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Eliza Cook’s Journal, Volumes 11-12
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THE GREEN LANE.
There are no green lanes in the world equal to those of England. Italy has its skies, Greeee its classic ruins, Egypt it s pyramids, Switzerland its Alps, Germany its Rhine, America its Niagara, but none of these has a green lane such as we have thousands of in England. The green lane is essentially English, and is confined to England. There are green lanes neither in Seotland nor Ireland—we mean grassy roads arrayed in greenery, shaded by lofty old hedges, beeeh-trees, alders, or willows, leading to some quiet eot or farmhouse, or range of pasture-lands; and often leading on merely to some other green lane, or series of lanes, branching off to right or left, whieh are there seemingly without any other purpose than that they are there, to feast the eyes of eountry strollers with the sight of their quiet green beauty.
The green lane is the delight alike of our poets and our artists, and of all who love rural scenery. Cowper, Hunt, and Wordsworth have painted them in words; and our living painters, Creswiek, Lee, Witherington, and Redgrave, have painted them in eolours. No pietures are more admired than theirs on the walls of the aeademy. But they can only give us charming “bits,” whereas the pedestrian can range along miles of eharming lanes, even in the very neighbourhood of this crowded metropolis. Leigh Hunt can point ont a favourite route along green lanes in the neighbourhood of Hampstead, whieh takes a long day to visit. Wordsworth has sung that the fields and rural lanes were his “favourite schools.” Indeed, his poetry is full of the sweet breath of the country.
Step out of the dusty highway into the green lane. How cool and quiet it is! Pleasantly it winds on among the farms and fields. A gentle breeze stirs the tree tops, on the summit of one of whieh the throstle is pouring out his sweet musie. But for the feathered singers, the eloister-shade of the green lane were bathed in stillness. The sun, as it streams through the young fun-like foliage of the trees, turns them to green and gold—the bright livery of spring. The gentle wind kisses the leaves as it passes by with a faint rustle and murmur, which still enables you to hear the brushing of your feet over the grassy path.
Flowers are peeping out from the hedge-bottoms. The violet is modestly lifting up its head, and shedding abroad its delicate odour even where unseen. The bees
have already begun their year’s work, and are grappling with the hawthorn blossoms and the wild roses of the hedgerows. The sward is covered with daisies; and foxglove, primroses, and blue-bells eover the banks by the lane side. An open space appears, eovered with gorse, full of golden bloom. Nothing can be more gay and beautiful.
Sometimes the lane is quite overshadowed by tall trees, whieh make a green twilight, but through which the slanting sun’s rays shoot down here and there, lighting up the patches of grass beneath. How bright the leaves through which the sun’s light trembles. What variety of tints, from the eool green to the golden yellow, and the rieh amber brown of the tree stems! With a pool of water in the foreground, or a bright cool stream leaping or triekling from the bank, and straggling irregularly across the path, you have before you one of those delieious “bits ” of woodland or green-lane seenery whieh Creswiek so loves to paint.
The green lane is generally quiet and lonely, but sometimes there is life about it—the life of the fields. Hist! “lis the lowing of a cow, strayed from the adjoining field, tempted by the sweet daisied sward of the lane. She has raised her head, and is lowing to her fellow across the adjoining hedge, who is standing udder-deep in the rich grass and golden buttercups. Or, there is a flock of geese in the lane, watched by a little fellow with red cheeks and flaxen locks, who amuses himself by making whistles ont of reeds, and oeeasional elay-pies and other dainties in the runnel that bustles along under the hedge side. Farther on, you overtake an old man leaning on his staff. He has’crawled forth into the green lane to rejoiee, as he still can rejoiee, in its quiet life and beauty. He is not far from home; a rude style points out the path across a field, and there, within sight, is a little cluster of cottages, rose-embowered and suekle-wreathed, with bees about them; old women peep out from the doors, and the merry voices of ehildren rise up from the grassy spaces near at hand, where they are at play. And here is the spring-well of the hamlet, elose at hand, from which a cottage girl draws her ean full of water, and shily trips over the style and away across the field, out of the stranger’s sight. The well is nooked in a leafy, lush recess, fern-fringed and mossy to the bottom; its elear bubbling waters tempting the stroller to uncoil the rusty chain and fetch up a bumper cool as the polar ice.
These cottages look really pleasant and rural; the eluster of lilaes nodding over their mossy roofs, with those branehing oaks, loftier still, through whieh the thin blue smoke slowly eddies upwards into the bluer sky. There is also an elder-tree growing by the wieket, near the entranee to the eottager’s garden, and no eottagegarden would be eomplete without an elder. And there is a eottager at work, turning over the soil with his spade, whieh tinkles against the pebbles as he delves the dry earth, making it ready for some summer erop.
Move baek into the lane again, and as you proeeed, lo! a patient ass stands before yon, listlessly meditating. No green lane without its ass! Does the ass love green lanes for their quiet, or for their sweet herbage? Either way, the ass must be an animal of taste, mueh-reviled brute as it is. But this poor ass bears upon it the marks of hard work, of blows, of poor feeding. It is not a luxurious, idle, dissipated ass, but a eommon day-labouring ass, the servant of tinkers and gipsies. There they are, eamped out in the green lane!
“Will you have your fortune read?” Then have it read here in the green lane, by that bold tawny girl, with blazing blaek eyes—a genuine gipsy, a true ehild of the East. Sinee Squire .Western had his fortune told in the green lane, as related in Tom Jones, these same strollers have been hannting the lanes of England. The lanes are the eamping ground of the gipsies; there they mend pots and manufaeture brooms; thero they eook, eat, marry, and bring up ehildren. The gipsy ehild, brought up in the green lanes, is no more to be tied down to the plodding life of towns, than is the Ameriean Indian to beeome a eotton planter for a Yankee slave-owner. The gipsy is the Indian of Europe—not to be eivilised, any more than the green lane itself eould flourish in the Strand.
The green lane is beantiful at all seasons. In spring it is youthful and fresh. In summer it is rieh and luseious. In antumn its beanty is ripe and full. The fresh green of the lane in the young spring is delieious; but yet, for riehness of eolour, for brilliant tints, deep browns, lit up with the searlet and red berries with whieh the hedgerows are full in antumn, we have even a preferenee for the latter season. But always is the green lane beantiful. And in summer, when the delieious fragranee from the hay-fields fills the lane, and heavyladen wains eome swinging along the grass path, the seent filling the summer air, a walk in the lane is an inexpressible souree of delight. There is a life among the fields at that season also, sueh as you rarely witness at other times. The mowers are at work, and the haymakers are busy in their wake, easting about the drying hay, amidst langhter, and jesting, and merry glee.
But the pleasures of the green lane at all seasons are endless. In the early morning, at glowing noon, or in the balmy eve, when the sun sets in gold, dimly seen through overarehing trees, the lane is always delightful. It ealls up the poetry of our nature, and quiekens it to life; and we feel as if we eould only enjoy it thoroughly to the aeeompaniment of a volume of Keats, or Tennyson, or .Wordsworth. This love of green lanes is a truly national attaehment. It is a simple and delightful taste, and we are not ashamed of it. The love of eountry and of eountry life is rather our pride and our glory.
We always think of Miss Mitford as we do of the yellow primroses, pink anemones, red elover, and blue eornflowers we used to sit among in our ” merrie ehildhood’s days.” Her name eomes to us with a sort of lily of the valley and sweet woodruff odour about it. It is assoeiated with the newly-turned furrow, where the lark walks elose
“Afherton and other Tales. By Mary Russell Mitford. In 3 vola. London: Uurst and Blaekett. 1854.
behind “the heavy hoots of Hodge.” We eouple it with the rieh brown faggot-staek and the golden waggon-load of barley. It brings reeolleetions of the hamlet-eommon, the rushy pond, the furze patehes, the nibbling geese, the straggling eottages, and the evening tribe of pigmy erieketers, who expend their utmost energies under the influenee of a penny ball and sixpenny bat. We see her standing in a green lane, among elms, beeehes, whitethorns, and mountain ashes, with a buneh of wood-strawberry blossoms in her hand, talking to some tawny-faeed, broad-beavered, red-waisteoated, leather-gaitered son of the soil. We hear her ealling her pet greyhound, ” Mayflower,” within bounds. We eonjure her up in one of the “Belford ” highways, dispensing kind words and sedative sugar-plums to some of the pettieoated nondeseript bipeds so loved by her womanly spirit. We walk with her shadow through eorn-fields and hop-gardens. We go with her blaekberrying and nutting. We have her by our side when the frosty snow eraekles under our doublesoles ; and, in short, Miss Mitford lives with us always and everywhere in the eountry.
We think we read Our Villaye with as mueh delight as any book that ever eame into our hands. We were very young at the time, but it eaptivated us beyond expression; and now, when we have learnt somewhat more of “elassies” and “epies,” we dip into it with affeetionate and enduring pleasure. We are proud to say it is one of the most ” grubby” volumes on our shelves, and if Miss Mitford had never written another line we should ever be most grateful to her for this treasured produetion.
The present and last work from her pen presents all the refreshing traits- of simple and sineere writing whieh marked her earlier emanations. Atherton fills the first volume, and is the longest story, we think, ever published by Miss Mitford. It is a domestie narrative, replete with heart-interest and genial feeling,—making no pretensions to exalted, politieal, or ethieal elaboration, so prevalent in the modern sehools of novel writing; but has a simple freshness in its tone whieh eharms one into reading on, though we are being ealled to supper. Miss Mitford’s rural deseriptions are as usual equally beantiful and truthful. We present our readers with this niee bit of painting from the opening ehapter:—
“There were few houses whieh wore more eompletely the outward show of eomfort and prosperity than the Great Farm at Atherton. It was a large square substantial building, with fine fruit-trees eovering-the upper part of the walls, and jessamine, honeysuekle, and China roses elustering round the windows. The green eourt, whieh divided the house from the road, was gay during nine months of the year with flowers and flowering trees; and boasted still some lingering spikes of hollyhoek, a stray blossom of elove and searlet geraninm, and bunehes of that most fragrant of roses whieh is ealled ‘of the four seasons.’ The mignonette too and the violet still mingled their delieious odours. People who sineerely love flowers eontrive to make them blow sooner and later than others. We see this in the poorest eottages, and here was no poverty to eontend with. On one side of the eourt was that most affluent of all territories, an immense orehard, a perfeet grove of fruit-trees, eherry, apple, pear, plum, and walnut at their tallest growth and fullest bearing. Behind was a large kitehengarden; and on the side opposite to the orehard a magnifieent farm-yard, a huge and indeseribable mixture of riehes and mud. Behind that eame poultry-yard and riek-yard, horse-pond and duek-pond, barns, stables, earthouses, eow-houses, doveeots, and pigsties, with all their inhabitants, biped and quadruped, feathered and unfeathered, of every denomination.
“They who talk of the quiet of the eountry ean hardly have been in a great farmyard towards sunset on a wintry day, when the teams are eome baek from the plough and the eattle from the field, and the whole population is gathered together for the purpose of feeding. I would mateh it for noise and dirt and jostling against Cheapside, and taking into aeeount the variety of the ereatures, and the different keys eombined in that wild ehorus, I should have little doubt of winning.”
The veraeity of the latter paragraph has often been proved in our own experienee. We were intimately eonneeted with a “farmyard” in our jnvenile days, and ean bear witness to all that Miss Mitford deelares touehing its uproar and eonfusion. We remember getting into awkward positions more than onee during the “business hour” of four or five o’eloek. Some teams eame home from market, some from ploughing. The pigs were elamorously aetive in the neighbourhood of the hog-tuh, betraying a wonderful eagerness to eonvert themselves into pork, by grunting and squeeling and pushing, beyond all deeorum, for the usual troughfuls of food. The ealves bleated vigorously at the approaeh of their maternal relatives, and the eows bellowed uneeasingly in reply, to assure their offspring of a mother’s presenee. The fowls were flapping and flying and ehuekling and serambling like insane ereatures about the granary door, and assanlted all who went near it with andaeious pertinaeity. The team-horses rattled their ehains with impatient zeal, earts and waggons were being drawn under sheds by no gentle or silent spirits; Diek, the ploughboy, was exelaiming to Ben, the ploughman, about “that ere traee of old Dumplings being too long,” and “as how he was sure that Smiler went summut lame all day.” Ben, paying not the slightest attention to Diek, was ealling lustily to Harry, in the riek-yard, “to be sure and take them ere saeks out of the big bar n into the little un;” and Jem, “the odd boy,” was “managing” the pigs by dint of the loudest and strongest Sussex dialeet he eould muster; while Martha, the dairy-maid, was alternately sereaming after a missing pail and invoking David Horton, the handsome young thresher, to help her get that obstinate old “Mudge” into the shippen. “Drat that hnssey of a eow, she never would do as she was wanted, and was’nt to be gotten near her plaee no how, if Davy didu’t eome to help” (by-the-by, Martha and Davy were married about six months after). The sheep-dog was barking at an obstreperous sow; the terriers, pointers, and beagles all ehose that anspieious and lively period to bold a sort of gymnastie and barking revel with boisterous glee; and we repeat, that more than onee we have been glad to eseape the eonfusion and Babel of a ” quiet farmyard.”
Miss Mitford gives us a graphie deseription of the inhabitants of this farm, whieh we eannot resist quoting.
“lxird Delaney, the noble owner of the hall, had most extensive estates in the same eounty: but nearly all the parish of Atherton was rented by the tenant of the Great Farm, and that tenant was a woman.
“Mrs. Warner had presided over this land of plenty for nearly fifty years, originally as the wife of the master, latterly as the mistress, and always with high reputation for hospitality and good management. She was a neat, gentle, lady-like person, with silver hair, a fair, pale eomplexion, mild dark eyes, a little tremor of head and voiee, and a slight bend of the slender figure; altogether a most venerable and beantiful old woman. Her family eonsisted of a danghter-in-law, the widow of her only son, and of their danghter Catherine, eommonly ealled Katy Warner, a girl of fifteen.
“Katy’s mother was a round, rosy, merry, bustling dame, who having, sinee the death of her first husband, had, as she expressed it, the luek to marry and bury a seeond, bore the name of Bell. To her for some years baek the ehief government of the house and farm had devolved, and few women eould be fitter for sueh a eharge. With a frame strong and aetive as that of a
man, a eompetent knowledge of husbandry, a good judgment in eattle, and eonsiderable skill in parish affairs; with a kinduess that was always felt and a tongue that was often heard, she seolded her way through the agrieultural year from wheat-sowing to harvest. Ignorant as a new-born ehild of the world and its ways, exeept always the small bit of that ‘huge rotundity’ ealled the manor and royalty of Atherton, it is probable that the very limitation of her faeulties eondueed not a little to her prosperity. Fearful of experiments, she stuek to the old routine adapted to her eapaeity; and trusted to the experienee of her labourers, men for the most part born upon the land, who knew every ineh of the ground, and eared for the interest of their good mistress as if it had been their own. Everything throve in this female household, from the floeks whose numbers were eounted by thousands down to Katy’s bees.
“The parlour, the eommon living-room of the family, was smaller than, to judge from its appearanee, any room in that house ought to have been, ehosen, perhaps, on that aeeount—people who ean eommand large rooms having a frequent tendeney to use small ones.
“It was a sort of exereseenee on one side of the dwelling, a kind of afterthought, with a sunny bay-window eommanding the farm-yard, from whieh it was only parted by a low paling and a slip of turf, and giving a peep at the high-road.
“A snug and eheerful apartment, after all, was that little parlour, erowded with furniture, from the good old lady’s high-baeked ehair to the low stool on whieh Katy, whenever that Mereurial little person did stay five minutes in a plaee, used to sit at her grandmother’s feet.
“In the eentre was a small Pembroke table of dark mahogany, somewhat rieketty; at the end a sideboard of the same material, the drawers groaning with stands of spirits, and bottles of home-made wine, the top eovered with miseellaneous artieles, Mrs. Warner’s large Bible, surmounted by a eookery-book, oeeupying one eorner, whilst Mrs. Bell’s enormous work-baskets and work-bags over-filled the other; a beantiful jar of dried grasses, Katy’s property, oeeupied the middle. Katy’s possessions, indeed, might be traeed everywhere. Her litter, living and dead, eumbered the walls and the floor. Birds, kittens, skipping-ropes, bridles, riding-whips, and battledores were distributed all over the room, whilst a fat spaniel ealled Flora lay basking before the flre.
“Two triangular eupboards oeeupied two opposite eorners; of whieh one was so erammed with eloselypaeked glass and ehina that it was dangerous for any unaeeustomed finger to attempt to extrieate eup or saneer from the pile; whilst the other was filled to bursting with artieles of daily eall, tea, sugar, lemons, nutmegs, and gingerbread. Fruit at all seasons, and eakes of every denomination eompleted the array. No one eould enter that room without tasting the light seed-eake—diet-bread Mrs. Warner ealled it—eompounded from a family reeipe a hundred years old; or the green gooseberry wine, famous as that of Mrs. Primrose, sparkling and efferveseent as ehampagne. It was the very temple of hospitality.”
Katy is the heroine of the story, and we beg to eommend her to our young friends as a fine speeimen of English girlhood. We will not extraet more from Atherton, but advise the reading of it in its perfeet form.
The other two volumes are eomposed of short stories, whieh have only appeared in eomparatively uuread and expensive annuals. They are all good and pleasing. We must present a speeimen from Dolly and her Beaux:—
“Dolly, whose real name, by the way, was Dora, though it is doubtful whether she had been so addressed sinee the ehristening; the very maids — even Mrs. Hieks herself, ealling her Miss Dolly. Dolly was a niee little girl: small of her age, but well formed and aetive, with abundanee of flaxen ringlets, blue eyes, and a pink and
white eomplexion, not mueh unlike her own great wax doll, and not very mueh larger, the ehief differenee between them eonsisting in the absenee of noise and motion on the doll’s part, wherein Dolly had the advantage, and in the far superior neatuess of the waxen lady’s apparel: neither Mrs. Hieks, nor her aide-de-eamp, Patty (the nursery-maid) being able to keep Dolly tidy, though they tried hard, after their several fashions, to aehieve that most landable objeet. Mrs. Hieks hoping, lamenting, and sighing in her great ehair, over torn froeks and tattered trowsers; whilst Patty ehased her young mistress, needle in hand, ruuning up tueks, sewing on strings, and tying sashes; all of whieh might truly be ealled labour in vain, for Dolly was a romp at heart, a romp in grain, and it would be as easy to wash a blaekamoor white as to preserve eleanliness and order in the person of a young lady who labours under that unlueky propensity.
“Dolly (I am sorry to give so bad a eharaeter to my heroine) was a most inveterate romp. She romped with her brothers and sisters wherever she met with them; with her father and mother whenever she eould eoax them into the sport; with Miss Harris, the governess: with Patty, the nursery-maid; and, finally, notwithstanding eorns and the rhenmatism, with Mrs. Hieks herself, who, in spite of a eonsiderable degree of gravity, mental and bodily, and a deeided theoretieal objeetion to sueh rudeness, eould not always find in her heart to resist Dolly’s praetieal temptation, espeeially when Dolly elimbed to the top of her great ehair, and stole the very speetaeles from off her nose.
“This was the sigual for a game of play, whieh used to last till poor fat Mrs. Hieks, tired as ever a poor fat Mrs. Hieks was before, was foreed to give in and ery for qnarter: and then Dolly (who seldom attaeked Mrs. Hieks until she had exhansted the patienee of her other biped play-fellows) used to resort to the qnadrupeds of the house—her mamma’s lap-dog, her papa’s poodle, her sister’s kitten, Miss Harris’s eat, and a mueh-enduring terrier of her own, eally Tiny, for amusement and eonsolation; and they, espeeially Tiny and the kitten, would enter into her glee, and jump and frisk about, and serateh and tear the elothes upon her baek, and moke sueh a eommotion as would have wearied anybody under the sun exeept Dolly; but Dolly was untirable. It was perfeetly wonderful bow mueh fatigue under the name of play, that little person eould endure — from sunrise to sundown she was in perpetnal motion. Miss Harris (who dreaded her eoming into the sehool-room), used to deelare that it made her head aehe only to look at her!
“Besides being a romp, Dolly (the sins are apt to go together in damsels under four years old) was, I am sorry to say, a most desperate flirt. She bad early made the diseovery that gentlemen, who have no bounets to diseompose, nor gowns to rumple, make far better playfellows than ladies who have their millinery and pettieoats to take eare of, and are, besides, less strong in the arm, and therefore less eapable of giving, what Dolly liked better than anything, a good high toss. Gentlemen were, therefore, her deeided favourites; and every male visitor, who eame to the house, was sure of being ehallenged to a game of romps with Miss Dolly. But, besides these ehanee beanx, she had, nearly from the time she eould talk, a regular flirtation on hand with some favourite of the house.
“First on the list was Mr. Simon Bates, the house steward; a retainer of the family of somewhere about Mrs. Hieks’ standing, for whom in his youth he had been suspeeted of a lurking penehant, and for whom he still retained suffieient partiality to induee him to pay her long and frequent visits in the nursery, when his flirtation with Miss Dolly eommeneed. It did not last long. Poor Mr. Simou Bates, besides being nearly as unwieldy as
Mrs. Hieks, was subjeet to fits of the gout, whieh utterly ineapaeitated him from the aetive gambols that his young lady reqnired, so he relinqnished his post, or she turned him off (either version may serve) as speedily as possible.
“His sueeessor was Mr. Jaekson, the butler, whose pantry, abutting on the great stairs, threw him frequently in Dolly’s way, and enabled him to give her two exereises of whieh she was exeeedingly fond—sliding down the banisters, and trotting round the hall on horsebaek, Mr. I Jaekson performing the part of a steed, and praneing and eurvetting on hands and feet for her gratifieation. What added to her pleasure in this sport was Jaekson’s being furnished with a natural bridle, in the shape of a pig-tail, he being of the old-fashioned raee of butlers, with a red I’aeo blazing amidst his frizzed and powdered hair—silk stoekings, paste buekles, and, on state oeeasions, an embroidered waisteoat with long flaps, whieh sonie former head of the Vernons had worn at eourt. A eapital steed. Dolly, in her lisping English, was pleased to eall him “vely nithe horthe;” but, notwithstanding bis alaerity in moving on all-fours, poor Mr. Jaekson’s red nose was fated to be put out of joint even sooner than that of his predeeessor, Mr. Bates.
“The favourite by whom the galloping butler was superseded, was a eertain Eugene Prinee, or, as his eomrades ealled him, Prinee Eugene, who aeeompanied Horry Vernon home from the Military College, one Christmas holidays. Prinee Eugene was exaetly the person to worry a young lady off her feet; bold, aetive, lively, and good humoured, and blest with sueh a fund of animal spirits that he eould even tire down Dolly herself. Prinee Eugene was irresistible; he tossed her over his bead, he shook her into peuny-pieees, he ealled her his little wile, he sang songs, made faees, and played Puneh for her amusement; and reigued without a rival, whether on four feet or on two. But, alas! the Christmas hours do not last for ever. Prinee Eugene departed, and poor Dolly was left a diseonsolate damsel, to seek another playfellow as best she might.
“She found, or rather made one, in the shape of the viear of the parish; a grave, deeordus, respeetable, M r. Harman, who at first sight seemed an uupromising subjeet for a romping bout. But the gentleman had more fun in him than he seemed to have; and being mueh at the house, and amused by the mauner in whieh Dolly foreed herself upon his attention, and insisted on his tossing her up to the eeiling, and shaking her into peunypieees, and ealling her his little wife, like her ‘ poor dear Printh,’ he took very greatly to the offiee, and, on my arrival at General Veriwu’s, I found him as regularly romping with Dolly after diuner, as saying graee before.
“This state of things did not last long; Dolly was, as I have said, a flirt as well as a romp; and an oeeasion soon presented itself for displaying her unlueky qnality in full perfeetion. It eame, as usnal, in the form of a rival.
“The time of my visit happened to be on the eve of a general eleetion; and a few days after my arrival, a fellow guest made his appearanee in the shape of a young baronet, who was a eandidate for the representation of the next town, where the Vernons had great interest. A very agreeable person was Sir Robert,—eheerful, pliant, and good humoured, and so overflowing with eivility, that he made his eourt to every ereature in the house, from Lady Aun, the really lovely eldest danghter, down to Finette and Tiny. Of eourse, Dolly was not overlooked. He outtossed and out-shook Mr. Harman; mode more faees and sang more songs that Prinee Eugene; played Puneh twiee over; galloped on all fours three times round tho great drawing-room; deelared that she should be nobody’s wife but his; and finally, promised to eariy her away with him the next morning.
“The night had been stormy, and Mr. Harman had, as was frequently the ease in bad weather, slept at the great
house; and the morning being brilliantly fine, we were all assembled to witness the departure of the two gentlemen—the one on foot to the viearage, the other on horsebaek to the independent borough of G , when, to our
great astonishment, Dolly marehed into the hall, equipped in her best pelisse and bonnet, with a huge wax doll in one hand, and a eoaeh and four with their outriders (the gift of Mr. Harman), in the other. ‘Thtop!’ shouted Dolly, pereeiving that her new admirer, who was already mounted, was boiving himself off as fast as possible, ‘thtop! I go too!’
“‘No,’ rejoined the faithless swain,’not now, dear Dolly; there’s no room; you see I’m on horsebaek: I’ll eome baek in a earriage and feteh you and your doll. I ’11 eome baek for you to-morrow, Dolly.’
“‘ I go now’ sereamed Dolly. ‘I ride before—I ride behind. I oor wife !” quoth Dolly. But all in vain, for her treaeherous admirer nodded, and kissed his hand, and galloped off; he langhed and he rode away, and poor Dolly, quite astounded at anybody’s being as fiekle as herself, seemed likely to ery, till, eatehing a glimpse of Mr. Harman, who was now, in his turn, taking leave, she resumed her doll and her eoaeh-and-four, whieh she had put down in her eonsternation, and then said very quietly—’ Well, then, Mither Harman, I go with oo.’
“‘ No,’ rejoined Mr. Harman, ‘not to-day, Miss Dolly. I’ll eome and feteh you another time;’ and off he bowed himself; and poor Dolly, quite astounded with this great moral lesson on the dangers of flirtation, and the treaehery of men, walked baek to the nursery quite misanthropie, exelaiming, with the drollest possible union of mirth, of observation, and falseness of grammar,’Manth ith all alike!’ she being, perhaps, the first young lady of three years and a half old, who ever had oeeasion, on her own aeeount, to verify the words of the old song,—
‘Sigh no more, ladies, ladies, sigh no more,—
Men were deeeivers ever;
One foot on sea and one on shore,
To one thing eonstant never.’
“‘ Manth ith all alike,” quoth poor Dolly, and off she marehed to play with Tiny.
We are by no means eertain that the last refleetive deelaration of Miss Dolly, is not rather beyond the mental and moral pereeption of a young lady rising “three and a half,” but we should require to find many more serious fanlts before we eould quarrel with sueh a pretty sketeh of infant life.
In the third volume there is a ” Story for ehildren of all ages,” entitled, The Two Cousins, whieh affords an exeellent lesson on wisdom, illustrated by a eharmingly related tale of girlish folly. We meet with Sheridan’s Rhyminy Calendar in it, whieh may be new to many of our readers:—
1 January snowy;
We weleome this publieation as we would a pieture of Gainsborough’s or Wilkie’s, among a gallery of mosaies and marbles; and fervently hope that the amiable and gifted anthoress will yet present the world with many produetions of her refined and refining genins.
There is a likeness of Miss Mitford in the first volume, whieh will at onee impress those who look on it with a most favourable opinion of the nature and temper of the original. There is something unaffeeted, English-like, and loveable in the faee and figure, whieh is unusual in
the average portaits of popular writers, and Miss Mitford has been lueky in finding an artist who has done eommon justiee to her real lineaments. We elose these volumes, feeling they will be perused and appreeiated as they deserve.
The reeord of the life of the eeeentrie old physieian is riehly suggestive, and will be found to possess no mean interest, although it may not entitle Cardan to more than a seeondary position among the great men who have imprinted their memorials upon the eventful history of a singularly fertile period, in whieh the empire of seienee and thought was extended, in various ways, with wonderful rapidity.
It is eertain, we think, in eommon with Mr. Morley, that historians have been negleetful, if not unjust, to Jerome Cardan. That many wild and faneiful theories are to be found in his writings must be admitted; that exeeption may be taken to mueh of his moral philosophy is true; that his life was stained by dissipation we must also regret, although it should not be forgotten, the evidenee on the last point proeeeds from his own pen, and but for his own, perhaps, too frank eonfessions, he would not have been aeeounted worse than his eontemporaries.
It was eharged against Cardan, as a physieian, in his lifetime, that he never eoneentrated his powers upon his profession, and he was a man of versatile attainments. He studied intensely, wrote mueh upon the abstraet seienees; and, despite the singular eoneeits upon many topies, these writings display a remarkable aeuteness of observation, and profundity of researeh and analysis. But so strangely eompounded was his nature, that Briieker observes, “If we read only eertain of his works, we may say he was the greatest fool who ever lived; at the same time he was one of the most fertile geninses that Italy has produeed, and one who made eertain rare diseoveries in mathematies and medieine.”
The early days of the philosopher were beset with evil. His birth, we are told, made no man happy, and his first gaze into the world was darkened by a mother’s frown. This mother was one Chiara, or Clara Mieheria, a young widow; his father, who was fifty-six years old, was Fazio Cardan, a lawyer of some repute, and juriseonsult of Milan. The unweleome ehild was, however, born at Pavia, on the 24th of September, 1501, whither its maternal parent had fled, to avoid the plague, then raging in the former eity. His infaney was a series of easualties, and to aeeident more than design, on her part, may the preservation of his life be attributed. At length she returned to Milan, taking Jerome with her, and soon after Fazio dwelt under the same roof with the widow, their ehild, and her sister Morgherita, of whom the nephew gives no very favourable aeeount. And he may be well exeused in his want of affeetion towards one who treated him so unkindly, that he faneied “she must have been without a skin, for she eared so little for the skin of Clara’s ehild.” The systematie eruelty to whieh little Cardan was subjeeted, added to his feeble health and hereditary disease, made up the sum of martyrdom, but
* The Life of Oirolamo Cardano, of Milan, Physioian—By Heury Morley, Author of Pali*e) t\t Patter, &e. London: Chapman and Hall. 185i.