Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

owner's gate, with a strenuous leap cleared the impediment; but left my ancestor senseless on the earth.

It was a fine evening in spring. The farmer's family liad collected in a cool and shady lodge, at a small distance from their cottage, to enjoy its freshness and tranquillity. They observed the accident, and with fearful steps hastened to the spot where it occurred. Nothing could exceed their astonishinent, when they beheld a beautiful youth, extended before them-his sandy locks were distained with blood-his eyes half-closed had lost their lustre and were fixed on vacancy; and the expression of his countenance seemed to indicate, that his pilgrimage was drawing to a close. They were filled with compassion. They bound up his wounds, pouring in evine and oil, and carried him to their house, and took care of him. It was not until toward night fall, that my grandfather recovered from the delirium; and beheld at his bed-side a female (the only child of his host) who sat like a ministering angel, watching every movement, and ready to apply any anodyne. She possessed features of the nicest proportion; and the purple light of youth, playing over them, imparted all that interest, which grace and intelligence could bestow. Her form was perfect harmony. Such charms might have awakened sensibility, even in the heart of a phlegmatic dervise. What effect must they have produced upon hin, to whom they were at that time devoted?

The husbandman having walked home, visited his sick guest, and cordially forgave him, for the inconvenience which he had been subjected to. Níy grandfather felt serious contrition, although he was innocent of any intentional offence. He was most kindly and hospitably attended, until he was able to resume his academical duties, when he departed from the cottage, with bles. sings on its friendly inmates.

The welcome of his former associates, on his return, seemed a dull formality. He again banished himself from their cominunion, and like a wild enthusiast, pensively wandered in unfrequented paths to indulge the feelings of his bosom. He often visited his new rustic acquaintances; and became entirely cnamoured of the lovely daughter.

A season of festivity was now arrived, when all the gay, and fashionable of the neighbourhood, assembled at the metropolis, to enjoy pleasure or to court admiration. Among the rest the dulcinea of my grandfather appeared; and immediately became the theme of praise and the object of passion. He attended all parties and openly avowed himself her devotee. To illustrate the desperate thraldom, in which he was confined, I shall relate an anecdote, that I have heard him tell a hundred times. The whole city were preparing for a splendid ball; at which he, likewisc desired to be present, and to display himself, with all possible il vantage. It was a standing maxim with him, that practice and discipline, are the father and mother of success. He therefore imagined, that the best plan would be, to subject himself to a rehearsal of his part in the entertainment. Accordingly he retired to a double row of elms, near the university; and by a strange prosopopeia fancied them to represent so many fair damsels, and gallant carpet knights. The goodliest tree was selected; on it, he engraved 'the adored name,' and approaching it, with an air of the most elegant refinenient, he hoped, that miss Euriphilé was in good health and spirits. Then presenting her with an enormous bouquet, made up of pinks, roses, marygolds, narcissus and thyme, he hoped she would be pleased to accept of them. In imagination she seemed to smile benignantly upon him; and he again hoped to have the supreme happiness of her company in a minuet. Whereupon she consenting the dance is commenced, and he goes on, slipping and bowing-skipping and bowing, sieling, sliding and bowing—and bowing sliding and siding, until it is finished, when finally he hopes to have the agreeable office of procuring her some kind of refreshment. The whole winds up by his pulling out of his pocket a flame-coloured taffeta fan, with which he politely ventillates the favoured elm. All this lu«icrous scene was observed by a young sophomore, who concealed himself in a neighbouring thicket-hedge, and afterwards excited much laughter against the amorous swain engaged in it. But he confessed the joke by a quotation from Terence. .

In amore hæc insunt omnia.

[ocr errors]

which he liberally translated in the words of old Pollonius “ This is the very ecstasy of Love," or he averted it, by telling a story on the bishop of Cloyne.

When Berkely, bishop of Cloyne, was at Trinity college in Dublin, curiosity induced him to visit the scene of a criminalexecution. Returning home, he desired to know he feelings, experienced by an unfortunate malefactor, during this unpleasant ceremony; and determined to prove them by actual experiment. His companion, Contarine, equally inquisitive with himself, kindly provided the proper apparatus, and skilfully tucked up the right reverend inquirer to the cieling of his own room. The chair being removed which was under his feet, he immediately lost the use of his seven senses; and this plausible investigation was well nigh being frustrated, by the complete stoppage of the philosopher's windpipe, for when the cord was severed, he fell down apparently lifeless. It was a great while, before the application of sal volatile, and a thousand chymical essences could bring him to his reason.

Contarine was by compact, to make a second trial; but observing the result of the first, declared, he was thoroughly satisfied, and politely excused himself from the obligation.

My grandfather's sentiments were fortunately reciprocated; and the death of his parents, which happened soon after, leaving him sole owner of their estate, the season of bitter tears and filial sorrow was succeeded by the fruition of the choicest matrimonial felicity. He lived to behold a numerous circle of children, and children's children, collected around his fireside; and I have seen the old man, in the midst of this little merry group, shake his gray hair's with ecstasy, and more happy than the grandest emperor of the earth.

Young, under the sway of his habitual melancholy, persuaded himself “ that fools are ever on the laughing side;" had this charitable gownsman, ever shaken hands with my venerable progenitor, the line would never have been written. He always maintained the sweetest temperament, and you might see smiles playing about his lip, which told you, in as plain English, as smiles could speak, that his heart had not the weight of a feather pressing

[ocr errors]

upon it. Notwithstanding he was a firm friend to religion, and by his example did more service to it than one half of the saints and martyrs and enthusiasts that crowd the calendar. He regularly attended divine worship; and like the pious Dr. Campbell, never passed a church, without pulling off his hat.

A taste for literature never forsook him, and in his hours of lei. sure be generally speculated on some original topic. I remember one theory which was his constant hobby-horse-it seems to have been suggested by mons. Buffon's reasoning, in regard to the formation of the West India islands, and the probable state of the guif of Mexico, in the beginning of the continent. After u regular system of ratiocination, he solemnly determined, that all the country below Montreal, would in the course of a short time, be inundated, by some stupendous convulsion of nature to the north, during which, the contents of the lakes would be entirely discharged. This young deluge was to extend to Virginia, agreeably to the common principles of hydraulics; and by way of preventing any damage, which might possibly accrue to his lands, he actually drew around them a strong dike, two cubits and a half high; being by precise arithmetical calculation, half a cubit higher than the waters were to rise. Searching the other day among the pigeon-holes of his book-case I found a dusty, musty manuscript, in the old gentleman's handwriting; it includes his opinions and prophesies on a large variety of subjects, and I shall diversify the Salad with some of its contents.

Here let me arrest my volant goose-quill, begging a thousand pardons of my courteous rcader, for having detained him so long, and perhaps so uselessly.

MY RIDICULE-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

Suavis est, et VEHEMENTER SAEPE UTILIS jocus et facetiae.

CICERO.

On fine days, about the noon tide hour, I generally sally out, and, to recreate my mind, wearied with morning study, I instantly plunge into the most populous parts of the city, and gaze most pleasurably and steadfastly at the numerous charmers I meet. My interesting country women are not less distinguished for the taste and elegance of their dress, than for the loveliness of their persons, and the decorum of their behaviour Hence, as I have some passion for dress myself, I frequently surprise my attention in the very act of staring at Spanish cloaks, brilliant shawls, and spotless muslin, almost as eagerly, as at tight ancles, and sparkling eyes. Any graceful novelty, which the ingenuity of the ladies introduces in their attire, always attracts my regard; and while epicures are looking at rounds of beef, and botanists at a tulip, or a daisy, I can speculate for an hour on a gorgeous bonnet, or a jaunty beaver.

Many moons ago, in Fashion's calendar of capricious vicissitudes, I have frequently made a full stop in High street to watch a fair one, crossing my path, with her ridicule, gracefully dependant from her arm, or swinging most provokingly at her side. The gay colours of this bewitching article have seemed to inc not much less glorious than the tints of a vernal rainbow. Sometimes my eyes have been refreshed by all the softness of emerald green, and sometimes dazzled with imperial purple, the yellow of the topaz, and the radiant flame of the ruby. In short, I have been so much in rapture with this same ridicule, that I determined, tother day, to be not unprovided myself. I accordingly entered into an investigation of the character of my purse, and after the severest scrutiny, finding, to my astonishment that this bankrupt was actually worth one dollar, in company with my hundred cents, I marched must undauntedly into the first shop I found open, and very valiantly exchanged them for a small shred of the greenest silk, which could be procured. This, by my counsel, and the aid of the little French milliner, was quickly metamorphosed into the shape of a small satchel, which snugly repo

« IndietroContinua »