صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

themes of panegyric. He used to swear that of his own knowledge there was a cock at Nevis, who crowed so shrill and loud that he could be heard at Martinique, and so punctually at the instant of sunrise, that Bob's regiment always fired the gun and set their clocks and watches by him. Come,' said a man one night at Frawley's, here's Bob Rambleton; now let's have a little natural history' Sim Fairfield then proceeded to tell, that when he was in Portugal he fell in with a starling at a nunnery that could repeat one of the penitential psalms. Bob spoke in a very slow somniferous voice, and when he once opened, he never cracked cry whether his audience were asleep or awake until he had exhausted his imagination. Yes,' said Bob, the starling, you know, is a clever bird; but he is nothing to a cockatoo, you know. When I was quartered at Demerara, in the West Indies, you know, I went out one day to walk in the woods, and there upon the top of a tree, you know, I saw a great big cockatoo. He was a very peculiar fellow, you know; he had a sky-blue bill, and a red back, and green wings, and a black belly, you know, and that was the reason I always knew him again when I saw him. And while this chap and I were looking at each other, you know, and taking marks of each other, up came Tom Macdonnell, of the 23d Fusileers, you know; they wore blue facings, you know, because they were a royal regiment; and says Tom to me, holding out his hand, "How d'ye do, Bob Rambleton ?" and I said, “ Very well.” And we walked away together, and I thought no more about it. But nearly a month after I happened to walk into the place, and there I saw that same old cockatoo, and says he to me, throwing his head on one side, and casting a knowing look at me, “How d’ye do, Bob Rambleton ?" And then I thought he began to laugh, but I'm not sure of it, you know, and I would not take my oath of it; but this I'll swear to, that all the cursed little cockatoos in the wood,--and there were three hundred of them,-all cried out together, "How d'ye do, Bob Rambleton ?" and their screaming was so horrible that it hurt the drum of my ear, and I was deaf for a long time after, and I never dared to show myself in that wood afterwards.'

He also told a story very much to the honour of a monkey's sagacity, though not creditable to his honesty. The regiment were in log.huts, and Bob happened to lose the key of his peculiar domicile. He did not change the lock; he contented himself with getting a new key. After this accident, he was constantly annoyed by the disappearance of sundry portions of his property, and particularly of his cigars. At last the circumstance of his losing his kilt and best dress-coat led to the detection of the thief; for he saw a monkey playing with them on the top of a tree forty feet high, and upon searching this, all his effects were recovered, with the exception of his cigars, which the rascal had smoked. It seems he stole the key, and was in the habit of watching until Bob and his servant Elsworth were out of the way, when he let himself in, took what he fancied, and locked the door carefully as he retired,

Bob was never at a loss in his natural history. Passing a fishmonger's shop with him one day, I asked, “What the deuce fish is that? I never saw such an ugly fish before. Nor did Bob either; but he promptly and gravely replied, " That is the cat-fish, you know, because he comes out of the water, and catches the mice, you know. He belongs to the West Indies, you know.'

6

He told us one night, that at Honduras there was a tree called the iron tree, because it was harder than iron, and that it was used instead of the metal for various purposes.

• But how,' said old Frawley, 'could it be cut? I'm blowed if you 're not a-going it! Steel would be of no use ag'in it.'

Oh! they cut it down with itself,' says Bob.

• Ay,' retorted Frawley, but how did they get down the first tree ?'

• They burnt it at the root, you know,' rejoined the Captain.

So remote from ill-nature were the feelings of poor Bob, that no man was more given than he to exalting his friends and acquaintance. On coming into Frawley's of an evening, I saw him sitting in a box with a man of colour, a sort of dirtily whitewashed nigger, and I declined the invitation to join him. When this fellow had gone, he took his place near me, and I said, something reproachfully,

· Who was that cursed ugly nigger you were talking to ?'

“That,' replied Bob, 'is Buckatoo, you know. He is master of the horse to the Queen of Madagascar.'

Poor Bob, like Sir John, has glided under the earth, and their branch of the family is extinct. Bob trusted one of those enemies of human kind, an attorney, and he robbed him of every farthing he possessed. He died in a garret

, in the rules of the Queen's Bench; and would have died without a drop of toast and water to moisten his lips, and been left to be buried by the parish, if it had not been for the generosity of that noble fellow, the Hon. George Talbot, who is now (alas the while !) like himself numbered with the dead.

[ocr errors]

OFFLEIAN CORRESPONDENCE,

WITH

BENTLEIAN GLOSSES. We have great pleasure in complying with the request contained in the following elegant epistle; and thus proceed to give publication to the effusion of one entitled to all sort of admiration as a proverbial personage~'the Wise Child' of the ancient adage.

Sir,

I have perused an article in Bentley's Miscellany for this month, entitled • Horæ Ofileana.' Being a son of the late Mr. Offey, I may pretend to know something about him. I therefore assert, that the statements respecting my father in the article in question are LIES !!!

As these statements will have a very extended circulation among Bentley's readers, I request that, for fair play's sake, you will afford a space for this brief communication in the next number.

I am, sir, your obedient servant, 24, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden,

GEORGE OFFLEY. March 1, 1841.

THE MAN ABOUT TOWN TO R. BENTLEY, ESQ. Sir,

I thank you for sending me the letter signed George Offley, and think this polite Publican, who has converted bimself into a Scribe, should be allowed to complete the Judaic circle, and proclaim himself a Pharisee. Though he uses what Doctor Johnson was pleased to style the strong language of Bishop Warburton, namely, 'you lie,' and affects all the indignation of a Lally Tollendal, in vindicating the memory of an illustrious and injured papa, it may be questioned whether the motives which actuated his desire to rush into print were other than envy of Frawley's renown (which the Miscellany has now made immortal,) and his own jealousy of the fame of the great defunct. Proud, sir, am I to feel that for ‘mine old host

* Exegi monumentum ære perennius,'

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

6

-a monument not to be soiled, much less shaken by the breath of any little barker indignant at my not having proclaimed the Virgilian principle,

Sic canibus catulos similes.'
Alack ! sir, it is not often that the whelps of modern days come up to the old dogs'
of the last generation; nor is the present representative of the House of Offley,
I much fear, an exception, saving, indeed, in the articles of good temper and gentle-
manly expression. Mr. George Offey has not condescended to particulars; he vouch-
safes only his ipse dixit. He does not say which of my statements is false. In this he
was wise. Thousands in town could prove them each and all to be true. I have de-
scribed old Frawley as an honest and strong-minded man, who, without the advan-
tage of education, raised himself from an humble station to independence and com-
fort. I have described him as a merry old bost,' respectful, attentive, obliging,
and grateful to the gentlemen who frequented his house. I have described him as
a singer of songs, and a maker of speeches which invariably produced roars of
laughter. I have described him as a convivial man himself, and to the great bene.
fit of his exchequer, a promoter of conviviality in others. I have described him as
an excellent cook, and a dispenser of the best mutton-chops that ever fizzed upon
the bars of a gridiron. And in spite of spite all this he was, and will be. Nam
multos veterum velut inglorios ac ignobiles oblivio obruit, sed Oftleius narratus
atque traditus superstes erit.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Bellamy's, March 10, 1841.

A MAN ABOUT Town. P.S.-In the course of the evening I will ascertain from Nicholas and the cook what reminiscences they may have preserved of their old fellow-servant.

THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS.

BY W. G. J. BARKER, ESQ.
They are coming! they are coming! from the regions of the sun,
For Winter's storms are ended, and sweet May is begun;
From those lands where summer reigneth in all her golden prime,
The glad and gleesome wanderers are hast’ning to our clime.
Soft airs have kiss'd each brooklet, loos’ning its icy chains,
And early flowers are peeping upon the vernal plains ;
The forest trees are putting on their garb of velvet green,.
And in the wild wood dingles young violets are seen.
They come across blue ocean! tribes of the restless wing,
Whose joyous hours are ever passed amid perpetual spring;
They left us in brown autumn to flee beyond the main,
But darksome days are over, and lo! they come again.
Oh! had we but their pinions, what blessed lives were ours,
We would travel with the seasons, and sport in fadeless bowers;
'Mid blossoms never dying, with melody and mirth,
We would make our yearly journey around the smiling earth.
No blight shall overtake us, no tempests black appal:
When fruits were ripe, we would not bide to see them pine and fall;
But, like those gentle birds, speed our fleet course away
To climes of glorious sunshine, unconscious of decay.
Oh! happy, happy creatures! they neither weep nor sigh:
The forests and the fountains their food and drink supply;
They labour not for riches,-for fame they do not seek, —
No guilt pollutes their bosoms, no cares their slumbers break,
They are coming ! they are coming ! blithe attendants of the sun-
For Winter's reign is ended, and sweet May is begun-
From lands where fairly flourish the orange and the lime,

The little winged wanderers are hast'ning to our clime !
Banks of the Yare.

LIGHT BY THE AUTHOR or 'LONDON ASSURANCE.' * And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.'-Gen. ch. i., v. 2.

Space labour'd-quicken'd by Almighty word,
And from its shapeless womb unsightly voided
Chaos. For on that great command, Matter,
Obedient to its great Progenitor,
Rush'd amain from all the corners
Of eternity. Each atom jostling
Its fellow-in haste to pleasure Him—so form'd
A turgid lump, which surging to and fro
On a black sea of thickening vapour,
An unwholesome sweat oozed from the slimy depths
of this miscarried mass. Helpless—still with all
The germ of life, as in a new-born babe,
It lay upon the bosom of great Space,
Its mother, who could not help it into fair
Existence.
God said, Let there be light, and there was light.'
The murky vault was split: Darkness was rent:
A golden orb sprung from the smile of God,
Stood, created,

-Width oped her mighty jaws
To gape at this new wonder—for Space now
Had eyes to see her own immensity.
The Universe awoke, and dress'd in regal
Purple, stood in all the silent majesty
Of the interminable arch. Empire
Of creation! Night, so late a tyrant,
Shrank to some pit or grave within the bosom
Ofits subject mass.

The infant Globe, smiling,
Stretched forth its cheek towards its novel nurse,
That sung, and soothed it with a gentle breeze.
Land sprung up to meet its benefactor.
And straight shot forth its trees and shrubs, which sent up
An odour,—the only language they could speak,
To kiss and greet the light that warmed them
Into life. Syren myrtles woo the fickle
May-breeze with a rustling kiss filch'd of
The lagging, wind; while ev'ry twinkling leaf
Whispers a lay of love-sick melody.
The airy multitudes, distilling
Sweetest music in their shrill tale of first
Affection, swell out the gentle tumult
Of this mellow choir, till beaming Nature
Seems one song of universal adoration.

[ocr errors]

事 *

[merged small][ocr errors]

The Day went down, while Heaven blush'd at Evening's
Fickle flight. Night crept from the caves, keeping
Far off the dreaded sun; and as it came
With stealthy crawl, deserted Earth saw,
And its latest zephyr moan'd a wailing cry.
Twilight, the day's last warm embrace, turned back
From following the sun, and wept dew upon
The drooping flowers there, with a mother's slow
And struggling gait, with face o'er her shoulder
Bent, fixed a last fond gaze upon the mute-struck
Loveliness of recumbent Nature. But
Ere she went she oped her jewel-box, and clad
The dingy darkness in a blaze of angel's tears,
Shed for the fallen seraphs,-a golden filter
For up-wending souls to strain out sin, and purge
Mortality withal. Their sparkle does
Amuse her frightened offspring, who, half
Repelling, half accepting, sobs itself
To sleep.

D. L. BOURCICAULT.

STANLEY THORN.

BY THE AUTHOR OF VALENTINE vox.'

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

The commencement of Stanley's speculation.

To those who have been accustomed to view only the unamiable portions of the female character, as developed on the one hand by the restless scheming creature of the world, and on the other by the designing hollow-hearted courtezan, the mean, cowardly practice of defrauding a woman is sport ; but by married men, who have studied the character deeply, and who appreciate those beautiful feelings by which it is essentially distinguished, that practice is happily held in abhorrence. Marriage induces a higher estimation of female virtue : it inspires men with a chivalrous, gallant spirit, of which the peculiar promptings are to those who never experienced the blessings which spring from the gentle characteristics of an amiable wife, altogether unknown; and hence Stanley—he being the only married man present during the performance of the disgraceful, cruel mockery detailed in the preceding chapter-was the only man by whom it was not viewed as a jest. But although he was thoroughly disgusted with the heartless conduct of his new associates, he felt bound to fulfil the engagement into which he had entered, but from which he would then most gladly have withdrawn. He had no longer the slightest confidence in the men ; he conceived it to be almost impossible for them to be actuated by any correct feeling, -still, having entered into the speculation so far, he was unable to see how he could with honour retire.

Having reflected upon the matter for some time, vainly hoping for something to suggest itself whereby the speculation might with grace be abandoned, he named the subject to Sir William, in order that he might, if possible, point out the means by which an honourable retreat could be accomplished.

* I feel so indignant, said he, after explaining the manner in which the mock marriage had been conducted, at having, although un consciously, been made a party to so disreputable a proceeding, that I declare to you I would almost as soon forfeit the money I have engaged to put down, than have any farther connection with the

· Had you taken my advice,' said Sir William, 'you would not have entered into it at all; but I don't see how you can call off now.'

* Nor do l; and yet one might imagine that conduct like that which I have described would form a sufficient pretext for withdrawing ?'

• Oh! you must not think for a moment of making that a pretext. Were you to do so, you would only get laughed at.'

* But do you not deem it disgraceful ?' • Why, I must say that, strictly speaking, it isn't the thing ; but

men.

« السابقةمتابعة »