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Why, not in course—she ar’nt often to be seen; she has a room of her own, and don't leave it, except on particular occasions. But I shall make a point of seeing her, that I may give your love to her.”
“Now, admiral, that's just what I want you not to do. I have especial reasons for wishing that you should not hint a word to her about myself. Another time, I will explain all to you; and you must promise me to be silent and circumspect just now."
Why, what's come over you, to work in such a roundabout way as this ?” asked the admiral. “ However, I promise, as you've set your mind on it. But only to think, that you two should be acquainted already! well, i'd a sort of a-what d'ye call 'em--that this here would come to something."
Alarmed by the absorbing interest which the skipper manifested on this subject, Laithwaye earnestly returned to the matters respecting which they had met : and after some further conversation they separated, Laithwaye returning to London, and Lancelot Errington to Deptford.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
“O death in life! the days that are no more.”—Tennyson's Princess.
you remember the time, when we two wandered Through the old woods ? as evening's balmy air bedewed The darkened glades; on antique things we pondered,
The ruined fane-the sunken cross—with flowers bestrewed.
We were together—and we only thought of sorrow,
As passing clouds upon a distant pathway glance-
Promised a sweet return of the illusive trance.
Shall poesy design, or fancy freely trace,
And desolation reigns supreme within the place.
Dark shadows gather round-yet thou art not alone
In dreams, I seek with thee those haunted woods again; Trace each green pathway—rest beside the mossy stoneOur mournful hearts meet offering on ruined fane.
C. A. M. W.
FLIGHTS OF FANCY.
BY WALTER R. CASTELLI.
As those delightful little creatures, the bees, about whom we never tire hearing or talking, often dive after honey down the most unpromising looking flowers, and as often come up again, shaking their wings, and humming away as merrily as ever, so we make it a rule to gather just as much sweetness from the things of this life as we possibly can. We no more care for pricking our fingers as we pluck roses, than the thrush does for the shower of dew it shakes on itself as it alights in the hazel bush in the morning, after its early forage; and we would cull a violet from amongst nettles with Spartan stoicism as to stings, feeling certain of finding a dock leaf on the same bank, wherewith to cure them, it being a theory firmly established in our minds, since our very first strawberry hunt, that docks grow there expressly for such medical purposes. Now, although we know that the good matter-of-fact people of this work-a-day world hold in supreme contempt those whom they call “flighty people," we ourselves “confess the soft impeachment," and admit that we are addicted to “ flights of fancy." True, there are some who have the title who really are excessively absurd, and whom we pity, deeming them, however, but good vessels who have lost their pilot, and therefore, blowing about at the mercy of wind and wave, often commit strange vagaries. But, when the sails are well trimmed, and the rudder kept taut, we think the habit a very pleasant, and, to say the least, a very harmless
How very many of the pleasures of existence would be lost, were we to discard imagination, and rest only on the dull materialism of the world,-if we saw things but as they are, without investing them with the sunny mantle that conceals what is unsightly, and robs sorrow of so much of its bitterness. Besides, half the misery of lite is the work of imagination, which conjures up a dreary train of terrors for the future, who seize
on hope, and nearly crush the little life out of her; and we therefore think it is but fair that we should strike a balance, and get as much pleasure from fancy as we possibly can.
All nature bids us do so. There is summer—why, if you hie out into the meadows, and stretch yourself upon the newmown grass, smelling so sweet and delicious, and look from under your shading hands on the clear blue sky, with the tiniest and most golden of clouds, perhaps, creeping across it, you must fall into a pleasant dream at once, maybe of other worlds, where all that is good and beautiful in this is transported, and all that is dark and polluted dies; and if you are by rustling woods, why then you have dryads peeping from the neighbouring thickets; Pan, with his noisy troop, pelting each other with acorn cups, and making the quiet glade ring with their revelry. And, if fortunate, you may have the sandaled Dian stooping to some fountain, to lave her snowy brow, lingering a moment, Narcissus-like, to gaze on her own loveliness, and drink in the flattery of the tide, for springs can pay compliments to beauty as gracefully as the best mirror in the land. A stream will lead you away with it, charming you like some siren with its own sweet singing, telling you tales of the lilies and harebells as it flows, showing you the long-bearded grasses, and the clear smooth pebbles, for each of which it has a whisper: now fretting like a little coquette, now laughing silverly, and always delightful. If you walk out in the twilight, the dew brings the fairies to you, and you are lost. How can you escape from the bright little ones that gambol around you, printing their rings on the sward, banquetting on the honey-dew, with the brightest of glow-w
-worms to lume them? How can you turn away from the fair Titania, and her bevy of little maids of honour, clad in court dresses of “the moonlight's watery film,” with sparkling dew-gems in their bosoms, and the sentimental amongst them, perhaps, with wreaths of the forget-me-not about their golden tresses, passing the night "with dances and delights,' and the nightingale for their miustrel, too—the nightingale-oh! we must bite our lips firmly, and pass him without another word, else are we undone to a certainty.
If you look at the moon-well! you may laugh, but it is a charming object, and we do look at it very often-if you look at the moon, you will immediately have a maze of fancies buzzing about you, and making you feel so happy, though it is of that pure, and calm, and peaceful kind which is “akin to sadness,” and which would feel jarred even with the silvery laugh you gave a while ago, gentle one.
Then, again, there is an example given us in the lark, the most fanciful of birds, which is even
“Like a poet, hidden
In the light of thought.” See it rising from the earth, and pouring forth its pauseless song, thrilling over with delight till every plume seems to shower melody; and, as it soars and soars, the strain grows stronger, and the minstrel is lost in the glories of the sky, whilst yet his joyous notes float to us, clear and beautiful as ever; he only sings in the heavens, and, as he sinks slowly to earth again, his song waxes fainter and fainter, and dies, as the first blade of grass rustles on his pinions.
Your fanciful man, though he may be poor as a church mouse in the estimation of the world, is yet in reality a man of property. His garret becomes a palace, his crust, a Barmecide's feast; his water is always Adam's wine, and his straw, a bed of down. He has his servants, who obey his every nod; his couriers, who fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, with the speed of the mischievous Puck, putting “a girdle round the earth in thirty minutes”— they could do it in one third the time, if they didn't loiter by the way to gossip, or pry into the secrets of nature and art. And, too, he has his “ Chateau en Espagne," so that he has no lack of country residences. He spends his holidays in the fasbion of the good old times ; has his merry Christmas-indeed, he is the only one who has, now-a-days; his baron's hall, with the immense fire-place and blazing wood, and the walls hung round with his ancestors to the twentieth generation, in all the gradations of steel, ruffs, hoops, and hair-powder, with no end to brocade dresses; and his long tapestry, not a bit moth-eaten, though we do labour under the delusion that tapestry ought always to be. Then, what a table ! with such a set of sturdy retainers, doing their best to bring "the roast beef of old England” to its present dignified appreciation and celebrity. He has his processions, his boar's head, wassail bowl, and yule log, and all the rest of it, not forgetting the carols, those quaint, though pious, effusions. Then he has his spiced ale, which the jester, in his cap and bells, and the jolly father confessor, quaff with unbounded relish, hobnobbing together most cordially, as men and brethren should. And afterwards the misletoe bough is hoisted, to the extreme terror and rosiness of pretty maidens, who are there and then summarily kissed. And then come the country dances, dignified minuets, and never-expected-to-beended Sir Roger de Coverlys, to the intense delight of the aforesaid pretty damsels, who trip through their vis-à-vis and dos-à-dos new-fangled words, those), and thread-the-needle, at first with a charming demureness, that won't let delight come to the top, but which very soon bubbles up victoriously, like a bumper of champagne.
And then he is up at sunrise, to tap at his mistress' casement on Valentine's Day, and on May morning hies out for his May-flower, which he plucks, ere the sun has kissed the dew from its leaves, and he has his dances round the pole, and makes his love, the Queen of the May.
Then how he can travel about the world-and after all, fireside travelling is one of the pleasantest things possible. It has all the sweets, with none of the “désagrémens” of reality-you sit comfortably in your easy chair, in your warm dressing-grown and slippers, and fly away as smoothly as a bird, and ten thousand times swifter than the aërial machine was ever expected to go. You never awake from an uneasy nap to find yourself bolting head-foremost into your opposite neighbour's waistcoat-never get into a wrong train, and are whisked away to the north, whilst you think you are going south-never are bored by luggage, or porters asking to see your ticket; but you fly like the wind, lie on air cushions, and land at your destination before you can say "presto.” Then every thing about you is “couleur de rose.” You have no post boys of sixty, no broken winded hacks, no squalid beggars to lacerate your pity, no royues to put you in a passion, and no miserable hotels, and dirty streets to make you dismal. You have picturesque ruins, “a discrétion,” pretty peasants in their charming white caps, and bright dresses to fill up the foreground, and sturdy brigands to impart a spice of the romantic to the scene, with the additional advantage that they never think of thrusting a horrid, rusty old mus ket in at the carriage door, as a gentle persuasion to the loan of your spare valuables, they so politely request, and which you, therefore, can't find it in your heart to deny them.
There are favourite excursions which the fanciful are wont to make, just as the cockneys have their periodical trips to Margate and Ramsgate, or their tours on the continent, which consist of a voyage to “ Bullong," a walk through the streets thereof, dinner at the most English hotel, and back again next day to old England. But the "flights of fancy" are rather further, more delightful, and a little more poetical. Perhaps we are not far wrong in saying that Venice, “ beautiful Venice, the bride of the sea,” is the most frequented and cherished spot of the fanciful—they all visit it, and love everything about it, even to the very name, which is so sweet and musical. And what a delightful place is the Venice of fancy! Matter-of-fact travellers sometimes try to cast a shadow over it, by talking of dirty canals, damp houses, ragged lazzaroni, black and sombre gondolas, and a thousand other absurd and preposterous things, but we don't believe a word of it, we never saw anything of the kind. Our Venice is all beautiful, the skies are ever blue and cloud.