« AnteriorContinuar »
lifeless, on my shoulder. I shuddered as I placed her again on the bench, and wept as I took off my great coat and my handkerchief, and wrapped the wholearound her. I seized her in my arms, and ran along with her to Buckingham-gate.-" Not one house open to shelter a poor dying female!"-"A house, a little further on, is not yet shut," cried a hoarse watchman on the other side of the way. I ran--I flewą"There is a fire within, Sir.” Thank you, thank you ; make room, for Hea. ven's sake, for she is still alive!”
She was still alive. Two eyes, of pale blue, opened, as I placed her by the fire on my knee: they were open for a moment, and instantly shut. I gazed on her, every idea absorbed in her reanimation. A young girl was employed in chafing her hands and her temples; and an old woman in pouring a cordial down her throat. I eagerly watched her features
mah! never shall I forget them. Her nose was of the finest Grecian; her mouth of the most exquisite forın, but her lips were no longer red; her cheeks were pale; her eyes were sunk; and her arched eye-brows were almost concealed by herauburn hair. A slight straw hat covered her head, and a thin muslin gown her body. Over the whole Sympathy could trace ihe hand of Sorrow; and Pity sighed, as she recognised the symptoms of Frailty.
She sighed, again opened her eyes, stared wildly around her, and, in a voice that thrilled through my soul as I heard it, asked where she was ?" You are among friends," said I; “ do not be alarmed. --You may leave us now, my good woman,” said I, addressing the hostess. The woman glanced at me, then at the poor sufferes. " My husband is scrupulous, Sir, and your companion is not a fit person for our house.” The ears of the wretched creature caught the sound: a momentary glow overspread her cheeks it was succeeded by a deadly pale. " True,” sighed she; she attempted to rise, but, in the attempt, fell, fainting, on the chair beside me.
The heart of the hostess was moved; I marked the sob which rose in her bosom, as she supported the almost exanimate body, and seized the favourable moment, “ Poor young creature !” said I, for she appeared to be under twenty-" You may once have known what it was to have a mother, but the world has lost all its charms for you now; and, if you have still a parent” I could pot proceed; a big tear trembled in my eye, and rolled
down my cheek. The features of the good woman relaxed still more; she looked at me, then compassionately at the reviving female, and left the room. “ Heaven bless you for it,” said I, “ It is an act of charity, and will not lose its reward.”
The poor young creature once more opened her eyes ; faintly and sickly she opened them; and, as she looked at me, she sighed out. “ I am ill, very ill, but it will soon be over." “ Over !” cried I, as I attempted to ring the bell. She feebly caught iny arm- I ain dying,” said she, “ and I ought to die.” If my heart would have let me, I could have exclaimed, with my Uncle Toby, “ By Heaven you shall not !”- but the words stuck in my throat, and I could not utter them.
I procured such refreshments as the house could afford, “ She took them to satisfy me,” she said, “ for she, knew she was dying-she felt the hand of Death upon her.” A faint melancholy smile, that overspread her features as she spoke, seemed to welcome his approach : for Death, to the poor, and the miserable, and the hopeless, is an angel that comes to unbar the doors of their prison, and free them from care, and sorrow, and anguish. To the happy only is he the monarch of terror.
" And had you not a house to shelter you from the inclemency of the weather ?” said I, in a low tone of voice, half-doubting whether I should have asked the question. " Ah, no!" she replied, shaking her head.— Nor a friend?"_"6 A friend !" she exclaimed, as hastily as her feeble frame would permit her—" Alas-not one!once had, but I have not a friend now.” The cadence of her voice, as she finished, drew tears from my eyes ; supported as she was in my arıns, she felt them fall on her hand; she raised her eyes to my face, as if she doubted their reality, and when she saw they were no feigned symptoms of sorrow, her looks seemed to say“ God bless you~I am unaccustomed to pity."
She lay for some time without motion-i scarce felt her breathe. I supposed she had fallen asleep, and was about to call the good woinan of the house to prepare a bed for her reception, when a convulsive sigh, that seemed to come frorn the bottom of her heart, convinced me that she was still awake. I stooped to observe whether her eyes were shut. I found them staring wildly. The crimson flush, which had begun to overspread her eieeks, was ucceeded by a livid hue. She sighed again, « Good God you are ill-you are dying !" I exclaimed: The poor girl sighed once more, gave a slight shuddergroaned-and sank lifeless on my bosom! 1. M.
SURNAMES, ANCIENT AND MODERN. : Nothing can be more preposterously absurd than the practice of inheriting cognomina, which ought never to be purely personal. I would ask, for example, what propriety there was in giving the name Xenophon, which signifies one that speaks a foreign language, to the celebrated Greek who distinguished himself, not only as a consummate Captain, hut also an elegant writer in his mother tongue ? What could be more ridiculous than to denominate the great philosopher of Crotona Pythagoras, which implies a striking speech? Or what could be more misapplied than the name of the weeping philosopher Heraclitus, signifying military glory! The inheritance of surnames, among the Romans, produced still more ridiculous consequences. The best and noblest families in Rome derived their names from the coarsest employments, or else from the corporeal blemishes of their ancestors. The Pisones were millers: the Cicerones, and the Ledtuli were so called from the vetches and the lentils which their forefathers dealt in. The Fabii were só denominated from a dung-pit, in which the first of the family was begot by stealth, in the way of fornication. A ploughman gave rise to the great family of the Serrani, the ladies of which always went without sinocks. The Suilli, the Bubulci, and the Porci, were descended from a swine-herd, a cow-herd, and a hoge butcher. What could be more disgraceful than'to call the senator Strabo, Squintum ; or a fine young lady of the house of Pæti, Pigsnies? or to distinguish à matron of the Limi by the appellation of Sheep's-eye?-What could be more dishonourable than to give the surnaine of Snub-nose to P. Silius, the Proprætor, because his great-great great-grandfather had a nose of that inake ? Ovid, indeed, had a long nose, and therefore was justly denominated Naso: but why should Horace be called Flaccus, as if his ears had been stretched in the pillory? I need not mention the Burrbi, Nigri, Rusi, Aquilii, and Rutilii, because we have the same foolish surnames in England ; and even the Lappa; for I myself know a very pretty miss, called Rough-head, though, in fact, there is not a young lady in the bills of mortality who takes more pains to dress her hair to the best advantage. The famous Dictator, whom the deputies of Rome found atthe plough, was known by the name of Cincinnatus, or Ragged-head. Now I leave you to judge how it would sound in these days, if a footman at the play-house should call out, “ My Lady Ragyed-head's coach. Room “ for my Lady Ragged-head." I am doubtful whether the English name of Hale does not come from the Roman cognomen Hala, which signified stinking breath. What need I mention the Plauti, Panci, Valgi, Vari, Vatiæ, and Scauri ; the Tuditani, the Malici, Cenestellæ, and Leccæ; in other words, the Splay-foots, Bandy-legs, Shamble-shins, Baker-knees, Club-foots, Hammer-heads, Chubby-cheeks, Bald-heads, and Letchers.-I shall not say a word of the Buteo, or Buzzard, that I may not be obliged to explain the ineaning of the word Triorchis, from whence it takes its denomination; yet all those were great families in Rome. But I cannot help taking notice of some of the same improprieties, which have crept into the language and customs of this country. Let us suppose, for example, á foreigner reading an English newspaper in these terms: “Last Tuesday the Right Honourable Timothy Sillyman, Secretary of State for the Southern Department, gave a grand entertainment to the nobility and gentry, at his house in Knave's-acre. The evening was concluded with a ball, which was opened by Sir Samuel Hog and Lady Diana Rough-head. By the last mail from Germany, we have certain advice of a complete victory which General Coward has obtained over the enemy.' On this occasion the General displayed all the intrepidity of the mbst renowned hero;-by the same channel, we are informed that Lieutenant Little-fear has been broke by a court-martial for cowardice.-We hear that Edward West, Esq. will be elected President of the Directors of the East-India. Company for the ensuing year. It is reported that Commodore North will be sent with a squadron into the South Sea._Captains East and South áre appointed by the Lords of the Admiralty commanders of two frigates, to sail on the discovery of the NorthWest passage. Yesterday morning Sir John Summer, Bart. lay dangerously ill at his house in Spring-gardens : he is attended by Dr. Winter; but there are no hopes of
his recovery.--Saturday last, Philip Frost, a dealer in gunpowder, died at his house on Snow-hill, of a high fever, caught by overheating himself in walking for a wager from No Man's Land to the World's End. Last week, Mr. John Fog, teacher of astronomy in Rotherhithe, was married to the widow Fairweather, of Puddledock. We hear from Bath, that on Thursday last a duel was fought on Lansdown, by Captain Sparrow, and Richard Hawke, Esq. in which the latter was mortally wonnded.-Friday last ended the sessions at the Old Bailey, when the following persons received sentence of death: Leonard Lamb, for the murder of Julius Wolf; and Henry Grave, for robbing and as saulting Dr. Death, whereby the said Death was put in fear of his life. Giles Gosling, for defrauding Simon Fox of four guineas and his watch by subtle craft, was transported for seven years; and David Drinkwater was ordered to be set in the stocks, as an habitual drunkard. The trial of Thomas Green, whitster, of Fulham, for à rape on the body of Flora White, a mulatto, was put off till next sessions, on account of the absence of two material evidences; viz. Sarah Brown, clear-starcher, of Pimlico, and Anthony Black, scarlet-dyer, of Wandsworth."- I ask thee, Peacock, whether a sensible foreigner, who understood the literal meaning of these names, which are all truly British, would not think ye were a nation of humourists, who delighted in cross-purposes and ludicrous singularity? But, indeed, ye are not more absurd in this particular than some of your neighbours.I knew a Frenchman, of the name of Bouvier, which sig, nifies Cow-keeper, pique bimself upon his noblesse; and a General, called Valavoir, is said to have lost his life by the whimsical impropriety of his surname, which signifies go and see. --You may remember an Italian ininister, called Grossa-testa, or Great-head, though, in fact, he had scarce any head at all. That nation has, likewise, its Sforzas, Malatestas, Boccanigras, Porcinas, Guidices; its Colonnas, Muratorios, Medices, and Gozzi; Endeavours, Chuckle-heads, Black-muzzles, Hogs, Judges, Pillars, Masons, Leeches, azd Chubby-chops. Spain has its Almohadas, Gironęs, Utreras, Ursinas, and Zapatas ; signifying Cushions, Gores, Bullocks, Bears, and Slippers. The Turks, in other respects a sensible people, fall into the same extravagance with respect to the inheritance of surnames. An Armenian