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be-capped night-travellers, who blocked up the causeway with trunks, carpet-bags, and hat-boxes. Their pallid visages and heavy eyes, indeed, conveyed to the spectator no indifferent idea of so many unfortunate ghosts just landed on the far side of the Styx. "So you are for London, young 'un, are you?" asked the coachman, when again on his seat.
"Yes, sir," replied Colin, “and I suppose we are not far from it now ?"
"Jim!" shouted the coachman, as he leaned half round to catch a glimpse of the guard, "this chap wants to know how far he is from London, if you can tell him!" And this humorous remark he rounded off with a weasing chuckle, that appeared to have its origin in a region far below the thick superstratum of coat and shawl with which the coachman himself was covered. He then deliberately eyed Colin from head to foot several times, with a look of great self-satisfaction, and again inquired,
"Wot did your mother send you from home for ?"
"Nobody sent me," said Colin; "I came of my own accord." "Wot, you're going i' sarvis, then? or, have you come up to get made Lord Mayor?"
Our hero had felt sufficiently his own loneliness before; but this last observation made him feel it doubly. He coloured deeply. Come, I didn't mean that," said the driver,-"it was only a joke to raise your spirits. I don't want to spile your feelin's, young man."
"I assure you, sir," replied Colin, with emotion, "I have no place to go to, and I do not know a single soul in London. When I get off this coach, I shall not know where to turn, nor what to do!"
"Then wot did you come for?" inquired the coachman. "To get a place," said our hero.
don't know where to put up?"
"Humph! Well, m'happen I can tell you. How much money have you got?"
Colin satisfied the inquirer on this particular; and in return received the coachman's promise to direct him to a respectable house, at which he might put up until he had done one of two things, either obtained a situation, or "got himself cleaned out."
SONG OF THE OAK.*
In the morning of life and light,—
And awoke in their beauty bright,-
That young Nature nurs❜d,-
In her forests so wild!
And often she said,
As I rear'd my green head,
"I have sometimes considered it very seriously, what should move Pliny to make a whole chapter of one only line: Glandiferi maximè generis omnes, quibus honos apud Romanos perpetuus.(Lib. vi. cap. 3.) It is for the esteem which these wise and glorious people had of this tree, above all others, that I will first begin with the oak," saith Evelyn.
The celebrated ship, built at Iolchos in Thessaly, for Jason, was formed of the oak of the Dodonæan forest.
+ The oak was sacred to Jupiter.
For this see the classics, passim.
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm!
The strength they borrow with the grace they lend!
¶Dryads and Hamadryads:-these latter so called from aua, together, and 8pvs, oak; because it was believed that they were co-eval and co.mortal with the trees intrusted to their care.
** Montium custos nemorumque Virgo.-Hor. lib. iii.
+ Arcas, preserving an old oak by watering its roots, had the nymph who resided in it bestowed on him in marriage.
Portrays, with other features of importance, the early characteristics of our hero. To those who had not the honour of being extremely intimate with Alderman Thorn, it will be necessary to explain that he was a man of considerable wealth, derived chiefly from a series of successful speculations in hops; that he married very early, with the immediate view of procuring the means of entering into those speculations; that at the expiration of fifteen years from the date of his marriage certificate he was generously and formally presented with an heir, whom he caused to be baptized in the name of Stanley, in honour of an aristocratic friend of that name; that he lived in purely aldermanic style until he arrived at the age of fiftyfour, when he utterly repudiated not only all intoxicating liquors, but all animal food save that which existed invisibly in vegetables and water; that such total change of diet at his age brought on almost perpetual shivering, which, however, failed to induce him to forego his high resolve, but which gradually killed him; that while some held a minute post mortem examination to be essential to the promotion of the science of pathology, others held it to be essential by no means, it being clear that his living had caused his death, or, in other words, that his alimentary canal had been completely frozen over; and finally, that he was buried with appropriate pomp, without the ice being thus sacrilegiously broken.
Having performed the pleasing duty of placing these afflicting details upon record to the perfect satisfaction, it is to be hoped, even of those by whom this worthy individual was held in high esteem, it now becomes strictly proper to state, that at the period of the lamentable dissolution of the alderman, Stanley had just completed his fifteenth year, and that he had been for five years the absolute master of the house. Every member of the establishment feared him. No servant could remain in it three consecutive months, when he happened to be at home, with the exception of a boy, a somnambulist, whom Stanley called Bob, and who had become so attached to him, that he never appeared to be truly happy in his absence. This boy was an immense favourite with Stanley, and a fine time Bob had of it in consequence. vants avenged Stanley's insults upon him, but not in Stanley's presence; for albeit he assumed to himself the inalienable right of horsewhipping him daily if he pleased, if he saw any other creature touch him, or menace him even with a word, he would spring at the assailant like a tiger; and if he found it impossible to conquer alone, he would make Bob help him; and if both were unable to manage it then, they would retreat to devise a series of secret assaults, which never by any chance failed to reduce the enemy to submission. He gloried in conquering those whose physical strength was superior to his own; and, in order to qualify himself for this glory, his chief delight, when he had no immediate conquest to achieve, was to reduce Bob ostensibly to a mummy, by making him stand before him with the gloves,-of course
giving Bob perfectly fair play, although he dared to retreat no more than he would have dared to sell his soul,-until Stanley himself became exhausted, which seldom, indeed, happened until Bob was nearly blind.
Bob used at first to remonstrate against being thus victimized; for really it was not very often that he could see with any pleasurable degree of distinctness, and never by any chance, when Stanley was at home, was he free from a cut lip, a swollen nose, or a black eye; but when he found all remonstrances utterly vain, he very valiantly made up his mind to do his best, and eventually became rather partial to the exercise; for it did occur occasionally, that he broke fairly through his opponent's guard, and if he succeeded in giving him but a scratch, he was content, although in such a case Stanley never dreamt of leaving off until Bob became densely deaf to time.
This was, however, by no means the extent of the penalty inflicted on poor Bob: on every such occasion he was discharged. His mistress could endure to see him knocked about,-she could endure to see him pommelled, yea even to a jelly, with the most ex emplary fortitude; but there are at all times bounds to human endurance, and hers could not go one step beyond that. She could not bear to see the sweet features of her own dear Stanley disfigured by even a scratch; and hence, whenever a scratch appeared upon his countenance, Bob, with promptitude, had his discharge.
On no such occasion, however, did he go beyond the coachhouse. He was always reinstated within the hour. Stanley invariably insisted upon his being recalled, and, having gained his point, invariably found him in the carriage asleep.
Now it is a most extraordinary fact-a fact which, however, is not more extraordinary than solemn-that Mrs. Thorn could refuse Stanley nothing, because Stanley would never tolerate a refusal from her lips. He had what he desired, because he would have it; that reason was in all cases held to be sufficient. It is true she would endeavour to persuade him to forego any demand, the direct tendency of which she conceived to be pernicious: but eventually such demand, however unreasonable might be its character, was conceded, because the concession was a thing upon which he had set his mind. The worthy alderman, during the last five years of his existence, would have nothing to do with him whatever. He had very horrid suspicions! Strong efforts had been made to convince him that the beautiful boy was in reality his very image, -that he had the dear alderman's chin, the dear alderman's mouth, the dear alderman's eyes, nose, and spirit; but the alderman himself either could not or would not perceive those strong points of resemblance which were insisted upon with so much eloquence and warmth; and hence, although he never went quite so far as to wound the susceptible feelings of his lady by giving direct expression to his views on the point, he unhappily had strong suspicions!
The alderman had tried, however, with desperate zeal to obtain the mastery over Stanley; but this he had never been able to accomplish, not even for a day: the failure of every effort indeed had been signal and complete. If in a moment of anger he happened to strike him, Stanley would not only strike him again, but
keep up a fierce fire of books, glasses, plates, ornaments, stones, -in short, anything which happened to be at hand. If the alder man locked him up, he would break every table, every chair, and every window in the room; and if after a desperate struggle,and it could only be after a desperate struggle,-he succeeded in tying him down, he would remain, on being released, very quietly till tea-time, when (no matter how many friends might be present, in his view the more the merrier, because of the increased quantity of ammunition) he would deliberately take his position at the table, and pelt the worthy alderman with the cups, while explaining very gravely to those around-who, of course, were quite shocked that the whole thing was done in self-defence, and these highly irregular proceedings he would repeat just as often as he happened to be punished. If sent away, he would immediately return; for, as he justly held that to be a species of punishment, he very naturally felt it to be a duty incumbent upon him to have his revenge: and when he did return, of course the worthy alderman knew it, for he found himself subjected at every point to annoyances of the most galling character. Sometimes he and Bob would get all the worthy alderman's boots, wigs, hats, and umbrellas, to make a bonfire in the stable; at other times he would make Bob throw water into the bed of the worthy alderman, or establish a vast number of nettles between the sheets with surpassing ingenuity. In fact, he regarded the worthy alderman as being neither more nor less than his natural enemy.
"What on earth am I to do with him ?" said that worthy person to his friend, Mr. Sharpe, just before he gave Stanley up wholly. "Do with him!" exclaimed his friend," do with him! Give him a sound, undeniable flogging, and repeat the dose daily." "But flogging makes him worse. He considers it an insult-he will have his revenge."
"Revenge!" cried Mr. Sharpe, very contemptuously, "revenge! A lad like that talk of revenge! If I had him, I'd cut him to the very back-bone!" And Mr. Sharpe looked particularly fierce, and shook his head with an air of inflexible determination, as he added, "Do you think I'd be mastered by a young wretch like that ?"
"My dear friend," rejoined the alderman, " depend upon this, that he is not to be tamed in that way. I have tried it, my friend, I have tried it till I'm sick."
"Well, why don't you send him to school? Why don't you place him under some severe master, who will undertake to bring him to his senses?"
"I have done so. Twenty severe masters have undertaken the task, and what has been the consequence? Why, the moment they have commenced their severity, he has pelted them with inkstands, and started."
"Of course you have not taken him back on those occasions." "In several instances I have; but, God bless your soul, it was of no use! Some refused to receive him again; while those who consented to give him another trial were never able to keep him above a day."
"I only wish that I had the management of him, that's all." "I wish you had with all my soul!" exclaimed the alderman,