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and Art never turned out a more elaborate orator than he can display himself to be, upon this favourite topic of the advantages of quiet and contentedness in the state, whatever it be, that we are placed in. He is triumphant on this theme, when he has you safe in one of those short stages that ply for the western road, in a very obstructing manner, at the foot of John Murray's street-where you get in when it is empty, and are expected to wait till the vehicle hath completed her just freight-a trying three quarters of an hour to some people. He wonders at your fidgetiness, "where could we be better than we are, thus sitting, thus consulting?".- "prefers, for his part, a state of rest to locomotion," with an eye all the while upon the coachman,—till at
and talent. J. E. then-to the eye of a common observer at least-seemeth made up of contradictory principles. The genuine child of impulse, the frigid philosopher of prudence-the phlegm of my cousin's doctrine is invariably at war with his temperament, which is high sanguine. With always some fire-new project in his brain, J. E. is the systematic opponent of innovation, and crier down of every thing that has not stood the test of age and experiment. With a hundred fine notions chasing one another hourly in his fancy, he is startled at the least approach to the romantic in others: and, determined by his own sense in every thing, commends you to the guidance of common sense on all occasions. With a touch of the eccentric in all which he does, or says, he is only anxious that you should not commit your-length, waxing out of all patience, at your self by doing anything absurd or singular. On my once letting slip at table, that I was not fond of a certain popular dish, he begged me at any rate not to say so-for the world would think me mad: He disguises a passionate fondness for works of high art (whereof he hath amassed a choice collection), under the pretext of buying only to sell again-that his enthusiasm may give no encouragement to yours. Yet, if it were so, why does that piece of tender, pastoral Domenichino hang still by his wall?-is the ball of his sight much more dear to him ?—or what picture-dealer can talk like him?
Whereas mankind in general are observed to warp their speculative conclusions to the bent of their individual humours, his theories are sure to be in diametrical opposition to his constitution. He is courageous as Charles of Sweden, upon instinct; chary of his person upon principle, as a travelling Quaker. He has been preaching up to me, all my life, the doctrine of bowing to the great-the necessity of forms, and manner, to a man's getting on in the world. He himself never aims at either, that I can discover, and has a spirit, that would stand upright in the presence of the Cham of Tartary. It is pleasant to hear him discourse of patience - extolling it as the truest wisdom-and to see him during the last seven minutes that his dinner is getting ready. Nature never ran up in her haste a more restless piece of workmanship than when she moulded this impetuous cousin
want of it, he breaks out into a pathetic remonstrance at the fellow for detaining us so long over the time which he had professed, and declares peremptorily, that "the gentleman in the coach is determined to get out, if he does not drive on that instant."
Very quick at inventing an argument, or detecting a sophistry, he is incapable of attending you in any chain of arguing. Indeed he makes wild work with logic; and seems to jump at most admirable conclusions by some process, not at all akin to it. Consonantly enough to this, he hath been heard to deny, upon certain occasions, that there exists such a faculty at all in man as reason; and wondereth how man came first to have a conceit of it— enforcing his negation with all the might of reasoning he is master of. He has some speculative notions against laughter, and will maintain that laughing is not natural to him—when peradventure the next moment his lungs shall crow like Chanticleer. He says some of the best things in the world-and declareth that wit is his aversion. It was he who said, upon seeing the Eton boys at play in their grounds
What a pity to think, that these fine ingenuous lads in a few years will all be changed into frivolous Members of Parliament!
His youth was fiery, glowing, tempestuousand in age he discovereth no symptom of cooling. This is that which I admire in him. I hate people who meet Time half-way. I am for no compromise with that inevitable spoiler. While he lives, J. E. will take his swing. It
does me good, as I walk towards the street of my daily avocation, on some fine May morning, to meet him marching in a quite opposite direction, with a jolly handsome presence, and shining sanguine face, that indicates some purchase in his eye-a Claude-or a Hobbimafor much of his enviable leisure is consumed at Christie's and Phillips's-or where not, to pick up pictures, and such gauds. On these occasions he mostly stoppeth me, to read a short lecture on the advantage a person like me possesses above himself, in having his time occupied with business which he must do assureth me that he often feels it hang heavy on his hands-wishes he had fewer holidays and goes off-Westward Ho! — chanting a tune, to Pall Mall-perfectly convinced that he has convinced me-while I proceed in my opposite direction tuneless.
It is pleasant again to see this Professor of Indifference doing the honours of his new purchase, when he has fairly housed it. You must view it in every light, till he has found the best-placing it at this distance, and at that, but always suiting the focus of your sight to his own. You must spy at it through your fingers, to catch the aërial perspective-though you assure him that to you the landscape shows much more agreeable without that artifice. Woe be to the luckless wight, who does not only not respond to his rapture, but who should drop an unseasonable intimation of preferring one of his anterior bargains to the present! —The last is always his best hit—his "Cynthia of the minute.". - Alas! how many a mild Madonna have I known to come in. —a Raphael!-keep its ascendancy for a few brief moons—then, after certain intermedial degradations, from the front drawing-room to the back gallery, thence to the dark parlour,― adopted in turn by each of the Carracci, under successive lowering ascriptions of filiation, mildly breaking its fall-consigned to the oblivious lumber-room, go out at last a Lucca Giordano, or plain Carlo Maratti! - which things when I beheld-musing upon the chances and mutabilities of fate below, hath made me to reflect upon the altered condition of great personages, or that woeful Queen of Richard the Second
set forth in pomp,
She came adorned hither like sweet May Sent back like Hollowmass or shortest day.
With great love for you, J. E. hath but a limited sympathy with what you feel or do. He lives in a world of his own, and makes slender guesses at what passes in your mind. He never pierces the marrow of your habits. He will tell an old established playgoer, that Mr. Such-a-one, of So-and-so (naming one of the theatres), is a very lively comedian-as a piece of news! He advertised me but the other day of some pleasant green lanes which he had found out for me, knowing me to be a great walker, in my own immediate vicinitywho have haunted the identical spot any time these twenty years!-He has not much respect for that class of feelings which goes by the name of sentimental. He applies the definition of real evil to bodily sufferings exclusively -and rejecteth all others as imaginary. He is affected by the sight, or the bare supposition, of a creature in pain, to a degree which I have never witnessed out of womankind. A constitutional acuteness to this class of sufferings may in part account for this. The animal tribe in particular he taketh under his especial protection. A broken-winded or spur-galled horse is sure to find an advocate in him. An over-loaded ass is his client for ever. He is the apostle to the brute kindthe never-failing friend of those who have none to care for them. The contemplation of a lobster boiled, or eels skinned alive, will wring him so, that "all for pity he could die." It will take the savour from his palate, and the rest from his pillow, for days and nights. With the intense feeling of Thomas Clarkson, he wanted only the steadiness of pursuit, and unity of purpose, of that "true yoke-fellow with Time,” to have effected as much for the Animal, as he hath done for the Negro Creation. But my uncontrollable cousin is but imperfectly formed for purposes which demand co-operation. He cannot wait. His ameliorationplans must be ripened in a day. For this reason he has cut but an equivocal figure in benevolent societies, and combinations for the alleviation of human sufferings. His zeal constantly makes him to outrun, and put out, his coadjutors. He thinks of relieving,while they think of debating. He was blackballed out of a society for the Relief of *** **** * * * *, because the fervour of his humanity toiled beyond the formal apprehen
sion, and creeping processes, of his associates. I shall always consider this distinction as a patent of nobility in the Elia family!
Do I mention these seeming inconsistencies to smile at, or upbraid, my unique cousin? Marry, heaven, and all good manners, and the understanding that should be between kinsfolk, forbid !—With all the strangenesses of this strangest of the Elias-I would not have him in one jot or tittle other than he is; neither would I barter or exchange my wild kinsman
for the most exact, regular, and everyway consistent kinsman breathing.
In my next, reader, I may perhaps give you some account of my cousin Bridget-if you are not already surfeited with cousinsand take you by the hand, if you are willing to go with us, on an excursion which we made a summer or two since, in search of more cousins
Through the green plains of pleasant Hertfordshire.
MACKERY END, IN HERTFORDSHIRE.
BRIDGET ELIA has been my housekeeper for many a long year. I have obligations to Bridget, extending beyond the period of memory. We house together, old bachelor and maid, in a sort of double singleness; with such tolerable comfort, upon the whole, that I, for one, find in myself no sort of disposition to go out upon the mountains, with the rash king's offspring, to bewail my celibacy. We agree pretty well in our tastes and habitsyet so, as "with a difference." We are generally in harmony, with occasional bickerings -as it should be among near relations. Our sympathies are rather understood, than expressed; and once, upon my dissembling a tone in my voice more kind than ordinary, my cousin burst into tears, and complained that I was altered. We are both great readers in different directions. While I am hanging over (for the thousandth time) some passage in old Burton, or one of his strange contemporaries, che is abstracted in some modern tale, or adventure, whereof our common reading-table is daily fed with assiduously fresh supplies. Narrative teases me. I have little concern in the progress of events. She must have a storywell, ill, or indifferently told-so there be life stirring in it, and plenty of good or evil accidents. The fluctuations of fortune in fiction -and almost in real life-have ceased to interest, or operate but dully upon me. Outof-the-way humours and opinions-heads with some diverting twist in them-the oddities of authorship please me most. My cousin has
a native disrelish of anything that sounds odd or bizarre. Nothing goes down with her, that is quaint, irregular, or out of the road of common sympathy. She "holds Nature more clever." I can pardon her blindness to the beautiful obliquities of the Religio Medici; but she must apologise to me for certain disrespectful insinuations, which she has been pleased to throw out latterly, touching the intellectuals of a dear favourite of mine, of the last century but one-the thrice noble, chaste, and virtuous, but again somewhat fantastical, and originalbrained, generous Margaret Newcastle.
It has been the lot of my cousin, oftener perhaps than I could have wished, to have had for her associates and mine, free-thinkers— leaders, and disciples, of novel philosophies and systems; but she neither wrangles with, nor accepts, their opinions. That which was good and venerable to her, when a child, retains its authority over her mind still. She never juggles or plays tricks with her understanding.
We are both of us inclined to be a little too
positive; and I have observed the result of our disputes to be almost uniformly this-that in matters of fact, dates, and circumstances, it turns out, that I was in the right, and my cousin in the wrong. But where we have differed upon moral points; upon something proper to be done, or let alone; whatever heat of opposition, or steadiness of conviction, I set out with, I am sure always, in the longrun, to be brought over to her way of thinking.
I must touch upon the foibles of my kinswoman with a gentle hand, for Bridget does not like to be told of her faults. She hath an awkward trick (to say no worse of it) of reading in company: at which times she will answer yes or no to a question, without fully understanding its purport-which is provoking, and derogatory in the highest degree to the dignity of the putter of the said question. Her presence of mind is equal to the most pressing trials of life, but will sometimes desert her upon trifling occasions. When the purpose requires it, and is a thing of moment, she can speak to it greatly; but in matters which are not stuff of the conscience, she hath been known sometimes to let slip a word less seasonably.
Her education in youth was not much attended to; and she happily missed all that train of female garniture, which passeth by the name of accomplishments. She was tumbled early, by accident or design, into a spacious closet of good old English reading, without much selection or prohibition, and browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome pasturage. Had I twenty girls, they should be brought up exactly in this fashion. I know not whether their chance in wedlock might not be diminished by it; but I can answer for it, that it makes (if the worst come to the worst) most incomparable old maids.
In a season of distress, she is the truest comforter; but in the teasing accidents, and minor perplexities, which do not call out the will to meet them, she sometimes maketh matters worse by an excess of participation. If she does not always divide your trouble, upon the pleasanter occasions of life she is sure always to treble your satisfaction. She is excellent to be at a play with, or upon a visit ; but best, when she goes a journey with you.
We made an excursion together a few summers since, into Hertfordshire, to beat up the quarters of some of our less-known relations in that fine corn country,
the care of Bridget; who, as I have said, is older than myself by some ten years. I wish that I could throw into a heap the remainder of our joint existences; that we might share them in equal division. But that is impossible. The house was at that time in the occupation of a substantial yeoman, who had married my grandmother's sister. His name was Gladman. My grandmother was a Bruton, married to a Field. The Gladmans and the Brutons are still flourishing in that part of the county, but the Fields are almost extinct. More than forty years had elapsed since the visit I speak of; and, for the greater portion of that period, we had lost sight of the other two branches also. Who or what sort of persons inherited Mackery End-kindred or strange folk-we were afraid almost to conjecture, but determined some day to explore.
By somewhat a circuitous route, taking the noble park at Luton in our way from Saint Albans, we arrived at the spot of our anxious curiosity about noon. The sight of the old farm-house, though every trace of it was effaced from my recollection, affected me with a pleasure which I had not experienced for many a year. For though I had forgotten it, we had never forgotten being there together, and we had been talking about Mackery End all our lives, till memory on my part became mocked with a phantom of itself, and I thought I knew the aspect of a place, which, when present, O how unlike it was to that, which I had conjured up so many times instead of it!
Still the air breathed balmily about it; the season was in the "heart of June," and I could say with the poet,
But thou, that didst appear so fair
To fond imagination,
Dost rival in the light of day
Bridget's was more a waking bliss than mine, for she easily remembered her old acquaintance again-some altered features, of course, a little grudged at. At first, indeed, she was ready to disbelieve for joy; but the scene soon re-confirmed itself in her affections—and
The oldest thing I remember is Mackery End; or Mackarel End, as it is spelt, perhaps more properly, in some old maps of Hertford-she traversed every out-post of the old mansion, shire; a farm-house, — delightfully situated within a gentle walk from Wheathampstead. I can just remember having been there, on a visit to a great-aunt, when I was a child, under
to the wood-house, the orchard, the place where the pigeon-house had stood (house and birds were alike flown)—with a breathless impatience of recognition, which was more pardonable
perhaps than decorous at the age of fifty odd. But Bridget in some things is behind her years.
The only thing left was to get into the house --and that was a difficulty which to me singly would have been insurmountable; for I am terribly shy in making myself known to strangers and out-of-date kinsfolk. Love, stronger than scruple, winged my cousin in without me; but she soon returned with a creature that might have sat to a sculptor for the image of Welcome. It was the youngest of the Gladmans; who, by marriage with a Bruton, had become mistress of the old mansion. A comely brood are the Brutons. Six of them, females, were noted as the handsomest young women in the county. But this adopted Bruton, in my mind, was better than they all-more comely. She was born too late to have remembered me. She just recollected in early life to have had her cousin Bridget once pointed out to her, climbing a stile. But the name of kindred, and of cousinship, was enough. Those slender ties, that prove slight as gossamer in the rending atmosphere of a metropolis, bind faster, as we found it, in hearty, homely, loving Hertfordshire. In five minutes we were as thoroughly acquainted as if we had been born and bred up together; were familiar, even to the calling each other by our Christian | names. So Christians should call one another. To have seen Bridget, and her-it was like the meeting of the two scriptural cousins! There was a grace and dignity, an amplitude of form and stature, answering to her mind, in this
farmer's wife, which would have shined in a palace-or so we thought it. We were made welcome by husband and wife equally-we, and our friend that was with us.-I had almost forgotten him- but B. F. will not so soon forget that meeting, if peradventure he shall read this on the far distant shores where the kangaroo haunts. The fatted calf was made ready, or rather was already so, as if in anticipation of our coming; and, after an appropriate glass of native wine, never let me forget with what honest pride this hospitable cousin made us proceed to Wheathampstead, to introduce us (as some new-found rarity) to her mother and sister Gladmans, who did indeed know something more of us, at a time when she almost knew nothing.-With what corresponding kindness we were received by them also-how Bridget's memory, exalted by the occasion, warmed into a thousand halfobliterated recollections of things and persons, to my utter astonishment, and her own-and to the astoundment of B. F. who sat by, almost the only thing that was not a cousin there,old effaced images of more than half-forgotten names and circumstances still crowding back upon her, as words written in lemon come out upon exposure to a friendly warmth,—when I forget all this, then may my country cousins forget me; and Bridget no more remember, that in the days of weakling infancy I was her tender charge-as I have been her care in foolish manhood since - in those pretty pastoral walks, long ago, about Mackery End, in Hertfordshire.