صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

quently do

felt and appreciated by those who are acquainted with the classical subjects to which it alludes ; for, as Addison forcibly observes, there is often as much thought on the reverse of a medal as in a canto of Spenser; besides, how fre

you meet with hints and suggestions in an ancient poet, that give a complete illustration to the actions, ornaments, and antiquities which are found on coins ! In short, the

person who examines a collection of medals, without a competent knowledge of the classics, is like him who would explore a subterranean cavern without the aid of a torch.”

“ I have already learnt one fact,” said Louisa, 66 with which I was certainly wholly unacquainted; that the ancients possessed such a much greater variety of different kinds of money than modern nations.(5)

“Of that, my dear,” replied the vicar, “ there is some doubt; the learned are divided upon that question : some authors maintain that every medal, and even medallion, had its fixed and regular price in payments; while others, on the contrary, assert that we are not in the possession of any real money of the ancients, and that the medals never had any currency as coins. The truth probably is between these two extremes.”

6 If these medals were not used as money," observed Louisa, “ for what purposes could they have been coined ?”

“ To perpetuate the memory of great actions; and, faithful to its charge of fame, the medal has transmitted events, the history of which must, otherwise, have long since perished. Nay, more,” exclaimed the vicar, his voice rising as he became warmed by his subject, “ the lamp of history has been often extinguished, and the medalist has collected sparks from the ashes of antiquity which have rekindled its flame. You perceive, therefore,” continued the reverend antiquary," that such collections are of the highest importance, and if your papa will allow you to pass a morning in their examination, I shall easily bring you to admit, that I have not exaggerated the wonders of my magic gallery. I will convince you, that it contains a series of original miniature portraits of the greatest heroes of antiquity; a compendious chart of history, chronology, and heathen mythology; a system of classic architecture; and an ac

curate commentary upon the more celebrated poems of Greece and Rome. Ay- and I will show you a faithful resemblance of the very ship that carried Æneas to Italy, and of the lofty poop, from which the luckless Palinurus fell into the ocean.”

Mr. Twaddleton then informed his party, that medals were divided into those of ancient and modern date, but that his collection only embraced the former. He said that the cabinet they were then inspecting contained those of the higher antiquity, or such as were struck before the end of the third century: and that in the other, were arranged medals of the lower antiquity, having been struck between the third and ninth centuries. He then favoured Mr. and Mrs. Seymour with a sight of some of those rarer medals, which he considered as constituting the gems of his collection.

“ You do not mean to say,” exclaimed Tom, as he seized a small coin, “ that this little brass piece is of more value than the large coin of gold that lies next to it?”

“ Mercy upon us !" cried the vicar, in a tone of agony, “ how the boy handles it ! — restore it to its place — gently - gently — that little

brass piece' as you call it, although it might not have been worth a penny fifteen hundred years ago, is now valued at more than a hundred guineas.”

“ There is, certainly,” said Mr. Seymour, “ something very inexplicable in the tastes and feelings of you patrons of antiquity; nor is there any thing with which I can compare you, except, perhaps, with those Dilettanti sons of the bottle, who regard, as so much poison, the generous and full-bodied wines of Oporto, while you extol, even to the seventh heaven, the juice that has fretted itself into insipidity, if not into sourness.”

“ The antiquary,” observed the vicar, “ does not regard a cabinet of medals as a treasure of money, but of knowledge; nor does he fancy any charms in gold, but in the figures that adorn it; it is not the metal, but the erudition, that stamps it with value.”

The party, soon after this discussion, quitted the vicarage, and returned to the lodge, where, after the usual ceremonies at the toilet, they sat down to dinner; in the enjoyment of which we will now leave them, and put an end to the present chapter.


[ocr errors]



“THE table-cloth is removed," cried Tom, as he cast a sly glance through the open window of the dining-room.

“ It is, my boy,” replied Mr. Twaddleton; Diffugere nives *, as the poet has it.”

Et redeunt jam gramina campist,” added Mr. Seymour, as he pointed to the green cloth with which the table was covered. vicar, let us join the children.”

Mr. Twaddleton, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Seymour, and Louisa, rose from the table, and proceeded to the lawn.

" Come,

** The snows have disappeared.”

p“ And the surface is again enlivened by a green mantle.”

« السابقةمتابعة »