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If the town happens to be a garrison-town, and if papa has not been coaxed or worried into leaving a card at the barracks, as "You know you ought to do, my dear: consider the girjs I" great are the expedients resorted to, both by mamma and the girls, to secure the presence of the officers; yet, if the truth were but known, it is not by any means a great achievement, after all, to induce a few bored warriors to exchange the monotony of the mess-room for a carpet-dance and a little flirtation with the belles of their country quarter.
When the invitations have been duly accepted, the next subject for consideration is whether the supper shall be regularly laid out in the dining-room or brought in on trays, there being always a marked difference in the opinion of mother and daughters touching the merits of these two arrangements. The latter triumphantly bring up occasions upon which the tray plan was a signal failure—" don't you remember, mamma?"—at Mrs. So-and-so's, while the former prudently reminds her imprudent children that a laid-out supper is much more expensive than "only refreshments;" but the expected presence of the officers is suddenly brought to bear, and the trays are finally vanquished. Then the materials for the supper are discussed. One sister declares for lobstersalad, the other that no supper is perfect without tipsy-cake; while both insist upon Paganinitarts and a gorgeous dish of trifle for the middle of the table.
But if mamma is worsted about the supper, she has her own way about tea, and that she resolves, like a sensible woman, shall be made in the drawing-room, upon the round table, which is to be wheeled into a corner. Then the position of the piano is determined, after much discussion, and the places selected from which the lamps and candles (there is no gas) will give the most effective light, and be in the least danger from awkward elbows. The young ladies are, however, unmolested in their opinion when the great subject of "dress" comes before the house; they even take "mamma's cap" in hands, and declare that she shall not make a "Guy" of herself.
And when the eventful day at length comes, how much still remains to be done! Such dusting of the "best china!" such brightening of the " company glass!" such running bither and thither! until the givers of the feast are thoroughly weary, if they would but acknowledge the fact. Dinner is eaten in the store-room, on the stairs, anywhere, nowhere, and it is nearly time to dress, when Maria remembers that she has not cut the bread-andbutter, and Fanny that she has not put the "tucker" upon ber dress.
By seven o'clock the sound of busy feet upon the stairs has ceased; the girls are dressing in their rooms, and a pungent smell of coffee pervades the house. At eight punctually (the hour named in the invitation) the first detachment of guests arrives. Pity the Borrows of the first detachment 1 It is, you rtlfty depend,
composed of the least interesting of the expected company.
"Those tiresome Tomkinses, who always come so dreadfully early!"
It is shabby not to order tea when they appear; but it is very hard to be obliged to expend its first freshness and fragrance upon "only the Tomkinses." Fanny tries to catch mamma's eye, to learn what she is to do from that intelligent orb; but mamma does not choose to have the responsibility of either rudeness or cold tea upon her shoulders, so her eye refuses to be caught.
The Misses Tomkins are large shy stupid girls, with red wrists and ill-fitting gloves, and a tendency to fidget. They are miserably uncomfortable in their white gowns and sashes of the Stuart tartan; they know all the photographs in all the albums by heart, but they go heroically through them once more just to pass the time, and say, " How like!" and "That's a good one!" to the pictures of people whom they see in the flesh every day of their lives. They giggle when they come upon themselves taken in light muslins, very short in the front, and with black lace shawls spread over one shoulder.
Then in due time more guests appear, principally women, and, if there is a gentleman, he looks intensely miserable; and, after shaking hands with everyone in the room, he subsides upon a chair very near the door, from which he is presently dislodged to hand tea and cakes to those ladies who will not come to the table.
Under the influence of tea and coffee the ladies thaw somewhat, and five or six of the younger ones gather upon a large ottoman in the middle of the room, and talk away themselves; for it is strange with what obstinacy the young men keep about the door. Then perhaps after a time there comes a sudden and awful pause, and one of the Tomkins's girls who had been making quite a long speech collapses, covered with confusion. That is the moment for " music" to have "charms to soothe the savage breast!" and the eldest daughter of the house, at a sign from her mother, reluctantly pulls off her gloves, and, going to the piano, plays either " Ecoutez-moi" or "The Maiden's Prayer," and when she has finished she selects a victim from the ottoman, who plays whichever of the above-named pieces her predecessor at the piano had not played; but before she has got through it the quick ears of Maria and Fanny have caught the sound of wheels drawing up before the door, and they know by instinct that the officers have driven from the barracks, and are at hand.
The sisters exchange a look, which says At last!" and like lightning the bell is rung for the fresh supply of tea and coffee which the outraged cook has been obliged to make for these fashionable and gallant guests, who are nothing very wonderful when they do appear. There are four of them. Three very young and verdant ensign*, who, nevertheless, think lhsm«
selves blase men of the world, but who are in bondage to their exceedingly narrow white ties, and who add to the already formidable group about the door; and one audacious Lieutenant, who, having seen something of the world, boldly charges the group of petticoats in the middle of the room, and makes as much fun as is possible for himself under the circumstances. This bold warrior is a great talker. He talks during the playing and during the singing, and pays no attention to the warning glances of his fair companions who are divided between their dread of scaring him from their side, and their dread of affronting the performer by indifference to her efforts.
If a dance can be " got up," an evening of this kind drags less heavily. Woe to the party condemned to the pastime of " squails 1" To be sure, if the room is small the furniture (although it is rolled into corners) and the people who do not dance are dreadfully in the way. It is really piteous to see an aggrieved matron sitting up against the wall, and trying to believe that she enjoys looking on while the muslin skirts of her own daughter, or the daughter of her neighbour, are whirled into her face as the young lady and her partner fly round and round in a galop! Then peradventure there is a crash. Some flying petticoat has caught the fire-irons, and dragged them from their place with a hideous noise. One of the partnerless young men at the door rushes forward to pick up poker and tongs before some one is tripped up, two of the dancers galopping along the reverse way come bump up against him, and narrowly escape a fall; the young lady, much aggrieved, stops at once and says, panting, " How awkward 1" And all this happens a dozen times during the night.
The supper is decidedly the most successful part of the entertainment, although the jelly is made at home and is neither very clear nor very stiff, and the lobster-salad is badly mixed, and the officers secretly turn up their noses— connoisseurs as they are—at the sherry. So the whole thing comes to an end, and there is nothing left for the hostess who had worked so hard, but a dismantled house and a general impression that her guests did not thoroughly enjoy themselves.
And the guests discuss the party, and decide that "Mrs. Smith did her best, as she always does, poor woman 1" but that Fanny was " stuck up" and Maria "neglectful," while the officers vote the whole thing "A dossid boar!" and wonder, " by Jove, where Old Smith gets his sherryI"
MEETING AND PARTING.
BY ADA TREVANION.
Leaf-laden was the swollen stream.
The mossy bole* had gathered eyes;
He rode across the little wood,
Just when the Day and Night made feud,
And in the thin fog by me stood.
He took the hand he used to press,
The sweetness from his smile was gone;
And though he spoke in gentle tone,
His voice seemed changed, and not his own.
Gifts he had brought me manifold—
And hurried words of farewell said;
The flushed moon leant above the moor,
I looked upon the wedding-ring
Some dream of him. Ah! yet awhile,
But changes hurried on; though sleep,
And when I rose, deject and lorn,
When twilight deepened o'er the brake,
The minster bells swung in the wind,
I heard, in echoes ill-defined,
A voice less in the ear than miud—
A spirit-voice of grief and pain,
Which said: "You ue'er will meet again I"
Like teav-drop9 fell the pattering rain.
Written In A Prayer-book Presented To Mi
DAUOHTER Maruabet UPON HER BIRTHDAY.
Although far severed from the friends we love,
RAMBLES AND REVERIES OF A MODERN MORALIST.
No. IV— AMONG THE TOMBS.
"E'en in our ashes live their wonted fire."—Gray.
It is pleasant sometimes, for us who live amid the rush and roar of this busy, noisy, moneygetting world, to retire to some of those quiet haunts which are found in the midst of London, and there to rest awhile from the engrossing thoughts, the whirl of anxious speculations, and the round of hopes and fears which beset ns in the turmoil of life without. There are, as everybody knows, in the very heart of the metropolis, little out-of-the-way nooks, quiet city churches, and long-disused burying-grounds, where one may ramble and ponder with little fear of interruption; and yet within five minutes' walk the stream of noisy humanity rolls on, bringing to our minds the sad, truthful words "in the midst of life we are in death." Not long ago, filled with such thoughts as these, I rambled to the venerable Abbey, within whose quiet precincts repose the ashes of so many of the great and gifted ones of our land. ^ estminster Abbey, as a show place, is common enough to the stranger and holiday-seeker in London; but it was not with any intention of hurrying through the various chapels or enduring the greatest of social inflictions, a conventional guide, that I entered the Abbey. The day was dull and sunless, few people were abroad and the Abbey was almost deserted, so that I was free to roam about unmolested, to examine the different monuments after my own fashion. How different a scene, I thought, from that without! There, all was noise, hurry, and excitement; there, were men and^women struggling along in the rude current of daily life, their minds agitated by a thousand conflicting emotions; there, were politicians, whose deep-laid schemes were brought to light not many yards from where I stood; there, were anxious, money-getting men, whose souls were chained to the great golden Calf of Mammon, hoping and fearing, grinding the poor, pressing the miserly, growing rich yet still dissatisfied, always, like poor Oliver Twist, "asking for more;" there, were the proud and the ambitious, building up. bright futures or raising themselves to imaginary pinnacles of greatness; and there, were the young, full of hope and expectation for the years to come, careless of the days that are; and there, too, were the ruined and lost ones, full of despair, tired of the present, shuddering at the past, hopeless of the future. All this is in the world without, but here, how different! Here, all is peace; here, the Wicked^ cease from troubling and the weary are
at rest! All these conflicting passions of the heart which are agitating the living world without, are here ended, and for ever. Little, indeed, matter ambition or pride, or hope and despair within these solemn resting-places of the dead; the little drama of the lives of those who lie around us has been played out long ago, and the curtain has long since fallen for ever.
I am passing through the "dim religious light" of Henry VII.'s Chapel. Dim shadows of royalty seem rising amid the banners of the Knights of the Bath which decorate the chapel. Many a great actor on the eventful stage of English history is slumbering here. Close by me is the monument of the first of the Tudors, the conqueror of Bosworth field; the unloved, cold, 6elfish, yet eminently politic and successful Henry. Near, is the grave of the "boy King," Edward VI., so early cut off from his high place, though not, as we may safely believe, as we recall that period of intrigue and blood, before he had learnt that " nneasy lies the head that wears a crown." As I look at these time-worn tombs I can picture the men as they lived and spoke: cold Henry seems standing by my side, and smooth-faced gentle Edward is shuddering at the execution on Tower Hill. But they are but shadows, and "come like shadows, so depart." Another page in the Tudor's history is opened to us as we stand by the adjacent tombs of the fairest, most accomplished, most unhappy, and would that I could add most innocent of the Stuarts, and of her powerful enemy Queen Elizabeth. At our feet rests the bride of Bothwell, the murderess of Darnley, the lover of Rizzio, the prisoner of Lochleven, and the fugitive of Pinkie,
"Alas! for the rarity
Hers was a sad, chequered life, a cruel and unjust death. Little did she dream, on that 8th of February, 1587, when she was led forth to die at Fotheringay Castle, that the author of her doom should one day rest quietly beside her in the calm precincts of the Abbey. Surely it had been better for the fame of Elizabeth had she been less inveterate towards her erring sister in royalty; but she could bear no rival near her throne, she desired all the power and homage for herself, to shine with unrivalled splendour
A A a
at the brilliant masque at Kenilworth, to listen i
"A thing of beanty is a joy for ever,
Who can read here the names so familiar to us from childhood, so associated in our minds with all that is great and beautiful, without feeling a flood of old thoughts and fancies pouring in upon him, pictures of the days that are gone for ever, of the days when we first learnt Gray's "Elegy," or "The Deserted Village," ere yet we understood their beauties; or, of that evening when a mother's voice read to our childish ears some marvellous knightly tale of faery mystery from Spenser, or some grand episode, not of earth, from Milton! The first four poets who found a resting-place within the Abbey were Chaucer, the father of English poetry, the courtier of Edward III.'s time, who discourses so pleasantly about the goodly company who started -from the old Tabard Inn at Soiuhwsrk, and told some merry stories on the
road to Canteibury: the Knight, the Monk the Wife of Bath, and the Miller, of whom the poet says —
"The miller was a stout carl for the nones,
It was at his own particular wish that Spenser was laid side by side with Geoffrey Chaucer; and they are fit company. We may think of Spenser, in his ruined castle of Kilcolman, surrounded by the most beautiful and romantic scenery. Richly wooded hills, a wide, sparkling lake, and the light waters of the river Mulla which flowed by the poet's grounds; all these objects of natural beauty furnished many of the descriptions which are so peculiar to the poetry of Spenser. It is pleasant to picture him as he describes himself in " Colin Clouts come home again," keeping bis flock under the shadows of the mountain Mole, among " the coolly shade of green alders" by the shore of Mulla.
Alas for the breath of fame! The nation which was justly proud of Spenser, which lauded his poems in the ears of Elizabeth, suffered the poet to die starving and brokenhearted. The rebellion of Tyrone, in Ireland, drove Spenser to London, in 1598, heartbroken at the loss of his house and an infant child who was burnt in tte castle by the rebels; and so, in the bleak January snows of 1599, in an obscure street in London, perished miserably one of the greatest poets and most amiable men .that the world has ever seen. Doubtless the great and gifted men of that highly-favoured age stood sadly by the tomb of Spenser as he was laid to Bleep under the shadow of Chaucer's tomb; but, in truth, it is easier to weep at a man's burial than to give him a crumb while living. A certain writer has said (some affirm unjustly) that Sterne, who could weep over a dead donkey, left a living mother to starve. Do we, I wonder, never ignore the virtues of the good till they are gone from U9, and " their place knows them no more f"
A little further on we see the brief, but alleloquent epitaph of the author of " Sejaeuus," "O rare Ben Jonson!" though all his plays are now unknown on the stage except " Every man in his humour." The man who could raise himself from the drudgery of bricklaying to the post of poet-laureate deserves the praise of his epitaph. Drummond gives a character of the "rare" dramatist which we, who are charitable, will hope may not be true: "He was a great lover and praiser of himself; a contemner and scoffer of others; rather given to lose a friend than a jest; jealous of every word and action of those about him, especially after drink, which was one of the elements in which he lived; a dissembler Of the parts which reign in him, a braggcr of soi»e others that ho wanted, thinking nothing well done but what he himself or some of his friends had said or done." A pleasant biographer worthy Master Drummond must bare been—what if he had written of some of us! There is Cowley's monument, raised by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham —what a medley of scenes and fancies his name calls up! He it was whom Dryden immortalized as
"A man so various, that he scem'd to be
The Duke had "glorious John" cudgelled for another lampoon which he never wrote, but which that graceless wit, Wilmot Earl of Rochester, perpetrated. Close by Cowley's monument is that of Dryden himself, and the tomh of Thomas Shadwell, once the rival of glorious John, and satirized by him as Mac Flecknor.
Let us pause a moment by the tomb of Dr. Johnson, and pay a tribute to the manes of him who was once a Jove among the literati of his age. Personally, I confess, I do not like the great Samuel. That he was a learned man, and a great man, and a kindly-natured man I am ready to admit; but this does not excuse him, in my humble opinion, from being a rude man, a coarse msn, a conceited man, and altogether! an unpleasant man in a decent drawing-room, j Can you not see him, sitting in his snuffcoloured coat and ill-kept wig, writing his letter to Lord Chesterfield, administering to his lord- | ship what the great Dick Swiveller aptly styled "a clincher," and smiling grimly to himself the while? How little reeks either of them now of praise or censure! Of a verity
"Imperial Ctcsar, dead and turned to clay,
Hard by Johnson and the witty and accomplished Sheridan—who is 6aid to have written j the best farce and the best comedy, and to have made the best speech in our language—rests Sir John Denham, the courtly poet of Charles the First's time, though his grave is unmarked i by name or date. The poem which has given; Denham all his fame is that called "Cooper's Hill," and the subject is well worthy of his muse. The hill stands about midway ^between Staines and Windsor, and commands a glorious prospect of flood and field. The rich pastures round Windsor, and Datchet—where Sir John Falstaff endured the indignities of the clothesbasket—the royal towers of the Castle in the distance, and the calm, smooth Thames rolling among its little green islets, make a scene which may well excuse the most prosy man of our essentially prosy age for feeling romantic.
There are yet a few monuments to be noticed ere we quit the Abbey, and they are raised to
well-known writers, whose bodies rest in other and less magnificent tombs than those of Westminster. Some, perhaps, who come to do homage at the monument of Shakespeare, forget that the poet lies far away in the quiet church at Stralford-on-Avon, among the scenes of his boyhood and dawning genius, where he wandered along the green margin of Avon, and never dreamed that his name should be one day immortal. Milton is buried in St. Giles's Church, Cripplegate, and not where his young fancy seemed to delight, as he tells us in "II Penseroso":
"l!ut let my due feet never fail
It was thus that he wrote before the stern aspects of the times had contracted his great intellect into the narrow mould of puritanism; before he had " fallen upon evil days, and evil tongues," and, as a sightless old man, was meditating on " Paradise Lost," or listening to the readings of Friend Ellwood, the Quaker.
Hear what the poet Waller said, in 1667, of Milton's mighty epic: "The old blind schoolmaster, John Milton, hath published a tedious poem on the Fall of Man. If its length be not considered a merit, it has no other." For all thy sneers, worthy Master Waller, the blind schoolmaster's poem will live when all thine are forgotten, though the first edition did but bring five pounds.
Samuel Butler, the witty author of "IIudibras," is interred in St. Paul's, Covent Garden; while one of the sweetest of our poets rests far removed from the noise and dust of London, among the sweet Buckinghamshire meadows in the green church-yard of StokePogis:
"Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each iu his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep!"
And with them Bleeps the scholar-poet who has left us so goodly a monument of his genius.
Not far from the Abbey, in the quiet, unfrequented precincts of the Temple, the careless wanderer may strike his foot against a plain stone which marks the last resting-place of Oliver Goldsmith. Dear, good-hearted,generous, foolish Goldsmith I how fondly we think of his life! not too bright, and yet always burning with his own high spirits and joyous recklessness! This was the man whose daily life was seldom unmarked by some kind deed, and as often by some outrageous act of absurdity; this same Oliver, who was universally loved by his friends, yet wrote his "Traveller" and "Vicar of Wakefield" in a miserable lodging in Green Arbour Court, by the Old Bailey (how