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voyage he mostly visits his native hamlet, struts in all the pride of ducks and a blue jacket, plights his faith to some village maid, and delights the gaping country folk with the wonders of the distant seas. He tells them of fish that fly higher than the church-steeple, and further than the distance to the wood on the hill; but the farmers' dames shake their heads incredulously. He then relates how their anchor was fouled in the wheels of Pharaoh's chariot when in the Red Sea, and this finds a readier belief, for they have all read of Pharaoh's chariot. They blush to hear him tell of men who dispense with breeches, and shudder to learn there are people who dine off brothers, and sup on sons. He tells them how a shark on one occasion gulped their stream anchor, and how when they hauled him up, they found half a whale-boat, one cask of tallow, three men, and a girl in his stomach. But his visit and his tales are over, and again he goes to sea.'
His next voyage terminates his apprenticeship, and he is his own master. A pretty good foundation for an education has been laid by the various characters with whom he has sailed, but it is now that his genuine and unrestrained rollicks commence; hitherto a master's eye has retained him within a certain boundary. In all probability he now makes a voyage as 'man.' At his return he has what he deems an inexhaustible amount of money to receive. He does not, as formerly, visit his country friends; they are unthought of, and in all probability never again seen. In a great number of cases his sole care is to get rid of his cash. A crimp and pub lic-house keeper takes him under his protection, absorbing cash as a sponge does water; ladies of an unholy sisterhood, and sailors who never went to sea, aid him with all fervour in his praiseworthy resolve; and short work they make of it between them. The sharks and vampires must all be treated to the play.' Of course they go in a coach, and the crazy vehicle groans beneath the weight of a dozen; to pass one single public-house on their line without pulling up would be deemed lubberly in the extreme. Jack himself is aloft, to give orders, and perhaps handle the tiller-ropes. Before their journey is half done he becomes so frolicksome that he insists on treating the admiring spectators to a hornpipe on the roof, and he only gets quiet when the roof gives way, and he descends into the solid mass of limbs and bodies under it, where he sticks like a wedge in a plank.
The theatre is now in sight, and they bring up at the gallery door, and after another 'drop' they mount to the shilling Olym. pus. To expect the tar to sit quietly down here would be unreasonable in audience and manager. He shouts, laughs, roars, and swears, halloos to any brother blue-jacket he chances to spy out, and gives vent to his feelings according to the nature of the drama. He has a keen relish for humour, and laughs prodigiously; should he witness a tragedy-for instance, Othello,-his excitement soon boils over it is in vain his companions assure him it is all 'a sham;' he roars to the 'blackamoor' to keep his dirty hands off that sweet girl, and pipes to the rescue. It is difficult to restrain him from rushing down and mixing in the scene; he swears to revenge the lady's death, and is very liberal in his promises of broken heads and shivered limbs. Between the pieces he makes the tour of the gallery outside the railings; the pit roars 'Bravo, Jack!' but the offi
cers curse Jack, and unceremoniously haul him back to his seat, in which he is held by the strength of his companions. A farce concludes the entertainments, and this, with the aid of sundry stonebottles, puts Jack in good humour, and he forgets all about the lady and the Moor, and promised vengeance.
The party adjourn from the theatre to the nearest public house; they sup and drink again, and after a very short time all is a blank to our hero. When he wakes in the morning he finds his face bruised, his head broken, himself in a watch-house, and his pockets without a copper. He is taken before a magistrate, accused of drunkenness and rioting, tells his tale, is reprimanded, lectured, and pitied (he can't be fined,) and dismissed with half-a-crown from the poor-box. He goes and spends his last penny among those who robbed him of his pounds, and then gets a ship, to go and earn more money, which at his return with occasional variations in the means, got rid of as quickly and as well. Let it be remarked he sometimes gives as readily as he spends, and with as little discrimination.
After his first voyage the sailor frequently enters on board a man of war, where his remaining days of service are passed. He most likely fights many hard battles, performs many gallant actions, and plays the deuce among the women, marrying perhaps some halfdozen of them at the end of as many successive voyages, in his prize-money sprees, none of whom he would scarcely recognize after being a month at sea. Many dangers attend his career, and it is rarely all are escaped. He may be shipwrecked or drowned, wounded in battle, perhaps killed, and soon forgotten among others whose blood mingled with his own on the gory deck; he may die at sea, and a messmate's tear dropped on his briny grave be all that marked his exit; or he may be captured, and in a foreign prison remain as utterly lost to all who had once known him, as though sunk in the depths of ocean. Should he survive all these, and exist beyond his strength, Greenwich Hospital, or a pension, await the evening of his days; but for the merchant-seaman, enfeebled in arduous service, there was, alas! until very recently, no provision, and the last days of his useful life were passed in menial drudgery, or labour, fit but for younger hands, within the cheerless walls of the parish workhouse.
We have not inquired whether these loose remarks come up to the standard raised by Dibdin's songs, Marryat's novels, and nautical dramas, but apprehend they are not many cable-lengths from the true one. That exceptions exist to the reckless, careless character we have sketched, is quite true; we ourselves, and our astonishment was immense, a few days ago saw a regular-built tar enter a savings' bank!
W. LAW GANE.
Merrie England in the olden Time:
OR, PEREGRINATIONS WITH UNCLE TIM AND MR. BOSKY, OF LITTLE BRITAIN,
BY GEORGE DANIEL.
Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale ?' -SHAKSPEARE.
'Give me a woman as old as Hecuba, or as ugly as Caifacaratadaddera, rather than Mrs. Bumgarten, to whom everything that pleases her betters is gall and bitterness. Were the annoyance confined to herself alone, I should cry, "Content!"-for the labourer is worthy of his hire; and she who sows nettles and thorns is entitled to reap a stinging and prickly harvest. And madam to go through the farce of letting fall a few crocodile tears! Had they been compassionate and holy tears, I should have respected them; but the scalding drops of a pestilent shrew, when her passion boils over-pah!—ill temper should ride quarantine, and have a billet de santé, before it is let loose upon society. Away from the heated atmosphere of hatred, envy, and all uncharitableness, thank Heaven, I can now breathe freely again!'
These were among the ruminations of Uncle Timothy, as he sauntered homeward through the green fields on a beautiful autumn evening. Two interesting objects lay immediately before him: the village church and grave-yard, and a row of ancient almshouses, the pious endowment of a bountiful widow, who having been brought to feel what sorrow was, had erected them as the last resting-place but one for the aged and the poor.
There dwelt in our ancestors a fine spirit of humanity towards the helpless and the needy. The charitable pittance was not doled out to them by the hand of insolent authority; but the wayfarer, heart-weary, and foot-sore, claimed at the gates of these pious institutions † (a few of which still remain in their primitive simplicity) his loaf, his lodging, and his groat, which were dispensed, generally with kindness, and always with decency. Truly we may say, that what the present generation has gained in head, (and even this ad. mission is subject to many qualifications,) it has lost in heart!
A grave had just received its 'poor inhabitant;' the mourners had
Before the Reformation there were no Poor's Rates. The charitable dole, given at the religious houses, and the church-ale in every parish, did the business.
In every parish there was a Church-house, to which belonged spits, pots, &c. for dressing provision. Here the housekeepers met, and were merry, and gave their charity. The young people came there too, and had dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c. Mr. A. Wood assures me, that there were few or no almshouses before the time of Henry the Eighth; that at Oxon, opposite to Christchurch, was one of the most ancient in England.'-Abrey MSS.
Was it ever intended-is it just-is it fitting, that the Masterships of St. Cross, at Winchester, and St. Katherine's, London, should be such sumptuous sinecures ? VOL. VII. 25
departed, and two or three busy urchins, with shovels and spades, were filling in the earth; while the sexton, a living clod, nothing loth to see his work done by proxy, looked, with open mouth and leaden eyes, carelessly on. Uncle Timothy walked slowly up the path, and pausing before the 'narrow cell,' enforced silence and decency, if not absolute reverence, by that irresistible charm that ever accompanied his presence. His pensive, thoughtful look, and mournful smile, almost surprised the gazers into sympathy. Who was the silent tenant? None could tell. He was a stranger in the village; but their pastor must have known something of his story; for his voice faltered whilst reading the funeral service, and he was observed to weep. Uncle Timothy passed on, and continued his peregrination among the tombs. How grossly had the dead been libelled by the flattery of the living! Here was a tender husband, a loving father, and an honest man,' who certainly had never tumbled his wife out at window, kicked his children out of doors, or picked his neighbour's pocket in broad day-light on the King's highway; yet was he a hypocritical heartless old money-worshipper! There lay a 'disconsolate widow,' the names of whose three 'lamented husbands' were chiselled on her tombstone! To the more opulent sort of human clay, who could afford plenty of lead and stone-perchance the emblems of their dull, cold heads and hearts-what pompous quarries were raised above ground! what fulsome inscriptions dedicated! But the poor came meanly off. Here and there a simple flower, blooming on the raised sod, and fondly cherished, told of departed friends and kindred not yet forgotten! And who that should see a rose thus affectionately planted would let it droop and wither for want of a tear?
'Ah!' thought Uncle Timothy, may I make my last bed with the poor!
'Let not unkind, untimely thrift
These little boons deny;
Nor those who love me while I live
A monument of chaste and simple design attracted his attention; he bent his way towards it, and uncovering his head, perused the inscription. It was to the memory of a gentle spirit, whom he mourned with a brother's love. Four lines were all that had been thought essential to say; but they were sufficiently expressive.
'Father! thy name we bless,
Thy providence adore.
Heaven has an angel more!'
The Giver of every good and perfect gift' had taken her daughter, the child of hope and many tears, before she knew sin or sorrow. Her epitaph ran thus:
'Oh happy they who, called to rest
From fleeting joys and lasting woes
A deep and holy calm fell upon Uncle Timothy, with a sweet assurance that a happier meeting with departed friends was not far distant. And as the guardianship of ministering angels was his firm belief and favourite theme, his secret prayer at this solemn moment was, that they might save him from the bodily and mental infirmities, the selfishness and apathy of protracted years. He read the inscriptions over again, with a full conviction of their truthfulness. They were his own.
At an obscure corner-and afar off-Truth, for a wonder, had written an epitaph upon one who loved, not his species, but his specie!
Beneath this stone old Nicholas lies;
And at no great distance was a tomb entirely overgrown with rank weeds, nettles, and thorns; and there was a superstitious legend attached to it, that they all grew up in one night, and though they had been several times rooted up, still, in one night, they all grew up again! Stones had been ignominiously cast upon it; and certain ancient folks of the village gravely affirmed that, on the anniversary of the burial of the miserable old crone, the Black Sanctus* was performed by herself and guardian spirits! A yew-tree stretched forth its bare branches over the tomb, which in one night also became withered and blasted!
At the porch of the centre almshouse sat an aged female in a widow's garb, and beside her the village pastor. From the earnestness of his address, he seemed to be exhorting her to resignation; but the tears that fell from her eyes proved how hard was the task! Though Uncle Timothy would not have done homage to the highest potentate in Christendom for all the wealth and distinction that he or she could bestow, he felt his knees tremble under him at the sacredness of humble sorrow; and with the same kindred feeling that had often made him 'rejoice with those that rejoice,' he was now ready to weep with those that weep.' He walked up the neat little flower garden, and having read the grateful memorial inscribed over the ancient doorway to the charitable foundress, he was about to speak, when the words, 'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,' fell like the dews of heaven upon his ear! The widow looked up-she hushed every sigh-she wiped
* Isaac Reed informs us (see note upon Chapman's Widow's Tears, in Dodsley's Old Plays) that the Black Sanctus was a hymn to Saint Satan, written in ridicule of Monkish luxury.' And Tarlton (see News out of Purgatory) quotes it in the Tale of Pope Boniface. And upon this there was a general mourning through all Rome: the cardinals wept, the abbots howled, the monks roared, the fryers cried, the nuns puled, the curtezans lamented, the bels rang, the tapers were lighted, that such a Blacke Sanctus was not seene a long time afore in Rome.'
The Black Sanctus here said to be performed was of a different kind. It was assuredly a hymn to Satan,' in which the old crone and the most favoured of her kindred took the principal parts in the base, Hypocrisy led the band, Avarice scraped the fiddle, and curses, not loud, but deep,' from above and below, chanted an ap propriate chorus.