Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

BY THE HON. J. A. MAYNARD.

hands, did the child fling it from her and kick it THE WIDOW BARTHOLOMEW. for carrion out of her path.

There was something in this scene which terrified Geraldine, if in a different manner, yet in a

The good dame Bartholomew, much greater degree, than the furious cat had

What was her fate? done. It was the first gleam she had had of the

Go, down to her cottage door, stormy passions that slumbered in that young

Through by the gateheart; and she felt what giants to work good or evil were crouching there. Florentia herself could

The gate without hinges, Sir, not understand that she had done the least wrong

Broken and old; in giving way to her anger; and how could Ge

They took all her things for rentraldine chide very severely, when that anger had

Took them and sold. been aroused in her defence ? “What shall I call you?” had been one of the

She's gone to the Union place, child's earliest questions to her protectress, and

Ag’d and forlorn

A widow of three-score years Geraldine pausing a minute had said, “Call me sister.” So sister, sister, was the sweet word

Object of scorn! that rung daily, hourly, in her ears, with a har

She's poor and a burden, Sir, mony of wbich she never wearied, suggesting as

Silver'd her hair; it ever did some thought of affection. Geraldine

Her wrinkles thick cluster, Sir, asked not herself how it was that she cared so

Plough'd up by care. much less than before for her acquaintances; and yet it was so: the companionship of the

A son and a daughter, Sir, loving and fresh-hearted child seemed all in all

Those were her all; 10 her. This love was her one reality in life. Let

The daughter had beauty, Sir, us pause to ask if it clashed with that which was

Soon did she fall!her soul's sustaining Idea! Not for one instant. Distinct as double stars,

But the son he strove hard, Sir, they lent each other a light-blended their rays

Early and late; it might be, but never disturbed the harmony of

Food was dear-wages lowher being. She wrote to Lionel Weymouth a full

'Twas but his fate! account of the shipwreck; mentioned the adoption of the little unknown child; described her ex

For snaring they took him, Sir,

Sent him to jail ; traordinary beauty; sketched her strange im

And jail it but hardens, Sir, pulsive character; gave even the anecdote of the

'Tis an old tale! slaughtered cat, which latter incident won from him a hearty approval, and caused him always to

He's over the ocean, Sir, mention her as the little heroine. He applauded

Alter'd and lostGeraldine's adoption of her, and rejoiced

A soul run to waste and crimethat she had so interesting a companion ;

Reckless, sin-tost. and now, when presents came “from India, the protegée was sure to be remembered. But

Ilis mother is breaking, Sir, the gift , however gorgeous or costly, was always

Breaking through woe; a childish toy. Lionel had been told she was a

Sore her heart, white her headlittle girl of nine or ten, or eleven years old, and

White as the snow. forgot the change that four or five years must work in these early spring-days of life. How stiftly they passed by, seeming like a dream to look back on !-yet they opened to perfect love

THE EARLY MORNING. liness the budding promise of the child, while they stealthily robbed Geraldine of her early

(A Sonnet.) bloom. Still she looked younger than she really was; as they always do-when compared with commoner clay–who have souls to light How sweet the summer-morn!-the golden prime, up the countenance, and make known the one

When the young day comes blushing o'er the hills, imperishable beauty of expression.

Sparkling in beauty 'mid a thousand rills,

Which wander o'er the earth with fairy chime, (To be concluded in our next.)

Making sweet music as they wildly climb.

O'er hill and dale all brightly flowing on,

The tinkling waters, as they glide along,
Bring holy thoughts which will outlive all Time.

A spirit moving 'mid the shady grove

Seems ever singing to old sounds of love-
So calm the spirit of the atmosphere.

O let me listen to the wand'ring voice,
Which, though in sadness, makes my heart ro-

joice,
And brings before mine eyes sweet visions dear.

BY MRS. CHARLES ROWLAND DICKEN.

MRS. HARRI ET L E E.

THE LAST SURVIVING AUThor or “THE CANTERBURY TALES."

If Old Age be always-more or less-vene- | and vigorous construction of plot it displays, rable, surely it is never so much so as when the true and powerful historical colouring which reposing in dignified retirement apart from the is maintained throughout; and last though by strife and struggle of busy life; enjoying that no means the least charm--since it is one in rest which has been justly earned by honourable which so many modern would-be-novelists fail exertions, and the fulfilment of difficult duties -- for a lucid and euphonious style, which shows in earlier years; and waiting the final summons that composition had been studied as an art. It with liopeful trust and calm content.

has been said that Scott was indebted to this We have rarely felt more impressed with this novel for many suggestions for his Kenilworth ; truth than on recently reading in the newspaper and be, so rich in gifts that were all his own, obituaries the name of Mrs. Harriet Lee, at the would probably have been the first to acknowadvanced age of ninety-five. Belonging to the ledge his obligation. generation of the grandınothers and great grand- About the year 1797, the first volume of the mothers of the active, stirring, reading, writing, celebrated “ Canterbury Tales" *-- the joint proruling, prime-of-life men and women of the duction of the two sisters-appeared, and met present day, her having tarried among us so with so decided a success, that the series was lony seemed a sort of anomaly the more strange quickly extended to fire volumes. The plan and when announced, because previously so little outline of this work belonged exclusively to known even in the Republic of Letters, which is Harriet, the younger sister, although the author usually pretty well informed about the doings of of “The Recess” contributed “The Young its citoyens and citoyennes. A brief retrospect Lady's Tale, or the Two Emilys," and "The of the lives of the two sisters will perhaps, how- Clergyman's Tale, or Pembroke;" together ever, best lead up to our subject.

with the narrative introduction to the first roSophia and Harriet Lee were the daughters of lume. To Harriet Lee, however, belongs the a gentleman who, originally articled to a soli- fame of having written the powerful and original citor, subsequently adopted the stage as a pro- story of “Kruitzner,” which appeared in the fession. Sophia, the elder, was born in 1750, fourth volume of the "

Canterbury Tales," and though early evir.cing a taste for literature, and suggested to Lord Byron, as is so widely the domestic duties which devolved on her in known, his tragedy of “Werner.” Indeed, the consequence of the early death of her mother noble poet acknowledge and announced his seem to have delayed the development of her obligation, saying in his preface—“I have powers. She did not appear as an authoress till adopted the characters, plan, and even the her thirtieth year, when a comedy from her pen, language of many parts of this story. Some of called “The Chapter of Accidente” was brought the characters are modified or altered, a few of out at the Haymarket under the management of the names changed, and one character (Ida of the elder Colman, and received with great ap- Stralenheim) added by myself; but in the rest plause. The profits derived from this play were the original is chiefly followed.” devoted to the establishment of a ladies' school A writer in the twelfth volume of Blackwood's at Bath, where both sisters now settled, and Magazine is very severe on Byron, declaring seem to have combined for many years, in a that he has invented nothing, and contrasting singularly happy manner, the arduous duties of his manner of appropriation with that of Shakinstruction and authorship. In 1784 Miss Lee spere, who, when he was indebted to some old published " The Recess,” which may justly be novelist for a story, breathed a life into the chaconsidered the pioneer of the historical romance. racters which they had never possessed before

. The scene is laid in the time of Queen Eliza- Writing of Werner, this critic says :-" Indeed

, heth; Norfolk, Essex, Leicester, and the un- but for the preparation which we had received happy Queen of Scots, being the principal real froin our old 'familiarity with Miss Lee's own personages introduced. It is a book which, adinirable work, we rather incline to think ne judged even by the modern canons of criticism, should have been unable to comprehend the gist displays many admirable qualities. Somewhat of her noble imitator, or rather copier, in several of verbose it is, and replete with minute details; what seem to be meant for his most elaborate debut in those days a good novel was a feast never lineations. The fact is, that this undeviating closecomplained of for the tediousness of its courses : ness, this humble fidelity of imitation, is a thing it is full of high-wrought romantic incidents, verging on the debateable ground between the improbable and the impossible; but sixty or

* In the preface to one of the later editions of the seventy years ago we suspect the delicate flavour - were first called such in badinage between the

“ Canterbury Tales,” Harriet Lee writes that they of the genuine simple story would have been anthors, as being a proverbial phrase for gossiping voted insipid and unpalatable. While, with these long stories ; certainly with no thought of blending drawbacks-to modern readers —" The Recess" then with the recollection of our great English is still remarkable for the brilliant imagination classic,"

so perfectly new in anything worthy of the lived, and before Louis Seize mounted his rotten name of literature, that we are sure no one, who crumbling throne! What a century to have has not read the ‘Canterbury Tales,' will be so nearly rounded! What an experience to have able to form the least conception of what it crowded even into ninety-five years ! amounts to.

In the year 1803 Sophia and Harriet Lee re"Those who have never read Miss Lee's book linquished their school, having not only acwill, however, be pleased with this production ; quired a provision for their old age, but estabfor, in truth, the strry is one of the most power- lished a large family of nephew's and nieces in fully conceived, one of the most picturesque, life. A few years afterwards they took up their and at the same time instructive stories, that we abode in a charining house at Clifton, and are acquainted with. Indeed, thus led as we are honoured and esteemed for all the virtues which to name Harriet Lee, we cannot allow the oppor- adorn private life, and famous for talents which tunity to ass without saying that we have al- had always been employed to improve while ways considered her works as standing upon the they amused, they must have spent inany years verge of the very first rank of excellence; that is of repose and enjoyment not easily to be overto say, as inferior to no English novels what estimated. erer, excepting those of Fielding, Sterne, Smol- Sophia Lee expired at the ripe age of seventy: lett, Richardson, Defoe, Radcliffe, Godwin, four, on the 13th March, 1924, in the arms of Edgeworth, and the author of ‘Waverley.' It that attached sister who was destined so long to would not, perhaps, be going too far to say, that survive her. Once during the last twentythe Canterbury Tales' exhibit more of that seven years we hear of Mrs. Harriet Lee as an species of inreniion which, as we have already author; about fifteen years ago a play from her remarked, was never common in English litera- pen was produced at Covent Garden Theatre, ture, than any of the works of those first-rate but it failed to attract and soon sank into ohnovelists we have named, with the single excep- livion. With this exception her existence seems tion of Fielding.

scarcely to have been recognized beyond the “ Kruitzner, or the Gerinan's 'Tale,” possesses limited, yet not narrow circle, of her intimate mystery, and yet clearness, as to its structure; and admiring friends. She inet old age gracestrength of characters, and admirable contrast of fully, and it was tenderly kind to her. By those characters; and above all, the most lively in- who knew her to the last her memory is said to terest, blended with, and subsei vient to, the have retained its always remarkable vigour, and most affecting of moral lessons. The main idea her wonderful conversational powers to have rewhich lies at the root of it is, the horror of an mained unabated. But no persuasions-and erring father, who, having been detected in vice must they not have been many? - drew her into by his son, has dared to defend his own sin, and general society. We have no account of her so to perplex the son's notions of moral recti. faded cheeks and snowy locks decked out for tude, on finding that the son, in his turn, has "midnight revelries ;” no mention of her among pushed the false principles thus instilled to the the coteries. No; her truly venerable old age was last and worst extreme, on liearing his own one of honour, dignity, and repose;

the

proper sopbistries tlung in his face by a - Murderer !” sequence to the activity and energy of early life.

Though newer naines are more familiar in our Mrs. Harriet Lee died at Clifton on the 1st of mouths than that of Harriet Lee, it is not diffi- August, conscious of her approaching end, and cult to imagine the high consideration in which devoutly happy and resigned.

C. C. she was held, both by the readers and the critics of a past generation. We have failed to discover any published memoir of importance of this venerable lady, but we cannot help con

WASTED AFFECTION. jecturing what an autobiography she might have written, and what curious and intensely interest- Oft the dew of love descendeth ing memoranda of her life may possibly be in On some thankless heart and cold; existence. Authentic records show her as the There with no warm feeling blendeth friend of Mrs. Siddons, and John Kemble, and

Friendship's blossom to unfol!. Jane Porter, and General Paoli; and as a clearjudging seer, who predicted the success and Then the soul thus ill-requiteilcelebrity of Sir Thomas Lawrence. What a

Tempted to withhold its storeworld of the past do these names conjure up!

All its love, so early blighted, and what a homily on the length and the brevity,

Drells apart for ever'inore. the greatness and the littleness, of human life do they-in connection with the Survivor of

Yet 'twere well did such bethink them all- suggest! To have predicted the fame of the

Kindly thoughts were given to bless boy-artist, and then to live on till they who at

Hearts to which this life may link them —

Not thus idly to lepress. his prime le painted in their youthful bloom have faded to elderly matrons; to have been What if Heaven on them in measure born when George the Third was a stripling Thus its bounteons gifts bestow, prince, and live into the blessed reign of Vic- Still withhold each promis'd pleasure toria, and the days of a Crystal Palace; to have Till their spirit gratetu glow! been an intelligent little maiden ere Napoleon

IRITZ

THE EXILES OF CAPRI.

(A True Story of Modern Italy.)

Kissing goes by favour," saith the old pro- On that terrace we spent our days. A large verb, and so does praising. The “ Continental swing lamp hanging from its matted roof acted Bradshaw” devotes half-a-dozen pages to that the part of The Salt. Below it was set a table for Cockney-Paris Brussels, and a column of en- servants and children; above it we eat our own thusiasm to Capri; while Florence and Venice meals like eastern sultans. are disposed of in three lines, naming the Envoy, The matting overhead kept off the sun, while and the worst, not the best, medical men. the air came freely in from the sea, and the vier

Who obtained for Capri that honourable unbroken lay before us. The tongues of men mention ?

and angels could not describe it; Naples, Quoth Bradshaw, “ the climate is particularly twenty-three miles off, ras distinctly visible

. favourable to all complaints of the bronchia." St. Elmo's Castle, like a barometer, registered May be-all I know is, that, being myself by on its tall crest every atmospheric change. l'ehabit and repute a victim to that complaint, suvius, no longer a twin pair as it appears from Capri afflicted ine with a severer return thereof the city, at Capri rises in a single cone, with than I had experienced since I encountered the such a gradual slope from the level purple plain

, east winds of our foggy isle of England. that one fancies it to be a work of man raised

Quoth Bradshaw, food is there abundant step by step above the greensward. Not once and cheap.” May be; but I knew three re- during our stay in those vicinities did the hell. spectable ladies nearly starved because they mouth send out a flame. Weary with the great could not live upon cuttle fish and pumpkins. eruption of March, it lay all July in a dead Truly Capri is a land flowing with oil and slumber, only a white puft

' of cloud hovering as wine, but the solid flesh is rare. Brahminical a remembrancer over the crater's top. You did cows, that die unmolested in a good old age, are not trace it ascending from the lip: you only its beef; its mutton travels over from Naples, saw it hanging motionless in the clear, blue eight hours under a burning sun-a method of air. And fearless white villas hung on the cooking not quite agreeable. Its fowls have a skirts of that destructive volcano, as children mixture of bone and yellow fat, utterly destituie cling on to the sabre-tache and sword-belt of a of white meat, which our host used to ascribe redoubted warrior. And a huge arm of Capri to their diet of Indian corn, and which certainly thrust itself out into the blue sea on our right; rendered them interesting ornithological spe- while in the shadow of its perpendicular rock cimens, but very bad fare.

face, brown naked boys disported themselves In short, fish is the staple resource of Capri, among the transparent waters, and the weedy as it is of the Hebrides ; its fertility reduces its ruins of Roman palaces. inhabitants to the same diet as does the barren- Much, much more did that terrace show us, ness of the Scottish isles. Little delicate an- which sank into our heart of hearts, but which chovies, rich cephalopods, eels curly as small refuses to come drily forth and deposit itself on snakes, red glistening mullet, and sarpe, a fish this prosy page. In the evenings we sallied out that tastes strongly of the sea-weed on which it and climbed the steep path leading to the town feeds; these were our dinner materials. When of Capri -a path made for the behoof of shoethese failed, our host displayed inexhaustible makers; to go up it and to go down it would invention in the concoction of entrées, consisting make an end of the finest and strongest boots generally of fries. To-day fried potatoes, dis- sold between Temple Bar and the Crystal guised beyond recognition even by an Irishman; Palace. It is composed partly of rough shingle, to-morrow fried French beans, cut into fantastic partly of rude steps more than half worn away. forms; now a fry of cucuzzoli (a sweet-tasted, Olives rise above you, vineyards and orchards green sort of gherkin); another time of ricotto, below you, and every step gives a different and or curdled cream. But a meal off the joint dear a lovelier view of the Bay, of the promontory of to hungry Britons is not attainable in Capri. Massa and Campanella, of the wild masses of This much, 0 Continental Bradshaw, I write, St. Angelo towering behind, and the far of because due to the sacred cause of truth: I must Abruzzi peaks, and the solitary mount of Moco say amen to all praises of its scenery. I used dragone, until

, as you reach the old town gate, often to think that in the after-life alone could you turn and behold Ischia, Procida, and Nicita

, such eye-joy be surpassed. We lived in a low- glearning like topazes in the setting sun. Hox. roofed house, one single story towards the ever hot might be the evening, always a cold land, but on the sea-ward side sinking ab- blast rushed through that dark and ancient ruptly in a precipice, with a range of offices archway; consequently its two stone benches under a broad airy terrace.

were more than comfortably full. Peasants and

vine-dressers, fishermen and loungers, and a surf which whitened the narrow strand below, number of melancholy men, to whom, Italians as with such an intense yearning, such a piteous they evidently were, idleness did not seem to appeal to the unchecked seas and tameless winds, bring its own all-sufficient reward. I have been that my heart ached for him-an exile ! I so used to see the southrons enjoying their ex- thought of Campbell's exquisite poem, “ There istence, taking in the sense of being at every came to the beach a poor Exile of Erin," and pore, that I felt riveted by these lack-lustre from that moment the scene became consecrated faces and aimless wandering eyes. To thein to me with a higher spell than that of mere nathe exquisite beauty all around was as a blank. tural beauty. They pined-and for what? For liberty-they We stayed long at Capri, roaming nightly over were exiles.

its rocky paths; and ever as we went, the place Then we rambled through the odd old piazza, seemed haunted by these mournful-eyed exiles, with its rusty, absurd old jail, in which I once They saw the myrtle plain, and the rock-wall saw a prisoner, who had a just appreciation of silvered by moonlight, with far different emo. the advantages of his lot, staring eagerly at a tions from ours. We had chosen to live in that triumphal arch erected close before his grating, lonely island : they were chained down to it like and an illuminated display of fireworks let off | so many little Napoleons. just under his rejoicing eyes; past the sump- We could ramble freely even till midnight; tuous and unpicturesque cathedral, up whose but the drum called them into their hot, cheersteps were hastening, at the resper-bell, women less quarters just when the outer world was most with white veils on their black plaits, and sipaddled babes on their swarthy shoulders ; Some of them were not ashamed to beg, being and so diring down a narrow water-course, peb- forbid to dig. We inquired their story from bly and rocky, and a torture to all with thin the judge, who was often with iis in our walks, shoes and corns, we came on a lonely descend. and he told us the following:- They had formed ing path, down among fields of poppied grain, part of a brigade of rolunteers, organized in 1848 and by the gnarled roots of aged olives, through to march against the Austrians in Lombardy. wildernesses of myrtles and aniseed, and sca- They were the free gift of the nation; and the bious, and clematis, and lovely little campa- king, sitting uneasily, like all his cornfraternity in nulas and saxifrage, down to a round projection those days, whose place was upon thrones, outof the cliff's jutting out into the sea, walled and wardly approved of their demonstrative pa. provided with stone seats. It was a wild and triotism, and himself saw them embark-thus lonely scene. On our right a lofty rock rose sanctioning the enterprise. But alas! Austria sheer from the strand, sloping landward towards triumphed; and the volunteers, as many as surthe town of Capri, but presenting to the ocean vived, trooped homewards, sorrowful and cresta red, furrowed, unscalable precipice, broken fallen. But little knew they what treachery only by a cavern midway, inaccessible save to awaited them at their sovereign's hands! “The winged fowl. Its highest peak was surmounted same mouth,” said St. James, “ doth not send by a ruined castle, strongly fortified by the forth blessing and cursing ;" but the apostle French, and said to be haunted by spirits for the lived before the days of the Bourbons. sake of its buried treasures.

The king, quaking as much before the stern Right in front of us, cleaving the calın blue Austrian as he had done before the heady popu. waters, were those remarkable rocks, the Farra lace, ordered these remnants of a sanguinary Leone, three in number, but two of them stand- defeat to be seized and flung into prison. War ing so near that it is only at particular angles had pitied their fall from rapturous hope into you can perceive the division. In one of them black despair-had abstained from smiting their is a high natural arch, under which large boats body, even as Satan long dealt with Job; but can pass. Her Majesty's frigate Thetis, with all the Bourbon claimed “skin for skin.” At sails set, was steered in betwixt the shore and length, in a merciful mood, he had seventy-tive the nearest of these rocks. The inhabitants of them swept like garbage out of his city, and could hardly believe their eyes when they beheld cast on the lonely, isolated little Capri, there to the success of this rash experiment. It proved, subsist on fourpence a-day, strictly overwatched bowever, the inmense depth of the water in by the military there. “ Fourpence a-day!" shore, and the extraordinary height of these said one of the exiles to us; " why it does not lofty rocks, measured from their foundation at keep us in shoes !” and I believe him. I know the bottom of the sea. A ship seen near them we all wore out an incalculable number of strong falls to the size of a child's toy: their colour is shoes, made on purpose for those stony tracts, a rich brown, their shape fantastically gothic. | during our monti's residence on the island. All along this side of the island the clift's take The story of the young officer whom we had the strangest forms-pinnacles, arches, spires, seen near the Farra Leone was still more filying buttresses, all sorts of combinations, touching. suggest themselves to the imaginative wanderer. He was of good fainily, and not personally Beyond the Farra Leone lay the Great Sea, compromised in any of the political questions. rolling down towards unseen Sicily and Africa, On the contrary, he had served the king on the felt only too palpably in its nightly sirocco bloody 18th of May, doing his duty consciblasts. And there on the low beach of rock a entiously; though aware that his friends and reyoung man sat, and gazed over the trembling lations were in the Garde Nationale, he had not

« AnteriorContinuar »