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Thomas were received with a general burst of laughter, | family, as you call it, would it not be quite as honourand Benjamin's unusual merriment soon discovered him able to become the support of it? and for that, you have to be the author.
only to continue my business." “What is the meaning of this joke?" inquired his "To melt tallow, prepare moulds, and manufacture brother, as soon as he was able to compose himself
. candles ! that is a business, father, that a person can “I wanted to prove to Thomas the ntility of reading acquire when he likes, and without being confined to what he prints,” replied the young apprentice.
deep and scientific studies." " It was a joke then, Mr. Benjamin," said Thomas, "You are wrong there, Ben," said his father, "all losing a little of his terrified appearance.
manufacturers do not make equally good candles; but “ Yes, and a good one," said Benjamin, “to make a that is not the subject in question. You had scarcely man accuse himself of being a murderer, without his begun one business, when a book of voyages fell into knowing a word about it! But how pale you are, your hands, and immediately you would think of nothing Thomas, are you frightened ?"
but sailing about, steering a boat, and making "Marry! Mr. Benjamin, the devil is so malicious." voyages." “He cannot, however, make you a murderer against " And swimming too, father; I taught myself to
swim, which is no such easy matter." “ But, Benjamin," said the older of the two persons, Mr. Franklin resumed : “ To divert you from that who during this scene had been attentively observing fancy, and with a wish to settle you more suitably, I the young apprentice, “ I do not see why you should be tried to have you taught the cutlery business--endeavouring to promote a taste for reading in your "And unfortunately,” interrupted the apprentice, “a brother's office; if all the workmen were to spend their lodger at the cutler's with whom you placed me time in reading like you, what would become of the possessed a fine library; Voyages and Travels, Histories establishment?"
of France and of England ; it would have been a clever “ The health of my workmen would also suffer by person, I promise you, that could have brought me from it,” replied the master of the office ; " for I only yester the library to the workshop; oh ! what a pleasant time day discovered that Benjamin is actually starving him. I spent at the cutler's !” self.”
"At last, in order to satisfy your insatiable passion “How can that be?" exclaimed the father, “for in for books, I decided on making you a printer, although the arrangement that I made with you, James, it was there was already one in the family; I placed you agreed that for the nine years your brother was to serve with your brother, and here again you will do nothing his apprenticeship to you, that you were not to give except turn over books and read.” him any payment, but were to support him."
" And make verses,” said Benjamin proudly, "ask "Well, father, about six months ago, Benjamin came my brother the success of my last song." to me, and said that I paid too much for his support, " It was immense,” said James. and that if it would be equally agreeable to me, he “My children, I have read those verses," resumed the would rather I gave him half the sum, and let him pro- father;" and I must confess that it grieves me to destroy vide for himself. I could only suppose that he did not the delightful illusions which this success has raised in like the kind of food provided for him, and that he the mind of Benjamin, but it is my duty both as a preferred choosing for himself; I therefore consented, father and a friend to tell him the truth; those verses and what has been the consequence? that Benjamin are detestable and worthless, void of taste, metre, or scarcely eats anything, and saves all his money to buy elegance; they have wit, I allow, but what is wit withbooks."
out good sense! A bad poet,- which Benjamin is to the “You are mistaken, brother, I eat plenty, only I live last degree,-a bad poet, I say, is the most useless being economically. Among the books lent me by my cousin, in the world, while at the same time he is the most there was one which recommended vegetable diet as the ridiculous : poetry does not admit of mediocrity. best means of keeping the body healthy, and the mind | If, indeed, you wrote verses as the mysterious writer of active. I studied this way of living, and the author's that article upon political and domestic economy writes method of dressing potatoes and rice in the most econo- prose, that is what I would call writing, that is sense; mical manner, and it was not until I was in full posses- the style is rather youthful, there are some erroneous sion of these discoveries that I made the proposal of ideas, but what soundness of mind, what judgment ! supplying myself. I have dined very well, I assure Those writings are the indications of a superior genius, you, father, on bread and raisins, and a glass of water.” and the author will one day be a great man ! Have
And, thanks to your Pythagorean system, you are you read those articles, Benjamin ?" becoming as pale and transparent as the water you drink.” “I have,” he replied, with affected indifference.
" Besides, I have given up a vegetable diet,” added “ Have you no clue yet as to who is the author of Benjamin.
those papers ?” inquired Mr. Franklin of his eldest "Since when ?" inquired his brother.
son, who was correcting the proofs of his journal. "Since the day before yesterday, when, on going into “None whatever," he replied; “I have charged the kitchen, I saw Susan cleaning some fish, and in the Thomas to watch for the person who puts them into inside of a large cod she found a small fish; Oh ! oh! | the box.” my lad,' said I,‘since you can eat one another, I see no "And I have watched, sir," said Thomas, “I watched reason why we should not eat you;' and that proves," for two long hours, till some one called me out of the added he, laughing, “that man is rightly called a office; I then charged Mr. Benjamin to watch, but reasonable creature, since he can so easily find reasons apprentices are no good; while Mr. Benjamin was for justifying whatever he wishes to do.”
there the article was put into the box, and yet he saw “What a fickle, unsteady mind !” said his father; nothing." "in place of going on regularly with one business, " That is impossible, Benjamin," said his father. Benjamin, you are always thinking of something else Benjamin coloured, while he replied, “Do you think, than of what you ought to do.”
father, that I could sit with my eyes constantly fixed “How can I help it, father ?" replied the boy, "I upon the aperture of the box ?" had but one desire, that of studying, but one vocation, That is an evasion you are making,” said his father. that of printing,—but one ambition, that of being a "I have the most urgent desire to know the author of clergyman. Oh! how I should like to be the chaplain those anonymous papers; they not only have given of the family. You know, father, how happy I was great repute to my journal, but I wish to have an interwhen at school.”
view with this individual, and to concert with him “Unfortunately that education was too expensive for the means of sometimes giving a new direction to my means; but in place of becoming the chaplain of the its ideas.—Now, Benjamin, acknowledge that you
have seen this person, and that you have been enjoined | said a new visitor, on entering the the office, secrecy."
servant, gentlemen. Well ! you have heard the news ?" “Come, Mr. Benjamin, acknowledge it,” said Thomas, “What news, Mr. Samuel ?" exclaimed James, and “consider that I shall gain a dollar by your confession.” several others.
“A constable's letter, sir," said a workman, entering “Why, that the author of the anonymous articles in the office, and handing a sealed letter to James. your paper has been arrested." James eagerly opened the letter and read as follows:- Benjamin trembled and turned pale. "Mr. James Franklin,- I have taken the best means
“ That is to say,” continued the new comer, “that if to discover the author of the anonymous articles which he be not already arrested, he will be so before long.” appeared in some of the last numbers of your journal,
“ He is known then," observed Mr. Franklin, the and I have obtained the most undoubted proofs that the elder. “In the meantime, my poor James, you had writer is in your house, and in your own employment.
better keep out of the way, for if it be not true, I know “Have the goodness, sir, to make the most minute that people can come upon the printer; therefore, take inquiries into this business. I expect to be informed of care of yourself!" the result before four-and-twenty hours.
Arrest ! do you think they could arrest my brother, “NELSON BURDET, Constable.”
Mr. Samuel ?" exclaimed Benjamin, in breathless haste. Y. What can be the meaning of this? What is to be articles, my young friend.”
Only in case they cannot discover the author of the done?" exclaimed James, when he had finished the letter; then raising his head he was astonished at the formed against you," said Thomas, quite vexed with
“Ah! my dear master, how sorry I am that I innumber of people who had assembled around him.
himself. “ By Guttenberg, the famous inventor-no,
the improver of printing, that is what comes of having CHAP. III.
a bad head.-Oh dear, oh dear !" As James Franklin had continually, like most of the “ The constable, sir,” said a workman. inhabitants of New England, a number of people at his At the same moment an elderly man entered the house, it was not so much the number of his visitors office, towards whom every eye turned with anxiety. that surprised him, as the bewildered expression of As soon as the constable entered, Benjamin ran to their countenances.
him. "Sir," said he, “if any one here is to be arrested, “ It is extraordinary,” said one; “besides, the last I am the person.” And as every one was struck dumb article possessed a boldness .!”
with surprise, the generous boy continued :-“I accuse “Of what importance can the opinion of a single myself of being the author of the anonymous articles individual be to the government!" said another. which appeared in several of my brother's papers ; I can
“But it appears that the constable attaches con prove it by the copies of those articles which are still in siderable importance to it," added a third.
The drawer of my table. I beg, sir, that no person may "A man who censures every one, who advises every suffer on my account, and, above all, do not punish my one, who attacks every opinion,” said a fourth.
brother for having printed them; for pity's sake, let me * It is extraordinary,” said they all.
be the only sufferer !" “But the most singular part of it is, gentlemen,” said “And who talks of punishment and suffering?" asked Janies, " that the culprit is in my house, and that I do the magistrate, taking the young apprentice by the not know him."
hand, and regarding him attentively. " By Guttenberg, sir," said Thomas, touching his “ Are you not looking for the author of those articap, "if you will permit me to give my opinion, you cles?" inquired Benjamin. can yourself put your hand upon the author."
“Yes, certainly, my boy; not to punish, but to reward "Hold your tongue, Thomas,” whispered Benjamin. him; to testify our satisfaction at his inimitable writings,
"Let me speak, Mr. Benjamin; though I am only a so full of mind, sense, and judgment. What! is it you, fool, yet I know that the writer will not be very diffi- who appear such a child, yet write like a man but cult to find."
how old are you, sir ?" continued the magistrate, no “Say who ! say who !” exclaimed several voices at longer calling him “ my boy,” so much had he already
increased in his estimation. “Marry, gentlemen, I dare not; but the master Benjamin looked down in confusion, and modestly could name him if he liked.”
replied, " Fifteen years old, sir." “What an absurd supposition !” said James, shrug- " And whence can you have drawn, at your age, such ging his shoulders.
an extensive knowledge of trade and political economy?" “ If you have to run any risk on account of that, my “Here, sir,” said Benjamin, pointing to those around dear master,” replied Thomas, “ you must even be sileni, him; “I heard these gentlemen speak, and then I but as sure as Guttenberg was not the inventor, but the wrote.” improver of printing, as Mr. Benjamin has just informed Sobs were heard, which interrupted this interrogatory; mc, I make a guess, that he who wrote the anonymous and Benjamin, turning round, saw his father, with a articles knows how to write: the constable asserts that handkerchief to his face. the person is in this house; then, as there is no person “ You are weeping, father,” said he, rushing towards here who knows how to write, except you and Nir. him. Benjamin, and as he is too young for that, and besides, “ It is for joy," replied the old man, opening his arins cares for nothing but reading, then -you per- to his son, and clasping him to his breast; “it is for ceive---"
joy, for happiness! And as I said before, give up “ James," said his father, “this dissimulation with poetry, so now I say, pursue your career, young man : me is wrong."
the boy who listens attentively to the conversation of "And with us all, James,” exclaimed several voices, men, and who has sense to discern between right and “what! it was you who wrote those articles and con- wrong, in order to form his own judgment,—that boy will cealed it from us !"
do well, and his father will be the happiest of parents." Thomas now advanced boldly into the midst of the By Guttenberg! Who will pay me my dollar?" assembly, and holding out his hand to his master, he exclaimed a voice from behind them. said, “I have won my dollar, sir; it was I who first “ I will, as soon as I possess one," said Benjamin. guessed that it was you.”
“In the meantime, take this one, Thomas," said “You are a blockhead," said his master, angrily. Mr. Franklin, putting a five-franc piece into the hand
" That is nothing new ; I know it this long time, but of the old printer. that does not prevent me having won my dollar." This little scene, my young reader, was but the pre
"Good morning, DIr. Franklin, good morning, James,” | lude to what Benjamin Franklin afterwards became.
I will now briefly relate the remainder of his life, and office of postmaster to the city of Philadelphia. In show how he went on from invention to invention, each 1738 he improved the police of that city with respect more useful than the other, until he made that finest of to the dreadful calamity of fire by forming a society modern discoveries, the lightning conductor.
called the Fire Company, to which was afterwards added A misunderstanding having occurred between the two an insurance company against losses by fire. Soon after brothers, Benjamin departed from Boston, by sea, for this he commenced those electrical experiments which New York, but not being able to procure employment have conferred so much celebrity on his name. there, he proceeded to Philadelphia ; there he had not a The Library Society of Philadelphia had received single acquaintance, and all the money he was worth from England an account of the curious facts relative to was one dollar.
electricity which then engaged the attention of the Franklin found but two printers in that city, one of European philosophers, together with a tube for experithem, named Keyman, employed him through charity, ments, and directions for its use. The Society deputed but he soon found him his cleverest compositor. Sir Franklin to repeat those experiments, and he not only William Keith, governor of the province, took much repeated them, but made several new discoveries; he notice of him, and urged him to set up for himself, pro- was the first to observe the power of pointed bodies, mising him every assistance. He then proposed to him both in drawing and in throwing off electric fire; and to make a voyage to England, in order to procure all immediately, as his genius led him to applications, he the necessary materials for a printing-office, and pro- conceived the idea of bringing down electricity from mised to take upon himself all the expenses attendant the clouds; for ho had observed that thunder and upon it. Franklin embraced the proposal, and lightning were ly the effect of the electricity of the set sail about the beginning of 1725. Upon his arrival clouds. A simple toy enabled him to resolve this bold in London he found that Governor Keith had completely problem : he made a kite, which he covered with silk deceived him, and had forwarded neither letters of instead of paper, as being less likely to be injured by credit, nor of recommendation, and he was consequently the rain; to the upper end of the kite he affixed an iron unable to return to Philadelphia. He then, for a present point, and having appended a key to the end of its support, engaged himself as a workman in the house of hempen string, he drew down, from a passing thunderPalmer, a printer of note in Bartholomea-close. cloud, electric fire, enough to yield sensible sparks from
At this time, although but seventeen years of age, the key. He immediately perceived the utility of this his mind was turned towards plans of general utility. discovery, as affording a means of preserving buildings Having taught himself to swim at Boston, and know- from the effects of lightning, which are particularly ing the difficulties of that art, he was anxious to esta- alarming on the continent of North America. By blish a swimming school in London; but the desire of means of pointed metallic conductors projecting from seeing his native country prevailed over every other the top of the building, he conceived that the passing consideration, and he returned to Philadelphia, where thunder-clouds might be made to discharge their fire he entered into partnership with a person of the name silently and innoxiously; and such was the confidence of Merideth, whose father was able to advance the in his opinion, that these conductors soon came to be necessary money; the understanding being that Frank- generally used in America, and afterwards throughout lin's skill should be placed against the capital to be Europe. supplied by Merideth. In process of time Merideth We have seen that he was a useful and a learned man, withdrew from the partnership, and Franklin became we will now view him as generous and philanthropic. possessed of the whole concern, to which he soon after- In 1763, the schools were poor, ill directed, and badly wards added the business of a stationer.
attended ; Franklin proposed a plan of public instrucHis public life now commenced, and even his relaxa. tion, and in order to establish it, he opened a subscriptions becaine works of utility: he instituted a club for tion list, which was soon filled : and it was thus he the purpose of discussing political and philosophical founded the College of Philadelphia. He was also questions, each member of which was obliged, once a greatly instrumental towards the foundation of the month, to read out an essay of his own composition. Philadelphia Hospital. But all his enterprises of public The purchase of an indifferent paper, founded by Reis- utility never diverted his attention from his private ner, the printer, which he soon enlivened with articles duties; he had acquitted himself so well in his office of teeming with wit and sound sense, increased both his post-master, that the government raised him to the reputation and his resources. In September 1731, he important employment of deputy post-master general married Miss Read, and his prosperity from that time for the British Colonies, and the revenue soon felt the rapidly advanced.
benefit of his attentions. Feeling how uscful books had been to himself, as it At a later period, after the Revolution of Boston, was to them alone he was indebted for his education, he when the American war broke out, Franklin openly established a public library in Philadelphia, in 1731, declared himself, in Congress, as favourable to liberty; (the first one ever known in America,) which, although he took an active part in the memorable Declaration of it commenced with only fifty subscribers, became in the 4th July, and proclaimed the national independence course of time a large and valuable collection, the pro- of the thirteen United States. prietors of which were eventually incorporated by royal He was then elected president of the Convention at charter ; but while yet in its infancy, it afforded its Philadelphia, assembled to settle a new form of governfounder facilities of improvement of which he did not ment for the then State of Pennsylvania, and the result fail to take advantage, setting apart an hour or two of the deliberations of that assembly may be considered every day for study, which was the only amusement he as a digest of Dr. Franklin's principles of government. allowed himself. In 1732 he commenced publishing his When, in 1776, it was deemed advisable by Congress celebrated almanac, commonly known by the name of to open a negotiation with France, Franklin, though Poor Richard's Almanac, in which a number of pru- then in his 71st year, was considered, from his talents dential maxims were inserted, distinguished by a pro- as a statesman, and reputation as a philosopher, the verbial point and conciseness, calculated to fix them most suitable person to effect the desired end; and he indelibly upon the memory: they have been collected was consequently nominated commissioner-plenipoteninto a single short piece, entitled “The Way to Wealth," tiary to the court of France. His residence in that which has been published in a variety of forms. In country did not prevent him from amusing himself with 1733, he began to teach himself the French, Italian, mechanical arts and sciences. Grateful for the kindness and Spanish languages, and revived his recollection of of Marie Antoinette, he made for her the first harthe Latin, which he had nearly forgotten. In 1736 he monicon which had ever been heard in France. This was appointed clerk to the General Assembly of Penn- precious instrument, given by the queen to Madame de sylvania; the following year he obtained the lucrative Vince, is still in Paris, and has a place in the cabinet of Professor Lebreton, who religiously preserves this his- “ The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, torical memorial.
The solemn temples, the great globe itself ; At the age of seventy-nine, his increasing infirmities
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve; made him desirous of returning to his native country;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, he was conveyed to Havre, on a litter, borne by Spanish
Leave not a rack behind." mules, kindly placed at his disposal by the Queen of France, as the most easy mode for him to travel. On On the present occasion it is not, however, fitting to the road he experienced every mark of respect from indulge in gloomy reveries, though the excursion is several of the nobility and gentry whose châteaux lay devoted to visiting a ruin, one of those relics of feudal adjoining, and particularly from the Cardinal de la times which are so replete with interest. Rochefoucault at Gaillon, where he passed a night, After quitting the town of Yarmouth, with its noble with his accompanying friends and attendants. He quay, the road northward soon leaves the sea and the reached Havre safely without having experienced long flat coast on the right hand, and after stretching much inconvenience from the journey, and embarked across the marshes, where innumerable flocks of geese in a small packet for Southampton, whence, after re- are feeding, arrives at Caister, a small village not parmaining a few days, he sailed for Philadelphia, where he ticularly inviting in its aspect. Passing the church, landed safely on the 14th September, 1785.
with its fint-built tower and decorated porch, the corn, The arrival of this great man was looked upon as a with its golden promise, is seen on either hand, and national triumph; he was borne to his house amid the presents, with the green livery of the hedgerows and acclamations and benedictions of the people, the ringing the scarlet brilliancy of the straggling poppies, such a of bells and the firing of cannon. He received congra- happy combination of colour as cannot fail to im part tulatory visits and addresses from all the public bodies, cheerful and gentle thoughts. There are but few trees every one being desirous to do him honour. He em- scattered here and there by the way-side. Proximity ployed his latter years in exhorting his fellow-citizens to the ocean seems ever fatal to the growth of forest to union: his last work was upon the abolition of trees; and in such situations they are seen bending their slavery.
dwarfed limbs to the side farthest from their enemy. He expired on the 17th April, 1790, at the age But we have come to a lane where several small oaks of eighty-four.
form by their leafy contiguity a pleasant avenue, and So great and universal was the regret for the loss we will not pause longer to note these peculiarities of of this great man, that a general mourning was put on nature. This lane skirts the brink of a dell where gipsy throughout the United States; and in France, at the sug- tents are often seen, and soon approaches a farm-yard, gestion of Mirabeau, supported by MM. de la Roche- where the long and narrow haystacks and the carefully foucault, Liancourt, and Lafayette, the National As tended dove-cotes, bespeak praises for the farming of sembly ordered a public mourning of three days for Norfolk. Before reaching this secluded spot, the eye, Franklin.
roving in this direction, will have observed a tower, rising from amidst the surrounding trees. To reach it we must pass through the exterior part of the farm-yard.
This tower, which is a remnant of Caister Castle, is COUNTRY SKETCHES.--No. VI.
very interesting, and it is greatly to be regretted that so small a portion only has survived the wear and tear
of centuries. All that now remains is this circular The advantage which a country long since civilized tower, which is of great height, and a range of walls on possesses over one whose plains and pastures are but the north and west sides. On one of these walls there half redeemed from their primeval state, is in nothing is a projecting corbel table, but the corbels and what is more manifest than in the constant recurrence of remains left of the arcs are both in a very dilapidated state. of the habitations, tempies, monuments, and memorials The tower itself has some extensive cracks near its base, of successive generations of men; for these may be truly and is also fast yielding to the stern hand of Time. called the landmarks of time. In them and by them The structure is of brick, with stone facings, the tracery the historian and antiquarian are enabled to trace the of the windows and loop-holes being of the latter maprogress of human thought and action; to sce, as in a terial. There is a fine arch yet standing, which was in mirror, much that would be otherwise lost in the gloom all probability the entrance to the great hall. The and darkness of ages. Who shall say, too, that the castle must have been a place of much strength, and of moralist, the philosopher, and the practical man, does large dimensions also, inasmuch as we are told by not glean from their inspection many valuable ideas William of Worcester that the dining-room was fiftyof the past, many of the motives and aims of former nine feet long, and twenty-eight feet broad. actions, and many of the true causes and effects of Not many years ago the arms of the founder were to human impulses? It is needless to remark that the be seen over a bay window in the interior of the ruins. artist and poet find in them a world of beauties, which They were taken down and removed to Blickling, where seem exclusively to belong to bygone days; and which they now serve as a principal ornament of that noble assist the imagination, and stimulate the fancy, when mansion. The moat, in part, remains, and increases present life could afford no aid so powerful or interest- the artistic effect of the castle. ing. In a new land, or in a country but slightly Its history is not without interest. It was built by populated, there are none of these picturesque adjuncts Sir John Fastolfe, in the early part of the fifteenth cento its natural beauties. In this respect, therefore, it tury. This gentleman was a Knight Companion of the suffers by comparison with older climes. Yet, in the most noble order of the Garter, and descended from a aspect of ruins there is something mournful and sad- very ancient Norfolk family: he was first engaged in the dening; reflections on the incidents that may have service of the then Duke of Clarence, Lord Lieutenant passed in old halls, where ivy now crowns the summit of Ireland, in which country he was married to the Lady of every tower, and where the owl is sole tenant and Milicent, daughter of one Sir Thomas Tibitot, Lord master, will tend, for the time, to damp the spirits. deputy of Ireland, and relict of Sir Stephen Scrope. The first sight of a castellated mansion, or crumbling After this we find him engaged in various military monastery, ruinous and time-worn, produces a thrill of capacities under John Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford, pleasure ; but as the eye becomes accustomed to the during which period he became Marshal of the Regent's view, and some solemn echo arouses the startled wan. Household, Governor of Anjou and Maine, Captain of derer to contemplation of past grandeur, the same train the city of Mans, of Alençon, and many other places; of thought leads the mind insensibly, as it were, to the rewards, doubtless, of his prowess in the field. His end of all things, to the grave, and to that day when- | campaigns extended over a period of forty years, and he
THE RUINS OF CAISTER CASTLE.
had for secretary the famous William of Worcester, to It is time to turn to the ruinous castle, however, and whom all subsequent chroniclers are so much indebted leave these inquiries as to the identity of the real Fasfor his most valuable and accurate information. So far tolfes and fictitious Falstaffs for abler commentators to as has now been related, all is indisputable fact; yet, in establish or disprove. the teeth of this evidence, we find Granger asserting Fortunately, the moat is perfect round the tower and that he retreated with disgrace at the battle of Putoy, west wall, and the shadows cast on the water on the one and that the order of the Garter was taken from him as side by the ruins, mix with the umbrageous reflections a punishment for his pusillanimity.
of some old ash-trees on the opposite bank. There is In the First Part of Henry the Sixth the same idea no ivy on any part of the castle, but a pear-tree, careis carried out, and Fastolfe is spoken of by a messenger fully trained on the corner of the tower, aids the pleasant to the Dukes of Bedford, Glo'ster, and the Bishop of effect of the scene. It is the subject, above all others, Winchester, in these words :
constantly chosen for the pencil of all wandering artists, “Here had the congnest fully been seal'd up
who are frequently at a loss to know which side to take; If Sir Jolin Fastolfe had not play'd the coward;
and where any choice must be a happy one, it becomes He being in the vayward, (plac'd behind,
almost an impossibility to advise. To muse upon the With purpose to relieve and follow them.)
spot, and recall the memorable age in which these vesCowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.”
tiges were a fair specimen of a goodly baron's home, is
to read a lesson upon the progress and advancement of In the fourth act he is stripped of his order, and our enlightened age. Every thing has its usesordered off by the king in this wise :
“And this our life exempt from public haunt "Stain to thy countrymen ! thou hear'st thy doom,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running streams,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
The ploughshare and the reaping-hook have taken the Holinshed and Hall are said to have been the probable place of sword and shield. The mailed warrior sleeps authorities for this imputation on the knight's fame by in the rest that knows no waking; and the echoes of the Shakspeare.
old walls ring no more with the shouts and din of the That neither of them were chroniclers to be wholly retainers, eager alike for the banquet or the fray. A and fully relied upon, is certain, as there are no collateral new cycle in the world's history has supervened, and a evidences to bear out the assertion of his cowardice. On different race of thinking and acting men move in the the contrary, we hear of his return home, of his having busy paths of life. finished this very castle with the ransom-money he This castle owes its present condition to the circumreceived from John II., King of France, whom he stance of its having been besieged twice in the reign of captured at Vernuil in 1424 ; also of his second mar- Edward IV.; and to a lamentable fire, occasioned riage with Margaret Howard, and of his being the by the careless negligence of a servant girl, which founder of several religious and charitable edifices; the completed the destruction man's wilful violence began. patron of worthy, valiant, and enlightened men. That There is a neat dwelling close at hand, which in its trim William of Worcester should have been attached to the and orderly aspect, forms a cheerful contrast to the service of this gentleman is surely some testimony to decayed habitation of such far higher pretensions. Cow: his character. Whoever was the originator of the belief returning from pasture to be stalled and housed for the in Fastolfe's cowardice, it must not be laid to the charge night, and a large stock of poultry of every description of the immortal author of the play, for at the time it seeking their roosting places, are very suggestive objects was written Holinshed was deemed a great authority.
of gentle English living. There has existed in the minds of many able writers
Not out of place, but ever in keeping with the time a great doubt as to whether the Bard of Avon was the and situation, is the voice of some wandering heron, veritable author of the three parts of Henry the Sixth. flying over marshy brake to its nest; and the owl's Hallam, the great historian, and Collier, a man whose peculiar cry comes upon the ear to remind the visitor of respect for Shakspeare knows no bounds, both incline its association with ruined tower and tree. So there is to this opinion. There are many very strong grounds music even in the ruined balls of Caister Castle, though for the belief that they were written by some dramatist dulcimer and lute are silent: nature, throu zh her winged of the preceding era, and altered or adapted for repre- children, speaks in song, and completes all that is wantsentation by Shakspeare. No one was so careful as he ing to heighten the beauty, mournful though it be, of in the selection of his facts, and he would never have so this retired solitude. degraded Fastolfe without some good authority for so doing. Now all veracious chroniclers concur in their account of his valour.
It has been said and believed that that inimitable creation, Falstaff, which most certainly is all Shak.
Poetry. speare's own, was taken from this same Sir John Fastolfe. But this, for many reasons, we beg leave to doubt. The Paston Letters contain nothing but what is to the credit [In Original Poetry, the Name, real or assumed, of the Author, is
printed in Small Capitals under the title; in Selections, it is and praise of Fastolfe; nothing to connect him in any
printed in Italics at the end.) one respect with Sir John, the fat knight, whose feats and acts have raised many a laugh, both in the solitude of the study and in the crowded theatre.
THE LOST HOPE. Sir John Fastoife occupies a very small share of our attention in the First Part of Henry the Sixth, whereas, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, and the First and
An Angel rose upon the wings of Wight, Second Parts of Henry the Fourth, Sir John Falstaff is
And Darkness it was Light; the chief actor, and monopolizes the most prominent The pale-eyed star-watch, trembling, shrink away, situations. There is yet standing in the city of Norwich, As though at dawn of day. in the district called Tombland, a rambling irregular
The billows rag'd, the whirlwinds blew, house, which was owned by Fastolfe, and most likely
And the tempest wilder grew; used by him as a town residence. Two extraordinary
A vesper-bell chimes down the vale, carved figures of wood, called respectively Samson and And hushes the uprising galeHercules, mount guard in the paved court, and forcibly A note so soft and still, it woos the air, recall old times.
And bids the storm-fiends back to their decp-fathom'd lair.