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that it was a bit of scenery more like the of the spring still remained concealed, although burns of the North Countrie (my visiter was the rapid gushing of the water made a pleaa Northumbrian) than anything he had seen in sant music in that pleasant place; and here the south. Surely I had seen it? I was half and there a sunbeam, striking upon the sparkashamed to confess that I had not—(how often ling stream, shone with a bright and glancing are we obliged to confess that we have not light amidst the dark ivies, and brambles, and seen the beauties which lie close to our doors, mossy stumps of trees, that grew around. too near for observation !)--and the next day This mound had apparently been cut a year proving fine, I determined to repair my omis- or two ago, so that it presented an appearance sion.
of mingled wildness and gaiety, that contrasted It was a soft balmy April morning, just at very agreeably with the rest of the coppice; that point of the flowery spring when violets whose trodden-down flowers I had grieved and primroses are lingering under the northern over, even whilst admiring the picturesque hedgerows, and cowslips and orchises peeping effect of the woodcutters and their several out upon sunny banks. My driver was the operations. Here, however, reigned the flowclever, shrewd, arch boy Dick; and the first ery spring in all her glory. Violets, pansies, part of our way lay along the green winding orchises, oxslips, the elegant wood-sorrel, the lanes which lead to Everly; we then turned delicate wood anemone, and the enamelled to the left, and putting up our phaeton at a wild hyacinth, were sprinkled profusely small farm-house, where my attendant (who amongsi the mosses, and lichens, and dead found acquaintances everywhere) was intimate, leaves, which formed so rich a carpet beneath we proceeded to the wood; Dick accompany- our feet. Primroses, above all, were there of ing me, carrying my flower-basket, opening almost every hue, from the rare and pearly the gates, and taking care of my dog Dash, a white, to the deepest pinkish purple, coloured very beautiful thorough-bred Old English span- by some diversity of soil, the pretty freak of iel, who was a little apt, when he got into a nature's gardening; whilst the common yelwood, to run after the game, and forget to come low blossom-commonest and prettiest of all out again.
-peeped out from amongst the boughs in the I have seldom seen any thing in woodland stump of an old willow, like (to borrow the scenery more picturesque and attractive than simile of a dear friend, now no more) a canary the old coppice of Lanton, on that soft and bird from its cage. The wild geranium was balmy April morning. The underwood was already showing its pink stem and scarletnearly cut, and bundles of long split poles for edged leaves, themselves almost gorgeous hooping barrels were piled together against enongh to pass for flowers; the periwinkle, the tall oak trees, bursting with their sap; with its wreaths of shining foliage, was hangwhilst piles of fagots were built up in other ing in garlands over the precipitous descent; parts of the copse, and one or two saw-pits, and the lily of the valley, the fragrant woodwith light open sheds erected over them, roof, and the silvery wild garlic, were just
whence issued the measured sound of the saw peeping from the earth in the most sheltered and the occasional voices of the workmen, nooks. Charmed to find myself surrounded
almost concealed by their subterranean posi- by so much beauty, I had scrambled, with tion, were placed in the hollows. At the far much ado, to the top of the woody cliff, (no
side of the coppice, the operation of hewing other word can convey an idea of its precipidown the underwood was still proceeding, and tous abruptness,) and was vainly attempting
the sharp strokes of the axe and the bill, soft- to trace by my eye the actual course of the ened by distance, came across the monotonous spring, which was, by the clearest evidence jar of the never-ceasing saw.
of sound, gushing from the fount many feet The surface of the ground was prettily tum- below me; when a peculiar whistle of delight bled about, comprehending as pleasant a va- (for whistling was to Dick, although no ordiriety of bill and dale as could well be com- pary proficient in our common tongue, another prised in some thirty acres. It declined, how- language,) and a tremendous scrambling ever, generally speaking, towards the centre amongst the bushes, gave token that my faithof the coppice, along which a small, very ful attendant had met with something as agreesinall rivulet, scarcely more than a runlet, able to his fancy, as the primroses and orchises wound its way in a thousand graceful mean- had proved to mine. ders.
Tracking upward the course of the Guided by a repetition of the whistle, I little stream, we soon arrived at that which soon saw my trusty adherent spanning the had been the ostensible object of our drive-chasm like a Colossus, one foot on one bank, the spot whence it sprung.
the other on the opposite-each of which apIt was a steep irregular acclivity on the peared to me to be resting, so to say, on nohighest side of the wood, a mound, I had al- ihing-tugging away at a long twig ihat grew most said a rock, of earth, cloven in two about on the brink of the precipice, and exceedingly the middle, but with so narrow a fissure that likely to resolve the inquiry as to the source the brushwood which grew on either side of the Loddon, by plumping souse into the nearly filled up the opening, so that the source I fountain-head. I, of course, called out to
warn him; and he equally, of course, went white primroses, and immediately recognised on with his labour without paying the slightest my old acquaintance, Bessy Leigh. attention to my caution. On the contrary, She was, as before, clean and healthy, and having possessed himself of one straight slen- tidy, and unaffectedly glad to see me; but the der twig, which, to my great astonishment, joyousness and buoyancy which had made so he wound round his fingers, and deposited in much of her original charm, were greatly dihis pocket, as one should do by a bit of pack- minished. It was clear that poor Bessy had thread, he apparently, during the operation, suffered worse griefs than those of cold and caught sight of another. Testifying his de- hunger; and upon questioning her, so it turned light by a second whistle, which, having his out. knife in his mouth, one wonders how he could Her father had died, and her mother had accomplish; and scrambling with the fearless been ill, and the long hard winter had been daring of a monkey up the perpendicular bank, hard to get through; and then the rent had supported by strings of ivy, or ledges of roots, come upon her, and the steward (for the young and clinging by hand and foot to the frail gentleman himself was a minor) had threaibramble or the slippery moss, leaping like a ened to turn them out if it were not paid to a squirrel from bough to bough, and yet, by day — the very next day after that on which happy boldness, escaping all danger, he ai we were speaking; and her mother had been tained his object as easily as if he had been afraid they must go to the workhouse, which upon level ground. Three, four, five times would have been a sad thing, because now was the knowing, joyous, triumphant whistle she had got so much washing to do, and Harry sounded, and every time with a fresh peril and was so clever at basket-making, that there a fresh escape. At last, the young gentleman, was every chance, this rent once paid, of their panting and breathless, stood at my side, and getting on comfortably. " And the rent will I began to question him as to the treasure he be paid now, ma'am, thank God!" added had been pursuing.
Bessy, her sweet face brightening; "for we " It's the ground-ash, ma'am,” responded want only a guinea of the whole sum, and master Dick, taking one of the coils from his Lady Denys has employed me to get scarce pocket; “ the best riding-switch in the world. wild-flowers for her wood, and has promised All the whips that ever were made are nothing me half-a-guinea for what I have carried her, to it. Only see how strong it is, how light, and this last parcel, which I am to take to the and how supple! You may twist it a thou- lodge to-night; and Mr. John Barlow, her sand ways without breaking. It won't break, groom, has offered Harry twelve-and-sixpence do what you will. Each of these, now, is for five ground-ashes that Harry has been so worth half-a-crown or three shillings, for they lucky as to find by the spring, and Harry is are the scarcest things possible. They grow gone to cut them : so that now we shall get up at a little distance from the root of an old on bravely, and inother need not fret any lontree, like a sucker from a rose-bush. Great ger. I hope no harm will befall Harry in getluck, indeed !" continued Dick, putting up his ring the ground-ash, though, for it's a noted treasure with another joyful whistle ; * it was dangerous place. But he's a careful boy.” | but t'other day that Jack Barlow offered me Just at this point of her little speech, poor half-a-guinea for four, if I could but come by Bessy was interrupted by her brother, who them. I shall certainly keep the best, though, ran down the declivity exclaiming, “ They're for myself — unless ma'am, you would be gone, Bessy !--they're gone! somebody has pleased to accept it for the purpose of whip- taken them the ground-ashes are gone?" ping Dash.”
Whipping Dash!!! Well Dick put his hand irresolutely to his pocket, have I said that Dick was as saucy as a lady's and then, uttering a dismal whistle, pulled it page or a king's jester. Talk of whipping resolutely out again, with a hardness, or an Dash! Why, the young gentleman knew affectation of hardness, common to all lads, perfectly well that I had rather be whipt my- from the prince to the stable-boy. self twenty times over. The very sound I also put my hand into my pocket, and seemed a profanation. Whip my Dash! of found, with the deep disappointment which course I read master Dick a lecture for this often punishes such carelessness, that I had irreverent mention of my pet, who, poor fel- left my purse at home. All that I could do, low, hearing his name called in question, therefore, was to bid the poor children be comcame up in all innocence to fondle me; to forted, and ascertain at what time Bessy inwhich grave remonstrance the hopeful youth tended to take her roots, which in the midst replied by another whistle, half of penitence, of her distress she continued to dig up, to my half of amusement.
excellent friend Lady Denys. I then, exhortThese discourses brought us to the bottoming them to hope the best, made my way, of the mound, and turning round a clump of quickly out of the wood. hawthorn and holly, we espied a little damsel Arriving at the gate, I missed my attendant. with a basket at her side, and a large knife in Before, however, I had reached the farm at her hand, carefully digging up a large root of which we had left our phaeton, I heard his
gayest and most triumphant whistle behind their great namesake's glory, it would have me. Thinking of the poor children, it jarred been strange indeed if ihe linen-drapers and upon my feelings. "Where have you been haberdashers of our good town of Belford loitering, Sir?” I asked, in a sterner voice Regis had been so much in the rear of fashion than he had probably ever heard from me be- as to neglect this easy method of puffing off fore.
their wares. On the contrary, so much did " Where have I been ?" replied he; "giv- our shopkeepers rely upon the influence of an ing little Harry the ground-ashes, to be sure: illustrious appellation, that they seemed to I felt just as if I had stolen them. And now, despair of success unless sheltered by the I do believe," continued he, with a prodigious laurels of the great commander, and would burst of whistling, which seemed to me as press his name into the service, even after its melodious as the song of the nightingale, “I accustomed and legitimate forms of use seemdo believe," quoth Dick, " that I am happier ed exhausted. Accordingly we had not only than they are. I would not have kept those a Wellington house and a Waterloo house, ground-ashes, no, not for fifty pounds!” but a new Waterloo establishment, and a gen
uine and original Duke of Wellington warehouse.
The new Waterloo establishment, a flashy,
dashy shop in the market-place, occupying a MR. JOSEPH HANSON, THE considerable extent of frontage, and "conHABERDASHER.
ducted (as the advertisements ve it) by Mr.
Joseph Hanson, late of London," put forth by These are good days for great heroes; so far the boldest pretensions of any magazine of far at least as regards the general spread and finery and frippery in the town; and it is with universal diffusion of celebrity. In the mat that magnificent store, and with that only, that ter of fame, indeed, that grand bill upon pos- I intend to deal in the present story. terity which is to be found written in the page If the celebrated Mr. Puff, he of the Critic, of history, and the changes of empires, Alex- who, although Sheridan probably borrowed ander may, for aught I know, be nearly on a the idea of that most amusing personage from par with the Duke of Wellington; but in point the auctioneers and picture-dealers of Foote's of local and temporary tributes to reputation, admirable farces, first reduced to system the the great ancient, king though he were, must art of profitable lying, setting forth methodichave been far behind the great modern. Even ally (scientifically it would be called in these that comparatively recent warrior, the Duke days) the different genera and species of that of Marlborough, made but a slight approach fourishing craft- if Mr. Puff himself were to the popular honours paid to the conqueror to revisit this mortal stage, he would lift up of Napoleon. A few alehouse signs and the his hands and eyes in admiration and astonishballad of Marlbrook s'en va't en guerre,” ment at the improvements which have taken (for we are not talking now of the titles, and place in the art from whence he took, or to pensions, and palaces, granted to him by the which he gave, a name (for the fact is doubtSovereign and the Parliament,) seem to have ful) the renowned art of Puffing! been the chief if not the only popular demon Talk of the progress of society, indeed! of strations vouchsafed by friends and enemies the march of intellect, and the diffusion of to the hero of Blenheim.
knowledge, of infant schools and adult colThe name of Wellington, on the other hand, leges, of gas-lights and rail-roads, of steamis necessarily in every man's mouth at every boats and steam-coaches, of literature for nohour of every day. lle is the universal god thing, and science for less! What are they and father of every novelty, whether in art, in lit- fifty other such knick-knacks compared with erature, or in science. Streets, bridges, places, the vast strides made by this improving age crescents, terraces, and rail-ways, on the land; in the grand art of puffing ? Nay, are they steam-boats on the water; balloons in the air, not for the most part mere implements and are all distinguished by that honoured appel accessories of that mighty engine of trade? lation. We live in Wellington squares, we What is half the march of intellect, but pufftravel in Wellington coaches, we dine in Wel- ery? Why do little children learn their letters lington hotels, we are educated in Wellington at school, but that they may come hereafter to establishments, and are clothed from top to read puffs at college? Why but for the protoe (that is to say the male half of the nation) pagation of puffs do honorary lecturers hold in Wellington boots, Wellington cloaks, Wel forth upon science, and gratuitous editors cirJington hats, each of which shall have been culate literature ? Are not gas-lights chiefly severally purchased at a warehouse bearing used for their illumination, and steam-boats the same distinguished title.
for their speed? And shall not history, which Since every market town and almost every has given to one era the name of the age of village in the kingdom, could boast a Wel- gold, and has entitled another the age of silver, lington house, or a Waterlop house, emulous call this present nineteenth century the age of to catch some gilded ray from the blaze of puffs ?
Take up the first thing upon your table, the guished by a greater number of occupants and newspaper for instance, or the magazine, the a more rapid succession of failures in the same decorated drawing-box, the Brahma pen, and line than any other in the town. twenty to one but a puff niore or less direct The last tenant, save one, of that celebrated shall lurk in the patent of the one, while a warehouse - the penultimate bankrupt- hadi whole congeries of puffs shall swarm in bare followed the beaten road of puffing, and an-. and undisguised effrontery between the pages nounced his goods as the cheapest ever manuof the other.
factured. According to himself, his handbills, Walk into the streets ;-and what meet you and his advertisements, everything contained there? Puffs! puffs ! puffs! From the dead in that shop was so very much under prime walls, chalked over with recommendations to cost, that the more he sold the sooner he most purchase Mr. Such-an-one's blacking, to the be ruined. To hear him, you would expect walking placard insinuating the excellences not only that he should give his ribbons and of Mr. What-d'ye-call-him's Cream Gin* - muslins for nothing, but that he should offer from the bright resplendent brass-knob, gar- you a premium for consenting to accept of nished with the significant words Office them. Gloves, handkerchiefs, night-caps, Bell,” beside the door of an obscure surveyor, gown-pieces, every article at the door and in to the spruce carriage of a newly-arrived phy- the window was covered with tickets, each
sician driving empty up and down the street, nearly as large as itself, tickets that might be everything whether moveable or stationary is read across the market-place; and towns-peoa puff.
ple and country-people came flocking round But shops form, of course, the chief locality about, some to stare and some to buy. The of the craft of puffing. The getting off of starers were, however, it is to be presumed, goods is its grand aim and object. And of all more numerous than the buyers, for notwithshops those which are devoted to the thousand standing his tickets, his handbills, and his and one articles of female decoration, the few advertisements, in less than six months the things which women do, and the many which advertiser had failed, and that stock, never, as they do not want, stand pre-eminent in this its luckless owner used to say, approached great art of the nineteenth century.
for cheapness, was sold off at half its original Not to enter upon the grand manæuvres of price. the London establishments, the doors for car Warned by his predecessor's fate, the next riages to set down and the doors for carriages comer adopted a newer and a nobler style of to take up, indicating an affluence of custom-attracting public attention. He called himself ers, a degree of crowd and inconvenience a steady trader of the old school, abjured equal to the King's Theatre on a Saturday cheapness as synonymous with cheating, disnight, or the queen's drawing-room on a birth- claimed everything that savoured of a puff, day, and attracting the whole female world by denounced handbills and advertisements, and that which in a fashionable cause the whole had not a ticket in his whole shop. He cited female world loves so dearly, confusion, pres- the high price of his articles as proofs of their sure, heat and noise ;-to say nothing of those goodness, and would have held himself disbold schemes which require the multitudes of graced for ever if he had been detected in sellthe metropolis to afford them the slightest ing a reasonable piece of goods. “He could chance of success, we in our good borough of not,” he observed, “ expect to attract the rabBelford Regis, simple as it stands, had, as I ble by such a mode of transacting business; have said, as pretiy a show of speculating his aim was to secure a select body of customhaberdashers as any country town of its inch- ers amongst the nobility and gentry, persons es could well desire; the most eminent of who looked to quality and durability in their
whom was beyond all question or competition, purchases, and were capable of estimating the the proprietor of the New Waterloo Establish- solid advantages of dealing with a tradesman ment, Mr. Joseph Hanson, late of London.' who despised the trumpery artifices of the
His shop displayed, as I have already in- day." timated, one of the largest and showjest front So high-ininded a declaration, enforced too ages in the market-place, and had been distin- by much solemnity of utterance and appear
ance--the speaker being a solid, substantial.. * He was a genius in his line (I had almost written middle-aged man, equipped in a full suit of an evil genius) who invented that rare epithet, that black, with a head nicely powdered, and a singular combination of the sweetest and purest of all pen stuck behind his ear-such a declaration luxuries, the most healthful and innocent of dainties, from so important a personage ought to have redolent of association 60 rural and poetical, with the vilest abominations of great cities, the impure and succeeded ; but somehow or other it did not. disgusting source of misery and crime. Cream Gin! His customers, gentle and simple, were more The union of such words is really a desecration of select than numerous, and in another six one of nature's most genial gifts, as well as a burlesque months the high-price man failed just as the on the charming old pastoral poetr; a fagrant fleuce low-price man had failed before him. against morals, and against that which in its highest sense may almost be considered a branch of morality
Their successor, Mr. Joseph Hanson, claim-taste.
ed to unite in his own person the several mer
its of both his antecedents. Cheaper than the men in the town of Belford, was old John cheapest, better, finer, more durable, than the Parsons, the tinman. His spacious shop, best, nothing at all approaching his assortment crowded with its glittering and rattling comof linen-drapery had, as he swore, and his head modities, pots, pans, kettles, meat-covers, in shopman, Mr. Thomas Long, asseverated, ever a word, the whole pallerie de cuisine, was situbeen seen before in the streets of Belford ate in the narrow, inconvenient lane called Regis; and the oaths of the master and the Oriel Street, which I have already done myself asseverations of the man, together with a very the honour of introducing to the courteous readgrand display of fashions and finery, did really er, anding betwixt a great chemist on one seem, in the first instance at least, to attract side, his windows filled with coloured jars, more customers than had of late visited those red, blue, and green, looking like painted unfortunate premises.
glass, or like the fruit made of gems in AladMr. Joseph Hanson and Mr. Thomas Long din's garden, (I am as much taken myself with were a pair admirably suited to the concern, those jars in a chemist's window as ever was and to one another. Each possessed pre-emi- Miss Edgeworth's Rosamond,) and an eminently the various requisites and qualifications nent china warehouse on the other; our tinman in which the other happened to be deficient. having the honour to be next-door neighbour Tall, slender, elderly, with a fine bald head, to no less a lady than Mrs. Philadelphia Tyler. a mild countenance, a most insinuating address, Many a thriving tradesman might be found in and a general air of faded gentility, Mr. Thom- Oriel Street, and many a blooming damsel as Long was exactly the foreman to give re- amongst the tradesme daughters; but if spectability to his employer; whilst bold, flu- the town gossip might be believed, the richest ent, rapid, loud, dashing in aspect and manner, of all the rich shopkeepers was old John Parwith a great fund of animal spirits, and a prodi- sons, and the prettiest girl (even without refergious stock of assurance and conceit, respect- ence to her father's money-bags) was his fair ability was, to say the truth, the precise quali- daughter Harriet. fication which Mr. Joseph Hanson most John Parsons was one of those loud, violent, needed.
blustering, boisterous personages who always Then the good town of Belford being divid- put me in mind of the description so often aped, like most other country towns, into two pended to characters of that sort in the draprevailing factions, theological and political, matis personæ of Beaumont and Fletcher's the worthies whom I am attempting to de- plays, where one constantly meets with Ernulscribe prudently endeavoured to catch all pho or Bertoldo, or some such Italianised apparties by embracing different sides; Mr. pellation, “ an old angry gentleman.” The Joseph Hanson being a tory and high-church-* old angry gentleman” of the fine old dramaman of the very first water, who showed his tists generally keeps the promise of the playloyalty according to the inost approved fashion, bills. He storms and rails during the whole by abusing his Majesty's ministers as revolu- five acts, scolding those the most whom he tionary, thwarting the town-council, getting loves the best, making all around him uncomtipsy at conservative dinners, and riding twen- fortable, and yet meaning fully to do right, and ty miles to attend an eminent preacher who firmly convinced that he is himself the injured wielded in a neighbouring county all the thun- party: and after quarrelling with cause or ders of orthodoxy; whilst the soft-spoken without to the end of the comedy, makes Mr. Thomas Long was a Dissenter and a radi- friends all round at the conclusion ;—a sort of cal, who proved his allegiance to the house of person whose good intentions everybody ap
Brunswick (for both claimed to be amongst preciates, but from whose violence everybody the best wishers to the present dynasty and ihat can is sure to get away. the reigning sovereign) by denouncing the Now such men are just as common in the government as weak and aristocratic, advoca- real work-a-day world as in the old drama; and ting the abolition of the peerage, getting up precisely such a man was John Parsons. an operative reform club, and going to chapel His daughter was exactly the sort of creathree times every Sunday.
ture that such training was calculated to proThese measures succeeded so well, that the duce; gentle, timid, shrinking, fond of her allotted six months (the general period of fail- father, who indeed doted upon her, and ure in that concern) elapsed, and still found would have sacrificed his whole substance, Mr. Joseph Hanson as flourishing as ever in his right arm, his life, anything except his will manner, and apparently flourishing in trade; or his humour, to give her a moment's pleathey stood him, too, in no small stead, in a sure; gratefully fond of her father, but yet matter which promised to be still more condu- more afraid than fond. cive to his prosperity than buying and selling 'The youngest and only surviving child of a feminine gear,—in the grand matter (for Jo- large family, and brought up without a
seph jocosely professed to be a forlorn bache- mother's care, since Mrs. Parsons had died in lor upon the look-out for a wife) of a wealthy her infancy, there was a delicacy and fragility, marriage.
a slenderness of form and transparency of comOne of the most thrifty and thriving trades- plexion, which, added to her gentleness and