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" THE RELEASE."
ENGRAVED BY E. HACKER, FROM A PAINTING BY R, ANSDELL.
As through the rooms I fight my way
To where I see the crowd increase,
And find the Order of Release."
How aptly named that pencill’d lay!
How true the record on it shown !
And Nature claims him for her own.
Released from that dry line and rule
That mocked the power it served so ill ;
Art's highest aim is Nature still,
“ Nature will speak as Nature feels"
Poor Bloomfield fondly writes the “saw”.
So Landseer lays us down the law.
And act the part he never knew :
To take of him their motley hue.
How vainly here Pretence essays !
As he alone can sing her praise.
So ably to the eye conveyed !
And Art too gladly lent her aid.
The varied fortune of the day,
Of " where she dropped,” and “how she lay.”
My friend Green and I were at school together—no matter how many years ago ; and I still entertain a vivid recollection of the smothered merriment which was wont to convulse the class, when our blushing fellow-disciple construed the appropriate lines
“Ingenui vultus puer, ingenuique pudoris." Verily, the rest of the gang were not much encumbered with aught resembling modesty or diffidence. And if the immoveable countenances, with which we deemed it necessary to substantiate our many perversions of truth, entitled us to the epithet “brazen-faced,” the penalties too surely exacted on discovery made us wish that lacquering of metal equally distributed over the rest of our persons : in short, we would have found infinite advantage in being copper-fastened.” Those were the old coaching days, and we were driven along the stages to learning very much as the “ Bristol Heavy” was worked through its journey : “plenty of flogging, and no time lost on the way.” The birch was then Minerva's sacred tree, and corporeal laceration the first step towards the good graces of our goddess. They tell me all that sort of thing has gone by now, and the boys of the present day do their tasks none the worse for absence of bodily fear, and a comfortable seat on their forms. How that may be, I know not; but, when I was young, we thought flogging made the scholar, just as dress made the gentleman : and precious dandies, as well as dunces, some of us afterwards turned out. Happy would it have been for Green, had he gone to school some twenty years later ; so had he often, if he “had his deserts, 'scaped whipping Poor lad! I see him now. pane
of glass has been broken in the school-room window ; and, of course, it must have smashed itself. We boys are all drawn up in line, after a fashion much affected in her Majesty's navy ; and the usher, Mr. Cringer, having called over our names, enter the dread chief himself, bent on the somewl at hopeless task of discovering the culprit,
Browna.' (that was me, I was afterwards called Dun Brown at Oxford, till my father showed a proper feeling in discharging my liabilities)
Brown, did you break the window ?”
“ Jones?” “ Brookes ?” « Tiler ?”
"No, sir ;” but poor Green, in the act of denial, blushes up to a most guilty-looking carmine.
“ Are you quite sure, sir ?" says the master, with a stern accent on the interrogation, as if any rational being could have the slightest uncertainty on such a subject.
“No, sir,” stammers the victim, blushing deeper and deeper still.
“ How dare you deny it?" thunders the master : “your looks betray you, sir, Mr. Cringer, look in that boy's face, and tell me if any one in his senses can dispute that he must be the culprit ?”
“No doubt, sir," says Mr. Cringer; as what should he say, being an usher? And Green is taken away and punished, till the colour which had suffused his cheeks pervades the greater portion of his plump and sensitive frame. And here let me put in a word for the rising generation. Nothing is so cruel as to judge a child by its looks. The little trembling urchin, perhaps, nervous and excitable at all times, betrays marks of confusion ; which the real culprit, probably a more practised and hardened offender, is careful to conceal. Terror may have all the outward appearance of guilt, and I should like to know if you, sir, would not change colour should a policeman walk into the morning-room of your club, and inform you, in the quiet businesslike tone adopted by those functionaries, that “ you were wanted” on a charge of embezzlement or perjury. It is all very well for licentious poets to represent innocence as “ the driven-snow"; but she is just as likely to be concealed beneath a muddy skin, a bilious complexion, or the scarlet Aush of surprise and apprehension. Mr. Broughton or Alderman Cubitt would hardly commit you on such prima facie evidence as a strong resemblance to the gaudy Bardolph ; and think what must be the feelings of a little child when unjustly condemned to be punished for a fault of which it knows itself to be guiltless! One of the earliest perceptions of infancy is a strong sense of right; and woe to him who perverts this heaven-born instinct in one of those little ones ! But to return to Green. Not only did this habit of blushing entail upon him continual atonement for all the unappropriated enormities com. mitted by his schoolfellows, but likewise became a theme for scoff and witticisms from the whole of that ungrateful tribe who made him their general scapegoat. If Mr. Cringer had a rose-bud in his button-hole (Cringer, we opined, was an awful swell on Sundays), some diminutive wag would ask Green whether it was a “ blush-rose"—if, in our classical efforts, the word “rubor rubores” or rubicundus, a, um,” should turn up to grace the chuste pages of Ovid or Horace, what elbowings and nudges and covert smiles would be directed at Green from those who, without assistance, could scarcely construe the one or decline the other ! and, finally, if no better opportunity should offer to get “a rise,” as we ca!led it, out of our modest friend, the simple exhortation, “ Green, don't smoke !” never failed to call up the desired suffusion, and afford food for endless merriment to the thoughtless and unfeeling throng.
One effect, however, of our schoolfellow's inconvenient weakness was to make him an object of considerable interest with the fair sex. Notwithstanding all the old proverbs and superstitions about “ faint hearts and fair ladies," and " beauty and valour," and “wooing and winning" and the rest of them, I have generally observed that the shy men have the best of it in the good graces of the other sex, who are not themselves half so much afflicted with this unaccountable complaint. At the risk of losing that reputation for gallantry which, in common with the