Слике страница
PDF
ePub

A MONTHLY MEDIUM OF LITERARY, ARTISTIC, AND COMMERCIAL INTERCOMMUNICATION.

No. 2.-VOL. I.]

FEBRUARY, 1864.

The Practical Preacher.

BOOKS, AND THEIR WRITERS.

66 Whoever thinks a faultless Book to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be."

[ONE PENNY.

66

has played in the great drama of life and of literature, must he be judged-"himself has done the deed." Nevertheless, his censors are not infallible; and he may well smile at the carping critic" who would enviously mangle what he cannot mend. The vaunt of an Englishman has ever been -and we trust ever will be-" a fair field and no favour." So may it be with an author: let his own unaided prowess maintain the glory he has won, or the reputation he has battled for, unscathed and unsullied against all cavillers.

"There is nothing new under the sun," and yet is it not too much the fashion, in these heartless days of ours, to libel an enterprising author as a pirate-a copyist-or a plagiarist? Ignoring the immutable fact, that "the thing which hath been is that which shall be," and that the same idea may strike dissimilar minds in a similar way, and with precisely the same results, the "wise men " of our literary courts sit in judgment on the unconscious offender; and his work-perchance of the best years of his life, and on which, it may be, all his hopes as an unfriended author dependis depreciated, denounced, and decried as the very model of assurance and stupidity. No allowance is made for the wild enthusiasm and inexperience of youthful genius. His first work is relentlessly compared with the finished productions of mature intellect-and if found wanting, as most probable, in the essentials of perfection, it is relentlessly maligned and disparaged, or unsparingly satirised, by the same pen that is dipped in the honey of adulation, when worshipping, as in duty bound, the inferior but more pretentious volume of a popular favourite. Argus-eyed and uncharitable to the obscure and struggling aspirant, but blindly obsequious and servile to "the bright particular star" that has risen—no matter how-to the zenith of success.

"Or making many Books there is no end," saith the Preacher: and truly is this axiom of biblical antiquity verified in these latter days. On every imaginable subject have we a deluge of Books-good, bad, and indifferentmanufactured too often expressly for the market: generally, the most successful are the least meritorious-if not the most reprehensible. To elevate and refine the popular taste is apparently as hopeless a task as attempting to raise the standard of popular intelligence. Lead upwards, excelsiorlike, to the summit of Parnassus or the heights of Olympus, or along the sunny slopes of the pleasant valley of Tempe, and who will follow? The voice of the charmer is unheeded, charm he never so wisely or so well. But take the downward path-the broad road of mediocrity—or the byeways of demoralisation and disaffection, and the giddy multitude -thoughtlessly, or recklessly, as it may be—will greet you with their plaudits, and come trooping at your heels.

Of a verity, "in much wisdom is much grief," and yet, can we resist the temptation of plucking the fair fruit from the now not forbidden tree of knowledge-and do we not thirst, even beside the pure waters of the ever-welling fountain of truth? Impelled by the "divinity that stirs within us," we endeavour to search out the hidden thingsto recall the past—to record the present-" willing to teach, and willing to be taught."

The Orator, the Poet, and the Historian have ever been the great preceptors of the world-inspired by the tri-une spirit of grace, of beauty, and of power. Unwearied has been their labour, and not unfruitful its results. As in the past, so in the present, the love of fame, "that last infirmity of noble minds," imperceptibly lures us onwards, until the passion for speaking or writing, becomes a part aud parcel of our very nature and we implicitly and instinctively obey its impulse, heedless of the difficulties or the obstacles that we may have to surmount in its achievement.

What a world is the book world! What an illustrious

But, when the voice of the orator is silent for ever, or lives only in the echoes of its own eloquence-when the stirring scenes in which "he lived, and moved, and had his being," have come to an end, "like a tale that is told," then shall the ". 'acceptable words" of the "ready writer," graven on the rock of immortality-be ever with us. Reflected as in a mirror, we behold in the work of an author the peculiarities of thought, of feeling, of opinion, companionship does it offer for the gratification of our social that characterise an individual of our divine species, and distinguish him above his fellows. Whether for good, or and spiritual sympathies. The great, the good, and the wise for bad, the emanations of his intelligence are imperishable, -the sages, the instructors, the benefactors of mankind in and their influence illimitable. By the work of his own all ages, live again in their books, and reveal to us, in the hands—by the outpouring of his own soul-by the part he seclusion of our chambers and firesides, what were the thoughts and motives of their secret lives-why they lived (ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED.)

As "one star differeth from another star in glory," so likewise is the brilliancy of those resplendent gems which are enshrined in our cabinets of clay. Though" of the earth earthy," yet not wholly so, for many a gleam of heavenly light flashes across our gloomy pathway, irradiating the hopeful spirit that is longing for immortality.

What is a Book ?-such a book as we willingly make the companion of our solitary and reflecting hours? If it be good for anything—if it be really worth the name of a book -it can be nothing less than the intellectual or spiritual part of some gloriously great or good man, redeemed from

the conditions of decay and death, and permitted henceforth to dwell amongst us like an angel of light, an ever-present minister of usefulness, of happiness, of brotherly love, of holy aspirations, of divine charity.

laborious days and spurned the tempting delights of sensewhat was the spiritual atmosphere in which they breathedand what the secret source of their unwearied exertions.

Books, like men, have a two-fold nature: paper, and binding, are their bodily substances, and the thoughts that breathe along their pages may be called their spirit. And as we would not willingly abuse our living benefactor and friend, so we should not abuse his inanimate representative the book which he has written.

It grieves us to see books misused-that's the plain fact; and therefore, if, as we hope, it is allowable so to do, we will say a few words in their behalf. Unhappily, there is a very authoritative precedent for the maltreatment of books. Dr. Johnson rarely read a book without thumbing, twisting, pulling, hauling, and crushing it into a state of dislocation utterly hopeless, as though he had determined to wring its essence out of it-as men do perfumes from flowers-by squeezing them to death; so that those who had the misfortune to lend him a volume rarely knew it after it had escaped the tortures of his inquisition. We do not think the example of the great lexicographer, in this particular, worthy of imitation; and to those who presume to follow it, in regard either to their own books or those of their friends, we would suggest that they are in fairness bound to write a folio dictionary before they lay claim to the privilege.

That in the present day books are cheap is no reason why they should be cheaply estimated. A good book has a right to good treatment, from its inherent value, which no mere substitute of pounds, shillings and pence, can by any means adequately represent.

The sight of a dog's-eared treatise, or of an unfortunate volume with its back broken, and half its sheets "started," as the bookbinders have it, or of one crippled into a state of rickets by a lazy one-handed reader, who claps his heavy elbow on the left-hand page while he is reading the righthand one; or of another, which, having been lately read, has been suffered to be knocked or kicked about till its corners are uncornered, is a sad spectacle indeed to a lover of books.

Now regarding books as among our best friends, we feel bound to stand up for their friendly treatment. Some of our closest intimates, whom we respect for many worthy reasons, are, we are sorry to say, grossly wanting in due reverence for books. Thus, one very excellent gentleman never takes up a volume without grasping it firmly between finger and thumb of both hands, and twisting it suddenly, as it were, inside out, by bringing his knuckles together behind. Now, if in so doing he chanced to have opened the volume between any two of the sheets of which it is composed, the most probable result is that he breaks the back of the book, especially if the volume be in boards, or only bound in cloth; and he thus reduces its value, commercially, some fifteen or twenty per cent. Another of our friends has a knack (Johnsonian) of pulling at each leaf as he reads it, and thumbing and pinching it like a man in the paper-market trying the quality of a sample.

Books in folio and quarto, especially when illustrated, require as delicate handling as prints. Books suffer from neglect as well as ill-usage. Damp is a great destroyer, and often works irretrievable ruin while not at all suspected. Rows of volumes get put away, and shelved in cupboards, in bed-rooms, or stair-closets, against the party-walls, and when they reappear, show as if struck by leprosy-being sprinkled through with mouldy, saffron-coloured, spots;

this is particularly the case with such as are illustrated with copper-plates-the plate paper, which is but a thick kind of blotting-paper, having a strong affinity for latent moisture. Books should be handled tenderly; it should be kept in mind that their nerves and sinews are but sewing-thread and thin glue, and also that they are not brick-bats. They should never be forced open too wide-should not be swung by a single cover-not thumbed like a child's primer-not folded down at the corners to mark where the reader left off -not ground beneath the elbow-not consigned to the mercy of pitch-and-toss accidents. Whilst reading, they should lie comfortably in the hollow of the hand-or rest on the table or reading stand; and there is not really the slightest necessity for making the leaves a receptacle for green or dried flowers, or botanical specimens, or even memorandums of any kind—all of which inevitably tend to the destruction of the volume.

We are justified in presuming that the generality of our readers are lovers of books, and therefore that they will take these hints in good part, and profit by them.

Select Copyright Poems.

EARLY TO BED AND EARLY TO RISE.

BY W. BRADFIELD.

Author of "Pictures of the Past," &c.

"Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Makes a man healthy-who can deny it?
Anyone doubt it-let him but try it;
Let him but wander when the lark winging
Rises to heaven joyfully singing,
Where the sweet violets lowly are springing-
Crowning with sweetness the joy-god of morning,
Brightly bedecking the day in its dawning.
Let him but wander when heaven is:brightest,
Hopes are the sweetest, hearts are the lightest,
Faces the fairest, heads are the clearest,
Smiles are the rarest, happiness dearest,
Where the green branches murmuring, muttering,
Shelter the feather'd ones carolling, fluttering.

"Early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Makes a man wealthy-doth it not so?
Healthy the limbs, the energies grow;
Breathing of purity, visages sunning,
Drives to obscurity wiling and cunning,
Confidence sowing, faith and security-
Till Honesty glowing points to futurity.
"Early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Makes a man wise-wisdom is ever
Seeking for health, seeking for wealth,
Seeking for fruits at the hands of the Giver,
Seeking the fount of that far-flowing river
The Almighty pours past the lowliest doors.
Oh! it is wise to early arise,

And, greeting the morrow never with sorrow,-
See the sun gleaming, through the mists beaming,
Heavenwards bearing, making us blest,-
See the morn breaking, nature awaking,
Gloominess scaring out of her rest;

List to the greeting softly that reaches us
When the morn breaks and nature awakes,-
Listen the lesson true wisdom teaches us:
"Early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

The Gleaners' Literary Club.

MY DICTIONARY.

On Friday evening, February 12, 1864, an interesting Lecture was delivered by Mr. AVERY to the Members of this influential Society, who mustered strongly on the occasion. The title of the Lecture was, in some degree, singular, but, as it proved, in the sequel, well chosen.

animals are unerringly directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for preservation or continuation. The brute shares with man the use of the five senses, and possesses those senses finer than man does. Man shares with the brute creation the power of instinct. If Mind signifies intention, purpose, design, inclination, and memory, well then, dumb animals exhibit all these qualities. All animals have likes, dislikes, aversions, and affections. Man grieves at separation, departure, and absence. So likewise do domesticated animals. We meet with cases of gratitude, justice, and faithful adherence in men, and likewise in dogs we find honesty and fidelity. The domestic dog will some. times take the liberty of selecting his residence and of choosing his own master. A liberty not allowed to the poor slave. The line between sense in man and instinct in brutes, although small, is clear and well defined. If instinct in man be less strong than in brutes, nevertheless man is enabled to employ, for his own advantage, the acute instincts of inferior animals. Hunting is an instinct with man and animals. With savages and brutes it is a necessity, and with civilized man both a necessity and a pastime. There is another feature of similarity between men and animals, I mean combativeness and warfare. Reason is sense, and reason enables man to distinguish between good and evil. Is war good or evil? I shall be told that war is a necessity. If so, then war, being an evil, it follows that evil is a necessity; and man may distinguish, but he may not choose between war and peace. If not the attacker he will be the attacked; if not the invader he must be the defender; and, if not the conqueror he must be the conquered. With the advantages which man possesses he reduces war to a science, and makes slaughtering a trade. Educated and civilized man punishes robbery and murder. What do we respecting the robberies of territories, the wars of aggression, and the glorious crime of murdering tens of thousands? In every chapter of history we meet with war: war for conquest, war for religion, war for commerce, and war for political opinions."

"MY DICTIONARY," as the Lecturer stated, was highly suggestive, as in searching for words, ideas, new or revived were presented to the mind; and, coincident with the name of the discourse, a variety of subjects, in connection, was introduced by Mr. Avery. The opening part was humorously delivered by the Lecturer, and served admirably as a lively induction to graver subjects.

The word ALMANAC caused him to think of our old friends Moore's, Zadkiel's, and Poor Richard's Almanacs. By a slight transition of ideas he passed to the weather and the times, and so on to bad times and taxes. The taxes of waste and idleness; waste of time and waste of money; taxes for pride and taxes for folly. Having spoken about pauperism and workhouses, surplus population and emigration, the Lecturer passed on to prisons and punishments as the taxes for crime; and war, with costly armies and navies -war, with all its horrors and calamities, as the tax caused by a few at the cost of many. Having, in the course of his Lecture, come to the sentence-"Though the brutes obey instinct, they never exceed the bounds of moderation; and besides, it is beneath the dignity of man to place felicity in the service of his senses," the words "service of his senses" originated a fresh notion. And this, the second portion of the Lecture, being, so to say, the better of the two, perhaps it may be more acceptable if we offer a few extracts :

-

cc

or reasons; as an active mind. Also

'Sense in Man and Instinct in Brutes. I turn to my Dictionary. What is sense? What is instinct? Wherein lies the difference? Sense has twelve meanings. Common sense has two only. Reason is a faculty of the human mind by which it distinguishes truth from falsehood, and good from evil, and which also enables the possessor to deduce inferences from facts or from propositions. Mind, the Dictionary explains to signify, intention, purpose, design, inclination, will, desire, memory, remembrance; the intellectual or intelligent power in the understanding, the power that conceives, judges the heart or seat of affection. In Scripture it means the will and affection. Thank you, Mr. Dictionary, but I do not clearly comprehend your explanations as to the intellectual or intelligent power in man. By referring to the Dictionary I find a repetition of words with the addition of 'mental and ideal.' Mental, must mean existing in the mind, and thus we are travelling in a circle. Ideal, I take it, signifies existing in idea or conception, as 'ideal excellence.' or, existing in fancy or imagination only; as, 'ideal good.' Intelligent, standing, or reason. means endowed with the faculty of underStill travelling in a circle. We will return to sense and instinct. Sense, says the Dictionary, means the faculty by which animals perceive external objects by means of impressions made on certain organs of the body. The five senses being smell, sight, hearing, tasting, and feeling. Instinct is a certain power or disposition of mind, by which

The Lecturer proceeded to give some amusing anecdotes of dogs, illustrative of their imitative powers, and of their acuteness and discernment. He proceeded to point out the wide distinction between savage life and civilized life, and between wild animals and domesticated animals; and

showing that with training, education, and kind treatment, dogs, horses, and asses were capable of great improvement. If so, he considered that man possessing instinct, reason, conscience, and soul, would, slowly perhaps, but most certainly, show the superiority of sense in man over the

instinct in brutes, of which superiority, wars, cruelty, and

bloodshed, at present created some doubt. Want of space compels an abridgment of our selections, therefore, with two or three short extracts we must conclude this interesting Lecture. Alluding to man, the Lecturer said:

:

"All living creatures possess instinct; some also possess a share of reason: man possesses instinct, reason, and an immortal soul. Man has a higher perception, stronger intellect, and more discernment than inferior animals. if to man much be given, of him much will be required. Amidst the works of creation, man has the place of honour. Verily, they that are in honour, and understand not, are as the beasts that perish.""

66

The popular conception of man is not that given by naturalists. We conceive man as partially, or wholly

civilized; as more or less educated. The popular idea of a

brute, is of an animal without the use of reason, much the same as a beast, comprehending all animals except mankind. Is man, as a noun of multitude, wholly civilized? Let us consider. Man is the only animal which possesses in the same degree, flexible powers of speech, by which he is enabled to communicate his thoughts, and this has led to the invention of languages. Now, if man were properly educated and wholly civilized, he would love truth; nevertheless there is a large amount of deceit, falsehood, and fiction in the world. As a rule, there is much lying and deception; truth and purity from falsehood are shining exceptions. Man is the only animal which possesses the muscles of laughter. Laughter, says Mr. Dictionary, is convulsive merriment. If so, laughter is no evidence of sense and reason. Monkeys grin and execute very ridiculous antics; and some men go to a theatre to see and laugh at a human being imitating the monkey. Such men are not wholly civilized."

“Man, in an uncivilized state, has an internal sense of guilt or innocence. Man, in a civilized state, has a conscience, a secret testimony of the soul whereby it gives its approbation to things that are naturally good, and condemns those that are evil. With the former, the immortal principle is involved in obscurity; but with the latter, there is a clear understanding of the immortal principle."

66

"Education and civilization endow man with the qualities of superior discernment, morality, and virtue. (The Lecturer avoided touching on the delicate subject of religious belief, as being out of place and season.) The more enlarged be the civilization and the education, the more will be produced the qualities of morality and virtue. Virtue, and the practice of the moral duties will elevate the character and improve the conduct of men to such a degree that cruelty, oppression, and injustice will be banished; wars and murder will be abolished; and penal laws and prisons will be unnecessary." "Men begin to distinguish truth from falsehood, good from evil. Mind, the intellectual power in man, bringing him nearer and more near to his Creator, enabling him to utilise the elements, is vindicating its title to another and a better world, Sense, reason, and reflection convince him that this world is but a passage, a place of trial, in which the desires are never satisfied, but leading to an eternity in which true happiness is to be found. Intellect, sense, reason, and mind elevate men nearer to angels; whilst selfindulgence in animal passions sinks them below the brutes. Science is the handmaid of religion. The one smooths the path of pain and difficulty, whilst the other teaches man that 'Virtue alone is happiness below.""

در

It is scarcely necessary to add that the Lecture, and likewise the mode of its delivery, gave great satisfaction to the Members of the Gleaners' Literary Club, and that a vote of thanks was passed and recorded.

The Latin rhetorician, QUINTILIAN, declares that the pen is the best instructor in the art of speaking. Not less true is it that the use of the pen conduces most effectually to the general culture of the mind. There is more real exercise of thought in one hour's composing than in a day's reading. Besides, the pen compels you to understand what you study, for you cannot express what is not intelligible to yourself. The pen also exacts arrangements and introduces order.. Indeed, what we read is hardly our own until we have given it utterance in our own language. To utter in writing what we read is the only sure way of appropriating it.

Books Worth Reading.

PICTURES OF THE PAST, AND OTHER POEMS. BY WILLIAM BRADFIELD.

London: Longman & Co.-Nottingham: Simkins & Browne. We have perused this interesting and elegant volume of Poems with much pleasure. In the author, Mr. William Bradfield, of Nottingham, we recognise a worthy member of the great literary fraternity: no mere tyro, but a true craftsman, and, as such, he is well entitled to his meed of honour-the wreath of bays.

In his unassuming preface, he remarks, "Out-of-the-way places, out-of-the-way books, out-of-the-way lore of every kind, have always been my delight."

Our author is true to his text: as a zealous antiquary, and an ardent lover of legendary lore, he has indeed selected out-of-the-way themes-but ably and pleasantly has he discoursed upon them.-"The Story of the Stone Man," (an effigy of a Knight-Crusader, near Nottingham), is well told in three parts: the first, describing the mustering of the chivalry of Nottingham, and their departure for the Holy Land, under Richard I.: the second, depicting the battlefields of Palestine, and the bold achievements of the Ermine Knight; and the third (facetious and also satirical), may be termed the moral. Our author, being a countryman of that famous outlaw, gives us "Robin Hood's Stride"- -an assemblage of rocks on Stanton Moor (near which are Druidical Circles, Tolmens or Rocking Stones, &c.) and may be well described by its motto-" Sermons in Stones." In "Picts and Scots and Modern Sots,' -a rather strange contrastwe have keen facetious satire, and fine but terrible painting -as evidenced by the savage incursion and the massacre. A Sad Story, any-how," is indeed an expressive title for this dark sketch of superstition, bigotry, and intolerance. Foremost amongst the gems of the book, may be classed "The Friendlie Foes,"-(a Tale of Clifton and Bosworth Field,) in imitation of old ballad style-well and fairly done both in letter and in spirit. We regret that our space will not allow further notice, nor the insertion of an extract, but we hope that our commendation will be sufficient to induce every connoisseur of the fine arts to secure a copy of these artistically painted "Pictures of the Past," which are really worthy of being considered quite a valuable addition to the gallery or the studio.

66

در

Totes and Queries.

GOD SAVE THE KING.-The dispute as to the authorship of this our truly national anthem, appears to have been satisfactorily settled. Mr. Richard Clarke, of Westminster Abbey, is in possession of the original MS., harmonised for several voices like a madrigal, in the handwriting of the author-Dr. John Bull, Organist to Queen Elizabeth, and first Professor of Gresham College. The anthem was written by Ben Jonson. It was first sung in Merchant Taylors' Hall, on July 7, 1607, before King James, by the gentlemen and children of the Chapel Royal, on his escape from the Gunpowder Plot. Instead of commencing with the key-note, the air begins a fourth below, which is nearly all the difference between the MS. and the modern version, with the exception of the last two bars, which consist of the tonic or key-note reiterated four times to the words "God Save the King," which has a solemn and grand effect the harmony is quaint, but rich and masterly. Dr. John Bull died in the Netherlands in 1622, aged 59.

Pictures of American Like.

REMINISCENCES OF A BACKWOODSMAN.

BY UNCLE SAM.

WHEN I lived at Waly, there was a good many fust-rate gals down there, but I didn't take a likin' to any of 'em, till Squire Goahead cum there to locate. The Squire had a mighty purty darter. If a fellaw seed her once, he couldn't look at another for a week. I tuk a likin' to her right off, and we got as thick as thieves. We used to go to the same meetin' and set in the same pew. Wall, I'd find the sarms and hims for her; and we'd swell 'em out in a manner quite shockin' to hardened sinners: then we'd go bobbin' home together, while the gals and fellers kept lookin' as though they'd like to mix in. I'd always stay to supper; and the way she could make injin cakes, and the way I could slick 'em with molasses, and put 'em away, was nothin' to nobody. She was dreadful civil, tew, always gettin' somethin' nice for me. I was up to the hub in love, and was goin' into it like a locomotive. Wall, things went on this way for a spell till she had me tight enuff. Then she began for to show off kinder independence. When I'd go down to meetin' there was no room in the pew: then she'd streak off with another chap, and leave me suckin' my fingers at the door. Instead of stickin' to me as she used to do, she got to cuttin' around with the other fellers, just as if she cared nothin' about me no more-nothing whatsomdever.

Wall, I got con-siderable riled at last, and down I went to have it out with her, and put a stopper on it for good an' all. There was a hull grist of fellers there. They seemed mighty quiet till I went in; then she got to talkin' all sorts of nonsense; but said nothin' to me. I tried to keep my dander down-but 'twas a moighty tough job. I tried to laugh and look pleasant, but 'twas out of the wrong side of my mouth. Nance was in high feather, and chattered away like a parrot: but somehow, I was quite down i' the dumps, though I felt as savage as a blue-nosed monkey.

Wall, I seed it 'twas no use to say nothin' to her, so off I sneaked, for I couldn't stand it. I went right home, and thought the matter over for a spell, and then reckoned it up. Thinks I, that gal is jest a tryin' of me. She's a taste for playin' possum. But I'll take the kink out of her. If I don't fetch her out of that high grass, why jest set me up for a mawkin at a quiltin' frolic.

I heard tell of a boy wonce that got to skewl late in the mornin', so the master sez to him, "Wall, you sleepy-headed critter, what on 'arth makes you sneak in this time 'o day ?"

“Why," sez the boy, "its so everlastin' slippery out, I couldn't get along nohow; every step I took forʼard I went two steps backward; and I couldn't have got here at all if I hadn't turned back to go t'other way."

Now that's just my case. I've been puttin' after that gal a con-siderable time. Now, thinks I, I'll go t'other way. She's been slitein' of me, and now I'll slite her. What's sass for the goose is sass for the gander.

Wall, I went no more to Nancy's. Next Sabbath-day I slicked myself up; and though I sez it, when I gets all my fixins on, I do take the shine off any specimen of human nature-leastways, in our parts of the univarse.

Wall, about meetin' time, off I put to Simon Dobbs's. Patience Dobbs was as nice a gal as you'd see 'twixt here

and yonder; but she wasn't slick and elegant-like Nance. Ephraim Massey was used to go and see her. Wall, I went to meetin' with Patience, and we sat right afore Nancy. I didn't set my eyes on her till after meetin.' But a goin' out I catched sight of her, and seed how the cat jumped. She didn't cut about as she did, but looked rather solemn. She'd a gin her two eyes to kiss and make it up smooth-like again. But I was bent on sarving her out. Howsomever, I kept on till I was like to have got in a 'tarnal mess about Patience. The silly critter thort I was goin' arter her for good, and got as proud as a lame turkey.

One day Ephy came down to our place, lookin' as wrathy as a militia officer on a trainin' day.

"Halloa!" sez I, rayther flusterated, "what's broke ?" "Why," sez he, "I cum down to have satisfaction about Patience Dobbs. Here I've been courtin' her ever since last year, and she was just as good as mine till you came a going after her and now she's as tart as sour crabs."

"Why," sez I, "what on airth are you talkin' about? I ain't got nothin' to do with your gal; but s'pose I had, there's nothin' for you to get wolfy about. If the gal has taken a likin' to me, 'taint my fault; and if I have taken to her, 'taint her fault; and if we have taken a likin' to each other, 'taint your fault. I aint so taken with her, but you may get her for all me: so you hadn't ought to get savage about nothin', I calculate."

"That's a hoss of another colour,” sez he.

66

[ocr errors]

Purcisely so, Ephy," sez I. Always put the saddle on the right 'un. I've heard people say that wimmin was mostways con-trary. Well, they is a leetle so; but, if manage 'em rightly-haul-in here, and let 'em out thereyou can drive 'em along pleasant enough wherever you want to go. Jest experiment on that solemn fact, Ephy."

you

This smoothed him down, and away he went in a purty much better humour-rite off to Patience, I 'spects.

Now, thinks I, it's time to look arter Nancy. Next day down I went. Nancy was all alone. I asked her if the Squire was in. She said he warn't. 'Cause," sez I, makin beleve I wanted him, "our colt's hurt his foot, and I cum to see if the Squire will lend me his mare to go to market."

[ocr errors]

She said she guessed he would-better set down till he cum in. Down 1 sot She looked kind o' strange, and my heart felt queer on the edges. Arter a while sez she"Air you goin' down to Betsey Martin's quiltin'?" Sez I-"Reckon I shall."

Sez she "I s'pose you'll take Patience Dobbs." Sez I-"I moight, and again I moight not." Sez she-"I heard you were agoin' to get married." Sez I-"Shouldn't wonder a bit-Patience is a nice gal." I looked at her-I seed the tears a comin.' Sez I-"May be, she'll ax you to be bridesmaid." She riz up-she did-her face as red as a beet-root. "Sam," sez she-she broke down-her heart was so full. "Won't you be bridesmaid, then ?" sez I. "No-no!" sez she, and she burst rite all out. "Well then, Nance," sez I, "will you be the bride ?" She looked up at me-I never seed anything so awful purty since I was raised. I took fast hold of her hand. Yes or no, rite off," sez I. "Yes," sez she. "That's yer sort," sez I, and I gave her a buss and a hug. I soon settled matters with the Squire: and then fixed traces to trot in double harness for life, and I never had cause to repent of my bargain.

r

66

« ПретходнаНастави »