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There had Goldsmith met a rarer visitor, the bland and again ; " and we bless the memory of an author and gracious Reynolds, soon after his first introduction who contrives so well to reconcile us to human nature." to him, a few months back, in Johnson's chambers ; Simple to very baldness are the materials employed. and there would even Warburton drive in his equipage But he threw into the midst of them his own nature ; “ besprinkled with mitres," on some proud business of his actual experience; the suffering, discipline, and his own, after calling on Garrick in Southampton Street.' sweet emotion of his chequered life; and so made them His next step was the settlement in comfortable lodg- a lesson and a delight to all men.' Creating no stir at ings, where his board of L.50 a-year was guaranteed by first, admiration gathered slowly but steadily around it; Newberry. Here he was visited by Hogarth, and be- edition after edition appeared, and it was translated into came a member of the famous literary club established several continental languages. Herder read it aloud to by Reynolds, admission into which was speedily con- Goëthe; and Goëthe, 'some seventeen years ago, standsidered a distinction by the greatest in the land. ing, at the age of eighty-one, on the very brink of the
But he was still in deep pecuniary straits, and all grave, told a friend that, in the decisive moment of the deeper, perhaps, for the new company he kept. mental development, the Vicar of Wakefield had formed 'I received one morning,' Boswell represents Johnson his education, and that he had lately, with unabated to have said, “a message from poor Goldsmith that he delight, “read the charming book again from beginning was in great distress, and as it was not in his power to to end.”' come to me, begging that I would come to him as soon His next original effort was the 'Good-Natured Man,' as possible. I sent him a guinea, and promised to come which, on the first night of its appearance, was barely to him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was saved from condemnation, poor Goldsmith looking on dressed, and found that his landlady had arrested him with inexpressible dismay. He supped, however, in for his rent, at which he was in a violent passion. I company, sang his favourite song, and was very noisy; perceived that he had already changed my guinea, and but all the while,' said he afterwards, 'I was suffering had got a bottle of Madeira and a glass before him. I horrid tortures; and verily believe, that if I had put put the cork into the bottle, desired he would be calm, a bit into my mouth, it would have strangled me on and began to talk to him of the means by which he the spot, I was so excessively ill; but I made more noise might be extricated. He then told me that he had a than usual to cover all that, and so they never perceived novel ready for the press, which he produced to me. my not eating, nor, I believe, at all imagined to them. I looked into it, and saw its merit; told the landlady I selves the anguish of my heart. But when all were should soon return; and having gone to a bookseller, gone, except Johnson here, I burst out a-crying, and sold it for sixty pounds. I brought Goldsmith the even swore by that I would never write again.' money, and he discharged his rent, not without rating By this comedy he made L.500, which, with his usual his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill.' thoughtlessness, he laid out upon the purchase and fur:
Soon after this adventure, was published the “Tra- niture of chambers, and so involved himself in difficul. ! veller,' and the name of Oliver Goldsmith appeared for ties which he never surmounted. In these lodgings he the first time on a title-page. A higher distinction seems to have lived with the most reckless extrava. still was the declaration of Johnson, that so fine a poem gance; and he had other draughts upon his purse behad not appeared since the days of Pope; and when sides of another kind. “He had two or three poor the great lexicographer read it aloud in company, 'from authors always on his list, besides “ several widows and ' the beginning to the end of it,' a sister of Reynolds said poor housekeepers ;” and when he had no money to that she should never more think Goldsmith ugly. For give the latter, he seldom failed to send them away this poem, which Charles Fox called one of the finest in with shirts or old clothes, sometimes with the whole the English language, it does not seem probable that he contents of his breakfast-table, saying with a smile of received more than twenty guineas. He was prevented satisfaction after they were gone, “Now let me only by his own want of common sense from deriving a suppose I have ate a much heartier breakfast than greater advantage than this; for on being told by the usual, and I'm nothing out of pocket.” His last guinea, Earl of Northumberland that he was going to Ireland exclaims Cooke, after relating some stories of this kind, as lord-lieutenant, and would be glad to do the author was the boundary of his munificence.' of the Traveller a service, 'poor Goldy' could only It is strange that the life of a poet and romancer should reply that he had a brother there, a clergyman, who be graced by no love passage! The only thing in the stood in need of help. Thus,' adds Hawkins, the teller volume even tending that way is the following account of the anecdote, did this idiot in the affairs of the of two young ladies, the daughters of Captain Horneck world trifle with his fortune, and put back the hand. The eldest, Catherine, Little Comedy, as she was called, that was held out to assist him ;' and Forster informs was already engaged to Henry William Bunbury, second us that only a few days before the said idiot had bor- son of a baronet of old family in Suffolk, whose elder rowed fifteen shillings and sixpence from a friend. son Charles had lately succeeded to the title, who is
Goldsmith's next attempt was to unite medicine with still remembered as Geoffrey Gambado, and as one of literature-to practise as a doctor; and out he came the cleverest amateur artists and social caricaturists of accordingly in purple silk small-clothes, a handsome his day. The youngest, Mary, had no declared lover scarlet roquelaure buttoned to his chin, and with all till a year after Goldsmith's death, nor was married till the additional importance derivable from a full dress, three years after that engagement to Colonel Gwyn; professional wig, a sword, and a gold-headed cane.' but already she had the loving nickname of the Jessary The clothes cost four and a half guineas, and the doctor Bride, and exerted strange fascination over Goldsmith. was so mightily pleased with them, that in the course Heaven knows what impossible dreams may at times of six months he got three more suits of a similar kind have visited the awkward unattractive man of letters! out of the unfortunate tailor. Nor is this indulgence But whether at any time aspiring to other regard than to be wondered at, since the fact of wearing such a his genius and simplicity might claim, at least for these garb deprived him of all his customary enjoyments. the sisters heartily liked him; and perhaps the happiest No more tea at the White Conduit-no more ale at hours of the later years of his life were passed in their the club at Islington-no more nights at the Wrekin society. Burke, who was their guardian, tenderly reor St Giles's! Goldsmith was now a professional man, membered in his premature old age the delight they and must behave himself genteelly.
had given him from their childhood; their social as The Vicar of Wakefield' now appeared, the identical well as personal charms are uniformly spoken of by all
: novel which, through the agency of Johnson, had some and when Hazlitt met the younger sister in Northcotes time before released its author from the hands of the painting-room some twenty years ago (she survived bailiffs. Every one,' says Forster, 'is familiar with Little Comedy upwards of forty years, and died little the Vicar of Wakefield. We read it in youth and in more than seven years since !), she was still talking of age. We return to it, as Walter Scott has said, again her favourite Dr Goldsmith, with recollection and attec
tion unabated by time. Still, too, she was beautiful ; conception, of the depth of despondency into which a beautiful even in years. The graces had triumphed proud and manly nature may be plunged by the casualover age. “I could almost fancy the shade of Gold. ties of life. smith in the room," says Hazlitt,“ looking round with But his miseries, of comparatively little moment to complacency.”'
himself, were a great gain to the world. In no other Goldsmith was now working at his various compi- author do we read better practical lessons in the philolations; and in a letter to his brother, he notifies his sophy of poverty ; in no other moralist do we find the appointment as professor of ancient history in a royal acerbities of life sweetened by so gentle and kindly a academy of painting,' which, in his situation, he remarks spirit. But this is a part of the scheme of Providence. is something like ruffles to one who wants a shirt. Yet, Without pain, there could be no pleasure ; without ad. with his usual generosity, he gives up to his needy versity, no fortitude; without weariness, no hope. Even relatives a legacy of L.15.° The Deserted Village' was the most inspiring strains of the muse are suggested by now published, and its success was instant and decisive. oppression; for wretched men Many light miscellaneous works came after, with which
Are cradled into poetry by wrong, the author replenished his purse for the theatres, Rane
And learn in suffering what they teach in song.' lagh, and Vauxhall, where he strutted about gaily dressed, and with a bag wig and sword. 'She Stoops to Conquer' followed, and met with prodigious success;
OCTOBER IN ITALY. and then “Retaliation'-the last flash of his genius. THE great heat which prevails in Italy during the sum
His debts were increasing, no longer by shillings and mer months, offers little inducement to the traveller to pounds, but by hundreds, till they amounted at last, it leave the shelter of the city, or the refreshing breezes is said, to L.2000; and as their burden waxed, Goldsmith of the sea-coast. In the rural districts, during that sunk. He had neither the fortitude to reduce his ex- | period, the mid-day sun is intolerable. The peasant penses, nor the nerve to complain to his friends; and quits his occupation in the field; the cattle are brought he bitterly felt a reproach,' his biographer tells us, up from the meadow; and the birds of the air are which Johnson gave him at their last interview, in silent, and seek the shade. Hardly a breath of air is sending away, as a reproof, a whole second course un abroad to stir the silvery leaves of the olive ; and not a touched. He was attacked by a local disorder to which sound strikes the ear save the chirrup of the grasshe was subject. It was neglect,' says Davies, which hopper, or the croak of some uncomfortable frog in the now brought it on. It was continual vexation of adjacent pond. The quick-eyed lizard' is basking in | mind, arising from his involved circumstances; and the sun, and the butterfly is abroad, and the painted 1, death, I really believe, was welcome to a man of his dragon-fly; but all else is stillness and sultry repose
great sensibility. His worst symptom was want of nature is taking her nap. Towards the evening, howsleep, and it was feared that this of itself might prove ever, things appear to wake up again. All the world is fatal. 'Is your mind at ease?' said Dr Turton, sud- alive, and out of doors. The water-carriers assemble denly bethinking himself of the pregnant question. 'No, at the well; the peasant girls are strolling through the it is not,' was the reply—the last words of Goldsmith. valley, or over the neighbouring hills ; the bat comes He died on the 4th of April 1774, having then lived forth to enjoy its noiseless flight in the rosy twilight; five months beyond his forty-fifth year.
and as night-balmy night — approaches, myriads of We have now touched lightly upon the leading points fire-flies people the olive grove, or sport about with in the character and career of one of the most delightful their tiny lamps amongst the tall ripe corn. of English authors, and have left ourselves no room to Towards the latter part of the month of June we follow his biographer in what may be called, after the made an excursion into the interior of Tuscany, to visit title of a work of Goldsmith himself, his survey of the a small village or hamlet about twenty-five miles from state of literature in England, or in the vivid sketches Leghorn, called the Baths of Casciana. These baths he has introduced from time to time of distinguished are situate in a sort of basin in the midst of several contemporaries. But we cannot conclude without ad- small hills, whose features in many places bear indicaverting once more (for we have already hinted at the tions of considerable volcanic action. The waters are subject in the beginning of this article) at the one natural hot springs, strongly impregnated with iron; defect of the volume-its practically confounding the and during the summer months they are resorted to by character of the author and the man, and using, how- invalids from various parts, on account of their restoever unintentionally, the colours of poetry in rendering rative properties. Our visit was not so much for any weakness amiable and error attractive. It is obviously benefit we anticipated from the waters, as for the pleaa mistake to attribute the misfortunes of Goldsmith to sure we promised ourselves in the society of some good the peculiar condition of the literary profession in his friends, who had taken up their quarters there for a time. A career of the most brilliant success would short time. During our stay, we visited several parts have made him neither happier nor wiser. Through the of the surrounding country ; and in one of our evening inherent recklessness of his nature (as strongly marked excursions, we extended our ride as far as a small vilin the boy ballad-rhymer as in the poet, novelist, and lage or walled town crowning the summit of a hill, and essayist), he would have wanted in the midst of all commanding on all sides a most extensive view of the wanted luxuries that had become as necessary as bread; country. The air was pure and salubrious, and the and dying, instead of a debt of L.2000, he would have situation delightful. The vine was flourishing on all left behind him a debt of L.20,000. His impulses, in- sides, giving promise of an abundant vintage ; and the deed, were all amiable, but they were governed by no locality altogether was so charming, that we resolved, sense of right; and he would thus without scruple if all were well, to pass the month of October there. commit injustice in order to obtain the means of being In Italy, October is the most beautiful month in the generous.
year. The days are brilliant and warm, without being To pity Goldsmith for his poverty is throwing sym- oppressive, and the evenings are cool and exhilarating. pathy away.
He was happier in his humble pleasures It is the favourite month with the Italians, who fre(for he was never too poor for pleasure) than when quently spend this delightful season at their country strutting in a laced coat with Sir Joshua through a villas, or at some rural retreat in the midst of the masquerade. It may be doubted whether his most vendemmia,' or vintage. abject distresses produced a greater amount of pain With this object in view, we ourselves revisited the than falls to the lot of higher-minded men in passing spot above referred to; and having an introductory line through the world. The reason why he took the to one of the priests of the place, on one bright afterbuffets of fortune with a good grace was, that he felt noon at the close of September, we alighted from our them lightly; and even in his saddest and loneliest . calesso' (or country gig), and proceeded to introduce moments, he perhaps never had any experience, or even I ourselves at his villa. On entering, we encountered two formidable dogs, which seriously threatened to dis- of their ground. Pergolas,' or vine-covered walks, are pute our passage ; but a word from their courteous very general ; and where they cannot train the vine, master soon recalled them to a sense of propriety, they plant the olive and fig-tree ; whilst the low and and after a little growling, and a precautionary sniff damp grounds are occupied by osiers and canes, which or two at our persons, they permitted us quietly to are both very useful in their domestic economy. The proceed. Conducting us over the villa, our host ex- Tuscan farmer divides the produce of his land with the patiated much upon its advantages, and the beauty of proprietor, who usually provides him with seeds and its situation. The interior arrangements partook of implements of husbandry. The latter are of very rude the usual uniform character of Italian houses, where and primitive fashion ; and although many attempts everything is contrived so as to resist the heat, but have been made to introduce modern English agriculwhere the frequent prevalence of a keen searching tural implements, there is considerable prejudice against wind appears to have been entirely lost sight of. Pass- them on the part of the country people, who look upon ing through the antechamber at the entrance, we them as innovations, and seem to think that the wooden arrived at a large salle à manger, having long win- ploughs and clumsy harrows and carts of their foredows opening into a balcony. This apartment occu- fathers are all that can be desired. The peasantry in pied the centre of the building; and on either side were our neighbourhood were a fine, healthy, and good-look. doors leading to the sleeping-chambers, a library, and a ing race, particularly some of the women, who came refectory. The walls and ceilings were gaily decorated from the country round about on a market-day, or on a in fresco, and the floors were of polished red tiles. ' festa,' when of course we saw them to the best advan. Throwing open the windows, the priest led us on to tage, dressed in their bright colours and gay ribbons & spacious balcony, overlooking an extensive valley, and ornaments ; and with those large Tuscan hats highly cultivated, and rich in all the variegated tints of shading faces rosy as a Ribston pippin, they looked the autumn. Here be pointed out to us the several objects very picture of health and contentment. There is a within the range of our vision. There lay the fertile natural politeness and dignity of manner about them plain of Pisa, with its white city clearly defined in the which is very prepossessing, and they never pass you afternoon's sun; to the left lay the sea ; to the right on the road without a • Viva, signore !' or some similar we had the beautiful valley of the Arno, famous for the mark of respect or acknowledgment. And after a long Tuscan straw; the lake Bientina, Pontedéra, Volterra, ramble over the country, we have often been glad to and all the numerous white villages thickly scattered partake of the simple hospitality of the roadside cottage, over the face of the country. In the distance were the receiving many a civility that sought no recompense. magnificent Apennines, with their snowy peaks, extend- Their habitations are generally pretty clean and ing from the kingdom of Genoa, and round beyond neat; the chief apartment being a good kitchen, with the Florence, to the confines of the grand duchy.
fireplace on a raised hearth, nearly three feet from the On the following morning we walked out to see the ground, and a large funnel-shaped chimney to carry off neighbourhood, and the little town which was within a the smoke. We looked in at one poor man's cot, where few minutes walk of the villa. Entering by one of its the variety of occupancy reminded us much of an antique gates, we passed through the market-place; Irish dwelling. Three kids were frisking about among and by a considerable ascent of steps we reached the a lot of chubby-faced children; a couple of dogs were chancellor's court, which at one time appears to have dozing in one corner ; the cat lay stretched at fall been a citadel, but is now used as a prison. The length in the sunshine; and a party of buxom hens courtyard was very ancient, and decorated with nume- were strutting about, quite at home with them all. rous armorial bearings and crests of antique shape and The walls were adorned with strings of onions, gourds, fashion, recalling to our minds those dark, but in many and red pepper pods, together with extensive colonies respects brilliant, middle ages, when the disputes of of spiders. Milk was scarce, and what there was, was rival factions compelled the people to seek 'security chiefly goats', so that the children knew little about it. within walled towns. Such interesting relics of ancient The little folks used to get a piece of coarse barley feud are numerous in Tuscany.
bread for their supper, which was followed by a tumbler Leaving the town, we accompanied the priest over a of red wine amongst them, and then they were packed considerable portion of his property, which extended in off to bed soon after the fowls. one direction for several miles. The country about was The feast of St Michael, or Michaelmas-day, is conundulating, or a series of deep valleys, intersected by sidered the first day of vintage in this part of the ridges of high ground, the latter being pretty well country; but of course the gathering depends much covered with the olive, whilst along the warm slopes upon the state of the season and the condition of the and valleys the vine was planted on terraces, and sup- grape. Like harvest in our own country, it is a season ported by canes, or hung in gay festoons from poplars of great hilarity and enjoyment-every vehicle is in on the more even ground. Quitting the road, we struck request, and all hands turn out to assist in securing the out into by-paths, and over the fields; spoke to the precious crop. The rude cart slowly takes its way vine-dressers; looked in at cottages, and talked to rosy. along the valley and through the sun - chequered faced children ; and returning through the valley, we avenues of luxuriant vines, drawn by two of their fine gathered several clusters of blooming fruit from the cream-coloured oxen, so remarkable for their docility over-burdened vines on either side of our way.
and sturdy patience. Each cart is furnished with a It is said that in Italy there is no shade ; and cer- mash-tub, as large as it will carry, into which the clustainly a person coming direct from England must be ters of grapes are thrown as they are taken from the struck with the scarcity and poverty of the trees in vine. As we accompanied the cart, and listened to the most parts of the country. Generally speaking, they song of the vintagers, we felt a little concerned to witare not much larger than our garden fruit-trees; ness such wholesale destruction of fruit, as each bloom." although in some of the valleys and defiles, and by the ing damsel came to deliver her basketful of large purple mountain streams, the walnut and sweet chestnut are grapes, which were immediately consigned to the tub magnificent. Many of the trees, too, are of the ever- by the ruthless individual in charge of it. When it is green class, such as the ilex, the olive, the cypress, and full, the cart returns to the storehouse, where the fruit yew, with several others; and these, contrasted with the is mashed up with a wooden club adapted to the purcrimson leaves of the cherry, and the richly-variegated pose (and not pressed with the feet, as in many parts tints of the chestnut, give a charming variety to the of Italy), after which the whole is carried away in pails landscape.
-liquor, stalks, and all—and thrown into large vats for The peasantry of Tuscany and Lucca are excellent the purpose of fermentation. This takes place in a few farmers, and the admirable system of terrace-cultivation days, and sometimes in the course of a few hours, of the olive and vine bears sufficient evidence of their according to the state of the atmosphere, and the temindustry and skill. They appear also to make the most perature of the place in which the operation is per
formed. At such time a movement is perceptible in the of the ground-the roof being concealed by pine branches liquor ; the volume of the fluid increases, and it be- and other green stuff--and in this the operator could comes turbid and oily. At the end of several days, stand, with a cord in hand commanding the bolt, and these tumultuous motions subside; the mass falls ; and through a small aperture watch for the game. Most the liquor becomes clearer, and of a red colour, caused of our favourite birds had names, and could be distinby the reaction of the ardent spirit on the colouring guished by their pipes. That's Pietro,' said the priest. matter contained in the pellicle of the grape. When - Bravo, Pietro !' 'Poor Pietro trilled his notes, and the heat in the mass disappears, and all the phenomena Beppo whistled, several others chimed in, and wo betide of fermentation have subsided, the liquor is drawn off the luckless bunch of feathers that should come within into casks, where, by a second insensible fermentation, hearing of that siren choir! Presently a few birds would the wine is clarified, and in a very short time becomes fly over the ground; but attracted by the vocal harmony, fit for use.
they would wheel round, and drop on to that tempting The vine appears to us one of the most extraordinary beech hedge, to see what was going on. In a moment and wonderful productions of nature. Passing through the priests hand was on the cord, up flew the net over the vineyards in the early part of the year, you see the poor birds, and our host, like a great black spider, nothing but the dry and sapless plant, not unlike the stalked out to clutch his prey. The game bagged, the strands of an old rope hanging from tree to tree. The net was thrown back, the apparatus readjusted, and wood appears so dead and withered, that, as the pro- we all slunk off to await further victims. We took phet says, “It is unfit for any work, nor do men take a larks, becaficos, and numerous other small birds ; pin of it to hang a vessel thereon.' It is utterly valueless indeed everything was game that came to the net; and even for fuel. But pass we the same spot in the exube- in a few hours they were hissing and sputtering, all in rant autumn, and we shall see that withered and appa- a row, over our kitchen fire. rently sapless branch, staggering and borne down with The thrush is taken with lime, and is much esteemed the weight of clusters of tempting fruit, bringing joy as a delicacy. The spot selected for this operation is and contentment to thousands, to whom its generous a bit of elevated ground, which is closely planted with liquor seems as indispensable as bread.
shrubs and evergreens. Between these plants, which The other staple production of the country is the are not more than eighteen or twenty inches asunder, olive, from the fruit of which the oil is expressed by a they place twigs smeared with lime ; and in the midst very simple process. The berries are carefully gathered of this plantation a boy is concealed, with two or three in baskets, and passed under a millstone ; and when cages of decoy birds. Attracted by their noise, some sufficiently bruised, the pulp is put into coarse hempen curious thrush visits the place, alights on the fatal twig, bags, and placed under a powerful press, from which and is speedily secured by the boy. In this manner a the liquor runs down into a stone trough, and the oil great number of birds are taken, and hardly a day passed is seen floating on the surface. This is removed by without our having a dish of them either at dinner or means of a shallow metal bowl, and poured into large supper. wickered flasks, where it is allowed to stand some time, Our reverend friend, with whom we resided at this when the grosser portion of the oil falls, and the finer time, was the youngest of three brothers, the eldest of is poured off into fresh flasks; this operation being whom was an advocate, and the second a physician, in repeated until it is sufficiently fine for table, leaving the the beautiful city of Florence. Under such circum. inferior oil for various purposes connected with the stances, it only remained for our host to conform to the household or farm.
wishes of his family, and go to the church. In Tuscany, at this season, a great deal of attention In person he was tall, and rather handsome; but far is given to the snaring of birds, which are abundant, from meeting the austere priest that we had pictured and in which amusement our host took a degree of to ourselves, and almost dreaded to encounter, we found interest that rather surprised us. A few days after our him at once the easy, courteous, talkative man of the arrival, he took us into one of the upper rooms of his world, or what is commonly termed 'a jolly good felhouse, where we found upwards of fifty birds of various low.' For him the lines had fallen in pleasant places kinds, all chirruping and singing away most lustily. -he had a goodly heritage ;' and with his gun on his Each bird occupied a small willow cage ; and noticing arm, and his dogs at his heels, his whole time and atthat some of the thrushes were blind, we found that tention seemed to be given to sport, and to overlooking their sight had been purposely destroyed, by passing the extensive and fertile domain which appertained to a lot wire over their eyes, in order to make them sing the family. better. Cruel as this custom was, it certainly had the During our sojourn with him, he certainly did say desired effect; for the poor birds appeared to be dream- mass once or twice in the neighbourhood; and, coning of the bright sunshine, and the pleasant tree-tops, forming to the rules of the church, he fasted twice in and poured forth a stream of song that was almost the week—an act of self-denial in which we begged to painful to listen to. These birds were used as decoys, join him ; for we very innocently considered that a reat what is called the 'Paretella ;' and at a very early past of fish and eggs, various vegetables and omelets, hour, our priest and his man were to be seen, like salads, and all the delicious fruits of the season, toMachiavel,
gether with wine ad libitum, was, after all, a kind of
mortification of the flesh that was not to be despised. - Sallying forth
We noticed that the only time he permitted his In an autumnal morn, laden with cages,'
usually sweet temper to be ruffled, was when he came to the scene of operations. The Paretella is a snare in contact with his old cook in the matter of some for small birds by means of a net, and the one belong. dinner grievance. Quietly rising from table on such ing to the priest we shall describe. At the extremity occasions, we could see his brow darken, as he proof a ridge of high ground that ran out like a promontory ceeded to the kitchen to call the old woman all the into the valley, there was a green plot about thirty hard names he could think of. Being rather deaf, yards long and about fifteen in width. This was enclosed and having been in the family time out of mind, the on three sides by a low hedge, and in and about this old crone had become a sort of chartered sinner; and hedge perhaps thirty of these cages were concealed. In on the principle that every man is a hero save to his the centre of the ground there was a broad bed of dwarf valet, so we thought that our priest might very well beech, about four feet high, with its branches properly pass for an angel except to his cook ; for we verily be. trimmed, and adapted to the feathered taste and habits; lieve that, whatever the rest of the world thought of it, and alongside of this a large net, attached to a frame, in his own kitchen he was not regarded as such. The lay on the ground, but so arranged by apparatus, that old woman had a quiet and provokingly cool method of by drawing a bolt, the net would fly up and envelop the going about her affairs, and she generally weathered the beech hedge. A hut was sunk in the earth at the end I storm well; while on the part of our host, he usually took himself off in a fume, and walking up to an old heart, my second self, and despatched him to AmsterDutch clock that hung in the antechamber, he, by a dam.' few vigorous tugs at the cords, immediately wound it • You never before mentioned this friend to me,' said up. The operation seemed to have a wonderful effect Frederick. upon his ruffled spirit, for he generally returned to . It is possible,' answered the privy-counsellor ; 'and table, took his seat again with most dignified and cle- I will soon tell you why. Alarmed for his health by his rical composure, and with a degree of serenity depicted long delay and total silence, I sacrificed love to friend. on his countenance tha was delightful to contemplate. ship, and tearing myself from my Philippina, while she,
overcome with grief, was yet fainting in her mother's
arms, I set out for Amsterdam. Suffice it to say, I disIT IS POSSIBLE.
covered that my best friend had deceived me, and was Privy-COUNSELLOR Stryk had perpetually upon his by this time in America with the whole of my cousin's tongue three words that had become to him a kind of bequest.“ It is impossible!” I cried; "it is imposproverb: “It is possible.' It often happened that he sible!” But soon I was obliged to say, “It is possible !” used them in the reports made by him to the minister And I flew back to Philippina, to soothe the feelings in full council; and when this occurred, a smile, such as
wounded by the treachery of my friend ; and again I
was compelled to say, “ It is possible," when the first is usually given to our neighbours' weaknesses, played greeting on my arrival at home was the announcement upon the lips of his colleagues.
that, three days after the letter conveying the tidings of Privy-Counsellor Stryk, nevertheless, was held in my loss, my betrothed had become the bride of another. high consideration. The different rulers of the electo- I spare you my agonies. Henceforth I believed every. rate, in their turn, showed their appreciation of his thing possible but good to me; and no matter how varied information and talent by always employing improbable any suggestion seemed, I replied, " It is poshim. Every one did justice to his ability and tact- sible!” In these three words was embodied my whole nay, perhaps a little overrated them; and Stryk, open, system of practical philosophy. I kept continually upright, and conscientious, was looked upon as a deep repeating them, till at length they became a comfort in and subtle politician, with a penetration and far- sorrow—an antidote to despair. When I said to myself, sightedness little short of the gift of prophecy. And “ Canst thou ever again be happy in this world ?"-my all this reputation he owed solely to the three words-lips formed the words, “ It is possible;" and the event * It is possible.'
justified the almost mechanical hope. I adopted the Often, however, they escaped him almost involun- maxim, and no longer lived in an ideal world peopled tarily; yet when they had once escaped him, he thought either by angels or devils—the youthful heart seldom himself bound to follow up and maintain their conse- knows any medium. Henceforth good fortune had no quences. Thus this saying exercised the greatest in- power to intoxicate, for I thought of its instability, and fluence upon his opinions, his habits, and all the events said, “It is possible ;” and misfortune could neither of his life. Who could believe it of a man so learned surprise nor wholly depress me, for I was prepared for and enlightened? And yet it was not only possible, anything. Men in general act in the ordinary, as well but true.
as the more important concerns of life, upon a sudden He was himself fully aware of this influence, and yet impulse, for which they can hardly account, and of not only did he remain constant to his three words, but which they are almost unconscious. Take my advice, he was seriously anxious to impress his only son with my son, adopt my maxim, were it only to give you the the same conviction of their omnipotence. The young power of self-possession, and make you ready either to man, who, like most other young people, thought do or to suffer. Repeat it till you have made it your himself much more clear-sighted than his old father, own. This at least is possible.' considered this as nothing more than a very singular The favourite phrase of our privy.counsellor somemania,
times proved unpropitious; but he was not easily de• This little oddity, my dear father,' he said, 'may be jected. For instance, one day when the elector presided excused in you, but my adopting it would be considered in person in the council, some debate arose upon the a mere piece of affectation, a ridiculous copying of late French Revolution of '93; and as the many changes you.'
were mentioned in the people who once so idolised their * It is possible, my dear Frederick,' said the privy kings, the elector exclaimed, “The French are the most counsellor ; but you may let laugh those that will, abominable race on the face of the earth : no other when you have in these three words the secret of pru- nation could act as they do. Can you fancy my subdence, repose, security, and happiness. Think not that jects ever being seized with such madness-ever abjurthis maxim became habitual to me by mere chance. I ing their allegiance to their prince? What is your adopted it upon sad experience that led to mature opinion, Stryk?' reflection. I owe to it all that I have, all that I am. The counsellor, just then in a fit of absence, had only The misfortunes of my youth, and despair, made me half heard what the elector said, and shrugging his first lay hold of it; and once laid hold of, I raised my shoulders, said mechanically, “It is possible.' self by its help, and reconquered fortune. The little The elector turned pale. • What do you mean?' he patrimony bequeathed to me by my parents only suf- exclaimed. “Do you think that a day can ever dawn ficed to enable me to subsist while studying at the uni- when my subjects will rejoice in my downfall?' versity; and yet, because I carefully avoided debt, I " It is possible,' again said the counsellor ; but this passed for having a comfortable competence, and was time he said it advisedly. Nothing is more uncertain welcomed into society that would have disdained me, than popular opinion ; for a people is made up of men, had people known that I was all the while content with who have each an individual interest, which they prefer bread and milk as my whole dietary. I was well re- to that of the prince. Any new order of things begets ceived, and generally esteemed, yet I had but one bosom new hopes. Whatever may be the degree of love, and friend amongst the men, and but one lady had ever however well deserved, borne by the people to your engaged more than a passing thought; and pretension highness, I would not swear that they would not, in new to her, the daughter of a general officer, was hopeless, circumstances, forget the benefits of their prince, and and would have remained so, had not fortune smiled that we might not see the electoral arms broken, to upon me most unexpectedly. I was made chamberlain give place to the tree of liberty.' to the dowager-duchess, with a good pension; and The elector turned his back upon him, and Stryk shortly after, a cousin died in Batavia, and left me a was disgraced ; while every one cried, “What a fool considerable property. Unwilling, in my first hours as with his “ It is possible !". an accepted lover, to leave my Philippina, I gave full A few years after, the victorious French passed the powers to my friend Schneemuller, the friend of my Rhine; the elector, with all his court, took to flight.