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such unfit sustenance as these husks afforded, but for a fortunate piece of ill-fortune, which about this time befel me. Turning over the picture of the ark with too much haste, I unhappily made a breach in its ingenious fabric— driving my inconsiderate fingers right through the two larger quadrupeds-the elephant, and the camel-that stare (as well they might) out of the two last windows next the steerage in that unique piece of naval architecture. Stackhouse was henceforth locked up, and became an interdicted treasure. With the book, the objections and solutions gradually cleared out of my head, and have seldom returned since in any force to trouble me.—But there was one impression which I had imbibed from Stackhouse, which no lock or bar could shut out, and which was destined to try my childish nerves rather more seriously.-That detestable picture!
with which it abounds-one of the ark, in particular, and another of Solomon's temple, delineated with all the fidelity of ocular admeasurement, as if the artist had been upon the spot attracted my childish attention. There was a picture, too, of the Witch raising up Samuel, which I wish that I had never seen. We shall come to that hereafter. Stackhouse is in two huge tomes-and there was a pleasure in removing folios of that magnitude, which, with infinite straining, was as much as I could manage, from the situation which they occupied upon an upper shelf. I have not met with the work from that time to this, but I remember it consisted of Old Testament stories, orderly set down, with the objection appended to each story, and the solution of the objection regularly tacked to that. The objection was a summary of whatever difficulties had been opposed to the credibility of the history, by the shrewdness of ancient or modern infidelity, I was dreadfully alive to nervous terrors. drawn up with an almost complimentary The night-time, solitude, and the dark, were excess of candour. The solution was brief, my hell. The sufferings I endured in this modest, and satisfactory. The bane and an- nature would justify the expression. I never tidote were both before you. To doubts so laid my head on my pillow, I suppose, from put, and so quashed, there seemed to be an the fourth to the seventh or eighth year of my end for ever. The dragon lay dead, for the life—so far as memory serves in things so long foot of the veriest babe to trample on. But-ago-without an assurance, which realised its like as was rather feared than realised from own prophecy, of seeing some frightful spectre. that slain monster in Spenser-from the womb Be old Stackhouse then acquitted in part, if of those crushed errors young dragonets would I say, that to his picture of the Witch raising creep, exceeding the prowess of so tender a up Samuel-(0 that old man covered with a Saint George as myself to vanquish. The mantle !)-I owe-not my midnight terrors, habit of expecting objections to every passage, the hell of my infancy-but the shape and set me upon starting more objections, for the manner of their visitation. It was he who glory of finding a solution of my own for them. dressed up for me a hag that nightly sate upon I became staggered and perplexed, a sceptic my pillow-a sure bedfellow, when my aunt in long-coats. The pretty Bible stories which or my maid was far from me. All day long, I had read, or heard read in church, lost their while the book was permitted me, I dreamed purity and sincerity of impression, and were waking over his delineation, and at night (if I turned into so many historic or chronologic may use so bold an expression) awoke into theses to be defended against whatever im- sleep, and found the vision true. I durst not, pugners. I was not to disbelieve them, but- even in the day-light, once enter the chamber the next thing to that-I was to be quite sure where I slept, without my face turned to the that some one or other would or had disbelieved window, aversely from the bed where my them. Next to making a child an infidel, is witch-ridden pillow was. - Parents do not the letting him know that there are infidels at know what they do when they leave tender all. Credulity is the man's weakness, but the babes alone to go to sleep in the dark. The child's strength. O, how ugly sound scriptural feeling about for a friendly arm-the hoping doubts from the mouth of a babe and a suck- for a familiar voice-when they wake screamling! I should have lost myself in these ing-and find none to soothe them-what a mazes, and have pined away, I think, with terrible shaking it is to their poor nerves!
And having once turn'd round, walks on
Doth close behind him tread *.
The keeping them up till midnight, through candle-light and the unwholesome hours, as they are called,-would, I am satisfied, in a medical point of view, prove the better caution.-That detestable picture, as I have said, gave the fashion to my dreams-if dreams they were— for the scene of them was invariably the room in which I lay. Had I never met with the pic-inates in the period of sinless infancy—are ture, the fears would have come self-pictured in some shape or other
Headless bear, black man, or ape
but, as it was, my imaginations took that form. -It is not book, or picture, or the stories of foolish servants, which create these terrors in children. They can at most but give them a direction. Dear little T. H., who of all children has been brought up with the most scrupulous exclusion of every taint of superstition -who was never allowed to hear of goblin or apparition, or scarcely to be told of bad men, or to read or hear of any distressing story-finds all this world of fear, from which he has been so rigidly excluded ab extra, in his own "thickcoming fancies ;" and from his little midnight pillow, this nurse-child of optimism will start at shapes, unborrowed of tradition, in sweats to which the reveries of the cell-damned murderer are tranquillity.
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimæras dire stories of Celæno and the Harpies-may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition -but they were there before. They are transcripts, types-the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the recital of that, which we know in a waking sense to be false, come to affect us at all?—or
Names, whose sense we see not,
Is it that we naturally conceive terror from such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to inflict upon us bodily injury?— O, least of all! These terrors are of older standing. They date beyond body—or, without the body, they would have been the same. All the cruel, tormenting, defined devils in Dante-tearing, mangling, choking, stifling, scorching demons-are they one half so fearful to the spirit of a man, as the simple idea of a spirit unembodied following him—
Like one that on a lonesome road
That the kind of fear here treated of is purely spiritual-that it is strong in proportion as it is objectless upon earth-that it predom
difficulties, the solution of which might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence.
My night-fancies have long ceased to be afflictive. I confess an occasional night-mare; but I do not, as in early youth, keep a stud of them. Fiendish faces, with the extinguished taper, will come and look at me; but I know them for mockeries, even while I cannot elude their presence, and I fight and grapple with them. For the credit of my imagination, I am almost ashamed to say how tame and prosaic my dreams are grown. They are never romantic, seldom even rural. They are of architecture and of buildings-cities abroad, which I have never seen and hardly have hope to see. I have traversed, for the seeming length of a natural day, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon-their churches, palaces, squares, market-places, shops, suburbs, ruins, with an inexpressible sense of delight—a map like distinctness of trace-and a day-light vividness of vision, that was all but being awake.—I have formerly travelled among the Westmoreland fells my highest Alps, but they are objects too mighty for the grasp of my dreaming recognition; and I have again and again awoke with ineffectual struggles of the inner eye, to make out a shape in any way whatever, of Helvellyn. Methought I was in that country, but the mountains were gone. The poverty of my dreams mortifies me. Coleridge, at his will can conjure up icy domes, and pleasure-houses for Kubla Khan, and Abyssinian maids, and songs of Abara, and
Where Alph, the sacred river, runs, to solace his night solitudes-when I cannot muster a fiddle. Barry Cornwall has his tritons and his nereids gamboling before him in nocturnal visions, and proclaiming sons born to Neptune-when my stretch of imaginative
Mr. Coleridge's Ancient Mariner.
activity can hardly, in the night season, raise up the ghost of a fish-wife. To set my failures in somewhat a mortifying light-it was after reading the noble Dream of this poet, that my fancy ran strong upon these marine spectra ; and the poor plastic power, such as it is, within me set to work, to humour my folly in a sort of dream that very night. Methought I was upon the ocean billows at some sea nuptials, riding and mounted high, with the customary train sounding their conchs before me, (I myself, you may be sure, the leading god,) and jollily we went careering over the main, till just where Ino Leucothea should have greeted me (I think it was Ino) with a white embrace, the billows gradually subsiding, fell from a searoughness to a sea-calm, and thence to a river motion, and that river (as happens in the familiarization of dreams) was no other than the
gentle Thames, which landed me in the wafture of a placid wave or two, alone, safe and inglorious, somewhere at the foot of Lambeth palace.
The degree of the soul's creativeness in sleep might furnish no whimsical criterion of the quantum of poetical faculty resident in the same soul waking. An old gentleman, a friend of mine, and a humorist, used to carry this notion so far, that when he saw any stripling of his acquaintance ambitious of becoming a poet, his first question would be,-"Young man, what sort of dreams have you?" I have so much faith in my old friend's theory, that when I feel that idle vein returning upon me, I presently subside into my proper element of prose, remembering those eluding nereids, and that inauspicious inland landing.
HAIL to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in the rubric, thou venerable Arch-flamen of Hymen! Immortal Go-between; who and what manner of person art thou? Art thou but a name, typifying the restless principle which impels poor humans to seek perfection in union? or wert thou indeed a mortal prelate, with thy tippet and thy rochet, thy apron on, and decent lawn sleeves?
and turning. The weary and all for-spent twopenny postman sinks beneath a load of delicate embarrassments, not his own. It is scarcely credible to what an extent this ephemeral courtship is carried on in this loving town, to the great enrichment of porters, and detriment of knockers and bell-wires. In these little visual interpretations, no emblem is so common as the heart, —that little three-cornered exponent of all our hopes and fears, the bestuck and bleeding heart; it is twisted and tortured into more allegories and affectations than an opera-hat. What authority we have in history or mythology for placing the head-quarters and metropolis of God Cupid in this anatomical seat rather than in any other, is not very clear; but we have got it, and it will serve as well as any other. Else we might easily imagine, upon some other system which might have prevailed for anything which our pathology knows to the contrary, a lover addressing his mistress, in perfect simplicity of feeling, "Madam, my liver and fortune are entirely at your disposal;" In other words, this is the day on which those or putting a delicate question, "Amanda, have charming little missives, ycleped Valentines, you a midriff to bestow?" But custom has cross and intercross each other at every street settled these things, and awarded the seat of ¡
Mysterious personage! like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar; not Jerome, nor Ambrose, nor Cyril; nor the consigner of undipt infants to eternal torments, Austin, whom all mothers hate ; nor he who hated all mothers, Origen; nor Bishop Bull, nor Archbishop Parker, nor Whitgift. Thou comest attended with thousands and ten thousands of litle Loves, and the air is
Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings.
Singing Cupids are thy choristers and thy precentors; and instead of the crosier, the mystical arrow is borne before thee.
sentiment to the aforesaid triangle, while its less fortunate neighbours wait at animal and anatomical distance.
Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door. It "gives a very echo to the throne where Hope is seated." But its issues seldom answer to this oracle within. It is so seldom that just the person we want to see comes. But of all the clamorous visitations the welcomest in expectation is the sound that ushers in, or seems to usher in, a Valentine. As the raven himself was hoarse that announced the fatal entrance of Duncan, so the knock of the postman on this day is light, airy, confident, and befitting one that bringeth good tidings. It is less mechanical than on other days; you will say, "That is not the post I am sure." Visions of Love, of Cupids, of Hymens!-delightful eternal common-places, which "having been will always be;" which no school-boy nor school-man can write away; having your irreversible throne in the fancy and affections-what are your transports, when the happy maiden, opening with careful finger, careful not to break the emblematic seal, bursts upon the sight of some well-designed allegory, some type, some youthful fancy, not without versesLovers all,
or some such device, not over abundant in sense -young Love disclaims it,—and not quite silly --something between wind and water, a chorus where the sheep might almost join the shepherd, as they did, or as I apprehend they did, in Arcadia.
All Valentines are not foolish; and I shall not easily forget thine, my kind friend (if I may have leave to call you so) E. B.--E. B. lived opposite a young maiden whom he had often seen, unseen, from his parlour window in C-e-street. She was all joyousness and innocence, and just of an age to enjoy receiving a Valentine, and just of a temper to bear the disappointment of missing one with good-humour. E. B. is an artist of no common powers; in the fancy parts of designing, perhaps inferior to none; his name is known at the bottom of many a well-executed vignette in the way
of his profession, but no further; for E. B. is modest, and the world meets nobody half-way. E. B. meditated how he could repay this young maiden for many a favour which she had done him unknown; for when a kindly face greets us, though but passing by, and never knows us again, nor we it, we should feel it as an obligation: and E. B. did. This good artist set himself at work to please the damsel. It was just before Valentine's day three years since. He wrought, unseen and unsuspected, a wondrous work. We need not say it was on the finest gilt paper with borders-full, not of common hearts and heartless allegory, but all the prettiest stories of love from Ovid, and older poets than Ovid (for E. B. is a scholar). There was Pyramus and Thisbe, and be sure Dido was not forgot, nor Hero and Leander, and swans more than sang in Cayster, with mottos and fanciful devices, such as beseemed,—a work in short of magic. Iris dipt the woof. This on Valentine's eve he commended to the all-swallowing indiscriminate orifice-(0 ignoble trust!)-of the common post; but the humble medium did its duty, and from his watchful stand, the next morning he saw the cheerful messenger knock, and by and by the precious charge delivered. He saw, unseen, the happy girl unfold the Valentine, dance about, clap her hands, as one after one the pretty emblems unfolded themselves. She danced about, not with light love, or foolish expectations, for she had no lover; or, if she had, none she knew that could have created those bright images which delighted her. It was more like some fairy present; a God-send, as our familiarly pious ancestors termed a benefit received where the benefactor was unknown. It would do her no harm. It would do her good for ever after. It is good to love the unknown. I only give this as a specimen of E. B. and his modest way of doing a concealed kindness.
Good morrow to my Valentine, sings poor Ophelia ; and no better wish, but with better auspices, we wish to all faithful lovers, who are not too wise to despise old legends, but are content to rank themselves humble diocesans of old Bishop Valentine and his true church.
I AM arrived at that point of life at which a man may account it a blessing, as it is a singularity, if he have either of his parents surviving. I have not that felicity-and sometimes think feelingly of a passage in Browne's Christian Morals, where he speaks of a man that hath lived sixty or seventy years in the world. "In such a compass of time," he says, 66 a man may have a close apprehension what it is to be forgotten, when he hath lived to find none who could remember his father, or scarcely the friends of his youth, and may sensibly see with what a face in no long time OBLIVION Will look upon himself."
I had an aunt, a dear and good one. She was one whom single blessedness had soured to the world. She often used to say, that I was the only thing in it which she loved; and, when she thought I was quitting it, she grieved over me with mother's tears. A partiality quite so exclusive my reason cannot altogether approve. She was from morning till night poring over good books, and devotional exercises. Her favourite volumes were, Thomas a Kempis, in Stanhope's translation; and a Roman Catholic Prayer Book, with the matins and complines regularly set down,-terms which I was that time too young to understand. She persisted in reading them, although admonished daily concerning their Papistical tendency; and went to church every Sabbath as a good Protestant should do. These were the only books she studied; though, I think at one period of her life, she told me, she had read with great satisfaction the Adventures of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman. Finding the door of the chapel in Essex-street open one day it was in the infancy of that heresy-she went in, liked the sermon, and the manner of worship, and frequented it at intervals for some time after. She came not for doctrinal points, and never missed them. With some little asperities in her constitution, which I have above
hinted at, she was a steadfast, friendly being, and a fine old Christian. She was a woman of strong sense, and a shrewd mind-extraordinary at a repartee; one of the few occasions of her breaking silence-else she did not much value wit. The only secular employment I remember to have seen her engaged in, was, the splitting of French beans, and dropping them into a china basin of fair water. The odour of those tender vegetables to this day comes back upon my sense, redolent of soothing recollections. Certainly it is the most delicate of culinary operations.
Male aunts, as somebody calls them, I had none to remember. By the uncle's side I may be said to have been born an orphan. Brother, or sister, I never had any-to know them. A sister, I think, that should have been Elizabeth, died in both our infancies. What a comfort, or what a care, may I not have missed in her!-But I have cousins sprinkled about in Hertfordshire besides two, with whom I have been all my life in habits of the closest intimacy, and whom I may term cousins par excellence. These are James and Bridget Elia. They are older than myself by twelve, and ten, years; and neither of them seems disposed, in matters of advice and guidance, to waive any of the prerogatives which primogeniture confers. May they continue still in the same mind; and when they shall be seventy-five, and seventy-three, years old (I cannot spare them sooner), persist in treating me in my grand climacteric precisely as a stripling, or younger brother!
James is an inexplicable cousin. Nature hath her unities, which not every critic can penetrate; or, if we feel, we cannot explain them. The pen of Yorick, and of none since his, could have drawn J. E. entire those fine Shandean lights and shades, which make up his story. I must limp after in my poor antithetical manner, as the fates have given me grace