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ooat of whitewash' Those victimized by this ebullition of feminine anger, might well say,
"Absurd to think to overreach the forwA),
They passed away
Like the baseless fabric of a vision.
What her successor said on first entering the denuded and blank apartment, history does not tell us; perhaps because none but the great Bard himself could depict her rage. But thanks to the progress of science, some Oxonian, or somebody else, gave her a chemical solvent, which removed the villanous lime, and released the imprisoned names of these Shakespearian martyrs from their temporary eclipse.
"I tell the tale as 'twas told to me!"
This house formerly had a great rival. It is known when Shakespeare returned from London, iu the height of his fame, and moderately rich, he fitted for his residence a large and beautiful edifice, in which to spend the remainder of life. This, in contrast with the old mansion, was called the New Home. As this was the chosen abode of the dramatist, and bore in all its internal and external arrangements and decorations, the impress of his mature taste; as here he held intercourse with the wits of his day, and the troops of friends whom his genius and fame had attracted; as here ho lived and here had died, this house was justly the pride of his native village and the shrine of his admiring countrymen. In process of time it became the Manse—the property of the incumbent rector. He quarrelled with the inhabitants of the village, and on removing from town, in order to mortify his old parishioners, deliberately tore down, utterly demolished and annihilated Shakespeare's New House. Pity that some one had not suggested to the wrathful and revengeful parson, the old admonition of sacred writ: "Rend your heart and not your garments,"—nor your home! But no considerations of his sacred profession; no desire to perpetuate the mind of Shakespeare, as he had inscribed it in the plan and ornaments of his dwelling; no reverence for objects enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen; no fear of the curses of future generations, restrained his ruthless hand. Over all, his wrath triumphed. "Hoc censeo domum, esse delendum," was his word, and the house was demolished. Like Eratostratus, Jack Ketch, Guy Fawkes, and Judas Iscariot, he has made himself to be remembered. Perhaps this was his object, and if so, we have aided his purpose by
vol. vi. 25
introducing his malicious outrage to the attention of our readers.
While the world was execrating the demolition of the New House, no doubt, if the truth were known, the owner of the old house (the birthplace) secretly congratulated himself that its rivalry was ended. As an illustration of the increasing wealth of the times, and of augmented regard for the great poet, tHe old house, which had once been sold for £250, is now held at £4000. Our cicerone, the daughter of the owner, told us that at the death of her mother, it was to be sold, and she hoped to get £4000 for it. Her mother has since died, and the daughter has disposed of it to an association of contributors, who, to prevent its demolition or decay, united to purchase it. It is now beyond the reach of private cupidity or caprice, in the custody of the friends of literature. The world owes to this association its gratitude. May the Old House stand a thousand years!
Our next pilgrimage was to the school-house where Shakespeare received his education. It is a large apartment with a low ceiling, miserably lighted, and worse ventilated. It is paved with stone laid on the bare earth. Its benches or forms are of the rudest construction, and would be by no means out of place in a western camp-meeting. About thirty right English boys were present, with their demure looks and cherry checks, who tried experiments on optios in our presence, to sec if they could seem to study their books, while in reality they watched us. The place derives its main interest from the fact that to this humble place Shakespeare came—
"The whining schoolboy, With his satchel and shining morning face, Creeping like snail unwillingly to school."
After what I have said of the place, his "unwillingness" is not surprising.
Our next visit was to the church, in the chancel of which the Poet was buried. This edifice is a Gothic structure, of great magnitude and beauty, surrounded by a large yard, studded with graves and monuments. It is approached by an avenue, about thirty rods in length, of lime trees, which have been bent, clipped, and trained, until they form a perfect arch, with a green and rustling but well-defined roof, about three feet in thickness. We have nothing like it in the United States. Forming a sweep around the churchyard, is the Avon, to whose edge it extends. The bank, about fifteen feet high, is protected by a perpendicular wall, which rises about two feet above the level of the yard, forming a most charming terrace in the interior, from which the whole vale for a great distance, up and down the stream, is brought under the eye. This terrace is the most charming spot in Stratford. Here, seated on the wide wall—our feet hanging over the stream, the old church lending its shade,—our lady friends opened their treasures, and regaled us with sandwiches. This is characteristic. An American party would have bespoken a good dinner at the " Red Horse." The English of the' highest rank are economists on the road. And besides this, their solitary, exclusive, and fastidious modes, make them reluctant to mingle with the crowd in hotels. At the hazard of being thought deficient in Shakespearian enthusiasm, I must say our sandwiches had a fine relish. Our hospitable friends, perhaps, were mindful that
"You take my 1Mb, when you do take
Hence they were careful to provide "visible means of support" for the excursion.
The old church is the very one where Shakespeare worshipped. The old Bible, formerly attached by a chain to the reading desk, that parishioners, having none of their own, might read, but not abstract it, is still kept, chain and all, in the vestry. Its chain indicates a period when the sacred volume was inaccessible to those who have the most need of its consolations; and it illustrates the blessedness of the press, and those associations which have unchained the Bible, and made Heaven's truth as free and universal as Heaven's air.
The monument of Shakespeare, attached to the wall, is an object so beautiful and unique, that I desire to give to others the pleasure which it afforded me, and therefore have furnished a drawing of it to the reader. (See page 341.)
His dust is covered by a single flat stone in the chancel. An effort was onco made to remove his bones to Westminster Abbey. Never was a town in such an uproar. The abstraction of the sacred relics from St. Peter's in Rome would agitate less the good Catholics of the Eternal City. The proposition outraged at once the romance, ambition, poetic veneration, and avarice of all classes. The clergy preached against it as a sacrilege; the lawyers declared it illegal; the hotel-keepers, hack-drivers, and porters, the shopmen and milliners, if they could not make a show of argument, disclosed a disposition to guard the grave of their great townsman by show of physical force—of clubs and fists. Whatever secret influence might have slept under the surface, prompting u zeal like that which protected "Diana of the Ephesians," the great argument was that Shakespeare himself had forbidden it. Whether he distrusted his neighbours, who had exiled him in youth for deer-stealing, or whether he dreamed of a
glorious fame which would invest his bones with interest, it matters not, he had caused to be inscribed on the flat stone which covers his ashes the following couplet, transcribed verbatim: "Good Friend, for Jesvs sake forbeare To digu T-e dvst EncloAsod HERE Blest be T-e Man 1 Spares T-hs Stones,
And cvrst be He — moves my bones."
The poet's curse, his townsmen averred, would light upon them, if they suffered his bones to be removed, even to Westminster Abbey. The Londoners had with them, perhaps, the argument. Where should the great Poet rest but with England's mightiest dead? But the Stratfordians had possession—and interest, and force to retain it. For once, the great Metropolis had to surrender. All the influence of aristocracy, wealth, great names, and even good intentions, were powerless, before an aroused rustic community, determined to resist, if need be, by force. The plan was abandoned; but one influence of that discussion still remains. The rustic population are afraid to put their feet on the tombstone, lest they should incur the malediction of disturbing their Poot's bones. They will thus protect his epitaph, which had become almost illegible. This is as it should be. The village to which Providence gave the birth of Shakespeare, and to which his own simple affections led him back in the prime of manhood, to find a home, rest, and a grave, has a right to retain his ashes.
But I may not protract this article. We remained! at Stratford until late in the afternoon: and as the lengthened shadows began to throw a pensiveness over the landscape, returned leisurely to Leamington. The sole alloy to my recollection of that day, is in the fact that the only Americans whom I met at Stratford, were the Rev. Dr. Hopkins, of Buffalo, N. Y., and his lady. My friends invited them to spend the evening with us at Leamington, and it passed pleasantly away. I saw them, full of hope, leave in the morning by coach, for Blenheim and Oxford. And I shall see them no more! Mrs. H. died on the homeward passage, and her husband also now sleeps in death.
My recollections of Stratford-on-Avon are mingled with musings of sadness, that two of those who shared with me in its excitements— and who united with an admiration of genius and poetry, the holiest purposes and most affluent charity, have passed from a world which they longed and laboured to bless. With the exception of a reminiscence so painful, I recall my excursion to Stratford-on-Avon with the liveliest pleasure. May I hope that I have shared in a slight degree this pleasure with my readers?
BY B- H. sTODDABfl. (Suggested by the beautiful picture of Spring in the April Number of Sartain.)
The trumpet winds have sounded a retreat,
An.1 lays his trophies at the Winter's feet!
And lo!—where April coming in his turn,
Hail! hail! thrice hail!—thou fairest child of Time,
With all thy retinue of laughing Hours,
Soft ministrant of its benigncst Powers,
Of lingering March, with wreathed crook of gold,
Leading the Ram from out his starry fold,
And when May-days are warm,
And drawing to a close,
An l haste to meet the expectant, bright new-comer, The opulent Queen of Earth, the gay, voluptuous Summer!
Unmuffied now, shorn of thy veil of showers,
But where thy pathway runs, the sod is prest
A little month ago, the sky was gray;
Where March encamped his stormy legions wide,
The south wind scuds along the meadowy sea
Blue-eyed, and cowslips star the bloomy lea; The skylark floods the scene with pleasant rime;
The ousel twitters in the swaying pine; And wild bees hum about the beds of thyme,
And bend the clover bells and eglantine; The snake casts off his skin in mossy nooks;
The long-eared rabbits near their burrows play; The dormouse wakes, and see 1 the noisytooks
Sly foraging, about the stacks of hay!
What sights! what sonnds! what rustic life and mirth!
Housed the long winter from the bitter cold,
Huddling in chimney corner, young and old Come forth and share the gladness of the Earth. The ploughmen whistle as the furrows trail
Behind their glittering shares, a billowy row; The milkmaid sings a ditty while her pail
Grows full and frothy, and the cattle low;
A pack arc baying in the misty wood,
Starting the fox, the jolly huntsmen cheer;
And horns and guns disturb the listening ear,
Tearing a broader rut in weeds and sand;
And loitering down the road, with cap in hand,
Mcthinks tho world is sweeter than of yore,
There is a Presence never felt before,
Incarnate Youth in every idle limb,
My tranced spirit breathes a silent hymn,
CHAPTER VII. I
It was near sunset when Ensign Renayne, who, it will be recollected, had obtained the sanction of his commanding officer to take an armed party in the scow, returned from his excursion, bringing with him his affianced bride, Maria Hcywood, and her mother, who were placed with the wife of his friend Elmsley, until the alarm created by the presence of the Indians should have subsided. As, after having disposed of them, he crossed the parade-ground to his own quarters, he met Captain Headly.
"So, sir, you are returned at last. It seems to me that you have been much longer absent than was necessary."
The high spirit of the youth took fire. "Pardon me, sir," he answered haughtily, ,-if I contradict you. No one of the least feeling could have thought of removing such an invalid as Mrs. Heywood, without using every care her condition required. Have you any orders for me, Captain Headly?" he concluded, in a more respectful manner; for he had become sensible the moment after he had spoken, of his error in thus coming as it were under the reproof of his superior.
"You are officer of the guard, I believe, Mr. Renayne?" he said.
"No, sir; Mr. Elmsley relieved me this morning."
At that moment the last-named officer came up, on his way to the Ensign's quarters; when the same question having been put to him, and answered in the affirmative, Captain Headly desired that the moment the fishing party came in, their arrival should be reported to him.— "And now, gentlemen," he concluded, "I expect you both to be particularly on the alert to-night. The absence of that fishing party distresses me, and I would give much that they were back."
"Captain Headly," said the Ensign quickly, almost beseechingly, "let me pick out a dozen men, and I pledge myself to restore the party
before midday to-morrow—nay, sir;"—seeing strong surprise and disapproval depicted on the countenance of the commandant—" I am ready to forfeit my commission if I fail—"
"Are you mad, Mr. Renayne, or do you suppose that I am mad enough to entertain such a proposition, and thus weaken my force still more? Forfeit your commission if you fail! Why, sir, you would deserve to forfeit your commission if you even succeeded in anything so wholly at variance with military prudence.—Gentlemen, recollect what I have said. I expect you to use the utmost vigilance tonight, and, Mr. Elmsley, fail not instantly to report the fishing-boat." Thus enjoining, he passed slowly on to his quarters.
"Fudge for your military prudence, and your pompous cold-bloodedness," muttered the fiery Ensign between his teeth—scarcely waiting until his superior was out of bearing.
"Hush," whispered Elmsley; "he will hear you."
"Ha!" he continued, after a short pause, during which they moved on towards the messroom, "you begin to find him out, do you? But tell me, Renayne, what the deuce has put this Quixotic expedition into your head? What great interest do you take in these fishermen, that you should volunteer to break your shins in the woods this dark night, for the purpose of seeking them, and that on the very first night your lady fair honours these walls with her celestial presence? Come, thank Headly for his refusal. When you sit down to-morrow morning, as I intend you shall, to a luxurious breakfast of love, coffee, fried venison, and buckwheat cakes, you will find no reason to complain of his adherence to military prudence."
"Elmsley," returned his friend seriously, "I can have no disguise from you at such a moment. You know my regard for Maria Heywood, although you cannot divine its depth, and could I but be the means of saving her father, you can well understand the joy I should feel."
"Certainly, my dear fellow; but you know as well as myself, that there exists not the shadow of a hope of this. That scarecrow, Giles, half-witted as he is, tells too straightforward a story."
"Elmsley," persisted his friend, "there is every hope, every reasonable expectation, that he may yet survive. Maria, herself, first opened my eyes to the possibility, for until then I had thought as you do; and deeply did her words sink in my heart when she said reproachfully, that instead of sending a party to rescue her, it would have been far better to have despatched them to the farm in which her father might at that moment be sustaining a siege—the house being strong enough to admit of a temporary defence by even a couple of persons."
"And what said you to that?"
'* What could I say? I looked like a fool, and felt like a schoolboy under the iron rule of a pedagogue—but I resolved—"
"And what did you resolve, my enterprising knight-errant?"
"You have just heard my proposal to the gentleman who piques himself so much on his military prudence," returned the youth with bitter irony.
"Yes, and he refused you—what then?"
"True, and what then !" and he nodded his head impatiently.
"You will sleep upon it, my dear fellow, after we have had a glass of hot wabash, and a pipe; thus refreshed, you will think better of it in the morning."
"We will have the wabash and the pipe, for truly I feel that I require something to soothe, if not absolutely to exhilarate; but no sleep for me this night, Elmsley;" he added more seriously, "you will pass me out of the gate?"
"Pass you out of what!" exclaimed the other, starting from the chair on which he had thrown himself only the moment before; "what do you mean, man?"
"I mean that, as officer of the guard, you only can pass me through after dark; and this service you must render me."
"Why! where are you going? Single-handed, like Jack the Giant-Killer, to deliver, not a beautiful damsel from the fangs of a winged monster, but a tough old backwoodsman from the dark paws of the savage."
"Elmsley," again urged the Ensign, "you forget that Mr. Heywood is the father of my future wife!"
"Ah ! is it come to that at last! Well, I am right glad of it. But, my dear Renayne," taking, and cordially pressing his hand, "forgive my levity. I only sought to divert you
from your purpose. What I can do for you I will do; but tell me what it is you intend."
"Yet, Elmsley, before we enter further in the matter, do you not think that you will incur the serious displeasure of ' Military Prudence?'"
"If he finds out that you are gone, certainly; and I cannot see how it can bo otherwise. Depend upon it, he will be upon the fidgets all night, and possibly ask for you; but, even if not then, he will miss you on parade in the morning."
"And what will be the immediate result to you? Answer me that candidly, I entreat!"
"Then, candidly, Renayne, the Captain likes me not well enough to pass lightly over such a breach of duty. The most peremptory orders have been given not to allow any one to leave the Fort, and since you wish me to be sincere, should I allow you to pass, it will go hard with my commission."
"How foolish of me not to have thought of that before. How utterly stupid to have asked that which I ought to have known myself—but enough, Elmsley, I abandon the scheme altogether—you shall never incur such a risk for me."
"Yet, understand me," resumed the other, "if you really think that there is a hope of its proving more than a mere wild goose chase, I will cheerfully incur that risk; but on my honour, Renayne, I myself feel convinced that nothing you can do will avail."
"Not another word about it," answered his friend; "here is what will banish all care in regard to the matter, at least for the present."
His servant had just entered, and deposited on the mess-table hot and cold water, sugar, lime-juice, pipes, and tumblers, and the two officers, joined by Von Vottenberg, sat down to indulge their several humours. While the latter, according to practice, mixed the punch, which, when made, was pronounced his chef d'eeuvre, Elmsley amused himself with cutting up the tobacco, and filling the pipes with it and the fragrant kinna-kinnick. The Ensign, taking advantage of their occupation, indulged himself in a reverie that lasted until the beverage had been declared ready.
The presence of the Doctor acting as a check upon further allusion, by the friends, to the topic which had hitherto engrossed their attention, the little conversation that ensued, was of a general nature. Neither of them, however, cared much to contribute to it; so that the Doctor found, and pronounced them for that evening, anything but entertaining companions. He, however, consoled himself with copious potations from the punch-bowl, and filled the room with dense clouds of smoke, that were in themselves sufficient to produce the drowsiness