+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

damp and ruinousits walls covered with
greenness and crawling insects. It was a
great lurking-place of Sir Roger when on the
watch for poachers.

The line of the Rockvilles was evidently
running fast out. It had reached the extremity
of imbecility and contemptit must
soon reach its close.

Sir Roger used to make his regular annual
visit to town; but of late, when there, he had
wandered restlessly about the streets, peeping
into the shop- windows; and if it rained,
standing under entries for hours together, till
it was gone over. The habit of lurking and
peering about, was upon him; and his feet
bore him instinctively into those narrow and
crowded alleys where swarm the poachers of
the citythe trespassers and anglers in the
game preserves and streams of humanity. He
had lost all pleasure in his club; the most
exciting themes of political life retained no
piquancy for him. His old friends ceased
to find any pleasure in him. He was become
the driest of all dry wells. Poachers, and
anglers, and Methodists, haunted the wretched
purlieus of his fast fading-out mind, and he
resolved to go to town no more. His whole
nature was centred in his woods. He was
for ever on the watch; and when at
Rockville again, if he heard a door clap when in
bed, he thought it a gun in his woods, and
started up, and was out with his keepers.

Of what value was that magnificent estate
to him?—those superb woods; those finely-
hanging cliffs; that clear and riant river
coming travelling on, and taking a noble
sweep below his windows,—that glorious
expanse of neat verdant meadows stretching
almost to Stockington, and enlivened by
numerous herds of the most beautiful cattle
those old farms and shady lanes overhung
with hazel and wild rose; the glittering
brook, and the songs of woodland birds
what were they to that worn-out old man,
that victim of the delusive doctrine of blood,
of the man-trap of an hereditary name?

There the poet could come, and feel the
presence of divinity in that noble scene, and
hear sublime whispers in the trees, and create
new heavens and earths from the glorious
chaos of nature around him, and in one short
hour live an empyrean of celestial life and
love. There could come the very humblest
children of the plebeian town, and feel a
throb of exquisite delight pervade their
bosoms at the sight of the very flowers on the
sod, and see heaven in the infinite blue above
them. And poor Sir Roger, the holder, but
not the possessor of all, walked only in a
region of sterility, with no sublimer ideas
than poachers and trespassersno more
rational enjoyment than the brute indulgence
of hunting like a ferret, and seizing his fellow-
men like a bulldog. He was a specimen of
human nature degenerated, retrograded from
the divine to the bestial, through the long-
operating influences of false notions and
institutions, continued beyond their time. He
had only the soul of a keeper. Had he been
only a keeper, he had been a much happier

His time was at hand. The severity which
he had long dealt out towards all sorts of
offenders made him the object of the deepest
vengeance. In a lonely hollow of his woods,
watching at midnight with two of his men,
there came a sturdy knot of poachers. An
affray ensued. The men perceived that their
old enemy, Sir Roger, was there: and the
blow of a hedge-stake stretched him on the
earth. His keepers fled and thus ignominiously
terminated the long line of the
Rockvilles. Sir Roger was the last of his line, but
not of his class. There is a feudal art of
sinking, which requires no study; and the
Rockvilles are but one family amongst
thousands who have perished in its practice.


THE Wilkinsons were having a small party,
it consisted of themselves and Uncle
Baggesat which the younger members of
the family, home for the holidays, had been
just admitted to assist after dinner. Uncle
Bagges was a gentleman from whom his
affectionate relatives cherished expectations
of a testamentary nature. Hence the greatest
attention was paid by them to the wishes of
Mr. Bagges, as well as to every observation
which he might be pleased to make.

"Eh! what? you sir," said Mr. Bagges,
facetiously addressing himself to his eldest
nephew, Harry,—"Eh! what? I am glad to
hear, sir, that you are doing well at school.
Noweh? now, are you clever enough to tell
me where was Moses when he put the candle

"That depends, uncle," answered the young
gentleman, "on whether he had lighted the
candle to see with at night, or by daylight, to
seal a letter."

"Eh! Very good, now! 'Pon my word,
very good," exclaimed Uncle Bagges. "You
must be Lord Chancellor, sirLord
Chancellor, one of these days."

"And now, uncle," asked Harry, who was
a favourite with the old gentleman, "can you
tell me what you do when you put a candle

"Clap an extinguisher on it, you young
rogue, to be sure."

"Oh! but I mean, you cut off its supply of
oxygen," said Master Harry.

"Cut off its ox'seh? what? I shall cut
off your nose, you young dog, one of these fine

"He means something he heard at the
Royal Institution," observed Mrs. Wilkinson.
"He reads a great deal about chemistry, and
he attended Professor Faraday's lectures there
on the chemical history of a candle, and has
been full of it ever since."

"Now, you sir," said Uncle Bagges, "come