Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Woe to the heart that lets thee once intrude,
Victim of visions, that life's purpose steal,

Till the whole struggling nature lies subdued,
Bleeding with wounds the grave alone must heal."

A. B. L.

LETTER FROM A FRIEND IN WALES, INCLOSING

AN ARTICLE.

of

MY DEAR COURTENAY,–If the inclosed Tale can be

any service to you, you are at liberty to dock it or dress it in any way you please. One of its principal demerits is the want of a regular moral. Do get Sterling to wind it up with a few reflections on falsehood and deceit ; or

a few remarks upon the old adage, that “ deeds of night must come to light.”

Thank you for No III. It has kept me alive through this last fortnight. I suppose you are aware that I have been for some time deprived of the power of locomotion by a complication of disorders, which give me full leisure to think of you, my dear Courtenay, and of your literary bantling. By-the-by, I hear from Montgomery that you are at last disgusted with the toil you have voluntarily undertaken,* and have resolved upon relinquishing the burthen. Positively, after having put yourself into the harness, as Musgrave would say, upon public motives, you must not overturn the vehicle upon private ones, however your withers may be galled. So much are your friends alarmed by the report, that even I, equally incapable with the dullest, although equally zealous with the brightest, of your well-wishers, have

* Somnia Montgomeriana :-P.C.

assumed the panoply of pen and paper in

your support, in the fullest confidence that

you

will excuse the weakness of the attempt, in consideration of the motive by which it is dictated.

Here, then, you have the first effort of your new contributor. If I meet with encouragement from you,

I purpose to get up for you some “ Sketches from Wales; " which will comprise various Essays on Farming and Fashion, Drinking and Dandyism, Belles and Belles Lettres, as I see them in their every-day dress around me :-but of this more anon.

Your three first Numbers have been handed about here with great success.

It has amused me not a little to hear the various remarks which have been made

upon them by readers who know no more of the

King of Clubs” than they do of the King of Ashantee. In despite of my repeated asseverations, no one will believe but that the Members of your Club are all fictitious personages. Methinks their preconceived opinions will be not a little startled when they see my own real name affixed to this communication, in Mr. Knight's best small capitals.

Once more to my tale--for you must allow me, as an author hitherto untried, to be somewhat anxious that I may put on my first suit of black and white under all possible advantages. It is founded on an anecdote told at considerable length in a manuscript history of the “ Chiefs of the House of d'Arennes," which I found, with many other curiosities of the like nature, in the library of my very venerable friend, Owen Llangdry, our much respected curate, who is a great collector of these reliques of antiquity. He is a man of much information, and is very ready to communicate it. He is, withal, the possessor of three things, which make his acquaintance very desirable: a beautiful house ; a more beautiful garden ; and (entre nous) a surpassingly beautiful daughter. Tell Gerard that I am almost out of my senses; and, in the course of a week, shall probably begin writing Sonnets.

Here I must break off. My only object was to introduce myself to you in my novel capacity of Legendary Scribbler; and, having effected this, I will lay down my pen, trusting that all the indulgence which a new author may justly claim will be extended to

Your sincere friend,

MORRIS GOWAN. Maentwrog, Jan. 2, 1821.

P. S. In spite of the comfortable assurances of Peter Pinlithgow, my Pharmacopole, I am afraid that my various complaints, of which I will send you a catalogue, if you want a “ Medical Article,” will "detain me some weeks from Eton. Upon my return I shall begin my canvass for admission into the Club.

THE KNIGHT AND THE KNAVE;

AN OLD ENGLISH TALE.

“ REGINALD !” said the old Baron.-It is striking, and fashionable, and classical, to hurry my reader thus" in medias res, else it had been my duty to have informed him that the dramatis persone whom he finds upon the scene are the son and grandson of the redoubted Hugh d'Arennes, who did good service by the Conqueror's side at the field of Hastings. In common with the distinguished chiefs of William's army, he had received large grants of land, which his enterprizing spirit, and his interest with the monarch and his successor, had tended to augment. His heir, however, the present head of the illustrious family, had rather studied the security than the aggrandizement of his possessions, and had grown to a green old age in retirement and seclusion, as far as was compatible with his high rank and exalted situation. The younger speaker of the colloquy was of a character, the description of which may be dismissed as easily. Not having been obliged, like the other young men of his time, to take an active part in the divisions which agitated the period of the reign of the second Henry, Reginald had not acquired the firm and energetic tone of mind by which the sons of the nobility were distinguished. He had been accustomed to shape his conduct, in the most trifling concerns, according to the advice and judgment of his father; and consequently, when deprived for a short period of his monitor, seemed utterly incapable of thinking seriously, or rather seemed to have made a religious vow against thinking at all. This hopeful descendant of the noble Sir Hugh had arrived at the age of twenty-was possessed of a listless, yet handsome, set of features—a careless, yet commanding figure-a true English head at the cup, and a true- English hand at the quarrel.-And now, having gone through the interruption, which ought to have been the introduction, let us proceed.

Reginald !" said the old Baron, with a slight inclination of the head, which he was in the habit of using when he wished to throw dignity into his admonitions.

“ Ears hear thee," said the son, without stirring from the huge oaken table upon which, after the fatigues of the chase, he was reclining.

“ I have ordered that we should be alone, my son," said the old man, “ because I have to discourse to thee a matter which deeply and nearly concerns thy welfare. Pour for thy father, Reginald."

6 He was a

Reginald obeyed; and, after performing for himself the same office, resumed his attitude, with an aspect which was ludicrously divided between the resolution to attend, and the propensity to inattention.

“ Twenty years have gone by, Reginald, since thou didst become the hope of the house of which thou wilt shortly be the head." Ere thou hast other twenty years to look back upon, thou wilt have lost the guidance of thy father, and I shall sleep by the side of mine."

“ Sir Hugh sleeps in the abbey,” said Reginald.

“He doth,” resumed his adviser. knight of name and fame, and wielded a good sword at Hastings."

“ As touching the sword,” said Reginald, totally unconscious of any metaphorical meaning implied in his father's words, “it hangs above him in the abbey, Marry, it is somewhat rusty, but nevertheless a good sword."

“But Reginald, to come to the point—"

“ Thou dost remind me how that it was broken against the fifth rib of Egwulph, surnamed the Impetuous, a good knight and a true-although a Saxon.

The look of the young man had in it something of animation as he expressed his hereditary contempt of the Saxon race. To his father, however, this demonstration of feeling did not seem altogether so welcome as it might have been upon another occasion. He contracted his huge shaggy eyebrows, turned his eyes from his son to the wine-cup, and from the wine-cup to his son, stroked his chin, folded his arms, and, in short, assumed an attitude of thought, which was little less ridiculous than the thoughtlessness of his companion. After a pause of some minutes, he began to speak, sending out his words with all the caution and circumspection of a Fabius.

“Of a truth, Reginald, the Saxon thanes are in breeding and courtesy rough, and in no way able to compete with the bearing of our Norman Knights; but they are

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »