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which the author of “Windsor Forest" spent the evening of his life.
The grey mists of morning lingering on the distant uplands, and the hedges of birch and eglantine bespangled with dew-drops, intimated that day was not far advanced, when a sudden pulling-up of the reins somewhat discomposed me, and broke the reverie, in which I had been indulging. Upon the changing of horses, I left the Stage-coach, and, heedless whither I wandered, found myself ere long on the bridge of Richmond. Having recalled my scattered senses, I then experienced—I confess for the first time—that desolate kind of feeling, which none but a wanderer far from the scenes of his infancy has ever truly know». Those ideas of independence and of home, which I had attached to the travelling vehicle, were now vanished :for, immediately subsequent on leaving it, I beheld it disappearing among the trees; and, as I heard the sound of the lash faintly echoing through the stillness of the morning, it seemed to me like a tone that told the happiness of by-gone years !
After admiring the beauty of the prospect which is here luxuriantly arrayed in all the charms of softer rural beauty, and beholding “the Parent of Rivers” flow, like Lethe, through a second Elysium, in majestic stillness, I crossed the bridge and ascended Richmond Hill. Here the scene was doubly endearing-I was treading upon ballowed ground,—for it was here that one of Scotland's brightest ornaments had lived and died. Every tree, methought, was his memorial, and every wild flower the embalmer of his song!
With feelings of no common intensity I entered the Church-yard, in which are deposited the remains of the Author of “ The Seasons: There I perceived “the spot where they laid him," and the children of spring, wet with nature's tear-drops, blooming over his grave! I sauntered awhile through groves of elm, and then traversing several green fields, I arrived shortly in front of a small cottage, which I did not discern, till within a short distance, owing to its being closely embowered among beach-trees. It was one of those neat little cabins which are so peculiar to England : and from the well-trimmed flower-pot, the nicely-trained honeysuckle, the white washed walls and gothic windows, a stranger might easily have guessed that the possessor was not devoid of that native elegance, which is ever the characteristic of the higher class of the peasantry of this country.
As I approached the threshold of this lonely mansion, I observed sitting in a sort of alcove on one side the door, an individual apparently about sixty years of age ; and, from his locks of silver and the deep furrows that marked his brow, I think he might then be trembling on the verge of his thirteenth lustrum-in other words he might be nearly five years older.—He seemed in deep meditation, -holding in one hand a volume, which from its appearance I conjectured to be a common prayer-book-and in the other his spectacles, in such a position as shewed he had just finished his devotions.
Upon observing me, he rose up and opened a small wicket that enclosed the garden from the park, and in a friendly manner desired me to walk in-adding, that if I had lost my path, I should be conducted to the main road. I explained the circumstances which had led me to his cottage, and he kindly invited me to spend an hour with him. We had not been long seated in the little room which he termed his parlour, when he called out “ Lou ! is Lou abroad?"-Immediately the door opened and a female, apparently about eighteen entered. There is not perhaps a greater anchorite in existence than I am ;yet I fatter myself I can judge pretty correctly of beauty, when it comes under my inspection, though possibly with a feeling somewhat like that which inspires the sculptor when gazing on statues of a Venus de Medici or an Apollo Belvidere.
Louisa (for that was the name of this fair creature) was one of those flowers of beauty, that are seen to bud and blossom in the loveliness of the forest and the wild, but which, if transplanted into a richer, though less congenial soil, would perhaps fade and die. She might be ranked rather below than above the stature of ideal beauty, yet her form was elegant and graceful. Could it have admitted of improvement, its symmetry would have been perfect by somewhat of the “en bon point” being added to a shape so slender. The blush of health, heightened by the bracing air of the morning (for she had been already abroad), glowed upon her cheeks. Her large blue eyes, beaming with filial affection, spoke unutterable things. Her lip, wet with the dew of youth, might compare—nor lose by the comparisonwith the brightest ruby in the mine, or the ripest cherry on the tree. Her fair ringlets, playing in nature's wildest mood over her neck and shoulders, gave such a fairyness to her form as made her seem, to fancy at least, the spirit of her solitude.
The old man, whom we shall designate by the name of Bloomfield, ordered his daughter to prepare our repast; during which I was so much pleased with the conversation of the father, that without much entreaty I was persuaded to spend the day with him, as in the evening a stage-coach would pass, which could convey me to Hand save me the trouble of taking horse from the next village.
Mr. Bloomfield informed me that he had spent the early part of his life in -shire ; that his friends, being in easy circumstances and having somewhat respectable connexions, had determined that he should be brought up for the bar ;-but that unfortunately he lost their good will by marrying a female whom, though possessed of uncommon accomplishments, mental as well as personal, they considered his inferior. Upon this he had been forced to leave his native place, and coming to L had been lucky enough to be appointed Inspector of Works at K- but that, being, by an attack of fever, rendered unfit for his situation, his patron had granted him leave to retire, giving him an annuity sufficient for his wants, together with the cottage. He told me, that two children were the fruit of his marriage; but that his Charlotte had died shortly after the birth of his daughter, who was now the comforter of his old age. “I had,” continued the old man—sobbing—“I had a son, but it was doomed that he should be taken from me. This day,” added he, “is the anniversary of my sorrow. It was on the first morn of April that my
Charlotte died, and on it too that Henry, poor Henry left us."
Henry had been sent to London, where he was articled with an Attorney. At first he behaved in such a manner, as to gain the good-will of his master. But, alas ! what one among a thousand can withstand the allurements of rice, backed by the example of intimate
companions. Henry was hurried into the vortex of dissipation, and, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his friends, continued in his ruinous career, until at length, spurned from his employer, he grew desperate-enlisted in a regiment of foot, which was shortly after ordered to the continent; and, as no tidings of him had ever reached his friends, was supposed to have fallen in the field.
The day was now beginning to decline, and I was speedily to bid adieu to my hospitable entertainer and his lovely daughter. We had for some hours previously been talking of the occurrences, which continually fall out in the ever-changing urn of human existence; and as the father would relate how, in all his afflictions, he had found the safest shelter under the shade of the Rock of ages, the child would gaze upon his countenance, beaming with tenderness, and listen to his words with pious reverence, while the tear-drop of love glistened
in her eye.
The sound of a horn, apparently at no great distance, warned me to depart; the signal told the approach of the stage-coach.
In one moment a stranger burst into the room ;—and in another Bloomfield clasped in his arms the child of his affections—his long lost Henry !
It would be folly to attempt a description of this affecting interview ; I shall therefore pass it over in silence.
Henry, burning at his own ingratitude to the best of parents and of friends, had, upon his arrival on the continent, resolved to wipe away the stain by distinguishing himself in the field, or end an existence, now completely miserable, on the battle-plain. He was not without success-his conduct was marked-he was taken from the ranks—and, in the capacity of ensign, he had now come to make an atonement for his crimes in the bosom of his father!
It may easily be conceived, I prolonged my stay-happy in the thought, that the evening of a day, whose morn had been hailed as the anniversary of sorrow, should thus have been turned into unmingled joy !
Nor oft thy name hath waked a Poet's fire,
Say,—when are met in Freedom's ancient hall
When trembling nations on their Counsels wait
Hark! from some patriot's bosom-bursting round
Nor less Religion's than the Senate's friend,
And in those halls where Justice holds her seat,
Like yon fleet cloud that gathers as it sails
So doth thy hand, triumphant Art! enshrine
Although we doubt not who the palm will bear,-
Affix the seal of Immortality ?
(Translated from the German.)
A PARTY of young men had been long carousing together one evening, and, amongst many other freaks which they
thought of and put in execution, they determined to have their fortunes told. drinking up all the wine which remained on the table, in order to strengthen their resolution, they sallied forth about midnight, arm in arm, wild with their revelry.
The woman whom they resolved to consult lived without the city gates, in a small house; and, for the purpose of her prophecies, she used a mirror, in which the inquirer might behold whatever scene of his future life he desired to have revealed. Many a story was related, in which it was asserted that her revelations had come to pass. She had, however, been positively interdicted from continuing her dangerous occupation, and only carried it on now very secretly.
As the noisy party approached her house, she observed, by their demeanour, that they were elevated with wine, and she steadily refused to accede to their request. No promises, no money that they could offer-caused her to waver in her resolution; and, at length, most of the young men believed her assurances that she had finally renounced the craft, and, leaving her house, agreed to parade the streets: one only, Leopold, who had drunk the least, but in whose character there