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“ Choose which number you like best,” said the dear papa, " and that shall be your birth-day present.”
I immediately selected one, and put it into his hand : No. 2,224.
Ah,” said my father, examining it, "you must choose again. I want to buy a whole ticket; and this is only a quarter. Choose again, my pet." No, dear
I like this one best." Here is the next number," interposed the lottery office keeper,
“ No. 2,223."
Ay,” said my father, “ that will do just as well. Will it not, Mary? We'll take that."
No!" returned I, obstinately; "that won't do. This is my birth-day you know, papà, and I am ten years old. Cast up my number, and you'll find that makes ten. The other is only nine."
My father, superstitious like all speculators, was struck with my pertinacity, and with the reason I gave, which he liked none the less because the ground of preference was tolerably unreasonable, resisted the attempt of the office keeper to tempt me by different tickets, and we had nearly left the shop without a purchase, when the clerk, who had been examining different desks and drawers, said to his principal :
"I think, Sir, the matter may be managed if the gentleman does not mind paying a few shillings more. That ticket, 2,224, only came yesterday, and we have still all the shares ; one half, one quarter, one eighth, two sixteenths. It will be just the same if the young lady is set upon
it.” The young lady was set upon it, and the shares were purchased.
The whole affair was a secret between us, and my father whenever he got me to himself talked over our future twenty thousand pounds-just like Alnascher over his basket of eggs.
Meanwhile, time passed on, and one Sunday morning we were all preparing to go to church, when a face that I had forgotten, but
my father had not, made its appearance. It was the clerk of the lottery office. An express had just arrived from Dublin, announcing that number 2,224 had been drawn a prize of twenty thousand pounds, and he had hastened to communicate the good
Ah, me! In less than twenty years what was left of the produce of the ticket so strangely chosen ?
What ? except a Wedgwood dinner-service that my father had had made to commemorate the event, with the Irish harp within the border on one side, and his family crest on the other! That fragile and perishable ware long outlasted the more perishable money!
And then came long years of toil, and struggle, and anxiety, and jolting over the rough ways of the world, of which the tilted cart of Dorchester offers a feeble type. But it is a subject of intense thankfulness that, although during those long years want often came very close to our door, it never actually entered ; and that those far dearer and far better worth than I, were more than once saved from its clutches when it seemed nearest, by something even more fragile and less durable than Mr. Wedgwood's china or the Irish lottery ticket.
Among the consolations and encouragements of those years, I may reckon the partial kindness of the late excellent Mrs. Kenyon, for it is to her fancy for my poor writings that I owe not only her own highly-prized friendship, but the thousand good offices of her accomplished husband.
His poems, full as they are of the largest and most liberal views, of refined taste and of harmonious versification, make but a small part of his reputation. I think he intends to publish them, but he does actually disperse them among his friends before the public has time to find them out, so that they have the grace, frankness, and rarity of gift-books; and his hospitality, his benevolence, and his conversational power are far better known than his verse.
Now this verse has to me a singular charm, particularly “ The Rhymed Plea for Tolerance," which is so clear, so scholarly, and so full of strong, manly sense. Only see in how short a space he gives a history of English morals, or perhaps, to speak more accurately, of the morals of English literature, from the Commons wealth to the first French Revolution.
When lofty Charles and ancient Privilege
A following century struck a wiser mean;
War with pretense satiric Fielding waged,
Then too our Second George, not overstaid,
And then-though Wesley, strong in fervent youth,
But when, as chanced, from limbs and wearied veins,
Then ancient statesmen took their daily range
Then follows a magnificent character of Burke, proving how just Mr. Kenyon can be to real greatness in every shade of opinion. The following stanza, from a beautiful poern called “Upper Austria,” has the same rare merit of fairness and candor.
O Liberty ! thou sacred name
Whate'er reproach may thee befall,
To thee I cling, on thee I call.
And yet thou art not all in all;
In spite of check, in spite of thrall,
The spirited and original anacreontic, entitled “Champagne Rose,” was composed under very peculiar circumstances. Having improvised, while looking at the bubbles upon a glass of pink champagne, the exceedingly happy line that begins the song, Mr. Kenyon was challenged to complete it on the spot. He undertook to do so within twenty minutes, and accomplished his task, as very few besides himself could have done.
Lily on liquid roses floating
So floats yon foam o'er pink Champagne
Floating away on wine !
Those seas are dangerous, graybeards swear,
Whose sea-beach is the goblet's brim;
So we but fivat on wine!
And true it is they cross in pain
Who sober cross the Stygian ferry;
Floating away on wine !
Old Charon's self shall make him mellow,
Then gayly row his boat from shore;
That dips itself in wine !
The charming stanzas with which I conelude my extracts form part of a poem written to illustrate an engraving in Finden's Tableaux ; one of the many kindnesses which I owe to Mr. Kenyon. It would be difficult to find verse more melodious, or more pure.
THE SHRINE OF THE VIRGIN.
Who knows not, fair Sicilian land !
Yes! land thou wert of fruits and flowers,
Those hollow ereeds have passed away,