ Vicar of Wakefield,” “ Traveller," and the ruling thoughts of the day with the “Deserted Village,” are so popular, that nightly recreation of his cigar forced they need no comment. He died in the

itself on Mr. Angus now; but it was no Temple, April 4, 1774, immortalized by

longer the hard city speculator sending his friend Johnson, in the following epitaph :—“ Sacred to Goldsmith, poet, natu

off his phantom fleets upon imaginary ralist, and historian, who left no writing ventures, and watching their return, untouched or unadorned by his pen. Whe rich argosies with costly freights and ther to move smiles or draw tears, he was countless gains, but it was the employer, a powerful yet gentle master over the affec- the father, the man, awakened for the tions ; for genius, sublime, vivid, and first time to the consciousness that versatile ; for style, elevated clear and others might have dreams in conelegant; for the love of companions, the

nexion with his speculations as well as fidelity of friends, and the veneration of

himself, and that what to him had

him readers, his memory shall last.”

been the aim and end of life, minister SIR THOMAS MORE, chancellor of Eng- ling to his pride and self-confidence, and land, was born in London, 1480. He was

surrounding him with luxurious inthe noble supporter of Queen Catherine, and for his eloquence in her behalf was

dulgences, might be the withering beheaded July 6th, 1535; and in his usual

| atmosphere, deadly and destructive to composure, said to the executioneer-"I those compelled to waste their lives pray you see me safe up, and as for my

| beneath its influence. Pale forms plycoming down you may let me shift for my. ing their midnight toil, peered down self.” In the same spirit, when laying at him from misty garrets, and the his head on the block, he told the execu- smoke of his Havannah, as it curled uptioneer to wait until he had removed his ward, spread itself out into broad sheets beard for that had committed no treason.

1 of calico, now assuming the forms of garments so familiar in his warehouse, neglected ; a sense of the misery of but suddenly changed into shrouds and others had for the first time reached funeral palls. The scene which his his own heart, and a feeling of its daughter had so vividly described as bitterness touched him with the keenest having witnessed in the poor weaver's remorse, not only in the recollection of attic rose suddenly before him, but it opportunities neglected for lightening was Helen, not Mary, who sat pallid the woes of others, but in the conand exhausted over her needle. He sciousness that his own prosperity had tried to drive the hideous phantom been too much built upon the grinding from his brain, but it rose again more depression of those who laboured in distinctly to his view. She uttered no his employ. His natural energy of reproach, but the silent, uncomplaining character, however, saved him from sadness with which she plied her yielding to mere idle regrets-he bad monotonous task stung him to the soul. long been accustomed to meet and To think of his own child reduced to overcome every difficulty that obstruct. such a fate seemed a calamity too ed his path in the pursuit of his busigreat for endurance, yet it was by such ness schemes-he had now a new purtoil that he himself grew rich. Did the pose to occupy his thoughts and to tnx poor fever-smitten weaver love his all his resources. To discharge his daughter less, or was it possible that scantily paid work-people would only even a fraction of the anguish that rent precipitate the entire ruin of many—to Mr. Angus's heart at the mere thought pay them all at once remunerating of such a doom for Helen could really wages might bring ruin on himself. be the wretched Millicents' daily, hourly The competition of the times must be experience? Success had so long met as much for the sake of the emattended his efforts in trade, that the ployed as the employers. He resolved possibility of reverse, of disaster, of that it should be met no longer with poverty, had never occupied his mind. cold and heartless reference only to his He had been too busily and too plea- own profit, but that he would identify in santly occupied in getting and enjoying future his own interest, as far as wealth to think of building on any practicable, with that of his toiling deother foundation, and he stood appalled pendants, and this resolution kindled at the bare thought of the ruin to in his heart emotions of pleasure which which, as a mere thing of money, he he felt to be incomparably richer than was exposed. A new and terrible, but those springing from any selfish triumph wholesome truth stood revealed to his | he had ever known. soul; he felt that the only ties which “Well, Helen,” said he the following had hitherto bound him to the world day at the breakfast table, “I have and to his fellow-men were those of been planning with Donald this mornsordid interest-he knew that he was ing, and he thinks they can rig up & looked up to and respected in the bed for poor Millicent in their cottage, city only as a successful and prosperous and they will try to make room for Mary tradesman-and that the measure of too, to wait upon her father, so we must men's esteem for his character was see about getting them down here this proportioned precisely to the extent of afternoon, if you think you can get his credit. He was envied by rivals, your preparations complete so soon. feared by dependants—he was loved | You had better run down to the cottage by his daughter alone, for she was the after breakfast, and see what things Jesonly being whose happiness or welfare sie will want; she will very likely grumhe had really made an effort to promote. ble at Donald for agreeing to turn her

In the presence of such thoughts as house out of window, but if she knows these the proud self-confident man of that it is done to please you, she will the world was overthrown, and Mr. / make light work of it, even if you bid Angus felt that there were relationships her turn the house itself topsy turvy." between himself and the great human Donald was Mr. Angus's gardener, family, and between his soul and God, and held undisputed sway over the the claims of which he had too long l gardens and grounds of Athol Lodge.

[blocks in formation]

He had grown grey in the service, and rections to prepare for the removal of was a privileged person in the estab- | her father at once into the country. lishment. Like most Scottish gardeners, She could only sob out her mingled he was thoroughly skilled in his profes- apologies and thanks, whilst her fasion, and a knowledge of his own supe- ther, in a voice husky with emotion, exriority made him a somewhat opinion- claimed, “ God be praised for that ated and dictatorial personage. Mr. sweet angel's visit yesterday. I haven't Angus he looked upon as the most been like the same cretur' ever since, wonderful man of business and the -it seemed to put a new heart in me, most pitiably ignorant gardener in ex- Sir, and now you've come to take us out istence, and he treated him accordingly of this hole, I feel as tho' I may get to with an amusing mixture of deferential be a man again, and do something for respect and coinpassionate tolerance. my own flesh and blood once more. The only autoority to which he paid My poor girl was breaking down fast, the slightest deference in his own de Sir, she could'nt ha' stood it much lonpartment was Helen's. She had been ger; may God reward her and you Sir, his pupil from a child, and he often and that sweet young lady, for all that boasted that he had made her pretty you have done by me.” nigh as good a gardener as himself, and Mr. Angus talked long and kindly in matters of taste where their opinions with the weaver and his daughter. He sometimes clashed, she carried her learnt much that was new and painful point with so much gentleness and tact, to him of the condition of large numthat even Donald would acknowledge bers of the industrious poor, and was her superiority, and declare that she shocked when told by Mary, the numhad “some spell o'herain that wad mak ber of hours, from early morning till a fairy land out o’a desert !"

late at night, occupied not only by herMr. Angus undertook to arrange for self, but by all those dependant upon the removal of the Millicents in the their needles for a livelihood-in earncourse of the day, whilst Helen busied ing the scanty pittance which they herself in preparing for their reception received from such establishments as in Donald's cottage, and as his daughter his own. He now learnt, however, for fung her arms around his neck and the first time, how much the sufferings thanked him with tearful eloquence for of this wretched class were augmented his generous sympathy in behalf of this by the intervention of middle-men and poor family, he felt that even in those middle-women, between the operatives emotions which subdued him to the and employers. He knew that this momentary weakness of tears himself, system had been adopted to lessen the there was a glow of pure and holy joy trouble of superintending large numthat he had never known before.

bers of workpeople, but he had no idea, Great was Mary Millicent's astonish. of the heavy percentage deducted from ment and alarm as she opened the door the scanty earnings of the workwoman of their attic in answer to Mr. Angus's in consequene of this arrangement, and knock, and recognized in him so unex- he saw in a thorough personal revision pected a visitor. Dropping a hasty of this system one immediate source of curtsey, she sought hurriedly the only relief for those whose interests he bechair she had to place for Mr. Angus's came increasingly anxious to consult. accommodation, whilst she vainly strove Having made enquiries into the immeto quiet the violent beating of her heart, diate necessities of the family, he left a whose rapid pulsations almost threat- sum of money to discharge some small ened to deprive her of consciousness. arrears of rent and other trifling debts, The tones of Mr. Angus's voice assured and promised to send a conveyance to her, however, that he came not in anger | take them down to their new lodging to reproach her, as she feared, for her the same evening. He arranged with application to his daughter. How great the landlady of the house to take charge was her surprise, when in a few kind of the weaver's loom and few articles of and cheerful words he explained to her furniture, until he was able to resume the object of his visit, and gave her di- his work, and then pursuing his way

into the city, he entered his counting | ducted properly, it would be found to house with a new sense of pleasure de pay at that rate. We say this, after rived from the power of doing good. having made the requisite calculations

on the subject. We would have the TWO-PENNY POLYTECHNICS.

Institution well fitted up, and we would

bave in it models, mechanical and scienIN our last number we had the plea tific apparatus, and we would adorn sure of laying before our readers a it with statuary and paintings. We short paper on “ Penny Banks,” or hints would have lectures delivered in a faon a new method for the poorer classes miliar manner on chymistry, electricity to husband their slender resources. It and pneumatics, and general mechaniwas shown how the very poor might cal and experimental philosophy. We vith advantage to themselves lay by, would have music, singing, dissolving from day to day, or from time to time, views, panoramas, elocutionary entertheir pennies, and so foster habits of tainments and magnified representations economy, and develope feelings of self- of cities and remarkable places. These reliance and independence. We now things, or some of them, should be witpurpose, in a very short space, to show nessed every night, and each person how the poorer classes may spend some should have the whole range of the of their pence with benefit to themselves building, and remain if he or she thought and to the community. We entertain proper all the evening. And this should a strong and ardent desire to elevate be all done for the small sum of twothe masses of the people, and it is our pence each visiter. We would suggest intention from time to time, to suggest that there should be a morning as well new methods, and to give out hints as an evening exhibition, and that for the starting of new plans, whereby each visitor to the morning exhibition such a desirable consummation may be should pay four-pence. If such an In. realised.

stitution were opened in London in an All who look at the number of our eligible situation, and properly conductpopulation, and their condition, must ed, we have no doubt of its being made admit that there is a lamentable defi remunerative. We might safely calcuciency of facilities for their moral and late that, provided the Institution were mental improvement, and their social managed by able and respectable per comfort and elevation. It is not to be sons, and a reasonable variety given to wondered at that we have gin-palaces its means of enlightenment and recreaswarming with the victims of the drink- | tion, that at least 150 persons would ing habits of society, music saloons attend during the early part of the day, and cheap low theatres, where the i and 500 persons every evening on an young and thoughtless are enticed to average. One hundred and fifty at fourspend their valuable pence and more pence each would amount to £2 10s.; valuable time, when we reflect on the and 500 at 2d. each would amount to very few places which are open, where £4 3s. 4d. These two sums would cheap instruction may be acquired, and amount to £6 13s. 4d. a day, or £39 18s. unvitiated amusements may be enjoyed. a week. Out of this might be paid · As one means of supplying the defi- weekly £4 for rent, £6 to lecturers, ciency, we think that. Polytechnic Insti- £5 a week for music, £3 a week tutions may be established in all our for attendance and assistance, £3 & large towns, where a working man or week for wear and tear of machinery a working woman, or where the hus- and apparatus, and other incidental band, wife, and children, may go and expenses, and £5 for advertising. It get an evening's entertainment and edi- might be reasonably expected that such fication for the small sum of two-pence | an institution would not require a very each, or the price of a pint of common great deal 'to advertise it, as it would beer. This may be thought to be a advertise itself. Of course the above very low sum, but we are satisfied that can only be looked upon as a rough if such an Institution were immediately calculation. The income and the ex: established in the metropolis, and con- | penditure might be more or less. But

[blocks in formation]

these things would materially depend Theatrocious proceedings on board no less on where the institution should be es- than ten emigrant vessels, now brought to tablished, and by whom it should be | light, show the necessity that there is superintended. It could not be estab

for grave consideration on the part of the

individual who is free to choose whether to lished without an outlay. It would re

I go and whither. Those to whom necessity quire capital, skill, tact, and enterprise,

leaves no choice, but who are elbowed and to give it a good and successful start. pushed out of the paths of industry, unable And why should not such things be to struggle longer against competition, embarked on such a legitimate and and starvation, will, in considerable num. praiseworthy speculation? A magnifi bers, have recourse to emigration, whatcent gin-palace cannot be established ever objections stand in the way. For without money and risk. And if so them, the voice of a Free Press and an enmany are found who are so ready to in

lightened public opinion give promise of vest their capital in places where the

| a change for the better being brought

about in our colonies. Let us, who stay in bodies and minds of the people are the old country, do our duty to those of deteriorated and depraved, certainly our blood, language, and religion, who go there are also to be found some who out to new countries for their own, and are sufficiently enterprising and desi- | for our advantage-by expressing in all lerous to contribute to the enjoyment gitimate ways our sympathy with the deand elevation of the people, who would mand for reformed institutions, and the set in motion institutions similar to the al

to the abolition of practices existing but to fat

ten a brood of greedy parasites and unone here outlined. We can only at i

scrupulous adventurers. present throw forth suggestions, and

While the home government is dealing nothing will gratify us more than to

out measures of justice with a niggard hear that they have been taken up and hand to our colonial brethren, and evincpractically carried out.

ing only that disposition to yield, which is

obtained at the sword's point, or when an HINTS ON EMIGRATION AND attitude of resistance so formidable is preCOLONIZATION.

sented, that to contend further would be DEAR GEORGE,-I now resume my ob- entire defeat, we owe it more to the good servations on the subject of emigration, a feeling of the colonists, than to the justice step I do not dissuade you from taking, and affection of the mother country that but of cautiously adopting.

we escape resistance and separation. The The emigration of birds from one conti- colonists might justly exclaim with Mernent to another is an interesting process to cutio-"A plague on both your houses,” contemplate, but when men wing their and proceed to set their own houses in fight from their native la

ght from their native land, as the conse. order for themselves. The fact that our quences involved are more momentous to rulers and our colonies are at such disthe individuals and to society, so also should tances apart, wide as the poles asunder, the reflections be additionally interesting. will shew how necessarily imperfect and

Ambition, a love of adventure, dissatis- unsuited many of the relations between faction with political and theological ar- them must be. During the last twent rangements, and more than all, the pressure years there has been ten different Secrewhich poverty applies, always has been, and taries of State; scarcely one came into office always will be, in action to feed the ever flow- with any peculiar fitness arising from exing stream of emigration. But let us not perience in Colonial affairs. Questions of disregard the counsel of the cautious, or great moment and innumerable memorials, fail to observe the obstacles in the path. petitions, and questions of mere detail, We may find it easy enough at first to perplex, worry, and confound the new float with the current, and to glide down minister, and whatever his inclination, he the stream with the breath of popularity must fall into the track of old hands in the filling our sail But Pilot, what of the office, who, of course have a horror of innight! Keep a sharp look-out, there may novations, and desire that “ Things as they be breakers a-head, many a gallant craft are” shall be the motto over their portals. has gone down which left port with flying The late distinguished Charles Buller, who colours. Emigrants have gone out with took an earnest interest in colonization, enthusiasm filling in the details of a pic- remarked, that as far as colonists were conture, which stern reality presented, a waste cerned, Mother Country meant one or two. howling wilderness. Truth holds her torch old clerks of the Colonial office, they have over the page of experience for our perusaling in reality the management of 40 disand guidance, and he who runs may read. / tant dependencies.

« AnteriorContinuar »