Imagens da página

they had provided others in case such an accident should occur.. They now again proceeded on their voyage with the greatest rapidity: Putney was soon reached, and as quickly left behind. Hammersmith, Barnes, and Kew flew past them as if endued with the “wings of the wind.” Cheered by the beauteous smiles of the ladies, they shewed no symptoms of weariness, but urged the little vessel along in the most gallant style possible. When, however, they had passed under Kew Bridge, Mr. Tomkins and Mr. Nonsuch began to complain most woefully of the soreness of their hands, and consequently, it was proposed by Mr. Fibbs, that, as the tide was in their favour, they should take in their oars, and allow themselves to be wafted gently on by the stream. This was readily agreed to, but, as Mr. Tomkins truly observed, it was easier said than done, for that gentleman, while taking in his oar, unfortunately, and at the same time clumsily, allowed the blade to fall upon Miss Smith's bonnet, which, to the lady's inexpressible mortification, caused a dent in the said bonnet of no trifling dimensions. Though bursting with suppressed rage, Miss Smith contrived to appear as if she treated it with the greatest nonchalance. This may appear somewhat' improbable, but the mystery can be readily solved. The fact was that Mr. Tomkins was very

“sweet upon" Miss Smith, or in other words, they were lovers. Miss Smith, therefore, was too wise to let her passion exhibit itself on the present occasion--but she treasured it up till the time when Hymen should have made them one, and it was then her firm resolve to repay it with interest. But to return, no sooner had harmony been restored, when Mr. Fusbidos was called upon to favour the company with a tune on his German flute. No sooner had the request been uttered, than, with laudable promptitude Mr. F. inserted his digits into his coat pocket for the purpose of producing the required instrument; but what was his horror and astonishment, when in its place he dragged out an immense German sausage. A simultaneou's roar of laughter on the part of every one followed; and while our voyagers are indulging in their mirth, we will take the liberty of explaining by what means this most unlooked-for occurrence was brought about. The fact was, that Mr. Winkins, who was extremely partial to the savoury compound known by the name of German sausage, and fearing that his favourite article would not be included in the bill of fare, had taken the trouble of putting one in his pocket for his own private eating. Mr. Fusbidos had, unfortunately, an equal aversion to this compound. Now it so happened, that as these two gentlemen were not required to row, they were seated next to each other at the stern of the boat; and Mr. Winkins, who was a bit of a wag, bethought him that this would be an excellent opportunity for playing off a joke. Accordingly, watching a time when Mr. Fusbidos was particularly engaged talking to a lady, he had removed the flute froin Mr. F.'s pocket, and inserted in its place the German sausage. Mr. Fusbidos, who also relished a joke, provided it were not at his own expense, bad slily withdrawn what he imagined to be the German-sausage, but which was in reality his own eight keyed and eight guinea flute, and quietly consigned it to the deep. Judge then, gentle reader, if you can, of the horror depicted upon Mr. Fusbidos' face, when the mirth was a little subsided, and an explanation from Mr. Winkins ensued, to find that it was his own flute that he had thus irrecoverably lost-To say that he stamped, and raved, and swore, is but feebly to describe his anger-in short, his wrath was of such an immensity, that it is vain for us to attempt to depict it, aud we are consequently constrained to throw up the task in despair. Nor did the remarks of Mr. Winkins, when Mr. Fusbidos upbraided him for his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

conduct, that he should look before he leapt," and that " biters generally got bit,” tend in the slightest degree to diminish that gentleman's ire. The quarrel between these two worthies ran so high that at length

“ From words they almost came to blows." The dispute was, however, finally settled by their exchanging cards, a piece of politeness perfectly unnecessary, as the two gentlemen's domiciles were situated next door to each other.

By this time, wafted gently by the silvery tide, they had reached Richmond Bridge, and it of course became a question as to where they should land for the laudable purpose of satisfying the craving of their appetites, which by this tine was becoming pretty strong. They rowed gently along 'till they came to a delightful spot, overshadowed by some finely spreading elms; this was declared to be the very thing for their purpose, and the boat's head was accordingly directed towards the place thus agreed on. Mr. Fibbs wishing to shew his activity, as well as his perfect knowledge of the etiquette common among fresh water tars, instantly rose from his seat in the fore part of the boat, took in his oar, (in doing which, however, he splashed Miss Johnstone's new plumcoloured silk dress)—and as the boat's-head ouched the weeds which surrounded the bank, he seized the rope and leaped gallantly ashore.

We have said that he leaped on shore, but in this assertion we have not adhered to our usual strict love of veracity. We ought rather to have stated, that this was Mr. Fibbs's intention, but alas ! Fate interposed to prevent the success of so laudable an endeavour; for one of his companions who was rowing, did what in this particular part of the voyage would have been far better left undone, that is to say, he “caught a crab," a feat by the way, he had performed about seventy times since he left Westminster Bridge—the consequences were as awful as they were inevitable. The boat obeying the impulse which had thus unfortunately been given it, glided several yards further into the stream, Mr. Fibbs missed his footing, and was precipitated headlong into the river. A shriek of horror simultaneously arose from all the ladies, bnt this expression of their feelings, was instantly repressed, and the most perfect silence pervaded as they perceived Mr. Fibbs reappear, and with some difficulty gain the shore, bearing in his outward appearance a very great resemblance to a drowned rat. A shout of rapture bursting simultaneously from every throat, hailed him as he stood on the shore, “ with all his dripping honours thick upon him," and the boat was once more impelled towards the shore, this time, however, with far greater success. Of course some slight altercation ensued between Mr. Fibbs and the gentleman who was the unhappy cause of this disaster, but the breach between these worthies was soon healed and harmony again restored. The process of disembarking the eatables and the ladies was then proceeded in, with an alacrity truly astonishing, but which doubtless was caused by the famine which was raging amongst them all. We will not weary our readers by relating the vast number of mishaps which had (we had almost said, necessarily) occurred to the provisions. The horror which was depicted in Miss Smith's countenance when she discovered that the pigeon pie which she had taken such vast pains in making, was, according to her own phraseology, uttered in the bitterness of her wrath, “completely squashed by the pickle jar."—the weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth which occurred when it was found that the cold boiled beef and ditto plum pudding were perfectly saturated, the one with bottled ale, and the other with a compound of mustard, vinegar, oil, and egg, which, we believe, is generally known by

the title of salad mixture—the voracity with which Mr. Winkins devoured, rather than ate, the German sausage so miraculously preserved from a watery grave—at the same time laughing at those who had, in the outset of the voyage, ridiculed his homely provision, and declared their utter abhorrence of it—and how the remainder of the voyagers were compelled to satisfy the cravings of nature with dry bread. We again repeat that we will not relate all these things, but rather leave them to the imaginations of our readers.

The sun was fast sinking to his ocean bed, the little birds were already beginning to perch on their respective twigs or bushes, when nur voyagers, thoroughly disgusted with the misfortunes of that which they had fondly, but alas vainly, anticipated would have been a day of pleasure, again embarked on their return. Were we to relate the misfortunes that again befel them we fear that we should weary our readers beyond endurance, and we shall therefore refrain from so doing, particularly as they would be a mere repetition of the mishaps which had occurred in the morning's trip. Suffice it, therefore, to say that, after running against every bridge, and striking on every sand bank in their route-after these and various other mischances, they did contrive to reach Westminster in safety, but so thoroughly worn out with fatigue and hunger as to be perfectly unable either to quarrel with each other or to make the slightest search for the various articles of apparel which were missing. In conclusion, we have only to state, as true chroniclers, that Mr. Fibbs was laid up with a severe attack of rheumatism, brought on no doubt by his accidental immersion in the angry flood ;-that Mr. Nonsuch had likewise a severe attack of illness, by him ascribed to the circumstance of having taken a large quantity of brandy in mistake for beer—and that all the other gentlemen were prevented from following their usual employments for some considerable time, on account of the blisters with which their hands were covered.

F. J—R.

[blocks in formation]




It was in June or July, perhaps later, in the year 181- (the other figure I am in doubt about) that I called on Charles Frankland, at Belvidere cottage-so a former inhabitant had christened it—near St. John's Wood. After dinner, Mr. and Mrs. F. and myself proceeded to a little arbor at the bottom of the garden, where they had arranged we should take our wine. It was a beautiful summer's evening, and the sun had not yet ceased to illumine the bed of flowers which encircled a large and smooth lawn, occupying the centre of the place. In complimenting my friend on the beauty of his flowers, I could not help enquiring the reason he did not lay out his lawn in parterres, similar to those which were at the foot of the peach trees bounding his little domain. I shewed him how he might, by slightly raising some parts and depressing others; here laying down a bed of violets, there spreading a carpet of roses, lilies, tulips, and the most beautiful of Flora's productions—in one part enchanting the sight by a resplendence of colouring—in another making the air redolent with the perfumes of nature; how by planting among them thickly foliaged trees, and tracing winding paths between them, he might convert the flat and unpicturesque lawn into a perfect paradise of beauty and sweetness. I should probabiy have gone on suggesting and planning amendments for a much more considerable space of time, but that a failure of breath compelled me to pause. Frankland took advantage of this to reply to my enthusiastic advice in the slow and gentle manner which distinguished him. Box “ You are aware, my dear friend, that all plants require air and exercise."

6 Exercise ?" said I.

“ Yes; they must have room to wave their heads and frolic in the breeze, to shoot, to bud, and to expand their blossoms. They must imbibe the fresh air of Heaven freely, or they languish and die-or grow up unhealthy and weak. Now some plants require more air and exercise than others. You may rear the myrtle in a chamber, but the oak requires a free and unshaded atmosphere. Now I have plants, which you have both seen and admired, although you will scarcely guess to what I allude, and to my taste there are none so lovely. The rich bloom on the peach cannot vie with that they exhibit; and the rose, the queen of flowers and the idol of poets, sinks into insignificance by their side. But these plants, more than any others I know of, require air and exercise, and to provide these I have reserved the open grass plot which so offends your sight.”

As he spoke the glass doors of the drawing-rooin, at the end of the lawn, opposite to where we were sitting, flew open, and down the two or three white steps which led therefrom to the garden, ran the children of mine host—the girls with skipping-ropes, the boys with their hoopsand all came bounding with the innocent and happy gaiety of childhood across the lawn to meet us. After receiving a kiss from their me er, they ran off to their play with the merry laugh which betoken the jocund feelings of the heart.

“There,"exclaimed Frankland, “ there are the plants of which I told you, and that is the exercise they enjoy. I know not what it

may seem

[ocr errors]

to you, but to a father it is the pleasantest sight you can afford him.” His wife participated in his pleasure; and as she leant her hand upon his shoulder and breathed a kiss of affection on his cheek, I know not whether it was a fact, or only a mistaken vision caused by the dew which hung on my own eye-lid—but I fancied I saw a tear glistening in her eye, and silently rolling down her cheek.

Since then, I have been a wanderer on the face of the earth-have sailed over the unfathomable ocean-have crossed the parched deserts of Arabia-have roamed over the vast and pathless forests of the New World—and even soared amidst the clouds :--but, returning to England, I determined again to revisit my old friend, and in scenes that were familiar and dear to me to reserve the serenity of mind which had been disturbed by the contemplation of the wonders and glories of the universe. I found the gate a little open, and I accordingly entered the garden,but I was astonished at the different aspect of the place. Small trees flourished at intervals, over the formerly smooth grass plot, and around them grew evergreens and flowers. By a pear tree, I beheld Frankland standing on the same spot, where but a few short years back, we had watched his romping children. His wife was by his side—and, as I approached, I perceived they were in deep mourning - They did not at first see me, but upon my approaching nearer, they were soon aware of my presence. He took me by the hand without speaking ; she burst into tears—too well did I divine the cause.

“I have taken your advice at last-my children are all gone from mesome to marry—and some”-he added with a sigh “some to lie in the cold grave,I have no need for an open lawn now—I have taken to Gardening."

“ We buried our youngest child only three months ago," said Mrs. Frankland,“ and yesterday, as I emerged from one of the paths which Charles has made here, I fancied I beheld you and the children, as on the day when you last visited—Alas! It was a sorrowful delusion"-and a fresh burst of grief overwhelmed her. As I listened to this recital, I could not help thinking of the words, “Sic transit felicitas mundi.”

I have disliked Gardening ever since, and what appeared to me in former days an earthly paradise, is now a frequent and a melancholy resort.

W. F. T.


What is more beautiful in nature than the various flowers that bespangle the earth, or more grateful to the senses than their delicious fragrance. The feelings that arise in the mind when they are examined with minuteness, and their various forms, their exquisite colours, all combine to stamp their value and usefulness—to throw a gleam of pleasure o'er our pilgrimage, and call forth those feelings that fit us for a better world. And considered as emblems where instruction is blended with amusement, then the various flowers are found to assimilate with the characters of the world. The rose, for instance :-first, the unassuming bud, gradually expanding, shedding around its delicious fragrance, may be considered as the prototype of the female, who lives

« AnteriorContinuar »