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confluent by thin ridges, such as the Romans called lira, to maintain the footing upon which lira, so as not to swerve, (or, as the Romans would say, delirare,) was a trial of some skill both for the horses and their postilion. It was, indeed, next to impossible for any horse, on such a narrow crust of separation, not to grow delirious in the Roman metaphor; and the nervous anxiety which haunted me when a child, was much fed by this very image so often before my eye, and the sympathy with which I followed the motion of the docile creature's legs. Go to sleep at the beginning of a stage, and the last thing you saw was the line of wintry pools, the poor off-horse planting his steps with care, and the cautious postilion gently applying his spur, whilst manoeuvring across his system of grooves with some sort of science that looked like a gipsy's palmistry; so equally unintelligible to me were his motions, in what he sought and in what he avoided.
Whilst reverting to these remembrances of my childhood, I may add, by way of illustration, and at the risk of gossipping, a brief notice of my very first journey. I might be then seven years old. A young gentleman, the son of a wealthy banker, had to return home for the Christmas holidays to a town in Lincolnshire, distant from the public school, where he was pursuing his education, about a hundred miles. This school was in the neighborhood of G-nh-y, my father's house. There were at that time no coaches in that direction; now there are many every day. The young gentleman advertised for a person to share the expense of a post-chaise. By accident, or chiefly, I believe, out of compliment to the gentleness of my manners, and the depth of my affections, I had an invitation of some standing to the same town, where I happened to have a female relation of mature age, besides some youthful cousins. The two travellers elect soon heard of each
other, and the arrangement was easily completed. It was my earliest migration from the paternal (or as I ought then to call it, the maternal) roof; and the anxieties of pleasure, too tumultuous, with some slight sense of undefined fears, combined to agitate my childish feelings. I had a vague slight apprehension of my fellow-traveller, whom I had never seen, and whom my nursery-maid, when dressing me, had described in no very amiable colors. But a good deal more I thought of Sherwood Forest, which, as I had been told, we should cross after the night set in. At six o'clock I descended, and not, as usual, to the children's room, but, on this special morning of
my life, to a room called the breakfast-room; where I found a blazing fire, candles lighted, and the whole breakfast equipage, as if for my mother, set out, to my astonishment, for no greater personage than myself. The scene being in England, and on a December morning, I need scarcely say that it rained; the rain beat violently against the windows, the wind raved; and an aged servant, who did the honors of the breakfast table, pressed me urgently and often to eat. I need not say that I had no appetite the fulness of my heart, both from busy anticipation, and from the parting which was at hand, had made me incapable of any other thought, or feeling, or attention, but such as pointed to the coming journey. All circumstances in travelling, all scenes and situations of a representative and recurring character, are indescribably affecting, connected, as they have been, in so many myriads of minds, more especially in a land which is sending off for ever its flowers and blossoms to a clime so remote as that of India, with heart-rending separations, and with farewells never to be repeated. But amongst them all none cleaves to my own feelings so indelibly, from having repeatedly been concerned, either as witness, or as
a principal party in its little drama, as the early breakfast, on a wintry morning, long before the darkness has given way, when the golden blaze of the hearth, and the bright glitter of candles, with female ministrations of gentleness more touching than on common occasions, all conspire to rekindle, as it were for a farewell gleam, the holy memorials of household affections. And many have, doubtless, had my feelings; for, I believe few readers will ever forget the beautiful manner in which Mrs. Inchbald has treated such a scene in the winding-up of the first part of her Simple Story,' and the power with which she has invested it.
Thirty-nine, or possibly, I believe, even forty years, have passed since that December morning in my own life to which I am now recurring, and yet, even to this moment, I recollect the audible throbbing of heart, the leap and rushing of blood, with which, during a deep lull of the wind, the aged attendant said, without hurry or agitation, but with something of a solemn tone, That is the sound of wheels. I hear the chaise. Mr. H-1 will be here directly.' The road ran, for some distance, by a course pretty nearly equidistant from the house, so that the groaning of the wheels continued to catch the ear, as it swelled upon the wind, for some time without much alteration. At length a right-angled turn brought the road continually and rapidly nearer to the gates of the grounds, which had purposely been thrown open. At this point, however, a long career of raving arose; all other sounds were lost; and, for some time, I began to think we had been mistaken, when suddenly the loud trampling of horses' feet, as they whirled up the sweep below the windows, followed by a peal long and loud upon the bell, announced, beyond question, the summons for my departure. The door being thrown open, steps were heard
loud and fast; and in the next moment, ushered by a servant, stalked forward, booted and fully equipped, my travelling companion if such a word can at all express
the relation between the arrogant young blood, just fresh from assuming the toga virilis, and a modest child of profound sensibilities, but shy and reserved beyond even English reserve. The aged servant, with apparently constrained civility, presented my mother's compliments to him, with a request that he would take breakfast. This he hastily and rather peremptorily declined. Me, however, he condescended to notice with an approving nod, slightly inquiring if I were the young gentleman who shared his post-chaise. But, without allowing time for an answer, and striking his boot impatiently with a ridingwhip, he hoped I was ready. Not until he has gone up to my mistress,' replied my old protector, in a tone of some asperity. Thither I ascended. What counsels and directions I might happen to receive at the maternal toilet, naturally I have forgotten. The most memorable circumstance to me was, that I, who had never till that time possessed the least or most contemptible coin, received, in a net-work purse, five glittering guineas, with instructions. to put three immediately into Mr. H-ll's hands, and the rest when he should call for them.
The rest of my mother's counsels, if deep, were not long; she, who had always something of a Roman firmness, shed more milk of roses, I believe, upon my cheeks than tears; and why not? What should there be to her corresponding to an ignorant child's sense of pathos, in a little journey of about a hundred miles? Outside her door, however, there awaited me some silly creatures, women of course, old and young, from the nursery and the kitchen, who gave and who received those fervent kisses, which wait only upon love without awe and with
out disguise. Heavens! what rosaries might be strung for the memory of sweet female kisses, given without check or art, before one is of an age to value them! And again, how sweet is the touch of female hands as they array one for a journey! If anything needs fastening, whether by pinning, tying, or any other contrivance, how perfect is one's confidence in female skill; as if by mere virtue of her sex and feminine instinct, a woman could not possibly fail to know the best and readiest way of adjusting every case that could arise in dress. Mine was hastily completed amongst them; each had a pin to draw from her bosom, in order to put something to rights about my throat or hands; and a chorus of God bless hims' was arising, when, from below, young Mephistopheles murmured an impatient groan, and perhaps the horses snorted. I found myself lifted into the chaise: counsels about the night and the cold, flowing in upon me, to which Mephistopheles listened with derision or astonishment. I and he had each our separate corner; and, except to request that I would draw up one of the glasses, I do not think he condescended to address one word to me until dusk, when we found ourselves rattling into Chesterfield, having barely accomplished four stages, or forty or forty-two miles, in about nine hours. This, except on the Bath or great north roads, may be taken as a standard amount of performance, in 1794, (the year I am recording,) and even ten years later. In these present hurrying and tumultuous days, whether time is really of more value, I cannot say; but all people on the establishment of inns are required to suppose it of the most awful value. Now-a-days, no sooner have the horses stopped at the gateway of a posting-house, than a summons is passed down to the stables; and in less than one minute, upon a great road, the horses next in rotation, always ready