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them to spare a plank at least out of the cheerful store-room, in whose hot window-seat I used to sit, and read Cowley, with the grass-plat before, and the hum and flappings of that one solitary wasp that ever haunted it, about me-it is in mine ears now, as oft as summer returns —or a pannel of the yellow room.
Why, every plank and pannel of that house for me had magic in it. The tapestried bed-rooms-tapestry so much better than painting-not adorning merely, but peopling the wainscots-at which childhood ever and anon would steal a look, shifting its coverlid (replaced as quickly) to exercise its tender courage in a momentary eye-encounter with those stern bright visages, staring reciprocally-all Ovid on the walls, in colours vivider than his descriptions. Acteon in mid sprout, with the unappeasable prudery of Diana; and the still more provoking, and almost culinary coolness of Dan Phoebus, eel-fashion, deliberately divesting of Marsyas.
Then, that haunted roomwhich old Mrs. Battle died-whereinto I have crept, but always in the day-time, with a passion of fear; and a sneaking curiosity, terrortainted, to hold communication with the past. How shall they build it up again?
It was an old deserted place, yet not so long deserted but that traces of the splendour of past inmates were everywhere apparent. Its furniture was still standing-even to the tarnished gilt leather battledores, and crumbling feathers of shuttlecocks, in the nursery, which told that children had once played there. But I was a lonely child, and had the range at will of every apartment, knew every nook and corner, wondered and worshipped everywhere.
The solitude of childhood is not so much the mother of thought, as it is the feeder of love, and silence, and admiration. So strange a passion for the place possessed me in those years, that, though there lay
I shame to say how few roods distant from the mansion-half hid by trees, what I judged some romantic lake such was the spell which
bound me to the house, and such my carefulness not to pass its strict and proper precincts, that the idle waters lay unexplored for me; and not till late in life, curiosity prevailing over elder devotion, I found, to my astonishment, a pretty brawling brook had been the Lacus Incognitus of my infancy. Variegated views, extensive prospects — and those at no great distance from the house--I was told of such--what were they to me, being out the boundaries of my Eden?-So far from a wish to roam, I would have drawn, methought, still closer the fences of my chosen prison; and have been hemmed in by a yet securer cincture of those excluding garden walls. I could have exclaimed with that garden-loving poet
Bind me, ye woodbines, in your twines;
I was here as in a lonely temple. Snug firesides-the low-built roof -parlours ten feet by ten-frugal boards, and all the homeliness of home-these were the condition of my birth-the wholesome soil which I was planted in. Yet, without impeachment to their tenderest lessons, I am not sorry to have had glances of something beyond; and to have taken if but a peep, in childhood, at the contrasting accidents of a great fortune.
To have the feeling of gentility, it is not necessary to have been born gentle. The pride of ancestry may be had on cheaper terms than to be obliged to an importunate race ofancestors; and the coat-less antiquary, in his unemblazoned cell, revolving the long line of a Mowbray's or De Clifford's pedigree-at those sounding names may warm himself into as gay a vanity as those who do inherit them. The claims of birth are ideal merely and what herald shall go about to strip me of an idea? Is it trenchant to their swords? can it be hacked off as a spur can? or torn away like a tarnished garter?
* Marvell, on Appleton House, to the Lord Fairfax.
What, else, were the families of the great to us? what pleasure should we take in their tedious genealogies, or their capitulatory brass monuments? What to us the uninterrupted current of their bloods, if our own did not answer within us to a cognate and correspondent elevation?
Or wherefore, else, O tattered and diminished 'Scutcheon-that hung upon the time-worn walls of thy princely stairs, BLAKESMOOR!-have I in childhood so oft stood poring upon thy mystic characters-thy emblematic supporters, with their prophetic "Resurgam"-till, every dreg of peasantry purging off, I received into myself Very Gentility?-Thou wert first in my morning eyes; and, of nights, hast detained my steps from bedward, till it was but a step from gazing at thee to dreaming on thee.
This is the only true gentry by adoption; the veritable change of blood, and not, as empirics have fabled, by transfusion.
Who it was by dying that had earned the splendid trophy, I know not, I inquired not; but its fading rags, and colours cobweb-stained, told, that its subject was of two centuries back.
If it were presumption so to speculate, the present owners of the mansion had least reason to complain. They had long forsaken the old house of their fathers for a newer trifle; and I was left to appropriate to myself what images I could pick up, to raise my fancy, or to soothe my vanity.
I was the true descendant of those old W-s; and not the present family of that name, who had fled the old waste places.
Mine was that gallery of good old family portraits, which as I have traversed, giving them in fancy my own family name, one-and then another-would seem to smile, reaching forward from the canvas, to recognise the new relationship; while the rest looked grave, as it seemed, at the vacancy in their dwelling, and thoughts of fled posterity.
That Beauty with the cool blue pastoral drapery, and a lamb-that hung next the great bay windowwith the bright yellow H-shire hair, and eye of watchet hue-so like my Alice!-I am persuaded, she was a true Elia-Mildred Elia, I take it.
From her, and from my passion for her for I first learned love from a picture-Bridget took the hint of those pretty whimsical lines, which thou mayst see, if haply thou hast never seen them, Reader, in the margin.* But my Mildred grew not old, like the imaginary Helen.
And what if my ancestor at that date was some Damotas-feeding flocks, not his own, upon the hills of Lincoln-did I in less earnest vindicate to myself the family trappings of this once proud Egon?- repaying by a backward triumph the insults he might possibly have heaped in his life-time upon my poor pasto-stately busts in marble-ranged ral progenitor.
Mine too, BLAKESMOOR, was thy noble Marble Hall, with its mosaic pavements, and its Twelve Cæsars
round: of whose countenances, young
"High-born Helen, round your dwelling,
These twenty years I've lived on tears,
Can I, who loved my beloved
But for the scorn was in her eye,'
reader of faces as I was, the frowning beauty of Nero, I remember, had most of my wonder, but the mild Galba had my love. There they stood in the coldness of death, yet freshness of immortality.
Mine too thy lofty Justice Hall, with its one chair of authority, highbacked, and wickered, once the terror of luckless poacher, or self-forgetful maiden-so common since, that bats have roosted in it.
Mine too-whose else?-thy costly fruit garden, with its sun-baked southern wall; the ampler pleasuregarden, rising backwards from the house, in triple terraces, with flowerpots now of palest lead, save that a speck here and there, saved from the elements, bespake their pristine state to have been gilt and glittering; the
verdant quarters backwarder still and, stretching still beyond, in old formality, thy firry wilderness, the haunt of squirrel, and the day-long murmuring woodpigeon-with that antique image in the centre, God or Goddess I wist not; but child of Athens or old Rome paid never a sincerer worship to Pan or to Sylvanus in their native groves, than I to that fragmental mystery.
Was it for this, that I kissed my childish hands too fervently in your idol worship, walks and windings of BLAKESMOOR! for this, or what sin of mine, has the plough passed over your pleasant places? I sometimes think that as men, when they die, do not die all, so of their extinguished habitations there may be a hope-a germ to be revivified. ELIA.
In stately pride, by my bed-side,
AND must I surrender thee, love?
The bright eyes that shone on me, love,
Must I never feel that cheek, love,
Must I never hear thee speak, love,
Must I find the sweet thoughts I've cherish'd,
All wither'd, and sear'd, and perish'd,
Like the pale leaves from the spray?
Oh! if I must part with thee, love,
For thy smiles could a desert gladden,
CAPTAIN BASIL HALL'S JOURNAL, WRITTEN ON THE COASTS OF CHILI, PERU, AND MEXICO, IN 1820, 1821, 1822.*
GOOD feeling and good sense are the two qualities which chiefly distinguish these volumes. There is little of philosophical research or profound thinking to be met with in them, neither philosophy nor profundity being, if the truth must be told, the business of a Captain in the royal navy. We are not to expect a Cooke or a Dampier in every officer who thinks fit to write a journal of his voyage to this place or t'other; at least if we do, we shall be marvellously in danger of a disappointment. Indeed the appetite of the public for exotic information, of publishers for profit, and of authors for present fame (and a dividend), is now so respectively greedy, that were the publication delayed till it were really worthy to gain all these advantages, it would just come in time to lose them: some other less scrupulous person would forestal it in the literary market, and the old adage of "a bird in the hand, &c." would be illustrated to the mortification of no one more than of the conscientious procrastinator, who would by this means sacrifice to the hope of glory far more substantial blessingshis time and his dividend. Hence it is that Voyages, and Travels, and Journals, now-a-days, are so poor in merit, and so populous in number; they are bought up at such a rate and at such a profit that it is no wonder they are, few of them, worth buying. Did we, our plural self, venture a voyage to Dog Island (that Ultima Thule of sea-faring citizens) we should infallibly publish a quarto on the hydrography of the place, interspersed with lithographic sketches of its scenery, and accompanied by a list of the minerals, plants, &c. that enrich, and a description of the men and strange animals that inhabit it.
In the present fluctuating state of South America it is perhaps less to be regretted that those who visit that country are not to any degree infected
with the spirit of philosophy, so necessary to a traveller of the first class. Facts, current facts, are what we look for; these succeed each other with such rapidity, and, from being of the highest import whilst doing, become so totally insignificant when done, that he is the most satisfactory journalist who thinks of nothing but telling as quickly and faithfully as possible all he has seen in his peregrination. For this purpose, it is probable that of all travellers the best calculated to give sudden and sure information are the officers of our navy: they are in general men of experience, observation, and some science; they touch at many places in a short time; their amphibious character renders them less suspicious to the South Americans, who consider them as having but little interest in land-affairs, and as having no time, however willing they may be, to interfere in their native politics; their rank also is a general introduction to society every where; and, what is perhaps of more importance than all, they have the reputation of a class to keep up, and are therefore, generally speaking, men of honour and veracity, entitled to the confidence of strangers, and to credit from their countrymen for the accounts which they bring. In the above point of view, Captain Hall's Journal must be esteemed a publication of some value, though its actual materials are scattered with a good deal of economy over two octavo volumes. He appears himself to be, as we have said, a man of sense, and a slave to no bigotry or prejudice. This is exactly the man we want, and the man whom it is most difficult, in the existing state of parties, to find. The observations of such a person on the state of the lately revolutionized colonies of America are therefore of double importance, when the different politics of different travellers are so likely to seduce them, however inten
Extracts from a Journal, written on the Coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, in the years 1820, 1821, 1822, by Captain Basil Hall, Royal Navy, Author of a Voyage to Loo Choo. In two volumes. Second Edition, Edinburgh: Constable and Co.
tionally (or, as schoolmen have it, ethically) honest, into misrepresentation and logical falsehood. Though to some degree of course a satellite of government, he is never at pains to Conceal his love of rational liberty, and to hail its second dawn in the western hemisphere with exultation. We are glad to have such respectable authority as Captain Hall's for the sentiments of the South Americans themselves upon the question of the Revolution, over which the conflicting testimonies of liberal and legitimate missionaries have thrown such a veil of doubt and confusion. In speaking of the state of public feeling among the Chilians, our author
Of civil liberty, I am not sure that the Chilians have, as yet, equally clear and correct notions; but nothing is more de
cided than their determination not to sub
mit again to any foreign yoke; and I should conceive, from all I have been able to learn, that, under any circumstances, the Spanish party in Chili would be found small and contemptible. Every day deep ens these valuable sentiments, and will render the reconquest of the country more and more remote from possibility. The present free trade, above all, maintains and augments these feelings; for there is not a single arrival at the port which fails to bring some new article of use, or of luxury, or which does not serve, by lowering the former prices, to place within reach of the inferior ranks many things known before only to the wealthy; to extend the range of comforts and enjoyments; and to open new sources of industry.
Amongst a people circumstanced as the South Americans have been, debarred for ages from the advantages of commerce, this change is of the last importance; and it is pleasing to reflect, that, while our merchants are consulting their own interests, and advancing the prosperity of their country, they are, at the same time, by stimulating at once and gratifying the wants of a great people, adding incalculably to the amount of human happiness. By thus creating higher tastes, and new wants, they produce fresh motives to exertion, and give more animating hopes to whole nations, which, without such powerful and immediate excitements, might, for aught we know, have long remained in their ancient state of listlessness and ignorance. Every man in the country, rich or poor, not only practically feels the truth of this, but knows distinctly whence the advantage is derived; and it is idle, therefore, to suppose that blessings which come home so directly to all nea's feelings, and which so manifestly influence
their fortunes and happiness, can be easily taken from them.
There are, no doubt, many defects in the administration of affairs in Chili: occasional bad faith, and occasional oppression; and sometimes very inconvenient disturbances, and partial political changes; but these are of no moment in so vast a question. The barrier which has so long dammed up the tide of human rights, and free and action, has been at length removed; the stream is assuredly not to be stopped by any thing from without: and what is internal, that might produce mischief, is rapidly improving as men advance in intelligence, and acquire a deeper interest in good order. An invasion, indeed, might cause much misery and confusion, and tend, for a time, to keep back the moral and political improvement of the country;
but the re-action would be inevitable, and, ere long, the outraged country would spring forwards to life and liberty, with tenfold vigour.
By means of foreign intercourse, and by the experience and knowledge of themselves, acquired by acting, for the first time, as freemen, they will come to know their own strength: by learning also to respect themselves, which they could hardly have done before, they will be ready to respect a government formed of themselves; and, instead of despising and hating their rulers, and seeking to counteract their measures, will join heartily in supporting them when right, or in exerting a salutary influence over them when wrong. At all events, even now, all parties would unite upon the least show of an attack; and so the result will prove, should any thing so wild and unjust be attempted.
(Vol. i. p. 182-185.)
This is not only a clear and manly statement of the public feeling in Chili, but it is evidently impartial; one that we can rely on, if we look only for curious information; one from which we can draw safe inferences, if we are more deeply engaged in the affairs of that continent than mere readers, either as meror politicians. chants, statesmen, With the first two of these classes we should expect Captain Hall's Journal to have an influence which may be productive of the most momentous results: the merchant has now some authority to suppose that the establishment of a consignee in Chili, or the shipping of goods there, would not be a rash speculation; he will therefore either begin to speculate, or speculate yet more boldly than he has hitherto done; and will thus forward, at one and the same time, his