« PreviousContinue »
Pillowed his white bead on her filial breast,
She was the last
poor old man bad seen around him fall,
He blessed her as he lay,
Lost! lost I lost!
Time for amendment-time for better things
But too late
your fare, and
HOW WE WENT TO SEE THE MILITIA REVIEW.
cousin's regiment was cleared in a morning. It was in vain that he apostrophised them as “sons of England, and defenders of her soil," and spoke of " leading them to glory,” and “wreathing their brows with laurels”—(I do not know where he intended to procure them from in the dirty foreign quarters in which they were to be billeted)—they were low and degraded enough to prefer their wives and sweethearts to all the glory he could offer them, and were actually seen drivelling on parade under a mystical impression they had imbibed from his speech to them, that they were to be torn from the bosoms of their families, and offered as bleeding sacrifices on the altar of their country. It was just at this period that we visited the town in which our cousin's regiment was quartered, and in an unhappy moment asked him to give us one of his beautiful military reviews before he left England. Always too gallant to refuse, he fixed an early day for us, and Mrs. Delorme, at whose hogpitable house we were staying, insisted upon having her beautiful bays
put into her new barouche, and driving us all on to the ground. The morning was dull, foggy, and disagreeable, but our military enthusiasm kept us warm, and our difficulty in deciding on the exact spot of ground designed for the review made it all the more interesting. Clementina was certain it was where the reviews had been held before, but Theresa had private information this ground had been taken away from them, and that we must go up to the gate of a certain large turnip-field, vividly impressed on the
memory of all of us by reason of the unpleasant odour that exhaled therefrom as we passed it the day before, owing to a right of road that had been opened through it over rotten turnips on a humid ground. Theresa was right, as she always is. We heard their delightful guns popping away through the mist at the very moment the savoury turnip-steam again assailed our nostrils. It was clear we must go right through the turnips to get at the ground on which they were practising. You might have thought a soup-kitchen, of a very low description, was already established there, such a steam the greens gave out
such a warm, moist, pungent atmosphere. We came upon Symthe de Symthe quite by surprise-"sunbeams breaking through the mist” — he called it; but I think privately he was a little annoyed as a rusty-looking private was just wiping down his “charger” with a wisp of damp-looking hay, that noble animal having lost his footing in the mud, and rather blemished his beauty by the thick coating with which he had bedaubed himself. It is true we could not see all the geography of the field, as there was a large puddle and a gate facing us which refused, under any persuasion, to allow itself to be opened; but now the gallantry of Mr. Cousin shone forth conspicuously. Raising himself in his saddle-girths, and pointing in a commanding manner to two of the soldiers, he ordered them “ to come forward, and make way for the ladies !" It was well that John had the good sense to get off and hold the horses' heads, or they and the soldiers would inevitably have come into collision. As we went in foundering knee-deep in mud through the remains of the shattered gate, and found ourselves really on the field for practice, the drafts from the regiment made it look somewhat ridiculously small, and it struck me that both the men and their garments were rather“ seedy;" but, as our cousin said, “it was necessary to keep up discipline in these stirring times, and perhaps they were rather
worn on the strength of it." They went through their " evolutions," however, in a wonderful manner, the swords flashing, the guns firingthe legs all going together—and of course we applauded at each new act. Clementina said, indeed, she did not see what there was in it to bring us all out of our beds on such a wretched morning ; but I know she was disappointed because young Robson was not on the ground ; and as for Theresa, she did not know
whether they or Symthe de Symthe were most to be admired. She told us, after leaving the ground, that she thought she was cut out for a military life, and hoped we did not imbibe the foolish prejudices some people had against widowers; but we did not agree with her at the time, all our dresses having come “limp," and there being some very unorthodox spots of mud on our new French bonnets. Of course we told our cousin Symthe de Symthe what beautiful order his regiment was in, and how much we were charmed and edified by all we had seen ; but to you, dear public, to whom our hearts are opened, we have no hesitation in confessing that there was base metal in the sounding gold even in the glorification of a militia review.
ADVENTURES OF BENJAMIN BOBBIN THE BAGMAN.
BY CRAWFORD WILSON.
THE COUNTRY CURATE.
“SPEAKING of clergymen,” said Mr. Cripps, in his mild tones, “I'N tell you a fact that of late years happened under my own observation.” He evidently desired to change light subjects; he considered them unfitted for the Sabbath evening.
You are all aware that I am not the youngest individual in the room. I've ran already nearly two-thirds of the race allotted to men in the present generation. My hair, like many of our worldly friends, began to fall off from me when I commenced descending into the vale of years. But as it is not of myself but of a dear friend I mean to speak, I shall not trespass upon your patience by a lengthened preface that can be of no possible interest to you, but commence at once with the hardships endured by my uncomplaining friend.
When at school, some thirty-five years ago, I had the good fortune to gain the esteem of the senior boy; he was my elder by six years. Í was twelve, he eighteen. He was of a very steady cast of character reflective, generous, amiable, and docile almost to a fault; passionately fond of reading, gifted with most extraordinary retentive faculties, possessed of great concentrative powers, indomitable perseveranee, and extreme fortitude and patience under difficulties. He was the only son of a widow, whose little stipend barely sufficed to give him a good classical education, and keep herself and daughter in a respectable position. He was exceedingly attached to her, and laboured severely to advance himself (as he knew that that was her heart's dearest wish), with the Church for his goal.
As I was also of a retiring nature he took great notice of me, pitied and cheered my dulness and stupidity, aided me in my tasks, and delighted in conversing with me. I have sat by his side and listened to him-boy as I was--for hours, in a secluded corner of the playground, whilst he read or expounded passages from history or Scripture that to me were as sealed books until his simple method of explaining them made all elear to my comprehension. I cared not for play when he was disengaged, nor for the nickname of “ Tom Morton's Dervise,” with which my schoolfellows branded me. I loved him and his society, looked upon him with awe and reverence, and only felt happy when we were together.
But the time came when he had to leave the school, and with it a misfortune to himself and his family of which they never dreamt. His mother had commissioned her solicitor to raise a sufficient sum of money upon her slender annuity to put her son through his collegiate examinations, but the wretch mortgaged the full amount heavily, and decamped. Poor Tom! it nearly broke his heart. It is a sorry omen when a young man, full of hopes, strikes his legs against such an obstacle as ruin at the first step he takes from his school, in this world of trouble. Another man would have been crushed by the calamity, but Tom had others to live for