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consuêsse, et ad omnem animi remissionem ludumque descendere. Sic enim se res habet, ut quemadmodum volucres videmus, procreationis atque utilitatis suæ causâ, fingere et construere nidos ; easdem autem, cùm aliquid effecerint levandi laboris sui causâ, passim ac liberè solutas opere volitare; sic nostri animi forensibus negotiis, atque urbano opere defessi gestiunt, et volitare cupiunt, vacui curd atque labore. —'I remember to have heard my father-in-law mention,' says Crassus, that his kinsman Lælius, and the great Scipio, were frequently wont to fly from the hurry of business and the bustle of the town to a quiet retreat in the country, and there to grow, as it were, boys again in their amusements. Nay, though I should hardly venture to tell it of such men, we were assured by Scævola, that at Caieta and Laurentum they used to pass their time in gathering shells and pebbles, unbending their minds, and amused with every trifle; like birds, which, after the serious and important business of preparing nests for their young, fly sportfully about, free and disengaged, as if to relieve themselves from their toils.'
Nothing can be more truly delightful than to picture out the conqueror of Carthage, who had led to victory the triumphant armies of the Roman state, amusing himself with his friend Lælius, at Caieta or Laurentum, in gathering shells and pebbles on the sea-shore. Far from sinking their dignity in our estimation, it adds to it; and it must give a high idea of the elegant simplicity and virtuous tranquillity of mind of which the illustrious friends were possessed, when, from the cares of state, they could descend to, and feel amusement in, those innocent and simple-hearted pleasures. None but men of virtue, and who possessed an easy and an irre
proachable mind, could have enjoyed them.* Men whose consciences upbraided them, who felt the agitation of bad passions, and who were inwardly gnawed by the sensations of envy, jealousy, revenge, or hatred, could not have thus indulged themselves. They must have buried their feelings, they must have got rid of their own minds, under less peaceful, less simple, and less innocent amusements. That absorption of calm feelings which hard drinking produces, and that agitation created by deep gaming, must have been their resource,
N. B. The Mirror is to be discontinued till Tuesday the 7th of December, on which day will be published No. LXI., and then continued, as formerly, every Tuesday and Saturday.
No. 61. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1779.
DURING the late intermission of my labours, I paid a visit of some weeks to my friend Mr. Umphraville, whose benevolence and worth never fail to give me the highest pleasure ; a pleasure not lessened, perhaps, by those little singularities of sentiment and manner, which, in some former papers, I have described that gentleman as possessing. At
* See Melmoth's Cicero's Letters.
bis house in the country, these appear to the greatest advantage; there they have room to shoot out at will; and, like the old yew-trees in his garden, though they do look a little odd, and now and then tempt one to smile, yet the most eccentric of them all have something venerable about them.
Some of my friend's peculiarities may not only be discovered in his manner and his discourse, but may be traced in his house and furniture, his garden and grounds. In his house are large rooms, lighted by small Gothic windows, and accessible only by dark, narrow staircases; they are fitted up with old arras, and have ceilings loaded with the massy compartments of the last age, where the heads of bearded sages and laurelled emperors look grim and terrible through the cobwebs that surround them. In his grounds you find stiff, rectangular walks, and straight narrow avenues. In his garden, the yews and holleys still retain their primeval figures ; lions and unicorns guard the corners of his parterres, and a spread-eagle, of a remarkable growth, has his wings clipped, and his talons pared, the first Monday of every month, during spring and summer.
The contempt in which, to a somewhat unreasonable degree, he holds modern refinement, has led him to continue those antiquated particulars about him. The India paper of some of his fashionable neighbours' drawing-rooms, has enhanced the value of his arras; his dusky Gothic windows have been contrasted to great advantage, with their Bows and Venetians; their open lawns have driven him to the gloom of his avenues ; and the zigzag twist of their walks has endeared to him the long, dull line of his hedged terraces. As he holds, however, some good old political tenets, and thinks, as I have often heard him express himself, that every country can
afford a king for itself, he had almost submitted to the modern plan of gardening a few years ago, on being put in mind, that the fashion of hedges and terraces was brought in by King William.
But, exclusive of all those motives, on which his sister and I sometimes rally him, my friend, from the warmth of his heart, and the sensibility of his feelings, has a strong attachment to all the ancient occupiers of his house and grounds, whether they be of the human or the brute, the animate or inanimate creation. His tenants are, mostly, coeval with himself; his servants have been either in his family, or on his estate, from their infancy; an old pointer, and an old house-dog, generally meet him in the lobby; and there is a flea-bitten horse, who, for several years has been past riding, to whom he has devoted the grass of his orchard, and a manger of good hay during the severity of winter. A withered stump, which, I observed, greatly incommoded the entry to his house, he would not suffer to be cut down, because it had the names of himself and some of his school companions ciphered on its bark; and a divorce from his leathern elbow-chair, patched and tattered as it is, would, I am persuaded, be one of the most serious calamities that could befall him.
This feeling will be easily understood by those in whom the business or the pleasure of the world has not extinguished it. That sort of relation which we own to every object we have long been acquainted with, is one of those natural propensities the mind will always experience, if it has not lost this connection by the variety of its engagements, or the bustle of its pursuits. There is a silent chronicle of past hours in the inanimate things amidst which they have been spent, that gives us back the affections, the regrets, the sentiments, of our former days; that
gives us back their joys without tumult, their griefs without poignancy, and produces equally from both a pensive pleasure, which men who have retired from the world, like Umphraville, or whom particular circumstances have somewhat estranged from it, will be peculiarly fond of indulging. Above all others, those objects which recall the years of our childhood, will have this tender effect upon the heart; they present to us afresh the blissful illusions of life, when Gayety was on the wing undamped by Care, and Hope smiled before us unchecked by Disappointment. The distance of the scene adds to our idea of its felicity, and increases the tenderness of its recollection ; 'tis like the view of a landscape by moonshine; the distinctness of object is lost, but a mellow kind of dimness softens and unites the whole.
From the same sort of feeling has the idea of Home its attraction. For, though one's interest there will undoubtedly be heightened by the relation to persons, yet there is, exclusive of that connection altogether, a certain attachment to place and things, by which the town, the house, the room in which we live, have a powerful influence over us. He must be a very dull, or a very dissipated man, who, after a month's absence, can open his own door without emotion, even though he has no relation or friend to welcome him within. For my part, I feel this strongly; and many an evening, when I have shut the door of my little parlour, trimmed the fire, and swept the hearth, I sit down with the feelings of a friend for every chair and table in the room.
There is, perhaps, a degree of melancholy in all this; the French, who are a lively people, have, I think, no term that answers to our substantive Home; but it is not the melancholy of a sour unsocial being; on the contrary, I believe there will always be found