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It was a small clear lake almost embosomed THE WIDOW'S DOG. in trees, across which an embankment, formed
for the purpose of a decoy for the wildfow! One of the most beautiful spots in the north with which it abounded, led into a wood which of Hampshire-a part of the country which, covered the opposite hill; an old forest-like from its winding green lanes, with the trees wood, where the noble oaks, whose boughs meeting overhead like a cradle, its winding almost dipped into the water, were surrounded roads between coppices, with wide turfy mar- by their sylvan accompaniments of birch, and gents on either side, as if left on purpose for holly, and hawthorn, where the tall trees met the picturesque and frequent gipsy camp, its over the straggling paths, and waved across abundance of hedge-row timber, and its exten- the grassy dells and turfy brakes with which sive tracts of woodland, seems as if the fields it was interspersed. One low-browed cottage were just dug out of the forest, as might have stood in a little meadow-it might almost be happened in the days of William Rufus—one called a little orchard—just at the bottom of of the loveliest scenes in this lovely county the winding road that led to the Great Pond : is the Great Pond at Ashley End.
the cottage of the widow King. Ashley End is itself a romantic and beau- Independently of its beautiful situation, tiful village, straggling down a steep hill to a there was much that was at once picturesque clear and narrow running stream, which crosses and comfortable about the cottage itself, with the road in the bottom, crossed in its turn by its irregularity of outline, its gable-ends and a picturesque wooden bridge, and then wind- jutting-out chimneys, its thatched roof and ing with equal abruptness up the opposite ac- pent-house windows. A little yard, with a clivity, so that the scattered cottages, sepa- small building which just held an old donkeyrated from each other by long strips of garden chaise and an old donkey, a still older cow, ground, the little country inn, and two or three and a few pens for geese and chickens, lay on old-fashioned tenements of somewhat higher one side of the house; in front, a flower court, pretensions, surrounded by their own moss- surrounded by a mossy paling ; a larger plo: grown orchards, seemed to be completely shut for vegetables behind; and, stretching down out from this bustling world, buried in the to the Great Pond on the side opposite the
sloping meadows so deeply green, and the yard, was the greenest of all possible meahanging woods so rich in their various tinting, dows, which, as I have before said, two noble along which the slender wreaths of smoke walnut and mulberry trees, and a few aged from the old clustered chimneys went smiling pears and apples, clustered near the dwelling, peacefully in the pleasant autumn air. So almost converted into that pleasantest appanage profound was the tranquillity, that the slender of country life, an orchard. streamlet which gushed along the valley, fol Notwithstanding, however, the exceeding lowing its natural windings, and glittering in neatness of the flower-court, and the little garthe noonday sun like a thread of silver, seemed den filled with beds of strawberries, and lato the unfrequent visiters of that remote ham- vender, and old-fashioned flowers, stocks, carlet the only trace of life and motion in the pic- nations, roses, pinks; and in spite of the cotture.
The source of this pretty brook was un This little flower, that loves the lea, doubtedly the Great Pond, although there was May well my simple emblem be; no other road to it than by climbing the steep
It drinks heaven's dew as blithe as rose hill beyond the village, and then turning sud
That in the King's own garden grows,
And when I place it in my hair, denly to the right, and descending by a deep
Allan, a bard, is bound to swear cart-track, which led between wild bank's
He ne'er saw coronet so fair." covered with heath and feathery broom, gar| landed with bramble and briar roses, and gay Still greater was the delight with which another with the purple heath-flower and the delicate American recognised that blossom of a thousand as
sociations - the flower sacred to Milton and Shakharebell,* to a scene even more beautiful and speare-the English primrose. He bent his knee to more solitary than the hamlet itself.
the ground in gathering a bunch, with a reverential
expression which I shall not easily forget, as if the One of the pleasantest moments that I have ever by whom it has been consecrated 10 fame; and be
flower were to him an embodiment of the great poets known, was that of the introduction of an accom also had the good taste not to be ashamed of his own plished young American to the common harebell, upon the very spot which I have attempted to de enthusiasm. I have had the pleasure of exporting, scribe. He had never seen that English wild-flower, family one of my visiters belongs.) roots and seeds of consecrated by the poetry of our common language, these wild flowers, of the common violet, the cowslip was struck even more than I expected by its delicate and the ivy, another of our indigenous plants which beauty, placed it in his button-hole, and repeated with enthusiasm the charming lines of Scott, from the Lady Theodore Sedgwick was especially delighted. It will
our Transatlantic brethren want, and with which .le. of the Lake :
be a real distinction to be ine introduciress of these “For me,”—she stooped, and, looking round, plants into that Berkshire village of New England, Plucked a blue harebell from the ground, where Miss Sedgwick, surrounded by relatives wor. " For me, whose memory scarce conveys thy of her in talent and in character, passes her sumAn image of more splendid days,
tage itself being not only always covered with The only extravagance in which Mrs. King climbing shrubs, woodbine, jessamine, clema- indulged herself was keeping a pet spaniel, tis, and musk-roses, and in one southern nook the descendant of a breed for which her husa magnificent tree-like fuchsia, but the old band had been famous, and which was so chimney, actually garlanded with delicate great a favourite, that it ranked next to Tom creepers, the maurandia, and the lotus spermus, in her affections, and next to his grandmother whose pink and purple bells, peeping out from in Tom's. The first time that I ever saw between their elegant foliage, and mingling them, this pretty dog had brought her kind with the bolder blossoms and darker leaves of mistress into no small trouble. the passion-flower, give such a wreathy and We had been taking a drive through these airy grace to the humblest building;* in spite beautiful lanes, never more beautiful than of this luxuriance of natural beauty, and of when the richly tinted autumnal foliage conthe evident care bestowed upon the cultivation trasts with the deep emerald hue of the autumof the beds, and the training of the climbing nal herbage, and were admiring the fine effect plants, we yet felt, we could hardly tell why, of the majestic oaks, whose lower branches but yet we instinctively felt, that the moss. almost touched the clear water which reflected grown thatch, the mouldering paling, the so brightly the bright blue sky, when Mrs. hoary apple-trees, in a word, the evidences of King, who was well known to my father, addecay visible around the place, were but types vanced to the gate of her little court, and moof the fading fortunes of the inmates. destly requested to speak with him.
And such was really the case. The widow The group in front of the cottage was one King had known better days. Her husband which it was impossible to contemplate withhad been the head keeper, her only son head out strong interest. The poor widow, in her gardener, of the lord of the manor; but both neat crimped cap, her well-worn mourning were dead; and she, with an orphan grande gown, her apron and handkerchief, coarse, inchild, a thoughtful boy of eight or nine years deed, and of cheap material, but delicately old, now gained a scanty subsistence from the clean, her grey hair parted on her brow, and produce of their little dairy, their few poultry, her pale intelligent countenance, stood leaning iheir honey, (have I not said that a row of against the doorway, holding in one thin trembee-hives held their station on the sunny side bling hand a letter newly opened, and in the of the garden ?) and the fruit and flowers other her spectacles, which she had been fain which little Tom and the old donkey carried to take off, half hoping that they had played in their season to Belford every market-day. her false, and that the ill-omened epistle would
Besides these, their accustomed sources of not be found to contain what had so grieved income, Mrs. King and Tom neglected no her. Tom, a fine rosy boy, stout and manly means of earning an honest penny. They for his years, sat on the ground with Chloe stripped the downy spikes of the bulrushes to in his arms, giving vent to a most unmanly fit stuff cushions and pillows, and wove the of crying; and Chloe, a dog worthy of Edwin rushes themselves into mats. Poor Tom was Landseer's pencil, a large and beautiful spaas handy as a girl; and in the long winter niel, of the scarce old English breed, brown evenings he would plait the straw hats in and white, with shining wavy hair feathering which he went to Belford market, and knit her thighs and legs, and clustering into curls the stockings, which, kept rather for show towards her tail and forehead, and upon the than for use, were just assumed to go to long glossy magnificent ears which gave so church on Sundays, and then laid aside for the much richness to her fine expressive counteweek. So exact was their economy.
nance, looked at him wistfully, with eyes that
expressed the fullest sympathy in his ailliction, * I know nothing so pretty as the manner in which and stooped to lick his hand, and nestled her creeping plants interwreath themselves one with an. other. We have at this moment a wall quite covered
head in his bosom, as if trying, as far as her with honeysuckles, fuchsias, ruses, clematis, passion.
caresses had the power, to soothe and comfort flowers, myriles, scobea, acrima carpis, lotus spermus, him. and maurandia Barclayana, in which two long sprays of the last-mentioned climbers have jutted out from had been telling her little story to my father,
" And so, sir," continued Mrs. King, who the wall, and entwined themselves together like the handle of an antique basket. The rien profusion of whilst I had been admiring her pet, “this Mr. leaves, those of ine lotus spermus, comparatively Poulion, the tax-gatherer, because I refused to rounded and dim, soft in texture and colour, with a give him our Chloe, whom my boy is so fond darker patch in the middle, like the leaf of the old of that he shares his meals with her, poor felgum geranium; those of the maurandia, su bright, and low, has laid an information against us for shining, and sharply outlined — the stalks equally gracelul in their varied green, and the roseate belis keeping a sporting dog - I don't know what of the one contrasting and harmonizing so finely with the proper word is—and has had us surchargthe rich violet llowers of the other, might really formed; and the first that I ever heard of it is a study for a painter. I never saw anything more gracetul in quaint and cunning art than this bit of by this letter, from which I find that I must i simple nature But nature often takes a fancy to outo pay I don't know how much money by Saturvie her skiltul and ambitious handmaiden, and is al. day next, or else my goods will be seized and ways certain to succeed in the competition.
sold. And I have but just managed to pay
my.rent, and where to get a farthing I can't led the danger of offending their good landteil. I dare say he would let us off now if I lord, Sir John, by keeping a sporting dog so would but give him Chloe; but that I can't near his coverts, and also the difficulty of pay. find in my heart to do. He's a hard man, and ing the tax; and both she and Tom had made a bad dog-master. I've all along been afraid up their minds to offer Chloe to my father. that we must part with Chloe, now that she's He had admired her, and everybody said that growing up like, because of our living so near he was as good a dog-master as Mr. Poulton the preserves
a bad one; and he came sometimes “Oh, grandmother!"—interrupted Tom,– coursing to Ashley End, and then perhaps he “poor Chloe!"
would let them both see Chloe ; “for grand*" But I can't give her to him. Don't cry mother," said Tom, “though she seemed so, Tom! I'd sooner have my little goods somehow ashamed to confess as much, was at sold, and lie upon the boards. I should not the bottom of her heart pretty nigh as fond of mind parting with her if she were taken good her as he was himself. Indeed, he did not care of, but I never will give her to him." know who could help being fond of Chloe,
“Is this the first you have heard of the she had so many pretty ways.” And Tom, matter?" inquired my father; “ you ought to making manful baitle against the tears that have had notice in time to appeal."
would start into his eyes, almost as full of af"I never heard a word till to-day."
fection as the eyes of Chloe herself, and bug“ Poulton seeins to say that he sent a letter, ging his beautiful pet, who seemed upon her nevertheless, and offers to rove the sending, part to have a presentiment of the evil that if need be; it's not in our division, not even awaited her, sate down as requested in the in our county, and I am afraid that in this hall, whilst my father considered his propa matter of the surcharge I can do nothing," sition. observed my father; "though I have no doubt Upon the whole, it seemed to us kindest to but it's a rascally trick to come by the dog. the parties concerned, the widow King, Tom, She's a pretty creature," continued he, stoop- and Chloe, to accept the gift, Sir John was ing down to pat her, and examining her head a kind man, and a good landlord, but he was and mouth with the air of a connoisseur in also a keen sportsman; and it was quite cercanine affairs, “a very fine creature. How tain that he would have no great taste for a old is she?"
dog of such high sporting blood close to his “Not quite a twelveronth, sir. She was best preserves; the keeper also would probapupped on the sixteenth of last October, grand- bly seize hold of such a neighbour as a scapemother's birthday, of all the days in the year,” goat, in case of any deficiency in the number said Tom, somewhat comforted by his visiter's of hares and pheasants; and then their great evident sympathy,
enemy, Mr. Poulton, might avail himself of • The sixteenth of October ! Then Mr. some technical deficiency to bring Mrs. King Poulton may bid good-bye to his surcharge; within the clutch of a surcharge. There might for unless she was six months old on the fifth not always be an oversight in that Shylock's of April she cannot be taxed for this year bond, nor a wise judge, young or old, to deso this letter is so much waste paper. I'll tect it if there were. So that, upon due conwrite this very night to the chairman of the sideration, my father, (determined, of course, commissioners, and manage the matter for to make a proper return for the present) agreed you. And I'll also write to Master Poulton, to consider Chloe as his own property, and and let him know that I'll acquaint the board Tom, having seen her very comfortably inif he gives you any further trouble. You're stalled in clean dry straw in a warm stable,' sure that you can prove the day she was pup- and fed in a manner which gave a satisfactory ped ?" continued his worship, highly delight- specimen of her future diet, and being himself ed. Very lucky! You'll have nothing to regaled with plum-cake and cherry brandy, pay for her till next half-year, and then I'm (a liquor of which he had, he said, heard much afraid that this fellow, Poulton, will insist talk, and which proved, as my father had auupon her being entered as a sporting dog, gured, exceedingly cheering and consolatory which is fourteen shillings. But that's a fu- in the moment of affliction,) departed in much ture concern. As to the surcharge, l'll take better spirits than could have been expected care of that. A beautiful creature, is she not, after such a separation. I myself, duly apMary? Very lucky that we happened to drive preciating the inerits of Chloe, was a little. this way.” And with kind adieus to Tom jealous for my own noble Dash, whom she reand his grandınother, who were as grateful as sembled, with a slight inferiority of size and people could be, we departed.
colouring; much such a resemblance as Viola, About a week after, Tom and Chloe, in I suppose, bore to Sebastian. But upon being their turn, appeared at our cottage. All had reminded of the affinity between the iwo dogs, gone right in the matter of the surcharge. (for Dash came originally from Ashley End The cominissioners had decided in Mrs. King's kennel, and was, as nearly as we could make favour, and Mr. Poulton had been forced to out, granduncle to Chloe,) and of our singusuccumb. But the grandmother had consider- I lar good fortune in having two such beautiful
spaniels under one roof, my objections were A distant home was wanted for Chloe: and entirely removed.
what home could open a brighter prospect of Under the same roof they did not seem canine felicity than to be the pet of Mrs. Keatlikely to continue. When sent after to the ing, and the playmate of Pretty May? It stable the next morning, Chloe was missing. seemed one of those startling coincidences Everybody declared that the door had not been which amuse one by their singular fitness and opened, and Dick, who had her in charge, propriety, and make one believe that there is vowed that the key had never been out of his more in the exploded doctrine of sympathies pocket. But accusations and affirmations than can be found in our philosophy. were equally useless - the bird was flown. So, upon the matter being explained to her, Of course she had returned to Ashley End. thought Mrs. King; and writing duly to anAnd upon being sent for to her old abode, nounce the arrival of Chloe, she was depositTom was found preparing to bring her to ed, with a quantity of soft hay, in a large Aberleigh; and Mrs. King suggested, that, hamper, and conveyed into Belford by my fáhaving been accustomed to live with them, ther himself, who would entrust to none other she would, perhaps, sooner get accustomed to the office of delivering her to the coachman, the kitchen fireside than to a stable, however and charging that very civil member of a very comfortable.
civil body of men to have especial care of the The suggestion was followed. A mat was pretty creature, who was parted with for no placed by the side of the kitchen fire; much other fault than an excess of affection and pains were taken to coax the shy stranger; fidelity to her first kind protectors. (Dick, who loved and understood dogs, de Nothing could exceed the brilliancy of her voting himself to the task of making himself reception. Pretty May, the sweet smiling agreeable to this gentle and beautiful crea- child of a sweet smiling mother, had been ture ;) and she seemed so far reconciled as to kept up a full hour after her usual time to suffer his caresses, to lap a little milk when welcome the stranger, and was so charmed sure that nobody saw her, and even to bridle with this her first living toy, that it was difiwith instinctive coquetry, when Dash, head cult to get her to bed. She divided her own and tail up, advanced with a sort of stately and supper with poor Chloe, hungry after her long conscious courtesy to examine into the claims journey; rolled with her upon the Turkey of the new-comer. For the first evening all carpet, and at last fell asleep with her arms seemed promising ; but on the next morning, clasped round her new pet's neck, and her nobody knew how or when, Chloe eloped to bright face, coloured like lilies roses, her old quarters.
flung across her body; Chloe enduring these Again she was fetched back; this time to caresses with a careful, quiet gentleness, the parlour: and again she ran away. Then which immediately won for her the hearts of she was tied up, and she gnawed the string; the lovely mother, of the fond father, (for to chained up, and she slipped the collar; and an accomplished and right-minded man, in we began to think, that unless we could find delicate health, what a treasure is a little pratsome good home for her at a distance, there lling girl, his only one !) of two grandmothers, was nothing for it but to return her altogether of three or four young aunts, and of the whole to Mrs. King, when a letter from a friend at tribe of nursery attendants. Never was debût Bath, gave a new aspect to Chloe's affairs. so successful, as Chloe's first appearance in
The letter was from a dear friend of mine-Camden Place. a young married lady, with an invalid hus As her new dog had been Pretty May's last band, and one lovely little girl, a damsel of thought at night, so was it her first on awaksome two years old, commonly called “ Pretty ening. He shared her breakfast as he had May.” They wanted a pet dog to live in the shared her supper; and immediately after parlour, and walk out with mother and daugh- breakfast, mother and daughter, attended by I ter — not a cross yelping Blenheim spaniel, nursery-maid and footman, sallied forth to
(those troublesome little creatures spoil every- provide proper luxuries for Chloe's accommobody's manners who is so unlucky as to pos-dation. First they purchased a sheepskin sess them, the first five minutes of every rug; then a splendid porcelain trough for wamorning call being invariably devoted to si- ter, and a porcelain dish to match, for food; lencing the lapdog and apologising to the vis- then a spaniel basket, duly lined, and stuffed, iter,) --not a pigmy Blenheim, but a large no- and curtained—a splendid piece of canine upble animal, something, in short, as like as holstery; then a necklace-like collar with silmight be to Dash, with whom Mrs. Keating ver bells, which was left to have the address had a personal acquaintance, and for whom, engraved upon the clasp; and then May, findin common with most of his acquaintances, ing herself in the vicinity of a hosier and a she entertained a very decided partiality: I do shoemaker, bethought herself of a want which not believe that there is a dog in England who undoubtedly had not occurred to any other of has more friends than my Dash. A spaniel her party, and holding up her own pretty little 1 was wanted at Bath like my Dash: and what foot, demanded "tilk tocks and boo thoose for spaniel could be more like Dash than Chloe? | Tloë."
For two days did Chloe endure the petting | Tom. By the way, we must see what can be and the luxuries. On the third she disappear- done for that boy—he's a fine spanking fel. ed. Great was the consternation in Camden low. We must consult his grandmother. Place. Pretty May cried as she had never The descendant of two faithful servants has been known to cry before; and papa, mamma, an hereditary claim to all that can be done for grandmammas, aunts, nursery and house- him. How could you imagine that I should maids, fretted and wondered, wondered and be thinking of these coverts ?-I, that am as fretted, and vented their distress in every va- great a dog-lover as Dame King herself! I riety of exclamation, from the refined language have a great mind to be very angry with you." of the drawing-room to the patois of a Somer These words, spoken in the good sportssetshire kitchen. Rewards were offered, and man's earnest, hearty, joyous, kindly voice, handbills dispersed over the town. She was (that ought to have given an assurance of his cried, and she was advertised; and at last, kindly nature, - I have a religious faith in giving up every hope of her recovery, Mrs. voices,) these words brought us within sight Keating wrote to me.
of Ashley End, and there, in front of the cotIt happened that we received the letter on tage, we saw a group which fixed our attention one of those soft November days, which some. at once : Chloe, her own identical self-poor, times intervene between the rough winds of dear Chloe, apparently just arrived, dirty, October and the crisp frosts of Christmas, and weary, jaded, wet, lying in Tom's arms as he which, although too dirty under foot to be sat on the ground, feeding her with the bacon quite pleasant for walking, are yet, during the and cabbage, his own and his grandmother's few hours that the sun is above the horizon, dinner, all the contents of the platter; and mild enough for an open carriage in our shady she, too happy to eat, wagging her tail as if lanes, strewed as they are at that period with she would wag it off; now licking Mrs. the yellow leaves of the elm, whilst the hedge- King's hands as the good old dame leant over rows are still rich with the tawny foliage of | her, the tears streaming from her eyes: nox the oak, and the rich colouring of the haw- kissing Tom's honest face, who broke into thorn and the bramble. It was such weather loud laughter for very joy, and, with looks as the Americans generally enjoy at this sea- that spoke as plain as ever looks did speak, son, and call by the pretty name of the Indian “Here I am come home again to those whom
And we resolved to avail ourselves I love best to those who best love me!" of the fineness of the day to drive to Ashley Poor dear Chloe! Even we whom she left, End, and inform Mrs. King and Tom (who sympathised with her fidelity. Poor dear we felt ought to know) of the loss of Chloe, Chloe! there we found her, and there, I need and our fear, according with Mrs. Keating's, not, I hope, say, we left her, one of the hapthat she had been stolen; adding our persua- piest of living creatures. sion, which was also that of Mrs. Keating, that, fall into whatever hands she might, she was too beautiful and valuable not to ensure good usage.
THE LOST DAHLIA. On the way we were overtaken by the good widow's landlord, returning from hunting, in Je to have " had losses” be, as affirmed by: his red coat and top-boots, who was also Dogberry, in one of Shakspeare's most charmbound to Ashley End. As he rode chatting ing plays, and corroborated by Sir Walter by the side of the carriage, we could not for- Scott in one of his most charming romances bear telling him our present errand, and the -(those two names do well in juxtaposition, whole story of poor Chloe. How often, with the great Englishman! the great Scotsman!) out being particularly uncharitable in judging -If to have "had losses " be a main proof of our neighbours, we have the gratification of credit and respectability, then am I one of of finding them even better than we had sup- the most responsible persons in the whole posed! He blamed us for not having thought county of Berks. To say nothing of the well enough of him to put the whole affair graver matters which figure in a banker's into his management from the first, and ex- book, and make, in these days of pounds, claimed against us for fearing that he would shillings, and pence, so large a part of the compare
the preseryes and the pheasant-shoot- domestic tragedy of life -- putting wholly ing with such an attachment as had subsisted aside all the grander transitions of property between his good old tenant and her faithful in house and land, of money on morigage, dog. “ By Jove !" cried he, “ I would have and money in the funds - (and yet I might paid the tax myself rather than they should put in my claim to no trifling amount of ill have been parted. But it's too late to talk luck in that way also, if I had a mind to try of that now, for, of course, the dog is stolen. I my hand at a dismal story) - counting for Eighty miles is too far even for a spaniel to nought all weightier grievances, there is not find its way back! Carried by coach, too! a lady within twenty miles who can produce I would give twenty pounds willingly to re so large a list of small losses as my unforplace her with old Dame King and Master tunale self.