« PředchozíPokračovat »
“Remember your promise, Mister Cooke." “ Another jug of punch, Mistress Burns.”
“ Indeed, and I will not get out of my own bed any more at all, Mister Cooke; and so there's an end of it!"
66 We'll see that, Mistress Burns."
When, to Matthews' further astonishment, he seized the jug, and smashed it on the floor over the head of Mistress Burns, exclaiming, “ Do you hear that, Mistress Burns?”: i !!
“ Yes I do, Mister Cooke."
He then proceeded to break the chairs one by one, after each exclaiming," Do you hear that, Mistress Burns ?” and receiving in reply,
“ Yes I do, Mister Cooke; and you'll be very sorry for it to-morrow, so you will."
He then opened the window, and very deliberately proceeded to throw the looking-glasses into the street, and the fragments of broken tables and chairs. Matthews had made several attempts to go, and had been detained by Cooke : he now ventured something like an expostulation ; on which his mentor ordered him out of his apartment, and threw the candle and candlestick after him.' Matthews having departed, the wretched madman sallied out, and was brought home next day beaten and deformed with bruises.
The disgrace attending the notoriety of this transaction drove him on to further mad intemperance; the stage was abandoned ; and in a fit of drunkenness and despair he enlisted as a private in a regiment destined for the West Indies.
DUNLAP'S MEMOIRS OF Ccoke.
A TRIP TO CARLISLEGRETNA_THE ENGLISH
“ Life," says Dr. Johnson, “ has few things better than being rapidly whirled about in a post-chaise.” This, for ought I know, may be very correct, and very descriptive of a peculiar and undefinable feeling; but I am quite sure, that had the Doctor lived to be “ rapidly whirled” on the top of a stage-coach, , contending for the palm of victory with a newly established rival on the road, his well known regard for his neck, and the valuable head which it supported withal, would have considerably cooled his enthusiasm in favour of “ rapid whirling,” which I take to be one of the queerest things imaginable, particularly where one has left at home a wife, and some half dozen budding liege subjects of our sovereign Lord the King. It was my fate to experience this delectable and thrilling sensation, and to entertain the comfortable anticipation, that the very next turn would to a certainty humble the pride of the lofty, and verify the memorable words of scripture, 66 he that exalteth himself shall be abased.” The gods willed it otherwise, and we reached Dumfries without the distinction of broken bones, or acquiring a title to constitute an action of damages against Messieurs Piper and Company.
I chose this in preference to the more direct road to Carlisle, that I might have it in my power to visit the classic farm of Ellisland, and muse for a moment beside the mausoleum of the inimitable and unfortunate Burns. To the sentimental voyager, who feels within himself a spark of the divine soul of poetry, and kindles with generous but indignant enthusiasm at the recollection of Him, whose genius will be the delight and the boast of his ungrateful native land to the remotest ages, Ellisland possesses attractions far more powerful and indestructable than what arise from the scenery alone, consisting of the beautiful and well wooded banks of the deepflowing Nith in the fore-ground, and an amphitheatre of distant hills in the back, giving amplitude and even sublimity to the scene, Nature is only powerful over the human heart by the witchery of association and remembrance. What, for example, would be the fine scenery of Marathon, without the glories of Miltiades? Or who would stop to gaze on Thermopylæ, bleak, barren, and sterile as it is, but for the well remembered self-devotion of Leonidas and his invincible Spartans ? This is the great master charm that elicits our emotions as we survey individual spots of earth, hallowed by the recollection of great actions, and associated with
those events in human history which make their way to all hearts, and exert a certain influence on the understandings of all. What can be finer, grander, more romantic, than the pass of Killikrankie, which, at every turn, as you thread the defile, exhibits new forms of beauty and sublimity ? Yet it is not saying too much to aver, that the arrantest view-hunter who ever sallied forth with knapsack on back, and well greased shoon on feet, never trode that wild and romantic solitude without heaving a reluctant sigh to the memory of the brave Viscount Dundee. What then would Ellisland be without Burns ? To me, I confess, the very ground seemed holy. I was now. treading the identical spots of earth which that immortal bard had trode so often before me, and I felt disposed to claim acquaintance with every stone and every tree on which his eye had rested in his solitary musings. I thought of his undying fame, and of his produce tions, already identified with the habits, feelings, joys, sorrows, national prejudices and distinctions of our dear native land ; and, above all, I thought of those noble lyric compositions, which have cheered the hearts of his countrymen in all regions, and in all climates, from Spitzbergen to the Equator, from the Ohio and Orinocco to the Indus and the Ganges-from 66 THE RIVER to the ends of the earth.” I hope I shall be forgiven this enthusiasm. I am not conversant with that half-metaphysical, half-sentimental, nonsensical jargon, which is now-adays yelept “ fine writing,” and which has been
brought into some repute by hair-brained Lakists and expelled Oxonians; but I cannot refuse my passing tribute to that mighty spirit, whose numbers, as they were my earliest delight, so will probably be among my latest recollections.
After a pleasant evening spent in Dumfries with a congenial spirit,* who is at once the ornament and delight of the circle in which he moves, and who is no less distinguished for the amiable qualities of his heart, than for richness and delicacy of fancy, conjoined with a sound, vigorous, and independent judgment, I set out for Carlisle on the following morning; and met with no adventure worth mentioning till we' reached Gretna Green, “ of buckling .celebrity.” Here, however, a little incident occurred which must always form a sort of era in my monotonous existence. We had passed this notorious scene of renegade matrimony about a mile and a half, when we were met by a chaise and four, the horses all in a foam, the postilions whipping and spurring like the very devil, and a gentleman of very interesting and manly appearance on the box cheering them on to still greater exertions, and more unmerciful flagellations. They had cleared. the winning-post (by which I mean the little river Sark, the boundary of the two kingdoms, and only
* Mr. J. M'Diarmid, author of the “ Life of Cooper,” &c. and editor of the Dumfries Courier, the best provincial newspaper published in Scotland.