The main incident recorded in the following excerpta from out family papers has but too solid a foundation. The portrait of Roger Ingoldsby is not among those in the gallery, but I have some recollection of having seen, when a boy, a picture answering the description here given of him, much injured, and lying without a frame in one of the attics.
Opening the Cellar
THE WEDDING-DAY; OR, THE BUCCANEER'S CURSE: A FAMILY LEGEND.
It has a jocund sound,
That gleeful marriage chime,
As from the old and ivied tower,
It peals, at the early matin hour,
Its merry, merry round;
And the Spring is in its prime,
And the song-bird, on the spray,
Trills from his throat, in varied note,
An emulative lay --
It has a joyous sound!!
And the Vicar is there with his wig and his book,
And the Clerk with his grave, quasi-sanctified look,
And there stand the village maids all with their posies,
Their lilies, and daffy-down-dillies, and roses,
Dight in white,
A comely sight,
Fringing the path to the left and the right;
-- From our nursery days we all of us know
Ne'er doth 'Our Ladye's garden grow'
So fair for a 'Grand Horticultural Show'
As when border'd with 'pretty maids all on a row.'
And the urchins are there, escap'd from the rule
Of that 'Limbo of Infants,' the National School,
Whooping, and bawling,
And squalling, and calling,
And crawling, and creeping,
And jumping, and leaping,
Bo-peeping 'midst 'many a mouldering heap' in
Whose bosom their own 'rude forefathers' are sleeping;
-- Young rascals!-- instead of lamenting and weeping,
Laughing and gay,
A gorge deployée --
Only now and then pausing -- and checking their play,
To 'wonder what 'tis makes the gentlefolks stay,'
Ah, well a-day!
Little deem they,
Poor ignorant dears! the bells, ringing away,
Are any thing else
Than mere parish bells,
Or that each of them, should we go into its history,
Is but a 'Symbol' of some deeper mystery --
That the clappers and ropes
Are mere practical tropes
Of 'trumpets' and 'tongues,' and of 'preachers,' and popes,
Unless Clement the fourth's worthy Chaplin, Durand, err,
See the 'Rationale,' of that goosey-gander.
Gently! gently, Miss Muse!
Mind your P's and your Q's!
Don't be malapert -- laugh, Miss, but never abuse!
Calling names, whether done to attack or to back a schism,
Is, Miss, believe me, a great piece of jack-ass-ism,
And as, on the whole,
You're a good-natured soul,
You must never enact such a pitiful rôle.
No, no, Miss, pull up, and go back to your boys
In the churchyard, who're making this hubbub and noise --
But hush! there's an end to their romping and mumming,
For voices are heard -- here's the company coming!
And see!-- the avenue gates unfold,
And forth they pace, that bridal train,
The grave, the gay, the young, the old,
They cross the green and grassy lane,
Bridesman, Bridesmaid, Bridegroom, Bride,
Two by two, and side by side,
Uncles, and aunts, friends tried and prov'd,
And cousins, a great many times removed.
A fairer or a gentler she,
A lovelier maid, in her degree,
Man's eye might never hope to see,
Than darling, bonnie Maud Ingoldsby,
The flow'r of that goodly company;
While whispering low, with bated voice,
Close by her side, her heart's dear choice,
Walks Fredville's hope, young Valentine Boys.
-- But where, oh where,--
Is Ingoldsby's heir?
Little Jack Ingoldsby?-- where, oh where?
Why he's here,-- and he's there,
And he's every where --
He's there, and he's here;
In the front -- in the rear,--
Now this side, now that side,-- now far, and now near --
The Puck of the party, the darling 'pet' boy,
Full of mischief, and fun, and good humour and joy;
With his laughing blue eye, and his cheek like a rose,
And his long curly locks, and his little snub nose;
In his tunic, and trousers, and cap -- there he goes!
Now pinching the bridesmen,-- now teazing his sister,
And telling the bridesmaids how 'Valentine kiss'd her;'
The torment, the plague, the delight of them all,
See he's into the churchyard!-- he's over the wall --
Gambolling, frolicking, capering away,
He's the first in the church, be the second who may!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
'Tis o'er;-- the holy rite is done,
The rite that 'incorporates two in one,'
-- And now for the feasting, and frolic, and fun!
Spare we to tell of the smiling and sighing,
The shaking of hands, the embracing, and crying,
The 'toot -- toot -- toot'
Of the tabour and flute,
Of the white wigg'd Vicar's prolonged salute,
Or of how the blithe 'College Youths,'-- rather old stagers
Accustom'd, for years, to pull bell ropes for wagers --
Rang, faster than ever, their 'triple-bob-majors;'
(So loud as to charm ye,
At once and alarm ye;
--'Symbolic,' of course, of that rank in the army.)
Spare we to tell of the fees and the dues
To the 'little old woman that open'd the pews,'
Of the largesse bestow'd on the Sexton and Clerk,
Of the four-year-old sheep roasted whole in the park,
Of the laughing and joking,
The quaffing and smoking.
And chaffing, and broaching -- that is to say, poking
A hole in a mighty magnificent tub
Of what men, in our hemisphere, term 'Humming Bub.'
But which gods,-- who, it seems, use a different lingo
From mortals,-- are wont to denominate 'Stingo.'
Spare we to tell of the horse-collar grinning;
The cheese! the reward of the ugly one winning;--
Of the young ladies racing for Dutch body-linen,--
-- The soapy-tailed sow,-- a rich prize when you've caught her,--
Of little boys bobbing for pippins in water;
The smacks and the whacks,
And the jumpers in sacks,
These down on their noses and those on their backs;--
Nor skills it to speak of those darling old ditties,
Sung rarely in hamlets now -- never in cities,
The 'King and the Miller,' the 'Bold Robin Hood,'
'Chevy Chase,' 'Gilderoy,' and the 'Babes in the Wood!'
-- You'll say that my taste
Is sadly misplaced,
But I can't help confessing these simple old tunes
The 'Auld Robin Grays,' and the 'Aileen Aroons,'
The 'Gramachree Mollys' and the 'Sweet Bonny Doons'
Are dearer to me,
In a tenfold degree,
Than a fine fantasia from over the sea;
And, for sweetness, compared with a Beethoven fugue, are
As 'best-refined loaf,' to the coarsest 'brown sugar;' <1>
-- Alack, for the Bard's want of science! to which he owes
All this misliking of foreign capricios!--
Not that he'd say
One word, by the way,
To disparage our new Idol, Monsieur Duprez --
But he grudges, he owns, his departed half guinea
Each Saturday night when devoured by chagrin, he
Sits listening to singers whose names end in ini.
But enough of the rustics -- let's leave them pursuing
Their out-of-door gambols, and just take a view in
The inside the hall, and see what they are doing;
And first there's the Squire,
The hale, hearty sire
Of the bride,-- with his coat-tails subducted and higher,
A thought, than they're commonly wont to aspire;
His back and his buckskins exposed to the fire;--
-- Bright, bright are his buttons,-- and bright is the hue
Of his squarely-cut coat of fine Saxony blue;
And bright the shalloon of his little quilled queue;
-- White, white as 'Young England's,' the dimity vest
Which descends like an avalanche o'er his broad breast,
Till its further progression is put in arrest
By the portly projection that springs from his chest,
Overhanging the garment -- that can't be exprest;
-- White, white are his locks,-- which, had Nature fair play,
Had appeared a clear brown, slightly sprinkled with grey,
But they're white as the peaks of Plinlimmon to-day,
Or Ben Nevis, his pate is si bien poudré!
Bright, bright are the boots that envelope his heels,
-- Bright, bright is the gold chain suspending his seals,
And still brighter yet may the gazer descry
The tear-drop that spangles the fond father's eye
As it lights on the bride --
His belov'd one -- the pride
And delight of his heart,-- sever'd now from his side;--
But brighter than all,
Arresting its fall,
Is the smile, that rebukes it for spangling at all,
-- A clear case, in short, of what old poets tell, as
Blind Homer for instance, έν δάκρυσι γελάσ. [En dakresi gelas]
Then, there are the Bride and the Bridegroom, withdrawn
To the deep Gothic window that looks on the lawn,
Ensconced on a squab of maroon-coloured leather,
And talking -- and thinking, no doubt -- of the weather.
But here comes the party -- Room! room for the guests!
In their Pompadour coats, and laced ruffles, and vests,
-- First, Sir Charles Grandison
Baronet, and his son,
Charles,-- the mamma does not venture to 'show'--
-- Miss Byron, you know,
She was call'd long ago --
For that lady, 'twas said, had been playing the d--l,
Last season, in town, with her old beau, Squire Greville,
Which very much shock'd, and chagrin'd, as may well be
Supposed, 'Doctor Bartlett,' and 'Good Uncle Selby.'
-- Sir Charles, of course, could not give Greville his gruel, in
Order to prove his abhorrence of duelling,
Nor try for, deterr'd by the serious expense, a
Complete separation, a thoro et mensâ,
So he 'kept a calm sough,' and, when asked to a party,
A dance, or a dinner, or tea and ecarté,
He went with his son, and said, looking demurely,
He'd 'left her at home, as she found herself poorly.'
Two Foreigners near,
'Of distinction,' appear;
A pair more illustrious you ne'er heard of, or saw,
Count Ferdinand Fathom,-- Count Thaddeus of Warsaw,
All cover'd with glitt'ring bijouterie and hair -- Poles,
Whom Lord Dudley Stuart calls 'Patriot,'-- Hook 'Bare Poles;'
Such rings, and such brooches, such studs, and such pins!
'Twere hard to say which
Were more gorgeous and rich,
Or more truly Mosaic, their chains on their chins!
Next Sir Roger de Coverley,-- Mr. Will Ramble,
With Dame Lismahago, (née Tabitha Bramble),--
Mr. Random and Spouse,-- Mrs. Pamela Booby,
(Whose nose was acquiring a tinge of the ruby,
And 'people did say'-- but no matter for that,. . .
Folks were not then enlighten'd by good Father Mat.) --
-- Three friends from 'the Colonies' near them were seen,
The great Massachussetts man, General Muff Green,--
Mr. Jonathan W.Doubikins,-- men
'Influential some,'-- and their 'smart' Uncle Ben;--
Rev. Abraham Adams (preferr'd to a stall),--
-- Mr. Jones and his Lady, from Allworthy Hall;
-- Our friend Tom, by the way,
Had turn'd out rather gay
For a married man -- certainly 'people did say.'
He was shrewdly suspected of using his wife ill,
And being as sly as his half-brother Blifil.--
(Miss Seagrim, 'tis well known, was now in high feather,
And 'people did say,' they'd been seen out together,--
A fact, the 'Boy Jones,' who, in our days, with malice
Aforethought, so often got into the Palace,
Would seem to confirm, as, 'tis whispered he owns, he's
The son of a natural son of Tom Jones's.)
Lady Bellaston, (mem. she had not been invited!),
Sir Peregrine Pickle, now recently knighted,--
All joyous, all happy, all looking delighted!
-- It would bore you to death should I pause to describe,
Or enumerate, half of the elegant tribe
Who filled the back ground,
And among whom were found
The elîte of the old county families round,
Such as Honeywood, Oxenden, Knatchbull, and Norton,
Matthew Robinson, <2> too, with his beard, from Monk's Horton,
The Faggs, and Finch-Hattons, Tokes, Derings, and Deedess,
And Fairfax, (who then called the castle of Leeds his;)
Esquires, Knights, and Lords,
In bag-wigs and swords;
And the troops, and the groups
Of fine Ladies in hoops;
The pompoons, the Toupées, and the diamonds and feathers
The flowered-silk sacques
Which they wore on their backs,--
-- How?-- sacques and pompoons, with the Squire's boots and leathers?--
Stay! stay!-- I suspect,
Here's a trifling neglect
On your part, Madame Muse -- though you're commonly accurate,
As to costume, as brown Quaker, or black Curate,
For once, I confess,
Here you're out as to dress;--
You've been fairly caught napping, which gives me distress,
For I can't but acknowledge it is not the thing,
Sir Roger de Coverley's laced suit to bring
Into contact with square-cut coats,-- such as George Byng,
And poor dear Sir Francis appeared in, last spring.--
So, having for once been compelled to acknowledge, I
've made a small hole in our mutual chronology,
Canter on, Miss, without farther apology,--
Only don't make
Such another mistake,
Or you'll get in a scrape, of which I shall partake;--
Enough!-- you are sorry for what you have done,
So dry your eyes, Miss, blow your nose, and go on!
Well -- the party are met, all radiant and gay,
And how every person is dress'd -- we won't say;
Suffice it, they all come glad homage to pay
To our dear 'bonnie Maud,' on her own wedding-day,
To dance at her bridal, and help 'throw the stocking,'
-- A practice that's now discontinued as shocking.
There's a breakfast, they know --
There always is so
On occasions like these, wheresoever you go.
Of course there are 'lots' of beef, potted and hung,
Prawns, lobsters, cold fowl, and cold ham, and cold tongue,
Hot tea, and hot coffee, hot rolls, and hot toast,
Cold pigeon-pie (rook?), and cold boil'd and cold roast,
Scotch marmalade, jellies, cold creams, colder ices --
Blancmange, which young ladies say, so very nice is,--
Rock-melons in thick, pines in much thinner slices,--
Char, potted with clarified butter and spices,
Renewing an appetite long past its crisis --
Refined barley-sugar, in various devices.
Such as bridges, and baskets, and temples, and grottos --
And nasty French lucifer snappers with mottoes.
-- In short, all those gimcracks together were met
Which people of fashion tell Gunter to get
When they give a grand dejeuner à la fourchette --
(A phrase which, though French, in our language still lingers,
Intending a breakfast with forks and not fingers.)
And see! what a mountainous bridecake!-- a thing
By itself -- with small pieces to pass through the ring!
Now as to the wines!--'Ay, the wine!' cries the Squire,
Letting fall both his coat-tails,-- which nearly take fire,--
Rubbing his hands,
He calls out, as he stands,
To the serving-men waiting 'his Honour's' commands,
'The wine!-- to be sure -- here you Harry -- Bob -- Dick --
The wine, don't you hear?-- bring us lights -- come, be quick!--
And a crow-bar to knock down the mortar and brick --
Say what they may
'Fore George, we'll make way
Into old Roger Ingoldsby's cellar to-day;
And let loose his captives, imprison'd so long,
His flasks, and his casks, that he bricked up so strong!'--
--' Oh dear! oh dear! Squire Ingoldsby, bethink you what you do!'
Exclaims old Mrs. Botherby, <3> -- she is in such a stew!--
'Oh dear! oh dear! what do I hear?-- full oft you've heard me tell
Of the curse 'Will Roger' left upon whoe'er should break his cell!
'Full five-and-twenty years are gone since Roger went away,
As I bethink me, too, it was upon this very day!
And I was then a comely dame, and you, a springald gay,
Were up and down to London town, at opera, ball, and play;
Your locks were nut-brown then, Squire -- you grow a little grey!--
''Wild Roger,' so we call'd him then, your grandsire's youngest son,
He was in truth,
A wayward youth,
We fear'd him, every one,
In ev'ry thing he had his will, he would be stayed by none,
And when he did a naughty thing, he laugh'd and call'd it fun!
-- One day his father child him sore -- I know not what he'd done,
But he scorn'd reproof;
And from this roof
Away that night he run!
'Seven years were gone and over --' Wild Roger' came again,
He spoke of forays and of frays upon the Spanish Main;
And he had store of gold galore, and silks, and satins fine,
And flasks, and casks of Malvoisie, and precious Gascon wine!
Rich booties he had brought, he said, across the western wave,
And came, in penitence and shame, now of his sire to crave,
Forgiveness and a welcome home -- his sire was in his grave!
'Your Father was a kindly man -- he played a brother's part,
He press'd his brother to his breast -- he had a kindly heart,
Fain would he have him tarry here, their common hearth to share,
But Roger was the same man still,-- he scorn'd his brother's pray'r!
He call'd his crew,-- away he flew, and on those foreign shores
Got kill'd in some outlandish place -- they call it the Eyesores; <4>
'Oh! then it was a fearful thing to hear 'Wild Roger's ban!
Good gracious me! I never heard the like from mortal man;
'Here's that,' quoth he, 'shall serve me well, when I return at last,
A batter'd hulk, to quaff and laugh at toils and dangers past;
Accurst be he, whoe'er he be, lays hand on gear of mine,
Till I come back again from sea, to broach my Gascon wine!'
And more he said, which filled with dread all those who listen'd there;
In sooth my very blood ran cold, it lifted up my hair
With very fear, to stand and hear 'Wild Roger' curse and swear!!
He saw my fright, as well he might, but still he made his game,
He called me 'Mother Bounce-about,' my Gracious, what a name!
Nay, more 'an old'-- some 'boat-woman,'-- I may not say for shame!--
Then, gentle Master, pause awhile, give heed to what I tell,
Nor break, on such a day as this, 'Wild Roger's' secret cell!'
'Pooh! pooh!' quoth the Squire,
As he mov'd from the fire,
And bade the old Housekeeper quickly retire,
'Pooh!-- never tell me!
Nonsense -- fiddle-de-dee!
What?-- wait Uncle Roger's return back from sea?--
Why he may, as you say,
Have been somewhat too gay,
And, no doubt, was a broth of a boy in his way;
But what's that to us, now, at this time of day?--
What, if some quarrel
With Dering or Darrell --
-- I hardly know which, but I think it was Dering,--
Sent him back in a huff to his old privateering,
Or what his unfriends chose to call Buccaneering,
It's twenty years since, as we very well know,
He was knock'd on the head in a skirmish, and so
Why rake up 'auld warld' tales of deeds long ago?--
-- Foul befall him who would touch the deposit
Of living man, whether in cellar or closet!
But since, as I've said,
Knock'd on the head,
Uncle Roger has now been some twenty years dead,
As for his wine,
I'm his heir, and it's mine!
And I'd long ago work'd it well, but that I tarried
For this very day --
And I'm sure you'll all say
I was right -- when my own darling Maud should get married!
So lights and a crow-bar!-- the only thing lies
On my conscience, at all, with respect to this prize,
Is some little compunction anent the Excise --
Come -- you, Master Jack,
Be the first, and bring back
Whate'er comes to hand -- Claret, Burgundy, Sack --
Head the party, and mind that you're back in a crack!'
Away go the clan,
With cup and with can,
Little Jack Ingoldsby leading the van;
Little reck they of the Buccaneer's ban,
Hope whispers, 'Perchance we'll fall in with strong beer too here!'
Blest thought! which sets them all grinning from ear to ear!
Through cellar one, through cellars two,
Through cellars three they past!
And their way they took
To the farthest nook
Of cellar four -- the last!--
Blithe and gay, they batter away,
On this wedding-day of Maud's,
With all their might, to bring to light,
'Wild Roger's' 'Custom-house frauds!'
And though stone and brick
Be never so thick,
When stoutly assailed, they are no bar
To the powerful charm
Of a Yeoman's arm
When wielding a decentish crow-bar!
Down comes brick, and down comes stone,
One by one --
The job's half done!--
'Where is he?-- now come -- where's Master John?'--
-- There's a breach in the wall three feet by two,
And Little Jack Ingoldsby soon pops through!
Hark!-- what sound's that?-- a sob?-- a sigh?--
The choking gasp of a stifled cry?--
'-- What can it be?--
Let's see!-- let's see!
It can't be little Jack Ingoldsby?
The candle -- quick!'--
Through stone and through brick,
They poke in the light on a long split stick;
But ere he who holds it can wave it about,
He gasps, and he sneezes -- THE LIGHT GOES OUT!
Yet were there those, in after days,
Who said that pale light's flickering blaze,
For a moment, gleam'd on a dark Form there,
Seem'd as bodied of foul black air!--
-- In Mariner's dress,-- with cutlass braced
By buckle and broad black belt, to its waist,--
-- On a cock'd-hat, laced
With gold, and placed
With a degagée, devil-may-care, kind of taste,
O'er a balafré brow by a scar defaced!--
That Form, they said, so foul and so black
Grinn'd as it pointed at poor little Jack.--
-- I know not, I, how the truth may be,
But the pent up vapour, at length set free,
Set them all sneezing,
And coughing, and wheezing,
As, working its way
To the regions of day,
It, at last, let a purer and healthier breeze in!
Of their senses bereft,
To the right and the left,
Those varlets so lately courageous and stout,
There they lay kicking and sprawling about,
Like Billingsgate fresh fish, unconscious of ice,
Or those which, the newspapers give us advice,
Mr. Taylor, of Lombard-street, sells at half-price!
-- Nearer the door, some half dozen, or more!
To the rez de chaussée,
(As our Frenchified friend always calls his ground-floor,)
And they call, and they bawl, and they bellow and roar
For lights, vinegar, brandy, and fifty things more.
At length, after no little clamour and din,
The foul air let out and the fresh air let in,
They drag one and all
Up into the hall,
Where a medical Quaker, the great Dr. Lettsom,
Who's one of the party, 'bleeds, physicks, and sweats 'em.'
All?-- all -- save One --
--' But He!-- my Son?--
Merciful Heaven!-- where -- WHERE IS JOHN?'
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Within that cell, so dark and deep,
Lies One, as in a tranquil sleep,
A sight to make the sternest weep!--
-- That little heart is pulseless now,
And cold that fair and open brow,
And closed that eye that beam'd with joy
And hope --' Oh, God! my Boy!-- my Boy!'
Enough!-- I may not,-- dare not,-- show
The wretched Father's frantic woe,
The Mother's tearless, speechless -- No!
I may not such a theme essay --
Too bitter thoughts crowd in and stay
My pen -- sad memory will have way!
Enough!-- at once I close the lay,
Of fair Maud's fatal Wedding-day!
It has a mournful sound,
That single, solemn Bell!
As to the hills and woods around,
It flings its deep-toned knell;
That measured toll!-- alone -- apart,
It strikes upon the human heart!
-- It has a mournful sound!--
Come, come, Mrs. Muse, we can't part in this way,
Or you'll leave me as dull as ditch-water all day.
Try and squeeze out a Moral or two from your lay!
And let us part cheerful, at least, if not gay!
First and foremost then, Gentlefolks, learn from my song,
Not to lock up your wine, or malt-liquor, too long!
Though Port should have age,
Yet I don't think it sage
To entomb it, as some of your connoisseurs do,
Till it's losing in flavour, and body, and hue;
-- I question if keeping it does it much good
After ten years in bottle and three in the wood.
If any young man, though a snubb'd younger brother,
When told of his faults by his father and mother,
Runs restive, and goes off to sea in a huff,
Depend on't, my friends, that young man is a Muff!
Next -- ill-gotten gains
Are not worth the pains!--
They prosper with no one!-- so whether cheroots,
Or Havanna cigars,-- or French gloves, or French boots,--
Whatever you want, pay the duty!-- nor when you
Buy any such articles, cheat the revenue!
And 'now to conclude,'--
For it's high time I should,--
When you do rejoice, mind,-- whatsoever you do,
That the hearts of the lowly rejoice with you too!--
Don't grudge them their jigs,
And their frolics and 'rigs,'
And don't interfere with their soapy-tail'd pigs;
Nor 'because thou art virtuous,' rail, and exhale,
An anathema, breathing of vengeance and wail,
Upon every complexion less pale than sea-kail!
Nor dismiss the poor man to his pump and his pail,
With 'Drink there!-- we'll have henceforth no more cakes and ale!!
1. Ad Amicum, Servientem ad legem --
This rhyme, if, when scann'd by your critical ear, it
Is not quite legitimate, comes pretty near it.-- T.I. Back.
2. A worthy and eccentric country gentleman, afterwards the second Lord Rokeby, being cousin ('a great many times removed') and successor in the barony to Richard, Archbishop of Armagh, who first bore that title.-- His beard was truly Patriarchal.-- Mr. Muntz's -- pooh!-- Back.
3. Great grandmamma, by the father's side, to the excellent lady of the same name who yet 'keeps the keys' at Tappington. Back.
4. Azores?-- Mrs. Botherby's orthography, like that of her distinguished contemporary Baron Duberly, was 'a little loose.' Back.