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Who, partially, may something see
grew : But as those whose stars would trace From a subterranean place,
Through some engine lift their eyes
Au old Country House and an old Lady.
FROM MACKENZIE'S “
LOUNGER," NO. 87.
The old lady described in the following charming paper of Mackenzie (which was a favorite with Sir Walter Scott), is not of so largeminded an order as Lady Winchilsea, but she has as good a heart; is very touching and pleasant; and her abode suits her admirably. It is the remnant of something that would have been greater in a greater age. We fancy her countenance to have been one that would have reminded us of the charming old face in Drayton:
“Evin in the aged'st face where beauty once did dwell,
And Nature in the least but seemed to excel,
The reader, perhaps, hardly requires to be told that Mackenzie, whose writings have been gathered into the British classics, was a Scottish gentleman, bred to the bar, who in his youth wrote the once popular novel called the Man of Feeling, and died not long ago at a reverend age, universally regretted. He was the editor and principal writer of the two periodical works called the Mirror and Lounger, to which several of the reigning Scottish wits contributed. He was not a very original or powerful writer, but he was a very shrewd, elegant, and pleasing one, a happy offset from Addison; and he sometimes showed great pathos. His stories of La Roche and Louisa Venoni are among the most affecting in the world, and free from the somewhat morbid softness of his novel. We are the happier in being able to do this tardy, though very unnecessary justice to the merits of a good man and a graceful essayist, because in the petulance and presumption of youth we had mistaken our incompetence to judge them for the measure of their pretensions.
mind's eye ;
HAVE long cultivated a talent very fortunate for a man
of my disposition, that of travelling in my easy chair ; of transporting myself, without stirring from my parlor, to distant places and to absent friends; of drawing scenes in my
and of peopling them with the groups of fancy, or the society of remembrance. When I have sometimes lately felt the dreariness of the town, deserted by my acquaintance; when I have returned from the coffee-house, where the boxes were unoccupied, and strolled out from my accustomed walk, which even the lame beggar had left, I was fain to shut myself up in my room, order a dish of my best tea (for there is a sort of melancholy which disposes one to make much of one's self), and calling up the powers of memory and imagination, leave the solitary town for a solitude more interesting, which my younger days enjoyed in the country, which I think, and if I am wrong I do not wish to be undeceived, was the most Elysian spot in the world.
'Twas at an old lady's, a relation and godmother of mine, where a particular incident occasioned my being left during the vacation of two successive seasons. Her house was formed out of the remains of an old Gothic castle, of which one tower was still almost entire; it was tenanted by kindly daws and swallows. Beneath, in a modernized part of the house, resided the mistress of the mansion. The house was skirted by a few majestic elms and beeches, and the stumps of several others showed that once they had been
To the west a clump of firs covered a rugged rocky dell, where the rooks claimed a prescriptive seignory. Through this a dashing rivulet forced its way, which afterwards grew quiet in its progress; and gurgling gently through a piece of downy meadow-ground, crossed the bottom of the garden, where a little rustic paling enclosed a washing. green, and a wicker seat, fronting the south, was placed for the accommodation of the old lady, whose lesser tour, when her fields did not require a visit, used to terminate in this spot. Here, too, were ranged the hives for her bees, whose hum, in a still warm sunshine, soothed the good old lady's indolence, while their proverbial industry was sometimes quoted for the instruction of her washers. The brook ran brawling through some underwood on the outside of the garden, and soon after formed a little cascade, which fell into the river that winded through a valley in front of the house. When hay-making or harvest was going on, my godmother took her long stick in her hand, and overlooked the labors of the mowers or reapers ; though I believe there was little thrift in the superintendency, as the visit generally cost her a draught of beer or a dram, to encourage their diligence.
Within doors she had so able an assistant, that her labor was little. In that department an old man-servant was her minister, the father of my Peter, who serves me not the less faithfully that we have gathered nuts together in my godmother's hazel-bank. This old butler (I call him by his title of honor, though in truth he had many subordinate offices) had originally enlisted with her husband, who went into the army a youth (though he afterwards married and became a country gentleman), had been his servant abroad, and attended him during his last illness at home. His best hat, which he wore on Sundays, with a scarlet waistcoat of his master's, had still a cockade in it.