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AMONG the many miserable and which says that 'the grave levels all humiliating spectacles which so often ranks.' present theinselves in the crowded I never see a pauper's funeral but streets of the richest capital in the I follow it, to observe the manner in world, a pauper's funeral is one of which the cold corpse is consigned to the most melancholy. It is like a its mother earth. You may infer parody upon the gorgeous irgeantry from this that I am an idle person, with which the opulent deck out this that I possess some singular tastes, last act of their tragedy or farce; and that I am of a melancholy turn. for, to a great portion of them, life Your first conclusions would be sufis either a tragedy or a farce. A ficiently correct; but you would be work house funeral glides through the mistaken in the last. I do not seek streets silent and noteless, so humble melancholy occasions-God knows in its appearance, so slender in its they find a man out often enough, let retinue, that the busy crowd who his path lie whither it may!-on the jostle past ii, on either side, hardly contrary, I love laughter, and am of see that they are shouldering a sub- a mercurial disposition; and yet stance which is now that which they there are times when a melancholy inust soon be, and in which but lately spectacle acts as à mental corrobothe same swarm of agitating passions rant, and strengthens one's thoughts and feelings was hived. The coffin up to the ills one has to bear, by of the coarsest and worst materials, showing the misery of many, and the for your parish undertaker only finds vanity of all things under the sun. it difficult to provide such as are not Lady' Montague, somewhere, in one too good for his customers; a pall, of her letters, written when she had once velvet, but now, by long ser- become old, and when, although not vice, grown brown and bare ; cloaks less witty, she was more wise than in plentifully darned, and yet scarcely her younger days, recommends her enough to hide all the holes which time daughter, who had been speaking in and the innumerable wearers of these terms of the strongest affection of
solemn suits of customary'-nother children, not to love them too 'black, but russet; and all the other inuch, nor to indulge even in all appointments bearing marks of that their natural force those feelings niggard spirit with which the reck. which, in a young mother, are at less survivors yield the last decencies once so beautiful and so powerful; of mortality to those who can no because she reminds her, that, by longer minister to their pride or their some of the accidents to which 'flesh profit.
is heir,' she might be deprived of her The ‘ mourners' are commonly two children, and that then her grief would imbeciles, palsied or idiots; who, be proportioned to the intense love being unable to work, are made to which she had borne them. She enact dumb sorrows, which they can in- joins her, therefore, to love them spire in others, but cannot feel them- less; and to prepare her mind, by selves, and to stand with their hats checking and curbing it, for the disoff beside the open grave, while the appointments which, in all human voluble parson profanely jabbers so probability, she would be doomed to much of the burial service as he bear. It is a cold and heartless prethinks a pauper's soul can want or cept, applied in this way; and all that deserve. Even the place of burial is this witty profligate said and did was usually different from that of others, nearly of the same character; but, whom Misery has not marked for as applied to the things of the world her own; and a dismal spot of ground, generally, nothing can be more wise. in some wretched neigsibourhood, is It is hateful, as an attempt to loosen set apart for the interment of the the holiest bond that can connect poor: thus keeping up, even in the human sympathies ; but it is sage, manner of rotting, a distinction be- as a divine revelation, if it is regardtween the different orders of society, ed only in the form of a caution to and giving the lie to the proverb, men not to let their hearts fasten
and take root upon the rocky path the grave, I read upon the coffinwhich they have here to tread. If plate a name which was famlliar to any man thinks too well and too me: it was Francis Post-Obit, who, fondly of the world, let him go and it appeared, had died in the thirtycontemplate a pauper's funeral. eighth year of his age. I had known
This train of thought was gene- a man of this name some years berated in my mind a short time ago, fore, and his age would perhaps have as, in making my way from Soho been just that of the corpse lying Square, I encountered, in some of the before me; but, as his fortune was defiles thereabouts - the name of at that time good, and liis expectawhich I cannot recollect-one of tions much better, I thought it could these spectacles. It was on one of by no possibility be the same person: those days—of which we have so still a feeling of curiosity kept me many in England, and with which near the grave until the funeral was no other country cursed a small
The old man, whorn I had drizzling rain was falling, which, before observed, looked sorrowfully with the assistance of the smoke and into the grave; and, as he turned bad air in the neighbourhood I speak away, put his hand to his eyes. I of, produced a sort of palpable fog, followed him, and soon learnt from at once uncomfortable to the feelings him that the unfortunate man who and depressing the spirits: it was, in had been thus obscurely buried was short, such a day as a man, if he had the same I had once known, and that to choose, would wish to be buried the old man, who gave me this in
The coffin was preceded by a formation, had been his father's serfat red-faced undertaker's man, who vant. From him I obtained some wore the undress costume of his particulars, which, joined to facts tribe; that is to say, all black, with already within my knowledge, acthe exception of his stockings, which quainted me with nearly the whole were white, and over which he wore a of Post-Obit's history. pair of very dirty Hessian boots. His father was a clergyman in the The coffin was borne by some of the north of England, who, having no, workhouse men, whose coats and jack- thing else to give him, bestowed on ets, of various colours, were seen him an education which would have under the scanty pall. A paralytic fitted him for almost any employidiot, in a suit of gaudy livery-for ment in which talents and informathe parish officers can buy cast-off tion were requisite. At Cambridge finery at a cheaper rate than more the young man acquired a taste for sober clothes-followed the coffin ; expense, which he saw with bitterand beside him walked an old man, ness that he could never hope to grain whose looks there was an expres- tify; but this conviction, instead of sion of sincere grief, which princi- making him contented with his lot, pally attracted my attention. He only irritated still further his desires ; was dressed in decent black, and ap- and the possession of wealth seemed peared to be too deeply affected by to him the only happiness which a the sorrowful task he was engaged reasonable man ought to strive to in to notice the grimaces of the half- attain. He often said that it appearwitted fool who was placed, as if in ed to him there was only one good mockery, beside him. The proces, and one evil in the world—the first sion moved pretty quickly along the was riches; the second, poverty. streets, and, by a sudden turning, Soon after his quitting college, the was brought in sight of a workhouse death of a very distant relation, withburying-ground, which it entered. I out children, put him into the posfollowed, and saw the ceremony per- session of a small estate; which, alformed in the usual cold and careless though it was not enough to have satismanner, which I had witnessed too fied his desires, would have been very often to be surprised at. I should, useful in enabling him to pursue his perhaps, have quitted the place, and advancement in the world by other have thought nothing, as I knew no
It had, however, a directly thing more of the person who had been contrary effect upon him; he thought interred, but that, as I stooped over that, as, among his relations, there
were many wealthy persons, 'hę twelve years older. He, therefore, might, by exerting himself to please wrote to her that he should be happy them, induce them to leave him their to devote his whole life to making fortunes when they should happen to hers happy; and prepared to follow die; and, of all methods of gaining up his letter by his own personal asmoney, none seemed to him at once so easy and pleasant as that of in- The old lady accepted his offer, heriting. He always dressed in black and understood it literally. She exhimself, and thought it in others the pected, as rich and old people somemost interesting habit possible. A times do, that her caprices were to funeral was a gala to him; and he be laws to all around her, and that even solicited to be invited to those nobody was to look or breathe but of all his acquaintance, because the for her pleasure. A more despotic lugubrious ceremonies were so con- old dowager never lived for the torgenial to the temper of his mind. ment of others. Post-Obit went
Among the relations whom he had about his task with great ardour : marked out, and of whom he pro- he studied the old lady's character, posed to himself the pleasure of being and laid down a plan of making himthe principal legatee, were an uncle self perfectly agreeable to her in and aunt. He paid them visits, and every respect, with the hope that was so assiduous in his attentions to he might become so necessary to her each-so affectionate in the expres- happiness that she could never do sion of his letters--so disinterested without him. He was indefatigable ; in all his proceedings—that, as they and Heaven knows that he ought to were without children, or any other have been so, for the old lady was near relation, they both, at nearly unreasonable to the last degree. She the same moment, invited him to was fond of reading, but her eyecome and take up his abode with sight was so feeble that she dared them; intimating, though not ex. not exercise it; and, therefore, Postpressly saying, that it would be worth Obit was obliged to read to her his while to do so. A hint like this morning, noon, and night. She went for which he had been waiting was out but little, and then only for a pot thrown away upon Post-Obit; short time; she was visited by none but there was something embarrass- but old worn-out court ladies; and ing in the choice which he felt Post-Obit was as completely chained obliged to make. He was to her side as ever house-dog was to that to live with the one would his kennel: nay, worse-he was not compel him to renounce the other; let loose at night; for the old lady because, besides their hating one an- could not go to sleep without the other in that cordial manner so com- help of some novel-writer ; and the mon among near relatives, they lived devoted young man was obliged to in different parts of the country. sit by her bed-side, yawning over the Post-Obit debated the matter well in beauties of the Minerva press, until his own mind, and took the sagest his heart sickened. precautions, in order to ensure a This was all very irksome, but, correct judgment on the subject. In nevertheless, very necessary; for the the first place he procured the certi- old lady had other relations, who ficates of his relations' baptism, and were upon the watch, and who, if he sent, at some expense, a medical Post-Obit had made the least default person to examine into the health of in his attentions to her, would have each of them. He had estimates endeavoured to supplant him. To made at assurance offices, and con- increase his chagrin, his aunt seemed sulted the celebrated dumb fortune- to grow young again ; his unwearied teller as to the duration of their attention rendered her so tranquil lives. At length, having got all his and comfortable, that her health was proofs together, and examined them better than ever, and he began to with great coolness, he decided in think that he was defeating his own favour of the aunt; because she was object; but he was, at the same nearly as rich as the uncle, and was time, convinced that to relax in his
Vi. 1.-No. 7.
assiduity would be to destroy his to tell you, with which you will be hopes.
delighted. You know the doctor who While these thoughts were upper- has cured me?' most in his mind, he received a let- Yes; and I know, too, that he ter, which informed him that his has laid me under an eternal obliuncle was at the point of death, and gation by doing so,' replied the affechad expressed a strong desire to see tionate nephew. him. Post-Obit thought that a man * Ay; but you don't know,' regiven over by his physicians was joined the uncle, 'the extent of your more likely to die than an old woman obligation. He has imparted to me in such excellent health as his aunt a secret.' was, and he therefore set off to the What!' asked Frank, eagerly, dying man, without taking leave of has he taught you to make gold?' his aunt. When he arrived at his Oh! no; better than that.' uncle's bed-side, he was so attentive, • What can be better than that?' and so adroitly excused himself for He has taught me a secret, by not having been to see him before, which I can prolong my life several that the sick man was soon appeased. thousand years.' Nothing could equal the anxiety of Frank could have told his uncle Post-Ohit for bis dear uncle's life, that he was an old fool, but he reand it seemed to produce the im- frained. He saw that the quack was pression he wished. My, dear a dangerous man, so he quarrelled nephew,' said the uncle, • if you with him the same evening, by way had been with me, I should never of getting rid of him. The result have been reduced to this state.'- was, however, quite contrary to his
My dear uncle,' the nephew could expectations ; for his uncle, instead have replied, but did not, if you had of dismissing the quack, besought not been reduced to this state, I his dear nephew to quit his house, should never have been with you.' because,' he said, 'the secret of en
Still the old gentleman continued joying life was too important to be in a deplorable state of health. The trifled with; and the doctor could physicians said they could do nothing not pursue the necessary labour and for him; but, like all sick men, the studies under the same roof with a patient was not satisfied unless he person who had provoked him to took physic. A quack doctor had an altercation, and who evidently been recommended, whose skill his hore him ill will. Frank saw that uncle was desirous to try; and, as his empire was destroyed, and that Post-Obit knew that, although there the old man's fear, together with the are some diseases which even able doctor's impudence, had made the physicians cannot cure, there is al- latter lord of the ascendant; so, ways a great chance for the heir without wasting time in remonwhen a quack comes in to practice, strancès, he took his departure, in he consented that he should pre- the hope of being reconciled to his scribe. By chance, or by that ill aunt. luck which seemed to beset Post- The abrupt manner in which he Obit, this quack cured his uncle; had quitted her caused her, in the and, in a few weeks, he had the dis- first instance, the most poignant sorappointment of seeing him restored row. She had survived those years to an excellent state of health. The in which people weep for the loss of quack dabbled a little in alchymy; any object on which their affections and his success having given him a may be placed; but Frank had so long great influence over the old gentle- ministered to her comforts, that she man, who was not the wisest of God's deplored his absence because she creatures, he made him believe that missed the care and attention he he possessed the secret of com- used to bestow upon her. It happounding the elixir vita. One day pened that an Irish footman, whom the old man broke into his nephew's Frank had discharged, came to inroom, almost jumping for joy. My quire for his late master; and learndear Frank,' he said, I have a secret ing, from the lady's maid, how things were, he presented himself in the him. His new friend possessed excharacter of a gentleman, the junior tensive estates, which he took Frank branch of a respectable family, and, to visit. He pointed out to him all in a week after his first appearance, these advantages in the minutest the old lady married him. When manner, in order that he might be Frank returned, Lawrence O'Brady, acquainted with property which was Esq. welcomed him with the greatest soon to be his own. He sent for an cordiality, and appeared to have got attorney in the next town, and had rid of the degrading recollection his will prepared, by which he made that he had ever blacked his boots. Frank the sole possessor of all his
Poor Frank was now almost in riches, of every description. After despair. To renew his acquaintance this act of generosity he was so with his uncle was impossible, for complaisant as to die within a fortthe quack doctor had maile such night; and Frank saw the golden good use of his time, that he had object, for which he had so long inspired the old man with a perfect toilcd, now within his grasp, and hatred for his nephew. It would, be- placed there, as it were, by accisides, not have been worth while, for dent. the doctor engaged him so deeply in He entered upon the possession of the pursuit of the elixir vitæ and his estates, and retained them not the philosopher's stone, that his for- quite a year. It appeared that the tune was dissipated, and he died just old gentleman was possessed of the in time to save himself from utter property, which he had bequeathed, poverty. He had resolved never under a family settlement; and, alagain to have any thing to do with though he had the right of disposing legacy hunting, but to endeavour, of it in any way he chose, yet that with the little fortune he had left, to disposition must be accompanied by become rich by his own exertions; certain forınalities, which the counwhen he was informed, by a particutry attorney had wholly neglected. lar friend, that there was an old The next heir commenced a suit in gentleman of the same name as him- Chancery, Frank was turned out of self, extremely rich, without any re- possession, and the estate put into lations, who was desirous of finding the hands of a receiver, until the out some one of his own family, how- question could be fully and properly ever remotely connected, to inherit discussed. The lawyers whom he his vast fortune. He thought it consulted advised him by all means would be worth while to visit him; to defend his claim; he followed and, without raising his expectations their advice, sold his small property too high, he fancied that it was pro- to pay their bills, was seized with bable he might reap some benefit sickness while attending the Court from the old man's favourable inten- of Chancery, sent by the person in tions. Here better success attended whose house he had lodgings to the him. The old man was fascinated workhouse, and there died in misery, by his obliging manners ; and his de- having no other attendant than the sire to please, which had, from long old servant whom I saw following practice, become habitual to him, him to the grave. Such was the fate made such an impression upon his of a man who might have been happy namesake, that, after a very short in himself, and an ornament to soacquaintance, he proposed to make ciety, but whose fatal passion for Frank his heir. Now a prospect of legacy hunting destroyed his hopes wealth seemed, indeed, to open upon and his happiness.