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It happened, once upon a time, that a certain yeoman's wife, who paid the 'Squire yearly five hundred marks, or guineas, in gold, longed exceedingly for a rabbit. The long-eared, four-footed, hairy, innocent creature, presented itself in such tempting visions to the rich farmer's wife, that, like Eve of old, she must taste it at all risks. Her husband, perhaps, dreaded a new variety of the human race in his family, with rough surface and long ears ; for as soon as his wife's longing became violent, he posted to the Hall, told his honour's steward of the dangerous state in which his wife was on account of his being unable to procure a rabbit for her ; and at last, after much circumlocution, he urged his request, that he, the steward, would prefer his petition to the 'Squire, which, if granted, should never be forgotten. The aristocratical proprietor of the Hall readily granted the prayer, and the good dame, in due time, produced an increase of stock, of the right old genuine biped breed. However, when the rabbit-killing season came on, Mr. F., in giving directions to his steward regarding the annual present of his favourites, said " Mind
you send only one to Dame H for
know she has had the other."
At Middlewich, six miles from Northwich, I was much gratified by an act of kind and polite attention in a gentleman. I had dropped my umbrella, I know not how far behind, but it was handed to me by the stranger to whom my allusion is made, who picked it up and galloped after us. Such courtesy is truly characteristic.
As we passed down the street of Sandbach, which has a remarkable old church, and a large silk manufactory, and exhibits several curious houses of oak, built perhaps four hundred years ago, my dear Emma came again to recollection ; for, as it was market day, a very pleasing band, belonging to some exhibition I believe, were playing “ My love she's but a lassie yet,” very sweetly. We stopped a few minutes at the inn door, during which time a son of Bacchus came staggering up; and, squaring himself at another, who was sober, but evidently a tippler, hugged him about the neck, and said—“But I do love thee in my heart ; if I don't I'm dom’d.— Wilt thou fight ?"
“ Art thou an Englishman ?" “No-a Dane; and you know the Danes once licked you, and all England. Come, bind up both thy hands and I'll lather thee too.” Off we set ; and I heard no more of this characteristic dialogue.
After passing this town, the road runs for a considerable way along the Bridgewater Canal. This navigation communicates with London, and
pays on each share of 1001. seventy-five per cent. per
The boats used on it are very long and narrow; they are towed along by one horse, and carry from ten to twenty tons. You first go for some miles along this canal, then you cross it, and at Lawton, about 46 miles from Liverpool, you drive under it. Soon after, the Kinnersley coal works commence; and on entering Staffordshire, you see nothing but blazing manufactories of china, potteryware, and minerals; the smoke ascending in dense bodies, the earth spouting up flames, the whole country one continued town, till you get to Henley. There you are astonished to find that that large place is only the centre of the district. To feel the grandeur, however, and to view the wealth of this part of England, you must stand on Golden
Hill, or Mow-Cop, on a fine day, and embrace the scene around.
“0, England ! thou cradle of right liberty,
Such was the blasphemous rhapsody that crossed my
brain when I witnessed the wealth, prosperity, and happiness that now characterize England. You see contentment beaming in every eye; industry successful; the voice of gladness and the sound of merriment cheer your passage through every smiling village and town. In short, without exaggeration, England is the finest country in the world; for art has made nature subservient to enjoyment, and overcome the elements. What may you not have in England for money? You may be hot or cold just as you please ; and if your enjoyment consist in love or wine, your lady may be fairer than Venus, and the luxuries of the whole earth may be spread on your table.
Towards evening the weather changed, and heavy rain began to make me very uncomfortable, notwithstanding the excellent dinner I had enjoyed ;
so, as night approached, I got inside, having reserved to myself that necessary power. The coach accommodates four inside passengers, but there was only one lady, whom I had heard the coachman call Miss: she had not dined with us, having a basket of refreshments with her ; therefore, I knew not whether the lady were a young spinster or an old maid ; or whether nature had showered roses and lilies upon her sweet face with a niggardly or profuse hand. Upon stopping at Uttoxeter, however, to change coach, I was asked if I would take
Now I have ever been exceedingly fond of this beverage, not only on account of its refreshing qualities, but because it introduced me so often to the dear ladies." With much pleasure,” said I, and a door was opened for me by a curtsying damsel. Here I found the lady passenger ; and our faces met in the full glare of two large candles. I made my bow, and left it to Miss to be distant or familiar, just as she liked the cut of my phiz. But young madam got up, without saying a word, and retired, as I thought, up stairs, with an intention of returning. For this I waited a considerable time in vain. At length I began to suspect that