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thirteen years, is not very jocose to the sufferer. I never knew of but one boy that actually was, as it were, casehardened, and took a flogging himself for diversion, and as a joke. It is a singular thing, and therefore, though another digression, I must tell it. The boy's name was Smith, a good family name for case-hardening. Somehow or other, he was insensible in the flogging parts. There was no communication between them and the brain ; and here, let me observe, obiter, that it is a very absurd practice at private schools to punish one part for another; at public schools they scarcely ever flog for learning, or the lack of it. But why, if the head fails of doing its work, the tail should suffer, I never could hear any good reason given. And why should a dunce be called a blockhead, when it is quite the contrary part goes to the block? But this belongs to the philosophy of schools, and has nothing to do with my breeches, which will never be on-and I had nigh forgotten the flogging story. This Smith did not care a pin for a flogging, and used to put himself in the way of them, for mere amusement to himself and others.
“Smith, again !" the master usually called out at flog. ging-time, and with a groan. Smith was always ready, affected to kneel down, then rose up again, and said facetiously
“ Allow me, sir, to put my handkerchief under my knees —these breeches cost my father five-and-twenty shillings, and he gave me particular charge not to soil them.”
Then would he begin only to kneel down, the master all the while vociferating—“Take him up, take him up!"
“ Sir,” Smith would say, " be so kind as to hit high and gentle.” Then, when fairly down, he would look round, and at every stroke make most horrible faces, as if in dreadful agony, and, when the matter was over, jump up with alacrity, make his bow, and say, "I thank
It is evident such a boy must have been incorrigibleand he went away as such—he did not remain more than, if so much as, a half-year.
The bell is 'most down, and in what state am I now with regard to breeches? By dint of great exertion and
help I have them just up to my hips-a little more exer. tion may get them an inch higher-more than that is hopeless. The boys are quitting me fast. One kind soul remains to show me the way. Hurrah ! I have contrived to get them over, and to button one button ; but then how am I to get my shirt in again ? That must be inevi. tably tucked under my waistcoat.
· Here," said the boy, “ pull it down a little, just to meet, and button your waistcoat over, and nobody will see it-so let's be off.” And off we were, as well at least as I could move my knees. I think those who fought in ancient armour must have run, if it is not a bull to say those who fought ran, pretty much as I did. When we arrived at the chapel-door I was done-quite out of breath -and all the boys were just kneeling down. In I shuffled, and down I attempted to kneel directly in front of the master. I had not calculated upon this difficulty. I made a desperate effort, and so far succeeded as to my knees—but in that effort the button burst, and the upper part of my mouse-colour leather breeches, which had been continually stretched, dropped-and discovered to the gaze of eyes sacred and profane, of masters, chaplains, and some hundred or so of boys, my poor unshirted, unshrouded personification of innocence. Could the service go on? -Did it go on? I know not. The following half-hour was so like a dream that I have forgotten it; but I believe it was considered that I had intended to insult masters and the whole school by ny barefacedmno, not barefaced-impudence. I believe serious thoughts were entertained of expelling me ere I had well entered on my schoolship; and if I had then taken a flight back, there should have been two lamentable flights, mine and the hreeches-maker-for I was hot enough for revenge, and none so small but that they may find means of annoying.
As it was, I was so badgered about my exposition, that I had to fight no less than three battles the very first day to defend the honours of my mouse-coloured leathers. But time is a great stretcher, and so he stretched my breeches. The Alight of time did that which the sedentary fight never did. Time, as my early copy-book, set by that greatest of calligraphers, the German, Jansen Von Splut
terinck, saith, maketh all things easy, and so he made my breeches. Henceforth I shall be of the opinion of the currier in the fable, “ There's nothing like leather.” Kings that have been made kings from low degree, have kept their poor breeches in remembrance of their humble state. I might have kept mine in remembrance of my humbled state, and as monuments of my after knowledge. A heathen would have made them the subject of an apotheosis. If some have been celebrated as having seen the
Siege of Bulleyn,” mine had witnessed the siege of Troy. They had sat down many a day with " the seven against Thebes.” Taking into account, my dear Eusebius, the seas of ink that have been spilt upon them—the Greek with which they have been bespattered—the versification that has been made upon them, and those engraftings of buds from the tree of knowledge, of which I have spoken -I may, without fear of contradiction, say of them, that, wherever they may be, there must be the seat of learning. So that, “ take them for all in all, I ne'er shall look upon their like again.”
My dear Eusebius, yours as ever.
HINTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1826.)
Gentle reader! hast thou been a loving observer of the beautiful uncertain weather of our island-clime ? We do not mean to ask if you have from youth been in the daily practice of rising from your study-chair at regular intervals, and ascertaining the precise point of Mercury's elevation on the barometrical scale. The idea of trusting, throughout all the fluctuations of the changeful and capri. cious atmosphere in which we live, to a tube partly filled with quicksilver, is indeed most preposterous; and we have long noticed that meteorologists make an early figure in our obituaries. Seeing the head of the god above the mark " fair,” or “settled,” out they march in nankeens, without greatcoat or umbrella, when such a thunderplump falls down in a deluge, that, returning home by water and steam, they take to bed, and on the ninth day, fever hurries them off, victims to their zeal in the cause of natural philosophy. But we mean to ask, have you an eye, and an ear, and a sixth sense, anonymous and instinctive, for all the prognosticating sights, and sounds, and motions, and shapes, of nature? Have you studied, in silence and solitude, the low, strange, and spirit-like whisperings, that often, when bird and bee are mute, come and go, here and there, now from crag, now from coppice, and now from moor, all over the sultry stillness of the clouded desert? Have you listened among mountains to the voice of streams, till you heard them prophesying change in heaven? Have you so mastered the occult science of mists, as that you can foretell each proud or fair emergency, and the hour when grove, precipice, or plain, shall in sudden revelation be clothed with the pomp of sunshine ? Are all Bewick's birds, and beasts, and fishes visible to your eyes in the woods, wastes, and waves of the clouds ?
And know ye what aerial condor, dragon, and whale, respectively portend? Are the Fata Morgana as familiar to you as the Aberdeen almanac ? When a league square hover of crows darkens air and earth, or settling loads every tree with sable fruitage, are you your own augur, equally as when one single, solitary raven lifts up his hoary blackness from a stone, and sails sullenly off with a croak, croak, croak! that gets fiercer and more savage in the lofty distance? Does the leaf of the forest twinkle futurity? The lonely lichen brighten or pale its lustre with change?
Does not the gift of prophecy dwell with the family of the violets and the lilies ? And the stately harebells, do they not let droop their closing blossoms when the heavens are niggard of their dews, or uphold thern like cups thirsty for wine, when the blessing yet unfelt by duller animal life, is beginning to drop balmily down from the rainy cloud embosomed in the beautiful blue of a midsummer's meridian day?
Gentle reader! forgive these friendly interrogatories. Perhaps you are weather-wiser than ourselves; yet for not a few years we bore the name of “The Man of the Mountains;" and, though no great linguists, we hope that we know somewhat more than the vocabulary of the language both of calm and storm. Remember that we are now at Ambleside—a village familiar with the sky-and one week's residence there may let you into some of the secrets of the unsteady cabinet of St. Cloud.
One advice we give you, and by following it you cannot fail to be happy at Ambleside, and every where else. Whatever the weather be, love, admire, and delight in it, and vow that you would not change it for the atmosphere of a dream. If it be close, hot, and oppressive, be thankful for the air, faint but steady, that comes down from cliff and chasm, or the breeze that gushes fitfully from stream and lake. If the heavens are filled with sunshine, and you feel the vanity of parasols, how cool the sylvan shade, for ever moistened by the murmurs of that fairy waterfall!