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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, Issue 275, September 29, 1827
Release Date: March 1, 2004 [eBook #11384]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 10, ISSUE 275, SEPTEMBER 29, 1827***
|VOL. X, NO. 275.]||SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1827.||[PRICE 2d.|
Innumerable are the instances of princes having sought to perpetuate their memories by the building of palaces, from the Domus Aurea, or golden house of Nero, to the comparatively puny structures of our own times. As specimens of modern magnificence and substantial comfort, the latter class of edifices may be admirable; but we are bound to acknowledge, that in boldness and splendour of design, they cannot assimilate to the labours of antiquity, much of whose stupendous character is to this day preserved in many series of interesting ruins:—
Whilst in the progress of the long decay,
Thrones sink to dust, and nations pass away.
As a record of this degeneracy, near the western corner of Kew Green stands the new palace, commenced for George III., under the direction of the late James Wyatt, Esq. The north front, the only part open to public inspection, possesses an air of solemn, sullen grandeur; but it very ill accords with the taste and science generally displayed by its nominal architect.
To quote the words of a contemporary, "this Anglo-Teutonic, castellated, gothized structure must be considered as an abortive production, at once illustrative of bad taste and defective judgment. From the small size of the windows and the diminutive proportion of its turrets, it would seem to possess
"'Windows that exclude the light,
And passages that lead to nothing.'"
Upon the unhappy seclusion of the royal architect, the works were suspended, and it now remains unfinished. Censure and abuse have, however, always been abundantly lavished on its architecture, whether it be the result of royal caprice or of professional study; but the taste of either party deserves to be taxed with its demerits.
The northern front was intended to be appropriated to the use of domestics; the whole building is rendered nearly indestructible by fire, by means of cast-iron joists and rafters, &c., certainly in this case an unnecessary precaution, since the whole pile is shortly to be pulled down. The foundation, too, is in a bog close to the Thames, and the principal object in its view is the dirty town of Brentford, on the opposite side of the river; a selection, [pg 210] it would seem, of family taste, for George II. is known to have often said, when riding through Brentford, "I do like this place, it's so like Yarmany."
A modern tourist, in "A Morning's Walk from London to Kew," characterizes the new palace as "the Bastile palace, from its resemblance to that building, so obnoxious to freedom and freemen. On a former occasion," says he, "I have viewed its interior, and I am at a loss to conceive the motive for preferring an external form, which rendered it impracticable to construct within it more than a series of large closets, boudoirs, and rooms like oratories." The latter part of this censure is judiciously correct; but the epithet "bastile" is perhaps too harsh for some ears.
The old palace at Kew formerly belonged to the Capel family, and by marriage became the property of Samuel Molyneux, Esq., secretary to George II. when prince of Wales. The late Frederic, prince of Wales, took a long lease of the house, which he made his frequent residence; and here, too, occasionally resided his favourite poet, James Thomson, author of "The Seasons." It is now held by his majesty on the same tenure. The house contains some good pictures, among which is a set of Canaletti's works; the celebrated picture of the Florence gallery, by Zoffany, (who resided in the neighbourhood,) was removed several years since. The pleasure-grounds, which contain 120 acres, were laid out by Sir William Chambers, one of the greatest masters of ornamental English gardening. Altogether they form a most delightful suburban retreat, and we hope to take an early opportunity of noticing them more in detail.
The old mansion opposite the palace was taken on a long lease by Queen Caroline of the descendants of Sir Richard Lovett, and has been inhabited by different branches of the royal family: and here his present majesty was educated, under the superintendance of the late Dr. Markham, archbishop of York. This house was bought, in 1761, for the late Queen Charlotte, who died here November 17, 1818.
Apart from these courtly attractions, Kew is one of the most interesting of the villages near London. On Kew Green once stood a house, the favourite retirement of Sir Peter Lely. In the church and cemetery, too, are interred Meyer, the celebrated miniature-painter, Gainsborough, and Zoffany. Their tombs are simple and unostentatious; but other and more splendid memorials are left to record their genius.
The premature fate of Kew Palace renders it at this moment an object of public curiosity; while the annexed engraving may serve to identify its site, when posterity
"Asks where the fabric stood."
There is a charm in wedded bliss.
That leaves each rapture cold to this;
There is a soft endearing spell,
That language can but faintly tell.
'Tis not the figure, form, nor face,
'Tis not the manner, air, nor grace,
'Tis not the smile nor sparkling eye,
'Tis not the winning look nor sigh.
There is a charm surpassing these,
A pleasing spell-like pleasure's breeze!
A joy that centres in the heart,
And doth its balmy sweets impart!
'Tis not the lure of beauty's power,
The skin-deep magnet of an hour;
It is—affection's mutual glow,
That does the nuptial charm bestow!
In No. 273 of the Mirror, P.T.W. has noticed the Cartoons of Raphael; and I therefore solicit the reader's attention to the subjoined remarks on that master's unsurpassed genius.
Raphael Sanzio d'Urbino was the pupil of Pietro Perugino, but afterwards studied the works of Leonardo di Vinci and Michael Angelo. He excelled every modern painter, and was thought to equal the ancients; though he did not design naked figures with so much knowledge as Michael Angelo, who was more eminently skilled in anatomy; neither did he paint in so graceful a style as the Venetians; but he had a much more happy manner of disposing and choosing his subjects than any other artist who has lived since his time. His admirable choice of attitudes, ornaments, draperies, and expression, can surely never be equalled by the most successful aspirant in the fine arts. He has an undisputed title to the prince of painters; for, notwithstanding his premature death, he produced the most enchanting representations of the sublime and beautiful. A painter will ever derive much benefit from the study of all Raphael's pictures; especially from the Martyrdom of Saint Felicitas; the Transfiguration; Joseph explaining Pharaoh's Dream; and the [pg 211] School of Athens. Among the wonders of art with which the School of Athens abounds, we may select that of four youths attending to a sage mathematician, who is demonstrating some theorem. One of the boys is listening with profound reverence to the reasoning of his master; another discovers a greater quickness of apprehension; while the third is endeavouring to explain it to the last, who stands with a gaping countenance, utterly unable to comprehend the learned man's discourse. Expression, which was Raphael's chief excellence, and in which no other master has well succeeded, may be seen in the above picture to perfection. Besides his grand historical works, he executed portraits in a good style; and was also an admirable architect. In person, he was handsome, and remarkably well made, his manners being polite and unaffected. He never refused to impart to others what he knew himself; by which conduct he became esteemed in private, as much as he was adored in public.
This master's grand works are principally at Rome, in the Vatican; in the palace, Florence; Versailles; and the Palais Royal, France; the king's collection, Naples; and in the apartments at Hampton Court Palace. His best scholars were Julio Romano, Polydore, Giovanni d'Udine, and Gaudenzio, to all of whom he communicated the grand arcana of his wonderful art.
Letter from the Princess, afterwards Queen, Elizabeth, to her sister, Queen Mary, on her being ordered to the Tower, in consequence of a suspicion that she was connected with Wyat's rebellion:—
"If any ever did try this old saynge, that a kinge's worde was more than another man's othe, I most humbly beseche your majesty to verefie it in me, and to remember your last promis and my last demande, that I be not condemned without answer and due profe: wiche it semes that now I am, for that without cause provid I am by your counsel frome you commanded to go unto the Tower; a place more wonted for a false traitor, than a tru subject. Wiche thogth I knowe I deserve it not, yet in the face of al this realme aperes that it is provid; wiche I pray God, I may dy the shamefullist dethe that ever any died, afore I may mene any suche thinge: and to this present hower I protest afor God (who shal juge my trueth whatsoever malice shal devis) that I never practised, consiled, nor consentid to any thinge that might be prejudicial to your parson any way, or daungerous to the State by any mene. And therefor I humbly beseche your Majestie to let me answer afore your selfe, and not suffer me to trust to your counselors; yea and that afore I go to the Tower, if it be possible; if not, afore I be further condemned. Howbeit, I trust assuredly, your Highnes to wyl give me leve to do it afor I go; for that thus shamfully I may not be cried out on, as now I shalbe; yea and without cause. Let consciens move your Highnes take some bettar way with me, than to make me be condemned in al mens sigth, afor my desert knowen. Also I most humbly beseche your Highnes to pardon this my boldnes, wiche innocency procures me to do, togither with hope of your natural kindnes; wiche I trust wyl not se me cast away without desert: wiche what it is, I wold desier no more of God, but that you truly knewe. Wiche thinge I thinke and beleve you shal never by report knowe, unless by your selfe you hire. I have harde in my time of many cast away, for want of comminge to the presence of ther Prince: and in late days I harde my Lorde of Sommerset say, that if his brother had bine sufferd to speke with him, he had never sufferd: but the perswasions wer made to him so gret, that he was brogth in belefe that he coulde not live safely if the Admiral lived; and that made him give his consent to his dethe. Thogth thes parsons ar not to be compared to your majestie, yet I pray God, as ivel perswations perswade not one sistar again the other; and al for that the have harde false report, and not harkene to the trueth knowin. Therefor ons again, kniling with humblenes of my hart, bicause I am not sufferd to bow the knees of my body, I humby crave to speke with your higthnis; wiche I wolde not be so bold to desier, if I knewe my selfe most clere as I knowe myselfe most tru. And as for the traitor Wiat, he migth paraventur writ me a lettar; but, on my faithe, I never receved any from him. And as for the copie of my lettar sent to the Frenche kinge, I pray God confound me eternally, if ever I sent him word, message, token, or lettar by any menes: and to this my truith I will stande in to my dethe.
Your Highnes most faithful subject that hathe bine from the beginninge, and wylbe to my ende,
I humbly crave but only one worde of answer from your selfe.
Ellis's Original Letters.
Had you but seen his pale, pale blanched cheek!
He would not eat.—O Christ!
In the summer of the year 18—, I was the only passenger on board the merchantman, Alceste, which was bound to the Brazils. One fine moonlight night, I stood on the deck, and gazed on the quiet ocean, on which the moon-beams danced. The wind was so still, that it scarcely agitated the sails, which were spread out to invite it. I looked round; it was the same on every side—a world of waters: not a single object diversified the view, or intercepted the long and steady glance which I threw over the ocean. I have heard many complain of the sameness and unvarying uniformity of the objects which oppose themselves to the eye of the voyager. I feel differently; I can gaze for hours, without weariness, on the deep, occupied with the thought it produces; I can listen to the rush of the element as the vessel cleaves it, and these things have charms for me which others cannot perceive.
I heard, on a sudden, a noise, which seemed to proceed from the captain's cabin, and I thought I could distinguish the voices of several men, speaking earnestly, though in a suppressed tone. I cautiously drew near the spot from whence the noise arose, but the alarm was given, and I could see no one. I retired to rest, or rather to lie down; for I felt that heavy and foreboding sense of evil overpower me, which comes we know not how or wherefore; and I could not sleep, knowing that there had been disputes between the captain and his men, respecting some point of discipline, and I feared to think what might be the consequences. I lay a long time disturbed with these unpleasant reflections; at last, wearied with my thoughts, my eyes closed, and I dropped to sleep. But it was not to that refreshing sleep which recruits the exhausted spirits, and by awhile "steeping the senses in forgetfulness," renders them fitter for exertion on awakening. My sleep was haunted with hideous and confused dreams, and murder and blood seemed to surround me. I was awakened by convulsive starts, and in vain sought again for quiet slumber; the same images filled my mind, diversified in a thousand horrid forms. Early in the morning, I arose, and went above, and the mild sea breeze dispelled my uneasy sensations.
During the whole of the day nothing seemed to justify the fears that had tormented me, and everything went on in its regular course. The men pursued their occupations quietly and in silence, and I thought the temporary fit of disaffection was passed over. Alas! I remembered not that the passions of men, like deep waters, are most to be suspected when they seem to glide along most smoothly. Night came on, and I retired to rest more composed than on the preceding evening. I endeavoured to convince myself that the noises I had heard were but the fancies of a disturbed imagination, and I slept soundly. Ill-timed security! About midnight I was awakened by a scuffling in the vessel. I hastened to the spot; the captain and one of his officers were fighting against a multitude of the ship's crew. In a moment after I saw the officer fall. Two fellows advanced to me, and, clapping pistols to my breast, threatened instant death, if I stirred or spoke. I gazed on the bloody spectacle; the bodies, which lay around, swimming in gore, testified that the mutineers could not have accomplished their aim with impunity. I was horror-struck; a swimming sensation came over my eyes, my limbs failed me, and I fell senseless.
When I recovered, I found myself lying on a bed. Everything was still. I listened in vain for a sound; I lay still a considerable time; at last, I arose and walked about the ship, but could see no one. I searched every part of the vessel; I visited the place of slaughter, which I had, at first, carefully avoided; I counted nine dead bodies, and the coagulated blood formed a loathsome mass around them; I shuddered to think I was desolate—the companion of death. "Good God!" said I, "and they have left me here alone!" The word sounded like a knell to me. It now occurred to me, it was necessary the bodies should be thrown overboard. I took up one of them, dragged it to the side, and plunged it into the waves; but the dash of the heavy body into the sea, reminded me more forcibly of my loneliness. The sea was so calm, I could scarcely hear it ripple by the vessel's side. One by one I committed the bodies to their watery grave. At last my horrible task was finished. My next work was to look for the ship's boats, but they were gone, as I expected. I could not bear to remain in the ship; it seemed a vast tomb for me. I resolved to make some sort of raft, and depart in it. This occupied two or three days; at length it was completed, and I succeeded in setting it afloat.
I lowered into it all the provision I could find in the ship, which was but [pg 213] little, the sailors having, as I imagined, carried off the remainder. All was ready, and I prepared to depart. I trembled at the thought of the dangers I was about to encounter. I was going to commit myself to the ocean, separated from it only by a few boards, which a wave might scatter over the surface of the waters. I might never arrive at land, or meet with any vessel to rescue me from my danger, and I should be exposed, without shelter, and almost without food. I half resolved to remain in my present situation; but a moment's reflection dispelled the idea of such a measure. I descended; I stood on my frail raft; I cut the rope by which it was fastened to the ship. I was confused to think of my situation; I could hardly believe that I had dared to enter alone on the waste of waters. I endeavoured to compose myself, but in vain. As far as I could see, nothing presented itself to my view but the vessel I had left; the sea was perfectly still, for not the least wind was stirring. I endeavoured, with two pieces of board, which supplied the place of oars, to row myself along; but the very little progress I made alarmed me. If the calm should continue, I should perish of hunger. How I longed to see the little sail I had made, agitated by the breeze! I watched it from morning to night; it was my only employment; but in vain. The weather continued the same. Two days passed over; I looked at my store of provisions; it would not, I found, last above three or four days longer, at the farthest. They were quickly passing away. I almost gave myself up for lost. I had scarcely a hope of escaping.
On the fourth day since my departure from the ship, I thought I perceived something at a distance; I looked at it intently—it was a sail. Good heavens! what were my emotions at the sight! I fastened my handkerchief on a piece of wood, and waved it, in hopes that it would be observed, and that I should be rescued from my fearful condition. The vessel pressed on its course; I shouted;—I knew they could not hear me, but despair impelled me to try so useless an expedient. It passed on—it grew dim—I stretched my eyeballs to see it—it vanished—it was gone! I will not attempt to describe the torturing feelings which possessed me, at seeing the chance of relief which had offered itself destroyed. I was stupified with grief and disappointment. My stock of provisions was now entirely exhausted, and I looked forward with horror to an excruciating death.
A little water which had remained, quenched my burning thirst. I wished that the waves would rush over me. My hunger soon became dreadful, but I had no means of relieving it. I endeavoured to sleep, that I might for awhile, forget my torments; and my wearied frame yielded for awhile to slumber. When I awoke I was not, however, refreshed; I was weak, and felt a burning pain at my stomach. I became hourly more feeble; I lay down, but was unable to rise again. My limbs lost their strength; my lips and tongue were parched; a convulsive shuddering agitated me; my eyes seemed darkened, and I gasped for breath.
The burning at my stomach now departed; I experienced no pain; but a dull torpor came over me; my hands and feet became cold; I believed I was dying, and I rejoiced at the thought. Presently I lost all thought and feeling, and lay, without sense, on a few boards, which divided me from the ocean. In this situation, as I was afterwards informed, I was taken up by a small vessel, and carried to a seaport town. I slowly recovered, and found that I alone, of all who were on board the vessel in which I had embarked, had escaped death. The crew, who had departed in the boats, after murdering the captain, had met their reward—the boats were shattered against a rock.
While the sun was setting with even more than its usual brilliancy, and leaving its path marked with streaks of gold, a bird hovered over our heads, and suddenly alighted on our taffrail: it was one of "Mother Carey's chickens," which by mariners are considered as harbingers of ill, and generally of a furious storm. At a warning of this kind I did not then feel disposed to take alarm; but there were other warnings not to be slighted—the horizon to the east presented the extraordinary appearance of a black cloud in the shape of a bow, with its convex towards the sea, and which kept its singular shape and position unchanged until nightfall. For the period too of twenty minutes after the setting of the sun, the clouds to the north-west continued of the colour of blood; but that which most attracted our observation was, to us, a remarkable phenomenon—the sea immediately around us, and, as far as the eye could discern by the light of the moon, appeared, for about forty minutes, of a perfectly milk white. We were visited [pg 214] by two more chickens of Mother Carey, both of which sought refuge, with our first visiter, on the mainmast. We sounded, but found no bottom at a hundred fathoms; a bucket of the water was then drawn up, the surface of which was apparently covered with innumerable sparks of fire—an effect said to be caused by the animalculae which abound in sea-water: it is at all times common, but the sparks are not in general so numerous, nor of such magnitude, as were those which then presented themselves. The hand too, being dipped in the water, and immediately withdrawn, thousands of them would seem to adhere to it. A dismal hollow breeze, which, as the night drew on, howled through our rigging, and infused into us all a sombre, melancholy feeling, increased by gathering clouds, and the altogether portentous state of the atmosphere and elements, ushered in the first watch, which was to be kept by Thomson.
About eight o'clock, loud claps of thunder, each in kind resembling a screech, or the blast of a trumpet, rather than the rumbling sound of thunder in Europe, burst over our heads, and were succeeded by vivid flashes of forked lightning. We now made every necessary preparation for a storm, by striking the top-gallant-masts, with their yards, close reefing the topsails and foresail, bending the storm-staysail, and battening down the main hatch, over which two tarpaulins were nailed, for the better preservation of the cargo. We observed innumerable shoals of fishes, the motions of which appeared to be more than usually vivid and redundant.
At twelve o'clock, on my taking charge of the deck, the scene bore a character widely different from that which it presented but three hours before. We now sailed under close-reefed maintopsail and foresail. The sea ran high; our bark laboured hard, and pitched desperately, and the waves lashed her sides with fury, and were evidently increasing in force and size. Over head nothing was to be seen but huge travelling clouds, called by sailors the "scud," which hurried onwards with the fleetness of the eagle in her flight. Now and then the moon, then in her second quarter, would show her disc for an instant, but be quickly obscured; or a star of "paly" light peep out, and also disappear. The well was sounded, but the vessel did not yet make more water than what might be expected in such a sea; we, however, kept the pumps going at intervals, in order to prevent the cargo from sustaining damage. The wind now increased, and the waves rose higher; about two o'clock A.M. the weather maintopsail-sheet gave way; the sail then split to ribbons, and before we could clue it up, was completely blown away from the bolt-rope. The foresail was then furled, not without great difficulty, and imminent hazard to the seamen, the storm staysail alone withstanding the mighty wind, which seemed to gain strength every half-hour, while the sea, in frightful sublimity, towered to an incredible height, frequently making a complete breach over our deck.
At four A.M. I was relieved by Thomson, who at daylight apprized me that the maintopmast was sprung, and that the gale was increasing. Scarcely had I gone on deck, when a tremendous sea struck us a little "abaft the beam," carrying every thing before it, and washing overboard hencoops, cables, water-casks, and indeed every movable article on the deck. Thomson, almost by miracle, escaped being lost; but having, in common with the lascars, taken the precaution to lash a rope round his waist, we were able, by its means, to extricate him from danger; at the same time the vessel made an appalling lurch, lying down on her beam-ends, in which position she remained for the space of two minutes, when the maintopmast, followed by the foretopmast, went by the board with a dreadful crash; she then righted, and we were all immediately engaged in going aloft, and with hatchets cutting away the wreck, each of us being lashed with a rope round the waist; ropes were also fastened across the deck, in parallel lines, to hold on by; for such was the violence of the vessel's motion, that without such assistance it would have been impossible to stand. As for my Virginia, she was in her cot, hearing all that was going forward on deck,—sensible of her danger, and a prey to the apprehension of meeting a death similar to that of her prototype, and equally dreadful.
A drizzling shower now came on, and having continued for some time, was at length succeeded by heavy rain, which having been converted into sleet, was carried in flakes swiftly along the tops of the towering mountains of sea; while the cold sensibly affected the already exhausted lascars, at once disinclining them from exertion, and incapacitating them from making any; some of them even sat down like inanimate statues, with a fixed stare, and a deathlike hue upon their countenances: the most afflicting circumstance was, their being destitute of warm clothing, which they had neglected to provide themselves with, as they ought to have done, out of the four months' advance they received in Calcutta. All that I could spare was given to Thomson; but unable to endure the sight of their misery, I [pg 215] distributed among them many articles which I could ill spare,—sheets, shirts, and blankets, except one of the latter, which I had reserved as a provision against any further extreme of suffering which might yet await us. There was one poor lascar, a simple inoffensive youth, about nineteen, who was an object of the liveliest commiseration; he was nearly naked, and in that state had been continually drenched by the sea and rain, during the whole of the day and night; he was holding his hands up to heaven in a supplicating attitude, and shaking in an aguish fit; the tears fell in torrents down his cheeks, while he uttered his plaints in loud and piercing lamentations. Unable, at last, to witness his misery any longer, I rushed down to my cabin—"Can you, Virginia, spare me this blanket without feeling the cold too much yourself?—it is to save the life of a fellow-creature."—"Yes, take it; but stay with me, or, under the horrors I feel, I shall die in this cabin, and alone. I know we must perish, and why not die together?" I entreated her to support herself with all the fortitude she could collect, urged the impossibility of my keeping her company, as every moment called for my assistance; and assuring her there was no real danger, I hurried on deck with the blanket, and wrapped the poor wretch in its folds. I thought he would have worshipped me.
It was about four o'clock, on the fifth morning, that I ventured into my cabin, to repose myself on my cot until daylight, more with the persuasion that my presence would inspire Virginia with fresh hopes, and, in consequence, better spirits, than that the storm had in the least abated, or that the peril had become less imminent. At six, Thomson, whom I had left in charge of the deck, aroused me by bawling, in a voice necessarily raised to the highest pitch, to make itself heard amidst the howling, or rather screaming of the elements—"Naufragus!" I instantly jumped up, without waiting any specific communication, and, on reaching the deck, found the pumps at work, and was informed that we had five feet water in the hold, and that the water was gaining upon us fast, notwithstanding the pumps had been kept constantly going.—"Well," said Thomson, in a low tone, not to be heard by the crew, "we'll do our best, as long as she floats, but that cannot now be much longer—it's all over with us, depend upon it!" There was no time for argument; the pumps were now the chief object of our attention; and Thomson and myself, with the secunnies, plied them incessantly, until we were ready to drop down with fatigue.
In a short time we found that the water brought up by the pumps bore a brownish colour, and, on tasting it, that it was sweet; so that it was evident we were pumping up the sugar, which being contained in baskets, was but ill protected against water. Such is the fondness for life, that on the appearance of any sudden or immediate cause of dissolution, any consideration unconnected with the paramount one of preservation, is set at naught; thus, although I was sensible that my valuable cargo was momentarily diminishing, and my property wasting away, I then felt no disposition to regret my loss, the powers of my mind, and the affections of my heart, being all engaged on higher objects.
Those lascars who could at all be brought to the pumps were in so wretched and debilitated a state, as to require constant reliefs. For one day and two nights, except a few short intervals, Thomson and myself, with the secunnies, were at the pumps: at the end of that time, our hands were blistered to such a degree, that the skin having peeled off, the raw flesh appeared; our arms, thighs, and legs were so dreadfully swelled, and our loins in such tormenting pain, as to make it impossible for us to continue the exertion, without suffering extreme agony; and nothing but the melancholy conviction that we must continue our labour, or perish, could possibly have sustained us under such hardships—hardships, however, which we had the heartfelt satisfaction to find were so far from being useless, that on perusing the sounding-rod, when pulled up from the well, (which we did under feelings of extreme anxiety and eagerness,) we were convinced that the water did not gain upon us. Our spirits, however, received no encouragement from the appearance of the elements; the clouds were black and frowning, and all around still bore a threatening appearance, the hurricane indeed having rather increased than in the slightest degree abated.
The circumstance of our having on board so perishable and light a cargo as soft sugar, it is remarkable, was the very means of our preservation. Had it consisted of almost any other article, either of pepper or of dead wood, we must inevitably have perished. To have thrown overboard any heavy cargo, would, from the constant and heavy breaches which the sea made over us, have been impossible. Neither could the masts have been cut away, for the purpose of lightening the vessel, in consequence of the imbecile condition of the crew; a recourse to so [pg 216] hazardous a measure would, under our circumstances, most likely have proved the cause of our destruction. As it was, from constant pumping for three days, we found our vessel as light and buoyant as a cork, and, with the exception of the baskets in which the sugar had been stowed, as empty as when I first purchased her.
Night approached, bringing with it additional horrors. The secunnies, who had hitherto borne their hardships with admirable fortitude, now began to droop, and to express a violent inclination for more rum, although as much had been given them as they could possibly bear; indeed, rum, with dough, half-baked, had formed their only sustenance during the whole period of our sufferings. As for the pumps, we were now so lightened, they did not require to be worked at all; but the greatest dread we laboured under was from the dangerous condition of the main and fore masts, that tottered to and fro, threatening to go by the board every minute. Before the hour of sunset, a large bird, called the albatross, with wings the length of four to five feet each, skimmed along the surface of the waves, close to and around us; this inspired the crew with hopes, as they supposed it to be a good omen. It remained hovering near our unfortunate wreck for some minutes, until it alighted on the waves, where it was seen riding perfectly at ease, and with the majesty of a fine large swan, now on the summit of a tremendous mountain of waters, and now in the ravines of a wide and deep abyss. At length darkness once more encompassed us around, and seemed to shut us out from even a ray of hope; the desponding few, whose senses were still left them, apparently felt with more acuteness than before, the desperation and horrors of their condition. At the hour of eight P.M., however, the wind suddenly changed from south-east to south-west, and soon appeared to be dying away. At this happy circumstance, whereby a prospect of deliverance from the very depths of despair was opened to us, the feelings manifested by the crew were as singular as they were various; some shouted for joy—some cried—others muttered prayers—while a few were still despondent, presenting wild and savage-looking features, and seeming to regret that the billows had not swallowed them up.—Adventures of Naufragus.
Clean sheets are not remarkably common at common inns, where, I am informed, that the practice is to take them from the bed, sprinkle them with water, to fold them down, and then put them in a press. When they are wanted again, they are, literally speaking, shewn to the fire, and in a reeking state laid on the bed. The traveller is tired and sleepy, dreams of that pleasure or that business which brought him from home, and the remotest thing from his mind is, that from the very repose which he fancies has refreshed him, he has received the rheumatism. The receipt, therefore, to sleep comfortably at inns, is to take your own sheets, to have plenty of flannel gowns, and to promise, and take care to pay, a handsome consideration for the liberty of choosing your beds. Damp beds are oftenest found in inns that are least visited; they ought to be carefully avoided, for they not only produce dreadful disorders, but have often proved the death of the person who has had the misfortune to sleep in them. Especially in winter, not only examine the beds, to see whether they are quite dry, but have the bedclothes in your presence put before the fire. Just before you go to bed, order a pan of hot coals to be run through it, then place a clean tumbler inverted between the sheets, and let it remain there for a few minutes;—if on withdrawing it the slightest cloud is observable on the inner surface, be certain that either the bed or the sheets are damp: sleeping in the blankets is a disagreeable, but the safest way of escaping such danger: there are many persons in the habit of travelling, who make it a constant practice. A wash leather sheet, about 8 feet by 5, is not an unpleasant substitute for linen. But the only absolutely safe plan is, to sleep in a bed which you are sure has been occupied the night before; and that, must be the best-aired bed which was slept in by the best-aired person!—Qy. The cook?—The Traveller's Oracle.
The Burmans used to approach, on dark nights, on their hands and knees, and often crawled close up to the sentinels, before they were discovered; sometimes they carried off knapsacks and arms, and went away with their booty unperceived.
A laughable instance of their dexterity took place in the Great Pagoda, on the night of the 2nd July. The soldiers, for several nights previous, had missed some arms, although a sentry was before the door, and they generally slept with their firelocks by their sides. This evening, every one was on the alert, extra sentries were posted, and every precaution taken [pg 217] to secure the marauders. When, on a sudden, the alarm being given, the officer on duty, who was reposing in one of the little temples, ran to the door and inquired what had occurred,—but hearing that only a knapsack had been found in the grass, and that no other traces existed of the depredators, he turned round to lie down again, and, to his infinite astonishment, found his bed had vanished! A light was in the room, and a servant sleeping near it, yet, notwithstanding, the impudent thieves had also ransacked a basket, and escaped with the contents! We since heard that the robbers were Burman soldiers belonging to the camp at Kumaroot, whither they carried their spoils. They certainly deserved infinite credit for the ingenuity they manifested, and for the manner in which they turned the laugh against us, by showing, that the very moment they chose for their depredations, was one when a strict search was making after them.
Two Years in Ava.
The people of Kanem, in Central Africa, are known by the name of Kanemboo, and consist of tribes of Tibboos. The women are good-looking, laughing negresses, and all but naked. Most of them have a square or triangular piece of silver or tin hanging at the back of the head, suspended from the hair, which is curiously and laboriously trained, and no one of tender years has anything like a perfect head of hair. From childhood the head is shaved, having only the top covered; the hair from hence falls down quite round from the forehead to the pole of the neck, and is then formed into one solid plait, which in front lying quite flat just over the eyes, and behind being turned up with a little curl, has just the appearance of an old-fashioned coachman's wig in London.
The women flock from the neighbouring negro villages to the weekly fsug, or market, with baskets of gussut, gafooly, fowls, and honey, which may be purchased by small pieces of coral amber of the coarsest kind, and coloured beads. Major Denham, in his "Travels in Northern and Central Africa," says "one merchant bought a fine lamb for two bits of amber, worth, I should think, about two-pence each in Europe; two needles purchased a fowl; and a handful of salt, four or five good-sized fish from the lake (Tchad)."
The Shouaa Arabs are a very extraordinary race, and have scarcely any resemblance to the Arabs of the north; they have fine open countenances, with aquiline noses, and large eyes; their complexion is a light copper-colour; they possess great cunning with their courage, and resemble in appearance some of our best favoured gipsies in England, particularly the women; and their Arabic is nearly pure Egyptian.
The best residences of the Shouaas consist of two enclosures, besides one for their horses, cows, and goats. In the first of these divisions is a circular hut, with a cupola top, well thatched with gussub straw, something resembling that of the Indian corn; the walls are of the same materials; a mud wall, of about two feet high, separates one part from the rest, and here their corn is kept; and a bench of like composition, at the opposite side, is their resting-place; this is covered with mats; and spears and wooden bowls for water and milk, hang on pegs, and complete the furniture; here is the master's own apartment. In the second [pg 218] division are two huts, rather smaller, about ten paces from each other, in which dwell his wives.
The custom of burying the dead in the floor of dwelling-houses, is prevalent on the Gold Coast of Africa, as far as that country is known to Europeans. The ceremony is purely Pagan, and without any form, except that of the females of the family of the deceased and their friends making a mournful lamentation; and in some instances they work their feelings up to such a degree of apparent sorrow, that their conduct has every symptom of insanity. This scene of revelry is not a little heightened by the profuse use of ardent spirits, which has so powerful an attraction, that drummers, flute-players, bards, and singing men come from great distances to partake of the libations; and as the savage uproar lasts often for a week, it leads to every kind of dissolute practice in both sexes. Another custom, or repetition of this barbarous usage, frequently takes place seven years after the demise of persons of consequence, which is still more expensive than the former: as such are the baneful prejudices in favour of these habits, that families have too frequently pawned their relatives to raise money to defray the expense; they purchase cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry, and with the assistance of what is brought by their friends and acquaintances, they are enabled to keep up a scene of riot for many days. The carcasses of animals sacrificed are not burned and sown in the wind as in times of old, but the Fantees more wisely, eat them, greater attention being paid to the flavour of the viands and the fragrance of the strong liquor than to the manes of the dead.
I dinna think that in a' nature there's a mair curiouser cratur than a monkey. I mak this observe frae being witness to an extraordinar' event that took place in Hamilton. Folk may talk as they like about monkeys, and cry them down for being stupid and mischievous, I for ane will no gang that length. Whatever they may be on the score of mischief, there can be nae doubt, that, sae far as gumption is concerned, they are just uncommon; and for wit and fun they would beat ony man black and blue. In fact, I dinna think that monkeys are beasts ava. I hae a half notion that they are just wee hairy men that canna, or rather that winna speak, in case they be made to work like ither folk, instead of leading a life of idleness.
But to the point: I ance had a monkey, ane of the drollest-looking deevils ye ever saw. He was gayan big for a monkey, and was hairy a' ower, except his face and his bit hurdies, which had a degree of bareness about them, and were nearly as saft as a lady's loof. Weel, what think ye that I did wi' the beastie? Odds, man, I dressed him up like a Heelandman, and put a kilt upon him, and a lang-tailed red coat, and a blue bannet, which for security's sake I tied, woman-like, below his chin wi' twa bits of yellow ribbon. I not only did this, but I learnt him to walk upon his twa hinder legs, and to carry a stick in his right hand when he gaed out, the better to support him in his peregrinations. He was for a' the world like a wee man in kilts.
Weel, it turned out in this manner, as ye shall hear. Ae afternoon towards the glomin' I was oblegated to tak' a stap doun to the cross, wi' a web under my arm, which I had finished for Mr. Weft, the muslin manufacturer. By way of frolic, a gayan foolish ane I allow, I brocht Nosey (the monkey's name,) alang wi' me. He had on, as for ordinar', his Heeland dress, and walkit behint me, wi' the bit stick in his hand, and his tail sticking out frae below his kilt, as if he had been my flunky. It was, after a', a queer sicht, and, as may be supposed, I drew a haill crowd of bairns after me, bawling out, "Here's Willy M'Gee's monkey," and gi'eing him nits and gingerbread, and makin' as muckle of the cratur as could be; for Nosey was a great favourite in the town, and everbody likit him for his droll tricks, and the way he used to girn, and dance, and tumble ower his head, to amuse them.
On entering Mr. Weft's shop, I faund it empty; there wasna a leeving soul within. I supposed he had gane out for a licht; and being gayan familiar wi' him, I took a stap ben to the back shop, leaving Nosey in the fore ane. I sat for twa or three minutes, but naebody made his appearance. At last the front door, which I had ta'en care to shut after me, opened, and I look't to see wha it could be, thinking that, nae doubt, it was Mr. Weft, or his apprentice. It was neither the ane nor the ither, but a strong middle-aged, red-faced Heelandman, wi' specks on, and wi' a kilt and a bannet, by a' the [pg 219] world like my monkey's. Now, what think ye Nosey was about a' this time? He was sittin' behind the counter upon the lang three-leggit stool that stood fornent Mr. Weft's desk, and was turning ower the leaves of his ledger, wi' a look which, for auld-fashioned sagaciousness, was wonderfu' to behold. I was sae tickled at the sight that I paid nae sort of attention to the Heelandman, but continued looking frae the back shop at Nosey, lauching a' the time in my sleeve—for I jealoused that some queer scene would tak' place between the twa. And I wasna far wrang, for the stranger, takin' out a pound frae his spleuchan, handed it ower to the monkey, and speered at him, in his droll norlan deealect, if he could change a note. When I heard this I thocht I would hae lauched outricht; and naething but sheer curiosity to see how the thing would end made me keep my gravity. It was plain that Donald had ta'en Nosey for ane of his ain countrymen—and the thing after a' wasna greatly to be wondered at, and that for three reasons:—
Firstly, the shop was rather darkish.
Secondly, the Heelandman had on specks, as I hae just said; and it was likely on this account that he was rather short-sighted; and
Thirdly, Nosey, wi' his kilt, and bannet, and red coat, was, to a' intents and purposes, as like a human creatur as a monkey could weel be.
Nae sooner, then, had he got the note, than he opened it out, and lookit at it wi' his wee glowrin', restless een, as if to see that it wasna a forgery. He then shook his head like a doctor, when he's no very sure what's wrang wi' a person, but wants to mak' it appear that he kens a' about it—and continued in this style till the Heelandman's patience began to get exhausted.
"Can ye no change the note, old shentleman?" quo' Donald. Nosey gi'ed his head anither shake, and looked uncommon wise.
"Is the note no goot, sir?"' spak the Heelandman, a second time; but the cratur, instead of answering him, only gi'ed anither of his wise shakes, as much as to say, "I'm no very sure about it." At this Donald lost temper. "If the note doesna please ye, sir," quo' he, "I'll thank ye to gie me it back again, and I'll gang to some ither place." And he stretchit out his hand to tak hand o't, when my frien' wi' the tail, lifting up his stick, lent him sic a whack ower the fingers as made him pu' back in the twinkling of an ee.
"Got tamn ye, ye auld scounrel," said the man; "do ye mean to tak my money frae me?" And he lifted up a rung big eneuch to fell a stot, and let flee at the monkey; but Nosey was ower quick for him, and jumping aside, he lichted on a shelf before ane could say Jock Robinson. Here he rowed up the note like a baw in his hand, and put it into his coat pouch like any rational cratur. Not only this, but he mockit the Heelandman by a' manner of means, shooting out his tongue at him, spitting at him, and girning at him wi' his queer outlandish physiognomy. Then he would tak haud of his tail in his twa hands, and wag it at Donald, and steeking his nieves, he would seem to threaten him wi' a leatherin'. A'thegither he was desperate impudent, and eneuch to try the patience of a saunt, no to spak o' a het-bluided Heelandman. It was gude for sair een to see how Donald behavit on this occasion. He raged like ane demented, misca'ing the monkey beyond measure, and swearing as mony Gaelic aiths as micht hae sair'd an ordinar man for a twalmonth. During this time, I never sterr'd a foot, but keepit keeking frae the back shop upon a' that was ganging on. I was highly delighted; and jealousing that Nosey was ower supple to be easily catched, I had nae apprehension for the event, and remained snug in my birth to see the upshot.
In a short time, in comes Mr. Weft wi' a piece of lowing paper in his hand that he had got frae the next door to licht the shop; and nae sooner did Donald see him than he ax'd him for his note.
"What note, honest man?" said Mr. Weft.
"Got tamn," quo' Donald; "the note the auld scounrel, your grandfather, stole frae me."
"My grandfaither!" answered the ither wi' amazement. "I am thinking, honest man, ye hae had a glass ower muckle. My grandfaither has been dead for saxteen years, and I ne'er heard tell till now that he was a fief."
"Weel, weel, then," quo' the Heelandman, "I don't care naething about it. If he's no your grandfaither, he'll be your faither, or your brither, or your cousin."
"My faither or my brither, or my cousin!" repeated Mr. Weft. "I maun tell ye plainly, frien', that I hae neither faither, nor brither, nor cousin of ony description on this side of the grave. I dinna understand ye, honest man, but I reckon that ye hae sat ower lang at the whisky, and my advice to ye is to stap awa hame and sleep it aff."[pg 220]
At this speech the Heelandman lost a' patience, and lookit sae awfully fairce, that ance or twice I was on the nick of coming forrit, and explaining how matters really stood; but curiosity keepit me chained to the back shop, and I just thocht I would bide a wee, and see how the affair was like to end.
"Pray, wha are you, sir?" said Donald, putting his hands in his sides, and looking through his specks upon Mr. Weft, like a deevil incarnit. "Wha are you, sir, that daar to speak to me in this manner?"
"Wha am I?" said the ither, drapping the remnant of the paper, which was burnin' close to his fingers. "I am Saunders Weft, manufacturir In Hamilton—that's what I am."
"And I am Tonald Campbell, piper's sister's son to his grace the great, grand Tuke of Argyle," thundered out the Heelandman, wi' a voice that was fearsome to hear.
"And what about that?" quo' Mr. Weft, rather snappishly, as I thocht. "If ye were the great, grand Duke of Argyle himself, as ye ca' him, I'll no permit you to kick up a dust in my shop."
"Ye scounrel," said Donald, seizing Mr. Weft by the throat, and shaking him till he tottered like an aspen leaf, "div ye mean to speak ill of his grace the Tuke of Argyle?" And he gi'ed him anither shake—then, laying haud of his nose, he swore that he would pu't as lang as a cow's tail, if he didna that instant restore him his lost property. At this sicht I began to grew a' ower, and now saw the needcessity of stapping ben, and saving my employer frae farther damage, bodily and itherwise. Nae sooner had I made my appearance than Donald let go his grip of Mr. Weft's nose, and the latter, in a great passion, cried out, "William M'Gee, I tak ye to witness what I hae sufferit frae this bluid-thirsty Heelandman! It's no to be endured in a Christian country. I'll hae the law of him, that I will. I'll be whuppit but I'll hae amends, although it costs me twenty pounds!"
"What's the matter?" quo' I, pretending ignorance of the haill concern. "What, in the name of Nebuchadnezzar, has set ye thegither by the lugs?" Then Mr. Weft began his tale, how he had been collared and weel nigh thrappled in his ain shop;—then the ither tauld how, in the first place, Mr. Weft's grandfather, as he ca'd Nosey, had stolen his note, and how, in the second place, Mr. Weft himsell had insulted the great, grand Duke of Argyle. In a word, there was a desperate kick-up between them, the ane threeping that he would tak the law of the ither immediately. Na, in this respect Donald gaed the greatest lengths, for he swore that, rather than be defeat, he wad carry his cause to the house of lords, although it cost him thretty pounds sterling. I now saw it was time to put in a word.
"Houts-touts, gentlemen," quo' I, "what's the use of a' this clishmaclaver? Ye've baith gotten the wrang sow by the lug, or my name's no William M'Gee. I'll wager ye a pennypiece, that my monkey, Nosey is at the bottom of the business."
Nae sooner had I spoken the word, than the twa, looking round the shop, spied the beastie sitting upon the shelf girning at them, and putting out his tongue, and wiggle-waggling his walking-stick ower his left elbow, as if he had been playing upon the fiddle. Mr. Weft at this apparition set up a loud lauch; his passion left him in a moment, when he saw the ridiculous mistake that the Heelandman had fa'en into, and I thocht he would hae bursted his sides wi' evendown merriment. At first Donald lookit desperate angry, and judging frae the way he was twisting about his mouth and rowing his een, I opined that he intended some deadly skaith to the monkey. But his gude sense, of which Heelandmen are no a'thegither destitute, got the better of his anger, and he roared and lauched like the very mischief. Nor was this a', for nae sooner had he began to lauch, than the monkey did the same thing, and held its sides in precisely the same manner, imitating his actions, in the maist amusin' way imaginable. This only set Donald a lauching mair than ever, and when he lifted up his nieve, and shook it at Nosey in a gude humoured way, what think ye that the cratur did? Odds man, he took the note frae his pouch, whare it lay rowed up like a baw, and, papping it at Donald, hit him as fairly upon the nose, as if it had been shot out of a weel-aimed musket. There was nae resisting this. The haill three, or rather the haill four, for Nosey joined us, set up a loud lauch; and the Heelandman's was the loudest of a', showing that he was really a man of sense, and could tak a joke as weel as his neighbours.
When the lauchin' had a wee subsided, Mr. Campbell, in order to show that he had nae ill wull to Mr. Weft, ax'd his pardon for the rough way he had treated him, but the worthy manufacturer wadna hear o't. "Houts, man," quo' he, "dinna say a word about it. It's a mistak a'thegether, and Solomon himsell, ye ken, [pg 221] whiles gaed wrang." Whereupon the Heelandman bought a Kilmarnock nichtcap, price elevenpence happeny, frae Mr. Weft, and paid him wi' part of the very note that brocht on the ferly I hae just been relating. But his gude wull didna end here, for he insisted on takin' us a'—Nosey amang the lave—to the nearest public, where he gi'ed us a frien'ly glass, and we keepit tawking about monkeys, and what not, in a manner at ance edifying and amusing to hear.—Blackwood's Magazine.
The lassie we love and the friend we can trust,
And a bumper to wash from our spirits the rust;
Then let gear-scraping carls make o' life catch-the-plack,
And strod to the de'il wi' the trash on their back.
This life is a garden where all choose their posies:
In the spring of our youth let us gather the roses;
For brief is their bloom like the dews of the morn,
If you seek them too late you will find but a thorn.
If Care steal amang us he's narrowly watch'd,
By a smile or a squeeze of the hand he's dispatch'd;
Or the arm of a friend should the stout villain meet,
One blink of true love lays him dead at your feet.
Then fill up a glass to the absent and dear—
May their lives be serene as their breasts are sincere;
And to crown our true bliss, let us give, ere we part—
May we have in our arms whom we love in our heart.
London Weekly Review.
"To marry!—Why, every man plays the fool once in his life—but to marry is playing the fool all one's life long."—CONGREVE.
There is something so satisfactory in knowing at once the limit of your fortunes—in making yourself secure in the first instance of that happiness to which all your exertions are directed,—which is in fact the end and aim of your worldly existence, and of all your worldly toils—the enjoyment of domestic peace and love;—in quenching that restless, burning anxiety, which is ever busy within the bosom of the young and the aspiring. Marrying early, in fact, is taking time by the forelock, and leading your future destinies after you, instead of suffering yourself to be led and tossed about by them,—it is tearing away the black veil from the brow of futurity, and perusing all her lineaments in her own despite. It is [he continued with an oratorical attitude] building your fate upon a rock—"
"Ah!" I exclaimed, "stop there—that rock is so commonplace."
Harry laughed and went on with his argument.—"Besides, there is the gratification of making yourself considered in society—which no single man is. A single man is a kind of protected or licensed vagabond—rambling to and fro without stamp or mark, as Witwould might say,—like a sheep that has been overlooked at tarring time. His home is a desert to him,—and the love of social converse, which is so natural, and so amiable at the same time keeps him eternally in a state of fidgetty restlessness, which precludes all possibility of serious and persevering labour. Only think of the horrors of a house without a queen—Yawning servants, negligent housekeepers, extorting tradespeople,—these and a thousand other annoyances, for which you have no relief, because you cannot stoop to meddle or make in such transactions—are the agitations which perpetually infest the domestic commonwealth of a bachelor.—But turn your eyes into the house of 'Benedick, the married man'—He wears his rue with a difference, indeed!—There is a sense of life, bustle, mirth, and happiness, in the very air of the dwelling. To be greeted with smiles at your going forth and coming in—to know that there is at least one who serves you without a self-interest—to hear the joyous, feminine laugh, delicate and temperate in the very whirlwind of its ecstacy, ring through the mansion from hour to hour—to hear the little foot pattering about you as you sit at your philosophic studies—to have a friend with whom you can converse freely and without fear of present offence or future disadvantage—and whose presence is not without its influence and its charm, even when the call of a worldly ambition summons you to—
Your tasks, in social silence too,"
with just sense enough to understand all you can say to her—and nothing so wise as to mortify you at any time by setting you right. Then, instead of the natty primness of your bachelor's apartment, you have your eyes feasted by that elegant confusion of the little sanctuary—the charm of which cannot, unseen, be apprehended, and is only known to those who are privileged to enter, by the passport of Hymen. A bit of bobbin here—a thread-paper there—here a hat feather—there a scrap of silk.—Besides," [drawing his chair closer to mine and looking [pg 222] very tender] "when you love her, you know—." He paused and sighed, and I groaned strenuously.—
"And is this all you have to say in defence of an elopement with a girl of sixteen." ["A beautiful girl," he passionately interrupted] "well! a beautiful girl—so young, that it is perfectly impossible for you to form any judgment on her inclinations or her temper—at a time when her character is undecided—unformed—when that which is mere caprice, frequently assumes the hue of passion, and wears all its fervour and intensity. Or if it should continue unabated—as I must confess [observing him turn himself with an air before a pier glass,] I see no reason why it should not—you will find the unsophistication of the young lady as quickly tending to domestic disquiet, as might have been her inconstancy—She will be unreasonable in her exactions on your confidence, and you will be compelled to take refuge in fits of sullenness—perhaps rudeness;—and then what becomes of that blissful state, where like you, every body expects, and so very—very few find happiness?—to secure which the most perfect union of taste and feeling—the utmost kindliness of manner, and a politeness as habitual as motion itself, are absolute requisites?—Have you no further arguments to offer in favour of this measure of yours?—"
"Oh, yes," said he, very dryly, "I have one more."
"What may that be?"
"That I WILL marry her."
"Oh!..." said I.
And without exchanging another word, I put on my great coat, and we sallied forth together to the rendezvous of the lovers. The fair fugitive was true to her appointment, and at the first sound of the expected footfall, glided from her concealment into the happy scoundrel's arms. The action which followed I could not see (though it was a bright moonlight,) for a breeze lifted the large veil which hung over the lady's shoulder, in such a manner as to envelope the countenances of both. What the action ought to have been, perhaps you, madam, or you, mademoiselle, may inform me?—I only know that when the modest zephyr passed, and the veil fell back again, the fair cheek that it revealed glowed with
"A pudency so rosy, the sweet view on't,
Might well have warm'd old Saturn."
Harry gave me his hand (heartily) as he stood on the carriage step, and the bride wafted me a farewell with the prettiest action of her fan from the window, and murmured,—"Give me a good wish for the tobacconist."
"Yes," said I; "may you never have occasion to say of the love that now leads you to him, that
"'Its beacon light is quench'd in smoke.'"
[For although naturally grave, and silently given, I often catch myself endeavouring to sport a bad pun, when I have got the ear of a fair damsel] The only effect which the witticism produced in the present instance, however, was an enormous groan, in which the fellows on the dickey participated. Even the postilion who stood near, set up a crowing laugh—and the very horses by their snorting and neighing, seemed to be sensible of the utter and deplorable failure.
And away they went—and they were hotly pursued, and overtaken, just in time to be too late—which left no other course but that of reconciliation;—and where there is no choice to be made, every body knows there is but one part to be taken.
That occurrence is now three years since, and it was only the other day that I again met the pair of turtles. Dropping in rather late at a card-party, I beheld them sitting vis-a-vis at one of the tables, playing together against an old lady and gentleman, before whom Mrs. L—— thought, perhaps, it was not necessary to appear very fashionable towards dear Harry. With the requisite ceremonious unceremoniousness so popular at present, I took a chair behind him, and annoyed him every moment by remarks upon his wife; of course all highly nattering to both.
"My love, you have played that card wrong—very wrong."
"Did I, my dear?" replied Mrs. L. smiling languidly, and looking in his face more as if she was admiring the elegant turn of his forehead, and the spirited expression of his dark eye, than as if she minded what he was saying—"'tis indeed—very."
"Oh! were you not speaking of something? I beg pardon, love—I thought you spoke."
"And so I did, my dear. I told you that card was played most abominably."
"I dare say, my love;—[still gazing in his eyes and smiling]—I know I'm very stupid,"—[playing a card.]
"Well, you have taken a curious way to mend matters—that last play was a thousand degrees worse than the other."
"I dare say, my love,—[looking in his face, and continuing to drawl and simper in the manner which we might [pg 223] imagine of Shakspeare's little shepherdess—
"'Sweet youth chide on—I had rather hear thee chide
Than others woo—'"]
"But tell me, love, when I play wrong," [playing again without taking her eyes from his, even to look at her card.]
"I had much better leave you to yourself," said L.
"'You will be compelled to take refuge in fits of sullenness,'" muttered I, quoting from my former prophecy.
"My dear,"—[pronounced just in the same way as he might have said, 'you fool,']—pray open your eyes."
"Perhaps in rudeness," I continued.
"There again!" cried poor L——, who seemed in danger of being ruined by the admiration of his wife. "It is not possible for a card to be played worse than that. Your head, my dear, must be as confused as your boudoir."
"A bit of bobbin here—a hat feather there," I continued, growing malicious.
"Sir," cried L——, starting round in a passion. Fixing his eyes for a moment on my wooden phiz, however, he burst into a fit of laughter, and then as suddenly assuming a most doleful change of countenance, he squeezed my hand and said to me apart, in a tragic tone, "Ah, my dear friend, you were right—you were right."
"He that would lead a happy married life,
First learn to rule, and then to have, a wife,"
say Beaumont and Fletcher—and a pleasant aphorism it is too—and a wise and useful—but with a slight alteration, a periphrasis comprehending advice not less to the purpose may be presented—
"He that would lead a happy wedded life,
Beware of marrying a too youthful wife."
If wine does not become clear soon enough, for each forty gallons dissolve an ounce of isinglass in a quart of water. Strain and mix this with part of the liquor, beat it up to a froth, and pour it into the rest; stir the whole well, and bung it up, except there should be an appearance of fermentation; if so, leave the bung out till it has ceased. Instead of isinglass, some use hartshorn shavings, in rather larger quantities; red wines are fined with eggs, twelve to the pipe, beaten up to a froth, mixed with the wine, and well stirred in.
Gypsum or alabaster is used to clear cloudy white wines; as also fresh slaked lime; and the size of a walnut of sugar of lead, with a table spoonful of sal enixum, is put to forty gallons of muddy wine, to clear it; and hence, as the sugar of lead is decomposed, and changed into an insoluble sulphat of lead, which falls to the bottom, the practice is not so dangerous as has been represented.
Put the finings, when ready, into a pail, with a little of what you are going to fine; whisk them together till they are perfectly mixed, and then nearly fill up the pail with the liquor, whisking it well about again, after which, if the cask be full, take out four or five gallons to make room; take a staff and stir it well; next whisk the finings up, and put them in, stirring well together for five minutes; then drive in the bung, leaving the vent-peg loose for three or four days, after which drive it in tight.
The quality of roughness natural to those red wines in which the skins and a portion of the stems have been subjected to the process of fermentation, is readily communicated by astringent substances, and by none more easily or purely than by catechu and kino, substances free from injurious flavour; the sloe is also used; similar roughness, accompanied with flavour, is given by the chips of oak and beech; and if logwood and walnut peels are used, the astringency will also be united to a portion of colour and flavour. All these substances may be rendered highly useful in giving positive qualities to insipid wines. A simple infusion alone is necessary, in such proportion as the exigencies may require; care being taken to rack and fine the wine after the desired effect has been obtained.—The Vintner's Guide.
"I am but a Gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."—Wotton.
Mr. Holmes, in his "Account of the United States of America," relates that some of the birds of North America are remarkable for poisoning their young; but this is only done if they are encaged or confined. The robin is one of the [pg 224] birds thus noticed. If the young be taken, and placed in a cage where the parent birds can discover them, they will attend upon and feed them for a season; but after the lapse of a few days, or when the young are fledged, the old ones appear very uneasy, and endeavour to discover some way by which they may escape. If, however, they perceive that there is no hope of accomplishing their purpose, they procure for them a sort of berry, which is an infallible poison; apparently disdaining the thought that their offspring should be slaves!
Vernet relates, that he was once employed to paint a landscape, with a cave, and St. Jerome in it; he accordingly painted the landscape, with St. Jerome at the entrance of the cave. When he delivered the picture, the purchaser, who understood nothing of perspective, said, "the landscape and the cave are well made, but St. Jerome is not in the cave."—"I understand you, sir," replied Vernet, "I will alter it." He therefore took the painting, and made the shade darker, so that the saint seemed to sit farther in. The gentleman took the painting; but it again appeared to him that the saint was not in the cave. Vernet then wiped out the figure, and gave it to the gentleman, who seemed perfectly satisfied. Whenever he saw strangers to whom he showed the picture, he said, "Here you see a picture by Vernet, with St. Jerome in the cave." "But we cannot see the saint," replied the visiters. "Excuse me, gentlemen," answered the possessor, "he is there; for I have seen him standing at the entrance, and afterwards farther back; and am therefore quite sure that he is in it."
A number of years bygone, a black man, named Peter Cooper, happened to marry a fair lady of Greenock, who did not use him with that tenderness that he conceived himself entitled to. Having tried all other arts to retrieve her lost affections in vain, Peter at last resolved to work upon her fears of punishment in another world for her conduct in this. Pretending, therefore, to awake one morning extravagantly alarmed, his helpmate was full of anxiety to know what was the matter; and having sufficiently, as he thought, whetted her curiosity, by mysteriously hinting that "he could a tale unfold," at length Peter proceeded as follows:—"H—ll of a dream last night. I dream I go to Hebben and rap at de doa, and a gent'man came to de doa wid black coat and powda hair. Whoa dere? Peeta Coopa.—Whoa Peeta Coopa? Am not know you—Not knowa Peeta Coopa! Look de book, Sa.—He take de book, and he look de book, and he could'na find Peeta Coopa.—Den I say, Oh! lad, oh! look again, finda Peeta Coopa in a corna.—He take de book, an he look de book, an at last he finda Peeta Coopa in lilly, lilly (little) corna.—'Peeta Coopa, cook ob de Royal Charlotte ob Greenock.'—Walk in, Sa. Den I walk in, and dere was every ting—all kind of vittal—collyflower too—an I eat, and I drink, and I dance, and I ting, an I neva be done; segar too, by Gum.—Den I say, oh! lad, oh! look for Peeta Coopa wife. He take de book, an he look all oba de book, many, many, many a time, corna an all; and he couldna finda Peeta Coopa wife. Den I say, Oh! lad, oh! look de black book; he take de black book, and he look de black book, and he finda Peeta Coopa wife fust page,—'Peeta-Coopa-wife, buckra-woman, bad-to-her-husband.'"
Droz, a Genevian mechanic, once constructed a clock which was capable of the following surprising movements:—There were seen on it a negro, a dog, and a shepherd; when the clock struck, the shepherd played six tunes on his flute, and the dog approached and fawned upon him. This clock was exhibited to the King of Spain, who was delighted with it. "The gentleness of my dog," said Droz, "is his least merit; if your Majesty touch one of the apples, which you see in the shepherd's basket, you will admire the fidelity of this animal." The King took an apple, and the dog flew at his hand, and barked so loud, that the King's dog, which was in the room, began also to bark; at this the Courtiers, not doubting that it was an affair of witchcraft, hastily left the room, crossing themselves as they went out. The minister of Marine was the only one that ventured to stay. The king having desired him to ask the negro what o'clock it was, the minister obeyed, but he obtained no reply. Droz then observed, that the negro had not yet learned Spanish.
Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION, VOL. 10, ISSUE 275, SEPTEMBER 29, 1827***
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