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sented 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 money-lenders. He is certainly an open-handed old gentleman, bu 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 estates 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 goldlaced 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 bringing it down every moment with a hearty thump upon the ground; looking every one sturdily in the face, and trolling 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 estate; and, with a valiant swagger and grasping of his cudgel, longs exceed. ingly to have another bout at quai terstaff.
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 humours and obstinate prejudices, he is a sterling-hearted old blade. He may not be so wonderfully fine a fellow as he thinks himself, but he is at least twice as good as his neighbours represent him. His virtues are all his own; all plain, home-bred, and unaffected. His very faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities. His extravagance savours 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 redundancies 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 mag.
nitude and luxuriance. There is something, too, in the appearance of his old family mansion, that is extremely poetical and picturesque; and, as long as it can be rendered comfortably habitable, I should al-; most tremble to see it meddled with during the present conflict of tastes and opinions. Some of his ad visers 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, and 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 fruitless attempt to promote the good of his neighbours, and the peace and happiness of the world, by dint of the cudgel; 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 honourable, and a merry old age.
PRIDE OF THE VILLAGE.
May no wolf howle: no screech-owle stir
To starve or wither
In the course of an excursion through one of the remote counties of England, I had struck into one of those cross-roads that lead through the more secluded parts of the country, and stopped one afternoon at a village, the situation of which was beautifully rural and retired. There was anoair 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 neighbouring 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 completely
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 verdant covering. It was a lovely evening. The early part of the day had been dark and showery, but in the afternoon it had cleared up; and though sullen clouds still hung over head, 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 mel. ancholy smile. It seemed like the parting hour of a good Christian, smiling on the sins and sorrows of the world, and giving, 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 soberthoughted hour, on past scenes, and early friendson those who were distant, 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 neighbouring tower fell on my ear; its tones were in unison with the scene, and, 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 Jost, and re-appeared through 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, about the age of seventeen, walk