Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[graphic]

The Autumn light is sleeping

Upon the yellow plain ; The harvest-men are reaping

The swarths of golden grain ; The merry maids the furrows throng, And bind the sheaves with cheerful song, While children stoop the ears to glean That fall the maidens' hands between.

At length, with day's declining,

The westering sun sinks bright; The harvest moon, now shining,

Floods heaven with mellow light;
Upon the greensward merrily,
To notes of rustic minstrelsy,
Young men and maidens, free from care,
Dance in the evening autumn air.
Now sere the leaves are growing

With many a russet streak,
Just like the death-bloom glowing

On a dying maiden's cheek.

Then in a willful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies ;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly

bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now, with treble soft,
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the

skies.
The village inn, at this particular sea-
son of the year, was, in days gone by, and
to some extent is so still, the great center
of attraction. Our engraving represents
an old English inn, as it existed in the days
of the “ magnanimous Goldsmith,” whose
charming description of it is well known
to all classes of readers. Here is another
tribute to autumn, from the pen of Jonathan
Freke Slingsby :

1

1

Now bleakly blows the autumn breeze, stray fancies, what chance musings, and
And sweeps the leaves from moaning trees, recovered associations, he may have thus
And raiu by day and frost by night
O'er spread the flowers and fields with blight. dear mother earth, and bound together in

picked up from the green bosom of his But though the leaves are dying,

bundles with the beautiful thread of poesy? And flowers have lost their bloom,

On this occasion he talked as if this were
Though blight on earth is lying,
And heaven is fillid with gloom,

the natural process of his mind ; and stopO trustful heart ! be of good cheer,

ping suddenly, he exclaimed, “ Pardon me; For time brings round the rolling year; that is too fine a one to be passed by.” When winter, and spring, and summer are o'er

“He was doing this," said Mr. Quillinan, The golden autumn will teem once more.

“ when I first encountered him, thirty

years ago.” And here we are, meditating THE GRAVES OF WORDSWORTH AND among the remarkable cluster of graves in

the Grasmere church-yard. The principal HIS RELATIVES.

one, with the name of William WordsE shall never forget, says a writer in worth on it, and nothing more, is as

a one of our earliest interviews with the poet are other graves beside his, under those Wordsworth. He was strolling along un- dim yew-trees; the grave of his only der the fine trees of Rydal Hall, with a bun- daughter, the beloved and refined Dora dle of sticks under his arm, to which he Quillinan ; the grave of her husband, the was continually adding as he went dreamily elegant scholar, graceful poet, and choice along. This was his constant habit ; and companion, Edward Quillinan; the grave who knows what pleasant thoughts, what I of Wordsworth's sister, Dorothy, one in

[ocr errors]

is

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

curr

IN

whoin the light of genius flared up so fit At the period to which my story refully that the clay which held it soon be- lates, his whole establishinent consisted came scorched and shivered ; and, once of one female servant, who had attained more, the grave of the gifted but wayward the mature age of fifty. Bettina had been Hartley Coleridge. Poor Hartley! What brought up by the mother of Balducci, tides of hereditary eloquence have poured and, after the death of her mistress, had from his lips, while we have sat by and been transferred to the ménage of the son, wondered! How has he suddenly drawn in which she had faithfully discharged the up his bent and degraded-looking figure duties of cook, housekeeper, and maid of into the dignity of an intellectual man, all work, for upward of twenty years, and while the dull eye has startingly told of had attained, as far as it was possible for the power that was chained within! We any one to attain, the confidence of her have grounds for the hope that, in the master. She was active and industrious, quiet of that chamber of death, the captive and long habit had familiarized her with was in every sense set free, and the con- the miserly ways of Balducci. Bettina trite spirit received into the glorious lib- had also another advantage in the eyes of erty of the redeemed.

her master : she was so plain that Balducci had never been annoyed by suitors

for the hand of his servant, and it was THE LOTTERY TICKET.

urrently reported that Bettina had never a remote part of the city of Padua, had a lover. near the ancient church of Santa Sofia,

sex.

Balducci was not inore indulgent to was, and is probably there still, an old Bettina's female acquaintance than he house, inclosed by walls, and approached would have been to her friends of the other by large gates, which were seldom or never He admitted none of them within opened ; the mode of ingress being by a his house ; for he had a horror of gossipsmall wicket gate at the side.

ing, and was so far conscious of his ecThe outer aspect of the house was dull centricities as to be unwilling to afford and gloomy, for almost all the windows opportunities of their becoming a subject opened on to an inner court, which was of conversation to his neighbors. Bettina, surrounded on the four sides by the build- however, made up for her silence and ing. The open staircase was in one cor- solitude at home, by the good use she ner of the edifice, and the different rooms made of her tongue and ears when going above stairs were approached by open bal- to, or returning from, mass or market. conies, in the old Italian fashion. Few of One morning Bettina went to purchase the apartments had fire-places, and seldom provisions at the market held in the Pi. was smoke seen to issue from the funnel. azza in front of the Palazzo della Ragione, shaped chimneys, common in Padua and the ancient Town-hall of Padua. The other localities near Venice, which seem- morning was cloudy, and just as she had ed designed rather for the admission of finished her marketing the rain, which rain and snow than for the exit of smoke. had been threatening all the morning, be

The owner and occupier of this silent gan to fall. and gloomy dwelling was an elderly man, Now, when it rains in Italy, especially of retired and penurious habits. Giuseppe during the autumn, and this was in the Balducci, for such was his name, inherit- month of November, it rains in earnest. ed from his father a small independence, There are none of your half-measureswhich was believed greatly to exceed his Scotch mists or gentle showers—but reguexpenditure. His parsimonious habits in- lar downright rain, falling straight as a creased with his years, and from being at plumb-line, not in drops, but in streams, as first only economical, he became miserly. if it had been poured out of

bucket; a He had but few friends, and an acquaint- rain that would almost wet a man to the ance seldom crossed his threshold. Indeed, skin before he could open his umbrella. such was his reputation for stinginess, that Bettina was not exactly prepared for such it was a common saying of his tenants a rain as this ; she hoped, in fact, to reach to whom he gave receipts (the only thing home before the rain came, for she could he was ever known to give) for the rent not carry at the same time her heavy they owed him, that in order to save ink, basket, and one of the large and clumsy he would neither cross a t por dot an i.

| umbrellas, covered with waxed cloth, gen

no

erally used by the lower orders in Lom “I am thinking of buying a ticket mybardy. The white muslin shawl with self,” added Lisetta. “Look, there is which her head was covered was Maso Ferrari now coming out of the office. protection against such weather as this ; I wonder whether he has purchased one. and as her high-heeled shoes covered her Let us ask.” She beckoned to a man toes only, leaving the heels bare, her clean who, covered with a large green umbrella, white stockings would soon be plastered was then crossing the road. with mud.

" What have you been doing over yonThe sides of the Piazza where the der ?" asked Lisetta, as he shook his market was held were skirted with arcades umbrella preparatory to closing it, and formed by the projection of the upper stepped into the shop. stories over the basement. In consequence “ Buying a lottery ticket,” said he. of their vicinity to the market, the space “Ah! I thought you could not resist, beneath the arcades was occupied as open after you had heard of Gian Sarpi's good shops, a narrow passage being left for the fortune. I am thinking of trying my luck, convenience of the passengers. Bettina and I want Monna Bettina to do the had a friend, Monna Lisetta, who kept a same." draper's shop in this locality ; with her “If I thought I was sure of getting a the housekeeper took shelter from the prize," said Bettina, doubtingly. rain, and awaited the chance of the rain “One is all but sure," answered Liceasing, or of some acquaintance going setta. her way with an umbrella, which was sure “ There are two prizes of one hundred to be large enough to cover her as well as thousand zwanzigers each to be drawn the owner.

soon, and if I should be lucky enough to Monna Lisetta gave her visitor a seat, get one of them,” said Maso, clasping his and found room for her heavy basket in hands, while his eyes sparkled with anthe shop. The two women were soon ticipated happiness, “why, my fortune engaged in conversation. There was no will be made, and I may ride in my coach, lack of subjects : when they had discussed instead of carrying this green umbrella the weather and the affairs of their neigh- over my head in the rain, and tramping bors, there were still the shop goods to through the mud.” talk about. Monna Lisetta had many “ And you can buy a dress for your wife pretty gown-pieces which she tried to in- off this piece of stuff,” said Lisetta, who duce her visitor to purchase; but, although had always an eye to business. “ Isn't it Bettina liked to look at pretty things, she a beauty ?” She displayed the cloth, was in no humor to buy. She shook her gathering it up in her hand like the folds head and pleaded poverty.

of a dress, and holding it in as good a “ You need not be poor long if you will light as she could command ; then she do as Gian Sarpi has done. If you have turned it toward Bettina. only half his good luck, you will be a rich “It is very pretty, certainly,” said the woman."

housekeeper, thus directly appealed to; • What has he done, and what good“ I should like it very much, but I cannot luck has he had?" inquired Bettina, whose afford it.” curiosity was excited.

“Ah! you'll tell a different tale when “Why, he has bought a ticket in the you have drawn a prize in the lottery." Lottery, and drawn a prize of twenty

* Stuff and nonsense! I don't mean to thousand zwanzigers !"

buy a ticket.” “ Indeed! He's a lucky fellow," said Bettina advanced to the entrance of the Bettina.

arch, and looked this way and that to see “Why don't you try your luck ? and if whether the rain had abated ; and, not you get a prize, you can buy this dress, trusting to her eyes alone, she held out and any others you please."

her hand to feel. As Lisetta spoke, she pointed to a wide “ The rain is abating,” said she ; “] placard on the walls of the Palazzo della must hasten home. If you are going my Ragione, announcing, in very large letters, way, Maso, will you give me shelter under that certain numbers had turned up prizes your umbrella ?" in the Imperial and Royal Lottery, and “With pleasure,” replied Maso. Betthat many tickets were yet undisposed of. I tina took up her basket, and after bidding

Lisetta good-by, and gathering her dress reproaches which Balducci lavished on above her ankles to keep it clean, she her folly in thus squandering away her walked in company with Maso as far as savings. the gate of Balducci's house ; where, "A lottery ticket!” he exclaimed: "you thanking him for his civility, she let her- must be mad, quite mad! Would any self in and secured the door.

person in his senses have purchased a lotThe hour was so late that Bettina had tery ticket? Do you know that for every scarcely time to prepare for dinner ; but prize there are hundreds of blanks ? that when her work was done, and she sat the chances are nearly a thousand to one down to her evening occupation of knitting against you? If the blanks were not a cotton stocking, she had leisure to think greatly more numerous than the prizes, do about the lottery ticket. The hope of you think the government could afford to suddenly acquiring riches, and of stepping carry on the lotteries ?" at one jump from poverty to wealth, is “ But somebody must win, and why always a great temptation, and it requires should not I ?" observed Bettina. a strong mind to resist the impulse. The " Many must lose,” replied Balducci, more Bettina thought about the lottery parodying her expression, “and why ticket, the brighter and more alluring ap- should you not be one of them?" peared the prizes, while the blanks seemed Bettina's countenance fell. Her friends entirely to be forgotten. Why should not had shown her only the bright side of the she get a prize as well as Gian Sarpi ? picture, and, simple-minded as she was, she She thought she would try. But what if had given implicit credence to their repreher ticket should not turn up a prize ? sentations. Balducci had torn the vail Well, then, she should lose a few forins, rudely from her eyes, and she began to and, thanks to the Madonna and “the think that she might not only lose her Santo,"* that would not ruin her. She money, but her master's favor, for she had could afford to lose a few. She would never seen him so much excited. The try. As she plied her knitting needle, poor woman did not hazard a reply ; she her thoughts busied themselves in castle was leaving the kitchen, where her master building, and she formed many plans for took his meals, when Balducci called her the disposal of the prize which she now back. made sure of obtaining.

“ What is the number of your ticket?" The next day, without saying a word he inquired. to her master, or even to Lisetta, she " 4444," replied Bettina. went to the lottery office and purchased a Balducci quietly took a piece of charticket.

coal from the fire, and marked the number Full of hope and expectation, Bettina on the chimney-piece. returned to the house, and as she folded “ That is all; you may go now.

Let up the clean white muslin shawl, with me hear no more of this foolish business." which, according to the custom of the Bettina left the room, and busied herself country, she had covered her head when about her work. How different now were she left home, bright visions of zwanzigers her feelings from what they had been only and florins floated before her, and although half an hour before, when, elated with she went about her work as usual, the hope and the pleasing anticipation of suclottery ticket absorbed all her thoughts. cess, she had made known her purchase

Bettina now resolved to tell her master to Balducci ! what she had done, and only waited for a She was startled from her work by an favorable occasion. One day, when Bal unusual noise. Her ear told her that the ducci had eaten his dinner and appeared sound proceeded from the pantry. Thither particularly amicable, Bettina informed she hurried, and Balducci, who had also her master of her purchase. But the poor been attracted by the noise, followed her. woman little anticipated the reception her On opening the door the cause of the communication would meet with, and she clamor soon became evident. Bettina, was totally unprepared for the volley of whose thoughts were bent on her lottery

ticket, had gone into the pantry to put away

the remains of the dinner, and not perceiv• St. Antonio is always spoken of in and ing that the cat—for, miser as he was, around Padua as “ Il Santo," the saint par excellence,

| Balducci kept a cat ; at least if he can be

« VorigeDoorgaan »