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A Recollection of the Gifted.
It was not enough for us that the authoress was a Mrs. Inchbald; we never rested until we knew more of her, until we had gathered up every scattered fragment of her real existence; and from that time she became one of the idols of our youthful worship. There was a strange charm in her early life: her affliction-her rare beauty-her wild, romantic dreamings-the love of adventure, that rashly sought to realize them all; and secure in the dignity of conscious innocence, to walk scathless with her " snowy white wand" throughout the world!-the promptness to act-the susceptibility to feel-the childlike faith, so full of a pure and loving trustthe pretty way she had of winning all hearts. Her early marriage, and its consequences: her wilfulness-her many faults-her candour, carried even to the verge of eccentricity-the strong love of home and kindred, teaching her for their sakes a lesson of prudence and economy, that seemed somewhat strange to one so young and beautiful. Her widowhood: the many trials and temptations to which it exposed her, and how she passed through them all as by a miracle, so that the breath of slander had no power to wound. Her genius: its triumphs; the uses to which the money they won for her was appropriated; and how she gradually withdrew herself more and more from the world, devoting every energy of mind and body to the high and holy task which she had marked out for herself, and from which nothing ever tempted her to swerve. Thus do we find her writing to that same dear friend before mentioned:
"I say no to all the vanities of the world, and perhaps soon shall have to say that I allow my poor infirm sister a hundred a-year! I have raised my allowance to eighty; and in the rapid stride of her wants, and my own obligations as a Christian to make no selfish refusal to the poor, in a few months I hope to raise it to a hundred.” Oh that there was more of this sweet and real Christian spirit in the world!
Nor were the charities of this estimable woman confined to her own family, of whom for many years she was the chief support; returning good for evil, and weeping over the errors which death has ever a strange power to palliate. We are told, that her sister Deborah died miserably poor, and ill deserving of the kindness of her who watched over her to the last; and how Mrs. Inchbald went back to her solitary home, with a heart full of grief and self-upbraiding, even as though it had been her own sin that had so long estranged them from each other-remembering only that Deborah was her sister, and that she was dead! how one by one the household ties were severed; and her warm, generous heart sought only fresh spheres of benevolent usefulness. One hour, buried like a second Cinderella, in the very lowest domestic drudgery, hallowed by its own kind motive; the next, mingling among the great and proud ones of the land, a welcome and honoured guest. And this last but seldom in latter years, because, as she touchingly confessed, "it made her feel her after-loneliness all the more!"
"And shall you feel lonely to-night?" asked Madame de Staël, to whom she had been introduced for the first time, and who always spoke of her afterwards in the highest terms of respectful admiration.
"Yes, indeed," replied Mrs. Inchbald, with the beautiful simplicity that formed so prominent a portion of her character; " for I have no one to tell that I have seen you, no one to describe your person to; no one to whom I can repeat the many encomiums you have passed on my Simple Story;' no one to enjoy any of your praise but myself."
Ah! she must often have felt thus ! we pity her less when she sat in her cold, comfortless apartment, smiling to think that she-that aged sister-was warm and well cared for. It is happiness even to suffer for those we love; but that after-loneliness must have been sad indeed.
The numerous plays written by Mrs. Inchbald form a part of the standard dramatic literature of England. She also wrote a second novel, or rather a tale, called "Nature and Art," and considered by many as quite equal to her first; besides editing and preparing for the press several works which it is unnecessary to particularize, and are mentioned only in confirmation of that steady and persevering industry which was one of her chief characteristics through life. Without doubt, however, the " Simple Story" is her chef d'œuvre, and that upon which her fame principally rests. There is a truthfulness-a real humanity about it-an irresistible pathos-a simplicity of thought and feeling inexpressibly sweet and touching-a wonderful facility in finding its way to the heart as well as the imagination, and calling forth its hidden tears and sympathies. Its few faults of style and conception we leave to wiser critics, finding more pleasure in dwelling upon those numberless and unequalled beauties with which it everywhere abounds; and loving it most of all for the beautiful revealings it contains of her who dreamed and wrote it.
Among all the numerous biographies of our favourite, we have never met with one that exactly pleased us. The character of Elizabeth Inchbald abounds in those delicate and minute touches, which can only be properly understood and appreciated by one of her own sex. It is a beautiful and complicated mystery, past man's art to solve, and requiring the tenderest discrimination, and the gentlest care to unravel; when, despite the cross threads of woman's wilfulness, it will be found, nevertheless, to be a fair, silken web, well worth the pains bestowed upon it. We would judge Elizabeth Inchbald only in her own frank and kindly spirit, or by the memory of the good deeds which she left to plead for her, and as we would that others should judge us.
THE OLD SOLDIER.
The winter snow fell thick and fast;
As the snow-flakes that past him sail'd,
My head is gray, and bow'd with care! My eyes are dim with tears!
For sorrowful it is to bear
The weight of many years. My last remaining strength is sped! All day I have not tasted bread!
LEYBURN SHAWL FESTIVAL.
BY W. G. J. BARKER, ESQ.
"High on some cliff, to heaven uppiled,
Dismiss from your mind, kind reader, if perchance you have entertained them, all thoughts connected with ladies' apparel which one word of our title may induce. The North Yorkshire dales have no connection with the looms of Thibet or the fabrics of Cashmere. The Shawl is a name given from time immemorial to a locality near Leyburn.
This little town, situated in Richmondshire, a division of the extensive county of York, stands at the summit of a continuous slope on the north bank of the river Yore, about six miles above the point where Yorevale or Wensleydale merges in the vale of Mowbray. The place, though small and obscure, dates its origin from high antiquity, having been of some consequence in the reign of St. Edward the Confessor but when in 1070 William the Bastard swept through North England with fire and sword, laying the fair land waste wherever a Norman horseman could ride, Leyburn, with other manors in Yorevale, was devastated.
It is not our province here to chronicle the vicissitudes which the good town has since experienced; suffice it that at the present day it is of some importance in the lovely district it overlooks, possesses a considerable market, and is the seat of local justice as dispensed at petty sessions. The houses are mostly new, but there yet remain a few specimens of Tudor architecture; and in the market-place stands an ancient edifice, known and used as the Town Hall, which serves by its venerable appearance to afford strangers ocular proof of Leyburn's antiquity. The only buildings of note besides, are the very neat and capacious Catholic Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul, and a smaller structure used as a chapel of ease by the Anglican establishment.
But the great attraction of Leyburn, which during the summer months brings frequent visitors, is the Shawl. This is a splendid natural terrace, commencing some half-mile west of the town, and stretching from thence for upwards of a mile. The origin of the somewhat unusual appellation "Shawl," has afforded matter for controversy amongst antiquaries. It is most likely a corruption of "shaw" (a wood), as the place is thickly wooded, and may pos
Leaving Leyburn, you pass along a hilly meadow, where the splendid scenery beneath on the left affords a foretaste of the pleasure you are about to enjoy. Plantations exclude this view in the next fields, after traversing which you arrive at Wensley Point. Here the landscape unfolds itself. You are seated on a point of rock, with the valley of the Yore extending far away west and east below, and the broad river winding through meadow-lands and be. tween pretty villages. Plantations slope up to you: on your right stretches the Shawl-a long terrace of greensward, girded with firs, on the summit of a precipice of dark grey rocks, at the foot of which wave thick old woods, covering the steep declivity that extends down to the green pastures above Wensley. Behind are the debris of slate and lime-quarries, and dull fields, devoid of trees, and barren in appearance, verging on the north moors. Fine as the prospect from this point unquestionably is, you are not yet on the Shawl, strictly speaking. You proceed, and passing through a neat wicket-the entrance to the grounds-find yourself on a spot deeply interesting to all who sympathize with unfortunate beauty, and desecrated royalty—the Queen's Gap.
History makes no mention of the circumstance: the correspondence recently published by Prince Alexander Labanhoff throws no light upon it. Antiquaries may treat it as a fable; but constant local tradition, transmitted from father to son, avers that here Mary of Scotland was retaken in an unrecorded attempt to escape from her English jailers during the time the neighbouring castle of Bolton formed her prison. It is merely a pass in the wood; the only place for some distance at which the Shawl can be ascended by a mounted party.
Here, reader, you may indulge sad reveries. | rocks, and robed in blue and green, part of the Here the royal victim once more bade farewell great Yorkshire and Westmorland chain. Beto earthly hope here another pang was inflicted tween you and these hills lies the calm winding on the heart that had already meekly endured so valley, intersected by the meandering Yore, one much. You are most likely, treading these of the most devious of English rivers. Just paths in the bright summer time, a happy pil- below, peeping through trees, is the pretty church grim amongst the birds and flowers, accom- and village of Wensley, from which the dale panied by loving friends; but the discrowned takes its modern name. fugitive saw them in the bleak cold winter, naked and desolate as her own sad lot. For her there were no flowers, no sunshine, hardly one gentle friend. True hearts indeed then abounded these dales-men who had kept the ancient faith, and their pure integrity, unstained; but they were powerless to aid, unable to deliver. We may imagine the glance the recaptured Queen cast over the wide landscape, majestic in its winter gloom, part and portion of her island heritance her own rightful realm. Did it remind her more of Scotland-scene of her former griefs, than of la belle France, where she once knew so much happiness? Not even in fancy dare we guess her thoughts that hour. We only know she was borne back to Bolton, and carried thence in inclement weather, through bad roads, by guardians who knew no pity; and so transferred from prison to prison, and from one heart-torture to another, till the long weary tragedy found an end in the hall of Fotheringay, and earth lost her whom heaven we cannot doubt received. The Queen's Gap is indeed the hallowed ground of Leyburn Shawl.
A little east, on the opposite bank of the river, fronting north, stands the town and royal castle of Middleham, built by a younger branch of the reigning House of Brittany, subsequently the heritage of the proud Neviles, the King-maker Warwick and his haughty father, and afterwards a favourite abode of Richard the Third, the mansion where his only son was born and died. In this fortress, according to various historians, Edward the Fourth was a prisoner-a tale which investigation has disproved, though rendered popular by Shakspere. That the King spent some time here is, however, indisputable.
There is an extremely neat alcove here, and a little further a larger (the principal) one on the grounds. When once fairly on the Shawl, it is difficult to fix the spot whence the finest view may be obtained: all is so magnificent, that, reader, should propitious fortune ever lead you Beyond this point the valley expands; and a to our favourite walk, we seek not to direct the few miles farther, in the bounds of Wilton, may choice which your own taste cannot make amiss. be seen all that remains of the once magnificent You behold a superb, vast, natural panorama. abbey of our blessed Lady of Jorevalle. The On either hand the scenery is exquisite. The last superior of this Cistertian house-Adam steep precipice drops away abruptly from your Sedbergh by name, a prelate of irreproachable feet, and at the bottom lie huge masses of grey character and saintly life-was cruelly put to rocks, splintered and scattered as if an earth-death by the crowned adulterer and murderer quake had strewn them there. Light hazels Henry the Eighth, merely because in uprightshoot up amongst them; and all spring and ness of soul he remained faithful to his sacred summer, but chiefly in latter spring, a profusion trust. It is saddening to look over the sunny of wood-flowers, of various scent and dye, fill valley, and think of those dark times and the the interstices, and form a spangled carpet on gloom that has followed. But divine Justice every vacant spot. Here, too, there is a most fails not; the Abbot and the King have long delightful walk. Old trees grow picturesquely ago received their reward. from narrow clefts in the precipice, their topmost boughs just waving along the edge of the terrace, where ground honeysuckle and wild thyme blossom luxuriantly. Still lower down rise the thick woods already mentioned, sloping gradually in a semicircular shape to rich fields. In these woods the soft low coo of the cushat and the sweet songs of linnets seldom cease, notwithstanding kestrels and sparrow-hawks may frequently be seen sailing about, far beneath you indeed, but still high above the ground and the elm-tops. Right opposite, Penhill-" the hill of hills"-uprears his crest, covered with deep purple heather, the abode of grouse; whilst right and left range other fells, studded with
The entire view from the Shawl eastward is splendid, only of a more subdued character than that towards the west. It is bounded by the remote blue hills of Cleveland, and with the aid of a glass the smoke of the engines on the Great North Railway is sometimes very distinctly visible.
Westward Bishopdale opens, and Raydale, which contains that mysterious lake, Semerwater, with its sub-merged city and fearful legends. You distinctly perceive the far-famed falls of the Yore at Aysgarth, said by travellers to surpass in majesty the cataracts of the Nile; and when the bird-songs cease, and the breeze comes gently, you hear the rush of those hasty waters, which is audible fifteen miles away. The grey in-towers of Bolton Castle rise conspicuous, the ancient seat of the lordly Scropes, to whom most of the country once belonged. Corn-fields are rare and far between. This is a pastoral district, famous for sweet milk and the excellent produce of its dairies. The view west is bounded by hills which approach Westmorland.
In this rapid sketch we have merely glanced at the principal objects, overlooking many minor beauties: the scene must be beheld to be appreciated. It may well be conceived such a lovely haunt, so pleasantly adjacent to their homes, has long been prized by the inhabitants of Leyburn. The vicinity has produced more than one " inglorious Milton," and these bards have
Leyburn Shawl Festival.
sung its praises in strains which never had audience beyond the circle of their own friends, and so perished with the authors. Notwithstanding this, the Shawl remained as Nature formed it; its beauty, indeed, could not be enhanced, but there was ample scope for labour in contriving accommodation for visitors and now, kind reader, if you have had patience with us thus far, comes the pith of our simple story. The Shawl is the property of a peer who never visits his large Yorkshire estates, and can hardly be induced to repair his own cottages: from him little could be expected. Leyburn contains no really wealthy inhabitants: with one or two exceptions, all are engaged in business. In these circumstances a spirit sprung up, so unusual, yet so highly commendable, that it deserves to be recorded and published for imitation. A few young men, duly estimating the attractions and value of the Shawl, resolved, in the spring of 1841, to undertake the task of improving it. The idea was spontaneous: no one urged it upon them they had no individual interest in the matter, and could hope for no remuneration beyond the thanks of their townsmen. They were not rich, nor unemployed: far from this, most were occupied in trade-young shopmen, in fact, destitute alike of leisure and superabundant coin.
Nothing daunted, they set to work with a hearty good will-a determination to overcome difficulties; and they succeeded. They themselves laboured well and stoutly, for they had no means to hire workmen. When the weary hours of business ended, or liberty could be granted, they flew to the Shawl, and there toiled with axe and hammer and spade, till the soft June night fell, and the summer moon lighted them home. Again, in the early morning, whilst mists yet lay on the Yore, and the larks by the moorside had not begun to sing, they were to be found, cheerfully advancing their improvements, disregarding alike fatigue, and the smiles their attempt drew from some.
Honour be to them, and praise. They are lowly in station, and their names will not live in fame; but they achieved pleasure for their fellows-innocent recreation. They led others from the temptations of idleness, and proved that the delights of our English youth do not consist wholly in the dram-shop and the gamingtable-in the low debauch and the besetting sin: they gave, unbidden, an example worthy of emulation to their compeers, aye, and to others of much higher grade; therefore again we say, Honour be to them, and praise.
In this manner inequalities of ground were smoothed, walks formed, commodious rustic benches placed at due intervals, a tasteful grotto erected at the Queen's Gap, and an embattled stone seat on Wensley Point. The Shawl began to wear the appearance of well-ordered grounds; and now a pleasant suggestion offered-a fête champêtre on a humble scale-a gipsy teaparty on the high terrace for their friends. The idea was eagerly adopted, expanded, and on Saturday, July 31st, 1841, the first Leyburn
Shawl Tea Festival took place. A festival has been held annually ever since, and these anniversaries, thus founded, have acquired much popularity in the county, have been celebrated and applauded in the public prints, and for characteristics can be likened to few modern observances in our once "Merrie England." We hope, reader, you have formed some conception of the place and scenery from our description. We now ask you to be briefly present in imagination at our mountain holiday.
It is a July morning; the air is warm and pleasant: although a cloudy veil obscures the sky, and a few rain-drops have fallen at intervals, never fear; the weather will brighten long before noon, and even now it is not gloomy enough to deter distant visitors-the only mischance we have to apprehend. Leyburn is all astir; completing preparations begun weeks ago, and all anxiety awaiting the arrival of the expected guests. As the day advances the atmosphere becomes clearer, till lo! the sun bursts forth, hot and brilliant, and all our doubts on this score are removed.
Vehicles of different kinds begin to arrive, at first singly, then in rapid succession. There are neat phaetons, and ugly market-carts; choice steeds, and dale horses that do not much resemble Derby winners, albeit not lacking mettle, for Yorkshire is a land of horses; and is not Middleham, just opposite, renowned in chronicles of the turf? But we cannot be critical to-day upon horses or carriages; their fair burthens are the grand attraction for manly eyes, and truly there is no lack of beauty, flocking in from far and near. Bands of music begin to play in the market-place; the colours on the old Town Hall and at the inns float brilliantly in sunshine, gaily clad groups parade the streets, and everybody and everything seems devoted to pleasure: even old men and women don their Sunday hats and cloaks, and halt along wearily, but with cheerful hearts, to the Shawl. There let us too go, admiring on our road the rustic triumphal arches of evergreens and flowers beneath which we pass, and the glad mottos of "Welcome" that greet us from banner and scroll by the way.
How changed is our accustomed walk, wont to be so still and lonely! An enchanter's wand has surely been waved over it, to summon hither the thronging array of youth and grace, that keeps gliding in incessant motion along the green terrace and the shaded walk far beneath. There are somewhere about three thousand individuals present, of every age, and nearly every class. Fair girls from distant towns, eager to participate in the famed festival, attired with tasteful care-rosy mountain damsels from Bishopdale and Raydale, and a dozen dales besides, dressed, with true dales' taste, in the brightest colours, themselves still brighter from the glow of healthy charms-slender youths, whose looks proclaim confinement in shops or counting-houses; others, whose bearing betokens a higher class-stout, comely yeomen, and robust labourers, descendants of those very