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everything in a philosophical way. He considered this, which I have called a custom, as a real periodical disease, peculiar to the climate. His train of reasoning was ingenious and whimsical, but I am not at leisure to give you the detail. The result was, that he found the distemper to be incurable; but, after much study, he conceived he had discovered a method to divert the evil he could not subdue. For this purpose, he caused a small building, about twelve feet square, to be erected in his garden, and furnished with some ordinary chairs and tables; and a few prints of the cheapest sort were hung against the walls.
His hope was that, when the whitewashing frenzy seized the females of his family, they might repair to this apartment, and scrub, and-smear, and scour, to their hearts' content, and so spend the violence of the disease in this outpost, while he enjoyed himself in quiet at head-quarters. But the experiment did not answer his expectation. It was impossible it should; since a principal part of the gratification consists in the lady's having an uncontrolled right to torment her husband, at least once a year, and to turn him out of doors, and take the reins of government into her own hands.
There is a much better contrivance than this of the philosopher, which is, to cover the walls of the house with paper : this is generally done; and, though it cannot abolish, it at least shortens, the period of female dominion. The paper is decorated with flowers of various fancies, and made so ornamental, that the women have admitted the fashion without perceiving the design.
There is also another alleviation of the husband's distress. He generally has the privilege of a small room or closet for his books and papers, the key of which he is allowed to keep. This is considered as a privileged place, and stands like the land of Goshen amid the plagues of Egypt. But then he must be extremely cautious, and ever on his guard ; for, should he inadvertently go abroad, and leave the key in his door, the housemaid, who is always on the watch for such an opportunity, immediately enters in triumph, with buckets, brooms, and brushes, takes possession of the premises, and forthwith puts all his books and papers to rights, — to his utter confusion, and sometimes serious detriment. For instance:
A gentleman was sued by the executors of a tradesman, on a charge found against him in the deceased's books, to the amount of thirty pounds. The defendant was strongly impressed with the idea that he had discharged the debt and taken a receipt; but, as the transaction was of long standing, he knew not where to find the receipt. The suit went on in course, and the time approached when judgment would be obtained against him. He then sat seriously down to examine a large bundle of old papers, which he had untied and displayed on a table for that purpose. In the midst of his search, he was suddenly called away on business of importance. He forgot to lock the door of his room. The housemaid, who had been long looking out for such an opportunity, immediately entered with the usual implements, and, with great alacrity, fell to cleaning the room, and putting things to rights.
The first object that struck her eye was the confused situation of the papers on the table: these were without delay bundled together as so many dirty knives and forks ; but in the action, a small piece of paper fell unnoticed on the floor, which happened to be the very receipt in question : as it had no very respectable appearance, it was soon after swept out with the common dirt of the room, and carried in the rubbish-pan into the yard. The tradesman had neglected to enter the credit in his book; the defendant could find nothing to obviate the charge, and so judgment went against him for the debt and costs. A fortnight after the whole was settled, and the money paid, one of the children found the receipt among the rubbish in the yard.
Recollections of Hannah More.
E. H. Ross.
The first literary lady, whom I remember ever to have seen, was one whose works yet remain to improve and edify her own sex in particular, and the world in general. She was invested, too, with a particular degree of interest, owing to the fact that she was among the latest remnants of the “blue stockings" of the last century. She had, in her youthful days, mingled in the gay circles of ton; had listened to the oracular sayings of Dr. Johnson; echoed the lively sallies which burst forth in Mrs. Delaney's little circle; bandied elegant trifles with that brilliant butterfly, Horace Walpole; had been petted by David Garrick; and, in her middle
age, and in later years, had been the centre around whom bishops, princesses, and philanthropists, and many of meaner name and note, revolved. I refer to Miss, or, she is more generally styled, Mrs. Hannah More.
I was but a little fellow when I first saw this celebrated woman; but although then scarcely seven years of
I retain as vivid an impression of her person and manners, as if the interview had occurred only yesterday. Twenty-eight years have rolled over my head since then, and, during the interval, I have watched, on the disk of life's camera, hundreds of busy and noticeable figures go by, and then disap, pear in darkness forever; but my impressions of the learned old lady are as vivid as ever; and, as I sit, noting down this reminiscence, I can, by a very slight exercise of fancy, see her precise form, and hear her low-toned, musical voice, as distinctly as I did when the sober reality engrossed my attention.
Hannah More was born in the immediate vicinity of my native city — in the same village, indeed, in which John Foster had for many years lived, and died; and, for a considerable portion of her life, she resided within a short distance of her birthplace, in a cottage which she built, and named Cowslip Green. After a seventeen years' residence in this rather lackadaisically-named locality, during which time she was visited by Mr. Wilberforce and other persons of note, she removed, in 1802, to Barley Wood, near the village of Wrington, in Somersetshire, about fourteen miles from the city of Bristol ; and it was at this place that I first
My mother had, for many years, been on terms of great intimacy with Hannah More and her sisters; and I remember frequently having heard her, in our family cirele, read letters which she had received from the celebrated authoress. My two sisters were then about commencing their education, and my mother, who possessed a great degree of reverence for the occupant of Barley Wood, presuming on the strength of an old acquaintanceship, had written to Mrs. More, to ask her advice, with respect to the course to be taken with their studies. This led to a friendly correspondence, and, at length, to an invitation to the "little girls” to spend a week, during the hay-making season, at Barley Wood; which was, I need scarcely say, accepted. At this time Mrs. More's “ Sacred Dramas
were very popular; and from hearing my sisters' recitations of them, and occasionally enacting a part in them myself, I became pretty familiar with these compositions. Mrs. More's name, too, was so frequently mentioned in terms of admiration, and almost reverence, in my father's house, that I felt a growing desire to see the individual whose lines I so often mentioned, and who was so looked up to. It was, therefore, with no little degree of childish delight that one morning I set out, with my mother, for the purpose of fetching home my sisters, who had been spending the promised week at Barley Wood.
I had very vague ideas then about people who wroto
books; they were mysterious personages to me; and in proportion to my delight in any particular work, was my estimate of the outward and visible appearances of its author. I could hardly, when I did think about the matter, realize the writer to be an actual flesh-and-blood reauty. I used to think of him or her more as of a spirit communing with my spirit, than any thing else ; but I have lived to know better, and to experience the sad reality that many, whose productions are of an almost imperishable nature, have themselves been, emphatically, but " of the earth, earthy."
There were no iron roads in those days, so intersecting the country, in all directions, that, viewed from a height, it appeared as if a monstrous gridiron had been laid on the earth; and on the road to Barley Wood not even a stagecoach ran; so that my mother and myself journeyed towards the place of our destination in what was called a tilted wagon. I had scarcely ever been in the country before; and, O, how keenly I enjoyed that homely ride in the early morning! for we were on our way soon after sunrise, as we intended to make a long day of it. In anticipation of the visit, I had, with a childish vanity, crammed myself with scraps of Mrs. More's poetry; and I well remember that I had learned by heart, in the hope that I should be asked to recite it to the authoress, “The Foolish Traveller, or good Inn is a bad Home.” As we ascended the high Somersetshire hills, I would alight from the cart, and, running on before it, gaze far into the hazy distance, expecting to view some such imposing-looking house as I anticipated seeing at the end of our journey; and I would ask a thousand questions about Mrs. More of my mother, until her patience was almost exhausted, and then I would recite, to make sure I had not forgotten it, the fable; and so things went on, until, at length, my mother held me, while I stood tiptoe on the front seat of the vehicle, and pointed out the long-wishedfor spot, when we were yet two miles from it.
We were on the turnpike road, and Barley Wood lay