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Full text of "The sketch book by Washington Irving with sketch of the author's life, and compositional, critical and explanatory notes / by G.A. Chase"

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IRVING'S SKETCH-BOOK 



WITH N(»TES HV 

(i. A. CHASE, B.A. 



AN INTRODUCTION TO TALISMAN 



CHAK.U)T11<: M. Y(>NGE. 



WITH NOTKS AiN'J) GLOSSARY 



DWIGHT HOLBEOOK. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Ontario Council of University Libraries 



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gE. J. dagc <5c QLo.'s ®bucation:il <Sevtesi. 
THE 

SKETCH BOOK 

BY 

WASHINGTON IRVING 



WITH 

Sketch of Author's Life, and Compositional, Critical and 
Explanatory Notes 

BY 

G. A. CHASE, B.A., 

Jarvis Street Collegiate Institute, Toronto. 



" I have no wife nor children, good or had, to pi'ovide for. A 
mere spectator of other men's fortunes aud adventures, and how 
they play their parts, which, niethinks, are diversely presented 
unto me, as from a common theatre or scene." — Burton. 



W. J. GAGE & COMPANY, 

TORONTO. 



Entered according to the Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year 1892, in the 
office of the Minister of Agriculture, by W. J. Gack & Co., Toronto. 



flDYERTISEMEHT TO THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION. 



The following writings are published on experiment ; should 
they please, they may be followed by others. The writer will 
have to contend with some disadvantages. He is unsettled in his 
abode, subject to interruptions, and has his share of cares and 
vicissitudes. He cannot, therefore, promise a regular plan, nor 
regular periods of publication. Should he be encouraged to pro- 
ceed, much time may elapse between the appearance of his num- 
bers ; and then- size will depend on the materials he may have on 
hand. His writings will partake of the fluctuations of his own 
thoughts and feelings ; sometimes treating- of scenes before him, 
sometimes of others purely imaginary, and sometimes wandering 
back with his recollections to his native country. He will not be 
able to give them that tranquil attention necessary to finished 
composition ; and as they must be transmitted across the Atlantic 
for publication, he will have to trust to others to correct the fre- 
quent erroi's of the press. Should his writings, however, with ail 
their imperfections be well received, he cannot conceal that it 
would be a source of the purest gratification ; for though he does 
not aspii'e to those high honors which are the rewards of loftier 
intellects, yet it is the dearest wish of his heart to have a secure 
and cherished, though humble corner in the good opinions and 
kind feelings of his countrymen. 
London, 1819. 



ADVERTISEMENT TO THE EIR8T ENGLISH EDITION, 



The following desultorj' papers are part of a series written in 
this country, but published in America. The author is aware of 
the austerity with which tlie writings of his countrymen have 
hitherto been treated by British critics; he is conscious, too, that 
much of the contents of his papers can be interesting only in the 
eyes of American readers. It was not liis intention, thei'efore, to 
have them reprinted in this country. He has, however, observed 
several of them from time to time inserted in periodical works of 
merit, and has understood that it was probable they would be re- 
published in a collective form. He has been induced, therefore, to 
revise and bring tliem forward Tiimself, that they may- at least 
come correctly before the public. Should they be deemed of suf- 
ficient importance to attract the attention of critics, he solicits for 
them that courtesy and candor which a stranger l\as some right 
to claim who presents himself at the threshold of a hospitable 
nation. 

February, 1820. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

The Author's Account of Himself, 5 

The Voyage, 9 

ROSCOE, 15 

The Wife, 31 

Rip Van Winkle, 39 

English Writers on America, 45 

Rural Life in England, 53 

The Broken Heart, 60 

The Art of Book-Making, 65 

A Royal Poet, 69 

The Country Church, 84 

The Widow and Her Son, 89 

The Boar's Head Tavern, Eastcheap, .... 95 

The Mutability of Literature, 106 

Rural Funerals, 116 

The Inn Kitchen, 136 

The Spectre Bridegroom, 138 

Westminster Abbey 143 

Christmas, 153 

The Stage-Coach, 156 

Christmas Eve, 164 

Christmas Day, 174 

The Christmas Dinner, ' . . 187 1 

Little Britain, 198 

Stratford-on-Avon, 213 

Traits op Indian Chabactee, 230 

Philip 6f Pokanoket, 240 

John Bull, 256 

The Pride of the Village, 266 

The Angler, 275 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 283 

L'Envoy, 314 



THE AUTHOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELP. 



I am of this mind with Homer, that as the snaile that crept out of her shel 
was turned ef tsoones into a toad, and thereby was forced to make a stoole to sit 
on ; so the traveller that stragleth from his owne country is in a short time trans- 
formed into so monstrous a shape, that he is faine to alter his mansion with his 
manners, and to hve where he can, not where he would. — Lyly's Euphues. 

I WAS always fond of visiting new scenes, and observing 
strange characters and manners. Even when a mere child 
I began my travels, and made many tours of discovery 
into foreign parts and unknown regions of my native city, 
to the frequent alarm of my parents, and the emolument 
of the town-crier. As I grew into boyhood, I extended 
the range of my observations. My holiday afternoons 
were spent in rambles about the surrounding country. 1 
made myself familiar with all its places famous in history 
or fable. I knew every spot where a murder or robbery 
had been committed, or a ghost seen. ' I visited the neigh- 
boring villages, and added greatly to my stock of knowl- 
edge, by noting their habits and customs, and conversing 
with their sages and great men. I even journeyed one long 
summer's day to the summit of the most distant hill, 
from whence I stretched my eye over many a mile of terra 
incognita, and was astonished to find how vast a globe I 
inhabited. 

This rambling propensity strengthened with my years. 
Books of voyages and travels became my passion, and in 
devouring their contents, I neglected the regular exercises 
of the school. How wistfully would I wander about the 
pier-heads in fine weather, and watch the parting ships, 
bound to distant climes — with what longing eyes would I 
gaze after their lessening sails, and waft myself in imag- 
inations to the ends of the earth I 

Farther reading and thinking, though they brought thife 



6 THE A UTHORS A CCO UNT OF HIMSELF, 

vague inclination into more reasonable bounds, only served 
to make it more decided. I visited various parts of my 
own country; and had I been merely influenced by a love 
of fine scenery, I should have felt little desire to seek 
elsewhere its gratification: for on no country have the 
charms of nature been more prodigally lavished. Her 
mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, 
with their bright aerial tints; her valleys, teeming with 
wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in 
their solitudes; her boundless plains, waving with sponta- 
neous verdure; her broad deep rivers, roiling in solemn 
silence to the ocean; her trackless forests, where vegeta- 
tion puts forth all its magnificence; her skies, kindling 
with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine: 
no, never need an American look beyond his own country 
for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery. 

But Europe held forth all the charms of storied and 
poetical association. There were to be seen the master- 
pieces of art, the refinements of highly cultivated society, 
the quaint peculiarities of ancient and local custom. My 
native country was full of youthf«l promise ; Europe was 
rich in the accumulated treasures of age. Her very ruins 
told the history of times gone by, and every mouldering 
stone was a chronicle. I longed to wander over the scenes 
of renowned achievement — to tread, as it were, in the 
footsteps of antiquity — to loiter about the ruined castle — 
to meditate on the falling tower — to escape, in short, from 
the commonplace realities of the present, and lose myself 
among the shadowy grandeurs of the past. 

I had, besides all this, an earnest desire to see the great 
men of the earth. We have, it is true, our great men in 
America : not a city but has an ample share of them. I 
have mingled among them in my time, and been almost 
withered by the shade into which they cast me; for there 
is nothing so baleful to a small man as the shade of a great 
one, particularly the great man of a city. But I was anx- 
ious to see the great men of Europe; for I had read in the 
works of various j^hilosophers, that all animals degenerated 
in America, and man among the number. A great man 
of Europe, thought I, must therefore be as superior to a 
great man of America as a peak of the Alps to a highland 
of the Hudson; and in this idea I was confirmed, by ob- 



THE A UTHORS A CCO UNT OF HIMSELF. 7 

serving the comparative importance and swelling magni- 
tude of many English travellers among ns, who, I was 
assured, were very little peojile in their own country. I 
will visit this land of wonders, thought I, and see the 
gigantic race from which I am degeiierated. 

It has been either my good or evil lot to have my rov- 
ing passion gratified. I have wandered through different 
countries, and witnessed many of the shifting scenes of 
life. I cannot say that I have studied them Avith the eye 
of a philosopher, but rather with the sauntering gaze with 
which humble lovers of the picturesque stroll from the 
window of one print-shop to another ; caught sometimes 
by the delineations of beauty, sometimes by the distortions 
of caricature, and sometimes by the loveliness of land- 
scape. As it is the fashion for modern tourists to travel 
pencil in hand, and bring home their portfolios filled with 
sketches, I am disposed to get up a few for the entertain- 
ment of my friends. When, however, I look over the 
hints and memorandums I have taken down for the pur- 
pose, my heart almost fails me, at finding how my idle 
humor has led me aside from the great objects studied by 
every regular traveller who would make a book. I fear I 
shall give equal disappointment with an unlucky land- 
scape-j^ainter, who had travelled on the Conthient, but 
following the bent of his vagrant inclination, had sketched 
in nooks, and corners, and by-places. His sketch-book 
was accordingly crowded with cottages, and landscapes, 
and obscure ruins; but he had neglected to paint St. 
Peter's, or the Coliseum; the Cascade of Terni, or the 
Bay of Xaples; and had not a single glacier or volcano in 
his whole collection. 



THE sketch-book: 

OF 

GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. 



"I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere spectator 
df otiier men's fortunes and adventures, and how they play their parts ; which, 
methinks, are diversely presented unto me, as from a common theatre or 
; scene." — Burton. 

V "^ ^ U"' 



i^ 



s 



> 



THE VOYAGE. 



Ships, ships, I will descrie you 
Amidst the main, 

I ■will come and tiy you. 

What you are protecting. 

And projecting, 
What's your end and aim. 
One goes abroad for merchandise and trading, 
Anotlier stays to keep his country from invading, 
A third is coming home with rich and wealthy lading, 
Hallo ! my fancie, whither wilt thou go "/—Old Poem. 



' ^ To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he 
' V has to make is an excellent preparative. The temporary 
*^^ absence of worldly scenes and employments produces a 
A state of mind peculiarly fitted to receive new and vivid 
^^ impressions. The vast space of waters that separates the 
>^ hemispheres is like a blank page in existence. There is 
■ - no gradual transition by Avhich, as in Europe, the features 
and population of one country blend almost impercepti- 
bly with those of another. From the moment you lose 
sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy, until you 
step on the opposite shore, and are launched at once into 
the bustle and novelties of another world. 

In travelling by land there is a continuity of scene, and 
a connected succession of persons and incidents, that carry 
on the story of life, and lessen the oflVct of absence and 



10 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

separation. We drag, it is true, "a lengthening chain " at 
each remove of our pilgrimage; but the chain is unbroken; 
we can trace it back link by link; and we feel that the 
last of them still grapples ns to home. But a wide sea 
voyage severs us at once. It makes us conscious of being 
cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled life, and 
sent adrift upon a doubtful world. It interposes a gulf, 
not merely imaginary, but real, between us and our homes 
' — a gulf, subject to tempest, and fear, and uncertainty, that 
makes distance palpable, and return precarious. 

Such, at least, was the case with myself. As I saw the 
fest blue line of my native land fade away like a cloud in 
die horizon, it seemed as if I had closed one volume of the 
world and ics concerns, and had time for meditation, be- 
fore I opened another. That land, too, now vanishing 
('rom my view, which contained all that was most dear to 
me in life; what vicissitudes might occur in it — what 
changes might take place in me, before I should visit it 
again I Who can tell, when h^ sets forth to wander, 
whither he may be driven by the uncertain currents of 
existence; or when he niay return; or Avhether it may be 
ever his lot to revisit the scenes of his childhood ? 

I said, that at sea all is vacancy : I should correct the 
expression. To one given to day dreaming, and fond of 
losing himself in reveries, a sea voyage is full of subjects 
for meditation ; but then they are the wonders of the deep 
and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from 
worldly themes. I delighted to \o\i over the quarter-railing 
or climb to the main-top, of a calm day, and muse for 
hours together on the tranquil bosom of a summer sea; — 
to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just j^eering above 
the horizon; fancy them some fairy realms, and people 
them with a creation of my own ; — to watch the gentle 
undulating billows, rolling their silver volumes, as if to die 
away on those happy shores. 

There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and 
awe with which I looked down, from my giddy height, on 
the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols : shoals 
of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the sliip; the 
grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface ; 
or the ravenous shark, darting like a spectre, through the 
blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I 



THE VOYAGE. 11 

had heard or read of the watery world beneath me : of the 
finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the shape- 
less monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the 
earth, and of those wild phantasms that swell the tales of 
fishermen and sailors. 

Sometimes a distant sail, gliding along the edge of the 
>y^ ocean, would be another theme of idle speculation. How 
j^ interesting this fragment of a world, hastening to rejoin 
r the great mass of existence ! What a glorious monument 
'- "" of human invention; that has thus triumphed overwind 
and wave; has brought the ends of the Avorld into com- 
munion; has established an interchange of blessings, pour- 
ing into the sterile regions of the north all the luxuries of 
the south; h;is diffused the light of knowledge, and the 
charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together 
those scattered portions of the human race, between which 
nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier. 
"We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a 
distance. At sea, every thing that breaks the monotony 
of the surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved 
to be the mast of a ship that must have been completely 
wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by 
which some of the crew had fastened themselves to this 
\: spar, to prevent their being washed off by the waves. 
^T There was no trace by which the name of the ship could 
^yf be ascertained. The Avreck had evidently drifted about 
" for many months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about 
it, and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, 
thought I, is the crew ? Their struggle has long been over 
—they have gone down amid the roar of the tempest — 
their bones lie whitening among the caverns of the deep. 
Silence, oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, 
and no one can tell the story of their end. What sighs 
have been wafted after that ship; Avhat prayers offered up 
at the deserted fireside of home! IIow often has the mis- 
tress, the wife, the mother, pored over the daily news, to 
catch some casual intelligence of this rover of the deep ! 
How has expectation darkened into anxiety — anxiety into 
dread — and dread into despair! Alas! not one memento 
shall ever return for love to cherish. All that shall ever 
be known, is, that she sailed from her port "and was never 
heard of more I " 



Ox^ 



12 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The sight of this Avreck, as usual, gave rise to many dis- 
mal anecdotes. This was j^articularly the case in the even- 
ing, when the weather, which had hitherto been fair, be- 
gan to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of 
one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in 
upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round 
I the dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made the gloom 
more ghastly, every one had his tale of shi^D wreck and dis- 
aster. I was particularly struck with a short one related 
by the captain : 

"As I was once sailing," said he, " in a fine, stout ship, 
across the banks of Newfoundland, one of those heavy 
fogs that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for 
us to see far ahead, even in the daytime; but at night the 
weaflier was so thick that we could not distinguish any 
object at twice the length of the ship. I kept lights at 
the mast-head, and a constant watch forward to look out 
for fishing smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor 
on the banks. The w^ind was blowing a smacking breeze, 
and we were going at a great rate through the water. 
Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of 'a sail ahead!' — it 
was scarcely uttered before we were upon her. She was a 
small schooner, at anchor, with a broadside toward us. 
The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. 
We struck her just a-mid-ships. The force, the size, the 
weight of our vessel, bore her down below the waves; we 
passed over her and were hurried on our course. As the 
crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of 
two or three half-naked wretches, rushing from her cabin ; 
they just started from their beds to be sAvallowed shrieking 
by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the 
wind. The blast that bore it to our ears, swept us out of 
all farther hearing. I shall never forget that cry! It was 
some time before we could put the ship about, she was 
under such headway. We returned as nearly as we could 
guess, to the place where the smack had anchored. We 
cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We 
fired signal-guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo 
of any survivors; but all Avas silent — we never saw or heard 
anything of them more.'' 

I confess these stories, for a time, put an end to all my 
fine fancies. The storm increased with the night. The 



THE VOYAGR 13 

sea was lashed into tremendous confusion. There was a 
fearful, sullen sound of rushing waves and broken surges. 
Deep called unto deep. At times the black volume of 
clouds overhead seemed rent asunder by flashes of light- 
ning that quivered along the foaming billows, and made 
X, the succeeding darkness doubly terrible. The thunders 
:?^ bellowed over the wild waste of waters, and were echoed 
w^ and prolonged by the mountain waves. As I saw the ship 
jT"^ staggering and plunging among these roaring caverns, it 
seemed miraculous that she regained her balance, or pre- 
served her buoyancy. Her yards would dip into the water; 
her bow was almost buried beneath the waves. Sometimes 
an impending surge appeared ready to overwhelm her, and 
nothing but a dexterous movement of the helm preserved 
her from the shock. 

When I retired to my cabin, the awful scene still fol- 
lowed me. The whistling of the wind through the rigging 
sounded like funereal wailings. The creaking of the masts ; 
the straining and groaning of bulkheads, as the ship 
labored in the weltering sea, were frightful. As I heard 
the waves rushing along the side of the ship, and roaring 
in my very ear, it seemed as if Death Avere raging round 
this floating prison, seeking for his prey : the mere starting 
of a nail, the yawning of a seam, might give him entrance. 
A fine day, however, with a tranquil sea and favoring 
/ \ breeze, soon put all these dismal reflections to flight. It 
is impossible to resist the gladdening influence of fine 
weather and fair wind at sea. When the ship is decked 
c>^ out in all her canvas, every sail swelled, and careering 
)f /' g-Axlj over the curling Avaves, how lofty, how gallant, she 
appears — how she seems to lord it over the deep ! I might 
fill a volume with the reveries of a sea voyage; for with 
me it is almost a continual reverie — but it is time to get 
to shore. 

It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of 
" land ! " was given from the mast-head. None but those 
who have experienced it can form an idea of the delicious 
throng of sensations which rush into an American's bosom 
when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a vol- 
ume of associations with the very name. It is the land of 
promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood 
has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered. 



14 THE BKETCH-BOOK. 

From that time, until the moment of arrival, it was all 
feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like 
guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, 
stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains, 
towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense in- 
terest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the 
shores with a telescoj)e. My eye dwelt with delight on 
neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass- 
plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun 
with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising 
from the brow of a neighboring hill — all were characteris- 
tic of England. 

The tide and wind were so favorable, that the ship was 
enabled to come at once to the pier. It was thronged with 
people; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of 
friends or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to 
whom the shijD was consigned. I knew him by his calcu- 
lating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into 
his pockets, he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking 
to and fro, a small siaace having been accorded him by the 
crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There 
were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged be- 
tween the shore and the ship, as friends happened to rec- 
ognize each other. I particularly noticed one young woman 
of humble dress, but interesting demeanor. She was lean- 
ing forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over 
the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for 
countenance. She seemed disapjDointed and agitated; 
when I heard a faint voice call her name. — It was from a 
poor sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited 
the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather 
was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on 
deck in the shade, but of late his illness had so increased 
tliat he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a 
wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had 
been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now 
leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, 
so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of 
affection did not recognize him. But at the sound of his 
voice, her eye darted on his features ; it read, at once, a 
whole volume of sorrow ; she clasped her hands, uttered a 
faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony. 



ROSCOE. 15 

All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of ac- 
quaintances — the greetings of friends — the consultations 
of men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had 
no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon 
the land of my forefathers — but felt that I was a stranger 
iu the land. 



In the service of mankind to be 

A guardian god below ; still to employ 

The mind's brave ardor in heroic aims, 

Such as may raise us o'er the grovelling herd, 

And make us shine forever — that is life. — Thomson. 

One of the first places to which a stranger is taken iu 
Liverpool, is the Athenaeum. It is established on a liberal 
and Judicious plan ; it contains a good library, and spa- 
cious reading-room, and is the great literary resort of the 
place. Go there at what hour you may, you are sure to 
find it filled with grave-looking personages, deeply ab- 
sorbed in the study of newspapers. 

As I was once visiting this haunt of the learned, my 
attention was attracted to a person just entering the room. 
He was advanced in life, tall, and of a form that might 
once have been commanding, but it was a little bowed by 
time — perhaps by care. He had a noble Eoman style of 
countenance; a head that would have pleased a painter; 
and though some slight furrows on his brow showed that 
wasting thought had been busy there, yet his eye still 
beamed with the fire of a poetic soul. There was some- 
thing in his whole appearance that indicated a being of a 
different order from the bustling race around him. 

I inquired his name, and was informed that it was Ros- 
COE. I drew back with an involuntary feeling of venera- 
tion. This, then, was an author of celebrity; this was one 
of those men Avhose voices have gone forth to the ends of 
the earth; with whose minds I have commntied even in 
the solitudes of America. Accustomed, as we are in our 
country, to know European writers only by their works, 
we cannot conceive of them, as of other men, engrossed 
by trivial or sordid pursuits, and jostling with the crowd 
of common minds in the dusty paths of life. They pass 



16 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

before our imaginations like superior beings, radiant with 
the emanations of their own genius, and surrounded by a 
halo of literary glory. 

To find, therefore, the elegant historian of the Medici 
mingling among the busy sons of tratfic, at first shocked 
my poetical ideas ; but it is from the very circumstances 
and situation in which he has been placed, that Mr. Eos- 
coe derives his highest claims to admiration. It is inter- 
esting to notice how some minds seem almost to create 
themselves; springing up under every disadvantage, and 
working their solitary but irresistible way through a thou- 
' sand obstacles. Mature seems to delight in disappointing 
the assiduities of art, with which it would rear legitimate 
dulness to maturity; and to glory in the vigor and luxuri- 
ance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of 
genius to the winds, and though some may perish among 
the stony places of the world, and some be choked by the 
thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now 
and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, strug- 
gle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile 
birthplace all the beauties of vegetation. 

Such has been the case with Mr. Roscoe. Born in a 
jilace apparently ungenial to the growth of literary talent; 
in the very market-place of trade; without fortune, family 
connections, or patronage; self-j)rompted, self-sustained, 
and almost self-taught, he has conquered every obstacle, 
achieved his way to eminence, and having become one of 
the ornaments of the nation, has turned the whole force of 
his talents and influence to advance and embellish his na- 
tive town. 

Indeed, it is this last trait in his character which has 
given him the greatest interest in my eyes, and induced 
me particularly to point him out to my countrymen. 
Eminent as are his literary merits, he is but one among 
the many distinguished authors of this intellectual nation. 
They, however, in general, live but for their own fame, or 
their own pleasures. Their private history presents no 
lesson to the world, or, perhaps, a humiliating one of 
human frailty and inconsistency. At best, they are prone 
to steal away from the bustle and commonplace of busy 
existence; to indulge in the selfishness of lettered ease; 
and to revel in scenes of mental, but exclusive enjoyment. 



Mr. Roscoe, on the coiitraiy, has claimed none of the 
accorded privileges of talent. He has shut himself up in 
no garden of thought, nor elysium of fancy; but has gone 
forth into the highways and thoroughfares of life, he has 
planted bowers by the. wayside, for the refreshment of the 
pilgrim and the sojourner, and has opened pure fountains, 
where the laboring man may turn aside from the dust and 
heat of the day, and drink of the living streams of knowl- 
edge. There is a "daily beauty in his life," on which 
mankind may meditate, and grow better. It exhibits no 
lofty and almost useless, because inimitable, example of 
excellence; but presents a picture of active, yet simple 
and imitable virtues, which are within any man's reach, 
but which, unfortunately, are not exercised by many, or 
this world would be a paradise. 

But his private life is peculiarly worthy the attention 
of the citizens of our young and busy country, where lit- 
erature and the elegant arts must grow up side by side 
with the coarser plants of daily necessity; and must de- 
pend for their culture, not on the exclusive devotion of 
time and wealth; nor the quickening rays of titled pa- 
tronage; but on hours and seasons snatched from the pur- 
suit of worldly interests, by intelligent and public-spirited 
individuals. 

He has shown how much may be done for a place in 
hours of leisure by one master spirit, and how completely 
it can give its own impress to surrounding objects. Like 
his own Lorenzo de Medici, on whom he seems to have 
fixed his eye, as on a pure model of antiquit}^, he has in- 
terwoven the history of 'his life with the history of his na- 
tive town, and has made the foundations of its fame the 
monuments of his virtues. Wherever you go, in Liver- 
pool, you perceive traces of his footsteps in all that is ele- 
gant and liberal. He found the tide of wealth flowing 
merely in the channels of traffic; he has diverted from it 
invigorating rills to refresh tlie gardens of literature. By 
his own example and constant exertions, he has elfected 
that union of commerce and the intellectual pursuits, so 
eloquently recommended in one of his latest writings; ^ 
and has practically proved how beautifully they may be 
brought to harmonize, and to benefit eacli other. The 

' Address oatiiO'Oix^aingof theLiveriJoollnsutution. 
2 



18 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

noble institutions for literary and scientific purposes, which 
reflect such credit on Liverpool, and are giving such an 
impulse to the jjublic mind, have mostly been originated, 
and have all been effectively promoted by Mr. Koscoe: 
and when we consider the rapidly ihcreasing opulence and 
magnitude of that town, which promises to vie in commer- 
cial importance with the metropolis, it will be perceived 
that in awakening an ambition of mental improvement 
among its inhabitants, he has effected a great benefit to 
the cause of British literature. 

In America, we know Mr. Eoscoe only as the author — 
in Liverpool he is sj^oken of as the banker: and I was told 
of his having been unfortunate in business. I could not 
j)ity him, as I heard some rich men do. 1 considered him 
far above the reach of my pity. Those who live only for 
the world, and in the world, may be cast down by the frowns 
of adversity; but a man like Roscoe is not to be overcome 
by the reverses of fortune. They do but drive him in 
upon the resources of his own mind ; to the superior soci- 
ety of his own thoughts; which the best of men are apt 
sometimes to neglect, and to roam abroad in search of less 
wortliy associates. He is independent of the world around 
him. He lives with antiquity, and with posterity: with 
antiquity, in the sweet communion of studious retirement; 
and with posterity in the generous aspirings after future 
renown. The solitude of such a mind is its state of high- 
est enjoyment. It is then visited by those elevated medi- 
tations which are the proper aliment of noble souls, and 
are, like manna, sent from heav.en, in the wilderness of 
this world. 

While my feelings were yet alive on the subject, it was 
my fortune to light on farther traces of Mr. Roscoe. I 
was riding out with a gentleman, to view the environs of 
Liverpool, when he turned off, through a gate, into some 
ornamental grounds. After riding a short distance, we 
came to a sj)acious mansion of freestone, built in the Gre- 
cian style. It was not in tlie purest taste, yet it had an 
air of elegance, and the situation was delightful. A fine 
lawn sloped aAvay from it, studded with clumps of trees, so 
disposed as to break a soft fertile country into a variety of 
landscapes. The Mersey was seen winding a broad quiet 
sheet of water through an expanse of green meadow land; 



ROSCOS. 19 

while the Welsh mountains, blending with clouds, and 
melting into distance, bordered the horizon. 

This was Roseoe's favorite residence during the days of 
his prosperity. It has been the seat of elegant hospitality 
and literary refinement. The house was now silent and 
deserted, f saw the windows of the study, which looked 
out upon the soft scenery I have mentioned. The windows 
were closed — the library was gone. Two or three ill- 
favored beings were loitering about the place, whom my 
fancy pictured into retainers of the law. It was like vis- 
iting some classic fountain that had once welled its pure 
waters in a sacred shade, but finding it dry and dusty, with 
the lizard and the toad brooding over the shattered marbles. 

I inquired after the fate of Mr. Roscoe's library, which 
had consisted of scarce and foreign books, from many of 
Avhich he had drawn the materials for his Italian histories. 
It had passed under the hammer of the auctioneer, and* 
was dispersed about the country. 

The good people of the vicinity thronged like wreckers 
to get some part of the noble vessel that had been driven 
on shore. Did such a scene admit of ludicrous associa- 
tions, we might imagine something whimsical in this 
strange irruption into the regions of learning. Pygmies 
rummaging the armory of a giant, and contending for the 
possession of weapons which they could not wield. We 
might picture to ourselves some knot of speculators, de- 
bating with calcuLiting brow over the quaint binding and 
illuminated margin of an obsolete author; or the air of 
intense, but baffled sagacity, with Avhich some successful 
purchaser attempted to dive into the black-letter bargain 
he had secured. 

It is a beautiful incident in the stoi'y of Mr. Roscoe's 
misfortunes, and one which cannot faij to interest the stu- 
dious mind, that the parting with his books seems to have 
touched upon his tenderest feelings, and to have been the 
only circumstance that could provoke the notice of his 
muse. The scholar only knows how dear these silent, yet 
eloquent companions of })ure thoughts and innocent hours 
become in the season of adversity. When all that is worldly 
turns to dross around us, these only retain their steady 
value. Wlien friends grow cold, and the converse of in- 
timates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, 



So THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

these only continue the unaltered countenance of happier 
days, and cheer us Avith that true friendship which never 
deceived hope, nor deserted sorroAV. 

I do not wish to censure; but, surely, if the people of 
Liverjaool had been properly sensible of what was due to 
Mr. Eoscoe and to themselves, his library would never have 
been sold. Good Avorldly reasons may, doubtless, be given 
for the circumstance, which it would be difficult to com- 
bat with others that might seem merely fanciful; but it 
certainly appears to me such an opportunity as seldom 
occurs, of cheering a noble mind struggling under misfor- 
tunes by one of the most delicate, but most expressive 
tokens of public sympathy. It is difficult, however, to es- 
timate a man of genius projDerly who is daily before our 
eyes. He becomes mingled and confounded with other 
men. His great qualities lose their novelty, and we be- 
come. too familiar with the common materials which form 
the basis even of the loftiest character. Some of Mr. 
Eoscoe's townsmen may regard him merely as a man of 
business; others as a politician; all find him engaged like 
themselves in ordinary occupations, and surpassed, per- 
haps, by themselves on some points of worldly wisdom. 
Even that amiable and unostentatious simplicity of char- 
acter, which gives the nameless grace to real excellence, 
may cause him to be undervalued by some coarse minds, 
who do not know that true worth is always void of glare 
and pretension. But the man of letters who speaks of 
Liverpool, speaks of it as the residence of Eoscoe. — The 
intelligent traveller who visits it, inquires Avhera Eoscoe is 
to be seen. — He is the literary landmark of the place, in- 
dicating its existence to the distant scholar. — He is like 
Ponipey's column at Alexandria, towering alone in classic 
dignity. 

The following sonnet, addressed by Mr. Eoscoe to his 
books, on parting with them, is alluded to in the preced- 
ing article. If anything can add effect to the pure feeling 
and elevated thought here displayed, it is the conviction, 
that tlie whole is no effusion of fancy, but a faithful tran- 
script from the writer's heart: 

TO MY BOOKS. 

As one, who, destined from his friends to pare, 
Regrets his loss, but hopes again erewliile 
" To share their converse, and enjoy their smile, 

And tempers, as he may^ affliction's dart ; 



THE WIFE. 21 



"Bhus, loved associates, chiefs of elder art. 
Teachers of wisdom, who could once beguile 
My tedious hours, and lighten every toil. 

I now resign you ; nor with fainting heart ; 

For pass a few short years, or days, or hours. 
And happier seasons may their dawn unfold. 
And all your sacred fellowship restore ; 

When freed from earth, imlimited its powers, 
Mind shall with mind direct communion hold, 

And kindred spirits meet to part no more. 



THE WIFE. 

The treasures of the deep are not so precious 
As are the concealed comforts of a man 
Lock'd up in woman's love. I scent the air 
Of blessings, when I come but near the house. 
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth — 
The violet bed's not sweeter. — Middleton. 

I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude Avith 
which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of 
fortune. Those disasters which break down the sjjirit of 
a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth 
all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity 
and elevation to their character, that at times it approaches 
to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching, than to be- 
hold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness 
and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, Avhile 
threading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in 
mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her 
husband under misfortune, and abidiug, with unshrinking 
firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity. 

As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage 
about the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, Avill, 
when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling 
round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shat- 
tered boughs; so is it beautifully ordered by Providence, 
that woman, who is the mere dependent and ornament of 
man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace 
when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into 
the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the 
drooping head, and binding up the broken heart. 

I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him 
a blooming family, knit together in the strongest affection. 
" I can wish you no better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, 



22 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

" than to have a wife and children. If you are prosperous, 
there they are to share your prosperity; if otherwise, there 
they are to comfort you." And, indeed, I have observed 
thai a married man falling into misfortune, is more apt to 
retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; partly, 
because he is more stimulated to exertion by the necessi- 
ties of the helpless and beloved beings who depend upon 
him for subsistence; but chiefly, because his spirits are 
soothed and relieved by domestic endearments, and his 
self-respect kept alive by finding, that though all abroad is 
darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little world 
of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas, 
a single man is apt to run to waste and self-neglect; to 
fancy himself lonely and abandoned, and his heart to fall 
to ruin^ like some deserted mansion, for want of an inhab- 
itant. 

These observations call to mind a little domestic story, 
of which I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Les- 
lie, had married a beautiful and accomplished girl, who 
had been brought up in the midst of fashionable life. She 
had, it is true, no fortune, but that of my friend was am- 
ple; and he delighted in the anticipation of indulging her 
in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those deli- 
cate tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery 
about the sex. — "Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairv 
tale." 

The very difference in their characters produced a har- 
monious combination; he was of a romantic, and some- 
Avhat serious cast; she was all life and gladness. I have 
often noticed the mute rapture with which he would gaze 
upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers made 
her the delight; and how, in the midst of apjDlause, her 
eye would still turn to him, as if there alone she sought 
favor and acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slen- 
der form contrasted finely with his tall, manly person. 
The fond confiding air with which she looked uja to him 
seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant pride and cher- 
ishing tenderness, as if he doated on his lovely burthen 
for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward 
on the flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with 
a fairer prospect of felicity. 

It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have 



THE WIFE. 23 

embarked his property in large speculations; and he had 
not been married many months, when, by a succession of 
sudden disasters, it was swept from him, and he found 
himself reduced to almost penury. For a time he kept 
his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard 
countenance, and a breaking heart. His life was but a 
protracted agony; and what rendered it more insupporta- 
ble was the necessity of keeping up a smile in the presence 
of his wife; for he could not bring himself to overwhelm 
her with the news. She saw, however, with the quick 
eyes of affection, that all was not well with him. She 
marked his altered looks and stifled sighs, and was not to 
be deceived by his sickly and vapid attempts at cheerful- 
ness. She tasked all her sprightly powers and tender blan- 
dishments to win him back to happiness; but she only 
drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw 
cause to love her, the more torturing was the thought that 
he was soon to make her wretched. A little while, thought 
he, and the smile will vanish from that cheek — the song 
will die away from those lips — the lustre of those eyes will 
be quenched with sorrow — and the happy heart which now 
beats lightly in that bosom, will be weighed down, like 
mine, by the cares and miseries of the world. 

At length he came to me one day, and related his whole 
situation in a tone of the deepest despair. When I had 
heard him through, I inquired, " Does your wife know all 
this ? " At the question he burst into an agony of tears. 
"For God's sake! " cried he, " if you have any pity on me, 
don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that drives 
me almost to madness ! " 

"And why not ? " said I. " She must know it sooner or 
later : you cannot keep it long from her, and the intelli- 
gence may break upon her in a more startling manner than 
if imparted by yourself; for the accents of those we love 
soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are depriving 
yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely 
that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep 
hearts together — an unreserved community of thought and 
feeling. She Avill soon perceive that something is secretly 
preying upon your mind; and true love will not brook re- 
serve: it feels undervalued and outraged, when even the 
sorrows of those it loves are concci,dQd from it," 



24 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

" Oh, but my friend ! to think what a blow I am to give 
to all her future prospects — how I am to strike her very 
soul to the earth, by telling her that her husband is a beg- 
gar! — that she is to forego all the elegancies of life — all 
the pleasures of society — to shrink with me into indigence 
and obscurity! To tell her that I have dragged her down 
from the sphere in which she might have continued to 
move in constant brightness — the light of every eye — the 
admiration of every heart! — How can she bear poverty? 
8he has been brought up in all the refinements of opulence. 
How can she bear neglect ? She has been the idol of soci- 
ety. Oh, it will break her heart — it will break her heart ! " 

I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; 
for sorrow relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm 
had subsided, and he had relapsed into moody silence, I 
resumed the subject gently, and urged him to break his 
situation at once to his wife. He shook his head mourn- 
fully, but positively. 

" But how are you to keep it from her ? It is necessary 
she should know it, that you may take the steps proper to 
the alteration of your circumstances. You must change 
your style of living — nay," observing a pang to pass across 
his countenance, " don't let that afflict you. I am sure 
you have never placed your happiness in outward show — 
you have yet friends, warm friends, who will not think the 
worse of you for being less splendidly lodged : and surely 
it does not require a palace to be happy with Mary — " 
" I could be happy with her," cried he, convulsively, " in 
a hovel ! — I could go down Avith her into poverty and the 
dust! — I could— I could — God bless her!— God bless her!" 
cried he, bursting into a transport of grief and tenderness. 

"And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping up, and 
grasping him warmly by the hand, " believe me, she can 
be the same with you. Ay, more : it will be a source of 
pride and triumph to her — it will call forth all the latent 
energies and fervent sympathies of her nature; for she 
will rejoice to prove that she loves you for yourself. There 
is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, 
which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; 
but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark 
hour of adversity. No man knows what the wife of his 
bosom is — no, man knows what a ministering angel she is 



THE WIFE. 25 

—until he has gone with her througli the fiei^ trials of this 
world."' 

There was something in the earnestness of my manner, 
and the figurative style of my language, that caught the 
excited imagination of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had 
to deal with; and following up the impression I had made, 
I finished by persuading him to go home and unburthen 
his sad heart to his wife. 

I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt 
some little solicitude for the result. Who can calculate 
on the fortitude of one whose whole life has been a round 
of pleasures ? Her gay spirits might revolt at the dark, 
downward path of low humility, suddenly pointed out be- 
fore her, and might cling to the sunny regions in which 
they had hitherto revelled. Besides, ruin in fashionable 
life is accompanied by so many galling mortifications, to 
which, in other ranks, it is a stranger. — In short, I could 
not meet Leslie, the next morning, without trepidation. 
He had made the disclosure. 

"And how did she bear it ? " 

"Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her 
mind, for she threw her arms round my neck, and asked 
if this was all that had lately made me unhappy. — But, 
poor girl," added he, " she cannot realize the change we 
must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but in the ab- 
stract : she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied 
to love. She feels as yet no privation : she suffers no loss 
of accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. AVhen we 
come practically to experience its sordid cares, its paltry 
wants, its petty humiliations — then will be the real 
trial." 

" But," said I, "now that you have got over the severest 
task, that of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the 
world into the secret the better. The disclosure may be 
mortifying; but then it is a single misery, and soon over; 
whereas you otherwise suffer it, in anticipation, every hour 
in the day. It is not poverty, so much as joretcnce, that 
harasses a ruined man — the struggle between a proud mind 
and an empty purse — the keeping up a hollow show that 
must soon come to an end. Have the courage to appear 
poor, and you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting." On 
this point I found Leslie perfectly prepared. He had no 



26 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was only anxions 
to conform to tlieir altered fortunes. 

Some days afterward, he called upon me in the evening. 
lie had disposed of his dwelling-house, and taken a small 
cottage in the country, a few miles from town. He had 
been busied all da}^ in sending out furniture. The new 
establishment required few articles, and those of the sim- 
plest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late residence 
had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, 
was too closely associated with the idea of herself; it be- 
longed to the little story of their loves ; for some of the 
sweetest moments of their courtship were those when he 
had leaned over that instrument, and listened to the melt- 
ing tones of her voice. I could not but smile at this in- 
stance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband. 

He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had 
been all day, superintending its arrangement. My feel- 
ings had become strongly interested in the progress of this 
family story, and as it was a fine evening, I offered to ac- 
comjiany him. 

He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and as we 
walked out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing. 

"Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from 
his lips. 

"And what of her," asked I, " has anything happened to 
her ? " 

" What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it 
nothing to be reduced to this jialtry situation — to be caged 
in a miserable cottage — to be obliged to toil almost in the 
menial concerns of her wretched habitation ? " 

" Has she then rejoined at the change ? " 

" Kepined ! she has been nothing but sweetness and good 
humor. Indeed, she seems in better spirits than I have 
ever known her; she has been to me all love, and tender- 
ness, and comfort ! " 

"Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself 
poor, my friend; you never were so rich — you never knew 
the boundless treasures of excellence you possessed in that 
Avoman." 

" Oh ! but my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage 
were over, I think I could then be comfortable. But this 
is her first day of real experience ; she has been iritrQdUQed 



THE WIFE. 27 

into an humble dwelling — she has been employed all day 
in arranging its miserable equipments — she has for the first 
time known the fatigues of domestic employment — she has 
for the first time looked around her on a home destitute 
of everything elegant — almost of everything convenient; 
and may now be sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, 
brooding over a prospect -of future poverty." 

There was a degree of probability in this picture that I 
could not gainsay, so we walked on in silence. 

After turning from the main road, up a narrow lane, so 
thickly shaded by forest trees as to give it a complete air 
of seclusion, we came in sight of the cottage. It was hum- 
ble enough in its appearance for the most pastoral poet; 
and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild vine had 
overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees 
threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed 
several pots of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, 
and on the grass-plot in front. A small wicket-gate opened 
upon a footpath that wound through some shrubbery to 
the door. Just as Ave approached, we heard the sound of 
music — Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened. 
It was Mary's voice, singing, in a style of the most touch- 
ing simplicity, a little air of which her husband was pecu- 
liarly fond. 

I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stej^ped 
forward, to hear more distinctly. His step made a noise 
on the gravel-walk. A bright beautiful face glanced out 
at the window, and vanished — ^a light footstep w;is heard 
— and Mary came tripping forth to meet us. She was in 
a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were 
twisted in her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; 
her whole countenance beamed with smiles — 1 had never 
seen her look so lovely. 

" My dear George," cried she, " I am so glad you are 
come; I have been watching and watching for you; and 
running down the lane, and looking out for you. I've set 
out a table under a beautiful tree behind the cottage; and 
Fve been gathering some of the most delicious strawber- 
ries, for I know you are fond of tliem — and we have such 
excellent cream — and everything is so sweet and still here. 
— Oh!" said she, putting her arm within his, and looking 
up brightly in hivS face, " Oh, we shull be so hajjpy ! " 



28 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Poor Leslie was overcome. — He caught her to his bosom 
— he folded his arms round her — he kissed her again and 
again — he could not speak, but the tears gushed into his 
eyes; and he has often assured me that though the world 
has since gone prosjierously with him, and his life has in- 
deed been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a 
moment of more exquisite felicity'. 



[The following tale was found among the papers of the 
late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New 
York, who was very curious in the Dutch History of the 
province, and the manners of the descendants from its 
primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did 
not lie so much among books as among men; for the 
former are lamentabW scanty on his favorite topics; wliereas 
he found the old burghers, and still more, their wives, rich 
in that legendary lore, so invaluable to true history. 
Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch 
family, snugly shut up in its low-roofed farmhouse, under 
a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasped 
volume of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of a 
•bookworm. 

The result of all these researches was a history of the 
province, during the reign of the Dutch governors, which 
he published some years since. There have been various 
opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to 
tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. 
Its chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which, indeed, 
was a little questioned, on its first appearance, but has since 
been completely established; and it is now admitted into 
all historical collections, as a book of unquestionable au- 
thority. 

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of 
his work, and now, that he is dead and gone, it cannot do 
much harm to his memory to say, that his time might 
have been much better employed in weightier labors. He, 
however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way ; and though 
it did now and then kick up the dust a little in the eyes 
of his neighbors, and grieve the spirit of some friends for 
whom he felt the truest deference and affection, yet his 



RIP VAJSr wmKLlE. s& 

errors and follies are remembered " more in sorrow than 
in anger," ^ and it begins to be suspected, that he never in- 
tended to injure or offend. But however his memory may 
be appreciated by critics, it is still held dear among many 
folk, whose good opinion is well worth having; particu- 
larly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to 
imprint his likeness on their new-year cakes, and have 
thus given him a chance for immortality, almost equal to 
the being stamped on a Waterloo medal, or a Queen Anne's 
farthing.] 

EIP VAN WINKLE. 

A POSTHUMOUS WRITING OF DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER, 

By Woden, God of Saxons, 

From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday, 

Truth is a thing that ever I will keep 

Unto thylke day in which I creep into 

My sepulchre. — Cartwright. 

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson, must re- 
member the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a dismem- 
bered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen 
away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, 
and lording it over the surrounding country. Every 
change of season, every change of weather, indeed every 
liour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues 
and shapes of these mountains; and they are regarded by 
all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. 
When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in 
blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear 
evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the land- 
scape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors 
about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting 
sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory. 

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may 
bave descried the light smoke curling up from a village, 
whose shingle roofs gleam among tlie trees, Just where the 
blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of 
the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiq- 
uity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colo- 

' Vide the excellent discourse of G. C. Verplanck, Esq., before the New York 
Historical Society. 



30 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

nists, in the early times of the province, just about the be- 
ginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant 
(may he rest in peace!) and there were some of the houses 
of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of 
small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed 
windows and gabled fronts, surmounted with weather-cocks. 

In that same villgge, and in one of these very houses 
(which to tell tl^preeise truth, was sadly time-worn and 
weather-beaten), there. lived many years since, while the 
country was yet ? ^ovince of Great Britain, a simple, 
good-natur'^d |elJ.ov;^^.the name of Rip Van Winkle. He 
was a descendant jDS|'^he Van Winkles who figured so gal- 
lantly in the chA-^JlpCis days of Peter Stuyvesant, and ac- 
companied liim *6 ^l-'Si'fiiege of Fort Christina. He inherited, 
however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. 

I have observed that he was a simple, good-natured man, 
he was moreover a kind neighbor, and an obedient hen- 
pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might 
be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such 
universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be 
obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the dis- 
.cipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are 
rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of do- 
mestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the 
sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience 
and long-sulfering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in 
some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing, and if 
so. Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed. 

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the 
good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable 
sex, took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, 
whenever they talked those matters over in their evening 
gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. 
The children of the village, too, would shout with joy 
whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made 
their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot mar- 
l)les, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and In- 
dians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he 
was surrounded by a troop of them hanging on his skirts, 
clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on 
him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him 
throughout the neighborhood. 



RIP VAN WINKLE. 31 

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable 
aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be 
from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would 
sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's 
lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he 
should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would 
carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder for hours together, 
trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and 
down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He 
would never refuse to assist a neighbor, even in the rough- 
est toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for 
husking Indian corn or building stone fences. The women 
of the village, too, used to employ him to run their er- 
rands, and to do such little odd joIds as their less obliging 
husbands would not do for them: — in a word, Rij) was 
ready to attend to anybody's business but his own ; but as 
to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he 
found it impossible. 

In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; 
it was the most pestilent little jjiece of ground in the whole 
country ; everything about it went wrong, and would go 
wrong in spite of him. His fences were continually fall- 
ing to pieces: his 30w would either go astray, or get among 
the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields 
than anywhere else; the rain always made a point of set- 
ting in just as he had some out-door work to do; so that 
though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under 
his management, acre by acre, until there was little more 
left than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it 
was the worst conditioned farm in the neighborhood. 

His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they be- 
longed to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his 
own likeness, promised to inherit the habits, with the old 
clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like 
a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his 
father's cast-off galligaskins, which he had much ado to 
liold up with one hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad 
Aveather. 

Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mor- 
tals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world 
easy, eat Avhite bread or brown, whichever can be got with 
least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a 



Sa *rHE SKETCH-BOOK, 

penny than work for a pound. If left to liimself, lie would 
have Avhistled life away in perfect contentment; but his 
wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idle- 
ness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his 
family. 

Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly 
going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce 
a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way 
of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by fre- 
quent use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoul- 
ders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. 
This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his 
wife, so that he was fain to draAV off his forces, and take 
to the outside of the house — the only side which, in truth, 
belongs to a henpecked husband. 

Eip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was 
?s much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle 
regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked 
upon Wolf with an evil eye as the cause of his master's 
going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit 
befitting an honorable dog, he was as courageous an ani- 
mal as ever scoured the woods — but what courage can with- 
stand the ever-during and all-besetting terrors of a woman's 
tongue ? The moment Wolf entered the house, his crest 
fell, his tail droojDed to the ground, or curled between his 
legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a 
sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least 
flourish of a broomstick or ladle, he would fly to the door 
with yelping precipitation. 

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle, as 
years of matrimony rolled on : a tart temper never mellows 
with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edge tool that 
grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used 
to console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting 
a kind of perpetual club of the sages, philosophers, and 
other idle personages of the village, which held its sessions 
on a bench before a small inn, designated by a rubicund 
portrait of his majesty George the Third. Here they used 
to sit in the shade, of a long, lazy summer's day, talking 
listlessly over village gossip, or telling endless sleepy stories 
about nothing. But it would have been worth any states- 
man's money to have heard the profound discussions which 



RIP T.liY WINKLK 33 

sometimes took place, when by chance an old newspaper 
fell into their hands, from some passing traveller. How 
solemnly they would listen to the contents, as drawled out 
by Derrick Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapper learned 
little man, who was not to be daunted by the most gigan- 
tic word in the dictionary; and how sagely they would de- 
liberate upon public events some months after they had 
taken place. 

The opinions of this junta were completely controlled 
by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and landlord 
of the inn, at the door of which he took his seat from 
morning till night, just moving suflficiently to avoid the 
sun, and keep in the shade of a large tree; so that the 
neighbors could tell the hour by his movements as accu- 
rately as by a sun-dial. It is true, he was rarely heard to 
speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. His adherents, 
however (for every great man has his adherents), perfectly 
understood him, and knew how to gather his opinions. 
When anything that was read or related displeased him, 
he was observed to smoke his pipe vehemently, and to send 
forth short, frequent, and angry puffs; but when pleased, 
he would inhale the smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit 
it in light and placid clouds, and sometimes, taking the 
pipe from his mouth, and letting the fragrant vapor curl 
about his nose, would gravely nod his head in token of 
perfect approbation. 

From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was at 
length routed by his tei-magant wife, Avho would suddenly 
break in upon the tranquillity of the assemblage, and call 
the members all to nought; nor was that august person- 
age, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred from the daring 
tongue of this terrible virago, who charged him outright 
with encouraging her husband in habits of idleness. 

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair, and his 
only alternative to escape from the labor of the farm and 
the clamor of his wife, was to take gun in hand, and stroll 
away into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat him- 
self at the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his 
wallet with Wolf, with whom he sympathized as a fellow- 
sufferer in persecution. " Poor Wolf," he would say, " thy 
mistress leads thee a dog's life of it; but never mind, my 
lud, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend to stand 



34 'THE i^KETCH-BOOK. 

by tliee!" Wolf would wag his tail, look Avistfully in his 
master's face, and if dogs can feel pity, 1 verily believe he 
reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart. 

In a long ramble of the kind, on a fine autumnal day. 
Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest 
parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was after his favor- 
ite sport of squirrel-shooting, and the still solitudes had 
echoed and re-echoed with the re2:>orts of his gun. Pant- 
ing and fatigued, he threw himself, late in the afternoon, 
on a green knoll covered with mountain herbage, that 
crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening be- 
tween the trees, he could overlook all the lower country 
for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance 
the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent 
but majestic course, with the reflection of a purj^le cloud, 
or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping on 
its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue high- 
lands. 

On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain 
glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with 
fragments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted 
by the reflected rays of the setting sun. For some time 
Rip lay musirig on this scene; evening Avas gradually ad- 
vancing; the mountains began to throw their long blue 
shadows over the valleys; he saw that it Avould be dark 
long before he could reach the village; and he heaved a 
heavy sigh when he thought of encountering the terrors 
of Dame Van A\ inkle. 

As he was about to descend he heard a voice from a dis- 
tance hallooing, " Rip Van Winkle ! Rip Van AYinkle ! '' 
He looked around, but could see nothing but a crow 
Avinging its solitary flight across the mountain. He 
thought his fancy must have deceived him, and turned 
again to descend, when he heard the same cry ring through 
the still evening air, " Rip Van Winkle ! Rip Van Winkle ! " 
— at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving 
a low growl, skulked to his master's side, looking fearfully 
down into the glen. Rip noAV felt a vague ap2)rehension 
stealing over him : he looked anxiously in the same direc- 
tion, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling uj? the 
rocks, and bending under the weight of something he car- 
ried on his back. He was surprised to see any human be- 



RIP VAN WINKLE. SS 

ing in this loiiel}' and unfrequented jilace, but supposing 
it to be some oue of the neighborhood in need of his as- 
sistance, he hastened down to yield it. 

On nearer approach, he was still more surprised at the 
singularity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short, 
square-built old fellow, with thick, bushy hair and a griz- 
zled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion 
— a cloth jerkin strapj^ed round the waist — several pair of 
breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with 
rows of buttons down the, sides, and bunches at the knees. 
He bore on his shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of 
liquor, and made signs for llij) to approach and assist him 
with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this 
neAV acquaintance. Rip complied Avith his usual alacrity, 
and mutually relieving each other, they clambered up a 
narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain tor- 
rent. As they ascended, Rip every now and then heard long 
rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed to issue 
out of a deep ravine or rather cleft between lofty rocks, 
toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused 
for an instant, but supposing it to be the muttering of one 
of those transient thunder-showers which often take place 
in mountain heights, he jiroceeded. Passing through the 
ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, 
surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of 
which, impendijig trees shot their branches, so that you 
only caught glinipses of the azure sky, and the bright even- 
ing cloud. During the whole time. Rip and his companion 
had labored on in silence; for though the former marvelled 
greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor 
up this wild mountain, yet there was something strange 
and incomprehensible about the unknown, that inspired 
awe, and checked faniiliarity. 

On entering the amphitheatre, new objects of wonder 
presented themselves. On a level spot in the centre was 
a company of oddlooking personages playing at nine- 
pins. They were dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion: 
some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives 
in their belts, and most of theni had enormous breeches, 
of similar style with that of the guide's. Their visages, 
too, were peculiar; one had a large head, broad face, and 
small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to consist 



36 THE SKt-iCh'BOOK. 

entirely of nose, and was sl^rmounted by a white sugar- 
loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. They all had 
beards, of various shapes and colors. There was one who 
seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentle- 
man, with a weather-beaten countenance ; he wore a laced 
doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and 
feather, red stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses 
in them. The whole group reminded Rip of the figures 
in an old Flemish painting, in the parlor of Dominie Van 
Schaick, the village j)arson, and which had been brought 
over from Holland at the time o*f the settlement. 

What seemed particularly odd to Rip, was, that though 
these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they 
maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, 
and were, Avithal, the most melancholy party of pleasure 
he had ever witnessed. N^othing interrupted the stillness 
of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever 
they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rum- 
bling peals of thunder. 

As Rip and his companion approached them, they sud- 
denly desisted from their play, and stared at him with such 
a fixed statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack- 
lustre countenances, that his heart turned within him, and 
his knees smote together. His companion now emptied 
the contents of the keg into large flagons, and made signs 
to Jiim to wait upon the company. He obeyed with fear 
and trembling; they quaffed the liquor in profound silence, 
and then returned to their game. 

By degrees, Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He 
even ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste 
the beverage, which he found had much of the flavor of 
excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and j 
was soon temiDted to repeat the draught. One taste pro- 
voked another, and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so 
often, that at length his senses were overpowered, his eyes 
swam in his head, his head gradually declined, and he fell 
into a deep sleep. 

On waking,, he found himself on the green knoll from 
whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He 
rubbed his eyes — it was a bright sunny morning. The 
birds were hopping and twittering among the bushes, and 
the eagle was wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure moun- 



RIP VAF WINKLE. 37 

tain breeze. " Surely," thought Rip, '' I have not slept 
here all night." He rec died the occurrences before he 
fell asleep. The strange man with the keg of liquor — the 
mountain ravine — the wild retreat among the rocks — the 
woe-begone party at nine-pins — the flagon — "Oh! that 
wdcked flagon! " thought Eip — " what excuse shall I make 
to Dame Van Winkle ? '' 

He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean, 
well-oiled fowling-jiieoe, he found an old fire-lock lying by 
him, the barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling off, 
and the stock worm-eaten. He now susjjected that the 
grave roysterers of the mountain had put a trick upon him, 
and having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of hif 
gun. AVolf, too, had disappeared, but he might have 
strayed away after a squirrel or j^artridge. He whistled 
after him, and shouted his name, but all in vain; the 
echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to 
be seen. 

He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's 
gambol, and if he met with any of the party, to demand 
his dog and gun. As he rose to walk, he found himself 
'stiff in the joints, and wanting in his usual activity. " These 
mountain beds do not agree with me," thought Eip, "and 
if this frolic should lay me up with a fit of the rheuma- 
tism, I shall have a blessed time with Dame Van Winkle." 
With some difficulty he got down into the glen ; he found 
the gully up which he and his companion had ascended 
the preceding evening; but to his astonishment a moun- 
tain stream was now foaming down it, leaping from rock 
to rock, and filling the glen with babbling murmurs. He, 
however, made shift to scramble up its sides, working his 
toilsome way through thickets of birch, sassafras, antl 
witch-hazel; and sometimes trijDped up or entangled by 
the wild grape vines that twisted their coils and tendrils 
from tree to tree, and spread a kind of network in his path. 

At length he reached to where the ravine had opened 
through the cliffs to the amphitheatre; but no traces of 
such opening remained. The rocks presented a high im- 
penetrable wall, over which the torrent came tumbling in 
a sheet of feathery foam, and fell into a broad deep basin, 
black from the shadows of the surrounding forest. Here, 
then, poor Rip was brought to a stand. He again called 



38 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and whistled after his dog; he was only answered by the 
cawing of a flock of idle crows, sporting high in air about 
a dry tree that overhung a sunny precipice; and who, se- 
cure in their elevation, seemed to look down and scoff at 
the poor man's perplexities. What Avas to be done ? The 
morning was passing away, and Rip felt famished for want 
of his breakfast. He grieved to give ujt his dog and, gun; 
he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not do to starve 
among the mountains. He shook his head, shouldered 
the rusty fire-lock, and with a heart full of trouble and 
anxiety, turned his steps homeward. 

As he approached the village, he met a number of people, 
but none whom he knew, which somewhat surprised him, 
for he had thought himself acquainted with every one in 
the country round. Their dress, too, was of a different 
fashion from that to which he was accustomed. They all 
stared at him with equal marks of surprise, and whenever 
they cast eyes upon him, invariably stroked their chins. 
The constant recurrence of this gesture induced Rip, in- 
voluntarily, to do the same, wheu, to his astonishment, he 
found his beard had grown a foot long! 

He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop 
of strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and 
jiointing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of 
which he recognized for an old acquaintance, barked at 
him as he passed. The very village was altered : it was 
larger and more populous. There were rows of houses 
which he had never seen before, and those which had been 
his familiar haunts had disapj^eared. Strange names were 
over the doors — strange faces at the windows — everything 
was strange. His mind now misgave him; he began to 
doubt whether both he and the world around him were 
not bewitched. Surely this was his native village, which 
he had left but a day before. There stood the Kaatskill 
Mountains — there ran the silver Hudson at a distance — 
there was every hill and dale precisely as it had always 
been — Rip w;!s sorely perplexed — *' That flagon last night," 
thought he, " has addled my poor head sadly ! " 

It was w'ith some difficulty tliat he found the wa}^ to his 
own house, which he approached with silent aAve, expecting 
every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Win- 
kle. He found the house gone to decay — the roof fallen 



UIP VAN WINKLE. 39 

in, the windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. 
A half-starved dog, that looked like Wolf, was sknlking 
about it. Rip called him by name, bnt the cur snarled, 
showed his teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind cut 
indeed. — " My very dog," sighed poor Rip, " has forgotten 
me!" 

He entered the house, Avhich, to tell the truth, Dame 
Van AVinkle had always kept in neat order. It was empty, 
forlorn, and apparently abandoned. This desolateness 
overcame all his connubial fears — he called loudly for his 
wife and children — the lonely chambers rang for a moment 
with his voice, and then all again was silence. 

He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, 
the village inn — but it too was gone. A large rickety wooden 
building stood in its place, with great gaping Avindows, 
some of tliem broken, and mended with old hats and petti- 
coats, and over the door was painted, " The Union Hotel, 
by Jonathan Doolittle." Instead of the great tree that 
used to shelter the quiet little Dutch inn of yore, there 
now was reared a tall naked pole, with something on the 
top that looked like a red night-cap, and from it was flut- 
tering a flag, on which Avas a singular assemblage of stars 
and stripes — all this Avas strange and incomprehensible. 
He recognized on the sign, hoAvever, the ruby face of King 
George, under which he had smoked so many a peaceful 
pipe, but even this was singularly metamorphosed. The 
red coat Avas changed for one of blue and buff, a SAvord Avas 
held in the hand instead of a sceptre, the head Avas deco- 
rated with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in 
large characters, General WASHiXftXON. 

There was, as usual, a croAvd of folk about the door, but 
none that Rip recollected. The very character of the people 
seemed changed. There Avas a busy, bustling, disputatious 
tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and droAvsy 
tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage Nicholas 
Vedder, Avitli his broad face, double chin, and fair long 
pipe, uttering clouds of tobacco smoke, instead of idle 
speeches; or Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, doling forth 
the contents of an ancient ncAVspaper. In place of these, 
a lean bilious-looking felloAV, Avith his pockets full of hand- 
bills, Avas haranguing vehemently about rights of citizens 
— election — members of Congress — liberty — Bunker's Hi^l 



40 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

— heroes of seventy-six — and other words that Avere a per- 
fect Babylonish jargon to the bewildered Van "Winkle. 

The appearance of Rip, with his long, grizzled beard, 
his rusty fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and the army 
of women and children that had gathered at his heels, 
soon attracted the attention of the tavern politicians. 
They crowded round him, eyeing him from head to foot, 
with great curiosit3^ The orator bustled up to him, and 
drawing him partly aside, inquired, *' on which side he 
voted ? " Eip stared in vacant stupidit3\ Another short 
but busy little fellow pulled him by the arm, and rising on 
tiptoe, inquired in his ear, '* whether he was Federal or 
Democrat." Rip was equally at a loss to comprehend the 
question; when a knowing, self-important old gentleman, 
in a sharp cocked hat, made his way through the crowd, 
putting them to the right and left with his elbows' as he 
passed, and planting liimself before Van Winkle, with one 
arm a-kimbo, the other resting on his cane, his keen eyes 
and sharp hat penetrating, as it were, into his veiy soul, 
demanded in an austere tone, " what brought him to the 
election with a gun on his shoulder, and a mob at his heels, 
and whether he meant to breed a riot in the village ? '' 

"Alas ! gentlemen," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, " I 
am a j^oor, quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal 
subject of the king, God bless him ! " 

Here a general shout burst from the by-standers — "a 
tory ! a tory ! a spy ! a refugee ! hustle him ! away with him !'' 

It was with great difficulty that the self-important man 
in the cocked hat restored order; and having assumed a 
tenfold austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown 
culprit, what he came there for, and whom he was seeking. 
The poor man humbly assured him that he meant no harm, 
but merely came there in search of some of his neighbors, 
who used to keep about the tavern. 

" Well — who are they ? — name them.'' 

Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, *' Where's 
Nicholas Vedder ? '' 

There was a silence for a little while, when an old man 
replied, in a thin, piping voice, " Nicholas Vedder ? why, 
he is dead and gone these eighteen years ! There was a 
wooden tombstoue in the church-yard that used to tell all 
about him, but that's rotten and gone too." 



RIP VAN WINKLE. 41 

" Where's Brom Butcher ? " _ 

" Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the 
war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Point 
— others say he was drowned in the squall, at the foot of 
Antony's Nose. I don't know — he never came back again." 

" Where's Van Bummel, the schoolmaster ? " 

"He went off to the wars, too; was a great militia gen- 
eral, and is now in Congress." 

Rip's heart died away, at hearing of these sad changes 
in his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in 
the world. Every answer puzzled him, too, by treating of 
such enormous lapses of time, and of matters which he 
could not understand : war — Congress — Stony Point ! — he 
had no courage to ask after any more friends, but cried 
out in despair, " Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle ? " 

" Oh, Rip Van Winkle ! " exclaimed two or three. " Oh 
to be sure ! that's Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against 
the tree." 

Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself 
as he went up the mountain ; apparently as lazy and cer- 
tainly as ragged. The poor fellow was now completely 
confounded. He doubted his own identity, and whether 
he was himself or another man. In the midst of his be- 
wilderment, the man in the cocked hat demanded who he 
was, and Avhat was his name ? 

" God knows," exclaimed he at his wit's end ; " I'm not 
myself — I'm somebody else — that's me yonder — no — that's 
somebody else, got into my shoes — I was myself last night, 
but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed my 
gun, and everything's changed, and I'm changed, and I 
can't tell what's my name, or who I am ! " 

The by-standers began now to look at each other, nod, 
wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their fore- 
heads. There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, 
and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief; at the 
very suggestion of Avhich, the self-important man with the 
cocked hat retired with some precipitation. At this crit^ 
ical moment a fresh, comely Avoman passed through the 
throng to get a peep at the gray-bearded man. She had a 
chubby child in her arms, which, frightened at his looks, 
began to cry. " Hush, Rip," cried she, " hush, you little 
fool; the old man won't hurt you." The name of the 



42 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

child, the air of the mother, the tone of her voice, all 
awakened a train of recollections in his mind. 

" What is your name, my good woman ? " asked he. 

"Judith Gardenier." 

"And yonr father's name ? " 

"Ah, poor man, his name was Kij:) Van AVinkle; it's 
twenty years since he went away from home with his gnn, 
and never has been heard of since — his dog came home 
without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried 
away by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a 
little girl." 

Eip had but one question more to ask; but he put it 
with a faltering voice: 

" Where's your mother ? " 

Oh, she too had died but a short time since : she broke 
a blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New England peddler. 

There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelligence. 
The honest man could contain himself no longer. He 
caught his daughter and her child in his arms. ' " I am 
your father!" cried he — "Young Eip Van Winkle once 
— old Rip Van Winkle now! — Does nobody know poor Rip 
Van Winkle!" 

All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from 
among the crowd, put her hand to her brow, and peering 
under it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, " Sure 
enough! it is Rip Van Winkle — it is himself. Welcome 
home again, old neighbor — Why, where have you been 
these twenty long years ? " 

Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had 
been to him but as one night. The neighbors stared when 
they heard it; some were seen to wink at each other, and 
put their tongues in their cheeks ; and the self-important 
man in the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, had 
returned to the field, screwed down the corners of his 
mouth, and shook his head — upon which there was a gen- 
eral shaking of the head throughout the assemblage. 

It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old 
Peter Vanderdonk, who was seen slowly advancing up the 
road. He was a descendant of the historian of that name, 
who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. 
Peter was the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and 
well versed in all the wonderful events and traditions of 



RIP VAN WINKLE. 43 

the neighborhood. He recollected Eip at once, and cor- 
roborated his story in the most satisfactory manner. He 
assured the company that it Avas a fact, handed down from 
his ancestor the historian, that the Kaatskill Mountains 
had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was 
affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discov- 
erer of the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there 
every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon, being 
permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enter- 
prise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river and the great 
city called by his name. That his fatlier had once seen 
them in their old Dutch dresses playing at nine-pins in a 
hollow of the mountain; and that he, himself, had heard, 
one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like dis- 
tant peals of thunder. 

To make a long story short, the company broke up, and 
returned to the more important concerns of the election. 
Eip's daughter took him home to live with her; she had a 
snug, well-furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer for 
a husband, whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins 
that used to climb upon his back. As to Rip's son and 
heir, who was the ditto of himself, seen leaning against 
the tree, he Avas employed to work on the farm, but evinced 
a hereditary disposition to attend to anything else but his 
business. 

Rip now resumed his old Avalks and habits; he soon 
found many of his former cronies, though all rather the 
worse for the wear and tear of time; and preferred making 
friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon 
grew into great favor. 

Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that 
happy age when a man can do nothing with impunity, he 
took his place once more on the bench, at the inn door, 
and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, 
and a chronicle of the old times " before the war." It was 
some time before he could get into the regular track of 
gossip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events 
that had taken place during his torpor. How that there 
had been a revolutionary war — that the country had thrown 
off the yoke of old England — and that, instead of being a 
subject of his majesty George the Third, he was now a free 
citizen of the United States. Rip, in fact, was no poll- 



44 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

tician; the changes of states and empires made but little 
impression on him; but there was one species of despot- 
ism u7ider which he had long groaned, and that was — pet- 
ticoat government. Happily, that was at an end; he had 
got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go 
in and out whenever he pleased, without dreading the 
1 tyranny of Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her name was 
mentioned, however, he shook his head, shrugged his shoul- 
ders, and cast up his eyes; which might pass either for an 
expression of resignation to his fate, or joy at his deliver- 
ance. He used to tell his story to every stranger that ar- 
rived at Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed, at first, 
to vary on some points every time he told it, which was 
doubtless owing to his having so recently awakened. It 
at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, 
and not a man, woman, or child in the neighborhood, but 
knew it by heart. Some always pretended to doubt the 
reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of his head, 
and that this was one j^oint on which he always remained 
flighty. The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost uni- 
versally gave it full credit. Even to this day, they never 
hear a thunder-storm of a summer afternoon about the 
Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are 
at their game of nine-pins: and it is a common wish of all 
henpecked husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs 
heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting 
draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon. 

Note.— The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been suggested to Mr. 
Knickerbocker by a little German superstition about the Emperor Frederick 
der Rothbart and the Kj'pphauser Mountain ; the subjoined note, however, 
which he had appended to the tale, shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated 
with his usual fidelity. 

" The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, but neverthe- 
less I give it my full belief, fori know the vicinity of our old Dutch settlements 
to have been very suVjject to marvellous events and appearances. Indeed, I 
have heard many stranger stories than this, in the villages along the Hudson, all 
of which were too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. 1 have even talked 
with Rip Van Winkle myself, who, when last I saw him, was a very venerable 
old man, and so perfectly rational and consistent on every other point, that 1 
think no conscientious person could refuse to take this into the bargain ; nay, I 
have seen a certificate on the subject taken before a coimtry justice, and signed 
with a cross, in the justice's own handwriting. The story^ therefore, is beyond 
the possibility of doubt," 



JENQLmH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 4o 



ENGLISH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 

" Metliiuks I see iu my mind a noble puissant nation, rousing herself like a 
strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks ; niethinks I see her as 
an eagle, mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her eudazzled eyes at the full 
mid-day beam." — Milton on the Liberty of the Press. 

It is with feelings of deep regret that I observe tlie lit- 
erary animosity daily growing up between England and 
America. G-reat curiosity has been awakened of late with 
respect to the United States, and the London press has 
teemed with Volumes of travels through the Republic; but 
they seem intended to diffuse error rather than knowledge; 
and so successful have they been, that, notwithstanding 
the constant intercourse between the nations, there is no 
people concerning whom the great mass of the British pub- 
lic have less pure information or entertain more numerous 
prejudices. 

English travellers are the best and the worst in the world. 
Where no motives of pride or interest intervene, none can 
equal them for profound and philosophical views of soci- 
ety, or faithful and graphical descrijjtions of external ob- 
jects; but when either the interest or reputation of their 
own country comes in collision with that of another, they 
go to the opposite efxtreme, and forget their usual pro- 
bity and candor, in the indulgence of splenetic remark, 
and an illiberal spirit of ridicule. 

Hence, their travels are more honest and accurate, the 
more remote the country described. I would place impli- 
cit contidence in an Englishman's description of the re- 
gions beyond the cataracts of the Nile; of unknown islands 
in the Yellow Sea; of the interior of India; or of any other 
tract which other travellers might be apt to picture out 
with the illusions of their fancies. But I would cautiousl}" 
receive his account of his immediate neighbors, and of 
those nations with which he is iu habits of most frequent 
intercourse. However I might be disposed to trust his 
probity, I dare not trust his prejudices. 

It has also been the peculiar lot of our country to be 
visited by the worst kind of English travellers. While 
men of philosophical spirit and cultivated minds have been 



46 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

sent from England to ransack the poles, to penetrate the 
deserts, and to study the manners and customs of barbar- 
ous nations, with which she can have no permanent inter- 
course of profit or pleasure; it has been left to the broken- 
down tradesman, the scheming adventurer, the wandering 
mechanic, the Manchester and Birmingham agent, to be 
her oracles respecting America. From such sources she is 
content to receive her information respecting a country 
in a singular state of moral and physical development; a 
country in w^hich one of the greatest political experiments 
in the history of the world is now performing, and which 
presents the most profound and momentous studies to the 
statesman and the philosopher. 

That such men should give prejudiced accounts of Amer- 
ica is not a matter of surprise. The themes it offers for 
contemplation are too vast and elevated for their capaci- 
ties. The national character is yet in a state of fermenta- 
tion : it may have its frothiness and sediment, but its in- 
gredients are sound and wholesome: it has already given 
jjroofs of powerful and generous qualities; and the whole 
promises to settle down into something substantially ex- 
cellent. But the causes which are operating to strengthen 
and ennoble it, and its daily indications of admirable prop- 
erties, are all lost upon these purblind observers ; who are 
only affected by the little asperities incident to its present 
situation. They are capable of judging only of the sur- 
face of things; of those matters which come in contact 
with their private interests and personal gratifications. 
They miss some of the snug conveniences and petty com- 
forts which belong to an old, highly-finished, and over- 
populous state of society; where the ranks of useful labor 
are crowded, and many earn a painful and servile subsist- 
ence, by studying the very caprices of nppetite and self- 
indulgence. These minor comforts, however, are all-im- 
portant in the estimation of narrow minds; Avhich either 
do not perceive, or will not acknowledge, that they are 
more than counterbalanced among us, by great and gener- 
ally diffused blessings. 

They may, perhaps, have been disapjiointed in some un- 
reasonable expectation of sudden gain. They may have 
pictured America to themselves an El Dorado, where gold 
and silver abounded, and the natives were lacking in sagac- 



SifGLISH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 47 

ity; and Avhere tliey were to become strangely and sud- 
denly rich, in some unforeseen but easy manner. The 
same weakness of mind that indulges absurd expectations, 
produces petulance in disappointment. Such persons be- 
come embittered against the country on finding that there, 
as everywhere else, a man must sow before he can reap; 
must win wealth by industry and talent; and must con- 
tend with the common difficulties of nature, and the 
shrewdness of an intelligent and enterprising people. 

Perhaps, through mistaken or ill-directed hospitality, 
or from the prompt disposition to cheer and countenance 
the stranger, prevalent among my countrymen, they may 
have been treated with unwonted respect in America; 
and, having been accustomed all their lives to consider 
themselves below the surface of good society, and brought 
up in a servile feeling of inferiority, they become arrogant 
on the common boon of civility; they attribute to the low- 
liness of others their own elevation; and underrate a soci- 
ety where there are no artificial distinctions, and where by 
any chance such individuals as themselves can rise to con- 
sequence. 

One would suppose, however, that information coming 
from such sources, on a subject where the truth is so de- 
sirable, would be received with caution by the censors of 
the press; that the motives of these men, their veracity, 
their opportunities of inquiry and observation, and their 
capacities for judging correctly, would be rigorously scru- 
tinized, before their evidence was admitted, in such sweep- 
ing extent, against a kindred nation. The very reverse, 
however, is the case, and it furnishes a striking instance 
of human inconsistency. Nothing can surpass the vigi- 
lance with which English critics will examine the credi- 
bility of the traveller who publishes an account of some 
distant, and comparatively unimportant, country. How 
warily Avill they compare the measurements of a pyramid, 
or the description of a ruin ; and how sternly will they 
censure any inaccuracy in these contributions of merely 
curious knowledge; while they will receive, with eagerness 
and unhesitating faith, the gross misrepresentations of 
coarse and obscure writers, concerning a country with 
which their own is placed in the most important and deli- 
cate relations. Nay, they will even make these apocryphal 



48 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

volumes text-books, on which to enlarge, with a zeal and 
an ability worthy of a more generous cause. 

I shall not, however, dwell on this irksome and hack- 
neyed topic ; nor should I have adverted to it, but for the 
undue interest ajjparently taken in it by my countrymen, 
and certain injurious effects which I apprehend it might 
produce ujjon the national feeling. We attach too much 
consequence to these attacks. They cannot do us any es- 
sential injury. The tissue of misrepresentations attempted 
to be woven round us, are like cobwebs woven round the 
limbs of an infant giant. Our country continually out- 
grows them. One falsehood after another falls off of it- 
self. "We have but to live on, and every day we live a 
whole volume of refutation. All the writers of England 
united, if we could for a moment suppose their great minds 
stooping to so unworthy a combination, could not conceal 
our rapidly growing importance and matchless prosperity. 
They could not conceal that these are owing, not merely 
to physical and local, but also to moral causes; — to the 
political liberty, the general diffusion of knowledge, the 
prevalence of sound, moral, and religious principles, which 
give force and sustained energy to the character of a 
people; and which, in fact, have been the acknowledged 
and wonderful supporters of their own national power and 
glory. 

But why are we so exquisitely alive to the aspersions of 
England ? Why do we suffer ourselves to be so affected 
by the contumely she has endeavored to cast upon us ? It 
is" not in the opinion of England alone that honor lives, 
and reputation has its being. The world at large is the 
arbiter of a nation's fame : wdth its thousand eyes it wit- 
nesses a nation's deeds, and from their collective testimony 
is national glory or national disgrace established. 

For ourselves, therefore, it is comparatively of but little 
importance whether England does us justice or not; it is, 
perhaps, of far more importance to herself. She is instill- 
ing anger and resentment into the bosom of a youthful 
nation, to grow with its growth, and strengthen with its 
strength. If in America, as some of her writers are labor- 
ing to convince her, she is hereafter to find an invidious 
rival and a gigantic foe, she may thank those very writers 
for having provoked rivalship, and irritated hostility. 



^KG2.rm wmTER^ oir amertca. 40 

Every one knows the all-pervading influence of literature 
at the present day, and how much the opinions and pas- 
sions of mankind are under its control. The mere contests 
of the sword are temporary; their wounds are but in the 
flesh, and it is the pride of the generous to forgive and 
forget them; but the slanders of the pen pierce to the 
heart; they rankle longest in the noblest spirits; they dwell 
ever present in the mind, and render it morbidly sensitive 
to the most trifling collision. It is but seldom that any 
one overt act produces hostilities between two nations; 
there exists, most commonly, a previous jealousy and ill- 
will, a jiredisposition to take offence. Trace these to their 
cause, and how often will they be found to originate in 
the mischievous effusions of mercenary writers; who, se- 
cure in their closets, and for ignominious bread, concoct 
and circulate the venom that is to inflame the generous 
and the brave. 

I am not laying too much stress upon this point; for it 
aj^plies most emphatically to our particular case. Over no 
nation does the press hold a more absolute control than 
over the people of America; for the universal education 
of the poorest classes makes every individual a reader. 
There is nothing published in England on the subject of 
our country, that does not circulate through every part of 
it. There is not a calumny dropt from an English pen, 
nor an unworthy sarcasm uttered by an English states- 
man, that does not go to blight good-will, and add to the 
mass of latent resentment. Possessing then, as England 
does, the fountain-head from whence the literature of the 
language flows, how completely is it in her power, and how 
truly is it her duty, to make it the medium of amiable and 
magnanimous feeling — a stream where the two nations 
might meet together, and drink in peace and kindness. 
Should she, however, persist in turning it to waters of bit- 
terness, the time may come Avhen she may rej^ent her folly. 
The present friendship of America may be of but little 
moment to her; but the future destinies of that country 
do not admit of a doubt; over those of England, there 
lower some shadows of uncertainty. Should, then, a day 
of gloom arrive — should those reverses overtake her from 
which the proudest empires have not been exempt — she 
may look back with regret at her infatuation, in repulsing 
4 



50 THn ^KMTCn-BOOK. 

from her side a nation slie might have grappled to her 
bosom, and tluis destroying her only chance for real friend- 
ship beyond the boundaries of her own dominions. 

There is a general impression in England, that the 
people of the United States are inimical to the parent 
country. It is one of the errors which has been diligently 
j^ropagated by designing writers. There is, doubtless, 
considerable political hostility, and a general soreness at 
the illiberality of the English press; but, collectively speak- 
ing, the pre230ssessions of the people are strongly in favor 
of England. Indeed, at one time they amounted, in many 
parts of the Union, to an absurd degree of bigotry. The 
bare name of Englishman was a jDassport to the confidence 
and hospitality of every family, and too often gave a tran- 
sient currency to the worthless and the ungrateful. 
Throughout the country, there was something of enthusi- 
asm connected with the idea of England. We looked to 
it with a hallowed feeling of tenderness and veneration, as 
the land of our forefathers — the august repository of the 
monuments and antiquities of our race — the birth-place 
and mausoleum of the sages and heroes of our paternal 
history. After our own country, there was none in whose 
glory we more delighted — none whose good opinion we 
were more anxious to possess — none toward which our 
hearts yearned with such throbbings of warm consanguin- 
ity. Even during the late war, whenever there was the 
least opportunity for kind feelings to sjiring forth, it was 
the delight of the generous spirits of our country to show, 
that in the midst of hostilities, they still kept alive the 
sparks of future friendship. 

Is all this to be at an end ? Is this golden band of kin- 
dred sympathies, so rare between nations, to be broken 
forever?- — ^Perhaps it is for the best — it may dispel an illu- 
sion which might have kept us in mental vassalage; which 
might have interfered occasionally Avith our true interests, 
and prevented the growth of proper national pride. But 
it is hard to give up the kindred tie! — and there are feel- 
ings dearer than interest — closer to the heart than pride 
— that will still make us cast back a look of regret as Ave 
wander farther and farther from the paternal roof, and 
lament the wayAvardness of the parent that ATOuld repel 
the aiiections of the child. 



ENGLISH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 51 

Short-siglited and injudicious, however, as the conduct 
of Enghmd may be in this system of aspersion, recrimina- 
tion on our part would be equally ill-judged. I speak not 
of a prompt and spirited vindication of our country, or 
the keenest castigation of her slanderers — but I allude to 
a disposition to retaliate in kind, to retort sarcasm and 
inspire prejudice, which seems to be spreading widel)^ 
among our writers. Let us guard particularly against 
such a temper; for it would double the evil, instead of re- 
dressing the wrong. Nothing is so easy and inviting as 
the retort of abuse and sarcasm ; but it is a paltry and un- 
profitable contest. It is the alternative of a morbid mind, 
fretted into petulance rather than warmed into indigna- 
tion. If England is willing to jjermit the mean jealousies 
of trade, or the rancorous animosities of politics, to de- 
prave the integrity of her press, and poison the fountain 
of public opinion, let us beware of her example. She may 
deem it her interest to diffuse error, and engender antip- 
athy, for the purpose of checking emigration; Ave have 
no purpose of the kind to serve. Neither have we any 
spirit of national jealousy to gratify; for as yet, in-all our 
rivalships with England, we are the rising and the gaining 
party. There can be no end to answer, therefore, but the 
gratification of resentment — a mere spirit of retaliation; 
and even that is impotent. Our retorts are never repub- 
lished in England; they fall short, therefore, of their aim; 
but they foster a querulous and peevish temper among 
our writers; they sour the sweet flow of our early litera- 
ture, and sow thorns and brambles among its blossoms. 
What is still worse, they circulate through our own coun- 
try, and, as far as they have effect, excite virulent national 
prejudices. This last is the evil most especially to be dep- 
recated. Governed, as we are, entirely by public opinion, 
the utmost care should be taken to preserve the purity of 
the public mind. Knowledge is power, and truth is knowl- 
edge; whoever, therefore, knowingly propagates a preju- 
dice, wilfully saps the foundation of his country's strength. 

The members of a republic, above all other men, should 
be candid and disjjassionate. They are, individually, por- 
tions of the sovereign mind and sovereign will, and should 
be enabled to come to all questions of national concern 
with calm and uul>iassed judgments. From the peculiar 



52 THE SKJSTCH-BOOK. 

nature of our relations with England, we mtist have more 
frequent questions of a difficult and delicate character with 
her, than with any other nation ; questions that affect the 
most acute and excitable feelings : and as, in the adjusting 
of these, our national measures must ultimately be deter- 
mined by popular sentiment, we cannot be too anxiously 
attentive to purify it from all latent passion or preposses- 
sion. 

Opening too, as we do, an asjdum for strangers from 
every portion of the earth, Ave should receive all with im- 
partiality. It should be our pride to exhibit an example 
of one nation, at least, destitute of national antipathies, 
and exercising, not merely the overt acts of hospitality, 
but those more rare and noble courtesies which spring from 
liberality of opinion. 

AVhat have we to do with national prejudices ? They are 
the inveterate diseases of old countries, contracted jn rude 
and ignorant ages, when nations knew but little of each 
other, and looked beyond their own boundaries with dis- 
trust and hostility. We, on the contrary, have sprung into 
national existence in an enlightened and philosophic age, 
when the different parts of the habitable world, and the 
various branches of the human family, have been indefat- 
igably studied and made known to each other; and we 
forego the advantages of our birth, if we do not shake off 
the national prejudices, as we would the local superstitions, 
of the old world. 

But above all, let us not be influenced by any angry feel- 
ings, so far as to shut our eyes to the perception of what is 
really excellent and amiable in the English character. 
We are a young people, necessarily an imitative one, and 
must take our examples and models, in a great degree, 
from the existing nations of Europe, There is no country 
more worthy of our study than England. The spirit of 
her constitution is most analogous to ours. The manners 
of her people — their intellectual activity — their freedom 
of opinion — their habits of thinking on those subjects 
which concern the dearest interests and most sacred chari- 
ties of private life, are all congenial to the American char- 
acter; and, in fact, ai-e all i?itrinsically excellent: for it is 
in the moral feeling of the people that the deep founda- 
tions of British prosperity are laid; and however the super- 



RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND. 53 

structure may be time-worn, or overrun b}^ abuses, there 
must be something solid in the basis, adminible in the 
materials, and stable in the structure of an edilice that so 
long has towered unshaken amidst the tempests of the 
world. 

Let it be the jiride of our writers, therefore, discarding 
all feelings of irritation, and disdaining to retaliate the il- 
liberality of British authors, to speak of the English nation 
without prejudice, and with determined candor. While 
they rebuke the iudiseriminating bigotry with which some 
of our countrymen admire and imitate everything English, 
merely because it is English, let them frankly point out 
what is really worthy of approbation. We may thus place 
England before us as a jjerpetual volume of reference, 
wherein are recorded sound deductions from ages of expe- 
rience; and while we avoid the errors and absurdities which 
may have crept into the page, we may draw thence golden 
maxims of practical wisdom, wherewith to strengthen and 
to embellish our national character. 



KURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND. 

oil 1 friendly to the best pursuits of man. 
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace. 
Domestic life in rural pleasures past 1— Cowper. 

The stranger who would form a correct opinion of the 
English character, must not confine his observations to 
the metropolis. He must go forth into the country; he 
must sojourn in villages and hamlets; he must visits cas- 
tles, villas, farm-houses, cottages; he must wander through 
parks and gardens; along hedges and green lanes; he must 
loiter about country churches; attend wakes and fairs, and 
other rural festivals; and cope with the people in all their 
conditions, and all their habits and humors. 

In some countries the large cities absorb the wealth and 
fashion of the nation ; they are the only fixed abodes of 
elegant and intelligent society, and the country is inhabited 
almost entirely by boorish peasantry. In England, on the 
contrary, the metropolis is a mere gathering place, or gen- 
eral rendezvous, of the polite classes, where they devote a 



54 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

small portion of the year to a hurry of gayety and dissipa- 
tion, and having indulged this kind of carnival, return 
again to tlie apparently more congenial habits of rural life. 
The various orders of society are therefore diffused over 
the whole surface of the kingdom, and the most retired 
neighborhoods afford specimens of the different ranks. 

The English, in fact, are strongly gifted with the rural 
feeling. They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties 
of nature, and a keen relish for the pleasures and employ- 
ments of the country. This jiassion seems inherent in 
them. Even the inhabitants of cities, born and brought 
up among brick walls and bustling streets, enter Avith 
facility into rural habits, and evince a tact for rural occu- 
pation. The merchant has his snug retreat in the vicinity 
of the metropolis, Avhere he often displays as much pride 
and zeal in the cultivation of his flower-garden, and the 
maturing of his fruits, as he does in the conduct of his 
business, and the success of a commercial enterprise. Even 
those less fortunate individuals, who are doomed to pass 
their lives in the midst of din and traffic, contrive to have 
something that shall remind them of the green aspect of 
nature. In the most dark and dingy quarters of the city, 
the drawing-room window resembles frequently a bank of 
flowers; every spot capable of vegetation has its grass-plot 
and flow^er-bed; and every square its mimic park, laid out with 
picturesque taste, and gleaming with refreshing verdure. 

Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to 
form an unfavorable opinion of his social character. He 
is either absorbed in business, or distracted by the thou- 
sand engagements that dissipate time, thought, and feel- 
ing, in this huge metropolis. He has, therefore, too com- 
monly, a look of hurry and abstraction. Wherever he 
happens to be, he is on the point of going somewhere else; 
at the moment he is talking on one subject, his mind is 
wandering to another: and while paying a friendly visit, 
he is calculating how he shall economize time so as to pay 
the other visits allotted to the morning. An immense 
metroiJolis, like London, is calculated to make men selfish 
and uninteresting. In their casual and transient meet- 
ings, they can but deal briefly in commonplaces. They 
present but the cold superficies of character — its rich and 
genial qualities have no time to be Avarmed into a flovr. 



RURAL LIFE IN' ENGLAND. 55 

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to 
his natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold 
formalities and negative civilities of town, throws off his 
habits of shy reserve, and becomes joyous and free-hearted. 
He manages to collect round him all the conveniences and 
elegancies of polite life, and to banish its restraints. His 
country-seat abounds with every requisite, either for stu- 
dious retirement, tasteful gratification, or rural exercise. 
Books, paintings, music, horses, dogs, and sporting imple- 
nients of all kinds, are at hand. He puts no constraint, 
either upon his guests or himself, but, in the true spirit of 
hospitality, provides the means of enjoyment, and leaves 
every one to partake according to his inclination. 

The taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and 
In what is called landscape gardening, is unrivalled. They 
have studied Xature intently, and discovered an exquisite 
sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. 
Those charms wiiich, in other countries, she lavishes in 
wild solitudes, are here assembled round the haunts of 
domestic life. They seem to have caught her coy and fur- 
tive graces, and spread them, like witchery, about their 
rural abodes. 

Xothing can be more imposing than the magnificence 
of English park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets 
of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic 
trees, heaping up rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp 
of groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in 
silent herds across them ; the hare, bounding away to the 
covert; or the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing. 
The brook, taught to wind in natural meanderings, or ex- 
pand into a glassy lake — the sequestered pool, reflecting 
the quivering trees, Avith .the yellow leaf sleeping on its 
bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid 
waters: while some rustic temple, or sylvan statue, grown 
green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to 
the seclusion. 

These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but 
what most delights me, is the creative talent with which 
the English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle 
life. The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and 
scanty portion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of 
taste, becomes a little paradise. With a nicely discriminat- 



56 TliJ£ SKETCH-BodK. 

ing eye, he seizes at once upon its capabilities, and pictures 
in his mind the future landscape. The sterile spot grows 
into loveliness under his hand; and yet the operations of 
art which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. 
The cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious 
pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and 
plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of 
a green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep 
of blue distance, or silver gleam of water — all these are 
managed with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assi- 
duity, like the magic touchings with which a painter fin- 
ishes up a favorite picture. 

The residence of people of fortune and refinement in 
the country, has diffused a degree of taste and elegance 
in rural economy, that descends to the lowest class. The 
very laborer, with his thatched cottage and narrow slip of 
ground, attends to their embellishment. The trim hedge, 
the grass-plot before the door, the little flower bed bordered 
with snug box, the woodbine trained up against the wall, 
and hanging its blossoms about the lattice; the pot of 
flowers in the window; the holly, providently planted about 
the house, to cheat winter of its dreariness, and to throw 
in a semblance of green summer to cheer the fireside: — 
all these bespeak the influence of taste, flowing down from 
high sources, and pervading the lowest levels of the public 
mind. If ever Love, as poets sing, delights to visit a cot- 
tage, it must be the cottage of an English peasant. 

The fondness for rural life among the higher classes of 
the English, has had a great and salutary effect upon the 
national character. I do not know a finer race of men 
than the English gentlemen. Instead of the softness and 
effeminacy which characterize the men of rank in most 
countries, they exhibit an union of elegance and strength, 
a robustness of frame and freshness of complexion, which 
I am inclined to attribute to their living so much in the 
open air, and pursuing so eagerly the invigorating recrea- 
tions of the country. The hardy exercises produce also 
a healthful tone of mind and spirits, and a manliness and 
simplicity of manners, which even the follies and dissipa- 
tions of ibhe town cannot easily pervert, and can never en- 
tirely destroy. In the country, too, the different orders 
of society seem to approach more freely, to be more d\^- 



RimAL LIFE IN ENGLAND. 57 

posed to blend and operate favorably upon each other. 
The distinctions between them do not appear to be so 
marked and impassable, as in the cities. The manner in 
which property has been distributed into small estates and 
farms, has established a regular gradation from the noble- 
man, through the classes of gentry, small landed proprie- 
tors, and substantial farmers, down to the laboring peasant- 
ry; and while it has thus banded the extremes of society 
together, has infused into each intermediate rank a spirit 
of independence. This, it must be confessed, is not so 
universally the case at present as it was formerly; the larger 
estates having, in late years of distress, absorbed the 
smaller, and, in some parts of the country, almost annihi- 
lated the sturdy race of small farmers. These, however, I 
believe, are but casual breaks in the general system I have 
mentioned. 

In rural occupation, there is nothing mean and debasing. 
It leads a man forth among scenes of natural grandeur and 
beauty; it leaves him to the workings of his own mind, 
operated upon by the purest and most elevating of exter- 
nal influences. Such a man may be simple and rough, but 
he cannot be vulgar. The man of refinement, therefore, 
finds nothing revolting in an intercourse with the lower 
orders in rural life, as he does when he casually mingles 
with the lower orders of cities. He lays aside his distance 
and reserve, and is glad to waive the distinctions of rank, 
and to enter into the honest, heart-felt enjoyments of com- 
mon life. Indeed, the very amusements of the country 
bring men more and more together; and the sound of 
hound and horn blend all feelings into harmony. I be- 
lieve this is one great reason why the nobility and 'gentry 
are more popular among the inferior orders in England, 
than they are in any other country; and why the latter 
have endured so many excessive pressures and extremities, 
without repining more generally at the unequal distribu- 
tion of fortune and privilege. 

To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society, may 
also be attributed the rural feeling that runs through Brit- 
ish literature; the frequent use of illustrations from rural 
life; those incomparable descriptions of Nature, that abound 
in the British poets — that have continued down from " the 
Flower and the Leaf " of Chaucer, and have brought into 



58 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

our closets all the freshness and fragrance of the dewy 
landscape. The pastoral writers of other countries appear 
as if they had paid Nature an occasional visit, and become 
acquainted with her general charms ; but the British poets 
have lived and revelled with her — they have wooed her in 
her most secret haunts — they have watched her minutest 
caprices. A spray could not tremble in the breeze — a leaf 
could not rustle to the ground — a diamond drop could not 
patter in the stream — a fragrance could not exhale from 
the humble violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints to 
the morning, but it has been noticed by these impassioned 
and delicate observers, and wrought up into some beauti- 
ful morality. 

The effect of this devotion of elegant minds to rural 
occupations, has been wonderful on the face of the coun- 
try. A great part of the island is rather level, and Avould 
be monotonous, were it not for the charms of culture; but 
it is studded and gemmed, as it were, with castles and 
palaces, and embroidered with parks and gardens. It does 
not abound in grand and sublime prospects, but rather in 
little home scenes of rural repose and sheltered quiet. 
Every antique farm-house and moss-grown cottage is a pic- 
ture; and as the roads are continually winding, and the 
view is shut in by groves and hedges, the eye is delighted 
by a continual succession of small landscapes of captivat- 
ing loveliness. 

The great charm, however, of English scenery, is the 
moral feeling that seems to pervade it. It is associated in 
the mind with ideas of order, of quiet, of sober well-estab- 
lished principles, of hoary usage and reverend custom. 
Everything seems to be the growth of ages of regular and 
peaceful existence. The old church, of remote architec- 
ture, with its low massive portal; its Gothic tower; its 
windows, rich with tracery and painted glass, in scrupu- 
lous preservation — its stately monuments of warriors and 
worthies of the olden time, ancestors of the present lords 
of the soil — is tombstones recording successive generations 
of sturdy yeomanry, whose progeny still plough the same 
fields, aiid kneel at the same altar — the parsonage, a quaint 
irregular pile, partly antiquated, but repaired and altered 
in the tastes of various ages and occupants — the stile and 
footpath leading from the church -yard, across pleasant 



RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND. 59 

fields, and along shady hedge-rows, according to an immem- 
orable right of way-7-the neighboring village, with its 
venerable cottages, its public green, sheltered by trees, 
under which the forefathers of the present race have 
sported — the antique family mansion, standing apart in 
some little rural domain, but looking down with a protect- 
ing air on the surrounding scene — all these common fea- 
tures of English landscape evince a calm and settled secu- 
rity, a hereditary transmission of home-bred virtues and 
local attachments, that speak deeply and touchingly for 
the moral character of the nation. 

It is a pleasing sight, of a Sunday morning, when the 
bell is sending its sober melody across the quiet fields, to 
behold the peasantry in their best finery, with ruddy faces, 
and modest cheerfulness, thronging tranquilly along the 
green lanes to church; but it is still more j^leasing to see 
them in the evenings, gathering about their cottage doors, 
and appearing to exult in the humble comforts and em- 
bellishments which their own hands have spread around 
them. 

It is this sweet home feeling, this settled repose of affec- 
tion in the domestic scene, that is, after all, the parent of 
the steadiest virtues and purest enjoyments; and I cannot 
close these desultory remarks better than by quoting the 
words of a modern English poet, who has depicted it with 
remarkable felicity. 

Through each gradation, from the castled hall, 
The city dome, the villa crowned with shade. 
But chief from modest mansions numberless. 
In town or hajnlet, sheltYing middle life, 
Down to thecottaged vale, and straw-roof 'd shed, 
This western isle hath long been famed for scenes 
Where bliss domestic finds a dweUing-place ; 
Domestic bliss, that, like a harmless dove 
(Honor and sweet endearment keeping guard), 
Can centre in a little quiet nest 
All that desire would Hy for through the earth ; 
That can, the world eluding, be itself 
A world enjoy'd ; that wants no witnesses 
But its own sharers, and approving Heaven ; 
That, like a flower deep hid in rocky cleft. 
Smiles, though 'tis looking only at the sky.' 

' From a poem on the death of the Princess Charlotte, by the Reverend Eann 
Kennedy, A.M. 



60 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 



THE BROKEN HEART. 

I never heard 
Of any true affection, but 'twas nipt 
With care, that, like the caterpillar, eats 
The leaves of the spring's sweetest book, the rose.— Middleton. 

It is a common practice with those who have outlived 
the susceptibility of early feeling, or have been brought up 
in the gay heartlessness of dissipated life, to laugh at all 
love stories, and to treat the tales of romantic passion as 
mere fictions of novelists and poets. My observations on 
human nature have induced me to think otherwise. They 
have convinced me, that however the surface of the char- 
acter may be chilled and frozen by the cares of the world, 
or cultivated into mere smiles by the arts of society, still 
there are dormant fires lurking in the depths of the cold- 
est bosom, which, when once enkindled, become impetuous, 
and are sometimes desolating in their effects. Indeed, I 
am a true believer in the blind deity, and go to the full 
extent of his doctrines. Shall I confess it ? — I believe in 
broken hearts, and the possibility of dying of disappointed 
love ! I do not, however, consider it a malady often fatal 
to my own sex; but I firmly believe that it withers down 
many a lovely woman into an early grave. 

Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His na- 
ture leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the 
world. Love is but the embellishment of his early life, or 
a song piped in the intervals of the acts. He seeks for 
fame, for fortune, for space in the world's thought, and 
dominion over his fellow-men. But a woman's whole life 
is a history of the affections. The heart is her world ; it 
is there her ambition strives for empire — it is there her 
avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her 
sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in 
the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is 
hopeless — for it is a bankruptcy of the heart. 

To a man, the disappointment of love may occasion some 
bitter pangs: it wounds some feelings of tenderness — it 
blasts some prospects of felicity; but he is an active being; 
he may dissipate his thoughts in the whirl of varied occu^ 



THn BROKEN HEART. 61 

pation, or may plunge into the tide of pleasure; or, if 
the scene of disappointment be too full of painful associ- 
ations, he can shift his abode at will, and taking, as it were, 
the wings of the morning, can '" fly to the uttermost parts 
of the earth, and be at rest." 

But woman's is comparatively a fixed, a secluded, and a 
meditative life. She is more the companion of her own 
thoughts and feeliiigs; and if they are turned to ministers 
of sorrow, where shall she look for consolation ? Her lot 
is to be Avooed and won; and if unhappy in her love, her 
heart is like some fortress that has been captured, and 
sacked, and abandoned, and left desolate. 

How many bright eyes grow dim — how many soft cheeks 
grow pale — how many lovely forms fade away into the 
tomb, and none can tell the cause that blighted their love- 
liness! As the dove will clasp its wings to its side, and 
cover and conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals — 
so is it the nature of woman, to hide from the world the 
pangs of wounded affection. The love of a delicate female 
is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely 
breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it 
in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and 
brood among the ruins of her peace. With her, the de- 
sire of her heart has failed — the great charm of existence 
is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises which 
gladden the spirit, quicken the pulse, and send the tide of 
life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is 
broken — the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by 
melancholy dreams — '' dry sorrow drinks her blood," until 
her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external in- 
jury. Look for her, after a little while, and you find friend- 
ship weeping over her untimely grave, and wondering that 
one, who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health 
and beauty, should so speedily be brought down to "dark- 
ness and the worm." You will be told of some wintry 
chill, some casual indisposition, that laid her low — but no 
one knows the mental malady that previously sapped her 
strength, and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler. 

She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the 
grove : graceful in its form, bright in its foliage, but with 
the worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly with- 
ering, when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. AVo 



63 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

see it drooping its branches to the earth, and sliedding leaf 
by leaf; until, wasted and perislied away it falls even in 
the stillness of the forest; and as we muse over the beau- 
tiful ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thun- 
derbolt that could have smitten it with decay. 

I have seen many instances of women running to waste 
and self-neglect, and disap^iearing gradually from the earth, 
almost as if they had been exhaled to heaven; and have 
repeatedly fancied that I could trace their deaths through 
the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, 
languor, melancholy, until I reached the first symptom of 
disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately 
told to me ; the circumstances are well known in the coun- 
try where they happened, and I shall but give them in the 
manner in wliicli they were related. 

Every one must recollect the tragical story of young 

E , the Irish patriot : it Avas too touching to be soon 

forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland he was tried, 
condemned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His 
fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was 
so young — so intelligent — so generous- — so brave — so every- 
thing that we are apt to like in a young man. His conduct, 
under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble in- 
dignation with which he repelled the charge of treason 
against his country — the eloquent vindication of his name 
— and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour 
of condemnation — all these entered deeply into every gen- 
erous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern 
policy that dictated his execution. 

But tliere was one heart, whose anguish it would be im- 
possible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes 
he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting 
girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She 
loved him with the disinterested fervor of a woman's first 
and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself 
against him ; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and 
danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more 
ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could 
awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have 
been the agony of her, whose whole soul was occupied by 
his image ? Let those tell who have had the portals of 
the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they 



fHB BROKEN JTEART. 63 

most loved on earth — who have sat at its threshold, as one 
shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that 
was most lovely and loving had departed. 

But then the horrors of such a grave ! so frightful, so 
dishonored ! There was nothing for memory to dwell on 
that could soothe the pang of separation — none of those 
tender, though melancholy circumstances, that endear the 
parting scene — nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed 
tears, sent, like the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in 
the parting hour of anguish. 

To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had 
incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attach- 
ment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could 
the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a 
spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she Avould have 
experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a 
people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most 
delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her, by fami- 
lies of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, 
and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement 
to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story 
of her loves. But it was all in vain. There are some 
strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul — that 
penetrate to the vital seat of happiness — and blast it, never 
again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to 
frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone 
there, as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in 
a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around 
her. She carried Avith her an inward woe that mocked at 
all the blandishments of friendship, and "heeded not the 
song of the charmer, charm he never so wisely." 

The person who told me her story had seen her at a 
masquerade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone 
wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in 
such a scene. To find it wandering like a spectre, lonely 
and joyless, where all around is gay — to see it dressed out 
in the trappings of mirth, and looking so wan and woe-be- 
gone, as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into 
a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling 
through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air 
of utter abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of 
an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a va- 



64 THE SKETCH-BOO}t. 

cant air, that sliowed her insensibility to the garish scenft, 
she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to 
warble a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice; 
but on this occasion it was so •simple, so touching — it 
breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness — that she drew 
a crowd, mute and silent, around her, and melted every one 
into tears. 

The story of one so true and tender could not but excite 
glreat interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It 
completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his 
addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, 
could not but prove affectionate to the living. She de- 
clined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrecoverably 
engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, how- 
ever, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, 
bvit her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his 
worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent 
situation, for she was existing on the kindness of friends. 
In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, 
though with the solemn assurance, that her heart was un- 
alterably another's. 

He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of 
scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She 
was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to 
be a happy one; but nothing could cure the silent and de- 
vouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. 
She wasted away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at 
lenp-th sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart. 

it was on her that Moore, the distinguished Irish poet, 
composed the following lines : 

She is far from the land where her young liero sleeps, 

And lovers around her are sighing, 
But coldly she turns from their gaze, and weei>s, 

For her heart in his grave is lying. 

She sings the wild song of her dear native plains, 

Every note which he loved awaking — 
Ah ! little they think, who delight in her strains, 

How the heart of the minstrel is breaking ! 

He had lived for his love — for his country he died, 
They were all that to life had entwined him — 

Nor sooiii shall the tears of his country be dried. 
Nor long will his love stay behind him ! 

Oh ! make her a grave where the sunbeans rest. 

When they promise a glorious morrow ; 
They'll shine o'er her sleep, like a smile from the west, 

From her own loved isl^ind of sorrow 1 



THE ART OF BOUKMAKINQ. 65 



THE AET OF BOOK-MAKING. 

" If that severe doom of Synesius be true—' it is a greater offence to steal 
dead men's labors than their clothes,"— what shall become of most writers ? " — 
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. 

I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecundity of the 
press, and how it comes to pass that so many heads, on 
which Nature seems to have inflicted the curse of barren- 
ness, yet teem with voluminous productions. As a man 
travels on, however, in the journey of life, his objects of 
wonder daily diminish, and he is continually finding out 
some very simple cause for some great matter of marvel. 
Thus have I chanced, in my peregrinations about this great 
metropolis, to blunder upon a scene which unfolded to me 
some of the mysteries of the book -making craft, and at 
once put an end to my astonishment. 

1 was one summer's day loitering through the great sa- 
loons of the British Museum, with that listlessness with 
which one is apt to saunter about a room in warm weather; 
sometilnes lolling over the glass cases of minerals, some- 
times studying the hieroglyphics on an Egyptian mummy, 
and sometimes trying, with nearly equal success, to com- 
prehend the allegorical paintings on the lofty ceilings. 
While I was gazing about in this idle way, my attention 
was attracted to a distant floor, at the end of a suite of 
apartments. It was closed, but every now and then it 
would open, and some strange-favored being, generally 
clothed in black, would steal forth, and glide through the 
rooms, without noticing any of the surrounding objects. 
There was an air of mystery about this that piqued my 
languid curiosity, and I determined to attempt the passage 
of that strait, and to explore the unknown regions that 
lay beyond. The door yielded to my hand, with all that 
facility with which the portals of enchanted castles yield 
to the adventurous knight-errant. I found myself in a 
spacious chamber, surrounded with great cases of venerable 
books. Above the cases, and just under tlie cornice, were 
arranged a great number of quaint black -looking portraits 
of ancient authors. About the room were placed long 
tables, with stands for reading and writing, at which sat 

5 



66 THE SKETCH-BOOlt. 

many pale, cadaverous personages, poring intently orer 
dusty volumes, rumm.aging among mouldy manuscripts, and 
taking copious notes of their contents. The most hushed 
stillness reigned through this mysterious apartment, ex- 
cepting that you might hear the racing of jaens over sheets of 
paper, or, occasionally, the deep sigh of one of these sages, 
as he shifted his position to turn over the page of an old 
folio; doubtless arising from that hollowness and flatulency 
incident to learned research. 

Now and then one of these personages would write some- 
thing on a small slip of paper, and ring a bell, whereupon 
a familiar would appear, take the paper in profound silence, 
glide out of the room, and return shortly loaded with pon- 
derous tomes, upon which the other would fall, tooth and 
nail, with f:.mished voracity. I had no longer a doubt 
that I had happened upon a body of magi, deeply engaged 
in the study of occult sciences. The scene reminded me 
of an old Arabian tale, of a philosopher, who was shut up 
in an enchanted library, in the bosom of a mountain, that 
opened only once a year; where he made the spirits of the 
place obey his commands, and bring him books of all .kinds 
of dark knowledge, so that at the end of the year, when the 
magic portal once more swung open on its hinges, he issued 
forth so versed in forbidden lore, as to be able to soar above 
the heads of the multitude, and to control the powers of 
Nature, 

My curiosity being now fully aroused, I whispered to 
one of the familiars, as he was about to leave the room, and 
begged an interjsretation of the strange scene before me. 
A few Avords were sufficient for the purpose: — I found that 
these mysterious personages, whom I had mistaken for 
magi, were principally authors, and were in the very act 
of manufacturing books. I was, in fact, in the reading- 
room of the great British Library, an immense collection 
of volumes of all ages and languages, many of which are 
now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read. To 
these sequestered pools of obsolete literature, therefore, 
do many modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of 
classic lore, or " pure English, nndefiled," wherewith to 
swell their own scanty rills of thought. 

Being now in possession of the secret, I sat down in a 
corner, and watched the process of this book manufactory. 



THB ART OF BOOK-MAKIN&. 67 

I noticed one lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none 
but the most worm-eaten volumes, printed in black-letter. 

He was evidently constructing some work of profound 
erudition, that would be purchased by every man who 
wished to be thought learned, placed upon a conspicuous 
shelf of his library, or laid open upon his table — but never 
read. I observed him, now and then, draw a large frag- 
ment of biscuit out of his pocket, and gnaw; whether it 
was his dinner, or whether he was endeavoring to keep off 
that exhaustion of the stomach, produced by much pon- 
dering over dry Avorks, I leave to harder students than my- 
self to determine. 

There was one dapper little gentleman in bright colored 
clothes, with a chirping gossijDping expression of counte- 
nance, who had all the appearance of an author on good 
terms with his bookseller. After considering him atten- 
tively, I recognized in him a diligent getter-up of miscel- 
laneous works, which bustled off well Avith the trade. I 
was curious to see how he manufactured his wares. He 
made more stir and show of business than any of the others; 
dipping into various books, fluttering over the leaves of 
manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a morsel out of 
another, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little 
juid there a little," The contents of his book seemed to 
be as heterogeneous as those of the witches' cauldron in 
Macbeth. It was here a finger and there a thumb, toe of 
frog and blind worm's sting, with his own gossip poured 
in like " baboon's blood," to make the medlev " slab and 
good." 

After all, thought I, may not this pilfering disposition 
he implanted in authors for wise purposes ? may it not be 
the way in which Providence lias taken care that the seeds 
of knowledge and wisdom shall be preserved from age to 
age, in spite of the inevitable decay of the works in which 
they were first produced ? We see that Nature has Avisely, 
though whimsically provided for the conveyance of seeds 
from clime to clime, in the maws of certain birds; so that 
animals, which, in themselves, are little better than car- 
rion, and apparently the lawless j)lunderers of the orchard 
and the corn-field, are, in fact, Nature's carriers to dis- 

})erse and perpetuate her blessings. In like manner, the 
jeauties and fine thoughts of ancient and obsolete writers 



68 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

are caught up by these flights of predatory authors, and cast 
forth, again to flourish and bear fruit in a remote and dis- 
tant tract of time. Many of their works, also, undergo a 
kind of metempsychosis, and spring up under new forms. 
What was formerly a ponderous history, revives in the 
shape of a romance — an old legend changes into a modern 
play — and a sober philosophical treatise furnishes the body 
for a whole series of bouncing and sparkling essays. Thus 
it is in the clearing of our American woodlands; where 
we burn down a forest of stately pines, a progeny of dwarf 
oaks start up in their place ; and we never see the prostrate 
trunk of a tree, mouldering into soil, but it gives birth to 
a whole tribe of fungi. 

Let us not, then, lament over the decay and oblivion into 
which ancient writers descend ; they do but submit to the 
great law of Nature, which declares that all sublunary 
shapes of matter shall be limited in their duration, but 
which decrees, also, that their elements shall never perish. 
Generation after generation, both in animal and vegetable 
life, passes away, but the vital principle is transmitted to 
posterity, and the species continue to flourish. Thus, also, 
do authors beget authors, and having produced a numer- 
ous progeny, in a good old age they sleep with their fathers ; 
that is to say, with the authors who preceded them — and 
from whom they had stolen. 

While I was indulging in these rambling fancies I had 
leaned my head against a pile of reverend folios. Whether 
it was owing to the soporific emanations from these works; 
or to the profound quiet of the room; or to the lassitude 
arising from much wandering; or to an unlucky habit of 
napping at improper times and places, with which I am 
grievously afflicted, so it was. that I fell into a doze. Still, 
however, my imagination continued busy, and indeed the 
same scene remained before my mind's eye, only a little 
changed in some of the details. I dreamt that the cham- 
ber was still decorated with the portraits of ancient authors, 
but the number was increased. The long tables had dis- 
appeared, and in place of the sage magi, I beheld a ragged, 
threadbare throng, such as may be seen plying about the 
great repository of cast-off clothes, Monmouth Street. 
Whenever they seized upon a book, by one of those incon- 
gruities common to dreams, methought it turned into a 



THE ART OF BOOK-MAKING. 69 

garment of foreign or antique fashion, with which they 
proceeded to equip themselves. I noticed, however, that 
no one pretended to clothe himself from any particular 
suit, but took a sleeve from one, a cape from another, a 
skirt from a third, thus decking himself out piecemeal, 
while some of his original rags would peep out from among 
his borrowed finery. 

There was a portly, rosy, well-fed parson, whom I ob- 
served ogling several mouldy polemical writers through an 
eye-glass. He soon contrived to slip on the voluminous 
mantle of one of tiie old fathers, and having purloined the 
gray beard of another, endeavored to look exceedingly 
wise; but the smirking commonplace of his countenance 
set at naught all the trappings of wisdom. One sickly- 
looking gentleman was busied embroidering a very flimsy 
garment with gold thread drawn out of several old court- 
dresses of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Another had 
trimmed himself magnificently from an illuminated man- 
uscript, had stuck a nosegay in his bosom, culled from 
" The Paradise of Dainty Devices," and having put Sir 
Philip Sidney's hat on one side of his head, strutted off 
with an exquisite air of vulgar elegance. A third, who 
was but of puny dimensions, had bolstered himself out 
bravely with the spoils from several obscure tracts of phi- 
losophy, so that he had a very imposing front, but he was 
lamentably tattered in rear, and I perceived that he had 
patched his small-clothes with scraps of parchment from 
a Latin author. 

There were some well-dressed gentlemen, it is true, who 
only helped themselves to a gem or so, which sparkled 
among their own ornaments, without eclipsing them. 
Some, too, seemed to contemplate the costumes of the old 
writers, merely to imbibe their principles of taste, and to 
catch their air and spirit; but 1 grieve to say, that too 
many were apt to array themselves, from top to toe, in the 
patch-work manner I have mentioned. I should not omit 
to speak of one genius, in drab breeches and gaiters, and 
an Arcadian hat, who had a violent propensity to the pas- 
toral, but whose rural wanderings had been confined to the 
classic haunts of Primrose Hill, and the solitudes of the 
Regent's Park. He had decked himself in wreaths and 
ribbons from all the old pastoral poets, and hanging his 



70 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

head on one side, went about with a fantastical, lack-a- 
daisical air, " babbling about green fields." But the per- 
sonage that most struck my attention, was a pragmatical 
old gentleman, in clerical robes, with a remarkably large 
and square, but bald head. He entered the room wheezing 
and puffing, elbowed his way througli the throng, with a 
look of sturdy self-confidence, and liaving laid hands upon 
a thick Greek quarto, clapped it upon his head, and swept 
majestically away in a formidable frizzled ^yig. 

In the height of this literary masquerade, a cry suddenly 
resounded from every side, of " thieves ! thieves ! " I 
looked, and lo ! the portraits about the Avails became ani- 
mated ! The old authors thrust out first a head, then a 
shoulder, from the canvas, looked down curiously, for an 
instant, upon the motley throng, and then descended, with 
fury in their eyes, to claim their rifled property. The scene 
of scampering and hubbub that ensued baffles all descrip- 
tion. The unhappy culprits endeavored in vain to es- 
cape with their plunder. On one side might be seen half 
a dozen old monks, stripping a modern professor; on an- 
other, there was sad devastation carried into the ranks of 
modern dramatic writers. Beaumont and Fletcher, side 
by side, raged round the field like Castor and Pollux, and 
sturdy Ben Jonson enacted more wonders than when a 
volunteer witli the army in Flanders. As to the dapper 
little compiler of farragos, mentioned some time since, he 
had arrayed himself in as many patches and colors as Har- 
lequin, and there was as fierce a contention of claimants 
about him, as about the dead body of Patroclus. I was 
grieved to see many men, whom I had been accustomed to 
look upon with awe and reverence, fain to steal off with 
scarce a rag to cover their nakedness. Just theu my eye 
was cauglit by the pragmatical old gentleman in the Greek 
grizzled wig, who was scrambling away in sore afright with 
half a score of authors in full crv after him. They were 
close upon his haunches; in a twinkling off went his wig; 
at every turn some strip of raiment was peeled away; un- 
til in a few moments, from his domineering pomp, he 
shrank into a little pursy, *' chop^i'd bald shot," and made 
his exit with only a few tags and rags fluttering at his back. 

There was something so ludicrous in the catastrophe of 
this learned Theban, that I burst into an immoderate fit 



A ROYAL POET. 71 

of laughter, and which broke the whole illusion. The tu- 
mult and the scuffle were at an end. The chamber re- 
sumed its usual appearance. The old authors shrank back 
into their picture-frames, and hung in shadowy solemnity 
along the walls. In short, I found myself wide awake in 
my corner, with the whole assemblage of bookworms gaz- 
ing at me with astonishment. Nothing of the dream had 
been real but my burst of laughter, a sound never before 
heard in that grave sanctuary, and so abhorrent to the ears 
of wisdom, as to electrify the fraternit3^ 

The librarian now stepped up to me, and demanded 
whether I had a card of admission. At first I did not 
comprehend him, but I soon found that the library was a 
kind of literary " preserve," subject to game laws, and that 
no one must presume to hunt there without special license 
and permission. In a word, I stood convicted of being an 
arrant poacher, and was glad to make a precipitate retreat, 
lest I should have a whole pack of authors let loose upon 
me. 



A ROYAL POET. 

Though }'our body be confined 

And soft love a prisoner bound, 
Yet the beauty of your mind 
Neither cheolc nor chain hath found. 
liOolv out noljlj', tlien, and dare 
Even the fetters tliat you wear.— Fletcher. 

On a soft sunny morning in the genial month of May, 
I made an excursion to Windsor Castle. It is a place full 
of storied and poetical associations. The very external as- 
pect of the proud old jiile is enough to inspire high thought. 

It rears its irregular walls and massive towers, like a 
mural crown around the brow of a lofty ridge, waves its 
royal banner in the clouds, and looks down with a lordly 
air upon the surrounding world. 

On this morning, the weather was of this voluptuous 
vernal kind which calls forth all the latent romance of a 
man's temperament, filling his mind Avith music, and dis- 
posing him to quote poetry and dream of beauty. In wan- 
dering through the magnificent saloons and long echoing 
galleries of the castle, I passed with indifference by whole 



72 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

rows of portraits of warriors and statesmen, but lingered 
in the chamber where hang the likenesses of the beauties 
that graced the gay court of Charles the Second; and as I 
gazed upon them, depicted with amorous half-dishevelled 
tresses, and the sleepy eye of love, I blessed the pencil of 
Sir Peter Lely, which had thus enabled me to bask in the 
reflected rays of beauty. In traversing also the " large 
green courts," with sunshine beaming on the gray walls 
and glancing along the velvet turf, my mind was engrossed 
with the image of the tender, the gallant, but hapless Sur- 
rey, and his account of his loiterings about them in his 
stripling days, when enamored of the Lady Geraldine — 

" With eyes cast up unto the inaiden'stower. 
With easie sighs, such as men draw in love." 

In this mood of mere poetical susceptibility, I visited 
the ancient keep of the castle, where James the First of 
Scotland, the pride and theme of Scottish poets and histo- 
rians, was for many years of his youth detained a prisoner 
of state. It is a large gray tower, that has stood the brunt 
of ages, and is still in good preservation. It stands on a 
mount which elevates it above the other parts of the cas- 
tle, and a great flight of steps leads to the interior. In 
the armor}^ which is a Gothic hall, furnished with weapons 
of various kinds and ages, I was shown a coat of armor 
hanging against the wall, which I was told had once be- 
longed to James. From hence I was conducted up a stair- 
case to a suite of apartments of faded magnificence, hung 
with storied tapestry, which formed his prison, and the 
scene of that j^assionate and fanciful amour, which has 
woven into the web of his story the magical hues of poetry 
and fiction. 

The whole history of this amiable but unfortunate prince 
is highly romantic. At the tender age of eleven, he was 
sent from his home by his father, Kobert III., and destined 
for the French court, to be reared under the eye of the 
French monarch, secure from the treachery and danger 
that surrounded the royal house of Scotland. It was his 
mishap, in the course of his voyage, to fall into the hands 
of the English, and he was detained a prisoner by Henry 
IV., notwithstanding that a truce existed between the two 
countries. 



A ROYAL POET. 73 

The intelligence of his capture, coming in the train or 
many sorrows and disasters, proved fatal to his unhappy 
father. 

" The news," we are told, " was brought to him while at 
supper, and did so overwhelm him with grief, that he was 
almost ready to give up the ghost into the hands of the 
servants that attended him. But being carried to his bed- 
chamber, he abstained from all food, and in three days died 
of hunger and grief, at Eothesay." ^ 

James was detained in captivity above eighteen years ; 
but though deprived of personal liberty, he was treated 
with the respect due to his rank. Care was taken to in- 
struct him in all the branches of useful knowledge culti- 
vated at that period, and to give him those mental and 
personal accomplishments deemed proper for a prince. 
Perhaps in this respect, his imprisonment was an advan- 
tage, as it enabled him to apply himself the more exclu- 
sively to his improvement, and quietly to imbibe that rich 
fund of knowledge, and to cherish those elegant tastes, 
which have given such a lustre to his memory. The pic- 
ture drawn of him in early life, by the Scottish historians, 
is highly captivating, and seems rather the description of a 
hero of romance, than of a character in real history. He 
was well learnt, we are told, " to fight with the sword, to 
joust, to tournay, to wrestle, to sing and dance ; he was an 
expert mediciner, right crafty in playing both of lute and 
harp, and sundry other instruments of music, and was ex- 
pert in grammar, oratory, and poetry." ^ 

With this combination of manly and delicate accom- 
plishments, fitting him to shine both in active and elegant 
life, and calculated to give him an intense relish for joy- 
ous existence, it must have been a severe trial, in an age 
of bustle and chivalry, to pass the spring-time of his years 
in monotonous captivity. It was the good fortune of 
James, however, to be gifted with a powerful poetic fancy, 
and to be visited in his prison by the choicest inspirations 
of the muse. Some minds corrode and grow inactive, 
under the loss of personal liberty ; others grow morbid and 
irritable; but it is the nature of the poet to become ten- 
der and imaginative in the loneliness of confinement. He 

« Buchanan. ' Ballendeu's translation of Hector Boyce. 



74 TKE SKETiH-BOOK. 

brinqneTs npon the honey of his ovn thoughts, and, like 
the eapiire bird, pours forth his soul in melody. 

HaT-e Ton not i«en ihe aigfanngjtte;. 

A pugiisa ooop'd ma> a cage, 
B(wr doA ste «A«« hcf »>1>.d Ute. 

£a tiMtkerkaetj-lKmitage: 

Evoi tkov ker ctennBg metody doth pro-rp 
niat afl her boq^i s are trees. Iter cag<e a ^Tove.^ 

Indeed, it is the divine attribute of the imagination, 
that it is irrepressible, unconfinable; that when the real 
world is shut out, it can create a world for itself, and. with 
necromantic power, can conjure up glorious shapes and 
forms, and brilliant visions, to make solitude populous, 
and irradiate the gloom of the dungeom Such was the 
world of pomp and pagreant that lived round Tasso in his 
dismal cell at Ferrara, when he conceived the splendid 
scenes of his Jerusalem: and we may conceive the " King's 
Quair," - compc«sed by James during his captivity at Wind- 
sor, as another of those beautiful breakings forth of the 
soul from the re^^traint and gloom of the prison-house. 

The subject of his poem is his love for the Lady Jane 
Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and a princess 
of the blood-royal of England, of whom he became enan - 
oured in the course of his captivity. What gives it pecu- 
liar value, is, that it may be considered a transcript of the 
royal bard's true feelings, and the story of his real loves 
and fortunes. It is not often that sovereigns write poetry, 
or that poets deal in fact. It is gratifying to the pride of 
a common man, to find a monarch thus suing, as it were, 
for admission into his closet, and seeking to win his favor 
by administering to his pleasures. It is a proof of the 
honest equality of intellectual competition, which strips 
o5 all the trappings of factitious dignity, brings the can- 
didate down to a level with his fellow-men. and obliges 
him to depend on his own native powers for distinction. 
It is curious, too, to get at the history of a monarch's 
heart, and to find the simple affections of human nature 
throbbing under the ermine. But James had leamt to be 
a poet before he was a king: he was schooled in adversity, 
and reared in the company of his own thoughts. Mon- 

' Bogcr L'EsowQge. ' Qoair, aa oM term for book. 



A ROYAL POET. 75 

archs have seldom time to parley with their heaj^s, or to 
meditate their minds into poetry; and had James been 
brought up amid the adulation and gayety of a court, 
we should never, in all probability, have had such a poem 
as the Quair. 

I have been particularly interested by those parts of the 
poem which breathe his immediate thoughts concerning 
his situation, or which are connectetl with the apartment 
in the Tower. They have thus a personal and loc-al charm 
and are given with such circumstantial truth, as to make 
the reader present with the captive in his prison, and the 
companion of his me<iitations. 

Such is the account which he gives of his weariness of 
spirit, and of the incident that first suggested the idea of 
writing the poem. It was the still mid -watch of a clear 
moonlight night; the stars, he says, were twinkling as the 
fire in the high vault of heaven, and "* Cynthia rinsing her 
golden locks in Aquarius " — he lay in bed wakeful and rest- 
less, and took a book to beguile the tedious hours. Tiie 
book he chose was Boetius" Consolations of Philosophy, 
a work popular among the writers of that day, and which 
had been translated by his great prototype Chaucer. From 
the high eulogium in which he indtilges, it is evident this 
was one of his favorite volumes while in prison : and in- 
deed, it is an admirable text-book for meditation under 
adversity. It is the legacy of a noble and enduring spirit, 
purified by sorrow and suffering, bequeathing to its suc- 
cessors in calamity the maxims of sweet morality, and the 
trains of eloquent but simple reasoning, by which it was 
enabled to bear up against the various ills of life. It is a 
talisman which the unfortunate may treasure up in his 
bosom, or, like the go<xi King James, lay np>n his nightly 
pillow. 

After closing the volume, he turns its contents over in 
his mind, and gradually falls into a fit of musing on the 
fickleness of fortune, the vicissitudes of his own life, and 
the evils that had overtaken him even in his tender youth. 
Suddenly he hears the bell ringing to matins, but its sound 
chiming in with his melancholy fancies, seems to him like 
a voice exhorting him to write his story. In the spirit of 
poetic errantry, he determines to comply with this inti- 
mation ; he therefore takes pen in hand, makes with it a 



76 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

sign of the cross, to implore a benediction, and sallies forth 
into the fairy land of poetry. There is something ex- 
tremely fanciful in all this, and it is interesting, as fur- 
nishing a striking ana beautiful instance of the simple 
manner in which whole trains of poetical thought are 
sometimes awakened, and literary enterprises suggested to 
I the mind. 

In the course of his poem, he more than once bewails 
the peculiar hardness of his fate, thus doomed to lonely 
and inactive life, and shut up from the freedom and pleas- 
ure of the world, in which the meanest animal indulges 
unrestrained. There is a sweetness, however, in his very 
complaints; they are the lamentations of an amiable and 
social spirit, at being denied the indulgence of its kind 
and generous propensities ; there is nothing in them harsh 
or exaggerated; they flow with a natural and touching 
pathos, and are perhaps rendered more touching by their 
simple brevity. They contrast finely with those elaborate 
and iterated repinings which we sometimes meet with in 
poetry, the effusions of morbid minds, sickening under 
miseries of their own creating, and venting their bitterness 
upon an unoffending world. James speaks of his priva- 
tions with acute sensibility; but having mentioned them, 
passes on, as if his manly mind disdained to brood over 
unavoidable calamities. When such a spirit breaks forth 
into complaint, however brief, we are aware how great 
must be the suffering that extorts the murmur. We sym- 
pathize with James, a romantic, active, and accomplished 
prince, cut off in the lustihood of youth from all the en- 
terprise, the noble uses and vigorous delights of life, as we 
do with Milton, alive to all the beauties of nature and glo- 
ries of art, when he breathes forth brief but deep-toned 
lamentations over his perpetual blindness. 

Had not James evinced a deficiency of poetic artifice, 
we might almost have suspected that these lowerings of 
gloomy reflection were meant as preparative to the bright- 
est scene of his story, and to contrast with that effulgence 
of light and loveliness, that exhilarating accompaniment 
of bird, and song, and foliage, and flower, and all the revel 
of the year, with which he ushers in the lady of his heart. 
It is this scene in particular which throws all the magic 
of romance about the old castle keep. He had risen, he 



A ROYAL POElr. ^"i 

feays, at daybreak, according to custom, to escape from 
the dreary meditations of a sleepless pillow. " Bewailing 
in his chamber thus alone," despairing of all joy and rem- 
edy, "for, tired of thought, and wo-begone," he had wan- 
dered to the window, to indulge the captive's miserable 
solace, of gazing wistfully upon the world from which he 
is excluded. The window looked forth upon a small gar- 
den which lay at the foot of the tower. It was a quiet, 
sheltered spot, adorned with arbors and green alleys, and 
protected from the passing gaze by trees and hawthorn 
hedges. 

Now was there made, fast by the tower's wall 

A garden faire, and in the corners set, 
An arbour green with wandis long and small 

Railed about, and so with leaves beset 
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet. 

That lyf • was none, walkyng there forbye, 

That might within scarceany wight espye. 

So thick the branches and the leves grene, 

Beshaded all the alleys that there were, 
And midst of every arbour might be sene 

The sharpe, grene, swete juniper. 
Growing so faire with branches here and there, 

That as it seemed to a lyf without. 

The boughs did spread the arbour all about. 

And on the small green twistis ^ set 

The lytel swete nyghtingales, and sung, 
So loud and clere, the hymnis consecrate 

Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among, 
That all the garden and the wallis rung 

Ryght of tneir song— 

Note. — The language of the quotations is generally modernized. 

It was the month of May, when everything was in bloom, 
and he interprets the song of the nightingale into the lan- 
guage of his enamoured feeling: 

Worship all ye that lovers be this May; 

For of your bliss the kalends are begun, 
And sing with us, away, winter, away, 

Come, summer, come, the sweet season and sun. 

As he gazes on the scene, and listens to the notes of the 
birds, he gradually lapses into one of those tender and 
undefinable reveries, which fill the youthful bosom in this 
delicious season. He wonders what this love may be, of 
which he has so often read, and which thus seems breathed 
forth in the quickening breath of May, and melting all 

> Lyf, person. « Twistis, small boughs or twigs. 



C8 "THE SKETCH-BOOiC. 

nature into ecstasy and song. If it really be so great a 
felicity, and if it be a boon thus generally dispensed to the 
most insigiiificant of beings, why is he alone cut off from 
its enjoyments ? 

Oft would I think, O Lord, what may this be, 

That love is of such noble myght and kynde ? 
• Loving his folk, and such prosperitee, 

Is it of hira, as we in books do find ; 
May he oure hertes setten' and unbynd : 
Hath he upon oure herles such maistrye ? 
Or is all this but feynit fantasye ? 
For gift he be of so grete excellence 

That he of every wight hath care and charge, 
What have I gilt ^ to him, or done offence, 

That I am thraPd and birdis go at large ? 

In the midst of his musing, as he casts his eyes downward, 
he beholds " the fairest and freshest young floure " that ever 
he had seen. It is the lovely Lady Jane, walking in the 
garden to enjoy the beauty of that "fresh May morrowe." 
Breaking thus suddenly upon his sight in a moment of 
loneliness and excited susceptibility, she at once captivates 
the fancy of the romantic prince, and becomes the object 
of his wandering wishes, the sovereign of his ideal world. 

There is in this charming scene an evident resemblance 
to the early part of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, where Pala- 
mon and Arcite fall in love with Emilia, whom they see 
walking in the garden of their prison. Perhaps the simi- 
larity of the actual fact to the incident which he had read 
in Chaucer, may have induced James to dwell on it in his 
poem. His description of the Lady Jane is given in the 
picturesque and minute manner of his master, and being, 
doubtless, taken from the life, is a perfect portrait of a 
beauty of that day. He dwells with the fondness of a lover 
on every article of her apparel, from the net of pearls, 
splendent with emeralds and sapphires, that confined her 
golden hair, even to the " goodly chaine of small orfeverye " ^ 
about her neck, whereby there hung a rul^y in shape of a 
heart, that seemed, he says, like a sjiark of fire burning 
upon her white bosom. Her dress of white tissue was 
looped up, to enable her to walk Avitli more freedom. She 
Avas accompanied by two female attendants, and about her 
sported a little hound decorated with bells, probably the 
small Italian hound, of exquisite symmetry, which was a 

» Setten, incline, = Gilt, what injury have I done, etc, 

3 Wrought gold. 



A ROYAL POET. "y^ 

parlor favorite and pet among the fashionable dames of an- 
cient times. James closes his description by a burst of 
general eulogium : 

In her was youth, beauty with humble port, 

Bountee, ricliesse, and womanly feature, 
God better knows than my pen can report, 

Wisdom, largesse,! estate, -J and cunning 3 sure. 
In every point so guided her measure, 

In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance, 

That nature might no more her child advance. 

The departure of the Lady Jane from the gardens puts 
an end to this transient riot of the heart. With her de- 
parts the amorous illusion that had shed a temporary charm 
over the scene of his captivity, and he relapses into loneli- 
ness, now rendered tenfold more intolerable by this passing 
beam of unattainable beauty. Through the long and 
weary day he repines at his unhappy lot, and when even- 
ing approaches and Phoebus, as he beautifully expresses it, 
had " bade farewell to every leaf and flower," he still lin- 
gers at the window, and, laying his head upon the cold 
stone, gives vent to a mingled flow of love and sorrow, 
until, gradually lulled by the mute melancholy of the twi- 
light hour, he lapses, " half-sleejaing, half-swoon," into a 
vision, which occupies the remainder of the poem, and 
in which is allegorically shadowed out the history of his 
passion. 

AVhen he wakes from his trance, he rises from his stony 
pillow, and pacing his apartment full of dreary reflections, 
questions his spirit whither it has been wandering; whether, 
indeed, all that has passed before his dreaming fancy has 
been conjured up by preceding circumstances, or whether 
it is a vision intended to comfort and assure him in his 
despondency. If the latter, he prays that some token 
may be sent to confirm the promise of happier days, given 
him in his slumbers. 

Suddenly a turtle-dove of the purest whiteness comea 
flying in at the window, and alights upon his hand, bear- 
ing in her bill a branch of red gilliflower, on the leaves of 
which is written in letters of gold, the following sentence; 

Awake I awake I I bring, lover, I bring 

The newis glad, that blissful is and sure, 
Of thy comfort ; now langh, and play, and sing, 

For in the heaven decretit is thy cure. 

« iMrgease, bounty. " Estate, dignity. 3 Cunning, discretion. 



80 ^TII^ SKETCH-BOOK. 

He receives the branch with mingled hope and dread ; 
reads it with rapture, and this he says was the first token 
of his succeeding hapj^iness. Whether this is a mere 
poetic fiction, or whether the Lady Jane did actually send 
him a token of her favor in this romantic way, remains to 
be determined according to the faith or fancy of the reader. 
He concludes his poem by intimating that the promise 
conveyed in the vision, and by the flower, is fulfilled by his 
being restored to liberty, and made happy in the possession 
of the sovereign of his heart. 

Such is the poetical account given by James of his love 
adventures in Windsor Castle. How much of it is absolute 
fact, and how much the embellishment of fancy, it is fruit- 
less to conjecture; do not, however, let us always consider 
whatever is romantic as incompatible with real life, but let 
us sometimes take a poet at his word. I have noticed 
merely such parts of the poem as were immediately con- 
nected with the tower, and have passed over a large part 
which was in the allegorical vein, so much cultivated at 
that day. The language of course is quaint and antiquated, 
so that the beauty of many of its golden phrases will 
scarcely be perceived at the present day; but it is impos- 
sible not to be charmed with the genuine sentiment, the 
delightful artlessnessand urbanity, which prevail through- 
out it. The descriptions of Nature, too, with which it is 
embellished, are given with a truth, a discrimination, and a 
freshness, worthy of the most cultivated period of the arts. 

As an amatory poem, it is edifying, in these days of coarser 
thinking, to notice the nature, refinement, and exquisite 
delicacy which pervade it, banishing every gross thought, 
or immodest expression, and presenting female loveliness 
clothed in all its chivalrous attributes of almost supernat- 
ural purity and grace. 

James flourished nearly about the time of Chaucer and 
Gower, and was evidently an admirer and studier of their 
writings. Indeed, in one of his stanzas he acknowledges 
them as his masters, and in some parts of his poem we find 
traces of similarity to their productions, more especially 
to those of Chaucer, There are always, however, general 
features of resemblance in the works of cotemporary 
authors, which are not so much borrowed from each other 
as from the times. Writers, like bees, toll their sweets in 



A AOTAL POST. 81 

the wide world ; they incorporate with their own concep- 
tions the anecdotes and thoughts which are current in so- 
ciety, and thus each generation has some features in com- 
mon, characteristic of the age in which it lives. James, in 
fact, belongs to one of the most brilliant eras of our liter- 
ary history, and establishes the claims of his country to a 
participation in its primitive honors. While a small clus- 
ter of English writers are constantly cited as the fathers 
of our verse, the name of their great Scottish compeer is 
apt to be passed over in silence; but he is evidently worthy 
of being enrolled in that little constellation of remote, but 
never-failing luminaries, who shine in the highest firma- 
ment of literature, and who, like morning stars, sang to- 
gether at the bright dawning of British poesy. 

Such of my readers as may not be familiar with Scottish 
history (though the manner in which it has of late been 
woven with captivating fiction has made it a universal 
stud)'), may be curious to learn something of the subse- 
quent history of James, and the fortunes of his love. His 
passion for the Lady Jane, as it was the solace of his cap- 
tivity, so it facilitated his release, it being imagined by the 
Court, that a connection with the blood-royal of England 
would attach him to its own interests. He was ultimately 
restored to his liberty and crown, having previously es- 
poused the Lady Jane, who accompanied him to Scotland, 
and made him a most tender and devoted wife. 

He found his kingdom in great confusion, the feudal 
chieftains having taken advantage of the troubles and 
irregularities of a long interregnum to strengthen them- 
selves in their possessions, and place themselves above the 
power of the laws. James sought to found the basis of his 
power in the affections of his jDcople. He attached the 
lower orders to him by the reformation of abuses, the tem- 
perate and equable administration of justice, the encour- 
agement of the arts of peace, and the promotion of every- 
thing that could diffuse comfort, competency, and innocent 
enjoyment, through the humblest ranks of society. He 
mingled occasionally among the common people in dis- 
guise; visited their firesides; entered into their cares, their 
pursuits, and their amusements; informed himself of the 
mechanical arts, and liow they could best be patronized 
and improved; and was thus an all-pervading spirit, watch- 
6 



§g THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

ing with a benevolent eye over the meanest of his subjects. 
Having in this generous manner made himself strong in 
the hearts of the common people, he turned himself to curb 
the power of the factious nobility; to strip them of those 
dangerous immunities which they had usurped; to punish 
such as had been guilty of flagrant offences; and to bring 
the whole into proper obedience to the crown. For some 
time they bore this with outward submission, but with 
secret impatience and brooding resentment. A conspiracy 
was at length formed against his life, at the head of which 
was his own uncle, Robert Stewart, Earl of Athol, who, 
being too old himself for the j)erpetration of the deed of 
blood, instigated his grandson. Sir Robert Stewart, together 
with Sir Robert Graham, and others of less note, to com- 
mit the deed. They broke into his bed-chamber at the 
Dominican convent near Perth, where he was residing, 
and barbarously murdered him by oft-repeated wounds. 
His faithful queen, rushing to throw her tender body be- 
tween him and the sword, was twice wounded in the in- 
effectual attempt to shield him from the assassin; and it 
was not until she had been forcibly torn from his person, 
that the murder was accomj^lished. 

It was the recollection of this romantic tale of former 
times, and of the golden little poem, Avhich had its birth- 
place in this toAver, that made me visit the old pile with 
more than common interest. The suit of armor hanging 
up in the hall, richly gilt and embellished, as if to figure 
in the tournay, brought the image of the gallant and ro- 
mantic prince vividly before my imagination. I paced the 
deserted chambers where he had composed his poem; I 
leaned upon the window, and endeavored to persuade my- 
self it was the very one where he had been visited by his 
vision; I looked out upon the spot where he had first seen 
the Lady Jane. It was the same genial and joyous month : 
the birds were again vying with each other in strains of 
liquid melody: everything was bursting into vegetation, 
and budding forth the tender promise of the year. Time, 
which delights to obliterate the sterner memorials of human 
pride, seems to have passed lightly over this little scene of 
poetry and love, and to have withheld his desolating hand. 
Several centuries have "gone by, yet the garden still flour- 
ishes at the foot of the tower. It occupies what was once 



A ROYAL POSH 8S 

the moat of the keep, and though some parts have been 
separated by dividing walls, yet others have still their 
arbors and shaded walks, as in the da3's of James; and the 
whole is sheltered, blooming, and retired. There is a charm 
about the spot that has been printed by the footsteps of 
departed beauty, and consecrated by the inspirations of 
the poet, Avhich is heightened, rather than impaired, by the 
lapse of ages. It is, indeed, the gift of poetry, to hallow 
every place in which it moves; to breathe round nature 
an odor more exquisite than the perfume of the rose, and 
to shed over it a tint more magical than the blush of morn- 
ing. 

Others may dwell on the illustrious deeds of James as a 
warrior and a legislator; but I have delighted to view hint 
merely as the companion of his fellow-men, the benefactoi' 
of the human heart, stooping from his high estate to soav 
the sweet flowers of poetry and song in the paths of com- 
mon life. He was the first to cultivate the vigorous and 
hardy plant of Scottish genius, which has since been so 
prolific of the most wholesome and highly-flavored fruit. 
He carried with him into the sterner regions of the North, 
all the fertilizing arts of Southern refinement. He did 
everything in his power to win his countrymen to the gay, 
the elegant, and gentle arts which soften and refine the 
character of a people, and wreathe a grace round the lofti- 
ness of a proud and warlike spirit. He wrote many poems, 
which, unfortunately for the fulness of his fame, are now 
lost to the world; one, which is still preserved, called 
"Christ^s Kirk of the Green," shows how diligently he 
had made himself acquainted with the rustic sports and 
pastimes, which constitute such a source of kind and social 
feeling among the Scottish peasantry; and with what sim- 
ple and happy humor he could enter into their enjoyments. 
He contributed greatly to improve the national music; and 
traces of his tender sentiment and elegant taste are said to 
exist in those witching airs, still piped among the wild 
mountains and lonely glens of Scotland. He has thua 
connected his image with whatever is most gracious and 
endearing in the national character; he has embalmed his 
memory in song, and floated his name down to after-ages 
in the rich stream of Scottish melody. The recollection 
of these things was kindling at my heart, as I \xiced the 



84 THE SKETCH-BOOlt. 

silent scene of his imprisonment. I have visited Vauclus6 
with as much enthusiasm as a pilgrim would visit the 
shrine at Loretto; but I have never felt more poetical de^ 
votion than when contemplating the old tower and the lit- 
tle garden at Windsor, and musing over the romantic loves 
of the Lady Jane, and the Royal Poet of Scotland. 



THE COUNTRY CHURCH. 

A gentleman t 
VSTiat, o' the woolpack ? or the sugar-chest ? 
Or lists of velvet ? which is't, pound, or yard, 
You vend your gentry by ? — Beggar's Bush. 

There are few places more favorable to the study of 
character than an English country church. I was once 
passing a few weeks at the seat of a friend, who resided in 
the vicinity of one, the appearance of which particularly 
struck my fancy. It was one of those rich morsels of 
quaint antiquity, which give such a peculiar charm to 
English landscape. It stood in the midst of a county filled 
with ancient families, and contained, within its cold and 
silent aisles, the congregated dust of many noble genera- 
tions. The interior walls were encrusted with monuments 
of every age and style. The light streamed through win- 
dows dimmed with armorial bearings, richly emblazoned 
in stained glass. In various parts of the church were tombs 
of knights, and high-born dames, of gorgeous workman- 
ship, with their effigies in colored marble. On every side, 
the eye was struck with soma instance of asjairing mortal- 
ity; some haughty memorial which human pride had 
erected over its kindred dust, in this temple of the most 
humble of all religions. 

The congregation was composed . of the neighboring 
people of rank, who sat in pews sumptuously lined and 
cushioned, furnished with richly-gilded prayer-books, and 
decorated with their arms upon the pew doors; of the vil- 
lagers and peasantry, who filled the back seats, and a small 
gallery beside the organ ; and of the poor of the parish, 
who were ranged on benches in the aisles. 

The service was performed by a snuffling, well-fed vicar, 
who had a snug dwelling near the church. He was a priv- 



THE COUNTRY CHURCH. 85 

ileged guest at all the tables of the neighborhood, and had 
been the keenest fox-hunter in the country, until age and 
good living had disabled him from doing anything more 
than ride to see the hounds throw off, and make one at 
the hunting dinner. 

Under the ministry of such a pastor, I found it impos- 
sible to get into the train of thought suitable to the time 
and place; so having, like many other feeble Christians, 
compromised Avith my conscience, by laying the sin of 
my own delinquency at another person's threshold, I oc- 
cupied myself by making observations on my neighbors. 

I was as yet a stranger in England, and curious to notice 
the manners of its fashionable classes. I found, as usual, 
that there was the least pretension where there was the 
most acknowledged title to respect. I was particularly 
struck, for instance, with the family of a nobleman of high 
rank, consisting of several sons and daughters. Nothing 
could be more simple and unassuming than their appear- 
ance. They generally came to church in the plainest 
equipage, and often on foot. The young ladies would stop 
and converse in the kindest manner with the peasantry, 
caress the children, and listen to the stories of the hum- 
ble cottagers. Their countenances were open and beauti- 
fully fair, with an expression of high refinement, but at 
the same time, a frank cheerfulness, and engaging affa- 
bility. Their brothers were tall, and elegantly formed. 
They were dressed fashionably, but simply; with strict 
neatness and propriety, but without any mannerism or 
foppishness. Their whole demeanor was easy and natural, 
with that lofty grace, and noble frankness, which bespeak 
free-born souls that have never been checked in their growth 
by feelings of inferiority. There is a healthful hardiness 
about real dignity, that never dreads contact and com- 
munion with others, however humble. It is only spurious 
pride that is morbid and sensitive, and shrinks from every 
touch. I was pleased to see the manner in which they 
would converse with the peasantry about those rural con- 
cerns and field sports, in which the gentlemen of this coun- 
try so much delight. In these conversations, there was 
neither haughtiness on the one part, nor servility on the 
other; and you were only reminded of the difference of 
rank by the habitual respect of the peasant. 



86 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

In contrast to these, was the family of a wealthy citizen, 
who had amassed a vast fortune, and, having purchased 
the estate and mansion of a ruined nobleman in the neigh- 
boi'hood, was endeavoring to assume all the style and dig- 
nity of a hereditary lord of the soil. The family always 
came to church en prince. They were rolled majestically 
along in a carriage emblazoned with arms. The crest glit- 
tered in silver radiance from every part of the harness 
where a crest could j)ossibly be placed. A fat coachman 
in a three-cornered hat, richly laced, and a flaxen wig, 
curling close round his rosy face, was seated on the box, 
with a sleek Danish dog beside him. Two footmen in 
gorgeous liveries, with huge bouquets, and gold-headed 
canes, lolled behind. The carriage rose and sank on its 
long springs with a peculiar stateliness of motion. The 
very horses chamj^ed their bits, arched their necks, and 
glanced their eyes more proudly than common horses; either 
because they had got a little of the family feeling, or were 
reined up more tightly than ordinary. 

I could not but admire the style with which this splen- 
did pageant was brought up to the gate of the churchyard. 
There was a vast effect produced at the turning of an angle 
of the wall — a great smacking of the whip; straining and 
scrambling of the horses; glistening of harness, and flash- 
ing of wheels through gravel. This was the moment of 
triumph and vainglory to the coachman. The horses were 
urged and checked, until they were fretted into a foam. 
They threw out their feet in a prancing trot, dashing 
about pebbles at every step. The crowd of villagers saun- 
tering quietly to church, opened precipitately to the right 
and left, gaping in vacant admiration. On reaching the 
gate, the horses were pulled up with a suddenness that 
produced an immediate stop, and almost threw them on 
their haunches. 

There was an extraordinary hurry of the footmen to 
alight, open the door, pull down the stejDS, and prepare 
everything for the descent on earth of this august family. 
The old citizen first emerged his round red face from out 
the door, looking about him with the pompous air of a 
man accustomed to rule on 'change, and shake the stock- 
market with a nod. His consort, a fine, fleshy, comforta- 
ble dame, followed him. There seemed, I must confess. 



THE COUNTRY CHURCH. 87 

but little pride in her composition. She was the picture 
of broad, honest, vulgar enjoyment. The world went well 
with her; and she liked the world. She had fine clothes, 
a fine house, fine carriage, fine childreii, everything was 
fine about her: it was nothing but driving about, and vis- 
iting and feasting. Life was to her a perj^etual revel; it 
was one long Lord Mayor's day. * 

Two daughters succeeded to this goodly couple. They 
certainly were handsome; but had a supercilious air that 
chilled admiration, and disposed the spectator to be criti- 
cal. They were ultra-fashionable in dress, and, though no 
one could deny the richness of their decorations, yet their 
AjDpropriateness might be questioned amid the simplicity 
of a country church. They descended loftily from the 
carriage, and moved up the line of j^easantry with a step 
that seemed dainty of the soil it trod on. They cast an 
excursive glance around, that passed coldly over the burly 
faces of the peasantry, until they met the eyes of the no- 
bleman's family, when their countenances immediately 
brightened into smiles, and they made the most profound 
and elegant courtesies, Avhich were returned in a manner 
that showed they were but slight acquaintances. 

I must not forget the two sons of this aspiring citizen, 
who came to church in a dashing curricle, with outriders. 
They were arrayed in the extremity dt the mode, with all 
that pedantry of dress Avhich marks the man of questiona- 
ble pretensions to style. They kept entirely by themselves, 
eying every one askance that came near them, as if meas- 
uring his claims to respectability; yet they were without 
conversation, except the exchange of an occasional cant 
phrase. They even moved artificially, for their bodies, in 
compliance with the caprice of the day, had been discip- 
lined into the absence of all ease and freedom. Ai't had 
done everything to accomplish them as men of fashion, but 
Nature had denied them the nameless grace. They were 
vulgarly shaped, like men formed for the common j^ur- 
poses of life, and had that air of supercilious assumption 
which is never seen in the true gentleman. 

I have been rather minute in drawing the pictures of 
these two families, because I considered them specimens 
of what is often to be met with in this country — the un- 
pretending great, and the arrogant little. I have no re- 



88 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

spect for titled rank, unless it be accompanied by true 
nobility of soul; but I have remarked, in all countries 
where these artificial distinctions exist, that the very high- 
est classes are always the most courteous and unassuming. 
Those who are well assured of their own standing are least 
apt to trespass on that of others: Avhereas, nothing is so 
offensive as the aspiVings of vulgarity, which thinks to 
elevate itself by humiliating its neighbor. 

As I have brought these families into contrast, I must 
notice their behavior in church. That of the nobleman's 
family was quiet, serious, and attentive. Not that they 
appeared to have any fervor of devotion, but rather a re- 
spect for sacred things, and sacred places, inseparable from 
good-breeding. The others, on the contrary, were in a 
perpetual flutter and whisper; they betrayed a continual 
consciousness of finery, and the sorry ambition of being 
the wonders of a rural congregation. 

The old gentleman was the only one really attentive to 
the service. He took the whole burden of family devotion 
upon himself; standing bolt upright, and uttering the re- 
sponses with a loud voice that might be heard all over the 
church. It was evident that he was one of those thorough 
church and king men, who connect the idea of devo- 
tion and loyalty; who consider the Deity, somehow or 
other, of the governntent party, and religion " a very excel- 
lent sort of thing, that ought to be countenanced and kept 
up." 

When he joined so loudly in the service, it seemed more 
by way of example to the lower orders, to show them, that 
though so great and wealthy, he was not above being re- 
ligious; as I have seen a turtle-fed alderman swallow pub- 
licly a basin of charity soup, smacking his lips at every 
mouthful, and pronouncing it "excellent food for the 
poor." 

When the service was at an end, I was curious to wit- 
ness the several exits of my groups. The young noblemen 
and their sisters, as the day was fine, preferred strolling 
home across the fields, chatting with the country people 
as they went. The others departed as they came, in grand 
parade. Again were the equipages wheeled up to the gate. 
There was again the smacking of whips, the clattering of 
hoofs, and the glittering of harness. The horses started 



THE WIDOW AND HER SOK 89 

off almost at a bound; the villagers again linrried to right 
and left; the wheels threw up a cloud of dust, and the as- 
piring family was rapt out of sight in a whirlwind. 



THE WIDOW AND HER SON. 

Pittie olde age, within whose silver haires 
Honour and reverence evermore have raign'd. 

Marlowe's Tamburlaine. 

DuEii^'G my residence in the country, I used frequently 
to attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, 
its mouldering monuments, its dark oaken panelling, all 
reverend with the gloom of departed years, seemed to fit 
it for the haunt of solemn meditation. A Sunday, too, 
in the country, is so holy in its repose — such a pensive 
quiet reigns over the face of Nature, that every restless 
passion is charmed down, and we feel all the natural reli- 
gion of the soul gently springing up within us. 

"Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright, 
The bridal of the earth and sky 1 " 

I cannot lay claim to the merit of being a devout man; 
but there are feelings that visit me in a country church, 
amid the beautiful serenity of Nature, which I experience 
nowhere else; and if not a more religious, I think I am a 
better man on Sunday, than on any other day of the seven. 

But in this church I felt myself continually thrown 
back upon the world, by the frigidity and pomp of the 
poor worms around me. The only being that seemed 
thoroughly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of a 
true Christian, was a poor decreijit old woman, bending 
under the weight of years and infirmities. She bore the 
traces of something better than abject poverty. The lin- 
gerings of decent pride were visible in her appearance. 
Her dress, though humble in the extreme, was scrupulously 
clean. Some trivial respect, too, had been awarded her, 
for she did not take her seat among the village poor, but 
sat alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have 
survived all love, all friendshij), all society; and to have 
nothing left her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw 
her feebly rising and bending her aged form in prayer; 



90 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

habitually conning her prayer-book, which her palsied 
hand and failing eyes could not permit her to read, but 
which she evidently knew by heart; I felt persuaded that 
the faltering voice of that poor woman arose to heaven far 
before the responses of the clerk, the swell of the organ, 
or the chanting of the choir. 

I am fond of loitering about country churches; and this 
was so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted 
me. It stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made 
a beautiful bend, and then wound its way through a long- 
reach of soft meadow scenery. The church was surrounded 
by yew trees, which seemed almost coeval with itself. Its 
tall Gothic spire shot up lightly from among them, with 
rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I was seated 
there one still sunny morning, watching two laborers who 
were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most 
remote and neglected corners of the churchyard, where, 
by the number of nameless graves around, it would appear 
that the indigent and friendless were huddled into the 
earth. I was told that the new-made grave was for the only 
son of a poor widow. While I was meditating on the dis- 
tinctions of worldly rank, which extend thus down into 
the very dust, the toll of the bell announced the approach 
of the funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with 
which pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest 
materials, without pall or other covering, was borne by 
some of the villagers. The sexton walked before with an 
air of cold indifference. There Avere no mock mourners 
in the trappings of affected woe, but there was one real 
mourner who feebly tottered after the corpse. It was the 
aged mother of the deceased — the poor old woman whom 
I had seen seated on the steps of the altar. She was sup- 
ported by an humble friend, who was endeavoring to com- 
fort her, A few of the neighboring poor had joined the 
train, and some children of the village were running hand 
in hand, now shouting with unthinking mirth, and now 
pausing to gaze, with childish curiosity, on the grief of 
the mourner. 

As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson 
issued from the church porch, arrayed in the surplice, 
with prayer-book in hand, and attended by the clerk, 
The service, however, wr.s a mere act of charity. The 4e-- 



THE WIDOW AND HER JSOJV. 91 

ceased had been destitute, and the survivor was penniless. 
It was shuffled through, therefore, in form, but coldly and 
unfeelingly. The well-fed priest moved but a few steps 
from the church door; his voice could scarcely be heard 
at the grave; and never did I hear the funeral service, that 
sublime and touching ceremony, turned into such a frigid 
mummery of words. 

I approached the grave. The coffin was placed on the 
ground. On it were inscribed the name and age of the 
deceased — " George Somers, aged 26 years." The poor 
mother had been assisted to kneel down at the head of it. 
Her withered hands were clasped, as if in prayer; but I 
could perceive, by a feeble rocking of the body, and a con- 
vulsive motion of the lips, that she was gazing on the last 
relics of her son with the yearnings of a mother's heart. 

Preparations were made to deposit the coffin in the earth. 
There was that bustling stir, which breaks so harshly on 
the feelings of grief and affection : directions given in the 
cold tones of business; the striking of spades into sand 
and gravel; which, at the grave of those we love, is of all 
sounds the most withering. The bustle around seemed to 
waken the mother from a Avretched reverie. She raised 
her glazed eyes, and looked about with a faint wildness. 
As the men approached with cords to lower the coffin into 
the grave, she wrung her hands, and broke into an agony 
of grief. The poor woman who attended her, took her 
by the arm, endeavored to raise her from the earth, and to 
whisper something like consolation — " Nay, now — nay, now 
— don't take it so sorely to heart." She could only shake 
her head, and wring her hands, as one not to be comforted. 

As they lowered the body into the earth, the creaking 
of the cords seemed to agonize her; but when, on some 
accidental obstruction, there was a jostling of the coffin, 
all the tenderness of the mother burst forth; as if any 
harm could come to him who was far beyond the reach of 
worldly suffering. 

I could see no more — my heart swelled into my throat 
— my eyes tilled with tears — I felt as if I were acting a 
barbarous part in standing by and gazingidly on this scene 
of maternal anguish. I wandered to another part of the 
churchyard, where I remained until the funeral train had 
dispersed. 



92 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

When I saw the mother, slowly and painfully quitting 
the grave, leaving behind her the remains of all that was 
dear to her on earth, and returning to silence and destitu- 
tion, my heart ached for her. AVhat, thought I, are the 
distresses of the rich? They have friends to soothe — 
pleasures to beguile — a world to divert and dissipate their 
griefs. What are the sorrows of the young ? Their grow- 
ing minds soon close above the wound — their elastic spirits 
soon rise beneath the pressure — their green and ductile 
affections soon twine around new objects. But the sorrows 
of the poor, who have no outward appliances to soothe — 
the sorrows of the aged, with whom life at best is but a 
wintry day, and who can look for no aftergrowth of joy — 
the sorrows of a widow, aged, solitary, destitute, mourning 
over an only son, the last solace of her years ; — these are 
indeed sorrows which make us feel the impotency of con- 
solation. 

It was some time before I left the churchyard. On my 
way homeward, I met with the woman who had acted as 
comforter: she was just returning from accompanying the 
mother to her lonely habitation, and I drew from her some 
particulars connected with the affecting scene I had wit- 
nessed. 

The parents of the deceased had resided in the village 
from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest 
cottages, and by various rural occupations, and the assist- 
ance of a small garden, had supported themselves credita- 
bly and comfortably, and led a happy and a blameless life. 
They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and 
pride of their age. — " Oh, sir ! " said the good woman, " he 
was such a comely lad, so sweet-tempered, so kind to every 
one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did one's 
heart good to see him of a Sunday, dressed out in his best, 
so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to 
church — for she was always fonder of leaning on George's 
arm than on her good man's; and, poor soul, she might 
well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the 
country round." 

Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of 
scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the ser- 
vice of one of the small crafts that plied on a neighboring 
river. He had not been long in this employ, when he \va^ 



TBS WIDOW AND HER hON. 93 

fentrapped by a press-gang, and carried off to sea. His 
parents received tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they 
could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. 
The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and 
melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left 
lonely in her age and feebleness, could no longer support 
herself, and came upon the parish. Still there was a kind 
of feeling toward her throughout the village, and a certain 
respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one 
applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many 
happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she 
lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of na- 
ture were chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of 
her little garden, which the neighbors would now and then 
cultivate for her. It was but a few days before the time 
at which these circumstances were told me, that she was 
gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard 
the cottage-door which faced the garden suddenly opened. 
A stranger came out, and seemed to be looking eagerly and 
wildly around. He was dressed in seamen's clothes, was 
emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken 
by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and hastened 
toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering ; he sank 
on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. The 
poor woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering 
eye — "Oh my dear, dear mother! don't you know your 
son ? your poor boy George ? " It was, indeed, the wreck 
of her once noble lad ; who, shattered by wounds, by sick- 
ness, and foreign imprisonment, had, at length, dragged 
his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of 
his childhood. 

I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a 
meeting, where sorrow and joy were so completely blended : 
still he was alive ! — he was come home ! he might yet live 
to comfort and cherish her old age ! Nature, however, was 
exhausted in him; and if anything had been wanting to 
finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage 
would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the 
pallet on which his widowed mother had passed many a 
sleepless night, and he never rose from it again. 

The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had 
returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and 



D4 "THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

assistance that their humble means afforded. He was too 
weak, however, to talk — he could only look his thanks. 
His mother was his constant attendant; and he seemed 
unwilling to be helped by any other hand. 

There is something in sickness that breaks down the 
pride of manhood; that softens the heart, and brings it 
back to the feelings of infancy. "Who that has languished, 
even in advanced life, in sickness and despondency; who 
that has pined on a weary bed in the neglect and loneli- 
ness of a foreign land ; but has thought on the mother 
" that looked on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow, 
and administered to his helplessness ? Oh ! there is an 
enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son, that 
transcends all other affections of the heart. It is neither 
to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor 
weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She 
will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will 
surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory 
in his fame, and exult in his prosperity — and, if misfor- 
tune overtake him, he will be the dearer to her from mis- 
fortune; and if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still 
love and cherish him in spite of his disgrace; and if all 
the world besides cast him off, she will be all the world to 
him. 

Poor George Somers had known what it was to be in 
sickness, and none to soothe — lonely and in prison, and 
none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from 
his sight; if she moved away, his eye would follow her. 
She would sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he 
slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream, 
and look anxiously up until he saw her bending over him, 
when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall 
asleep Avith the tranquillity of a child. In this way he 
died. 

My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of afflic- 
tion, was to visit the cottage of the mourner, and adminis- 
ter pecuniary assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, 
however, on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers 
had promjDted them to do everything that the case ad- 
mitted; and as the poor know best how to console each 
other's sorrows, I did not venture to intrude. 

The next Sunday I was at the village church; when, tc 



THE BOARS HEAD TAVERN, EASTCHEAP. f)5 

my surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the 
aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar. 

She had made an effort to put on something like mourn- 
ing for her son; and nothing could be more touching than 
this struggle between pious affection and utter poverty : m 
black ribbon or so — a faded black handkerchief — and one 
or two more such humble attempts to express by outward 
signs that grief which passes show. — When I looked round 
upon the storied monuments, the stately hatchments, the 
cold marble pomp, wath which grandeur mourned magnifi- 
cently over departed pride, and turned to this j^oor widow, 
bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, 
and offering up the prayers and praises of a pious, though 
a broken heart, I felt that this living monument of real 
grief was worth them all. 

I related her story to some of the wealthy members of 
the congregation, and they were moved by it. They ex- 
erted themselves to render her situation more comfortable, 
and to lighten her afflictions. It was, however, but smooth- 
ing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday 
or two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, 
and before I left the neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling 
of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and 
had gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where 
torrow is never known, and friends are never parted. 



THE BOAE'S HEAD TAVERN, EASTCHEAP. 

A SHAKSPEARIAN" RESEARCH. 

" A tavern is the rendezvous, the exchange, the staple of good fellows. I 
have heard my grreat-grandfather tell, how his great-great-grandfather should 
say, that it was an old proverb when his great-grandfather was a child, that ' it 
was a good wind that blew a man to the wine.' ''—Mother Bombie. 

It is a pious custom, in some Catholic countries, to honor 
the memory of saints by votive lights burnt before their 
pictures. The popularity of a saint, therefore, may be 
known by the number of these offerings. One, perhaps, 
is left to moulder in the darkness of his little chapel; an- 
other may have a solitary lamp to throw its blinking rays 
athwart his effigy; while the whole blaze of adoration is 



96 ^B^ S^ETCff-BOOit. 

lavished at the shrine of some beatified father of renown. 
The wealthy devotee brings his huge luminary of wax; 
the eager zealot, his seven-branched candlestick; and even 
the mendicant pilgrim is by no means satisfied that suffi- 
cient light is thrown upon the deceased, unless he hangs 
up his little lamp of smoking oil. The consequence is, 
in the eagerness to enlighten, they are often apt to obscure : 
and I have occasionally seen an unlucky saint almost smoked 
out of countenance by the officiousness of his followers. 

In like manner has it fared with the immortal Skak- 
speare. Every writer considers it his bounden duty, to 
light up some portion of his character or works, and to 
rescue some merit from oblivion. The commentator, opu- 
lent in words, produces vast tomes of dissertations; the 
common herd of editors send up mists of obscurity from 
their notes at the bottom of each page; and every casual 
scribbler brings his farthing rush-light of eulogy or re- 
search, to swell the cloud of incense and of smoke. 

As I honor all established usages of my brethren of the 
quill, I thought it but proper to contribute my mite of 
homage to the memory of the illustrious bard. I was for 
some time, however, sorely puzzled in what way I should 
discharge this duty. I found myself anticipated in every 
attempt at a new reading; every doubtful line had been 
explained a dozen different ways, and perplexed beyond 
the reach of elucidation; and as to fine passages, they had 
all been amply praised by previous admirers: nay, so com- 
pletely had the bard, of late, been overlarded with panegy- 
ric by a great German critic, that it was difficult now to 
find even a fault that had not been argued into a beauty. 

In this perplexity, I was one morning turning over his 
pages, when I casually opened upon the comic scenes of 
Henry IV., and was, in a moment, completely lost in the 
madcap revelry of the Boar's Head Tavern. So vividly 
and naturally are these scenes of humor depicted, and with 
such force and consistency are the characters sustained, 
that they become mingled up in the mind with the facts 
and personages of real life. To few readers does it occur, 
that these are all ideal creations of a poet's brain, and that, 
in sober truth, no such knot of merry roysters ever en- 
livened the dull neighborhood of Eastcheap. 

For my part, I love to give myself up to the illusions of 



^HE BOAR'S HEAD TAVERN, EASf CHEAP. 9t 

poetry. A hero of fiction that never existed, is Just as 
valuable to me as a hero of history that existed a thousand 
years since; and, if I may be excused such an insensibil- 
ity to the common ties of human nature, I would not give 
up Fat Jack for half the great men of ancient chronicle. 
What have the heroes of yore done for me, or men like 
me ? They have conquered countries of which I do not 
enjoy an acre; or they have gained laurels of which I do 
not Inherit a leaf; or they have furnished examples of 
hare-brained prowess, which I have neither the opportu- 
nity nor the inclinatioix to follow. But old Jack Falstaff ! 
— kind Jack Falstaff ! — sweet Jack Falstafl! has enlarged 
the boundaries of human enjoyment; he has addsd vast 
regions of wit and good-humor, in which the poorest man 
may revel; and has bequeathed a never-failing inheritance 
of jolly laughter, to make mankind merrier and better to 
the latest posterit}^ 

A thought suddenly struck me: "I will make a pilgrim- 
age to Eastcheap," said I, closing the book, " and see if 
the old Boar's Head Tavern still exists. Who knows but 
I may light upon some legendary traces of Dame Quickly 
and her gviests ; at any rate, there will be a kindred pleas- 
Lire, in treading the halls once vocal with their mirth, to 
that the toper enjoys in smelling to the empty cask, once 
filled with generous wine." 

The resolution was no sooner formed than put in exe- 
cution. I forbear to treat of the various adventures and 
wonders I encountered in my travels, of the haunted re- 
gions of Cock Lane; of the faded glories of Little Britain 
and the parts adjacent; what perils I ran in Cateaton 
Street and Old Jewry; of the renowned Guildhall and its 
two stunted giants, the pride and wonder of the city, and the 
terror of all unlucky urchins; and how I visited London 
Stone, and struck my staff upon it, in imitation of that 
arch-rebel. Jack Cade. 

Let it suffice to say, that I at length arrived in merry 
Eastcheap, that ancient region of wit and wassail, where 
the very names of the streets relished of good cheer, as 
Pudding Lane bears testimony even at the present day. 
For Eastcheap, says old Stow, "was always famous for its 
convivial doings. The cookes cried hot ribbes of beef 
roasted, pies well baked, and other victuals; there was 
7 



98 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

clattering of pewter pots, harpe, pipe, and sawtrie." Alas! 
how sadly is the scene changed since the roaring days of 
Falstaff and old Stow! The madcap royster has given 
place to the plodding tradesman; the clattering of pots 
and the sound of "harjje and sawtrie," to the din of carts 
and the accurst dinging of the dustman's bell; and no 
song is heard, save, haply, the strain of some siren from 
Billingsgate, chanting the eulogy of deceased mackerel. 

I sought, in vain, for the ancient abode of Dame Quickly. 
The only relic of it is a boar's head, carved in relief stone, 
which formerly served as the sign, but, at present , is built 
into the parting line of two houses which stand on the site 
of the renowned old tavern. 

For the history of this little empire of good felloAvship, 
I was referred to a tallow-chandler's widow, opposite, who 
had been born and brought up on the spot, and was looked 
up to, as the indisiDutable chronicler of the neighborhood. 
I found her seatetl in a little back parlor, the window of 
wliich looked out ujion a yard about eight feet square, laid 
out as a flower-garden; Avhileaglass door opposite afforded 
a distant peep of the street, through a vista of soap and 
tallow candles; the two views, which comj^rised, in all 
probability, her prospects in life, and the little world in 
which she had lived, and moved, and had her being, for 
the better part of a century. 

To be versed in the history of Eastcheap, great and lit- 
tle, from London Stone even unto the Monument, was, 
doubtless, in her opinion, to be acquainted with the history 
of the universe. Yet, with all this, she possessed the sim- 
plicity of true wisdom, and that liberal, communicative dis- 
position, which I have generally remarked in intelligent old 
lidies, knowing in the concerns of their neighborhood. 

Her information, however, did not extend far back into 
antiquity. She could throw no light upon the history of 
the Boar's Head, from the time that Dame Quickly es- 
poused the valiant Pistol, until the great fire of London, 
when it was unfortunately burnt down. It was soon re- 
built, and continued to flourish under the old name and 
sign, until a dying landlord, struck with remorse for double 
scores, bad measures, and other iniquities wliich are inci- 
dent to the sinful race of publicans, endeavored to make 
his peace with Heaven, by bequeathing the tavern to St. 



THE BOARS HEAD TAVERX. EAHTCHEAP. 91) 

Micliael's Churcli, Crooked Lane, toward the supporting of 
a chaplain. For some time the vestry meetings were reg- 
ularly held there ; but it was observed that the old Boar 
never held up his head under church government. He 
gradually declined, and finally gave his last gasp about 
thirty years since. The tavern was then turned into shops ; 
but she informed me that a picture of it was still preserved 
in St. Michael's Church, which stood just in the rear.- To 
get a sight of this picture was now my determination; so, 
having informed myself of the abode of the sexton, I took 
my leave of the venerable chronicler of Eastcheap, my visit 
having doubtless raised greatly her opinion of her legen- 
dary lore, and furnished an important incident in the his- 
tory of her life. 

It cost me some difficulty and much curious inquiry, to 
ferret out the humble hanger-on to the church. I had to 
explore Crooked Lane, and divers little alleys, and elbows, 
and dark passages, with which this old city is perforated, 
like an ancient cheese, or a worm-eaten chest of drawers. 
At length I traced him to a corner of a small court, sur- 
rounded by lofty houses, where the inhabitants enjoy about 
as much of the face of heaven as a community of frogs at 
the bottom of a well. The sexton was a meek, acquiescing 
little man, of a bowing, lowly habit; yet he had a pleasant 
twinkling in his eye, and if encouraged, would now and 
then venture a small pleasantry; snch as a man of his low 
estate might venture to make in the company of high 
church wardens, and other mighty men of the earth. I 
found him in company with the deputy organist, seated 
apart, like Milton's angels; discoursing, no doubt, on high 
iloctrinal points, and settling the affairs of the church over 
a friendly pot of ale; for tlie lower classes of English sel- 
dom deliberate on any Aveighty matter without the assist- 
ance of a cool tankard to clear their understandings. I 
arrived at the moment when they had finished their ale 
and their argument, and were about to repair to the church 
to put it in order; so, having made known my wishes, I 
received their gracious permission to accompany them. 

The church of St. ]\[icliael's, Crooked Lane, standing a 
short distance from Billingsgate, is enriched with the tombs 
of many fishmongers of renown ; and as every profession 
has its galaxy of glory, and its constellation of great men, 



100 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

I presume the monument of a mighty fishmonger of the 
olden time is regarded with as much reverence by succeed- 
ing generations of the craft, as poets feel on contemplat- 
ing the tomb of Virgil, or soldiers the monument of a 
Marlborough or Turenne. 

I cannot but turn aside, while thus speaking of illustri- 
ous men, to observe that St. Michael's, Crooked Lane, con- 
tains. also the ashes of that doughty champion, William 
Walworth, Knight, who so manfully clove down the sturdy 
wight, "Wat Tyler, in Smithfield : a hero worthy of honor- 
able blazon, as almost the only Lord Mayor on record fa- 
mous for deeds of arms: the sovereigns of Cockney being 
generally renowned as the most pacific of all potentates.^ 

Adjoining the church, in a small cemetery, immediately 
under the back windows of what was once the Boar's Head, 
stands the tombstone of Eobert Preston, whilom drawer 
at the tavern. It is now nearly a century since this trusty 
drawer of good liquor closed his bustling career, and was 
thus quietly deposited within call of his customers. As I 
was clearing away the weeds from his epitaph, the little 
sexton drew me on one side with a mysterious air, and in- 
formed me, in a low voice, that once upon a time, on a dark 
wintry night, when the wind was unruly, howling and 
whistling, banging about doors and windows, and twirling 
weathercocks, so that the living were frightened out of 
their beds, and even the dead could not sleep quietly in 

I The following was the ancient inscription on the monument of this worthy, 
which, unhappily, was destroyed in the great conflagration: 

Hereunder lyth a man of fame. 

William Walwortli callyd by name ; 

Fishmonger he was iulyfftime here, 

And twise Lord Maior, as in books appeare ; i 

AMio, with courage stout and manly myght, I 

Slew Jack Straw'in Kyng Richard's sight, I 

For which act done, aiid trew eiitent, . 

The Kyng made him Kuyglit incontinent ; ' 

And gave him his amies, as here you see, 

To declare his fact and chivaldrie : 

He left thislj"flf the year of our God 

Thirteen houdred foui"score and three odd. 

An error in the foregoing insci-iption has been corrected by the venerable 
Stow: "Whereas," saith he, "it hath been far spread abroad by vulgar 
opinion, that the rel>el smitten down so manfully by Sir William Walworth, the 
then worthy Lord Maior. was named Jack Straw, and not Wat Tyler. I thought 
good to rvcoucile this rash conceived doubt by such testimony as I find in 
ancient and good records. The principal leaders, or captains of the commons, 
were Wat Tyler, as the first man ; the second was John, or Jack, Straw, etc., etc," 
^Stow's London, 



THE BOARS HEAD TAVERX EASTCHEAP. 101 

their graves, the ghost of honest Preston, which happened 
to be airing itself in the churchyard, was attracted by the 
well-known call of ''waiter," from the Boar's Headland 
made its sudden appearance in the midst of a roaring club, 
just as the parish clerk was singing a stave from the " mir- 
rie garland of Captain Death:" to the discomfiture of sun- 
dry train-band captains, and the conversion of an infidel 
attorney, who became a zealous Christian on the spot, and 
was never known to twist the trtith afterward, except in 
the way of business, 

I beg it may be remembered, that I do not pledge my- 
self for the authenticity of this anecdote; though it is well 
known that the churchyards and by-corners of this old 
metropolis are very much infested with perturbed spirits; 
and every one must have heard of the Cock Lane ghost, 
and the apparition that guards the regalia in the Tower, 
which has frightened so many bold sentinels almost out of 
their wits. 

Be all this as it may, this Robert Preston seems to have 
been a worthy successor to the nimble-tongued Francis, 
who attended upon the revels of Prince Hal : to have been 
equally prompt with his " anon, anon, sir," and to have 
transcended his predecessor in honesty: for Falstaff, the 
veracity of whose taste no man will venture to impeach, 
flatly accuses Francis of putting lime in his sack: whereas, 
honest Preston's epitaph lauds him for the sobriety of his 
conduct, the soundness of his wine, and the fairness of his 
measure.^ The worthy dignitaries of the church, however, 
did not appear much captivated by the sober ^^rtues of the 
tapster: the deputy organist, who had a moist look out of 
the eye, made some shrewd remark on the abstemiousness 
of a man brought up among full hogsheads: and the little 

' As this inscription is rife with excellent morality. I transcribe it for the 
admonition of delinquent tapsters. It is, no doubt, the ppiduction of some 
choice spirit who once frequented the Boar's Head: 

Bacchus, to give the toping world stirpris*". 
Produced one s<jber son, and here lie fies. 
Though rear"d among full hogsheads, he defied 
The charms of wine, and everj- one beside. 
O reader, if to justice thou"rt inclined. 
Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind. 
He drew goxi wine, to<^k "care to fiJi his pots. 
Had sundry virtues that excuse.! his faults. 
You that on Bacchus have the like dependence. 
Pray copy Bob, in measure and atteuuaace. 



102 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

sexton corroborated his opinion by a significant wink, and 
a dubious shake of the head. 

Tlius fur my researches, though they threw much light 
on the history of tapsters, fishmongers, and Lord Mayors, 
yet disappointed me in the great object of my quest, the 
picture of the Boar's Head Tavern. No such painting 
was to be found in the church of St. Michael's. " Marry 
and amen ! " said I, '" here endeth my research I '^ So I was 
giving the matter up, with the air of a baffled antiquary, 
when my friend the sexton, perceiving me to be curious in 
everything relative to the old tavern, offered to show me 
the choice vessels of the vestry, Avhich had been handed 
down from remote times, when the iDarish meetings were 
held at the Boars Head. These were deposited in the par- 
ish club-room, which had been transferred, on the decline 
of the ancient establishment, to a tavern in the neighbor- 
hood. 

A few steps brought us to the house, which stands No. 
12, Mile Lane, bearing the title of the Mason's Arms, and 
is ke^jt by Master Edward Honeybal], the '*' bully-rook '' of 
the establishment. It is one of those little taverns, which 
abound in the heart of the cit}^, and form the centre of 
gossij:) and intelligence of the neighborhood. We entered 
the bar-room, which was narrow and darkling; for in these 
close lanes but few rays of reflected light are enabled to 
struggle down to the inhabitants, whose broad day is at 
best but a tolerable twilight. The room was partitioned 
into boxes, each containing a table sj^read with a clean 
white cloth, ready for dinner. This showed that the 
guests were of the good old stamp, and divided their day 
equally, for it was but just one o'clock. At the lower end 
of the room was a clear coal fire, before which a breast of 
lamb was roasting. A row of bright brass candlesticks and 
pewter mugs glistened along the mantelpiece, and an old- 
fashioned clock ticked in one corner. There was some- 
thing primitive in this medle}^ of kitchen, parlor, and hall, 
that carried me ba'k to earlier times, and pleased me. The 
place, indeed, was humble, but everything had that look 
of order and neatness which bespeaks the superintendence 
of a notable English housewife. A group of amphibious- 
looking beings, who might be either fishermen or sailors, 
were resralinir themselves in one of the l)oxes. As I was 



THE BOARS HEAD TAVERN, EASTCHEAP. 103 

a visitor of rather higher pretensions, I was ushered into 
a little misshapen back room, having at least nine corners. 
It was lighted by a skylight, furnished with antiquated 
leathern cliairs, and ornamented Avitli the portrait of a fat 
pig. It was evidently appropriated to particular customers, 
and I found a shabby gentleman, in a red nose, and oil- 
cloth hat, seated in one corner, meditating on a half-empty 
pot of porter. 

The old sexton had taken the landlady aside, and with 
an air of profound importance imparted to her my errand. 
Dame Honeyball was a likely, plump, bustling little woman, 
and no bad substitute for that jiaragon of hostesses. Dame 
Quickly. She seemed delighted with an opportunity to 
oblige; and hurrying up stairs to the archives of her house, 
where the precious vessels of the parish club were deposited, 
she returned, smiling and courtesying with them in her 
hands. 

The first she presented me was a japanned iron tobacco- 
box, of gigantic size, out of which, I was told, the vestry 
had smoked at their stated meetings, since time immemo- 
rial; and which was never suffered to be profaned by vul- 
gar hands, or used on common occasions. I received it 
with becoming reverence; but what was my delight, at be- 
holding on its cover the identical painting of which I was 
in quest I There was displayed the outside of the Boar's 
Head Tavern, and before the door was to be seen the whole 
convivial grouj^, at table, in full revel, pictured with that 
wonderful fidelity and force, with which the portraits of 
renowned generals and commodores are illustrated on to- 
bacco-boxes, for the benefit of posterity. Lest, however, 
there should be any mistake, the cunning limner had war- 
ily inscribed the names of Prince Hal and Falstafl on the 
bottoms of their chairs. 

On the inside of the cover was an inscription, nearly oblit- 
erated, recording that this box was the gift of Sir Richard 
Gore, for the use of the vestry meetings at the Boar's Head 
Tavern, and that it was " repaired and beautified by his 
successor, Mr. John Packard, 1767." Such is a faithful 
description of this august and venerable relic, jind I ques- 
tion whether the learned Scriblerius contemplated his 
Roman shield, or the Knights of the Round Table the long- 
sought sangrreal with more exultation. 



104 THE sketch-book. 

While I was meditating on it with enraptured gaze, Dame 
Hone3'ball, who was highly gratified by the interest it ex- 
cited, put in my hands a drinking cup or goblet, which also 
belonged to the vestry, and was descended from the okl 
Boar's Head. It bore the inscription of having been the 
gift of Francis Wythers, Knight, and was held, she told 
me, in exceeding great value, being considered very " an- 
tyke." This last opinion was strengthened by the shabby 
gentleman with the red nose, and oil-cloth hat, and whom 
I strongly susj^ected of being a lineal descendant from the 
valiant 13ardolj)h. He suddenly aroused from his medita- 
tion on the pot of porter, and casting a knowing look at 
the goblet, exclaimed, "Ay, ay, the head don^t ache now 
that made that there article." 

The great importance attached to this memento of an- 
cient revelry by modern churchwardens, at first puzzled 
me; but there is nothing sharpens the apprehensions so 
much as antiquarian research; for I immediately perceived 
that this could be no other than the identical "parcel-gilt 
goblet " on which Falstaff made his loving, but faithless 
vow to Dame Quickly; and which would, of course, be 
treasured up with care among the regalia of her domains, 
as a testimony of that solemn contract.^ 

Mine hostess, indeed, gave me a long history how the 
goblet had been handed down from generation to genera- 
tion. She also entertained me with many particulars con- 
cerning the worthy vestrymen who have seated themselves 
thus quietly on the stools of the ancient roysters of East- 
cheap, and, like so many commentators, utter clouds of 
smoke in honor of Shakspeare. These I forbear to relate, 
lest my readers should not be as curious in these matters 
as myself. Suffice it to say, the neighbors, one and all, 
about Eastcheap, believe that Falstaff and his merry crew 
actually lived and revelled there. Nay, there are several 
legendary anecdotes concerning him still extant among 
the oldest frequenters of the Mason's Arms, which they 
give as transmitted down from their forefathers; and Mr. 
M'Kash, an Irish hair-dresser, whose shop stands on the 

' Thou didst swear to me upon a parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin- 
chamber, at the round table, by a sea-coal fire, upmi Wednesday in Whitsuii- 
week, when the Prince broke thy head for likening his father to a singing-man 
of Windsor ; thou didst swear to me then, as I was washing thy wound, to 
marry me, and make me my lady thy wife. Canst thou deny it ? — Henry IV., 
part 2. 



THE BOAR'S HEAD TAVERN, EASTCHEAP. 105 

site of the old Boar's Head, has several dry jokes of Fat 
Jack's not laid down in the books, with which he makes his 
customers ready to die of laughter. 

I now turned to my friend the sexton to make some 
farther inquiries, but I found him sunk in pensive medita- 
tion. His head had inclined a little on one side; a deep 
sigh heaved from the very bottom of his stomach, and, 
though I could not see a tear trembling in his eye, yet a 
moisture was evidently stealing from a corner of his mouth. 
I followed the direction of his eye through the door which 
stood open, and found it fixed wistfully on the savory 
breast of lamb, roasting in dripping richness before the fire. 

I now called to mind, that in the eagerness of my recon- 
dite investigation, I was keeping the poor man from his 
dinner. My bowels yearned with sympathy, and putting 
in his hand a small token of my gratitude and good-will, 
I departed with a hearty benediction on him. Dame Honey- 
ball, and the parish club of Crooked Lane — not forgettiag 
my shabby, but sententious friend, in the oil-cloth hat and 
copper nose. 

Thus have I given a ^'tedious brief" account of this in- 
teresting research; for which, if it prove too short and un- 
satisfactory, I can only plead my inexperience in this 
branch of literature, so deservedly popular at the present 
day. I am aware that a more skilful illustrator of the im- 
mortal bard would have swelled the materials I have touched 
upon, to a good merchantable bulk, comprising the biog- 
raphies of William Walworth, Jack Straw, and Robert 
Preston; some notice of the eminent fishmongers of St. 
Michael's; the history of Eastcheap, great and little; pri- 
vate anecdotes of Dame Honeyball and her pretty daugh- 
ter, whom I have not even mentioned : to say nothing of 
a damsel tending the breast of lamb, (and whom, by the 
way, I remarked to be a comely lass, with a neat foot and 
ankle;) the whole enlivened by the riots of Wat Tyler, and 
illuminated by the great fire of London. 

All this I leave as a rich mine, to be worked by future 
commentators; nor do I despair of seeing the tobacco-box, 
and the "parcel-gilt goblet," which I have thus brought to 
light, the subject of future engravings, and almost as fruit- 
ful of voluminous dissertations and disj^utes as the shield 
of Achilles, or the far-famed Portland vase. 



106 THE HKETCH-BOOIC. 



THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. 

A COLLOQUY IX AVESTMINSTER ABBEY. 

I know that aO beneath the moon decays, 
And what by mortals in this world is brought, 
In time's great periods shall return to nought ; 

I know that all the muses' heavenly layes, 
With toil of sprite which are so dear'lj' bought, 
As idle sounds, of few or none are sought. 

That there is nothing hghter than mere praise. 

— Dbummond of Hawthorndew. 

There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind, in 
which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and 
seek some quiet haunt, where we may indulge our reveries, 
and build our air castles undisturbed. In such a mood, I 
was loitering about the old gray cloisters of Westminster 
Abbey, enjoying that luxury of wandering thought which 
one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection; when 
suddenly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster 
school, playing at foot-ball, broke in upon the monastic 
stillness of the place, making the vaulted passages and 
mouldering tombs echo with their merriment. I sought 
to take refuge from their noise by penetrating still deeper 
into the solitude of the pile, and applied to one of the 
vergers for admission to the library. He conducted me 
through a portal, rich with the crumbling sculpture of 
former ages, which opened upon a gloomy passage leading 
to the Chapter-house, and the chamber in which Dooms- 
day Book is deposited. Just within the passage is a small 
door on the left. To this the verger api^lied a key; it was 
double locked, and opened with some difficulty, as if sel- 
dom used. We now ascended a dark narrow staircase, and 
passing through a second door, entered the library. 

I found myself in a lofty antique hall, thereof supported 
by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted 
by a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from 
the floor, and which apparently opened upon the roofs of 
the cloisters. An ancient picture of some reverend dig- 
nitary of the church in his robes hung over the fireplace. 
Around the hall and in a small gallery were the books, ar- 
ranged in carved oaken cases. They consisted principally 



THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. 107 

of old polemical writers, and were much more worn by 
time than use. In tjie centre of the library was a solitary 
table, with two or three books on it, an inkstand without 
ink, and a few pens parched by long disuse. The place 
seemed fitted for 'quiet study and profound meditation. 
It was buried dee]) among the massive walls of the abbey, 
and shut up from the tumult of the world. I could only 
hear now and then the shouts of the schoolboys faintly 
swelling from the cloisters, and the sound of a bell tolling 
for prayers, that echoed soberly along the roofs of the 
abbey. By degrees the shouts of merriment grew fainter 
and fainter, and at length died away. The bell ceased to 
toll, and a profound silence reigned through the dusky 
hall. 

I had taken down a little thick quarto, curiously bound 
in parchment, with brass clasps, and seated myself at the 
table in a venerable elbow chair. Instead of reading, how- 
ever, I was beguiled by the solemn monastic air and life- 
less quiet of the place, into a train of musing. As I looked 
around upon the old volumes in their mouldering covers, 
thus ranged on the shelves, and apparently never disturbed 
in their repose, I could not but consider the library a kind 
of literary catacomb, Avhere authors, like mummies, are 
piously entombed, and left to blacken and moulder in dusty 
oblivion. 

How much, thought I, has each of these volumes, now 
thrust aside with such indifference, cost some aching head 
— how many weary days! how many sleepless nights I 
How have their authors buried themselves in the solitude 
of cells and cloisters ; shut themselves up from the face of 
man, and the still more blessed face of nature; and de- 
voted themselves to painful research and intense reflection ! 
And all for what ? to occupy an inch of dusty shelf — to 
have the titles of their works read now and then in a fu- 
ture age, by some drowsy ichurchman, or casual straggler 
like myself; and in another age to be lost even to remem- 
brance. Such is the amount of this boasted immortality. 
A mere temporary rumor, a local sound; like the tone of 
that bell which has just tolled among these towers, filling 
the ear for a moment — lingering transiently in echo — and 
then passing away, like a thing that was not ! 

While I sat half-murmuring, half-meditating these uu- 



108 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

profitable siieculations, with my head resting on my hand, 
I was thrumming with the other hand upon the quarto, 
until I accidentally loosened the clasj^s; when, to my utter 
astonishment, the little book gave two or three yawns, like 
one awaking from a deep sleep ; then a husky hem, and at 
length began to talk. At first its voice was very hoarse 
^and broken, being mucn troubled by a cobweb which some 
studious spider had woven across it; and having probably 
contracted a cold from long exjDosure to the chills and 
damps of the abbey. In a short time, however, it became 
more distinct, and I soon found it an exceedingly fluent 
conversable little tome. Its language, to be sure, was rather 
quaint and obsolete, and its pronunciation what in the 
present day would be deemed barbarous; but I shall en- 
deavor, as far as I am able, to render it in modern parlance. 
It began with railings about the neglect of the world — 
about merit being suffered to languish in obscurity, and 
other such commonplace topics of literary repining, and 
complained bitterly that it had not been opened for more 
than two centuries; — that the dean only looked now and 
then into the library, sometimes took down a volume or 
two, trifled with them for a few moments, and then re- 
turned them to their shelves. 
* 'What a jjlague do they mean," said the little quarto, 
which I began to perceive was somewhat choleric, " what 
a 2)lague do they mean by keeping several thousand vol- 
umes of us shut up here, and watched by a set of old ver- 
gers, like so many beauties in a harem, merely to be looked 
at now and then by the dean ? Books were written to 
give pleasure and to be enjoyed ; and I Avould have a rule 
passed that the dean should pay each of us a visit at least 
once a year; or if he is not equal to the task, let them once 
in a while turn loose the whole school of Westminster 
among us, that at any rate we may now and then have an 
airing." 

" Softly, my worthy friend," replied I, " you are not 
aware how much better you are off than most books of your 
generation. By being stored away in this ancient library 
you are like the treasured remains of those saints and mon- 
archs which lie enshrined in the adjoining chapels; while 
the remains of their contemporary mortals, left to the or- 
dinary course of natiire, have long since returned to dust." 



THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. 109 

" Sir," said the little tome, ruffling liis leaves and look- 
ing big, " I was written for all the world, not for the book- 
worms of an abbey. I was intended to circulate from hand 
to hand, like other great contemporary works; but here 
have I been clasped up for more than two centuries, and 
might have silently fallen a prey to these worms that are 
playing the very vengeance with my intestines, if you had 
not by chance given me an opportunity of uttering a few 
last words before I go to pieces.'' 

" My good friend," rejoined I, " had you been left to the 
circulation of which you speak, you would long ere this 
have been no more. To judge from your physiognomy, 
you are now, well stricken in years; very few of your con- 
temporaries can be at present in existence, and those few 
owe their longevity to being immured like yourself in old 
libraries which, suffer me to add, instead of likening to 
harems, you might properly and gratefully have compared 
to those infirmaries attached to religious establishments, 
for the benefit of the old and decrepit, and where, by quiet 
fostering and no employment, they often endure to an 
amazingly good-for-nothing old age. You talk of your 
contemporaries as if in circulation — where do we meet 
with their works ? — what do we hear of Robert Groteste 
of Lincoln ? No one could have-toiled harder than he for 
immortality. He is said to have written nearly two hun- 
dred volumes. He built, as it were, a pyramid of books to 
perpetuate his name: but, alas! the pyramid has long 
since fallen, and only a few fragments are scattered in va- 
rious libraries, where they are scarcely disturbed even by 
the antiquarian. What do we hear of Giraldus Cambren- 
sis, the historian, antiquary, philosopher, theologian, and 
poet ? He declined two bishoprics, that he might shut 
himself up and write for posterity; but posterity never in- 
quires after his labors. What of Henry of Huntingdon, 
who, besides a learned history of England, Avrote a treatise 
on the contempt of the world, which the world has re- 
venged by forgetting him ? Wiiut is quoted of Joseph of 
Exeter, styled the miracle of his age in classical composi- 
tion ? Of his three great heroic poems, one is lost forever, 
excepting a mere fragment; the others are known only to 
a few of the curious in literature; and as to his love verses 
and epigrams, they have entirely disappeared. What is in 



110 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

current use of Jolm Wallis, the Franciscan, who acquired 
the name of the tree of life ? — of William of Malmsbury; 
of Simeon of Durham; of Benedict of Peterborough; of 
John Hanvill of St. Albans; of " 

" Prithee, friend," cried the quarto in a testy tone, " how 
old do you think me ? You are talking of authors that 
lived long before my time, and wrote either in Latin or 
French, so that they in a manner expatriated themselves, 
and deserved to be forgotten ; ^ but I, sir, was ushered into 
the world from the press of the renowned Wynkyn de 
Worde. I was written in my own native tongue, at a time 
when the language had become fixed; and, indeed, I was 
considered a model of pure and elegant English." • 

[I should observe that these remarks were couched in 
such intolerably antiquated terms, that I have had infinite 
difficulty in rendering them into modern phraseology.] 

"I cry you mercy," said I, "for mistaking your age; 
but it matters little; almost all the writers of your time 
have likewise passed into forgetfulness; and De AVorde's 
publications are "mere literary rarities among book-col- 
lectors. The purity and stability of language, too, on 
which you found your claims to perpetuity, have been the 
fallacious dependence of authors of every age, even back 
to the times of the worthy Robert of Gloucester, who 
wrote his history in rhymes of mongrel Saxon. '^ Even 
now, many talk of Spenser's 'well of pure English unde- 
filed,' as if the language ever sprang from a well or foun- 
tain-head, and was not rather a mere confluence of various 
tongues, perpetually subject to changes and intermixtures. 
It is this which has made English literature so extremely 
mutable, and the reputation built upon it so fleeting. Un- 
less thought can be committed to something more perma- 
nent and unchangeable than such a medium, even thought 

1 In Latin and French hath many soueraine wittes had great delyte to 
endyte, and have many noble things fulfllde, but certes there ben some that 
spealfen tlieir poisj'e in French, of wiiicli speehe tlie Frenchmen have as good a 
fantasye as we have in hearing of Frenchmen's EngUshe. — Chaucer's Testament 
of Love. 

2 Ilolinshed, in his Chronicle, observes, "afterwards, also, by diligent 
travel! of Geffry Chaucer and John Gowrie, in the time of Richard the Second, 
and after them of John Scogan and John Lydgate, monke of Berrie, our said 
toong was brought to an excellent passe, notwithstanding that it never came 
unto the type of perfection until the time of Queen Elizabeth, wherein John 
Jewell, Bishop of Sarum, John Fox, and sundrie learned and excellent writers, 
liave fully accompUshed the ornature of the same, to their great praise and im- 
mortal commendation." 



THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. HI 

must share the fate of everything else, and fall into decay. 
This should serve as a check upon the vanity and exultar 
tion of the most popular writer. He finds the language 
in which he has embarked his fame gradually altering, and 
subject to the dilapidations of time and the caprice of 
fashion. He looks back, and beholds the early authors of 
his country, once the favorites of their day, supplanted by 
modern writers: a few short ages have covered them with 
obscurity, and their merits can only be relished by the 
quaint taste of the bookworm. And such, he anticipates, 
will be the fate of his own work, which, however it may 
be admired in its day, and held up as a model of purity, 
will, in the course of years, grow antiquated and obsolete, 
until it shall become almost as unintelligible in its native 
land as an Egyptian obelisk, or one of tliose Runic inscrip- 
tions, said to exist in the deserts of Tartary. I declare," 
added I, with some emotion, *' when I contemplate a mod- 
ern library, filled with new Avorks in all the bravery of ricli 
gilding and binding, I feel disposed to sit down and weep: 
like the good Xerxes, when he surveyed his army, pranked 
out in all the splendor of military array, and reflected that 
in one hundred years not one of them would be in exist- 
ence! " 

"Ah," said the little quarto, with a heavy sigh, "I see 
how it is; these modern scribblers have superseded all the 
good old authors. 1 suppose nothing is read nowadays 
but Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, Sackville's stately plays 
and Mirror for Magistrates, or the fine-spun euphuisms of 
the ' unparalleled John Lyly.' " 

"There you are again mistaken," said I; "the writers 
whom you suppose in vogue, because they happened to be 
so when you Avere last in circulation, have long since had 
their day. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, the immortality 
of which was so fondly predicted by his admirers,^ and 
Avhich, in truth, was full of noble thoughts, delicate im- 
ages, and graceful turns of language, is now scarcely ever 
mentioned. Sackville has strutted into obscurity; and 

' " Live ever sweete booke ; the simple image of his gentle witt, and the 
golden pillar of his noble couraKe ; an.l ever notify unto the world that thy 
writer was the secretary of eloqut'ncf*, the breath of the ninses, the honey bee 
of the daintyest flowers of witt and arte, the pith of ni<jrale and the intellectual 
virtues, the arme of Bellona in the fii-ld, the lonKue of Suada in the chamber, 
the spirite of Practise in esse, and the paragon of excellency iu print." — Harvey's 
Pit:rce's Supererugation. 



112 THE iSKETCH-BOOk. 

even Lyly, though his writings Avere once tlie delight of a 
court, and apparently perpetuated by a i^roverb, is now 
scarcely known even by name. A whole crowd of authors 
who wrote and wrangled at the time^, have likewise gone 
down with all their writings and their controversies. 
Wave after wave of succeeding literature has rolled over 
them, until they are buried so deep, that it is only now 
and then that some industrious diver after fragments of 
antiquity brings ujd a specimen for the gratification of the 
curious. 

" For my part," I continued, " I consider this mutability 
of language a wise precaution of Providence for the bene- 
fit of the world at large, and of authors in particular. To 
reason from analogy : we daily behold the varied and beau- 
tiful tribes of vegetables springing up, flourishing, adorn- 
ing the fields for a short time, and then fading into dust, 
to make way for their successors. Were not this the case, 
the fecundity of nature would be a grievance instead of a 
blessing : the earth would groan with rank and excessive 
vegetation, and its surface become a tangled Avilderness. 
In like manner, the works of genius and learning decline 
and make way for subsequent productions. Language 
gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of 
authors who have flourished their allotted time; otherwise 
the creative powers of genius would overstock the world, 
and the mind Avould be completely bewildered in the end- 
less mazes of literature. Formerly there were some re- 
straints on this excessive multij^lication : works had to be 
transcribed by hand, which was a slow and laborious oper- 
ition; they were written either on parchment, which was 
expensive, so that one work was often erased to make way 
for another; or on papyrus, which was fragile and ex- 
tremely perishable. Authorship was a limited and un- 
profitable craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the leisure 
and solitude of their cloisters. The accumuktion of man- 
uscripts was slow and costly, and confined almost entirely 
to monasteries. To these circumstances it may, in some 
measure, be owing that we have not been inundated by the 
intellect of antiquity; that the fountains of thoughts have 
not been broken up, and modern genius drowned in the 
deluge. But the inventions of paper and the press have 
put an end to all these restraints : they have made every 



THE 3IUTABILITY OF LITERATURE. 113 

one a Avriter, and enabled every mind to pour itself into 
print, and diffuse itself over the Avhole intellectual world. 
The consequences are alarming. The stream of literature 
has swollen into a torrent — augmented into a river — ex- 
panded into a sea. A few centuries since, five or six hun- 
dred manuscripts constituted a great library; but what 
would 3'ou say to libraries, such as actually exist, contain- 
ing three or four hundred thousand volumes; legions of 
authors at the same time busy; and a press going on with 
fearfully increasing activity, to double and quadruple the 
number ? Unless some unforeseen mortality should break 
out among the progeny of the Muse, now that she has be- 
come so prolific, I tremble for posterity. I fear the mere 
fluctuation of language will not be svifficient. Criticism 
may do much; it increases with the increase of literature, 
and resembles one of those salutary checks on population 
spoken of by economists. All j^ossible encouragement^ 
therefore, should be given to the growth of critics, good or 
bad. But I fear all will be in vain; let criticism do what 
it may, writers will write, printers will print, and the world 
will inevitably be overstocked with good books. It will 
soon be the employment of a lifetime merely to learn their 
names. Many a man of passable information at the pres- 
ent day reads scarcely anything but reviews, and before 
long a man of erudition will be little better than a mere 
walking catalogue." 

"' My very good sir," said the little quarto, yawning most 
drearily in my face, "excuse my interrupting you, but I 
perceive you are rather given to prose. I would ask the 
fate of an author who was making some noise just as I left 
the world. His reputation, however, was considered quite 
temporary. The learned shook their heads at him, for he 
was a poor, half-educated varlet, that knew little of Latin, 
and nothing of Greek, and had been obliged to run the 
country for deer-stealing. I think his name was Shak- 
speare. I presume he soon sunk into oblivion." 

"On the contrary," said I, "it is owing to that very man 
that the literature of his period has experienced a dura- 
tion beyond the ordijuiry term of English literature. There 
arise authors now and tlien, who seem proof against the 
mutability of language, because they have rooted them- 
selves in the unchanging principles of human nature. 
8 ,j 



114 ^HS SKSTCH-BOOit. 

They are like gigantic trees that we sometimes see on t\\& 
banks of a stream, which, by their vast and deej) roots, 
penetrating through the mere surface, and laying hold on 
the very foundations of the earth, preserve the soil around 
them from being swept away by the overflowing current, 
and hold up many a neighboring plant, and, perhaps, 
worthless weed, to perj^etuity. Such is the case with 
Shakspeare, whom we behold defying the encroachments 
of time, retaining m modern use the language and litera- 
ture of his day, and giving duration to many an indiffer- 
ent author merely from having flourished in his vicinity. 
But even he, I grieve to say, is gradually assuming the 
tint of age, and his whole form is overrun by a profusion 
of commentators, who, like clambering vines and creepers^ 
almost bury the noble plant that upholds them." 

Here the little quarto began to heave his sides and 
chuckle, until at length he broke out into a plethoric fit 
of laughter that had well-nigh choked him, by reason of 
his excessive corpulency. "Mighty well!" cried he, as 
soon as he could recover breath, " mighty well ! and so you 
would persuade me that the literature of an age is to be 
perpetuated by a vagabond deer-stealer ! by a man without 
learning! by a poet! forsooth — a poet!" And here he 
wheezed forth another fit of laughter. 

I confess that I felt somewhat nettled at this rudeness, 
which, however, I pardoned on account of his having flour- 
ished in a less polished age. I determined, nevertheless, 
not to give up my point. 

"Yes," resumed I positively, "a poet; for of all writers 
he has the best chance for immortality. Others may write 
from the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart 
will always understand him. He is the faithful portrayer of 
Nature, whose features are always the same, and always 
interesting. Prose writers are voluminous and unwieldy; 
their pages croAvded with commonplaces, and their thoughts 
expanded into tediousness. But with the true poet every- 
thing is terse, touching, or brilliant. He gives the- choic- 
est thoughts in the choicest language. He illustrates them 
by everything that he sees most striking in nature and 
art. He enriches them by pictures of human life, such as 
it is passing before him. His writings, therefore, contain 
the spirit, the aroma, if I may use the phrase, of the age 



THE MUTAlilLTTY OP LITERATURE. 11$ 

in which he lives. They are caskets which inclose within 
a small compass the wealth of the language — its family 
jewels, which are thus transmitted in a portable form to 
posterity. The setting may occasionally be antiquated, 
and require now and then to be renewed, as in the case of 
Chaucer; but the brilliancy and intrinsic value of the gems 
continue unaltered. Cast a look back over the long reach 
of literary history. What vast valleys of dulness, filled 
with monkish legends and academical controversies ! What 
bogs of theological speculations! What dreary wastes of 
metaphysics! Here and there only do we behold the 
heaven-illumined bards, elevated like beacons on their 
widely-separated heights, to transmit the pure light of 
poetical intelligence from age to age." ^ 

I was just about to launch forth into eulogiums upon 
the poets of the day, when the sudden opening of the door 
caused me to turn my head. It was the verger, who came 
to inform me that it was time to close the library. I 
sought to have a parting word with the quarto, but the 
worthy littlo tome was silent; the clasps were closed; and 
it looked perfectly unconscious of all that had passed. I 
have been to the library two or three times since, and have 
endeavored to draw it into further conversation, but in 
vain : and whether all this rambling colloquy actually took 
place, or whether it was another of those odd day-dreams 
to which I am subject, I have never, to this moment, been 
able to discover. 

' Thorow earth, and waters deepe, 

The pen by skill doth passe : 
And featly nyps the worlds abuse, 

And shoes us in a glasse, 
The vertu and the vice 

Of every wig:ht alyve ; 
The honey combe that bee doth make, 

Is not so sweet in hyve, 
As are the golden leves 

That drops from poet's head ; 
Which doth surmount our common talke, 

As farre as dross doth lead.— Churchyard. 



.^> 






lie THE sketchHo^ 



RURAL FUNERALS. 

Here's a few flowers ! but about midnight more : 
The herbs that have on them cold dew o' the night 

Are strewings fitt'st for graves 

You were as flowers now withered : even so 

These herb'lets shall, which we upon you strew. — Oymbelink. 

Among the beautiful and simple-hearted customs of 
rural life which still linger in some parts of England, are 
those of strewing flowers before the funerals and planting 
them at the gi'aves of departed friends. These, it is said, 
are the remains of some of the rites of the primitive church; 
but they are of still higher antiquity, having been observed 
among the Greeks and Romans, and frequently mentioned 
by their writers, and were, no doubt, the spontaneous trib- 
utes of unlettered affection, originating long before art 
had tasked itself to modulate sorrow into song, or story 
it on the monument. They are now only to be met with 
in the most distant and retired places of the kingdom, 
where fashion and innovation have not been able to throng 
in, and trample out all the curious and interesting traces 
of the olden time. 

In Glamorganshire, we are told, the bed whereon the 
corpse lies is covered with flowers, a custom alluded to in 
one of the wild and plaintive ditties of Ophelia : 

White his shroud as the mountain snow, 

Larded all with sweet flowers ; 
Which be-wept to the grave did go, 

With true love showers. 

There is also a most delicate and beautiful rite observed 
in some of the remote villages of the south, at the funeral 
of a female who has died young and unmarried. A chap- 
let of white flowers is borne before the corpse by a young 
girl, nearest in age, size, and resemblance, and is afterward 
hung up in the church over the accustomed seat of the 
deceased. These chaplets are sometimes made of white 
paper, in imitation of flowers, and inside of them is gen- 
erally a pair of white gloves. They are intended as emblems 
of the purity of the deceased and the crown of glory which 
she has received in heaven. 

In some parts of the country, also, the dead are carried 



RURAL FUNERALS. 117 

to the grave with the singing of psalms and hymns; a 
kind of triumph, "to show," says Bourne, "that they have 
finished their course with Joy, and are l:)ecome conquerors." 
This, I am informed, is observed in some of the northern 
counties, particularly in Northumberland, and it has a pleas- 
ing, though melancholy effect, to hear, of a still evening in 
some lonely country scene, the mournful melody of a fu. 
neral dirge swelling from a distance, and to see the train 
slowly moving along the landscape. 

Thus, thus, and thus, we compass round 
Thy harmless and unhaunted ground, 
And as we sing thy dirge, we will 

The Dafifodill 
And other flowers lay upon 
The altar of our love, thy stone.— Herrick. 

There is also a solemn respect paid by the traveller t(v 
the passing funeral in these sequestered places; for such 
spectacles, occurring among the quiet abodes of nature, 
sink deep into the soul. As the mourning train approaches, 
he pauses, uncovered, to let it go by; he then follows si- 
lently in the rear; sometime.-^ quite to the grave, at other 
times for a few hundred yards, and having paid this trib- 
ute of respect to the deceased, turns and resumes his jour- 
ney. 

The rich vein of melancholy which runs through the 
English character, and gives it some of its most touching 
and ennobling graces, is finely evidenced in these pathetic 
customs, and in the solicitude shown by the common 
people for an honored and a peaceful grave. The hum- 
blest peasant, whatever may be his lowly lot while living, 
is anxious that some little respect may be paid to his re- 
mains. Sir Thomas Overbury, describing the " faire and 
happy milkmaid," observes, " thus lives she, and all her 
care is, that she may die in the spring-time, to have store 
of flowers stucke upon her winding-sheet." The poets, 
too, who always breathe the feeling of a nation, continu- 
ally advert to this fond solicitude about the grave. In 
" The Maid's Tragedy," by Beaumont and Fletcher, there 
is ii beautiful instance of the kind, describing the capri- 
cious melancholy of a broken-hearted girl. 

When she sees a bank 
Stuck full of flowers, she, with a sigh, will tell 
Her servants, what a pretty place it were 
To bury lovers in ; and mjuce ht-r maids 
Pluck 'em, and sirew her over like a corse. 



118 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The custom of decorating graves was once universally 
prevalent; osiers were carefully bent over them to keep 
the turf uninjured, and about them were planted ever- 
greens and flowers. " We adorn their graves," says Eve- 
lyn, in his Sylva, " with flowers and redolent plants, just 
emblems of the life of man, Avhich has been compared in 
Holy Scriptures to those fading beauties, whose roots be- 
ing buried in dishonor, rise again in glory." This usage 
has now become extremely rare in England; but it may 
still be met with in the churchyards of retired villages, 
among the Welsh mountains; and I recollect an instance 
of it at the small town of Ruthven, which lies at the head 
of the beautiful vale of Clewyd. I have been told also by 
a friend, who was present at the funeral of a young girl 
in Glamorganshire, that the female attendants had their 
aprons full of flowers, which, as soon as the body was in- 
terred, they stuck about the grave. 

He noticed several graves which had been decorated in 
the same manner. As the flowers had been merely stuck 
in the ground, and not planted, they had soon withered, 
and might be seen in various states of decay; some droop- 
ing, others quite perished. They were afterward to be 
supplanted by holly, rosemary, and other evergreens ; which 
on some graves had grown to great luxuriance, and over- 
shadowed the tombstones. 

There was formerly a melancholy fancifulness in the ar- 
rangement of these rustic offerings that had something in 
it truly poetical. The rose was sometimes blended with 
the lily, to form a general emblem of frail mortality. 
" This sweet flower," said Evelyn, " borne on a branch set 
with thorns, and accompanied with the lily, are natural 
hieroglyphics of our fugitive, umbratile, anxious, and 
transitory life, which, making so fair a shoAV for a time, is 
not yet without its thorns and crosses." The nature and 
color of the flowers, and of the ribbons with which they 
were tied, had often a particular reference to the qualities • 
or story of the deceased, or were expressive of the feelings 
of the mourner. In an old jjoem, entitled "Corydon^s 
Doleful Knell," a lover specifies the decorations he intends 
to use : 

A garland shall be framed 

By Art and Nature's skill, 
Of sundry-coloiired flowers, 

In token of good will, 



RURAL FUNERALS. 119 

And sundry-coloured ribands 

On it I will bestow ; 
But chiefly blacke and yellowe 

With her to grave shall go. 

I'll deck her tomb with flowers 

The rarest ever seen ; 
And with my tears as showers 

I'U keep them fresh and green. 

The white rose, we are told, was planted at the grave of 
a virgin ; her chaplet was tied with white ribbons, in token 
of her spotless innocence; though sometimes black ribbons 
were intermingled, to bespeak the grief of the survivors. 
The red rose was occasionally used, in remembrance of 
such as had been remarkable for benevolence; but roses 
in general were appropriated to the graves of lovers. 
Evelyn tells us that the custom was not altogether extinct 
in his time, near his dwelling in the county of Surrey, 
" where the maidens yearly planted and decked the graves 
of their defunct sweethearts with rose-bushes." And 
Camden likewise remarks, in his Britannia : " Here is also 
a certain custom observed time out of mind, of planting 
rose-trees upon the graves, especially by the young men 
and maids who have lost their loves; so that this church- 
yard is now full of them." 

When the deceased had been unhappy in their loves, 
emblems of a more gloomy character were used, such as 
the yew and cypress ; and if flowers were strewn, they were 
of the most melancholy colors. Thus, in j)oems by Thomas 
Stanley, Esq., (published in 1651,) is the following stanza: 

Yet strew 
Upon my dismall grave 
Such offerings as you have, 

Forsaken cypresse and yewe ; 
For kinder flowers can take no birth 
Or growth fi-omsuch unhappy earth. 

In " The Maid's Tragedy," a pathetic little air is intro- 
duced, illustrative of this mode of decorating the funerals 
of females who have been disappointed in love. 

Lay a garland on my hearse 

Of the dismal yew, 
Maidens willow branches wear, 

Say 1 died true. 
My love was false, but I was firm, 

From my hour of birth, 
Upon my buried body he 

Lightly, gentle earth. 

The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine 



120 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and elevate the mind; and we have a proof of it in th§ 
purity of sentiment, and the unaffected elegance of thought 
which pervaded the Avhole of these funeral observances. 
Thus, it was an especial precaution, that none but sweet- 
scented evergreens and flowers should be employed. The 
intention seems to have been to soften the horrors of the 
tomb, to beguile the mind from brooding over the disgraces 
of perishing mortality, and to associate the memory of the 
deceased with the most delicate and beautiful objects in 
Nature. There is a dismal process going on in the grave, 
ere dust can return to its kindred dust, which the imagi- 
nation shrinks from contemplating; and we seek still to 
think of the form we have loved, with those refined asso- 
ciations which it awakened when blooming before us in 
youth and beauty. " Lay her i' the earth," says Laertes 
of his virgin sister, 

And from her fair and unpolluted flesh 
May violets spring. 

Herrick, also, in his " Dirge of Jephtha," pours forth a 
fragrant flow of poetical thought and image, which in a 
manner embalms the dead in the recollections of the living. 

Sleep in thy peace, thy bed of spice, 

And make this place all Paradise. 

May sweets grow here : and smoke from hence 

Fat frankincense. 
Let balme and cassia send their scent 
From out thy maiden-monument I 

May all shie maids at wonted hours 

Come forth to strew thy tombe with flowers 1 

May virgins, when they come to mourn, 

Male-incense bum 
Upon thine altar, then return, 
And leave thee sleeping in thy urn 1 

I might crowd my pages with extracts from the oldel 
British poets, who wrote when these rites were more prev- 
alent, and delighted frequently to allude to them; but I 
have already quoted more than is necessary. I cannot, 
however, refrain from giving a passage from Shakspeare, 
even though it should appear trite, which illustrates the 
emblematical meaning often conveyed in these floral trib- 
utes, and at the same time possesses that magic of language 
and appositeness of imagery for which he stands pre-emi; 
nent. 



R7TRAL FUNERALS. 121 

With fairest flowers, 
Whilst summer lasts, and I hve here, Fidele, 
I'll sweeten thy sad grave : thou shalt not lack 
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose ; nor 
The azuredhaiebell like" thy veins ; no, nor 
The leaf of eglantine ; whom not to slander, 
Outsweetened not thy breath. 

There is certainly something more affecting in these 
prompt and spontaneous offerings of nature, than in the 
most costly monuments of art; the hand strews the flower 
while the heart is warm, and the tear falls on the grave as 
affection is binding the osier round the sod; but pathos 
expires under the slow labor of the chisel, and is chilled 
a,mong the cold conceits of scul]3tured marble. 

It is greatly to be regretted, that a custom so truly ele- 
gant and touching has disappeared from general use, and 
exists only in the most remote and insignificant villages. 
Bat it seems as if poetical custom always shuns the walks 
of cultivated society. In proportion as peojale grow polite, 
they cease to be poetical. They talk of poetry, but they 
have learnt to check its free impulses, to distrust its sally- 
ing emotions, and to supply its most affecting and pictur- 
esque usages, by studied form and pompous ceremonial. 
Few pageants can be more stately and frigid than an Eng- 
lish funeral in town. It is made up of show and gloomy 
parade: mourning carriages, mourning horses, mourning 
plumes, and hireling mourners, who make a mockery of 
grief. " There is a grave digged," says Jeremy Taylor, 
"and a solemn mourning, and a great talk in the neigh- 
bourhood, and when the dales are finished, they shall be, 
and they shall be remembered no more." The associate 
in the gay and crowded city is soon forgotten; the hurry- 
ing succession of new intimates and new pleasures effaces 
him from our minds, and the very scenes and circles in 
which he moved are incessantly fluctuating. But funerals 
in the country are solemnly impressive. The stroke of 
death makes a wider space in the village circle, and is an 
awful event in the tranquil uniformity of rural life. The 
passing bell tolls its knell in every ear; it steals with its 
pervading melancholy over hill and vale, and saddens all 
the landscape. 

The fixed and unchanging features of the country, also, 
perpetuate the memory of the friend with whom we once 
enjoyed them ; who was the companion of our most retired 



123 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

walks, and gave animation to every lonely scene. His idea 
is associated with every charm of Nature : we hear his voice 
in the echo which he once delighted to awaken; his spirit 
haunts the grove which he once frequented; we think of 
him in the wild upland solitude, or amid the pensive 
beauty of the valley. In the freshness of joyous morning, 
we remember his beaming smiles and bounding gayety; 
and when sober evening returns, with its gathering shadows 
and subduing quiet, we call to mind many a twilight hour 
of gentle talk and sweet-souled melancholy. 

Each lonely place shall him restore. 

For him the tear be duly shed. 
Beloved, till life can charm no more. 

And mourn'd till pity's self be dead. 

Another cause that perpetuates the memory of the de- 
ceased in the country, is that the grave is more immedi- 
ately in sight of the survivors. They pass it on their way 
to prayer; it meets their eyes when their hearts are soft- 
ened by the exercise of devotion; they linger about it on 
the Sabbath, when the mind is disengaged from worldly 
cares, and most disposed to turn aside from present 
pleasures and present loves, and to sit down among the 
solemn mementos of the past. In North Wales, the peas- 
antry kneel and pray over the graves of their deceased 
friends for several Sundays after the interment; and where 
the tender rite of strewing and planting flowers is still 
practiced, it is always renewed on Easter, Whitsuntide, and 
other festivals, when the season brings the companion of 
former festivity more vividly to mind. It is also invaria- 
bly performed by the nearest relatives and friends; no 
menials nor hirelings are emj)loyed, and if a neighborhood 
yields assistance, it would be deemed an insult to offer 
compensation. ' 

I have dwelt upon this beautiful rural custom, because, 
as it is one of the last, so is it one of the holiest offices of 
love. The grave is the ordeal of true affection. It is there 
that the divine passion of the soul manifests its superiority 
to the instinctive impulse of mere animal attachment. 
The latter must be continually refreshed and kept alive 
by the presence of its object; but the love that is seated 
in the soul can live on long remembrance. The mere in- 
clinations of sense languish and decline with the charms, 



RURAL FUNERALS. 123 

which excited them, and turn with shuddering and disgust 
from the dismal precincts of the tomb; but it is thence 
that truly spiritual affection rises purified from every sen- 
sual desire, and returns, like a holy flame, to illumine and 
sanctify the heart of the survivor. 

The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which 
we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to 
heal — every other affliction to forget; but this wound we 
consider it a duty to keep open — this affliction we cherish 
and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who 
would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blos- 
som from her arms, though every recollection is a pang ? 
Where is the child that would willingly iorget the most 
tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament ? 
Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend 
over whom he mourns ? Who, even when the tomb is 
closing upon the remains of her he most loved; when he 
feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its 
portal; woald accept of consolation that must be bought 
by forgetfulness ? — No, the love which survives the tomb 
is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its 
woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelm- 
ing burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollec- 
tion — when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony 
over the present ruins of all that we most loved, is soft- 
ened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in 
the days of its loveliness — who would root out such a sor- 
row from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a 
passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a 
deeper sadness over the hour of gloom; yet who would ex- 
change it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of rev- 
elry ? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than 
song. There is a remembrance of the dead, to which we 
turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! 
— the grave! — It buries every error — covers every defect 
— extinguishes every resentment ! From its peaceful bosom 
spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. 
Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy and 
not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have 
warred with the poor handful of earth that lies moulder- 
ing before him ? 

But the grave of those we love — what a place for modi- 



124 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

tation! There it is that we call w^ in long review the 
whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand 
endearments lavished upon us almost unheeded in the daily 
intercourse of intimacy; — there it is that we dwell upon 
the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the part- 
ing scene. The bed of death, with all its stifled griefs — 
its noiseless attendance — its mute, watchful assiduities. 
The last testimonies of expiring love! The feeble, flutter- 
ing, thrilling, oh! how thrilling! pressure of the hand. 
The last fond look of the glazing eye, turning upon us 
even from the threshold of existence. The faint, faltering 
accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of 
affection ! 

Ay, go to the grave of buried love, and meditate ! There 
settle the account with thy conscience for every past ben- 
efit unrequited, every ]3ast endearment unregarded, of that 
departed being, Avho can never — never — never return to 
be soothed by thy contrition ! 

If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the 
soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate 
parent — if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the 
fond bosom that A^entured its whole haj^piness in thy arms, 
to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth — if 
thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or 
Avord, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee 
— if thou art a lover and hast ever given one unmerited 
pang to that true heart which now lies cold and still be- 
neath thy feet; then be sure that every unkind look, every 
ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come throng- 
ing back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy 
soul — then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and 
repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and 
pour the unavailing tear — more deep, more bitter, because 
unheard and unavailing. 

Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beau- 
ties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, 
if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of re- 
gret; — but take warning by the bitterness of this thy con- 
trite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faith- 
ful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to thQ 



RURAL FUNERALS. \2h 

In writing tlie preceding article it was not intended to 
give a full detail of the funeral customs of the English 
peasantry, but merely to furnish a few hints and quota- 
tions illustrative of particular rites, to be aj^pended, by 
way of note, to another paper, which has been withheld. 
The article swelled insensibly into its present form, and 
this is mentioned as an apology for so brief and casual a 
notice of these usages, after they have been amply and 
learnedly investigated in other works. 

I must observe, also, tliat I am well aware that this cus- 
tom of adorning graves with flowers prevails in other coun- 
tries besides England. Indeed, in some it is much more 
general, and is observed even by the rich and fashionable; 
but it is then apt to lose its simplicity, and to degenerate 
into affectation. Bright, in his travels in Lower Hungary, 
tells of monuments of marble, and recesses formed for re- 
tirement, with seats placed among bowers of greenhouse 
plants; and that the graves generally are covered with the 
gayest flowers of the season. He gives a casual picture of 
final piety, which I cannot but describe, for I trust it is as 
useful as it is delightful to illustrate the amiable virtues of 
the sex. " When I was at Berlin," says he, '' I followed 
the celebrated Iffland to the grave. Mingled with some 
pomp, you might trace much real feeling. In the midst 
of the ceremony, my attention was attracted by a yowng 
woman who stood on a mound of earth, newly covered with 
turf, which she anxiously protected from the feet of the 
passing crowd. It was the tomb of her parent; and the 
figure of this affectionate daughter presented a monument 
more striking than the most costly work of art." 

I will barely add an instance of sepulchral decoration 
that I once met with among the mountains of Switzerland. 
It was at the village of Gersau, which stands on the bor- 
ders of the lake of Luzerne, at the foot of Mount Eigi. It 
was once the capital of a miniature republic, shut up be- 
tween the Alps and the lake, and accessible on the land 
side only by footpaths. The whole force of the republic 
did not exceed six hundred fighting men; and a few miles 
of circumference, scooped out, as it were, from the bosom 
of the mountains, comprised its territory. The village of 
Gersau seemed separated from the rest of the world, and 
retained the golden simplicity of a purer age. It had a 



\'2B THM SKETCH-BOOlt. 

small church, with a burying-ground adjoining. At thi 
Heads of the graves were placed crosses of wood or iron. 
On some were affixed miniatures, rudely executed, but evi- 
dently attempts at likenesses of the deceased. On the 
crosses were hung chaplets of flowers, some withering, 
others fresh, as if occasionally renewed. I paused with in- 
terest at this scene; I felt that I was at the source of poet- 
ical description, for these were the beautiful, but unaffected 
offerings of the heart, which poets are fain to record. In 
a gayer and more populous place, I should have suspected 
them to have been suggested by factitious sentiment, de- 
rived from books; but the good people of Gersau knew 
little of books; there avhs not a novel nor a love poem in 
the village; and I question whether any peasant of the 
place dreamt, while he was twining a fresh chaplet for the 
grave of his mistress, that he was fulfilling one of the most 
fanciful rites of poetical devotion, and that he was practi- 
cally a poet. 



THE INN KITCHEN. 

Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn? — Falstaff. 

During a journey that I once made through the Neth- 
erlands, I had arrived one evening " .. the Pomme d'Or, 
the principal inn of a small Flemish village. It was after 
the hour of the table d'hote, so that I was obliged to make 
a solitary supper from the relics of its ampler board. The 
weather was chilly. I was seated alone in one end of a 
great gloomy dining-room, and my repast being over, I had 
the prospect before me of a long dull evening, without any 
visible means of enlivening it. I summoned mine host, 
and requested something to read; he brought me the whole 
literary stock of his household, a Dutch family Bible, an 
almanac in the same language and a number of old Paris 
newspapers. As I sat dozing over one of the latter, read- 
ing old news and stale criticisms, my ear was now and then 
struck with bursts of laughter which seemed to proceed 
from the kitchen. Every one that has travelled on the 
Continent must know how favorite a resort the kitchen of 
a country inn is to the middle and inferior order of tra"«- 



m^ INN KITCHEN. l3t 

ellers; particularly in that equivocal kind of weather when 
a fire becomes agreeable toward evening. I threw aside 
the newspaper, and explored my way to the kitchen, to 
take a peep at the group that appeared to be so merry. 
It was composed partly of travellers who had arrived some 
hours before in a diligence, and partly of the usual attend- 
ants and hangers-on of inns. They were seated round a 
great burnished stove, that might have been mistaken for 
an altar, at which they were worshipping. It was covered 
with various kitchen vessels of resplendent brightness; 
among which steamed and hissed a huge copper tea-kettle. 
A large lamp threw a strong mass of light upon the group, 
bringing out many odd features in strong relief. Its yel- 
low rays partially illumined the spacious kitchen, dying 
duskily away, into remote corners except where they set- 
tled in mellow radiance on the broad side of a flitch of 
bacon, or were reflected back from well-scoured utensils 
that gleamed from the midst of obscurity. A strapping 
Flemish lass, with long golden pendants in her ears, and a 
necklace with a golden heart suspended to it, was the pre- 
siding priestess of the temple. 

Many of the company were furnished with pipes, and 
most of them with some kind of evening potation. I found 
their mirth was occasioned by anecdotes which a little 
swarthy Frenchman, with a dry weazen face and large 
whiskers, was giving of his love adventures ; at the end of 
each of which there was one of those bursts of honest un- 
ceremonious laughter, in which a man indulges in that 
temple of true liberty, an inn. 

As I had no better mode of getting through a tediou* 
Ijlustering evening, I took my seat near the stove, and lis- 
tened to a variety of traveller's tales, some very extrava- 
gant, and most very dull. All of them, however, have 
faded from my treacherous memory, except one, which I 
will endeavor to relate. I fear, however, it derived its chief 
zest from the manner in which it was told, and the pecu- 
liar air and appearance of the narrator. He was a corpu- 
lent old Swiss, who had the look of a veteran traveller. 
He was dressed in a tarnished green travelling-jacket, with 
a broad belt round his waist, and a pair of overalls with 
buttons from the hips to the ankles. He was of a full, 
rubicund countenance, with a double chin, aquiline nose^ 



l26 THB SKETCH-BOOK. 

and a pleasant twinkling eye. His hair was light, and 
cnrled from under an old green velvet travelling-cap, stuck 
on one side of his head. He was interrupted more than 
once by the arrival of guests, or the remarks of his auditors; 
and paused, now and then, to replenish his pipe; at which 
times he had generally a roguish leer, and a sly joke, for 
the buxom kitchen maid. 

I wish my reader could imagine the old fellow lolling in 
a huge arm-chair, one arm a-kimbo, the other holding a 
curiously twisted tobacco-pipe, formed of genuine ccume 
(le mer, decorated with silver chain and silken tassel — his 
head cocked on one side, and a whimsical cut of the eye 
occasionally, as he related the following story. 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 

A traveller's TALE.l 

He that supper for is dight, 

He lyes full cold, I trow, this night 1 

Yestreen to chamber I him led. 

This night Gray-steel has made his bed! 

Sir Eger, Sir Grahame, and Sir Gray-steel. 

On the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, 
a wild and romantic tract of Upper Germany, that lies not 
far from the confluence of the Maine and the Rhine, there 
stood, many, many years since, the castle of the Baron 
Von Laudshort. It is now quite fallen to decay, and al- 
most buried among beech trees and dark firs; above which, 
however, its old watch-tower may still be seen struggling, 
like the former possessor I have mentioned, to carry a high 
head, and look down upon a neighboring country. 

The Baron was a dry branch of the great family of Kat- 
zenellenbogen,^ and inherited the relics of the property, 
and all the pride of his ancestors. Though the warlike 
disposition of his predecessors had much impaired the 

• The erudite reader, well versed in good-for-nothing lore, will perceive that 
C.b i above tale must have been suggested to the old Swiss by a little French 
^^uecdote, of a circumstance said to have taken place at Paris. 

"^ i.e.. Cat's Elbow — the name of a family of those parts, very powerful in 
former times. The appellation, we are told, was given in compliment to a peer- 
less dame of the family, celebrated for a fine arm. 



^HE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 129 

family possessions, yet the Barou still endeavored to keep 
up some show of former state. The times were peaceable, 
and the German nobles, in general, had abandoned their 
inconvenient old castles, perched like eagles' nests among 
the mountains, and had built niore convenient residences 
in the valleys; still the Baron remained proudly drawn up 
in his little fortress, cherishing with hereditary inveteracy 
all the old family feuds; so that he was on ill terms with 
some of his nearest neighbors, on account of disputes that 
had happened between their great-great-grandfathers. 

The Baron had but one child, a daughter; but Nature, 
when she grants but one child, always compensates by 
making it a prodigy; and so it was with the daughter of 
the Baron. All the nurses, gossips, and country cousins, 
assured her father that she had not her equal for beauty 
in all Germany; and who should know better than they? 
She had, moreover, been brought up with great care, under 
the superintendence of two maiden aunts, who had spent 
some years of their early life at one of the little German 
courts, and were skilled in all the branches of knowledge 
necessary to the education of a fine lady. Under their in- 
structions, she became a miracle of accomplishments. By 
the time she was eighteen she could embroider to admira- 
tion, and had worked whole, histories of the saints in tap- 
estry, with such strength of expression in their counte- 
nances, that they looked like so many souls in purgatory. 
She could read without great difficulty, and had spelled her 
way through several church legends, and almost all the 
ehivalric wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made 
considerable proficiency in writing, could sign her own 
name without missing a letter, and so legibly, that her 
aunts could read it without spectacles. She excelled in 
making little good-for-nothing lady-like knickknacks of 
all kinds; was versed in the most abstruse dancing of the 
day; played a number of airs on the harp and guitar; and 
knew all the tender ballads of the Minnie-lieders by heart. 

Her aunts, too, having been great flirts and coquettes in 
their younger days, were admirably calculated to be vigi- 
lant guardians and strict censors of the conduct of their 
niece; for there is no duenna so rigidly prudent, and in- 
exorably decorous, as a superannuated coquette. She was 
rarely suffered out of their sight; never went beyond the 

9 



130 THE sketch-Book. 

domains of the castle, unless well attended, or rather well 
watched; had continual lectures read to her about strict 
decorum and implicit obedience; and, as to the men — pah! 
she was taught to hold them at such distance and distrust, 
that, unless properly autjiorized, she would not have cast 
a glance upon the handsomest cavalier in the world — no, 
not if he were even dying at her feet. 

The good effects of this system were wonderfully appar- 
ent. The young lady was a pattern of docility and cor- 
rectness. While others were wasting their sweetness in 
the glare of the world, and liable to be plucked and thrown 
aside by every hand, she was coyly blooming into fresh and 
lovely womanhood under the protection of those immacu- 
late sj)insters, like a rose-bud blushing forth among guar- 
dian thorns. Her aunts looked upon her with pride and 
exultation, and vaunted that though all the other young 
ladies in the world might go astray, yet, thank Heaven, 
nothing of the kind could happen to the heiress of Kat- 
zenellenbogen. 

But however scantily the Baron Von Landshort might 
be provided with children, his household was by no means 
a small one, for Providence had enriched him with abun- 
dance of poor relations. They, one and all, possessed the 
affectionate disposition common to humble relatives; were 
wonderfully attached to the Baron, and took every possi- 
ble occasion to come in swarms and enliven the castle. All 
family festivals were commemorated by these good people 
at the Baron's expense; and when they were filled with 
good cheer, they would declare that there was nothing on 
earth so delightful as these family meetings, these jubilees 
of the heart. 

The Baron, though a small man, had a large soul, and it 
swelled with satisfaction at the consciousness of being the 
greatest man in the little world about him. He loved to 
tell long stories about the stark old warriors whose por- 
traits looked grimly down from the walls around, and he 
found no listeners equal to those who fed at his expense. 
He was much given to the marvellous, and a firm believer 
in all those supernatural tales with which every mountain 
and valley in Germany abounds. The faith of his guests 
even exceeded his own : they listened to every tale of won- 
der with open eyes and mouth, and never failed to be as- 



THE I^PECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 131 

tonislied, even though repeated for the hundredth time. 
Thus lived the Baron Von Landsliort, the oracle of his 
table, the absolute monarch of his little territory, and 
happy, above all things, in the persuasion that he was the 
wisest man of the age. 

At the time of which my story treats, there was a great 
family-gathering at the castle, on an affair of the utmost 
importance: — it was to receive the destined bridegroom of 
the Baron's daughter. A negotiation had been carried on 
between the father and an old nobleman of Bavaria, to 
unite the dignity of their houses by the marriage of their 
children. Tlie preliminaries had been conducted with 
proper punctilio. The young people were betrothed with- 
out seeing each other, and the time was appointed for the 
marriage ceremony. The young Count Von Altenburg 
had been recalled from the army for the purpose, and was 
actually on his way to the Baron's to receive his bride. 
Missives had even been received from him, from \Vurtz- 
burg, where he was accidentally detained, mentioning the 
day and hour when he might be expected to arrive. 

The castle was in a tumult of preparation to give him a 
suitable welcome. The fair bride had been decked out 
with uncommon care. The two aunts had superintended 
her toilet, and quarrelled the whole morning about every 
article of her dress. The young lady had taken advantage 
of their contest to follow the bent of her own taste; and 
fortunately it was a good one. She looked as lovely as 
youthful bridegroom could desire; and the flutter of ex- 
pectation heightened the lustre of her charms. 

The suffusions that mantled her face and neck, the gen- 
tle heaving of the bosom, the eye now and then lost in 
i-everie, all betrayed the soft tumult that was going on in 
her little heart. The aunts were continually hovering 
around her; for maiden aunts are apt to take great inter- 
est in affairs of this nature; they v/ere giving her a world 
of staid counsel how to deport herself, what to say, and in 
what manner to receive the expected lover. 

The Baron was no less busied in preparations. He had, 
in truth, nothing exactly to do; but he was naturally a 
fuming, bustling little man, and could not remain passive 
when all the world was in a hurry. He worried from top 
to bottom of the castle, with an air of infinite anxiety; he 



U2 THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

continually called the servants from their work to exhort 
them to be diligent, and buzzed about every hall and cham- 
ber, as idly restless and importunate as a blue-bottle fly of 
a warm summer's day. 

In the mean time, the fatted calf had been killed; the 
forests had rung with the clamor of the huntsmen; the 
kitchen was crowded with good cheer; the cellars had 
yielded up whole oceans of Rhein-ivein and Ferne-wein, 
and even the great Heidelberg tun had been laid under 
contribution. Everything was ready to receive the distin- 
guished guest with Sans vnd Brans in the true spirit of 
German hospitality — but the guest delayed to make his 
appearance. Hour rolled after hour. The sun that had 
poured his downward rays upon the rich forests of the 
Odenwald, now just gleamed along the summits of the 
mountains. The Baron mounted the highest tower, and 
strained his eyes in hope of catching a distant sight of the 
Count and his attendants. Once he thought he beheld 
them; the sound of horns came floating from the valley, 
prolonged by the mountain echoes: a number of horsemen 
were seen far below, slowly advancing along the road; but 
when they had nearly reached the foot of the mountain, 
they suddenly struck off in a different direction. The last 
ray of sunshine departed — the bats began to flit by in the 
twilight — the road grew dimmer and dimmer to the view: 
and nothing appeared stirring in it, but now and then a 
peasant lagging homeward from his labor. 

AVhile the old castle of Laiidshort was in this state of 
perplexity, a very interesting scene was transacting in a 
different part of the Odenwald. 

The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursu- 
ing his route in that sober jog-trot way in which man 
travels toward matrimony when his friends have taken all , 
the trouble and un.certainty of courtship off his hands, and 
a bride is waiting for him, as certainly as a dinner, at the 
end of his journey. He had encountered at Wurtzburg a 
youthful companion in arms, with whom he had seen some 
service on the frontiers; Herman Von Starkenfaust, one 
of the stoutest hands and worthiest hearts of German chiv- 
alry, who was now returning from the army. His father's 
castle was not far distant from the old fortress of Land- 
short, although an hereditary feud rendered the families 
hostile, and strangers to each other. 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 133 

III the warm-he;irted moment of recognition, the young 
friends related all their past adventures and fortunes, and 
the Count gave the whole history of his intended nuptials 
with a young lady whom he had never seen, but of whose 
charms he had received the most enrapturing descriptions. 

As the route of the friends lay in the same direction, 
they agreed to perform the rest of their journey together; 
and that the}^ might do it more leisurely, set off from 
Wurtzburg at an early hour, the Count having given direc- 
tions for his retinue to follow and overtake him. 

They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their 
military scenes and adventures ; but the Count was apt to 
be a little tedious, now and then, about the reputed charms 
of his bride, and the felicity that awaited him. 

In this way they had entered among the mountains of 
the Odenvvald, and were traversing one of its most lonely 
and thickly wooded passes. It is well known that the for- 
~"ests of Germany have always been as much infested with 
robbers as its castles by spectres; and, at this time, the 
former were particularly numerous, from the hordes of dis- 
banded soldiers wandering about the country. It will not 
appear extraordinary, therefore, that the cavaliers Avere 
attacked by a gang of these stragglers, in the midst of the 
forest. They defended themselves with bravery, but were 
nearly overpowered when the Count's retinue arrived to 
their assistance. At sight of them the robbers fled, but 
not until the Count had received a mortal Avound. He was 
slowly and carefully conveyed back to the city of Wurtz- 
burg, and a friar summoned from a neighboring convent, 
who was famous for his skill in administering to both soul 
and body. But half of his skill was superfluous; the mo- 
ments of the unfortunate Count were numbered. 

With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair 
instantly to the castle of Landshort, and explain the fatal 
cause of his not keeping his appointment with his bride. 
Though not the most ardent of lovers, he was one of the 
most punctilious of men, and appeared earnestly solicitous 
that this mission should be speedily and courteously exe- 
cuted. "' Unless this is done," said he, '' I shall not sleep 
quietly in my grave." He repeated these last words with 
peculiar solemnity. A request, at a moment so impres- 
sive, admitted no hesitation. Starkenfaust endeavored to 



134 THE BKETCH-BOOK. 

soothe him to calmness; promised faithfully to execute 
his wish, and gave him his hand in solemn pledge. The 
dying man pressed it in acknowledgment, but soon lapsed 
into delirium — raved about his bride — his engagements — 
his plighted word; ordered his horse, that he might ride 
to the castle of Landshort, and expired in the fancied act 
of vaulting into the saddle. 

Starkenfaust bestowed a sigh, and a soldier's tear on the 
untimely fate of his comrade; and then pondered on the 
awkward mission he had undertaken. His heart was 
heavy, and his head perplexed: for he was to present him- 
self an unbidden guest among hostile peo"ple, and to damp 
their festivity with tidings fatal to their hopes. Still there 
were certain whisperings of curiosity in his bosom to see 
this far-famed beauty of Katzenellenbogen, so cautiously 
shut up from the world ; for he was a passionate admirer 
of the sex, aiid there was a dash of eccentricity and enter- 
prise in his character, that made him fond of all singular 
adventure. 

Previous to his departure, he made all due arrangements 
with the holy fraternity of the convent for the funeral 
solemnities of his friend, who was to be buried in the ca- 
thedral of Wurtzburg, near some of his illustrious relatives; 
and the mourning retinue of the Count took charge of his 
remains. 

It is now high time that we should return to the ancient 
family of Katzenellenbogen, who Avere impatient for their 
guest, and still more for their dinner; and to the worthy 
little Baron, whom we left airing himself on the watch- 
tower. 

Night closed in, but still no guest arrived. The Baron 
descended from the tower in despair. The banquet, which 
had been delayed from hour to hour, could no longer be 
postponed. The meats Avere already overdone; the cook 
in an agony; and the whole household had the look of a 
garrison that had been reduced by famine. The Baron 
was obliged reluctantly to give orders for the feast without 
the presence of the guest. All were seated at table, and 
just on the point of commencing, when the sound of a 
horn from without the gate gave notice of the approacli 
of a stranger. Anotlier long blast filled tlie old courts of 
the castle with its echoes, and was answered by the warder 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 135 

from tlie Avails. The Baron hastened to receive his futnre 
son-in-law. 

The drawbridge had been let down, and the stranger 
was before the gate. He was a tall, gallant cavalier, 
mounted on a black steed. His countenance was pale, but 
he had a beaming romantic eye, and an air of stately mel- 
ancholy. The Baron was a little mortified that he should 
have come in this simple, solitary style. His dignity for 
a moment was ruffled, and he felt disposed to consider it 
a want of proper respect for the important occasion, and 
the important family with which he was to be connected. 
He pacified himself, however, with the conclusion that 
it must have been youthful impatience which had in- 
duced him thus to spur on sooner than his attendants. 

" I am sorry," said the stranger, " to break in upon you 
thus unseasonably- " 

Here the Baron interrupted him with a world of compli- 
ments and greetings; for, to tell the truth, he prided him- 
self upon his courtesy and his eloquence. The stranger 
attempted, once or twice, to stem the torrent of words, but 
in vain; so he bowed his head and suffered it to flow on. 
By the time the Baron had come to a pause, they had 
reached the inner court of the castle; and the stranger 
was again about to speak, when he was once more inter- 
rupted by the appearance of the female part of the fam- 
ily, leading forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He 
gazed on her for a moment as one entranced ; it seemed as 
if his whole soul beamed forth in the gaze, and rested upon 
that lovely form. One of the maiden aunts whispered 
something in her ear; she made an effort to speak; her 
moist blue eye was timidly raised, gave a sl\v glance of in- 
quiry on the stranger, and was cast again to the ground. 
The words died away; but there was a sweet smile playing 
about her lips, and a soft dimpling of the cheek, that showed 
her glance had not been unsatisfactory. It was impossi- 
ble for a girl of the fond age of eighteen, highly predisjiosed 
for love and matrimony, not to be pleased Avith so gallant 
a cavalier. 

The late hour at which the guest had arrived, left no 
time for parley. The Baron was peremi)tory, and deferred 
all particular conversation until the morning, and led the 
way to the untested banquet. 



136 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

It was served up in the great liall of the castle. Around 
the walls hung the hard-favored portraits of the heroes of 
the house of Katzenellenbogen, and the trophies which 
they had gained in the field and in the chase. Hacked 
croslets, splintered jousting sjiears, and tattered banners, 
were mingled with the spoils of sylvan warfare: the jaws 
of the wolf, and the tusks of the boar, grinned horribly 
among cross-bows and battle-axes, and a huge pair of ant- 
lers branched immediately over the head of the youthful 
bridegroom. 

The cavalier took but little notice of the company or 
the entertainment. He scarcely tasted the banquet, but 
seemed absorbed in admiration of his bride. He conversed 
in a low tone, that could not be overheard — for the lan- 
guage of love is never loud; but where is the female ear 
so dull" that it cannot catch the softest whisper of the 
lover ? There was a mingled tenderness and gravity in 
his manner, that appeared to have a powerful effect upon 
the young lady. Her color came and went, as she listened 
with deep attention. Now and then she made some blush- 
ing reply, and when his eye was turned away, she would 
steal a sidelong 'glance at his romantic countenance, and 
heave a gentle sigh of tender happiness. It was evident 
that the young couple were completely enamoured. The 
aunts, who were deepl}^ versed in the mysteries of the heart, 
declared that they had fallen in love with each other at 
first sight. 

The feast went on merrily, or at least noisily, for the 
guests Avere all blessed with those keen appetites that at- 
tend upon light purses and mountain air. The Baron told 
his best and longest stories, and never had he told them so 
well, or with such great effect. If there was anything 
marvellous, his auditors were lost in astonishment ; and if 
anything facetious, they were sure to laugh exactly in the 
right place. The Baron, it is true, like most great men, 
was too dignified to utter any joke, but a dull one; it was 
always enforced, however, by a bumper of excellent Hoch- 
heimer; and even a dull joke, at one's own table, served up 
with jolly old wine, is irresistible. Many good things were 
said by i^oorer and keener wits, that would not bear re- 
peating, except on similar occasions; nnmy sly speeches 
whispered in ladies* ears, that almost convulsed them Avith 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 137. 

suppressed laughter; aud a song or two roared out by a 
poor, but merry and broad-faced cousin of the Baron, that 
absolutely made the maiden aunts hold up their fans. 

Amid all this revelry, the stranger guest maintained a 
most singular and unseasonable gravity. His countenance 
assumed a deeper cast of dejection as the evening advanced, 
and, strange as it may appear, even the Baron's jokes seemed 
only to render him the more melancholy. At times he was 
lost in thought, and at times there was a perturbed and 
restless wandering of the eye that bespoke a mind but ill 
at ease. His conversations with the bride became more 
and more earnest and mysterious. Lowering clouds began 
to steal over the fair serenity of her brow, and tremors to 
run throttgh her tender frame. 

All this could not escape the notice of the company. 
Their* gayety was chilled by the unaccountable gloom of 
the bridegroom ; their spirits were infected ; whispers and 
glances were interchanged, accompanied by shrugs and 
dubious shakes of the head. The song and the laugh grew 
less and less frequent; there were dreary pauses in the 
conversation, which were at length succeeded by wild tales, 
and supernatural legends. One dismal story produced an- 
other still more dismal, and the Baron nearly frightened 
some of the ladies into hysterics with the history of the 
goblin horseman that carried away the fair Leonora — a 
dreadful, but true story, which has since been put into 
excellent verse, and is read and believed by all the world. 

The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound at- 
tention. He kept his eyes steadily fixed on the Baron, and 
as the story drew to a close, began gradually to rise from 
his seat, growing taller and taller, until, in the Baron's 
entranced eye. he seemed almost to tower into a giant. 
The moment the tale was finished, he heaved a deep sigh, 
and took a solemn farewell of the company. They were 
all amazement. The Baron was perfectly thunderstruck. 

"What I going to leave the castle at midnight? why, 
everything was prepared for his reception ; a chamber was 
ready for him if he wished to retire.'' 

The stranger shook his head mournfully, and mysteri- 
ouslv; "I must lay my head in a different chamber to- 
night!" 

There was something in this reply, and the tone in 



138 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

which it was uttered, tluit made the Baron's heart misgive 
him; but he rallied his forces, and repeated his hospitable 
entreaties. The stranger shook his head silently, but pos- 
itively, at every olfer; and, waving his farewell to the com- 
pany, stalked slowly out of the hall. The maiden aunts 
were absolutely petrified — the bride hung her head, and a 
tear stole to her eye. 

The Baron followed the stranger to the great court of 
the castle, where the black charger stood pawing the earth, 
and snorting with impatience. AVhen they had reached 
the portal, whose deep archway was dimly lighted by a 
cresset, the stranger paused, and addressed the Baron in a 
hollow tone of voice, which the vaulted roof rendered still 
more sepulchral. " Now that we are alone," said he, " I will 
impart to you the reason of my going. I have a solemn, 
and indispensable engagement " • 

" Why," said the Baron, " cannot you send some one in 
your place ? " 

"It admits of no substitute — I must attend it in person 
— I must away to Wurtzburg cathedrjil " 

"Ay," said the Baron, plucking up spirit, " but not until 
to-morrow — to-morrow you shall take your bride there." 

"No! no!" replied the stranger, with tenfold solemnity, 
*' my engagement is with no bride — the worms! the worms 
expect me! I am a dead man — I have been slain by rob- 
bers — my body lies at AVurtzburg — at midnight I am to be 
buried — the grave is waiting for me — I must keeji my ap- 
pointment! " 

He sprang on his black charger, dashed over the draw- 
bridge, and the clattering of his horse's hoofs was lost in 
the whistling of the night-blast. 

The Baron returned to the hall in the utmost consterna- 
tion, and related what had passed. Two ladies fainted 
outright; others sickened at the idea of having banqueted 
with a spectre. It Avas the opinion of some, that this 
might be the wild huntsman famous in German legend. 
Some talked of mountain sprites, of wood-demons, and of 
other suj^ernatural beings, with which the good people of 
Germany have been so grievously harassed since time im- 
memorial. One of the poor relations ventured to suggest 
that it might be some sportive evasion of the young cava- 
lier, and that the very gloominess of the caprice seemed to 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 139 

accord with so melancholy a personage. This, however, 
drew on him the indignation of the whole company, and 
especially of the Baron, who looked upon him as little 
better than an infidel ; so that he was fain to abjure his 
heresy as speedily as possible, and come into the faith of 
the true believers. 

But, whatever may have been the doubts entertained, they 
were completely put to an end by the arrival, next day, of 
regular missives, confirming tlie intelligence of the young 
Coiint's murder, and his interment in Wurtzburg cathedral. 

The dismay at the castle may well be imagined. The 
Baron shut himself up in his chamber. The guests who 
had come to rejoice with him could not think of abandon- 
ing him in his distress. They wandered about the courts, 
or collected in groups in the hall, shaking their heads and 
shrugging their shoulders, at the troubles of so good a 
man; and sat longer than ever at table, and ate and drank 
more stoutly than ever, by way of keeping up their spirits. 
But the situation of the widowed bride was the most piti- 
able. To have lost a husband before she had even em- 
braced him — and such a husband ! if the very spectre could 
be so gracious and noble what must have been the living 
man ? She filled the house with lamentations. 

On the night of the second day of her widowhood, she 
had retired to her chamber, accompanied by one of her 
aunts, who insisted on sleeping with her. The aunt, who 
was one of the best tellers of ghost stories in all Germany, 
■had just been recounting one of her longest and had fallen 
asleep in the very midst of it. The chamber was remote 
and overlooked a small garden. The niece lay pensively 
gazing at the beams of the rising moon, as they trembled 
on the leaves of an aspen tree before the lattice. The cas- 
tle clock had just told midnight, when a soft strain of 
music stole up from the garden. She rose hastily from 
her bed, and stepped lightly to the window. A tall figure 
stood among the shadows of the trees. As it raised its 
head, a beam of moonlight fell upon the countenance. 
Heaven and earth I she beheld the Spectre Bridegroom I 
A loud shriek at that moment burst upon her ear, and her 
aunt, who had been awakened by the music, and had fol- 
lowed her silejitly to the window, fell into her arms. When 
she looked again, the spectre had disappeared. 



UO THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Of the two females, the aunt now required the most 
soothing, for she was perfectly beside herself with terror. 
As to the young lady, there was something, even in the 
spectre of her lover, that seemed endearing. There was 
still the semblance of manly beauty; and though the 
shadow of a man is but little calculated to satisfy the aff ec- 
' tions of a love-sick girl, yet, where the substance is not to 
be had, even that is consoling. The aunt declared she 
Avould never sleep in that chamber again; the niece, for 
once, was refractory, and declared as strongly that she 
would sleep in no other in the castle : the consequence was, 
that she had to sleep in it alone; but she drew a promise 
from her aunt not to relate the story of the spectre, lest 
she should be denied the only melancholy pleasure left her 
on earth — that of inhabiting the chamber over which the 
guardian shade of her lover kept its nightly vigils. 

How long the good old lady would have observed this 
promise is uncertain, for she dearly loved to talk of the 
marvellous, and there is a triumph in being the first to tell 
a frightful story; it is, however, still quoted in the neigh- 
borhood, as a memorable instance of female secrecy, that 
she kept it to herself for a Avhole week; when she was 
suddenly absolved from all further restraint by intelli- 
gence brought to the breakfast-table one morning that the 
young lady was not to be found. Her room was empty — 
the bed had not been slept in — the window was open — and 
the bird had flown ! 

The astonishment and concern with which this intelli- 
gence was received can only be imagined by those who have 
witnessed the agitation Avhich the mishaps of a great man 
cause among his friends. Even the poor relations paused 
for a moment from the indefatigable labors of the trencher; 
when the aunt, who had at first been struck speechless, 
wrung her hands and shrieked out, " The goblin I the gob- 
lin ! she's carried away by the goblin ! " 

In a few words she related the fearful scene of the gar- 
den, and concluded that the spectre must have carried oflF 
his bride. Two of the domestics corroborated the opinion, 
for they had heard the clattering of a horse's hoofs down 
the mountain about midnight, and had no doubt that it 
was the spectre on his black charger, bearing her away to 
the tomb. All present were struck with the direful prob- 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. U\ 

ability; for events of the kind are extremely common in 
Germany, as many well-authenticated histories bear wit- 
ness. 

What a lamentable situation was that of the poor Baron I 
What a heart-rending dilemma for a fond father, and a 
member of the great family of Katzenellenbogen! His 
only daughter had either been rapt away to the grave, or 
he was to have some wood-demon for a son-in-law, and, 
perchance, a troop of goblin grandchildren. ,As usual,_he 
was completely bewildered, and all the castle in an uproar. 
The men were ordered to take horse, and scour every road 
and path and glen of the Odenwald. The Baron himself 
had just drawn on his jack-boots, girded on his sword, and 
was about to mount his steed to sally forth on the doubt- 
ful quest, when he was brought to a pause by a new appa- 
rition. A lady was seen approaching the castle, mounted 
on a palfrey attended by a cavalier on horseback. She gal- 
loped up to the gate, sprang from her horse, and falling at 
the Baron's feet embraced his knees. It was his lost 
daughter, and her com])anion — the Spectre Bridegroom! 
The Baron was astounded. He looked at his daughter, 
then at the Spectre, and almost doubted the evidence of 
his senses. The latter, too, Avas wonderfully improved in 
his appearance, since his visit to the Avorld of sj^irits. His 
dress was splendid, and set off a noble figure of manly 
symmetry. He was no longer pale and melancholy. His 
fine countenance was flushed with the gloAV of youth, and 
joy rioted in his large dark eye. 

The mystery was soon cleared up. The cavalier (for in 
truth, as you must have known all the while, he was no 
goblin) announced himself as Sir Herman Von Starken- 
faust. He related his adventure with the young Count. 
He told how he had hastened to the castle to deliver the 
unwelcome tidings, but that the eloquence of the Baron 
had interrupted him in every attempt to tell his tale, 
flow the sight of the bride had completely captivated him, 
and that to jDass a few hours near her, he had tacitly suf- 
fered the mistake to continue. How he had been sorely 
perplexed in what way to make a decent retreat, until the 
Baron's goblin stories had suggested his eccentric exit. 
How, fearing the feudal hostility of the family, he had 
repeated his visits by stealth — had haunted the garden 



142 THE SKETCH-BuOK. 

beneath the young lady's window — had wooed — had won 
— had borne away in triumph — and, in a word, had wedded 
the fair. 

Under any other circumstances, the Baron would have 
been inflexible, for he was tenacious of paternal authority, 
and devoutly obstinate in all family feuds; but he loved 
his daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he rejoiced to 
find her still alive; and, though her husband was of a hos- 
tile house, ye^ thank Heaven, he was not a goblin. There 
was* something, it must be acknowledged, that did not ex- 
actly accord with his notions of strict veracity, in the joke 
the knight had passed upon him of his being a dead man; 
but several old friends present, who had served in the wars, 
assured him that every stratagem was excusable in love, 
and that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege, hav- 
ing lately served as a trooper. 

Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The Baron 
pardoned the young couple on the spot. The revels at 
the castle were resumed. The poor relations overwhelmed 
this new member of the family with loving kindness; he 
was so gallant, so genero^^s — and so rich. The aunts, it is 
true, were somcAvhat scandalized that their system of strict 
seclusion and passive obedience should be so badly exem- 
plified, but attributed it all to their negligence in not hav- 
ing the Avindows grated. One of them was particularly 
mortified at having her marvellous story marred, and that 
the only spectre she had ever seen should turnout a coun- 
terfeit; but the niece seemed perfectly happy at having 
found him substantial flesh and blood — and so the story 
ends. 



WEiiTMmSTER ABBEY. 143 



WESTMINSTER ABBEY. 

When I behold, with deep astonishment. 
To famous Westminster how there resorte. 
Living in brasse or stony monument. 
The princes and tlie worthies of all sorte ; 
Doe not I see reformde nobilitie, 
AVithout contempt, or pride, or ostentation, 
And looke upon offenseless majesty, 
Naked of pomp or earthly domination? 
And how a plaj'-f?ame of a painted stone 
Contents the quiet now and silent sprites, 
Whome all the world which late they stood upon 
Could not content nor quench their appetites. 
Life is a frost of cold f. licitie, 
And death the thaw of all our vanitie. 

Christolero's Epigrams, by T. B., 159S. 

Ox one of those sober and rather mehxncholy davs, in 
the latter part of autumn, when the shadows of morning 
and evening almost mingle togetlier, and throw a gloom 
over the decline of the year, I passed several hours in ram- 
bling about Westminster Abbey. Thei-e was something 
congenial to the season in the mournful magnificence of 
the old pile; and as T passed its tlireshold, it seemed like 
stepping back into the regions of antiquity, and losing 
myself among the shades of former ages, 

I entered from the inner court of Westminster school, 
through a long, low, vaulted passage, that had an almost 
subterranean look, being dimly lighted in one part by 
circular perforations in the massive walls. Through this 
dark avenue I had a distant view of the cloisters, with the 
figure of an old verger, in his black gown, moving along 
their sliadowy vaults, and seeming like a spectre from one 
of the neighboring tombs. 

The approach to the abbey through tliese gloomy mon- 
astic remains, prejiares the mind for its solemn coutempla- 
tion. The cloister still retains something of the quiet and 
seclusion of former da^-s. The gray walls are discolored 
by damps, and crumbling with age; a coat of lioary moss 
lias gathered over the inscriptions of the mural monuments, 
and obscured the death's heads, and otlier funeral em- 
blems. The sharp touches of the chisel are gone from the 
rich tracery of the arches; the roses which adorned the 
key-stones have lost their leafy beauty; everything bears 



144 TH^ iSKETCH-BOOK. 

marks of the gradual dilapidations of time, which yet has 
something touching and pleasing in its very decay. 

The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into 
the square of the cloisters ; beaming upon a scanty plot of 
grass in the centre, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted 
passage with a kind of dusky splendor. From between 
the arcades, the eye glanced up to a bit of blue sky, or a 
passing cloud; and beheld the sun-gilt pinnacles of the 
abbey towering into the azure heaven. 

As I paced the cloisters, sometimes contemplating this 
mingled picture of glory and decay, and sometimes en- 
deavoring to decipher the inscriptions on the tombstones, 
which formed the pavement beneath my feet, my eyes 
were attracted to three figures, rudely carved in relief, but 
nearly worn away by the footsteps of many generations. 
They were the effigies of three of the early abbots; the 
epitaphs were entirely effaced; the names alone remained, 
having no doubt been renewed in later times (Vitalis. 
Abbas. 1082, and Gislebertus Crispinus, Abbas. 1114, and 
Laurentius. Abbas. 11 70). I remained some little while, 
musing over these casual relics of antiquity, thus left like 
wrecks upon this distant shore of time, telling no tale but 
that such beings had been and had perished; teaching no 
moral but the futility of that pride which hopes still to 
exact homage in its ashes, and to live in an inscription. 
A little longer, and even these faint records will be oblit- 
erated, and the monument will cease to be a memorial. 
While I was yet looking down upon the gravestones, I was 
roused by the sound of the abbey clock, reverberating from 
buttress to buttress, and echoing among the cloisters. It 
was almost startling to hear this warning of departed time 
sounding among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the 
hour, wliich, like a billow, has rolled us onward toward the 
grave. 

I pursued my walk to an arched door opening to the in- 
terior of the abbey. On entering here, the magnitude of 
the building breaks fully upon the mind, contrasted with 
the vaults of the cloisters. The eye gazes with wonder 
at clustered columns of gigantic dimensions, with arches 
springing from them to such an amazing height; and man 
wandering about their bases, shrunk into insignificance 
in comparison with his own handiwork. The spaciousness 



WmTMimtER Al^BBT. "^45 

and gloom of this vast edifice produce a profounfT and 
mysterious awe. We step cautiously and softly about, as 
if fearful of disturbing the hallowed silence of the tomb; 
while every footfall whispers along the walls, and chatters 
among the sepulchres, making us more sensible of the 
quiet we have interrupted. 

It seems as if the awful nature of the place presses down 
upon the soul, and hushes the beholder into noiseless rev- 
erence. We feel that waare surrounded by the congregated 
bones of the great men of past times, who have filled his- 
tory with their deeds, and the earth with their renown. 
And yet it almost provokes a smile at the vanity of human 
ambition, to see how they are crowded together, and jostled 
in the dust; what parsimony is observed in doling out a 
scanty nook — a gloomy corner — a little portion of earth to 
those whom, when alive, kingdoms could not satisfy; and 
how many shapes, and forms, and artifices, are devised to 
catch the casual notice of the passenger, and save from 
I'orgetf ulness, for a few short years, a name which once as- 
pired to occupy ages of the world's thought and admira- 
tion. 

I passed some time in Poet's Corner, which occupieg an 
end of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. 
The monuments are generally simple; for the lives of lit- 
erary men afford no striking themes for the sculptor. 
Shakspeare and Addison have statues erected to their 
memories; but the greater part have busts, medallions, and 
sometimes mere inscriptions. Notwithstanding the sim- 
plicity of these memorials, I have always observed that the 
visitors to the abbey remain longest about them. A kinder 
and fonder feeling takes place of that cold curiosity or 
vague admiration with which they gaze on the splendid 
monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger about 
these as about the tombs of friends and companions; for 
indeed there is something of companionship between the 
author and the reader. Other* men are known to poster- 
ity only through the medium of history, which is continu- 
ally growing faint and obscure; but the intercourse be- 
tween the author and his fellow-men is ever new, active, 
and immediate. He has lived for them more than for 
himself; he has sacrificed surrounding enjoyments, and 
shut himself up from the delights of social life, that he 
lo 



146 THE SKETCH-BOOK'. 

might the more intimately commune with distant minds 
and distant ages. Well may the world cherish his renown; 
for it has been purchased, not by deeds of violence and 
blood, but by the diligent dispensation of pleasure. Well 
may posterity be grateful to his memory; for he has left 
it an inheritance, not of empty names and sounding ac- 
tions, but whole treasures of wisdom, bright gems of 
thought, and golden veins of language. 

From Poet's Corner I continued my stroll toward that 
part of the abbey which contains the sepulchres of the 
kings, I wandered among what once were chapels, but 
which are now occupied by the tombs and monuments of 
the great. At every turn, I met with some illustrious 
name, or the cognizance of some powerful house renowned 
in history. As the eye darts into these dusky chambers 
of death, it catches glimpses of quaint effigies : some kneel- 
ing in niches, as if in devotion ; others stretched upon the 
tombs, with hands piously pressed together; warriors in 
armor, as if reposing after battle; prelates, Avith crosiers 
and mitres ; and nobles in robes and coronets, lying as it 
were in state. In glancing over this scene, so strangely 
populous, yet where every form is so still and silent, it 
seems almost as if we were treading a mansion of that 
fabled city, where every being had been suddenly trans- 
muted into stone. 

I paused to contemplate a tomb on which lay the effigy 
of a knight in complete armor. A large buckler was on 
one arm; the hands were pressed together in supplication 
upon the breast ; the face was almost covered by the mo- 
rion; the legs were crossed in token of the warrior's hav- 
ing been engaged in the holy .war. It was the tomb of a 
crusader; of one of those military enthusiasts, who so 
strangely mingled religion and romance, and whose exploits 
form the connecting link between fact and fiction — be- 
tween the history and the fairy tale. There is something 
extremely picturesque in tlue tombs of these adventurers, 
decorated as they are with rude armorial bearings and 
Gothic sculpture. They comport with the antiquated 
chapels in which they are generally found; and in consid- 
ering them, the imagination is apt to kindle with the le- 
gendary associations, the romantic fictions, the chivalrous 
pomp and pageantry, which poetry has spread over the 



WESTMLYSTER ABBMY. 14'* 

wars for the sepulchre of Christ. They are the relics of 
times utterly gone by; of beings passed from recollection; 
of customs and manners with which ours have no affinity. 
They are like objects from some strange and distant land, 
of Avhich we have no certain knowledge, and about which 
all our conceptions are vague and visionary. There is 
something extremely solemn and awful in those effigies on 
Gothic tombs, extended as if in the sleep of death, or in 
the supplication of the dying hour. They have an effect 
infinitely more impressive on my feelings than the fanci- 
ful attitudes, the overwrought conceits, and allegorical 
groups, which abound on modern monuments. I have 
been struck, also, with the superiority of many of the old 
sepulchral inscriptions. There was a noble way, in former 
times, of saying things simply, and yet saying them proudly : 
and I do not know an epitaph that breathes a loftier con- 
sciousness of family worth and honorable lineage, than one 
which affirms, of a noble house, that " all the brothers were 
brave, and all the sisters virtuous." 

In the opposite transept to Poet's Corner, stands a mon- 
ument which is among the most renowned achievements 
of modern art; but which, to me, appears horrible rather 
than sublime. It is the tomb of Sirs. Nightingale, by 
Roubillac. The bottom of the monument is represented 
as throwing open its marble doors, and a sheeted skeleton 
is starting forth. The shroud is falling from his fleshless 
frame as he launches his dart at his victim. She is sink- 
ing into her affrighted husband's arms, who strives, with 
vain and frantic effort, to avert the blow. The whole is 
executed Avith terrible truth and spirit; we almost fancy 
we hear the gibbering yell of triumph, bursting from the 
distended jaws of the speetre. — But why should we thus 
seek to clothe death with unnecessary terrors, and to spread 
horrors round the tomb of those we love ? The grave 
should be surrounded by everything that might inspire 
tenderness and veneration for the dead; or that might win 
the living to virtue. It is the place, not of disgust and 
dismay, but of sorrow and meditation. 

While wandering about these gloomy vaults and silent 
aisles, studying tlie records of the dead, the sound of busy 
existence from without occasionally reaches the ear: — the 
rumbling of the passing equipage; the murmur of the 



148 THE ^KSlTJt-BOOit. 

multitude; or perhaps the liglit laugh of pleasure. The 
contrast is striking with the deathlike repose around; and 
it has a strange elfect upon the feelings, thus to hear the 
surges of active life hurrying along and beating against 
the very walls of the sepuhihre. 

I continued in this way to move from tomb to tomb, and 
from chapel to chapel. The day was gradually wearing 
away; the distant tread of loiterers about the abbey grew 
less and less frequent; the sweet-tongued bell was sum- 
moning to evening prayers; and I saw at a distance the 
choristers, in their white surplices, crossing the aisle and 
entering the choir. I stood before the entrance to Henry 
the Seventh's chapel. A flight of steps leads up to it, 
through a deep and gloomy, but magnificent arch. Great 
gates of brass, richly and delicately wrought, turn heavily 
upon their hinges, as if proudly reluctant to admit the 
feet of common mortals into this most gorgeous of sepul- 
chres. 

On entering, the eye is astonished by the pomp of archi- 
tecture, and the elaborate beauty of sculptured detail. The 
very walls are wrought into universal ornament incrusted 
with tracery, and scooped into niches, crowded with the 
statues of saints and martyrs. Stone seems, by the cun- 
ning labor of the chisel, to have been robbed of its weight 
and density, suspended aloft, as if by magic, and the fretted 
roof achieved with the wonderful minuteness and airy se- 
curity of a cobweb. 

Along the sides of the chapel are the lofty stalls of the 
Knights of the Bath, richly carved of oak, though with the 
grotesque decorations of Gothic architecture. On the pin- 
nacles of the stalls are affixed the helmets and crests of 
the knights, with their scarfs and swords; and above them 
are suspended their banners, emblazoned with armorial 
bearings, and contrasting the splendor of gold and purple 
and crimson, with the cold gray fretwork of the roof. Id 
the midst of this grand mausoleum stands the sepulchre o\ 
its founder — his effigy, with that of his queen, extended 
on a sumptuous tomb, and the whole surrounded by a su- 
perbly wrought brazen railing. 

There is a sad dreariness in this magnificence; this 
strange mixture of tombs and trophies; these emblems of 
living and aspiring ambition, close beside mementos which 



WESTMINSTER ABBEY. ^49 

show the dust and oblivion in which all must sooner or 
later terminate. Nothing impresses the mind with a 
deeper feeling of loneliness, than to tread the silent and 
deserted scene of former throng and pageant. On looking 
round on the vacant stalls of the knights and their es- 
quires, and on the rows of dusty but gorgeous banners that 
were once borne before them, mj^ imagination conjured up 
the scene when this hall was bright with the valor and 
beauty of the land; glittering with the splendor of jew- 
elled rank and military array ; alive with the tread of many 
feet, and the hum of an admiring multitude. All had 
passed away ; the silence of death had settled again upon 
the place; interrupted only by the casual chirping of birds, 
which had found their way into the chapel, and built their 
nests among its friezes and pendants — sure signs of soli- 
tariness and desertion. When I read the names inscribed 
on the banners, they were those of men scattered far and 
wide about the world; some tossing upon distant seas; 
some under arms in distant lands; some mingling in the 
busy intrigues of courts and cabinets: all seeking to de- 
serve one more distinction in this mansion of shadowy 
honors — the melancholy reward of a monument. 

Two small aisles on each side of this chapel present a 
touching instance of the equality of the grave, which briiigs 
down the oppressor to a level with the oppressed, and min- 
gles the dust of the bitterest enemies together. In one is 
the sepulchre of the haughty Elizabeth; in the other is 
that of her victim, the lovely and unfortunate Mary. Not 
an hour in the day, but some ejaculation of pity is uttered 
over the fate of the latter, mingled with indignation at her 
oppressor. The Avails of Elizabeth's sepulchre continually 
echo with the sighs of sympathy heaved at the grave of 
her rival. 

A peculiar melancholy reigns over the aisle where Mary 
lies buried. The light struggles dimly through windows 
darkened by dust. The greater part of the place is in 
deep shadow, and the walls are stained and tinted by time 
and weather. A marble figure of Mary is stretched upon 
the tomb, round which is an iron railing, much corroded, 
bearing her national emblem — the thistle. I was weary 
with wandering, and sat down to rest myself by the monu- 
ment, revolving in my mind the checkered and disastrous 
story of poor Mary. 



150 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the abbey. 
I could only hear, now and then, the distant voice of the 
priest repeating the evening service, and the faint responses 
of the choir; these paused for a time, and all was hushed. 
The stillness, the desertion and obscurity that were gradu- 
ally prevailing around, gave a deeper and more solemn in- 
terest to the place : 

For in the silent grave no conversation, \ 

No joyful tread of friends, no voice of lovers, 
No careful father's counsel — nothing's heard, 
For nothing is, but all oblivion, 
Dust, and an endless darkness. 

Suddenly the notes of the deep-laboring organ burst 
upon the ear, falling with doubled and redoubled intensity, 
and rolling as it were, huge billows of sound. How well 
do their volume and grandeur accord with this mighty 
building! With what pomp do they swell through its 
vast vaults, and breathe their awful harmony through these 
caves of death, and make the silent sepulchre vocal! — And 
now they rise in triumphant acclamation, heaving higher 
and higher their accordant notes, and piling sound on 
sound. — And now they pause, and the soft voices of the 
choir break out into sweet gushes of melody; they soar 
aloft, and warble along the roof, and seem to play about 
these lofty vaults like the pure airs of heaven. Again the 
pealing organ heaves its thrilling thunders, compressing 
air into music, and rolling it forth ujion the soul. What 
long-drawn cadences! What solemn sweeping concords! 
It grows more and more dense and poAverful — it fills the 
vast pile, and seems to jar the very walls — the ear is stunned 
— the senses are overwhelmed. And now tt is winding up 
in full jubilee — it is rising from the earth to heaven — the 
very soul seems rapt away, and floated upward on this 
swelling tide of harmony ! 

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a 
strain of music is apt sometimes to inspire : the shadows 
of evening were gradually thickening around me; the mon- 
uments began to cast deeper and deeper gloom; and the 
distant clock again gave token of the slowly waning day. 

I arose, and prepared to leave the abbey. As I descended 
the flight of steps which lead into the body of the building, 
my eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessor^ 



WESTMINSTER ABBEY. 151 

and I ascended the small staircase that conducts to it, to 
take from thence a general snrvey of this wilderness of 
tombs. The shrine is elevated upon a kind of platform, 
and close around it are the sepulchres c>f various kings and 
queens. From this eminence the eye looks down between 
pillars and funeral trophies to the chapels and chambers 
below, crowded with tombs ; where warriors, prelates, cour- 
tiers, and statesmen lie mouldering in "their beds of dark- 
ness." Close by me stood the great chair of coronation, 
rudely carved of oak, in the barbarous taste of a remote 
and Gothic age. The scene seemed almost as if contrived, 
with theatrical artifice, to produce an effect upon the be- 
holder. Here was a type of the beginning and tlie end of 
human pomp and power; here it was literally but a step 
from the throne to the sepulchre. Would not one think 
that these incongruous mementos had been gathered to- 
gether as a lesson to living greatness ? — to show it, even 
in the moment of its proudest exaltation, the neglect and 
dishonor to which it mnst soon arrive ? how soon that 
crown which encircles its brow must pass away; and it 
must lie down in the dust and disgraces of the tomb, and 
be trampled u^ion by the feet of the meanest of the multi- 
tude ? For, strange to tell, even the grave is here no longer 
a sanctuary. There is a shocking levity in some natures, 
which leads them to sport with awful and hallowed things ; 
and there are base minds, which delight to revenge on the 
illustrious dead the abject homage and grovelling servility 
Avhich they pay to the living. The coffin of Edward the 
Confessor has been broken ojien, and his remains despoiled 
of their funeral ornaments; the sceptre has been stolen 
from the hand of the imperious Elizabeth, and the effigy 
of Henry the Fifth lies headless. Not a royal monument 
but bears some proof how false and fugitive is the homage 
of mankind. Some are plundered; some mutilated; some 
covered with ribaldry and insult — all more or less outraged 
and dishonored I 

The last beams of day were now faintly streaming through 
the painted windows in the high vaults above me; the 
lower parts of the abbey were already wrapped in the ob- 
scurity of twilight. The chapels and aisles grew darker 
and darker. The effigies of the kings faded into shadows; 
the. marble figures of the mouunients assumed strange 



152 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

shapes in the uncertain light; the evening breeze crept 
through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave : and 
even the distant footfall of a verger, traversing the Poet's 
Corner, had something strange and dreary in its sound. 
I slowly retraced my morning's walk, and as I passed out 
at the portal of the cloisters, the door, closing with a jar- 
ring noise behind me, iilled the whole building with echoes. 
I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of 
the objects I had been contemplating, but found they were 
already falling into indistinctness and confusion. Names, 
inscriptions, trojDhies, had all become confounded in my 
recollection, though I had scarcely taken my foot from off 
the threshold. What, thought I, is this vast assemblage 
of sepulchres but a treasury of humiliation; a huge pile of 
reiterated homilies on the emptiness of renown, and the 
certainty of oblivion ? It is, indeed, the empire of Death ; 
his great shadowy jDalace; where he sits in state, mocking 
at the relics of human glory, and spreading dust and for- 
getfulness on the monuments of princes. How idle a 
boast, after all, is the immortality of a name! Time is 
ever silently turning over his pages; we are too much en- 
grossed by the story of the present, to think of the charac- 
ters and anecdotes that gave interest to the past; and each 
age is a volume thrown aside to be speedily forgotten. The 
idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our rec- 
ollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor 
of to-morrow. " Our fathers," says Sir Thomas Brown, 
" find their graves in our short memories, and sadly tell us 
how we may be buried in our survivors." History fades 
into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and contro- 
versy; the inscription moulders from the tablet; the statue 
falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what 
are they but heaps of sand — and their epitaphs, but char- 
acters written in the dust ? What is the security of the 
tomb, or the perpetuity of an embalmment ? The remains 
of Alexander the Great have been scattered to the wind, 
and his empty sarcophagus is now the mere curiosity of a 
museum. " The Egyptian mummies wliich Cambyses or 
time hath spared, avarice now consumeth; Mizraim cures 
wounds, and Pharaoh is sold for balsams." ^ 

1 Sir Thomas Brown. 



CHRISTMAS. 153 

What then is to insure this pile, which now towers above 
me, from sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums ? The 
time must come Avhen its gilded vaults, which now spring 
so loftily, shall lie in rubbish beneath the feet; when, in- 
stead of the sound of melody and praise, the wind shall 
whistle through the broken arches, and the owl hoot from 
the shattered tower — when the garish sunbeam shall break 
into these gloomy mansions of death; and the ivy twine 
round the fallen column; and the fox-glove hang its blos- 
soms about the nameless urn, as if in mockery of the dead. 
Thus man passes away; his name perishes from record and 
recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his 
very monument becomes a ruin. 



CHEISTMAS. 



But is old. old, good old Christmas gone? Nothing but the hair of his good, 
grajr old head and beard left? AVell, I will have that, seeing I cannot have more 
of him. — Hue and Cry after Christmas. 

A man might then behold 

At Christmas, in each hall. 
Good fires to curb the cold, 

And meat for great and small. 
The neighbors were friendly bidden. 

And all had welcome true, 
The poor from the gates were not chidden, 

A\"hen this old cap was new. — Old Song. 

There is nothing in England that exercises a more de- 
lightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of 
the holiday customs and rural games of former times. 
They recall the pictures my fancy used to draw in the May 
morning of life, when as yet I only knew the world through 
books, and believed it to be all that poets had painted it ; 
and they bring with them the flavor of those honest days 
of yore, in which, perliaps with equal fallacy, I am apt to 
think the Avorld was more home-bred, social, and joyous 
than at present. I regret to say that they are daily grow- 
ing more and more faint, being gradually worn away by 
time, but still more obliterated by modern fashion. They 
resemble those picturesque morsels of Gothic architecture, 
which we see crumbling in various parts of the country, 
partly dilapidated by the waste of ages, and partly lost ip, 



154 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

the additions and alterations of latter days. Poetry, how- 
ever, clings Avith cliei-ishing fondness about the rural game 
and holiday revel, from which it has derived so many of 
its themes — as the ivy winds its rich foliage about the 
Gothic arch and mouldering tower, gratefully repaying 
their support, by clasping together their tottering remains, 
and, as it were, embalming them in verdure. 

Of all the old festivals, however, that of Christmas awak- 
ens the strongest and most heartfelt associations. There 
is a tone of solemn and sacred feeling that blends with our 
conviviality, and lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and 
elevated enjoyment. The services of the church about 
this season are exti'emely tender and inspiring : they dwell 
on the beautiful story of the origin of our faith, and the 
pastoral scenes that accompanied its announcement: they 
gradually increase in fervor and pathos during the season 
of Advent, until they break forth in full jubilee on the morn- 
ing that brought peace and good-will to men. I do not 
know a grander effect of music on the moral feelings than 
to hear the full choir and the pealing organ performing a 
Christmas anthem in a cathedral, and filling every joart of 
the vast pile with triumphant harmony. 

It is a beautiful arrangement, also, derived from days of 
yore, that this festival, which commemorates the announce- 
ment of the religion of j^eace and love, has been made the 
season for gathering together of family connections, and 
drawing closer again those bands of kindred hearts, which 
the cares and pleasures and sorrows of the world are con- 
tinually operating to cast loose; of calling back the chil- 
dren of a family, who have launched forth in life, and 
wandered widely asunder, once more to assemble about the 
paternal hearth, that rallying-place of the aifections, there 
to grow young and loving again among the endearing me- 
mentos of childhood. ' 

There is something in the very season of the year, that 
gives a charm to the festivity of Christmas. At other 
times, we derive a great portion of our pleasures from the 
mere beauties of Nature. Our feelings sally forth and 
dissipate themselves over the sunny landscape, and we 
"live abroad and everywhere." The song of the bird, the 
murmur of the stream, the breathing fragrance of spring, 
\\x(i soft voluptuousness of summer;, the golden pomp of 



CHRISTMAS. 155 

autumn; earth with its mantle of refreshing green, and 
heaven with its deep delicious blue and its cloudy mag- 
nificence — all fill us Avith mute but exquisite delight, and 
we revel in the luxury of mere sensation. But in the depth 
of winter, when Nature lies despoiled of every charm, and 
wrapped in her shroud of sheeted snow, we turn for our 
gratifications to moral sources. The dreariness and deso- 
lation of the landscape, the short gloomy days and dark- 
some nights, while they circumscribe our wanderings, shut in 
our feelings also from rambling abroad, and make us more 
keenly disposed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our 
thoughts are more concentrated; our friendly sympathies 
more aroused. We feel more sensibly the charm of each 
other's society, and are brought more closely together by 
dependence on each other for enjoyment. Heart calleth 
unto heart, and we draw our pleasures from the deep wells 
of loving-kindness which lie in the quiet recesses of our 
bosoms; and which, when resorted to. furnish forth the 
pure element of domestic felicity. 

The pitchy gloom without makes the heart dilate on en- 
tering the room filled with the glow and warmth of the 
evening fire. The ruddy blaze diffuses an artificial sum- 
mer and sunshine through the room, and lights up each 
countenance into a kindlier welcome. Where does the 
honest face of hospitality expand into a broader and more 
cordial smile — where is the shy glance of love more sweetly 
eloquent — than by the winter fireside ? and as the hollow 
blast of wintry wind rushes through the hall, claps the dis- 
tant door, whistles about the casement, and rumbles down 
the chimney, Avhat can be more grateful than that feeling 
of sober and sheltering security, with which we look round 
upon the comfortable chamber, and the scene of domestic 
hilarity ? 

The English, from the great prevalence of rural habits 
throughout every class of society, have always been fond 
of those festivals and holidays which agreeably interrupt 
the stillness of country life; and they were in former days 
]i;irticularly observant of the religious and social rites of 
Christmas. It is inspiring to read even the dry details 
which some antiquaries have given of the quaint humors, 
the burlesque ])ageaiits, the complete abandonment to 
mirth and good-fellowship), witli which this festival was. 



156 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

celebrated. It seemed to throw open every door, and unlock 
every heart. It brought the peasant and the peer to- 
gether, and blended all ranks in one wnrm generous flow 
of joy and kindness. The old halls of castles and numor- 
liouses resounded with the harp and the Christmas carol, 
and tlieir ample boards groaned under the weight of hos- 
pitality. Even the poorest cottage welcomed the festive 
season with green decorations of bay and holly — the cheer- 
ful fire glanced its rays through the lattice, inviting the 
passenger to raise the latch, and join the gossip knot hud- 
dled round the hearth, beguiling the long evening with 
legendary jokes, and oft-told Christmas tales. 

One of the least pleasing effects of modern refinement is 
the havoc it has made among the hearty old holiday cus- 
toms. It has completely taken off the sharp touchings and 
spirited reliefs of these embellishments of life, and has 
worn down society into a more smooth and polished, but 
certainly a less characteristic surface. Many of the games 
and ceremonials of Christmas have entirely disappeared, 
and, like the sherris sack of old Falstaff, are become mat- 
ters of speculation and dispute among commentators. 
They flourished in times full of spirit and liistihood, when 
men enjoyed life roughly, but heartily and vigorously: 
times wild and picturesque, which have furnished poetry 
with its richest nuiterials, and the drama Avith its most 
attractive variety of characters and manners. The world 
has become more worldly. There is more of dissipation 
and less of enjoyment. Pleasure has expanded into a 
broader, but a shallower stream, and has forsaken many of 
those deep and quiet channels, where it flowed sweetly 
through the calm bosom of domestic life. Societ}/ has ac- 
quired a more enlightened and elegant tone; but it has 
lost many of its strong local peculiarities, its home-bred 
feelings, its honest fireside delights. The traditionary 
customs of golden-hearted antiquity, its feudal hospitalities, 
and lordly wassailings, have passed away with the baronial 
castles and stately manor-houses in which they were cele- 
brated. They comported with the shadowy hall, the great 
oaken gallery, and the tapestried parlor, but are unfitted 
for the light showy saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the 
modern villa. 

Shorn, however, as it is, of its ancient and festive honors. 



((JHKrSTMAS. i5t 

Christmas is still a period of delightful excitement in Eng- 
land. It is gratifying to see that home feeling completely 
aroused which holds so powerful a place in ever}^ English 
bosom. The preparations making on every side for the 
social board that is again to unite friends and kindred — 
the presents of good cheer passing and repassing, those 
tokens of regard and quickeners of kind feelings — the 
evergreens distributed about houses and churches, emblems 
of peace and gladness — all these have the most pleasing 
effect in producing fond associations, and kindling benev- 
olent sympathies. Even the sound of the waits, rude as 
may be their minstrelsy, breaks ujion the midwatches of a 
winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I 
have been awakened by them in that still and solemn hour 
** when deep sleep falleth upon man," I have listened with 
a hushed delight, and connecting them with the sacred 
and joyous occasion, have almost fancied them into an- 
other celestial choir, announcing peace and good-will to 
mankind. • How delightfully the imagination, when 
wrought upon by these moral influences, turns everything 
to melody and beauty. The very crowing of the cock, 
heard sometimes in the profound repose of the country, 
"telling the night watches to his feathery dames," was 
thought by the common people to announce the approach 
of the sacred festival : 

"Some say tliat ever 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birth -vvas celebrated, 
This bird of dal;^■ning singeth all nightlong: 
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad ; 
The nights are wliolesome— then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, no witch hath power to charm, 
So hallowed and so gracious is the time." 

Amid the general call to hapjDiness, the bustle of the 
spirits, and stir of the affections, which prevail at this 
period, what bosom can remain insensible ? It is, indeed, 
the season of regenerated feeling — the season for kindling 
not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial 
Uame of charity in the heart. The scene of early love 
again rises green to memory beyond the sterile waste of 
years, and tlie idea of home, fraught with the fragrance of 
iiome-dwelling joys, reanimates the drooping spirit — as 
the Arabian breeze will sometimes waft the freshness of 
the distant fields to the weary pilgrim of the desert, , 



l58 TH:E SKETCfr-BOOit. 

stranger and sojonrner as I am in the land — though foi 
me no social hearth may blaze, no hospitable roof throw 
open its doors, nor the warm grasp of friendship welcome 
me at the threshold — yet I feel the influence of the season 
beaming into my soul from the happy looks of those around 
me. Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; 
and every countenance bright with smiles, and glowing 
with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others 
the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence. He 
who can turn churlishly away from contemplating the feli- 
city of his fellow-beings, and can sit down dai'kling and 
repining in his loneliness when all around is joyful, may 
have his moments of strong excitement and selfish gratifi- 
cation, but he wants the genial and social sympathies which 
constitute the charm of a merry Christmas, 



THE STAGE-COACH. 



Omne benS 

Sine poena 
Tempus est ludendi 

Venit hora 

Absque morS 
Libros deponendl. 

—Old Holiday School Song. 



Ik the preceding paper, I have mnde some general ob- 
servations on the Christmas festivities of England, and 
am tempted to illustrate them by some anecdotes of a 
Christmas passed in the country; in perusing which, I 
would most courteously invite my reader to lay aside the 
austerity of wisdom, and to put on that genuine holiday 
spirit, which is tolerant of folly and anxious only for 
amusement. 

In the course of a December tour in Yorkshire, I rode 
for a long distance in one of the public coaches, on the 
day preceding Christmas. The coach was crowded, both 
inside and out, with passengers, who, by their talk, seemed 
jirincipally bound to the mansions of relations or friends, 
to eat the Christmas dinner. It was loaded also with ham- 
pers of game, and baskets and boxes of delicacies, and 
hares hung dangling their long ears about the coachman's 
box, presents from distant friends for the impending feast. 



^HE StAQE-COACR. 159 

1 liad three fine rosy-cheeked schoolboys for my fellow- 
passengers inside, full of the buxom health and manly 
spirit which I have observed in the children of this coun- 
try. They were returning home for the holidays, in high 
glee, and promising themselves a world of enjoyment. It 
was delightful to hear the gigantic plans of pleasure of 
the little rogues, and the impracticable feats they were to 
perform during their six weeks' emancipation from the 
abhorred thraldom of book, birch, and pedagogue. They 
were full of the anticipations of the meeting with the fam- 
ily and household, down to the very cat and dog; and of 
the joy they were to give their little sisters, by the pres' 
ents with which their pockets were crammed; but the 
meeting to which they seemed to look forward with the 
greatest impatience was with Bantam, which I found to 
be a pony, and, according to their talk, possessed of more 
virtues than any steed since the days of Bucephalus. How 
lie could trot! how he could run! and then such leaps as 
he would take — there was not a hedge in the whole coun= 
try that he could not clear. 

They were under tlie particular guardianship of the coach- 
man, to whom, whenever an opportunity presented, they 
addressed a host of questions, and pronounced him one of 
the best fellows in the whole world. Indeed, I could not 
but notice the more than ordinary air of bustle and im- 
portance of the coachman, who wore his hat a little on one 
side, and had a large bunch of Christmas greens stuck in 
the button-hole of his coat. He is always a personage full 
of mighty care and business; but he is particularly so dur- 
ing this season, having so many commissions to execute in 
consequence of the great interchange of presents. And 
here, perhaps, it may not be unacceptable to my imtrav- 
elled readers, to have a sketch that may serve as a general 
representation of this very numerous and important class 
of functionaries, who have a dress, a manner, a language, an 
air, peculiar to themselves, and prevalent throughout the 
fraternity; so that, wherever an English stage-coachman 
may be seen, he cannot be mistaken for one of any other 
craft or mystery. 

He has commonly a broad full face, curiously mottled 
with red, as if the blood had been forced by hard feeding 
into every vessel of the skin; he is swelled into jolly di- 



160 ^HE SKETCH-BOOK. 

meiisioiis by frequent potations of malt liquors, and liis 
bulk is still further increased b)' a multiplicity of coats, in 
which he is buried like a cauliflower, the upper one reach- 
ing to his heels. He wears a broad-brimmed low-crowned 
hat, a huge roll of colored handkerchief about his neck, 
knowingly knotted and tucked in at the bosom; and has 
in summer-time a large bouquet of flowers in his button- 
hole, the present, most probably, of some enamoured coun- 
try lass. His waistcoat is commonly of some bright color, 
striped, and his small-clothes extend far below the knees, 
to meet a pair of jockey boots which reach about half-way 
up his legs. 

All this costume is maintained with much precision; he 
has a pride in having his clothes of excellent materials, 
and, notwithstanding the seaming grossness of his appear- 
ance, there is still discernible that neatness and propriety 
of person, which is almost inherent in an Englishman, 
He enjoys great consequence and consideration along the 
road; has frequent conferences with the village housewives, 
who look upon him as a man of great trust and depend- 
ence; and he seems to have a good understanding with 
every bright-eyed country lass. The moment he arrives 
where the horses are to be changed, he throws down the 
reins with something of an air, and abandons the cattle to 
the care of the hostler, his duty being merely to drive them 
from one stage to another. When off the box, his hands 
are thrust in the pockets of his great-coat, and he rolls 
about the inn-yard with an air of tlie most absolute lordli- 
ness. Here he is generally surrounded by an admiring 
throng of hostlers, stable-boys, shoeblacks, and those name- 
less hangers-on, that infest inns and taverns, and run er- 
rands and do all kind of odd jobs, for the privilege of 
battening on the drippings of the kitchen and the leakage 
of the tap-room. These all look U]) to him as to an ora- 
cle; treasure up his cant phrases; echo his oj^inions about 
horses and other topics of jockey lore; and, above all, en- 
deavor to imitate his air and carriage. Every ragamuffin 
that has a coat to his back, thrusts his hands in the j^ockets, 
rolls in his gait, talks slang, and is an eml)ryo Coachey. 

Perhaps it might be owing to the pleasing serenity that 
reigned in my own mind, that I fancied I saw cheerfulness 
in every countenance throughout the journey. A stage- 



THE STAaS-COACH. 161 

coach, however, carries, animation alwa5^s with it, and puts 
the world in motion as it whirls along. The horn, sounded 
at the entrance of u village, produces a general bustle. 
Some hasten forth to meet friends ; some with bundles and 
band-boxes to secure places, and in the hurry of the mo- 
ment can hardly take leave of a group that accompanies 
them. In the mean time, the coachman has a world of 
small commissions to execute. Sometimes he delivers a 
hare or pheasant; sometimes jerks a small parcel or news- 
paper to the door of a public house; and sometimes, with 
knowing leer and words of sly import, hands to some half- 
blushing, half -laughing housemaid, an odd-shaped billet- 
doux from some rustic admirer. As the coach rattles 
through the village, every one runs to the window, and 
you have glances on ever}^ side of fresh country faces, and 
blooming, giggling girls. At the corners are assembled 
juntos of village idlers and wise men, who take their sta- 
tions there for the important purpose of seeing company 
pass : but the sagest knot is generally at the blacksmith's, 
to whom the passing of the coach is an event fruitful of 
much speculation. The smith, with the horse's heel in 
his lap, pauses as the vehicle whirls by ; the cyclops round 
the anvil suspend their ringing hammers, and suffer the 
iron to grow cool; and the sooty spectre in brown paper 
cap, laboring at the bellows, leans on the handle for a mo- 
ment, and permits the asthmatic engine to heave a long- 
drawn sigh, while he glares through the murky smoke and 
sulphurous gleams of the smithy. 

Perhaps the impending holiday might have given a more 
than usual animation to the country, for it seemed to me 
as if everybody was in good looks and good spirits. Game, 
poultry, and other luxuries of the table, were in brisk cir- 
culation in the villages; the grocers', butchers', and fruit- 
erers' shops were thronged with customers. The housewives 
were stirring briskly about, putting their dwellings in order; 
and the glossy branches of holly, with their bright-red ber- 
ries, began to appear at the windows. The scene brought to 
mind an old Avriter's account of Christmas preparations. 
" Now capons and hens, besides turkeys, geese, and ducks, 
with beef and mutton — must all die — for in twelve days a 
multitude of people will not be fed with a little. Now 
plums and spice, sugar and honey, square it among pies 



102 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and broth. Now or never must music be in tune, for tbo 
youth must dance and sing to get them in a heat, while the 
aged sit by the fire. The country maid leaves half her 
market, and must be sent again, if she forgets a pack of 
cards on Christmas eve. Great is the contention of Holly 
and Ivy, whether master or dame wears the breeches. Dice 
and cards benefit the butler; and if the cook do not lack 
wit, he will sweetly lick his fingers." 

I was roused from this fit of luxurious meditation, by a 
shout from my little travelling companions. They had 
been looking out of the coach-windows for the last few 
miles, recognizing every tree and cottage as they approached 
home, and uow there was a general burst of joy — " There's 
John ! and there's old Carlo ! and there's Bantam ! " cried 
the happy little rogues, clapping their hands. 

At the end of a lane, there was an old sober-looking 
servant in livery, waiting for them; he was accompanied 
by a superannuated pointer, and by the redoubtable Ban- 
tam, a little old rat of a pony, with a shaggy mane and long 
rusty tail, who stood dozing quietly by the roadside, little 
dreaming of the bustling times that awaited him. 

I was pleased to see the fondness with which the little 
fellows leaped about the steady old footman, and hugged 
the pointer, who wriggled his whole body for Joy. But 
Bantam was the great object of interest; all wanted to 
mount at once, and it was with some difficulty that John 
arranged that they should ride by turns, and the eldest 
should ride first. 

Off they set at last; one on the potiy, with the dog 
bounding and barking before him, and the others holding 
John's hands; both talking at once, and overpowering him 
with questions about home, and with school anecdotes. I 
looked after them with a feeling in which I do not know 
whether pleasure or melancholy predominated; for I was 
reminded of those days when, like them, I had neither 
known care nor sorrow, and a holiday was the summit of 
earthly felicity. We stopped a few moments afterward, 
to water the horses; and on resuming our route, a turn of 
the road brought us in sight of a neat country-seat. I 
could just distinguish the forms of a lady and two young 
girls in the portico, and I saw my little comrades, with 
Bantam Carlo, and old John, trooping along the carriage 



THE STAGE-COACH. iG^ 

road. I leaned out of the coach- window, in hoj^es of wit- 
nessing the happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it 
from my sight. 

In the evening we reached a viHage where I had deter- 
mined to pass the night. As we drove into tlie great gate- 
way of the inn, I saw% on one side, the light of a rousing 
kitchen fire beaming through a window. I entered, and 
admired, for the hundredth time, that picture of conven- 
ience, neatness, and broad honest enjoyment, the kitchen 
of an English inn. It was of spacious dimensions, hung 
round with copper and tin vessels highly polished, and 
decorated here and there with a Christmas green. Hams, 
tongues, and flitches of bacon were suspended from the 
ceiling; a smoke-jack made its ceaseless clanking beside 
the fire-place, and a clock ticked in one corner. 

A well-scoured deal table extended along one side of the 
kitchen, with a cold round of beef, and other hearty viands, 
upon it, over which two foaming tankards of ale seemed 
mounting guard. Travellers of inferior order were jDre- 
l^aring to attack this stout repast, while others sat smoking 
and gossiping over their ale on two high-backed oaken 
settles beside the fire. Trim housemaids were hurrying 
backward and forward, under the directions of a fresh 
bustling landlady; but still seizing an occasional moment 
to exchange a flippant word, and have a rallying laugh, 
with the group round the fire. The scene completely re- 
alized Poor Kobin's humble idea of the comforts of mid- 
winter: 

Now trees their leafy hats do ba^-e 
To reverence Wintei-'s sHver hair ■, 
A handsome hostess, m°rry host, 
A pot of ale and now a toast. 
Tobacco atid a good coal fire. 
Are things this season doth require.' 

I had not been long at the inn, when apost-f^haisc '^rovp 
up to the door. A young gentleman stepped out. and by 
the light of the lamps I caught a glimpse of a countenance 
which I thought I knew. I moved forward to get a nearer 
view, when his eye caught mine. I wa'^ not mistaken ; it was 
Frank Bracebridge, a spriglitly good-humored young fellow, 
with whom I had once travelled on the Continent. Our 
meeting was extremely cordial, for the countenance of an 

' Poor Robi]i''s Almanack, 1694. 



164 THE SKETCH-BOO^. 

old fellow-traveller always brings up the recollection of a 
thousand pleasant scenes, odd adventures, and excellent 
jokes. To discuss all these in a transient interview at an 
inn, was impossible'; and finding that I was not pressed 
for time, and w^as merely making a tour of observation, he 
insisted that I should give him a day or two at his father's 
country-seat, to which he was going to pass the holidays, 
and which lay at a few miles' distance. " It is better than 
eating a solitary Christmas dinner at an inn," said he, 
"and 1 can assure you of a hearty welcome, in something 
of tl»e old-fashioned style." His reasoning was cogent, 
and I must confess the preparation I had seen for univer- 
sal festivity and social enjoyment, had made me feel a lit- 
tle impatient of my loneliness. I closed, therefore, at once, 
with his invitation ; the chaise drove up to the door, and 
in a few moments I was on my way to the family majision 
of the Bracebridges. 



CHEISTMAS EVE. 



Saint Francis and Saint Benedight 
Blesse this house from wicked wight ; 
From the nigiit-mare and the goblin. 
That is hight good fellow Robin ; 
Keep it from all evil spirits. 
Fairies, weazles, rats, and ferrets : 

From curfew-tiine 

To the next prime.— Caktwright. 



It was a brilliant moonlight night, but extremely cold; 
our chaise whirled rapidly over the frozen ground; the 
post-boy smacked his whip incessantly, and a part of the 
time his horses were on a gallop. " He knows where he is 
going," said my companion, laughing, " and is eager to ar- 
rive in time for some of the merriment and good cheer of 
the servants' hall. My father, you must know, is a big- 
oted devotee of the old school, and prides himself upon 
keeping up something of old English hospitality. He is 
a tolerable specimen of what you will rarely meet with 
nowadays in its purity — the old English country gentle- 
man; for our men of fortune spend so much of their time 
in town, and fashion is carried so much into the country, 
that the strong rich peculiarities of ancient rural life are 



CHRISTJIAS EYE. 165 

almost polished away. My father, however, from early 
years, took honest Peacham ^ for liis text-book, instead of 
Chesterfield; he determined iu his own mind, that there 
was no condition more truly honorable and enviable than 
that of a country gentleman on his paternal lands, and, 
therefore, passes the whole of his time on his estate. He 
is a strenuous advocate for the revival of the old rural 
games and holiday observances, and is deeply read in the 
writers, ancient and modern, Avho have treated on the sub- 
ject. Indeed, his favorite range of reading- is among the 
authors who flourished at least two centuries since; who, 
he insists, wrote and thought more like true Englishmen 
than any of their successors. He even regrets sometimes 
that he had not beeii born a few centuries earlier, when 
England was itself, and had its peculiar manners and cus- 
toms. As he lives at some distance from the main road, 
in rather a lonely part of the country, without any rival 
gentry near him, he has that most enviable of all blessings 
to an Englishman, an opportunity of indulging the bent 
of his own humor without molestation. Being represen- 
tative of the oldest family in the neighborhood, and a great 
part of the peasantry being his tenants, he is much looked 
up to, and in general, is known simply by the appellation 
of 'The 'Squire;^ a title which has been accorded to the 
head of the family since time immemorial. I think it best 
to give you these hints about my worthy old father, to 
prepare you for any little eccentricities that might other- 
wise appear absurd." 

We had passed for some time along the wall of a park, 
and at length the chaise stojiped at the gate. It was in a 
heavy magnificeiit old style, of iron bars, fancifully wrought 
at top into flourishes and flowers. The huge square col- 
umns that supported the gate were surmounted by the 
family crest. Close adjoining was the porter's lodge, shel- 
tered under dark fir trees, and. almost buried in shrubbery. 

The post-boy rang a large porter's bell, which resounded 
through the still frosty air, and was an^vered by the dis- 
tant barking of dogs, with which the mansion-house seemed 
garrisoned. An old woman immediately ajipeared at the 
gate. As the moonlight fell strongly upon her, I liiid a 

> Peacham's Complete Gentleman, 1632. 



166 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

full view of a little primitive dame, dressed very mucli in 
antique taste, wth a neat kerchief and stomacher, and her 
silver hair peeping from under a cap of snowy whiteness. 
She came courtesy ing forth with many expressions of sim- 
ple joy at seeing her young master. Her husband, it 
seemed, was up at the house, keeping Christmas eve in the 
servants' hall; they could not do without him, as he was 
the best hand at a song and story in the household. 

My friend proposed that we should alight, and walk 
through the park to the Hall, which was at no great dis- 
tance, while the chaise should follow on. Our rotid wound 
through a noble avenue of trees, among the naked branches 
of which the moon glittered as she rolled through the 
deep vault of a cloudless sky. The lawn beyond was 
sheeted with a slight covering of snow, which here and 
there sparkled as the moonbeams caught a frosty crystal; 
and at a distance might be seen a thin traiisparent vapor, 
stealing up from the low grounds, and threatening gradu- 
ally to shroud the landscape. 

My companion looked round him with transport: — 
" How often," said he, " have I scampered up this avenue, 
on returning home on school vacations! How often have 
I jilayed under these trees when a boy ! I feel a degree of 
filial reverence for them, as we look up to those who have 
cherished us in childhood. My father was always scru- 
pulous in exacting our holidays, and having us around him 
on family festivals. He used to direct and superintend 
our games with the strictness that some parents do to the 
studies of their children. He was very particular that we 
should play the old English games according to their ori- 
ginal form; and consulted old books for jjrecedent and 
authority for every 'merrie disport;' yet, I assure you, 
there never was pedantry so delightful. It was the policy 
of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that 
home was the hapjiiest place in the world, and I value this 
delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent 
could bestow." 

We were interrupted by the clamor of a troop of dogs of 
all sorts and sizes, " mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound, 
and curs of low degree," that, disturbed by the ringing of 
the porter's bell and the rattling of the chaise, came bound- 
ing open-mouthed across the lawn. 



CHRmTMAS EVE. 167 

" The little dogs and all, 

Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart, see, they bark at me!" 

cried Bracebridge, laugliing. At the sound of his voice, 
the bark was changed into a yelp of delight, and in a mo- 
ment he was surrounded and almost overpowered by the 
caresses of the faithful animals. 

We had now come in full view of the old family man- 
sion, partly thrown in deep shadow, and partly lit up by 
the cold moonshine. It was an irregular building of some 
magnitude, and seemed to be of the architecture of differ- 
ent periods. One wing was evidently very ancient, with 
heavy stone-shafted bow windows jutting out and overrun 
with ivy, from among the foliage of which the small dia- 
mond-sha2)ed jjanes of glass glittered with the moonbeams. 
The rest of the house was in the French taste of Charles 
the Second's time, having been repaired and altered, as 
my friend told me, by one of his ancestors, who returned 
with that monarch at the Restoration. The grounds about 
the house were laid out in the old formal manner of arti- 
ficial flower-beds, clipped shrubberies, raised terraces, and 
heavy stone ballustrades, ornamented with urns, a leaden 
statue or two, and a jet of water. The old gentleman, I 
was told, was extremely careful to preserve this obsolete 
finery in all its original state. He admired this fashion in 
gardening; it had an air of magnificence, was courtly and 
noble, and befitting good old family style. The boasted 
imitation of nature in modern gardening had sprung up 
with modern republican notions, but did not suit a mon- 
archical government — it smacked of the levelling system. 
I could not help smiling at this introduction of politics 
into gardening, though I expressed some apjirehension 
that I should find the old gentleman rather intolerant in 
his creed. Frank assured me, however, that it was al- 
most the only instance in which he had ever heard his 
father meddle with politics; and he believed he had got 
this notion from a member of Parliament, who once passed 
a few weeks with him. The 'Squire was glad of any argu- 
ment to defend his clipped yew trees and formal terraces, 
which had been oc(!asionally attacked by modern landscape 
gardeners. 

As we approached the house, we lieard tlie sound of 
music, and now and tlien a ])urst of laughter, from one 



168 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

end of the building. This, Bracebridge said, must proceed 
from the servants' hall, where a great deal of revelry was 
permitted, and even encouraged, by the 'Squire, through- 
out the twelve daA's of Christmas, provided everything 
was done conformably to ancient usage. Here were kept 
up the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, 
hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob-apple, and snap- 
dragon; the Yule clog, and Christmas candle, were regu- 
larly burnt, and the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung 
up, to the imminent jjeril of all the pretty house-maids.^ 

So intent were the servants upon their sj)orts, that we 
had to ring rejDeatedly before we could make ourselves 
heard. On our arrival being announced, the 'Squire came 
out to receive us, accompanied by his two other sons ; one, 
a young officer in the army, home on leave of absence ; the 
other an Oxonian, just from the university. The 'Squire 
was a fine healthy-looking old gentleman, with silver hair 
curling lightly round an open florid countenance; in 
which a physiognomist, Avith the advantage, like myself^ 
of a previous hint or two, might discover a singular mix- 
ture of whim and benevolence. 

The family meeting was warm and affectionate; as the 
evening was far advanced, the 'Squire would not permit 
us to change our travelling dresses, but ushered us at once 
to the company, which was assembled in a large old-fash- 
ioned hall. It was composed of different branches of a 
numerous family connection, where there were the usual 
proijortion of old uncles and aunts, comfortable married 
dames, superannuated sj)insters, blooming country cousins, 
half-fledged striplings, and bright-eyed boarding-school 
hoydens. They were variously occupied ; some at a round 
game of cards; others conversing round the fireplace; at 
one end of the hall was a group of the young folks, some 
nearly grown up, others of a more tender and budding 
age, fully engrossed by a merry game ; and a profusion of 
wooden horses, penny trumpets, and tattered dolls about 
the floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings, 
who, having frolicked through a happy day, had been car- 
ried off to slumber through a peaceful night. 

> The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens, at Christmas ; 
and the young men have the privilege of kissing the giris under it. plucking each 
time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked, the privilege 
ceases. 



CHRISTMAS EVE. IGS 

While the mutual greetings were going on between young 
Bracebridge and his relatives, I had time to scan the 
apartment. I have called it a hall, or so it had certainly 
been in old times, and the ^Squire had evidently endeav- 
ored to restore it to something of its primitive state. Over 
the heavy projecting fireplace was suspended a j^icture of 
a warrior in armor, standing by a white horse, and on the 
opposite wall hung a helmet, buckler, and lance. At one 
end an enormous pair of antlers were inserted in the wall, 
the branches serving as hooks on which to suspend hats, 
whips, and spurs ; and in the corners of the apartment were 
fowling-pieces, fishing-rods, and other sporting imple- 
ments. The furniture was of the cumbrous workmanship 
of former days, though some articles of modern conven- 
ience had been added, and the oaken floor had been car- 
peted ; so that the whole presented an odd mixture of par- 
lor and hall. 

The grate had been removed from the wide overwhelm- 
ing fireplace, to make way for a fire of wood, in the midst 
of which was an enormous log, glowing and blazing, and 
sending forth a vast volume of light and heat; this I un- 
derstood was the yule clog, which the 'Squire was partic- 
ular in having brought in and illumined on a Christmas 
eve, according to ancient custom.^ 

It was really delightful to see the old 'Squire, seated in 
his hereditary elbow-chair, by the hospitable fireside of his 
ancestors, and looking around him like the sun of a sys- 
tem, beaming warmth and gladness to every heart. Even 

1 The yMle clog is a ^eat log of wood, sometimes the root of a tree, brought 
into the house -n-ith great cereinony, on Christmas eve, laid in the fireplace, and 
lighted with the brand of last year's clog. While it lasted, there was greatdrink- 
ing, singing, and telling of tales. Sometimes it was accompanied by Christmas 
candles ; but in tlie cottages, the only light was from the ruddy blaze'of the great 
wood fire. The yule clog was to burn all uight ; if it went out, it was considered 
a sign of ill luck. 

Herrick mentions it in one of his songs : 

Come bring with a noise, 

My merrie, merrie boys. 

The Christmas Log to the firing ; 

AVhile my good dame she 

Bids ye all be free. 
And drink to your hearts desiring. 

The yule clog is still burnt in many farm-houses and kitchens in England, 
particularly in the north ; and there are several sujierstiticins connected witfi it 
among tlie iM-a.santry. If a squinting iM-rson come to the house while it is burn- 
ing, or a person barefooted, it is considered an ill omen. The brand remaining 
from the yule dog is carefully put a way to light the next year's Christmas fire. 



irO THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

the very dog that lay stretched at his feet, as he lazily 
shifted his position and yawned, would look fondly up in 
his master's face, wag his tail against the floor, and stretch 
himself again to sleep, confident of kindness and protec- 
tion. There is an emanation from tlie lieart in genuine 
hosiiitality, which cannot be described, but is immediately 
felt, and puts the stranger at once at his ease. I had not 
been seated many minutes by the comfortable hearth of 
the worthy old cavalier, before I found myself as much at 
home as if I had been one of ibe fnmily. 

Supper was announced shortly after our arrival. It was 
served up in a spacious oaken chamber, the panels of which 
shone with wax, and around which were several family 
portraits decorated with holly and ivy. Besides the accus- 
tomed lights, two great wax taj^ers, called Christmas can- 
dles, wreathed with greens, were j)laced on a highly pol- 
ished beaufet among the family plate. The table was 
abundantly spread with substantial fare; but the 'Squire 
made his su])per of frumenty, a dish made of wheat cakes 
boiled in milk with rich spices, being a standing dish in 
old times for Christmas eve. I was happ}^ to find my old 
friend, minced j^ie, in the retinue of the feast; and find- 
ing him to be perfectly orthodox, and that I need not be 
ashamed of my predilection, I greeted him with all the 
warmth wherewith we usually greet an old and very gen- 
teel acquaintance. 

The mirth of the company was greatly promoted by the 
humors of an eccentric personage, whom Mr. Bracebridge 
always addressed with the quaint a2)pellation of Master 
Simon. He was a tight brisk little man, with the air of 
an arrant old bachelor. His nose was shaped like the bill 
of a i^arrot, his face slightly pitted with the small-pox. 
with a dry perpetual bloom on it, like a frost-bitten leaf 
in autumn. He had an eye of great quickness and vivac- 
ity, with a drollery and lurking waggery of expression that 
was irresistible. He was evidently the wit of the family, 
dealing very much in sly jokes and innuendoes with the 
ladies, and making infinite merriment by harpings upon 
old themes; which, unfortunately, my ignorance of the 
family chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed 
to be his great delight, during supper, to keep a young 
girl next to him in a continual agony of stifled laughter, 



CHRISTMAS EVE. ITl 

in spite of her awe of the reproving looks of her mother, 
who sat opposite. Indeed, he was the idol of the younger 
part of the company, who laughed at everything he said 
or did, and at every turn of his countenance. I could not 
Avonder at it; for he must have been a miracle of accom- 
plishments in their eyes. He could imitate Punch and 
Judy ; make an old woman of his hand, with the assistance 
of a burnt cork and i)Ocket handkerchief; and cut an 
orange into such a ludicrous caricature, that the young 
folks were ready to die Avitli laughing, 

I was let briefly into his history by Frank Bracebridge. 
He was an old bachelor, of a small independent income, 
which, by careful management, was sufficient for all his 
wants. He revolved through the family system like a va- 
grant comet in its orbit; sometimes visiting one branch, 
and sometimes another quite remote, as is often the case 
with gentlemen of extensive connections and small for- 
tunes in England. He had a chirping, buoyant disposition, 
always enjoying the present moment; and his frequent 
change of scene and company prevented his acquiring 
those rusty, unaccommodating habits, with which old bach- 
elors are so uncharitably charged. He was a complete 
family chronicle, being versed in the genealogy, history, 
and intermarriages of tlie whole house of Bracebridge, 
which made him a great favorite with the old folks; he 
was a beau of all the elder ladies and superannuated spin- 
sters, among whom he was habitually considered rather a 
young fellow, and he was master of the revels among the 
children; so that there was not a more popular being in 
the sphere in which he moved, than Mr. Simon Bracebridge. 
Of late years, he had resided almost entirely with the 
"Squire, to whom he had become a factotum, and whom he 
particularly delighted by jumping with his humor in re- 
spect to old times, and by having a scrap of an old song to 
suit every occasion. "We had presently a specimen of his 
last-mentioned talent; for no sooner was su]iper removed, 
and spiced wines and other beverages peculiar to the sea- 
son introduced, than Master Simon was called on for a 
good old Christmas song. He bethought himself for a 
moment, and then, with a sparkle of the eye, and a voice 
tluit was by no means bad, excepting tliat it ran occasion- 
ally into a falsetto, like the notes of a sjilit reed, he quav- 
ered forth a quaint old ditty : 



173 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Now Christmas is come. 

Let us beat up the drum. 
And call all our neighbors together ; 

And when they appear, 

Let us make such a cheer, 
As will keep out the wind and the weather, etc. 

The supper had disposed every one to gayety, and an 
old harper was summoned from the servants' hall, where 
Uie had been strumming all the evening, and to all appear- 
ance comforting himself with sonie of the 'Squire's home- 
brewed. He was a kind of hanger-on, I was told, of the 
establishment, and though ostensibly a resident of the vil- 
lage, was oftener to be found in the 'Squire's kitchen than 
his own home ; the old gentleman being fond of the sound 
of "Harp in hall." 

The dance, like most dances after supper, was a merry 
^)ne; some of the older folks joined in it, and the 'Squire 
himself figured down several couple with a partner with 
whom he affirmed he had danced at every Christmas for 
nearly half a century. Master Simon, who seemed to b© 
a kind of connecting link between the old times and the 
new, and to be withal a little antiquated in the taste of his 
accomplishments, evidently piqued himself on his dancing, 
and was endeavoring to gain credit by the heel and toe, 
rigadoon, and other graces of the ancient school; but he 
had unluckily assorted himself with a little romping girl 
from boarding-school, who, by her wild vivacity, kept him 
continually on the stretch, and defeated all his sober at- 
tempts at elegance: — such are the ill-sorted matches to 
which antique gentlemen are unfortunately prone ! 

The young Oxonian, on the contrary, had led out one of 
his maiden aunts, on whom the rogue played a thousand 
little knaveries with impunity; he was full of practical 
jokes, and his delight was to tease his aunts and cousins; 
yet, like all madcap youngsters, he was a universal favorite 
among the women. The most interesting couple in the 
dancewas the young officer and a Avard of the 'Squire's, a 
beautiful blushing girl of seventeen. From several shy 
glances which I had noticed in the course of the evening, 
I suspected there was a little kindness growing up between 
them; and, indeed, the young soldier was just the hero to 
captivate a romantic girl. He was tall, slender, and hand- 
some; and, like most young British officers of late years, 
had picked up various small accomplishments on the Con- 



CHRISTMAS EVE. 173 

tinent — lie could talk French and Italian — draw landscapes 
— sing very tolerabl}' — dance divinely; but, above all, he 
had been wounded at Waterloo : — what girl of seventeen, 
well read in poetry and romance, could resist such a mir- 
ror of chivalry and perfection ? 

The moment the dance was over, he caught up a guitar, 
and lolling against the olil marble fireplace, in an attitude 
which I am half inclined to suspect was studied, began 
the little French air of the Troubadour. The 'Squire, 
however, exclaimed against having anytliing on Christmas 
eve but good old English; upon which the young minstrel, 
casting up his eye for a moment, as if in an effort of mem- 
ory, struck into another strain, and with a charming air of 
gallantry, gave Herrick's "Night-Piece to Julia:" 

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee, 
The snooting stars attend thee, 

And the elves also. 

Whose little eyes glow 
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee. 

No WiU-o'-th'-Wisp mislight thee ; 
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee ; 

But on, on thy way, 

Not making a stay, 
Since ghost there is none to affright thee. 

Then let not the dark thee cumber ; 
What though the moon does slumber, 

The stars of the night 

Will lend thee their hght, 
Like tapers clear without number. 

Then, Juha, let me woo thee, 
Thus, thus to come unto me ; 

And when I shall meet 

Thy silvery feet. 
My soul I'll pour into thee. 

The song might or might not have been intended in 
compliment to the fair Julia, for so I found his partner 
was called; she, however, was certainly unconscious of any 
such application; for she never looked at the singer, but 
kept her e3^es cast upon the floor; her face was suffused, 
it is true, with a beautiful blush, and there was a gentle 
heaving of the bosom, but all that was doubtless caused by 
•the exercise of the dance: indeed, so great was her indif- 
ference, that she was amusing herself with plucking to 
pieces a choice bouquet of hot-house flowers, and by the 
time the song was concluded the nosegay lay in ruins on 
the floor. 



174 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The party now broke up for the night, with the kind- 
hearted old custom of shaking hands. As I passed through 
the hall on my way to my chamber, the dying embers of 
the yule clog still sent forth a dusky glow; and had it not 
been the season when " no spirit dares stir abroad," I should 
have been half tempted to steal from my room at mid- 
night, and peep Avhether the fairies might not be at their 
revels about the hearth. 

My chamber was in the old part of the mansion, the pon- 
derous furniture of which might have been fabricated in 
the days of the giants. The room was panelled, with cor- 
nices of heavy carved work, in which flowers and grotesque 
faces were strangely intermingled, and a row of black-look- 
ing portraits stared mournfully at me from the walls. The 
bed was of rich, though faded damask, with a lofty tester, 
and stood in a niche opposite a bow-Mandow. I had scarcely 
got into bed when a strain of music seemed to break forth 
in the air just below the window: I listened, and found it 
proceeded from a band, which I concluded to be the waits 
from some neighboring village. They went round the 
house, playing under the windows. I drew aside the cur- 
tains, to hear them more distinctly. The moonbeams fell 
through the upper part of the casement, partially lighting 
up the antiquated apartment. The sounds, as they re- 
ceded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed to accord 
with quiet and moonlight. I listened and listened — they 
became more and more tenifer and remote, and, as they 
gradually died away, my head sank upon the pillow, and 
I fell asleep. 



CHKISTMAS DAY. 



Dark and dull night flie hence away, 
And give the honour to this day 
That sees December turn'd to May. 

Why does the chilling winter's niorae 

Smile like a field beset with corn? 

Or smell like to a meade new-shorne, 

Thus on a sudden "?— come and see 

The cause, why things thus fragant be. — Heerick. 



"When" I woke the next morning, it seemed as if all the 
events of the preceding evening had been a dream, and 



CHRISTMAS DAY. 175 

nothing but the identity of the ancient chamber convinced 
me of their reality. While I lay musing on my 2>illow, 1 
heard the sound of little feet pattering outside of the door, 
and a whispering consultation. Presently a choir of small 
voices chanted forth an old Christmas carol, the burden 
of which was — 

Rejoice, our Saviour he was born 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

I rose softly, slipt on my clothes, opened the door sud- 
denly, and beheld one of the most beautiful little fairy 
groups that a painter could imagine. It consisted of a boy 
and two girls, the eldest not more than six, and lovely as 
seraphs. They were going the rounds of the house, sing- 
ing at every chamber door, but my sudden appearance 
frightened them into mute bashfulness. They remained 
for a moment playing on their lips with their fingers, and 
now and then stealing a shy glance from under their eye- 
brows, until, as if by one impulse, they scampered away, 
and as they turned an angle of the gallery, I heard them 
laughing in triumph at their escape. 

Everything conspired to j^roduce kind and happy feel- 
ings, in this stronghold of old-fashioned hospitality. The 
window of my chamber looked out upon what in summer 
Avould have been a beautiful landscape. There was a slop- 
ing lawn, a fine stream winding at the foot of it, and a 
tract of park beyond, with noble clumps of trees, and herds 
of deer. At a distance was a neat hamlet, with the smoke 
from the cottage chimneys hanging over it; and a church, 
with its dark spire in strong relief against the clear cold 
sky. The house was surrounded with evergreens, accord- 
ing to the English custom, which would have given almost 
an appearance of summer; but the morning was extremely 
frosty ; the light vapor of the preceding evening had been 
precipitated by the cold, and covered all the trees and 
every blade of grass with its fine crystallizations. The 
rays of a bright morning sun had a dazzling effect among 
the glittering foliage. A robin perched upon the top of a 
mountain ash, that hung its clusters of red berries just 
before my window, was basking himself in the sunshine, 
and piping a few querulous notes; and a peacock was dis- 
playing all the glories of his train, and strutting with the 
pride and gravity of a Spanish grandee on the terrace-walk 



ire THE SkJETCH-BOOK. 

I had scarcel}' dressed myself, when a servant appeared 
to invite me to family prayers. He showed me the way 
to a small chapel in the old wing of the house, where I 
found the principal part of the family already assembled 
in a kind of gallery, furnished with cushions, hassocks, and 
large prayer-books; the servants were seated on benches 
below. The old gentleman read prayers from a desk in 
front of the gallery, and Master Simon acted as clerk and 
2nade the responses; and I must do him the justice to say, 
that he acquitted himself with great gravity and decorum. 

The service was followed by a Christmas carol, which 
Mr. Bracebridge himself had constructed from a poem of 
his favorite author Herrick ; and it had been adapted to a 
church melody by Master Simon. As there were several 
good voices among the household, the effect was extremely 
pleasing; but I was particularly gratified by the exaltation 
of heart, and sudden sally of grateful feeling, Avith which 
the worthy 'Squire delivered one stanza; his eye glistening, 
and his voice rambling out of all the bounds of time and 
tune : 

" 'Tis thou that crown'st luy glittering hearth 
With guiltless mirth, 
And giv'st me Wassaile bowles to drink 
Spic'd to the brink : 

Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand 

That soiles my land ; 
And giv'st me for mj' bushell sowne, 

Twice ten for one." 

I afterward understood that early morning service was 
read on every Sunday and saint's day throughout the year, 
either by Mr. Bracebridge or some member of the family. 
It was once almost universally the case at the seats of the 
nobility and gentry of England, and it is much to be re- 
gretted that the custom is falling into neglect; for the 
dullest observer must be sensible of the order and serenity 
prevalent in those households, where the occasional exer- 
cise of a beautiful form of worship in the morning gives, 
as it were, the key-note to every temper for the day, and 
attunes every spirit to harmony. 

Our breakfast consisted of what the 'Squire denominated 
true old English fare. He indulged in some bitter lamen- 
tations over modern breakfasts of tea and toast, which he 
censured as among the causes of modern effeminacy and 



CilRTSTMAS DAT. 17? 

weak nerves, and tlie decline of old English heartiness: 
and though he admitted them to his table to suit the pal- 
ates of his guests, yet there was a brave display of cold 
meats, wine, and ale, on the sideboard. 

After breakfast, I walked about the grounds with Frank 
Bracebridge and Master Simon, or Mr. Simon, as he was 
called by everybody but the 'Squire. We were escorted by 
a number of gentlemen4ike dogs, that seemed loungers 
•about the establishment; from the frisking spaniel to the 
•steady old stag-hound — the last of which was of a race that 
had been in the family time out of mind — they were all 
obedient to a dog-whistle which hung to Master Simon's 
button-hole, and in the midst of their gambols would glance 
an eye occasionally upon a small switch he carried in his 
hand. 

The old mansion had a still more venerable look in the 
yellow sunshine than by pale moonlight ; and I could not 
but feel the force of the 'Squire's idea, that the formal ter- 
races, heavily moulded balustrades, and clipped yew trees, 
carried with them an air of proud aristocracy. 

There appeared to be an nnusual number of peacocks 
about the place, and I was making some remarks upon what 
I termed a flock of them that were basking under a sunny 
wall, when I was gently corrected in my phraseology by 
Master Simon, who told me that according to the most 
ancient and approved treatise on hunting, I must say a 
muster of peacocks. *' In the same way," added he, with 
ii slight air of pedantry, " we say a flight of doves or swal- 
lows, a bevy of quails, a herd of deer, of wrens, or cranes, 
a skulk of foxes, or a building of rooks." He went on to 
inform me that, according to Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, we 
ought to ascribe to this bird "both understanding and 
glory; for, being jjraised, he will presently set up his tail, 
chiefly against the sun, to the intent you may the better 
behold the beauty thereof. But at the fall of the leaf, 
when his tail falleth, he will mourn and hide himself in 
corners, till his tail come again as it was." 

I could not help smiling at this display of small erudi- 
tion on so whimsical a subject; but I found that the pea- 
cocks were birds of some consequence at the Hall; for Frank 
Bracebridge informed me that they were great favorites 
with his father, who was extremely careful to keep up the 



its THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

breed, partly because they belonged to chivalry, and were 
iu great request at the stately banquets of the olden time; 
and partly because they had a pomp and magnificence 
about them highly becoming an old family mansion. Kotli- 
ing, he was accustomed to say, had ati air of greater state 
and dignity, than a peacock perched upon an antique stone 
balustrade. 

Master Simon had now to hurry off, having an appoint- 
ment at the parish church with the village choristers, who 
were to perform some music of his selection. There was 
something extremely agreeable in the cheerful flow of ani- 
mal spirits of the little man; and I confess I had been 
somewhat surj^rised at his apt quotations from authors who 
certainly were not in the range of every-day reading. I 
mentioned this last circumstance to Frank Bracebridge, 
who told me with a smile that Master Simon's whole stock 
of erudition was confined to some half-a-dozen old authors, 
which the 'Squire had put into his hands, and which he 
read over and over, whenever he had a studious fit; as he 
sometimes had on a rainy day, or a long winter evening. 
Sir Anthony Fitzherbert's Book of Husbandry; Markham's 
Country Contentments; the Tretyse of Hunting, by Sir 
Thomas Cockayne, Knight; Isaac Walton's Angler, and 
two or three more such ancient worthies of the pen, were 
his standard authorities; and, like all men who know but 
a few books, he looked up to them with a kind of idola- 
try, and quoted them on all occasions. As to his songs, 
they were chiefly picked out of old books in the 'Squire's 
library, and adapted to tunes that were popular among the 
choice spirits of the last century. His practical applica- 
tion of scraps of literature, however, had caused him to be 
looked upon as a prodigy of book-knowledge by all the 
grooms, huntsmen, and small sportsmen of the neighbor- 
hood. 

AVhile we were talking, we heard the distant toll of the 
village bell, and I was told that the 'Squire was a little par- 
ticular in having his household at church on a Christmas 
morning; considering it a day of pouring out of thanks 
and rejoicing; for, as old Tusser observed 

" At ChrLstmas be merry, and thankful tvithal. 
And feast thy poor neighbors, the gi-eat with the small. " 

" If you are disposed to go to church/' said Frank Brace- 



CHRTSiTMAS BAY. l7§ 

bridge, "I can promise you a specimen of my cousin Si- 
mon's musical achievements. As the church is destitute 
of an organ, he has formed a band from the viDage ama- 
teurs, and established a musical club for their improve- 
ment; he has also sorted a choir, as he sorted ni}' father's 
pack of hounds, according to the directions of Jervaise 
Markham, in his Country Contentments; for the bass he 
has sought out all the *" deep, solemn mouths,' and for the 
tenor the Houd ringing mouth,' among the country bum})-' 
kins; and for 'sweet mouths,' he has culled with curious 
taste among the prettiest lasses in the neighborhood; 
though these last, he affirms, are the most difficult to keep 
in tune; your jiretty female singer being exceedingly way- 
ward and capricious, and very lialile to accident." 

As the morning, though frosty, was remarkably fine 
and clear, the most of the family walked to the church, 
whicli was a very old building of gray stone, and stood near 
a village, about half a mile from the park gate. Adjoin- 
ing it was a low snug parsonage, which seemed coeval with 
the church. The front of it was perfectly matted with a 
yew tree, that had been trained against its walls, through 
the dense foliage of which, apertures had been formed to 
admit light into the small antique lattices. As we passed 
this sheltered nest, the parson issued forth and preceded 
us. 

I had expected to see a sleek well-conditioned pastor, 
such as is often found in a snug living in the vicinity of a 
rich patron's table, but I Avas disappointed. The parson 
was a little, meagre, black-looking man, with a grizzled 
wig that was too wide, and stood off from each ear; so 
that his head seemed to have shrunk away within it, like 
a dried filbert in its shell. He Avore a rusty coat, Avith great 
skirts, and pockets that Avould haA^e held the church Bible 
and prayer-book: and his small legs seemed still smaller, 
from being planted in large shoes, decorated Avith enor- 
mous buckles. 

I was informed by Frank Bracebridge that the parson 
had been a chum of his father's at Oxford, and had re- 
ceived this living shortly after the latter had come to his 
estate. He Avas a comi)lete black-letter hunter, and Avould 
scarcely read a Avork printed in the Roman character. 
The editions of Caxton and Wynkiu de Worde Avere his 



180 THE SKMfCH-BOOlt. 

delight; and lie was indefatigable in his researches after 
such old English writers as have fallen into oblivion from 
their worthlessness. In deference, perhaps, to the notions 
of Mr. Bracebridge, he had made diligent investigations 
into the festive rites and holyday customs of former times; 
and had been as zealous in the inquiry, as if he had been 
a boon companion; but it was merely with that plodding 
spirit witR which men of adust' temperament follow up 
any track of study, merely because it is denominated learn- 
ing; indifferent to its intrinsic nature, whether it be the 
illustration of the wisdom, or of the ribaldry and obscenity 
of antiquity. He had pored over these old volumes so in- 
tensely, that they seemed to have been reflected into his 
countenance ; which, if the face be indeed an index of the 
mind, might be compared to a title-page of black-letter. 

On reaching the church-porch, we found the parson re- 
buking the gray-headed sexton for having used mistletoe 
among the greens with which the church was decorated. 
It was, he observed, an unholy plant, profaned by having 
been used by the Druids in their mystic ceremonies; and 
though it might be innocently employed in the festive or- 
namenting of halls and kitchens, yet it had been deemed 
by the Fathers of the Church as unhallowed, and totally 
unfit for sacred j^urposes. So tenacious was he on this 
point, that the poor sexton was obliged to strip down a 
great part of the humble trophies of his taste, before the 
parson would consent to enter upon the service of the day. 

The interior of the church was venerable, but simple; 
on the walls were several mural monuments of the Brace- 
bridges, and just beside the altar, was a tomb of ancient 
workmanship, on which lay the effigy of a warrior in armor, 
with his legs crossed, a sign of his having been a crusader. 
I was told it was one of the family who had signalized him- 
self in the Holy Land, and the same whose picture hung 
over the fireplace in the hall. 

During service, Master Simon stood up in the pew, and 
repeated the responses very audibly; evincing that kind 
of ceremonious devotion punctually observed by a gentle- 
man of the old school, and a man of old family connec- 
tions. I observed, too, that he turned over the leaves of 
a folio prayer-book with something of a flourish, possibly 
to show off an enormous seal-ring which enriched one of 



CHRISTMAS BAY. 181 

his fingers, and which had the look of a family relic. But 
he was evidently most solicitous about the musical part of 
the service, keeping his eye fixed intently on the choir, and 
beating time with much gesticulation and emj^hasis. 

The orchestra was in a small gallery, and presented a 
most whimsical grouping of heads, piled one above the 
other, among which I particularly noticed that of the vil- 
lage tailor, a pale fellow with a retreating forehead and 
chin, who played on the clarionet, and seemed to have 
blown his face to a point : and there was another, a short 
pursy man, stooping and laboring at a bass viol, so as to 
show nothing but the top of a round bald head, like the 
egg of an ostrich. There were two or three pretty faces 
among the female singers, to which the keen air of a frosty 
morning had given a bright rosy tint : but the gentlemen 
choristers had evidently been chosen, like old Cremona 
fiddles, more for tone than looks; and as several had to 
sing from the same book, there were clusterings of odd 
physiognomies, not unlike those groups of cherubs we 
sometimes see on country tombstones. 

The usual services of the choir were mannged tolerably 
well, the vocal parts generally lagging a little behind the 
instrumental, and some loitering fiddler now and then 
making up for lost time by travelling over a passage with 
prodigious celerity, and clearing more bars than the keenest 
fox-hunter, to be in at the death. But the great trial was 
an anthem that had been prepared and arranged by Mas- 
ter Simon, and on which he had founded great expecta- 
tion. Unluckily there was a blunder at the very outset — 
the musicians became flurried; Master Simon Avas in a 
fever; everything went on lamely and irregularly, until 
they came to a chorus beginning, " Now let us sing with 
one accord," which seemed to be a signal for parting com- 
pany: all became discord and confusion; each shifted for 
himself, and got to the end as well, or, rather, as soon as 
he could; excepting one old chorister, in a pair of horn 
spectacles, bestriding and pinching a long sonorous nose ; 
who, happening to stand a little apart, and being wraj^ped 
up in his own melody, kept on a quavering course, wrig- 
gling his head, ogling his book, and winding all up by a 
nasal solo of at least three bars' duration. 

The pa.rson gave us a most erudite sermou on the rites. 



182 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and ceremonies of Christmas, and the propriet}^ of observ- 
ing it, not merely as a day of thanksgiving, bnt of rejoic- 
ing; supporting tlie correctness of his opinions by the 
earliest nsages of the church, and enforcing them by the 
authorities of Theophilus of Cesarea, St. Cyprian, St. Chr}'- 
sostom, St. Augustine, and a cloud more of saints and 
fathers, from whom he made copious quotations. I was a 
little at a loss to perceive the necessity of such a mighty 
array of forces to maintain a point which no one present 
seemed inclined to dispute; but I soon found that the 
good man had a legion of ideal adversaries to contend with; 
having, in the course of his researches on the subject of 
Christmas, got completely embroiled in the sectarian con- 
troversies of the Eevolution, Avhen the Puritans made such 
a fierce assault upon the ceremonies of the church and poor 
old Christmas was driven out of the land by proclamation 
of Parliament.^ The worthy parson lived but with times 
past, and knew but little of the present. 

Shut up among worm-eaten tomes in the retirement of 
his antiquated little study,the jiages of old times were to 
him as the gazettes of the day; while the era of the Rev- 
olution was mere modern history. He forgot that nearly 
two centuries had elapsed since the fiery persecution of 
poor mince-pie throughout the land; when plum porridge 
was denounced as "mere popery," and roast beef as anti- 
Christian; and that Christmas had been brought in again 
triumphantly with the merry court of King Charles at the 
Restoration. He kindled into warmth with the ardor of 
his contest, and the host of imaginary foes with whom he 
had to combat; he had a stubborn conflict with old Prynne 
and two or three other forgotten champions of the Round 
Heads, on the subject of Christmas festivity; and concluded 
by urging his hearers, in the most solemn and affecting 
manner, to stand to the traditional customs of their fathers, 

1 From the "Flying Eaglt>, " a small Gazette, published December 24th, 1652 
—"The House spent imieh time this day about the business of the Navy, for 
settling the affairs at sea, and before they rose, were presented with a teirible 
remonstrance against Christmas day, grounded upon divine Scriptures, 2 Cor. v. 
16, 1 Cor. XV. 14, 17 ; and in honour of the Lord's Day, grounded upon these 
Scriptures, .John xx. 1, Rev. i. 10, Psalms, oxviii. 24, Lev. xxiii. 7, 11, Mark, xv. 
8, Psalms, Ixxxiv. 10 ; in which Christmas is called Antichrist's masse, and those 
Jlasse-mongei-s and Papists who observe it, etc. In consequence of which I'ar- 
liament spent some time in consultation about the abolition of Christmas day, 
passed orders to that effect, and resolved to sit on the following day which wa^ 
commonly called Christuias day. " 



CHRISTMAS DAY. 183 

iind feast and make merry on this joyful anniversary of 
the church. 

I have seldom known a' sermon attended apparently with 
more immediate effects; for on leaving the church, the 
congregation seemed one and all possessed with the gayety 
of spirit so earnestly enjoined by their pastor. The elder 
folks gathered in knots in the churchyard, greeting and 
shaking hands; and the children ran about crying, "Ule! 
Ule!" and repeating some uncouth rhymes,^ which the 
parson, who had joined us, informed me had been handed 
down from days of yore. The villagers doffed their hats 
to the 'Squire as he passed, giving him the good wishes of 
the season with every appearance of heartfelt sincerity, 
and were invited by him to the hall, to take something to 
keep out the cold of the weather; and I heard blessings 
uttered by several of the poor, which couvinced me that, 
in the midst of his enjoyments, the wortliy old cavalier 
had not forgotten the true Christmas virtue of charity. 

On our way homeward, his heart seemed overflowing 
with generous and happy feelings. As Ave passed over a 
rising ground which commanded something of a prospect, 
the sounds of rustic merriment now and then reached our 
ears; the 'Squire paused for a few moments, and looked 
around with an air of inexpressible benignity. The beauty 
of the day was of itrelf sufficient to inspire philanthropy. 
Notwithstanding the frostiness of the morning, the sun in 
his cloudless journey had acquired si;fficient power to melt 
away the thin covering of snow from every southern decliv- 
ity, and to bring out the living green which adorns an Eng- 
lish landscape even in mid-winter. Large tracts of smiling 
verdure contrasted with the dazzling whiteness of the 
shaped slopes and hollows. Every sheltered bank, on 
which the broad rays rested, yielded its silver rill of cold 
and limjiid water, glittering through the dripping grass; 
and sent up slight exhalations to contri])ute to the thin 
haze-that hung just above the surface of the earth. There 
was something truly cheering in this triumph of warmth 
and verdure over the frosty thraldom of winter; it was, 
as the 'Squire observed, an emblem of Christmas hospital- 

» "Ule! Ule! 

Three puddings in a pule ; 
C(at;k nuts and cry ule [" 



184 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

ity, breaking through the chills of ceremony and selfish- 
ness, and thawing every heart into a flow. He pointed 
with pleasure to the indications of good cheer reeking from 
the chimneys of the comfortable farm-houses, and low 
thatched cottages. " I love," said he, " to see this day well 
kept by rich and poor; it is a great thing to have one day 
in the year, at least, when you are sure of being welcome 
wherever you go, and of having, as it were, the world all 
thrown open to you; and lam almost disposed to join with 
poor Robin, in his malediction on every churlish enemy to 
this honest festival 

"Those who at Christmas do repine, 
And would fain hence despatch him, 
May they with old Duke Humphry dine. 
Or else may 'Squire Ketch catch him. " 

The 'Squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of 
the games and amusements which were once prevalent at 
this season among the lower orders, and countenanced by 
the higher; when the old halls of castles and manor-houses 
were thrown open at daylight; when the tables were cov- 
ered with brawn, and beef, and humming ale; when the 
harp and the carol resounded all day long, and when rich 
and poor were alike welcome to enter and make merry.^ 
"Our old games and local customs," said he, "had a great 
effect in making the peasant fond of his home, and the 
promotion of them by the gentry made him fond of his 
lord. They made the times merrier, and kinder, and bet- 
ter, and I can truly say with one of our old poets, 

' I like them well — the curious preciseness 
And all-pretended gravity of those 
That seek to banish hence these harmless sports, 
Have thrust away much ancient honesty.' 

" The nation," continued he, " is altered ; we have almost 
lost our simple true-hearted peasantry. They have broken 
asunder from the higher classes, and seem to think their 
interests are separate. They have become too knowing, 
and begin to read newspapers, listen to alehouse politicians, 

1 " An English gentleman at the opening of the great day, i. e. on Christmas 
day in the morning, had all his tenants and neighbors enter his hall by day break. 
The strong Ijeer was broached, and the black jacks went ijlentifully about with 
toast, sugar, and nutmeg, and good Cheshire cheese. The Hackin (the great 
sausage) must be boiled by day-break, or else two young men must take the 
maiden (i.e. the cook) by the arms and run her round the market place UUsUq ia 
shamed of her laziuess,""— ijownci a,bQut our Sea-Cqal .Fire. 



CHRISTMAS DAT. 185 

and talk of reform. I think one mode to keep them in 
good-humor in these hard times, would be for the nobility 
and gentry to pass more time on their estates, mingle more 
among the country people, and set the merry old English 
games going again." 

Such was the good 'Squire's project for mitigating pub- 
lic discontent: and, indeed, he had once attempted to put 
his doctrine in practice, and a few^ years before he had 
kept open house during the holydays in the old style. The 
country people, however, did not understand how to play 
their parts in the scene of hospitality; many uncouth cir- 
cumstances occurred; the manor was overrun by all the 
vagrants of the country, and more beggars drawn into the 
neighborhood in one week than the parish officers could 
get rid of in a year. Since then he had contented himself 
with inviting the decent part of the neighboring peasantry 
to call at the Hall on Christmas day, and with distributing 
beef, and bread, and ale, among the poor, that they might 
make merry in their own dwellings. 

We had not been long home, when the sound of music 
was heard from a distance. A band of country lads, with- 
out coats, their shirt sleeves fancifully tied with ribbons, 
their hats decorated with greens, and clubs in their hands, 
were seen advancing up the avenue, followed by a large 
number of villagers and peasantry. They stopj^ed before 
the hall door, where the music struck up a peculiar air, 
and the lads performed a curious and intricate dance, ad- 
vancing, retreating, and striking their clubs together, keep- 
ing exact time to the music ; while one, whimsically crowned 
with a fox's skin, the tail of which flaunted down his back, 
kept capering round the skirts of the dance, and rattling 
a Christmas-box with many antic gesticulations. 

The 'Squire eyed this fanciful exhibition with great in- 
terest and delight, and gave me a full account of its origin, 
which he traced to the times when the Romans held pos- 
session of the island ; plainly proving that this was a lineal 
descendant of the sword-dance of the ancients. " It was 
now," he said, " nearly extinct, but he had accidentally 
met with traces of it in the neighborhood, and had encour- 
aged its revival; though, to tell the truth, it was too apt 
to be followed up by rough cudgel-play^ and broken heads, 
in thQ evening." 



186 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

After the dance was concluded, the whole party was en- 
tertained with brawn and beef, and stout home-brewed. 
The 'Squire himself mingled among the rustics, and was 
received with awkward demonstrations of deference and 
regard. It is true, I perceived two or three of the younger 
j)easants, as they were raising their tankards to their 
mouths, when the "Squire's back was turned, making some- 
thing of a grimace, and giving each other the Avink ; but 
the moment they caught my eye they pulled grave faces, 
and were exceedingly demure. "With Master Simon, how- 
ever, they all seemed more at their ease. His varied occu- 
pations and amusements had made him Avell known 
throughout the neighborhood. He Avas a visitor at every 
farm-house and cottage; gossiped with the farmers and 
their wives; romped with their daughters; and, like that 
type of a vagrant bachelor the humble-bee, tolled the sweets 
from all the rosy lips of the country round. 

The bashfulness of the guests soon gave way before good 
cheer and affability. There is something genuine and 
affectionate in the gayety of the lower orders, when it is 
excited by the bounty and familiarity of those alcove 
them ; the warm glow of gratitude enters into their mirth, 
and a kind word or a small pleasantry frankly uttered by 
a patron, gladdens the heart of the dependent more than 
oil and wine. When the 'Squire had retired, the merri- 
ment increased, and there was much joking and laughter, 
particularly between Master Simon and a hale, ruddy- 
faced, white-headed farmer, Avho appeared to be the wit of 
the village; for I observed all his companions to wait Avith 
open mouths for his retorts, and burst into a gratuitous 
laugh before they could well understand them. 

The Avhole house indeed seemed abandoned to merri- 
ment: as I passed to my room to dress for dinner, I heard 
the sound of music in a small court, and looking through 
a window that commanded it, I perceived a band of Avan- 
dering musicians, Avith pandean pipes and tambourine; a 
pretty coquettish housemaid Avas dancing a jig Avith a 
smart country lad, Avhile several of the other servants were 
looking on. In the midst of her sport, the girl caught a 
glimpse of my face at the AvindoAV, and coloring up, rw 
off Avith an, air of roguish affected confusion, 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 18^ 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 

Lo, now is come our joyf ul'st feast 1 

Let every man be jolly. 
Each roome with yvie leaves is drest, 

And every post with holly. 
Now all our neighbours' chimneys smoke, 

And Christmas blocks are burning ; 
Their ovens they with bak't meats choke, 
And all their spits are turning. 
Without the door let sorrow lie, 
And if, for cold, it hap to die, 
Wee '1 bury 't in a Christmas pye. 
And evermore be merry. — Withers' Juvenilia. 

I HAD finished ray toilet, and was loitering with Frank 
Bracebridge in the library, when we heard a distant thwack- 
ing sound, which he informed me was a signal for tlie serv- 
ing up of the dinner. The 'Squire kept up old customs 
in kitchen as well as hall; and the rolling-pin struck upon 
the dresser by the cook, summoned the servants to carry 
in the meats. 

Just in this nick the cook knock'd thrice, 
And all tlie waiters in a trice 

His summons did obej^ ; 
Each serving man, with dish in hand, 
Marched boldly up, like our train band. 

Presented, and away.i 

The dinner was served up in the great hall, where the 
'Squire always held his Christmas banquet. A blazing 
crackling fire of logs had been heaped on to warm the 
spacious apartment, and the flame went sparkling and 
wreathing up the wide-mouthed chimney. The great 
picture of the crusader and his white horse had been pro- 
fusely decorated with greens for the occasion ; and holly 
and ivy had likewise been wreathed round the helmet and 
weapons on the opposite wall, which I understood were the 
arms of the same warrior. I must own, by-tiie-by, I had 
strong doubts about the authenticity of the painting and 
armor as having belonged to the crusader, they certainly 
having the stamp of more recent days; but I was told that 
the painting had been so considered time out of mind 
and that, as to the armor, it had been found in a lumber- 
room, and elevated to its present situation by the 'Squire, 
who at once determined it t(i be the armor of the family 

' Sir John Suckling. 



188 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

hero; and as he was absolute authority on all such sub- 
jects in his own household, the matter had passed into cur- 
rent acceptation. A sideboard was set out just under 
this chivalric trophy, which was a display of plate that 
might have vied (at least in variety) with Belshazzar's 
parade of the vessels of the temjjle; "flagons, cans, cujis, 
beakers, goblets, basins, and ewers; " the gorgeous utensils 
of good companionship that had gradually accumulated 
through many generations of jovial housekeepers. Before 
these stood the two yule candles, beaming like two stars 
of the first magnitude; other lights were distributed in 
branches, and the whole array glittered like a firmament of 
silver. 

We were ushered into this banqueting scene with the 
sound of minstrelsy; the old harper being seated on a stool 
beside the fireplace, and twanging his instrument with a 
vast deal more power than melody. Never did Christmas 
board display a more goodly and gracious assemblage of 
countenances ; those who were not handsome, were, at least, 
happy; and happiness is a rare improver of your hard- 
favored visage. I always consider an old English family 
as well worth studying as a collection of Holbein's por- 
traits, or Albert Durer's prints. There is much antiqua- 
rian lore to be acquired ; much knowledge of the physiog- 
nomies of former times. PerhajDS it may be from having 
continually before their eyes those rows of old family por- 
traits, with which the mansions of this country are stocked ; 
certain it is, that the quaint features of antiquity are often 
most faithfully perpetuated in these ancient lines ; and I 
have traced an old family nose through a whole picture- 
gallery, legitimately handed down from generation to gen- 
eration, almost from the time of the Conquest. Something 
of the kind was to be observed in the worthy company 
around me. Many of their faces had evidently originated 
in a Gothic age, and been merely copied by succeeding 
generations; and there was one little girl, in particular, of 
staid demeanor, with a high Eoman nose, and an antique 
vinegar aspect, who was a great favorite of the 'Squire's, be- 
ing, as he said, a Bracebridge all over, and the very coun- 
terpart of one of his ancestors who figured in the court of 
Henry VIIL 

The parson said gra,ce, which was not ^ short familiar 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 189 

one, such as is commonly addressed to the Deity in these 
unceremonious days; but a long, courtly, well- worded one 
of the ancient school. There was now a pause, as if some- 
thing was exj^ected; when suddenly the butler entered the 
hall with some degree of bustle, he was attended by a 
servant on each side with a large wax-light, and bore a sil- 
ver dish, on which was an enormous pig's head, decorated 
with rosemary, with a lemon in its mouth, which was placed 
with great formality at the head of the table. The mo- 
ment this pageant made its appearance, the harper struck 
up a flourish; at the conclusion of which the young Oxo- 
nian, on receiving a hint from the 'Squire, gave, with an 
air of the most comic gravity, an old carol, the first verse 
of which was as follows; 

Caput apri defero 

Reddens laudes Domino. 
The boar's head in hand bring I, 
With garlands gay and rosemary, 
I pray you all synge merily 

Qui estis in couvivio. 

Though prepared to witness many of these little eccen- 
tricities, from being apprized of the peculiar hobby of 
mine host; yet, I confess, the parade with -which so odd a 
dish was introduced somewhat perplexed me, until I gath- 
ered from the conversation of the 'Squire and the parson, 
that it was meant to represent the bringing in of the boar's 
head — a dish formerly served up with much ceremony,- 
and the sound of minstrelsy and song, at great tables on 
Christmas day. " I like the old custom," said the 'Squire, 
" not merely because it is stately and jileasing in itself, but 
because it was observed at the college at Oxford, at which 
I was educated. When I hear the old song chanted, it 
brings to mind the time Avhen I was young and gamesome 
— and the noble old college hall — and my fellow-students 
loitering about in their black gowns; many of whom, poor 
lads, are now in their graves ! " 

The parson, however, whose mind was not haunted by 
such associations, and who was always more taken up with 
the text than the sentiment, objected to the Oxonian's 
version oi the carol; which ho affirmed was different from 
that sung at college, lie weiit on, with the dry persever- 
ance of a commentator, to give the college reading, accom- 
panied by sundry annotations; addressing himself at first 



loo THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

to tlie company at large; l)ut finding their attention grad- 
ually diverted to other talk, and other objects, he lowered 
his tone as his number of auditors diminished, until he 
concluded his remarks in an under voice, to a fat-headed 
old gentleman next him, who was silently engaged in the 
discussion of a huge plate-full of turkey.^ 

The table was literally loaded with good cheer, and pre- 
sented an epitome of country abundance, in this season of 
overflowing larders, A distinguished post was alloted to 
"ancient sirloin," as mine host termed it; being, as he 
added, "the standard of old English hospitality, and a 
joint of goodly presence, and full of expectation." There 
were several dishes quaintly decorated, and which had evi- 
dently something traditional in their embellishments; but 
about which, as I did not like to aj^pear over-curious, I 
asked no questions. 

I could not, however, but notice a pie, magnificently 
decorated with peacock's feathers, in imitation of the tail 
of that bird, which overshadowed a considerable tract of 
the table. This, the 'Squire confessed, with some little 
hesitation, was a pheasant pie, though a peacock pie was 
certainly the most authentical; but there had been such a 
mortality among the peacocks this season, that he could 
not prevail upon himself to have one killed.^ 

It would be tedious, perhaps, to my wiser readers, who 

1 The old ceremony of serving up the boar's head on Christmas day, is still 
observed in the liall of Queen's College, Oxford. I was favored by the parson 
with a copy of the carol as now sung, and as it may be acceptable to such of 
my readers as are curious in these grave and learned matters, I give it entire : 

The boar's head in hand bear I, 
Bedeck'd wiih bays and rosemary ; 
And I pray you, my masters, be merry, 
Quot estis in convivio. 

Caput apri defero. 

Reddens laudes Domino. 

. The boar's head, as I understand, 
Is the rarest dish in all this land. 
Which thus bedeck'd with a gay garland 
Let us servire cantico. 
Caput apri defero, etc. 

Our steward hath provided this 
In honour of (he King of Bliss, 
Which on this day to be served is 
In Reginensi Atrio. 
Caput apri defero, 
etc., etc., etc. 

* The peacock was anciently in great demand for stately entertainments. 
Sometimes it was made into a pie, at one end of which the head appeared abo^ e 
the crust iu all its plumage, with the beak richly gilt ; at tha other end th»* tail 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. I9I 

may not have that foolish fondness for odd and obsolete 
things to which I am a little given, were I to mention the 
other makeshifts of this worthy old hnmorist, by which 
he was endeavoring to follow up, though at humble dis- 
tance, the quaint customs of antiquity. I was pleased, how- 
ever, to see the respect shown to his whims by his children 
and relatives; who, indeed, entered readily into the full 
spirit of them, and seemed all well versed in their parts; 
having doubtless been present at many a rehearsal. I was 
amused, too, at the air of profound gravity with which the 
butler and other servants executed the duties assigned 
them, however eccentric. They had an old-fashioned look; 
having, for the most part, been brought up in the house- 
hold, and grown into keeping with the antiquated mansion, 
and the humors of its lord; and most probably looked 
upon all his whimsical regulations as the established laws 
of honorable housekeeping. 

When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a 
huge silver vessel, of rare and curious workmanship, which 
he placed before the 'Squire. Its appearance was hailed 
with acclamation; being the Wassail Bowl, so renowned in 
Christmas festivity. The contents had been prepared by 
the 'Squire himself; for it was a beverage, in the skilful 
mixture of which he particularly prided himself: alleging 
that it was too abstruse and complex for the comprehen- 
sion of an ordinary servant. It was a potation, indeed, that 
might well make the heart of a toper leaji within him ; being 
composed of the richest and raciest wines, highly spiced and 
sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about the surface.' 

was displayed. Such pies were served up at the solemn banquets of chivalry, 
when Knights-errant pledged themselves to undeitake any perilous enterprise, 
whence came the ancient oath, used by Justice Shallow, "by cock and pie." 

The peacock was also an important dish for the Christmas feast, and Mas- 
singer, in his City Madam, gives some idea of the extravagance with which this, 
as well as other dishes, was prepared for the gorgeous revels of the olden times : 
Men may talk of Counti-y Christmasses. 

Their thirty pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carps' tongues ; 
Their pheasants drencli'd with ambergris ; the carcases of three fat weihera 
bruised for (jravfi to make satice fur a single peacock! 
> The Wassail Bowl was sometimes composed of ale instead of wine ; with 
nutmeg, sugar, toast, ginger, and roasted crabs ; in this way the nut-brown 
l)everage is still prepaied in some old families, and round the heart!: of sybstan- 
t ial farmers at Christmas. It is also called Lamb's Wool, and it is celebrated Ijy 
Herrick in his Twelfth Kight: 

Next crowne the bowle full 
With gentle Lamb's Wool, 
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, 
AVith store of ale too ; 
And thus ye mast doc 
To make tha Wassailtt fi. swixiger- 



192 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The old gentleman's whole countenance beamed with tk 
serene look of indwelling delight, as he stirred this mighty 
bowl. Having raised it to his lips, with a hearty wish of 
a merry Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming 
round the board, for every one to follow his example 
according to the primitive style; pronouncing it "the 
ancient fountain of good feeling, where all hearts met to- 
gether." 1 

There was much laughing and rallying, as the honest 
emblem of Christmas joviality circulated, and was kissed 
rather coyly by the ladies. But when it reached Master 
Simon, he raised it in both hands, and with the air of a 
boon companion, struck up an old Wassail Chanson : 

The brown bowle. The deep canne, 

The merry brown bowle, The merry deep canne, 

As it goes round about-a, As thou dost freely quaff-a, 

Fill Sling 

Still, Fling, 

Let the world say what it will, Be as merry as a king. 

And drink your All aU out-a. And sound a lusty laugh-a.* 

Much of the conversation during dinner turned upon 
family topics, to which I was a stranger. There was, how- 
ever, a great deal of rallying of Master Simon about some 
gay widow, with whom he was accused of having a flirta- 
tion. This attack was commenced by the ladies; but it 
was continued throughout the dinner by the fat-headed 
old gentleman next the parson, with the persevering as- 
siduity of a slow hound; being one of those long-winded 
jokers, who, though rather dull at starting game, are un- 
rivalled for their talents in hunting it down. At every 
pause in the general conversation, he renewed his banter- 
ing in pretty much the same terms; winking hard at me 
with both eyes, whenever he gave Master Simon whnt he 
considered a home thrust. The latter, indeed, seemed 
fond of being teased on the subject, as old bachelors are 
apt to be; and he took occasion to inform me, in an under- 
tone, that the lady in question was a prodigiously fine 
woman and drove her own curricle. 



1 "The custom of drinking out of the same cup gave place to each having 
his cup. When the steward came to the doore with the Wassel, he was to cry 
three times. Wasael, Wassel, Wassel, and then the chappell (chaplain) was to 
answer with a song." -Archoeologia. 

« From Poor Robin's Almanack. 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 193 

The dinner-time passed away in this flow of innocent 
hilarity, and tliongh the old hall may have resounded in 
its time with many a scene of broader rout and revel, yet I 
doubt whether it ever witnessed more honest and genuine 
enjoyment. How easy it is for one benevolent being to 
diffuse pleasure around him; and how truly is a kind heart 
a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity 
to freshen into smiles. The joyous disposition of the 
worthy 'Squire was perfectly contagious; he was happy 
himself, and disposed to make all the world happy; and 
the little eccentricities of his humor did but season, in a 
manner, the sweetness of his philanthropy. 

When the ladies had retired, the conversation, as usual, 
became still more animated : many good things were 
broached which had been thought of during dinner, but 
which would not exactly do for a lady's ear; and though I 
cannot positively affirm that there was much wit uttered, 
yet I have certainl}^ heard many contests of rare wit pro- 
duce much less laughter. ^Vit, after all, is a mighty tart, 
j)ungent ingredient, and much too acid for some stomachs; 
but honest good-humor is the oil and wine of a merry 
meeting, and there is no jovial com23anionship equal to 
that, where the jokes are rather small and the laughter 
abundant. 

The 'Squire told several long stories of early college 
pranks and adventures, in some of which the parson had 
been a sharer; though in looking at the latter, it required 
some effort of imagination to figure such a little dark an- 
atomy of a man, into the perpetrator of a madcap gambol. 
Indeed, the two college chums presented pictures of what 
men may be made by their different lots in life : the 'Squire 
had left the university to live lustily on his paternal do- 
mains, in the vigorous enjoyment of prosperity and sun- 
shine, and had flourished on to a hearty and florid old age; 
while the poor parson, on the contrary, had dried and 
withered away, among dusty tomes, in the silence and 
shadows of his study. Still there seemed to be a spark of 
almost extinguished fire, feebly glimmering in the bottom 
of his soul; and, as the 'Squire hinted at a sly story of the 
parson and a pretty milk-maid whom they once met on 
the banks of the Isis, the old gentleman made an "alpha- 
bet of faces," which, as far as I could decipher his phy- 
13 



194 THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

siognomy, I verily believe was indicative of laughter; — 
indeed, 1 have ]-arely met with an old gentleman that 
took absolute offence at the imputed gallantries of his 
youth, 

I found the tide of wine and wassail fast gaining on the 
dry land of sober judgment. The company grew merrier 
and louder, as their jokes grew duller. Master Simon was 
in as chirping a humor as a grasshopper filled with dew; 
his old songs grew of a warmer complexion, and he began 
to talk maudlin about the widow. lie even gave a long 
song about the wooing of a widow, which he informed me 
he had gathered from an excellent black-letter work en- 
titled " Cupid's Solicitor for Love; " containing stores of 
good advice for bachelors, and which he j)romised to lend 
me ; the first verse was to this effect : 

He that would woo a widow must not dally, 
He must make hay while the sun doth shine ; 

He must not stand with her, shall I, shall I, 
But boldly say. Widow, thou must be mine. 

This song inspired the fat-headed old gentleman, who 
made several attempts to tell a rather broad story of Joe 
Miller, that was pat to the purpose; but he always stuck 
in the middle, everybody recollecting the latter part ex- 
cepting himself. The parson, too, began to show the effects 
of good cheer, having gradually settled down into a doze, 
and his wig sitting most suspiciously on one side. Just 
at this juncture we were summoned to the drawing-room, 
and I suspect, at the private instigation of mine host, 
whose joviality seemed always tempered with a proper love 
of decorum. 

After the dinner-table was removed, the hall was given 
up to the younger members of the family, who, prompted 
to all kind of noisy mirth by the Oxonian and Master Si- 
mon, made its old walls ring with their merriment, as they 
plaj^ed at romping games. I delight in witnessing the 
gambols of children, and particularly at this happy holi- 
day season, and could not help stealing out of the drawing- 
room on hearing one of their peals of laughter. I found 
them at the game of blind-man's-buff. Master Simon, who 
was the leader of their revels, and seemed on all occasions 
to fulfil the office of that ancient potentate, the Lord of 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 195 

Misrule/ was blinded in the midst of the hall. Tlie little 
beings were as bus)^ about him as the mock fairies about 
Falstalf ; pinching him, plucking at the skirts of his coat, 
and tickling him with straws. One fine blue-eyed girl of 
about thirteen, with her flaxen hair all in beautiful confu- 
sion, her frolic face in a glow, her frock half torn off her 
shoulders, a complete picture of a romp, was the chief tor- 
mentor; and from the shyness with which Master Simon 
avoided the smallej' game, and hemmed this wild little 
nymph in corners, and obliged her to jump shrieking over 
chairs, I suspected the rogue of being not a wliit more 
blinded than was convenient. 

When I returned to the drawing-room, I found the com- 
pany seated round the fire, listening to the parson, who 
was deeply ensconced in a high -backed oaken chair, the 
work of some cunning artificer of yore, which had been 
brought from the library for his particular accommodation. 
From this venerable piece of furniture, with which his 
shadowy figure and dark weazen face so admirably accorded, 
he was dealing forth strange accounts of the popular su- 
perstitions and legends of the surrounding country, with 
which he had become acquainted in the course of his anti- 
quarian researches. I am half inclined to think that the 
old gentleman was himself somewhat tinctured with sujier- 
stition, as men are very apt to be, who live a recluse and 
studious life in a sequestered part of the country, and pore 
over black-letter tracts, so often filled with the marvellous 
and supernatural. He gave us several anecdotes of the 
fancies of the neighboring peasantry, concerning the effigy 
of the crusader, which lay on the tomb by the church altar. 
As it was the only monument of the kind in that part of 
the country, it had always been regarded Avith feelings of 
superstition by the good wives of the village. It Avas said 
to get up from the tomb and walk the rounds of the cluircli- 
yard in stormy nights, particularly when it thundered: 
and one old woman whose cottage bordered on the church- 
yard, had seen it tlirough tlie windows of the church, when 
the moon shone, slowly pacing up and doAvn the aisles. It 
was the belief that some wrouir had been left unredressed 



' At Christmasse there was in the Kinj^es house, wheresoever hee was lodged, 
a lorde of misrule, or luayster of nierie disportes, and the like had ye in the 
house of every nobleman "of honour ; or good worshippe, were he spirituall or 
temporall.— Stow. 



196 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

by the deceased, or some treasure hidden, whieh kept the 
spirit in a state of trouble and restlessness. Some talked 
of gold and jewels buried in the tomb, over which the 
spectre kept watch; and there was a story current of a sex- 
ton, in old times, who endeavored to break his way to the 
coffin at night ; but just as he reached it, received a vio- 
lent blow from the marble hand of the effigy, which 
stretched him senseless on the pavement. These tales 
were often laughed at by some of the sturdier among the 
rustics; yet when night came on, there were many of the 
stoutest unbelievers that were shy of venturing alone in 
the footpath that led across the churchyard. 

From these and other anecdotes that followed, the cru- 
sader appeared to be the favorite hero of ghost stories 
throughout the vicinity. His picture, which hung up in 
the hall, was thought by the servants to have something 
supernatural about it: for they remarked that, in what- 
ever part of the hall you went, the eyes of the warrior M^ere 
still fixed on you. The old porter's wife, too, at the lodge, 
Avho had been born and brought up in the family, and was 
a great gossip among the maid-servants, affirmed, that in 
her young days she had often heard say, that on Midsum- 
mer eve, when it was well known all kinds of ghosts, gob- 
lins, and fairies become visible and walk abroad, the cru- 
sader used to mount his horse, come down from his picture, 
ride about the house, down the avenue, and so to the 
church to visit the tomb; on which occasion the church 
door most civilly swung open of itself; not that he needed 
it — for he rode through closed gates and even stone walls, 
and had been seen by one of the dairy-maids to pass be- 
tween two bars of the great park gate, making himself as 
thin as a sheet of paper. 

All these superstitions I found had been very much 
countenanced by the 'Squire, who, though not superstitious 
himself, was very fond of seeing others so. He listened 
to every goblin tale of the neighboring gossips with infi- 
nite gravity, and held the porter's wife in high favor on 
account of her talent for the marvellous. He was himself 
a great reader of old legends and romances, and often 
lamented that he could not believe in them ; for a super- 
stitious person, he thought, must live in a kind of fairy 
land. 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 197 

While we were all attention to the parson's stories, our 
ears were suddenly assailed by a burst of heterogeneous 
sounds from the hall, in which were mingled something 
like the clang of rude minstrelsy, with the uproar of many 
small voices and girlish laughter. The door suddenly flew 
open, and a train oivme trooping into the room, that might 
almost have been mistaken for the breaking up of the 
court of Fairy. That indefatigable spirit, Master Simon, 
in the faithful discharge of his duties as lord of misrule, 
had conceived the idea of a Christmas mummery, or mask- 
ing; and having called in to his assistance the Oxonian 
and the young officer, who were equally ripe for anything 
that should occasion romping and merriment, they had 
carried it into instant effect. The old housekeeper had 
been consulted ; the antique clothes-presses and wardrobes 
rummaged, and made to yield up the relics of finery that 
kad not seen the light for several generations; the younger 
part of the company had been privately convened from 
parlor and hall, and the whole had been bedizened out, 
into a burlesque imitation of an antique mask.^ 

Master Simon led the van as "Ancient Christmas," 
quaintly apparelled in a ruff, a short cloak, which had very 
much the aspect of one of the old housekeeper's petticoats, 
and a hat that might have served for a village steeple, and 
must indubitably have figured in the days of the Cove- 
nanters. From under this, his nose curved boldly forth, 
flushed with a frost-bitten bloom that seemed the very 
trophy of a December blast. He was accompanied by the 
blue-eyed romp, dished up as "■ Dame Mince Pie," in the 
venerable magnificence of faded brocade, long stomacher, 
peaked hat, and high-heeled shoes. 

The young officer appeared as Robin Hood, in a sporting 
dress of Kendal green, and a foraging cap with a gold 
tassel. 

The costume, to be sure, did not bear testimony to deep 
research, and there was an evident eye to the picturesque, 
natural to a young gallant in presence of his mistress. 
The fair Julia hung on his arm in a pretty rustic dress, as 
" Maid Marian." The rest of the train had been meta- 



' Maskings or mummeries, were favorite sports at Christmas, in old times ; 
and the wardrolies at halls and manor-houses were often laid under contribution 
to furnish dresses and fantastic disgruisings. I strongly suspoct Master Simon 
to have taken the i<lea of his from Bi-n Jonson's I\las(iue of Christmas. 



198 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

morphosed in various ways. The girls trussed up in the 
finery of the ancient belles of the Bracebridge line, and 
the striplings be whiskered with burnt cork, and gravely 
clad in broad skirts, hanging sleeves, and full-bottomed 
wigs, to represent the characters of Eoast Beef, Plum 
Pudding, and other worthies celebrated in ancient mask- 
ings. The whole was under the control of the Oxonian, 
in the appropriate character of Misrule; and I observed 
that he exercised rather a mischievous sway with his Avand 
over the smaller personages of the pageant. 

The irruption of this motley crew, Avith beat of drum, 
according to ancient custom, was the consummation of 
uproar and merriment. Master Simon covered himself 
Avitli glory by the stateliness with which, as Ancient Christ- 
mas, he Avalked a minuet with the peerless, though gig- 
gling, Dame Mince Pie. It was followed by a dance of all 
the characters, which, from its medley of costumes, seemed 
as though the old family portraits hud ski2)ped down from 
their frames to join in the sport. Different centuries were 
figuring at cross-hands and right and left; the dark ages 
were cutting pirouettes and rigadoons; and the days of 
Queen Bess, jigging merrily down the middle, through a 
line of succeeding generations. 

The worthy 'Squire contemplated these fantastic sports, 
and this resurrection of his old Avardrobe, Avith the simple 
relish of childish delight. He stood chuckling and rub- 
bing his hands, and scarcely hearing a Avord the parson 
said, notAvithstanding that the latter A\^as discoursing most 
authentically on the ancient and stately dance of the 
Pavon, or peacock, from Avhich he conceived the minuet 
to be derived.^ For my part I Avas in a continual excite- 
ment from the varied scenes of Avhim and iniiocent gayety 
passing before me. ItAvas inspiring to see Avild-eyed frolic 
and Avarm-hearted hospitality breaking out from among 
the chills and glooms of Avinter, and old age throwing off 
his apathy, and catching once more the freshness of youth- 
ful enjoyment. I felt also an interest in the scene, from 

• Sir John Hawkins, speaking of the dance called the Pavon, from pavo, a 
peacock, says. "It is a grave and majestic dance; the method of dancinp: it 
anciently was by gentlemen dressed witli caps and swords, by those of the long 
robe in their gowns, by the peers in their mantles, and by the ladies in gowns 
with long trains, the motion whereof, in dancing, resembled that of a peacock." 
—History of Music. 



THE CHRISTMAS DINNER. 199 

the consideration that these fleeting customs were posting 
fast into oblivion, and that this was, perhaps, the only 
family in England in which the Avhole of them were still 
punctiliously observed. There was a quaintness, too, 
mingled with all this revelry, that gave it a peculiar zest : 
it was suited to the time and place; and as the old Manor- 
house almost reeled with mirth and wassail, it seemed 
echoing back the joviality of long-departed years. 

But enough of Christmas and its gambols: it is time for 
me to pause in this garrulity. Methinks I hear the ques- 
tion asked by my graver readers, " To what purpose is all 
this — how is the world to be made wiser by this talk ? " 
Alas! is there not wisdom enough extant for the instruc- 
tion of the world ? And if not, are there not thousands 
of abler pens laboring for its improvement ? — It is so much 
pleasanter to please than to instruct — to j)lay the compan- 
ion rather than the preceptor. 

What, after all, is the mite of wisdom that I could throw 
into the mass of knowledge; or how am I sure that my 
sagest deductions may be safe guides of the opinions of 
others ? But in writing to amuse, if I fail, the only evil 
is my own disappointment. If, however, I can by any 
lucky chance, in these days of evil, rub out one wrinkle 
from the brow of care, or beguile the heavy heart of one 
moment of sorrow — if I can now and then penetrate 
through the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a be- 
nevolent view of human nature, and make my reader 
more in good humor with his fellow-beings and himself, 
surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in 
vain. 

[The following modicum of local history was lately put 
into my hands by an odd-looking old gentleman in a small 
brown wig and snuff-colored coat, with whom I became 
acquainted in the course of one of my tours of observa- 
tion through the centre of that great wilderness, the City. 
I confess that I was a little dubious at first, whether it 
was not one of those apocryi^hal tales often passed off upon 
inquiring travellers like myself; and which have brought 
our general character for veracity into such unmerited 
reproach. On making proper inquiries, however, I have 
received the most satisfactory assurances of the author's 
probity; and, indeed, have been told that he is actually 



200 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

engaged in a full and particular account of the ver}^ inter- 
esting regions in which he resides, of which the following 
may be considered merely as a foretaste.] 



LITTLE BRITAIN. 



Whatl write is most true . . . I have a whole booke of cases lying by me, 
which if I should sette foorth, some grave auntients (within the hearing of Bow 
bell) would be out of charity with me. — Nashe. 

In the centre of the great city of London lies a small 
neighborhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and 
courts, of very venerable and debilitated houses, which 
goes by the name of Little Britahst. Christ Church 
school and St. Bartholomew's hospital bound it on the 
west; Smithfield and Long Lane on the north; Aldersgate 
Street, like an arm of the sea, divides it from the eastern 
part of the city ; while the yawning gulf of Bull-and-Mouth- 
Street separates it from Butcher Lane, and the regions of 
New-Gate. Over this little territory, thus bounded and 
designated, the great dome of St. Paul's, swelling above 
the intervening houses' of Paternoster Row, Amen Corner, 
and Ave-Maria lane, looks down with an air of motherly 
protection. 

This quarter derives its appellation from having been, 
in ancient times, the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. 
As London increased, however, rank and fashion rolled off 
to the west, and trade creeping on at their heels took pos- 
session of their deserted abodes. For some time, Little 
Britain became the great mart of learning, and was peojDled 
by the busy and prolific race of booksellers: these also 
gradually deserted it, and, emigrating beyond the great 
strait of New-Gate Street, settled down in Paternoster Row 
and St. Paul's church-yard; where they continue to in- 
crease and multiply, even at the present day. 

But though thus fallen into decline. Little Britain still 
bears traces of its former splendor. There are several 
houses, ready to tumble down, the fronts of which are 
magnificently enriched with old oaken carvings of hideous 
faces, unknown birds, beasts and fishes; and fruits and 



LITTLE BRITAIN. 201 

flowers, which it would perplex a naturalist to classify. 
There are also, in Aldersgate Street, certain remains of 
what were once spacious and lordl}^ family mansions, but 
which have in latter days been subdivided into several 
tenements. Here may often be found the family of a petty 
tradesman, with its trumpery furniture, burrowing among 
the relics of antiquated finery, in great rambling time- 
stained apartments, with fretted ceilings, gilded cornices, 
and enormous marble fire-j^laces. The lanes and courts 
also contain many smaller houses, not on so grand a scale ; 
but, like your small ancient gentry, steadily maintaining 
their claims to equal antiquit}'. These have their gable- 
ends to the street; great bow-windows, with diamond panes 
set in lead ; grotesque carviugs ; and low-arched doorways.^ 
In this most venerable and sheltered little nest have I 
passed several quiet years of existence, comfortably lodged 
in the second floor of one of the smallest, but oldest edi- 
fices. My sitting-room is an old wainscoted cliamber,with 
small i^anels, and set off with a miscellaneous array of fur- 
niture. I have a particular respect for three or four high- 
backed, claw-footed chairs, covered with tarnished brocade, 
which bear the marks of having seen better days, and 
have doubtless figured in some of the old palaces of Little 
Britain. They seem to me to keej) together, and to look 
down with sovereign contempt upon their leathern-bottom 
neighbors; as I have seen decayed gentry carry a high 
head among the plebeian society with which they were re- 
duced to associate. The whole front of my sitting-room 
is taken up with a bow-window; on the panes of which 
are recorded the names of previous occupants for many 
generations; minged with scraps of very indifferent gen- 
tleman-like poetr}', written in characters which I can 
scarcely decipher; and which extol the charms of many a 
beauty of Little Britain, who has long, long since bloomed, 
faded, and jjassed away. As I am an idle personage, with 
no apparent occupation, and pay my bill regularly every 
week, I am looked upon as the only independent gentle- 
man of the neighborhood; and being curious to learn the 
internal state of a community so apparently shut up within 

' It is ovirlent that tlie author of this interesting communication hasinchided 
in his Ke>niTal ritlt- of I^itlle IJritain, many of those jittle lanes and courts that 
belong imuj'-c I iatvly I o Cloth Fair. 



202 THE &KETCH-BOOK. 

itself, I have mauaged to work my way into all the con- 
cerns and secrets of the place. 

Little Britain may truly be called the heart's-core of the 
city; the strong-hold of true John Bullism. It is a frag- 
ment of London as it was in its better days, with its anti- 
quated folks and fashions. Here flourish in great preser- 
vation many of the holiday games and customs of yore. 
The inhabitants most religiously eat pancakes on Shrove 
Tuesday; hot-cross-buns on Good Friday, and roast goose 
at Michaelmas; they send love letters on Valentine's Day; 
burn the Pope on the Fifth of November, and kiss all the 
girls under the mistletoe at Christmas. Roast beef and 
plum-pudding are also held in superstitious veneration, 
and port and sherry maintain their grounds as the only 
true English wines — all others being considered vile out- 
landish beverages. 

Little Britain has its long catalogue of city wonders, 
which its inhabitants consider the wonders of the world: 
such as the great bell of St. Paul's, which sours all the beer 
when it tolls; the figures that strike the hours at St. Dun- 
stan's clock; the Monument; the lions in the Tower; and 
the wooden giants in Guildhall. They still believe in 
dreams and fortune-telling; and an old woman that lives 
in Bull-and-Mouth Street makes a tolerable subsistence by 
detecting stolen goods, and promising the girls good hus- 
bands. They are apt to be rendered uncomfortable by 
comets and eclipses; and if a dog howls dolefully at night, 
it is looked upon as a sure sign of a death in the place. 
There are even many ghost stories current, particularly 
concerning the old mansion-houses; in several of which it 
is said strange sights are sometimes seen. Lords and 
ladies, the former in full-bottomed wigs, hanging sleeves, 
and swords, the latter in lappets, stays, hoops, and brocade, 
have been seen walking up and down the great waste cham- 
bers, on moonlight nights; and are supposed to be the 
shades of the ancient proprietors in their court-dresses. 

Little Britain has likewise its sages and great men. One 
of the most important of the former is a tall dry old gen- 
tleman, of the name of Skryme, who keej^s a small apoth- 
ecary's shop. He had a cadaverous countenance, full of 
cavities and projections; with a brown circle round each 
eye, like a pair of horn spectacles. He is much thought 



LITTLE BRITAIN. ^3 

of by the old women, who consider him as a kind of con- 
jurer, because he has two or three stuffed alligators hang- 
ing up in his shop, and several snakes in bottles. He is a 
great reader of almanacs and newspapers, and is much 
given to pore over alarming accounts of plots, conspira- 
cies, fires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions; which last 
phenomena he considers as signs of the times. He has 
always some dismal tale of the kind to deal out to his cus- 
tomers, with their doses, and thus at the same time puts 
both soul and body into an uproar. He is a great believer 
in omens and predictions, and has the prophecies of Eobert 
Nixon and Mother Shipton by heart. No man can make 
so much out of an eclipse, or even an unusually dark day; 
and he shook the tail of the last comet over the heads of 
his customers and disciples until they were nearly fright- 
ened out of their wits. He has lately got hold of a popu- 
lar legend or prophecy, on which he has been unusually 
eloquent. There has been a saying current among the 
ancient Sibyls, who treasure up these things, that when 
the grasshopper on the top of the Exchange shook hands 
with the dragon on the toj^ of Bow Church steeple fearful 
events would take place. This strange conjunction, it 
seems, has as strangely come to pass. The same architect 
has been engaged lately on the rejiairs of the cupola of the 
Exchange, and the steeple of Bow Church; and, fearful 
to relate, the dragon and the grasshopper actually lie, 
cheek by jowl, in the yard of his workshop. 

" Others,'' as Mr. Skryme is accustomed to say, " may go 
star gazing, and look for conjunctions in the heaA'ens, but 
here is a conjunction on the earth, near at home, and un- 
der our own eyes, which surpasses all the signs and calcu- 
lations of astrologers." Since these jiortentous weather- 
cocks have thus laid their heads together, wonderful events 
had already occurred. Tiie good old king, notwithstand- 
ing that he had lived eighty-tAvo years, had all at once 
given up the ghost; another king had mounted the throne; 
a royal duke had died suddenly — another, in France, had 
been murdered; there had been radical meetings in all 
parts of the kingdom ; the bloody scenes at Alanchester — 
the great plot in Cato Street; — and, above all, the queen 
had returned to England! All these sinister events are 
recounted by Mr. Skryme with a mysterious look, and a 



204 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

dismal shake of the head; and being taken with his drugs, 
and associated in the minds of his auditors with stuffed 
sea-monsters, bottled serpents, and his own visage, which 
is a title-page of tribulation, they have s^jread great gloom 
through tlie minds of the people in Little Britliin. They 
shake their heads whenever they go by Bow Church, and 
^ observe, that they never expected any good to come of 
taking down that steeple, which, in olden times, told noth- 
ing but glad tidings, as the history of Whittington and 
his cat bears witness. 

The rival oracle of Little Britain is a substantial cheese- 
monger, who lives in a fragment of one of the old family 
mansions, and is as magnificently lodged as a round-bel- 
lied mite in the midst of one of his own Cheshires. In- 
deed, he is a man of no little standing and importance; 
and his renown extends through Huggin Lane, and Lad 
Lane, and even unto Aldermanbury. His opinion is very 
much taken in affairs of state, having read the Sunday 
papers for the last half century, together with the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, Eapin's History of England, and the 
Naval Chronicle. His head is stored with invaluable max- 
ims, which have borne the test of time and use for centu- 
ries. It is his firm opinion that " it is a moral impossible," 
so long as England is true to herself, that anything can 
shake her: and he has much to say on the subject of the 
national debt; Avhich, somehow or other, he proves to be 
a great national bulwark and blessing. He passed the 
greater part of his life in the purlieus of Little Britain, 
until of late years, when, having become rich, and grown 
into the dignity of a Sunday cane, he begins to take his 
l^leasure and see the world. He has therefore made sev- 
eral excursions to Ilampstead, Highgate, and other neigh- 
boring towns, where he has i^assed whole afternoons in 
looking back upon the metropolis through a telescope, and 
endeavoring to descry the steeple of St. Bartholomew's. 
Not a stage-coachman of Bull-and-Mouth Street but touches 
his hat as he passes; and he is considered quite a patron 
;it the coach-offife of the Goose and Gridiron, St. Paul's 
Churchyard. His family have been very urgent for him 
to make an expedition to Margate, but he has great doubts 
of these new gimcracks the steamboats, and indeed thinks 
himself too advanced in life to undertake sea-voyages. 



LITTLE BRIT A m. 205 

Little Britain has occasionally its factions and divisions, 
and party spirit ran very high at one time, in consequence 
of two rival " Burial Societies " being set up in the place. 
One held its meeting at the Swun and Horse Shoe, and 
was patronized by the cheesemonger; the other at the Cock 
and Crown, under the auspices of the apothecary: it is 
needless to say, that the latter was the most flourishing. 
I have passed an evening or two at each, and have acquired 
much valuable information as to the best mode of being 
buried; the comparative merits of churchyards; together 
with divers hints on the subject of patent iron coffins. I 
have heard the question discussed in all its bearings, as to 
the legality of prohibiting the latter on account of their 
durability. The feuds occasioned by these societies have 
happily died away of late; but they were for a long time 
prevailing themes of controversy, the jjeoijle of Little Bri- 
tain being extremely solicitous of funeral honors, and of 
lying comfortably in tlieir graves. 

Besides these two funeral societies, there is a third of 
quite a different cast, which tends to throw the sunshine 
of good-humor over the whole neighborhood. It meets 
once a week at a little old-fashioned house, kept by a jolly 
publican of the name of Wagstaff, and bearing for insignia 
a resplendent half-moon, with a most seductive bunch of 
grapes. The whole edifice is covered with inscriptions" to 
catch the eye of the thirsty wayfarer; such as " Truman, 
Hanbury & Co.'s Entire," '* Wine, Rum, and Brandy 
Vaults," " Old Tom, Eum, and Compounds, etc." This, 
indeed, has been a temple of Bacchus and Momus, from 
time immemorial. It has always been in the family of the 
Wagstaffs, so that its history is tolerably preserved by the 
present landlord. It was much frequented by the gallants 
and cavaliers of the reign of Elizabeth, and was looked 
into now and then by the wits of Charles the Second's day. 
But what Wagstaff principally prides himself upon, is, 
tliat Henry the Eighth, in one of his nocturnal rambles, 
broke the head of one of his ancestors with his famous 
walking-staff. This, however, is considered as rather a 
dubious and vainglorious boast of the landlord. 

The club which now holds its weekly sessions here, goes 
by the name of "the Roaring Lads of Little Britain." 
They abound in all catches, glees, and choice stories, that 



206 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

lire traditional in the place, and not to be met with in any 
other jDart of the metropolis. There is a madcap under- 
taker, who is inimitable at a merry song; but the life of 
the club, and indeed the prime wit of Little Britain, is 
bully AVagstaff himself. His ancestors were all wags before 
him, and he has inherited with the inn a large stock of 
songs and jokes, wdiicli go with it from generation to gen- 
eration as heir-looms. He is a dapper little fellow, with 
bandy legs and pot belly, a red face with a moist merry 
eye, and a little shock of gray hair behind. At the oioen- 
ing of every club night, he is called in to sing his "Con- 
fession of Faith," which is the famous old drinking trowl 
from Gammer Gurton*s needle. He sings it, to be sure, 
with many variations, as he received it from his father's 
lips; for it had been a standing favorite at the Half-Moon 
and Bunch of Grapes ever since it was written; nay, he 
affirms that his predecessors have often had the honor of 
singing it before the nobility and gentry at Christmas 
mummeries, when Little Britain was in all its glory.^ 

1 As mine host of the Half-Moon"s Confession of Faith may not be famihar 
to the majority of readers, and as it is a specimen of the current songs of Little 
Britain, I subjoin it in its original ortl.ography. I would obser\'e, that the whole 
club always join in the chorus with a feai-ful thumping on the table and clatter- 
ing of pewter pots. 

I cannot eate but lytle meate, 

Mj' stomacke is not good, 
But sure I thinke that I can drinke 

With him that weares a hood. 
Though I go bare take ye no care, 

I nothing am a colde, 
I stuff my skyn so full within, 
Of joly good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Back and syde go bare, go bare, 
Both foot and hand go colde, 
But belly, God send thee good ale ynoughe, 
Whether it be new or olde. 

I have no rost, but a nut brown toste 

And a crab laid in the fyre ; 
A little breade shall do me steade. 

Much breade 1 not des.\re. 
No frost nor snow, nor winde I trowe, 

Can hurt me if I wolde. 
I am so wrapt and throwly lapt 

Of jol.v good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Back and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 

And Tyb my wife, that, as her lyfe, 

Loveth well good ale to seeke. 
Full oft drynkes slie, tyll ye may see 

The teares run down her cheeke. 
Then doth shee trowle to me the bowle, 

Even as a nlaulte-^^•o^me sholde, 
And sayth, sweete harte, I tooke my parte 

Of this joly good ale and olde. 
Chorus. Back and syde go bare, go bare, etc. 



LITTLE BRITATN. SO^ 

It would do one's lieart good to hear on a club-night the 
shouts of merriment, the snatches of song, and now and 
then the choral bursts of half a dozen discordant voices, 
which issue from this jovial mansion. At such times the 
street is lined with listeners, who enjoy a delight equal to 
that of gazing into a confectioner's window, or snuffing 
up the steams of a cook-shop. 

There are two annual events which produce great stir 
and sensation in Little Britain; these are St. Bartholo- 
mew's Fair, and the Lord Mayor's day. During the time 
of the Fair, which is held in the adjoining regions of Smith- 
iield, there is nothing going on but gossiping and gadding 
about. The late quiet streets of Little Britain are overrun 
with an irruption of strange figures and faces; — every 
tavern is a scene of rout and revel. The fiddle and the 
song are heard from the tap-room, morning, noon, and 
night; and at each window may be seen some group of 
boon companions, with half-shut eyes, hats on one side, 
pipe in mouth, and tankard in hand, fondling and proz- 
ing and singing maudlin songs over their liquor. Even 
the sober decorum of private families, which I must say 
is rigidly kept up at other times among my neighbors, is 
no proof against this Saturnalia. There is no such thing 
as keeping maid servants within doors. Their brains are 
absolutely set madding with Punch and the Puppet Show; 
the Fljnng Horses; Siguier Polito; the Fire-Eater; the 
celebrated Mr. Paap; and tlie L-ish Giant. The children, 
too, lavish all their holiday money in toys and gilt ginger- 
bread, and fill the house with the Lilliputian din of drums, 
trumpets, and penny whistles. 

But the Lord Mayor's day is the great anniversary. The 
Lord Mayor is looked up to by the inhabitants of Little 
Britain, as the greatest potentate upon earth; his gilt 
coach with six horses, as the summit of hunum splendor; 
and his procession, with all the sheriffs and aldermen in 

Now let them dryiike, tyll they nod and wiukc. 

Eveu as goodefellowes sholde doe. 
They shall not inysse to have the blisse. 

Good ale doth hriiif? men to. 
And all i»oorsoules that have seowred bowleg, 

Or have them lustily trolde, 
God save the lyves of them and their wives, 

Whetlier they tje yonge or olde. 

Chorus. Back and syde g<j bare, go bare, etc. 



S08 ' THE HKETrH-r.noK. 

his train, us the grandest of earthly jjageants. How they 
exult in the idea, that the king himself dare not enter the 
city without first knocking at the gate of Temple Bar, and 
asking permission of the Lord Mayor; for if he did, heaven 
and earth ! there is no knowing what might be the conse- 
quence. The man in armor who rides before the Lord 
Mayor, and is the city champion, has orders to. cut down 
everybody that offends against the dignity of the city; and 
then there is the little man with a velvet porringer on his 
head, who sits at the window of the state coach and holds 
the city sword, as long as a pike-staff— Od's blood! if he 
once draws that sword Majesty itself is not safe ! 

Lender the protection of this mighty potentate, there- 
fore, the good people of Little Britain sleep in peace. 
Temple Bar is an effectual barrier against all internal foes ; 
and as to foreign invasion, the Lord Mayor has but to throw 
himself into the Tower, call in the train bands, and put 
the standing army of beef-eaters under arms, and he may 
bid defiance to the world ! 

Thus wrapped up in its own concerns, its own habits, 
and its own opinions. Little Britain has long flourished as 
a sound heart to this great fungus metropolis. I have 
pleased myself with considering it as a chosen spot, where 
the principles of sturdy John Bullism were garnered up, 
like seed-corn, to renew the national character, when it 
had run to waste and degeneracy. I have rejoiced also in 
the general spirit of harmony that prevailed throughout 
it; for though there might now and then be a few clashes 
of opinion between the adherents of the cheesemonger and 
the apothecary, and an occasional feud between the burial 
societies, yet these were but transient clouds, and soon 
passed aAvay. The neighbors met with good-Avill, parted 
with a shake of the hand, and never abused each other 
except behind their backs. 

I could give rare description of snug junketing parties 
at which I have been present; where we played at All- 
Fours, Pope-Joan, Tom-come-tickle-me, and other choice 
old games : and where we sometimes had a good old Eng- 
lish country dance, to the tune of Sir Roger de Coverly. 
Once a year also the neighbors would gather together, and 
go on a gypsy party to Epjiing Forest. It would have 
done any man's heart good to see the merriment that took 



LITTLE BRITAIN. 209 

place here, as we banqueted on the grass under the trees. 
How we made the woods ring with bursts of hiughter at 
the songs of little Wagstalf-and the merry undertaker! 
After dinner, too, the young folks would play at blindman's 
buff and hide-and-seek ; and it was amusing to see them 
tangled among the briers, and to hear a fine rompiiig girl 
now and then squeak from among the bushes. The elder 
folks would gather round the cheesemonger and the 
apothecary, to hear them talk politics; for they generally 
brought out a newspaper in their pockets, to pass away 
time in the country. They would now and then, to be 
sure, get a little warm in argument; but their disputes 
were always adjusted by reference to a worthy old umbrella- 
maker in a double chin, who, never exactly comprehending 
the subject, managed, somehow or other, to decide in favor 
of both parties. 

All empires, however, says some philosopher or historian, 
are doomed to changes and revolutions. Luxury and in- 
novation creep in; factions arise; ajui families now and 
then spring up, whose ambition and intrigues throw the 
whole S3^stem into confusion. Thus in latter days has the 
tranquillity of Little Britain been grievously disturbed, and 
its golden simplicity of manners threatened with total sub- 
version, by the aspiring family of a retired butcher. 

The family of the Lambs had long been among the most 
thriving and popular in the neighborhood : the Miss Lambs 
were the belles of Little Britain, and everybody was pleased 
when old Lamb had made money enough to shut up shop, 
and jDut his name on a brass plate on his door. In an evil 
hour, however, one of the Miss Lambs had the honor of 
being a lady in attendance on the Lady Mayoress, at her 
grand annual ball, on which occasion she wore three 
towering ostrich feathers on her head. The family never 
got over it ; they were immediately smitten with a passion 
for high life; set up a one-horse carriage, put a bit of gold 
lace round the errand-boy's hat, and have been the talk and 
detestation of the whole neighljorhood ever since. They 
could no longer be induced to j^lay at Pope-Joan or blind- 
man's-buff; they could endure no dances but quadrilles, 
which nobody had ever heard of in Little Britain; and 
they took to reading novels, talking bad French, and play- 
ing upon the piano. Their brother, too, who had been 
14 



210 THE SK ETCH-BOO f, 

articled to an attorney, set up for a dandy and a critic, 
characters hitherto Unknown in these parts; and he con- 
founded the worthy folks exceedingly by talking about 
Kean, the Opera, and the Edinburgh Eeview. 

What was still worse, the Lambs gave a grand ball, to 
which they neglected to invite any of their old neighbors; 
but they had a great deal of genteel comjiany from Theo- 
bald's Road, Eed-lion Square, and other jjarts toward the 
west. There were several beaux of their brother's ac- 
quaintance from Gray's-Inn lane and Hatton Garden; and 
not less than three Aldermen's ladies with their daughters. 
This was not to be forgotten or forgiven. All Little Bri- 
tain was in an uproar with the smacking of whips, the 
lashing of miserable horses, and the rattling and jingling 
of hackney-coaches. The gossips of the neighborhood 
might be seen popping their night-caps out at every win- 
dow, watching the crazy vehicles rumble by; and there 
was a knot of virulent old cronies, that kept a look-out 
from a house just opposite the retired butcher's, and 
scanned and criticised every one that knocked at the door. 

This dance was the cause of almost open war, and the 
whole neighborhood declared they would have nothing 
more to say to the Lambs. It is true that Mrs. Lamb, 
when she had no engagements with her quality acquaint- 
ance, would give little humdrum tea junketings to some 
of her old cronies, " quite," as she would sa}', " in a friendly 
way;" and it is equally true that her invitations were al- 
ways accepted, in spite of all previous vows to the contrary. 
Nay, the good ladies would sit and be delighted with the 
music of the Miss Lambs, who would condescend to thrum 
an L'ish melody for them on the piano; and they would 
listen with wonderful interest to Mrs. Lamb's anecdotes 
of Alderman Plunket's family of Portsokenward, and the 
Miss Timberlakes, the rich heiresses of Crutched-Friars; 
but then they relieved their consciences, and averted the 
reproaches of their confederates, by canvassing at the next 
gossiping convocation every thing that had passed, and 
pulling the Lambs and their rout all to pieces. 

The only one of the family that could not be made fash- 
ionable, was the retired butcher himself. Honest Lamb, 
in spite of the meekness of his name, was a rough hearty 
old fellow, with the voice of a lion, a head of black hair 



LITTLE BRITAIN. 211 

like a shoe-brush, and a broad face mottled like his own 
beef. It was in vain that the daughters always spoke of 
him as the "old gentleman," addressed him as "papa," in 
tones of infinite softness, and endeavored to coax him into 
a dressing-gown and slippers, and other gentlemanly 
habits. i)o what they might, there was no keeping down 
the butcher. His sturdy nature would break through all 
their glozings. He had a hearty vulgar good-humor, that 
was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive 
daughters shudder; and he persisted in wearing his blue 
cotton coat of a morning, dining at two o'clock, and hav- 
ing a " bit of sausage with his tea." 

He was doomed, however, to share the unpopularity of 
his family. He found his old comrades gradually growing 
cold and civil to him; no longer laughing at his jokes; 
and now and then throAving out a fling at " some people," 
and a hint about " quality binding." This both nettled 
and perplexed the honest butcher; and his wife and 
daughters, with the consummate policy of the shrewder 
sex, taking advantage of the circumstances, at length pre- 
vailed upon him to give up his afternoon pipe and tankard 
at Wagstaff's; to sit after dinner by himself, and take his 
pint of port — a liquor he detested — and to nod in his 
chair, in solitary and dismal gentility. 

The Miss Lambs might now be seen flaunting along the 
streets in French bonnets, with unknown beaux; and talk- 
ing and laughing so loud, that it distressed the nerves of 
every good lady within hearing. They even went so far as 
to attempt patronage, and actually induced a French danc- 
ing-master to set up in the neighborhood ; but the worthy 
folks of Little Britain took fire at it, and did so persecute 
the poor Gaul, that he was fain to pack up fiddle and 
dancing-pumps, and decamp with such precipitation, that 
he absolutely forget to pay for his lodgings. 

I had flattered myself, at first, with the idea that all this 
fiery indignation on the part of the community was merely 
the overflowing of their zeal for good old English manners, 
and their horror of innovation; and I applauded the silent 
contempt they were so vociferous in expressing for upstart 
pride, French fashions, and the Miss. Lambs. But I 
grieve to say, tliat I soon perceived the infection had taken 
hold; and that my neighbors, after condemning, were be- 



21'^ THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

ginning to follow tlieir example. I overheard my landlady 
importuning her husband to let their daughters have one 
quarter at French and music, and that they might take a 
few lessons in quadrille; I even saw, in the course of a 
few Sundays, no less than five French bonnets, precisely 
like those of the Miss Lambs, parading about Little Bri- 
tain. 

I still had my hopes that all this folly would gradually 
die away; that the Lambs might move out of the neigh- 
borhood; might die, or might run away with attorneys' 
apprentices; and that quiet and simplicity might be again 
restored to the community. But unluckily a rival power 
arose. An oj)ulent oil-man died, and left a widow with a 
large jointure, and a family of buxom daughters. The 
young ladies had long been repining in secret at the parsi- 
mony of a prudent father, which kept down all their ele- 
gant aspirings. Their ambition being now no longer re- 
strained broke out into a blaze, and they openly took the 
field against the family of the butcher. It is true that the 
Lambs, having had the first start, had naturally an advan- 
tage of them in the fashionable career. They could speak 
a little bad French, play the joiano, dance quadrilles, and 
had formed high acquaintances, but the Trotters were not 
to be distanced. When the Lambs appeared with two 
feathers in their hats, the Miss Trotters mounted four, and 
of twice as fine colors. If the Lambs gave a dance, the 
Trotters were sure not to be behindhand; and though they 
might not boast of as good company, yet they had double 
the number, and were twice as merry. 

The whole community has at length divided itself into 
fashionable factions, under the banners of these two fa- 
milies. The old games of Pope-Joan and Tom-come-tickle- 
me are entirely discarded; there is no such thing as get- 
ting up an honest country-dance; and on my attempting 
to kiss a young lady under the mistletoe last Christmas, I 
was indignantly repulsed; the Miss Lambs having pro- 
nounced it "shocking vulgar." Bitter rivalry has also 
broken out as to the most fashionable part of Little Bri- 
tain; the Lambs standing up for the dignity of Cross-Keys 
Square, and the Trotters for the vicinity of St. Bartholo- 
mew's. 

Thus is this little territory torn by factions and internal 



STRATFORD-ON-AVOI^: 213 

dissensions, like the great empire whose name it bears; 
and what will be the result would dazzle the apothecary 
himself, with all his talent at prognostics, to determine; 
though I apprehend that it will terminate in the total 
downfall of genuine John BuUism. 

The immediate effects are extremely unpleasant to me. 
Being a single man, and, as I observed before, rather an 
idle good-for-nothing personage, I have been considered 
the only gentleman by profession in the place. I stand 
therefore in high favor with both parties, and have to hear 
all their cabinet councils and mutual backbitings. As I 
am too civil not to agree with the ladies on all occasions, I 
have committed myself most horribly with both parties, 
by abusing their opjjonents. I might manage to reconcile 
this to my conscience, which is a truly accommodating one, 
but I cannot to my apprehensions — if the Lambs and 
Trotters ever come to a reconciliation, and compare notes, 
I am ruined ! 

I have determined, therefore, to beat a retreat in time, 
and am actually looking out for some other nest in this 
great city, where old English manners are still kept up; 
where French is neither eaten, drank, danced, nor spoken; 
and where tliere are no fashionable families of retired 
tradesmen. This found, I will, like a veteran rat, hasten 
away before I have an old house about my ears — bid a long, 
though a sorrowful adieu to my present abode — and leave 
the rival factions of the Lambs and the Trotters, to divide 
the distracted empire of Little Britain. 



STRATFORD-ON-AVON. 

Thou soft flowing Avon, by thy silver stream 

Of things more than mortal sweet Shakspeare would dream ; 

The fairies by moonlight dance round his green bed, 

For hallowed the turf is which pillowed his head.— Garrick. 

To a homeless man, who has no spot on this wide world 
which he can truly call his own, there is a momentary feel- 
ing of something like independence and territorial conse- 
quence, when, after a weary day's travel, he kicks off his 
boots, thrusts his feet into slippers, and stretches himself 



214 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

before an inn fire. Let the world without go as it may; 
let kingdoms rise or fall, so long as he has the wherewithal 
to pay his bill, he is, for the time being, the very monarch 
of all he surveys. The arm-chair is his throne, the poker 
his sceptre, and the little parlor, of some twelve feet square, 
his undisputed empire. It is a morsel of certainty, 
snatched from the midst of the uncertainties of life; it is 
a sunny moment gleaming out kindly on a cloudy day; 
and he who has advanced some way on the pilgrimage of 
existence, knows the imjiortance of husbanding even 
morsels and moments of enjoyment. " Shall I not take 
mine ease in mine inn ? " thought I, as I gave the fire a 
stir, lolled back in my elbow-chair, and cast a complacent 
look about the little parlor of the Eed Horse, at Stratford- 
on-Avon. 

The words of sweet Shakspeare were just passing through 
my mind as the clock struck midnight from the tower 
of the church in which he lies buried. There was a 
gentle tap at the door, and a pretty chambermaid, putting 
in her smiling face, inquired, with a hesitating air, 
whether I had rnng. I understood it as a modest hint 
that it was time to retire. My dream of absolute dominion 
was at an end; so abdicating my throne, like a prudent 
potentate, to avoid being deposed, and putting the Strat- 
ford Guide-Book under my arm, as a pillow companion, I 
went to bed, and dreamt all night of Shakspeare, the 
Jubilee, and David Garrick. 

The next morning was one of those quickening morn- 
ings which we have in early spring, for it was about the 
middle of March. The chills of a long winter had sud- 
denly given way; the north Avind had spent its last gasp; 
and a mild air came stealing from the west, breathing the 
breath of life into nature, and Avooing every bud and flower 
to burst forth into fragrance and beauty. 

I had come to Stratford on a poetical pilgrimage. My 
first visit was to the house Mdiere Shakspeare was born, 
and where, according to tradition, he Avas brought up to 
his father's craft of wool-combing. It is a small, mean- 
looking edifice of Avood and plaster, a true nestling-place 
of genius, Avhich seems to delight in hatching its offspring 
in by-corners. The Avails of its squalid chambers are 
covered Avith names and inscriptions in every language, by 



STRA TFORT)- ON- A VON, 2 1 5 

pilgrims of all nations, ranks, and conditions, from the 
prince co the peasant; and present a simple, but striking 
instance of the spontaneous and universal homage of man- 
kind to the great poet of nature. 

The house is shown by a garrulous old lad}' in a frosty 
red face, lighted up by a cold blue anxious eye, and gar- 
nished with artificial locks of flaxen hair, curling from under 
an exceedingly dirty cap. She was peculiarly assiduous in 
exhibiting the relics with which this, like all other cele- 
brated shrines, abounds. There was the shattered stock 
of the very matchlock with which Shakspeare shot the 
deer, on his poaching exploits. There, too, was his to- 
bacco-box ; which proves that he was a rival smoker of Sir 
Walter Ealeigh; the sword also with which he played 
Hamlet; and the identical lantern Avith which Friar Law- 
rence discovered Eomeo and Juliet at the tomb ! There 
was an ample supply also of Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, 
which seems to have as extraordinary powers of self-multi- 
plication as the wood of the true cross; of which there is 
enough extant to build a ship of the line. 

The most favorite object of curiosity, however, is Shak- 
speare's chair. It stands in the chimney-nook of a small 
gloomy chamber, just behind what was his father's shop. 
Here he may many a time have sat when a boy, watching 
the slowly-revolving spit, with all the longing of an urchin; 
or of an evening, listening to the crones and gossips of 
Stratford, dealing forth churchyard tales and legendary 
anecdotes of the troublesome times of England. In this 
chair it is the custom of every one who visits the house 
to sit : whether this be done with the hope of imbibing any 
of the inspiration of the bard, I am at a loss to say; I 
merely mention the fact; and my hostess privately assured 
me, that though built of solid oak, such was the fervent 
zeal of devotees, that the chair had to be new-bottomed at 
least once in three years. It is worthy of notice also, in 
the history of this extraordinary chair, that it partakes 
8omething of the volatile nature of the Santa Casa of 
Loretto, or the flying chair of the Arabian enchanter; for 
though sold some few years since to a northern princess, 
yet, strange to tell, it has found its way Ijack again to the 
old chimney-corner. 

I am always of easy faith in su<'h nuitters, and am very 



216 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

willing to be deceived, where the deceit is pleasant and 
costs nothing. I am therefore a ready believer in relics, 
legends, aiid local anecdotes of goblins and great men; and 
would advise all travellers who travel for their gratifica- 
tion to be the same. What is it to us whether these stories 
be true or false so long as we can persuade ourselves into 
the belief of them, and enjoy all the charm of the reality ? 
There is nothing like resolute good-humored credulity in 
these matters ; and on this occasion I went even so far as 
willingly to believe the claims of mine hostess to a lineal 
descent from the poet, when, unluckily for my faith, she 
put into my hands a play of her own composition, which 
set all belief in her consanguinity at defiance. 

From the birthplace of Shakspeare a few paces brought 
me to his grave. He lies buried in the chancel of the par- 
ish church, a large and venerable pile, mouldering with 
age, but richly ornamented. It stands on the banks of 
the Avon, on an embowered point, and sejjarated by ad- 
joining gardens from the suburbs of the town. Its situa- 
tion is quiet and retired: the river runs murmuring at the 
foot of the churchyard, and the elms which grow upon its 
banks droop their branches into its clear bosom. An 
avenue of limes, the boughs of which are curiously inter- 
laced, so as to form in summer an arched way of foliage, 
leads up from the gate of the yard to the church porch. 
The graves are overgrown with grass; the gray tombstones, 
some of them nearly sunk into the earth, are half-covered 
with moss, which has likewise tinted the reverend old 
building. Small birds have built their nests among the 
cornices and fissures of the walls, and keep up a continual 
flutter and chirping; and rooks are sailing and cawing 
about its lofty gray spire. 

In the course of my rambles I met with the gray-headed 
sexton, and accompanied him home to get the key of the 
church. He had lived in Stratford, man and boy, for 
eighty years, and seemed still to consider himself a vigor- 
ous man, with the trivial exception that he had nearly lost 
the use of his legs for a few years past. His dwelling waa 
a cottage, looking out upon the Avon and its bordering 
meadows; and was a picture of that neatness, order, and 
comfort, which pervade the humblest dwellings in this 
country. A low white-washed room., with a stone floor. 




W|)lj > \' ^^^' 



SHAKSPEARES TUMB. 



\\ 



STRATFORD-ON-A VON. 217 

ciirefully scrubbed, served for parlor, kitchen, and hall. 
Kows of pewter and earthen dishes glittered along the 
dresser. On an old oaken table, well rubbed and polished, 
lay the family Bible and prayer-book, and the drawer con- 
tained the family library, composed of about half a score 
of well-thumbed volumes. An ancient clock, that impor- 
tant article of cottage furniture, ticked on the ojiposite side 
of the room; with a bright warming-pan hanging on one 
side of it, and the old man's horn handled Sunday cane on 
the other. The fireplace, as usual, was wide and deej) 
enough to admit a gossij) knot within its jambs. In one 
corner Siit the old man's grand-daughter sewing, a pretty 
blue-eyed girl, — and in the opposite corner was a suj^eran- 
nuated crony, whom he addressed by the name of John 
Ange, and who, I found, had been his companion from 
childhood. They had played together in infancy; they 
had worked together in manhood; they were now totter- 
ing about and gossiping away the evening of life; and in 
a short time they w'ill probably be buried together in the 
neighboring churchyard. It is not often that we see two 
streams of existence running thus evenly and tranquilly 
side by side; it is only in such quiet " bosom scenes " of 
life that they are to be met with. 

I had hoped to gather some traditionary anecdotes of 
the bard from these ancient chroniclers; but they had 
nothing new to imj^art. The long interval, during which 
Shakspeare's writings lay in comparative neglect, has 
spread its shadow over history; and it is his good or evil 
lot,, that scarcely anything remains to his biographers but 
a scanty handful of conjectures. 

The sexton and his companion had been employed as 
carpenters, on the preparations for the celebrated Stratford 
jubilee, and they remembered Garrick, the prime mover 
of the fete, who superintended the arrangements, and who, 
according to the sexton, was "a short punch man, very 
lively and bustling." John Ange had assisted also in cut- 
ting down Shakspeare's mulberry-tree, of which he had a 
morsel in his pocket for sale; no doubt a sovereign quick- 
ener of literary conception. 

I was grieved to hear these two worthy wights speak 
very dubiously of the eloquent dame who shows the Shak- 
speare house. John Ange shook his head when I men- 



218 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

tioned her valuable and inexhaustible collection of relics, 
particularly her remains of the mulberry -tree; and the old 
sexton even expressed a doubt as to Shakspeare having 
been born in her house. I soon discovered that he looked 
upon her mansion with an evil eye, as a rival to the poet's 
tomb; the latter having comparatively but few visitors. 
Thus it is that historians differ at the very outset, and 
mere pebbles make the stream of truth diverge into differ- 
ent channels, even at the fountain-head. 

We approached the church through the avenue of limes, 
and entered by a Gothic j)orch. highly ornamented with 
carved doors of massive oak. The interior is spacious, 
and the architecture and embellishments superior to those 
of most country churches. There are several ancient 
monuments of nobility and gentry, over some of which 
hang funeral escutcheons, and banners dropping piecemeal 
from the walls. The tomb of Shakspeare is in the chancel. 
The place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms wave be- 
fore the pointed Avindows, and the Avon, which runs at a 
short distance from the walls, keeps up a low perpetual 
murmur. A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is 
buried. There are four lines inscribed on it, said to have 
"been written by himself, and which have in them some- 
thing extremely awful. If they are indeed his own, they 
show that solicitude about the quiet of the grave, which 
seems natural to fine sensibilities and thoughtful minds : 

Good friend, for Jesus' sake, forbears 
To dig the dust inclosed here. 
Blessed be he that spares these stones. 
And curst be he that moves my bones. 

Just over the grave, in a niche of the wall, is a bust of 
Shakspeare, put up shortly after his death, and considered 
as a resemblance. The aspect is pleasant and serene, with 
a finely arched forehead; and I thought 1 could read in it 
clear indications of that cheerful, social disposition, by 
Avhich he was as much characterized among his contempo- 
raries as by the vastness of his genius. The inscription 
mentions his age at the time of his decease — fifty-three 
years; an untimely death for the world: for what fruit 
'might not have been expected from the golden autumn of 
such a mind, sheltered as it was from the stormy vicis- 
situdes of life, and flourishing in the sunshine of popular 
and royal favor I 



STRATFORD-ON-AVON. 319 

The inscription on the tombstone has not been without 
its effect. It has prevented the removal of his remains 
from the bosom of his native phice to Westminster Abbey, 
which was at one time contemplated. A few years since 
also, as some laborers were digging to make an adjoining 
vault, the earth caved in, so as to leave a vacant space al- 
most like an arch, through which one might have reached 
into his grave. No one, however, presumed to meddle with 
the remains so awfully guarded by a malediction, and lest 
any of the idle or the curious, or any collector of relics, 
should be tempted to commit depredations, the old sexton 
kept watch over the place for two days, until the vault was 
finished, and the aperture closed again. He told me that 
he had made bold to look in at the hole, but could see 
neither coffin nor bones; nothing but dust. It was some- 
thing, I thought, to have seen the dust of Shakspeare. 

Next to this grave are those of his wife, his favorite 
daughter Mrs. Hall, and others of his family. On a tomb 
close by, also, is a full-length effigy of his old friend John 
Combe, of usurious memory; on whom he is said to have 
written a ludicrous ejiitaph. There are other monuments 
around, but the mind refuses to dwell on anything that 
is not connected with Shakspeare. His idea pervades the 
place — the whole pile seems but as his mausoleum. The 
feelings, no longer checked and thwarted by doubt, here 
indulge in perfect confidence : other traces of him may be 
false or dubious, but here is palpable evidence and abso- 
lute certainty. As I trod the sounding pavement, there 
was something intense and thrilling in the idea, that, in 
very truth, the remains of Shakspeare were mouldering 
beneath my feet. It was a long time before I could pre- 
vail upon myself to leave the place; and as I passed through 
the churchyard, I plucked a branch from one of the yew- 
trees, the only relic that I have brought from Stratford. 

I had now visited the usual objects of a pilgrim's devo- 
tion, but 1 had a desire to see the old family seat of the 
Lucys at C'harlecot, and to ramble through the park where 
Shakspeare, in company with some of the roysters of Strat- 
ford, committed his youthful olTonce of deer-stealing. In 
this liarebrained exploit we are told that he was taken 
prisoner, and carried to tlie keeper's lodge, where he re- 
mained all night in dolclul captivity. When brought into 



220 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

the presence of Sir Thomas Lucy, his treatment must have 
been galling and humiliating; for it so wrought upon his 
spirit as to produce a rough pasquinade, which was afhxed 
to the park gate at Charlecot.^ 

This flagitious attack upon the dignity of the Knight 
so incensed him, that he applied to a lawyer at Warwick 
to put the severity of the laws in force against the rhym- 
ing deer-stalker. Shakspeare did not wait to brave the 
united puissance of a Knight of the Shire and a country 
attorney. He forthwith abandoned the pleasant banks of 
the Avon, and his paternal trade; wandered away to Lon- 
don; became a hanger-on to the theatres; then an actor; 
and, finally, wrote for the stage; and thus, through the 
persecution of Sir Thomas Lucy, Stratford lost an indiffer- 
ent wool-comber, and the world gained an immortal poet. 
He retained, however, for a long time, a sense of the harsh 
treatment of the Lord of Charlecot, and revenged himself 
in his writings; but in the sportive way of a good-natured 
mind. Sir Thomas is said to be the original of Justice 
Shallow, and the satire is slyly fixed upon him by the 
Justice's armorial bearings, which, like those of the 
Knight, had white luces ^ in the quarterings. 

Various attempts have been made by his biographers to 
soften and explain away this early transgression of the 
poet; but I look upon it as one of those thoughtless exploits 
natural to his situation and turn of mind. Shakspeare, 
when young, had doubtless all the wilduess and irregu- 
larity of an ardent, undisciplined, and undirected genius. 
The poetic temperament has naturally something in it of 
the vagabond. When left to itself, it runs loosely and 
wildly, and delights in everything eccentric and licentious. 
It is often a turn-up of a die, in the gambling freaks of 
fate, whether a natural genius shall turn out a great rogue 
or a great poet; and had not Shakspeare's mind fortu- 

1 The following is the only stanza extant of this lampoon : 

A parliament member, a justice of peace. 

At home a poor scarecrow, at London an asse, 

If lowsie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it, 

Then Lucy is lowsie, whatever befall it. 
He thinks himself ^reat ; 
Yet an asse in his state. 

We allow by liis ears with but asses to mate. 

If Lucy is lowsie, as some volke miscalle it, 

Then sing lowsie Luc.y, whatever befall it. 
a The luce is a pike or jack, anU abounds in thtj Avon, about Chwlecot^ 



STUA TmRB-ON-A VON. 22l 

hately taken a literary bias, he miglit have as daringly tran- 
scended all civil as he has all dramatic laws. 

I have little donbt, that, in early life, when running, 
like an unbroken colt, about the neighborhood of Strat- 
ford, he was to be found in the company of all kinds of 
odd and anomalous characters; that he associated with all 
the madcaps of the place, and was one of those unlucky 
urchins, at mention of whom old men shake their heads, 
and predict that they will one day come to the gallows. 
To him the poaching in Sir Thomas Lucy's park was 
doubtless like a foray to a Scottish knight, and struck his 
eager, and as yet untamed, imagination, as something de- 
lightfully adventurous.^ 

The old mansion of Charlecot and its surrounding jaark 
still remain in the possession of the Lucy family, and are 
peculiarly interesting from being connected with this whim- 
sical but eventful circumstance in the scanty history of the 
bard. As the house stood at little more than three miles' 
distance from Stratford, I resolved to pay it a pedestrian 
7isit, that I might stroll leisurely through some of those 
»<cenes from which Shakspeare must have derived his ear- 
liest ideas of rural imagery. 

The country was yet naked and leafless; but English 
•scenery is always verdant, and the sudden change in the 
temperature of the weather was surprising in its quicken- 

' A proof of Shakspeare's random habits and associates in his youthful days 
may be found in a traditionary anecdote, picked up at Stratford by the elder 
Ireland, and mentioned in his "Picturesque Views on the Avon." 

About seven miles from Stratford lies the thirsty little market town of Bed- 
ford, famous for its ale. Two societies of the village yeomanry used to meet, 
under the appellation of the Bedford topers, and to challenge the lovers of good 
ale of the neighboring villages to a contest of drinking. Among others, the 
people of Stratford were called out to prove the strength of their heatis ; and in 
the number of the champions was Shakspeare, who, in spite of the proverb, that 
" they who drink beer will think beer," was as true to his ale as Falstaff to his 
sack. The chivalry of Stratford was staggered at the first onset, and sounded a 
retreat while tluy had yet legs to carry tliem off the field. They had scarcely 
marched a mile, when, their legs failing them, they were forced to lie down 
under a crab-tree, where they passed the night. It is stil) standing, and goes by 
the name of Shakspeare's tree. 

In the morning his companions awaked the bard, and proposed returning to 
Bedford, but he declined, saying he had had enough, having drunk with 

Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, 
Haunted llilbro'. Hungry Grafton, 
Drudging Exliall, Pajjist Wicksford, 
Beggarly Broom, and drunken Bedford. 

" The villages here alluded to," says Ireland, "still bear the epithets thus 
given them : the people of Pebworth are still famed for their skill on the pipe and 
tabor ; Hillborough is now called Haunted HiUborough ; and Grafton is famous 
for the poverty of its soil." 



S22 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

ing effects upon the landscape. It was inspiring and ani- 
mating to witness this first jiwakening of spring; to feel 
its warm breath stealing over the senses; to see the moist 
mellow earth beginning to put forth the green sprout and 
the tender blade; and the trees and shrubs, and their re- 
viving tints and bursting buds, giving the promise of re- 
turning foliage and flower. The cold snowdrop, that little 
borderer on the skirts of winter, was to be seen with its 
chaste white blossoms in the small gardens before the cot- 
tages. The bleating of the new-dropt lambs was faintly 
heard from the fields. The sparrow twittered about the 
thatched eaves and budding hedges; the robin threw a 
livelier note into his late querulous wintry stain; and the 
lark, springing up from the reeking bosom of the meadow, 
towered away into the bright fleecy cloud, jiouring forth 
torrents of melody. As I watched the little songster, 
mounting up higher and higher, until his body was a mere 
speck on the white bosom of the cloud, while the ear was 
still filled with his music, it called to mind Shakspeare's 
exquisite little song in Cymbeline : 

Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 

And Phoebus 'gins arise, 
His steeds to water at those springs, 

On chaliced flowers that lies. 

And winking mary-buds begin 

To ope their golden eyes ; 
With every thing that pretty bin, 

My lady sweet, arise I 

Indeed, the whole country about here is poetic ground : 
everything is associated with the idea of Shakspeare. Every 
old cottage that I saw, I fancied into some resort of his 
boyhood, where he had acquired his intimate knowledge of 
rustic life and manners, and heard those legendary tales 
and wild suj)erstitions which he has woven like witchcraft 
into his dramas. For in his time, we are told, it was a 
popular amusement in winter evenings " to sit round the 
fire, and tell merry tales of errant knights, queens, lovers, 
lords, ladies, giants, dwarfs, thieves, cheaters, witches, 
fairies, goblins, and friars." ^ 

1 Scot, in his " Disco verie of Witchcraft," enumerates a host of these fire- 
side fancies. " And they have so f raid us with bull-beggars, spirits, witches, 
urchins, elves, hags, fairies, satyrs, pans, f aunes, syrens, kit with the can stieke, 
tritons, centaurs, dwarfes, giantes, imps, calcars, conjurers, nymphes, change- 
lings, incubus, Robin-good-fellow, the sporne, the mare, the man in the oke, tiie 
hellwaine, the tier drake, the puckle, Tom Thombe, hobgoblins, Tom Tumbler, 
boneless, and such other bugs, that we were afraid of our own shadowes." 



STRA TFORD- ON- A VOiSt. U2t 

My route for a part of the way lay in sight of the Avon, 
which made a variety of the most fanciful doublings and 
windings through a wide and fertile valley: sometimes 
glittering from among willows, which fringed its borders; 
sometimes disappearing among groves, or beneath green 
banks; and sometimes rambling out into full view, and 
making an azure sweep round a slope of meadow land. 
This beautiful bosom of country is called the Vale of the 
Eed Horse. A distant line of undulating blue hills seems 
to be its boundary, whilst all the soft intervening landscape 
lies in a manner enchained in the silver links of the Avon. 

After pursuing the road for about three miles, I turned 
off into a foot-path, which led along the borders of fields 
and under hedge-rows to a private gate of the park ; there 
was a stile, however, for the benefit of the pedestrian; 
there being a public right of way through the grounds. 
I delight in these hospitable estates, in which every one 
has a kind of projierty — at least as far as the foot-path is 
concerned. It in some measure reconciles a poor man to 
his lot, and what is more, to the better lot of his neighbor, 
thus to have jDarks and pleasure-grounds thrown open for 
his recreation. He breathes the pure air as freely, and 
lolls as luxuriously under the shade, as the lord of the soil; 
and if ho has not the privilege of calling all that he sees 
his own, he has not, at the same time, the trouble of pay- 
ing for it, and keejiing it in order. 

I now found myself among noble avenues of oaks and 
elms, whose vast size bespoke the growth of centuries. 
The wind sounded solemnly among their branches, and 
the rooks cawed from their hereditary nests in the tree 
tops. The eye ranged through a long lessening vista, with 
nothing to interrupt the view but a distant statue; and a 
vagrant deer stalking like a shadow across the opening. 

There is something about these stately old avenues that 
has the effect of Gothic architecture, not merely from the 
pretended similarity of form, but from their bearing the 
evidence of long duration, and of having had their origin 
in a period of time with which we associate ideas of roman- 
tic grandeur. They betoken also the long-settled dignity, 
and proudly concentrated independence of an ancient 
family; and I have heard a worthy but aristocratic old 
friend observe, when speaking of the sumptuous palaces of 



'2^4 THE BKETCn-HOOE:. 

modern gentry, that " money could do much with stone 
and mortar, but, thank Heaven, there was no such thing 
as suddenly building up an avenue of oaks." 

It was from wandering in e^rly life among this rich 
scenery, and about the romantic solitudes of the adjoining 
park of Fullbroke, which then formed a part of the Lucy 
estate, that some of Shakspeare's commentators have sup- 
posed he derived his noble forest meditations of Jaques, 
and the enchanting woodland pictures in "As You Like It/' 
It is in lonely wanderings through such scenes, that the 
mind drinks deep but quiet draughts of inspiration, and 
becomes intensely sensible of the beauty and majesty of 
nature. The imagination kindles into reverie and rapture; 
vague but exquisite images and ideas keep breaking upon 
it; and we revel in a mute and almost incommunicable 
luxury of thought. It was in some such mood, and per- 
haps under one of those very trees before me, which threw 
their broad shades over the grassy banks and quivering 
waters of the Avon, that the poet's fancy may have sallied 
forth into that little song which breathes the very soul of 
a rural voluptuary : 

Under the green-wood tree, 

Who loves to lie with me. 

And tune his merry throat 

Unto the sweet bird's note, 

Come hither, come hither, come hither. 

Here shall he see 

No enemy 
But winter and rough weather. 

I had now come in sight of the house. It is a large 
building of brick, with stone quoins, and is in the Gothic 
style of Queen Elizabeth's day, having been built in the 
first year of her reign. The exterior remains very nearly 
in its original state, and may be considered a fair specimen 
of the residence of a wealthy country gentleman of those 
days. A great gateway opens from the park into a kind 
of court-yard in front of the house, ornamented with a 
grass-plot, shrubs, and flower-beds. The gateway is in 
imitation of the ancient barbican ; being a kind of outpost, 
and flanked by towers; though evidently for mere orna- 
ment, instead of defence. The front of the house is com- 
pletely in the old style; with stone shafted casements, a 
great boAV-window of heavy stonework, and a portal with 
armorial bearings over it, carved in stone. At each cor- 



STRATFORD-ON-AVOK 225 

ner of the building is an octagon tower, surmounted by a 
gilt ball and weathercock. 

The Avon, which winds through the park, makes a bend 
just at the foot of a gently sloj)ing bank, which sweeps 
down from the rear of the house. Large herds of deer 
were feeding or reposing upon its borders; and swans were 
sailing majestically upon its bosom. As I contemplated 
the venerable old mansion, I called to mind Falstalf's en- 
comium on Justice Shallow's abode, and the affected in- 
difference and real vanity of the latter: 

" Falstaff. You have here a goodly dwelliug and a rich. 

"Shallow. Barren, barren, barren; beggars all, beggars all. Sir John : — 
marry, good air. " 

Whatever may have been the joviality of the old man- 
sion in the days of Shaksj)eare, it had now an air of still- 
ness and solitude. Tlie great iron gateway that opened 
into the court-yard was locked; there was no show of ser- 
vants bustling about the place; the deer gazed quietly at 
me as I passed, being no longer harried by the moss- 
troopers of Stratford. The only sign of domestic life that 
I met with was a white cat, stealing with wary look and 
stealthy pace toward the stables, as if on some nefarious 
expedition. I must not omit to mention the carcass of a 
scoundrel crow which I saw suspended against the baru 
wall, as it shows that the Lucys still inherit that lordly 
abhorrence of poachers, and maintain that rigorous exer- 
cise of territorial power which was so strenuously mani- 
fested in the case of the bard. 

After prowling about for some time, I at length found 
my way to a lateral portal, which was the every-day en- 
trance to the mansion. I was courteously received by a 
worthy old housekeeper, who, with the civility and com- 
municativeness of her order, showed me the interior of the 
house. The greater part has undergone alterations, and 
been adapted to modern tastes and modes of living : there 
is a fine old oaken staircase; and the great hall, that noble 
feature in an ancient manor-house, still retains much of 
the appearance it must have had in the days of Shakspeare. 
The ceiling is arched and lofty; and at one end is a gal- 
lery, in which stands an organ. The weapon and trophies 
of the chase, which formerly adorned the hall of a country 
gentleman, have made way for family portraits. There is 
15 



226 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

a wide hospitable fireplace, calculated for an ample old- 
fashioned wood fire, formerly the rallying ])laee of winter 
festivity. On the opposite side of the hall is the huge 
Gothic bow-window, with stone shafts, which looks out 
upon the court-yard. Here are emblazoned in stained glass 
the armorial bearings of the Lucy family for many genera- 
tions, some being dated in 1558. I was delighted to ob- 
serve in the quarterings the three white luces by which the 
character of Sir Thomas was first identified with that of 
Justice Shallow. They are mentioned in the first scene of 
the Merry Wives of AVindsor, where the Justice is in a rage 
with Falstaff for having " beaten his men, killed his deer, 
and broken into his lodge." The poet had no doubt the 
offences of himself and his comrades in mind at the time, 
and we may suppose the family pride and vindictive 
threats of the puissant Shallow to be a caricature of the 
pompous indignation of Sir Thomas. 

'"ShuUoiv. Sir Hugh, persuade me not : I w ill make a Star-Cliamber matter 
of it ; if he were twenty tSirjDlm Falstaffs, he shall not abuse Robert Shallow, Esq. 

"Slender. In the county of ftloster, justice of peace, and coram. 

"'Shallow. Ay, cousin Slender, and custatonim. 

'Slender. Ay, and ratalorum too, and a gentleman born, master parson ; 
who writes himself Ariiiiyero in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, 
Armigero. 

"Shallow. Ay, that I do ; and have done any time these three hundred years. 

"Slender. All liis successors gone before" him have done 't, and all his 
ancestors that come after him may : they may give the dozen white luces in 
their coat. 

" Shalloic. The council shall hear it ; it is a riot. 

"Evans. It is not meet the council hear of a riot ; there is no fear of Got in 
a riot ; the council, hear you, shall desire to hear tlie fear of Got, and not to 
hear a riot ; take your vizaments in that. 

" Shalloiv. Ha ! o' my life, if I were 5'oung again, the sword should end it ! " 

Near the window thus emblazoned hung a portrait by 
Sir Peter Lely of one of the Lucy family, a great beauty 
of the time of Charles the Second : the old housekeeper 
shook her head as she pointed to the picture, and informed 
me that this lady had been sadly addicted to cards, and 
liad gambled away a great portion of the family estate, 
among which was that part of the park where Shakspeare 
and his comrades had killed the deer. The lands thus lost 
have not been entirely regained by the family, even at the 
present day. It is but justice to this recreant dame to 
confess that she had a surpassingly fine hand and arm. 

The picture which most attracted my attention was a 
great paintnig over the fireplace, containing likenesses of 
Sir Thomas Lucy and his famil}', who inhabited the hidl 



^TRATFORD-ON-A YON. 227 

in the latter part of Sluikspeare's lifetime. I at first 
thought that it was the vindictive knight himself, but the 
housekeeper assured me that it was his son; the only like- 
ness extant of the former being an efitigy upon his tomb in 
the church of the neighboring hamlet of Charlecot. The 
picture gives a lively idea of the costume and manners of 
the time. Sir Thomas is dressed in ruff and doublet; 
white shoes Avith roses in them ; and has a peaked yellow, 
or, as Master Slender would say, " a cane-colored beard." 
His lady is seated on the opposite side of the picture in 
wide ruff and long stomacher, and the children have a 
most venerable stiffness and formality of dress. Hounds 
and spaniels are mingled in the family group ; a hawk is 
seated on his perch in the foreground, and one of the chil- 
dren holds a bow; — all intimating the knight's skill in 
hunting, hawking, and archery — so indispensable to an ac- 
complished gentleman in those days.^ 

I regretted to find that the ancient furniture of the hall 
had disappeared; for I had hoped to meet with the stately 
elbow-chair of carved oak, in which the country 'Squire of 
former days was wont to sway the sceptre of empire over 
his rural domains; and in which it might be presumed the 
redoubtable Sir Thomas sat enthroned in awful state, 
when the recreant Sliakspeare was brought before him. 
As I like to deck out ])ictures for my own entertainment, 
I pleased myself with the idea that this very hall had been 
the scene of the unlucky bard's examhiation on the morn- 
ing after his captivity in the lodge. I fancied to myself 
the rural potentate, surrounded by his body-guard of but- 
ler, pages, and blue-coated serving-men with their badges; 
while the luckless culprit was brought in, forlorn and 
chapfallen, in the custody of game-keepers, huntsmen, and 
whippers-in, and followed by a rabble rout of country 
clowns. I fancied bright faces of curious house-maids peep- 

■ Bishop Earle, speaking: of the country gentleman of his time, observes, " his 
housekeeping is seen iiiiieh in the different families of clogs, anil servingtnen 
attendant!)!! their kennels ; and the deepness of their thioats is the depth of his 
discourse. A hawk he esteems the true burden of nobility, and is exceedingly 
ambitious t<i seem delighted with the snort, and have his fist gloved with his 
jesses." A7id Gilpin, in his des<-i-iption of a Jlr. Hastings, i-emarks, "lie kept all 
sorts of hounds that run, buck, fox. hare, otter, and liadger ; and had hawks of 
all kinds, Ijolli long and short wingeil. His great liall vv-as oommonly strewed 
with mariow- bones, and full of hawk perches, liounds, sjianiels, and terriers. 
On a broad hearth, paved with brick, lay some of the choicest terriers, hounds, 
and spaniels. '' 



228 THl^ SKETCH-BOOK. 

ing from the half -opened doors; while from the gallery the 
fair daughters of the Knight leaned gracefully forward, 
eyeing the youthful prisoner with that pity " that dwells 
in womanhood." — Who would have thought that this poor 
varlet, thus trembling before the brief authority of a 
^Squire, and the sport of rustic boors, was soon to become 
the delight of princes; the theme of all tongues and ages; 
the dictator to the human mind; and was to confer im- 
mortality on his oppressor by a caricature and a lampoon ! 
I w\as now invited by tbe butler to walk into the garden, 
and I felt inclined to visit the orchard and arbor where 
the Justice treated Sir John Falstaff and Cousin Silence 
" to a last year's pippin of his own graflBng, with a dish of 
carraways ; "' but I had already spent so much of the day 
in my rambling, that I was obliged to give up any further 
investigations. When about to take my leave, I was grati- 
fied by the civil entreaties of the housekeeper and butler, 
that I would take some refreshment — an instance of good 
old hosiiitality, which I grieve to say Ave castle-hunters sel- 
dom meet with in modern days. I make no doubt it is a 
virtue which the present representative of the Lucys in- 
herits from his ancestors; for Shakspeare, even in his cari- 
cature, makes Justice Shallow importunate in this respect, 
as witness his pressing instances to Falstalf : 

"By cock and pye, Sir, you shall not go away to-night ... I will not excuse 
you ; you shall not be excused ; excuses wOl not be admitted ; there is no 
excuse shall serve ; you shall not be excused . . . Some pigeons, Davy ; a couple 
of short-legged hens ; a joint of mutton ; and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, 
tell 'William Cook.'" 

I now bade a reluctant farewell to the old hall. My 
mind had become so completely possessed by the imaginary 
scenes and characters connected with it, that I seemed to 
be actually living among them. Everything brought them 
as it were before my eyes; and as the door of the dining-' 
room opened, I almost expected to hear the feeble voice of 
Master Silence quavering forth his favorite ditty : 

" ''Tis merry in hall, when beards wag all. 
And welcome merry Shrovetide ! " 

On returning to my inn, I could not but reflect on the 
singular gift of the poet; to be able thus to spread the 
magic of his mind over the very face of nature ; to give to 
things and place a charm and character not their own, and 
to turn this " working-day w^orld " into a perfect fairy land. 



STRA TFORD-ON-A VOK 229 

He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not 
upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart. 
Under the wizard influence of Shakspeare I had been walk- 
ing all day in a complete delusion. I had surveyed the 
landscape through the prism of poetry, which tinged every 
object with the hues of the rainbow. - I had been sur- 
rounded with fancied beings; with mere airy nothings, 
conjured up by poetic power; yet which, to me, had all 
the charm of reality. I had heard Jaques soliloquize be- 
neath his oak; and beheld the fair Rosalind and her com- 
panion adventuring through the woodlands: and, above 
all, had been once more present in spirit with fat Jack 
Falstaff, and his contemporaries, from the august Justice 
Shallow, down to the gentle Master Slender, and the sweet 
Anne Page. Ten thousand honors and blessings on the 
bard who has thus gilded the dull realities of life with in- 
nocent illusions; who has spread exquisite and unbought 
pleasures in my checkered path; and beguiled my spirit 
in many a lonely hour, with all the cordial and cheerful 
sympathies of social life! 

As I crossed the bridge over the Avon on my return, I 
paused to contemplate the distant church in which the poet 
lies buried, and could not but exult in the malediction which 
has kept his ashes undisturbed in its quiet and hallowed 
vaults. What honor could his name have derived from 
being mingled in dusty companionship with the epitaphs 
and escutcheons and venal oulogiums of a titled multitude ? 
What would a crowded corner in Westminster Abbey have 
been, compared with this reverend pile, which seems to 
stand in beautiful loneliness as his sole mausoleum ! The 
solicitude about the grave may be but the offspring of an 
overwrought sensibility; but human nature is made up of 
foibles and prejudices; and its b«st and tenderest affec- 
tions are mingled with these factitious feelings. He who 
has sought renown about the world, and has reaped a full 
harvest of worldly favor, will find, after all, that there is 
no love, no admiration, no applause, so sweet to the soul 
as that which springs up in his native place." ■ It is there 
that he seeks to be gathered in peace and honor, among 
his kindred and his early friends. And when the weary 
heart and failing head begin to warn him that the evening 
of life is drawing on, he turns as fondly as does the infant 



230 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

to the motlier's arms, to sink to sleep in the bosom of the 
scene of his childhood. 

How would it have clieered the spirit of the youthful 
bard, when, wandering forth in disgrace upon a doubtful 
world, he cast back a heavy look upon his j)uternal home, 
could he have foreseen that, before many years, he sliould 
return to it covered with renown; that his name should 
become the boast and glory of his native place; that his 
ashes should be religiously guarded as its most precious 
treasure; and that its lessening spire, on which his eyes 
were fixed in tearful contemplation, should one day become 
the beacon, towering amidst the gentle landscape, to guide 
the literary pilgrim of every nation to his tomb ! 



TEAITS OF INDIAN CHARACTER. 

"I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he 
gave him not to eat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not."— 
Speech of an hidiaii Chief. 

Theke is something in the character and habits of the 
North American savage, taken in connection with the 
scenery over which he is accustomed to range, its vast 
lakes, boundless forests, majestic rivers, and trackless 
plains, that is, to my mind, wonderfully striking and sub- 
lime. He is formed for the wilderness, as the Arab is for 
the desert. His nature is stern, simple, and enduring; 
fitted to grapple with difficulties, and to support priva- 
tions. There seems but little soil in his heart for the 
growth of the kindly virtues; and yet, if we would but 
take the trouble to penetrate through that proud stoicism 
and habitual taciturnity, whicli lock up his character from 
casual observation, we should find him linked to his fellow- 
man of civilized life by more of those sympathies and affec- 
tions than are usually ascribed to him. 

It has been the lot of the unfortunate aborigines of 
America, in the early periods of colonization, to_ be doubly 
wronged by the white men. They have been dispossessed 
of their hereditary possessions, by mercenary and fre- 
quently wanton warfare; and their characters have been 
traduced by bigoted and interested writers. The colonist 



TRAITS OF INDIAN CHARACTER. 331 

has often treated them like beasts of the forest; and the 
author has endeavored to Justify him in his outrages. The 
former found it easier to exterminate than to civilize — 
the latter to vilify than to discriminate. The apellations 
of savage and pagan were deemed sufficient to sanction 
the hostilities of both; and thus the poor wanderers of 
the forest were persecuted and defamed, not because they 
were guilty, but because they were ignorant. 

The rights of the savage have seldom been properly 
appreciated or respected by the white man. In peace, 
he has too often been the dupe of artful traffic; in war, he 
has been regarded as a ferocious animal, whose life or 
death was a question of mere precaution and convenience. 
]\Ian is cruelly wasteful of life when his own safety is en- 
dangered, and he is sheltered by impunity; and little mercy 
is to be expected from him when he feels the sting of the 
rejitile, and is conscious of the power to destroy. 

The same prejudices which were indulged thus early, 
exist in common circulation at the present day. Certain 
learned societies have, it is true, with laudable diligence, 
endeavored to investigate and record the real characters 
and manners of the Indian tribes; the American govern- 
ment, too, has wisely and humanely exerted itself to in- 
culcate a friendly and forbearing spirit toward them, and 
to protect them from fraud and injustice.^ The current 
o])inion of the Indian character, however, is too apt to be 
formed from the miserable hordes which infest the fron- 
tiers, and hang on the skirts of the settlements. These 
are too commonly composed of degenerate beings, corrupted 
and enfeebled by the vices of society, without being bene- 
fited by its civilization. That proud independence, which 
formed the main pillar of savage virtue, has been shaken 
down, and the whole moral fabric lies in ruins. Their 
spirits are humiliated and debased by a sense of inferiority, 
and their native courage cowed and daunted by the 
superior knowledge and power of their enlightened neigh- 
bors. Society has advanced upon them like one of those 

1 The American government has been inrlefatigable in its exertions to meli- 
orate ttie situation of the In<liaiis, and to introduce aniongf them tlie arts of 
civilization, and civil and relifcioiis kiiowledtre. To i"'"fei't, Micm from the frauds 
of the whitetraders, no pinchase <if land fnmi them hy individuals is permitted ; 
nor is any person allowed to receive lands Ifoin them as a present, without the 
express sanction of government. These precautions are strictly enforced. 



232 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

withering airs that will sometimes breathe desolation over 
a whole region of fertility. It has enervated their strength, 
mnltiplied their diseases, and superinduced upon their 
original barbarity the low vices of artificial life. It has 
given them a thousand superfluous wants, while it has 
diminished their means of mere existence. It has driven 
before it the animals of the chase, who fly from the sound 
of the axe and the smoke of the settlement, and seek refuge 
in the depths of remoter forests and yet untrodden wilds. 
Thus do we too often find the Indians on our frontiers to 
be the mere wrecks and remnants of once powerful tribes, 
who have lingered in the vicinity of the settlements, and 
sunk into precarious and vagabond existence. Poverty, 
repining and hopeless poverty, a canker of the mind un- 
known in savage life, corrodes their spirits and blights 
every free and noble quality of their natures. They be- 
come drunken, indolent, feeble, thievish, and pusillani- 
mous. They loiter like vagrants about the settlements, 
among spacious dwellings, replete with elaborate comforts, 
which only render them sensible of the comparative 
wretchedness of their own condition. Luxury spreads its 
ample board before their eyes; but they are excluded from 
the banquet. Plenty revels over the fields; but they are 
starving in the midst of its abundance; the whole wilder- 
ness has blossomed into a garden; but they feel as rej)- 
tiles that infest it. 

How different was their state while yet the undisturbed 
lords of the soil! Their wants were few and the means of 
gratification withi?i their reach. They saw every one 
around them sharing the same lot, enduring the same hard- 
ships, feeding on the same aliments, arrayed in the same 
rude garments. No roof then rose, but was open to the 
homeless stranger; no smoke curled among the trees, but 
he was welcome to sit down by its fire and join the hunter 
in his repast. " For," says an old historian of New Eng- 
land, " their life is so void of care, and they are so loving 
also, that they make use of those things they enjoy as com- 
mon goods, and are therein so compassionate, that rather 
than one should starve through want, they would starve 
all ; thus do they pass their time merrily, not regarding 
our pomp, but are better content with their own, which 
some men esteem so meanly of/' Such were the Indians, 



TRAITS OF INDIAW CHARACTER. 333 

while in the pride and energ}^ of their primitive natures; 
they resemble those wild plants which thrive best in the 
shades of the forest, but shrink from the hand of cultiva- 
tion, and perish beneath the influence of the sun. 

In discussing the savage character, writers have been 
too prone to indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate ex- 
aggeration, instead of the candid temper of true philoso- 
phy. They have not sufficiently considered the peculiar 
circumstances in which the Indians have been placed, and 
the peculiar principles under which they have been edu- 
cated. No being acts more rigidly from rule than the 
Indian. His whole conduct is regulated according to some 
general maxims early imj^lanted in his mind. The moral 
laws that govern him are, to be sure, but few; but then he 
conforms to them all; — the white man abounds in laws of 
religion, morals, and manners, but how many does he vio- 
late! 

A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is 
their disregard of treaties, and the treachery and wanton- 
ness with which, in time of apparent peace, they will sud- 
denly fly to hostilities. The intercourse of the white man 
with the Indians, however, is too apt to be cold, distrust- 
ful, oppressive, and insulting. They seldom treat them 
with that confldence and frankness which are indispensa- 
ble to real friendship ; nor is sufficient caution observed 
not to offend against those feelings of pride or supersti- 
tion, Avhich often prompt the Indian to hostility quicker 
than mere considerations of interest. The solitar}^ savage 
fetls silently, but acutely. His sensibilities are not diffused 
over so wide a surface as those of the white man; but they 
run in steadier and deeper channels. His pride, his affec- 
tions, his superstitions, are all directed toward fewer ob- 
jects; but the wounds inflicted on them are proportionably 
severe, and furnish motives of hostility which we cannot 
sufficiently appreciate. Where a community is also limited 
in number, and forms one great patriarchal family, as in 
an Indian tribe, the injury of an individual is the injury of 
the whole, and the sentiment of vengeance is almost in- 
stantaneously diffused. One council-fire is sufficient for the 
discussion and arrangement of a plan of hostilities. Hero 
all the fighting men and sages assemble. Eloquence and 
superstition combine t9 inflame the minds of the war- 



234 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

riors. The orator awakens their martial ardor, aud they 
are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation, by the 
visions of the prophet and the dreamer. 

An instance of one of those sudden exasperations, aris- 
ing from a motive i)eculiar to the Indian character, is ex- 
tant in an old record of the early settlement of ]\[assachu- 
setts. The planters of Plymouth had defaced the monu- 
ments of the dead at Passonagessit, and had plundered the 
grave of the Sachem's mother of some skins Avith which it 
had been decorated. The Indians are remarkable for the 
reverence which they entertain for the sepulchres of their 
kindred. Tribes that have passed generations exiled from 
the abodes of their ancestors, when by chance the}" have 
been travelling in the vicinity, have been known to turn 
aside from the highway, and, guided by wonderfully accu- 
rate tradition, have crossed the country for miles to some 
tumulus, buried perhaps in woods, Avhere the bones of their 
tribe were anciently deposited; and there have passed hours 
in silent meditation. Influenced by this sublime and holy 
feeling, the .Sachem, wliose mother's tomb had been vio- 
lated, gathered his men together, and addressed them in 
the following beautifully simple and pathetic harangue; a 
curious specimen of Indian eloquence, and an affecting in- 
stance of iilial piet}^ in a savage : 

" When last the glorious light of all the sky was under- 
neath this globe, and birds grew silent, I began to settle, 
as my custom is, to take repose. Before mine eyes were 
fast closed, methouglit I saw a vision, at. which my spirit 
Avas much troubled; and trembling at that doleful sight, a 
sj^irit cried aloud, ' Beliold, my son, whom I have cher- 
ished, see the breasts that gave thee suck, the hands 
that lapped thee warm, and fed thee oft. Canst thou for- 
get to take revenge of those Avild people, who have defaced 
my monument in a despiteful manner, disdaining our an- 
tiquities and honorable customs ? See, now, the Sachem's 
grave lies like the common people, defaced by an ignoble 
race. Thy mother doth complain, and imjilores thy aid 
against this thievish people, who have newly intruded on 
our land. If this be suffered, I shall not rest quiet in my 
everlasting habitation.' This said, the spirit vanished, 
and I, all in a sweat, not able scarce to speak, began to get 
some strength, and recollect my spirits that v/ere fled, and 
determined to demand vour counsel and assistance/* 



TRAITS OF INDIAN CHARACTER. 235 

I have adduced this anecdote at some length, as it tends 
to show how these sudden acts of hostility, which have 
been attributbd to caprice and perfidy, may often arise from 
deep and generoas motives, which our inattention to In- 
dian character and customs prevents our properly appre- 
ciating. 

Another ground of violent outcry against the Indians, 
is their barlDarity to tlie vanquished. This had its origin 
partly in policy and partly in superstition. The tribes, 
though sometimes called nations, were never so formidable 
in their numbers, but that the loss of several warriors was 
sensibly felt; this was particularly the case when they had 
been frequently engaged in warfare ; and many an instance 
occurs in Indian history, where a tribe, that had long been 
formidable to its neighbors, has been broken up and driven 
awa}', by the capture and massacre of its principal fighting 
men. There was a strong temptation, therefore, to the 
victor, to be merciless; not so much to gratify any cruel 
revenge, as to provide for future security. The Indians 
had also the superstitious belief, frequent among barbar- 
ous nations, and prevalent also among the ancients, that 
the manes of their friends wlio had fallen in battle were 
soothed by the blood of the captives. The prisoners, how- 
ever, who are not thus sacrificed, are adopted into their 
families in the place of the slain, and are treated with the 
confidence and affection of relatives and friends; nay. so 
hospitable and tender is their entertainment, that when 
the alternative is offered them, they will often prefer to 
remain with their adopted brethren, rather than return 
to the home and the friends of their youth. 

The cruelty of the Indians toAvard tlu^ir prisoners has 
been heightened since the colonization of the whites. 
What was formerly a compliance with policy and super- 
stition, has been exasperated into a gratification of venge- 
ance. They cannot but be sensible that' the white men 
are the usurpers of their ancient dominion, the caiise of 
their degradation, and the gradual destroyers of their 
race. They go forth to battle, smarting with injuries and 
indignities which they have individually suffered, and they 
are driven to madness and despair by the wide-spreading 
desolation, and the overwhelming ruin of European war- 
fare. Tiie whites have too frequently set them an example 



236 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

of violence, by burning tlieir villages and laying waste 
their slender means of subsistence; and yet they wonder 
that savages do not shaw moderation and magnanimity 
toward those wlio have left them nothing but mere exist- 
ence and wretchedness. 

We stigmatize the Indians, also, as cowardly and treach- 
I erous, because they use stratagem in warfare, in preference 
, to oj^en force; but in this they are fully justified by their 
rude code of honor. They are early taught that stratagem 
is praiseworthy: the bravest warrior thinks it no disgrace 
to lurk in silence, and take every advantage of his foe: 
he triumphs in the superior craft and sagacity by which 
he has been enabled to surprise and destroy an enemy. 
Indeed, man is naturally more prone to subtilty than open 
valor, owing to his physical weakness in comparison with 
other animals. They are endowed with natural weapons 
of defence: with horns, with tusks, with hoofs, and talons: 
but man has to depend on his superior sagacity. In all 
his encounters with these, his proper enemies, he resorts 
to stratagem ; and when he perversely turns his hostility 
against his fellow-man, he at first continues the same sub- 
tle mode of warfare. 

The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to 
our enemy, with the least harm to ourselves; and this of 
course is to be effected by stratagem. That chivalrous 
courage which induces us to despise the suggestions of 
prudence, and to rush in the face of certain danger, is 
the offspring of society, and produced by education. It 
is honorable, because it is in fact the triumph of lofty sen- 
timent over an instinctive repugnance to pain, and over 
those yearnings after personal ease and security, which 
society has condemned as ignoble. It is kept alive by 
pride and the fear of shame; and thus the dread of real 
evil is overcome by the superior dread of an evil which 
exists but in the imagination. It has been cherished and 
stimulated also by various means. It has been the theme 
of spirit-stirring song and chivalrous story. The poet 
and minstrel have delighted to shed round it the splen- 
dors of fiction ; and even the historian has forgotten the 
sober gravity of narration, and broken forth into enthusi- 
asm and rhapsody in its praise. Triumphs and gorgeous 
pageants have been its reward : monuments, on which art 



TRAITS OF WDIAN CHARACTMU. 03-;- 

has exhausted its skill, and opulence its treasures, have 
been erected to perj^etuate a nation's gratitude and ad- 
miration. Thus artificially excited, courage has risen to 
an extraordinary and factitious degree of heroism; and 
arrayed in all the glorious " pomp and circumstance of 
war," this turbulent quality has even been able to eclipse 
many of those quiet but invaluable virtues, which silently 
ennoble the human character, and swell the tide of human 
happiness. 

But if courage intrinsically consists in the defiance of 
danger and pain, the life of the Indian is a continual ex- 
hibition of it. He lives in a state of perjDctual hostility 
and risk. Peril and adventure are congenial to his nature; 
or rather seem necessary to arouse his faculties and to 
give an interest to his existence. Surrounded by hostile 
tribes whose mode of warfare is by ambush and surprisal, 
he is always prepared for fight, and lives with his weapons 
in his hands. As the ship careers in fearful singleness 
through the solitudes of ocean, as the bird mingles among 
clouds and storms, and wings its way, a mere speck, across 
the pathless fields of air; so the Indian holds his course, 
sHent, solitary, but undaunted^ through the boundless 
bosom of the wilderness. His expeditions may vie in dis- 
tance and danger with the pilgrimage of the devotee, or 
the crusade of the knight-errant. He traverses vast for- 
ests, exposed to the hazards of lonely sickness, of lurking 
enemies, and pining famine. Stormy lakes, those great 
inland seas, are no obstacles to his wanderings: in his 
light canoe of bark, he sports like a feather on their waves, 
and darts Avith the swiftness of an arrow down the roar- 
ing rapids of the rivers. His very subsistence is snatched 
from the midst of toil and peril. He gains his food by 
the hardships and dangers of the chase; he wraps himself 
in the spoils of the bear, the panther, and the buffalo ; and 
sleeps among the thunders of the cataract. 

No hero of ancient or modern days can surpass the In- 
dian in his lofty contempt of death, and the fortitude with 
which he sustains its crudest affliction. Indeed, we here 
behold him rising superior to the white man, in conse- 
quence of his peculiar education. The latter rushes to 
glorious death at the cannon's mouth; the former calmly 
contemplates its ajDproach, and triumphantly endures it. 



038 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

amid the varied torments of surrounding foes, anc^ the 
protracted agonies of tire. He even takes a pride in taunt- 
ing liis persecutors, and provoking their ingenuit}^ of tor- 
ture; and as the devouring flames prey on his ver}^ vitals, 
and tlie flesh shrinks from the sinews, he raises his last 
song of triumph, breathing the defiance of an unconquered 
heai-t, and invoking the spirits of his fathers to witness 
that he dies without a groan. 

Notwithstanding the obloquy with which the early his- 
torians have overshadowed the characters of the unfortu- 
nate natives, some bright gleams occasionally break through 
which throw a degree of melancholy lustre on their memo- 
ries. Facts are occasionally to be met with in the rude 
annals of the eastern provinces, Avhich, though recorded 
with the coloring of prejudice and bigotry, yet speak for 
tliemselves; and will be dwelt on with applause and sym- 
pathy, when prejudice shall have passed away. 

In one of the homely narratives of the Indian wars in 
New England, there is a touching account of the desola- 
tion carried into the tribe of the Pequod Indians. Human- 
ity shrinks from the cold-blooded detail of indiscriminate 
butchery. In one place we read of the surprisal of an 
Indian fort in the night, when the wigwams were wrapped 
in flames, and the miserable inhabitants shot down and 
slain in attempting to escape, "all being despatched and 
ended in the course of an hour." After a series of simi- 
lar transactions, "our soldiers," as the historian piously 
observes, "being resolved by God's assistance to make a 
final destruction of them,"' the unhappy savages being 
hunted from their homes and fortresses, and pursued with 
fire and sword, a scanty but gallant band, the sad remnant 
of the Pequod warriors, Avith their wives and children, 
took refuge in a swamp. 

Burning with indignation, and rendered sullen by de- 
spair; with hearts bursting with grief at the destruction 
of their tribe, and spirits galled and sore at the fancied ig- 
nominy of their defeat, they refused to ask their lives at 
the hands of an insulting foe, and preferred death to sub- 
mission. 

As the night drew on, they Avere surrounded in their 
dismal retreat, so as to render escape ini[jracticable. Thus 
situated, their enemy " plied them with shot all the time, 



TRArrs OF INDIAN' CHARACTER. :>39 

by whieli means many were killed and buried in the mire." 
In the darkness and fog that preceded the dawn of day, 
some few broke through the besiegers and escaped into 
the woods : " the rest were left to the conquerors, of which 
many were killed in the swamp, like sullen dogs who 
would rather, in their self-willedness and madness, sit still 
and be shot through, or cut to pieces," than implore for 
mercy. When the day broke uj^on this handful of forlorn 
Ijut dauntless s})irits, the soldiers, we are told, entering the 
swamp, '' saw sevei'al heaps of them sitting close together, 
upon whom they discharged their pieces, laden with ten 
or twelve pistol -bullets at a time; putting the muzzles of 
the pieces under the boughs, within a few yards of them; 
so as, besides those that Avere found dead, many more were 
killed and sunk into the mire, and never were minded 
more by friend or foe." 

Can any one read this plain unvarnished tale, without 
admiring the stern resolution, the unbending pride, the 
loftiness of spirit, that seemed to nerve the hearts of these 
self-taught heroes, and to raise them above the instinctive 
feelings of human nature ? When the Gauls laid waste 
the city of Rome, they found the senators clothed in their 
robes and seated with stern tranquillity in their curule 
chairs; in this manner they suffered .death without resist- 
ance or even supplication. Such conduct was, in them, 
applauded as noble and magnanimous — in the hapless In- 
dians, it was reviled as obstinate and sullen. How truly 
are we the dupes of show and circumstance! How differ- 
ent is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, 
from virtue iiaked and destitute, and perishing obscurely 
in a wilderness! 

But I forbear to dwell on these gloomy pictures. The 
Eastern tribes have long since disappeared; the forests 
that sheltered them have been laid low, and scarce any traces 
remain of them in the thickly-settled States of Xew Eng- 
land, excepting here and there the Indian name of a vil- 
lage or a stream. And such Uiust sooner or later be the 
fate of those other tribes whicli skirt the frontiers, and 
have occasionally been inveigled from their forests to 
mingle in the wars of white men. In a little while, and 
they will go the way that their brethren have gone before. 
The few hordes which still liuTOr about the shores of Huron 



240 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and Superior, and the tributary streams of the Mississippi, 
will share the fate of those tribes that once spread over 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, and lorded it along the 
proud banks of the Hudson; of that gigantic race said to 
have existed on the borders of the Susquehanna; and of 
those various nations that flourished about the Potomac 
and the Rappahannock, and that peopled the forests of the 
vast valley of Shenandoah. They will vanish like a vapor 
from the face of the earth ; their very history will be lost 
in forgetfulness; and "the places that now know them 
will know them no more forever." Or if, perchance, some 
dubious memorial of them should survive, it may be in 
the romantic dreams of the poet, to people in imagination 
his glades and groves, like the fauns and satyrs and sylvan 
deities of antiquity. But should he venture upon the dark 
story of their wrongs and wretchedness ; should he tell 
how they were invaded, corrupted, despoiled; driven from 
their native abodes and the sepulchres of their fathers; 
hunted like wild beasts about the earth; and sent down 
with violence and butchery to the grave — posterity will 
either turn with horror and incredulity from the tale, or 
blush with indignation at the inhumanity of their fore- 
fathers. " We are driven back," said an old warrior, " until 
we can retreat no farther — our hatchets are broken, our 
bows are snapped, our fires are nearly extinguished — a lit- 
tle longer and the white man will cease to persecute us — • 
for we shall cease to exist." 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 

AN INDIAN MEMOIR. 

As monumental bronze unchanged his look : 

A soul that pity touch'd, but never shook ; 

Trained, from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier, 

Ttie fierce extremes of good and ill to brook 

Impassive— fearing but the shame of fear — 

A stoic of the woods— a man without a tear. — Campbell. 

It is to be regretted that those early writers who treated 
of the discovery and settlement of America have not given 
us more particular and candid accounts of the remarkable 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 241 

characters that flourished in savage life. The scanty an- 
ecdotes which have reached us are full of peculiarity and 
interest; they furnish us with nearer glimpses of human 
nature, and show what man is in a comparatively primitive 
state, and what he owes to civilization. There is some- 
thing of the charm of discovery in lighting upon these wild 
and unexplored tracts of human nature; in witnessing, as 
it were, the native growth of moral sentiment; and perceiv- 
ing those generous and romantic qualities which have heen 
artificiullycultivated by society, vegetating in spontaneous 
hardihood and rude magnificence. 

In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost 
the existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion 
of his fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. 
The bold and peculiar traits of native character are refined 
away, or softened down by the levelling influence of what 
is termed good breeding; and he practises so many petty 
deceptions, and affects so many generous sentiments, for 
the purposes of popularity, that it is difficult to distinguish 
his real from his artificial character. The Indian, on the 
contrary, free from the restraints and refinements of pol- 
ished life, and, in a great degree, a solitary and independ- 
ent being, obeys the impulses of his inclination or the dic- 
tates of his judgment; and thus the attributes of his 
nature, being freely indulged, grow singly great and strik- 
ing. Society is like a lawn, where every roughness is 
smoothed, every bramble eradicated, and where the eye is 
delighted by the smiling verdure of a velvet surface; he, 
however, who would study Nature in its wildness and va- 
riety, must plunge into the foi'est, must explore the glen, 
must stem the torrent, and dare the precipice. 

These reflections arose on casually looking through a 
volume of early colonial history, wherein are recorded, 
with great bitterness, the outrages of the Indians, and 
their wars with the settlers of New England. It is pain- 
ful to perceive, even from these partial narratives, liow 
the footsteps of civilization may be traced in the blood of 
the aborigines; how easily the colonists were moved to 
hostility by the lust of conquest; how merciless and ex- 
terminating was their warfare. The imagination shrinks 
at the idea, how many intellectual beings were huntetl 
from the earth — ^how maiiv ])rave and noble hearts, of 
i6 



'>42 1'tJ^ SKETCH-BOOK. 

Nature's sterling coinage, Avere broken down and trampled 
in the dust! 

Such was the fate of Philip of Pokanoket, an Indian 
warrior, whose name was once a terror throughout Massa- 
chusettsand Connecticut. He was the most distinguished 
of a number of contemporary Sachems, Avho reigned over 
the Pequods, the Narragansets, the Wampanoags, and the 
other Eastern tribes, at the time of the first settlement 
of New England: a band of native untaught heroes; who 
made the most generous struggle of which human nature 
is capable; fighting to the last gasp in the cause of their 
country, without a hope of victory or a thought of renown. 
Worthy of an age of poetry, and fit subjects for local story 
and romantic fiction, they have left scarcely any authentic 
traces on the page of history, but stalk, like gigantic 
shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition.* 

When the Pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called 
by their descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the 
New World, from the religious persecutions of the Old, 
their situation was to the last degree gloomy and disheart- 
ening. - Few in number, and that number rapidly perish- 
ing away through sickness and hardships; surrounded by 
a howling wilderness and savage tribes; exposed to the 
rigors of an almost arctic winter, and the vicissitudes of 
an ever-shifting climate ; their minds were filled w'ith dole- 
ful forebodings, and nothing jDreserved them from sinking 
into despondency but the strong excitement of religious 
enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited by 
Massasoit, chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful 
chief, who reigned over a great extent of couiitry. Instead 
of taking advantage of the scanty number of the strangers, 
and expelling them from his territories into which they 
had intruded, he seemed at once to conceive for them a 
generous friendship, and extended toward them the rights 
of primitive hospitality, lie came early in the spring to 
their settlement of New Plymouth, attended by a mere 
handful of followers; entered into a solemn league of 
peace and amity; sold them a portion of the soil, and prom- 
ised to secure for them the good-will of his savage allies. 

* WTiile correcting the proof-sheets of this article, the author is informed 
that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished a heroic poem on the stoi-j' of 
Philip of Pokanoket. 



PHILIP OF POKANOKST. ^43 

AVhatever may be said of Indian perlidy, it is certain that 
the integrity and good fiiith of Massasoit have never been 
impeached. " He continued a firm and magnanimous friend 
of the white men ; suffering them to extend their posses- 
sions, and to strengtlien themselves in the land; and be- 
traying no jealousy of their increasing power and prosper- 
ity. Shortly before his death, he came once more to New 
Plymouth, with his son Alexander, for the purpose of 
renewing the covenant of peace, and of securing it to his 
posterity. 

At this conference, he endeavored to protect the religion 
of his forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the mis- 
sionaries; and stipulated that no further attempt should 
be made to draw off his people from their ancient faith; 
but, finding the English obstinately opposed to any such 
condition, he mildly relinquished the demand. Almost 
the last act of his life was to bring his two sons, Alexander 
and Philip (as they had been named by the English), to 
the residence of a principal settler, recommending mutual 
kindness and confidence; and entreating that the same 
love and amity which had existed between the white men 
and himself, might be continued afterward with his cliil- 
dren. ■ The good old Sachem died in peace, and was hap- 
pily gathered to his fathers before sorrow came upon his 
tribe; his children remained behind to experience the in- 
gratitude of white men. 

His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of 
a quick and impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of 
his hereditary rights and dignity. The intrusive polic}' 
and dictatorial conduct of the strangers excited his indig- 
jiation ; and he beheld with uneasiness their exterminating 
wars with the neighboring tribes. He was doomed soon 
to incur their hostility, being accused of plotting with the 
Narragansets to rise against the English and drive them 
from the land. It is impossible to say whether this ac- 
cusation was warranted by facts, or was grounded on mere 
suspicions. It is evident, however, by the violent and 
overbearing measures of tlie settlers, that they had by this 
time begun to feel conscious of the rapid increase of their 
power, and to grow harsh and inconsiderate in their treat- 
ment of the natives. They despatched an armed force to 
seize upon Alexander, and to bring him before tlieir court. 



Ui THE SKETCH-BOOit. 

Tie was traced to his woodland haunts, and surprised at a 
hunting house, where he was reposing witli a band of his 
followers, unarmed, after the toils of the chase. The sud- 
denness of his arrest, and the outrage offered to his sover- 
eign dignity, so preyed upon the irascible feelings of this 
proud savage, as to throw him into a raging fever; he was 
permitted to return home on condition of sending his son 
as a pledge for his reappearance; but the blow he had 
received was fatal, and before he reached his home he fell 
a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit. 

The successor of Alexander was Metamocet, or King 
Philip, as he was called by the settlers, on account of his 
lofty spirit and ambitious temper. These, together with 
his well-known energy and enterprise, had rendered him 
an object of great jealousy and apprehension, and he was 
accused of having always cherished a secret and implaca- 
ble hostility toward the whites. Such may very probably, 
and very naturally, have been the case. He considered 
them as originally but mere intruders into the country, 
who had presumed upon indulgence, and were extending 
an influence baneful to savage life. He saw the whole race 
of his countrymen melting before them from the face of 
the earth; their territories slijjping from their hands, and 
their tribes becoming feeble, scattered, and dependent. It 
may be said that the soil was originally purchased by the 
settlers; but who does not know the nature of Indian pur- 
chases, in the early periods of colonization ? The Euro- 
peans always made thrifty bargains, through their superior 
adroitness in traffic; and they gained vast accessions of 
territory, by easily provoked hostilities. An uncultivated 
savage is never a nice inquirer into the refinements of law, 
by which an injury may be gradually and lega.lly inflicted. 
Leading facts are all by which he judges; and it was 
enough for Philip to know, that before the intrusion of 
the Europeans his countrymen were lords of the soil, and 
that now they Avere becoming vagabonds in the land of 
their fathers. 

But whatever may have been his feelings of general hos- 
tility, and his particular indignation at the treatment of 
his brother, he suppressed them for the present; renewed 
the contract with the settlers, and resided peaceably for 
many years at Pokanoket, or, as it was called by the Eng- 



J^HILIP OF FOKANOKET. 245 

lish. Mount Hope/ the ancient seat of dominion of his 
tribe. Suspicions, however, which were at iirst but vague 
and indefinite, began to acquire form and substance; and 
he was at lengtli charged with attempting to instigate the 
various Eastern tribes to rise at once, and, by a simultane- 
ous effort, to tlirow off tlie yoke of their oppressors. It is 
difficult at this distant period to assign the proper credit 
due to these early accusations against the Indians. There 
was a proneness to suspicion, and an aptness to acts of vio- 
lence on the i^art of the whites, that gave weight and im- 
portance to ever}' idle tale. Informers abounded, where 
tale-bearing met with countenance and reward; and the 
sword was readily unsheathed, when its success was certain, 
and it carved out empire. 

The only positive evidence on record against Philip is 
the accusation of one Sausaman, a renegade Indian, whose 
natural cunning had been quickened by a partial education 
which he had received among the settlers. He changed 
his faith and his allegiance two or three times, with a fa- 
cility that evinced the looseness of his principles. He had 
acted for some time as Philip's confidential secretary and. 
counsellor, and had enjoyed his bounty and protection. 
Finding, however, that the clouds of adversity were gath- 
ering round his patron, he abandoned his service and we^it 
over to the whites; and, in order to gain their favor, charged 
his former benefactor with plotting against their safety. 
A rigorous investigation took place. Philip and several of 
his subjects submitted to be examined, but nothing was 
proved against them. The settlers, however, had now gone 
too far to retract ; they had previously determined that 
Philip was a dangerous neighbor; they had publicly evinced 
their distrust; and had done enough to insure his hostility ; 
according, therefore, to the usual mode- of reasoning in 
these eases, his destruction had become necessary to their 
security. Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was shortly 
after found dead in a pond, having fallen a victim to the 
vengeance of his tribe. Three Indians, one of whom was 
a friend and counsellor of Philip, were apprehended and 
tried, and, on the testimony of one very questionable wit- 
ness, were condemned and executed as murderers. 

' Now Dristdl, Rhode Island. 



246 THE SKETCH-BOOK. , ^ 

This treatment of his sv^bjects and ignominious punish- 
ment of his friend, outraged the pride and exasperated the 
passions of Philip. The bolt which had fallen thus at his 
very feet, awakened him to the gathering storm, and he 
determined to trust himself no longer in the power of the 
white men. The fate of his insulted and broken-hearted 
brother still rankled in his mind; and he had a further 
warning in the tragical story of Miantonimo, a great Sachem 
of the Narragansets, who, after manfully facing his ac- 
cusers before a tribunal of the colonists, exculpating him- 
self from a charge of conspiracy, and receiving assurances 
of amity, had been perfidiously despatched at their instiga- 
tion. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting men about 
him; persuaded all strangers that he could, to join his 
cause; sent the women and children to the Narragansets 
for safety; and wherever he appeared, was continually 
surrounded by armed warriors. 

When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust 
and irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in 
a flame. The Indians, having weapons in their hands, 
grew mischievous, and committed various petty depreda- 
tions. In one of their maraudings, a warrior was fired 
upon and killed by a settler. This was the signal for open 
hostilities; the Indians pressed to revenge the death of 
their comrade, and the alarm of war resounded through 
the Plymouth colony. 

In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy 
times, we meet with many indications of the diseased 
state of the public mind. The gloom of religious abstrac- 
tion, and the wildness of their situation, among trackless 
forests and savage tribes, had disposed the colonists to 
superstitious fancies, and had filled their imaginations with 
the frightful chimeras of witchcraft and spectrology. 
They were much given also to a belief in omens. The 
troubles with Philip and his Indians were preceded, we 
are told, by a variety of those awful warnings which fore- 
run great and public calamities. The perfect form of an 
Indian bow appeared in the air at New Plymouth, whicli 
was looked upon by the inhabitants as a " jirodigious ap- 
parition." At Hadley, Northampton, and other towns in 
their neighborhood, " was heard the report of a great piece 
of ordnance, Mith the shaking* of the earth and a consider- 



PIirLlP OF rOKANOKET. 247 

able echo-'' ^ Others were alarmed on a still sunshiny 
morninsf, by the discharge of guns and muskets; bullets 
seemed to whistle past them, and the noise of drums re- 
sounded in tlie air, seeming to pass away to the westward; 
others fancied that they heard the galloping of horses over 
their heads; and certain monstrous birthsi which took place 
about the time, filled the sujierstitious in some towns with 
doleful forebodings. Many of these portentous sights and 
sounds may be ascribed to natural phenomena; to the 
northern liglits which occur vividly in those latitudes; 
the meteors which explode in the air; the casual rushing 
of a blast through the top branches of the forest; the crash 
of falling trees or disrupted rocks; and to those other 
uncouth sounds and echoes, which will sometimes strike 
the ear so strangely amid the profound stillness of wood- 
land solitudes. These may have startled some melancholy 
imaginations, may have been exaggerated by the love for 
the marvellous, and listened to with that avidity with 
which we devour whatever is fearful and mysterious. The 
universal currency of these superstitious fancies, and the 
§rave record made of them by one of the learned men of 
the day, are strongly characteristic of the times. 

The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too 
often distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and 
savages. On the part of the whites, it was conducted with 
superior skill and success; but with a wastefulness of the 
blood, and a disregard of the natural rights of their antag- 
onists : on the part of the Indians it was waged with the 
desperation of men fearless of death, and who had nothing 
to expect from peace, but humiliation, dependence, and 
decay. 

The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy 
vlergyman of the time, who dwells with horror and indig- 
nation on every hostile act of the Indians, however justi- 
fiable, while he mentions with applause the most sanguin- 
ary atrocities of the whites. Philip is reviled as a murderer 
iind a traitor; without considering tbat he was a true-born 
prince, gallantly fighting at the head of his subjects to 
avenge the wrongs of his family; to retrieve the tottering 
|)ower of his line; and to deliver his native land from the 
oppression of usurping strangers. 

* TUe Rev. Increase Mather's History. 



248 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

The project of a wide and simiiltaueous revolt, if such 
liad really been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, 
and, had it not been prematurely discovered, might have 
been overwhelming in its consequences. The war that 
actually broke out was but a war of detail; a mere succes- 
sion of casual exploits and unconnected enterprises. Still 
it sets forth the military genius and daring prowess of 
Philip; and wherever, in the prejudiced and passionate 
narrations that have been given of it, we can arrive at sim- 
ple facts, we find him displaying a vigorous mind; a fer- 
tility in expedients; a contempt of suffering and hardshij); 
and an unconquerable resolution, that command our sym- 
pathy and applause. 

Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he 
threw himself into the depths of those vast and trackless 
forests that skirted the settlements, and were almost im- 
pervious to anything but a wild beast or an Indian. Here 
he gathered together his forces, like the storm accumulat- 
ing its stores of mischief in the bosom of the thunder-cloud, 
and Avould suddenly emerge at a time and place least ex- 
pected, carrying havoc and dismay into the villages. 
There were now and then indications of these impending 
ravages, that filled the minds of the colonists with awe 
and apprehension. The report of a distant gun would 
perhaps be heard from the solitary woodland, where there 
was known to be ]io white man; the cattle which had been 
wandering in the woods would sometimes return home 
wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen lurking about 
the skirts of the forest, and suddenly disappearing; as the 
lightning will sometimes be seen playing silently about the 
edge of the cloud that is brewing up the tempest. 

Though sometimes pursued, and even surrounded by the 
settlers, yet Philip as often escaped almost miraculously 
from their toils; and jilunging into the wilderness, would 
be lost to all search or inquiry until he again emerged' at 
some far-distant quarter, laying the country desolate. 
Among his strongholds were the great swamps or mo- 
rasses, which extend in some parts of New England ; com- 
posed of loose bogs of deep black mud; perjjlexed with 
thickets, brambles, rank weeds, the shattered and moulder- 
ing trunks of fallen trees, overshadowed by lugubrious 
hemlocks. The uncertain footing and the tangled mazes 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 249 

of these shaggy wilds, rendered them almost impracticable 
to the white man, though the Indian could thread their 
labyrinths with the agility of a deer. Into one of. these, 
the great swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once driven 
with a band of his followers. The English did not dare 
to jmrsue him, fearing to venture into these dark and 
frightful recesses, where they might perish in fens and 
miry pits, or be shot down by lurking foes. They there- 
fore invested the entrance to the neck, and began to build 
a fort, with the thought of starving out the foe; but Philip 
and his warriors wafted themselves on a raft over an arm 
of the sea, in the dead of iiight, leaving the Avomen and 
children behind; and escaped away to the westward, kind- 
ling tlie flames of war among the tribes of Massachusetts 
and the Nipmuck country, and threatening the colony of 
Connecticut. 

In this way Philip became a theme of universal appre- 
hension. The mystery in which he was enveloped exag- 
gerated his real terrors. He was an evil that walked in 
darkness; whose coming none could foresee, and against 
which none knew when to be on the alert. The whole 
country abounded with rumors and alarms. Philip seemed 
almost possessed of ubiquity; for, in whatever part of the 
widely-extended frontier an irruption from the forest took 
place, Philip was said to be its leader. Many superstitious 
notions also were circulated concerning him. He was said 
to deal in necromancy, and to be attended by an old In- 
dian witch or prophetess, whom he consulted, and who 
assisted him by her charms and incantations. This indeed 
was frequently the case with Indian chiefs; either through 
their own credulity, or to act upon that of their followers: 
and the influence of the prophet and the dreamer over In- 
dian superstition has been fully evidenced in recent in- 
stances of savage warfare. 

At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset, 
his fortunes were in a desperate condition. Ilis forces 
had been thinned by repeated figlits, and he had lost 
almost the whole of his resources. In this time of adver- 
sity he found a faithful friend in Canonchet, chief Sachem 
of all the Xarragansets. lie was the son and heir of 
Miantonimo, the great Sachem, who, as already mentioned, 
after au honorablQ acquittal of the charge of conspiracy. 



250 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

had been privately put to death at the perfidious instiga- 
tions of the settlers. " He was the heir " says the old 
chronicler, "of all his father's pride and insolence, as well 
as of his malice toward the English ; '' he certainly was 
the heir of his insults and injuries, and the legitimate 
avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to take 
an active part in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip 
and his broken forces with oj^en arms; and gave them the 
most generous countenance and support. This at once 
drew upon him the hostility of the English; and it was 
determined to strike a signal blow, that should involve 
both the Sachems in one common I'uin. A great force was, 
therefore, gathered together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, 
and Connecticut, and was sent into the Narraganset 
country in the depth of winter, when the swamjis, being 
frozen and leafless, could be traversed with comparative 
facility, and would no longer afford dark and impenetrable 
fastnesses to the Indians. 

Apprehensive of attack, Oanonchet had conveyed the 
greater part of his stores, together with the old, the infirm, 
the women and children of his tribe, to a strong fortress; 
where he and Pliili]! had likewise drawn up the flower of 
their forces. This fortress, deemed by the Indians im- 
pregnable, was situated upon a rising mound or kind of 
island, of five or six acres, in the midst of a swamp; it Avas 
constructed with a degree of judgment and skill vastly 
superior to what is usually displayed in Indian fortifica- 
tion, and indicative of the martial genius of these two 
chieftains. 

Guided by a renegade Indian, the English penetrated, 
through December snows, to this stronghold, and came 
upon the garrison b}' surprise. The fight was fierce and 
tumultuous. The assailants were repulsed in their first 
attack, and several of their bravest officers were shot down 
in the act of storming the fortress, sword in hand. The 
assault was renewed with greater success. A lodgment 
Avas effected. The Indians were driven from one post to 
another. They disputed their ground inch by inch, fight- 
ing with the fury of despair. Most of their veterans were 
cut to pieces; and after a long and bloody battle, Philip 
and Canonchet, with a handful of surviving warriors, re- 
treated from the fort, and took refuge in the thickets of tliQ 
surrounding forest, 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 251 

The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the 
whole was soon in a blaze; many of the old men, the 
women and the ehildren, perished in the flames. This 
last outrage overcame even the stoicism of the savage. 
The neighboring woods resounded with the yells of rage 
and despair, uttered by the fugitive warriors as they be- 
held the destruction of their dwellings, and heard the ago- 
nizing cries of their wives and offspring. " The burning 
of the Avigwams," says a contemporary writer, " the shrieks 
and cries of the women and children, and the yelling of 
the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and affecting scene, 
so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers." The same 
writer cautiously adds, "they were in mncli doubt then, 
and afterward seriously inquired, whether burning their 
enemies alive could be consistent with humanity, and. the 
benevolent principles of the gospel." ^ 

The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy 
of ^jarticular mention : the last scene of his life is one of 
the noblest instances on record of Indian magnanimity. 

Broken down in his power and resources by this signal 
defeat, yet faithful to his ally and to the hapless cause 
which he had espoused, he rejected all overtures of peace, 
offered on condition of betraying Philij) and his followers, 
and declared that " he would fight it out to the last man, 
rather than become a servant to the English." His home 
being destroyed: his country harassed and laid waste by 
the incursions of the conquerors; he was obliged to wan- 
der away to the banks of the Connecticut; where he formed 
a rallying point to the whole body of Western Indians, 
and laid waste several of the English settlements. 

Early in the spring, he departed on a hazardous exjiedi- 
tion. with only thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, 
in the vicinity of Mount Hope, and to procure seed-corn 
to plant for the sustenance of his troops. This little band 
of adventurers had passed safely through the Pequod coun- 
try, and were in the centre of the Narraganset, resting at 
.some wigwams )iear Pawtucket River, when an alarm was 
given of an ap})roaching enemy. Having but seven men 
by him at the time, ("anoiu^het despatched two of them to 
the top of a neighboring hill, to bring intelligence of the 
foe. 

\ NS. ot the Rev. W. Ruggles. 



252 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English 
and Indians rapidly advancing, they fled in breathless ter- 
ror past their chieftain', without stopping to inform him 
of the danger. Canonchet sent another scout, who did 
the same. He then sent two more, one of whom, hurrying 
back in confusion and affright, told him that the whole 
British army was at hand. Canonchet saw there was no 
choice but immediate flight. He attempted to escape 
round the hill, but was perceived and hotly pursued by the 
hostile Indians, and a few of the fleetest of the English. 
Finding the swiftest pursuer close upon his heels, he threw 
off, first his blanket, then his silver-laced coat and belt of 
peag, by which his enemies knew him to be Canonchet, 
and redoubled the eagerness of pursuit. 

At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped 
ujaon a stone and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This 
accident so struck him with despair, that, as he afterward 
confessed, " his heart and his bowels turned within him, 
and he became like a rotten stick, void of strength,-' 

To such a degree was he unnerved, that, being seized by 
a Pequod Indian within a short distance of the river, he 
made no resistance, though a man of great vigor of body 
and boldness of heart. 13ut on being made prisoner, the 
whole pride of his sjiirit arose within him; and from that 
moment, we find, in the anecdotes given by his enemies, 
nothing but repeated fiashes of elevated and prince-like 
heroism. Being questioned by one of the English who 
first came up with him, and who had not attained his 
twenty-second year, the i^roud-hearted warrior, looking 
with lofty contempt upon his youthful countenance, re- 
plied, " You are a child— you cannot understand matters 
of war — let your brother or your chief come — him will I 
answer." 

Though repeated offers were made to him of his life, on 
condition of submitting with his nation to the English,- 
yet he rejected them with disdain, and refused to send any 
proposals of the kind to the great body of his subjects; 
saying, that he knew none of them would comply. Being 
reproached with his breach of faith toward the whites; his 
boast that he would not deliver up a Wampanoag, nor the 
parings of a Wampanoag's nail; and his threat that he 
would burn the Eliglish alive in their houses, he disdained, 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 253 

to justify himself, hiuightily answering tliat others were as 
forward for the war as himself, "and he desired to hear no 
more thereof." 

"So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his 
cause and his. friend, might have touched the feelings of 
the generous and the brave; but Canonchet was an Indian; 
a being toward whom war had no courtesj^ humanity no 
law, religion no compassion — he was condemned to die. 
The last words of his that are recorded, are worthy the 
greatness of his soul. When sentence of death was passed 
upon him, he observed, '' that he liked it well, for he should 
die before his heart was soft, or he had spoken anything 
unworthy of himself." His enemies gave him the death 
of a soldier, for he was shot at Stoningham, by three young 
Sachems of his own rank. 

The defeat of the Narrhaganset fortress, and the death 
of Canonchet, were fatal blo■v^ts to the fortunes of King 
PAilip. He made an ineffectual attempt to raise a head of 
war, by sti^-ing up the Mohawks to take arms; but though 
possessed of the native talents of a statesman, his arts were 
counteracted by the superior arts of his enlightened ene- 
mies, and the terror of their warlike skill began to subdue 
the resolution of the neighboring tribes. The unfortunate 
chieftain saw himself daily stripped of powder, and his 
ranks rapidly thinning around him. Some were suborned 
by the whites; others fell victims to hunger and fatigue, 
and to the frequent attacks by which they were harassed. 
His stores were all captured; his chosen friends were swept 
away from before his eyes; his uncle was shot down by 
his side; his sister was carried into captivity; and in one 
of his narrow escapes he was compelled to leave his beloved 
wife and only son to the mercy of the enemy. "His ruin," 
says the historian, " being thus gradually carried on, his 
misery was not prevented, but augmented thereby; being 
himself made acquainted with the sense and experimental 
feeling of the captivity of his children, loss of friends, 
slaughter of his subjects, bereavement of all family rela- 
tions, and being stripped of all outward comforts, before 
his own life should be taken away." 

To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own fol- 
lowers began to plot against his life, that by sacrificing 
him they might purchase dishonorable safety. Through 



254 THB BKETCH-BOOK. 

treachery, a number of his faithful adlierents, the subjects 
of Wetamoe, an Indian princess of Pocasset, a near kins- 
woman and confederate of Philip, were betrayed into the 
hands of the enemy. Wetamoe was among them at the 
time, and attempted to make her escape by crossing a 
neighboring river: either exhausted by swimming, or 
starved with cold and hunger, she was found dead and 
naked near the water side. But persecution- ceased not at 
the grave : even death, the refuge of the wretched, where 
the wicked commonly cease from troubling, was no pro- 
tection to this outcast female, wiiose great crime was affec- 
tionate fidelity to her kinsman and her friend. Her corpse 
was the object of unmanly and dastardly vengeance; the 
head was severed from the body and set upon a pole, and 
was thus exposed, at Taunton, to the view of her captive 
subjects. They immediately recognized the features ol 
their unfortunate queen, and were so affected at this bar- 
barous spectacle, that we are told they broke forth into 
the "most horrid and diabolical lamentations. "i^ 

However Philip had borne up against the complicated 
miseries and misfortunes that surrounded him, the treach- 
ery of his followers seemed to wring his heart and reduce 
him to despondency. It is said that " he never rejoiced 
afterward, nor had success in any of his designs." The 
spring of hope was broken — the ardor of enterpi-ise was 
extinguished : he looked around, and all Avas danger and 
darkness; there was no eye to pity, nor any arm that could 
bring deliverance. With a scanty band of followers, who 
still remained true to his desperate fortunes, the unhappy 
Philip wandered back to the vicinity of Mount Hope, the 
ancient dwelling of his fathers. Here he lurked about, 
like a spectre, among the scenes of former power and pros- 
perity, now bereft of home, of family, and friend. There 
needs no better picture of his destitute and piteous situa- 
tion, than that furnished by the homely pen of the chron- 
icler, who is unwarily enlisting the feelings of the reader 
in favor of the hapless warrior whom he reviles. " Philip," 
he says, "like a savage wild beast, having been hunted by 
the English forces through the woods above a hundred 
miles backward and forward, at last was driven to his own 
den upon Mount Hope, where he retired, Avith a few of his 
best friends, into a swamp, which proved but a prison to 



PHILIP OF POKANOKET. 355 

keep liim fast till the messengers of death came by divine 
permission to execute vengeance upon him." 

Even at this last refuge of desperation and despair, a 
sullen grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture 
him to ourselves seated among his care-worn followers, 
brooding in silence over his blasted fortunes, and acquir- 
ing a savage sublimity from the wildness and dreariness of 
his lurking-place. Defeated, but not dismayed — crushed 
to the earth, but not humiliated — he seemed to grow more 
haughty beneath disaster, and to experience a fierce satis- 
faction in draining the last dregs of bitterness. Little 
minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great 
minds rise above it. The very idea of submission awak- 
ened the fury of Philip, and he smote to death one of his 
followers, who proposed an expedient of jjeace. The 
brother of the victim made his escape, and in revenge be- 
trayed the retreat of his chieftain. A body of white men 
and Indians were immediately despatched to the swamp 
where Philip lay crouched, glaring with fury and despair. 
Before he was aware of their approach, they had begun 
to surround him. In a little while he saw five of his trus- 
tiest followers laid dead at his feet; all resistance was vain; 
he rushed forth from his covert, and made a headlong at- 
tempt at escape, but was shot through the heart by a ren- 
egado Indian of his own nation. 

Such is the scanty story of the brave, but unfortunate 
King Philip; persecuted while living, slandered and dis- 
honored when dead. If, however, we consider even the 
prejudiced anecdotes furnished us by his enemies, we may 
perceive in them traces of amiable and lofty character, 
sufficient to awakeji sympathy for his fate and respect for 
his memory. We find, that amidst all the harassing cares 
and ferocious passions of constant warfare, he was alive to 
the softer feelings of connubial love and paternal tender- 
ness, and to the generous sentiment of friendship. The 
captivity of his *' beloved wife and only son " is mentioned 
with exultation, as causing him poignant misery : the death 
of any near friend is triumphantly recorded as a new blow 
on his sensibilities; but the treachery and desertion of 
many of his followers, in whose affections he had confided, 
is said to have desolated his heart, and to have bereaved 
him of all farther comfort. He was a patriot, attached to 



^56 ^HE SKETCH BOOK. 

his natiA'e soil — a prince true to his subjects, and indignant 
of their Avrongs — a soklier, daring in battle, tirm in adver- 
sity, patient of fatigue, of hunger, of ever}- variety of bod- 
ily suifering, and ready to perish in the cause he had es- 
poused. Proud of heart, and with an untamable love of 
natural liberty, he preferred to enjoy it among the beasts 
of the forests, or in the dismal and famished recesses of 
swamps and morasses, rather than bow his hauglity spirit 
to submission, and live dependent and despised in the ease 
and luxury of the settlements. With heroic qualities and 
bold achievements that would have graced a civilized war- 
rior, and have rendered him the theme of the poet and the 
historian, he lived a wanderer and a fugitive in his native 
land, and went down, like a lonely bark, foundering amid 
darkness and tempest — without a pitying eye to weep his 
fall, or a friendly hand to record his struggle. 



JOHN BULL. 



An old song, made liy an aged old pate. 

Of an old worshipful gentleman wlio had a great estate, 

That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate, 

And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate. 

With an old study filled full of learned old boolcs. 

With an old reverend chaplain, .\'ou nnglit know him by his looks, 

With an old buttery-hatch worn quite off the hooks, 

And an old kitchen that maintained half a dozen old cooks. 

Like an old courtier, etc.- Old Song. 

There is no species of humor in which the English more 
excel, than that which consists in caricaturing and giving 
ludicrous appellations or nicknames. In this way they 
have whimsically designated, not merely individuals, but 
nations; and in their fondness for pushing a joke, they 
have not spared even themselves. One would think that, 
in personifying itself, a nation would be a|3t to picture 
something grand, heroic, and imposing; but it is charac- 
teristic of the peculiar humor of the English, and of their 
love for what is blunt, comic, and familiar, that they have 
embodied their national oddities in the figure of a sturdy, 
corpulent old fellow, with a three-cornered hat, red waist- 
coat, leather breeches, and stout oaken cudgel. Thus 
they have taken a singular delight in exhibiting their 



JOHN BULL. 25r 

most private foibles in a laugliable point of view; and have 
been so successful in their delineation, tliat there is 
scarcely a being in actual existence more absolutely present 
to the public mind, than that eccentric personage, John 
Bull. 

Perhaps the continual contemplation of the character 
thus drawn of them, has contributed to fix it upon the na- 
tion; and thus to give reality to what at first may have 
been painted in a great measure from the imngination. 
Men are apt to ac(piire peculiarities that are continuall}^ 
ascribed to them. The common orders of English seem 
wonderfully captivated with the beau ideal which they 
have formed of John Bull, and endeavor to act up to the 
broad caricature that is perpetually before their eyes. 
Unluckily, they sometimes make their boasted Bull-ism an 
apology for their jarejudice or grossness; and this I have 
especially noticed among those trul}^ homebred and genu- 
ine sons of the soil who have never migrated beyond the 
sound of Bow-bells. If one of these should be a little un- 
couth in speech, and ajit to utter impertinent truths, he 
confesses that he is a real John Bull, and always speaks his 
mind. If he now and then flies into an unreasonable burst 
of passion ' about trifles, he observes that John Bull is a 
choleric old blade, but then his passion is over in a mo- 
ment, and he bears no malice. If he betrays a coarseness 
of taste, and an insensibility to foreign refinements, he 
thanks Heaven for his ignorance — he is a plain John Bull, 
and has no relish for frippery and knick-knacks. His 
very proneness to be gulled by straiigers, and to pay ex- 
travagantly for absurdities, is excused under the plea of 
munificence — for John is always more generous than wise. 

Thus, under the name of John Bull, he will contrive to 
argue every fault into a merit, and will frankly convict 
himself of being the honestest fellow in existence. 

However little, therefore, the character may have suited 
in the first instance, it has gradually adapted itself to the 
nation, or rather they have adapted tliemselves to each 
other; and a stranger who wishes to study English pecu- 
liarities, may gather much valuable information from the 
innumerable portraits of John Bull, as exhibited in the 
windows of the caricature-shops. Still, however, he is one 
of those fertile humorists, that are continually throwing 
17 



258 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

out new portraits, and presenting different aspects from 
different points of view; and, often as he has been de- 
scribed, I cannot resist the temi:)tation to give a slight 
sketch of him, such as he has met my eye. 

John Bull, to all appearance, is a plain downright mat- 
ter-of-fact fellow, with much less poetry about him than 
rich prose. There is little of romance in his na'ture, but 
a vast deal of strong natural feeling. He excels in humor 
more than in wit; is jolly rather than gay; melancholy 
rather than morose ; can easily be moved to a sudden tear. 
or surprised into a broad laugh; but he loathes sentiment, 
and has no turn for light pleasantry. He is a boon com- 
panion, if you allow him to have his humor, and to talk 
about himself; and he will stand by a friend in a quarrel, 
with life and purse, however soundly he may be cud- 
gelled. 

In this last respect, to tell the truth, he has a propensity 
to be somewhat too ready. He is a busy-minded personage, 
who thinks not merely for himself and famil}-, but for all 
the country round, and is most generally disposed to be 
everybody's champion. He is continually volunteering 
his services to settle his neighbors affairs, and takes it in 
great dudgeon if they engage in any matter of consequence 
without asking his advice; though he seldom engages in 
any friendly office of the kind without finishing by getting 
into a squabble with all parties and then railing bitterly 
at their ingratitude. He unluckily took lessons in his 
youth in the noble science of defence, and having accom- 
plished himself in the use of his limbs and his weapons, 
and become a perfect master at boxing and cudgel-play, he 
has had a troublesome life of it ever since. He cannot 
hear of a quarrel between the most distant of his neighbors; 
but he begins incontinently to fumble with the head of 
his cudgel, and consider wdiether his interest or honor does 
not require that he should meddle in the broil. Indeed 
he has extended his relations of j^ride and policy so com- 
pletely over the whole country, that no event can take 
place, without infringing some of his finely-spun rights 
and dignities. Couched in his little domain, with these 
filaments stretching forth in every direction, he is like 
some choleric, bottle-bellied old spider, who has woven his 
web over a whole chamber, so that a fly cannot buzz, nor a 



JOHN BULL. 259 

breeze blow, without startling his repose, and causing him 
to sally foi'th wrathfully from his den. 

Though really a good-hearted, good-tempered old fellow 
at bottom, yet he is singularly fond of being in the midst 
of contention. It is one of his peculiarities, however, that 
he only relishes the beginning of an affray; he always goes 
into a fight with- alacrity, but comes out of it grumbling 
even Avhen victorious; and though no one fights with more 
obstinacy to carry a contested point, yet, when the battle 
is over, and he comes to the reconciliation, he is so much 
taken up with the mere sliaking of hands, that he is apt 
to let his antagonist pocket all that they have been quar- 
relling aboat. It is not, therefore, fighting that he ought 
so much to be on his guard against, as making friends. 
It is difficult to cudgel him out of a farthing; but put him 
in a good humor, and you may bargain him out of all the 
money in his pocket. He is like a stout ship, which will 
weather the roughtest storm uninjured, but roll its masts 
overboard in the succeeding calm. 

He is a little fond of playing the magnifico abroad ; of 
pulling out a long purse; flinging his money bravely about 
at boxing-matches, horse-races, cock-fights, and carrying a 
high head among '"gentlemen of the fancy;'" but imme- 
diately after one of these fits of extravagance, he will be 
taken with violent qualms'of economy; stop short at the 
most trivial expenditure ; talk desperately of being ruined 
and brought upon the parish; and in such moods will not 
pay the smallest tradesman's bill without violent alterca- 
tion. He is, in fact, the most punctual and discontented 
paymaster in the world; drawing his coin out of his 
In-eeches pocket with infinite reluctance; paying to the 
uttermost farthing, but accompanying every guinea with 
a growl. 

With all his talk of econom}', however, he is a bountiful 
provider, and a hospitable housekeeper. His economy is 
of a whimsical kind, its chief object being to devise how 
he may afford to be extravagant; for he will begrudge 
himself a beef-steak and pint of port one day, that he may 
roast an ox whole, broacli a hogshead of ale, and treat all 
his neighbors on the next. 

His domestic establishment is enormously expensive: 
not so much from any great outward parade, as from the 



260 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

great consumption of solid beef and pudding; the vast 
number of followers he feeds and clothes; and his singu- 
lur disposition to pay hugely for small services. He is a 
most kind and indulgent master, and, provided his servants 
humor his peculiarities, flatter his vanity a little now and 
then, and do not peculate grossly on him before his face, 
tliey may manage him to perfection. Everything that 
lives on him seems to thrive and grow fat. His house 
servants are well paid, and pampered, and have little to 
do. His horses are sleek and lazy, and prance slowly be- 
fore his state carriage; and his liouse-dogs sleep quietly 
about the door, and will hardly bark at a housebreaker. 

His family mansion is an old castellated manor-house, 
gray with age, and of a most venerable, though weather- 
beaten, ajjpearance. It has been built upon no regular 
plan, but is a vast accumulation of parts, erected in vari- 
ous tastes and ages. The centre bears evident traces of 
Saxon architecture, and is as solid as ponderous stone and 
old English oak can make it. Like all the relics of that 
style, it is full of obscure passages, intricate mazes, and 
dusky chambers; and though these have been partially 
lighted up in modern days, yet there are many places where 
you must still grope in the dark. Additions have been 
nuule to the original edifice from time to time, and great 
alterations have taken place; towers and battlements have 
been erected during wars and tumults; wings built in time 
of peace; and out-houses, lodges, and offices, run up ac- 
cording to the whim or convenience of different genera- 
tions, until it has become one of the most spacious, ram- 
bling tenements imaginable. An entire wing is taken up 
with the family chapel; a reverend pile, that must once 
have been exceedingly sumptuous, and, indeed, in spite of 
having been altered and simplified at various periods, has' 
still a look of solemn religious pomp. Its walls within are ■ 
storied with the monuments of John's ancestors; and it is 
snugly fitted up with soft cushions and well-lined chairs, 
where such of his family as are inclined to church services, 
may doze comfortably in the discharge of their duties. 

To keep up this chapel, has cost John much money; but 
he is stanch in his religion, and piqued in his zeal, from 
the circumstance that many dissenting chapels have been 
erected in his vicinity, and several of his neighbors, with 
whom he has had quarrels, are strong Papists. 



JOHN BULL. 261 

To do the duties of the chapel, he maintains, at a large 
expense, a pious and portly family chaplain. He is a most 
learned and decorous personage, and a truly well-bred 
Christian, Avho always b.icks the old gentleman in his opin- 
ions, winks discreetly at his little peccadilloes, rebukes the 
children when refractory, and is of great use in exhorting 
the tenants to read their Bibles, say their prayers, and, 
above all, to pay their rcntspunctually, and without grum- 
bling. 

The famil}' apartments are in a very antiquated taste, 
somewhat heavy, and often inconvenient, but full of the sol- 
emn magnificence of former times; fitted up with rich, 
though faded tapestry, unwieldy furniture, and loads of 
massy, gorgeous old plate. The vast firej^laces, ample 
kitchens, extensive cellars, and sumptuous banqueting 
halls — all speak of the roaring hospitality of days of yore, 
of which the modern festivity at the manor-house is but a 
shadow. There are, however, complete suites of rooms 
apparently deserted and time-worn; and toAvers and tur- 
rets that are tottering to decay; so that in high winds there 
is danger of their tumbling about the ears of the house- 
hold. 

John has frequently been advised to have the old edifice 
thoroughly overhauled, and to have some of the useless 
parts pulled down, and the others strengthened with their 
materials; but the old gentleman always grows testy on 
this subject. He swears the house is an excellent house — ■ 
that it is tight and weather-proof, and not to be shaken by 
tempests — that it has stood for several hundred years, and 
therefore, is not likely to tumble down now — that as to its 
being inconvenient, his family is accustomed to the incon- 
veniences, and would not be comfortable Avithout them — 
that as to its unwieldy size and irregular construction, 
these result from its being the growth of centuries, and 
being imjiroved by the Avisdom of every generation — that 
an old family, like his, requires a large house to dAvell in; 
new, upstart families may live in modern cottages and 
snug boxes, but an old English family should inhabit an 
old English manor-house, li yon point out any part of 
the building as superfluous, he insists that it is material 
to the strength or decoration of the rest, and the harmony 
of the whole; and SAvears that the })arts are so built into 



263 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

each other that, if you pull down oue you run the risk 
of having the whole about your ears. 

The secret of the matter is, that John has a great dispo- 
sition to protect and patronize. He thinks it indispensa- 
ble to the dignity of an ancient and honorable family, to 
be bounteous in its appointments, and to be eaten up by 
dependents; and so, partly from pride, and partly from 
kind-heartedness, he makes it a rule always to give shelter 
and maintenance to his superanniiated servants. 

The consequence is, that, like many other venerable 
family establishments, his manor is encumbered by old re- 
tainers whom he cannot turn off, and an old style which 
he cannot lay down. His mansion is like a great hosjii- 
tal of invalids, and, with all its magnitude, is not a whit 
too large for its inhabitants. Xot a nook or corner but is 
of use in housing some useless personage. Groups of vet- 
eran beef-eaters, gouty pensioners, and retired heroes of the 
buttery and the larder, are seen lolling about its "walls, 
crawling over its lawns, dozing under its trees, or sunning 
themselves upon the benches at its doors. Every office 
and out-house is garrisoned by these supernumeraries and 
their families; for they are amazingly prolific, and when 
they die off, are sure to leave John a legacy of hungry 
mouths to be provided for. A mattock cannot be struck 
against the most mouldering tumble-down tower, but out 
pops, from some cranny, or loophole, the gray pate of some 
superannuated hanger-on, Avho has lived at John's expense 
all his life and makes the most grievous outcry at their 
pulling down the roof from over the head of a worn-out 
servant of the family. This is an apjjeal that John's hon- 
est heart never can withstand; so that a man who has 
faithfully eaten his beef and pudding all his life is sure to 
be rewarded with a. pipe and tankard in his old days. 

A great part of his pai'k also is turned into paddocks 
where his broken-down chargers are turned loose to graze 
undisturbed for the remainder of their existence — a worthy 
example of grateful recollection which if some of his neigh- 
bors were to imitate would not be to their discredit. In- 
deed it is one of his great pleasures to point out these old 
steeds to 4iis visitors, to dwell on their good qualities, extol 
their past services and boast with some little vainglory of 
the perilous adventures and hardy exploits through which 
they have carried him. 



JOHN BULL. 263 

He is given, however, to indulge his veneration for family- 
usages and family encumbrances to a whimsical extent. 
His manor is infested by gangs of gypsies; yet he will not 
suffer them to be driven off because they have infested the 
place time out of mind and been regular poachers upon 
every generation of the family. He will scarcely permit a 
dry branch to be lopped from the great trees that surround 
the house lest it should molest the rooks that have bred 
there for centuries. Owls have taken possession of the 
dove-cote, but they are hereditary owls and must not be 
disturbed. Swallows have nearly choked up every chimney 
with their nests; martins build in every frieze and cor- 
nice; crows flutter about the towers and perch on every 
weathercock; and old gray-headed rats may be seen in 
every quarter of the house running in and out of their 
holes undauntedly in broad daylight. In short John has 
such a reverence for everything that has been long in the 
family, that he will not hear even of abuses being reformed, 
because they are good old family abuses. 

All these whims and habits have concurred woefully to 
drain the old gentleman's purse; and as he prides himself 
on punctuality in money matters, and wishes to maintain 
his credit in the neighborhood, they have caused him great 
perplexity in meeting his engagements. This, too, has 
been increased by the altercations and heartburnings which 
are continually taking place in his family. His children 
have been brought up to different callings, and are of dif- 
ferent ways of thinking; and as they have always been 
allowed to speak their minds freely, they do not fail to ex- 
ercise the privilege most clamorously in the present post- 
ure of his affairs. Some stand up for the honor of the 
race, and are clear that the old establishment should be 
kept up in all its state, whatever may be the cost; others, 
who are more prudent and considerate, entreat the old 
gentleman to retrench his expenses, and to put his whole 
S3'stem of housekeeping on a more moderate footing. He 
has, indeed, at times seemed inclined to listen to their 
opinions, but their wholesome advice has been cooipletely 
defeated by the obstreperous conduct of one of his sons. 
This is a noisy rattle-pated fellow, of rather low habits, 
who neglects his business to frequent ale-houses — is the 
orator of village clubs, and a complete oracle among the 



264 THE bKETL'H-BooK. 

poorest of his father's tenants. No sooner does he hear 
any of his brothers mention reform or retrenchment, than 
ujj he jnmps, takes the words ont of their mouths, and 
roars out for an overturn. When his tongue is once going, 
nothing can stop it. He rants about the room: hectors 
the old man about his spendthrift practices; ridicules his 
tastes and pursuits; insists that he shall turn the old serv- 
ants out of doors; give the broken-down horses to the 
hounds; send the fat chaplain packing and take a field- 
preacher in his place — nay, that the whole family mansion 
shall be levelled with the ground, and a plain one of brick 
and mortar built in its place. He rails at every social en- 
tertainment and family festivity, and skulks away groAvl- 
ing to the ale-house whenever an equipage drives up to the 
door. Though constantly complaining of the emptiness 
of his purse, yet he scruples not to spend all his pocket- 
money in these tavern convocations, and even runs up 
scores for the liquor over which he preaches about his 
father's extravagance. 

It may readily be imagined how little such thwarting 
agrees with the old cavalier's fiery temperament. He has 
become so irritable, from repeated crossings, that the mere 
mention of retrenchment or reform is a signal for a brawl 
between him and the tavern oracle. As the latter is too 
sturdy and refractory for paternal discipline, having grown 
out of all fear of the cudgel, they have frequent scenes of 
wordy warfare, which at times run so high, that John is 
fain to call in the aid of his son Tom, an officer who has 
served abroad, but is at present living at home, on half- 
pay. This last is sure to stand by the old gentleman, right 
or wrong; likes nothing so much as a racketing roistering 
life; and is ready, at a wink or nod, to out sabre, and flour- 
ish it over the orator's head, if he dares to array himself 
against paternal authority. 

These family dissensions, as usual, have got abroad, and 
are rare food for scandal in John's neighborhood. People 
begin to look wise, and shake their heads, whenever his 
affairs are mentioned. They all ** hope that matters are 
not so bad with him as represented; but when a man's 
own children begin to rail at his extravagance, things must 
be badly managed. They understand he is mortgaged 
over head and ears, and is continually dabbling with 



JOHN BULL. 265 

money-lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gen- 
tleman, but they fear he has lived too fast; indeed, they 
never knew any good come of this fondness for hunting, 
racing, revelling, and prize-fighting. In short, Mr. Bull's 
estate is a very fine one, and has been in the family a long 
while; but for all that, they have known many finer es- 
tates come to the hammer." 

What is worst of all, is the effect which these pecuniary 
embarrassments and domestic feuds have had on the poor 
man himself. Instead of that jolly round corporation, 
and smug rosy face, which he used to present, he has of 
late become as shrivelled and shrunk as a frostbitten apple. 
His scarlet gold-laced waistcoat, which bellied out so 
bravely in those prosperous days when he sailed before the 
wind, now hangs loosely about him like a mainsail in a 
calm. His leather breeches are all in folds and wrinkles; 
and apparently have much ado to hold up the boots that 
yawn on both sides of his once sturdy legs. 

Instead of strutting about, as formerly, with his three- 
cornered hat on one side ; flourishing his cudgel, and bring- 
ing it down every moment with a hearty thump upon the 
ground; looking every one sturdily in the face, and troll- 
ing out a stave of a catch or a drinking song; he now goes 
about whistling thoughtfully to himself, with his head 
drooping down, his cudgel tucked under his arm, and his 
hands thrust to the bottom of his breeches pockets, which 
are evidently empty. 

Such is the plight of honest John Bull at present; yet 
for all this, the old fellow's spirit is as tall and as gallant 
as ever. If you drop the least expression of sympathy or 
concern, he takes fire in an instant; swears that he is the 
richest and stoutest fellow in the country; talks of laying 
out large sums to adorn his house or to buy another es- 
tate; and, with a valiant swagger and grasping of his cud- 
gel, longs exceedingly to have another bout at quarterstaff. 

Though there may be something rather whimsical in all 
this, yet I confess I cannot look upon John's situation 
without strong feelings of interest. With all his odd hu- 
mors and obstinate i^rejudices he is a sterling-hearted old 
blade. Ho may not be so wonderfully fine u fellow as he 
thinks himself, but he is at least twice as good as his neigh- 
bors represent him. His virtues are all liis own; all plain, 



266 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

homebred, and unaffected. His very faults smack of the 
raciness of his good qualities. His extravagance savors of 
his generosity; his quarrelsomeness, of his courage; his 
credulity, of his open faith; his vanity, of his pride; and 
his bluntness, of his sincerity. They are all the redundan- 
cies of a rich and liberal character. He is like his own 
oak; rough without, but sound and solid within; whose 
bark abounds with excrescences in proportion to the growth 
and grandeur of the timber; and whose branches make a 
fearful groaning and murmuring in the least storm, from 
their very magnitude and luxuriance. There is something, 
too, in the appearance of his old family mansion, that is 
extremely poetical and pictures(|ue; and, as long as it can 
be rendered comfortably habitable, I should almost trem- 
ble to see it meddled with during the present conflict of 
tastes and opinions. Some of his advisers are no doubt 
good architects, that might be of service; but many, I 
fear, are mere levellers, who, when they had once got to 
work with their mattocks on the venerable edifice, would 
never stop until they had brought it to the ground, aiul 
perhaps buried themselves among the ruins. All that I 
wish, is, that John's present troubles may teach him more 
prudence in future; that he may cease to distress his mind 
about other people's affairs; that he may give up the fruit- 
less attempt to promote the good of his neighbors, and 
the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of the cud- 
gel; that he may remain quietly at home; gradually get 
his house into repair: cultivate his rich estate according 
to his fancy; husband his income— if he thinks proper; 
bring his unruly children into order — if he can; renew the 
jovial scenes of ancient prosperity ; and long enjoy, on his 
paternal lands, a green, an honorable, and a merry old age. 



THE PRIDE OF THE VILLAGE. 

May no wolf howle ; uo soreech-owle stir 

A wing about tliy sepulchre 1 

No boysterous winds or stormes come hither, 

To starve or wither 
Thy soft sweet earth I but. like a spring, 
Love keep it ever flourishing.— Herrick. 

In the course of an excursion through one of the remote 
counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross- 



THE PRIDE OF THE VILLAGE. 267 

roads that lead through the more secluded parts of the 
country, and stopjDed one afternoon at a village, the situa- 
tion of which was beautifully rural and retired. There 
was an air of primitive simplicity about its inhabitants, 
not to be found in the villages which lie on the great coach- 
roads. I determined to pass the night there, and having 
taken an early dinner, strolled out to enjoy the neighbor- 
ing scenery. 

My ramble, as is usually the case with travellers, soon 
led me to the church, which stood at a little distance from 
the village. Indeed, it was an object of some curiosity, its 
old tower being comj^letely overrun with ivy, so that only 
here and there a jutting buttress, an angle of gray wall, or 
a fantastically carved ornament, peered through the ver- 
dant covering. It was a lovely evening. The early part 
of the day had been dark and showery, but in the after- 
noon it had cleared up; and though sullen clouds still hung 
overhead, yet there was a broad tract of golden sky in the 
west, from which the setting sun gleamed through the 
dripping leaves, and lit up all nature into a melancholy 
smile. It seemed like the parting hour of a good Chris- 
tian, smiling on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giv- 
ing, in the serenity of his decline, an assurance that he will 
rise again in glory. 

I had seated myself on a half-sunken tombstone, and was 
musing, as one is apt to do at this sober-thoughted hour, 
on past scenes, and early friends — on those who were dis- 
tant, and those who were dead — and indulging in that kind 
of melancholy fancying, which has in it something sweeter 
even than pleasure. Every now and then, the stroke of a 
bell from the neighboring tower fell on my ear; its tones 
were in unison witli the scene, aiid instead of jarring, 
chimed in with my feelings; and it was some time before 
I recollected, that it must be tolling the knell of some new 
tenant of the tomb. 

Presently I saw a funeral train moving, across the village 
green; it wound slowly along a lane; was lost, and reap- 
peared tlirough the breaks of the hedges, until it passed 
the place where I was sitting. The pall was supported by 
young girls, dressed in white; and another, al)out the age 
of seventeen, walked before, bearing a chaplet of white 
flowers: a token that tlu' deceased was a young aixl uu- 



268 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

married female. The corpse was followed by the parents. 
They were a venerable couple, of the better order of peas- 
antry. The father seemed to repress his feelings; but his 
fixed eye, contracted brow, and deej^ly-furrowed face, 
showed the struggle that was passing within. His wife 
hung on his arm, and wept aloud with the convulsive 
\ bursts of a mother's sorrow. 

; I followed the funeral into the church. The bier was 
placed in the centre aisle, and the chaplet of white flowers, 
with a pair of white gloves, were hung over the seat which 
the deceased had occupied. 

Every one knows the soul-subduing pathos of the funeral 
service; for who is so fortunate as never to have followed 
some one he has loved to the tomb ? but when performed 
over the remains of innocence and beauty, thus laid low 
in the bloom of existence — what can be more affecting ? 
At that simple, but most solemn consignment of the body 
to the grave — "Earth to earth — ashes to ashes — dust to 
dust!" the tears of the youthful companions of the de- 
ceased flowed unrestrained. The father still seemed to 
struggle with his feelings, and to comfort himself with 
the assurance, that the dead are blessed which die in the 
Lord : but the mother only thought of her child as a flower 
of the field, cut down and withered in the midst of its 
sweetness: she was like Rachel, "mourning over her chil- 
dren, and would not be comforted." 

On returning to the inn, I learnt the whole story of tlie 
deceased. It was a simple one, and such as has often been 
told. She had been the beauty and pride of the village. 
Her father had once been an opulent farmer, but was re- 
duced in circumstances. This was an only child, and 
brought up entirely at home, in the simplicity of rural life. 
She had been the pupil of the village pastor, the favorite 
lamb of his little flock. The good man watched over her 
education with paternal care; it was limited, and suitable 
to the sphere in which she was to move; for he only sought 
to make her an ornament to her station in life, not to raise 
her above it. The tenderness and indulgence of her 
parents, and the exemption from all ordinary occupations, 
had fostered a natural grace and delicacy of character that 
accorded with the fragile loveliness of her form. She ap- 
peared like some tender plant of the garden, blooming ac- 
cidentally amid the hardier natives of the fields. 



THE PRIDE OB' THE VILLAblE. ;369 

Tlie superiority of her charms was felt and acknowl- 
edged by her companions, but without envy; for it was 
surpassed by the unassuming gentleness and winning 
kindness of her manners. It might be truly said of her: 

"This is the prettiest low-boni lass, that ever 
Ran on the greensward : nothing she does or seems, 
But smacks of something greater than herself ; 
Too noble for this place."' 

The village was one of those sequestered spots, which 
still retain some vestiges of old English customs. It had 
its rural festivals and holiday pastimes, and still kept up 
some faint observance of the once popular rites of May. 
These, indeed, had been promoted by its present pastor; 
who was a lover of old customs, and one of those simple 
Christians that think their mission fulfilled by ijromoting 
joy on earth and good-will among mankind. Under his 
auspices the May-pole stood from year to year in the cen- 
tre of the village green; on May-day it was decorated with 
garlands and streamers ; and a queen or lady of the ^la}' 
was appointed, as in former times, to preside at the sports, 
and distribute the prizes and rewards. The picturesque 
situation of the village, -and the fancifulness of its rustic 
fetes, would often attract the notice of casual visitors. 
Among these, on one May-day, was a young officer, whose 
regiment had been recently quartered in the neighborhood. 
He was charmed with the native taste that pervaded this 
village pageant; but, above all, with the dawning loveli- 
ness of the queen of Ma}'. It was the village favorite, who 
was crowned with flowers, and blushing and smiling in all 
the beautiful confusion of girlish diffidence and delight. 
The artlessness of rural habits enabled him readily to make 
her acquaintance; he gradually won his way to her inti- 
macy; and paid his court to her in that unthinking way 
in which young officers are too apt to trifle with rustic 
simplicity. 

There was nothing in his advances to startle or alarm. 
He never even talked of love: but there are modes of mak- 
ing it, more eloquent than language, and which convey it 
subtilely and irresistibly to the heart. The beam of the 
eye, the tone of the voice, the thousand tendernesses which 
emanate from every word, and look, and action — these 
form the true eloquence of love, and can always be felt and 
understood, but never described. Can we wonder that 



§70 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

tliey should readily win a heart, young, guileless, and sus- 
ceptible ? As to her, she loved almost unconsciously; she 
scarcely inquired what was the growing passion that was 
absorbing every thought and feeling, or what were to be 
its consequences. She^ indeed, looked not to the future. 
When present, his looks and words occupied her whole at- 
tention ; when absent, she thought but of what had passed 
at their recent interview. She would wander with him 
through the green lanes and rural scenes of the vicinity. 
He taught her to see new beauties in nature; he talked in 
the language of polite and cultivated life, and breathed 
into her ear the witcheries of romance and poetry. 

Perhaps there could not have been a passion, between 
the sexes, more pure than this innocent girl's. The gal- 
lant figure of her youthful admirer, and the splendor of 
his military attire, might at first have charmed her eye; 
but it was not these that had captivated her heart. Her 
attachment had something in it of idolatry; she looked u]) 
to him as to a being of a superior order. 8he felt in his 
society the enthusiasm of a mind naturally delicate and 
poetical, and now first awakened to a keen perception of 
the beautiful and grand. Of the sordid distinctions of 
rank and fortune, she thought nothing; it was the differ- 
ence of intellect, of demeanor, of manners, from tliose of 
the rustic society to whi(;h she had been accustomed, that 
elevated him in her opinion. She would listen to him 
with charmed ear and downcast look of mute delight, and 
her cheek would mantle with enthusiasm : or if ever she 
ventured a shy glance of timid admiration, it was as quickly 
withdrawn, and she would sigli and blush at the idea of 
her comparative unworthiness. 

Her lover was equally impassioned; but his passion was 
mingled with feelings of a coarser nature. He had begun 
the connection in levity; for he had often heard his brother 
officers boast of theirVillage conquests, and thought some 
triumph of the kind necessary to his reputation as a man 
of spirit. But he was too full of youthful fervor. His 
heart had not yet been rendered sufficiently cold and self- 
ish by a wandering and a dissipated life: it caught fire 
from the very flame it sought to kindle ; and before he 
was aware of the nature of his situation, he became really 
in love. 



THE PRTDE OF THE VILLAGE. 2tl 

What was he to do ? There were the old obstacles which 
so incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His 
rank in life — the prejudices of titled comiections — his de- 
pendence upon a proud and unyielding father — all forbade 
him to think of matrimony: — but when he looked down 
upon this innocent being, so tender and confiding, there 
was a purity in her manners, a blamelessness in her life, 
and a bewitching modesty in her looks, that awed down 
every licentious feeling. In vaia did he try to fortify him- 
self, by a thousand heartless examples of -men of fashion, 
and to chill the glow of generous sentiment, with that cool 
derisive levity with which he had heard them talk of fe- 
male virtue; whenever he came into her presence, she Avas 
still surrounded by that mysterious, but imj)assive charm 
of virgin purity, in whose hallowed sphere no guilty 
thought can live. 

The sudden arrival of orders for the regiment to repair 
to the continent, com^jleted the confusion of his mind. 
He remained for a short time in a state of the most pain- 
ful irresolution; he hesitated to communicate the tidings, 
until the day for marching was at hand; when he gave her 
the intelligence in the course of an evening ramble. 

The idea of parting had never before occurred to her. 
It broke in at once upon her dream of felicity; she looked 
upon it as a sudden and insurmountable evil, and wept 
with the guileless simplicity of a child. He drew her to 
his bosom and kissed the tears from he-r soft cheek, nor 
did he meet with a repulse, for there are moments of min- 
gled sorrow and tenderness, which hallow the caresses of 
affection. He was naturally impetuous, and the sight of 
beauty apparently yielding in his arms, the confidence of 
his power over her, and the dread of losing her forever, 
all consiDired to overwhelm his better feelings — he ven- 
tured to proj)Ose that she should leave her home, and be 
the companion of his fortunes. 

He was quite a novice in seduction, and blushed and 
faltered at his own baseness; but, so innocent of mind Avas 
his intended victim, that she was at first at a loss to com- 
prehend his meaning; — and why she should leave her na- 
tive village, and the humble roof of her parents. When 
at last the nature of his proposals flashed upon her pure 
mind, the effect was withering. She did not weep — she 



^72 THE SKETCH-liOOK. 

did not break forth into reproaches — she said not a word 
— but she shrank back aghast as from a viper, gave him a 
look of anguish that pierced to his very soul, and" clasping 
her hands in agony, fled, as if for refuge, to her father's 
cottage. 

The officer retired, confounded, humiliated, and repent- 
ant. It is uncertain Avhat might have been the result of 
the conflict of his feelings, had not his thoughts been di- 
verted by the bustle of departure. New scenes, ncAV pleas- 
ures, and new companions, soon dissipated his self-reproach, 
and stifled his tenderness. Yet, amid the stir of camps, 
the revelries of garrisons, the array of armies, and even 
the din of battles, his thoughts would sometimes steal back 
to the scenes of rural quiet and village simplicity — the 
white cottage — the footpath along the silver brook and up 
the hawthorn hedge, and the little village maid loitering 
along it, leaning on his arm and listening to him with eyes 
beaming with unconscious affection. 

The shock which the poor girl had received, in the de- 
struction of all her ideal world, had indeed been cruel. 
Paintings and hysterics had at first shaken her tender frame 
and were succeeded by a settled and pining melancholy. 
Slie had beheld from her window the march of the depart- 
ing troops. She hud seen her faithless lover borne off, as 
if in triumph, amid the sound of drum and trumpet and 
the pomp of arms. 8he strained a last aching gaze after 
him, as the morning sun glittered about his figure, and his 
plume waved in the breeze; he jDassed away like a bright 
vision from her sight, and left her all in darkness. 

It would be trite to dwell on the particulars of her after- 
story. It was like other tales of love, melancholy. She 
avoided society, and wandered out alone in the walks she 
had most frequented with her lover. She sought, like the 
stricken deer, to weep in silence and loneliness, and brood 
over the barbed sorrow that rankled in her soul. Some- 
times she would be seen late of an evening sitting in the 
porch of a village church; and the milk-maids, returning 
from the fields, would now and then overhear her, singing 
some plaintive ditty in the hawthorn walk. She became 
fervent in her devotions at church; and as the old people 
saw her approach, so wasted away, yet with a hectic bloom, 
and that hallowed air which melancholy diffuses round the 



THE PRIDE OF THE VILLAGE. 273 

form, they would muke way for her, us for sometliing spir- 
itual, and, looking after her, would shake their heads in 
gloomy foreboding. 

She felt a conviction that she was hastening to the tomb, 
but looked forward to it as a place of rest. The silver 
cord that had bound her to existence was loosed, and there 
seemed to be no more pleasure under the sun. If ever her 
gentle bosom had entertainedresentmentagainst her lover, 
it was extinguished. She was incapable of angry passions, 
and in a moment of saddened tenderness she penned him 
a farewell letter. It was couched in the simplest language, 
but touching from its very simplicity. She told him that 
she was dying, and did not conceal from him that his con- 
duct was the cause. She even depicted the sufferings 
which she had experienced; but concluded with saying, 
that she could not die in peace, until she had sent him her 
forgiveness and her blessing. 

By degrees her strength declined, and she could no 
longer leave the cottage. She could only totter to the 
window, where, propped up in her chair, it was her enjoy- 
ment to sit all day and look out upon the landscape. Still 
she uttered no complaint, nor imparted to any one the 
rnalady that was preying on her heart. She never even 
mentioned her lover's name; but would lay her head on 
her mother's bosom and weep in silence. Her poor par- 
ents hung, in mute anxiety, over this fading blossom of 
their hopes, still flattering themselves that it might again 
revive to freshness, and that the bright unearthly bloom 
which sometimes flushed her cheek, might be the promise 
of returning health. 

In this way she was seated between them one Sunday 
afternoon; her hands were clasped in theirs, the lattice 
was thrown oj)en, and the soft air that stole in, brought 
with it the fragrance of the clustering honeysuckle, which 
her own ha7ids had trained round the window. 

Her father had just been reading a chapter in the Bible; 
it spoke of the vanity of worldly things, and the joys of 
heaven; it seemed to have dift'used comfort and serenity 
through her bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant 
village church — the bell had tolled for the evening service 
— the last villager was lagging into the porch — and every 
thing had sunk into that hallowed stillness peculiar to the 
iS 



274 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

(lay of rest. Her parents were gazing on her with yearn- 
ing hearts. Sickness and sorrow, which pass so roughly 
over some faces, had given to hers the expression of a 
seraph's. A tear trembled in her soft blue eye. Was she 
thinking of her faithless lover! or were her thoughts 
wandering to that distant churchyard, into whose bosom 
she might soon be gathered ?. 

Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard — a horseman 
galloped to the cottage — he dismounted before the win- 
dow — the poor girl gave a faint exclamation, and sank 
back in her chair: it was her repentant lover! He rushed 
into the house, and flew to clasp her to his bosom; but 
her wasted form — her death-like countenarfce— so wan, 
yet so lovely in its desolation — smote him to the soul, and 
he threw himself in an agony at her feet. She was too 
faint to rise — she attempted to extend her trembling hand 
— her lips moved as if she spoke, but no word was articu- 
lated — she looked down upon him with a smile of un- 
utterable tenderness, and closed her eyes forever. 

Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village 
story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have but 
little novelty to recommend them. In the present rage 
also for strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they 
may appear trite and insignificant, but they interested me 
strongly at the time; and, taken in connection with the 
affecting ceremony which I had just witnessed, left a 
deeper impression on my mind than many circumstances 
of a more striking nature. I have passed through the 
place since, and visited the church again from a better 
motive than mere curiosity. It was a wintry evening; 
the trees were stripped of their foliage; the churchyard 
looked naked and mournful, and the wind rustled coldly 
tlirough the dry grass. Evergreens, however, had been 
planted about the grave of the village favorite, and osiers 
were bent over it to keep the turf uninjured. The church- 
door was open, and I stej^ped in. There hung the chaplet 
of flowers and the gloves, as on the day of the funeral : 
the flowers were withered, it is true, but care seemed to 
have been taken that no dust should soil their whiteness. 
I have seen many monuments, wdiere art has exhausted 
its powers to awaken the sympathy of the si^octator; but 
I have met with none that spoke more touchingly to my 



^FHE ANOLER. 2t5 

iieart, than this simple, but delicate memento to departed 
innocence. 



THE ANGLER. 

This day dame Nature seemed in love, 
The lusty sap began to move, 
Fresh juice ditl stir th' embracing vines, 
And birds hail drawn their valentines. 
The jealous trout that low did lie. 
Rose at a well dissembled fly. 
There stood my friend, with patient skill, 
* Attending of his trembling quill.— Sir H. Wotton. 

It is said that many an unlucky urchin is induced to 
run away from his family, and betake himself to a seafar- 
ing life, from reading the history of Eobinson Crusoe; 
and I suspect that, in like manner, many of those worthy 
gentlemen, who are given to haunt the sides of pastoral 
streams with angle-rods in hand, may trace the origin of 
their passion to the seductive pages of honest Izaak Wal- 
ton. I recollect studying his " Complete Angler " several 
years since, in company with a knot of friends in America, 
and, moreover, that we were all completely bitten with the 
angling mania. It was early in the year; but as soon as 
the weather was auspicious, and that the spring began to 
melt into the verge of summer, we took rod in hand, and 
sallied into the country, as stark mad as was ever Don 
Quixote from reading books of chivalry. 

One of our party had equalled the Don in the fulness 
of his equipments; being attired cap-a-pie for the enter- 
prise. He wore a broad-skirted fustian coat, perplexed 
with half a hundred pockets; a pair of stout shoes, and 
leathern gaiters; a basket slung on one side for fish; a 
patent rod; a landing net, and a score of other incon- 
veniences only to be found in the true angler's armory. 
Thus harnessed for the field, he was as great a matter of 
stare and wonderment among the country folk, who had 
never seen a regular angler, as was the steel-clad hero of 
La Mancha among the goat-herds of the Sierra Morena. 

Our first essay was along a mountain brook, among the 
highlands of the Hudson — a most unfortunate place for 
the execution or those piscatory tactics which had been 



^7G THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

invented along the velvet margins of quiet English rivu- 
lets. It was one of those wild streams that lavish, among 
our romantic solitudes, unheeded beauties, enough to fill 
the sketch-book of a hunter of the picturesque. Some- 
times it would leap down rocky shelves, making small 
cascades, over which the trees threw their broad balancing 
sprays; and long nameless weeds hung in fringes from 
the impending banks, dripping with diamond drops. 
Sometimes it would brawl and fret along a ravine in the 
matted shade of a forest, filling it with murmurs; and 
after this termagant career, would steal forth into open 
day, with the most placid demure face imaginable; as I 
have seen some pestilent shrew of a housewife, after filling 
her home with uproar and ill-humor, come dimpling out 
of doors, swimming, and courtesying, and smiling upon 
all the world. 

How smoothly would this vagrant brook glide, at such 
times, through some bosom of green meadow land, among 
the mountains; where the quiet was only interrupted by 
the occasional tinkling of a bell from the lazy cattle among 
the clover, or the sound of a wood-cutter's axe from the 
neighboring forest ! 

For my part, I was always a bungler at all kinds of 
sport that required either patience or adroitness, and had 
not angled above half an hour, before I had completely 
"satisfied the sentiment," and convinced myself of the 
truth of Izaak Walton's opinion, that angling is something 
like poetry— a man must be born to it. I hooked myself 
instead of the fish; tangled my line in every tree; lost 
my bait; broke my rod; until I gave up the attemj)t in 
despair, and passed the day under the trees, reading old 
Izaak: satisfied that it was his fascinating vein of honest 
simplicity and rural feeling that had bewitched me, and 
not the jjassion for angling. My companions, however, 
were more persevering in their delusion. I have them 
at this moment before my eyes, stealing along the border 
of the brook, where it lay open to the day, or was merely 
fringed by shrubs and bushes. I see the bittern rising 
with hollow scream, as they break in upon his rarely- 
invaded haunt; the kingfisher Avatching them suspiciously 
from his dry tree that overhangs the deep black mill-pond, 
in the gorge of the hills ; the tortoise letting himself slip 



THE ANGLER. Til 

sideways from off the stone or log on which he is sunning 
himself: and the panic-struck frog plumping in headlong 
as they approach, and sj^reading an alarm throughout the 
watery world around. 

I recollect, also, that, after toiling and watching and 
creeping about for the grei'ter part of a day, Avitli scarceh' 
any success, in spite of all our admirable apparatus, a 
lubberly country urchin came down from the hills, with a 
rod made from a branch of a tree; a few yards of twine; 
and, as heaven shall help me ! I believe a crooked ])'m for 
a hook, baited with a vile earth-worm — and in half an 
hour caught more fish than we had nibbles throughout 
the day. 

But above all, I recollect the '* good, honest, wholesome, 
hungry" repast, which we made under a beech-tree just 
by a spring of pure sweet water, that stole out of the side 
of a hill; and how, when it was over, one of the party 
read old Izaak Walton's scene with the milkmaid, while I 
lay on the grass and built castles in a bright pile of clouds, 
until I feel asleep. All this may i!pi)ear like mere egotism : 
yet I cannot refrain from uttering these recollections 
which are passing like a strain of music over my mind and 
have been called up by an agreeable scene Avhich I wit- 
nessed not long since. 

In a morning's stroll along the banks of the Alun, a 
beautiful little stream which flows down from the Welsh 
hills and throws itself into the Dee, my attention was at- 
tracted to a group seated on the margin. On approaching, 
I found it to consist of a veteran angler and two rustic 
disciples. The former was an old fellow with a wooden 
leg, with clothes very much, but very carefully patched, 
betokening poverty, honestly come by, and decently main- 
tained. His face bore the marks of former storms, but 
present fair weather; its furrows had been worn into a 
habitual smile; his iron-gray locks hung about his ears, 
and he had altogether the good-humored air of a constitu- 
tional philosopher, who Avas disposed to take the Avorld as 
it went. One of his companions was a ragged wight, witli 
the skulking look of an arrant poacher, and I'll warrant 
could find his way to any gentleman's fish-pond in the 
neighborhood in the darkest night. Tlie other was a 
tall, awkward, country lad, with a lounging gait, and ap- 



278 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

parent!}' somewhat of a rustic beau. The old man was 
busied examining the maw of a trout which he had Just 
killed, to discover by its contents what insects were sea- 
sonable for bait: and was lecturing on the subject to his 
companions, who appeared to listen with infinite defer- 
once. I have a kind feeling toward all '* brothers of the 
Hngle," ever since I read Izaak AValton. They are men, 
he affirms, of a " mild, sweet, and peaceable spirit; " and 
my esteem for them has been increased since I met with 
an old " Tretyse of fishing with the Angle," in which are 
set forth many of the maxims of their inoffensive fra- 
ternity. " Take goode hede," sayth this honest little tre- 
tyse, " that in going about your disportes ye oijen no man's 
gates, but 3'e shet them again. Also ye shall not use this 
foresaid crafti disport for no covetousness to the increas- 
ing and sparing of your money only, but principally for 
your solace and to cause the helth of your body and 
specyally of your soule." ^ 

I thought that I could jjerceive in the veteran angler 
before me an exemplification of what I had read ; and there 
Avas a cheerful contentedness in his looks, that quite drew 
me toward him. I could not but remark the gallant man- 
ner in which he stumped from one part of the brook to 
another; waving his rod in the air, to keep the line from 
dragging on the ground, or catching among the bushes; 
and the adroitness with which he would throw his fly to 
any particular place; sometimes skimming it lightly along 
a little rapid; sometimes casting it into one of those dark 
holes made by a twisted root or overhanging bank, in 
Avliich the large trout are apt to lurk. In the mean while, 
he was giving instructions to his two disciples; showing 
them the manner in which they should handle their rods, 
fix their flies, and play them along the surface of the 
stream. The scene brought to my mind the instructions 
of the sage Piscator to his scholar. The country around 
was of that pastoral kind which Walton is fond of describ- 
ing. It was a part of the great plain of Cheshire, close 

1 From this same treatise. It would appear that angling is a more industrious 
and devout employment than it is generally considered. " For when j-e pui-pose 
to go on your disfiortes in fishynge, ye will not desyre greatlj-e many persons 
with you, which might let you of your game. And that ye may serve God 
devoutly in sayinge effectually your customable prayers. And thus doyin^, ye 
shall eschew and also avoyde many vices, as yilleness, which is a principal! 
<;a.use to indmje man to many other vioe.s, as it is right well known," 



THE ANGLER. 279 

by the beautiful vale of Gessford, and just where the in- 
ferior AVelsh hills begin to swell up from among fresh- 
smelling meadoAvs. The day, too, like that recorded in 
his AV'ork, was mild and sunshiiiy; with now and then a 
soft dropping shower, that sowed the whole earth with 
diamonds. 

I soon fell into conversation with the old angler, and 
was so much entertained, that, under pretext of receiving 
instructions in his art. I kept company with him almost 
the whole day: wandering along the banks of the stream, 
and listening to his talk. He was very communicative, 
having all the easy garrulity of cheerful old age ; and I 
fancy was a little flattered by having an opportunity of 
displaying his jiiscatory lore; for who does not like now 
and then to play the sage ? 

He had been much of a rambler in his day; and had 
passed some years of his youth in America, particularly 
in Savannah, where he had entered into trade, and had 
been ruined by the indiscretion of a partner. He had 
afterward experienced many ups and downs in life, until 
he got into the navy, where his leg was carried away by a 
cannon-ball, at the battle of Camperdown. This was the 
only stroke of real good fortune he had ever experienced, 
for it got him a pension, which, together with some small 
paternal property, brought him in a revenue of nearly forty 
pounds. On this he retired to his native village, where 
he lived quietly and independentl}^, and devoted the re- 
mainder of his life to the " noble art of angling." 

I found that he had read Izaak Walton attentively, and 
he seemed to have imbibed all his simple frankness and 
prevalent good-humor. Though he had been sorely buf- 
feted about the world, he was satisfied that the world, in 
itself, was good and beautiful. Though he had been as 
I'oughly used in different countries as a poor sheep that is 
fleeced by every hedge and thicket, yet he spoke of every 
nation with candor and kindness, appearing to look only 
on the good side of things: and above all, he was almost 
the only man I had ever met with, who had been an un- 
fortunate adventurer in America, and had honesty and 
magnanimity enough to take the fault to his own door, 
and not to curse the country. 

The lad that was receiving hiiS instructious I, learnt wa,s 



280 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

the son and heir apparent of a fat old widow, who kept 
the village inn, and of course a 3'outh of some expectation, 
and much courted by the idle, gentleman-like personages 
of the place. In taking him under his care, therefore, the 
old man had probably an eye to a privileged corner in the 
tap-room, and an occasional cup of cheerful ale free of 
expense. 

There is certainly something in angling, if we could 
forget, which anglers are apt to do, the cruelties and tor- 
tures inflicted on worms and insects, that tends to j)roduce 
a gentleness of spirit, and a pure serenity of mind. As 
the English are methodical even in their recreations, and 
are the most scientific of sportsmen, it has been reduced 
among them to perfect rule and system. Indeed, it is an 
amusement peculiarly adapted to the mild and cultivated 
scenery of England, where every roughness has besn soft- 
ened away from the landscape. It is delightful to saunter 
along those limpid streams Avhich wander, like veins of 
silver, through the bosom of this beautiful country; lead- 
ing one through a diversity of small home scenery, some- 
times winding through ornamental grounds; sometimes 
brimming along through rich pasturage, where the fresh 
green is mingled with sweet-smelling flowers; sometimes 
venturing in sight of villages and hamlets; and then 
running capriciously away into shady retirements. The 
sweetness and serenity of nature, and th(j quiet watchfulness 
of the sport, gradually bring on pleasant fits of musing; 
which are now and then agreeably interrupted by the song 
of a bird ; the distant whistle of the peasant; or perhaps the 
vagary of some fish, leaping out of the still water, and 
skimming transiently about its glassy surface. " When I 
would beget content," says Izaak Walton, " and increase 
confidence in the power and wisdom and providence of 
Almighty God, I will walk the meadows by some gliding 
stream, and there contemplate the lilies that take no care, 
and those very many other little living creatures that are 
not only created, but fed (man knows not how) by the 
goodness of the God of nature, and therefore trust in him." 

I cannot forbear to give another quotation from one of 
those ancient champions of angling, which breathes the 
same innocent and happy spirit : 




ICHABOD'S RIDE. 



THE ANGLER. 281 

Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink 

Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling place; 

Where I may see niy quill or cork down sink, 
With eager bite of Pike, or Bleak or Dace, 

And on tlie world and my Creator think : 
While some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace ; 

And others spend their time in base excess 
Of wine, or worse, in war or wantonness. 

Let them that will these pastimes still pursue 

And on such pleasing fancies feed thy fill. 
So I the fields and meadows green ma}' view. 

And daily by fresh rivers walk at will 
Among the daisies and the violets blue, 

Red hyacinth and yellow daffodil.' 

On parting with the old angler, I inquired after his 
place of abode, and haj^pening to be in the neighborhood 
of the village a few evenings afterward, I had the curiosity 
to seek him out. I found him living in a small cottage, 
containing only one room, but a perfect curiosity in its 
method and arrangement. It was on the skirts of the 
village, on a green bank, a little back from the road, with 
a small garden in front, stocked with kitchen-herbs, and 
adorned with a few flowers. The whole front of the cot- 
tage was overrun with a honeysuckle. On the top was a 
ship for a weathercock. The interior was fitted up in a 
truly nautical style, his ideas of comfort and convenience 
having been acquired on the berth-deck of a man-of-war. 
A hammock was slung from the ceiling, which in the day- 
time was lashed up so as to take but little room. From 
the centre of the chamber hung a model of a ship, of his 
own workmanship. Two or three chairs, a table, and a 
large sea-chest, formed the j^rincipal movables. About 
the wall were stuck up naval ballads, such as Admiral 
Hosier's Ghost, All in the Downs, and Tom Bowling, in- 
termingled with pictures of sea-fights, among which the 
battle of Camperdown held a distinguished place. The 
mantelpiece was decorated with seashells; over which 
hung a quadrant, flanked by two wood-cuts of most bitter- 
looking naval commanders. His implements for angling 
were carefully disposed on nails and hooks about the room. 
On a shelf was arranged his library, containing a work on 
angling, much worn; a Bible covered Avith canvas; an odd 
volume or two of voyages; a nautical almanac; and a book 
of songs. 

His family consisted of a large black cat with one eye, 

• J. Davors, 



382 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

and a parrot which he had caught and tamed, and educated 
himself, in the course of one of his voyages; and which 
uttered a variety of sea phrases, with the hoarse rattling 
tone of a veteran boatswain. The establishment reminded 
me of that of the renowned Robinson Crusoe; it was kept 
in neat order, every thing being "stowed away" with the 
regularity of a ship of war; and he informed me that he 
*' scoured the deck every morning, and swept it between 
meals/' 

I found him seated on a bench before the door, smok- 
ing his pipe in the soft evening sunsliine. His cat was 
purring soberly on the threshold, and his parrot describing 
some strange evolutions in an iron ring, that swung in the 
centre of his cage. He had been angling all day, and 
gave me a history of his sport with as much minuteness as 
a general would talk over a campaign; being particularly 
animated in relating the manner in which he had taken a 
large trout, which had completely tasked all his skill and 
wariness, and which he had sent as a trophy to mine 
hostess of the inn. 

How comforting it is to see a cheerful and contented 
old age; and to behold a poor fellow, like this, after being 
tempest-tost through life, safely moored in a snug and 
quiet harbor in the evening of his days I His happiness, 
however, sprang from Avithin himself, and was independ- 
ent of external circumstances; for he had that inexhausti- 
ble good-nature, which is the most precious gift of Heaven; 
spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, 
and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest 
weather. 

On inquiring further about him, I learnt that he was a 
universal favorite in the village, and the oracle of the 
tap-room; where he delighted the rustics with his songs, 
and, like Sindbad, astonished them with his stories of 
strange lands, and shipwrecks, and sea-fights. He was 
much noticed too by gentlemen sportsmen of the neigh- 
borhood; had taught several of them the art of angling; 
and was a privileged visitor to their kitchens. The whole 
tenor of his life was quiet and inoffensive, being princi- 
pally passed about the neighboring streams, when the 
wewther and season were favorable; and at other times he 
employed himself at home, preparing his fishing tackle 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 283 

for the HL^xt campaign, or manufacturing rods, nets, and 
flies, for his patrons and pupils among the gentry. He 
was a reguLir attendant at church on Sundays, though he 
generally fell asleep during the sermon. He had made it 
his particular request that when he died he should be 
buried in a green spot, which he could see from his seat in 
church, and which he had marked out ever since he was a 
boy, and had thought of when far from home on the raging 
sea, in danger of being food for the fishes — it was the spot 
where his father and mother had been buried. 

I have done, for I fear that my reader is growing weary; 
but I could not refrain from drawing the picture of this 
worthy " brother of the angle;" who has made me more 
than ever in love with the theory, though I fear I shall 
]iever be adroit in the practice of his art; and I will con- 
clude this rambling sketch in the words of honest Izaak 
Walton, by craving the blessing of St. Peter's Master upon 
my reader, "and ujion all that are true lovers of virtue; 
and dare trust in his providence; and be quiet; and go a 
angling." 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 

(found among the papers of the late diedrich 
knickerbocker.) 

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, 

Of dreams that wave before the hah-sliut eye ; 

And of gay castles in the clouds that pass. 

Forever flushing round a summer sky. — Castle of IndoU'iuf. 

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which in- 
dent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad ex- 
pansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch 
navigators the Tappaan Zee, and where they always pru- 
dently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. 
Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market 
town or rural fort, which by some is called Greensburgh, 
but which is more generally and i)roperly known by the 
name of Tarry Town. This name was given it, we are 
toldj iu former days, by the g(K)d housewives of the adja- 



284 THE SKETCHBOOK. 

cent country, from the inveterate propensity of their hus- 
bands to linger about the village tavern on market days. 
Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely 
advert to it, for the sake of being precise and 'luthentic. 
Not far from this village, perhaps about three miles, there 
is a little valley or ratlier lap of land among high hills, 
which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A 
small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough 
to lull one to repose; and the occasional Avhistle of a quail, 
or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that 
ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity. 

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in 
squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that 
shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at 
noon-time when all nature is jieculiarly quiet, and was 
startled by the roar of my own gun, as it Ijroke the sabbath 
stillness around, and was jDrolonged and reverberated by 
the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat 
whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, 
and dream quietly away^he remnant of a troubled life, I 
know of none more promising than this little valley. 

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar 
character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the 
original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been 
known by the nameof Sleepy Hollow, and its rustic lads 
are called the Sleepy Hollow boys throughout all the 
neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems 
to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmo- 
sphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high 
German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; 
others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of 
his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was 
discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, 
that the place still continues under the sway of some 
witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the 
good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. 
They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are sub- 
ject to trances and visions, and^ frequently see strange 
sights, and hear music and roices in the air. The whole 
neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and 
twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener 
across the valley than in any other part of the country. 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 285 

and the niglit-mare, with her whole nine fold, seems to 
make it the favorite scene of her gambols. 

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this, en- 
chanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of 
all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on 
horseback without a head. It is said by some to be the 
ghost of a Hessian trooi^er, whose head had been carried 
away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the 
revolutionary w\ar, and who is ever and anon seen by the 
country folk, hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if 
on the wings of the wiml. His haunts are not confined to 
the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and 
especially to the vicinity of a church that is at no great 
distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians 
of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and 
collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege, 
that the body of the trooper having been buried in the 
churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle 
in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed 
with which he sometimes passes along the hollow, like a 
midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a 
hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak. 

Such is the general purport of this legendary supersti- 
tion, which has furnished materials for many a Avild story 
in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at 
all the country firesides, by the name of The Headless 
Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. 

It is remarkable, that the visionary propensity I have 
mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the 
valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who re- 
sides there for a time. However wide awake they may 
have been before they entered that sleep}" region, they are 
sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of 
the air, and begin to grow imaginative — to dream dreams, 
and see apparitions. 

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for 
it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and 
there embosomed in the great State of New York, that 
population, manners, and customs remain fixed, while the 
great torrent of migration and improvement, which is 
making such incessant changes in other parts of this rest- 
less country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like 



286 THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

those little nooks of still water, which border a rapid 
stream, where we may see the straw and bubble riding 
quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic har- 
bor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. 
Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy 
shades of Sleepy HoUow, yet I question whether I should 
not still find the same trees and the same families vege- 
tating in its sheltered bosom. 

In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote 
period of American history, that is to say, some thirty 
years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, 
who sojourned, or, as he expressed it, " tarried," in Sleepy 
Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the 
vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a State which 
supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as 
for the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier 
woodmen and country schoolmasters. The cognomen of 
Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, 
but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms 
and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet 
that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame 
most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat 
at top, with huge ears, large green glassy ej^es, and a long- 
snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched 
upon his sj)indle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. 
To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy 
day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, 
one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine 
descending u23on the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from 
a cornfleld. 

His school-house was a low building of one large room, 
rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, 
and partly patched with leaves of copy-books. It wa? 
most ingeniously secured at vacant hours by a withe twisted 
in the handle of the door, and stakes set against the win- 
dow-shutters; so that though a thief might get in with 
perfect ease, he would find some embarrassment in getting 
out : — an idea most probal)ly borrowed by the architect, Yost 
Van Houten, from the mystery of an eelpot. The school- 
house stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, jast 
at the foot of a woody till, with a brook running close by, 
and a formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it. 



THB legend of sleepy hollow. 287 

From hence the low murmiir of his pupil's voices, conning 
over their lessons, might be heard of a drowsy summer's 
da}', like the hum of a beehive; interrupted now and then 
by the authoritative voice of the master, in the tone of 
menace or command; or, peradventure, by the appalling 
sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along 
the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a 
conscientious man, that ever bore in mind the golden 
maxim, "spare the rod and spoil the child." Ichabod 
Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled. 

I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one 
of those cruel potentates of tlie school, Avho joy in the 
smart of their subjects; on the contrary, he administered 
justice with discrimination rather than severity; taking 
the burden off the backs of the weak, and laying it on 
those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling that winced 
at the least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indul- 
gence; but the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting 
a double portion on some little, tough, wrong-headed, 
l)road-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and swelled and 
grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this lie 
called " doing his duty by their parents; " and he never 
inflicted a chastisement without following it by the assur- 
ance so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that "' he would 
remember it and thank him for it the longest dav he had 
to live." 

When school hours were over, he was even the companion 
and playmate of the larger boys: and on holiday afternoons 
would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who hap- 
l)ened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for 
mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard. Indeed, 
it behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils. 
The revenue arising from his school was small, and would 
have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily 
bread, for he was a huge feeder, and though lank, had tlm 
dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his main- 
tenance, he was, according to country custom in those 
parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers, 
whose children he instructed. With these he lived suc- 
cessively, a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the 
neighborhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a 
cotton handkerchief. 



288 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

That all this might not be too onerous on the piirses 
of his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of 
schooling a grievous burden, and schoolmasters as mere 
drones, he had various ways of rendering himself both 
useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasion- 
ally in the lighter labors of their farms; heljoed to make 
hay; mended the fences; took the hor./s to water; drove 
the cows from pasture; and cut wood for the winter fire. 
He laid aside, too, all the dominant dignity and absolute 
sway, with which he lorded it in his little empire, the 
school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. 
He found favor in the eyes of the mothers, by petting the 
children, particularly the youngest; and like the lion bold, 
which whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he 
would sit with a child on 'one knee, and rock a cradle with 
his foot for whole hours together. 

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing- 
master of the neighborhood, and j^icked up many bright 
shillings by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It 
was a matter of no little vanity to him on Sundays, to 
take his station in front of the church gallery, with a band 
of chosen singers; Avhere, in his own mind, he completely 
carried away the palm from the parson. Certain it is, his 
voice resounded far above all the rest of the congregation, 
and there are peculiar quavers still to be heard in that 
church, and which may even be heard half a mile off, quite 
to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday 
morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from 
the nose of Ichabod Crane. Thus, by divers little make- 
shifts, in that ingenious way which is commonly denomi- 
nated " by hook and by crook," the worthy pedagogue got 
on tolerably enough, and was thought, by all Avho under- 
stood nothing of the labor of head-work, to have a Avonder- 
ful easy life of it. 

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance 
in the female circle of a rural neighborhood; being con- 
sidered a kind of idle gentleman-like personage, of vastly 
superior taste and accomplishments to the rough country 
swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning only to the parson. 
His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little 
stir at the tea-table of a farm-house, and the addition of 
a supernumerary dish of cakes or sweetmeats, or, perad- 



'rUE LEGEND uE iSLEEPY HuLLuW. 289 

venture, the parade of a silver teapot. Oar man of letters, 
therefore, was peculiarl}^ hi^PPJ ii^ the smiles of all the 
country damsels. How he would figure among them in 
the church}' ard, between services on Sundays I gathering 
grapes for them from the wild vines that overrun the sur- 
rounding trees; reciting for their amusement all the ejDi- 
taphs on the tombstones ; or sauntering with a whole bevy 
of them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond : while 
the more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, 
envying his superior elegance and address. 

From his half-itinerant life, also, he was a kind of 
travelling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local 
gossip from house to house; so that his appearance was 
always greeted with satisfaction. He was, moreover, 
esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for 
lie had read several books quite through, and was a perfect 
master of Cotton Mather's History of New England Witch- 
craft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently 
believed. 

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness 
and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, 
and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; 
and both had been increased by his residence in this spell- 
bound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his 
capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his 
school was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself 
on the rich bed of clover, bordering the little brook that 
whimpered by his school-house, and there con over old 
Mather's direful tales, until the gathering dusk of evening 
made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, 
as he wended his way, by swamj:* and stream and awful 
woodland, to the farm-house where he happened to be 
quartered, every sound of nature, at that witching hour, 
fluttered his excited imagination; the moan of the whip- 
poor-will ^ from the hill-side; the boding cry of the tree- 
toad, that harbinger of storm; the dreary hooting of the 
t-creech-owl; or the sudden rustling in the thicket, of birds 
frightened from their roost. The fire-flies, too, wliich 
sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and then 
startled him, as one of uncommon brightness would stream 

' The whip-poor-will is a ))ird which is only heard at night. It receives its 
name from its note, which is thouglit to resemble those words. 

19 



290 THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

across his path; and if, b}' cliance, a huge Ijlockhead of a 
beetle came winging his bhmrlering flight against him, the 
poor varlet was read}' to give up the ghost, with the idea 
that he was struck with a witch's token. His only re- 
source on such occasions, either to drown thought, or drive 
away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes; and the good 
people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an 
evening, were often filled with awe, at hearing his nasal 
melody, "in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating 
from the distant hill, or along the dusky road. 

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was, to pass 
long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat 
spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and 
sputtering along the hearth, and listen to their mai*vellous 
tales of ghosts, and goblins, and haunted fields and haunted 
brooks, and haunted bridges and haunted houses, and par- 
ticularly of the headless horseman, oi- galloping Hessian 
of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. He Avould 
delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and 
<jf the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds in 
the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecti- 
cut; and vfould frighte]i them woefully with sj^eculations 
upon comets and shooting stars, and with the alarming 
fact that the world did absolutely turn round, and that 
they were half the time topsy-turvy! 

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cud- 
dling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of 
a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of 
course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly 
purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk home- 
ward. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, 
amid the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With 
what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light 
streaming across the waste fields from some distant win- 
dow! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered 
with snow, which like a sheeted spectre beset his very 
path! How often did he shrink with curdling aw^e at the 
sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his 
feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should 
behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! 
and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by 
some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea 



THE L FJ r FND OF HL EEP Y HOLL W. 20 1 

that it was the galloping Hessian on one of his nightly 
scourings ! 

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phan- 
toms of the mind, that walk in darkness: and though he 
had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than 
once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely peram- 
bulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils ; and 
he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of 
the devil and all his works, if his path had not been 
crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal 
man, than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches 
put together; and that was — a woman. 

Among the mnsical disciples who assembled, one even- 
ing in each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, 
was Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a 
substantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of 
fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge; ripe and melting 
and ros3'-cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and uni- 
versally famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast 
expectations. She was Avithal a little of a coquette, as 
might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture 
of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off 
her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure 3^ellow gold, 
which her great-great-grandmother had brought over from 
Saardam: the tempting stomacher of the olden time, aim 
withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the pretti- 
est foot and ankle in the country round. 

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the 
sex; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a 
)norsel soon found favor in his eyes, more esjiecially aftei 
he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltua 
Van Tassel was a perfect jiicture of a thriving, contented, 
liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent eithei 
his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own 
farm; but within these, everything was snug, happy, and 
well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his wealth, but 
not 2)roud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty 
abundance, rather than the style in which he lived. His 
stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in 
one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks, in which the 
Dutch farmers are so fond of nestling. A great elm-tree 
spread its broad branches over it ; at the foot of which 



293 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

bubbled up a spring of the softest and sweetest water, in 
a little well, formed of a barrel; and then stole sparkling 
away through the grass, to a neighboring brook, that bab- 
bled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the 
farm-house was a vast barn, that might have served for a 
church; every window and crevice of which seemed burst- 
ing forth with the treasures of the farm: the flail was 
busily resounding within it from morning iio night; swal- 
lows and martins skimmed twittering about the eaves; 
and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if 
Avatching the weather, some Avith their heads under their 
wings, or buried in their bosoms, and others, swelling, and 
cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the 
sunshine on the roof. Sleek, unwieldy porkers were 
grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens, from 
Avhence sallied forth, now and then, troops of sucking 
pigs, as if to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy 
geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying Avhole 
fleets of ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through 
the farm-yard, and guinea-fowls fretting about it like ill- 
tempered housewives, with their peeWsh, discontented cry. 
Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, that pattern 
of a husband, a warrior, and a fine gentleman ; clapping 
his burnished wings and crowing in the pride and glad- 
ness of his heart — sometimes tearing up the earth with 
his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry 
family of wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel 
which he had discovered. 

The pedagogue's mouth watered, as he looked ujjon this 
sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his de- 
vouring mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting 
pig ruiining about, Avith a pudding in its belly, and an 
apple in its mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in 
a comfortable jjie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; 
tlie geese Avere SAvimming in their OAvn gravy; and the 
ducks pairing cozily in dishes, like snug married couples, 
Avith a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers 
he saAV carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy 
relishing ham; not a turkey, but he beheld daintily trussed 
up, Avith its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a 
necklace of saA'ory sausages; and even bright chanticleer 
himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 203 

uplifted claws, as if craving that quarter which his chival- 
rous spirit disdained to ask while living. 

As the enraptured Icliabod faiicied all this, and as he 
rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the 
rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, 
and the orchards burdened with ruddy fruit, which sur- 
rounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart 
yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, 
and his imagination expanded with the idea, how they 
might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested 
in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the 
wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his 
hopes, and presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a 
whole family of children, mounted on the toj) of a wagoji 
loaded with household trumpery, with pots and kettles 
dangling beneath; and he beheld himself bestriding a 
pacing mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee— or the Lord knows where ! 

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart 
was complete. It was one of those spacious farm-houses, 
with high-ridged, but lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style 
handed down from the first Dutch settlers; the low pro- 
jecting eaves forming a piazza along the front, capable of 
being closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung 
flails, harne-s, various utensils of husbandry, and nets for 
fishing in the neighboring river. Benches were built along 
the sides for summer use; and a great spinning-wheel at 
one end, and a churn at the other, showed the various 
uses to which this important porch might be devoted. 
From this piazza the wonderftji Ichabod entered the hall, 
which formed the centre of the mansion, and the place of 
usual residence. Here rows of resplendent pewter, ranged 
on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a 
huge bag of wool, ready to be spun; in another, a quautitv 
of linsey-woolsey, just from the loom; ears of Indian corn, 
and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in gay fes- 
toons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red" pep- 
pers; and a door left ajar, gave him a peep into the best 
parlor, where the claw-footed chairs, and dark mahogany 
tables, shone like mirrors: and-irons, with their accom- 
panying shovel and tongs, glistened from their covert of 
asparagus tops; mock-oranges and conch slu-lls decorated 



394 THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

the mantelpiece; strings ol various-colored birds' eggs 
were suspended above it; a great ostrich ^gg was hung 
from the centre of the room, and a corner cupboard, 
knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old 
silver and well-mended china. 

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these re- 
gions of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and 
his only study was how to gain the affections of the peer- 
less daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, 
he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot 
of a knight-errant of yore, who seldom had anything but 
giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and such like easily 
conquered adversaries, to contend Avith; and had to make 
his way merely through gates of iron and brass, and walls 
of adamant to the castle-keep where the lady of his heart 
Avas confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man 
would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas j^ie, and 
then the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. 
Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the heart 
of a country coquette beset with a labyrinth of whims and 
caprices, which Avere forever presenting ncAv difficulties 
and impediments, and he had to encounter a host of fearr- 
ful adversaries of real fiesh and blood, the numerous rustic 
admirers, who beset every portal to her heart; keeping a 
watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fiy 
out in the common cause against any new competitor. 

Among these the most formidable Avas a burly, roaring, 
roistering blade of the name of Abraham, or according to 
the Dutch abbreviation,. Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the 
country round, which rung with his feats of strength and 
hardihood. He Avas broad-shouldered and double-jointed, 
Avith short curly black hair, and a bluff but not unjaleasant 
countenance, having a mingled air of fun and arrogance. 
From his Herculean frame and great poAvers of limb, he 
had received the nickname of Brom Bones, by Avhicli he 
AA'as universally known. He was famed for great knowledge 
and skill in horsemanship, being as dexterous on horse- 
back as a Tartar. He Avas foremost at all races and cock- 
fights, and Avith the ascendancy which bodily strength 
ahvays acquires in rustic life, Avas the umpire in all dis- 
]mtes, setting his hat on one side, and giving his decisions 
Avith an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or ap- 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 295 

peal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; 
and more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and 
Avitli all his overbearing roughness there was a strong dash 
of waggish good-humor at bottom. He had three or four 
boon companions of his own stamp, who regarded him as 
their model, and at the head of whom he scoured tlu^ 
country, attendiag every scene of feud or merriment for 
miles round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a 
fur cap, surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail, and when 
the folks at a country gathering descried this well-knowii 
crest at a distance, Avhisking about among a squad of hard 
riders, they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes his 
crew would be heard dashing along past the farm-houses 
at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a troop of Don 
Cossacks, and the old dames, startled out of their sleep, 
would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had clat- 
tered by, and then exclaim, "Ay, there goes Brom Bones 
and his gang!" The neighbors looked upon him with a 
mixture of awe, admiration, and good-will; and when any 
madcap prank or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, 
always shook their heads, and warranted Brom Bones was 
at the bottom of it. 

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the 
blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, 
and though his amorous toyings were something like the 
gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was 
whispered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. 
Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates 
to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his 
amours; insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to 
Van Tassel's paling, on a Sunday night, a sure sign that 
his master was courting, or, as it is termed, '* sparking," 
within, all other suitors passed by in despair, and carried 
the war into other quarters. 

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane 
had to contend, and considering all things, a stouter man 
than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a 
wiser man would have despaired. He had, however, a 
liappy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his na- 
ture; he was in form and spirit like a supple-jack — yield- 
ing, but tough; though he bent, he never broke; and 
though he bowed bencatli tlie slightest pressure, yet the 



■yjG THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

moment it was away — jerk! lie was as erect, and carried 
his head as high as ever. 

To have taken the field openly against his rival, would 
have been madness; for he was not a man to be thwarted 
in his amours, any more than that stormy lover, Achilles. 
Ichabod, therefore, made his advances in a quiet and 
gently-insinuating manner. Under cover of his character 
of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farm- 
house; not that he had anything to apprehend from the 
meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a 
stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Bait Van Tassel 
was an easy, indulgent soul ; he loved his daughter better 
even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable man, and an ex- 
cellent father, let her have her way in everything. His 
notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her 
housekeeping and manage the poultry; for, as she sagely 
observed, ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be 
looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. Thus, 
while the busy dame bustled about the house, or plied her 
spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Bait would 
sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the 
achievements of a little wooden warrior, who, armed with 
a sword in each hand, was most valiantly fighting the wind 
on the pinnacle of the barn. In the mean time, Ichabod 
would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of 
the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in the 
twilight, that hour so favorable to the lover's eloquence. 

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed 
and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle 
and admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable 
point, or door of access; Avhile others have a thousand 
avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different 
ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, 
but a still greater j^roof of generalship to maintain posses- 
sion of the latter, for a man must battle for his fortress 
at every door and window. He that wins a thousand com- 
mon hearts, is therefore entitled to some renown; but he 
who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette, 
is indeed a hero. Certain it is, this was not the case with 
the redoubtable Brom Bones; and from the moment Icha- 
bod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former 
evidently declined : his horse was no longer seen tied at 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 297 

the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadl}' feud gradually 
arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow. 

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his na- 
ture, would fain have carried matters to open warfare, and 
settled their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode 
of those most concise and simple reasoners, the knights- 
errant of yore — by single combat; but Ichabod was too 
conscious of the superior might of hil^dversary to enter 
the lists against him; he had overheard the boast of Bones, 
that he would " double the schoolmaster up, and put him 
on a shelf;" and he was too wary to give him an oppor- 
tunity. There was something extremely provoking in 
this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative 
but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his dis- 
position, and to play off boorish practical jokes upon his 
rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical persecu- 
tion to Bones, and his gang of rough riders. They harried 
his hitherto peaceful domains; smoked out his singing- 
school, by stopping up the chimney; broke into the school- 
house at night, in spite of his formidable fastenings of 
withe and window stakes, and turned everything topsy- 
turvy; so that the poor schoolmaster hegan to think all 
the witches in the country held their meetings there. But 
what was still more annoying, Brom took all opj^ortunities 
of turning him into ridicule iu presence of his mistress, 
and had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the 
most ludicrous manner, and introduced as a rival of Icha- 
bod's, to instruct her in psairaody. 

In this way matters went on for some time, without 
producing any material effect on the relative situations of 
the contending powers. On a fine autumnal afterrfoon, 
Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool 
from whence he usually watched all the concerns of his 
little literary realm. In his hand he swayed a ferule, that 
sceptre of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on 
three nails, behind the throne, a constant terror to evil- 
doers; while on the desk before him might be seen sundry 
contraband articles and prohibited weapons, detected upon 
tlie persons of idle urchins; such as half-munched apjiles, 
popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions of ram- 
pant little pajjer game-cocks. Apparently there had beeu 
some appalling act of justice recently inflicted, for his 



298 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

scholars were all busil}' intent upon their books, or slyly 
whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the mus- 
ter; and a kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout 
the school-room. It was suddenly interrupted by the ap- 
j)earance of a negro in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a 
round-crowned fragment of a hat, like|the cap of Mercurj', 
and mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken 
colt, which he ma^jiged with a rope by way of halter. He 
came clattering u^ to the school-door with an invitation 
to Ichabod to attend a merry-making, or " quilting frolic," 
to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and 
having delivered his message with that air of importance, 
and effort at fine language, which a negro is apt to dispLiy 
on petty embassies of the kind, he dashed over the brook, 
and was seen scampering away up the hollow, full of the 
importance and hurry of his mission. 

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet school- 
room. The scholars were hurried through their lessons, 
without stopping at trifles; those who were nimble, skijiiDed 
over half with impunity, and those who were tardy, had a 
smart application now and then in the rear, to quicken 
their speed, or help them over a tall word. Books were 
flung aside, without being put away on the shelves; ink- 
stands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the 
whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual 
time; bursting forth like a legion of young imps, yelping 
and racketing about the green, in joy at their early eman- 
cipation. 

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half- 
hour at his toilet, brushing and fui'bishing up his best, 
and indeed only suit of rusty black, and arranging his 
locks by a bit of broken looking-glass, that hung up in 
the school-house. That he might make his api^earance 
before his mistress in the true style of a cavalier, he bor- 
rowed a horse from the farmer with Avhom he Avas domi- 
ciliated, a choleric old Dutchman, of the name of Hans 
Van Ripper, and thus gallantly mounted, issued forth like 
a knight-errant in quest of adventures. But it is meet I 
should, in the true spirit of romantic story, give some ac- 
count of the looks and equipments of my hero and his steed. 

The animal he bestrode was a broken-down plough-horse, 
that had outlived almost everything but his vicioueness. 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 299 

He was ganut and shagged, with a ewe neck and a head 
like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and 
knotted with burrs; one eye had lost its pupil, and was 
glaring and spectral, but the other had the gleam of a 
genuine devil in it. Still he must have had fire and mettle 
in his daj', if we may judge from his name, which was 
Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favorite steed of his 
master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious rider, 
and had infused, very probably, some of his own spirit into 
the animal; for, old and broken-down as he looked, there 
was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young 
filly in the country. 

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode 
with short ptirrups, whicli brought his knees nearly up to 
the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like 
grasshoppers'; he carried his whip j^erpendicularly in his 
hand, like a sceptre, and as the horse jogged on, the motion 
of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. 
A small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his 
scanty strip of forehead might be called, and the skirts of 
his black coat fluttered out almost to the horse's tail. 
Such was the appearance of Ichabod and his steed as they 
shambled out of the gate of Hans Van Ripi^er, and it was 
altogether such an apparition as is seldom to be met with 
in broad daylight. 

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was 
clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden 
livery which we always associate with the idea of abun- 
dance. The forests had put on their sober brown aiid 
yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been 
nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, pur])le, 
and scarlet. Streaming files of wikl ducks began to make 
their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel 
might be heard from the groves of beech and hickory nuts, 
and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the 
neighboring stubble field. 

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In 
the fulness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and 
frolicking, from bush to busli, and tree to tree, capricious 
from the very profusion and variety around them. There 
was the honest cockrobin, the favorite game of stripling 
sportsmen, with its loud querulous note, and the twitter- 



300 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

ing blackbirds flying in sable clouds; and the golden- 
winged woodpeckei*, with his crimson crest, his broad black 
gorget, and splendid plumage; and the cedar-bird, with its 
red-tii3ped wings and yellow-tipped tail, and its little mon- 
tero cap of feathers; and the bluejay, that noisy coxcomb, 
in his gay light blue coat and white underclothes, scream- 
] ing and chattering, nodding, and bobbing, and bowing, and 
j^retending to be on good terms with every songster of the 
grove. 

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open 
to every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with de- 
light over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he 
beheld vast store of apples, some hanging in oppressive 
opulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets and 
barrels for the market; others heaped up in rich piles for 
the cider-press. Farther on he beheld great fields of In- 
dian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy 
coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty- 
pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, 
turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving 
ample prospects of the most luxurious of 2)ies; and anon 
he i^assed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the 
odor of the bee-hive,' and as he beheld them, soft anticipa- 
tions stole over his mind of dainty slajDJacks, well buttered, 
and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little 
dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel. 

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and 
*' sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a 
range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest 
scenes of the mighty Hudson The sun gradually wheeled 
his broad disk down into the west. The wide bosom of 
the Tappaan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that 
here and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged 
the blue shadow of the distant mountain. A few amber 
clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move 
them. The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing 
gradually into a jjure ap^^le-green, and from that into the 
deep blue of the mid-heaven. A slanting ray lingered on 
the woody crests of the precipices that overhung some 
parts of the river, giving greater depth to the dark gray 
and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop was loitering in 
the distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail 



The legend of sleepy hollow. \\o\ 

hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the reflection 
of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as if 
the vessel was suspended in the air. 

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle 
of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with 
the pride and flower of the 'adjacent country. Old farmers, 
a spare leathern-faced race, in homespun coats and breeches, 
blue stockings, huge shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles* 
Their brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped caps, 
long-waisted gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors 
and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on the 
outside. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as their 
mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine ribbon, or 
perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city innovations. 
The. sons, in short square-skirted coats, with rows of stu- 
pendous iDiass buttons, and their hair generally queued in 
the fashion of the times, esiDCcially if they could procure 
an eelskin for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout 
the country, as a potent nourisher and strengthener of 
the hair. 

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having 
come to the gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil, a 
creature, like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and 
which no one but himself could manage. He was, in fact, 
noted for preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of 
tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, 
for he' held a tractable, well-broken horse as unworthy of a 
lad of spirit. 

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms 
that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he en- 
tered the state parlor of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those 
of the bevy of buxom lasses, with their luxurious display 
of red and white; but the ample charms of a genuine 
Dutch country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. 
Such heaped-up platters of cakes of various and almost 
indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch 
housewives! There was the doughty dough-nut, the ten- 
der oly-koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet 
cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and 
the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple 

Eies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of 
am and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of 



302 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

] (reserved plnms, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not 
to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together 
with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-pig- 
gledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the 
motherly tea-pot sending up ite clouds of vapor from the 
midst — Heaven bless the mark I I want breath and time 
to discuss this banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to 
get on with my story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not 
in so great a hurry as his historian, but did ample justice 
to every dainty. 

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated 
in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and 
whose spirits rose with eating, as some men's do with drink. 
He could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him 
as he ate, and chuckling with the j)ossibility that he might 
one day be lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable 
luxury and splendor. Then, he thought, how soon he'd 
turn his back upon the old school-house; snap his fingers 
in the face of Hans Yan Ripper, and every other niggardly 
patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue out of doors that 
should dare tc call him comrade! 

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests 
with a face dilated with content and good-humor, round 
and jolly as the harvest moon. Hisliospitable attentions 
were brief, but expressive, being confined to a shake of the 
hand, a slap on the shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing 
invitation to " fall to, and help themselves." 

And now the sound of the music from the common 
room, or hall, summoned to the dance. The musician was 
an old gray-headed negro, who had been the itinerant or- 
chestra of the neighborhood for more than half a century. 
His instrument was as old and battered as himself. The 
greater part of the time he scraped away on two or three 
strings, accompanying every movement of the bow with a 
motion of the head; bowing almost to the ground, and 
stamping Avtih his foot whenever a fresh couple were to 
start. 

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as 
upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fibre about him 
was idle; and to have seen his loosely hung frame in full 
motion, and clattering about the room, you would have 
thought St. Vitus himself, that blessed patron of the dance. 



THE J. EG END oF SLEEPY H<)LL()]\'. ;;():5 

was figuring before you in person. He was the admiration 
of all the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and 
sizes, from the farm and the neighborhood, stood forming 
a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and win- 
dow; gazing with delight at the scene; rolling their white 
eyeballs, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to 
ear. How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than 
animated and joyous ? the lady of his heart was his part- 
ner in the dance, and smiling graciously in reply to all his 
amorous oglings; while Brom Bones, sorely smitten with 
love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner. 

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted 
to a knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat 
smoking at one end of the piazza, gossipping over former 
times, and drawling out long stories about the war. 

This neighborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, 
was one of those highly favored places which abound with 
chronicle and great men. The British and American line 
liad run near it during the war; it had, therefore, been the 
^cena of marauding, and infested with refugees, cow-boys, 
and all kinds of border chivalry. Just sufficient time had 
elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress up his tale with 
a little becoming fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his 
recollection, to make himself the hero of every exploit. 

There was the story of Dotfue Martling, a large blue- 
bearded Dutchman, who had nearly taken a British frigate 
with an old iron nine-pounder from a mud breastwork, 
only that his gun burst at the sixth discharge. And there 
was an old gentleman who shall be nameless, being too 
rich a mynheer to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle 
of White Plains, being an excellent master of defence, par- 
I'ied a musket-ball with a small-sword, insomuch that he 
absolutely felt it whiz round the blade, and glance off at 
the hilt; in proof of which he was ready at any tinie to 
show the sword, with the hilt a little bent. There were 
several more that had been equally great in the field, not 
one of whom but was persuaded that he liad i consider- 
able hand in Ijringing the war to a happy termination. 

But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and 
apparitions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in 
legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and su})ersti- 
tions thrive best h\ these sheltered, long-settled retreats; 



n04 'i'HE SKETCH- BOOK. 

but are trampled under foot, by the shifting throng that 
forms the population of most of our country places. Be- 
sides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our 
villages, for they have scarcely had time to finish their first 
nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their sur- 
viving friends have travelled away from the neighborhood: 
so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, 
they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is 
j)erhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except 
in our long-established Dutch communities. 

The immediate cause, however, of the prevalence of 
supernatural stories in these parts, was doubtless owing to 
the vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in 
the very air that blew from that haunted region; it 
breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies in- 
fecting all the land. Several of the Sleepy Hollow people 
were present at Van Tassel's, and, as usual, were doling 
out their wild and wonderful legends. Many dismal tales 
were told about funeral trains, and mourning cries and 
wailings heard and seen about the great tree where the 
unfortunate Major Andre was taken, and which stood in 
the neighborhood. Some mention was made also of the 
woman in white, that haunted the dark glen at Raven 
Rock, and was often heard to shriek on winte. nights 
before a storm, having perished there in the snow. The 
chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite 
spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the headless horseman, who had 
been heard several times of late, patrolling the country; 
and it is said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves 
in the churchyard. 

The sequestered situation of this church seems always 
to have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It 
stands on a knoll, surrounded by locust-trees and lofty 
elms, from among which its decent, whitewashed walls shine 
modestly forth, like Christian purity, beaming through 
the shades of retirement. A gentle slope descends from 
it to a silver sheet of water, bordered by high trees, be- 
tween which, peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the 
Hudson. To look upon this grass-grown yard, where the 
sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, one would think that 
there at least the dead might rest in peace. On one side 
of the church extends a wide woody dell, along which 



THE LEGEND OP SLEEPY HOLLOW. 305 

raves a large brook among broken rocks and trunks of 
fallen trees. Over a deep black part of the stream, not 
far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge; 
the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly 
shaded by overhanging trees, Avhieh cast a gloom about it, 
even in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness 
at night. Such was one of the favorite haunts of the 
headless horseman, and the place where he was most fre- 
quently encountered. The tale was told of old Brouwer, 
a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the 
horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow, 
and was obliged to get up behind him; how they gallo^Ded 
over bush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they 
reached the bridge; when the horseman suddenly turned 
into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the brook, and 
sprang away over the tree-tops with a clap of thunder. 

This story was immediately matched by a thrice-mar- 
vellous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the 
galloping Hessian as an arrant jockey. He affirmed, that 
on returning one night from the neighboring village of 
Sing Sing, he had been overtaken by this midnight troojier; 
that he offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and 
should have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse 
all hollow, but just as they came to the church bridge, the 
Hessian bolted, and vanished in a flash of fire. 

All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which 
men talk in the dark, the countenances of the listeners 
only now and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare 
of a pipe, sank deep in the mind of Ichabod, He repaid 
them in kind with large extracts from his invaluable au- 
thor, Cotton Mather, and added many marvellous events 
that had taken place in his native State of Connecticut, 
and fearful sights which he had seen in his nightly walks 
about Sleepy Hollow. 

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers 
gathered together their families in their wagons, and were 
heard for some time rattling along the hollow roads, and 
over the distant hills. Some of the damsels mounted on 
pillions behind their favorite swains, and their light-hearted 
laughter, mingling witli the clatter of iioofs, echoed along 
the silent woodlands, sounding fainter and fainter, until 
they gradually died aAvay — and the late scene of noise and 
20 



30G THE HKETCH-BOOK. 

frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod only lingered 
behind, according to the custom of country lovers, to have 
a tete-a-tete with the heiress; fully convinced that he was 
now on the high road to success. What passed at this in- 
terview I will not pretend to say, for in fact I do not 
know. Something, however, I fear me, must have gone 
wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, after no very great 
interval, with an air quite desolate and chapfallen. — Oh, 
these women ! these women ! Could that girl have been 
playing off any of her coquettish tricks ? — Was her en- 
couragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to 
secure her conquest of his rival ? — Heaven only knows, not 
I ! — let it suffice to say, Ichabod stole forth with the air of 
one who had been sacking a hen-roost, rather than a fail 
lady's heart. Without looking to the right or left to 
notice the scene of rural wealth, on which he had so often 
gloated, he went straight to the stable, and with several 
hearty cuffs and kicks, roused his steed most uncourteously 
from the comfortable quarters in which he was soundly 
sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and 
whole valleys of timothy and clover. 

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, 
heavy-hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel home- 
ward, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above 
Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in 
the afternoon. The hour was as dismal as himself. Far 
below him the Tappaan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct 
waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a 
sloop, riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the 
dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of 
the watch-dog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; 
but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his 
distance from this faithful companion of man. Noav and 
then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally 
awakened, would sound far, far off, from some farm-house, 
away among the hills — but it was like a dreaming- sound 
in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him, but occa- 
sionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the 
guttural twang of a bull-frog from a neighboring marsh, 
as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his 
bed. 

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 30'i' 

in the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollec- 
tion. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed 
to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally 
hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and 
dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place 
where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been 
laid. In the centre of the road stood an enormous tulip- 
^^•ee, which toAvered like a giant above all the other trees 
of the neighborhood, and formed a kind of landmark. Its 
limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large enough to form 
trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the 
earth, and rising again into the air. It was connected 
with the tragical story of the unfortunate Andre, who had 
oeen taken prisoner hard by; and was universally known 
oy the name of Major Andre's tree. The common people 
regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, 
partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred name- 
sake, and partly from the tales of strange sights, and dole- 
ful lamentations, told concerning it. 

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to 
whistle; he thought his whistle was answered: it Avas but 
a blast sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As 
he approached a little nearer, he thought he saw some- 
thing white, hanging in the midst of the tree; he paused, 
and ceased whistling; but on looking more narrowly, per- 
ceived that it was a place where the tree had been scathed 
by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Suddenly he 
heard a groan — his teeth chattered, and his knees smote 
against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge 
bough upon another, as they were swayed about by the 
breeze. He passed the tree in safety, but new perils lay 
before him. 

About two hundred yards from the tree, a small brook 
crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded 
glen, known by the name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough 
logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. 
On that side of the road where the brook entered the 
wood, a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick wkh 
wild grape-vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To 
pass this bridge was the severest trial. It was at this 
identical spot that the unfortunate Andre was captured, 
and under the covert of those chestnuts and vines were 



308 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised him. This 
has ever since been considered a haunted stream, and fear- 
ful are the feelings of a schoolboy who has to pass it alone 
after dark. 

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump ; 
he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his 
horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attemj)ted to 
dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting 
forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, 
and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears 
increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other 
side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot : it was all 
in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to 
plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of 
brambles and alder-bushes. The schoolmaster now ^be- 
stowed both whip and heel upon the starvelling ribs of old 
Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, 
but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness 
that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. 
Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the 
bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark 
shadow of the grove on the margin of the brook, he beheld 
something huge, misshapen, black, and towering. It stirred 
not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigan- 
tic monster ready to spring upon the traveller. 

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head 
with terror. What was to be done ? To turn and fly was 
now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escap- 
ing ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon 
the wings of the wind ? Summoning up, therefore, a show 
of courage, he demanded in stammering accents — " Who 
are you ? " He received no reply. He rej)eated his de- 
mand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no 
answer. Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexi- 
ble Gunpowder, and shutting his eyes, broke forth with 
involuntary fervor into a psalm tune. Just then the 
shadowy olDJect of alarm put itself in motion, and with a 
scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the 
road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the 
form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascer- 
tained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimen- 
sions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 309 

He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept 
aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind 
side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright 
and waywardness. 

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight 
companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of 
Brom Bones with the galloping Hessian, now quickened 
his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, 
however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod 
pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind — 
the other did the same. His heart began to sink within 
him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tune, but his 
parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he 
could not utter a stave. There was something in the 
moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious com})an- 
iou, that was mysterious and appalling. Tt was soon fear- 
fully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, Avhich 
brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against 
the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a clock, Ichabod 
was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was headless! but 
his horror Avas still more increased, on observing that the 
head, which should have rested on his shoulders, w^as car- 
ried before him on the pommel of his saddle I His terror 
rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows 
upon Gunpowder, hoping, by a sudden movement, to give 
his companion the slip — but the spectre started full jump 
with him. Away, then, they dashed through thick and 
thin; stones flying and sparks flashing at every bound. 
Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air, as he 
stretched- his long lank body away over his horse's head, 
in the eagerness of his flight. 

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy 
Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a 
demon, instead of keeping up it, made an opposite turn, 
and plunged headlong down hill to the left. This road 
leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a 
quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in 
goblin story; and just beyond swells the green knoll on 
which stands the whitewashed church. 

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful 
rider an apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he 
had got half-way through the hollow, the girths of the 



310 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

saddle gave wa)', and he felt it slipping from nnder him. 
He seized it by the pommel, and endeavored to hold it 
firm, but in vain; and had jnst time to save himself by 
clasping old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle 
fell to the earth, and he heard it trampled under foot by 
Jiis pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Rip- 
per's wrath passed across his mind — for it was his Sunday 
saddle; but this was no time for petty fears: the goblin 
Avas hard on his haunches; aiid (unskilful rider that he 
AvasI) he had much ado to maintain Jiis seat; sometimes 
slipping on one side, sometimes on another and sometimes 
jolted on the high ridge of his horse's back-bone, Avith a 
Violence that he verily feared Avould cleave him asunder. 

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the 
hopes that the church bridge Avas at hand. The Avavering 
reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told 
him that he Avas not mistaken. He saw the Avails of the 
church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recol- 
lected the place Avhere Brom Bones's ghostly competitor 
had disappeared. " If I can but reach that bridge,*' 
thought Ichabod, " I am safe." Just then he heard the 
black steed panting and bloAving close behind him; he even 
fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive 
kick in the ribs, and old GunpoAvder sprang upon the 
bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he 
gained the opposite side, and now Ichabod cast a look 
behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to 
rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saAV 
the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of 
hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored -to dodge 
the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his 
cranium with a tremendous crash — he Avas tumbled head- 
long into the dust, and Guni30Avder, the black steed, and 
the goblin rider, passed by like a Avhirlwind. 

The next morning the old horse was found Avithout his 
saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping 
the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his 
appearance at breakfast — dinner-hour came, but no Icha- 
bod. The boys assembled at the school-house, and strolled 
idly about the banks of the brook; but no schoolmaster. 
Han Van Ripper now began to feel some uneasiness about 
the fate of poor Ichabod, and his saddle. An inq^uiry was 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 311 

set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came 
upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the 
church, was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the 
tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evi- 
dently at furious speed, Avere traced to the bridge, beyond 
Avhicli, on the bank of a broad jDart of the brook, where 
the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of 
the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered 
pumpkin. 

The brook Avas searched, but the body of the schoolmaster 
was not to be discovered. Hans Van Kipj^er, as executor 
of his estate, examined the bundle Avhich contained all his 
Avorldly effects. They consisted of tAvo shirts and a half; 
two stocks for the neck; a pair or tAvo of worsted stock- 
ings; an old pair of corduroy small-clothes; a rusty razor; 
a book of psalm tunes full of dog's ears; and a broken 
pitch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of the school- 
house, they belonged to the community, excej)ting Cotton 
Mather's History of Witchcraft, a Xew England Almanac, 
and a book of dreams and fortune-telling; in Avhich last 
Avas a sheet of foolscap much scribbled and blotted, by 
several fruitless attempts to make a copy of verses in 
honor of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic books 
and the poetic scraAA'l were forthwith consigned to the 
flames by Hans Van Ripper; A\dio, from that time forward, 
determined to send his children no more to school; ob- 
serving that he never knew any good come of this same 
reading and writing. Whatever money the schoolmaster 
possessed — and he had received his quarter's pay but a day 
or two before — he must have had about his person at the 
time of his disppearance. 

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the 
church on the folloAving Sunday. Knots of gazers and 
gossips Avere collected in the churchyard, at the bridge, 
and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin liad been 
found. ■ The stories of BrouAver, of Bones, and a whole 
budget of others, Avere called to mind, and Avhen tliey htid 
diligently considered them all, and compared them Avith 
tlie symptoms of the present case, they shook their heads, 
and came to the conclusion, that Ichabod had been carrie<l 
off by the galloping Hessian. As he Avas a bachelor, and 
ill nobody's debt, nobody troubled his head any more about 



312 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

]iim ; the school was removed to a different quarter of the 
Hollow, and another pedagogue reigned in his stead. 

It is true, an old farmer who had been down to Xew 
York on a visit several years after, and from whom this 
account of the ghostly adventure was received, brought 
home the intelligence that Ichabod Crane was still alive; 
that he had left the neighborhood partly through fear of 
the goblin and Hans Van Ripper, and partly in mortifica- 
tion at having been suddenly dismissed by the heiress; 
that he had changed bis quarters to a distant part of the 
country; had kept school and studied law at the same 
time; had been admitted to the bar; turned politician; 
electioneered; written for the newspapers; and finally, 
had been made a Justice of the Ten Pound Court. Brom 
Bones, too, who, shortly after his riA'al's disappearance, 
conducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, 
was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the 
story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a 
hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which led 
some to susjiect that he knew more about the matter than 
he chose to tell. 

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges 
of these matters, maintain to this day, that Ichabod was 
spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favorite 
story often told about the neighborhood round the winter 
evening fire. The bridge became more than ever an object 
of superstitious awe; and that may be the reason why the 
road has been altered of late years, so as to approach the 
church by the border of the mill-pond. The school -house, 
being deserted, soon fell to decay, and was reported to be 
haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate jiedagogue; and 
the plough-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer 
evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chant- 
ing a melancholy psahn tune among the tranquil solitudes 
of Sleepy Hollow. 

POSTSCRIPT, 

rOUXD IX THE HAXDWRITIXG OF ME. KXICKEEBOCKER. 

The preceding tale is given, almost in the precise 
words in which I heard it related at a Corporation meet- 



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 313 

iiig of the ancient city of the Mahattoes,^ at which were 
present many of its sagest and most ilhistrions bnrghers. 
The narrator was a pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly old 
fellow in peper-and-salt clothes, with a sadly hnmorous 
face; and one whom I strongly suspected of being j^oor — 
he made such efforts to be entertaining. When his story 
was concluded there Avas much laughter and approbation, 
particularly from two or three deputy aldermen, who had 
been asleep the greater part of the time. There was, how- 
ever, one tall, dry-looking old gentleman, with beetling 
eyebrows, who maintained a grave and rather severe face 
throughout; now and then folding his arms, inclining his 
head, and looking down upon the floor, as if turning a 
doubt over in his mind. He was one of your wary men, 
who never laugh but upon good grounds — when they have 
reason and the law on their side. When the mirth of the 
rest of the company had subsided, and silence was 
restored, he leaned one arm on the elbow of his chair, and 
sticking the other a-kimbo, demanded, with a slight but 
exceedingly sage motion of the head, and contraction of 
the brow, what was the moral of the story, and what it 
went to prove. 

The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine 
to his lips, as a refreshment after his toils, paused for a 
moment, looked at his inquirer with an air of infinite 
deference, and lowering the glass slowly to the table, ob- 
served that the story was intended most logically to prove: 

" That there is no situation in life but has its advan- 
tages and pleasures — provided we will but take a joke as 
we find it: 

" That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troop- 
ers, is likely to have rough riding of it : 

"Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the 
hand of a Dutch heiress, is a certain steji to high prefer- 
ment in the state." 

The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold 
closer after this explanation, being sorely puzzled by the 
ratiocination of the syllogism; while, methought, the one 
in pepper-and-salt eyed him with something of a trium- 
phant leer. At length he observed, that all this was very 

I New York. 



314 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

well, but still he thought the story a little on the extravn- 
gant — there were one or two points on Avhich he had his 
doubts : 

" Faith, sir," replied the story-teller, " as to that matter, 
I don't believe one-half of it myself." 



D. K. 



i^ 



L'ENVOY. 



^ 



Go, little booke. God send thee good passage, 
And specially let this be thy prayere. 
Unto them all that thee will read or hear. 
Where thou art wrong, after their help to call 
Thee to correct, in any part or all. 

—Chaucer's Bell Dame sans Mercie. 



Ik concluding a second volume of the Sketch-Book, the 
author cannot but express his deep sense of the indul- 
gence with wliich his first has been received, and of the 
liberal disposition that has been evinced to ti'eat him with 
kindness as a stranger. Even the critics, whatever mny 
be said of them by others, he has found to be a singularly 
gentle and good-natured race; it is true that each has in 
turn objected to some one or two articles, and that these 
individual exceptions, taken in the aggregate, would 
amount almost to a total condemnation of his work; but 
then he has been consoled by observing, that what one has 
particularly censured, another has as particularly praised; 
and thus, the encomiums being set off against the objec- 
tions, he finds his work, upon the whole, commended far 
beyond its deserts. 

He is aware that he runs a risk of forfeiting much of 
this kind favor by not following the counsel that has been 
liberally bestowed upon him; for where abundance of valu- 
able advice is given gratis, it may seem a man's own fault 
if he should go astray. He only can say, in his vindica- 
tion, that he faithfully determined, for a time, to govern 
himself in his second volume by the opinions passed upon 
his first; but he was soon brought to a stand by the con- 
trariety of excellent counsel. One kindly advised him to 
avoid the ludicrous; another, to shun the pathetic; a third, 



VENVOY. 315 

assured him that he was tolerable at description, but cau- 
tioned him to leave narrative alone; while a fourth de- 
clared that he had a very pretty knack at turning a story, 
and was really entertaining when in a pensive mood, but 
was grievously mistaken if he imagined himself to possess 
a spark of humor. 

Thus perplexed by the advice of his friends, avIio each 
in turn closed some particular path, but left him all the 
world besides to range in, he found that to follow all their 
counsels would, in fact, be to stand still. He remained 
for a time sadly embarrassed; when, all at once, the 
thought struck him to ramble on as he had began; that 
his work being miscellaneous, and written for different 
humors, it could not be expected that any one would be 
pleased with the whole ; but that if it should contain some- 
thing to suit each reader, his end would be completely 
answered. Few guests sit down to a varied table with an 
equal appetite for each dish. One has an elegant horror 
of a roasted jjig; another holds a curry or a devil in utter 
abomination ; a third cannot tolerate the ancient flavor of 
venison and Avild fowl; and a fourth, of truly masculine 
stomach, looks with sovereign contempt on those nick- 
nacks, here and there dished up for the ladies. Thus 
each article is condemned in its turn; and yet, amid this 
variety of appetites, seldom does a dish go away from the 
table without being tasted and relished by some one or 
other of the guests. 

With these considerations he ventures to serve up this 
second volume in the same heterogeneous way with his 
first; simply requesting the reader, if he slionld find liere 
and there something to please him, to rest assured that it 
was written expressly for intelligent readers like himself, 
but entreating him, should he find any thing to dislike, to 
tolerate it, as one of those articles which tlie author has 
been obliged to write for readers of a less refined taste. 

To be serioiis. — The author is conscious of the numer- 
ous faults and imperfections of his Avork ; and well aware 
how little he is disciplined and accomplished in the arts 
of authorship. His deficiencies are also increased by a 
diffidence arising from liis peculiar situation. He finds 
liimself Avriting in a strange kind, and appearing before a 
public which he has been accustomed, from childhood, to 



316 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

regard with the highest feelings of awe and reverence. He 
is full of solicitude to deserve their approbation, 3^et finds 
that very solicitude continually embarrassing his powers, 
and depriving him of that ease and confidence which are 
necessary to successful exertion. Still the kindness with 
which he is treated encourages him to go on, hoping that 
in time he may acquire a steadier footing; and thus he 
proceeds, half-venturing, half-shrinking, surj^rised at his 
own good fortune, and wondering at his own temerity. 



SKETCH OF IRVING'S LIFR 



Washington Irving-, the sun of a Scotch father and an 
English mother, was born in New York, in 178n. What 
the schools of the day were lacking- in he made up by his 
reading- : books of poetry, travels, leg-ends, history, were 
his special delig-ht, nor during- the whole course of his life 
:lid he show any disposition toward study of a severer 
kind. When he left school he Avas articled to a lawyer ; 
but law-books had little charm for him ; the law lost 
nothing- thereby, and literature was much the g-ainer. Ot 
hiany another writer that we love, including- Sir Walter 
3cott, the same story may be told. 

In 1806 he went abroad for his health, for he Avas not 
robust. On his return, after an absence of two years, he 
tried unsuccessfully to obtain an office under Government. 
Before his trip to Europe he had become known to the 
New York public by some humorous contributions, called 
Olchtyle Papers, to a periodical of the day. He now 
resumed his pen and wrote Salmagundi Papers^ in which 
the social life of New York was for the most part humor- 
ously satirized. These were folloM^ed by the History of 
New YorTx, hy Diedrich Knickerbocker, a most humorous 
burlesque, ming-led with some real history and keen satire, 
dealing: with the Dutch period in the history of Ncav York. 
It is the most original of Irving's Avorks, and our enjoy- 
ment of it is not a little heightened by the recollection of 
the indignation it gaA-e rise to among the descendants of 
the Dutch colonists, Avho deemed their ancestors held up to 
ridicule by the impudent author.* 

* See Introducton' ])ortion of Hiji Van Winkle. 



320 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Irving's income from liis Avritiiigs was precarious; in 
•onsequence liis brothers took liim into their business firm, 
and sent him in 1815 as their representative to England. 
But though he faithfully fulfilled the duties of his position, 
The Sketch Book and Bracebridge Hall show what 
lay nearest his heart. England itself, with its varied 
landscape, its traditions, its people, its village and country 
life, its memorials of the past, all received a large share 
of loving attention. Three years later his business firm 
failed. Thenceforth literature was his life-work. 

On ]\Iay 15th, 1819, the first instalment of The Sketch 
Book, consisting of the first four papers, was published in 
New York ; others soon followed, and the whole was 
republished in London in 1820 through the influence of Sir 
Walter Scott. This book made Irving famous, not only in 
America, but also in England, where he became a wel- 
come guest in all drawing-rooms and met with the fore- 
most literary men of the day. 

The Sketch Book was followed in 1822 by Bracebridge 
Hall, not unlike its predecessor in the character of its 
contents, but usually considered inferior to it in workman- 
ship. A three years' sojourn in Spain, ending in 1829, 
resulted in works relating to Spanish history — Life of 
Columbus, Conquest of Grenada, and Tales of the 
Alhambra — "a beautiful Spanish Sketch Book." For 
three years after his return from Spain Irving was in 
London in connection with the diplomatic service of his 
country. Then followed ten years at home in America, 
with but little literary results. In 1842 he went as 
ambassador to Spain, returning after four years with 
material for other works — The Life of Goldsmith, The 
Life of Mahomet, and some other. 

He ended his days at his house at Sunnyside, near 
Tarrytown, on the banks of his loved Kudsdn, having just 



SKiyrCH OF mVIKOS LIFE. 321 

c/)mplet.ert his last Avork, '.\ hOvtr i>i' love, Thp Life of 
Woskin(jton, (18.i9.) 

Irving was gifted with tliat geniality uf disposition tliat 
flows from a pure and kindly heart, shedding light and 
gladness on all around. An omnivorous reader of lighter 
literature, — legend, travels, poetry, fiction, history, — he 
was not a philosopher nor a profound observer of human 
life. He indeed studied the life around him, but it was for 
the keen delight he felt in observing whatever was odd, 
ludicrous, or absurd, not that he might influence it for 
good. 

Irving is essentially a humorist with a strong tendency 
to the poet ; not a humorist who laughs at our follies to 
shame us out of them ; but one who looks on and laughs 
good-naturedly at our Aveaknesses, and Avho loves us none 
the less for them. He is at the same time as ready to 
shed tears of heartfelt sympathy with us in our sorroAv. 

The gracefulness of IrA'ing's style, the result of a loving 
study of Addison and Goldsmith united to his o\Am natural 
taste, giA'es to his productions an indescribal)le chai'm, felt 
most completely in those in AA^hich his humor illumines the 
face or his pathos moistens the eye. 

The tendency in IrAing's humor is tOAA^ard exaggeration ; 
— he has ca'cu been accused of giA'ing this peculiarity to 
American humor in general. In his earlier AA^orks, notably 
in Knickerbocker's History of Ncav York, exaggeration 
goes even to burlesque ; — the tAA^o best pieces in the 
Sketch-Book, Rip Van Winkle and Legend of Sleepy 
HolloAV, are marred at the close by the irritating state- 
ments that they are fabulous. FeAv of the pathetic pieces 
have this fault ; most of them display an emotion that is 
wholly natural, as if the author drcAV u\m\\ tlie memory of 
his own great sorroAv, and felt that this part of our nature 
at least must not be trifled Avitli. In the reflective pieces 



322 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

again, we see the s;iine disposition to overdo tlie matter : 
tlie slightest cireunistnncc serves to bring on it- Avliole 
train of moralizing, so much so that in Westminster Abbey 
one is tempted to see either complete consciousness of 
elaboration and hence lack of feeling, or merely morbid 
sentimentality. 

The merit of the sketches in the Sketch-Book is very 
uneqnnl : in Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow, the humor 
is almost perfect of its kind, while the pathos of The 
Widow and Her Son and The Pride of the Village is 
exquisite. The pieces referring to an English Christmas 
are exceedingly interesting and attractive; those about 
Shakespere are chatty, while much sinks to the level of 
commonplace — Roscoe, English Writers on America, The 
Country Church, Spectre Bridegroom, John Bull, the Indian 
Sketches, Little Britain, and others. Irving is known to 
the public at large almost Avholly by Rip Van Winkle and 
Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 




ANNOTATIONS. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 



The annotations appended to this volume are almost 
Avholly of a compositional character ; the style of the 
author is so simple, the allusions are to objects of such 
every-day knowledg-e, that little of an explanatory nature 
is needed. The analytical notes are an attempt, in refer- 
ence to a few of the pieces, to show the author's methods of 
work, — his thought, his aim, his plan, his development of 
his plan ; they are not intended as a model for an analysis 
of the remaining- pieces of the volume, though it is advis- 
able to have the pupils give outline sketches of some of 
these, such sketches containing much of the same matter 
as the analysis but without the author's consciousness of 
his plan. 

The process to which the pieces referred to have been 
submitted may seem opposed to what is said below in 
regard to the treatment of literature. But every piece of 
literature is a work of art ; it has a plan and a develop- 
ment, a frame- work, about it, hoAvever skilfully concealed. 
An analysis reveals the framc-Avork, Avhich has a beauty of 
its own independent of the covering. But this analysis is 
a separate thing, and must be taken up by itself, not when 
the piece is l)enig read for enjoyment, otherwise a distaste 
for literature will certainly follow, "We pull a flower to 



324 THE SKETCTT-BriOK. 

pieces only when we wish to examhie its structure ; usually 
Ave gaze on it, we smell it, that we may receive pleasure 
from its beauty and its fragrance. 

Nothing is said about the author's structure of sentences 
or paragraphs ; should information on these be required, 
it is readily attainable ; — the page is open to inspection by 
all. It is to be feared that the author's practice in 
reference to paragraphs will not, in all cases, be held up 
as worthy of imitation. Little blame is to be attached to 
him therefor ; — literature does not exist for paragraphs. 

G. A. Chase. 



LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION. 



At the present day the works of eminent writers are 
freely placed in the hands of the pupils of our schools and 
carefully studied, — the thought along with its expression 
in appropriate language. There can be no doubt that if 
the end in view is the acquisition of what is implied in the 
term language, this method is the only proper one. For it 
is but a continuation of the process by which parents first 
impart language to their children. The needs of the child 
grow beyond what, as a rule, the home surroundings how- 
ever refined the home may be, can supply ; but if the 
language of the home moves in a narrow circle, still nar- 
rower is the circle in the school-room. It is scarcely too 
much to say that no advance in language can be made in 
the school-room. 

The parent never gives language without thought ; with 
thought the very first utterance is associated ; in literature 
thought and language are also combined — the printed page 
takes the place of the parent so far as is possible. The 



A XNO TA TIONS. 325 

child's OAvn language will be such as he hears at home ; if 
refined, literature will keep it so ; if not refined, literature 
will at least give a knowledge of what is better, though old 
habits may be hard to throw off. In language the thought 
is the formative principle, on which depends the character 
of the expi'ession. Hence the first necessity in acquiring 
language is the conscious comprehension of the thought 
conveyed therein ; — conscious, because a mere dim per- 
ception of it cannot reveal the appropriateness of the 
language. Here the teacher's work comes in. He must 
be the guide, the companion of the pupils ; the living 
voice or personation of the one who speaks in the written 
page, — as deeply interested, too, as any of his pupils. The 
conversation in the class over the portion of the book set 
for the purpose, the interchange of opinion as to the 
thought, feeling, bearing on the author's aim, characteristics 
of the language, and other interesting features in endless 
variety suggested by a careful preparation on the teacher's 
part, will leave very little room for listlessness or indiffer- 
ence in the pupil. 

It Avill be destructive, however, of all interest in litera- 
ture for pupil and teacher alike if the study of a book is 
made a task ; a book should attract, not repel. To turn a 
literature lesson into a lesson in grammar, derivation, 
spelling, or definitions, is to pervert it. The meaning of 
words comes half unconsciously to us from their association ; 
— few of the general meanings do any of us owe to a 
dictionary, and none of the exact meanings unless they be 
purely technical in character.- Derivation is best dealt 
with merely as an incidental in the conversation when 
some special end is to be gained by knowing the etymo- 
logical force of the word ; otherwise it is useless work. 

It is not meant here to discourage the use of a dictionary. 
On the contrary the pupils should be encouraged to use 



326 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

one, for sometimes even the general meaning- of a word is 
hard, to g-ather from the context ; only, this must not be a 
separate task. In this matter of learning- language the 
teacher must, as in all his work, be guided by his judgment 
in adapting his means to the attainment of the end in view. 
The adhesion to one rule or one plan is not the mark of a 
strong teacher. 

But the knowledge of language is something more than 
the understanding of the import. of words and associations of 
words ; it is also the ability to use words for the expression 
of thought — "to compose," as is technically said. Com- 
position, of course, takes place wherever two or more words 
are associated for the conveyance of a thought, either in 
speaking or in writing. It is quite a mistake to think that 
the reading of literature will benefit only our written 
language ; the spoken language will receive its share like- 
wise, though, perhaps, as the literature read is usually not 
conversational in character, the greater benefit will fall to 
the written speech. 

The purpose for which books of prose literature are read 
in our schools, according to the ofticial curriculum of studies, 
is the supplying of subjects, or themes, for composition. 
This necessarily means subjects dealt with in the books ; 
as a consequence the language employed by the pupils will 
be largely that of the author. There is no harm in this ; 
for as the books selected are, or should be, masterpieces, the 
repetition of the author's language will only stamp it more 
deeply on the memory of the learner, to be used in express- 
ing his own thoughts afterwards. No one author's books 
are read so continuously as to incur the danger of imitation, 

A serious mistake will be made, however, if the pupil's 
work is confined to themes from such sources. He is called 
upon in life outside the school-room to express his own 
thoughts, not the thoughts pf others, and his 'school wprk 



JJV^iV^O TA TION^S. 327 

must have this in view. Hence what is termed "orig-inal 
compositions " should at least alternate with these half- 
imitative ones, the theme selected being one upon which 
the pupil has ready thoug-ht, something- within his common 
experience, so that his efforts may be directed mainly to 
the language he is to use and not the search after thoughts. 
If there are no thoughts there can be no language. 

The aid that literature can give in this respect, beyond 
what is referred to above, is comparatively little. The 
pupil has his own tlioughts to utter ; they maybe different 
from any that he has ever met with in books, and so imita- 
tion is out of the question ; it is his own thoughts, his own 
words, his own particular aim, his own personality that 
have to be brought out ; the formative power that gives 
shape and form to his utterances is within himself. Liter- 
ature, let us say for the sake of deflniteness the Sketch- 
Book, can show only hoAV others have expressed their 
thoughts ; that thej^ have had thoughts ; that they have 
had a clearly defined object in vieAv ; that they have laid 
down a definite plan from beginning to end — not indeed 
extending to every minute feature, for the fancy often 
plays around the thought in the very process of being 
uttered ; that whatever they say tends toward the end in 
view, and that their language is carefully chosen so that it 
may adequately convey whatever is intended it should con- 
vey. This literature will do and no more. 

The teacher's work, then, is to take the written productions 
of the pupils, go over them, note wherein they lack features 
that should be present, and call the attention of the authors 
to the faults in a way that will best meet the requirements 
of the case, — now pointing them out, now asking the writer 
to examine closely for himself, — always exercising com- 
mon sense, not slavishly following a set rule. 

But here the warning must be given not to expect too 



328 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

much from pupils, even of the higher forms. And though 
from these we may be justified in expecting something more 
than from the lower forms, yet the first thing to be aimed 
at in all cases is the clear expression of what is to be said ; 
increasing maturity of mind, the gradual and unconscious 
development, through the study of literature, of taste with 
its attendant power of weighing thought and its expres- 
sion, will do the rest. The teacher's hardest work will be 
to get his pupils to think clearly, and then to write clearly 
what they think. Every pupil is able to tell if a thought 
— within his powers, of course — is clearly stated ; not 
every pupil can tell if a thought is forcibly stated, or if the 
language is beautiful, etc., etc. ; this no teacher can give 
him the power to tell, or teach him how to tell. He need 
not attempt it ; such power is inborn and will develop 
when the surroundings are favorable. 



The shortness of the pieces in the Sketch-Book allows the 
plan and its development in each to be readily seen and 
comprehended. But the unfortunate lack of variety in 
the character of the subjects, — nearly all being narrative 
and amiably reflective, intended for entertainment, not 
for instruction, — leads often to a similarity of treatment, 
and affords but a narrow field for thought. This is to be 
regretted all the more as the pupils themselves like what 
instructs and sets them thinking ; the most interesting 
lessons are always those that call forth the fullest inter- 
change of ideas between teacher and pupil, or pupil and 
pupil, whether they be grave or gay, fact or fancy. 

It is to be hoped that the time for the study of an author 
as indicated by such questions as " How does the authoi- 
secure pathos ? " " What means does the author adopt to 
add strength?" has passed away. Literature is not a 



ANNOTATION'S. 329 

piece of jugglery ; language is the index of what is in the 
author / if the language quivers with emotion it is because 
the author is quivering with emotion ; if the language is 
strong it is because the author's feelings are strong ; if he 
arouses us it is because he himself is first aroused ; — we do 
not warm ourselves at the picture of a fire. The teacher 
must study the author till he can, as it were, identify him- 
self with his author, enter into his thought and share his 
feelings. Then there will certainly be no lack of matter 
to bring before a class ; thought and language will enter 
together into the pupils' mind and memory, and subjects 
for further thinking will suggest themselves in abundance. 
Annotations have their place, but the teacher or pupil who 
relies upon such will never know an author. 




NOTES ON "THE SKETCH BOOK." 



THE AUTHOE"S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 

Page 5. Towii-crier. — A town-official in former days whose duty- 
it was to cry throughout the town, accompanied by the 
ringing of a bell to attract attention, proclamations, 
announcements of various kinds, such as articles lost or 
found, rewards offered, etc. Here the reference is to young 
In'ing's getting lost as a result of his ' • Tours of Discovei'y. " 

" r). Neighboring' yillages. — In Irving's youth the villages 
and country districts around New York were still peopled 
by the descendants of the original Dutch colonists whose 
language as well as manners and customs were still pre- 
served. These were an unfailing source of amusement to 
Ii'\dng, and he has introduced them into more than one of 
his most delightful productions. Equally amusing did he 
find the self-importance of village officials — the "great 
men," — and the "wisdom" of the village "sages," whose 
favorite haunt was the tavern. 

" 0. But Europe. — Here Irving tells us what his tastes are. 
Not an enthusiastic admirer of natui'e in all its forms, but 
only when it produces a luxurious, dreamy state, or when 
the seixses are delighted, with the soft beauty of landscape, 
or with the sweetness of flower or green leaf, and only then 
when there is some human association connected with it. 

" 6. 1 had degenerated. — An illustration of Irving's 

peculiar humor — often, as here, carried to excess and losing- 
its effect by V)eing out of keeping with the spirit of the con- 
text. It is a decideil fault in taste. 



>o2 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Page. 7. Rejrular traveller. »^tc. — Irving's quiet wa3r of character- 
izing his own work : lie has not gone over the ground that 
others have travelled, or given the stock-in-trade of other 
travellers : he has given what suits himselt 



THE VOYAGE. 



Compositional. — The author has crossed the ocean. He wishes to 
say something about the voyage ; what this shall be, whether a full 
or a partial description — or anything else whatever, so long as it is 
connected with the voyage — depends wholly upon his own wilL He 
has chosen to deal with it as affording incident and opportunity for 
reflection. 

Such being the case, the actual order of succession in time of the 
incidents need not be preserved ; the author may bring them forward 
when he pleases, and as many as he pleases, his only guide being what 
is natural It would not, for instance, be natural for the meeting of 
the sick sailor and his wife to take place in mid-ocean, or for the 
author's home-sick reflections to arise as the ship was sailing up the 
Mersey in full view of that English landscape of which he had read 
and dreamed so much. The incident of the floating spar might have 
occurred in any part of the ocean ; the sea monsters, too, were not all 
seen on the same occasion, and the luxurious, dreamy sensations pro- 
duced by calm ocean and beautif ixl weather, were not experienced all 
at one time — the author has grouped them. It makes no difference 
whether the author really saw such sights or had such thoughts as he 
describes ; the only thing he had to consider was whether such sights 
were natural to the place and conditions, and the thoughts such as 
might naturally arise from them. Imagination must look like reality. 

The author does not intend merely to say that he saw such and 
such sights and had such and such thoughts in consequence ; he wishes 
also to describe them— that is so to speak about them as to bring the 
incidents clearly before the reader's mind, or to arouse the same feel- 
ings he himself had at the time. Hence the shark gliding noiselessly 
along just below the sui'f ace of the water, suggests ' ' a spectre " not 
only by the shadowy form that we are accustomed to give to a spectre, 
but by all the sensations of terror that we associate with it ; as a con- 
sequence we see the shark as i^lainly as the author did. So too, "the 
gentle undulating of the billows," and the " bellowing ' of the thunder 



N(yrB>; on tub sKiorcii-jiooK. 333 

are appeals to our appreciatiuu of soiincL Again, the " ghasth' light " 
tlirc»wni by the lamp over the hushed group listening to the tales of 
ten-or, receives its character of ghastliness ft-oni the excited imagina- 
tion of the hearers themselves, and are see the group thus far ; and 
then, -what an awful effect would be produced by the bursting forth 
of the storm just at the moment when the stories told have made them 
alive to the fearful dangers of the sea ! It must have seemed as if the 
fate that had overtaken others must be theirs also. 

This is what is termed the writer's "art" — an innate power of em- 
ploying, and the exercise of that power, any and every means that 
taste, judgment, poetical imagination may suggest or approve. It is 
not a power that can be communicated, but it may be guided by one 
who can appreciate it. 

Page 10. iiuag'inary. — Note the iise. 

" 10. quarter-railing. — The bulwarks, or railing, of the quar- 
ter-deck. In general, that part of the deck around the cabin 
or ' ' house " in the after- part of the ship. 

" 10. luaiii-top. — The top of the lowest section of the main- 
mast, or rather the kind of semicircular platform at this 
placa 

" 10. porpoise, grampus. — Both sea animals of the whale 
tribe, the former rarely exceeding five feet in length, the 
latter often being over, thirty. " Porpoise "=Lat. porcus, 
a hog, and piscis, a fish; grampus =5fra«(^is, great, and 

piscis. 

" 10. spectre. — The shark here referred to is of a dull color, 
and as it swims just below the siu'face of the water, with its 
huge dorsal fin protruding forth, the term spectre aptly 
describes the shadowy outline of the monster. 

" 10. phantasuis. — Mermaids, Flying Dutchman, and such 
like, 

" //. fragment. — The vessel lielongs to the "world" of man; 
here, on the ocean, man does not inhabit 

' ' lil. roaring .... ear. — Those who have lain in a berth with 
their head resting against the side of the vessel, know this 
sound full well 



334 THE SKETl'II-l'.OOK. 

I'aije 13. A liiU' (lay. — Note the marked chaiige in st\-lo ami su1>- 
ject here. The author had heeu killed to sleep by the very 
sounds of terror he describes. Note, too, the peculiar effect 
of " however." 



EOSCOE. 

(Any biographical dictionai-y or encyclopjedia will g'ive the facts of Rogcoe's life.) 

This sketch is not in Irving's be^t veui. There is much in it of a 
\&vy labored character, more especially in his similes and metaphors. 

Paf/e !<!. Nature, etc. — The idea is that a j^erson of great natural 
abilities, though brought up amid sun-oundings wholly 
unfavorable to mental development, will often be found to 
surpass another of ordinary ability who has had all the 
advantages that education can giva ' ' Legitimate " is in 
contrast Avith ' ' chance " and has the meanmg of ' ' ordinary " 
or • ' usuaL " It is a bold application of the word in its 
ordinary application to offspring. 

" KJ. human frailty.— Byron, for example. At best, etc. — 
Such as Cowper and Wordsworth. 

' ' I'.i. black-letter.— What is knowai as ' • Old English " letters: 
the}' A\ere used in the earliest printed books in imitation of 
the Amting in manuscripts. 



THE WIFE. 



The ' ' observations " or general remarks with which Irving opens 
so many of his pieces in the Sketch-Book, and which are illustrated 
by what follows, are in accordance with the prevailing fashion of last 
century when there was so much niere sentimentalism in literature 

Unless emplo3'ed with caution, these introductory generalizations 
are a weakness ; the}' are ajjt to repel the reader rather than attract. 
We prefer to make our own generalizations, to draw our own moral : — 
to read a story for its own sake, not as a mere illustration. 

This piece, though not one of Irving's best, contains a good dea' 
of fine pathos. 



NOTES UN THE SKETCil-BOOK. 



335 




KIP AT PLAY WITH THE CHILDEEN. 



EIP VAX WINKLE. 

N.B.— The following: " Postscript "was added by Irving at the end of his story 
and should have been printed with the text. 

Postscript. — The following are travelling notes from a memoran- 
dum-book of Mr. Knickerbocker : — 

" The Kaatsberg, or Catskill Mountains, have alwaA-s been a 
region full of f abla The Indians considered them the abode of 
spirits, who influenced the weather, spreading sunshine or clouds 
over the landscape, and sending good or bad hunting seasons. They 
were ruled by an old squaw spirit, said to be their mother. She 
dwelt on the highest peak of the Catskills, and had charge of the 
doors of day and night, to open and shut them at the proper hour. 
She hung up the new moons in the skies, and cut up the old ones 
into stars. In times of drought, if properly propitiated, she would 
spin light summer cloiids out of cobwebs and morning dew, and send 
them oft" from the crest of the mountain, flake after flake, like flakes 
of cai'df'd cotton, to float in thi^ air. \intil. dissf)lvpd b}' the heat of 
the sun, they would fall in genik', shovvei's, causing tlie grass to 



336 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

spring, the fruits to ripen, and the corn to grow an inch an hour. 
If displeased, however, she would brew up clouds black as ink, 
sitting in the midst of them like a bottle-bellied spider in the midst 
of its web ; and when these clouds broke, woe betide the valleys ! 

' ' In old times, say the Indian traditions, there was a kind of 
Manitou or Spirit, who kept about the wildest recesses of the CatskUl 
Mountains, and took a mischevious pleasure in wreaking all kinds of 
evils and vexations upon the red men. Sometimes he would assume 
the form of a bear, a panther, or a deer, lead the be'wildered hunter 
a weary chase through tangled forests and among ragged rocks, and 
then spring off with a loud ho ! ho ! leaving him aghast on the 
brink of a beetling precipice or raging torrent. 

" The favorite abode of this Manitou is still shown. It is a great 
rock or cliff on the loneliest part of the mountain, and, from the 
flowering vines which clamber about it, and the wild flowers which 
abound in its neighborhood, is knoAvn by the name of the Garden 
Eock. Near the foot of it is a small lake, the haunt of the solitar3- 
bittern, with Avater-snakes basking in the sun on the leaves of the 
pond-lilies which lie on the surface. This place was held in great 
awe by the Indians, insomuch that the boldest hunter would not 
pursue his game within its precincts. Once upon a time, however, a 
hunter who had lost his way penetrated to the Garden Rock, where 
he beheld a number of gourds placed in the crotches of trees. One of 
these he seized and made off with, but in the hiuTy of his retreat he 
let it fall among the rocks, when a great stream gushed forth, which 
washed him away and swept him down precipices, where he was 
dashed to pieces, and the stream made its way to the Hudson, and 
continues to flow to the present day, bemg the identical stream 
known by the name of Kaaterskill. " 



Compositional. — The material that the author intends to use con- 
sists of a village "sage," — one of those loungers who used to furnish 
Irving with so much amusing study — his character and habits, his 
farm, his household — wife, children, and dog, the whole highly humor- 
ous ; the ' ' sage's " fellows, who are Dutchmen with peculiarities that 
the author delighted to portray, often with much exaggeration ; this, 
too, being highly humorous ; phases, likewise humorous, of modem 
American village life, especially as to politics and inns ; a legend 
(pretended or actual) of the Dutch colonists along the Hudson River, 
regarding Hendi'ick Hiidson ; the German legend regarding the 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 337 

charmed sleep of Frederick Barbarossa (Red-beard), emjieror of Ger- 
many ; finally, an Indian legend of the Kaatskill Mountains. 

His purpose is to weave this diverse material into one consistent 
whole, with the ' ' sage " as the central figure of interest throughout. 

A plan is largely controlled by the character of the material 
Legends, by additions, omissions, or changes of various kinds, may 
readily be transferred from one country to another ; so may a village 
"sage" and his surroundings. Characteristics that may be called 
racial or historical are local and cannot be metamorphosed. Hence, 
the scene of the author's story must be in America, where the 
national characteristics are brought into sharp contrast ; further- 
more, the actual scene must be along the Hudson, where Dutch 
colonist and American (or Yankee) come into contact, and the exact 
spot, the Kaatskill Mountains, where the Dutch and the Indian 
legends are local The hero's home is to be in a Dutch village among 
these mountains ; he is to prove the truth of the Dutch legend bj' 
actual sight, many of the circumstances attending his adventure 
being drawn from the Grerman legend, -with a few from the Indian 
legend, while some of the results of the adventure will afford oppor- 
tunity for introducing the desired phases of modem American village 
life in contrast with Dutch peculiarities. The plan will hannonize 
all the various material. 

In the development of the plan the introduction of the Kaatskill 
Mountains, with their weird appearance so suggestive of being the 
haunt of the supernatural, is followed in natural succession by the 
little Dutch village at their foot with a playful glance at Dutch 
prejudices ; the introduction of the hero of the story, Rip, with his 
nature and his character, mainly the caixse of, but partly caused by, 
his peculiar domestic surroundings ; the character of his farm, his 
wife, his children, his dog ; his inabilitj' to endure his home life, with 
his retreat for safety among his fellow "sages," who are therefore 
described ; his expulsion thence by his wife, and his consequent last 
memorable trip for peace sake to the moimtains, there to meet, in his 
own characteristic way, with the strange looking man ; his ocular 
demonstration of the truth of the Hendiik Hudson legend ; his sleep, 
with its characteristic cause ; the awakening, with its puzzling accom- 
paniments — these three containing many features of the Barbarossa 
legend ; the bewildering journey liomeward ; the amazing transfor- 
mati(m in everything, especially seen in the bustle and noise of olec- 
tif)n (lay ; and finall}', to the satisfaction of our syiiipatliies so 



338 TTIK SKETCH-BOOK. 

Btrougiy enlisted in his behalf, Rip"s old age free at last from work, 
free from his domestic tyrants, farm and wife, and free to indulge to 
the full his inborn propensities. 

Remarks. — "Kip Van Winkle" more than any other of Irving's 
wTitings keeps its author fresh in the memory of the general public. 
This is due not to the legend nor to Hip and his surroundings, but to 
the richly humorous manner in which the whole has been conceived 
and presented. The humor never flags from beginning to end, — from 
the time when Rip is introduced to us hurrying on errands for village 
housewives, to the time when ' ' with' the privilege of old age " he sits 
in the sun at the tavern door, telling his marvellous tale to all who 
will listen. It is true, the the author might have portrayed to us in 
warning, even indignant terms, the sad consequences of laziness ; — 
how that it caused the thorn and the thistle to grow in Rip's neglected 
farm ; lost him his ancestral possessions ; covered himself and his 
children with unseemly rags ; destroyed the temper of his industrious 
wife, and drove him forth from what should have been a peaceful 
happy home, to take refuge with the dissipated and worthless. But, 
then, who would exchange for such a discourse, ' ' sounding in moral 
virtue " as it might be, a sight of that same Kip as he hurries ou the 
neighboring housewive's errands with troops of children following him, 
or when, with an occasional shrug of the shoulders and an upward 
roll of the eye, he meekly stands under the torrent of his wife's 
invective? — and of Mrs. Rip;— though we cannot enter into her 
feelings of Avrath against their silent object, we follow her down the 
street with little Kip ' • trooi^ing " after her, his hands, for lack of 
better means, holding up his trousers, — once his father's, but now 
his, unaltered, we fear, by scissors and needle ; and poor Wolf 
with tail curled between his legs, sneaking to the side of the room 
farthest from her but with eye fearfully fixed on her, I'eady, with 
"yelping percipitation, " to rush for the door at any supposed move- 
ment of hers towards broomstick oi ladle? and lastly, would we 
consent to give up those two companion pieces the " perpetual club" 
with the ' ' f ull-bi-eadth " portrait of Nicholes Vedder, as he sits there 
in profound silence "uttering clouds of smoke" and moving just 
enough to keep in the shade, and the election day on the same spot, 
when, on returning after his wondrous draught, the aged Rip hears 
in his stunned brain tlio uncouth jargon, "Federal or Democrat," 
"Bunker Tlill," "State Rights," "Congress," etc., etc.? Undoubt- 
edl}^ not. 



NOTES ON THE SKETCII-JiOOK. 



;W9 




kip's return home. 



NOTES. 

Legendary lore had always a charm for Irvhig ; he was delighted 
with Scott's ' ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. " — ballads, legendary 
and otherwise, taken down by Scott chiefly from the recitation of old 
peasant women ; he had read translations of German legends by 
different persons, and is said to have received from Scott the hint 
that some of these might be made the foundation of an excellent 
stor3^ 

In the characteristic aste at the end of Hip Van Winkle, Irving 
indicates the orighi of his story — the legend of the Emperor Frederick 
Barbarossa. According to this legend the old emperor had not died, 
but, attended by faithful knights, was in a charmed sleep in an 
underground castle of the Ky^jphauser Mountain in the Hartz range, 
to return again when the glory and greatness of the German Empire 
had de^Darted, in order to restore them once mora (See the German 
poem in note to page 41. ) Tlie attendant knights have been seen. 
One Peter Klaus, a villager, while wandering in the mountains met 
with a number of men in anti([ue garb ; after being courteously entei'- 
tained by them ho returned homo only to find tliat h(^ had been absent 



340 THE SKETCK-BOOK. 

twenty years. Other stories more or less resembling this are currant 
among the German peasantry. 

Legends concerning the supernatural disappearance of j^ieople from 
the earth and theu' subsequent return, are common in all parts of 
the world ; among others are that of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus — 
seven young Christian men, who, to escape persecution in the reign 
of the Emperor Decius, retired to a cave, where they slept two hun- 
dred years, and awoke to find Christianity the established belief ; the 
legend of Thomas the Ehymer, or Thomas of Ercildoune, — so promi- 
nent in the Northern ballads of England and Scotland, — who was 
taken away from earth by the Queen of Fairy Land, and who returns 
from time to time on various errands ; the nursery fairy story of the 
Sleeping Beauty ; Hoggs ' ' Kilmeny ;" the famous legend of King 
Arthur, so long and so persistently believed in by the Welsh (see 
Green's "History of the English People," reign of Edward L) In 
the Passing of Arthur, in Tennyson's Idyls of the King, Arthur 
says : — 

" I perish by this people which I made,— 

Tho' Merlhi sware that I should come again 
To rule once more. " 

Sir Bedivere cries, as Arthur moves away in the black boat : — 

" He passes to he King: amorng- the dead, 

And after healing of his grievous wound, 
He comes again." 

Although many features of Irving's story are of foreign origin, yet 
the little village with its inhabitants and characteristics of both its 
early and later days, the hero, himself a denizen of the village, and 
the magnificent scenery of the Kaatskills with the ' ' lordly Hudson " 
at their feet, are so inseparably united tiiat we cannot conceive of 
tlie legend as belonging to any other spot than that to which the 
author has transferred it. 

Irving's prefatory note to the story is his answer to the adverse 
criticisms of his ' ' History of New York " (see sketch of Life). In his 
own humorous way he accounts for his book by describing his tastes, 
laughs patronizingly at his angry critics, and intimates that he will 
write as he pleases. 

Page 28. Knickerbocker. — Irving assumed this name in his writ- 
ings i-pferring to Dutch subjects. 



NOTRS ON TIIR SKETCH-BOOK. 341 

Vaye 'JS. Primitive settlers.— Hendrik (or Henrv) Hudson, an 
Euglishinan in the service of the Dutch, was the first to 
explore (1609) the coast in the neighborhood of New York, 
and to sail up the river. The Dutch claimed the country 
by right of discovery, and colonized it. It came into the 
possession of the English in 1664 

" 2ft. tlieir wives. — Women seem to have always had the 
reputation of preserving the legends and stories of former 
days. Saint Paul si^eaks of " old wives' fables " ; the Ara- 
bian Night's Entertainments are stories told by women ; 
and the ballads collected by Bishop Percy, Scott, and others 
were taken dovm from the recitation, for the most part, of 
old peasant women. 

" -Jf^. black-letter.— See note page 19. The earliest printed 
books consisted chiefly of legends, tales, etc. 

'• 2S. Dutch groveriiors. — Wouter Van Twiller, Peter Kieft, 
Peter Stuyvesant {111/ =i). 

" .W. Fort Christina. — In Delaware. It was held by the 
Swedes who claimed and had in part colonized the surround- 
ing country. A famous account of the siege is given in the 
"History of New York." 

' ' .'.'0. tribulation.— Lat. ' ' tribulatio, " a threshing out of grain 
by means of a sledge set with sharp stones or iron teeth. 
Examine the use in the text in the light of this deriva- 
tion. 

' ' .VO. termagant. — The name of a god that mediaeval Christians 
supposed the Saracens worshipped. He was frequently 
represented in old plays as a violent, storming character. 

" -V/. galligraskins. — Wide, full trousers worn during the 
latter half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 
17th. 

" A'<. schoolmaster, etc. — Compare Irving's schoolmaster and 
inn with Goldsmith's in the "Deserted Village." Nicholas 
Vedder is a reproduction in miniature of Governor Wouter 
Van Twiller in the ' ' History of New York." The landlord 
serves materially to localize the stoiy. 



342 . THE SKETC1I-1500K. 

Page 31. As he WHS about. — From thii? point to E,ip"s appearance 
before the "Union Hotel" the story has but little of the 
local natiu'e ; it is in its main featxu'es the German legends. 
These do not represent the heroes as falling asleep, but as 
meeting with supernatural beings in whose company they 
are unaware of the lapse of time, — five, seven, or even two 
hundred year's having passed away as if they were only a 
few hours. 

" .'15. several pair. — Irving delighted in thus presenting his 
typical Dutchman. In the "History of New York" he 
represents one of the colonists, Ten Broeck, as deriving his 
name from wearing ten pairs of breeches ; these were of 
svich a size that, when the Indians had agreed to give the 
colonists as much land as a man's breeches would cover, the 
simple savages were amazed and confounded to see Ten 
Broeck's cover the whole of the future site of New York ! 

' ' 35. odd-looking', etc. — So in the legend of Peter Glaus ; but 
Irving turns Barbarossa's knights into Dutchmen. 

" 35. doublet (Lat. duo + jDlus). — Originally a thick, wadded 
jacket for defence ; afterwards a short close-fitting coat. 

'• 3tL old gentleman. — Hendrik Hudson : Irving, in imitation 
of the legends, gives to the river as its presiding genius the 
man who had discovered it, — a happy idea, thereby localiz- 
ing the legend. 

' ' 39. bilious-looking. — Irving as heartily despised this typi- 
cal Yankee "Jonathan" as he was amused at the phleg- 
matic Dutchman He lamented the displacement of the 
old-time inn by the modern comfortless village "hotel"; 
and ward and tavern politicians with their hj'pocritical 
and pseudo-patriotic cant and disgraceful personalities, he 
utterly loathed, 

" 40. Federal or Democrat. — These were the names of two 
political parties in the early part of the centuiy ; the former 
claimed more authority for the central government over the 
separate States than the latter was willing to grant. 

' ' 40, Tory -refugee. — The loyalists during the American Revo- 
lution were termed ' ' Tories " by their opponents ; at the 
close of the war their property was nearly all confiscated, 
and they themselves were compelled to leave the country. 



NOTES ON TIIP^ SKETCII-r.O(»lv. 343 

Fafje 41. Antoilj'.s X<»Ht'. — A bold headland, on the eastern side of 
the Tappan Zee, —a broad expansion of the Hudson near 
Tarrytown. For the origin of the name see Knickerbocker's 
History of New York, Book VI. Chap. i. 

" 42. peddler. — Irving liked to satirize the energetic bat often 
unscrupulous character of the New England pedlar. See 
History of New York. Notice the humor in this reference 
to Hip's wife. 

" 44. (Note) 'der Rothbart. 

The following is a poetical version of the Barbarossa legend by the 
German poet, Riickert : 

BARBAROSSA. 

Der alte Barbarossa. dcr Kaiser Friedrich, 

Im miterird'scheii Schlosse halt cr verzaubert sich. 

Er ist nienials gestorben, er lebt dariu iiocli Jetzt ; 

Er hat im Sc-hlosz vertorgen zum Schlafsich hiiij^esetzt. 

Er hat hinabgeiioininen des Reiches Herrlielikeit, 
Uiid wird eiust wiederkommen niit ihr zu seiner Zeit. 

Der Stiihl ist elfeiibeinerii, woraiif der Kaiser sitzt, 

Der Tisch ist inannelsteineni, worauf sein Haiipt er stiltzt. 

Sein Bart ist nicht von Flachse, er ist von Feuersglnth, 
Ist durch den Tisch gewachsen, worauf sein Kinn ausruht. 

Er nicht als wie im Traunie, sein Aug' halb offen zwinkt; 
Und je nach langem Rauine er einem Knaben winkt. 

Er spricht im Schlaf zuni Knaben, Geh' hin vors Schlosz, o Zwerg, 
Und sieh ob noch die Ralicu herfliegen um den Berg. 

Un wenn die alten Raben noch fliegen ininierdar, 

So niusz ich audi nodi sclilafen verzaui)ert Jiundert Jahr. 



ENGLISH WRITERS ON AMERICA. 

Pane 45. This production adds nothing to the author's fame ; 
neither the language itself nor the tone in which it is written 
can be recommended. Both are unlike Irving as we know 
him. 



344 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

EUEAL LIFE IX ENGLAND. 

Paije '>S. This is the first of those pieces in the 8ketch-Book tliat 
show Ir\diig's heart-felt admiration of English country-life, 
and English landscape scenery ; it lacks, hoAvever, the touch 
that we recognize as Irving's, — it does not deal with mdi- 
viduals, but with abstractions ; and Irving did not delight 
in abstractions. The humorous and its kindred, the 
pathetic, are associated wdth individuals. 



THE BEOKEN HEART. 



CO. Irving's fondness for introductory moralizing often 
materially injures the effect of what he really has to saj', 
which is contained in the subsequent part. In this piece 
the narrative holds the position of a mere illustration to his 
general remarks. We should have much preferi'ed a more 
extended narrative, with much less of an introduction, and 
wdth the consequent privilege of doing oui" own reflection. 
But notwithstanding the defects, in mannerism and in 
the e.Kaggerated and labored character of some of the figures 
of sfjeech, the sad pathos makes us carry away the story 
and forget the rest, — no small praise for what is really good 
in Irving. As in The Wife, the chief pathos centres 
around one scene, — the broken-hearted maiden at the mas- 
querade sitting imconscious of all around her, giving 
exi^ression in a plaintive song to her grief-stricken soul. 
Not long before he wrote this Irving knew in his own bitter 
experience what it is to lose one tenderly beloved. Indeed 
this loss would seem to throAy its softening influence over 
the whole of what the Sketch-Book contains. 



THE ART OF BOOK-MAKING. 

This genial whimsical satire on authors is to take the 
f omi of a dream, — not by any means an original device on 
the author's part, nor used on this occasion only. The 
dream comes as naturally as possible ; — the warm day, an 
unoccuined mind, a silent room, and listless musing all 
invite to drowsiness. ' ' Naturalness " has many sides, and 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 345 

Page fin. Irving uiiglit have made a more alimulaut u'<e i>f this 
••device" in his writings than he has. 

" b'5. Note. — Floor in second paragraph should be Joor. 

" 66. "pure English, uiideflled."— Spenser's Faer3^ Queen. 
Bk. IV. , canto 2. st. 3-2. 

" Dan Chaucer, well of Ensllsh undefyled, 
On Fame's etei'nall bead-roll worthie to be fyled" 

" 69. Primrose Hill, Regent's Park.— Both public parks in 
London. Irving is ironical here. 

" 70. Thebau. — The Thebans of Ancient Greece v,eve \)Yo- 
verbial for their dullness. 



A ROYAL POET. 



76'. Had not James, etc. — This passage shows a full appre- 
ciation of an author's devices ; though the foundation, the 
fountain-head, of all true writing must be the thought or 
the emotion of the author, his judgment and his taste must 
be in constant exercise so as to bring out most effectivel\- 
what is to be said. In other words, the author has a pur- 
pose in his writings and knows the end from the beginning 
and plans accordingl^^ This process is natuz'al. not 
mechanical 



THE COUNTEY CHURCH. 

It would be instructive to know Irving's mood when he was writing 
The Country Church. He certainly was not in the mood A\hen 
brain and fancy are light and airy, and when words answer uncalled. 
He seems to force himself to A\rite, and almost to be indifferent 
whether he writes w-ell or ill. In such a mood good work cannot be 
done ; — indeed, Irving confessed he could not write unless the mood 
was on him. 

A few leading faults are here pointed out ; very many othei^s may 
be readily found on examination. The Avh(;le piece, beginning with 
•'one," furnishes a striking illustration of the inaccuracies, or worse, 
that forced writing leads to. 



346 THE SKET(;n-BOOK. 

Perhaps the chief fault, one ruuniiig through the whole production, 
is the confusion left in the reader's mind as to whether the author's 
description applies to what he saw on one single occasion, or to what 
he ordinarily saw. Some of his statements point one way, some the 
other. 

On page 87 the author refers to the citizen's sons with the words 
" I must not forget" ; these words should be omitted as also the fol- 
lowing "who"; so, also, on j^age 88, the whole of the first sentence 
of the first paragraph, except the last two words should be left out, — 
and consequently the first two words of the second sentence, — the 
reason in both cases being that the evident scope of the comparison 
includes the whole family, and these expressions would seem to indi- 
cate to the contrary. The closing sentence of the first paragraph on 
page 86 is worse than useless ; and in the next paragraph either the 
^\■ord ' ' vain "in " vain-glory " should be omitted or an appropriate 
adjective should be attached to ' ' triumph. " 

" Fleshy" is a disgusting word ; and that sentence that begins the 
first paragraph on page 87, — we have to go back and reread the pre- 
ceding paragraph, otherwise we should be puzzled to know what is 
meant ; — our attention has been taken up with the description of the 
parents, and we have lost sight of the fact that they are coming out 
of the carriage. In any case ' • followed " is a poor word. 



THE WIDOW AND HER SON. 

The plan followed in this the most truly pathetic narrative in the 
Sketch-Book, is very simple and natural. The author notices in 
church a feeble old woman whose evident poverty mingled with self- 
respect, attracts and interests him, and whose heartfelt devotion dis- 
tinguishes her from the formality of the rest of the congregation. 
He is fond of loitering in churchyards, as many of us are ; one day 
while so engaged he sees a grave being dug in a remote comer, and 
as he is musing upon the neglect of the poor, a funeral approaches, 
and in the chief mourner he recognizes the poor woman that had 
interested him in the church. Natural curiosity draws him to the 
side of the grave ; he learns that the poor old woman, a widow, has 
lost her only son. Her speechless agony is too much for him ; he 
turns away, but shortly afterwards hears from the lips of a humble 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 347 

friend of the widow the sad storj' of the j'ouiig man who has just 
been buried. 

The author might have adopted a different plan for his story ; he 
might have described the happy household of father, mother, and son ; 
the son, anxious to relieve his parents, going to seek work on a river 
craft ; his seizure by the press gang ; the hardships endured on board 
a man-of-war and in prison ; the despair of the parents with the 
death of the father and the broken-hearted jjoverty of the mother, 
and so on. He would thus follow the occurrences in chronological 
order ; he chose otherwise, and we feel that any one of us might have 
at any time an experience similar to the one he narrates. We feel, 
too, the simijlicity of the narrative in marked contrast Avith the 
ingenious joining and fitting in Rip Van Winkle, and with the 
elaborate musings in Westminster Abbey, where we meet the plan at 
every turn. 

Not but that there are imperfections here. The introduction is 
hardly such as we should exj^ect ; it should be associated in a more 
organic manner with the narrative itself. The worshija inside the 
church is indeed presented in painful contrast with what the "holy 
repose " of a Sunday in the country should inspire ; but this has only 
a remote connection with the story ; nor yet is it " prostrate " piety 
that such a day should call forth. Besides, the pathos is blunted by 
the pointed reference to the ' ' well-fed " priest, the sexton, the service 
and the clerk, — another emotion, indignation, comes in to turn our 
attention from the sorrowing mother. 

Nor is it a sufficient answer to say that the author must descinbe 
what he sees, supposing he nan-ates an actual occuiTence. If his 
purpose is to describe all that he sees, then he should do so ; but if he 
wishes, as here, to direct attention to only certain of a nu:nber of 
associated circumstances, then he should bring forward only those 
that bear on his purpose, — as an artist in ijainting a landscape will 
omit ever^'thing from his picture that woiild spoil its beauty, his 
purpose being a beautiful pic ure, not literal truth, providing always 
that what he gives is faithful to nature, the omitted part being only 
accidents I 

NOTES. 

Page HO. '• A few. . . . luoiiriier." — Observe the fine, tender effect 
of this incMciit ! s..iiio of us iiifi\' liave Ixieu such "children 
with unthinkinji- mirth. " 



348 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Page l>4. '* My flrst impulse.— Had the story ended here we should 

not have felt satisfied. The narrator's quickened sympathies 
and kind exertions we attribute to ourselves, — he acts as we 
should haA-e acted; and we, like him, have " a feeling of 
satisfaction " that the mother in a few days was herself at 
rest. 



THE BOAR'S HEAD TAVEEN. 

A knowledge of Shakspere's "Henry IV." will explain most of 
the allusions in this lightly humorous paper. 

Pa(je. .'17. Little Britain.— See page 200. 

" !>7. 01(1 Jewry. — That part of London where alone the Jews 
were allowed to dwell befoi'e theu' banishment in the reign 
of Edward I. 

" .''.''. Billilig'Sgate. — The great fish-market <jf London ; it has 
given its name to foul language. 

" :>!>. Milton's angels.— See Milton's '-Paradise Lost," Bk. IL 
IL 555. 



MUTABILITY OF LITEEATUEE. 

The author has something to say about the neglect or utter oblivion 
into which books and then* writers sooner or later fall, excepting here 
and there one that continues to be known and revered. The reason, 
he thinks, is the unavoidable changes in language, and the temporary 
or individual interest of the subjects treated. The few endure despite 
all changes because they speak of what interests human nature at 
all times, and what by its directness and compactness goes straight 
to the heart. 

This is the thought. The setting, or the method of presentmg the 
thought, is the next consideration. Evidently the author is afraid of 
being prosy, — in fact he makes the dumpy tome accuse him of it: 
the subject is an illustration of the trite theme ' ' all things human 
jias«away." His naturally bnght, whimsical humor comes to his 
aid. The little dumpy, i)letlKnic volumes of by-gone days have 
always amused him ; lie will animate one of them and make it speak, 



NOTES ON TIIK SKETCH-BOOK. 340 

— in dreamland where everi/thing is natui'al and nothing causes sur- 
prise. Thus the humor of the method of presentation mingles with 
the whole and we read ■v\-ith an eager curiosity what in another set- 
ting we should either pass over or read listlessly. The lesson, how- 
ever, is learned, and with the additional advantage of animation on 
the teacher's side through being confronted with an opponent, who 
speaks his o%vn sentiments in his own way. 

But it would not be natural for the author to make his "tome" 
speak at once ; — he must " lead up to it," prepare the mind of the 
reader for it by taking him to dream-land. He is in a "half-dream- 
ing mood of mind. " wanders into Westminster Abbey where he may 
indulge his mood, is disturbed there by some "madcap boys," and to 
escape them penetrates to the inmost recesses of the building where 
foot seldom comes, and where the shouts of the boys and the tolling 
of the bell reach his ear with the effect of a mother's lullaby uj^xjn her 
child. He takes down from the shelf an old volume by a forgotten 
author, reads it, and its dull contents as he begins to muse listlessly 
over the fleeting character of literature and literary fame, complete 
what the fading sound from the bell and boys has begun. Suddenly 
he hears a 3'a^\'n. — the rest follows in a very natural way, even to the 
inteiTui^tion of the conversation. 

The essay is most excellent of its kind ; it is happily conceived ; 
its length is suited to one of those little naps that at times ■\\411 ovei'- 
take us ; it is well sustained ; the language is suited to the circum- 
stances ; the opening is all we could ask for. It will be interesting 
to compare this essay with the Art of Book-Making, both in con- 
ception and treatment. 

Page IIJS. two 01* three yawns. — Nothing could be more appro- 
pi'iate or more humorous than this way of waking up on 
the part of the torpid toma 

" id; I. The "mistake" as to the age of the tome affords an 
o])portuuity for showing how utterly the older writers are 
forgotten. (Any history of English Literatui'e will give 
information as to the writei's mentioned. ) 

" no. Wyilkyu de Worde. — The chief workman and successor 
of Caxton in printing. 

" IKi. " well of pure Eii«lisli."— See Note on Art of Book- 
Making, page <1<>. 



350 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 



RURAL FUNERALS. 



It is not merely ■vvitli the eye and feelings of a poet that LiT^ing loo its 
upon what he here describes ; his human heart goes along mth it, for 
again he draws from his owti great sorrow, — the death of her to whom 
he was betrothed : her prayer-book Avas always under his pillow, and 
her name he never uttered afterwards. 

N. B. — Refer to some history of Literature for the writers mentioned 



THE INN KITCHEN. 



Irving liked the inns of olden times ; the hearty comfort and the 
absence of restraint that characterised them accorded with his dispo- 
sition ; more than once he laments their disappearance before the 
more pretentious modem ' ' hotel. " The ' ' Union Hotel, by Jonathan 
Doolittle/'of Rip Van "Winkle, shows his appreciation of the latter. 
The miscellaneous sociability here referred to, ^rith the attendant 
stories, does not lielong to our modem hotel. 



THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM. 

The humorouslj^ bantering tone that runs through this stor^-, — one 
of the '• Inn Kitchen " group, — is carried out in the family names 
Landshort, Starkenfaust (stout-fist), etc ; Katzenellenbogen, hoAv- 
ever, has no connection Anth "cat" ; the region Avas the home of the 
ancient German tribe, the CattL 

The student AA-iU, of course, notice the numerous and A-aried sub- 
jects of the author's mildly satirical banter. — not of the highest or 
most original order of humor. 

Page 1211. Heldeublich — i.e. Book of Heroes: — A collection of old 
German legends about giants, dragons, etc. . etc. 

■• 12:1. Miiinie-lieders. — i.e. LoA-e songs (•• lieders " is an Eng- 
lish iilural on a German one ; — no fault here). Perhaps 
Ir\ing means "Minnesingers" (German Miunesiinger) — 
(German minstrels cotfmpoi'aries of the Tioubadours of 
France. Avh(jse ])oetry was whollj' of Avar and U)va 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 351 

Page t32. Rhein-wein, Ferue-wein, Sans and Braus.— Eepec- 

tively, Rhine (native) wine, foreign wine, revel and riot. 

" 134. dash of eccentricity, etc. —A useless bit of information 
were it not that the story turns upon this characteristic of 
the count ; — it is a hint of what we may look for, a " pre- 
paration of the reader's mind. " 

" 137. Leonora — or Leonore, the famous ballad of the Gennan 
lX)et Blirger, Scott ^\Tote an imitation or translation of it 
under the title of "William and Helen. " 



WESTMINSTER ABBEY. 



This is by far the most highly wrought of all the ' ' sketches " in 
the Sketch- Book ; at every step the writer's art i.-< seen ; one thing 
suggests another by similarity or contrast ; the position one object 
or occuiTence occupies in reference to another is so studied that we 
are forced almost to believe that the pathos is spurious, that it is 
merel}' last centuiy sentimentalism. Tnie pathos does not need such 
planning to make itself felt : — the simple, unpretending naiTative in 
The Widow and Her Son, and other pieces, goes to our heart at once. 

The subject is the futility of man's efforts to perpetuate his memory 
even by the most costly stnictui-es or the most durable of material. 
The authf)r uses what he meets Math on a \dsit to Westminster Abbey 
as suggestive of his various reflections. 

The plan is thus simple in appearance. As in The Voyage, it is 
not proposed to describe everything seen, only what the author deems 
needful in can-ying out his plan ; the objects, however, have a fixed 
place, differing in this respect from those in The Voyage ; but they 
may be approached from. differeiit directions, or visited in what order 
the author pleases. Hence he may call up any sort of reflection he 
may wish and in what order he may wisli. 

Here as so often elsewhere in carrj^ing out his plan the author 
strives to be natural — to make what he has to say come as a natural 
consftjuence. So his mood is glooniy and therefore all aromid reflects 
the same gloom. The days are mclanchol3', they are the last of the 
autumn, the last season of the year ; the morning has shadows, not 
the radiance we usually associate with it, and these meet the evening 



352 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

shadows ; it is the declining year, the abbej' is congenial — it is 
mournful magnificence, the dim regions of antiquity, the shades of 
former ages. The passage is subterranean vnth a dim light ; the 
a\'enue is dark ; the -viev,- is distant •, the verger is black and seems 
like a sj^ectre. 

The building itself inspires gloomy reflections : — the walls are 
■■discolored with damps and crumblmg with age;" moss, a sign of 
decaj'-, covers the funeral inscriptions on the walls ; the plot of grass 
in the court is sickly and the sunlight fallmg on it is dull and cheer- 
less, and what splendor thexe is, is "dusky." But the pinnacles of 
this structure where all is gloom are "sun-gilt," and point away from 
earth and man to where there is no gloom — to the ' ' azure heavens. " 

Such is the author's most elaborate introduction to his subject, — 
an introduction indicating either an imagination excited to the 
highest pitch, or a slow labored, but critical deliberation that accum- 
ulates around its subject everj-thing that will make it more striking. 

Turning then to his real subject, the vanity of man's attempts to 
immortalize himself on earth, he sees the nearly obliterated inscrip- 
tions on the stone beneath his feet at the very moment when the bell 
of the abbey clock tolling out brings to his mind that time is passmg 
away and takes all with it,. The huge buildings amaze him but onlj' 
to show the puniness of man in coinj^arison, not to arouse admiration 
of his power. The crowded tombs of the dead raise a bitter smile as 
he thinks of the insatiate desires of the living :— their name and fame 
pass away almost as rapidly as their ambition. 

Particularizing now, the author goes to the Poet's Corner. Unlike 
others, the}' have few monuments, few inscriptions; they need none, 
for they are not dead, — they live in our hearts, they speak to vis yet, 
for they passed their lives not for personal gain, but to do good to 
man, their fellows. The tombs of the great \rith all their "quaint 
effigies" and "overwrought conceits," all their endeavor to draw- 
attention to the dead, are silent, and are looked -upon only as 
curiositiss or " relics of times uttei'ly gone bj^," they are dead things, 
with no vo'-ce to our hearts, the highest efforts of architectural and 
ai'tistic skill, the exclusiveness of pride, the scenes of former splendor 
— " the silence of death has settled upon them all. " 

The greatest in power as in misfortune, in pride, in beauty, in 
enmity, — queen? of the earth lie silent and low in " two small aisles." 
But just as the thoughts of death's seemingly all-pervading power 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 353 

fill the author's heart and the gloom settles deeper aud deeper, the 
peals of the organ in the worship of the Divine Being burst on his 
ear like a shout of triumph — "Oh Grave where is thy victorj'-?"' — 
carrj-ing him away from earth heavenward, even as the pinnacles of 
this house of death gleaming with light pointed upward to the living 
blue sky. 

One more thought — the dishonoring and the mockery attending 
these efforts to preserve the memory of the dead, and the jarring 
door closes on the author with a hollow echo as he steps out into the 
street— a fitting emblem of all that is earthly. 

Paf/e 148. *< and I saw," etc. — Note here the "natural" prepara- 
tion for the outbiu'st of triumphant music later on. 
•' lr,2. "The Earyptian mummies." — The reference is to the 
use made of mumnaies. Pieces of mummy were worn in 
little sacks around the neck as charms ; and mummy- 
powder was a famous medicine. 
•• 152, *^ Alexander/' etc. — Thei-e seems to be many of Alex- 
ander's coffins ; one was found a few j-ears ago. it is said, 
used as a trouirh. 



CHRISTMAS. 



This and several succeeding pai)ers show the author's delight in the 
innocent amusements of the family cii'cle, where all restraint and 
conventionality are thrown aside and the natural imi^ulses of loving 
hearts are the only guides. To him domestic life afforded the pui'est 
of happiness ; aud though he never maiTied, yet his home at Sunny- 
side was the shelter of nmnerous nieces to whom he was as a father, 
and who gave him in return all a daughter's love. The scenes and 
customs he here describes are all the more pleasui'able to him since 
they in a great measure belonged to the older times,— for In'ing 
loved the antique. jAnd what he wrote from his heart he wrote ^\'ell. 

Whether the author purposely placed these descriptive pieces of 
happy, buoyant domestic life, immediatel3' after '-Westminster 
Abbe}'," is uncertain ; but whether accidental or purposed in passing 
to them, we seem to come out of a stiflmg dungeon into the fresh air 
of spring time ; we need long, deep and re^jeated breaths of this fresh 
air to enable us to throw off the ])oison that has crept into our blood 
ill this sickening gloom. 



354 THE SKETCH-BOOK. 

Page 103. Remark Irving's appeciation of the comforts of an old- 
time inn, and compare the description here with that of 
"Union Hotel by Jonathan Doolittle. " in Rip Van 
Winkle. 
" 199. The following modicwm, etc.— This parapraph pro- 
perly belongs to a short sketch entitled ' ' London Antiqui- 
ties," omitted in this edition, which served as an introduc- 
tion to Little Britain as The Inn-Kitchen does to The 
Spectre Bridegroom. 



STRATFORD-ON-AVON. 



214. '* The Jubilee." — Garrick. the most celebrated actor of 
last century, held a Shakspere .Jubilee at Stratford, one of 
the features of which was a ])rocession in which all the 
leading characters of Shakspere's plays were introduced. 



JOHN BULL. 

2.5R ** In this last resppot."— The following is the old 
story, which has less truth in it than is supposed, that 
the English were always too ready to interfere in disputes 
in which they had no concern. 

2r-,'.i. <' He is a little fond," etc. Irving's fellow countrj'- 
nien are now surpassing Englishmen in this jjarticular. 

■ji;o. " His family mansion." — The English constitution is 
liere glanced at. It is not diflficult to follow the author's 
allusions. 

2i;o. "An entire winij" — is, of course, the Establishc-il 
rhurch. 

2('>l. "■ .John has." etc. — A reference to proposed consti- 
tutional reforms, and the determined conservatism of the 
English. 

2(!2. '< The consequence is." — Again the oft-repeated story 
of the inefficiency of the English public service, and the 
far more tnithful one of the great and evil influence of 
"vested interests. " 



NOTES ON THE SKETCH-BOOK. 355 

Page iiH2. " A g:reat part." — Of course, persons receiving pen- 
sions are referi'ed to. 

" 268. ''He is griven." — The reference probably is to those 
who hold sinecure offices, or who live by plundering the 
state. 

'• 263. ''All these." — This paragraph refei's to the clamoi-s 
for reforms of various kinds, including the demands of the 
extreme radicals Avhose leader was "William Cobbett. 

" 264. ''It may be readily." — The author doubtless has in 
view the tumultuous meetings held by the radicals, and 
the dispersal by military force of one held at Manchester 
and known as the ' ' Manchester Massacre. " 

" 264. " These family," etc. —Alluding to the great national 
debt of Great Britain, and to the fancied decay of British 
power. 



THE PRIDE OF THE VILLAGR 

266. It would be well to compare as to method of treatment 
this truly pathetic stoiy with the Widow and Her Son. 

267. I had seated. Compare the reference to the bell with 
the same in Westminster Abbey. 



THE ANGLEE. 
27.5. We have too few of these fresh out-door pieces from 
Irvins:. 



LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. 

2R8. This and Rip Van Winkle are the two humorous mas- 
terpieces of their kind in the Sketch-Book. Here Irving is 
at home among his Dutch friends again ; but this time it 
is to immortalize a specimen of the New England Yankee, 
an individual whom Irving disliked but whose odd char- 
acteristics afforded him much amusing study. In 
"Knickerbocker's History of New York" this Yankee is 
also dealt with. 



35o TUI-: sKETiii r.ooK 



SOME srP..TEc'TS FOR COMPOSITION. 

" Even fioia ihe tomb tlie voice of nature cries : 
Even in our ashes live their wonted tires."— Gray's '" Elegy." 

— W'l'.tfmingter Abbey. 

The desire to be remembered productive of great good. 

— ]V''.^tmuisf('r Abhei/. 

Home Pleasvires. — (Chrhf mas. ) 

Otitdoor Sjiorts versus Gymnasivim. — {Angltr. ) 

Health and Good Spirits, not mere INIusciilar Strenglh. the 
I'.esidei'aottm. — ( Aniy/er. j 

Old Stories.— (i?('/> Van Winkle..) 

Reverence for the Olden Times. 

Canada's Treatment of the Indians. — (Indian Character. ) 

Hotel versus Inn. — ( Inn Kitchen. ) 

Eespect for Public Benefactors. — ( Bosroe. ) 

There's no Place like Home. — ( The Wifr. ) 

Christmas, the Season of Good- Will. — (Christinas Day. ) 

British Vlncik. —( J oh n BnlJ. ) 

Haunts and Homes of Great Writers. — (Sf rat ford -on -Avon. } 



AN TNTRODUCTIOK" 



THE TALISMAN 



CHARLOTTE M. YONGE, 
WITH NOTES ANT) GLOSSARY 

HY 
DWIGHT HOLBROOK. 




CHARACTER OF SIR WALTER SCOTT. 



•About half-past one p.m. on the 21st of September, 1832, 
Sir Walter Scott breathed his last, in the presence of all his 
children. It was a iieautifal da}^ ; so warm, that every 
window was Avide open ; and so perfectly still, that the 
sound of all otliers most delicious to his ear — the gentle 
ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles — was distinctly audible 
as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest son kissed and 
closed his eyes. No sculptor ever modelled a more majestic 
image of repose. 

It will, I presume, be allowed that no human character, 
which we have the opjiortunity of studying" with equal 



3fiO CHAKACrEIl OF SIH WALTKK SCOTT. 

ininutenes^s, had fe^ver faults mixed up in its texture. Tlic 
g'rand virtue of fortitude, tlie basis of all others, Avas never 
displayed in higher perfection than in hiiu and it was, as 
perhaps true courag'e always is. conihincd with an equally 
admirable spirit of kindness and humanity. His pride, if 
Ave must call it so, uiidebased by the least tincture of mere 
vanity, was intertwined Avith a most exquisite charity, and 
was not inconsistent with ti"ue humility. If ever the prin- 
ciple of kindliness was incarnated in a mere man, it was in 
him ; and real kindliiipss can never be Iiut modest. In tln» 
social relations of life, where men are most effectually tried, 
no spot can be detected in him. He was a patient, dutiful, 
reverent son ; a generous, compassionate, tender husband ; 
an honest, careful and most affectionate father. Never, was 
a more virtuous or a happier fire-side than his. The influ- 
ence of his mighty genius shadowed it impercei)tibly : his 
calm good sense, and his angelic sweetness of heart and 
temper, regulated and softened a strict but paternal dis- 
cipline. His children, as they grew up, understood by 
degrees the high privilege of their birth ; but the profound- 
est sense of his greatness never disturbed their confidence 
in his goodness. The buoyant play of his spirits made him 
sit young among the young ; parent and son seemed t(,) 
live in brotherhood together; and the chivalry of his 
imagination threw a certain air of courteous gallantry into 
his relations with his daughters, Avhich gave a very 
peculiar grace to the fondness of their intercourse. 

Perhaps the most touching evidence of the lasting tender- 
ness of his early domestic feelings was exhibited to his 
executors, Avhen they opened his repositories in search of 
his testament, the evening after his burial. On lifting up 
his desk, we found arranged in careful order a series of 
little objects, which had obviously been so placed there 
that his eye might rest on them every morning before he 



CHAUACTKR OF Sill WALTKR S(.:()TT. 361 

began l)is tat^ky. These Avere the old-fashioned boxes that 
Iiad g-arnished his inother's toilet when he, a sickly child, 
slept in her dressing'-room ; the silver taper-stand which 
the young- advocate had bought for her with his first 
ti ve-g'uinea fee ; a roAv of small packets inscribed Avith 
iter hand, and containing- the hair of those of her offspring- 
that had died before her ; his father's snuff-box and pencil- 
case ; and more things of the like sort, recalling the " old 
familiar faces." The same feeling Avas apparent in all the 
arrangements of his priA^ate apartment. Pictures of his 
father and mother Avere the only ones in his dressing-room. 
The clumsy antique cabinets that stood there — things of a 
A^ery different class from the beautiful and costly produc- 
tions in the public rooms beloAv — had all belonged to the 
furniture of George's Square. Even his father's rickety 
washing-stand, Avith all its cramped appurtenances, though 
exceedingly unlike Avhat a man of his very scrupulous habits 
Avould haA^e selected in these days, kept its ground. 

Such a son and parent could hardly fail in any of thvj 
other social relations. No man Avas a firmer or more 
indefatigable friend. I knoAv not that he CA'er lost one ; 
and a few with whom, during the energetic middle stage 
of life, from political differences oi- other accidental circum- 
stances, he liA'ed less familiarly, had all gathered round 
him, and renewed the full warmth of early affection in his 
later days. There Avas enough to dignify the connection in 
their eyes ; but nothing to chill it on either side. The 
imagination that so completly mastered him Avhen he chose 
to giA'e her the rein, Avas kept under a most determined 
control Avhcn any of the positive obligations of active life 
came into question. A high and pure sense of duty pre- 
sided over Avhatever he had to do as a citizen and a 
magistrate ; and as a landlord he considered his estate as 
an extension of his heai-th. 

— Lockharf. 



INTRODUCTION 

TO 

THE TALISMAN" 

By Charlotte M. Yonge. 



In the year 1884, an Eng-lish traveller in Edom 
found the Bedouin Arabs exclaiming- to a shying horse, 
" Teslioof Rikardf " — "Do you see Richard ? " — and the 
mothers still threatening their refractory children with, 
■' I will call Rikard ! " The Lord de Joinville, who made 
his crusade with Louis IX. of France, about half a century 
after the death of Richard Cteur de Lion, mentions these 
same expressions, and they have endured in the unchang- 
ing East for full seven centuries, to testify to the terror 
impressed on the natives of Palestine by that lord of the 
mighty axe and beaming spear. 

Taken in one of its aspects, the Crusade of Richard I. 
against Saladin Avas one of the ideal conflicts of chivalry, 
and Scott has made the '' Talisman " a kind of epitome of 
its most romantic moments, throwing many incidents 
together which happened at different intervals. Yet the 
brilliant fabric he has Avoven impresses the characters of 
the chief personages and the spirit of the Crusade on our 
minds better than manv a more exact chronicle of facts. 



INTEODUCTIOX TO ' ' THE TALISMAN. " 363 

The Third Crusade, conducted by Richard I. of England 
and Philip II. of France, commonly called Augustus, had 
been in contemplation before the death of Henry II., and 
was only commenced so late in 1189 that the armies had 
to winter in Sicily, the navigation of the Mediterranean 
l)eing unsafe for the vessels of that century. When the 
armies sailed, in the spring of 1100, Philip proceeded 
straight to St. Jean d'Acre, the ancient Acco, or Ptolemais, 
one of the few seaports of Palestine, and a most important 
post for the Crusaders, who had therefore determined to 
begin by besieging it. Richard was, however, delayed. 
His mother, Queen Eleanor, had escorted his intended 
bride Berengaria from Xavarre, and had arrived in Sicily 
in Lent, so that the marriage had to be deferred l)y the 
rules of the Church, and the princess followed him in a 
separate ship Avith his sister Joan, tlie widowed Queen of 
Sicily. A storm scattered the fleet, and tlie ship containing 
the ladies was forced to put in to the port of Limasol in the 
island of Cyprus. 

The Greek sovereign of the island, Isaac Comnenus, 
churlishly refused shelter or refreshment to the ladies, and, 
on the tidings reaching King Richard, he attacked the 
place, subdued the island, threw Comnenus into chains, 
and Easter having arrived, he was married to Berengaria 
in the Cathedral of Limasol. Queen Eleanor had returned 
home, but Joan accompanied Iver brother and his wife, and 
occupied somewhat the same position as the story assigns to 
Edith Plantagenet, who is a Avholly imaginary person, 
compounded partly of the widowed Joan, who was still 
very young, and partly of Eleanor, the I\iir Maid of Brit- 
tany, the unfortunate Arthur's sister, Avho spent her life 
in a convent. It may here be observed likewise that 
Plantagenet, Planta-genhfa, the broom-plant, was the 
nick-name of Geoffrey, (Jount of An jou, father of Henry II., 



364 INTRODUCTION' TO -THE TALISMAN." 

but was never used as a surname by his descendants till 
it was adopted as such by the grandsons of Edward III., 
and thus it became convenient to distinguish the entire 
dynasty and their children at Plantagenets. 

The hero of the story, Sir Kenneth of the Leopard, or 
as he proves afterwards to be, David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
is a more substantial personage, and was actually present 
in this Crusade, but not in disguise as a knight adventurer, 
liut as leader of the forces contributed to the Crusade by 
his brother William the Lion of Scotland. Nor could he 
have been a young man, since his father, Henry of Scot- 
land, had died 1)efore 1151. He is a person Avhosc name 
occurs again in the perplexing genealogy of Bruce and 
Balliol, both of whom derived their claims to the Scottish 
Crown through him. He was Earl of Huntingdon in right 
of his mother, the daughter of the Saxon Earl Waltheof, 
and his wife was Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Chester. 
He had some curious adventures on his I'eturn from the 
Crusade, being driven by contrary Avinds to Alexandria, 
where the Saracens captured him and sold him as a slave. 
Some Venetian merchants bought him, apparently on spec- 
ulation, and carried him to Venice, Avhere he was ransomed 
by some English merchants, and conducted to Flanders. 
Sailing from thence to his native country, he was wrecked 
near the mouth of the Tay. He founded a monastery in 
token of thankfulness, and the Latinizing etymologists 
persuaded themselves that Dundee is a corruption of his 
name for it, Domim Dei, the gift of God. 

Richard, on leaving Cyprus, sailed tirst for Tyre, but 
was excluded from thence l)y its prince, Conrade of Mont- 
serrat. avIio was a kinsman of Isaac Comnenus. He then 
repaired to Acre, and the seige was carried on with so 
much more activity than previously, and the exploits were 



IXTRUDLX'TION' TO ' • THE TALISMAN.'' 3G5 

SO famed, that Philip of France, ahvays his enemy, began 
to hate him more bitterly than ever. 

Levantine fever soon attacked both the kings, nor indeed 
Avas Richard ever free from intermitting- attacks of it 
during the remaining nine years of his life. He was 
carried on a mattress to view the walls, and thence aimed 
with his crossboAV at the Saracens on the walls. 

It was at this time that courtesies began to pass between 
him and the Saracen Sultan of Egypt,— Saladin as we 
knoAv him, though his proper name was Ysuf or Joseph, his 
sobriquet, Salah-ed-deen, " the salvation of religion." The 
Saracens, or Eastern Arabs, had, in the former generation, 
conquered Egypt. Saladin was the second of the dynasty, 
and seems really to have been a man of the tine personal 
character that sometimes is found among the Arabs, l)rave, 
truthful, and generous, and at the same time following up 
all the best precepts of the Koran, so as to lead a simple, 
austere life, and to be scrupulously honorable and just in 
all his dealings. 

It was he who, live years previously, had led his forces 
out of Egypt to drive the Crusaders out of Palestine. The 
Latin kingdom of Jerusalem had never been more than 
a collection of fortresses and cities, separated from' each 
other by long distances, and, though the feudal system had 
been established there, the chiefs were almost independent 
of one another. The enervating (;ffect of the climate and 
habits of the East likewise had an evil influence on the 
character and habits of European settlers, who fell into 
many of the vices of the East, and lost their courage and 
hardihood in the second generation. 

The CroAvn of Jerusalem had descended to Queen Sybilla. 
Her grandfathei" had been a Count of Anjou, Fulk, who 
had in liis later years given up his county to his son Geofl- 
re\'. the Plantagenet, and been chosen to marry a young 



366 INTRODUCTION TO ■THE TALISMAN." 

heiress, Queen of Jerusalem. Sybil la had married Guy de 
Lusignan, a nobleman from the south of France, very 
handsome, but weak, helpless, and despised by Crusaders 
and Saracens alike. Personal valor seems to have been 
his only g-ood quality, and the princes of the Holy Land 
persuaded the Patriarch of Jerusalem to declare Sybilla 
separated from him on the day of her coronation, and free 
to choose another husband. The lady turned around, sur- 
veyed them all, and then placed the crown on Guy's head, 
saying, "What God hath joined together, let not man put 
asunder." It was a noble reproof, but so incapable was 
Lusignan, that when his elder brother, the Count of La 
Marche, heard of his elevation, he said, "If they ha-ve 
made a king of Guy, they would make a god of me, if they 
could only see me." 

Guy could make no head against such a warrior as Sala- 
din, and on the Hill of Hattin, near the Sea of Tiberias, was 
totally defeated and made prisoner, and with him a robber 
knight, Eenaud de Chatillon, who had shown himself law- 
less and treacherous, and had plundered a caravan among 
which Saladin's mother was travelling. The King was 
treated by the Sultan with all courtesy, led to his tent, and 
presented with a cup of cooling sherbet ; but, as Chatillon 
was about to drink, the Sultan exclaimed, "Hold!" and 
swept off" the traitor's head with a single blow of his sabre, 
ere the tasting of his cup had bound him by the crude laws 
of hospitality. It is from this incident that the fate of the 
Grand Master of the Templars is borrowed. 

This defeat denuded Jerusalem of defenders, and Queen 
Sybilla was obliged to surrender it, afte.r it had been for 
eighty-eight years in possession of the Franks. It was the 
hope of recovering it that brought the two kings to Pales- 
tine, and negotiations were carried on during the siege of 



INTRODUCTION TO ' ^ THE TALISJIAX." 367 

Acre, and presents exchang-ed. Richard received a visit 
from Malek el Adel, Saladin's brotlier, and was asked by 
him what gift he would wish to receive from the Sultan. 
His request Avas for poultry, on which to feed his tame 
falcons ; and pears from Damascus, Syrian grapes, and 
mountain snow, were also sent to him. There was some 
dim idea entertained that the young Queen Joan might 
be the bride of the son of ]\Ialek el Adel, on his becoming 
a Christian, and that they might then reign at Jerusalem ; 
but the scheme never appears to have been seriously enter- 
tained. 

The incident of the banner is taken from one that oc- 
curred immediatelj^ after the city of Acre had been taken. 
The standards of England and France, the three lions and 
the lilies, were set up together on the battlements, and 
the ensign of Austria was planted beside them, to the in- 
dignation of Richard, who tore it up and thrcAV it into the 
moat, declaring it presumption in a duke to place his ban- 
ner beside those of kings. The watch assigned to Sir 
Kenneth is wholly imaginary, and the final and most ruin- 
ous offence was given to Leopold of Austria some months 
later, after the King of France had returned to his own 
country. Ascalon had been taken, and Richard was anx- 
ious to advance to Jerusalem, but, having more general- 
ship than most men of his time, would not do so until he 
had repaired the fortifications of Ascalon, so as to be able 
to leave a strong garrison in his rear. The soldiers mur- 
mured, saying they came to take Jerusalem, not to build 
walls ; and Richard, to sot them the oxample, worked him- 
self at carrying stones, calling on the Duke of Austria to 
do the same. Leopold sullenly replied that he was not the 
son of a mason, which so provoked the fiery-tempered Lion 
Heart that his ready fist was raised against the haughty 



368 INTRODUCTION TO ''THE TALISMAN." 

German. Leopold immediately quitted the army and 
returned to his own dominions, Avhere, as is well-known, 
he ung-enerously captured and imprisoned the ship- wrecked 
Richard when returning. It is rather surprising- to find 
this same Leopold labelled as the Good by his subjects. 
But the act, though ungenerous and revengeful, was not 
such an outrageous offence against the law of nations as it 
noAv appears, since it was believed that a sovereign prince 
in his neighbor's dominions, without a safe conduct, must 
be there for a bad purpose, and might be arrested. 

Besides this, Leopold was a kinsman of Conrade of Mont- 
serrat, and believed, most unjustly, that Richard was guilty 
of his murder. ^lontserrat ("the saw-toothed mountain") 
is a little Alpine province, of which Conrade Avas marquis, 
that is to say, mark or border lord. By inheritance he 
was also lord of the little crusading principality of Tyre, 
and he had married Isabella the only sister of Queen 
Sybilla. On the death of Sybilla Avithout children, a dis- 
pute broke out, Conrade claiming the kingdom in right of 
his Avife, and Guy de Lusignan maintaining that, having 
once been made king, he Avas king for ever. Richard, as 
licad of the House of Anjou, arbitrated betAveen them, and 
decided in fa\'or of Isabella and Conrade, giving Guy the 
kingdom of Cyprus, by Avay of compensation, and marry- 
ing him to the daughter of Comnenus. 

A fcAv days after his nomination to the croAvn, Conrade 
Avas murdered, but not by the Grand INIaster of tlie Tem- 
plars. There Avas a strange, Avild sect of Arabs, devoted 
to the bidding of a chief called the Old Man of the Moun- 
tain. The first founder Avas named Hassan, Avhence they 
Avere knoAvn as Assassins, — and thus has arisen our modern 
Avord, — for their vow bound them in utter recklessness of 
their OAvn life to murder any person designated by their 



INTRODUCTION TO ' ' THE TALISMAN. " 369 

chief. Conrade, as likely to be a more efficient king- of 
Jerusalem than his predecessor, was thus marked out by 
Richard's choice for their vengeance, as, seventy years 
later, the prowess of Edward I. made him the object of one 
of their attacks. Before Richard left Palestine, he had 
seen the widowed Isabella married to Count Henry, of 
Champag-ne, to whose protection he left the Holy Land. 

He had not been able to recover Jerusalem. Once he 
had been on a hill commanding a vicAV of the city, but, 
Avhen called to look at it, he turned away, covering" his 
face with his hands, and saying", "Tli^y who are unworthy 
to serve it are unworthy to behold it I" 

A inag"nificent victory at Jaifa was his last achievement 
ill the Holy Land ere he made a truce with Saladin for 
three years, three mouths, three Aveeks, three days, and 
three hours, and returned to Europe, to meet with many 
disasters, and end his career before a petty castle in Poitou. 

His brave enemy, Saladin, was already dead. As he 
lay sick at Damascus, he caused his shroud to be carried 
throug.h the streets of the city with the proclamation, 
'•Behold all that Salah-ed-deen, the conqueror of the East, 
taketh away with him." He died in the March of 1193, 
Avhile Richard was still m his prison on the banks of the 
Danube. 

'With much that is unhistorical, Scott has thus given a 
vivid picture of the chief characteristics of the Third Cru- 
sade and the men Avho fought in it, — Saladin, gallant, able, 
wary, and resolute, but Avith a native generosity able to 
appreciate a noble foe ; Richard, high-minded and chiv- 
alrous, brave to rashness, and Avith the eye and talent of a 
general, but failing in his aims through his violent temper : 
Philip, astute, cunning, and bent solely on his OAvn advan- 
tage ; and the permanent defenders of Palestine, corrupted 



370 INTRODUCTION TO -THE TALISMAN." 

by their surrounding's, treacherous, and unscrupulous. The 
Templars, of whom so much mention is made, were an 
order of monks bound to fight for the Holy Land instead of 
merely laboring- and praying. They had training-houses 
or preceptories all over the West, and thus brought con- 
tinual recruits to the service. They were brave and ad- 
venturous, and had suflFered severely in the battle of Hattin, 
but their pride and violence had led to their bearing an evil 
reputation. They Avere jealous of the princes who came 
for a time on Crusading expeditions, and thus Scott has 
ranked the Grand Master among Eichard's enemies. 

The idea of the " Talisman " itself is, as he tells us, taken 
from a curious coin inserted in a stone, brought home as a 
charm in a subsequent crusade by one of the Lockharts of 
Lee, — the family to which Scott's son-in-law belonged, — 
and known as the Lee pennj^ 




l^OTES. 



Note A.— The Crusades. 

When Helena, the aged mother of Constantine, made a pilgrunage 
to Jerusalem, she set a fashion which resulted in the most momentous 
events of mediaeval history. 

' ' The history of the Middle Ages, " says Michaud, • ' presents no 
spectacle more imposing than the Crusades, in which are to be seen 
the nations of Europe and Asia armed against each other, two relig- 
ions contending for superiority, and disputing the empire of the 
world. All at once the West arouses itself and appears to tear itself 
from its foundation, in order to precipitate itself upon Asia. All 
nations abandon their interests and their rivalries, and see ujjon the 
face of the earth but one single country worthy of the ambition of 
conquerors. 

• • One would believe that there no longer exists in the universe any 
other city but Jerusalem, or any other habitable spot of eartt but 
that which contains the tomb of Jesus Christ. All the roads which 
lead to the Holy City are deluged with blood, and present nothing 
but the scattered spoils and wi-ecks of empires." 

Following the illustrious example of Helena, devout Christians, 
first, fi'om neighboring localities, finally, from all Christendom, made 
pilgrimages to Palestine. The popularity of such pilgrimages was 
continually augmented by the many strange notions entertained 
concerning them. 

Notwithstanding the teaching of the more intelligent prelates that 
God could be as sincerely reverenced in Europe as in Palestine, a 
sijecial value was thought to belong to worship and homage rendered 
at Jerusalem. 

It was believed that prayer offered in places hallowed by Christ's 
footsteps was more acceptable ; that a journey to .Jerusalem blotted 



372 NOTES ox --THE TALLSMAX. " 

from the Book of Eemembrance all sin, so that men, like Fulk the 
Black, stained and conscience-smitten b3^ awful crimes, thought to 
gain forgiveness and remissioI^ by la\'ing aside all earthl\' pomps and 
visiting, in the guise of humble 2>e'nitents. the shrines of the H0I3- 
Land. Pilgrims, upon their return, -were revered by their less fortu- 
nate neiglibors and kinsmen, and their intercessions considered to be 
most efficacious on high. The shirt worn bj^ the pilgrim vhen lie 
entered Jerusalem was preserved in the belief that it insured his 
entrance into the "New Jerusalem (i. e. , Heaven) if used as his shroud. 

While this strange medley of belief was creating throughout 
EuroiDB a profound conviction of the importance to Christianity of 
Jerusalem, events in the East entirely changed the complexion of 
affairs. 

If, as is said, Belgium has been the cockpit of Euroj^e, Palestine, 
to a far greater degree, has been the cockpit of the Eastern Hemis- 
phere. As in ancient times, the possession of it had been fiercely 
fought for by Egyptian, Babj^onian, Greek, and Roman, so now, as 
it fell from the nei'veless grasp of the empirg, Asia, Africa, and 
Europe again grappled for its masterj^ It A\-as seized by the Persians 
in 611 A. D. ; retaken by the Emperor Heraclius in 629 ; conquered by 
the Saracens under Omar, in 637 ; passed under the sway of the 
Egyptian khaliffs, in 749, and of the Sel.iukian Tui'ks in 1076. 
During these changes the tide of pilgrimage rolled on in increasing 
volume. At first, the Christians were but slightly molested by the 
infidel lailers, but in time, the difference between races and religions 
bred discord, and the Palmers, as they were called from the branches 
of palm carried by them, * '.sere subjected to steadilj' increasing perse- 
cutions. A pilgrimage now meant far more than formerly. Out- 
breaks occurred from time to time, in which blood was shed and lives 
lost. The fierce fanaticism of the Turks speedily brought matters to 
a crisis, and insults to both Mohammedanism and Christianity were 
freely bandied back and forth. As the i^ilgrims related in their 
distant homes the desecration of holy places, and the sufferings the3' 
had endured, a mighty indignation smouldered throughout the length 
and breadth of Europe, which lacked but little fanning to kindle into 
a blaze of fierce resentment. 

The man necessary to combine and render effective these scattered 
elements of wrath appeared in Peter the Hermit. 



'A distinction is to be noted between a pilgrim and a palmer. The former had 
a home to which he returnpd after his journey ; the latter had none, but passed 
his time in visiting' holy places. 



NOTES OX "THE TALISMAN." 373 

Drawn from the retirement into ^^'hich he had gone, disgusted with 
mankind and the A^orld. this remarkable man was led by his restless 
temperament to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

His ardent nature, glowing with indignation as he beheld the 
insults heaped upon Christianity in its very birthplace, was fired 
with one mighty purpose. 

He returned to Eurojoe, determined to know no rest so long as the 
hated infidel possessed the Holj^ Citj-. 

Clad in a gown of coarse cloth girt with a rope, with bared head 
and bared feet, and riding upon an ass, he traversed Europe, depicting 
the degradation of Jerusalem, and exhorting with cries and lamenta- 
tions, the faithful to rise in then* might, and hurl from its place, 
utterly- and forever, the abomination of jNIoslem desolation. 

••Such was the extraordinarj'- man wlio gave the signal to the 
Crusaders, and who, without fortune and without name, by the 
influence of his tears and prayers, alone succeeded in moving the 
West to precipitate itself in a mass upon Asia. " In Pope Urban II. 
Peter found a ready helper, for the Greek Emperor, in terror lest the 
Turks, who had swept from him every vestige of po%ver in Asia, 
should attempt the conquest of the imperial city, had ^^ritteu him, 
imploring the aid of the brave wamors of the West in his behalf. 

Anxious to extend his power, for the Greeks did not acknowledge 
the popes as the supreme head of the Church, and desirous of recover- 
ing Jerusalem, Urban determined to call a council of the great prelates 
and nobles, and lay these weighty matters before it. The little town 
of Clermont, nestling among the mountains of Central France, was 
the place selected, and thither, in the November of 1095. streamed the 
powerful barons and churchmen of France and sun'ounding countries. 
After settling various minor matters. Urban brought up the great 
subject about which all were anxious to hear. Before the vast 
concourse which assembled on this occasion in the market-place, 
countenanced and supported by the head of the Church, Peter, clad 
in his well-known garb, emaciated and pale with excitement, arose 
and delivered an impassioned harangue. As he proceeded, with wild 
gesture and frantic manner, to describe the woes of Jerusalem, his 
words thrilled the sympathetic audience. 

And when, after he had ceased, the Pope called upon all to devote 
themselves to recovering the desecrated tomb of their Loi-d, and 
solemnly proclaimed the exceeding anger of the Almighty that such 
insults to religion should be tamely endured, the excitement of the 
audience burst all bounds. Breaking up in the wildest enthusiasm 



374 NOTES ON ' ■ THE TALISMAN. " 

with the cry, '• It is the will of God ! It is the will of C4od ! " (a cry 
destined on many a battle-field to cany dismay and terror into the 
ranks of the infidels) great nobles and prelates crowded round the 
Pope to receive his benediction, and the cross which, affixed to the 
left shoulder, was the badge of the crusader, and which (from cruc-, 
Latin for c7^oss) gave the name Crus-ades to these expeditions. 

As the determination to conquer a distant country, separated bj' 
well-nigh impassable mountains and seas, and inhabited by a numerous 
warlike people, had been formed without due forethought, so the 
preparations for the First Crusade, were alike hasty and inadequate. 

Unable to restrain theu' impatience, vast numbers of the lower 
classes flocked to Peter, demanding to be led to Jerusalem. Carried 
away by their importunit3^, in an evil moment he consented, and 
starting with a confused multitude (it cannot be called an army) of 
between 80,000 and 100,000, he set out overland, through Hungary 
and Turkey, for Constantinople. 

With a gleam of common sense as rare as it was desirable, he 
divided this rabble, and assuming the leadership of one division, 
assigned the other to AValter the Penniless. Proceeding entirely 
without commissariat, strong in the belief that the holiness of his 
cause atoned for any invasion of the rights of property, he speedily 
became involved in hostilities with the people along the route, whose 
objections to ha\dng their lands devastated and houses plundered, in 
howsoever good a cause, were alike natural and forcible. 

At length, shattered and diminished, though still a numerous host, 
the two divisions were reunited at Constantinople. From this time 
Walter, who, it is but just to say, had displayed some military ability, 
assumed entire command. The Greeks, despising this motley crowd 
and anxious to get rid of it, hurried it across the Bosphorus. The 
fate of the ill-omened expedition, which had been characterized by a 
lack of common sense simply inconceivable, was soon determined, 
for, in the first battle all, with the trifling exception of 3,000, utterly 
perished. The other division of the First Crusade was commanded hy 
powerful barons, and was at last crowned with success. After 
incredible hardship and bloodshed, due more to the mutual jealousies 
(jf the different leaders than to opposition of the enemy, they succeeded 
in taking Jerusalem, and made one of their number, Godfrey of 
Boulogne, king. The Latin Kmgdom of Jerusalem, as it was called, 
maintained a precarious existence from 1099 to 1187, when the fall of 
Jerusalem dealt it a blow fi-om which it never recovered. This king- 
dom, or, more properly collection of princiioalities, each ruled by some 



NOTES ON "THE TALISMAN. OiO 

powerful baron, existed more because of the disunion of the Moham- 
medan sects than of any inherent strength. As soon as a leader like 
Saladin appeared, who combined the Mohammedan power into an 
effective force, its fate became apparent The Second Crusade, 
designed to strengthen and support the tottering throne of Jerusalem, 
merely postponed the inevitable event. The Thii'd Crusade, the one 
described in the " Talisman," was the first after the fall of the city, 
and was as barren of permanent results as any of the rest. The 
remaining Crusades, — there Avere nine in all, the first in 1096, the last 
in 1'272, — may be said practically to have accomplished none of the 
various objects for which thej' Avere gotten up. Notwithstanding 
this uniform failure, two causes rendered them popular : first, belief 
that entrance into heaven was assured to all Crusaders ; secondly, and 
toward the last, more powerfully, gratification of the love of glory 
and adventure, of power and plunder, the reigning passions of the 
age. These combined to produce an enthusiasm, destructive of reason, 
whicn swept before it high and low, saint and sinner, young and old, 
well and sick, and even Avomen and children. The failure of these 
attemjjts is attributable to many sources. At first utter ignorance 
of the distances and of the countries to be traversed ; the unsuitable- 
ness of the steel-clad knight on his heavily-armored horse for fighting 
under the burning sun of Syria ; the excesses of the Crusaders, fatal 
in a hot climate, diminishing the effective fighting forces ; these and 
associated evils contributed their quota to the sum total of disaster. 
The double-dealing and cowai-dice of the Greek emperors have to 
answer for much. Having invited the Latin princes to help them, 
they feared their allies as much as they did their enemies. The 
measui'e of success of the one or the other served as the measure of 
their own fear and treachery. Their policj'^, so far as it can be 
tracked through the maze of lies which is ever the ready resource of 
cowards, consisted in alternately aiding and betraying Moslem and 
Crusader alike, in the hope that each would so cripple the other as to 
cease to be a menace to their own power. 

The main cause, however, is to be found in the greediness, jealousy, 
and utterly unchristian conduct of many of the different leaders 
themselves. There Avere noble, devoted, and unselfish ones like 
Godfrey and Tancred, but the majority Avere violently swayed by 
hatred and jealousy of each othei'. Scott has veiy cleverly giA-on an 
inside view of the fatal discord Avhich sapped the life of manj' a 
Crusade. Repeatedly conquering the Asiatics against fearful odds, 
the leaders often betrayed a recklessness and lack of foiethought 



376 NOTES ox "the talisman." 

incomprehensible to modern soldiers. In a country hostile to invaders 
alike in its deserts and its mountains, they repeatedly violated in 
camp or on the march, the first principles of ^\ar. Inhuman when 
victorious, terrible when defeated, these soldiers in a holy war 
committed crimes which historj^ fairly blushes to record. The suffer- 
ing, bloodshed, and loss of life through famine, pestilence, and war. 
caused by the Crusades, is incalculable. If thej^ failed of their 
avowed objects, it is pertinent to ask what benefits were obtained at 
so dear expensa The indirect results were many and valuable. 

The banding together, for the accomplishment of a common object 
of the various peoples contributed in no small degree to break up the 
little communities into which feudalism had crystalized the nations 
of Europe, and thiis prevented anything like real national unity. 

The Crusades told most heavily against the great barons, who 
were the chief bulwark of the Feudal System, and who crippled 
themselves at home so as to gain more power abroad. 

Comparatively speaking, but few kings embarked in these entei'- 
prises, so that the king representing the nation as no baron could, 
and who- at the beginning was hampered and browbeaten by his 
powerful vassals, upon whom voavs of fealty sat lightly, at the end 
was found to have mounted on the wreck of the baronage to increased 
power, and to have become the real as well as apparent leader of the 
nation. 

Municipal liberty gained also at the expense of the baronage, and 
many a town took its first long stride towards comparative independ- 
ence and greatness during this period. The barons in whose territory 
they were situated, desirous of getting the necessary gold to arm and 
equip their followers, sold them charters, ^granting certain rights and 
privileges hitherto denied. 

Then the bounds of geographical knovviedge were enlarged, the 
paths of commerce extended^ and the dense ignorance of the Middle 
Ages was enlightened by contact with the more polished, if more 
effete, civilization of the East. One of the greatest benefits, however, 
was the enforcement of a Holy Peace upon Europe during a Crusade. 

For almost the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, lands 
devastated by countless wars experienced the rest and prosperity 
incident to profound peace. In short, the condition of Em-ope v-'as 
materially bettered at the expense of Western Asia. 

In what respects history would have been changed had the 
Crusaders succeeded in all their schemes, is a question of probabilities. 
Between the broad, rich domains of Asia and the ambition and greed 



NOTES ON --THE TALISMAN." 377 

of the Crusaders intervened the warlike Turks. Valiant as these 
were, they were no match for the Western -warriors when fighting 
under equal conditions. Had the latter possessed generalship equal 
to their bravery, they would have advanced their victorious standards 
perhaps to the eastern shores of Asia, and carried Christianity to 
remote peoples, destined for mau\' a century to know nothing of the 
civilization and religion, which in a purer, better form is no^^■ 
encompassing the globe. 

Dazzling as such a consummation may seem, it is by no means 
certain that it was devoutly to be desired. The small taste of 
Asiatic luxui'y and customs obtained by the Crusaders proved too 
powerful for the virtue of most of them. Starting from Europe with 
the holiest zeal for the cause of Christianity and the Church, they 
grew sordid, cruel, and licentious. It is safe to say, that the imperfect 
civilization of Europe would either have succumbed altogether under 
such a strain, or its advancement in the direction of libertj' and good 
government been materiallj' checked. 



Note B. — Mohammed. 

Mohammed, or Mahomet, the founder of Mohammedanism, or 
Islam, was born A. D. 570 or 571, at Mecca, an important town in 
west central Arabia, situated about forty miles east of the Red Sea. 
Although descended from one of the most influential families, 
Mohammed was left at an early age an orphan in straitened circum- 
stances. In his youth he travelled to various surrounding countries 
with the caravans sent out by the merchants of his native placa In 
this way he became acquainted with Jews and Christians, and was 
impressed with the superiority of the worship of Jehovah over the 
idolatiy and irreligion of his countrymen. His marriage when 
twenty-five with a rich widow of forty raised him to a position 
befitting his birtli. Of an imaginative temperament, he now began 
to indulge his fancy, and for five years lived mostly in a cave, giving 
himself up to religious dreams and visions. The expectations of the 
.Tews that the Messiah was soon to appear on earth took strong hold 
of his imagination, until he became to believe that he was the expected 
Saviour. He began, privately, to seek converts to his new religion, 
proclaiming that there was but one God, Allah, and that he was his 
prophet. After several 3'ears of private ministi-ation, discouraged bj' 
lack of success, he publicly began, in his fortieth year, to exhort his 



378 NOTES ON ''THE TALISMAN." 

fi'llow-towusinen to forsake their idols and false beliefs, and accept 
liim as the prophet of Allah, the only true God. He met such 
threatening opposition, however, that after many fruitless attempts 
to overcome it, he decided to flee to Me-di'-na, a small town two 
hundred and seventy miles north-west from Mecca. Here, received 
with open arms, he began actively to spread his religion. This flight 
to Medina (a. D. 622) is called the He-gi'-ra, and is the date from 
which Mohammedans reckon time. Arming his followers, Mohammed 
converted surrounding tribes by peaceable, and when necessary, by 
forcible means. 

Soon he attacked Mecca, where he was finally successful After 
laying the foundations of a religion \\hich numbei's among the 
peoples of Asia and Africa moi-e followers than all Christianity, he 
died at Medina in the eleA'enth year of the Hegira and sixty-third of 
his life. After his death his writings and pretended revelations were 
collected into one book, called the Ko-ran', the chapters of which, 
one hundred and fourteen in number, are termed su'-ras. For the 
details and pretended miracles of this renowned enthusiast, see 
cyclopsedias, etc. 



XoTE C. —Knighthood. 

Amid the lawlessness and violence of the Middle Ages, when Might 
made Eight, the institution known as Chivalry kept alive and exalted 
those sentiments of honor and magnanimity which prevented Europe 
from sinking to the barbarism of Asia. The corner-stone of Chivalry 
was the Knight, who, in addition to the mamtcnance of its objects, 
viz. , to afford protection and help to the weak and defenceless, bound 
himself to the service of some noble lady, for whose favors he con- 
tended, and whose reputation he was ready to maintain. Candidates 
for Knighthood had to be of gentle (i.e. noble) birth, and to pass 
seven years (from the age of seven to fourteen) as pages in the family 
of some prince or noble, seven years as squires, and then, at the age 
of twenty-one, the degree of Knighthood could be conferred, either on 
the battle-field or, if in time of peace, at some high festival. On the 
battle-field, the ceremony was necessarily short. The candidate 
(novice) amied, but without helmet, sword, and spurs, knelt before 
the general or prince who was to knight him, while two persons- 
called sponsors, put on his gilded spurs and belted on his sword. 
Then from the one who '-dubbed" him Knight he received the 
ac'-co-lade' (a slight blow on the neck delivered with the flat of a 



NOTES OX "the talisman." 379 

sword) together -n-ith the words, "I dubb thee Knight in name of 
God and St. Michael. Be faithful, bold, and fortunate." In time of 
peace the ceremony was more religious and elaborate. AmoT\g other 
observances, candidates Avere obliged to watch their arms all night in 
a church or chapel, preparing themselves by vigil, fast, and prajer. 



Note D. — Trial by Ordeal. 

A favorite method of determining guilt was to try tlie accused by 
ordeal. The ordeals differed with different countries and classes. In 
England among the nobility the suspected person had to hold in his 
hand a piece of red-hot iron, or walk, blindflolded and barefooted, 
over red-hot plowshares laid lengthwise at unequal distances. The 
theory was that God would protect him if innocent. 



Note E.— Knights Templars and Knights of St. John. 

The Crusades gave rise to two jjowerful orders known as the 
Templars and Knights of St. John, or Hos'-pi-tal-lers. ' ' Hospitallers'" 
was the name first applied to those who furnished food and lodging 
{hospitium) to pilgrims either at Jerusalem or on the way thither. 
They are variously known also as Knights of Ehodes or of Malta, 
because of their possessions. The Templars began mth the banding- 
together of nine French knights for the protection of pilgrims on 
their way to Jerusalom. The name ' ' Templars " A\'as given to them, 
now grown more numerous, because they kept their arms in the 
building called the Temple of Jerusalinn. Originally springing from 
laudable motives, both oi'ders fell victims to the ambitions incident 
to great power and wealth. 

The Templars especially, although their emblem, illustrative of 
their original iioverty, was a representation of two knights riding 
the same horse, became so rich and haughtj^ as to inspire tho jealous 
fear of various Icings. Finally, in 1307, Philip the Fair, of France, 
coveting their wealth and galled by their proud independence, deter- 
mined to suppress them. Capturing bj'- treachery De Molay, the 
Grand Master, he accused the order of practising heathenish, profane, 
and horrible rites, and by terrible tortures on the rack, extorted from 
the unhappy knights confessions made onlv to escape farther torture. 
The charges brought against the Templars have lieen pronounced by 



380 NOTES ON ••THE TALISMAN." 

modem Mstorians practically groundless, but at the tiine, thej' gained 
credence enough to insure the success of Philip's scheme, a success, 
however, which has contributed one of the blackest j^ages to history. 
Scott puts in the mouth of Hichard some of these exploded, slanders. 



Note F.— Eichard I. (1157-1199.) 

Richard I. may well be styled the darling of English Bumance. 
His brute courage and strength, winning for him the name Lion-heart 
or Coeur de Lion (kur-deh-le-on'), his generositj^, and, at times, 
unexpected magnanimity, his love of brave men and brave fighting, 
his encouragement of minstrelsy, — these and other traits combined to 
render him the ideal man of his times. In him were represented to a 
great degree both the faults and virtues of the age. As has been 
said, he furnishes the example of a king Avhose whole history actualW 
became a romance within lialf a centur}'- after his death. No character 
of romance suffers more than E,ichard when brought into the domain 
of history. Before the death of his father, his conduct "was brutally 
unfilial. After a turbulent minoi-ity, he succeeded to the throne in 
1189. "There was not one of the Nomian kings," says Knight, 
'• who manifested so much real indifference for the duties of a king, 
knew so little of England, regarded it so wholly as a country to 
plunder, was so entirely absorbed by personal motives, as this ' lion- 
hearted' Richard." In the same year he joined the Crusade, in the 
prosecution of which he displayed both undoubted ability as a general 
and courage as a soldier, comijelling in a short time the sun-ender of 
Acre (Ah'-ker), an important seaport of Palestine, w^hich had been 
for tAvo years unsuccessfully besieged by the Crusaders. But his 
haughtiness in council thwarted the success A\on by his prowess in 
the field. After prodigies of valor, which gained him such renown 
among the Saracens that they were wont to say to their startled 
horses, "Po xo\i think that King Richard is on the track that you 
stray so wildly from it," he concluded a truce with Saladin for tliree 
years, three months, three weeks, and three daj-s, and sailed away in 
October, 1192. After various adventures he reached home to find his 
brother John usurping his throne. The remainder of his life was 
passed warring, most of the time against his old ally. Philip of Franca 
Richard also appears, though not so prominenth-, in Scott's "Ivan- 
hoe." Hume's characterization of Richard may be accepted as 
accurate: "Of an impetuous and vehement spirit, he was distill- 



NOTES OX "the talisman." 381 

guished b^- all the good as -well as the bad qualities incident to that 
character. He was open, frank, generous, sincere, and brave ; he 
was revengeful, domineering, ambitious, haughty, and cruel. " 



Note G.— Saladix (1137-1193.) 

Saiah-eh-deeii (or Sal'-adin, as he is better known), the brave and 
sagacious sultan at the time of the Third Crusade, was a Koord. 
Obtaining service thz'ough his father, who was influential in the 
councils of Xoureddin, sultan of Sjria, he displa3'ed such ability in 
his different offices, notably that of viceroy of Egypt, that upon the 
sultan's death, he succeeded Xoureddin. His clemency toward 
prisoners and treatment of captured provinces contrasted most 
favorably ■v\-ith the cruelty exhibited by the Christian knights when 
a.nj of the mfidels fell into their hands. His noble nature was more 
or less captivated b}' the customs and institutions of chivalry, and he 
delighted, "when it was safe, in showing coiurtesies to the different 
knights and barons with ^vliom he was at war. On one occasion when 
Richard was ill, he sent him a present of rare delicacies to tempt his 
appetita He himself was knighted for gallantry in an earl 3- camj^aign 
against Egj-pt. After successfully resisting all attempts to wrest 
from him any part of his vast dominions, he died at the early age of 
fiftv-six. 



Note H. — Bloxdel. 

In the various legends Blondel's name is intimately associaletl with 
Richard's. According to tradition it was he who discovered the place 
of Richard's captivity in Austria. Seeking his former patron he 
roamed over the land with his harp, visiting the different castles. 
While singing, under the ver^' windows of a stronghold where his 
royal friend A\-as confined, a song knoMTi only to Richard and himself, 
lie was inten-upted bj- a voice from an upper room completing the 
strain. Thus learning of the king's whei'eabouts, he was enabled, by 
publishing to the world the ignominious fate of one of the greatest 
Crusaders f)f the asjo. to effect his ultimate release. 



DEFINITIONS OR GLOSSARY, 



A 

Abstemious (ab-ste'-mi-ousj, sparing in u^e of food or strong drink. 

Abyss (a-byss'). here, hell ; literally, bottomless pit. 

Achilles (A-kill'-es), one of Homer's heroes, famous for his prowess. 

Acolyte (ac'-o-lyte), attendant of a priest 

Address (ad-dress'), skilL 

Ampllibious (am-fib'-i-us), able to live partly on land and paitl^- in 
the water. 

Amulet (am'-u-let). 

Apostasy (a-pos'-ta-sy ), departure from a former belief ; here, for- 
saking Cliristianity for Mohammedanism. 

Apothegm (ap'-o-them), wise saying. 

Ascalon (As'-ca-lon), a sea-port of Palestine. 

Asphaltites (As-phal-ti'-tes). 

Analogous (a-nal'-o-gousi, similar. 

Astracan (As-tra-cHn). city in South-east Russia, fonnerly inhabited 
by Tartars. 

AstuciOHS (as-tu'-shusj, craft\-. 

Austere (au-stere'). severe, stern. 

Automaton (au-tom'-a-ton), figure or machine moved by clock-work 
inside of it. 

K 

Bauble (baw'-blel, a fool's bauble was a short stick, cai*\'ed at the 
end into a head ornamented with ass's ears. In the families of 
the great it was customary to have a jester or fool, who, by his 
■wit should amuse the lord and his o"uests. 



DEbMNlTlUNS OK UL01S8AKV. 388 

Bayard (Bay' -aid), a fabled hoi'se of incredible speed. 

Bedizened (be-diz'nd), dress gaudily ; hence, as hei'e, unbecomingly, 

Borak (Bor'-ak), the animal that conveyed Mohammed to the 

seventh heaven. 
Brigaudiue (brig'-an-din). light armor. 
Buffoon (buf-foon'^. one who amnsps otheis by jokes and comic 

gestures. 
Buckler (buck' -lei-), kind of shield buckled on the arm. 
Buskin fbus'-kin). kind of half-boot. 

c 

Caaba (Ca-a-ba), a black stone in the temple at Mecca, said to have 
been given by an angel to Abraham, then the temple itself. 

Certes (cer'-tez), in truth. 

Cerements (cere '-men ts), cloth dipped in melted wax (Latin cern., 
wax) , fonnerh" wrapped around dead bodies. 

Complaisance (com'-plai-sance' or com-pla'-cence), indulgence. 

Contumely (con'-tu-me-ly"), haughty insolence. 

Cote, pass b}'. 

Coronet (cor'-o-net), little crown. 

Crypt (kript), underground room, genei'ally under a church, used 
for secret service and for biirial ; also, as here, a place of con- 
cealment. 

Cuirass (kwi-rass'), metal breastplate. 

Curtal-axe, or Cutlass, a broad, curved swoni 

D 

Damascus (Da-mas'-cus), city of Asiatic Turkej-, oldest in the 

world ; famous for its sword-blades. 
Dejanira (Dej'-a-ni'-ra), 
Demesnes (de-mene'), domains, possessions. 
De Vaux (de-vo'). 

Diapason (di-a-pa-son), here, full tone. 
Dissemblers (diz-zem'-blers), deceivers. 

Doits and MaraTCdies (mar'-a-vay'-dies\ coins of smallest value. 
Dote, to rava 



384 DEPINITIOXS OK GLOSSARY. 

E 

Ebullition (eb'-ul-lish'-un), an outward display of feeling, as of 

anger. 
Eblis (eb'-lis). King of evil spirits. 
Emaciated (o-ma'-ci-a'-terl), thin. 
Ensconced (^^en-skonsf), hidden, 
Eng'addi (En'-gad-di'i. 
Ennui (An'- we). 

Epicurean (ei>'-I-cu-rP'-an), similar in meaning to voluptnarij. 
Esplanade (es'-pla-nade), open space, generally level. 
Exculpate (ex-cuF-pate), excuse ; similarly. 
Excalibar (ex-cal'-i-bar), the famous sword given to King Arthur 

by the Lady of the Lake. 

F 

Fortuitous (for-tu'-i-tous), happening by chance. 

Gibbering: (gib'-ber-ing, G as in get), chattering. 

Gibe (jibe), sneer. 

Gnomes (nomes), imaginary' beings said to inhabit the bowels of the 

earth, and to be the guardians of mines, generally' I'epresented t« 

be dwarfed and misshapen. 
Gorget (gor'-jet), thi'oat-armor. 
Guenevra (guen-e'-vra). 

H 

JIalberd, or lialbert (hal'-berd), a weapon for cutting and thrusting, 
consistmg of a long pole with a battle-axe and a spear-head on 
the end. 

Harangue (ha-rang'), speech. 

Hirsute (her-sute'), hairy. 

Horoscope (hor'-o-scope), a representation of the aspect of the 
heavens at a given time, as at the hour of birth ; anciently As- 
trol'-ogers, as they were called, claimed to fortell events of one's 
life from one's horoscoj)e. 

Hypochondriacal (hip'-o-kon-dri'-a-cal), low-spirited. 



DEFINITIONS OR OLf)SSARV. 885 



lagO (e-ah'-go), character in one of Shakespeare's ])lays (Othello). 

famous for his ability and villainy. 
Ig'noiiiiny (ig-no-mi-n\-). disgrace. 
Impeccable (im-pec'-ca-ble), incapable of sinning. 
Impalpable (ini-pal'-pa-ble). ver}' fine, as powder; literallA^ not felt 

by touching. 
Inculpate (in-cul'-pate), accuse 
Iiicoarnito (in-cog'-ni-to), unknown. 
Inebriety (in-e-bri'-e-ty), drunkeness. 
Insalubrious (in-sa-lu'-bri-ous), unhealthy. 
Intractable (in-tract'-a-ble), unmanageable. 
Ishmael (Ish'-mael), legendary ancestor of the Arabs. 

J 
Joyense (Joy'-euse, ec like b in HER), here, minstrel. 

K 

Koran (Ko-ran), Mohammedan book of faith, their bible. 

L 

Largesses (lar'- jesses), gifts. 

Legerdemain (leg'-er-de-main'), ability to do tricks. 
Loknian (Lok-maiV), a celebrated Arabian sage. 
Lucre (lu'-ker). jirofit. alwa^^s in a bad sense. 

M 

Malign (ma-line'), unfavorable. 
Marmozet (mar'-mo-zet), little monke\-. 

Mecca (Mec'-ca), Mohammed or ^Tahomet. Prophet of Mecca. 
Messina (Mes-se'-na), a city of 8ic,ily. 

Minaret (min'-a-ret), the lofty turret oi- towei- of a mosciue. 
Misanthropical (mis-an-throp'-i-cal), man-hating. 
Moioch (Mo'-lok), chief god of the ancient Phcenicians, to whom 
was offerefl human sacrifice. 



H>^«) DEFINITIONS 01{ (iLOSSAKr. 

Morion (mor'-i-on), kind of helmet. 
Mosqne (mosk). Mohammedan place of worship. 

Muezzin (Mu-ez'-zin). a priest or crier who proclaims from the 
minaret of a mosqne (bells being forbidden) the hour of prayer. 

N 
Xectabanus (Nec-to-ba'-nus). 
Nesle (Neel). See note G. 

Niche (nitch). cavity in a wall, as for a statue. 
Novice (nov'-is). beginner. 



Obduracy (ob'-dur-a-cy), hardness of heart. 
Obtestation (ob-tes-ta'-tion), entreaty. 
Ordeal (or'-de-al). See note D. 

P 

Palfrey (pawl'-freyK easy-i-iding horse, as distinguished from war- 
horse or barb. 

Panoply (pan'-o-plj-), complete armor. 

Pique (peek), wounded pi-ide, grudga 

Plantag'enet from planta genista. 

Poignant (poin'-ant), sharp-pointed. 

Potential (ix)-ten'-tial), powerful. 

Pottle (pot' -tie), two-quart measure. 

Prometheus (Pro-me'-thuce), one of the most famous charactei"s of 
Grecian mythology. The tale is that he made a man of cla3', 
and, to endow his figure with life, stole fire from heaven. See 
classical dictionaries. 

Protocol (prfi'-to-col I. here, written statement. 

Puissant (pu'-is-sant). powerful. 

Purlieus (per'-lews), borders, confines ; here, ins and outs. 

Purvey (pur-vey'). procure generally as food. 

B 

Becluse (re-cluse'), same as anchorite. 

Rencontre (ren-con'-tre, also ren-coun'-ter). a sudden meeting or 
contest. 



DEFINITIONS OR GLOSSARY. 387 



Saracen (sar'-a-cen), an Arabian, a Mussulman. 

Schiraz (Schi-raz') a Persian city noted for its beautiful gardens. 

Scurril (scur'-ril), indecent. 

Serrated (ser'-ra-ted), jagged, sawlike: from serra, Latin for sow. 

Shrift, forgiveness of sins. 

Specific (spe-cif'-ic), the right medicine. 

Suzerain (su'-zer-ain), superior lo7'd. 



Talisman (Tnl-is-man), a magical figure engi-aved on metal or stone, 
supposed to have power to preserve the bearer from evil, especi- 
ally disease 

Theodorick (Theod'o-rick). 

Tiara (ti-a'-ra), crown, generally of Eastern monarchs. 

Truculent (truc'-u-lent). fierce. 

U 

Ulysses (U-lyss'-es). one of Homers heroes famous for his shrewd- 
ness. 

Unicorn (u'-ni-uomi. u fabuU)us animal resembling the horse, but 
having one horn (Latin.- mtuti. one. cornu. horn) issuing from its 
foi-ehead. 



Venial (ve'ni,-al). pardonable: not to lie confounded with ve'-nal' 

mercenary. 
Versatility (ver-satil'-i-tyl. readiness to change; liere. being 

tieacherous. 
Voluptuary (vo-lup'-tu-a-r\-). one wlio liv»'s for liis own pleasure. 

Y 

Vt'iiieu (Yem'-en), most feitile part of Arabia, situated in S.W. 
Ysop (Ae'-sop). who. according to tradition, was a monster of 
ugliness. 



Poems of Wordsworth. 

(FROM ARNOLDS SELECTIONS.) 



EDITJ5D J!V 

J. B. WBTHBRBLL, B.A., 
Principal of Stratliroy Collegiate Institute. 



WITH A 

Memoir of Wordsworrh. 

By Prof. Wm. Clark, LL.D., Trinity University, 
Toronto. 

An Essay on the Literary Mission of Wo rds- 
worth. 

By Principal Grant, Queen's University, Kingston. 

Monograph on the Esthetic Use of Words- 
worth's Poetry. 

By AVm. Houston, M.A. 

A Critical Estimate o f Wordsworth. 

By Prof. Charles. CI. D. Roi:i-:rts, ^LA., King's 
College, Windsor, N.S. 

Examination Questions. 



By Wm. Houston, ]\1.A. 



Wordsworth's Poems. 



School Edition of Wordsworth's Poems. 



A VALUABLE BOOK 

To Teachers. 

The Publishers are glad to invite the attention of 
High School and Collegiate Teachers, and indeed of all 
lovers of Wordsworth, to one of the most valuable literature 
text-books that have yet been issued in Canada. A new 
edition of Wordsworth's Poems under the editorial manage- 
ment of Mr. Wetherell, will be issued on the 20th of 
August. Our editor has invited to his aid four of our best- 
known Canadian authors and has thereby produced a text- 
book that certainly reaches high-water mark. 

Contents. 

This volume contains the poems of Wordsworth that 
liave been prescribed by the University of Toronto for the 
Pass Matriculation Examination, and adopted by the Edu- 
cation Department for the Junior Leaving Examination. 

The Text. 

The text in the main is that of Matthew Arnold's edition ; 
but, as Wordsworth frequentlj' revised his poems, and as 
Arnold has taken it upon himself to select in each case the 
version that suited his own poetic taste, often rejecting 
Wordsworth's final reading for an earlier one, a study of 
variants becomes useful if not necessarj*. This study in 
synonyms and jjoetic phrasing A\-ill prove very interesting 
to the thoughtful student. All the materials for such a 
literary exercise will Ije found in the full table of variant 
readings contained in the notes of this edition. 



Wordj^worth's Poems. 



Memoir of Wordsworth. 

The Memoii- of Wordsworth by Prof. Wm. Ci.ark. of 
Trinity University, Toronto, will be found to contain all 
the information of a biographical nature that the young 
student will need 

Literary Mission of Wordsworth. 

The article on the Literarj^ Mission of Wordsworth by 
Principal Grant, Queen's University, Kingston, is an 
excellent treatment of one of the most interesting themes in 
the literarj^ history of the century. 

Esthetic Use of Wordsworth's Poetry. 

Mr. Wm. Houston's cliapter on the Esthetic Use of 
Wordsworth's Poetry, containing a plan of study, is rich 
in matter and suggestion. This article, it is believed, will 
be welcomed by all teachers of English literatui-e in 
Ontario. .^ 

Critical Estimate of Wordsworth. 

The judicial estimate of Prof. Roberts, M.A., King's 
College, Windsor, N.S. , concerning the place of Words- 
worth among English bards will attract wide attention. 
The chief poet of Canada shows us cleai-ly that Matthew 
Arnold's estimate of Wordsworth's genius is misleading 
and demands correction. 

Sketch from "The Athenaeum." 



The pleasing sketch from The. Aihtnoiuin, on Dorothx 
and William Wordsworth will help the reader to appreciate 
more than one of the poems in this selection. 



Wonlswortli's Poems. 



The Notes. 

For obvious reasons the Notes on the poems in the 
present edition are somewhat numerous. Those teachers 
of English who look askance at annotated texts will of 
necessity make an exception in the case of Wordsworth. 
The poet himself has even condescended to be his own 
interpreter and annotator, and his abundant comments and 
delightful literary gossip have added many pages to the 
Notes. 

Poetic Tributes to Wordsworth. 

The "'Poetic Tributes to Wordsworth " at the end of this 
volume speak for theinselves. Those from the poems of 
Matthew Arnold and William Watson find a place here 
through the courtesy of Messrs. MacMillan. 

Examination Papers. 

Mr. Wm. Houston's Examination Questions on these 
poems will be found useful as specimens, illustrative of the 
theory he has advanced in his monograi)h as to their use 
for esthetic purposes. The questions are accompanied by 
some trenchant reinarks on the use of written examina- 
tions. 



%ASk^ 



NEW FRENCH LITERATURE FOR 1893. 

EDITED BY SQUAIR AND M ACG I LLI VR AY, 

LES FRERES COLOMBE, 

BY PEYREBRUNE. 



LA FEE, 

BY FEU I LLET (in one volume.) 

Prescribed for Hig-h School Leaving and University Matriculation for 1893. 
Edited by J. Sqitaiu, B.A., University College, Toronto, and Prof. MacGil- 
LiVRAY, Ph.D. Queen's University, Kingston. 

The plan of this carefully i)repared text is in the main 
that of the Editors' " Sardou and De Maistre" of last year, 
consists of a general introduction, critical biographical 
notices of the authors, texts, notes — grammatical and liter- 
ary — with reference to the High School Grammar, complete 
vocabvilary, and continuous composition exercises based on 
the texts. 

NOTES. 



In the Notes, textual difficulties are explained, peculiar- 
ities of construction noted, and the grammatical points 
involved qjiunciated and referred to the authorized gram- 
mar for fuller explanation. 

VOCABULARY. 



The Vocabvdary contains every word in the text with 
its more general meanings in addition to its particular one 
in the text, indication of irregularities, and examples of 
idiomatic uses. For greater simplicity the derivations fol- 
low the explanatory and illustrative matter, 

COMPOSITION EXERCISES. 



Exercises in Composition are added and arranged so as 
to form synopses of the texts, on which they are leased moi'e 
or less closely. They are not merely a translation of the 
original, but more freqtiently a rendering sufficiently intri- 
cate to make a severe mental exercise as well as imitation 
necessary. The points raised or exi)laiiiod in tlie notes 
receive licrc their |nacticiil ii|i|ilic:ition. 




SPECIMEN ILLUSTRATION. 

C/ESAR'S GALLIC WAR. 

BOOKS III. AND IV. 

Hdited, withNutes, Vocabulary, etc., by J. C. ROBERTSON, B,A., Clasn- 
ical Master, Owen Sovtid Collegiate Jnstsitute. 

BOOK III., 50 CENTS. BOOKS III. and IV., 75 CENTS. 



LEA«IN(i FEATURES. 

The following- may be noted as among the important features 
of the new Text on Caesar. 

The Introduction. 



This consists of five sections written for the capacity of 
the students who will use the book ; a life of Caesar ; a 
description of Gaul and the Gauls ; a summary of each book 
of the Gallic war, that students beginning with Book III. 



CaSSAR'S GALLIC WAR. 



or IV. may understand the previovis course of events ; a 
description of the Commentaries as a work of literature ; a 
sketch of the Roman Army and methods of warfare. 

The Text, Maps and Illustrations. 

For convenience of reference the subsec- 
tions of chapters are indicated in the 
margin and in the notes. Two maps are 
given, one from Kraner's edition, the most 
complete yet published in a Canadian text, 
the other a sketch map giving the main 
features needed to imderstand the story of 
Cfesar's cinipaigns. A number of illus- 
trations have been prepared to make more 
vivid the pupils' conception of Roman warfai'e. 

The Appendices. 

The first contains a series of exercises in translation at 
sight, of sentences chosen from Csesar and illustrating the 
constructions and A^ocabulary used in each chapter. 

An equally valuable feature, serving as an introduction 
to these exerci.ses, is a series of hints and suggestions for 
the translation of Caesar's Latin. These hints are ari-anged 
according to sj'ntatical order, but deal solely with the best 
idiomatic rendering of such foims and usages as are com- 
mon in Csesar. 




CESAR'S GALLIC WAR. 



The second Appendix gives a graded series of exercises 
in i^rose composition. These are not sentences in whicli 
Caesar's jjhrases are reproduced in much the same form as 
given in the text, hut will hoth test and develop the power 
to use a given phrase in an entirely new setting. Instead 
of the pupil merely selecting, he must combine a phrase 
and a construction, both occurring in the text, but sepai'- 
atelj^ 

In all these exercises idioms and usages rarelj^ occurring 
are avoided. 




The Notes. 



SPECIMEN ILLUSTRATIONS. 




The notes to each chapter are divided into two parts, the 
first for the average student, containing all that is necess- 
ary to the understanding and idiomatic translation of the 
text, and not a word more ; the second for the development 
of scholarship in the more advanced pupils. 

Apart from the exercise of common sense selection, the 
editor has tried to avoid the extremes of giving too much 
and giving too little help by two devices. First, in most 
cases only such parts of a sentence are translated as con- 



CESAR'S GALLIC WAR. 



tain the difficulty ; second and more important still, con- 
stant reference is made to the hints for the translation of 
Caesar referred to above. By this means, in case of diffi- 
culty, the pupil can readily find, within the same covers, 
just the help he wants ; while on the other hand, where 
the pupil is proficient enough to do without any explanation, 
the assistance needed for a weaker student is not directly- 
before his eyes, tempting him to use it instead of depending 
on his own resources. 

Marg-inal Space. 



A new feature is introduced in printing the text, so as to 
leave ample room for the making of marginal notes by 
students. 

Briefly the Book is specially Jfotewortliy as contaiiiiiig': 

Graded exercises in sight translation and in' re-translation. 
Hints and suggestions for the rendering of Caesar's Latin. 
Constant reference to these hints in the notes. 
Notes divided into two parts for the different classes of st udent. 
An illustrated introduction. 



Reference to the new authorized text-book and Grammars. 



Vocabulary that will be found complete and accurate. 



English aud Cauadiaii History Note Book. 

New Topical English and Canadian 
History Note Boole. 



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History Course in English and Canadian History, and is 
printed so as to furnish a number of blank leaves to allow 
students to make additional notes. Price 25 Cents. 



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as best indicate the True Growtli of the nation. 

Prog^ress of the People. 

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The Colonial Extension of the British Empire is briefly 
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The History is Classified. 

The whole History is Classified, so that the Relation- 
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English and Canadiun History Jiotc Itooli. 



Arrang-ement of the Notes. 

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Admirable Prepa ration. 

The Notes supply an admirable preparation for the 
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Additional Notes . 

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Used in Connection with any History. 

The Notes can be used in connection with any History 
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By the Use of this Xote Book ; 

1. Time is .saved fo Teachers and Pupils. 



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4. A s imple, definity Method of studying History is 

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Honor Work in £ii»'liHh. 



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Hudson's Shak espea re. 

Cavel'uUy edited, with Explanatory Notes at the bottom of the page, 
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Editor of The Harvard Shakespeare. Price, 33 Cents. 

Some of the Special Features of this edition are the 
I'ouveiiieiit size .-iiid sliapc of liie volniiie. 
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The ample iiitrodiietioii.s. 

The explanatory itotes. easily found at the foot of the page. 
The critical uotes for special .study. 
The jiidccioiis expiirgatiou, never nianglinji- either style or story. 

The acute and .syiiipatheiie crilicisiii lliat has come to be asso- 
ciated M iili l>r. Hudson's name, and, finally, 
Tlie reasoiiablcuess of the price. 



Hiram t'orsoii. Pro/, of Rhet. 
nnd Eng. l.if.. Vonicll University: 
I consider them altogether excellent. 
The notes gi^'e all the aid needed for 
an understandinj-' of the text, without 
waste and distraction of the student's 
mind. The introductory matter to 
the several plays is especially worthy 
of approbation, (-/(in. 2?, 1887.) 

V.'V. V. lianerofl, Pr/n. of Phil- 
lips Acadciin/. Aiiih'i'cr. JIass.: Mr. 
Hudson's appreciation of Shakespeare 
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and industry. — it reveals insight, 
sympathy, and conviction. He leads 
tile puitil inti> the ^ery mind and 
heartof " tliu thousand -sbuled Shake- 
pearc. " 



Oliver >VeiidelI Holmes: An 

edition of any play of Shakespeare's 
to which Mr. Hudson's name is affixed 
does not need a line from anybody to 
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Cyrus Northrop, President Uni- 
versity of Minnesota : They are con- 
venient in form and edited by Hud- 
.son,~two good tilings which I can 
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€. T. ^Vinchesler, Prof, of Eny., 
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stimulatinu- his interest and quicken- 
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Revised Eiitioii (iage's New Map (iJeograpliy Primer. 



County Edition C. 



With County maps of Halton, Peel, York, DufFerin, Welling'toii, 
Simuoe, Gi-ey, Bruce, also douWe page map of the City of Toronto. 



County Edition D. 



With County maps of Ontario, Durham and Northumberland. 
Peterhoroush. Haliburton, Victoria, Hastings, Prince Edward, Len- 
nox and Addington. 



County Edition E. 

With County maps of Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville, Russell 
and Prescott, Renfrew, Lanark. Carleton, Dundas. Stormont and 
Glengarry. 

Ga ge's Map Geog raphy— Quebec Edition. 

Contains a large double page map of the Pro^^nce of Quebec, also 
map of the Eastern Townships, together with additional Text descrip- 
tive of the Province of Quebec. Price 40 cents. 



Gage's Map Geography— Manitoba Edition. 



Contains double jiage ma]) of Manitoba, together with the des- 
criptive text of that Pro\inoi' rovisod u\> to date. Price 4ii cents. 



Gage's Map Geography— British Columbia 
Edition. 

Contain.s new double page map of British Columbia, together 
with descriptive text ri'vised to date. Price li) cents. 



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