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lOfl Reginald

of the chief dramatis persona; in Mr Macdonald, W.S. Edinburgh, a pawky carle,—we ought rather to say,a knowing knave,—who in good time developes out into a character most forbidding and formidable. The insides talk away in a very amusing manner, and we were just going to quote a bit of bam and balderdash from their various argumentations, and wranglings, and sparring, when we came suddenly on the following description of an English landscape. We quote it as a striking example of the sudden splendour of imagination with which this writer often lights up what he beholds, whether it be a mental or material vision, and the capricious wilfulness with which he as suddenly flings himself away from it, and turns off to other images of a lower, and even ludicrous kind, but which, notwithstanding, are made, by the power of genius, to blend, without offence, in the richness or magnificence of the picture. ,"Never bad Reginald opened his eyes on that richest—and perhaps grandest, too—of all earthly prospects, a mighty English plain, until he saw it in all its perfection from the Hill of Haynam, that spot where Charles Edward, according to the local tradition, stood rooted below a sycamore, and gazing with a fervour of admiration, which even rising despair could not check, uttered the pathetic exclamation,—' Alas! this is England.' The boundless spread of beauty and of grandeur—for even hedges and hedgerows are woven by distance into the semblance of one vast wood—the apparent ease—the wealth—the splendour—the limitless magnificence—the minute elaborate comfort—the picturesque villages—the busy towns—the embosomed spires—the stately halls—the ancestral groves—everything, the assemblage of which stamps ' England herself alone' —they all lay before him, and there needed no 'Alas!' to preface his confession. —But as to the particulars, are they not written in John Britton, P.A.S. ?—And who is it that has not seen all that Reginald saw, just as well as he? Who is not acquainted with the snug unpretending little inns, with their neatly papered parlours, and prints of Hambletonian and Lord Granby, and handy waiters, and neat-fingered waiting-maids, and smiling landladies, and bowinglandlords, and good dinners smoking in sight of the stopping coach? and the large noisy bustling inns, with travellers' rooms full of saddle-bags and dread-noughts, and tobacco-smoke

Dalton. [\Jan.and Welsh-raMfits, enormous hams and jugs of porter, and stained newspapers, and dog-eared Directories, and chattering, joking, waiter-awing bagmen, and civil contemplative Quakers,

• Some sipping punch, some sipping tea.
All silent, and all 'I

and the charming airy country towns 'near a shady grove and a murmuring brook,' with cleanly young girls seen over the Venetian blinds, in the act of rubbing comfortable old fellows' bald pates —and other comfortable old fellows just mounting their easy pad-nags to ride out a mile—and other cleanly young girls laying the tablecloth for ' roast mutton, rather than ven'son or teal?'—and the filthy large towns, with manufactories and steam-engines, and crowded sloppy streets, and doctors' bottles, ' green and blue,' in the windows? and the stately little cities, with the stately little parsons walking about them, two or three abreast, in well-polished shoes, and blameless silk aprons some of them, and grand old churches, and spacious well-built closes, and trim gardens, and literary spinsters? —We have all of us seen these things— and they are all of them good in their several ways. We have all been at such places as Preston, and Manchester, and Birmingham, and Litchfield. We have all seen statesman Brougham's paddock, and listened to

« Long-Preston Peggy to Proud-Preston went. For to see the bould rebels it was her intent.'

We have all heard of Whitaker's History, and the late Dr Ferrier, and the Literary and Philosophical Society of the' Mancunian Mart.' We have all admired Soho, and pin-making, and Chantry's bust of James Watt. We have all heard of Anna Seward, and sighed over her lines on the death of Major Andre; and sympathized with the indignation of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq. at the 'damned goodnatured friend,' who asked across the table for Mrs Edgeworth and the babies, just when he and Anna were opening the trenches of their flirtation. And we have all seen the house where Samuel Johnson's father sold books; and many of us have (like Reginald) walked half-a-mile farther, on purpose to see the willow which ' Surly Sam' himself planted in Tetsy's daughter's garden. And we have all been at Stratford-upon-Avon, and written our names in black lead upon the wall, and heard that old body that says she is Shakespeare's great-great-greatgreat - great-great -grand - niece- in - law, spout the opening scene of her * WaterLoo, a Tragedy.'

'Dear Captain Drown, the postman has been

here, And you look sad

Now, marry, say not so; But the regiment has at last received its orders, And I must take my seat for the Isle o" Wight, Farewell, farewell, dear Kate,' dec. &c.

"If you have ever happened to travel that road about the end of October, you have probably seen a great deal even of the more transitory and occasional sort of things that fell under the inspection of Reginald and his companions. You have probably observed abundance of rosycheeked old Staffordshire parsons, in greyworsted stockings, seeing their sons into the Oxford-bound coach, just below the rectory ha-ha. You have been annoyed with the troops of empty, talking, consequential, beardless ' men,' chattering to each other about ' First Class' and ' Second Class'—Sir Hoger Newdigate's prize-poem—the Dean of Christchurch —Coplestone's pamphlets—and the Brazen-nose Eight-oar. You have been amused with the smug tutors, in tight stocking pantaloons and gaiters, endeavouring to shew how completely they can be easy, well-bred, well - informed men of the world, when they have not their masters' gowns upon their backs—hazarding a jocular remark, perhaps, even to an undergraduate the one moment, and biting their lips, and drawing themselves up, the moment after. You have been distrest with their involuntary quotations from Joe Miller and the Quarterly Review; and if you have taken a second ' cheerer' with them after supper, you may have been regaled with some classical song out of the Sausage—' the swapping, swapping Mallard'—or,

'Your voices, brave boys, one and all I bespeak 'em.

In due celebration of William of Wickham;

Let our chorus maintain, whether sober or mellow.

That old Billy Wickham was a very fine fellow,' <kc.

"You have not, indeed, it is most probable, enjoyed the advantage of hearing and seeing all these fine things in company with a sturdy Presbyterian Whig, grinning one grim and ghastly smile all the time, reviling all things, despising all things, and puffing himself up with all things; but, nevertheless, you would in all likelihood think a fuller description no better than a bore."

At last the Admiral Nelson stops before the Angel Inn, and Reginald Dalton is in Oxford. Madam de Stael, and the reverend Mr Eustace, and Forsyth the school-master, and many dozen and scores of other blue-legged people, have informed the world, in print, how they felt when first they

beheld—Rome. We remember thinking all their descriptions very fine at the time, and we ourselves have in our portfolio our description of our own feelings on the same memorable occasion; not a little superior, unless we greatly err, to them all; but not superior—not equal to the following short and unambitious burst about beautiful, august, and venerable—Oxford.

"Tax not the prince or peer with vain expense,
With ill-match d aims the architect—who plauu'd
(Albeit labouring far a scanty band
Of white-robed scholars only) some immense
And glorious work of line intelligence.

"So says (0 ! si sic omnia /) a great living poet; and, in truth, a very prosaic animal must he be, who for the first time traverses that noble and ancient City of the Muses, without acknowledging the influences of the Genius Loci; and never was man or youth less ambitious of resisting such influences than Reginald Dalton. 'Born and reared in a wild sequestered province, he had never seen any great town of any sort, until he began the journey now just about to be concluded. Almost at the same hour of the preceding evening, he had entered Birmingham; and what a contrast was here! No dark narrow brick lanes, crowded with waggons—no flaring shop-windows, passed and repassed by jostling multitudes—no discordant cries, no sights of tumult, no ring of anvils—everything wearing the impress of a grave, peaceful stateliness— hoary towers, antique battlements, airy porticos, majestic colonnades, following each other in endless succession on either side—lofty poplars and elms ever and anon lifting their heads against the sky, as if from the heart of those magnificent seclusions—wide, spacious, solemn streets —everywhere a monastic stillness and a Gothic grandeur.—Excepting now and then some solitary gowned man pacing slowly in the moonlight, there was not a soul in the High-street; nor, excepting here and there a lamp twinkling in 'some high lonely tower,' where someone might, or might not, be 'unsphering the spirit of Plato,' was there anything to shew that the venerable buildings which lined it were actually inhabited."

At the Angel Inn, Mr Macdonald introduces Reginald to Mr Keith, a Scotchman and a Roman Catholic priest settled in Oxford, who afterwards proves one of the most original and most delightful old men in the world. These cronies use towards each other the privilege of ancient friendship, or at least of old acquaintanceship, and several rallies occur in which the antagonists are alternately driven, in the most spirited manner, but to the manifest advantage of the priest, to the ropes. Reginald listens with intense interest to the old priest's narrative of his own and niece's escape from drowning; and well he might, for a more powerful and terrible picture of danger, and fear, and death, never was painted.

"' Well, sir, we did get on,' he proceeded; 'and we got on bravely and gaily too, for a time, till all at once, sirs, the Bauer-knecht, that rode before us, halted. The mist, you will observe, had been clearing away pretty quickly on the right hand, but it was dark enough towards the front, and getting darker and darker; but we thought nought on't till the boy pulled up. 'Meinherr, Mcinherr!' cried the fellow, 'I am afraid I hear the water.' He stopt for a moment, and then said, < Stay you for a moment where you are, and I'll soon see whether we are right.' With that, off he went, as if the devil was at his tail; and we, what could we do—we stood like two stocks—and poor little Ellen, she looked into my face so woefully, that I wished to God we were both safe in the blackest hole of Bieche. In short, I suppose he had not galloped half a bow-shot, ere we quite lost sight of the fellow, but for several minutes more we could hear his horse's hoofs on the wet sand. We lost that too—and then, sirs, there came another sound, but what it was we could not at first bring ourselves to understand. Ellen stared me in the face again, with a blank look, you may swear; and,' Good God !' said she at last, ' I am certain it's the sea, uncle ?'—' No, no !' said I, ' listen, listen! I'm sure you are deceived." She looked and listened, and so did I, sirs, keenly enough; and, in a moment, there came a strong breath of wind, and away went the mist driving, and we heard the regular heaving and rushing of the waters. 'Ride, ride, my dear uncle,' cried Ellen, 'or we are lost;' and off we both went, galloping as hard as we could away from the waves. My horse was rather the stronger one of the pair, but at length he began to pant below me, and just then the mist dropt down again thicker and thicker right and left, and I pulled up in a new terror, lest we should be separated; but Ellen was alongside in a moment, and, faith, however it was, she had more calmness with her than I could muster. She put out her hand, poor girl, and grasped mine, and there we remained for, I dare say, two or three minutes, our horses, both of them, quite blown, and we

knowing no more than the man in the moon where we were, either by the village or our headland.'

"The old gentleman paused for a moment, and then went on in a much lower tone—« I feel it all as if it were now, sire; I was like a man bewildered in a dream. I have some dim sort of remembrance of my beast pawing and plashing with hii fore feef, and looking down and seeingsome great slimy eels—never were such loathsome wretches—twisting and twirling on the sand, which, by the way, was more water than sand ere that time. I also recollect a screaming in the air, and then a flapping of wings close to my ear almost, and then a great cloud of the seamews driving over us away into the heart of the mist. Neither of us said anything, but we just began to ride on again, though, God knows, we knew nothing of whither we were going; but we still kept hand in hand. We rode a good space, till that way also we found ourselves getting upon the sea; and so round and round, till we were at last convinced the water had completely hemmed us all about. There were the waves trampling, trampling towards us, whichever way we turned our horses' heads, and the mist wits all this while thickening more and more; and if a great cloud of it was dashed away now and then with the wind, why, sirs, the prospect was but the more rueful, for the sea was round us every way. Wide and far we could see nothing but the blark water, and the waves leaping up here and there upon the sand-banks.

"' Well, sir, the poor dumb horses, they backed of themselves as the waters came gushing towards us. Looking round, snorting, snuffing, and pricking their ears, the poor things seemed to be as sensible as ourselves to the sort of condition we were all in; and while Ellen's hand wrung mine more and more closely, they also, one would have thought, were always shrinking nearer and nearer to each other, just as they had had the same kind of feelings. Ellen, I cannot tell yon what her behaviour was. I don't believe there's a bold man in Europe would have behaved so well, sirs. Her cheek was white enough, and her lips were as white as if they had never had a drop of blood in them; but her eye, God bless me! after the first two or three minutes were over, it was as clear as the bonniest blue sky ye ever looked upon. I, for my part, I cannot help saying it, was, after a little while, more grieved, far more, about her than myself. I am an old man, sirs, and what did it signify? but to see her at blithe seventeen—But, however, why should I make many words about all that? I •creamed, and screamed, and better •creamed, but she only squeezed my hand, and shook her head, as if it was all of no avail. I had shouted till I was as hoarse as a raven, and was just going to give up all farther thoughts of making any exertion; for, in truth, I began to feel benumbed and listless all over, my friends —when we heard a gun fired. We heard it quite distinctly, though the mist was so thick that we could see nothing. I cried then; you may suppose how I cried ; and Ellen too, though she had never opened her lips before, cried as lustily as she could. Again the gun was fired, and again we answered at the top of our voices; and then, God bless me!—was there ever such a moment? \Ve heard the dashing of the oars, and a strong breeze lifted the mist like a curtain from before us, and there was a boat—a jolly ten-oar boat, sheering right through the waters towards us, perhaps about a couple of hundred yards off. A sailor on the bow hailed and cheered us; but you may imagine how far gone we were, when I tell you that I scarcely took notice it was in Kn-glisu the man cried to us.

"' In five minutes we were safe on board. They were kind, as kind as could be—good jolly English boys, every soul of them. Our boor lad was sitting in the midst of them with a brandy bottle at his bead ; and, poor soul, he had need enough of comfort, to be sure, for to Heligoland be most go—and three horses lost, of course—besides the anxiety of his friends.

« ' It was a good while ere I got my thoughts anyways collected about me. Ellen, poor thing, sat close nestled beaide me, shaking all over like a leaf. But yet it was she that first spoke to me, and upon my soul, I think her face was more woeful than it bad ever been when we were in our utmost peril; it was a sore light truly, that had made it so, and the poor lassie's heart was visibly at the bursting. There were our two horses—the poor dumb beasts—what think ye of it? —there; they were, both of them, swimming just by the stem of the boat. And our honest Bauer, God bless me! the tears were running over his face while he looked at them; and by and by one of the poor creatures made an exertion and came off the side of the boat where the lad sat, quite close to ourselves, with an imploring look and a whining cry that cut me to the very heart Ellen sat and sobbed by me, but every now and then she bolted up, and it was all I could do to hold her in her place. At last the poor beast made two 01 three most violent plunges, and reared himself half-way out

of the water, coming so near the boot, that one of the men's oars struck him on the head; and with that he groaned most pitifully, snorted, weighed, and plunged again for a moment, and then there was one loud, shrill cry, I never heard such a terrible sound since I was born, and away he drifted astern of us—We saw him after a very little while had passed, going quite passively the way the current was running, the other had done so just before ; but I've been telling you a very long story, and perhaps you'll think about very little matters too. As for ourselves, we soon reached one of the transports that Sir George Stuart had sent to fetch off the brave Brunswickers j and though the rascally Danes kept firing at us in a most cowardly manner, whenever we were obliged to come near their side on the tack, they were such miserable hands at their guns, that not one shot ever came within fifty yards of one vessel that was there. It would have been an easy matter to have burnt Bremerlee about their ears, but the Duke was anxious to hare his poor fellows in their quarters—God knows, they hud had a sore campaign one way and another—and so we only gave them a few shots, just to see them skipping about upon the sand, and so passed them all, and got safe out of the Weser. We reached Heligoland next day, and then, you know, we were at home among plenty of English, and Ellen nursed my rheumatics: and as soon as I was able to move, we came over in one of the King's packets, and here we are, alive and kicking—I will say it once more—in merry England?"

Shortly after, an infernal row take* place in the High Street, and Reginald accompanies the good old priest to his house, to guard him from any menacing danger. Lo! the vision rises before him at the door of that humble dwelling, which never afterwards is to fade from his brain—and certainly a lovelier vision never thrilled the heartstrings, nor stirred the blood in the veins of youth.

"A soft female voice said from within, 'Who's there?'

« ' It's me, my darling,' answered the old man, and the door was opened. A young girl, with a candle in her band, appeared in the entrance, and uttered something anxious!;' and quickly in a language which Reginald did not understand. • Mem susses kind,' he answered—' my bonny lassie, it's a mere scut, just a fleabite—I'm all safe and sound, thanks to this young gentleman.—Mr Dalton, allow me to have the homrar of presenting you to my niece, Miss Hesketh. Miss Hesketb, Mr Dalton. But we shall all be better acquainted hereafter, I trust.'

"The old man shook Reginald most affectionately by the hand, and repeating his request that he should go instantly home, he entered the house—the door was closed—and Reginald stood alone upon the way. The thing had past in a single instant, yet when the vision withdrew, the boy felt as if that angel-face could never quit his imagination. So fair, so pensive—yet so sweet and light a smile—such an air of hovering, timid grace—such a clear, soft eye—such raven silken tresses beneath that flowing veil— never had his eye beheld such a creature —it was as if be had had one momentary glimpse into some purer, happier, lovelier world than this.

"He stood for some moments rivetted to the spot where this beautiful vision had gleamed upon him. He looked up and saw, as he thought, something white at one of the windows—but that too was gone; and, after a little while, he began to walk back slowly into the city. He could not, however, but pause again for a moment when he reached the bridge; the tall fair tower of Magdalene appeared so exquisitely beautiful above its circling groves,—and there was something so soothing to his imagination, (pensive as it was at the moment,) in the dark flow of the Charwell gurgling below him within its fringe of willows. He stood leaning over the parapet, enjoying the solemn loveliness of the scene, when of a sudden, the universal stillness was disturbed once more by a clamour of rushing feet and impetuous voices."

Reginald is sinking down through dream and vision, and love has in a moment possessed him with its imaginative joy. The bashful inexperienced boy from his father's study, where he had lived till eighteen years among books and tranquil musings, is struck below the shadows of the magnificent towers of Oxford by the sudden and passionate perception of overpowering beauty. Was this fair creature, seen but for a moment, and then shut up from him in the silence and solitude of that old man's cell, the fearless one who had so behaved in that dreadful night of the sea-storm? These and other thoughts were rendering Reginald unaware of the beauty of Magdalen Tower and the moonlight and starry heavens, when his lovedream was broken in upon—by the revival of a row.

"He was hailed by the old cry, 1 Town or Gown?' when he came near them; but before he could make any answer, Frederick Chisney reeled from the midst of the group, and exclaimed, seizing him by the collar, 'Oh you dog, where have you been hiding yourself? I called at both the Star and the King's Arms for you—Here, my hearties, here's my gay young freshman — here's my Westmoreland Johnny Raw'—he went on, hickuping between every word— 'here's my friend, Reginald Dalton, boys, we'll initiate him in style.'

"Reginald was instantly surrounded by a set of young fellows, all evidently very much flustered with wine, who saluted him with such violent shaking of hands, as is only to be expected from the 'Baccho pleni,' or acquaintances of ten years' standing."

Gentle reader! pardon us while we lay down the pen, and indulge in some tender recollections. We have done so—we wipe away the tears from our eyes—and present you with the affecting passage which has so overwhelmed us with a crowd of delightful remembrances.

"In short, by this time the Highstreet of Oxford exhibited a scene as different from its customary solemnity and silence, as it is possible to imagine. Conceive several hundreds of young men in caps, or gowns, or both, but all of them, without exception, wearing some part of their academical insignia, retreating before a band rather more numerous, made up of apprentices, journeymen, labourers, bargemen—a motley mixture of every thing that, in the phrase of that classical region, passes under the generic name of Raff. Several casual disturbances had occurred in different quarters of the town, a thing quite familiar to the last and all preceding ages, and by no means uncommon even in those recent days, whatever may be the case now. Of the host of youthful academics, just arrived for the beginning of the term, a considerable number had, as usual, been quartered for this night in the different inns of the city. Some of these, all full of wine and mischief, had first rushed out and swelled a mere passing scuffle into something like a substantial row. Herds of the townboys, on the other hand, had been rapidly assembled by the magic influence of their accustomed war-cry. The row once formed into regular shape in The Corn-market, the clamour had penetrated walls, and overleapt battlements; from College to College the madness had spread and flown. Porters had been knocked down

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