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IN the winter of last year, a tall pale author-like young gentleman took up his abode at the Nanny-goat and Ninepins, which is kept by my friend Mr. Zachary Odzooks, Publican of Llanwrda, South Wales. As he was exceedingly reserved, save when inspirited by an occasional evening compotation, I was enabled to glean but little satisfactory enlightenment on the subject of his birth, parentage, and education. One thing indeed somewhat assisted mine inquisitiveness, for inasmuch as he was given to rambling about the neighbourhood, and making divers enquiries touching the legends and domestic histories thereof, I opined that he must needs be a poet. But here again I was baffled, for on mentioning the circumstance to mine Inn-keeper, he informed me with tears in his eyes, that he had never known but one poet, who (tell it not in Gath) ran away from his domicile considerably in arrears, leaving only a threadbare coat as payment thereof. The stranger
then was evidently nothing of the sort, inasmuch as he was clad in comely garments and regularly discharged his reckonings; albeit they fructified with alarming foecundity.
As I am myself somewhat erudite by reason of being school-master of Llanwrda, (where I beg leave to say that I perfect boys* in book-keeping, arithmetic, and all polite accomplishments, on the consideration of one guinea per quarter, and one month's notice previous to the removal of any young gentleman,) I can take upon myself to asseverate that the stranger was learned, inasmuch as he knew how to conjugate verbs neuter and transitive, and had much to say touching the faculty or art of parsing. These, it is well known, are important points, and many an astute disputation have we held at the Nanny-goat and Nine-pins, where Mr. Zachary
* Vide my cards or certificates of tuition, which are left for approbation at the Red-lion, Llangadock; the Wood-cock and Walnut-shell, Talley; and at mine own Seminary at Llanwrda, three doors off the church-yard. I beg leave to add that the most repectable references can be given, and that the entrance money is five shillings.-N.B. Each young gentleman is expected to bring a knife and fork, and at least two shirts. No vacations allowed.
Odzooks was always the first to be edified and convinced. Of this edification however I am somewhat dubious, and for these manifest reasons. Primo (which means in the vernacular, firstly,) that our landlord was never enlightened until he had exceeded a little in his compotations; and secundo (secondly,) that he was never convinced until he had nothing more left to say or to drink upon the occasion. But I pass over these nugatory reminiscences to enter upon matter less germane to mine introduction.
When the stranger and myself had spent a few evenings together, we became gradually more sociable, and it is beautiful to reflect upon the way in which our acquaintance ripened into an unreserved intimacy. In the course of one of our most erudite confabulations, I first discovered that he was (horresco referens) an author. I discovered also that he had been making the tour of Wales, after having completed an excursion through England for the purpose of inditing an account of its scattered legends, tales and verses. That he bad moreover obtained a few poetical contributions from similarly-gifted young gentlemen, whom he had encountered in his travels; all of which it was his intention to manufacture into one miscellaneous volume, to be entitled "The Album."