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imitating cameos, working frills, up to the so that she claimed to speak both languages severest manly studies, mathematics, and the with the allowance of a foreigner.
She spoke classics. I never saw any one so universally them, as she played the piano, entirely by ear, accomplished. Music, though she played well with great elegance, but incorrectly. In all on many instruments, was perhaps the least sports, or light accomplishments, she was unstriking of her acquirements; drawing and rivalled. Skipping-ropes and battledores, and languages the most so. Her English espe- tambourines, and castanets, in her graceful cially was enchanting; you could just distin- hands, were her own delight, and the delight guish her from a native by an originality, a of all beholders. But the triumph of triumphs raciness, a floating grace, like that which per- for Zenobie was dancing-day; to see her, and vades the letters of Mrs. Klopstock. Oh! her countryman the dancing-master-he teachwhat a charming creature she was! How ing, and she executing, such pirouettes and thoroughly free from vanity and self-conceit! entrechats as none but French heels could her industry was astonishing: she used to achieve-both looking down with a very visiapologise for it sometimes, as I sate by her ble contempt on English awkwardness with side doing nothing. “ Really,” she would two left legs.” Those Mondays and Wednessay, "she could not help it!”—as if her dili- days must pretty well have compensated for gence had been a fault, and my idleness a the mortifications of the rest of the week; and virtue. The dear, dear Sophia! parting from she needed some compensation : for, with all her was my first sorrow.
the splendour of her home, and the elegance Last on our roll of foreigners, came two of her appearance, it was evident that she was French girls: one of them merely a fair speci- neglected. The mother's heart and the momen of her pleasant nation — sprightly, good ther's eye were wanting; you might tell that humoured, amusing, and plain : the other a she was an orphan. She abounded in trinkets person of some note in this chronicle, being and nicknacks, and fashionable frippery; but and it is saying much-beyond all manner of no comforts, no indulgences, no garden-boncompetition the greatest dunce in the school. net, no warm pelisse, no cakes or fruit, no Zenobie de M— had lost both her parents shillings or half-crowns, no consideration for in the Revolution, and was under the care of her gentlewomanly spirit! I never shall foran aunt, splendidly married, and living in Lon- get the generous pleasure with which she | don, in the very first world. She was a fine, shared half a dozen oranges the rare present striking, fashionable-looking girl, in the French of some titled friend - between those, who style of beauty; rather large-boned, angular from happier circumstances had been enabled and high-shouldered ; but so light, erect, and to be kind to her. Oh! she was very desoagile, that the very defects of her figure seemed late, very forlorn! How often, when we were graces. Her face, though that too told her going home for the holidays, with smiling country, was pretty, in spite of a wide mouth mothers and fathers, so impatient that they and a cocked-up nose: pretty from its spark- would scarcely allow time for an adieu, I have ling expression-all smiles, and blushes, and seen her black eyes full of tears as she antici. animation: so were her manners. We had pated the hours, or days, or weeks, that she not a more agreeable and intelligent girl in must wait till an insolent waiting-maid should the house; how she could contrive to be a have leisure or will to remember her. Poor dunce I cannot imagine-but a dunce she was, Zenobie! she left us suddenly to return to in the most comprehensive sense of that ill- Paris with her aunt. The last time I heard omened word. She could not spell two syl- of her she was a celebrated beauty at the court lables in any language, could scarcely write of Napoleon. I don't know what has become her name, could not cast up three figures, of her since the change of dynasty, but I hope could not construe the simplesi sentence, could she is about the court still-it is just what she not read the notes in music, never could, and is fit for; she was made for feathers and long never did, learn the catechism. This seems trains, and smiling, and graciousness, and incredible on recollection, and it seemed more dancing, and small-talk; she ought to be ai so at the moment. Nothing but a school court; a court life would so become her; and could have brought the fact fully out; and she would become it like a diamond necklace, even with the proofs hourly before our eyes, polished and glittering and precious alike from we could not help thinking sometimes that we the fashion and the material. I hope she is must have done her injustice. Her ingenuity still at court. in evading the pains and penalties of duncical We are now fairly at the end of our foreign ness was very great. She had a dexterous list. There are two or three more British way of excusing any error in speech, by plead-worthies for whom we must find a niche in ing her English education for a French fault, another place, along with our English teacher or her French birth for a mistake in English ;and our authorised play.
barked beech, every twig swelling with the WALKS IN THE COUNTRY. brown buds, and yet not quite stripped of the
tawny foliage of Autumn; tall hollies and THE WOOD.
hawthorn beneath, with their crisp brilliant APRIL 20th.–Spring is actually come now, leaves mixed with the white blossoms of the with the fulness and almost the suddenners sloe, and woven together with garlands of of a northern summer. Today is completely woodbines and wild briars ; — what a fairy April ;-clouds and sunshine, wind and show- land! ers; blossoms on the trees, grass in the fields, Primroses, cowslips, pansies, and the reswallows by the ponds, snakes in the hedge- gular open-eyed white blossom of the wood rows, nightingales in the thickets, and cuckoos anemone (or to use the more elegant Hampevery where. My young friend Ellen G. is shire name, the windflower) were set under going with me this evening to gather wood our feet as thick as daisies in a meadow; but sorrel. She never saw that most elegant plant, the pretty weed we came to seek was coyer; and is so delicate an artist that the introduc- and Ellen began to fear that we had mistaken tion will be a mutual benefit; Ellen will gain the place or the season. At last she had hera subject worthy of her pencil, and the pretty self the pleasure of finding it under a brake of weed will live ;—no small favour to a flower, holly—“Oh look! look! I am sure that this almost as transitory as the gum cistus; dura- is the wood-sorrel ! Look at the pendent white tion is the only charm which it wants, and flower, shaped like a snow-drop and veined that Ellen will give it. The weather is, to with purple streaks, and the beautiful trefoil be sure, a little threatening, but we are not leaves folded like a heart,-some, the young people to mind the weather when we have an ones, so vividly yet tenderly green that the object in view; we shall certainly go in quest foliage of the elm and the hawthorn would of the wood-sorrel, and will take May, pro- show dully at their side,—others of a deeper vided we can escape May's follower; for, tint, and lined, as it were, with a rich and since the adventure of the lamb, Saladin has changeful purple! - Don't you see them ?" had an affair with a gander, furious in de- pursued my dear young friend, who is a defence of his goslings, in which rencontre the lightful piece of life and sunshine, and was gander came off conqueror; and as geese half inclined to scold me for the calmness abonnd in the wood to which we are going with which, amused by her enthusiasm, I (called by the country people the Pinge,) and stood listening to her ardent exclamationsthe victory may not always incline to the right “Don't you see them? Oh how beautiful! side, I should be very sorry to lead the Sol- and in what quantity! what profusion! See dan to fight his battles over again. We will how the dark shade of the holly sets off the take nobody but May.
light and delicate colouring of ihe flower So saying, we proceeded on our way through And see that other bed of them springing winding lanes, between hedge-rows tenderly from the rich moss in the roots of that old green, till we reached the hatch-gate, with the beech tree! Pray let us gather some. Here white cottage beside it embosomed in fruit- are baskets." So quickly and carefully we trees, which forms the entrance to the Pinge, began gathering, leaves, blossoms, roots and and in a moment the whole scene was before all, for the plant is so fragile that it will not our eyes.
brook separation !-quickly and carefully we “ Is not this beautiful, Ellen ?" The answer gathered, encountering divers petty misforcould hardly be other than a glowing rapid tunes in spite of all our care, now caught by “ Yes!"—A wood is generally a pretty place; the veil in a holly bush, now hitching our but this wood—Imagine a smaller forest, full shawls in a bramble, still gathering on, in of glades and sheep-walks, surrounded by ir- spite of scratched fingers, till we had nearly regular cottages with their blooming orchards, filled our baskets and began to talk of our dea clear stream winding about the brakes, and parture :| a road intersecting it, and giving life and light “But where is May? May! May! No to the picture; and you will have a faint idea going home without her. May! Here she of the Pinge. Every step was opening a comes galloping, the beauty !"–(Ellen is alnew point of view, a fresh combination of most as fond of May as I am.)“ What has glade and path and thicket. The accessories she got in her mouth? that rough, round, too were changing every moment. Ducks, brown substance which she touches so tengeese, pigs, and children, giving way, as we derly? What can it be? A bird's nest advanced into the wood, to sheep and forest Naughty May !" ponies; and they again disappearing as we “No! as I live, a hedgehog! Look, Ellen, became more entangled in its mazes, till we how it has coiled itself into a thorny ball! heard nothing but the song of the nightingale, Off with it May! Don't bring it to me!". and saw only the silent flowers.
And May, somewhat reluctant to part with What a piece of fairy land! The tall elms her prickly prize, however troublesome of caroverhead just bursting into tender vivid leaf, riage, whose change of shape seemed to me with here and there a hoary oak or a silver-' to have puzzled her sagacity more than any
event I ever witnessed, for in general she has man thrown as he gave the final stroke round perfectly the air of understanding all that is 'the root; and how wonderful is the effect of
going forward — May at last dropt the hedge- that supple and apparently powerless saw, hog; continuing however to pat it with her bending like a riband, and yet overmastering
delicate cat-like paw, cautiously and daintily that giant of the woods, conquering and overapplied, and caught back suddenly and rapid- throwing that thing of life! Now it has passed
ly after every touch, as if her poor captive had 'half through the trunk, and the woodman has been a red-hot coal. Finding that these pats begun to calculate which way the tree will entirely failed in solving the riddle, (for the fall; he drives a wedge to direct its course; hedgehog shammed dead, like the lamb the -now a few more movements of the noiseless other day, and appeared entirely motionless), saw; and then a larger wedge. See how the she gave him so spirited a nudge with her branches tremble! Hark how the trunk begins pretty black nose, that she not only turned to crack? Another stroke of the huge hammer him over, but sent him rolling some little way on the wedge, and the tree quivers, as with a along the turfy path, - an operation which mortal agony, shakes, reels, and falls. How that sagacious quadruped endured with the slow and solemn and awful it is! How like most perfect passiveness, the most admirable to death, to human death in its grandest form! non-resistance. No wonder that May's dis- Cæsar in the Capitol, Seneca in the bath, cernment was at fault: I myself, if I had not could not fall more sublimely than that oak. been aware of the trick, should have said that Even the heavens seem to sympathise with the ugly rough thing which she was trundling the devastation. The clouds have gathered along, like a bowl or a cricket-ball, was an into one thick low canopy, dark and vapoury inaniinate substance, something devoid of sen as the smoke which overhangs London; the sation and of will. At last my poor pet tho- setting sun just gleaming underneath with a roughly perplexed and tired out, fairly relin- dim and bloody glare, and the crimson rays quished the contest, and came slowly away, spreading upwards with a larid and portentous turning back once or twice to look at the ob- grandeur, a subdued and dusky glow, like the ject of her curiosity, as if half inclined to re- light reflected on the sky from some vast con
turn and try the event of another shove. The flagration. The deep Aush fades away, and sudden flight of a wood-pigeon effectually di- the rain begins to descend ; and we hurry verted her attention; and Ellen amused her homeward rapidly yet sadly, forgetful alike self by fancying how the hedgehog was scut- of the flowers, the hedgehog, and the wetting, tling away, till our notice was also attracted thinking and talking only of the fallen tree. by a very different object.
We had nearly threaded the wood, and were approaching an open grove of magnificent oaks on the other side, when sounds other than of nightingales burst on our ear, the deep
THE VICAR'S MAID. and frequent strokes of the woodman's axe, and emerging from the Pinge we discover the havoc which that axe had committed. About village, the little hamlet of Aberleigh, receiv
ABOUT three years ago, our neighbouring twenty of the finest trees lay stretched on the ed one of the greatest blessings which can velvet turf. There they lay in every shape befall a country parish, in the shape of an and form of devastation : some, bare trunks active, pions, and benevolent Vicar. Chaucer stripped ready for the timber carriage, with shall describe him for me, for I prefer the real the bark built up in long piles at the side; words of the old poet, to the more elaborate some with the spoilers busy about them, and ornamented version of Dryden : stripping, hacking, hewing; others with their noble branches, their brown and fragrant
“ A good man ther was of religioun shoots all fresh as if they were alive - ma That was a poure parsone of a toun; jestic corses, the slain of to-day! The grove But riche he was of holy thought, and werk; was like a field of battle. The young lads He was also a lerned man, a clerk, who were stripping the bark, the very children
That Cristes gospel trewely wolde prech;
His parishens devourly wolde he teche; who were picking up the chips, seemed awed
Benigne he was and wonder diligent and silent, as if conscious that death was And in adversite ful patient; around them. The nightingales sang faintly And swiche he was y proved often sithes and interruptedly—a few low frightened notes
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes, like a requiem.
But rather wolde he geven out of doute
Unto his poure parishens aboute Ah! here we are at the very scene of mur
Of his offring, and eke of his substance; der, the very tree that they are felling; they He coude in litel thing have suffisance.
have just hewn round the trunk with those Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder, slaughtering axes, and are about to saw it
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder asunder. After all it is a fine and thrilling
In sikeness and in mischief to visite
The feuest in his parish moche, and lite operation, as the work of death usually is. Upon his fete, and in his hand a staff: Into how grand an attitude was that young This noble ensample to his shepe be yaf,
That first he wrought and afterward he taught; \ leading up to the church, a short avenue of
partly lawn, partly court, and partly flowerBut in his teching discrete and benigne. garden, stands the vicarage. To drawen folk to heven with fairnesse,
The house is a low irregular building, coBy good ensample was his businesse ;
vered to the very roof with creeping shrubs, But if were any persone obstinat, What so he were of highe or low estat.
roses, woodbine, jessamine, clematis, and myrHim wolde he snibben sharply for the nones.
iles, flowering into the very chamber windows, A better preest I trowe that no wher non is, - such myriles as were never before seen in He waited after no pompe ne reverence, this part of England. One of them died in Ne maked him no spiced conscience;
the hard winter, twelve years ago, and a chair But Cristes lore and his apostles twelve
and a stool were made of the wood. It took He taught, but first he folwed it himselve." Prologue to the CANTERBURY TALES.
no polish, but still it had a pretty look and a
pretty name; that English myrtle, it almost Such was Mr. Mansfield. And he brought sounded like a contradiction. The garden is to Aberleigh a still greater blessing than the just suited to the house ; large squares of fine Roman Catholic Priest of Chaucer could do, turf with beds and borders of flowers divided (although, by the way, the old bard was a by low box hedges, so thick and broad and follower of Wickliffe, the herald of the Re- level, that yon might walk on them two formation) in a wife, as good as himself: two abreast; with a long piece of water, in one lively promising girls; and a rosy, frank- compartment, stocked with gold and silver hearted boy, quite worthy of such parents. fish; a tall yew-hedge, fencing off the kitchen One shall seldom see together a finer family, garden, and a sun-dial rising from the green for our "gode parsone" was not only "lite of turf opposite the house,—that voiceless monifoot," a man in the prime of life, full of vigour tor, whose silence is so eloquent, and whose and activity, but united the intellectual coun- gliding finger realizes, and perhaps suggested tenance of the scholar, to the elegance and the sublime personification of Wordsworth polish of a gentleman. Mrs. Mansfield was - Time the Shadow.” remarkably pretty; and the young people had The Mansfields were exceedingly struck about them all the glow and the brightness with their new habitation. They had hitherto of their fresh and happy age. But the beauty resided on the coast of Sussex, the South of the vicarage, the beauty of the parish, was Downs; so that accustomed to those green a female servant who accompanied them, their bills, and the fertile but unsheltered plains maid Mary. She was five or six and twenty, beyond them, the absolute nakedness of the and looked as much; of middle height, and land, and the vast and bare expanse of the middle size, rather inclining to the fullness ocean, they were almost as much unaccusand luxuriance of womanhood; fair, bloom- tomed to trees as a negro to snow, and first ing, smiling, and bright-eyed, yet with an ex- wondered at, then complained of, and at last pression so chastised, so perfected by modesty, 'admired our richly-wooded valleys, and the that no one could look on her without being remains of old chases, and bits of wild forest sure that she was as good as she was lovely. scenery in which we abound. The artlessHer voice, and dress, and manner too, were ness with which these feelings were conall in keeping with her sweet face, gentle, fessed, added a fresh charm to this interesting quiet, and retiring: In short she had not family. There is always something very atbeen a week in the village, before all the tractive in the ignorance of any particular subneighbours were asking each other—" Have ject which we sometimes meet with amongst you seen the vicar's pretty maid ?"
clever and cultivated people. Their questions The home which received this delightful are so intelligent, so poignant, so (io use a family was every way worthy of its inhabit- bold phrase) full of answers. They instruct ants, A country parsonage is generally in our knowledge, and make us feel far more itself and its associations a happy mixture of sensibly that which we teach. It was the the unpretending and the comfortable; and of pleasantest thing in the world, to walk through all parsonages Aberleigh is the most beauti- Aberleigh Wood with Clara Mansfield and ful. It stands amidst a labyrinth of green Evelyn's Sylva, showing her, by the help of lanes, running through a hilly and richiy- that delightful book, the differences of form wooded country, whose valleys are threaded and growth, and bark and foliage; sometimes by the silver Lodden. On one side is the half puzzled myself by some freak of nature, magnificent wreck of a grand, but deserted or oftener forgetting our avowed object in admansion-house, built with porch and pinnacle, miration of the pictorial beauty, the varied and rich gothic windows, in the style of Eliz- colouring, the play of light and shadow, and abeth's day: on the other the old village the magical perspective of that delightful spot. church; its tower fancifully ornamented with The young people caught my enthusiasm, brick-work, and the church-yard planted with and became almost as completely foresters as broad flowering limes, and funeral yew-trees; l the half-wild ponies, who owned the name,
or the still wilder donkies, whom we used to and his actions have all the same tendencymeet in the recesses of the wood, and whose full of fun, with a dash of mischief. But Ben picturesque forms and grouping, added the in- is a privileged person, an universal favourite; terest of life and motion to the landscape. and Mary, never dreaming of such a catastro
All the family became denizens of Aber- phe as his falling in love, used to contemplate leigh wood, except Mary, who continued a his tricks from afar, with something of the perfect Nereide, constant to the coast to a de- same amusement which she might have felt gree that rendered her quite unjust to our in- in watching a kitten or a monkey. For a long land scenery. She languished under the re- time he made his addresses with impunity; verse disease of a Calenture, pined for the unsuspected and unrepelled; no one believed water, and was literally, in a new sense of the him in earnest. At last, however, Ben and word, sea-sick. To solace her malady, she his case became serious, and then Mary bewould sometimes walk across the park to the came serious too: he received a firm though Loddon, especially at sun-set; for to hear gentle dismissal, and looked grave for a whole Mary, any one would have thought that that week. Next came Aaron Keep the shoebright luminary never did make a set worth maker, the wisest man in the parish, noted all talking of, except when he could look at him- over the country for his knowledge of the self in a watery mirror; and then, when she stars, and judgment in the weather, and alreached the Loddon, provoked at the insuffi- most as notorious for his aversion to matriciency of the spectacle, she would turn back mony and his contempt for women. Aaron without vouchsafing a second glance, although was said to have been jilted in his youth, it is but justice to that poetical river to de- which soured a kindly temper and put misclare, that at Aberleigh bridge it is as broad, trust into his heart. Him, even him, did as glassy, and as beautiful a stream as ever Mary's beauty and Mary's modesty vanquish. the sun showed his face in, with much of the He who had been abusing the sex for the last character of a lake; but Ullswater, or Winan- forty years actually made her an offer. I supdermere, would have fared equally ill with pose the happiest moment in his life must Mary; nothing but the salt sea could content have been that in which she refused him. her.
One can fancy him trembling over the narrowIt was soon obvious that our inland beaux ness of his escape, like the man who did not were no better suited to her taste than our in- fall over Dover Cliff-but the offer was made. land scenery. Half the young men in the The cause of all this obduracy at last apvillage offered her suit and service. First, peared. A young sailor arrived at th vicarGeorge Ellis the farrier, a comely youth, and age, whom the most graphical of our poets well to do in the world, who kept an appren- shall assist me in describing : tice, and a journeyman, a horse and cart, two
* Fresh were his features, his attire was new; greyhounds, three spaniels, and one pointer, Clean was his linen, and his jacket blue; being indeed, by many degrees, the keenest Of finest jean his crowsers, tight and trim, sportsman in these parts ;-George Ellis prof Brushed the large buckle at the silver rim." fered to make her mistress of himself, his
CRABBE. household, his equipage, and his stud; but He arrived at the vicarage towards the end of was civilly rejected. The next candidate who winter, and was introduced by Marv to mine presented himself was Ben Appleton, the son hostess of the Eight Bells as her half-brother; of a neighbouring farmer; Ben Appleton is a although Mary was so little used to telling wag, and has a face and figure proper to the fibs, that her blushes, and downcast looks and vocation : a shape tall, stout, and square, that smiles between, in short, the whole pervading looks stiff and is active; with a prodigious consciousness would have betrayed her, as power of putting himself into all manner of Mrs. Jones, the landlady, observed, to any one ont-of-the-way attitudes, and of varying and who had but half an eye; to say nothing of sustaining this pantomime to an extent that Miss Clara's arch look as she passed them. really seems inexhaustible. The manner in Never was half-brother so welcomed; and in which he can, so to say, transpose that sturdy good truth he was well worthy of his welform of his, put his legs where his arms should come. be, and his arms in the place of his legs, walk Thomas Clere was an exceedingly fine on bis hands, stand on his head, tumble, hop; young man, of six or seven and twenty, with and roll, might raise some envy in Grimaldi a head of curly black hair, a sun-burnt comhimself. His features are under the same plexion, a merry, open countenance, and a command. Originally I suspect him to have bluff hearty voice that always sounded as if been good-looking; but who can ever say that transmitted through a speaking-trumpet. He i he has seen Ben Appleton's real face? He established himself at the Eight Bells, and has such a roll of the eye, such a twist of the soon became very popular in that respectable nose, such a power of drawing to either ear hostelry. Besides his good humour, his libethat broad mouth, filled with strong white rality, and his sea jokes, next to Irish jokes teeth. His very talk is more like a piece of always the most delightful to rustic ears, per
laugh, than the speech of an ordinary man; l haps because next to Irish, the least intelligi