« AnteriorContinuar »
very nose of Adonijab, was too too is true—the cow of one would trespass much !!
upon the inclosure of another, and a A small spark suffices to ignite a horse would occasionally be found in large fire, and so it chanced with Ado. a wrong pasture, and a thousand opnijah ; for, happening to pass the house portunities of quarrel arose, but the of Ichabod, a cock of the latter, perché recollection of the former thorough ed upon a wall, stretched out his thrashing, and its consequences, with wings and his neck, and began to crow the influence of the females, who found in such a tone that Adonijah regarded it their interest to keep the parties in it as nothing less than a mortal defi- something like moderation, preserved ance, and he accordingly gave way to the village in a tolerable state of tran. his morbid feelings, and challenged quillity. Ichabod to joust à l'outrance.
In the mean-time all prospered, and The partisans on each side were Adonijah and Ichabod, with stealing mustered_a battle ensued-blood was a bit of land here, and buying a bit shed--and after each man had pound. there, and making money in every ed his neighbour to a jelly, they mu. way that could suggest itself to the tually parted, from sheer weariness and minds of two accomplished scoundrels, inability to carry on the war.
became comparatively affluent. So very earnest had all parties been The introduction of the doctors is in their praiseworthy efforts to injure marked as one of the great epochs in their neighbours, that sundry serious the history of Our Village, more espewounds and bruises were the conse- cially since the descendant of one of quence; and as the domestic pharmacy them has been dubbed an M.D. of the place did not extend to the cure About the period when the second of such wounds and bruises, it became doctor was introduced, we succeeded necessary to call in a leech from the in seducing a schoolmaster, one Hab. next town. He came_he saw the bakkuk Snod by name, to become a colony a thriving one-he bought a bit dweller in Our Village; and at the of land- built a house, and located same time, the Government, in its himself as an inhabitant of Our Vil. bounty, provided us with an exciseman. lage.
The former was a wortlıy man, and a About the same period there was an great acquisition ; we all earnestly importation of sundry other families-- prayed that the devil would fetch the a wheel-wright- a half-starved tailor latter at the first convenient opportu--a cobbler -- and, finally, a pedlar nity, but as we were then a sinful furnished a house with the con- generation, and had not a chapel in tents of his pack, and baptized it a Our Village, our prayers were for shop; whilst the Marquis of Granby, a length of time offered up in vain. flaring over a doorway, indicated a Mean-while the apparent tranquillity public-house ; and a pole, striped red was little more than skin deep, and and white, showed where the rustics was frequently interrupted by disputes might be made decent on a Sunday about boundaries, fences, ways, and morning for a penny a-piece.
other questions to which property The doctor, from a want of acquaint- gives rise; and the law of physical ance with the small politics of the force being that with which all parties place, had pitched his tent in the were best acquainted, it was very often Higher Street ; but it was impossible appealed to, to the great disturbanco that such a thing could be overlooked of the public peace of Our Village—the by Adonijah, or that he and his fac- great consumption of plasters and tion could have faith in the curative lotions and the great profit and adpowers of any medicament compound- vantage of the two disciples of Æsculaed in that situation. There was only pius. one remedy for it, which was to im- Time wrought various changes in port another doctor, and that was ac- the state of the rival parties ; various cordingly done, and the last importa- additions were made by births and the tion was duly located in the Lower introduction of foreigners, and when Street.
the factions turned out to settle a disAfter the last mentioned aff'ray pute the display was really formid. the inhabitants of Our Village went on able. for some years in comparative peace- At length, however, it became mani. various feuds arose amongst them, it fest that the faction of Ichabod Wragg waz gaining the ascendency, and the had arrived at that period of life when consciousness of that fact had its na. a man usually feels more disposed to tural effect on both sides. Did a Wragg smoke the calumet of peaco than to sound the tocsin ? out turned the whole split his neighbour's head with a poker, clan Wragg, man, woman, and child, urged them strongly to forbearance, to the foray, stamping, shouting, and at least for the present. storming, like as many wild bulls. In an unlucky moment he suggested But not so the clan Shufflebotham; their calling in to their aid the wisdom for, though they now and then pro- of Habbakuk Snod, whose peaceful voked the fray, and dashed into the habits and feelings he thought might mélée with the ardour and fierceness have the effect of stilling the stormy of former times, yet they oftener re- passions of the younger branches of mained passive, and sometimes sub- his party. mitted to a jibe or a jeer from a Wragg Now Habbakuk was a man of inforwithout betraying any resentment. mation after a fashion of his own-he
Things had arrived at this point could write in three different characwhen one of the Wragg party, whilst ters—could cipher so perfectly that amusing himself with shooting spar. he could tell how many square inches rows, took a false aim, and lodged the of timber were contained in the head of contents of his gun in the right eye of a broom- knew some little of Latin, Adonijah Shufflebotham's favourite and having been twice at the county mare, and rendered her as blind as a town in his youth, had claims of no inile-stone for life.
ordinary magnitude to be considered « Oh had he chosen some other game,
a man of the world. Or miss'd, as he was wont to do !"
In an unlucky moment was Habba
kuk sent for, and presently he came, The faction of Adonijah assembled moving his long slender figure through on the occasion, grinding their teeth, the atmosphere with the majesty and and almost bursting with rage. True something the appearance of a fingerthe mare was in her 29th year, and post, and the solemn regularity of a not of much value, but the insult was pendulum. He knew all about the the same, and every Shufflebotham felt fracas (for who did not know it in the it to be so, and resolved to take ample village ?) and his countenance was in revenge, each swearing he would kill consequence, and as a part of what he and eat not less than three Wraggs to considered his duty, surcharged with his own individual share.
a tenfold portion of gravity. A hostile meeting, preceded by such Habbakuk, as I have said, was a man excitement, was sure to be a terrible of peace, but in an unlucky moment one, and, accordingly, every one of was he sent for, and in an unlucky either party turned out on the occasion, hour did he give his advice, for he inand the onslaught was dreadful. formed the clan Shufflebotham (a thing
After howling, and yelling, and that their wildest dreams had never swearing, and biting, and scratching, imagined) that there was a righter of and kicking, and boxing, for some wrongs and a redresser of grievances time, their animal powers became to residing in almost every village in the tally exhausted, and they mutually kingdom, and that men of the world withdrew, but the faction of Adonijah called such a being an attorney. Shufflebotham carried along with them A new light burst upon Our Village the mortifying reflection that they by the announcement, or at all events were much worse beaten than their upon that portion of it that formed the neighbours; and they consequently clan Shufflebotham-distant prospects suffered under the compound affliction of revenge, without the unpleasant of a bruised body and a wounded accompaniments of broken heads and
bloody noses, presented themselves to The clan Shufflebotham, after their view, and Habbakuk Snod was de. defeat, proceeded to hold a council, and spatched for the attorney. a sad and a sorrowful one it was. In due time that solemn personage The younger branches, smarting under made his appearance; he heard the their indignities, were for taking savage facts, coloured as highly as a sound measures, and they even talked of set. thrashing and a wounded mind could ting fire to the village and running induce men to colour facts. He away by the light; but Adonijah, who talked of the mysterious powers of a
lalitat, and used many hard phrases, machinations of Mr Brangle; and very each of which being, in the opinion of few weeks elapsed before we had ano. Adonijah, sufficiently potent to raise ther house in the Higher Street, with the devil, there was no possible room a brass plate twice as large as the to doubt of success, and the attorney former onc, engraved with the calawent away with instructions for some listic characters, “ Jonathan Higgins, half-a-score of actions in his pocket. attorney and solicitor, and a master
The gentleman of the law bad done extraordinary in Chaucery." more; he had noticed the locality and This formidable notification appearthe capabilities of the place in a pro- cd to break the hearts of the Shufilefessional view, and in two months bothams, but they had faith in Mr more we had a new house in the Brangle, and the lawsuits went on. Lower Street, having on the door a In the mean-time an incident of a highly polished brass plate, the first more tender description occurred we had ever seen, engraven with the amongst the parties, which came, like words, “ Mr Brangle, attorney-at- an oasis in the desert, or a speck of law."
sunshine in a cloudy sky, serving to In due time a proper proportion of soften and adorn the ruggedness of all the Wragg faction received omninous around it. papers, requiring their appearance bc- Ichabod Wragg had a son, Nehefore our Sovereign Lord the King at miah, who was the pride of the vilWestminster; but in the pride of their lage-good-looking, good-tempered hearts they flung the papers to the and gay, as is natural for a youth of wind, and said that the Shufflebotbams, twenty to be. He was at the head of with Mr Brangle at their head, might every thing that occurred to promote all go to the devil, and welcome. the mirth and good fellowship of the
In a little time afterwards they re- place. Did the young people want a ceived other papers, of a still more dance on the green? who to promote ominous description, charging each of it but Nehemiah. Or did the people of them with having, on a day named, Our Village come into collision with and at a place of which they had never foreigners ? who could lead them up previously heard, with twenty sticks, like Nehemiah. He was the friend twenty staves, twenty stones, and of the aged, and the glory of the twenty pairs of fists, made an assault young, and no man, woman, or child, on the persons of sundry of the Shuf. was to be found in the village that had flebotham party, and them then and not a good word for Nehemiah Wragg; there beat, bruised, wounded, and ill even the Shufflebothams could toletreated, so that their lives were greatly rate him. despaired of, and with having then Adonijah Shufflebotham had a and there twenty shirts, twenty waist. daughter, Kesiah, a year younger coats, twenty coats, twenty pairs of than Nehemiah Wragg. She was breeches, twenty pairs of stockings, beautiful as a nymph, and gentle as a twenty pairs of shoes, twenty pairs of lamb, and seemed in her mild loveliboots, and twenty hats, the propertyness like a stray bird of Paradise, of each of the members of the Shuf. when compared with her more rugged flebotham party, then and there cut, compeers. torn, rent, damaged, dirtied, defaced. It was not in the hearts of two such and injured, against the peace of our beings as Nehemiah and Kesiah to Lord the King, his Crown and dignity, enter fully into the violent feelings of and to the great damage of the Shuf animosity that influenced their parents ; flebothams.
and though Nehemiah turned out with The contents of those papers was a his faction, it was observed that he real astonisher, and as it was well declaimed bitterly against the proceed. known to every soul in the village ing, and always spoke leniently of the that no one of the Shufflebothams had Shufflebothams. ever possessed a second coat to his One moonlight evening, shortly after back, it became matter of wonder and the introduction of the attornies, one amazement as to what would follow of those luckless maidens that are to be next.
found in every village, who, having no Their amazement produced alarm, business of their own, make it their and alarm enquiry, and another attor. study to know the business of every ney became in request to defeat the body else, was aware of two figures, a
male and female, walking not far from tidings had been received of Nehe. the house of Adonijah Shufflebotham. miah, and he began, by common con
She watched them closely- she saw xent, to be ranked amongst the dead. that the arm of the man gently en- His father bitterly lamented his loss, circled the waist of his companion, and for in the secret corner of the old man's that after walking for some time, he heart his name and lineaments were led her to the door of Adonijah, and firinly graven--and often, and often, there took leave of her with a chaste in his silent solitude did Ichabod acsalute.
cuse himself of the death of his son, The next morning it was spread and fervently wish that he were then throughout Our Village that Nehe. the husband of Kesiah Shufflebotham. miah Wragg courted Kesiah Shuffle Adonijah, also, had feelings of a si. botham, and the astounding intelli. milar tendency. He saw his daughter gence was conveyed forth with to the his dear, his favourite daughterears of Ichabod.
silently suffering, not only disease, but An enquiry was the consequence; that worst of anguish, the heart's utter and Nehemiah, too proud and too liopelessness ; and he heard on all honest to deny the truth, confessed hands, and could not help feeling it to that he loved Kesiah, and that his love be true, that his hard-hearted cruelty was returned-but Ichabod had no bad helped to bring her to what she sympathy with the feelings of youth; was; that, instead of being a support he drove his son from his presence in to her in her affiiction, he had pressed anger, and from that moment Nelie- the weight of sorrow with an unflinchmiah was lost to Our Village. Whithering hand upon her, and helped to bow he was gone, or how disposed of, none her down to the dust. knew-but all lamented his loss.
We are strange creatures! That The gossip rumour, in like manner, grey-headed man, although he bitterly conveyed the unpleasant information repented his treatment of his daughter, to the ears of Adonijah Shufflebotham, and would have given half his wealth and with him it was attended with si. that it had been otherwise, although milar direful effects.
in secret his soul melted in tears of He furiously questioned his poor anguish for her, and he eagerly enpale daughter; who, too simple and quired, and eagerly watched her protoo innocent to make a denial, and too gress, yet he took her not to his bosom terrified to justify herself, sank down or to his home, but suffered her to reat his feet in a swoon--but the grey- main in the house of the friend who headed man spurned her from him first received her in her affliction ! with a curse.
As time progressed the gentle KeThere were hearts in the village of siah slowly improved ; and, too feeble softer material than that of Adonijah; to support herself, was led by her kind. and the stricken maid was received in hearted entertainer to sit in the sun the house of a neighbour, that she for an hour in the middle of the day, might abide the passing away of her on a grassy bank not far from the father's wrath.
house. The hour was well-known to There her loss and her sense of utter the young people of Our Village ; and, helplessness became overwhelming, daily as she sat there, she found herself and were too much for her bodily surrounded by some or other of them, powers to withstand, and sickness provided with a nosegay or a simple overtook her. She lingered for some flower, or some other trifle that they time, apparently in a doubtful state knew would be acceptable to her. whether she would continue here or An old man passed the spot several quit this world for a better, where days together, and gazed at Kesiah purity such as hers must needs be with much earnestness, and with a happy; but at length her youth and look of feeling and of anguish. Again a good constitution prevailed, and she he passed, and he stopped some time displayed slight symptoms of amend. to gaze upon her, and then passed on ; ment; and the incident of her separa. but on the next day he came to see her, tion from Nehemiah, painful as it was and, after looking upon her piteously to her, and, doubtless, also to bim, be- for a little time, he rushed towards her, came of happy consequences to the seized her hand-and, kissing it, sobfamilies of both.
bed out a blessing upon her. It was Several months had elapsed and no Ichabod Wragg!
The incident soon spread far and lier friends, she became to be regarded wide, and the blessing that Ichabod as the common property of both famiWragg had bestowed upon Kesiah lies, and had a liome as well in thic Shullebotham was returned to him dwelling of Ichabod Wragg as in that tenfold by the inhabitants of Our Vil- of her father.
During these occurrences some seeds Adonijah also heard of it, and, in of religion had been sown, and had the first moment of disappointed self. taken root amongst us. Some good ishness, he felt as if Ichabod had inand zealous men had made converts of vaded his right, and deprived him of a few in the village, and from a small some portion of the sympathy due to beginning the feeling had spread until a suffering child ; but a better feeling a meeting-house became necessary, prevailed, and he became sensible that and one had accordingly been erected. Ichabod had set him an example that Other men, favourable to the Estait would be sinful not to follow. He blished Church, had also exerted them. soon afterwards found himself at the selves, and procured the erection of a bedside of his daughter, and all was Chapel-of Ease, and the work of reli. peace between them!
gion and civilisation went hand in Adonijah and Ichabod daily paid hand, and in a short time their humantheir visits to the suffering Kesiah, izing effects became very visible in the and it was not long before they met altered and improved manners and hatogether over the bed of sickness. At bits of the people of Our Village. On first the feeling was an awkward one none was their influence more per. on both sides. There was a remem. ceptible than on the two elders. brance of ancient wrongs and grie. Adonijah and Ichabod, now become vances, and a struggling with old pre- as firm friends as they had formerly judices and antipathies, and a frown been enemies, united together to imdarkened the countenances of the two prove and enlarge Our Village, and at men who for years had been opposed the same time to improve and enlarge to each other. But all vanished as a their own fortunes, in which they bedream when Ichabod, acting upon a came eminently successful. better impulse than that of his reason's They acquired considerable quanticonviction, tendered the hand of peace ties of land by more honest means than to Adonijah.
those by which they acquired their first Adonijah accepted the proffered locations, and invited settlers froin a hand, and whilst the two palms were distance; and being naturally shrewd united in something like friendly energetic men, and possessed of a cergreeting, the two old sinners looked tain degree of influence as the patri. at each other with a shake of the archs of the village, they succeeded in head, and a leer in which there was their object. much latent humour, and a look that They wished to increase the size implied that each was glad to see that and importance of Our Village by the his old opponent had at length dis establishment of some manufacture, covered the error of his ways.
and having succeeded in discovering a The reconciliation of Adonijah and bed of coal under some land they had Ichabod was followed by the recon purchased, they were not long in inciliation of their respective followers ducing inanufacturers to settle there. and friends. There was an end of the A factory was built-a tide of popula. lawsuits; and all the sufferings and tion flowed in upon us as a necessary grievances sustained by the Shufile. consequence more houses were requirbotham party, and for the redress of ed; and the first factory appearing to which those lawsuits had been com prosper, others were erected, bringing menced, were entirely and for ever an additional population, and calling forgotten; and in proportion as the for further erections of houses; and estrangement of the Shufflebothams shops and inns became greatly in reand the Wraggs had been long and quest, and Our Village very speedily bitter, were their efforts to oblige and began to assume the appearance of a conciliate each other.
bustling populous place. In the midst of these ebullitions of Adonijah and Ichabod thus realized good feeling Kesiah slowly but gra- a considerable property from their dually recruited, and as she became speculations, and as Our Village flouable to go out and mix somewhat with rished, the male part of the two fami.