Page images
PDF
EPUB

an end to all compromise. I hap. from the cradle upon soups and omepened to wear a sword, as the am- lets. I soon found that I had the Spabassador's was a party, en grande niard in a vice; he attempted to excostume. Ordering my valet to wait tricate himself with great gallantry, the event, and see me quietly carried and at last slipped away from me home, in case I was to give the like a serpent. Well it had been for guardsman the pleasure of running him, if he had been satisfied with me through the præcordia, I sprang this piece of generalship. But he into the middle of the street, and resolved to have another chance for prepared for combat; inwardly won. the laurel. He rushed on me again. dering at the ill luck which seemed I received him on my sword's point, to bring me into perpetual scrapes, exactly in the centre of the right and thinking how oddly the whole shoulder. It went through and affair would sound in the English through. He uttered a scream of papers. Let no one raise the laugh agony, dropped his sabre on the of unbelief. I am not accountable ground, and stumbled after it. The for the capricios of the human mind. field was now fairly my own. The But nothing is more true to history cavalier's honour was satisfied-s0 than that, at the very instant when I was mine; and having no further was standing, with the bitter wind of reason for freezing in the Colle de a Madrid winter's night-and it needs San Agustino any longer, I had the not bow its honours, in that matter, gallant guardsman laid in the carto Siberia--with ice shooting through riage, and carried groaning and tossmy silk investitures into every pore ing to my hotel. of my frame, and with my rapier in If my good angels had intended to position to do battle against an ad- make me free of all the gay, graceversary whom I could barely see by ful, eccentric, prodigal, and proflithe glitter of his own, I had con- gate higher society of the luxurious structed the very paragraph in which Spanish world, they could not have the Morning Post would announce to contrived a more effective expedient the “world of fashion” the “extra. Every human being worth knowing, ordinary rencontre, in Spain, in which and perhaps not worth knowing, in Sir Charles at midnight, slew, this most curious miscellany of man. or was slain," &c. I had not yet kind, was interested in some way or settled the latter point, when the other about El Capitan Don Altuna. guardsman made a sweep of his sa- The hotel was crowded with visitants bre at my head, which, if it had ta- from morning till midnight. His ken effect, would have furnished the fame spread upward and downward, journalist with intelligence of the and it was said that even royal bomost authentic nature. However, soms acknowledged the sympathy thanks to the Madonna, I escaped due to the suffering hero; for by a being cloven to the chine; for at strange turn of fortune, our quarrel that moment either she, or the wind, had taken a grand amatory shape, blew out her little lamp, and total and the cavalier was declared to be darkness was the inevitable conse- the victim of an attempt to outwit quence. The Englishman knows no. him with his love, who was either thing about the sword, and doubt. the prima donna of the royal opera, less, if the affair had been suffered to one of the Queen's ladies of honour, turn into a fencing match, the cava- or a Princess of the blood. The matlier's sabre would have carved me ter was uncertain, and therefore the quite at its ease. But the blowing latitude for fact and fancy was the out of our candle satisfied me that greater. Fortune had thus shorn me some exertion on my part might be of half my laurels, but even half necessary. I accordingly made a were something. The Don had been spring at my antagonist, which per- 80 well known, and so little liked, as plexed his science. I grasped him; a first-rate swordsman, that to have our struggle now was close and fought, and still more

to have woundfierce. I was strong, active, and, at ed, and still more to have probably last, angry. The guardsman was to spoiled his science for life, was held the full as active, and at least as by a very considerable circle, even angry. But the John Bull nerve of the royal guard themselves, to be is a formidable rival to the nerve fed a service entitled to no slight grati

tude; and the magnificent ball given mention of my Italian tours. He was by the guard to the court and nobis intelligent, and our conversation inlity, saw the Englishman by no means sensibly touched on the forbidden unmarked by the attentions of the topic. But here I found him quite at important members of the corps. home. “ He was perfectly well acBright eyes, too, condescended to quainted with the south and east of shoot additional rays when I hap; Spain; had been quartered in every pened to appear ; and perfumed city from Cadiz to Perpignan,” &c. notes with the most exquisite bor- I was unable to resist the enquiry for ders, enclosing the most intolerable the fate of my friends. “He had attempts at expressing the senti- known them; been a guest in their ments of the fair writers-for in mansion; felt a strong interest in Spain, as Dogberry says, “a good their circumstances.” As I alluded education comes by nature," at least to my strange and melancholy adart seldom troubles herself on the venture, he grew more interested; subject-lay, from time to time, on and I, in that universal propensity my table.

to make a confidant which is often But what heart had I for those so hard to resist, in return for his triflings? I had come to Madrid interest, by degrees gave him the merely on my way to hide my head whole disburthening of my wounded in England, or wberever I might spirit. The effect of this confidence hide it most effectually. Every en- on the cavalier was like a total quiry that I could make for the fate change of character. Always gay and of the Ildefonzo family was totally graceful; he now became calmly in vain. I had traversed the south kind, gravely listened to my rambling of Spain with fruitless perseverance. details, and exhibited the most geneAll that I could learn was that the rous anxiety to relieve me of the Conde had been an insurgent against wretched indecision, which, in spite the New Régime, had collected of all my vows to the contrary, emtroops, defied the Cortes, fought a barrassed my mind. In a month he pitched battle, in which the soldiers was able to move about, and his graat liberty performed miracles of va- titude was employed in projecting lour, and had finally retreated to his amusements for the next month, castle, which, in despair, he had been which might have occupied half a seen to set on fire, and finally perish life. The Don still had his personal with all his family in the flames. To pursuits, which he becomingly kept this monstrosity the story of my to himself. I bad no desire to minbrave and unfortunate friend had gle in those scenes, whether of squashaped itself in the hands of that lid indulgence, or brilliant excess, greatest of authors, common fame. which make the employment of life But the catastrophe coincided too in this profuse scene of indolent painfully with my own know. pleasure. Still it was not altogether ledge. All was now certain. And possible always to put on a face of with the calmness that belongs to frowns against the elastic good-huinsured misfortune, I made up my mour of the Don. I am one of those mind to enquire no more, but quit who have never been able to resist the country, where the very sound importunity, and, least of all, that imof the language reminded me of portunity which comes armed with things which I had determined to kindness. I went to some of his balls forget, if possible, and spend the rest and al frescoes ; and as a shewy of my life in rambling, or in solia idler, and an Englishman, and of tude, or in sleep! The guardsman's course supposed to come loaded with wound kept me in Madrid. His re- the wealth of India, was welcomed covery was slow; to move him was to the saloons of the leaders of 80pronounced hazardous; and with ciety in Madrid. But as an Englishthis new tie on my hospitality I re- man, I possessed a higher claim still mained. He had periods of pain and on the popularity of the hour. Spain fever which made something more was in a ferment of patriotism. The than hired attendance grateful to army had shewn their respect for an him; and in one of those rare even- oath by revolting against their King. ings when we happened to be alone, The government was revolutionary. I attempted to amuse him by some The populace were the sovereigo; and every heart was boiling over ardour in my brow; and while the with the hope of a general sharing of gay Capitan kept up the ball with the titles and orders, the houses and increasing vivacity, I was unconscilands, the opulence and the appoint- ously gliding into an interest in the ments of the nobles. An English- game. man, possessing any mark of dis- The game was thickening; just tinction, and presumed to be opu. at this time the question of " King, lent, was a sort of enemy to the new or no King,” was beginning to be monarch in the streets. I was per- pondered on by the philosophers of fectly silent on the trite and tiresome the party. I had heard of houses subject, which constituted the grand where the dance and the supper science of regeneration among this were combined with the most ardent new born race. But even my scorn “ devotion to the grand cause of of their political frivolity assisted my freedom," and of Madonna di Cres. easiness of intercourse among them. cembini, as a first-rate friend to the I should have shrunk from the grand cause. But my first visit was real Jacobin. I was merely amused reserved for this evening. Altuna's with the fictitious Revolutionist. cabriolet was at the door. We got The first evidence of genuine over, in, and galloped over three-fourths throw would have been the signal of Madrid in its usual state of darkfor my putting half-a-dozen mules to ness; by what miracle we were sa. my carriage, and bidding farewell to ved from compound fractures of the soil of sarabands for the next every limb of our bodies, is still uncentury. But my lively guest had known to me. However, we conti. determined on keeping me where I nued to wind along through a labywas, and I was not unwilling to gra- rinth of alleys, that seemed growing tify his determination. I thus min- rougher and narrower at every gled with partisans of all sides-was yard. present at coteries of all orders of “ Where does Madonna live ?" patriotism-and listened to the ha. said I, at last. “This does not seem rangues at the Café del Sol, alter- at least the court end ?" nately with the graver and equally “ How the deuce should it?" was fruitless debates in the Cortes. To the laughing answer. “La Crescemme all had equally the appearance of bini disdains the aids of art; she has child's play. The Spaniard had bis not to follow fashion ; fashion folhour of fantasy; and in that hour lows her. But you shall see." fancied himself a republican. But, I began to think that I had trusted for one hour of this borrowed taste, too far to the decorum of my volatile he had three-and-twenty of the na- friend. tural genius for doing nothiog, play- “I must desire, Altuna," said I, ing dominos, and twanging the gui- “ that you do not bring me into any tar. I made up my mind on the to- of those awkward positions, wbich tal impossibility of his going beyond sit so easy on such dexterous fel. the melodrama of Rebellion. The lows as yourself; but from which Frenchman alone was capable of the no Englishman was ever made to tragedy. Thus fortified, I looked escape.' upon myself as simply taking the He turned his face full upon me world as it came.

at the words. My old ally, the But, after all, temptation is un- twinkle of a lamp before an image, safe. Time, habit, and the eternal the only light in the street, served repetition of the same sentiments, me again. The expression of the will do something to entangle tho very handsome face, was a sudden wisest; and I am not inclined to mixture of scorn and triumph. I reckon myself in that file. I became probably gave some indication of my strongly involved in the political surprise, for the look was qualified whirl. My purse, for money was instantly by a clasp of my hand of now indifferent to me, was often the most confiding, order, and a called on; my name was reckoned speech of more than the usual among the resources of struggling length, in which the gallant cavalier patriotism; the sudden glow of the solemnly protested that he had pational temperament had begun to brought me to “ that strange lookkindle something of a sympathetic ing place, merely to shew me some of the oddities of the capital, un- began to be a doubtful matter with known to all but the select few; to me, and I was on the point of thinkintroduce me to a singular source of ing that nothing good was likely to amusement, and to give me an in- follow such preliminaries, when a sight into the actual movements and murmur of voices began to whisper movers of the public mind.” in the night, a glimmer played in the

He sprang out of the vehicle. I air high above our heads, a low door followed. Our way led through a opened; the Capitan bade me now passage as long, winding, and silent, prepare for a scene. We descended as the most romantic in a tale of half a hundred steps through a diinbanditti. We gave private signals ly-lighted corridor, and, at the end at successive doors, were let in of it, laying his hand on my arm, to soundlessly, said nothing, and were intimate silence, he threw open a passed forward. Whether I was in thick curtain, which hung across the the subterraneans of the palace, of entrance, and disclosed what was the Inquisition, or of the public jail, indeed an extraordinary scene.

STEPHEN OLIVER ON ANGLING.

All the great poets seem to have sun-glint, and then our flies were so left off work-we hope it is not so lifelike that you thought you heard with all the great anglers. Age will thein hum. The great poet lay on deaden inspiration, and old swans the bank near the bridge, with a sing but when they die. Yet a

placid smile on his noble features, as poet's life never grows prosaic-and at every other throw we hooked a there is ever a halo round his temples golden star, and bid it shine on the besprinkled thinly with grey hairs. sward among the brackens; yet, ever Anglimania, again, survives in the and anon, the fixed dim eyes told, blood as long as the heart beats, that his spirit was in meditation's and the pulse can be felt, however umbrage, haunted by sights too ethefeeble; and even after the wrist has real for sense to see, and we knew lost its cunning, or, at least, is unable then that we passed to and fro beto practise it, sweet is the murmur fore his couch an unregarded shaof the fishy stream to mine ancient's dow. Divine day! and yet but one ear, and beautiful to his dim eyes of a celestial series !-closed now the breezy blue of its wrinkled sur- haply never to be continued: but face, down which go flaunting, till they often renewed in imaginative memoare sucked in, in feets, and squad. ry-with many blank interruptions, rons, and single sail, spring's flower and many dim fadings-away of unand field and forest flies, ephemerals certain imagery-yet restorative and all like ourselves--but happier far elevating-in moonlight glimpses, or in their airy waftage or watery sudden sunburstsvoyaging, than the vain race of man! We must not say that we were a

“ Because not of this noisy world, but

silent and divine." great, but may say that we were once a good angler. You may ask Dip into Bewick for that wiseWordsworth. He will tell you of looking order of birds, the Waders. our killing a creelful in two hours, Our physiognomy is more intellecin the beautiful liquid link uniting tual; but when you see their legs, you Grassmere and Rydalmere, one day see ours; and we have forded the when Ned Hurd himself could not Tweed, in incipient spate, to the as. move a fin. But Ned had no idea topishment of the pedlar, shaking his of fine tackle-and ours was like head on the right bank of the river, the gossamer-invisible but in the while we were shaking our body,

Scenes and Recollections of Fly-fishing in Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland. By Stephen Oliver, the Younger. 12mo. Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand, London.

like a joyous Newfoundlander, on three parts of the year, left the the left; and then, at the first drop gowans just as numerous as when of our hare-lug, hooking a trout like they came flocking out in spring. a small fish at the tail of the ford, Oh, those mills ! those mills ! and running him up high and dry ou Yet the Tweed, Henry Scott, sethe sand, as if he were amphibious, nior, (his hook is bloody,) thinks and had come ashore of his own ac- every whit as good as of yore; cord, to take a frisk with the lambs though the trouts have changed their racing in the sunshine.

ground, because their ground has Indian-rubber boots half-way up itself changed from a hundred to the fork! Charles Macintosh is causes at work in flood, plain, and a man of genius—but he will pardon fell, which it would require a small us for recommending to our rheu- agricultural treatise to elucidatematic friends a panoply of caout- and something of the sort was prettily chouc-while we-should we ever done-with another object-by Sir angle again in the flesh-continue to Walter, in one of his delightful pashew our spindle-shanks and thighs pers in the Quarterly Review. But to the tenants of the flood in wor- Cadrona mains are still prolific of sted, flannel, and velveteen, and the pounders—along Elibank-wood the warmer the wetter, till, thoroughly princes and princesses of the bloodsaturated, you feel as if wading to royal are black but comely; and, for the waistband in cream of roses. our own parte, werewe to take a day,

Is the angling in Scotland better, we should keep loitering and saunor worse, or the same as it used to tering along the lovely levels all withbe some thirty, forty, or fifty years in sight of holy Ashestiel. ago? In the Lowlands we cannot help A paper of ours, in last

year's Maga, thinking it is not what it then was; entitled, Twaddle on Tweedside, a some streams that were then trout. Cockney called Twaddle indeedful shew now but an occasional min- but he was one of the two artistes now-shoal; and one in particular, implicated in the charge of the which we shall not offend by naming double-rod. You may remember for that would be personal—we the picture-of our friend fast in a wept to find last spring every here tree on one side of the river, and his and there as dry as the adjacent brother-in-law attacked by a goat on high-road, though not so well maca- the other-a patriarch whom it was damized; without any cause or mo. in vain to attempt to rebut. You tive we could discover, except pure cannot have forgot the line baited weariness of life. The Diving. Pool, with frogs, minnows, lob.worms, and which Sandy Donald used to main- salmon-Hies. Ever since his perusal tain had no bottom, we fathomed of that harmless article, has he, whose with the Crutch! The Lang holms- life we saved from that infuriated we fished-all the way down from grey-beard, pursued us in print with the Brier-bush to the Stone-cross, if unmitigated and unappeasable refishing it might be called, where fish venge. The very same day—and were none—and we heard but one never till this moment did we menplump in the water, which we at first tion the circumstance to a living fondly imagined might be a leaping soul-we rescued him from an ontrout, but on a narrower inspection, set of geese-after the squadron bad lo! striking out like a Byron, a most twice charged over his body-and expeditious frog. A ploughman sta- baving ascertained that no bones red at us as his team were wheeling were broken, supported him to a on the head-rig, above the bank, wayside inn, and committed him to wondering what the creature was do- the care of an old woman, wbo ing there; but we told him we were could not have treated him more merely taking exercise, at which he tenderly had he been her own son smiled, and crying “gee-ho," began anointing his hinder-end with opoto draw as pretty a furrow as we deldoc, and salving with Turner's ever saw-the whole wide field ba- cerate the wounds on his legs and ring manifestly been long under thighs, which that cruel gander, with cultivation, which we well remem- his bill so rough, had made. Thinkber to have been hundred year old ing on him, we are almost disposed lea, where twenty cows, pasturing to question the truth of the sentis

« PreviousContinue »