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fervency with which she prayed, and the impression which her dreadful state seemed to make upon her.”
No sooner had the name of “ Anfield" struck William, than a thousand reflections and remembrances flashed on his mind to give him full conviction who it was he had judged and sentenced. He recollected the sad remains of Agnes, such as he once had known her; and now he wondered how his thoughts could have been absent from an object so pitiable, so worthy of his attention, as not to give him even suspicion who she was, either from her name or from her person, during the whole trial.
But wonder, astonishment, horror, and every other sensation was absorbed by-remorse. It wounded, it stabbed, it rent his hard heart as it would do a tender one; it havocked on his firm inflexible mind as it would on a weak and pliant brain ! Spirit of Agnes ! look down, and behold all your wrongs revenged ! William feels-remorse.
HE Life of John Buncle, Esq.; containing various Observations
and Reflections made in several parts of the World, and many Extraordinary Relations, is a book unlike any other in the language, perhaps in the world; and the introduction of passages from it into the present volume must be considered as being, like itself, an exception to rules; for it will resemble rather a notice in a review, than our selections in general. John's Life is not a classic: it contains no passage which is a general favourite: no extract could be made from it of any length, to which readers of good taste would not find objections. Yet there is so curious an interest in all its absurdities; its jumble of the gayest and gravest considerations is so founded in the actual state of things; it draws now and then such excellent portraits from life; and above all, its animal spirits are at once so excessive and so real, that we defy the best readers not to be entertained with it, and having had one or two specimens, not to desire more. Buncle would say, that there is “cut and come again” in him, like one of his luncheons of cold beef and a foaming tankard.
John Buncle, Esq., is the representative of his author, Thomas Amory; of whom little is known, except that he was a gentleman of singular habits and appearance, who led a retired life, was married, was a vehement Unitarian, wrote another extraordinary book professing to be “Lives of Several Ladies” (in which there is a link with John), and died, to the glory of animal spirits, and of rounds of bread and butter (into which his good cheer seems latterly to have merged), at the ripe old age of ninety-seven. He is supposed to have been bred a physician. His father was a barrister, and is understood to have acquired considerable property in Ireland, in consequence of becoming secretary to the forfeited estates.
John Buncle is evidently Amory hirmself. This is apparent from the bits of real autobiography which are mixed with the fictitious, and which constitute one of the strange jumbles in his book. Hazlitt has called him the “English Rabelais;" and in point of animal spirits, love of good cheer, and something of a mixture of scholarship, theology, and profane reading, he may be held to deserve the title; but he has no claim to the Frenchman's greatness of genius, freedom from bigotry, and profoundness of wit and humour. He might have done very well for a clerk to Rabelais; and his master would have laughed quite as much at, as with him. John is a kind of innocent Henry the Eighth “of private life,” without the other's fat, fury, and solemnity. He is a prodigious hand at matrimony, at divinity, at a song, at a loud “hem," and at a turkey and chine. He breaks with the Trinitarians as confidently and with as much scorn as Henry did with the Pope; and he marries seven wives, whom he disposes of by of fever and small-pox. His book is made up of natural history, mathematics (literally), songs, polemics, landscapes, eating and drinking, and characters of singular men, all bound together by his introductions to and marriages with these seven successive ladies, every one of whom is a charmer, a Unitarian, and cut off in the flower of her youth. Buncle does not know how to endure her loss; he shuts his eyes “for three days;" is stupified; is in despair; till suddenly he recollects that Heaven does not like such conduct; that it is a mourner's business to bow to its decrees; to be devout; to be philosophic: in short, to be jolly, and look out for another dear, bewitching partner, "on Christian principles.” This is, literally, a fair account of his book; and our readers are now qualified to understand the passages we proceed to extract.
The “ Lives of Several Ladies,” which preceded Buncle's autobiography, professed to be genuine lives, and were equally manifest fictions, mixed with a portion of truth. The ladies, like the wives, were all Unitarians, and all charming; and the writer, after a certain spiritual mode, fell in love with them. They partook of his zest for all the pleasures of life; had a great objection to ugly, as well as to Athanasian husbands, and none in the world to a good supper. The lives are addressed to a friend of the name of Jewks-a name which is often apostrophized with an abrupt joviality of the most amusing kind, in the midst of theological disquisitions. As the opening of this work is no unfavourable specimen of the author, and furnishes a pretty
thorough foretaste of his spirit, the reader is presented with a few
pages of it.
“ Your letter, dear Jewks, I had the pleasure of receiving; and, that you should not suspect me of neglecting you, I postpone my journey to Chadson, to answer your questions. To the best of my power I will give you a monument of my friendship, though at present my condition is such, that I cannot subtract too much from the organs of the intellect, to give to those of motion. You shall have all I know relating to the lady you inquire after. You shall have, by the way, a few occasional observations.
“ In the year 1739, I travelled many hundred miles to visit ancient monuments, and discover curious things; and as I wandered, to this purpose, among the vast hills of Northumberland, fortune conducted me one evening, in the month of June, when I knew not where to rest, to the sweetest retirement my eyes have ever beheld. This is Hali-farm. It is a beautiful vale surrounded with rocks, forest, and water. I found at the upper end of it the prettiest thatched house in the world, and a garden of the most artful confusion I had ever seen. The little mansion was covered on every side with the finest flowery greens.
The streams, all round, were murmuring and falling a thousand ways. All the kinds of singing birds were here collected, and in high harmony on the sprays. The ruins of an abbey enhance the beauties of this place; they appear at the distance of four hundred yards from the house; and as some great trees are now grown up among the remains, and a river winds between the broken walls, the view is solemn, the picture fine.
“When I came up to the house, the first figure I saw was the lady whose story I am going to relate. She had the charms of an angel, but her dress was quite plain and clean like a country maid. Her person appeared faultless,
and of the middle size, between the disagreeable extremes ; her face a sweet oval, and her complexion the brunette of the bright rich kind; her mouth, like a rose-bud that is just beginning to blow; and a fugitive dimple, by fits, would lighten and disappear. The finest passions were always passing in her face; and in her long, even, chestnut eyes, there was a fluid fire sufficient for half-a-dozen pair.
“She had a volume of Shakspeare in her hand as I came softly towards her, having left my horse at a distance with my servant; and her attention was so much engaged with the extremely poetical and fine lines which Titania speaks in the third act of the Midsummer Night's Dream, that she did not see me till I was quite near her. She seemed then in great amazement. She could not be much more surprised if I had dropped from the clouds. But this was soon over, upon my asking her if she was not the daughter of Mr. John Bruce, as I supposed from a similitude of faces, and informing her that her father, if I was right, was my near friend, and would be glad to see his chum in that part of the world. Marinda replied, “You are not wrong ;' and immediately asked me in. She conducted me to a parlour that was quite beautiful in the rural way, and welcomed me to Hali-farm, as her father would have done, she said, had I arrived before his removal to a better world. She then left me for a while, and I had time to look over the room I
The floor was covered with rushes wrought into the prettiest mat, and the walls decorated all round with the finest flowers and shells. Robins and nightingales, the finch and the linnet, were in the neatest red cages of her own making; and at the upper end of the chamber, in a charming little open grotto, was the finest stric capite aurito, corpore rufo, that I have seen, that is, the great eagle owl. This beautiful bird, in a niche like a ruin, looked