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Asp. Fy, you have miss'd it here, Antiphila, These colours are not dull and pale enough, To shew a soul so full of misery As this sad lady's was; do it by me; Do it again by me, the lost Aspatia, And you shall find all true.-Put me on th' wild island. I stand upon the sea-beach now, and think Mine arms thus, and mine hair blown by the wind, Wild as that desert, and let all about me Be teachers of my story : do my face (If thou hadst ever feeling of a sorrow), Thus, thus, Antiphila; strive to make me look Like Sorrow's monument; and the trees about me Let them be dry and leafless ; let the rocks Groan with continual surges, and behind me Make all a desolation ; see, see, wenches, A miserable life of this poor picture.”
“ But,” resumed Egeria, “ if we go on at this rate, the night will not suffice for our comparison ; I shall therefore give you a few hints of which hereafter you may chew the cud. Compare the frenzy and the whole gentle character of the Jailer's Daughter in the Two Noble Kinsmen to Ophelia in Hamlet,-say which is the best. Look also at the deaths of Pontius and Aëcius in Valentinian: I uphold them against the deaths of Cassius, Brutus, and their friends, in Julius Cæsar. Is the character and passions of Cleopatra in the False One inferior to Shakspeare's serpent of old Nile ? Not a jot. Is the pious and grief-mingled rage of Edith, in the Bloody Brother, less skilfully conceived, or less powerfully executed, than the passion of Macduff on hearing of the massacre of his wife and children? Is there any personage in all Shakspeare to compare with
Juliana in the Double Marriage, and her death? Does the scene of old Lear, with Cordelia in his arms, surpass it ?"
“ I will argue no more with you to-night,” said the Bachelor coldly, rising and gathering the books, which he replaced on the shelves.
OLD ENGLISH MANNERS. “ WHAT have you got in your Album since I last looked at it ?" said the Bachelor one morning, seeing the Nymph busily engaged in copying from several scraps of paper on the table before her.
“ Not much,” replied Egeria ; “ I have of late been reading but new books, and there is a great dearth of curious or of interesting passages in them all. Modern authors scribble so fast, that they have no time to compress their thoughts into proper quotable passages. But here are several notes illustrative of old English manners that are worthy of being reduced into some consistent form. This one is a description of an old English hall, which still remains as it existed in the days of Queen Elizabeth. It is the more curious on account of the story tacked to it, which might be easily worked up into an interesting three-volume novel of the Scottish or Scott's school : it is from the notes to Sir Walter's Rokeby.”
. LITTLECOTE-HOUSE. “ LITTLECOTE-HOUSE stands in a low and lonely sie tuation. On three sides it is surrounded by a park that spreads over the adjoining hill ; on the fourth, by meadows which are watered by the river Kennet. Close on one side of the house is a thick grove of lofty trees, along the verge of which runs one of the principal avenues to it through the park. It is an irregular building of great antiquity, and was probably erected about the time of the termination of feudal warfare, when defence came no longer to be an object in a country-mansion. Many circumstances in the interior of the house, however, seem appropriate to feudal times. The hall is very spacious, floored with stones, and lighted by large transom windows, that are clothed with casements. Its walls are hung with old military accoutrements, that have long been left a prey to rust. At one end of the hall is a range of coats-of-mail and helmets, and there is on every side abundance of old-fashioned pis. tols and guns, many of them with matchlocks. Immediately below the cornice hangs a row of leathern jerkins, made in the form of a shirt, supposed to have been worn as armour by the vassals. A large oak-table, reaching nearly from one end of the room to the other, might have feasted the whole neighbourhood, and an appendage to one end of it made it answer at other times for the old game of shuffle-board. The rest of the fur. niture is in a suitable style, particularly an arm-chair of cumbrous workmanship, constructed of wood, curiously turned, with a high back and triangular seat, said to have been used by Judge Popham in the reign of Elizabeth. The entrance into the hall is at one end by a low door, communicating with a passage that leads from the outer door, in the front of the house, to a quadrangle within ; at the other it opens upon a gloomy staircase, by which you ascend to the first floor, and, passing the doors of some bed-chambers, enter a narrow gallery, which extends along the back front of the house from one end to the other of it, and looks upon an old garden. This gallery is hung with portraits, chiefly in the Spanish dresses of the sixteenth century. In one of the bedchambers, which you pass in going towards the gallery, is a bedstead with blue furniture, which time has now made dingy and threadbare, and in the bottom of one of the bed-curtains you are shewn a place where a small piece has been cut out and sown in again,-a circumstance which serves to identify the scene of the following story:
“ It was a dark rainy night in the month of Novem. ber, that an old midwife sate musing by her cottage fire-side, when on a sudden she was startled by a loud knocking at the door. On opening it she found a horseman, who told her that her assistance was required im. mediately by a person of rank, and that she should be handsomely rewarded, but that there were reasons for keeping the affair a strict secret, and, therefore, she must submit to be blindfolded, and to be conducted in that condition to the bed-chamber of the lady. After proceeding in silence for many miles through rough and dirty lanes, they stopped, and the midwife was led into a house, which, from the length of her walk through the apartment, as well as the sounds about her, she discovered to be the seat of wealth and power. When the bandage was removed from her eyes, she found herself in a bed-chamber, in which were the lady on whose account she had been sent for, and a man of haughty and ferocious aspect. The lady was delivered of a fine boy. Immediately the man commanded the midwife to give him the child, and, catching it from her, he hurried across the room, and threw it on the back of the fire, that was blazing in the chimney. The child, however, was strong, and by its struggles rolled itself off upon the hearth, when the ruffian again seized it with fury, and, in spite of the intercession of the midwife, and the more piteous entreaties of the mother, thrust it under the
grate, and raking the live coals upon it, soon put an end to its life. The midwife, after spending some time in affording all the relief in her power to the wretched mother, was told that she must be gone. Her former conductor appeared, who again bound her eyes, and conveyed her behind him to her own home; he then paid her handsomely, and departed. The midwife was strongly agitated by the horrors of the preceding night, and she immediately made a deposition of the fact before a magistrate. Two circumstances afforded hopes of detecting the house in which the crime had been committed: one was, that the midwife, as she sate by the bed-side, had, with a view to discover the place, cut out a piece of the bed-curtain, and sown it in again ; the other was, that as she had descended the staircase, she had counted the steps. Some suspicions fell upon one Darrell, at that time the proprietor of Littlecote-house, and the domain around it. The house was examined, and identified by the midwife, and Darrell was tried at Salisbury for the murder. By corrupting his judge he escaped the sentence of the law; but broke his neck by a fall from his horse in hunting in a few months after. The place where this happened is still known by the name of Darrell's Hill,-a spot to be dreaded by the peasant whom the shades of evening have overtaken on his way.'”
“ Harrison,” resumed Egeria, “ who wrote about 1580, gives several curious particulars relative to the manners and habits of the country gentlemen of Queen Elizabeth's time, when it would appear that the old complaint was not new of the proneness among the English to ape French fashions.
Neither was it merrier,' says he, ' with England, than when an Englishman was knowne abroad by his owne cloth, and contented himselfe at home