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terrified bat, flittering in the depths of the cavern; or, at intervals, the scream of the frightened owl.
He was a man of uncommon courage, and he resolved to descend once more himself to see what was become of his guests; but as a prelude to this perilous expedition, he determined to enliven his natural spirits by a draught of generous wine. As he vociferated, "a cup of wine!" to the groom who held his horse, the word WINE reached the ears of the holy men; they disentangled themselves from each other, scrambled up, their foreheads bedewed with the sweat of terror, and when they had recovered themselves they confessed unanimously that they were not able to unravel the mystery. Thus ended the second attempt to gain a more intimate acquaintance with the spirits of the subterraneous passage, and thenceforward no one was bold enough to tread the magic ground.
From The Hermit in London."
"GO away, little child," said Miss Whimsey, a maiden of fifty-two. "I hate children," added she, turning to me, as we were both waiting for Lady M- to accompany us to see the Elgin marbles. "Hate children! madam," said I, I cannot conceive that at all. That a person can hate children or music, is to me incredible. The innocence of the one, and the harmony of the other, possess such powerful charms, that the bosom must be iron-hearted, indeed, which is proof against the attractions of either." "Oh! fiddlety dee," cried the aged spinster; "I tell you that I hate them both; each of them spoils good company; the former by the obtrusiveness of their conduct, the latter by engrossing too much attention, and by interrupting rational conversation." "Or, rather," replied I, " by putting a stop to idle chatter, or scandalous anecdote and artful slander."
"There!" cried Miss Whimsey, slapping the lovely little prattler, "there nasty thing! It has left the print of its fingers on the sleeve of my pelisse !" The child cried. "Dear little boy!" said I, "come to me. "How ill Lady M- brings up her two children!" resumed she; " thrusting them into society, as if other people were obliged to be as foolishly fond of them as she is herself. There is nothing so rude as to force brats into company this way."
At this moment a pug, suffocated with fat, and breaking out with
high living, waddled from under her drapery, and began to cough and to sneeze. "Poor darling!" exclaimed the prim miss: "come to his (the child was it) own mistress." Here she kissed the odious brute, and wailed over it because it had caught cold. "Pardon me, madam," observed I," if I assure you that your favourite is much more offensive than this little innocent." "Yes, because he bit you once;" tartly answered the old maid. "And because, madam, (said I,) his smell is nasty, his temper bad, and his appearance unwholesome and disgusting; because, lastly, madam, the unbecoming preference which you give him to a fellow creature, must create indignation in any feeling mind which contemplates such conduct."
Here I hugged the pretty little boy to my bosom ; whilst miss kissed the filthy lips of her pampered pet. However, by squeezing him too closely, she deranged his stomach, and he returned the compliment in the most sickening way. I rang the bell, and left the rest to the dog's mistress. "Pray, Mr Smart," said she to the groom of the chambers, "bring up a damask napkin, for my poor little darling is ill, and a little warm milk and sugar." The servant looked contempt, but obeyed. My little favourite now left my knees in order to pat and caress the dog. "Get out you little devil!" exclaimed Miss Whimsey, in a sharp high key; "I wish he would bite you; let him alone, rude thing."
I really had no patience with her. "Upon my honour, Miss Whimsey, I cannot brook your ill treatment of this dear innocent boy," said I. "Innocent!" she repeated; "Yes; so is a barber's block, Innocent! children should be kept in their nurseries; 'tis the only thing which they are fit for ;-spoiling every thing, and making a noise!" At this moment Lady Mentered the room. "Your Ladyship's most obedient," said Miss Whimsey, with the falsest smile which I ever saw,-one in which neither kindness, benevolence, humanity, courtesy, nor sincerity dwelt; for pride and envy have chased all smiles from her furrowed cheek, yet fain would she ape a cheerful and engaging aspect. There are, unfortunately, a number of Miss Whimsey's cast in society, wretches who, under the female form, lavish their tenderest cares on monkeys, on lap dogs, and on parrots, whilst they act with the utmost inhumanity towards their fellow-creatures. By such persons, dainties and delicacies are procured at any price for these incumbrances, and the most disgusting display of affection is exercised towards them. The shivering and houseless wanderer is inhumanly chased from their gates; whilst these pet brutes repose on velvet couches, and are, nightly, pillowed on down. Sometimes they share the couch of their unnatural mistress, or sleep at her feet, ready to fly at any one who approaches her, while they stand sentry over her false tresses, borrowed complexion and artificial teeth.
Disappointed of the advances of our sex, these withering plants assume a chastity without grace, and a reserve without virtue. But delicacy is entirely lost sight of by them; for who that has any pretensions to delicacy, can slight the endearments of little children, to fondle such a hateful satire on human nature as the monkey, to pamper an offen
sive and useless dog, or to feed a parrot out of his mouth? Shocking in the extreme! The immorality of the thing too, goes further. Frequently is a servant dismissed and deprived of bread for ruffling the temper of Poll, for resisting the execrable caresses of Jacko, or for displacing pug from the hearth, perhaps to save him from being burned, or because his effluvia infects the whole air of the drawing room. Men and maids too are doomed to endure the bite, the smell, and the uncleanliness of these unseemly creatures.
But to return to Lady M- What a contrast to Miss Whimsey ! How much suavity, delicacy of expression, mildness of deportment, and grace in her approach! how much sympathy and humanity in the language of her lips and eyes! what preventing obligingness! what corresponding kindness! what grateful return for every, the least attention! then to see her cast her maternal glance on her dear boy! to see the mother in every line of her countenance !-in the admiration of her eye, in the becoming swell of her bosom, in her half-shut mouth, and gently extended arm! all was harmony, all goodness, all parental tenderness and anxiety-that anxiety which is not eager self interest, but love and christian charity.
Women's charms are certainly many and powerful. The expanding rose just bursting into beauty has an irresistible bewitchingness;-the blooming bride led triumphantly to the hymeneal altar awakens admiration and interest, and the blush of her cheek fills with delight;—but the charm of maternity is more sublime than all these. Heaven has imprinted on the mother's face something beyond this world, something which claims kindred with the skies, the angelic smile, the tender look, the waking watchful eye which keeps its fond vigil over her slumbering babe.
These are objects which neither the pencil nor the chisel can touch, which poetry fails to exalt, which the most eloquent tongue in vain would eulogize, and on which all description becomes ineffective. the heart of man lies this lovely picture; it lives in his sympathies; it reigns in his affections; his eye looks round in vain for such another object on the earth.
Maternity, extatic sound! so twined round our heart, that it must cease to throb ere we forget it! 'tis our first love: 'tis part of our religion. Nature has set the mother upon such a pinnacle, that our infant eyes and arms are first uplifted to it; we cling to it in manhood; we almost worship it in old age. He who can enter an apartment and behold the tender babe feeding on its mother's beauty-nourished by the tide of life which flows through her generous veins, without a panting bosom and a grateful eye, is no man, but a monster. He who can approach the cradle of sleeping innocence without thinking that, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven!" or view the fond parent hang over its beauties, and half retain her breath lest she should break its slumbers, without a veneration, beyond all common feeling, is to be avoided in every intercourse in life, and is fit only for the ahadow of darkness and the solitude of the desert.
THE WIDOW AND HER SON.
From the Sketch Book,"
Pittie olde age, within whose silver haires
Honour and reverence evermore have reign'd.
DURING my residence in the country, I used frequently to attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, its mouldering monuments, its dark oaken pannelling, all reverend with the gloom of departed years, seemed to fit it for the haunt of solemn meditation. A Sunday, too, in the country, is so holy in its repose; such a pensive quiet reigns over the face of nature, that every restless passion is charmed down, and we feel all the natural religion of the soul gently springing up within us.
"Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright,
I cannot lay claim to the merit of being a devout man: but there are feelings that visit me in a country church, amid the beautiful serenity of nature, which I experience no where else; and if not a more religious, I think I am a better man on Sunday, than on any other day of the seven.
But in this church I felt myself continually thrown back upon the world by the frigidity and pomp of the poor worms around me. only being that seemed thoroughly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of a true christian, was a poor decrepid old woman, bending under the weight of years and infirmities. She bore the traces of something better than abject poverty. The lingerings of decent pride were visible in her appearance. Her dress, though humble in the extreme, was scrupulously clean. Some trivial respect, too, had been awarded her, for she did not take her seat among the village poor, but sat alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived all love, all friendship, all society, and to have nothing left her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising and bending her aged form in prayer habitually conning her prayer book, which her palsied hand and failing eyes would not permit her to read, but which she evidently
knew by heart-I felt persuaded that the faltering voice of that poor woman arose to heaven far before the responses of the clerk, the swell of the organ, or the chanting of the choir.
I am fond of loitering about country churches; and this was so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted me. It stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made a beautiful bend, and then wound its way through a long reach of soft meadow scenery. The church was surrounded by yew trees, which seemed almost coeval with itself. Its tall gothic spire shot up lightly from among them, with rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I was seated there one still sunny morning, watching two labourers who were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most remote and neglected corners of the church-yard, where, from the number of nameless graves around, it would appear that the indigent and friendless were huddled into the earth. I was told that the new made grave was for the only son of a poor widow. While I was meditating on the distinctions of worldly rank, which extend thus down into the very dust, the toll of the bell announced the approach of the funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with which pride had nothing to do.-A coffin of the plainest materials, without pall or other covering, was borne by some of the villagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold indifference. There were no mock mourners in the trappings of affected woe, but there was one real mourner who feebly tottered after the corpse. was the aged mother of the deceased the poor old woman whom I had seen seated on the steps of the altar. She was supported by a humble friend, who was endeavouring to comfort her. A few of the neighbouring poor had joined the train, and some children of the village were running hand in hand, now shouting with unthinking mirth, and now passing to gaze, with childish curiosity, on the grief of the mourn
As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson issued from the church porch, arrayed in the surplice, with prayer-book in hand, and attended by the clerk. The service, however, was a mere act of charity. The deceased had been destitute, and the survivor was pennyless. It was shuffled through, therefore, in form, but coldly and unfeelingly. The well-fed priest moved but a few steps from the churchdoor; his voice could scarcely be heard at the grave; and never did I hear the funeral service, that sublime and touching ceremony, turned into such a frigid mummery of words.
I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the ground. it were inscribed the name and the age of the deceased-" George Somers, aged 26 years." The poor mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. Her withered hands were clasped as if in prayer; but I could perceive by a feeble rocking of the body, and a convulsive motion of the lips, that she was gazing on the last relics of her son with the yearnings of a mother's heart.
Preparations were made to deposit the coffin in the earth. There was that bustling stir, which breaks so harshly on the feelings of grief and affection; directions given in the cold tones of business: the striking of spades into sand and gravel, which, at the grave of those we love,