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Few knew the people better or could describe them so well. His stories are pleasant and characteristic :
“My wife was one day buying some fish ; while she was undetermined the girl said to her, ' Prenez cela, car votre mari est un brave homme ? My wife replied, “Oui, cela se peut bien ; mais comment savez-vous qu'il est un brave homme ? C'est égal,' answered the girl, 'cela fait plaisir à entendre.' This girl's maxim is sound morality wherever I have been in France."
This is characteristic too in the best sense : charming mixture of goodness and grace.
“A poor musician who usually brought a small pianoforte in the afternoon to the Champs Elysées, and played that those who were pleased might reward him by a trifle, having played in vain one evening was sorrowfully returning home. He was seen by Elleviou (a famous actor), remarked, and questioned. The poverty and ill success of the wandering musician moved the pity of the actor, who desired the instrument might again be put down, and stepping aside he said he would return instantly. His wife and friend had passed on, and he brought them back. It was nearly dark. Pradere, his friend, sat down to the pianoforte and accompanied Elleviou who began to sing to the astonishment of numbers that were soon assembled. The men had drawn the hat over the brow, Madame Elleviou let down her veil, and went round to col.
lect. The pleasingness of her manner, the little thankful curtsies she dropt to all who gave, the whiteness of her hand, and the extraordinary music they heard, rendered the audience so liberal, that she made several tours and none ineffectually. Elleviou however could not long remain unknown, and finding themselves discovered Madame Elleviou gave all, and it was supposed more than all, she had collected from the crowd to the poor musician. The sum amounted to thirty shillings, and among the pence and halfpence there were crown pieces which no doubt were given by the actors. The feelings of the man as the audience dispersed are not easily to be described. The unexpected relief afforded to him who was departing so disconsolate was great indeed; but it was forgotten in the charming behaviour of those who relieved him in their almost divine music, and in the strangeness of the adventure. The surrounding people were scarcely less moved; so kind an act from a man in such high public estimation excited more than admiration; and the tears of gratitude shed by the musician drew sympathizing drops from many of the spectators."
Mr. Holcroft wrote little verse, but had he chosen that medium of thought, would probably have excelled in it. The story of “Gaffer Gray” has, in common with many short poems of Southey, written at the same period, the great fault of setting class
against class, a fault which generally involves a want of truth; but it does its work admirably, and produces exactly the effect intended in the fewest possible words.
“Ho! why dost thou shiver and shake,
“ 'Tis the weather that's cold,
“Then line thy worn doublet with ale,
“Nay, but credit I've none,
And my money's all gone ;
that come to pass ? Well-a-day!”
"Hie away to the house on the brow,
“The priest often preaches
Against worldly riches ;
“The lawyer lives under the hill,
Warmly fenced both in back and in front."
“He will fasten his locks,
And will threaten the stocks,
“The squire has fat beeves and brown ale,
And his merry new year
“My keg is but low, I confess,
poor man alone,
This author, so gifted, so various, and so laborious, one of the most remarkable of self-educated men, died in London on the 3rd of March, 1809, after a long and painful illness, at the age of sixtythree; I fear poor.
AUTHORS ASSOCIATED WITH PLACES.
BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.
THERE are some places that seemed formed by nature for doubling and redoubling the delight of reading and dreaming over the greater poets. Living in the country, one falls into the habit of choosing out a fitting nest for that enjoyment, and with Beaumont and Fletcher especially, to whose dramatic fascinations I have the happy knack of abandoning myself, without troubling myself in the least about their dramatic faults (I do not speak here of graver sins, observe, gentle reader); their works never seem to me half so delightful as when I pore over them in the silence and solitude of a certain green lane, about half a mile from home; sometimes seated on the roots of an old fantastic beech, sometimes on the trunk of a felled oak, or