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across the lea, past the workhouse, along by | sinks softly away, like some tiny bay, and the great pond, till we slide into the deep nar- the water flows between, so clear, so wide, so
row lane, whose hedges seem to meet over shallow, that Lizzy, longing for adventure, is the water, and win our way to the little farm- sure she could cross unwetted ; now dashing house at the end. “ Through the farm-yard, through two sand-banks, a torrent deep and Lizzy; over the gate ; never mind the cows; narrow, which May clears at a bound; now
they are quiet enough.”—“I don't mind 'em,” sleeping half-hidden beneath the alders and said Miss Lizzy, boldly and truly, and with a hawthorns and wild roses, with which the proud affronted air, displeased at being thought banks are so profusely and variously fringed, io mind any thing, and showing by her atti- whilst flags,* lilies, and other aquaiic plants, tude and manner some design of proving her almost cover the surface of the stream. In
courage by an attack on the largest of the good truth it is a beautiful brook, and one that herd, in the shape of a pull by the tail. “I Walton himself might have sitten by and don't mind 'em."2" I know you don't, Lizzy; loved, for trout are there; we see them as they
but let them alone, and don't chase the turkey- dart up the stream, and hear and start at the cock.' Come to me, my dear!” and, for a sudden plunge when they spring to the surwonder, Lizzy came.
face for the summer flies. Izaac Walton In the mean time my other pet, Mayflower, would have loved our brook and our quiet had also gotten into a scrape. She had driven meadows; they breathe the very spirit of his
about a huge unwieldy sow, till the animal's own peacefulness, a soothing quietude that grunting had disturbed the repose of a still sinks into the soul. There is no path through more enormous Newfoundland dog, the guar- them, not one; we might wander a whole dian of the yard. Out he sallied growling spring day, and not see a trace of human habifrom the depth of his kennel, erecting his tail, tation. They belong to a number of small and shaking his long chain. May's attention proprietors, who allow each other access was instantly diverted from the sow to this through their respective grounds, from pure new playmate, friend or foe, she cared not | kindness and neighbourly feeling, a privilege which : and he of the kennel, seeing his never abused; and the fields on the other side charge unhurt and out of danger, was at lei- of the water are reached by a rough plank, or sure to observe the charms of his fair enemy, a tree thrown across, or some such homely as she frolicked round him, always beyond bridge. We ourselves possess one of the the reach of his chain, yet always with the most beautiful; so that the strange pleasure natural instinctive coquetry of her sex, alluring of property, that instinct which makes Lizzy him to the pursuit which she knew to be vain. delight in her broken doll, and May in the I never saw a prettier flirtation. At last the bare bone which she has pilfered from the noble animal, wearied out, retired to the in- kennel of her recreant admirer of Newfoundmost recesses of his habitation, and would not land, is added to the other charms of this en
even approach her when she stood right be- chanting scenery; a strange pleasure it is, fore the entrance. “You are properly served, when one so poor as I can feel it! Perhaps it
May. Come along, Lizzy. Across this wheat- is felt most by the poor, with the rich it may field, and now over the gate. Stop! let me be less intense—too much diffused and spread
lift you down. No jumping, no breaking of out, becoming thin by expansion, like leafnecks, Lizzy!" And here we are in the mea- gold; the little of the poor may be not only dows, and out of the world. Robinson Cru- more precious, but more pleasant to them:
soe, in his lonely jsland, had scarcely a more certain that bit of grassy and blossomy earth, complete, or a more beautiful solitude. with its green knolls and tufted bushes, its
These meadows consist of a double row of old pollards wreathed with ivy, and its bright small enclosures of rich grass-land, a mile or and babbling waters, is very dear to ine. But
two in length, sloping down from high arable grounds on either side, to a little nameless
* Walking along these meadows one bright sunny brook that winds between them, with a course afternoon, a year or two back, and rather later in the which in its infinite variety, clearness, and season, I had an opportunity of observing a curious rapidity, seems to emulate the bold rivers of circumstance in natural history. Standing close to the north, of whom, far more than of our lazy the edge of the stream, I remarked a singular appear.
ance on a large tuft of Angs. It looked like bunches southern streams, our rivulet presents a mi- of powers, the leaves of which seemed dark. yet niature likeness. Never was water more ex-transparent, intermingled with brilliant tubes of bright quisitely tricksy:-now darting over the bright blue or shining green. On examining this phenopebbies, sparkling and flashing in the light clusters of dragon-flies, just emerged from their de
menon more closely, it turned out to be several with a bubbling music, as sweet and wild as
formed crysalis slate, and still torpid and motionless the song of the woodlark; now stretching from the wetness of their filmy wings. Half an hour quirtly along, giving back the rich tufts of the later we returned to the spot, and they were gone. golden marsh-marygolds which grow on its We had seen them at the very moment when beauty margin; now sweeping round a fine reach of found nearly a similar account of this curious process
was complete, and animation dormant. green grass, rising steeply into a high mound, in Mr. Bingley's very entertaining work, called “ Ania mimic promontory, whilst the other side mal Biography.”
I have since
I must always have loved these meadows, so floating, like so many fairy favours, down the fresh, and cool, and delicious to the eye and brook; then when we were going on pretty to the tread, full of cowslips, and of all vernal steadily, just as we had made a superb wreath, flowers : Shakspeare's Song of Spring bursts and were thinking of tying it together, Lizzy, irrepressibly from our lips as we step on them: who held the riband, caught a glimpse of a
gorgeous butterfly, all brown and red and pur“When daisies pied, and violets blue, ple, and skipping off to pursue the new obAnd lady-smocks all silver white,
ject, let go her hold; so all our treasures And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, Do paint the meadows with delight,
were abroad again. At last, however, by dint The cuckoo then on every tree"
of taking a branch of alder as a substitute for
Lizzy, and hanging the basket in a pollard“ Cuckoo! cuckoo!" cried Lizzy, breaking ash, out of sight of May, the cowslip-ball in with her clear childish voice; and imme- was finished. What a concentration of fradiately, as if at her call, the real bird, from a grance and beauty it was! golden and sweet neighbouring tree (for these meadows are to satiety! rich to sight, and touch, and dotted with timber like a park), began to echo smell! Lizzy was enchanted, and ran off my lovely little girl, "cuckoo! cuckoo!" I with her prize, hiding amongst the trees in have a prejudice very unpastoral and unpo- the very coyness of ecstasy, as if any human etical (but I cannot help it, I have many such), eye, even mine, would be a restraint on her against this “ harbinger of spring.” Ilis note innocent raptures. is so monotonous, so melancholy; and then In the mean while I sate listening, not to the boys mimic him; one hears “cuckoo! my enemy the cuckoo, but to a whole concert cuckoo!" in dirty streets, amongst smoky of nightingales, scarcely interrupted by any houses, and the bird is hated for faults not meaner bird, answering and vying with each his own. But prejudices of taste, likings and other in those short delicious strains which dislikings, are not always vanquishable by are to the ear as roses to the eye; those reason; so, to escape the serenade from the snatches of lovely sound which come across tree, which promised to be of considerable us as airs from heaven. Pleasant thoughts, duration, (when once that eternal song begins, delightful associations, awoke as I listened ; on it goes ticking like a clock) — to escape and almost unconsciously I repeated to mythat noise I determined to excite another, and self the beautiful story of the Lutist and the challenged Lizzy to a cowslip-gathering; a Nightingale, from Ford's Lover's Melancholy. trial of skill and speed, to see which should - Here it is. Is there in English poetry any | soonest fill her basket. My stratagem suc- thing finer ? ceeded completely. What scrambling, what shouting, what glee from Lizzy! twenty which poets of an elder time have seign'd
“Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales cuckoos might have sung unheard whilst she To glorify their Tempe, bred in me was pulling her own flowers, and stealing Desire of visiting Paradise. mine, and laughing, screaming, and talking To Thessaly I came, and living private, through all.
Withont acquaintance of more sweet companions At last the baskets were filled, and Lizzy I day by day frequented silent groves
Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts, declared victor: and down we sate, on the And solitary walks. One morning early brink of the stream, under a spreading haw- This accident encountered me: I heard thorn, just disclosing its own pearly buds, The sweetest and most ravishing contention and surrounded with the rich and enamelled A sound of music touch'd mine ears, or rather flowers of the wild hyacinth, blue and white, Indeed entranced my soul; as I stole nearer, to make our cowslip-ball. Every one knows Invited by the melodly, I saw the process; to nip off the tuft of flowerets This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute just below the top of the stalk, and hang each Proclaiming, as it seem'd, so fuld a challenge
With strains of strange variety and harmony cluster nicely balanced across a riband, till To the clear choristers of the woods, the birds, you have a long string like a garland ; then to That as they flock'd about him, all stood sileni, press them closely together, and tie them Wondering at what they heard. I wonder'd too. tightly up. We went on very prosperously: Nature's best-skill'd musician, undertakes considering, as people say of a young lady's The challenge ; and for every several strain drawing, or a Frenchman's English, or a wo- The well-shaped youth could touch, she sang him man's tragedy, or of the poor little dwarf who down. works without fingers, or the ingenious sailor le could not run divisions with more art who writes with his toes, or generally of any The nighingale, did with her various notes
l'pon his quaking instrument than she, performance which is accomplished by means Reply to. seemingly inadequate to its production. To Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last be sure, we met with a few accidents. First, Into a pretty anger, that a bird, Lizzy spoiled nearly all her cowslips by whom art had never sanght cless, moods, or notes,
Should vie with him for mastery, whose study snapping them off too short; so there was a
Had busied many hours to perfect practice. fresh gathering; in the next place, May over- To end the controversy, in a rapture set my full basket, and sent the blossoms Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly,
So many voluntaries, and so quick,
had the misfortune to lose a shoe in the mud, That there was curiosity and cunning Concord in discord, lines of differing method
which we left the boy to look after. Meeting in one fall centre of delight.
Here we are at home-dripping; but glowThe bird (ordain'd to be
ing and laughing, and bearing our calamity Music's first martyr) sirove to imitate
most manfully. May, a dog of excellent sense, These several sounds: which when her warbling went instantly to bed in the stable, and is at
throat Faild in, for grief down dropt she on his lute,
this moment over head and ears in straw; And brake her heart. It was the quaintest sadness
Lizzy is gone to bed too, coaxed into that To see the conqueror upon her hearse
wise measure by a promise of tea and toast, To weep a funeral elegy of tears.
and of not going home till to-morrow, and the He look'd upon the trophies of his art, Then sighd, then wiped his eyes; ihen sigh'd and story of Little Red Riding-Hood; and I am cried,
enjoying the luxury of dry clothing by a good Alas! poor creature, I will soon revenge
fire. Really getting wet through now and This cruelty upon the author of it.
then is no bad thing, finery apart; for one Henceforth this lute, guilty of innocent blood, Shall never more betray a harmless peace
should not like spoiling a new pelisse or a To an untimely end:' and in that sorrow,
handsome plume; but when there is nothing As he was pashing it against a tree,
in question but a white gown and a straw I suddenly stept in.”
bonnet, as was the case to-day, it is rather
pleasant than not. The little chill refreshes, When I had finished the recitation of this and our enjoyment of the subsequent warmth, exquisite passage, the sky, which had been and dryness is positive and absolute. Besides, all the afternoon dull and heavy, began to look the stimulus and exertion do good to the mini more and more threatening; darker clouds, as well as body! How melancholy I was all like wreaths of black smoke, flew across the the morning! how cheerful I am now! Nodead leaden tint; a cooler, damper air blew thing like a shower-bath-a real shower-bath, over the meadows, and a few large heavy such as Lizzy and May and I have undergone, drops plashed in the water. “ We shall have to cure low spirits. Try it, my dear readers, a storm. Lizzy! May! where are ye? Quick, if ever ye be nervous--I will answer for its quick, my Lizzy! run, run! faster faster!” success.
And off' we ran; Lizzy not at all displeased at the thoughts of a wetting, to which indeed she is almost as familiar as a duck; May, on the other hand, peering up at the weather, and A COUNTRY CRICKE T-MATCH. shaking her pretty ears with manifest dismay. Of all animals, next to a cat, a greyhound I doubt if there be any scene in the world dreads rain. She might have escaped it; her more animating or delightful than a cricketlight feet would have borne her home long be- match :- I do not mean a set match at Lord's i fore the shower; but May is too faithful for Ground for money, hard money, between a that, too true a comrade, understands too well certain number of gentlemen and players, as the laws of good fellowship; so she waited they are called people who make a trade of for us. She did, to be sure, gallop on before, that noble sport, and degrade it into an affair and then stop and look back, and beckon, as of bettings, and hedgings, and cheatings, it it were, with some scorn in her black eyes at may be, like boxing or horse-racing; nor do the slowness of our progress.
We in the I mean a pretty fête in a gentleman's park, mean while got on as fast as we could, where one club of cricketing dandies encounter encouraging and reproaching each other.- another such club, and where they show off * Faster, my Lizzy! Oh what a bad runner!" in graceful costume to a gay marquée of ad
- Faster, faster! Oh what a bad runner, miring belles, who condescend so to purchase echoed my saucebox. “ You are so fat, Liz- admiration, and while away a long summer zy, you make no way!”—“Ah! who else is morning in partaking cold collations, conversfát?" retorted the darling. Certainly her ing occasionally, and seeming to understand mother is right; I do spoil that child. the game ;-the whole being conducted ac
By this time we were thoroughly soaked, cording to ball-room etiquette, so as to be exall three. It was a pelting shower, that ceedingly elegant and exceedingly dull. No! drove through our thin summer clothing and the cricket that I mean is a real solid oldpoor May's short glossy coat in a moment. fashioned match between neighbouring parishAnd then, when we were wet to the skin, the es, where each attacks the other for honour sun came out, actually the sun, as if to laugh and a supper, glory and half-a-crown a man. at our plight; and then, more provoking still, If there be any gentlemen amongst them, it is when the sun was shining, and the shower well--if not, it is so much the better. Your over, came a maid and a boy to look after us, gentleman cricketer is in general rather an loaded with cloaks and umbrellas enough to anomalous character. Elderly gentlemen are fence us against a whole day's rain. Never obviously good for nothing; and young beaux mind! on we go, faster and faster; Lizzy are, for the most part, hampered and tramobliged to be most ignobly carried, having melled by dress and habit; the stiff cravat,
the pinched-in waist, the dandy-walk-oh, haps, that no great good resulted from the subthey will never do for cricket! Now, our stitution of public houses for out-of door dicountry lads, accustomed to the flail or the versions, relaxed. In short the practice recomhammer (your blacksmiths are capital hitters,) menced, and the hill was again alive with men have the free use of their arms; they know and boys, and innocent merriment; but farther how to move their shoulders; and they can than the riband matches amongst ourselves move their feet too—they can run; then they nobody dreamed of going, till this challenge are so much better made, so much more athle were modest, and doubted our own tic, and yet so much lissomer- to use a strength. The B. people, on the other hand, Hampshire phrase, which deserves at least to must have been braggers born, a whole parish be good English. Here and there, indeed, of gasconaders. Never was such boasting ! one meets with an old Etonian, who retains such crowing! such ostentatious display of his boyish love for that game which formed practice! such mutual compliments from man so considerable a branch of his education; to man-bowler to batter, batter to bowler! some even preserve their boyish proficiency, It was a wonder they did not challenge all but in general it wears away like the Greek, England. It must be confessed that we were
quite as certainly, and almost as fast; a few a little astounded; yet we firmly resolved not vears of Oxford, or Cambridge, or the con to decline the combat; and one of the most vinent, are sufficient to annihilate both the spirited of the new growth, William Grey by power and the inclination. No! a village name, took up the glove in a style of manly match is the thing, -where our highest officer courtesy, that would have done honour to a -our conductor (to borrow a musical term) is knight in the days of chivalry.—“ We were but a little farmer's second son; where a day- not professed players,” he said; “ being little Jabourer is our bowler, and a blacksmith our better than school-boys, and scarcely older:
long-stop; where the spectators consist of the but, since they had done us the honour to retired cricketers, the veterans of the green, challenge us, we would try our strength. It the careful mothers, the girls, and all the boys would be no discredit to be beaten by such a of two parishes, together with a few amateurs, field.” little above them in rank, and not at all in pre Having accepted the wager of battle, our tension; where laughing and shouting, and champion began forth with to collect his forces. the very ecstasy of merriment and good hu- William Grey is himself one of the finest mour, prevail : such a match, in short, as I at- youths that one shall see,-tall, active, slender, tended yesterday, at the expense of getting and yet strong, with a piercing eye full of twice wet through, and as I would attend to- sagacity, and a smile full of good humour, morrow, at the certainty of having that duck- a farmer's son by station, and used to hard ing doubled.
work as farmers' sons are now, liked by every For the last three weeks our village has body, and admitted to be an excellent cricketer. been in a state of great excitement, occasioned He immediately set forth to muster his men, by a challenge from our north-western neigh- remembering with great complacency that bours, the men of B., to contend with us at Samuel Long, a bowler comme il y en a peu, cricket. Now we have not been much in the the very man who had knocked down nine habit of playing matches. Three or four years wickets, had beaten us, bowled us out at the ago, indeed, we encountered the men of S., our fatal return match some years ago at S., had neighbours south-by-east, with a sort of doubt- luckily, in a remove of a quarter of a mile last ful success, beating them on our own ground, Lady-day, crossed the boundaries of his old whilst they in the second match returned the parish, and actually belonged to us. Here compliment on theirs. This discouraged us. was a stroke of good fortune! Our captain Then an unnatural coalition between a high- applied to him instantly; and he agreed at a church curate and an evangelical gentleman- word. Indeed Samuel Long is a very civilized farmer drove our lads from the Sunday-evening person. He is a middle-aged man who looks' practice, which, as it did not begin before both rather old amongst our young lads, and whose services were concluded, and as it tended to thickness and breadth give no token of remarkkeep the young men from the ale-house, our able activity ; but he is very active, and so magistrates had winked at, if not encouraged. steady a player! so safe! We had half gained The sport therefore had languished until the the match when we had secured him. He is present season, when under another change of a man of substance, too, in every way; owns circumstances the spirit began to revive. Half one cow, two donkeys, six pigs, and geese and a dozen fine active lads, of influence amongst ducks beyond count; dresses like a farmer, their comrades, grew into men and yearned for and owes no man a shilling;--and all this from cricket: : an enterprising publican gave a set pure industry, sheer day-labour. Note that of ribands : his rival, mine host of the Rose, your good cricketer is commonly the most an out-doer by profession, gave two; and the industrious man in the parish; the habits that clergyman and his lay-ally, both well-disposed make him such are precisely those which make and good-natured men, gratified by the sub- him a good workman-steadiness, sobriety, mission to their authority, and finding, per-I and activity-Samuel Long might pass for the
beau ideal of the two characters. Happy were high! We were all afraid that, in spite of his we to possess him! Then we had another piece name, his strength would never hold out. of good luck. James Brown, a journeyman “ Wait till next year, John," quoth William blacksmith and a native, who, being of a ram- Grey, with all the dignified seniority of twenty ! bling disposition, had roamed from place to speaking to eighteen. " Coper's a year place for half a dozen years, had just returned younger,” said John. "Coper's a foot shorter," to settle with his brother at another corner of replied William: so John retired; and the our village, bringing with him a prodigious eleventh man remained unchosen, almost to reputation in cricket and in gallantry—the gay the eleventh hour. The eve of the match arLothario of the neighbourhood. He is said to rived, and the post was still vacant, when a have made more conquests in love and in cricket little boy of fisteen, David Willis, brother to than any blacksmith in the county. To him Harry, admitted by accident to the last pracalso went the indefatigable William Grey, and tice, saw eight of them out, and was voted in he also consented to play. No end to our good by acclamation. fortune! Another celebrated batter, called Jo That Sunday evening's practice (for Monday seph Hearne, had likewise recently married | was the important day) was a period of great into the parish. He worked, it is true, at the anxiety, and, to say the truth, of great pleaA. mills, but slept at the house of his wife's sure. There is something strangely delightful father in our territories. He also was sought in the innocent spirit of party. To be one of and found by our leader. But he was grand a numerous body, to be authorized to say we, and shy; made an immense favour of the thing; to have a rightful interest in triumph or defeat, courted courting and then hung back ;—“ Did is gratifying at once to social feeling and to not know that he could be spared ; had partly personal pride. There was not a ten-year old resolved not to play again—at least not this urchin, or a septuagenary woman in the parish, season; thought it rash to accept the challenge; who did not feel an additional importance, a thought they might do without him reflected consequence, in speaking of “our * Truly I think so too,” said our spirited cham- side.” An election interests in the same way; pion ; "we will not trouble you, Mr. Hearne.” but that feeling is less pure. Money is there,
Having thus secured two powerful auxiliar- and hatred, and politics, and lies. Oh, to be ies, and rejected a third, we began to reckon a voter or a voter’s wife, comes nothing ne
near and select the regular native forces. Thus ran the genuine and hearty sympathy of belonging our list:-William Grey, 1.–Samuel Long, 2. to a parish, breathing the same air, looking on 1- James Brown, 3.–George and John Sim- the same trees, listening to the same nightinmons, one capital, the other so, so,—an uncer- gales ! Talk of a patriotic elector !--Give me tain hitter, but a good fieldsman, 5.-Joel a parochial patriot, a man who loves his parBrent, excellent, 6.–Ben Appleton-Here was ish! Even we, the female partisans, may par'a little pause-Ben's abilities at cricket were take the common ardour. Í am sure I did. I not completely ascertained; but then he was never, though tolerably eager and enthusiastic so good a fellow, so full of fun and waggery! at all times, remember being in a more delino doing without Ben. So he figured in the cious state of excitation than on the eve of that Jist, 7.-George Harris—a short halt there too! battle. Our hopes waxed stronger and stronger. Slowish-slow but sure. I think the proverb Those of our players, who were present, were brought him in, 8.- Tom Coper-oh, beyond excellent. William Grey got foriy notches off the world, Tom Coper! the red-headed gar- his own bat; and that brilliant hitter Tom dening lad, whose left-handed strokes send her Coper gained eight from two successive balls. (a cricket-ball, like that other moving thing a As the evening advanced, too, we had encourship, is always of the feminine gender,) send agement of another sort. A spy, who had been her spinning a mile, 9.-Harry Willis, another despatched to reconnoitre the enemy's quarters, blacksmith, 10.
returned from their practising ground, with a We had now ten of our eleven, but the choice most consolatory report. “Really," said of the last occasioned some demur. Three Charles Grover, our intelligencer-a fine old young Martins, rich farmers of the neighbour- steady judge, one who had played well in his hood, successively presented themselves, and day—" they are no better than so many old were all rejected by our independent and im- women. Any five of ours would beat their partial general for want of merit-cricketal eleven." This sent us to bed in high spirits. i merit. * Not good enough,” was his pithy Morning dawned less favourably. The sky answer. Then our worthy neighbour, the half- promised a series of deluging showers, and pay lieutenant, offered his services-he, too, kept its word, as English skies are wont to do though with some hesitation and modesty, on such occasions; and a lamentable message was refused" not quite young enough," was arrived at the head-quarters from our trusty bis sentence. John Strong, the exceeding long comrade Joel Brent. His master, a great farmson of our dwarfish mason, was the next can- er, had begun the hay-harvest that very morndidate,-a nice youth-every body likes John ing, and Joel, being as eminent in one field as Strong, and a willing, but so tall and so limp, in another, could not be spared. Imagine Joel's bent in the middle-a thread-paper, six feet plight! the most ardent of all our eleven! a