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An outline, however, may be drawn of the manner in which such a birthday might be spent. The tone and colouring would be filled up, of course, according to the taste of the parties. If any of our readers, then, have leisure as well as inclination to devote a day to the memory of Shakspeare, we would advise them, in the first place, to walk out, whether alone or in company, and enjoy during the morning as much as possible of those beauties of nature of which he has left us such exquisite pictures. They would take a volume of him in their hands, the most suitable to the occasion; not to hold themselves bound to sit down and read it, nor even to refer to it, if the original work of nature should occupy them too much ; but to read it, if they read anything, and to feel that Shakspeare was with them substantially as well as spiritually—that they had him with them under their arm. There is another thought connected with his presence, which may render the Londoner's walk the more interesting. Shakspeare had neither the vanity which induces a man to be disgusted with what everybody can enjoy ; nor on the other hand the involuntary self-degradation which renders us incapable of enjoying what is abased by our own familiarity of acquaintanceship. About the metropolis, therefore, there is perhaps not a single rural spot, any more than about Stratford-upon-Avon, which he has not himself enjoyed. The south side of London was the one nearest his theatre. Hyde Park was then, as it is now, one of the fashionable promenades. Richmond also was in high pride of estimation. At Greenwich, Elizabeth held her court, and walked abroad amid the gallant service of the Sydneys and Raleighs. And Hampstead and Highgate, with the country about them, were, as they have been ever since, the favourite resort of the lovers of natural productions. Nay, without repeating what we said in a former essay, about the Mermaid in Cornhill, the Devil tavern in Fleet Street, the Boar’s Head in Eastcheap, and other town associations with Shakspeare, the reader who cannot get out of London on his birthday, and who has the luck to be hard at work in Chancery Lane or the Borough, may be pretty certain that Shakspeare has admired the fields and the May flowers there ; for the fields were close to the latter, perhaps came up to the very walls of the theatre; and the surburban mansion and gardens of his friend Lord Southampton occupied the spot now called Southampton Buildings. It was really a country neighbourhood. The Old Bourne (Holborn) ran by, with a bridge over it ; and Gray's Inn was an academic bower in the fields.

The dinner does not much signify. The sparest or the most abundant will equally suit the various fortunes of the great poet; only it will be as well, for those who can afford wine, to pledge Falstaff in a cup of “sherris sack," which seems to have been a sort of sherry negus. After dinner, Shakspeare's volumes will come well on the table ; lying among the dessert like laurels, where there is one, and supplying it where there is not. Instead of songs, the persons present may be called upon for scenes. But no stress need be laid on this proposition, if they do not like to read out loud. The pleasure of the day should be as much at liberty as possible ; and if the company prefer conversation, it will not be very easy for them to touch upon any subjects which Shakspeare shall not have touched upon also. If the enthusiasm is in high taste, the ladies should be crowned with violets, which (next to the roses of their lips) seem to have been his favourite flower. After tea should come singing and music, especially the songs which Arne set from his plays, and the ballad of “Thou soft-flowing Avon." If an engraving or bust of him could occupy the principal place in the room, it would look like the “present deity” of the occasion ; and we have known a very pleasant effect produced by everybody's bringing some quotation applicable to him from his works, and laying it before his image, to be read in the course of the evening.


'HE day that we speak of is a complete one of its kind,


drenching night. When you come down-stairs from your chamber, you find the breakfast-room looking dark, the rain-spout pouring away, and, unless you live in a street of traffic, no sound out of doors but a clack of pattens and an occasional clang of milk-pails. (Do you see the rogue of a milkman? He is leaving them open to catch the rain.)


We never see a person going to the window on such a morning, to take a melancholy look out at the washed houses and pavement, but we think of a reanimation which we once beheld of old Tate Wilkinson. But observe how sour things may run into pleasant tastes at last. We are by no means certain that the said mimetic antique, Tate Wilkinson, was not patentee of the York Theatre, wore a melancholy hat tied the wrong way, and cast looks of unutterable dissatisfaction at a rainy morning, purely to let his worthy successor and surpasser in mimicry, Mr Charles Mathews, hand down his aspect and countenance for the benefit of posterity. We once fell into company with that ingenious person at a bachelor's house, where he woke us in the morning with the suspicious sound of a child crying in another room. It was having its face washed; and had we been of a scandalising turn, or envied our host for his hospitality, we should certainly have gone and said that there was a child in his house who inherited a sorrowful disposition from somebody, and who might be heard (for all the nurse's efforts of a morning) whining and blubbering in the intervals of the wash-towel: now bursting into open-mouthed complaint, as it left him to dip in the water, and anon, as it came over his face again, screwing up its snubbed features and eyes, and making half-stifled, obstinate moan with its tight mouth. The mystery was explained at breakfast; and as it happened to be a rainy morning, we were entertained with the reanimation of that “living dead man,” poor Tate aforesaid, who had been a merry fellow too in his day. Imagine a tall, thin, withered, desponding-looking old gentleman, entering his breakfast-room, with an old hat on, tied under his chin the wrong way of the flap --a beaver soinewhat of the epicene order, so that you do not know whether it is his wife's or his own. He hobbles and shrinks up to the window, grunting gently with a sort of preparatory despair, and, having cast up his eyes the air, and seen the weathercock due east and the rain set in besides, drops the corners of his mouth and eyes into an expression of double despondency, not unmixed (if we may speak unprofanely) with a sort of scornful resentment, and turns off with one solitary, brief, comprehensive, and groaning ejaculation of, “EhChrist !” We never see anybody go to the window of a rainy morning but we think of this poor old barometer of a patentee, whose face, we trust, will be handed down in successive facsimiles to posterity, for their edification as well as amusement; for Tate had cultivated much hypochondriacal knowledge in his time, and been a sad fellow in a merry sense before he took to it in its melancholy one.

The preparation for a rainy day in town is certainly not the pleasantest thing in the world, especially for those who have neither health nor imagination to make their own sunshine. The comparative silence in the streets, which is made dull by our knowing the cause of it; the window-panes, drenched and everstreaming, like so many helpless cheeks; the darkened rooms;


and, in the summer season, the having left off fires; all fall like a chill shade upon the spirits. But we know not how much pleasantry can be made out of unpleasantness till we bestir ourselves. The exercise of our bodies will make us bear the weather better, even mentally, and the exercise of our minds will enable us to bear it with patient bodies in-doors, we cannot go out. Above all, some people seem to think that they cannot have a fire made in a chill day, because it is summer-time-a notion which, under the guise of being seasonable, is quite the reverse, and one against which we protest. A fire is a thing to warm us when we are cold, not to go out because the name of the month begins with J. Besides, the sound of it helps to dissipate that of the rain. It is justly called a companion. It looks glad in our faces; it talks to us; it is vivified at our touch ; it vivifies in return; it puts life, and warmth, and comfort in the room. A good fellow is bound to see that he leaves this substitute for his company when he goes out—especially to a lady, whose solitary work-table in a chill room on such a day is a very melancholy refuge. We exhort her, if she can afford it, to take a book and a footstool, and plant herself before a good fire. We know of few balks more complete than coming down of a chill morning to breakfast, turning one's chair, as usual, to the fireside, planting one's feet on the fender and one's eyes on a book, and suddenly discovering that there is no fire in the grate. A grate, that ought to have a fire in it, and gapes in one's face with none, is like a cold, grinning, empty rascal.

There is something, we think, not disagreeable in issuing forth during a good, honest, summer rain, with a coat well buttoned up and an umbrella over our heads. The first flash open of the umbrella seems a defiance to the shower, and the sound of it afterwards over our dry heads corroborates the triumph. If we are in this humour, it does not matter how drenching the day is. We despise the expensive effeminacy of a coach, have an agreeable malice of self-content at the sight of crowded gateways, and see nothing in the furious little rain


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