The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No.
CCCXXXVI. October, 1843. Vol. LIV., by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXVI. October, 1843. Vol. LIV.

Author: Various

Release Date: October 29, 2007 [EBook #23240]

Language: English

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[Pg 415]


These are not degenerate days. We have still strong thinkers amongst us; men of untiring perseverance, who flinch before no difficulties, who never hide the knot which their readers are only too willing that they should let alone; men who dare write what the ninety-nine out of every hundred will pronounce a dry book; who pledge themselves, not to the public, but to their subject, and will not desert it till their task is completed. One of this order is Mr John Stuart Mill. The work he has now presented to the public, we deem to be, after its kind, of the very highest character, every where displaying powers of clear, patient, indefatigable thinking. Abstract enough it must be allowed to be, calling for an unremitted attention, and yielding but little, even in the shape of illustration, of lighter and more amusing matter; he has taken no pains to bestow upon it any other interest than what searching thought and lucid views, aptly expressed, ought of themselves to create. His subject, indeed—the laws by which human belief and the inquisition of truth are to be governed and directed—is both of that extensive and fundamental character, that it would be treated with success only by one who knew how to resist the temptations to digress, as well as how to apply himself with vigour to the solution of the various questions that must rise before him.

"This book," the author says in his preface, "makes no pretence of giving to the world a new theory of our intellectual operations. Its claim to attention, if it possess any, is grounded on the fact, that it is an attempt not to supersede, but to embody and systematize, the best ideas which have been either promulgated on its subject by speculative writers, or conformed to by accurate thinkers in their scientific enquiries.

"To cement together the detached fragments of a subject, never yet treated as a whole; to harmonize the true portions of discordant theories, by supplying the links of thought necessary to connect them, and by disentangling them from the errors with which they are always more or less interwoven—must necessarily require a considerable amount of original speculation. To other originality than this, the present work lays no claim. In the existing state of the cultivation of the sciences, there would be a very strong presumption against any one who should imagine that he had effected a revolution in the theory of the investigation of truth, or added any fundamentally new process to the practice of it. The improvement which remains to be effected in the methods of philosophizing, [and the author believes that they have much need of improvement,] can only consist in performing, more systematically and accurately, operations with which, at least in their elementary form, the human intellect, in some one or other of its employments, is already familiar."

[Pg 416] Such is the manly and modest estimate which the author makes of his own labours, and the work fully bears out the character here given of it. No one capable of receiving pleasure from the disentanglement of intricacies, or the clear exposition of an abstruse subject; no one seeking assistance in the acquisition of distinct and accurate views on the various and difficult topics which these volumes embrace—can fail to read them with satisfaction and with benefit.

To give a full account—to give any account—of a work which traverses so wide a field of subject, would be here a futile attempt; we should, after all our efforts, merely produce a laboured and imperfect synopsis, which would in vain solicit the perusal of our readers. What we purpose doing, is to take up, in the order in which they occur, some of the topics on which Mr Mill has thrown a new light, or which he has at least invested with a novel interest by the view he has given of them. And as, in this selection of topics, we are not bound to choose those which are most austere and repulsive, we hope that such of our readers as are not deterred by the very name of logic, will follow us with some interest through the several points of view, and the various extracts we shall present to them.

The Syllogism.—The logic of Induction, as that to which attention has been least devoted, which has been least reduced to systematic form, and which lies at the basis of all other modes of reasoning, constitutes the prominent subject of these volumes. Nevertheless, the old topic of logic proper, or deductive reasoning, is not omitted, and the first passage to which we feel bound, on many accounts, to give our attention, is the disquisition on the syllogism.

Fortunately for us it is not necessary, in order to convey the point of our author's observations upon this head, to afflict our readers with any dissertation upon mode or figure, or other logical technicalities. The first form or figure of the syllogism (to which those who have not utterly forgotten their scholastic discipline will remember that all others may be reduced) is familiar to every one, and to this alone we shall have occasion to refer.

"All men are mortal.
A king is a man;
Therefore a king is mortal."

Who has not met—what young lady even, though but in her teens, has not encountered some such charming triplet as this, which looks so like verse at a distance, but, like some other compositions, approximates nothing the more on this account to poetry? Who has not learnt from such examples what is a major, what a middle term, and what the minor or conclusion?

As no one, in the present day, advises the adoption, in our controversies, of the syllogistic forms of reasoning, it is evident that the value of the syllogism must consist, not in its practical use, but in the accurate type which it affords of the process of reasoning, and in the analysis of that process which a full understanding of it renders necessary. Such an analysis supplies, it is said, an excellent discipline to the mind, whilst an occasional reference to the form of the syllogism, as a type or model of reasoning, insures a steadiness and pertinency of argument. But is the syllogism, it has been asked, this veritable type of our reasoning? Has the analysis which would explain it to be such, been accurately conducted?

Several of our northern metaphysicians, it is well known—as, for example, Dr Campbell and Dugald Stewart—have laid rude hands upon the syllogism. They have pronounced it to be a vain invention. They have argued that no addition of knowledge, no advancement in the acquisition of truth, no new conviction, can possibly be obtained through its means, inasmuch as no syllogism can contain any thing in the conclusion which was not admitted, at the outset, in the first or major proposition. The syllogism always, say they, involves a petitio principii. Admit the major, and the business is palpably at an end; the rest is a mere circle, in which one cannot advance, but may get giddy by the revolution. According to the exposition of logicians themselves, we simply obtain by our syllogism, the privilege of saying that, in the minor, of some individual of a class, which we had said, in the major, already of the whole class.

Archbishop Whately, our most distinguished expositor and defender of the Aristotelian logic, meets these antagonists with the resolute assertion, that their objection to the syllogism is equally valid against all reasoning [Pg 417] whatever. He does not deny, but, on the contrary, in common with every logician, distinctly states, that whatever is concluded in the minor, must have been previously admitted in the major, for in this lies the very force and compulsion of the argument; but he maintains that the syllogism is the true type of all our reasoning, and that therefore to all our reasoning, the very same vice, the very same petitio principii, may be imputed. The syllogism, he contends, (and apparently with complete success,) is but a statement in full of what takes place mentally even in the most rapid acts of reasoning. We often suppress the major for the sake of brevity, but it is understood though not expressed; just as in the same manner as we sometimes content ourselves with merely implying the conclusion itself, because it is sufficiently evident without further words. If any one should so far depart from common sense as to question the mortality of some great king, we should think it sufficient to say for all argument—the king is a man!—virtually implying the whole triplet above mentioned:—

"All men are mortal.
The king is a man;
Therefore the king is mortal."

"In pursuing the supposed investigation, (into the operation of reasoning,)" says Archbishop Whately, "it will be found that every conclusion is deduced, in reality, from two other propositions, (thence called Premisses;) for though one of these may be and commonly is suppressed, it must nevertheless be understood as admitted, as may easily be made evident by supposing the denial of the suppressed premiss, which will at once invalidate the argument; e.g. if any one, from perceiving that 'the world exhibits marks of design,' infers that 'it must have had an intelligent author,' though he may not be aware in his own mind of the existence of any other premiss, he will readily understand, if it be denied that 'whatever exhibits marks of design must have had an intelligent author,' that the affirmative of that proposition is necessary to the solidity of the argument. An argument thus stated regularly and at full length, is called a syllogism; which, therefore, is evidently not a peculiar kind of argument, but only a peculiar form of expression, in which every argument may be stated."—Whately's Logic, p. 27.

"It will be found," he continues, "that all valid arguments whatever may be easily reduced to such a form as that of the foregoing syllogisms; and that consequently the principle on which they are constructed is the Universal Principle of reasoning. So elliptical, indeed, is the ordinary mode of expression, even of those who are considered as prolix writers,—i.e. so much is implied and left to be understood in the course of argument, in comparison of what is actually stated, (most men being impatient, even to excess, of any appearance of unnecessary and tedious formality of statement,) that a single sentence will often be found, though perhaps considered as a single argument, to contain, compressed into a short compass, a chain of several distinct arguments. But if each of these be fully developed, and the whole of what the author intended to imply be stated expressly, it will be found that all the steps, even of the longest and most complex train of reasoning, may be reduced into the above form."—P. 32.

That it is not the office of the syllogism to discover new truths, our logician fully admits, and takes some pains to establish. This is the office of "other operations of mind," not unaccompanied, however, with acts of reasoning. Reasoning, argument, inference, (words which he uses as synonymous,) have not for their object our advancement in knowledge, or the acquisition of new truths.

"Much has been said," says Archbishop Whately, in another portion of his work, "by some writers, of the superiority of the inductive to the syllogistic methods of seeking truth, as if the two stood opposed to each other; and of the advantage of substituting the Organon of Bacon for that of Aristotle, &c. &c., which indicates a total misconception of the nature of both. There is, however, the more excuse for the confusion of thought which prevails on this subject, because eminent logical writers have treated, or at least have appeared to treat, of induction as a kind of argument distinct from the syllogism; which, if it were, it certainly might be contrasted with the syllogism: or rather the whole syllogistic theory would fall to the ground, since one of the very first [Pg 418] principles it establishes, is that all reasoning, on whatever subject, is one and the same process, which may be clearly exhibited in the form of syllogisms.

"This inaccuracy seems chiefly to have arisen from a vagueness in the use of the word induction; which is sometimes employed to designate the process of investigation and of collecting facts, sometimes the deducing an inference from those facts. The former of these processes (viz. that of observation and experiment) is undoubtedly distinct from that which takes place in the syllogism; but then it is not a process of argumentation: the latter again is an argumentative process; but then it is, like all other arguments, capable of being syllogistically expressed."—P. 263.

"To prove, then, this point demonstratively, (namely, that it is not by a process of reasoning that new truths are brought to light,) becomes on these data perfectly easy; for since all reasoning (in the sense above defined) may be resolved into syllogisms; and since even the objectors to logic make it a subject of complaint, that in a syllogism the premises do virtually assert the conclusion, it follows at once that no new truth (as above defined) can be elicited by any process of reasoning.

"It is on this ground, indeed, that the justly celebrated author of the Philosophy of Rhetoric objects to the syllogism altogether, as necessarily involving a petitio principii; an objection which, of course, he would not have been disposed to bring forward, had he perceived that, whether well or ill founded, it lies against all arguments whatever. Had he been aware that the syllogism is no distinct kind of argument otherwise than in form, but is, in fact, any argument whatever stated regularly and at full length, he would have obtained a more correct view of the object of all reasoning; which is merely to expand and unfold the assertions wrapt up, as it were, and implied in those with which we set out, and to bring a person to perceive and acknowledge the full force of that which he has admitted; to contemplate it in various points of view; to admit in one shape what he has already admitted in another, and to give up and disallow whatever is inconsistent with it."—P. 273.

Now, what the Archbishop here advances appears convincing; his position looks impregnable. The syllogism is not a peculiar mode of reasoning, (how could it be?)—if any thing at all, it must be a general formula for expressing the ordinary act of reasoning—and he shows that the objections made by those who would impugn it, may be levelled with equal justice against all ratiocination whatever. But then this method of defending the syllogism, (to those of us who have stood beside, in the character of modest enquirers, watching the encounter of keen wits,) does but aggravate the difficulty. Is it true, then, that in every act of reasoning, we do but conclude in one form, what, the moment before, we had stated in another? Are we to understand that such is the final result of the debate? If so, this act of reasoning appears very little deserving of that estimation in which it has been generally held. The great prerogative of intelligent beings (as it has been deemed,) grants them this only—to "admit in one shape what they had already admitted in another."

From the dilemma in which we are here placed, the Archbishop by no means releases, or attempts to release us: he seems (something too much after the manner and disposition generally attributed to masters in logic-fence,) to have rested satisfied with foiling his opponents in their attack upon the exact position he had bound himself to defend. He saves the syllogism; what becomes, in the controversy, of poor human reason itself, is not his especial concern—it is as much their business as his. You do not, more than I, he virtually says to his opponents, intend to resign all reasoning whatever as a mere inanity; I prove, for my part, that all reasoning is capable of being put into a syllogistic form, and that your objection, if valid against the syllogism, is equally valid against all ratiocination. You must therefore either withdraw your objection altogether, or advance it at your peril; the difficulty is of your making, you must solve it as you can. Gentlemen, you must muzzle your own dog.

In this posture of affairs the author of the present work comes to the rescue. He shall speak in his own words. But we must premise, that although we do not intend to stint him in our [Pg 419] quotation—though we wish to give him all the sea-room possible; yet, for a full development of his views, we must refer the reader to his volumes themselves. There are some disquisitions which precede the part we are about to quote from, which, in order to do complete justice to the subject, ought to find a place here, as well as in the author's work—but it is impossible.

"It is universally allowed, that a syllogism is vicious, if there be any thing more in the conclusion than was assumed in the premisses. But this is, in fact, to say, that nothing ever was, or can be, proved by syllogism, which was not known, or assumed to be known, before. Is ratiocination, then, not a process of inference? And is the syllogism, to which the word reasoning has so often been represented to be exclusively appropriate, not really entitled to be called reasoning at all? This seems an inevitable consequence of the doctrine, admitted by all writers on the subject, that a syllogism can prove no more than is involved in the premisses. Yet the acknowledgment so explicitly made, has not prevented one set of writers from continuing to represent the syllogism as the correct analysis of what the mind actually performs in discovering and proving the larger half of the truths, whether of science or of daily life, which we believe; while those who have avoided this inconsistency, and followed out the general theorem respecting the logical value of the syllogism to its legitimate corollary, have been led to impute uselessness and frivolity to the syllogistic theory itself, on the ground of the petitio principii which they allege to be inherent in every syllogism. As I believe both these opinions to be fundamentally erroneous, I must request the attention of the reader to certain considerations, without which any just appreciation of the true character of the syllogism, and the functions it performs in philosophy, appears to me impossible; but which seem to me to have been overlooked or insufficiently adverted to, both by the defenders of the syllogistic theory, and by its assailants.

"It must be granted, that in every syllogism, considered as an argument to prove the conclusion, there is a petitio principii. When we say—

'All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man;
Socrates is mortal'—

it is unanswerably urged by the adversaries of the syllogistic theory, that the proposition, Socrates is mortal, is presupposed in the more general assumption, All men are mortal; that we cannot be assured of the mortality of all men, unless we were previously certain of the mortality of every individual man; that if it be still doubtful whether Socrates, or any other individual you choose to name, be mortal or not, the same degree of uncertainty must hang over the assertion, All men are mortal; that the general principle, instead of being given as evidence of the particular case, cannot itself be taken for true without exception, until every shadow of doubt which could affect any case comprised with it, is dispelled by evidence aliundè, and then what remains for the syllogism to prove? that, in short, no reasoning from generals to particulars can, as such, prove any thing; since from a general principle you cannot infer any particulars, but those which the principle itself assumes as foreknown.

"This doctrine is irrefragable; and if logicians, though unable to dispute it, have usually exhibited a strong disposition to explain it away, this was not because they could discover any flaw in the argument itself, but because the contrary opinion seemed to rest upon arguments equally indisputable. In the syllogism last referred to, for example, or in any of those which we previously constructed, is it not evident that the conclusion may, to the person to whom the syllogism is presented, be actually and bona fide a new truth? Is it not matter of daily experience that truth previously undreamt of, facts which have not been, and cannot be, directly observed, are arrived at by way of general reasoning? We believe that the Duke of Wellington is mortal. We do not know this by direct observation, since he is not yet dead. If we were asked how, this being the case, we know the Duke to be mortal, we should probably answer, because all men are so. Here, therefore, we arrive at the knowledge of a truth not (as yet) susceptible of observation, by a reasoning which admits of being exhibited in the following syllogism—

'All men are mortal.
The Duke of Wellington is a man;
The Duke of Wellington is mortal.'

"And since a large portion of our knowledge is thus acquired, logicians have persisted in representing the syllogism as a process of inference or [Pg 420] proof; although none of them has cleared up the difficulty which arises from the inconsistency between that assertion and the principle, that if there be any thing in the conclusion which was not already asserted in the premisses, the argument is vicious. For it is impossible to attach any serious scientific value to such a mere salvo, as the distinction drawn between being involved by implication in the premisses, and being directly asserted in them. When Archbishop Whately, for example, says that the object of reasoning is 'merely to expand and unfold the assertions wrapt up, as it were, and implied in those with which we set out, and to bring a person to perceive and acknowledge the full force of that which he has admitted,' he does not, I think, meet the real difficulty requiring to be explained; namely, how it happens that a science like geometry can be all 'wrapt up' in a few definitions and axioms. Nor does this defence of the syllogism differ much from what its assailants urge against it as an accusation, when they charge it with being of no use except to those who seek to press the consequence of an admission into which a man has been entrapped, without having considered and understood its full force. When you admitted the major premiss, you asserted the conclusion, 'but,' says Archbishop Whately, 'you asserted it by implication merely; this, however, can here only mean that you asserted it unconsciously—that you did not know you were asserting it; but if so, the difficulty revives in this shape. Ought you not to have known? Were you warranted in asserting the general proposition without having satisfied yourself of the truth of every thing which it fairly includes? And if not, what, then, is the syllogistic art but a contrivance for catching you in a trap, and holding you fast in it?'

"From this difficulty there appears to be but one issue. The proposition, that the Duke of Wellington is mortal, is evidently an inference, it is got at as a conclusion from something else; but do we, in reality, conclude it from the proposition—All men are mortal? I answer, No.

"The error committed is, I conceive, that of overlooking the distinction between the two parts of the process of philosophizing—the inferring part and the registering part; and ascribing to the latter the functions of the former. The mistake is that of referring a man to his own notes for the origin of his knowledge. If a man is asked a question, and is at the moment unable to answer it, he may refresh his memory by turning to a memorandum which he carries about with him. But if he were asked how the fact came to his knowledge, he would scarcely answer, because it was set down in his note-book.

"Assuming that the proposition, The Duke of Wellington is mortal, is immediately an inference from the proposition, All men are mortal, whence do we derive our knowledge of that general truth? No supernatural aid being supposed, the answer must be, from observation. Now, all which men can observe are individual cases. From these all general truths must be drawn, and into these they may be again resolved; for a general truth is but an aggregate of particular truths—a comprehensive expression, by which an indefinite number of individual facts are affirmed or denied at once. But a general proposition is not merely a compendious form for recording and preserving in the memory a number of particular facts, all of which have been observed. Generalization is not a process of mere naming, it is also a process of inference. From instances which we have observed, we feel warranted in concluding, that what we found true in those instances holds in all similar ones—past, present, and future, however numerous they may be. We, then, by that valuable contrivance of language, which enables us to speak of many as if they were one, record all that we have observed, together with all that we infer from our observations, in one concise expression; and have thus only one proposition, instead of an endless number, to remember or to communicate. The results of many observations and inferences, and instructions for making innumerable inferences in unforeseen cases, are compressed into one short sentence.

"When, therefore, we conclude, from the death of John and Thomas, and every other person we ever heard of in whose case the experiment had been fairly tried, that the Duke of Wellington is mortal like the rest, we may, indeed, pass through the generalization, All men are mortal, as an intermediate stage; but it is not in the latter half of the process—the descent from all men to the Duke of Wellington—that the inference resides. The inference is finished when we have asserted that all men are mortal. What remains to be performed afterwards is merely deciphering our own notes.

"Archbishop Whately has contended, that syllogizing, or reasoning from [Pg 421] generals to particulars, is not, agreeably to the vulgar idea, a peculiar mode of reasoning, but the philosophical analysis of the mode in which all men reason, and must do so if they reason at all. With the deference due to so high an authority, I cannot help thinking that the vulgar notion is, in this case, the more correct. If, from our experience of John, Thomas, &c. who once were living, but are now dead, we are entitled to conclude that all human beings are mortal, we might surely, without any logical inconsequence, have concluded at once, from those instances, that the Duke Wellington is mortal. The mortality of John, Thomas, and Company, is, after all, the whole evidence we have for the mortality of the Duke of Wellington. Not one iota is added to the proof by interpolating a general proposition. Since the individual cases are all the evidence we can possess; evidence which no logical form into which we choose to throw it can make greater than it is; and since that evidence is either sufficient in itself, or, if insufficient for one purpose, cannot be sufficient for the other; I am unable to see why we should be forbidden to take the shortest cut from these sufficient premisses to the conclusion, and constrained to travel the 'high priori road' by the arbitrary fiat of logicians. I cannot perceive why it should be impossible to journey from one place to another, unless 'we march up a hill and then march down again.' It may be the safest road, and there may be a resting-place at the top of the hill, affording a commanding view of the surrounding country; but for the mere purpose of arriving at our journey's end, our taking that road is perfectly optional: it is a question of time, trouble, and danger.

"Not only may we reason from particulars to particulars, without passing through generals, but we perpetually do so reason. All our earliest inferences are of this nature. From the first dawn of intelligence we draw inferences; but years elapse before we learn the use of general language. The child who, having burnt his fingers, avoids to thrust them again into the fire, has reasoned or inferred, though he has never thought of the general maxim—fire burns. He knows from memory that he has been burnt, and on this evidence believes, when he sees a candle, that if he puts his finger into the flame of it, he will be burnt again. He believes this in every case which happens to arise; but without looking, in each instance, beyond the present case. He is not generalizing; he is inferring a particular from particulars.—Vol. I. p. 244.

"From the considerations now adduced, the following conclusions seem to be established:—All inference is from particulars to particulars: General propositions are merely registers of such inferences already made, and short formulæ for making more: The major premiss of a syllogism, consequently, is a formula of this description; and the conclusion is not an inference drawn from the formula, but an inference drawn according to the formula: the real logical antecedent, or premisses being the particular facts from which the general proposition was collected by induction. * * *

"In the above observations, it has, I think, been clearly shown, that although there is always a process of reasoning or inference where a syllogism is used, the syllogism is not a correct analysis of that process of reasoning or inference; which is, on the contrary, (when not a mere inference from testimony,) an inference from particulars to particulars; authorized by a previous inference from particulars to generals, and substantially the same with it: of the nature, therefore, of Induction. But while these conclusions appear to me undeniable, I must yet enter a protest, as strong as that of Archbishop Whately himself, against the doctrine that the syllogistic art is useless for the purposes of reasoning. The reasoning lies in the act of generalisation, not in interpreting the record of that act; but the syllogistic form is all indispensable collateral security for the correctness of the generalisation itself."—P. 259.

By this explanation we are released from the dilemma into which the syllogistic and non-syllogistic party had together thrown us. We can acknowledge that the process of reason can be always exhibited in the form of a syllogism, and yet not be driven to the strange and perplexing conclusion that our reasoning can never conduct us to a new truth, never lead us further than to admit in one shape what we had already admitted in another. We have, or may have, it is true, a major in all our ratiocination, implied, if not expressed, and are so far syllogistic; but then the real premiss from which we reason is the amount of experience on which that major was founded, to which amount of experience we, in fact, made an addition in our minor, or conclusion.

[Pg 422] But while we accept this explanation, and are grateful for the deliverance it works for us, we must also admit, (and we are not aware that Mr Mill would controvert this admission,) that there is a large class of cases in which our reasoning betrays no reference to this anterior experience, and where the usual explanation given by teachers of logic is perfectly applicable; cases where our object is, not the discovery of truth for ourselves, but to convince another of his error, by showing him that the proposition, which in his blindness or prejudice he has chosen to contradict, is part and parcel of some other proposition to which he has given, and is at all times ready to give, his acquiescence. In such cases, we frequently content ourselves with throwing before him this alternative—refuse your major, to which you have again and again assented, or accept, as involved in it, our minor proposition, which you have persisted in controverting.

It will have been gathered from the foregoing train of observation, that, in direct contradistinction to Archbishop Whately, who had represented induction (so far as it consisted of an act of ratiocination) as resolvable into deductive and syllogistic reasoning, our author has resolved the syllogism, and indeed all deductive reasoning whatever, ultimately into examples of induction. In doing this, he is encountered by a metaphysical notion very prevalent in the present day, which lies across his path, and which he has to remove. We allude to the distinction between contingent and necessary truths; it being held by many philosophical writers that all necessary and universal truths owe their origin, not to experience (except as occasion of their development,) and not, consequently, to the ordinary process of induction, but flow from higher sources—flow immediately from some supreme faculty to which the name of reason has by some been exclusively appropriated, in order to distinguish it from the understanding, the faculty judging according to sense. We will pause a while upon this topic.

Contingent and Necessary Truths.—Those who have read Mr Whewell's treatise on the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, will remember that there is no topic which that author labours more sedulously to inculcate than this same distinction between contingent and necessary truths; and it is against his statement of the doctrine in question, that Mr Mill directs his observations. Perhaps the controverted tenets would have sustained a more equal combat under the auspices of a more practised and more complete metaphysician than Mr Whewell; but a difficulty was probably experienced in finding a statement in any other well-known English author full and explicit. Referring ourselves to Mr Whewell's volumes for an extract, in order to give the distinction here contended against the advantage of an exposition in the words of one who upholds it, we are embarrassed by the number which offer themselves. From many we select the following statement:—

"Experience," says Mr Whewell, "must always consist of a limited number of observations. And, however numerous these may be, they can show nothing with regard to the infinite number of cases in which the experiment has not been made. Experience, being thus unable to prove a fact to be universal, is, as will readily be seen, still more incapable of proving a fact to be necessary. Experience cannot, indeed, offer the smallest ground for the necessity of a proposition. She can observe and record what has happened; but she cannot find, in any case, or in any accumulation of cases, any reason for what must happen. She may see objects side by side, but she cannot see a reason why they must be ever side by side. She finds certain events to occur in succession; but the succession supplies, in its occurrence, no reason for its recurrence. She contemplates external objects; but she cannot detect any internal bond which indissolubly connects the future with the past, the possible with the real. To learn a proposition by experience, and to see it to be necessarily true, are two altogether different processes of thought.

"But it may be said, that we do learn, by means of observation and experience, many universal truths; indeed, all the general truths of which science consists. Is not the doctrine of universal gravitation learned by experience? Are not the laws of motion, the properties of light, the general properties of chemistry, so [Pg 423] learned? How, with these examples before us, can we say that experience teaches no universal truths?

"To this we reply, that these truths can only be known to be general, not universal, if they depend upon experience alone. Experience cannot bestow that universality which she herself cannot have, and that necessity of which she has no comprehension. If these doctrines are universally true, this universality flows from the ideas which we apply to our experience, and which are, as we have seen, the real sources of necessary truth. How far these ideas can communicate their universality and necessity to the results of experience, it will hereafter be our business to consider. It will then appear, that when the mind collects from observation truths of a wide and comprehensive kind, which approach to the simplicity and universality of the truths of pure science; she gives them this character by throwing upon them the light of her own fundamental ideas."—Whewell, Vol. I. p. 60.

Accordingly, Mr Whewell no sooner arrives at any truth which admits of an unconditional positive statement—a statement defying all rational contradiction—than he abstracts it from amongst the acquisitions of experience, and throwing over it, we suppose, the light of these fundamental ideas, pronounces it enrolled in the higher class of universal and necessary truths. The first laws of motion, though established through great difficulties against the most obstinate preconceptions, and by the aid of repeated experiments, are, when surveyed in their present perfect form, proclaimed to be, not acquisitions of experience, but truths emanating from a higher and more mysterious origin.[2]

This distinction, which assigns a different mental origin to truths, simply because (from the nature of the subject-matter, as it seems to us) there is a difference with regard to the sort of certainty we feel of them, has always appeared to us most unphilosophical. It is admitted that we arrive at a general proposition through experience; there is no room, therefore, for quibbling as to the meaning of the term experience—it is understood that when we speak of a truth being derived from experience, we imply the usual exercise of our mental faculties; it is the step from a general to a universal proposition which alone occasions this perplexing distinction. The dogma is this—that experience can only teach us by a limited number of examples, and therefore can never establish a universal proposition. But if all experience is in favour of a proposition—if no experience has occurred even to enable the imagination to conceive its opposite, what more can be required to convert the general into a universal proposition?

Strange to say, the attribution of these characteristics of universality and necessity, becomes, amongst those who loudly insist upon the palpable nature of the distinction we are now examining, a matter of controversy; and there are a class of scientific truths, of which it is debated whether they are contingent or necessary. [Pg 424] The only test that they belong to the latter order is, the impossibility of conceiving their opposites to be the truth; and it seems that men find a great difference in their powers of conception, and that what is impossible with one is possible with another. But (wisely, too) passing this over, and admitting that there is a distinction (though a very ill-defined one) between the several truths we entertain of this nature; namely, that some we find it impossible, even in imagination, to contradict, whilst of others we can suppose it possible that they should cease to be truths—does it follow that different faculties of the mind are engaged in the acquisition of them? Does nothing depend on the nature of the subject itself? "That two sides of a triangle," says Mr Whewell, "are greater than the third, is a universal and necessary geometrical truth; it is true of all triangles; it is true in such a way that the contrary cannot be conceived. Experience could not prove such a proposition." Experience is allowed to prove it of this or that triangle, but not as an inseparable property of a triangle. We are at a loss to perceive why the same faculties of the mind that can judge, say of the properties of animal life, of organized beings, cannot judge of the properties of a figure—properties which must immediately be conceived to exist the moment the figure is presented to the imagination. We say, for instance, of any animal, not because it is this or that animal, a sheep or an ox, but simply as animal, that it must sustain itself by food, by the process of assimilation. This, however, is merely a contingent truth, because it is in our power to conceive of organized beings whose substance shall not wear away, and consequently shall not need perpetual restoration. But what faculty of the mind is unemployed here that is engaged in perceiving the property of a triangle, that as triangle, it must have two sides greater than the third? The truths elicited in the two cases have a difference, inasmuch as a triangle differs from an animal in this, that it is impossible to conceive other triangles than those to which your truth is applicable, and therefore the proposition relating to the triangle is called a necessary truth. But surely this difference lies in the subject-matter, not in the nature of our mental faculties.

But we had not intended to interpose our own lucubrations in the place of those of Mr Mill.

"Although Mr Whewell," says our author, "has naturally and properly employed a variety of phrases to bring his meaning more forcibly home, he will, I presume, allow that they are all equivalent; and that what he means by a necessary truth, would be sufficiently defined, a proposition the negation of which is not only false, but inconceivable. I am unable to find in any of Mr Whewell's expressions, turn them what way you will, a meaning beyond this, and I do not believe he would contend that they mean any thing more.

"This, therefore, is the principle asserted: that propositions, the negation of which is inconceivable, or in other words, which we cannot figure to ourselves as being false, must rest upon evidence of higher and more cogent description than any which experience can afford. And we have next to consider whether there is any ground for this assertion.

"Now, I cannot but wonder that so much stress should be laid upon the circumstance of inconceivableness, when there is such ample experience to show that our capacity or incapacity for conceiving a thing has very little to do with the possibility of the thing in itself; but is in truth very much an affair of accident, and depends upon the past habits and history of our own minds. There is no more generally acknowledged fact in human nature, than the extreme difficulty at first felt in conceiving any thing as possible, which is in contradiction to long-established and familiar experience, or even to old and familiar habits of thought. And this difficulty is a necessary result of the fundamental laws of the human mind. When we have often seen and thought of two things together, and have never, in any one instance, either seen or thought of them separately, there is by the primary law of association an increasing difficulty, which in the end becomes insuperable, of conceiving the two things apart. This is most of all conspicuous in uneducated persons, who are, in general, utterly unable to separate any two ideas which have once become firmly associated in their minds, and, if persons of cultivated intellect have any advantage on the point, it is only because, having seen and heard and read more, and being more accustomed to [Pg 425] exercise their imagination, they have experienced their sensations and thoughts in more varied combinations, and have been prevented from forming many of these inseparable associations. But this advantage has necessarily its limits. The man of the most practised intellect is not exempt from the universal laws of our conceptive faculty. If daily habit presents to him for a long period two facts in combination, and if he is not led, during that period, either by accident or intention, to think of them apart, he will in time become incapable of doing so, even by the strongest effort; and the supposition, that the two facts can be separated in nature, will at last present itself to his mind with all the characters of an inconceivable phenomenon. There are remarkable instances of this in the history of science; instances in which the wisest men rejected as impossible, because inconceivable, things which their posterity, by earlier practice, and longer perseverance in the attempt, found it quite easy to conceive, and which every body now knows to be true. There was a time when men of the most cultivated intellects, and the most emancipated from the dominion of early prejudice, could not credit the existence of antipodes; were unable to conceive, in opposition to old association, the force of gravity acting upwards instead of downwards. The Cartesians long rejected the Newtonian doctrine of the gravitation of all bodies towards one another, on the faith of a general proposition, the reverse of which seemed to them to be inconceivable—the proposition, that a body cannot act where it is not. All the cumbrous machinery of imaginary vortices, assumed without the smallest particle of evidence, appeared to these philosophers a more rational mode of explaining the heavenly motions, than one which involved what appeared to them so great an absurdity. And they, no doubt, found it as impossible to conceive that a body should act upon the earth at the distance of the sun or moon, as we find it to conceive an end to space or time, or two straight lines inclosing a space. Newton himself had not been able to realize the conception, or we should not have had his hypothesis of a subtle ether, the occult cause of gravitation; and his writings prove, that although he deemed the particular nature of the intermediate agency a matter of conjecture, the necessity of some such agency appeared to him indubitable. It would seem that, even now, the majority of scientific men have not completely got over this very difficulty; for though they have at last learned to conceive the sun attracting the earth without any intervening fluid, they cannot yet conceive the sun illuminating the earth without some such medium.

"If, then, it be so natural to the human mind, even in its highest state of culture, to be incapable of conceiving, and on that ground to believe impossible, what is afterwards not only found to be conceivable, but proved to be true; what wonder if, in cases where the association is still older, more confirmed, and more familiar, and in which nothing even occurs to shake our conviction, or even to suggest to us any conception at variance with the association, the acquired incapacity should continue, and be mistaken for a natural incapacity? It is true our experience of the varieties in nature enables us, within certain limits, to conceive other varieties analogous to them. We can conceive the sun or moon falling, for although we never saw them fall, nor ever perhaps imagined them falling, we have seen so many other things fall, that we have innumerable familiar analogies to assist the conception; which, after all, we should probably have some difficulty in framing, were we not well accustomed to see the sun and moon move, (or appear to move,) so that we are only called upon to conceive a slight change in the direction of motion, a circumstance familiar to our experience. But when experience affords no model on which to shape the new conception, how is it possible for us to form it? How, for example, can we imagine an end to space and time? We never saw any object without something beyond it, nor experienced any feeling without something following it. When, therefore, we attempt to conceive the last point of space, we have the idea irresistibly raised of other points beyond it. When we try to imagine the last instant of time, we cannot help conceiving another instant after it. Nor is there any necessity to assume, as is done by the school to which Mr Whewell belongs, a peculiar fundamental law of the mind to account for the feeling of infinity inherent in our conception of space and time; that apparent infinity is sufficiently accounted for by simple and universally acknowledged laws."—Vol. I. p. 313.

Mr Mill does not deny that there exists a distinction, as regards ourselves, between certain truths (namely, that of some, we cannot conceive [Pg 426] them to be other than truths,) but he sets no value on this distinction, inasmuch as there is no proof that it has its counterpart in things themselves; the impossibility of a thing being by no means measured by our inability to conceive it. And we may observe, that Mr Whewell, in consistency with the metaphysical doctrine upon space and time which he has borrowed from Kant, ought, under another shape, to entertain a similar doubt as to whether this distinction represent any real distinction in the nature of things. He considers, with Kant, that space is only that form with which the human mind invests things—that it has no other than this merely mental existence—is purely subjective. Presuming, therefore, that the mind is, from its constitution, utterly and for ever unable to conceive the opposite of certain truths, (those, for instance, of geometry;) yet as the existence of space itself is but a subjective truth, it must follow that all other truths relating to it are subjective also. The mind is not conversant with things in themselves, in the truths even of geometry; nor is there any positive objective truth in one department of science more than another. Mr Whewell, therefore, though he advocates this distinction between necessary and contingent truth with a zeal which would seem to imply that something momentous, or of peculiar interest, was connected with it, can advocate it only as a matter of abstract metaphysical science. He cannot participate in that feeling of exaltation and mystery which has led many to expatiate upon a necessary and absolute truth which the Divine Power itself cannot alter, which is equally irresistible, equally binding and compulsory, with God as with man. Of this spirit of philosophical enthusiasm Mr Whewell cannot partake. Space and Time, with all their properties and phenomena, are but recognized as the modes of thought of a human intelligence.

We have marked a number of passages for annotation and extract—a far greater number than we can possibly find place for alluding to. One subject, however, which lies at the very basis of all our science, and which has received a proportionate attention from Mr Mill, must not be amongst those which are passed over. We mean the law of Causation. What should be described as the complete and adequate notion of a cause, we need not say is one of the moot points of philosophy. According to one school of metaphysicians, there is in our notion of cause an element not derived from experience, which, it is confessed on all hands, can teach us only the succession of events. Cause, with them, is that invisible power, that mysterious bond, which this succession does but signify: with other philosophers this succession constitutes the whole of any intelligible notion we have of cause. The latter opinion is that of Mr Mill; at the same time the question is one which lies beyond or beside the scope of his volumes. He is concerned only with phenomena, not with the knowledge (if such there be) of "things in themselves;" that part, therefore, of our idea of cause which, according to all systems of philosophy, is won from experience, and concerns phenomena alone, is sufficient for his purpose. That every event has a cause, that is, a previous and uniformly previous event, and that whatever has happened will, in the like circumstances, happen again—these are the assumptions necessary to science, and these no one will dispute.

Mr Mill has made a happy addition to the usual definition of cause given by that class of metaphysicians to which he himself belongs, and which obviates a plausible objection urged against it by Dr Reid and others. These have argued, that if cause be nothing more than invariable antecedence, then night may be said to be the cause of day, for the one invariably precedes the other. Day does succeed to night, but only on certain conditions—namely, that the sun rise. "The succession," observes Mr Mill, "which is equivalent and synonymous to cause, must be not only invariable but unconditional. We may define, therefore," says our author, "the cause of a phenomenon to be the antecedent, or the concurrence of antecedents, upon which it is invariably and unconditionally consequent."—Vol. I. p. 411.

A dilemma may be raised of this kind. The universality of the law of causation—in other words, the uniform course of nature—is the fundamental principle on which all induction [Pg 427] proceeds, the great premise on which all our science is founded. But if this law itself be the result only of experience, itself only a great instance of induction, so long as nature presents cases requiring investigation, where the causes are unknown to us, so long the law itself is imperfectly established. How, then, can this law be a guide and a premiss in the investigations of science, when those investigations are necessary to complete the proof of the law itself? How can this principle accompany and authorise every step we take in science, which itself needs confirmation so long as a process of induction remains to be performed? Or how can this law be established by a series of inductions, in making which it has been taken for granted?

Objections which wear the air of a quibble have often this advantage—they put our knowledge to the test. The obligation to find a complete answer clears up our own conceptions. The observations which Mr Mill makes on this point, we shall quote at length. They are taken from his chapter on the Evidence of the Law of Universal Causation; the views in which are as much distinguished for boldness as for precision.

After having said, that in all the several methods of induction the universality of the law of causation is assumed, he continues:—

"But is this assumption warranted? Doubtless (it may be said) most phenomena are connected as effects with some antecedent or cause—that is, are never produced unless some assignable fact has preceded them; but the very circumstance, that complicated processes of induction are sometimes necessary, shows that cases exist in which this regular order of succession is not apparent to our first and simplest apprehension. If, then, the processes which bring these cases within the same category with the rest, require that we should assume the universality of the very law which they do not at first sight appear to exemplify, is not this a real petitio principii? Can we prove a proposition by an argument which takes it for granted? And, if not so proved, on what evidence does it rest?

"For this difficulty, which I have purposely stated in the strongest terms it would admit of, the school of metaphysicians, who have long predominated in this country, find a ready salvo. They affirm that the universality of causation is a truth which we cannot help believing; that the belief in it is an instinct, one of the laws of our believing faculty. As the proof of this they say, and they have nothing else to say, that every body does believe it; and they number it among the propositions, rather numerous in their catalogue, which may be logically argued against, and perhaps cannot be logically proved, but which are of higher authority than logic, and which even he who denies in speculation, shows by his habitual practice that his arguments make no impression on himself.

"I have no intention of entering into the merits of this question, as a problem of transcendental metaphysics. But I must renew my protest against adducing, as evidence of the truth of a fact in external nature, any necessity which the human mind may be conceived to be under of believing it. It is the business of human intellect to adapt itself to the realities of things, and not to measure those realities by its own capacities of comprehension. The same quality which fits mankind for the offices and purposes of their own little life, the tendency of their belief to follow their experience, incapacitates them for judging of what lies beyond. Not only what man can know, but what he can conceive, depends upon what he has experienced. Whatever forms a part of all his experience, forms a part also of all his conceptions, and appears to him universal and necessary, though really, for aught he knows, having no existence beyond certain narrow limits. The habit, however, of philosophical analysis, of which it is the surest effect to enable the mind to command, instead of being commanded by, the laws of the merely passive part of its own nature, and which, by showing to us that things are not necessarily connected in fact because their ideas are connected in our minds, is able to loosen innumerable associations which reign despotically over the undisciplined mind; this habit is not without power even over those associations which the philosophical school, of which I have been speaking, regard as connate and instinctive. I am convinced that any one accustomed to abstraction and analysis, who will fairly exert his faculties for the purpose, will, when his imagination has once learned to entertain the notion, find no difficulty in conceiving that in some one, for instance, of the many firmaments into which sidereal astronomy now divides the universe, events may succeed one another at random, without any fixed law; nor can any thing in our [Pg 428] experience, or in our mental nature, constitute a sufficient, or indeed any, reason for believing that this is nowhere the case. The grounds, therefore, which warrant us in rejecting such a supposition with respect to any of the phenomena of which we have experience, must be sought elsewhere than in any supposed necessity of our intellectual faculties.

"As was observed in a former place, the belief we entertain in the universality, throughout nature, of the law of cause and effect, is itself an instance of induction; and by no means one of the earliest which any of us, or which mankind in general, can have made. We arrive at this universal law by generalisation from many laws of inferior generality. The generalising propensity which, instinctive or not, is one of the most powerful principles of our nature, does not indeed wait for the period when such a generalisation becomes strictly legitimate. The mere unreasoning propensity to expect what has been often experienced, doubtless led men to believe that every thing had a cause, before they could have conclusive evidence of that truth. But even this cannot be supposed to have happened until many cases of causation, or, in other words, many partial uniformities of sequence, had become familiar. The more obvious of the particular uniformities suggest and prove the general uniformity; and that general uniformity, once established, enables us to prove the remainder of the particular uniformities of which it is made up. * * *

"With respect to the general law of causation, it does appear that there must have been a time when the universal prevalence of that law throughout nature could not have been affirmed in the same confident and unqualified manner as at present. There was a time when many of the phenomena of nature must have appeared altogether capricious and irregular, not governed by any laws, nor steadily consequent upon any causes. Such phenomena, indeed, were commonly, in that early stage of human knowledge, ascribed to the direct intervention of the will of some supernatural being, and therefore still to a cause. This shows the strong tendency of the human mind to ascribe every phenomenon to some cause or other; but it shows also that experience had not, at that time, pointed out any regular order in the occurrence of those particular phenomena, nor proved them to be, as we now know that they are, dependent upon prior phenomena as their proximate causes. There have been sects of philosophers who have admitted what they termed Chance as one of the agents in the order of nature by which certain classes of events were entirely regulated; which could only mean that those events did not occur in any fixed order, or depend upon uniform laws of causation. * * *

"The progress of experience, therefore, has dissipated the doubt which must have rested upon the universality of the law of causation, while there were phenomena which seemed to be sui generis; not subject to the same laws with any other class of phenomena, and not as yet ascertained to have peculiar laws of their own. This great generalisation, however, might reasonably have been, as it in fact was by all great thinkers, acted upon as a probability of the highest order, before there were sufficient grounds for receiving it as a certainty. For, whatever has been found true in innumerable instances, and never found to be false after due examination in any, we are safe in acting upon as universal provisionally, until an undoubted exception appears; provided the nature of the case be such that a real exception could scarcely have escaped our notice. When every phenomenon that we ever knew sufficiently well to be able to answer the question, had a cause on which it was invariably consequent, it was more rational to suppose that our inability to assign the causes of other phenomena arose from our ignorance, than that there were phenomena which were uncaused, and which happened accidentally to be exactly those which we had hitherto had no sufficient opportunity of studying."—Vol. II. p. 108.

Hypotheses.—Mr Mill's observations on the use of hypotheses in scientific investigation, except that they are characterized by his peculiar distinctness and accuracy of thought, do not differ from the views generally entertained by writers on the subject. We are induced to refer to the topic, to point out what seems to us a harsh measure dealt out to the undulatory theory of light—harsh when compared with the reception given to a theory of Laplace, having for its object to account for the origin of the planetary system.

We had occasion to quote a passage from Mr Mill, in which he remarks that the majority of scientific men seem not yet to have completely got over the difficulty of conceiving matter to act (contrary to the old maxim) [Pg 429] where it is not; "for though," he says, "they have at last learned to conceive the sun attracting the earth without any intervening fluid, they cannot yet conceive the sun illuminating the earth without some such medium." But it is not only this difficulty (which doubtless, however, is felt) of conceiving the sun illuminating the earth without any medium by which to communicate its influence, which leads to the construction of the hypothesis, either of an undulating ether, or of emitted particles. The analogy of the other senses conducts us almost irresistibly to the imagination of some such medium. The nerves of sense are, apparently, in all cases that we can satisfactorily investigate, affected by contact, by impulse. The nerve of sight itself, we know, when touched or pressed upon, gives out the sensation of light. These reasons, in the first place, conduct us to the supposition of some medium, having immediate communication with the eye; which medium, though we are far from saying that its existence is established, is rendered probable by the explanation it affords of optical phenomena. At the same time it is evident that the hypothesis of an undulating ether, assumes a fluid or some medium, the existence of which cannot be directly ascertained. Thus stands the hypothesis of a luminiferous ether—in what must be allowed to be a very unsatisfactory condition. But a condition, we think, very superior to the astronomical speculation of Laplace, which Mr Mill, after scrutinizing the preceding hypothesis with the utmost strictness, is disposed to treat with singular indulgence.

"The speculation is," we may as well quote throughout Mr Mill's words, "that the atmosphere of the sun originally extended to the present limits of the solar system: from which, by the process of cooling, it has contracted to its present dimensions; and since, by the general principles of mechanics, the rotation of the sun and its accompanying atmosphere must increase as rapidly as its volume diminishes, the increased centrifugal force generated by the more rapid rotation, overbalancing the action of gravitation, would cause the sun to abandon successive rings of vaporous matter, which are supposed to have condensed by cooling, and to have become our planets.

"There is in this theory," Mr Mill proceeds, "no unknown substance introduced upon supposition, nor any unknown property or law ascribed to a known substance. The known laws of matter authorize us to suppose, that a body which is constantly giving out so large an amount of heat as the sun is, must be progressively cooling, and that by the process of cooling it must contract; if, therefore, we endeavour, from the present state of that luminary, to infer its state in a time long past, we must necessarily suppose that its atmosphere extended much further than at present, and we are entitled to suppose that it extended as far as we can trace those effects which it would naturally leave behind it on retiring; and such the planets are. These suppositions being made, it follows from known laws that successive zones of the solar atmosphere would be abandoned; that these would continue to revolve round the sun with the same velocity as when they formed part of his substance, and that they would cool down, long before the sun himself, to any given temperature, and consequently to that at which the greater part of the vaporous matter of which they consisted would become liquid or solid. The known law of gravitation would then cause them to agglomerate in masses, which would assume the shape our planets actually exhibit; would acquire, each round its own axis, a rotatory movement; and would in that state revolve, as the planets actually do, about the sun, in the same direction with the sun's rotation, but with less velocity, and each of them in the same periodic time which the sun's rotation occupied when his atmosphere extended to that point; and this also M. Comte has, by the necessary calculations, ascertained to be true, within certain small limits of error. There is thus in Laplace's theory nothing hypothetical; it is an example of legitimate reasoning from a present effect to its past cause, according to the known laws of that case; it assumes nothing more than that objects which really exist, obey the laws which are known to be obeyed by all terrestrial objects resembling them."—Vol. II. p. 27.

Now, it seems to us that there is quite as much of hypothesis in this speculation of Laplace as in the undulatory theory of light. This atmosphere of the sun extending to the utmost limits of our planetary system! What proof have we that it ever existed? [Pg 430] what possible grounds have we for believing, what motive even for imagining such a thing, but the very same description of proof given and rejected for the existence of a luminiferous ether—namely, that it enables us to explain certain events supposed to result from it? Nor is the thing here imagined any the less a novelty, because it bears the old name of an atmosphere. An atmosphere containing in itself all the various materials which compose our earth, and whatever else may enter into the composition of the other planets, is as violent a supposition as an ether, not perceptible to the senses except by its influence on the nerves of sight. And this cooling down of the sun! What fact in our experience enables us to advance such a supposition? We might as well say that the sun was getting hotter every year, or harder or softer, or larger or smaller. Surely Mr Mill could not have been serious when he says, that "the known laws of matter authorize us to suppose, that a body which is constantly giving out so large an amount of heat as the sun is, must be progressively cooling"—knowing, as we do, as little how the sun occasions heat as how it produces light. Neither can it be contended that because no absolutely new substance, or new property of matter, is introduced, but a fantastic conception is framed out of known substances and known properties, that therefore there is less of rash conjecture in the supposition. In fine, it must be felt by every one who reads the account of this speculation of Laplace, that the only evidence which produces the least effect upon his mind, is the corroboration which it receives from the calculations of the mathematician—a species of proof which Mr Mill himself would not estimate very highly.

Many are the topics which are made to reflect a new light as Mr Mill passes along his lengthened course; we might quote as instances, his chapters on Analogy and the Calculation of Chances: and many are the grave and severe discussions that would await us were we to proceed to the close of his volumes, especially to that portion of his work where he applies the canons of science to investigations which relate to human nature and the characters of men. But enough for the present. We repeat, in concluding, the same sentiment that we expressed at the commencement, that such a work as this goes far to redeem the literature of our age from the charge of frivolity and superficiality. Those who have been trained in a different school of thinking, those who have adopted the metaphysics of the transcendental philosophy, will find much in these volumes to dissent from; but no man, be his pretensions or his tenets what they may, who has been accustomed to the study of philosophy, can fail to recognize and admire in this author that acute, patient, enlarged, and persevering thought, which gives to him who possesses it the claim and right to the title of philosopher. There are few men who—applying it to his own species of excellence—might more safely repeat the Io sono anche! of the celebrated Florentine.

[Pg 431]


People are fond of talking of the hereditary feuds of Italy—the factions of the Capulets and Montagues, the Orsini and Colonne—and, more especially, of the memorable Vendette of Corsica—as if hatred and revenge were solely endemic in the regions of

"The Pyrenean and the river Po!"

Mere prejudice! There is as good hating going on in England as elsewhere. Independent of the personal antipathies generated by politics, the envy, hatred, and malice arising out of every election contest, not a country neighbourhood but has its raging factions; and Browns and Smiths often cherish and maintain an antagonism every whit as bitter as that of the sanguinary progenitors of Romeo and Juliet.

I, for instance, who am but a country gentleman in a small way—an obscure bachelor, abiding from year's end to year's end on my insignificant farm—have witnessed things in my time, which, had they been said and done nearer the tropics, would have been cited far and near in evidence of the turbulence of human passions, and that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Seeing that they chanced in a homely parish in Cheshire, no one has been at the trouble to note their strangeness; though, to own the truth, none but the actors in the drama (besides myself, a solitary spectator) are cognizant of its incidents and catastrophe. I might boast, indeed, that I alone am thoroughly in the secret; for it is the spectator only who competently judges the effects of a scene; and merely changing the names, for reasons easily conceivable, I ask leave to relate in the simplest manner a few facts in evidence of my assertion, that England has its Capuletti e Montecchi as well as Verona.

In the first place, let me premise that I am neither of a condition of life, nor condition of mind, to mingle as a friend with those of whose affairs I am about to treat so familiarly, being far too crotchety a fellow not to prefer a saunter with my fishing-tackle on my back, or an evening tête-à-tête with my library of quaint old books, to all the good men's feasts ever eaten at the cost of a formal country visit. Nevertheless, I am not so cold of heart as to be utterly devoid of interest in the destinies of those whose turrets I see peering over the woods that encircle my corn-fields; and as the good old housekeeper, who for these thirty years past has presided over my household, happens to have grandchildren high in service in what are called the two great families in the neighbourhood, scarcely an event or incident passes within their walls that does not find an echo in mine. So much in attestation of my authority. But for such an introduction behind the scenes, much of the stage business of this curious drama would have escaped my notice, or remained incomprehensible.

I am wrong to say the two great "families;" I should have said the two great "houses." At the close of the last century, indeed, our parish of Lexley contained but one; one which had stood there since the days of the first James, nay, even earlier—a fine old manorial hall of grand dimensions and stately architecture, of the species of mixed Gothic so false in taste, but so ornamental in effect, which is considered as betraying the first symptoms of Italian innovation.

The gardens extending in the rear of the house were still more decidedly in the Italian taste, having clipped evergreens and avenues of pyramidal yews, which, combined with the intervening statues, imparted to them something of the air of a cemetery. There were fountains, too, which, in the memory of man, had been never known to play, the marble basins being, if possible, still greener than the grim visages of the fauns and dryads standing forlorn on their dilapidated pedestals amid the neglected alleys.

The first thing I can remember of Lexley Hall, was peeping as a child through the stately iron gratings of the garden, that skirted a by-road leading from my grandfather's farm. [Pg 432] The desolateness of the place overawed my young heart. In summer time the parterres were overgrown into a wilderness. The plants threw up their straggling arms so high, that the sunshine could hardly find its way to the quaint old dial that stood there telling its tale of time, though no man regarded; and the cordial fragrance of the strawberry-beds, mingling with entangled masses of honeysuckle in their exuberance of midsummer blossom, seemed to mock me, as I loitered in the dusk near the old gateway, with the tantalizing illusions of a fairy-tale—the Barmecide's feast, or Prince Desire surveying his princess through the impermeable walls of her crystal palace.

But if the enjoyment of the melancholy old gardens of Lexley Hall were withheld from me, no one else seemed to find pleasure or profit therein. Sir Laurence Altham, the lord of the manor and manor-house, was seldom resident in the country. Though a man of mature years, (I speak of the close of the last century,) he was still a man of pleasure—the ruined hulk of the gallant vessel which, early in the reign of George III., had launched itself with unequalled brilliancy on the sparkling current of London life.

At that time, I have heard my grandfather say there was not a mortgage on the Lexley estate! The timber was notoriously the finest in the county. A whole navy was comprised in one of its coppices; and the arching avenues were imposing as the aisles of our Gothic minsters. Alas! it needed the lapse of only half a dozen years to lay bare to the eye of every casual traveller the ancient mansion, so long

"Bosom'd high in tufted trees,"

and only guessed at till you approached the confines of the court-yard.

It was hazard that effected this. The dice-box swept those noble avenues from the face of the estate. Soon after Sir Laurence's coming of age, almost before the church-bells had ceased to announce the joyous event of the attainment of his majority, he was off to the Continent—Paris—Italy—I know not where, and was thenceforward only occasionally heard of in Cheshire as the ornament of the Sardinian or Austrian courts. But these tidings were usually accompanied by a shaking of the head from the old family steward. The timber was to be thinned anew—the tenants to be again amerced. Sir Laurence evidently looked upon the Lexley property as a mere hotbed for his vices. At last the old steward turned surly to our enquiries, and would answer no further questions concerning his master. My grandfather's small farm was the only plot of ground in the parish that did not belong to the estate; and from him the faithful old servant was as careful to conceal the family disgraces, as to maintain the honour of Sir Laurence's name in the ears of his grumbling tenants.

The truth, however, could not long be withheld. Chaisefuls of suspicious-looking men in black arrived at the hall; loungers, surveyors, auctioneers—I know not what. There was talk in the parish about foreclosing a mortgage, no one exactly understood why, or by whom. But it was soon clear that Wightman, the old steward, was no longer the great man at Lexley. These strangers bade him come here and go there exactly as they chose, and, unhappily, they saw fit to make his comings and goings so frequent and so humiliating, that before the close of the summer the old servitor betook himself to his rest in a spot where all men cease from troubling. The leaves that dreary autumn fell upon his grave.

According to my grandfather's account, however, few even of his village contemporaries grieved for old Wightman. They felt that Providence knew best; that the old man was happily spared the mortification of all that was likely to ensue. For before another year was out the ring fence, which had hitherto encircled the Lexley property, was divided within itself; a paltry distribution of about a hundred acres alone remaining attached to the old hall. The rest was gone! The rest was the property of the foreclosee of that hateful mortgage.

Within view of the battlements of the old manor-house, nearly a hundred workmen were soon employed in digging the foundations of a modern mansion of the noblest proportions. The new owner of the estate, though only a manufacturer from Congleton, chose to dwell in a palace; and by [Pg 433] the time his splendid Doric temple was complete, under the name of Lexley Park, the vain-glorious proprietor, Mr Sparks, had taken his seat in Parliament for a neighbouring borough.

Little was known of him in the neighbourhood beyond his name and calling; yet already his new tenants were prepared to oppose and dislike him. Though they knew quite as little personally of the young baronet by whom they had been sold into bondage to the unpopular clothier—him, with the caprice of ignorance, they chose to prefer. They were proud of the old family—proud of the hereditary lords of the soil—proud of a name connecting itself with the glories of the reign of Elizabeth, and the loyalty shining, like a sepulchral lamp, through the gloomy records of the House of Stuart. The banners and escutcheons of the Althams were appended in their parish church. The family vault sounded hollow under their head whenever they approached its altar. Where was the burial-place of the manufacturer? In what obscure churchyard existed the mouldering heap that covered the remains of the sires of Mr Jonas Sparks? Certainly not at Lexley! Lexley knew not, and cared not to know, either him or his. It was no fault of the parish that its young baronet had proved a spendthrift and alienated the inheritance of his fathers; and, but that he had preserved the manor-house from desecration, they would perhaps have ostracized him altogether, as having lent his aid to disgrace their manor with so noble a structure as the porticoed façade of Lexley Park!

Meanwhile the shrewd Jonas was fully aware of his unpopularity and its origin; and, during a period of three years, he allowed his ill-advised subjects to chew, unmolested, the cud of their discontent. Having a comfortable residence at the further extremity of the county, he visited Lexley only to overlook the works, or notice the placing of the costly new furniture; and the grumblers began to fancy they were to profit as little by their new masters as by their old. The steward who replaced the trusty Wightman, and had been instructed to legislate among the cottages with a lighter hand, and distribute Christmas benefaction in a double proportion, was careful to circulate in the parish an impression that Mr Sparks and his family did not care to inhabit the new house till the gardens were in perfect order, the succession houses in full bearing, and the mansion thoroughly seasoned. But the Lexleyans guessed the truth, that he had no mind to confront the first outbreak of their ill-will.

Nearly four years elapsed before he took possession of the place; four years, during which Sir Laurence Altham had never set foot in the hall, and was heard of only through his follies and excesses; and when Mr Sparks at length made his appearance, with his handsome train of equipages, and surrounded by his still handsomer family, so far from meeting him with sullen silence, the tenantry began to regret that they had not erected a triumphal arch of evergreens for his entrance into the park, as had been proposed by the less eager of the Althamites.

After all, their former prejudice in favour of the young baronet was based on very shallow foundations. What had he ever done for them except raise their rents, and prosecute their trespasses? It was nothing that his forefathers had endowed almshouses for their support, or served up banquets for their delectation—Sir Laurence was an absentee—Sir Laurence was as the son of the stranger. The fine old kennel stood cold and empty, reminding them that to preserve their foxes was no longer an article of Lexley religion; and if any of the old October, brewed at the birth of the present baronet, still filled the oaken hogsheads in the cellars of the hall, what mattered it to them? No chance of their being broached, unless to grace the funeral feast of the lord of the manor.

To Jonas Sparks, Esq. M.P., accordingly, they dedicated their allegiance. A few additional chaldrons of coals and pairs of blankets, the first frosty winter, bound them his slaves for ever. Food, physic, and wine, were liberally distributed to the sick and aged whenever they repaired for relief to the Doric portico; and, with the usual convenient memory of the vulgar, the Lexleyans soon began to remember of the Altham family only their recent backslidings and ancient feudal oppressions: while of the Sparkses they chose to know only [Pg 434] what was evident to all eyes—viz., that their hands were open and faces comely.

Into their hearts—more especially into that of Jonas, the head of the house—they examined not at all; and were ill-qualified to surmise the intensity of bitterness with which, while contemplating the beauty and richness of his new domain, he beheld the turrets of the old hall rising like a statue of scorn above the intervening woods. There stood the everlasting monument of the ancient family—there the emblem of their pride, throwing its shadow, as it were, over his dawning prosperity! But for that force of contrast thus afforded, he would scarcely have perceived the newness of all the objects around him—the glare of the fresh freestone—the nakedness of the whited walls. A few stately old oaks and elms, apparently coeval with the ancient structure, which a sort of religious feeling had preserved from the axe, that they might afford congenial shade to the successor of its founder, seemed to impart meanness and vulgarity to the tapering verdure of his plantations, his modern trees—his pert poplars and mean larches—his sycamores and planes. Even the incongruity between his solid new paling and the decayed and sun-bleached wood of the venerable fence to which it adjoined, with its hoary beard of silvery lichen, was an eyesore to him. Every passer-by might note the limit and circumscription dividing the new place from the ancient seat of the lords of the manor.

Yet was the landscape of Lexley Park one of almost unequalled beauty. The Dee formed noble ornament to its sweeping valleys; while the noble acclivities were clothed with promising woods, opening by rich vistas to a wide extent of champaign country. A fine bridge of granite, erected by the late Sir Windsor Altham, formed a noble object from the windows of the new mansion; and but for the evidence of the venerable pile, that stood like an abdicated monarch surveying its lost dominions, there existed no external demonstration that Lexley Park had not from the beginning of time formed the estated seat of the Sparkses.

The neighbouring families, if "neighbouring" could be called certain of the nobility and gentry who resided at ten miles' distance, were courteously careful to inspire the new settler with a belief that they at least had forgotten any antecedent state of things at Lexley; for they had even reason to congratulate themselves on the change. Jonas had long been strenuously active in the House of Commons in promoting county improvements. Jonas was useful as a magistrate, and invaluable as a liberal contributor to the local charities. During the first five years of his occupancy, he did more for Lexley and its inhabitants than the half-dozen previous baronets of the House of Altham.

Of the man he had superseded, meanwhile, it was observed that Mr Sparks was judiciously careful to forbear all mention. It might have been supposed that he had purchased the estate of the Crown or the Court of Chancery, so utterly ignorant did he appear of the age, habits, and whereabout of his predecessor; and when informed by Sir John Wargrane, one of his wealthy neighbours, that young Altham was disgracing himself again—that at the public gaming-tables at Toplitz he had been a loser of thirty thousand pounds—the cunning parvenu listened with an air of as vague indifference as if he were not waiting with breathless anxiety the gradual dissipation of the funds, secured to the young spendthrift by the transfer of his estate, to grasp at the small remaining portion of his property. Unconsciously, when the tale of Sir Laurence's profligacy met his ear, he clenched his griping hand, as though it already recognized its hold upon the destined spoil, but not a word did he utter.

Meanwhile, the family of the new squire of Lexley were winning golden opinions on all sides. "The boys were brave—the girls were fair," the mother virtuous, pious, and unpretending. It would have been scandalous, indeed, to sneer to shame the modest cheerfulness of such people, because their ancestors had not fought at the Crusades. By degrees, they assumed an honourable and even eminent position in the county; and the first time Sir Laurence Altham condescended to visit the county-palatine, he heard nothing but commendations and admiration of the charming family at Lexley Park.

[Pg 435] "Charming family!—a Jonas Sparks, and charming!" was his supercilious reply. "I rejoice to find that the fumier I have been forced to fling on my worn-out ancestral estate is fertilizing its barrenness. The village is probably the better for the change. But, as regards the society, I must be permitted to mistrust the attractions of the brood of a Congleton manufacturer."

The young baronet, who now, though still entitled to be called young, was disfigured by the premature defeatures of a vicious life, mistrusted it all the more, when, on visiting the old hall, he was forced to recognize the improvements effected in the neighbouring property (that he should be forced to call it "neighbouring!") by the judicious administration of the new owner. It was impossible to deny that Mr Sparks had doubled its value, while enhancing its beauties. The low grounds were drained, the high lands planted, the river widened, the forestry systematically organized. The estate appeared to have attained new strength and vigour when dissevered from the old manor-house; whose shadow might be supposed to have exercised a baleful influence on the lands wherever it presided.

But it was not his recognition of this that was likely to animate the esteem of Sir Laurence Altham for Mr Jonas Sparks. On the contrary, he felt every accession of value to the Lexley property as so much subtracted from his belongings; and his detestation of the upstarts, whose fine mansion was perceptible from his lordly towers—like a blot upon the fairness of the landscape—increased with the increase of their prosperity.

Without having expected to take delight in a sojourn at Lexley Hall—a spot where he had only resided for a few weeks now and then, from the period of his early boyhood—he was not prepared for the excess of irritation that arose in his heart on witnessing the total estrangement of the retainers of his family. For the mortification of seeing a fine new house, with gorgeous furniture, and a pompous establishment, he came armed to the teeth. But no presentiments had forewarned him, that at Lexley the living Althams were already as much forgotten as those who were sleeping in the family vault. The sudden glow that pervaded his whole frame when he chanced to encounter on the highroad the rich equipage of the Sparkses; or the imprecation that burst from his lips, when, on going to the window of a morning to examine the state of the weather for the day, the first objects that struck him was the fair mansion in the plain below, laughing as it were in the sunshine, the deer grouped under its fine old trees, and the river rippling past its lawns as if delighting in their verdure——Yes! there was decided animosity betwixt the hill and the valley.

Every successive season served to quicken the pulses of this growing hatred. Whether on the spot or at a distance, a thousand aggravations sprang up betwixt the parties: disputes between gamekeepers, quarrels between labourers, encroachments by tenants. Every thing and nothing was made the groundwork of ill-will. To Sir Laurence Altham's embittered feelings, the very rooks of Lexley Park seemed evermore to infringe upon the privileges of the rookery at Lexley Hall; and when, in the parish church, the new squire (or rather his workmen, for he was absent at the time attending his duties in Parliament) inadvertently broke off the foot of a marble cherub, weeping its alabaster tears, at the angle of a monument to the memory of a certain Sir Wilfred Altham, of the time of James II., in raising the woodwork of a pew occupied by Mr Sparks's family, the rage of Sir Laurence was so excessive as to be almost deserving of a strait-waistcoat.

The enmity of the baronet was all the more painful to himself that he felt it to be harmless against its object. In every way, Lexley Park had the best of it. Jonas Sparks was not only rich in a noble income, but in a charming wife and promising family. Every thing prospered with him; and, as to mere inferiority of precedence, it was well known that he had refused a baronetcy; and many people even surmised that, so soon as he was able to purchase another borough, and give a seat in Parliament to his second son, as well as resign his own to the eldest, he would be promoted to the Upper House.

The only means of vengeance, therefore, possessed by the vindictive man whose follies and vices had been [Pg 436] the means of creating this perpetual scourge to his pride, was withholding from him the purchase of the remaining lands indispensable to the completion of his estate, more especially as regarded the water-courses, which, at Lexley Park, were commanded by the sluices of the higher grounds of the Hall; and mighty was the oath sworn by Sir Laurence, that come what might, however great his exigencies or threatening his poverty, nothing should induce him to dispose of another acre to Jonas Sparks. He was even at the trouble of executing a will, in order to introduce a clause imposing the same reservation upon the man to whom he devised his small remaining property—the heir-at-law, to whom, had he died intestate, it would have descended without conditions.

"The Congleton shopkeepers," muttered he, (whenever, in his solitary evening rides, he caught sight of the rich plate-glass windows of the new mansion, burnished by the setting sun,) "shall never, never lord it under the roof of my forefathers! Wherever else he may set his plebeian foot, Lexley Hall shall be sacred. Rather see the old place burned to the ground—rather set fire to it with my own hands—than conceive that, when I am in my grave, it could possibly be subjected to the rule of such a barbarian!"

For it had reached the ears of Sir Laurence—of course, with all the exaggeration derived from passing through the medium of village gossip—that a thousand local legends concerning the venerable mansion, sanctified by their antiquity in the ears of the family, afforded a fertile source of jesting to Jonas Sparks. The Hall abounded in concealed staircases and iron hiding-places, connected with a variety of marvellous traditions of the civil wars; besides a walled-up suite of chambers, haunted, as becomes a walled-up suite of chambers; and justice-rooms and tapestried-rooms, to which the long abandonment of the house, and the heated imaginations of the few menials left in charge of its desolate vastness, attributed romances likely enough to have provoked the laughter of a matter-of-fact man like the owner of Lexley Park. But neither Sir Laurence nor his old servants were likely to forgive this insult offered to the family legends of a house which had little else left to boast of. Even the neighbouring families were displeased to hear them derided; and my grandfather never liked to hear a joke on the subject of the coach-and-four which was said to have driven into the court-yard of the Hall on the eve of the execution of the rebel lords in 1745, having four headless inmates, who were duly welcomed as guests by old Sir Robert Altham. Nay, as a child, I had so often thrilled on my nurse's knees during the relation of this spectral visitation, that I own I felt indignant if any one presumed to laugh at a tale which had made me quake for fear.

Among those who were known to resent the familiar tone in which Mr Sparks had been heard to criticise the pomps and vanities exhibited at Lexley Hall by the Althams of the olden time, was a certain General Stanley, who, inhabiting a fine seat of his own at about ten miles' distance, was fond of bringing over his visitors to visit the old Hall, as an interesting specimen of county antiquity. He knew the peculiarities of the place, and could repeat the traditions connected with the hiding-places better than the housekeeper herself; and I have heard her say it was a pleasure to hear him relating these historical anecdotes with all the fire of an old soldier, and see his venerable grey hair blown about as he stood with his party on the battlements, pointing out to the ladies the fine range of territory formerly belonging to the Althams. The old lady protested that the general was nearly as much grieved as herself to behold the old mansion so shorn of its beams; and certain it is, that once when, on visiting the hall after Sir Laurence had been some years an absentee, he found the grass growing among the disjointed stones of the cloisters and justice-hall, he made a handsome present to one of the housekeeper's nephews, on condition of his keeping the purlieus of the venerable mansion free from such disgraceful evidences of neglect.

All this eventually reached the ears of the baronet; but instead of making him angry, as might have been expected, from one so tetchy and susceptible, he never encountered General [Pg 437] Stanley, either in town or country, without demonstrations of respect. Though too reserved and morose for conversation, Sir Laurence was observed to take off his hat to him with a respect he was never seen to show towards the king or queen.

About this time I began to take personal interest in the affairs of the neighbourhood, though my own were now of a nature to engross my attention. By my grandfather's death, I had recently come into the enjoyment of the small inheritance which has sufficed to the happiness of my life; and, renouncing the profession for which I was educated, settled myself permanently at Lexley.

Well do I remember the melancholy face with which the good old rector, the very first evening we spent together, related to me in confidence that he had three years' dues in arrear to him from Lexley Hall; but that so wretched was said to be the state of Sir Laurence's embarrassments, that, for more than a year, his dread of arrest had kept him a close prisoner in his house in London.

"We have not seen him here these six years!" observed Dr Whittingham; "and I doubt whether he will ever again set foot in the county. Since an execution was put into the Hall, he has never crossed the threshold, and I suspect never will. Far better were he to dispose of the property at once! Dismembered as it is, what pleasure can it afford him? And, since he is unlikely to marry and have heirs, there is less call upon him to retain this remaining relic of family pride; yet I am assured—nay, have good reason to know, that he has refused a very liberal offer on the part of Mr Sparks. Malicious people do say, by the way, that it was by the advice of Sparks's favourite attorneys the execution was enforced, and that no means have been left unattempted to disgust him with the place. Yet he is firm, you see, and persists in disappointing his creditors, and depriving himself of the comforts of life, merely in order that he may die, as his fathers did before him—the lord of Lexley Hall!"

"I don't wonder!" said I, with the dawning sentiments of a landed proprietor—"'Tis a splendid old house, even in its present state of degradation; and, by Jove! I honour his pertinacity."

Thus put upon the scent, I sometimes fancied I could detect wistful looks on the part of my prosperous neighbour of the Park, when, in the course of Dr Whittingham's somewhat lengthy sermons, he directed his eyes towards the carved old Gothic tribune, containing the family-pew of the Althams, in the parish church; and, whenever I happened to encounter him in the neighbourhood of the Hall, his face was so pointedly averted from the house, as if the mere object were an offence. I could not but wonder at his vexation; being satisfied in my own mind, that sooner or later the remaining heritage of the spendthrift must fall to his share.

Judge, therefore, of my surprise, when one fine morning, as I sauntered into the village, I found the whole population gathered in groups on the little market-place, and discovered from the incoherent exclamations of the crowd, that "the new proprietor of the Hall had just driven through in a chaise-and-four!"

Yes—"the new proprietor!" The place was sold! The good doctor's prediction was verified. Sir Laurence was never more to return to Lexley Hall!

The satisfaction of the villagers almost equalled their surprise on finding that General Stanley was their new landlord. It suited them much better that there should be two families settled on the property than one; and as it was pretty generally reported, that, in the event of Sparks becoming the purchaser, he intended to demolish the old house, and reconsolidate the estate around his own more commodious mansion, they were right glad to find it rescued from such a sentence—General Stanley, who was the father of a family, would probably settle the hall on one of his daughters, after placing it in the state of repair so much needed.

When the chaise-and-four returned, therefore, a few hours afterwards, through the village, the General was loudly cheered by his subjects. His partiality for the place was so well known at Lexley, that already these people seemed to behold in him the guardian of a monument so long the object of their pride.

For my own part, nothing surprised me so much in the business as that Sparks should have allowed the [Pg 438] purchase to slip through his fingers. It was worth thrice as much to him as to any body else. It was the keystone of his property. It was the one thing needful to render Lexley Park the most perfect seat in the county. But I was not slow in learning (for every thing transpires in a small country neighbourhood) that whatever my surprise on finding that the old Hall had changed its master, that of Sparks was far more overwhelming; that he was literally frantic on finding himself frustrated in expectations which formed the leading interest of his declining years. For the progress of time which had made me a man and a landed proprietor, had converted the stout active squire into an infirm old man; and it was his absorbing wish to die sole owner of the whole property to which the baronets of the Altham family were born.

He even indulged in expressions of irritation, which nearly proved the means of commencing this new neighbourship by a duel; accusing General Stanley of having possessed himself by unfair means of Sir Laurence's confidence, and employed agents, underhand, to effect the purchase. In consequence of these groundless representations, it transpired in the country that the decayed baronet had actually volunteered the offer of the estate to the veteran proprietor of Stanley Manor; that he had solicited him to become the proprietor, and even accommodated him with peculiar facilities of payment, on condition of his inserting in the title-deeds an express undertaking, never to dispose of the old Hall, or any portion of the property, to Jonas Sparks of Lexley Park, or his heirs for ever. The solicitor by whom, under Sir Laurence's direction, the deeds had been prepared, saw fit to divulge this singular specification, rather than that a hostile encounter should run the risk of embruing in blood the hands of two grey haired men.

Excepting as regarded the disappointment of our wealthy neighbour, all was now established on the happiest footing at Lexley. The reparation instantly commenced by the General, gave employment throughout the winter to our workmen; and the evils arising from an absentee landlord began gradually to disappear. It was a great joy to me to perceive that the new proprietor of the Hall had the good taste to preserve the antique character of the place in the minutest portion of his alterations; and though the old gardens were no longer a wilderness, not a shrub was displaced—not a mutilated statue removed. The furniture had been sold off at the time of the execution; and that which came down in cart-loads from town to replace it, was rigidly in accordance with the semi-Gothic architecture of the lofty chambers. Poor Sparks must have been doubly mortified; for not only did he find his old eyesore converted into an irremediable evil by the restoration of the Hall, but the supremacy hitherto maintained in the neighbourhood by the modern elegance of his house and establishment, was thrown into the shade by the rich and tasteful arrangements of the Hall.

From the contracted look of his forehead, and sudden alteration of his appearance, I have reason to think he was beginning to undergo all the moral martyrdom sustained for thirty years past by the unfortunate Sir Laurence Altham; and were I not by nature the most contented of men, it would have sufficiently reconciled me to the mediocrity of my fortunes, to see that these two great people of my neighbourhood—the nobly-descended baronet and rich parvenu—were miserable men; that, so long as I could remember, one or other of them had been given over to surliness and discontent.

Before the close of the year the grand old Hall had become one of the noblest seats in the county. There was talk about it in all the country round, and even the newspapers took notice of its renovation, and of General Stanley's removal thither from Stanley Manor. Many people, of the species who love to detect spots in the sun, were careful to point out the insufficiency of the estate, as at present constituted, to maintain so fine a house. But, after all, what mattered this to General Stanley, who had a fine rent-roll elsewhere?

The first thing he did, on taking possession, was to give a grand ball to the neighbourhood; nor was it till the whole house was lighted up for this festive occasion, that people were fully aware of the grandeur of its proportions. He was good enough to [Pg 439] send me an invitation on so especial an occasion. But already I had imbibed the distaste which has pursued me through life for what is called society; and I accordingly contented myself with surveying from a distance the fine effect produced by the light streaming from the multitude of windows, and exhibiting to the whole country round the gorgeous nature of the decorations within. To own the truth, I could scarcely forbear regretting, as I surveyed them, the gloomy dilapidation of the venerable mansion. This modernized antiquity was a very different thing from the massy grandeur of its neglected years; and I am afraid I loved the old house better with the weeds springing from its crevices, than with all this carving and gilding, this ebony, and iron, and light.

The people of Lexley imagined that nothing would induce the Sparks's family to be seen under General Stanley's roof. But we were mistaken. So much the contrary, that the squire of Lexley Park made a particular point of being the first and latest of the guests—not only because his reconciliation with his new neighbour was so recent, but from not choosing to authenticate, by his absence, the rumours of his grievous disappointment.

For all the good he was likely to derive from his visit, the poor man had better have stayed away; for that unlucky night laid foundations of evil for him and his, far greater than any he had incurred from the animosity of Sir Laurence. Nay, when in the sequel these results became matter of public commentation, superstitious people were not wanting to hint that the evil spirit, traditionally said to haunt one of the wings of the old manor, and to have manifested itself on more than one occasion to members of the Altham family, (and more especially to the late worthless proprietor of the Hall,) had acquired a fatal power over the two supplanters of the ruined family the moment they crossed the threshold.

General Stanley, after marrying late in life, had been some years a widower—a widower with two daughters, his co-heiresses. The elder of these young ladies was a hopeless invalid, slightly deformed, and so little attractive in person, or desirous to attract, that there was every prospect of the noble fortunes of the General centring in her sister. Yet this sister, this girl, had little need of such an accession to her charms; for she was one of those fortunate beings endowed not only with beauty and excellence, but with a power of pleasing not always united with even a combination of merit and loveliness.

Every body agreed that Mary Stanley was charming. Old and young, rich and poor, all loved her, all delighted in her. It is true, the good rector's maiden sisters privately hinted to me their horror of the recklessness with which—sometimes with her sister, oftener without, but wholly unattended—she drove her little pony-chaise through the village, laughing like a madcap at pranks of a huge Newfoundland dog named Sergeant, the favourite of General Stanley, which, while escorting the young ladies, used to gambol into the cottages, overset furniture and children, and scamper out again amid a general uproar. For though Miss Mary was but sixteen, the starched spinsters decided that she was much too old for such folly; and that, if the General intended to present her at court, it was high time for her to lay aside the hoyden manners of childhood.

But, as every one argued against them, why should this joyous, bright, and beautiful creature lay aside what became her so strangely? Mary Stanley was not made for the formalities of what is called high-breeding. Her light, easy, sinuous figure, did not lend itself to the rigid deportment of a prude; and her gay laughing eyes, and dimpled mouth, were ill calculated to grace a dignified position. The long ringlets of her profuse auburn hair were always out of order—either streaming in the wind, or straying over her white shoulders—her long lashes and beautifully defined eyebrows of the same rich tint, alone preserving any thing like uniformity—a uniformity which, combined with her almost Grecian regularity of features, gave her, on the rare occasions when her countenance and figure were at rest, the air of some nymph or dryad of ancient sculpture. But to compare Mary Stanley to any thing of marble is strangely out of place; for her real beauty consisted in the ever-varying play of her features, and a certain [Pg 440] impetuosity of movement, that would have been a little characteristic of the romp, but that it was restrained by the spell of feminine sensibility. Heart was evidently the impulse of every look and every gesture.

For a man of my years, methinks I am writing like a lover. And so I was! From the first moment I saw that girl, at an humble and unaspiring distance, I could dream of nothing else. Every thing and every body seemed fascinated by Mary Stanley. When she walked out into the fields with the General, her two hands clasping, like those of a child, her father's arm, his favourite colts used to come neighing playfully towards them; and not the fiercest dog of his extensive kennel but, even when unmanageable by the keeper, would creep fawning to her feet.

It was strange enough, but still more fortunate, that all the adoration lavished upon this lovely creature by gentle and simple, Christian and brute, provoked no apparent jealousy on the part of her elder sister. Selina Stanley was afflicted with a cold, reserved, unhappy countenance, only too completely in unison with her disastrous position. But her heart was perhaps as genuine as her face was forbidding; for she loved the merry, laughing, handsome Mary, more as a mother her child, than as a sister nearly of her own years—that is, exultingly, but anxiously. Every one else foresaw nothing but prosperity, and joy, and love, in store for Mary. Selina prayed that it might prove so;—but she prayed with tears in her eyes, and trembling in her soul! For where are the destinies of persons thus exquisitely organized—thus full of love and loveliness—thus readily swayed to joy or sorrow, by the trivial incidents of life—characterised by what the world calls happiness—such happiness, I mean, as is enjoyed by the serene and the prudent, the unexcitable, the unaspiring! Miss Stanley foresaw only too truly, that the best days likely to be enjoyed by her sister, were those she was spending under her father's roof—a general idol—an object of deference and delight to all around.

At the General's housewarming, though not previously introduced into society, Mary was the queen of the ball; and all present agreed, that one of the most pleasing circumstances of the evening was to watch the animated cordiality with which she flew from one to the other of those old neighbours of Stanley Manor, (whom she alone had managed to persuade that a dozen miles was no distance to prevent their accepting her father's invitation;) and not the most brilliant of her young friends received a more eager welcome, or more sustained attention throughout the evening, than the few homely elderly people, (such as my friends the Whittinghams,) who happened to share the hospitality of General Stanley. I daresay that even I, had I found courage to accept his invitation, should have received from the young beauty some gentle word, in addition to the kindly smiles with which she was sure to return my respectful obeisance whenever we met accidentally in the village.

Mary was dressed in white, with a few natural flowers in her hair, which, owing to the impetuosity of her movements, soon fell out, leaving only a stray leaf or two, that would have looked ridiculous any where but among her rich, but dishevelled locks; and the pleasant anxieties of the evening imparted such a glow to her usually somewhat pale complexion, that her beauty is said to have been, that night, almost supernatural. She was more like the creature of a dream than one of those wooden puppets, who move mechanically through the world under the name of well brought-up young ladies.

It will easily be conceived how much this ball, so rare an event in our quiet neighbourhood, was discussed, not only the following day, but for days and weeks to come. Even at the rectory I heard of nothing else; while by my good old housekeeper, who had a son in service at General Stanley's, and a daughter waiting-maid to Miss Sparks, I was let in to secrets concerning it of which even the rectory knew nothing.

In the first place, though Mr Sparks had peremptorily signified from the first to his family, his desire that all should accompany him to Lexley Hall on this trying occasion, (and it was only natural he should wish to solace his wounded pride, by appearing before his noble neighbour surrounded by his handsome progeny,) two of his [Pg 441] children had risen up in rebellion against the decree—and for the first time—for Sparks was happy in a dutiful and well-ordered family. But the youngest daughter, Kezia, a girl of high spirits and intelligence, who fancied she had been pointedly slighted by the Misses Stanley, when, in one of Mary's harum-scarum expeditions on her Shetland pony, she had passed without recognition the better-mounted young lady of Lexley Park; and the eldest son, who so positively refused to accompany his father to the house of a man by whom Mr Sparks had inconsiderately represented himself as aggrieved, that, for once, the kind parent was forced to play the tyrant, and insist on his obedience.

It was, accordingly, with a very ill grace that these two, the prettiest of the daughters, and by far the handsomest of his three handsome sons, made their appearance at the fête. But no sooner were they welcomed by General Stanley and his daughters, than the brother and sister, who had mutually encouraged each other's disputes, hastened to recant their opinions.

"How could you, dearest father, describe this courteous, high-bred old gentleman, as insolent and overbearing?"—whispered Kezia.

"How could you possibly suppose that yonder lovely, gracious creature, intended to treat you with impertinence?"—was the rejoinder of her brother; and already the Stanleys had two enemies the less among their neighbours at Lexley Park.

On the other hand, the General had been forced to have recourse to severe schooling to bring his daughters to a sense of what was due to his guests, as regarded the family of a man who was known to have spoken disparagingly of them all. Moreover, if the truth must be owned, Mary was not altogether free from the prejudices of her caste; and, proud of her father's noble extraction, was apt to pout her pretty lip on mention of "the people at Lexley Park;" for the General, who had no secrets from his girls, had foolishly permitted them to see certain letters addressed to him by the eccentric Sir Laurence Altham, justifying himself concerning the peculiar clause introduced into his deeds of conveyance of his Hall estate, on the grounds of the degraded origin of "the upstart" he was so malignantly intent on discomposing.

"They will spoil our ball, dear papa—I know these vulgar people will completely spoil our ball!" said she. "I think I hear them announced:—'Mr Jonas Sparks, Miss Basiliza and Miss Kezia Sparks!'—What names?"

"The parents of Mr Sparks were dissenters," observed the General, trying to look severe. "Dissenters are apt to hold to scriptural names. But name is not nature, Mary; and, to judge by appearances, this man's—this gentleman's—this Mr Sparks's daughters, have every qualification to be an ornament to society."

"With all my heart, papa, but I wish it were not ours!" cried the wayward girl. "On the present occasion, especially, I could spare such an accession to our circle; for I know that Mr Sparks has presumed to speak of——"

She was interrupted by a sterner reproof on the part of the General than he had ever before administered to his favourite daughter; and the consequence of this unusual severity was the distinguished reception bestowed, both by Selina and her sister, on the family from Lexley Park.

Next day, however, General Stanley found a totally different cause for rebuke in the conduct of his dear Mary.

"You talked to nobody last night, but those Sparks's!" said he. "Lord Dudley informed me he had asked you to dance three times in vain; and Lord Robert Stanley assured me he could scarcely get a civil answer from you!—Yet you found time, Mary, to dance twice in the course of the evening with that son of Sparks's!"

"That son of Sparks's, as you so despisingly call him, dearest papa, is a most charming partner; while Lord Dudley, and my cousin Robert, are little better than boors. Everard Sparks can talk and dance, as well as they ride across a country. Not but what he, too, passes for a tolerable sportsman; and do you know, papa, Mr Sparks is thinking seriously of setting up a pack of harriers at Lexley?"

"At Lexley Park!" insisted her father, who chose to enforce the distinction instituted by Sir Laurence Altham. "I fancy he will have to [Pg 442] ask my permission first. My land lies somewhat inconveniently, in case I choose to oppose his intentions."

"But you won't oppose them!—No, no, dear papa, you sha'n't oppose them!"—cried Mary Stanley, throwing her arms coaxingly round her father's neck, and imprinting a kiss on his venerable forehead. "Why should we go on opposing and opposing, when it would be so much happier for all of us to live together as friends and neighbours?"

The General surveyed her in silence for some moments as she looked up lovingly into his face; then gravely, and in silence, unclasped her arms from his neck. For the first time, he had gazed upon his favourite child without discerning beauty in her countenance, or finding favour for her supplications.

"My opinion of Mr Sparks and his family is not altered since yesterday," said he coldly, perceiving that she was about to renew her overtures for a pacification. "Your father's prejudices, Mary, are seldom so slightly grounded, that the adulation of a few gross compliments, such as were paid you last night by Mr Everard Sparks, may suffice for their obliteration. For the future, remember the less I hear of Lexley Park the better. In a few weeks we shall be in London, where our sphere is sufficiently removed, I am happy to say, from that of Mr Jonas Sparks, to secure me against the annoyance of familiarity with him or his."

The partiality of his darling Mary for the handsomest and most agreeable young man who had ever sought to make himself agreeable to her, had sufficed to turn the arguments of General Stanley as decidedly against his parvenu neighbours, as, two days before, his eloquence had been exercised in their defence.

And now commenced between the young people and their parents, one of those covert warfares certain to arise from similar interdictions. Mr Sparks—satisfied that he should have further insults to endure on the part of General Stanley, in the event of his son pretending to the hand of the proud old man's daughter—sought a serious explanation with Everard, on finding that he neglected no opportunity of meeting Mary Stanley in her drives, and walks, and errands of village benevolence; and by the remonstrances of one father, and peremptoriness of the other, the young couple were soon tempted to seek comforts in mutual confidences. Residing almost within view of each other, there was no great difficulty in finding occasion for an interview. They met, moreover, naturally, and without effort, in all the country houses in the neighbourhood; and so frequently, that I often wondered they should consider it worth while to hazard the General's displeasure by partaking a few moments' conversation, every now and then, among the old thorns by the water-side, just where the bend of the river secured them from observation; or in the green lane leading from Lexley Park to my farm, while Miss Stanley took charge of the pony-chaise during the hasty explanations of the imprudent couple. Having little to occupy my leisure during the intervals of my agricultural pursuits, I was constantly running against them, with my gun on my shoulder or my fishing-rod in my hand. I almost feared young Sparks might imagine that I was employed by the General as a spy upon their movements, so fierce a glance did he direct towards me one day when I was unlucky enough to vault over a hedge within a few yards of the spot where they were standing together—Miss Mary sobbing like a child. But, God knows! he was mistaken if he thought I was taking unfair heed of their proceedings, or likely to gossip indiscreetly concerning what fell accidentally under my notice.

Not that a single soul in the neighbourhood approved General Stanley's opposition to the attachment. On the contrary, from the moment of the liking between the young people becoming apparent, the whole country decided that there could not be a more propitious mode of reuniting the dismembered Lexley estates; for though the General was expressly debarred from selling Lexley Hall to Sparks or his heirs, he could not be prevented bequeathing it to his daughters—the heirs of Jonas Sparks being the children of her body. And thus all objections would have been remedied.

But such was not the proud old man's view of the case. He had set his heart on perpetuating his own name in his family. He had set his [Pg 443] heart on the union of his dear Mary with her cousin Lord Robert Stanley; and Everard Sparks might have been twice the handsome, manly young fellow he was—twice the gentleman, and twice the scholar—it would have pleaded little in his favour against the predetermined projects of the positive General. There was certainly some excuse for his ambition on Miss Mary's account. Beauty, merit, fortune, connexion, every advantage was hers calculated to do honour to a noble alliance; and as her father often exclaimed, with a bitter sneer, in answer to the mild pleadings of Selina—"Such a girl as that—a girl born to be a duchess—to sacrifice herself to the son of a Congleton manufacturer!"

Two years did the struggle continue—during the greater part of which I was a constant eyewitness of the sorrows which so sobered the impetuous deportment of the light-hearted Mary Stanley. Her father took her to London, with the project of separation he had haughtily announced; but only to find, to his amazement, that Eton and Oxford had placed the son of Mr Sparks of Lexley Park, a member of Parliament, on as good a footing as himself in nearly all the circles he frequented. Even when, in the desperation of his fears, he removed his family to the Continent, the young lover (as became the lover of so endearing and attractive a creature) followed her, at a distance, from place to place. At length, one angry day, the General provoked him to a duel. But Everard would not lift his hand against the father of his beloved Mary. An insult from General Stanley was not as an offence from any other man. The only revenge taken by the high-spirited young man, was to urge the ungenerous conduct of the father as an argument with the daughter to put an end, by an elopement, to a state of things too painful to be borne. After much hesitation, it seems, she most unhappily complied. They were married—at Naples I think, or Turin, or some other city of Italy, where we have a diplomatic resident; and after their marriage—poor, foolish young people!—they went touring it about gaily in the Archipelago and Levant, waiting a favourable moment to propose a reconciliation with their respective fathers—as if the wrath and malediction of parents was so mere a trifle to deal with.

The first step taken by General Stanley, on learning the ungrateful rebellion of his favourite child, was to return to England. He seemed to want to be at home again, the better to enjoy and cultivate his abhorrence of every thing bearing the despised name of Sparks; for now began the genuine hatred between the families. Nothing would satisfy the obstinate old soldier, but that the elder Sparks had, from the first, secretly encouraged the views of his son upon the heiress of Lexley Hall; while Mr Sparks naturally resented with enraged spirit the overbearing tone assumed by his aristocratic neighbour towards those so nearly his equals. Every day produced some new grounds for offence; and never had Sir Laurence Altham, in the extremity of his poverty, regarded the thriving mansion in the valley with half the loathing which the view of Lexley Park produced in the mind of General Stanley. He was even at the trouble of trenching a plantation on the brow of the hill, with the intention of shutting out the detested object. But trees do not grow so hastily as antipathies; and the General had to endure the certainty, that, for the remainder of his life at least, that beautiful domain must be unrolled, map-like, at his feet. Nor is it to be supposed that the battlements of the old hall found greater favour in the sight of the parvenu squire, than when in Sir Laurence's time the very sight of them was wormwood to his soul.

Unhappily, while the Congleton manufacturer contented himself with angry words, the gentleman of thirty descents betook himself to action. General Stanley swore to be mightily revenged—and he was so.

On the very day following his return to England, before he even visited his desolate country-house, he sent for Lord Robert Stanley, and made him the confidant of his indignation—avowed his former good intentions in his favour—betrayed all Mary's—all Mr Everard Sparks's disparaging opposition; and ended by enquiring whether, since whichever of his daughters became Lady Robert Stanley would become sole heiress to his property, his lordship could make [Pg 444] up his mind to accept Selina as a wife? Proud as he was, the General almost condescended to plead the cause of his deformed daughter: enlarging upon her excellences of character, and, still more, upon her aversion to society, which would secure the self-love of her husband against any public remarks on her want of personal attractions.

Alas! all these arguments were thoroughly thrown away. Lord Robert was, as his cousin Mary had truly described him, little better than a boor. But he was also a spendthrift and a libertine; and had Miss Stanley been as deformed in mind as she was in person, he would have joyfully taken to wife the heiress of ten thousand a-year, and two of the finest seats in the county of Chester.

To herself, meanwhile, no hint of these family negotiations was vouchsafed; and Selina Stanley had every reason to suppose—when her cousin became on a sudden an assiduous visitor at the house, and very shortly a declared lover—that their intimacy from childhood had accustomed his eye to her want of personal charms—she had become endeared to him by her mild and submissive temper. So little was she aware of her father's testamentary dispositions in her favour, that the interested nature of Lord Robert's views did not occur to her mind; and, little accustomed to protestations of attachment, Selina's heart was not very difficult to soften towards the only man who had ever pretended to love her, and whose apparent attachment promised some consolation for the loss of her sister's society, as well as the chance of reunion with one whom her father had sworn should never, under any possible circumstances, again cross his threshold.

Six months after General Stanley's pride had been wounded to the quick by the newspaper account of a marriage between his favourite child and "a man of the name of Sparks," balm was poured into the wound by another and more pompous paragraph, announcing the union, by special license, of the Right Hon. Lord Robert Stanley and the eldest daughter and heiress of Lieut.-Gen. Stanley, of Stanley Manor, only son of the late Lord Henry Stanley, followed by the usual list of noble relatives gracing the ceremony with their presence, and a flourishing account of the departure of the happy couple, in a travelling carriage and four, for their seat in Cheshire.

This announcement, by the way, probably served to convey the intelligence to Mr and Mrs Everard Sparks; for the General having carefully intercepted every letter addressed by Mary to her sister, Lady Robert had not the slightest idea in what direction to communicate with one who possessed an undiminished share in her affections.

On General Stanley's arrival in Cheshire, at the close of the honeymoon, the most casual observer might have noticed the alteration which had taken place in his appearance. Instead of the sadness I had expected to find in his countenance after so severe a stroke as the disobedience of his darling girl, I never saw him so exulting. Yet his smiles were not smiles of good-humour. There was bitterness at the bottom of every word he uttered; and a terrible sound of menace rung in his unnatural laughter. Consciousness never seemed a moment absent from his mind, that he had defeated the calculations of the designing family; that he had distanced them; that he was triumphing over them. Alas! none at present entertained the smallest suspicion to what extent!

Preparatory to the settlements made by the General on Lord and Lady Robert Stanley, it had been found necessary to place in the hands of his lordship's solicitors the deeds of the Lexley Hall estate; when, lo! to the consternation of all parties, it appeared that the General's title was an unsound one; that by the general terms of this ancient property, rights of heirship could only be evaded by the payment of a certain fine, after intimation of sale in a certain form to the nearest-of-kin of the heir in possession, which form had been overlooked or wantonly neglected by Sir Laurence Altham!

The discovery was indeed embarrassing. Fortunately, however, the sum of ten thousand pounds only had been paid by the General to satisfy the immediate funds of the unthrifty baronet; the remainder of the purchase-money having been left in the form of mortgage on the property. There was consequently the less difficulty, though considerable expense, [Pg 445] in cancelling the existing deeds, going through the necessary forms, and, after paying the forfeiture to the heir, (to whom the very existence of his claims was unknown,) renewing the contract with Sir Laurence; to whom, so considerable a sum being still owing, it was as essential as to General Stanley that the covenant should be completed without delay. But all this occurred at so critical a moment, that the General had ample cause to be thankful for the promptitude with which he decided Selina's marriage; for only four days after the signature of the new deeds, Sir Laurence concluded his ill-spent life—his death being, it was thought, accelerated by the excitement consequent on this strange discovery, and the investigations on the part of the heir to which it was giving rise.

For the clause in the original grant of the Lexley estate (which dated from the Reformation) affected the property purchased by Jonas Sparks as fully as that which had been assigned to the General; and the baronet being now deceased, there was no possibility of co-operation in rectifying the fatal error. It was more than probable, therefore, that Lexley Park, with all its improvements, was now the property of John Julius Altham, Esq.!—the only dilemma still to be decided by the law, being the extent to which, his kinsman having died insolvent and intestate, he was liable to the suit of Jonas Sparks for the return of the purchase money, amounting to L.145,000.

Already the fatal intelligence had been communicated by the attorneys of John Julius Altham to those of the astonished man, who, though still convinced of the goodness of his cause, (which, on the strength of certain various statutes affecting such a case, he was advised to contest to the utmost,) foresaw a long, vexatious, and expensive lawsuit, that would certainly last his life, and prevent the possibility of one moment's enjoyment of the estate, from which he had received the usual notice of ejection. Fortunately for him, the present Mr Altham was not only a gentleman, and disposed to exercise his rights in the most decorous manner; but, of course, unbiassed by the personal prejudices so strongly felt by Sir Laurence, and so unfairly communicated by him to the General. Still, the question was proceeding at the snail's pace rate of Chancery suits at the commencement of the present century, and the unfortunate Congleton manufacturer had every reason to curse the day when he had become enamoured of the grassy glades and rich woodlands of Lexley; seeing that, at the close of an honourable and well-spent life, he was uncertain whether the sons and daughters to whom he had laboured to bequeath a handsome independence, might not be reduced to utter destitution.

Such was the intelligence that saluted the ill-starred Mary and her husband on their return to England! Instead of the brilliant prospects in which she had been nurtured—disinheritance met her on the one side, and ruin on the other!

Her vindictive father had even made it a condition of his bounties to Lord and Lady Robert, that all intercourse should cease between them and their sister; a condition which the former, in revenge for the early slights of his fairer cousin, took care should be punctually obeyed by his wife.

Till the event of the trial, Mr Sparks retained, of course, possession of the Park; but so bitter was the mortification of the family, on discovering in the village precisely the same ungrateful feeling which had so embittered the soul of Sir Laurence, that they preferred remaining in London—where no one has leisure to dwell upon the mischances of his neighbours, and where sympathy is as little expected as conceded. But when Mary arrived—poor Mary! who had now the prospect of becoming a mother—and who, though affectionately beloved by her husband's family, saw they regarded her as the innocent origin of their present reverses—she soon persuaded her husband to accompany her to her old haunts.

"Do not imagine, dearest," said she, "that I have any project of debasing you and myself, by intruding into my father's presence. Had we been still prosperous, Everard, I would have gone to him—knelt to him—prayed to him—wept to him—so earnestly, that his forgiveness could not have been long withheld from the child he loved so dearly. I would have described to him all you are to me—all your indulgences—all your devotion—and [Pg 446] you, too, my own husband, would have been forgiven. But as it is, believe me, I have too proud a sense of what is due to ourselves, to combat the unnatural hostility in which my sister and her husband appear to take their share. O Everard! to think of Selina becoming the wife of that coarse and heartless man, of whom, in former times, she thought even more contemptuously than I; and who, with his dissolute habits, can only have made my poor afflicted sister his wife from the most mercenary motives! I dread to think of what may be her fate hereafter, when, having obtained at my father's death all the advantages to which he looks forward, he will show himself in his true colours."

Thus, even with such terrible prospects awaiting herself, the good, generous Mary trembled only to contemplate those of her regardless sister; and it was chiefly for the delight of revisiting the spots where they had played together in childhood—the fondly-remembered environs of Stanley Manor—that she persuaded her husband to take up his abode in the deserted mansion at the Park, where, from prudential motives, Mr Sparks had broken up his establishment, and sold off his horses.

Attended by a single servant, in addition to the old porter and his wife who were in charge of the house, Mary trusted that their arrival at Lexley would be unnoticed in the neighbourhood. Confining herself strictly within the boundaries of the Park, which neither her father nor the bride and bridegroom were likely to enter, she conceived that she might enjoy, on her husband's arm, those solitary rambles of which every day circumscribed the extent; without affording reason to the General to suppose, when, discerning every morning from his lofty terraces the mansion of his falling enemy, that, in place of the man he loathed, it contained his discarded child.

The dispirited young woman, on the other hand, delighted in contemplating from the windows of her dressing-room the towers beneath, whose shelter she had abided in such perfect happiness with her doating father and apparently attached sister. They loved her no longer, it is true. Perhaps it was her fault—(she would not allow herself to conceive it could be a fault of theirs)—but at all events she loved them dearly as ever; and it was comforting to her poor heart to catch a glimpse of their habitation, and know herself within reach, should sickness or evil betide.

"If I should not survive my approaching time," thought Mary, often surveying for hours, through her tears, the heights of Lexley Hall, and fancying she could discern human figures moving from window to window, or from terrace to terrace; "if I should be fated never to behold this child, already loved—this child which is to be so dear a blessing to us both—in my last hours my father would not surely refuse to give me his blessing; nor would Selina persist in her present cruel alienation. It is, indeed, a comfort to be here."

Her husband thought otherwise. To him nothing was more trying than this compulsory sojourn at Lexley; not that he required other society than that of his engaging and attached wife. At any other moment it would have been delightful to him to enjoy the country pleasures around them, with no officious intrusive world to interpose between their affection. But in his present uncertainty as to his future prospects, to be mocked by this empty show of proprietorship, and have constantly before his eyes the residence of the man who had heaped such contumely on his head, and inflicted such pain on the gentlest and sweetest of human hearts, was a state of moral torment.

In the course of my fishing excursions—(for, thanks to Mr Sparks's neighbourly liberality, I had a card of general access to his parks)—I frequently met the young couple; and having no clue to their secret sentiments, noticed, with deep regret, the sadness of Mary's countenance and sinister looks of her husband. I feared—I greatly feared—that they were not happy together. The General's daughter repined, perhaps, after her former fortunes. The young husband sighed, doubtless, over the liberty he had renounced.

It was spring time, and Lord Robert having satisfied his cravings after the pleasures of London, by occasional bachelor visits on pretence of business, the family were to remain at the Hall till after the Easter holidays, so that [Pg 447] Mary had every expectation of the accomplishment of her hopes previous to their departure. Perhaps, in the bottom of her heart, she flattered herself that, on hearing of her safety, her obdurate relations might be moved, by a sudden burst of pity and kindliness, to make overtures of reconciliation—at all events to dispatch words of courteous enquiry; for she was ever dwelling on her good fortune that her father should, on this particular year, have so retarded the usual period of his departure. Yet when the report of these exulting exclamations on her part reached my ear, I was ungenerous enough to attribute them to a very different origin, fancying that the poor submissive creature was thankful for being within reach of protection from conjugal misusage.

Meanwhile, she was so far justified in one portion of her premises, that no tidings of her residence at Lexley Park had as yet reached the ear of her father. The fact was, that not a soul had courage to do so much as mention, in his presence, the name of his once idolized child; and Lord Robert, having been apprized of the circumstance, instantly exacted a promise from his wife, that nothing should induce her to hazard her father's displeasure by communication with her sister, or by acquainting the General of the arrival of the offending pair. The consequence was, that in the dread of encountering her sister, (whom she felt ashamed to meet as the wife of the man they had so often decried together,) Lady Robert rarely quitted the house; and these two sisters, so long the affectionate inmates of the same chamber—the sisters who had wept together over their mother's deathbed—abided within sight of each other's windows, yet estranged as with the estrangement of strangers.

And then, we pretend to talk with horror of the family feuds of southern nations; and, priding ourselves on our calm and passionless nature, feel convinced that all the domestic virtues extant on earth, have taken refuge in the British empire!

Every day, meanwhile, I noticed that the handsome countenance of Everard Sparks grew gloomier and gloomier; and how was I to know that every day he received letters from his father, announcing the unfavourable aspect of their suit; and that (owing, as was supposed, to the suggestions of General Stanley's solicitors) even the conduct of the adverse party was becoming offensive. The elder Sparks wrote like a man overwhelmed with mortification, and stung by a sense of undeserved injury; and his appeals to the sympathy and support of his son, were such as to place the spirited young man in a most painful predicament as regarded the family of his wife.

Unwilling to utter in her presence an injurious word concerning those who, persecute her as they might, were still her nearest and dearest by the indissoluble ties of nature, all he could do, in relief to his overcharged feelings, was to rush forth into the Park, and curse the day that he was born to behold all he loved in the world overwhelmed in one common ruin.

On such occasions, while pretending to fix my attention on my float upon the river, I often watched him from afar, till I was terrified by the frantic vehemence of his gestures. There was almost reason to fancy that the evil influences of the old Hall were extending their power over the valley; and that this distracted young man was falling into the eccentricities of Sir Laurence Altham.

After viewing with anxiety the wild deportment of poor Mary's husband, I happened one day to pass along the lane I have described as skirting the garden of the manor-house, on my way homewards to my farm; and on plunging my eyes, as usual, into the verdant depths of the clipped yew-walks, visible through the iron-palisades, was struck by the contrast afforded to the scene I had just witnessed, not only by its aristocratic tranquillity, but by the grave and subdued deportment of Lady Robert Stanley, who was sauntering in one of the alleys, accompanied by a favourite dog I had often seen following her sister in former days, and looking the very picture of contented egotism.

I almost longed to call aloud to her, and confide all I knew and all that I supposed. But what right had I to create alarms in her sister's behalf? What right had I to incite her to disobedience against the father on whom she and her husband were dependent? Better leave things as they were—the common philosophy of selfish, timid [Pg 448] people, afraid of exposing their own heads to a portion of the storm their interference may chance to bring down, while assisting the cause of the weak against the strong.

I used often to go home and think of poor Mary till my heart ached. That young and beautiful creature—that creature till lately so beloved—to be thus cruelly abandoned, thus helpless, thus unhappy! Perhaps not a soul sympathizing with her but myself—an obscure, low-born, uninfluential man, of no more value as a protector than a willow-wand shivered from the Lexley plantations! Not so much as the merest trifle in which I could demonstrate my good-will. I thought and thought it over, and there was nothing I could do—nothing I could offer. When I did hit upon some pretext of kindness, I only did amiss. The fruit season was not begun—nay, the orchards were only in blossom—and times were over for forcing-houses at Lexley Park! Thinking, therefore, that the invalid might be pleased with a basket of Jersey pears, of which a very fine kind grew in my orchard, I ventured to send some to her address. But the very next time I encountered Everard in the village, he cast a look at me as if he would have killed me for my officiousness, or, perhaps, for taking the liberty to suppose that Lexley Park was less luxuriously provisioned than in former years. Nor was it till long afterwards I discovered that my old housekeeper (who had taken upon herself to carry my humble offering to the park) had not only seen the poor young lady, but been foolish enough to talk of Lady Robert in a tone which appears to have exercised a cruel influence over her gentle heart; so that, when her husband returned home from rabbit-shooting, an hour afterwards, he found her recovering from a fainting fit, he visited upon me the folly of my servant; and such was the cause of his angry looks.

A few days afterwards, however, he had far more to reproach his conscience withal than poor Barbara. Having no concealments from his wife, to whom he was in the habit of avowing every emotion of his heart, he was rash enough to mention of having met the travelling carriage of Lord and Lady Robert on the London road. They had quitted the Hall ten days previous to the epoch originally fixed for their departure.

"Gone—exactly gone!—already at two hundred miles' distance from me!" cried poor Mary, nothing doubting that her father had, as usual, accompanied them, and feeling herself now, for the first time, alone in the dreary seclusion to which she had condemned herself, only that she might breathe the same atmosphere with those she loved. "Yet they had certainly decided to remain at the Hall till after Easter! Perhaps they discovered my being here, and the discovery hastened their journey. Unhappy creature that I am, to have become thus hateful to those in whose veins my blood is flowing! Everard, Everard! O, what have I done that God should thus abandon me?"

The soothing and affectionate remonstrances now addressed to her by her husband, had so far a good effect, that they softened her despair to tears. Long and unrestrainedly did she weep upon his shoulder; tried to comfort him by the assurance that she was comforted, or at least that she would endeavour to seek comfort from the protection and goodness whence it had been so often derived.

A few minutes afterwards, having been persuaded by Everard to rest herself on the sofa, to recover the effects of the agitation his indiscreet communication had excited, she suddenly complained of cold, and begged him to close the windows. It was a balmy April day, with a genial sun shining fresh into the room. The air was as the air of midsummer—one of those days on which you almost see the small green leaves of spring bursting from their shelly covering, and the resinous buds of the chestnut-trees expanding into maturity. Poor Everard saw at once that the chilliness of which his wife complained must be the effect of illness. More cautious, however, on this occasion than before, he enquired, as her shivering increased, what preparations she had made for the events which still left her some weeks for execution. "None. His sisters had kindly undertaken to supply her with all she might require; and the services of the nurse accustomed to attend his married sister, were engaged on her behalf. At the end of the month this woman was to arrive at Lexley, bringing with her [Pg 449] the wardrobe of the little treasure who was to accord renewed peace and happiness to its mother."

Though careful to conceal his anxiety from his wife, Everard Sparks, disappointed and distressed, quitted the room in haste to send for the medical man who had long been the attendant of his family. But before he arrived, the shivering fit of the poor sufferer had increased to an alarming degree. A calming potion was administered, and orders issued that she was to be kept quiet; but in the consternation created in the little household by the communication Dr R. thought it necessary to make of the possibility of a premature confinement, poor Mrs Sparks's maid, a young inexperienced woman, dispatched a messenger to my house for her old kinswoman, and it was through Barbara I became acquainted with the melancholy incidents I am about to relate.

The sedatives administered failed in their effect. A fatal shock had been already given; and while struggling through that direful night with the increasing pangs that verified the doctor's prognostications, the sympathizing women around the sufferer could scarcely restrain their tears at the courage with which she supported her anguish, rejoicing in it, as it were, in the prospect of embracing her child—when all present were aware that the compensation was about to be denied her, that the child was already dead. Just as the day dawned, her anxious husband was congratulated on her safety, and then the truth could no longer be concealed from Mary. She asked to see her babe. Her husband was employed to persuade her to defer seeing it for an hour or two, "till it was dressed—till she was more composed." But the truth rushed into her mind, and she uttered not another word, in the apprehension of increasing his disappointment and mortification.

So long did her silence continue, that, trusting she had fallen asleep, old Barbara's granddaughter entreated poor Everard to withdraw and leave her to her rest. But the moment he quitted the room, she spoke, spoke resolutely, and in a firmer voice than her previous sufferings had given them reason to suppose possible.

"Now, then, let me see my boy," said she. "I know that he is dead. But do not be afraid of shocking or distressing me. I have courage to look upon the poor little creature for whom I have suffered so much, and who, I trusted, would reward me for all."

The women remonstrated, as it was their duty to remonstrate. But when they saw that opposition on this point only excited her, dreading an accession of fever, they brought the poor babe and laid it on the pillow beside its mother. That first embrace, to which she had looked forward with such intensity of delight, folded to her burning bosom only a clay-cold child!

Even thus it was fair to look on—every promise in its little form, that its beauty would have equalled that of its handsome parents; and Mary, as she pressed her lips to its icy forehead, fancied she could trace on those tiny features a resemblance to its father. Old Barbara, perceiving how bitterly the tears of the sufferer were falling on the cheeks of her lost treasure, now interfered. But the mother had still a last request to make. A few downy curls were perceptible on the temples—in colour and fineness resembling her own. She wished to rescue from the grave this slight remembrance of her poor nameless offspring; and her wish having been complied with, she suffered the babe to be taken from her relaxed and moveless grasp.

"Leave me the hair," said she, in a faint voice. "Thanks—thanks! I am happy now—I will try to sleep—I am happy—happy now!"

She slept—and never woke again. At the close of an hour or two, her anxious husband, finding she had not stirred, gently and silently approached the bedside, and took into his own the fair hand lying on the coverlid, to ascertain whether fever had ensued. Fever? It was already cold with the damps of death!

Imagine, if you can, the agony and self-reproach of that bereaved man! Again and again did he revile himself as her murderer; accusing himself—her father—her sister—the whole world. At one moment, he fancied that her condition had not been properly treated by her attendants; at another, that the medical man ought not to have left the house. Nay, hours and [Pg 450] hours after she was gone for ever—after the undertakers had commenced their hideous preparations—even while she lay stretched before him, white and cold as marble, he persisted that life might be still recalled; and, but for the better discrimination of those around him, would have insisted on attempts at resuscitation, calculated only to disturb, almost sacrilegiously, the sound peace of the dead!

I was one of the first to learn the heart-rending news of this beloved being's untimely end; for my old woman having asked permission to remain with her through the night, (explaining the exigency of the case,) I could not forbear hurrying to the house as soon as it was day, in the hope of hearing she was a happy mother. Somehow or other, I had never contemplated an unfavourable result. The idea of death never presented itself to me in common with any thing so young and fair; and as I walked through the park, and crossed the bridge, with the white cheerful mansion before me, and the morning sun shining full upon its windows, I thought how gladsome it looked, but could not forbear feeling that, even with the prospect of losing it—even with the certainty of beggary, Everard, as a husband and father, was the fellow most to be envied upon earth!

I reached the house, and the old man who answered my ring at the office entrance, was speechless from tears. Though usually hard as iron, he sobbed as if his heart would break. I asked to speak with Barbara—with my housekeeper. He told me I could not—that she was "busy laying out the body." I was answered. That dreadful word told me all—I had no more questions to ask. I cared not who survived, or what became of the survivors. And as I turned sickening away, to bend my steps homewards, I remember wondering how that fair spring morning could shine so bright and auspiciously, when she was gone from us. It seemed to triumph in our loss! Alas! it shone to welcome a new angel to the kingdom of our Father who is in heaven!

Suddenly it struck me, that I, too, had a duty to perform. In that scanty household there was no one to take thought of the common forms of life; so I hastened to the rectory, to suggest to our good pastor a visit of consolation to the house of mourning, and acquaint his sisters with its forlorn condition. Like myself, they began exclaiming, "Alas! alas! It was but the other day that"——reverting to all the acts of charity and girlish graces of that dear departed Mary Stanley, who had been among us as the shadow of a dream.

Before I left the rectory, Dr Whittingham had issued his orders; and lo! as I proceeded homewards, with a heavy step and a heavier heart, the sound of the passing bell from Lexley church pursued me with its measured toll, till I could scarcely refrain from sitting me down by the wayside, and weeping my very soul away.

On reaching the lane I have so often described as skirting the gardens of the old Hall, I noticed, through the palisades, a person, probably one of the gardeners, sauntering along Lady Robert's favourite yew-walk. No! on a nearer approach, I saw, and almost shuddered to see, that it was General Stanley himself (who, I fancied, had accompanied his son-in-law to town) taking an early walk, to enjoy the sweetness of that delicious morning.

As I drew nearer, I averted my head. At that moment I had not courage to look him in the face. I could scarcely suppose him ignorant of what had occurred; and, if aware of the sad event, his obduracy was unmanly to a degree that filled me with disgust. But just as I came opposite the iron gates, he hailed me by name—more familiarly and courteously than he was wont—to ask whether I came from the village, and for whose death they were tolling?

If worlds had depended on my answer, I could not have uttered a word! But I conclude that, catching sight of my troubled face and swollen eyelids, the General supposed I had lost some near and dear friend; for, instead of renewing his question, he merely touched his hat, and passed on, leaving me to proceed in my turn. But the spectacle of my profound affliction probably excited his curiosity; for I found afterwards, that, instead of pursuing his walk, he returned straight to the house, and addressed the enquiry which had so distressed me, to others having more courage to reveal the fatal truth. I believe it was the old [Pg 451] family butler, who abruptly answered—"For my poor young lady, General—for the sweetest angel that ever trod the earth!"

For my part, I wonder the announcement did not strike him to the earth! But he heard it without apparent emotion; like a man who, having already sustained the worst affliction this world can afford, has no sensibility for further trials. Still the intelligence was not ineffective. Without pausing an instant for reflection, or the indulgence of his feelings, he set forth on foot to Lexley Park. With his hat pulled over his eyes, and a determined air, rather as if about to execute an act of vengeance than offer a tardy tribute of tenderness to his victim, he hurried to the house—commanded the startled old servant to show him the way to her room—entered it—and knelt down beside the bed on which she lay, with her dead infant on her arm, asking her forgiveness, and the forgiveness of God, as humbly as though he were not the General Stanley proverbial for implacability and pride.

Old Barbara, who had not quitted the room, assured me it was a heart-breaking sight to behold that white head bowed down in agony upon the cold feet of his child. For he felt himself unworthy to press her helpless hand to his lips, or remove the cambric from her face, but called, in broken accents, upon the name of Mary! his child! his darling! addressing her rather with the fondling terms bestowed upon girlhood than as a woman—a wife—a mother!

"But a more affecting story still," said the old woman, "was to see that Mr Everard took no more heed of the General's sudden entrance than though it were a thing to be looked for. He seemed neither to hear his exclamations nor perceive his distress." Poor gentleman! His haggard eyes were fixed, his mind bewildered, his hopes blasted for ever, his life a blank. He neither answered when spoken to, nor even spoke, when the good rector, according to his promise, came to announce that he had dispatched the fatal intelligence by express to his family, beseeching his instructions concerning the steps to be taken for the burial of the dead.

But why afflict you and myself by recurring to these melancholy details! Suffice it, that this dreadful blow effected what nothing else on earth could have effected in the mind of General Stanley. Humbled to the dust, even the arrival of the once despised owner of Lexley Park did not drive him from the house. He asked his pity—he asked his pardon. Beside the coffin of his daughter he expressed all the compunction a generous-hearted and broken-hearted man could express; and all he asked in return, was leave to lay her poor head in the grave of her ancestors.

No one opposed his desire. The young widower had not as much consciousness left as would have enabled him to utter the negative General Stanley seemed prepared to expect; and as to his father, about to abandon Lexley for ever, to what purpose erect a family vault in a church which neither he nor his were ever likely to see again?

To the chapel at Stanley Manor, accordingly, were the mother and child removed. The General wrote expressly to forbid his son-in-law and Selina returning to the Hall, on pretence of sustaining him in his affliction. He chose to give way to it; he chose to be alone with his despair.

Never shall I forget the day that mournful funeral procession passed through the village! Young and old came forth weeping to their doors to bid her a last farewell; even as they used to come and exchange smiles with her, in those happy days when life lay before her, bright—hopeful—without a care—without a responsibility. I had intended to pay him the same respect. I meant, indeed, to have followed the hearse, at an humble distance, to its final destination. But when I rose that morning a sudden weakness came upon me, and I was unable to quit my room. I, so strong, so hardy, who have passed through life without sickness or doctor, was as powerless that day as an infant.

It was from the good rector, therefore, I heard how the General (on whom, in consequence of the precarious condition of the afflicted husband, devolved the task of chief mourner) sustained his carriage to perform with dignity and propriety his duty to the dead. As he followed the coffin through the churchyard, crowded by his old pensioners—many of them praying on [Pg 452] their knees as it passed—his step was as firm and his brow as erect as though at the head of his regiment. It was not till all was over—the mournful ceremony done, the crowd dispersed, the funeral array departed—that having descended into the vault, ere the stone was rolled to the door of the sepulchre, in order to point out the exact spot where he wished her remains to be deposited, so that hereafter his own might rest by her side, he renounced all self-restraint, and throwing himself upon the ground, gave himself up to his anguish, and refused to be comforted!

That summer was as dreary a season at Lexley as the dreariest winter! Both the Park and the Hall were shut up; nor did General Stanley ever again resume his tenancy of the old manor. When the result of the Chancery suit left Mr Altham in possession of the former estate, the General literally preferred forfeiting the moiety of the purchase-money he had paid, and giving up the place to be re-united with the property, which the rigour of the law thus singularly restored to the last heirs of the Althams; and such was the cause of my neighbour, the present Sir Julius Altham, regaining possession of the Hall.

It was not for many years, however, that the cause was ultimately decided. There was an appeal against the Chancellor's decree; and even after the decree was confirmed, came an endless number of legal forms, which so procrastinated the settlement, that not only the original unfortunate purchaser, but poor Everard himself, was in his grave when the mansion, in which they had so prided themselves, was pulled down, and all trace of their occupancy effaced.

I sometimes ask myself, indeed, whether the whole of this "strange eventful history," with which the earliest feelings of my heart were painfully interwoven, really occurred? whether the manor ever passed for a time out of the possession of the ancient house of Altham? whether the domain, now one and indivisible, were literally partitioned off—a park paling interposing only between the patrician and plebeian. Often, after spending hour after hour by the river side, when the fly is on the water and the old thorns in bloom, I recur to the first day I came back into Lexley Park after the funeral had passed through, and recollect the soreness of heart with which I lifted my eyes towards the house, of which every trace has since disappeared. At that moment there seemed to rise before me, sporting among the gnarled branches of the old thorn-trees, the graceful form of Mary Stanley, followed by old Sergeant, bounding and barking through the fern; and the General looking on from a distance, pretending to be angry, and desiring her to come out of the covert and not disturb the game. Exactly thus, and there, I beheld them for the first time. What would I not give to realize once more, if only for a day, that happy, happy vision!

Stanley Manor is let to strangers during the minority of Lord Robert's sickly son; the father being an absentee, the mother in an early grave. She lived long enough, however, to be a repining wife; and my neighbour, Sir Julius Altham, has more than once hinted to me, that, of the whole family, the portion of Selina most deserved compassion.

To me, however, her callous conduct towards that gentle sister, always rendered her the least interesting of my Country Neighbours.

[Pg 453]


Among the various signs of the times which mark the changes of manners in these latter days of the world, not the least remarkable is the increasing frequency of the visits paid by the natives of the East to the regions of Europe. Time was, within the memory of most of the present generation, when the sight of a genuine Oriental in a London drawing-room, except in the angel visits, "few and far between," of a Persian or Moorish ambassador, was a rarity beyond the reach of even the most determined lion-hunters; and if by any fortunate chance a stray Persian khan, or a "very magnificent three-tailed bashaw," was brought within the circle of the quidnuncs of the day, the sayings and doings of the illustrious stranger were chronicled with as much minuteness as if he had been the denizen of another planet. Every hair of his beard, every jewel in the hilt of his khanjar, was enumerated and criticised; while all oriental etiquette was violated by the constant enquiries addressed to him relative to the number of his wives, and the economy of his domestic arrangements. "Mais à present on a changé tout cela." The reforms of Sultan Mahmood, the invention of steam, and the re-opening of the overland route to India, have combined to effect a mighty revolution in all these points. Osmanlis, with shaven chins and tight trousers,[4] have long been as plenty as blackberries in the saloons of the West, eating the flesh of the unclean beast, quaffing champagne, and even (if we have been rightly informed) figuring in quadrilles with the moon-faced daughters of the Franks; and though the natives of the more distant regions of the East have not yet appeared among us in such number, yet the lamb-skin cap of the Persian, the pugree, or small Indian turban, and even the queer head-dress of the Parsee, is far from being a stranger in our assemblies. We doubt whether the name of Akhbar Khan himself, proclaimed at the foot of a staircase, would excite the same sensation in the present day, as the announcement of the most undistinguished wearer of the turban some ten or twenty years ago; but of the "Tours" and "Narratives" which are usually the inevitable result of such an influx of pilgrims, our Oriental visitors have as yet produced hardly their due proportion. For many years, the travels of Mirza Abu-Talib Khan, a Hindustani[5] Moslem of rank and education, who visited Europe in the concluding years of the last century, stood alone as an example of the effect produced on an Asiatic by his observation of the manners and customs of the West; and even of late our stock has not been much increased. The journal of the Persian princes (a translation of which, by their Syrian mehmandar, Assaad Yakoob Khayat, has been printed in England for private circulation) is curious, as giving a picture of European ways and manners when viewed through a purely Asiatic medium; while the remarkably sensible and well-written narrative of the two Parsees who lately visited this country for the purpose of instruction in naval architecture,[6] differs little from the description of the same objects which would be given by an intelligent and well-educated European, if they could be presented to him in the aspect of utter novelty. The latest [Pg 454] of these Oriental wanderers in the ungenial climes of Franguestan, is the one whose name appears at the head of this article, and who, with a rare and commendable modesty, has preferred introducing himself to the public under the protecting guidance of Maga, to venturing, alone and without a pilot, among the perilous rocks and shoals of the critics of the Row; him therefore we shall now introduce, without further comment, to the favourable notice of our readers.

Of Kerim Khan himself, the writer of his narrative, and of his motives for daring the perils of the kala-pani, (or black water, the Hindi name for the ocean,) on a visit to Franguestan, we have little information beyond what can be gathered from the MS. itself. There can be no doubt, however, that he was a Mussulman gentleman of rank and consideration, and of information far superior to that of his countrymen in general; nor does it appear that he was driven, like Mirza Abu-Talib, by political misfortune, to seek in strange climes the security which his native land denied him. His narrative commences abruptly:—"On the 21st of Ramazan, in the year of the Hejra 1255," (Dec. 1, A.D. 1839,) "between four and five in the afternoon, I took leave of the imperial city of Delhi, and proceeded to our boat, which was at anchor near the Derya Ganj." The voyage down the Jumna, to its junction with the Ganges at Allahabad, a distance of not more than 550 miles by land, but which the endless windings of the stream increase to 2010 by water, presents few incidents worthy of notice: but our traveller observes par parenthèse, that "though it is said that the sources of this river have not been discovered, I have heard from those who have crossed the Himalaya from China, that it rises in that country on the other side of the mountains, and, forcing its way through them, arrives at Bighamber. They say that gold is found there in large quantities, and the reason they assign is this—the philosopher's stone is found in that country, and whatever touches it becomes gold, but the stone itself can never be found!" Near Muttra he encountered the splendid cortège of Lord Auckland, then returning to Calcutta after his famous interview with Runjeet Singh at Lahore, with such a suwarree as must have recalled the pomp and sultanut for which the memory of Warren Hastings is even yet celebrated among the natives of India: "his staff and escort, with the civil and military officers of government in attendance on him, amounted to about 4000 persons, besides 300 elephants and 800 camels." The noble buildings of Akbarabad or Agra, the capital and residence of Akbar and Shalijehan, the mightiest and most magnificent of the Mogul emperors, detained the traveller for a day; and he notices with deserved eulogium the splendid mausoleum of Shalijehan and his queen, known as the Taj-Mahal. There is nothing that can be compared with it, and those who have visited the farthest parts of the globe, have seen nothing like it.[7] At Allahabad he launched on the broad stream of the Ganges; and after passing through part of the territory of Awadh or Oude, the insecurity of life and property in which is strongly contrasted with the rigid police in the Company's dominions, arrived in due time at the holy city of Benares, the centre of Hindoo and Brahminical sanctity.

The shrines of Benares, with their swarms of sacred monkeys and Brahminy bulls, were objects of little interest to our Moslem wayfarer, who on the contrary recounts with visible satisfaction the destruction of several of these But Khanas, or idol-temples, by the intolerable bigotry of Aurungzib, and the erection of mosques on their sites. Among the objects of attraction in the environs of the city, he particularly notices a famous footprint[8] upon stone, called the Kadmsherif, or holy mark, deposited in a [Pg 455] mosque near the serai of Aurungabad, and said to have been brought from Mekka by Sheik Mohammed Ali Hazin, whom the translator of his interesting autobiography (published in 1830 by the Oriental Society) has made known to the British public, up to the period when the tyranny of Nadir Shah drove him from Persia. "Here, during his lifetime, he used to go sometimes on a Thursday, and give alms to the poor in the name of God. He was a very learned and accomplished man; and his writings, both in prose and verse, were equal to those of Zahiri and Naziri. When he first came to India, he resided for some years at Delhi; but having had some dispute with the poet-laureate of the Emperor Mohammed Shah, he found himself under the necessity of retiring to Benares, where he lived in great privacy. As he was a stranger in the country, was engaged in no calling or profession, and received no allowance from the Emperor, it was never known whence, or how, he was supplied with the means of keeping up the establishment he did, which consisted of some hundred servants, palanquins, horses, &c. It is said that when the Nawab Shujah-ed-dowlah projected his attack on the English in Bengal, he consulted the Sheik on the subject, who strongly dissuaded him from the undertaking. He died shortly after the battle of Buxar in 1180," (A.D. 1766.) The battle of Buxar was fought Oct. 23, 1764; but that Sheik Ali Hazin died somewhere about this time, seems more probable than that his life was extended (as stated by Sir Gore Ouseley) till 1779; since he describes himself at the conclusion of his memoirs in 1742, when only in his 53d year, as "leading the dullest course of existence in the dullest of all dull countries, and disabled by his increasing infirmities from any active exertion of either body or mind"—a state of things scarcely promising a prolongation of life to the age of ninety.

Resuming his voyage from Benares, the Khan notices with wonder the apparition of the steamers plying between Calcutta and Allahabad, several of which he met on his course, and regarded with the astonishment natural in one who had never before seen a ship impelled, apparently by smoke, against wind and tide:—"I need hardly say how intensely I watched every movement of this extraordinary, and to me incomprehensible machine, which in its passage created such a vast commotion in the waters, that my poor little budjrow (pinnace) felt its effects for the space of full two hos," (nearly four miles.) The picturesque situation of the city of Azimabad or Patna,[9] extending for several miles along the right bank of the Ganges, with the villas and beautiful gardens of the resident English interspersed among the houses, is described in terms of high admiration; and the mosques, some of which were as old as the time of the Patan emperors, are not forgotten by our Moslem traveller in his enumeration of the marvels of the city. A few days' more boating brought him to Rajmahal; "on one side of which," says he, "the country is called Bengal, and on the other Poorb, or the East"—a name from which the independent dynasty of Moslem kings, who once ruled in Bengal, assumed the appellation of Poorby-Shaby. He was now among the rice-fields, the extent and luxuriance of which surprised him: "There are a great variety of sorts, and if a man were to take a grain of each sort he might soon fill a lota (water-pot) with them—so innumerable are the different kinds. The cultivators who have measured the largest species, have declared them to exceed the length of fifty cubits; but I have never seen any of this length, though others may have." He now entered the Bhagirutti, or branch of the Ganges leading to Calcutta, and which bears in the lower part of its course the better known name of the Hoogly—while the main stream to the left is again subdivided into innumerable ramifications, the greater part of which lose themselves among the vast marshes [Pg 456] of the Sunderbunds; but he complains, that "though by this branch large vessels and steamers pass up and down to and from the Presidency, the route is very bad, from the extensive jungles on both banks, which are haunted by Thugs and Decoits, (river pirates:)—indeed I have heard and read, that the shores of the Ganges have been infested by freebooters, pirates, and thieves of all sorts, from time immemorial." He escaped unharmed, however, through these manifold perils; and passing Murshidabad, the ancient capital of Bengal, and other places of less note, his remarks upon which we shall not stay to quote, reached the ghauts of Calcutta in safety.

A place so often described as the "City of Palaces," presents little that is novel in the narrative of the khan; but he does full justice to the splendour of the architecture, which he says "exceeds that of China or Ispahan—a superiority which arises from the immense sums which every governor-general has laid out upon public works, and in improving and adorning the city: the Marquis Wellesley, in particular, expended lakhs of rupees in this way." The account which he gives, however, from a Mahommedan writer, of the disputes with the Mogul government which led to the transference of the British factory and commerce from its original seat at Hoogly to Kali-kata,[10] or Calcutta, differs considerably from that given by the British historians, if we are to suppose the events here alluded to (the date of which the khan does not mention) to be those which occurred in 1686 and 1687, when Charnock defended the factory at Hoogly against the Imperial deputy, Shaista Khan. Our traveller's version of these occurrences is, that the factories of the English, which were then established on the Ghol Ghaut at Hoogly, having been overthrown by an earthquake, "Mr Charnock, the head officer of the factory, purchasing a garden called Banarasi, had the trees cut down, and commenced a new building. But while it was in progress, the principal Mogul merchants and inhabitants laid a complaint before Meer Nasir, the foujdar, (chief of police,) that their houses and harems would be overlooked, and great scandal occasioned, if the strangers should be allowed to erect such lofty buildings in the midst of the city.[11] The complaint was referred by the foujdar to the nawab, who forthwith issued orders for the discontinuance of the works, which were accordingly abandoned. The Company's agent, though highly offended at this arbitrary proceeding, was unable to resist it, having only one ship and a few sepoys; and, in spite of the efforts of the foujdar to dissuade him, he embarked with all his goods, and set sail for the peninsula," (qu. Indjeli?) "having first set fire to such houses as were near the river. At this time, however, the Emperor Aurungzib was in the Carnatic, beleaguered by the Mahrattas, who had cut off all supplies from his camp; and the Company's agent in that country, hearing of this, sent a large quantity of grain, which had been recently imported for their own use, for the relief of the army. Having thus gained the favour and protection of the Asylum of the World, the English were not only permitted to build factories in various parts of the country, but were exempted from the duties formerly laid on their goods. Charnock returned to Bengal with the emperor's firman; and the nawab, seeing how matters stood, withdrew his opposition to the erection of the factory at Hoogly. The English, however, preferred another situation, and chose Calcutta, where a building was soon erected, the same which is now called the old fort." This account, which is in fact more favourable to the English than that given by their own writers, is the only notice of these transactions we have ever found from a Mahommedan author; for so small was the importance attached by the Moguls to these [Pg 457] obscure squabbles with a few Frank merchants, that even the historian Khafi-Khan, who acted as the emperor's representative for settling the differences which broke out about the same time in Bombay, makes no allusion to the simultaneous rupture in Bengal.

Our author, like Bishop Heber,[12] and other travellers on the same route, is struck by the contrast between the robust and well-fed peasantry of Hindustan Proper, and the puny rice-eaters of Bengal; "who eat fish, boiled rice, bitter oil; and an infinite variety of vegetables; but of wheaten or barley bread, and of pulse, they know not the taste, nor of mutton, fowl, or ghee, (clarified butter.) The author of the Riaz-es-Selatin, is indeed of opinion that such food does not suit their constitutions, and would make them ill if they were to eat it"—an invaluable doctrine to establish in dieting a pauper population! "As to their dress, they have barely enough to cover them—only a piece of cloth, called a dhoti, wrapped round their loins, while their head-dress consists of a dirty rag rolled two or three times round the temples, and leaving the crown bare. But the natives of Hindustan, and even their descendants to the second and third generation, always wear the jamah, or long muslin robe, out of doors, though in the house they adopt the Bengali custom. The author of the Kholasat-al Towārikh, (an historical work,) says that both men and women formerly went naked; and no doubt he is right, for they can hardly be said to do otherwise now." Such are the peasants of Bengal—a race differing from the natives of Hindustan in language, manners, food, dress, and personal appearance; but who, from their vicinity to the seat of the English Supreme Government, have served as models for the descriptions given by many superficial travellers, as applying to all the natives of British India, without distinction! The horrible Hindu custom of immersing the sick, when considered past recovery, in the Ganges, and holding their lower limbs under water till they expire,[13] excites, as may be expected, the disgust of the khan; but the reason which he assigns for it, "the belief of these people, that if a man die in his own house, he would cause the death of every member of the family by assuming the form of a bhut or evil spirit," is new to us, and appears to be analogous to the superstitious dread entertained by the Greeks and Sclavonians, of a corpse reanimated into a Vroucolochas, or vampire. "But if a man escapes from their hands, and recovers after this treatment, he is shunned by every one; and there are many villages in Bengal, called villages of the dead, inhabited by men who have thus escaped death; they are considered dead to society, and no other persons will dwell in the same villages."

The stay of the khan in Calcutta was prolonged for more than a month, during which time he rented a house from a native proprietor in the quarter of Kolitolla. While removing his [Pg 458] effects from his boat to this residence, he became involved in a dispute with the police, in consequence of the violation by his servants, through ignorance, of the regulation which forbids persons from the Upper Provinces to enter the city armed; but this unintentional infringement of orders was easily explained and arranged by the intervention of an European friend, and the arms, of which the police had taken possession, were restored. While engaged in preparing for his voyage, the khan made the best use of his time in visiting the public buildings, and other objects of interest, among which he particularly notices the minar or column erected in the maidan, (square,) near the viceregal palace of the Nawab Governor-General Bahadur, by a subscription among the officers of the army, native as well as English, to the memory of the late Sir David Ochterlony; but rates it, with truth, as greatly inferior, both in dimensions and beauty, to the famous pillar of the Kootb-Minar near Delhi. The colossal fortifications of Fort-William are also duly commemorated; "they resemble an embankment externally, but when viewed from within are exceedingly high—no foe could penetrate within them, much less reach the treasures and magazines in the interior." Our traveller also visited the English courts of justice, in the proceedings of which he seems to have taken great interest, and was apparently treated with much hospitality by many of the European functionaries and other residents, by whom he was furnished with numerous letters of introduction, as well as receiving much information respecting the manners and customs of Ingilistan, or England. The choice of a ship, and the selection of sea-stock, were of course matters of grave consideration, and the more so from the peculiar unfitness of the habits and religious scruples of an Indian Moslem for the privations unavoidable at sea; but a passage was at last taken for the khan and his two servants on board the Edinburgh of 1400 tons, and it being agreed that he should find his own provisions, to obviate all mistakes on the score of forbidden food, and the captain promising moreover that his comforts should be carefully attended to, this weighty negotiation was at length concluded. It is due to the khan to say, that whether from being better equipped, or from being endued with more philosophy and forbearance than his compatriot, Mirza Abu-Talib Khan, (to whom we have above referred,) he seems to have reconciled himself to the hardships of the kala-pani, or ocean, with an exceedingly good grace; and we find none of the complaints which fill the pages of the Mirza against the impurity of his food, the impossibility of performing his ablutions in appointed time and manner, and sundry other abominations by which he was so grievously afflicted, that at a time of danger to the vessel, "though many of the passengers were much alarmed, I, for my own part, was so weary of life that I was perfectly indifferent to my fate." Abu-Talib, however, sailed in an ill-regulated Danish ship; and in summing up the horrors of the sea, he strongly recommends his countrymen, if compelled to brave its miseries, to embark in none but an English vessel.

During the last days of the khan's sojourn in Calcutta, he witnessed the splendid celebration of the rites of the Mohurrum, when the slaughter of the brother Imams, Hassan and Hussein, the martyred grandsons of the Prophet, is lamented by all sects of the faithful, but more especially by the Rafedhis or Sheahs, the followers of Ali, "of whom there are many in Calcutta, though they are less numerous than the orthodox sect or Sunnis, from whom they are distinguished, at this season, by wearing black as mourning. At the Baitak-Khana (a quarter of Calcutta) we witnessed the splendid procession of the Tazîya,[14] with the banners and flags flying, and the wailers beating their breasts."... "It is the custom here, at this season, for all the natch-girls (dancers) to sit in the streets of the Chandnibazar, under [Pg 459] canopies decorated with wreaths and flowers in the most fantastic manner, and sell sweetmeats, cardamums, betelnuts, &c., upon stalls, displaying their charms to the passers-by. I took a turn here one evening with five others, and found crowds of people collected, both strangers and residents: nor do they ordinarily disperse till long after midnight." On the second day after his visit to this scene of gaiety, he received notice that the ship was ready for sea; and on the 8th of Mohurrum 1256, (March 13, 1840,) he accordingly embarked with his baggage and servants on board the Edinburgh, which was towed in seven days, by a steamer, down the river to Saugor; and the pilot quitting her the next day at the floating light. "I now found myself," (says the khan,) "for the first time in my life, in the great ocean, where nothing was to be seen around but sky and water."

The account of a voyage at sea, as given by an Oriental, is usually the most deplorable of narratives—filled with exaggerated fears, the horrors of sea-sickness, and endless lamentations of the evil fate of the writer, in being exposed to such a complication of miseries. Of the wailing of Mirza Abu-Talib we have already given a specimen: and the Persian princes, even in the luxurious comfort of an English Mediterranean steamer, seem to have fared but little better, in their own estimation at least, than the Mirza in his dirty and disorderly Danish merchantman. "Our bones cried, 'Alas! for this evil there is no remedy.' We were vomiting all the time, and thus afflicted with incurable evils, in the midst of a sea which appears without end, the state of my health bad, the sufferings of my brothers very great, and no hope of being saved, we became most miserable." Such is the naïve exposition of his woes, by H. R. H. Najaf Kooli Mirza; but Kerim Khan appears, both physically and morally, to have been made of different metal. Ere he had been two days on board we find him remarking—"I had by this time made some acquaintance among the passengers, and began to find my situation less irksome and lonely;" shortly afterwards adding—"The annoyances inseparable from this situation were relieved, in some measure, by the music and dancing going on every day except Sundays, owing to the numerous party of passengers, both gentlemen and ladies, whom we had on board—seeing which, a man forgets his griefs and troubles in the general mirth around him." So popular, indeed, does the khan appear already to have become, that the captain, finding that he had hitherto abstained from the use of his pipe, that great ingredient in Oriental comfort, from an idea that smoking was prohibited on board, "instantly sent for my hookah, had it properly prepared for me, and insisted on my not relinquishing this luxury, the privation of which he knew would occasion me considerable inconvenience." In other respects, also, he seems to have been not less happily constituted; for though he says that "the rolling and rocking of the ship, when it entered the dark waters or open sea, completely upset my two companions, who became extremely sick"—his remarks on the incidents of the voyage, and the novel phenomena which presented themselves to his view, are never interrupted by any of those pathetic lamentations on the instability of the human stomach, which form so important and doleful an episode in the relations of most landsmen, of whatever creed or nation.

The commencement of the voyage was prosperous; and the ship ran to the south before a fair wind, interrupted only by a few days of partial calm, till it reached the latitude of Ceylon, where the appearance of the flying fish excited the special wonder of the khan, who was by this time beginning, under the tuition of his fellow passengers, to make some progress in the English language, and had even attempted to fathom some of the mysteries of the science of navigation; "but though I took the sextant which the captain handed me, and held it precisely as he had done, I could make nothing of it." The regular performance of the Church service on Sundays, and the cessation on that day from the ordinary amusements, is specially noticed on several occasions, and probably made a deeper impression on the mind of our Moslem friend, from the popular belief current in India that the Feringhis are men of no caste, without religious faith or ceremonies—a belief which the conduct and demeanour of the Anglo-Indians in past times tended, in too many [Pg 460] instances, to confirm. Off the southern extremity of Ceylon, the ship was again becalmed for several days; but the tedium of this interval was relieved, not only by the ordinary sea incidents of the capture of a shark and the appearance of a whale, (the zoological distinctions between which and the true fishes are stated by the khan with great correctness,) but by the occurrence of a mutiny on board an English vessel in company, which was fortunately quelled by the exertions of the captain of the Edinburgh.

"The spicy gales of Ceylon," blowing off the coast to the distance, as stated, of fifty miles, (an extremely moderate range when compared with the accounts of some other travellers,) at last brought on their wings the grateful announcement of the termination of the calm; but before quitting the vicinity of this famous island, (more celebrated in eastern story under the name of Serendib,) the khan gives some notices of the legends connected with its history, which show a more extended acquaintance with Hindu literature than the Moslems in India in general take the trouble of acquiring. Among the rest he alludes to the epic of the Ramayuna, and the bridge built by Rama (or as he calls him, Rajah Ram Chunder) for the passage of the monkey army and their redoubled general, Huniman, from the Indian continent into the island, in order to deliver from captivity Seeta, the wife of the hero. The wind still continuing favourable, the ship quickly passed the equator, and the pole-star was no longer visible—"a proof of the earth's sphericity which I was glad to have had an opportunity of seeing;" and they left, at a short distance to the right, the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon, "which are not far from the great island of Madagascar, where the faithful turn their faces to the north when they pray, as they turn them to the west in India," the kiblah, or point of direction, being in both cases the kaaba, or temple of Mekka. They were now approaching the latitude of the Cape; and our voyager was astonished by the countless multitudes of sea-birds which surrounded the ship, and particularly by the giant bulk of the albatrosses, "which I was told remained day and night on the ocean, repairing to the coast of Africa only at the period of incubation." The Cape of Storms, however, as it was originally named by Vasco de Gama, did not fail on this occasion to keep up its established character for bad weather. A severe gale set in from the east, which speedily increased to a storm. A sailor fell from "the third stage of the mainmast," (the main topgallant yard,) and was killed on the deck; and as the inhospitable shores of Africa were close under their lee, the ship appears for some time to have been in considerable danger. But in this (to him) novel scene of peril, the khan manifests a degree of self-possession, strongly contrasting with the timidity of the royal grandsons of Futteh Ali Shah, the expression of whose fears during a gale is absolutely ludicrous. "We were so miserable that we gave up all hope; we gave up our souls, and began to beseech God for forgiveness; while the wind continued increasing, and all the waves of the western sea rose up in mountains, with never-ceasing noise, till they reached the planets." Even after the violence of the hurricane had in some measure abated, the sea continued to run so high that the ports were kept closed for several days. "At last, however, they were opened for the purpose of ventilating the interior; and the band, which had been silent for some days, began to play again." The appearance of a water-spout on the same afternoon is thus described:—"An object became visible in the distance, in the form of a minaret, and every one on board crowded on deck to look at it. On asking what it was, I was told that what appeared to be a minaret was only water, which was drawn up towards the heavens by the force of the wind, and when this ceased would fall again into the sea, and was what we should call a whirlwind. This is sometimes extremely dangerous to vessels, since, if it reaches them, it is so powerful as to draw them out of the sea in the same manner as it draws up the water; in consequence of which many ships have been lost when they have been overtaken by this wonderful phenomenon."

The storm was succeeded by a calm, which detained the ship for two days within sight of the lofty mountains near the Cape. "It was bitterly cold, for the seasons are here reversed, and instead of summer, as we should [Pg 461] have expected, it was now the depth of winter. At length, however, (on the 69th day after our leaving Calcutta,) a strong breeze sprung up, which enabled us to set all sail, and carried us away from this table-land." The run from the Cape to St Helena seems to have been barren of incident, except an accidental encounter with a vessel in distress, which proved to be a slaver which had been captured by an English cruiser, and had sustained serious damage in the late storm while proceeding to the Cape with a prize crew. On approaching St Helena, the captain "gave orders for the ship to be painted, both inside and out, that the people of the island might not say we came in a dirty ship; and as we neared the land, a white flag was hoisted to apprise those on shore that there was no one ill on board. In cases of sickness a yellow flag is displayed, and then no one is permitted to land from the ship for fear of contagion. The island is about twenty-six miles in circuit, and is constantly enveloped in fog and mist. It is said to have been formerly a volcano, but has now ceased to smoke. The vegetation is luxuriant, but few of the flowers are fragrant. I recognised some, however, both flowers and fruits, which seemed similar to those of India. I took the opportunity of landing with the captain to see the town, which is small, but extremely well fortified, the cannon being so numerous that one might suppose the whole island one immense iron-foundery. It is populous, the inhabitants being chiefly Jews and English; but as it was Sunday, and all the shops were shut, it had a dull appearance. After surveying the town, I ascended a hill in the country, leading to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, which is on an elevated spot, four miles from the town.

"This celebrated personage was a native of Corsica; and enjoying a fortunate horoscope, he entered the French army, and speedily rose to the rank of general; and afterwards, with the consent of the people and the soldiery, made himself emperor. After this he conquered several kingdoms, and the fame of his prowess and his victories filled all the European world. When he invaded Russia, he defeated the Muscovites in several great battles, and took their capital; but, in consequence of the intensity of the cold, several thousands of his army both men and horses, perished miserably. This catastrophe obliged him to return to France, where he undertook the conquest of another country. At this time George III. reigned in England; and having collected all the disposable forces of his kingdom, appointed Lord Wellington (the same general who was employed in the war against Tippoo Sultan in Mysore) to command them, and sent him to combat the French Emperor. He entered Spain, and forced the Emperor's brother, Yusuf, (Joseph,) who was king of that country, to fly—till after a variety of battles and incidents, too numerous to particularize, the two hostile armies met at a place called by the English Waterloo, where a bloody battle was fought, as famous as that of Pāshān, between Sohrab and the hero Rustan: and Napoleon was overthrown and made prisoner. He was then sent, though in a manner suitable to his rank, to this island of St Helena, where, after a few years, he finished his earthly career. His tomb is much visited by all who touch at the island, and has become a durgah (shrine) for innumerable visitors from Europe. There are persons appointed to take care of it, who give to strangers, in consideration of a small present, the leaves and flowers of the trees which grow round the tomb. No other Emperor of the Europeans was ever so honoured as to have had his tomb made a shrine and place of pilgrimage: nor was ever one so great a conqueror, or so renowned for his valour and victories."

The remainder of the voyage from St Helena to England was apparently marked by no incident worthy of mention, as the khan notices only the reappearance of the pole-star on their crossing the line, and re-entering the northern hemisphere, and their reaching once more the latitude of Delhi, "which we now passed many thousand miles to our right; after which nothing of importance occurred till we reached the British Channel, when we saw the Scilly Isles in the distance, and about noon caught a glimpse of the Lizard Point, and the south coast of England, together with the lighthouse: the country of the French lay on our right at the [Pg 462] distance of about eighty miles. I was given to understand that the whole distance from St Helena to London, by the ship's reckoning, was 6328 miles, and 16,528 from Calcutta." In the Downs the pilot came on board, from whom they received the news of the attempt recently made by Oxford on the life of the Queen; and here the captain, anxious to lose no time in reaching London, quitted the vessel as it entered the Thames, "the sources of which famous river, I was informed, were near a place called Cirencester, eighty-eight miles from London, in the zillah (county) of Gloucester." The ship was now taken in tow by a couple of steam-tugs, and passing Woolwich, "where are the war-ships and top-khana (arsenal) of the English Padishah, at length reached Blackwall, where we anchored."

"I now (continues the khan) returned thanks to God for having brought me safe through the wide ocean to this extraordinary country—bethinking myself of the answer once made by a man who had undertaken a voyage, on being asked by his friends what he had seen most wonderful—'The greatest wonder I have seen is seeing myself alive on land!'" The troubles of the khan, however, were far from being ended by his arrival on terra firma: for apparently from some mistake or inadvertence, (the cause of which does not very clearly appear,) on the part of the friends whom he had expected to meet him, he found himself, on landing at Blackwall and proceeding by the railway to London, left alone by the person who had thus far been his guide, in apartments near Cornhill, almost wholly unacquainted with the English language, separated from his baggage and servants, who were still on board the Edinburgh, and with no one in his company but another Hindustani, as little versed as himself in the ways and speech of Franguestan. In this "considerable unhandsome fix," as it would be called on the other side of the Atlantic, the perplexities of the khan are related with such inimitable naïveté and good-humour, that we cannot do better than give the account of them in his own words. "As I could neither ask for any thing, nor answer any question put to me, I passed the whole night without a morsel of food or a drop of water: till in the morning, feeling hungry, I requested my companion to go to some bazar and buy some fruit. He replied that it would be impossible for him either to find his way to a bazar through the crowds of people, or to find his way back again—as all the houses were so much alike. I then told him to go straight on in the street we were in, turning neither to the right nor the left till he met with some shop where we might get what we wanted: and, in order to direct him to the place on his return, I agreed to lean half out of the window, so that he could not fail to see me. No sooner, however, did he sally forth, than the people, men, women, and children, began to stare at him on all sides, as if he had dropped from the moon; some stopped and gazed, and numbers followed him as if he had been a criminal about being led to execution. Nor was I in a more enviable position: the people soon caught sight of me with my head and shoulders out of the window; and in a few minutes a mob had collected opposite the door. What was I to do? If I withdrew myself, my friend on returning would have no mark to find the house, while, if I remained where I was, the curiosity of the crowd would certainly increase. I kept my post, however, while every one that passed stopped and gazed like the rest, till there was actually no room for vehicles to pass; and in this unpleasant situation I remained fully an hour, when seeing my friend returning, I went down and opened the door for him. He told me he had gone straight on, till he came to a fruit-shop, at the corner of another street, when he went in, and laying two shillings on the counter, said in Oordu, (the polished dialect of Hindustani,) 'Give me some fruit.' The shopman, not understanding him, spoke to him in English; to which he replied again in Oordu, 'I want some fruit!' pointing at the same time to the money, to signify that he wanted two shillings' worth of fruit. The man, however, continued confounded; and my friend at last, not knowing of what sort the fruits were, whether sour or sweet, bitter or otherwise, ventured, after much hesitation and fruitless attempts to communicate with the shopman by signs and [Pg 463] gestures, to take up four apples, and then made his retreat in the best manner he could, followed, as here, by the rabble. I at last caught a glimpse of him, as I have mentioned, and let him in; and we sat down together, and breakfasted on these four apples, my friend taking two of them, and I the others."

It must be admitted that our khan's first meal in England, and the concomitant circumstances, were not calculated to impress him with a very high idea, either of the comforts of the country or the politeness of the inhabitants; but the unruffled philosophy with which he submitted to these untoward privations was, ere-long, rewarded by the arrival of the East India agent to whose care he had been recommended, and who, after putting him in the way of getting his servants and luggage on shore from the vessel, took him out in a carriage to show him the metropolis. "It was, indeed, wonderful in every point of view, whether I regarded the immense population, the dresses and faces of the men and women, the multitudes of houses, churches, &c., and the innumerable carriages running in streets paved with stone and wood, (the width and openness of which seem to expand the heart,) and confining themselves to the middle of the road, without overturning any of the foot-passengers." The cathedral of St Paul's is described with great minuteness of detail, and the expense of its erection stated at seventy-three lakhs of rupees, (about L.750,000;) "but I have heard that if a similar edifice were erected in the present day, it would cost four times as much, as the cost of every thing has increased in at least that proportion."

The difficulties of the khan, from his ignorance of the language, and Moslem scruples at partaking of food not dressed by his own people, were not yet, however, at an end. For though, on returning to his lodging in the evening, he found that his friend had succeeded in procuring from the ship a dish of kichiri, (an Indian mess, composed of rice and ghee, or clarified butter,) his inability to communicate with his landlady still occasioned him considerable perplexity. "Having ventured to take some pickles, which I saw on the sideboard, and finding them palatable, I sent for the landlady, and tried to explain to her by signs, pointing to the bottles, that I wanted something like what they contained. Alas, for my ignorance! She thought I wished them taken out of the room, and so walked off with them, leaving me in the utmost astonishment. How was I to get it back again? it was the only thing I had to relish my kichiri. I had, therefore, recourse to this expedient—I got an apple and pared it, putting the parings in a bottle with water; and showing this to the landlady, intimated, by signs, that I wanted something like it to eat with my rice. She asked many questions in English, and talked a great deal, from which I inferred that she had at last discovered my meaning, but five minutes had hardly elapsed when she re-appeared, bearing in her hand a bottle of water, filled with apple-parings cut in the nicest manner imaginable! This she placed on the table in the most respectful manner, and then retired!"

The good lady, however, conceiving that her guest was in danger of perishing with hunger, was benevolently importunate with him to partake of some nourishment, or at least of some tea and toast, "since it is the custom in this country for every one to eat five times a-day, and some among the wealthy are not satisfied even with this!" The arrival of an English acquaintance, who explained to the landlady the religious prejudices of her lodger, in some measure relieved him from his embarrassment; but he was again totally disconcerted, by finding it impossible, after a long search, to procure any ghee—an ingredient indispensable in the composition of every national dish of India, whether Moslem or Hindu. "How shall I express my astonishment at this extraordinary ignorance? What! do they not know what ghee is? Wonderful! This was a piece of news I never expected—that what abounds in every little wretched village in India, could not be purchased in this great city!" How this unforeseen deficiency was supplied does not appear; but probably the khan's never-failing philosophy enabled him to bear even this unparalleled privation with equanimity, as we hear no further complaints on the subject. He did not remain, however, many days in those [Pg 464] quarters, finding that the incessant noise of the vehicles passing day and night deprived him of sleep; and, by the advice of his friends, he took a small house in St John's Wood, where he was at once at a distance from the intolerable clamour of the streets, and at liberty to live after the fashion of his own country.

The first place of public resort to which he directed his steps, appears to have been the Pantheon bazar in Oxford Street, whither the familiar name perhaps attracted him—"for the term bazar is in use also among the people of this country;" but he does not appear to have been particularly struck by any thing he saw there, except the richness and variety of the wares. On the contrary, he complains of the want of fragrance in the flowers in the conservatory, particularly the roses, as compared with those of his native land—"there was one plantain-tree which seemed to be regarded as a sort of wonder, though thousands grow in our gardens without any sort of culture." The presence of the female attendants at the stalls, a sight completely at variance with Asiatic ideas, is also noticed with marked disapprobation—"Most of them were young and handsome, and seemed perfect adepts in the art of selling their various wares; but I could not help reflecting, on seeing so many fine young women engaged in this degrading occupation, on the ease and comfort enjoyed by our females, compared to the drudgery and servile employment to which the sex are subjected in this country. Notwithstanding all the English say of the superior condition of their women, it is quite evident, from all I have seen since my arrival, that their social state is far below that of our females." This sentiment is often repeated in the course of the narrative, and any one who has read, in the curious work of Mrs Meer Hassan Ali, quoted above, an account of the strict domestic seclusion in which Moslem females having any pretensions to rank, or even respectability, are constantly retained in India, will not be surprised at the frequent expression of repugnance, whenever the writer sees women engaged in any public or out-of-doors occupation—a custom so abhorrent to Oriental, and, above all, to Indian ideas.

We next find the khan in the Zoological Gardens, his matter-of-fact description of which affords an amusing contrast with that of those veracious scions of Persian royalty, who luxuriate in "elephant birds just like an elephant, but without the proboscis, and with wings fifteen yards long"—"an elephant twenty-four feet high, with a trunk forty feet long;" and who assure us that "the monkeys act like human beings, and play at chess with those who visit the gardens. On this day a Jew happened to be at this place, and went to play a game with the monkey. The monkey beat, and began to laugh loudly, all the people standing round him; and the Jew, exceedingly abashed, was obliged to leave the place." The khan, in common with ourselves, and the generality of visitors to the Regent's Park, was not fortunate enough to witness any of the wondrous feats which gladdened the royal eyes of the Shahzadehs—though he saw some of the apes, meaning the orang-outan, "drink tea and coffee, sit on chairs, and eat their food like human beings." * * *

"There is no island or kingdom," (he continues,) "which has not contributed its specimens of the animal kingdom to these gardens: from the elephant and rhinoceros, to the fly and the mosquito, all are to be seen here"—but not even the giraffes, strange as their appearance must have been to him, attract any particular notice; though the sight of the exotics in the garden draws from him a repetition of his old complaint, relative to the want of fragrance in the flowers as compared with those produced under the genial sun of India. The ceremony of the prorogation of Parliament by the Queen in person was now at hand, and the khan determined to be present at this imposing scene. But as he takes this opportunity to introduce his observations and opinions on the laws and customs of this country, we shall postpone to our next Number the discussion of these weighty subjects.

[Pg 465]


A Tale of Doom.

It was on a sultry July evening that a joyous party of young men were assembled in the principal room of a wine house, outside the Potsdam gate of Berlin. One of their number, a Saxon painter, by name Carl Solling, was about to take his departure for Italy. His place was taken in the Halle mail, his luggage sent to the office, and the coach was to call for him at midnight at the tavern, whither a number of his most intimate friends had accompanied him, to drink a parting glass of Rhenish wine to his prosperous journey.

Supper was over, and some magnificent melons, and peaches, and plates of caviare, and other incentives to drinking, placed upon the table; a row of empty bottles already graced the sideboard, while full ones of that venerable cobweb-mantle appearance, so dear to the toper, were forthcoming as rapidly as the thirstiest throats could desire. The conviviality was at its height, and numerous toasts had been given, among which the health of the traveller, the prosperity of the art which he cultivated, and of the land of poetry and song to which he was proceeding, had not been forgotten. Indeed, it was becoming difficult to find any thing to toast, but the thirst of the party was still unquenched, and apparently unquenchable.

Suddenly a young man started up, in dress and appearance the very model of a German student—in short frock coat and loose sacklike trousers, long curling hair hanging over his shoulders, pointed beard and mustache, and the scars of one or two sabre cuts on his handsome animated countenance.

"You want a toast, my friends!" cried he. "An excuse to drink, as though drinking needed an excuse when the wine is good. I will give you one, and a right worthy one too. Our noble selves here assembled; all, so many as we are!" And he glanced round the table, counting the number of the guests. "One, two, three, four—thirteen. We are Thirteen. Es lebe die Dreizehn!"

He raised his glass, in which the golden liquor flashed and sparkled, and set it down, drained to the last drop.

"Thirteen!" exclaimed a pale-faced, dark-eyed youth named Raphael, starting from his seat, and in his turn counting the company. "'Tis true. My friends, ill luck will attend us. We are Thirteen, seated at a round table."

There was evidently an unpleasant impression made upon the guests by this announcement. The toast-giver threw a scornful glance around him—

"What!" cried he, "are we believers in such nursery tales and old wives' superstitions? Pshaw! The charm shall soon be broken. Halls! Franz! Winebutt! Thieving innkeeper! Rascally corkdrawer! where are you hidden? Come forth! Appear!"

Thus invoked, there toddled into the room the master of the tavern—a round-bellied, short-legged individual, whose rosy gills and Bacchus-like appearance proved his devotion to the jolly god whose high-priest he was.

"Sit down here!" cried the mad student, forcing him into a chair; "and now, Raphael and gentlemen all, be pleased to shorten your faces again, and drink your wine as if one with a three after it were an unknown combination of numerals."

The conversation now took a direction naturally given to it by what had just occurred, and the origin and causes of the popular prejudice against the number Thirteen were discussed.

"It cannot be denied that there is something mysterious in the connection and combination of numbers," observed a student in philosophy; "and Pythagoras was right enough when he sought the foundation of all human knowledge in the even and uneven. All over the world the idea of something complete and perfect is associated with even numbers, and of something imperfect and defective with uneven ones. The ancients, too, considered even numbers of good omen, and uneven ones as unpropitious."

[Pg 466] "It is really a pity," cried the mad student, "that you philosophers should not be allowed to invert and re-arrange history in the manner you deem fitting. You would soon torture the crooked stream of time into a straight line. I should like to know from what authors you derive your very original ideas in favour of even numbers. As far as my reading goes, I find that number three was considered a sacred and a fortunate number by nearly all the sects of antiquity, not excepting the Pythagoreans. And the early Romans had such a respect for the uneven numbers, that they never allowed a flock of sheep to be of any number divisible by two."

The philosopher did not seem immediately prepared with a reply to this attack.

"You are all of you looking too far back for the origin of the curse that attends the number Thirteen," interposed Raphael. "Think only of the Lord's Supper, which is rather nearer to our time than Pythagoras and the Roman shepherds. It is since then that Thirteen has been a stigmatized and fatal number. Judas Iscariot was the Thirteenth at that sacred table and believe me it is no childish superstition that makes men shun so unblest a number."

"Here is Solling, who has not given his opinion yet," cried another of the party, "and yet I am sure he has something to say on the subject. How now, Carl, what ails thee, man? Why so sad and silent?"

The painter who, at the commencement of the evening, had entered frankly and willingly into the joyous humour of his friends, had become totally changed since the commencement of this discussion on the number Thirteen. He sat silent and thoughtful in his chair, and left his glass untasted before him, while his thoughts were evidently occupied by some unpleasant subject. His companions pressed him for the cause of this change, and after for some time evading their questions, he at last confessed that the turn the conversation had taken had brought painful recollections to his mind.

"It is a matter I love not to speak about," said he; "but it is no secret, and least of all could I have any wish to conceal it from you, my good and kind friends. We have yet an hour before the arrival of the mail, and if you are disposed to listen, I will relate to you the strange incidents, the recollection of which has saddened me."

The painter's offer was eagerly accepted; the young men drew their chairs round the table, and Solling commenced as follows:—

"I am a native of the small town of Geyer, in Saxony, of the tin mines of which place my father was inspector. I was the twelfth child of my parents and half an hour after I saw the light my mother give birth to a Thirteenth, also a boy. Death, however, was busy in this numerous family. Several had died while yet infants, and there now survive only three besides myself, and perhaps my twin brother.

"The latter, who was christened Bernard, gave indications at a very early age of an eccentric and violent disposition. Precocious in growth and strength, wild as a young foal, headstrong and passionate, full of spiteful tricks and breakneck pranks, he was the terror of the family and the neighbours. In spite of his unamiable qualities, he was the pet of his father, who pardoned or laughed at all his mischief, and the consequence was, that he became an object of fear and hatred to his brothers and sisters. Our hatred, however, was unjust; for Bernard's heart was good, and he would have gone through fire and water for any of us. But he was rough and violent in whatever he did, and we dreaded the fits of affection he sometimes took for us, almost as much as his less amiable humours.

"As far back as I can remember, Bernard received not only from his brothers, but also from all our playfellows, the nickname of the Thirteenth, in allusion, of course, to his being my mother's thirteenth child. At first this offended him grievously, and many were the sound thrashings he inflicted in his endeavours to get rid of the obnoxious title. Finally he succeeded, but scarcely had he done so when, from some strange perversity of character, he adopted as an honourable distinction the very name he had taken such pains to suppress.

"We were playing one Sunday afternoon in the large court of our house; several of the neighbours' children were there, and it chanced that we were exactly twelve in number. We [Pg 467] had wooden swords, and were having a sort of tournament, from which, however, we had managed to exclude Bernard, who, in such games, was accustomed to hit rather too hard. Suddenly he bounded over a wall, and fell amongst us like a thunderbolt. He had painted his face in red and black stripes, and made himself a pair of wings out of an old leathern apron; and thus equipped and armed with the largest broomstick he had been able to find, he showered his blows around him, driving us right and left, and shouting out, 'Room, room for the mad Thirteenth!'

"Soon after this incident my father died. Bernard, who had been his favourite, was as violent in his grief as he had already shown himself to be in every thing else. He wept and screamed like a mad creature, tore his hair, bit his hands till they bled, and struck his head against the wall; raved and flew at every body who came near him, and was obliged to be shut up when his father's coffin was carried out of the house, or he would inevitably have done himself or somebody else a mischief.

"My mother had an unmarried brother in the town of Marienberg, a wealthy man, and who was Bernard's godfather. On learning my father's death he came to Geyer, and invited his sister and her children to go and take up their abode with him. But the worthy man little knew the plague he was receiving into his house in the person of his godson. Himself of a mild, quiet disposition, he was greatly scandalized by the wild pranks of his nephew, and made vain attempts to restrain him within some bounds; but by so doing he became the aversion of my brother, who showed his dislike in every possible way. He gave him nicknames, broke his china cups and saucers, by which the old gentleman set great store, splashed his white silk stockings with mud as he went to church, put the house clock an hour forward or back, and tormented his kind godfather in every way he could devise.

"Bernard had not forgotten his title of the Thirteenth; but it was probable he would soon have got tired of it, for it was not his custom to adhere long to any thing, had not my uncle, who was a little superstitious, strictly forbidden him to adopt it. This opposition was all that was wanting to make my brother bring forward the unlucky number upon every possible occasion. When any body mentioned the number twelve before him, or called any thing the twelfth, Bernard would immediately cry out, 'And I am the Thirteenth!'

"No matter when it was, or before whom; time, place, and persons were to him alike indifferent. For instance, one Sunday in church, when the clergyman in the course of the service said, 'Let us sing a portion of such a psalm, beginning at the twelfth verse,' Bernard immediately screamed out, 'And I am the Thirteenth!'

"This was a grievous scandal to my uncle, and Bernard was called that evening before a tribunal, composed of his godfather, my mother, and the old clergyman whom he had so gracelessly interrupted, and who was also teacher of Latin and theology at the school to which Bernard and I went. But all their reproaches and remonstrances were lost upon my brother, who had evidently much difficulty to keep himself from laughing in their faces. My mother wept, my uncle paced the room in great perplexity, and the worthy old dominie clasped his hands together, and exclaimed, 'My child! I fear me, God's chastisement will be needed to amend you.' The event proved that he was right.

"It was on the Friday before Christmas-day, and we were assembled in school. The near approach of the holidays had made the boys somewhat turbulent, and the poor old dominie had had much to suffer during the whole day from their tricks and unruliness. My brother, of course, had contributed largely to the disorder, much to the delight of his bosom friend and companion, the only son of the master. This boy, whose name was Albert, was a blue-eyed, fair haired lad, gentle as a girl. Bernard had conceived a violent friendship for him, and had taken him under his protection. Albert's father, as may be supposed, was little pleased at this intimacy, but yet, out of consideration for my uncle, he did not entirely forbid it; and the more so as he perceived that his son in no respect imitated his wild playmate, but contented himself with admiring him beyond all created beings, and repaying with the warmest [Pg 468] affection Bernard's watchful and jealous guardianship.

"On the afternoon in question, my brother surpassed himself in wayward conceits and mischievous tricks, to the infinite delight of Albert, who rocked with laughter at each new prank. The good dominie, who was indulgence itself, was instructing us in Bible history, and had to interrupt himself every moment to repress the unruliness of his pupils, and especially of Bernard.

"It seemed pre-ordained that the lesson should be an unlucky one. Every thing concurred to make it so. Our instructor had occasion to speak of the twelve tribes of Israel, of the twelve patriarchs, of the twelve gates of the holy city. Each of these served as a cue to my brother, who immediately shouted out, 'And I am the Thirteenth!' and each time Albert threw himself back shrieking with laughter, thus encouraging Bernard to give full scope to his mad humour. The poor dominie remonstrated, menaced, supplicated, but all in vain. I saw the blood rising into his pale face, and at last his bald head, in spite of the powder which sprinkled it, became red all over. He contained himself, however, and proceeded to the account of the Lord's Supper. He began, 'And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.'

"'And I am the Thirteenth!' yelled Bernard.

"Scarcely were the words uttered, when a Bible flew across the school, the noise of a blow, and a cry of anguish followed, and the old man fell senseless to the ground. The heavy Bible, the corners of which were bound with silver, and that he had hurled in a moment of uncontrollable passion at my brother, had missed its mark, and struck his own son on the head. Albert lay bleeding on the floor, while Bernard hung over him like one beside himself, weeping, and kissing his wounds.

"The boys ran, one and all, out of the school-room, shrieking for assistance. Our cries soon brought the servants to the spot, who, on learning what had happened, hastened with us back to the school, and lifted up the old master, who was still lying on the ground near his desk. He had been struck with apoplexy, and survived but a few hours. Albert was wounded in two places, one of the sharp corners of the Bible having cut open his forehead, while another had injured his left eye. After much suffering he recovered, but the sight of the eye was gone.

"Bernard, however, had disappeared. When we re-entered the school-room, a window which looked into the playground was open, and there were marks of footsteps on the snow without. A short distance further were traces of blood, where the fugitive had apparently washed his face and hands in the snow. We have never seen him since that day."

The painter paused, and his friends remained some moments silent, musing on the tragical history they had heard.

"And do you know nothing whatever of your brother's fate?" enquired Raphael at last.

"Next to nothing. My uncle caused enquiries to be made in every direction, but without success. Once only a neighbour at Marienberg, who had been travelling on the Bohemian frontier, told us that he had met at a village inn a wandering clarinet-player, who bore so strong a resemblance to my brother that he accosted him by his name. The musician seemed confused, and muttering some unintelligible reply, left the house in haste. What renders it probable that this was Bernard is, that he had a great natural talent for music, and at the time he left home, had already attained considerable proficiency on the clarinet."

"How old was your brother when he so strangely disappeared?" asked one of the party.

"Fifteen, but he looked at least two years older, for he was stout and manly in person beyond his age."

At this moment the rattling of wheels, and sound of a postilion's horn, was heard. The Halle mail drove up to the door, the guard bawling out for his passenger. The young painter took a hasty leave of his friends, and sprang into the vehicle, which the next instant disappeared in the darkness.

There was an overplus of travellers by the mail that night, and the carriage in which Solling had got, was not the mail itself, but a calèche, holding four persons, which was used as a [Pg 469] sort of supplement, and followed close to the other carriage. Two of the places were occupied by a Jew horse-dealer and a sergeant of hussars, who were engaged in an animated, and to them most interesting conversation, on the subject of horse-flesh, to which the painter paid little attention; but leaning back in his corner, remained absorbed in the painful reflections which the incidents he had been narrating had called up in his mind. In spite of his brother's eccentricities, he was truly attached to him; and although eight years had elapsed since his disappearance, he had not yet given up hopes of finding him, if still alive. The enquiries that he and his uncle had unceasingly made after their lost relative, had put them, about three years previous to this time, upon the trace of a clarinet-player who had been seen at Venice and Trieste, and went by the name of Voltojo. This might have been a name adopted by Bernard, as being nearly the Italian equivalent of Geyer, or hawk, the name of his native town; and Solling was not without a faint hope, that in the course of his journey to Rome he might obtain some tidings of his brother.

He was roused from his reverie by the postilion shouting out to the guard of the mail, which was just before them on the road, to know when they were to take up the passenger who was to occupy the remaining seat in the calèche.

"Where will the Thirteenth meet us?" asked the man.

"At the inn at Schoneber," replied the guard.

The Thirteenth! The word made the painter's blood run cold. The horse-dealer and the sergeant, who had begun to doze in their respective corners, were also disturbed by the ill-omened sound.

"The Thirteenth! The Thirteenth!" muttered the Jew in his beard, still half asleep. "God forbid! Let's have no thirteenth!"

A company of travelling comedians, who occupied the mail, took up the word. "The Thirteenth is coming," said one.

"Somebody will die," cried another.

"Or we shall be upset and break our necks," exclaimed a third.

"No Thirteenth!" cried they all in chorus. "Drive on! drive on! he sha'n't get in!"

This was addressed to the postilion, who just then pulled up at the door of a village inn, and giving a blast with his horn, shouted loudly for his remaining passenger to appear.

The door of the public-house opened, and a tall figure, with a small knap-sack on his shoulder and a knotty stick in his hand, stepped out and approached the mail. But when he heard the cries of the comedians, who were still protesting against the admission of a Thirteenth traveller, he started suddenly back, swinging his cudgel in the air.

"To the devil with you all, vagabonds that ye are!" vociferated he. "Drive on, postilion, with your cage of monkeys. I shall walk."

At the sound of the stranger's voice, Solling sprang up in the carriage and seized the handle of the door. But as he did so, a strong arm grasped him by the collar, and pulled him back into his seat. At the same moment the carriage drove on.

"The man is drunk," said the sergeant, who had misinterpreted his fellow-passenger's intentions. "It is not worth while dirtying your hands, and perhaps getting an ugly blow, in a scuffle with such a fellow."

"Stop, postilion, stop!" shouted Solling. But the postilion either did not or would not hear, and some time elapsed before the painter could persuade his well-meaning companion of his peaceable intentions. At length he did so, and the carriage, which had meanwhile been going at full speed, was stopped.

"You will leave my luggage at the first post-house," said Solling, jumping out and beginning to retrace his steps to the village, which they had now left some distance behind them.

The night was pitch-dark, so dark that the painter was compelled to feel his way, and guide himself by the line of trees that bordered the road. He reached the village without meeting a living creature, and strode down the narrow street amid the baying of the dogs, disturbed by his footfall at that silent hour of the night. The inn door was shut, but there was a light glimmering in one of the casements. He knocked several times without any body answering. At length a woman's head was put out of an upper window.

[Pg 470] "Go your ways," cried a shrill voice, "and don't come disturbing honest folk at this time o' night. Do you think we have nought to do but to open the door for such raff as you? Be off with you, you vagabond, and blow your clarinet elsewhere."

"You are mistaken, madam," said Solling; "I am no vagabond, but a passenger by the Halle mail, and"—

"What brings you here, then?" interrupted the virago; "the Halle mail is far enough off by this."

"My good madam," replied the painter in his softest tone, "for God's sake tell me who and where is the person who was waiting for the mail at your hotel."

"Ha! ha!" laughed the hostess, considerably mollified by the madam and the hotel. "The mad Italian musician, the clarinet fellow? Why, I took you for him at first, and wondered what brought him back, for he started as soon as the mail left the door. He'd have done better to have got into it, with a dark night and a long road before him. Ha! ha! He's mad, to be sure."

"His name! His name!" cried Solling, impatiently.

"His name? How can I recollect his outlandish name? Fol—Vol——"

"Voltojo!" cried the painter.

"Voltojo! yes, that's it. Ha! ha! What a name!"

"It is he!" cried Solling, and without another word dashed off full speed along the road he had just come. He kept in the middle of the causeway, straining his eyes to see into the darkness on either side of him, and wondering how it was he had not met the object of his search as he came to the village. He ran on, occasionally taking trees and fingerposts for men, and cursing his ill luck when he saw his mistake. The sweat poured down his face in streams, and his knees began to knock together with fatigue. Suddenly he struck his foot against a stone lying in the road, and fell, cutting his forehead severely upon some pebbles. The sharp pain drew a cry from him, and a man who had been lying on the grass at the roadside, sprang up and hastened to his assistance. At that moment a flash of summer lightning lit up the road.

"Bernard! Bernard!" cried the painter, throwing his arms round the stranger's neck. It was his brother.

Bernard started back with a cry of horror.

"Albert!" he exclaimed in a hollow voice, "Cannot your spirit rest? Do you rise from the grave to persecute me?"

"In God's name, my dear brother, what mean you? I am Carl—Carl, your twin brother."

"Carl? No! Albert! I see that horrid wound on your brow. It still bleeds!"

The painter grasped his brother's hand.

"I am flesh and blood," said he, "and no spirit. Albert still lives."

"He lives!" exclaimed Bernard, and clasped his brother in his arms.

Explanations followed, and the brothers took the road to Berlin. When the painter had replied to Bernard's questions concerning their family, he in his turn begged his brother to relate his adventures since they parted, and above all to give his reasons for remaining so long severed from his friends and home.

"Although I fully believed Albert killed by the blow he received," replied Bernard, "it was no fear of punishment for my indirect share in his death, that induced me to fly. But when I saw the father senseless on the ground, and the son expiring before my eyes, I felt as if I was accursed, as if the brand of Cain were on my brow, and that it was my fate to roam through the world an isolated and wretched being. When you all ran out of the school to fetch assistance, it seemed to me as though each chair and bench and table in the room received the power of speech, and yelled and bellowed in my ears the fatal number which has been the cause of all my misfortunes—'Thirteen! Thirteen! Thou art the Thirteenth, the Accursed One!'

"I fled, and since that day no rest or peace has been mine. Like my shadow has this unholy number clung to me. Wherever I went, in all the many lands I have wandered through, I carried with me the curse of my birth. At every turn it met me, aggravating my numerous hardships, embittering my rare moments of joy. If I entered a room where a cheerful party was assembled, all rose and shrunk from me as from one plague-tainted. They were twelve—I [Pg 471] was the Thirteenth. If I sat down at a dinner-table, my neighbour left his chair, and the others would say, 'He fears to sit by you. You are the Thirteenth.' If I slept at an inn—there were sure to be twelve persons sleeping there; my bed was the Thirteenth, or my room would be number Thirteen, and I was told that the former landlord had shot or hung himself in it.

"At length I left Germany, in the vain hope that the spell would not extend beyond the land of my birth. I took ship at Trieste for Venice. Scarcely were we out of port when a violent storm arose, and we were driven rapidly towards a rocky and dangerous coast. The steersman counted the seamen and passengers, and crossed himself. We were thirteen.

"Lots were drawn who should be sacrificed for the salvation of the others. I drew number thirteen, and they put me ashore on a barren rock, where I passed a day and night half dead with cold and drenched with sea water. At length an Illyrian fisherman espied me, and took me off in his boat.

"It is unnecessary to relate to you in detail my wanderings during the last eight years, or if I do, it shall be at some future time. My clarinet enables me to live in the humble manner I have always done. You remember, probably, that I had some skill in it, which I have since much improved. When travelling, my music was generally taken as payment for my bed and supper at the petty hostelries at which I put up; and when I came to a large town, I remained a few days, and usually gained more than my expenses.

"About a year since, I made some stay at Copenhagen, and at last, getting wearied of that city, I put myself on board a ship, without enquiring whither it was bound. It took me to Stralsund.

"The day of my arrival, there was a shooting-match in the suburb beyond the Knieper, and I hastened thither with my clarinet. It was a sort of fair, and I wandered from one booth to the other, playing the joyous mountain melodies which I had not once played since my departure from Marienberg. God knows what brought them into my head again; but it did my heart good to play them, and a feeling came over me, that I should like once more to have a home, and to leave the weary rambling life I had so long led.

"I had great success that day, and the people thronged to hear the wandering Italian musician. Many were the jugs of beer and glasses of wine offered to me, and my plate was soon full of shillings. As I left off playing, an old greyheaded man pressed through the crowd, and gazed earnestly at me. His eyes filled with tears, and he was evidently much moved.

"'What a likeness!' he exclaimed. 'He is the very picture of my Amadeus. I could fancy he had risen out of the sea. The same features, the sane voice and manner.'

"He came up to me and took my hand. 'If you do not fear a high staircase,' said he with a kindly smile, 'come and visit me. I live on the tower of St Nicholas's Church. Your clarinet will sound well in the free fresh air, and you will find those there who will gladly listen.' So saying, he left me.

"The old man's name was Elias Kranhelm, better known in Stralsund as the old Swede; he was the town musician, and had the care of the bells of St Nicholas. The next day was Sunday, and I hastened to visit him. His kind manner had touched me, unaccustomed as I was to kindness or sympathy from the strangers amongst whom I always lived. When I was halfway up the stairs leading to the tower, the organ began to play below me, and I recognised a psalm tune which we used often to sing for our old schoolmaster at Marienberg. I stopped a moment to listen, and thoughts of rest and home again came over me.

"I was met at the tower door by old Kranhelm, in his Sunday suit of black; large silver buckles at his knees and shoes, and a round black velvet cap over his long white hair. His clear grey eyes smiled so kindly upon me, his voice was so mild, and his greeting so cordial, that I thought I had never seen a more pleasing old man. He welcomed me as though I had been an old friend, and without further preface, asked me if I should like to become his substitute, and perform the duties for which his great age had begun to unfit him. His only son, on whom he had reckoned [Pg 472] to take his place, had left him some time previously, to become a sailor on board a Norwegian ship, and had been drowned in his very first voyage. It was my extraordinary likeness to this son that had made him notice me; and the good, simple-hearted old man seemed to think that resemblance a sufficient guarantee against any risk in admitting a perfect stranger into his house and intimacy.

"'My post is a profitable one,' said he; 'and, in consideration of my long services, the worshipful burgomaster has given me leave to seek an assistant, now that I am getting too old for my office. Consider then, my son, if the offer suits you. You please me, and I mean you well. But here comes my Elizabeth, who will soon learn to like you if you are a good lad.'

"As he spoke, a young girl entered the room, with a psalm-book in her hand, and attired in an old-fashioned dress, which was not able, however, to conceal the elegance of her figure, and the charms of her blooming countenance.

"'How think you, Elizabeth?' said her father. 'Is he not as like our poor Amadeus as one egg is to another?'

"'I do not see the likeness, my dear father,' replied Elizabeth, looking timidly at me, and then casting down her eyes, and blushing.

"I accepted the old man's offer with joy, and took up my dwelling in the other turret of the church tower. My occupation was to keep the clock wound up, to play the evening hymn on the balcony of the tower, and to strike the hours upon the great bell with a heavy hammer.

"I soon felt the good effect of repose, and of the happy, tranquil life I now led; my spirits improved, and I began to forget the curse which hung over me—to forget, in short, that I was the unlucky Thirteenth. Old Kranhelm's liking for me increased rapidly, and, in less than three months, I was Elizabeth's accepted lover. Time flew on; the wedding-day was fixed, and the bridal-chamber prepared.

"It was on Friday evening, exactly eight days ago, that I went out with Elizabeth, and walked down to the port to look at a large Swedish ship that had just arrived. The passengers were landing, and one amongst them immediately attracted our attention.

"This was a tall, lean, raw-boned woman, apparently about forty years of age, who held in her hand a long, smooth staff, which she waved about her, nodding her head, and muttering, as she went, in some strange, unintelligible dialect. Her dress consisted of a huge black fur cloak, and a cape of the same colour fringed with red. Her whole manner and appearance were so strange, that a crowd assembled round her as soon as she set foot on shore.

"'Hallo! comrade,' cried one of the sailors of the vessel that had brought her, to a boatman who was passing. 'Hallo! comrade, do you want a job? Here's a witch to take to Hiddensee.'

"We asked the sailor what he meant; and he told us that this strange woman was a Lapland witch, who every year, in the dog-days, made a journey to the island of Hiddensee, to gather an herb which only grew there, and was essential in her incantations.

"Meantime, the witch was calling for a boat, but no one understood her language, or else they did not choose to come. My unfortunate propensity to all that is supernatural or fantastic impelled me, with irresistible force, towards her. In vain Elizabeth held me back. I pushed my way through the crowd, until we found ourselves close to the Lapland woman, who measured us from head to foot with her bright and glittering eyes. Slipping a florin into her hand, I gave her to understand, as well as I could, that we wished to have our fortunes told. She took my hand, and, after examining it, made a sign that she either could or would tell me nothing. She then took the hand of Elizabeth, who hung upon my arm, trembling like an aspen leaf, and gazing intently upon it, muttered a few words in broken Swedish. I did not understand them, but Elizabeth did, and, starting back, drew me hastily out of the crowd.

"'What did she say?' enquired I, as soon as we were clear of the throng.

"Elizabeth seemed much agitated, and had evidently to make a strong effort before she could reply.

"'Nothing,' answered she, at last; 'nothing, at least, worth repeating. [Pg 473] And yet 'tis strange; it tallies exactly with a prediction made to my mother when I was an infant, that I should one day be in peril from the number Thirteen. This strange woman cautioned me against the same number, and bade me beware of you, for that you were the Thirteenth!'

"Had the earth opened under my feet, or the lightning from heaven fallen on my head, I could not have felt a greater shock than was communicated to me by these words. I know not what I said in reply, or how I got home. Elizabeth, doubtless, observed my agitation, but she made no remark on it. I felt her arm tremble upon mine as we walked along, and by a furtive glance at her face saw that she was pale as death. Not a word passed between us during our walk back to the tower, on reaching which she shut herself up in her room. I pleaded a severe headach and wish to lie down; and, begging the old man to strike the hours for me, retired to my chamber.

"It would be impossible to give an idea of the agony of mind I suffered during that evening. I thought at times I was going mad, and there were moments when I felt disposed to put an end to my existence by a leap from the tower window. Again, then, this curse that hung over me was in full force. Again had that fatal number raised itself before me like an iron wall, interposed between me and all earthly happiness. Wearied out at length by the storm within me, I fell asleep.

"As may be supposed, I was followed in my troubled slumbers by the recollection of my misery. Each hour that struck awoke me out of the most hideous dreams to a scarce less hideous reality. When midnight came, and the hammer clanged upon the great bell, a strange fancy took possession of my mind that it would this night strike Thirteen, and that at the thirteenth stroke the clock, the tower, the city, and the whole world, would crumble into atoms. Again I fell asleep and dreamt. I thought that my head was changed into a mighty bronze bell, and that I hung in the tower and heard the clock beside me strike Thirteen. Then came the old schoolmaster, who yet, at the same time, had the features of Elizabeth's father; and, as he drew near me, I saw that the hammer he held in his hand was no hammer, but a large silver-bound Bible. In my despair I made frightful efforts to cry out and to tell him that I was no bell, but a man, and that he should not strike me; but my voice refused its service and my tongue clove to my palate. The greyhaired old man came up to me, and struck thirteen times on my forehead, till my brains gushed out at my eyes.

"By daybreak the next morning I was two leagues from Stralsund, having left a few hurried ill-written lines in my room, pleading I know not what urgent family affairs, and a dislike to leave-taking, as excuses for my sudden departure. Over field and meadow, through rivers and forests, on I went, as though hell were at my heels, flying from my destiny. But the further I got from Stralsund the more did I regret all I left there—my beautiful and affectionate mistress, her kind-hearted father, the peaceful happy life I led on the top of the old tower. The vow I had made to fly from the haunts of men, and seek in some desert the repose which my evil fate denied me among my fellows, that vow became daily more difficult to keep. And yet I went on, dreading to depart from my determination, lest I should encounter some of those bitter deceptions and cruel disappointments that had hitherto been my lot in life. Shame, too, at the manner in which I had left the tower, withheld me, or else I think I should already be on my road back to Stralsund. But now I have met you, brother, and that my mind is relieved by the knowledge that I have not, even indirectly, Albert's death to reproach myself with, I must hasten to my Elizabeth to relieve her anxiety, and dry the tears which I am well assured each moment of my absence causes her to shed. Come with me, dearest Carl, and you shall see her, my beautiful Elizabeth, and her good old father, and the tower and the bell. Ho! the bell, the jolly old bell!"

The painter looked kindly but anxiously in his brother's face. There was a mildness in his manner that startled him, accustomed as he had been to his eccentricities when a boy.

"You are tired, brother," said he. "You need repose after the emotions and fatigues of the last week. I, too, shall not be sorry to sleep. Let us to bed for a few hours, and then we will [Pg 474] have post-horses and be off to Stralsund."

"I have no need of rest," replied Bernard, "and each moment seems to me an eternity till I can again clasp my Elizabeth to my heart. Let us delay, then, as little as may be."

As he spoke they entered the gates of Berlin. The sun was risen, and the hotels and taverns were beginning to open their doors. Seeing Bernard's anxiety to depart, the painter abandoned his intention of taking some repose, and after hasty breakfast, a post-chaise was brought to the door, and the brothers stepping in, were whirled off on their road northwards.

The sun was about to set when the travellers came in sight of the spires of Stralsund, among which the church of St Nicholas reared its double-headed tower. Bernard had enlivened the journey by his wild sallies, and merry but extravagant humour. Now, however, that the goal was almost reached, he became silent and anxious. The hours appeared to go too slowly for him, and his restlessness was extreme.

"Faster! postilion," cried Carl, observing his brother's impatience. "Faster! You shall be paid double."

The man flogged his horses till they flew rather than galloped over the broad level road. Suddenly, however, a strap broke, and the postilion got off his seat to tie it up. Through the stillness of the evening, no longer broken by the rattle of the wheels and clatter of the horses' feet, a clock was heard striking the hour. Another repeated it, and a third, of deeper tone than the two preceding ones, took up the chime. Bernard started to his feet, and leaned so far out of the carriage that his brother seized hold of him, expecting him to lose his balance and fall out.

"It is she!" exclaimed Bernard. "'Tis the bell of St Nicholas. Listen, Carl—my Elizabeth calls me. She strikes the bell. I come, dearest, I come!"

And with these words he sprang out of the carriage, and set off at full speed towards the town, leaving his brother thunderstruck at his mad impatience and vehemence.

Running at the top of his speed, Bernard soon reached the city gate, and proceeded rapidly through the streets in the direction of St Nicholas's church. It seemed to him as though he had been absent for years instead of a few days, and he felt quite surprised at finding no change in the city since his departure. All was as he had left it; all conspired to lull him into security. An old fruitwoman, of whom he had bought cherries the very day of his last walk with Elizabeth, was in her usual place, and, as he passed, extolled the beauty of her fruit, and asked him to buy. A large rose-tree, at the door of a silversmith's shop, which Elizabeth had often admired, was still in full bloom; through the window of a house in the market-place, he saw a young girl, Elizabeth's dearest friend, dressing her hair at a looking-glass, and as he passed the churchyard, the old dumb sexton, who appeared to be hunting about for a place for a grave, nodded his head in mute recognition.

Bernard opened the tower door, and darted up the staircase. He was not far from the top when he heard the voices of two men above him. They were resting on one of the landing-places of the ladderlike stairs.

"It is a singular case, doctor," said one; "a strange and incomprehensible case. It is evidently a disease more of the mind than the body."

"Yes," replied the other, by his voice apparently an old man. "If we could only get a clue to the cause, any thing to go upon, something might be done, but at present it is a perfect riddle."

Bernard heard no more, for the men continued their ascent.

"The old father must be ill," said he to himself; but as he said it a feeling of dread and anxiety, a presentiment of evil, came over him, and he stood for a few moments unable to proceed. The door at the top of the stairs was now opened, and shut with evident care to avoid noise. "The old man must be very ill," said Bernard, as if trying to persuade himself of it. He reached the door, and his hand shook as he laid it upon the latch. At length he lifted it, and entered the room. It was empty; but, just then, the door of Elizabeth's chamber opened, and old Kranhelm stepped out. On beholding Bernard, he started back as though he had seen a ghost. He said a word or two in a low voice to somebody in the inner room, and then shutting the door, [Pg 475] bolted it, and placed his back against it, as if to prevent Bernard from going in.

"Begone!" cried he in a tremulous voice; "in the name of God, begone! thou evil spirit of my house;" and he stretched out his arms towards Bernard as though to prohibit his approach. No longer master of himself, the young man sprang towards him, and, grasping his arm, thundered in his ear the question—

"Where is my Elizabeth?"

The words rang through the old tower, and the confused murmuring of voices in the inner room was heard. Bernard listened, and thought he distinguished the voice of Elizabeth repeating, in tones of agony, the fatal number.

One of the physicians knocked, and begged to be let out. The old tower-keeper opened the door cautiously, and, when the doctor had passed through, carefully shut and barred it. But during the moment that it had remained open, Bernard heard too plainly what his ears had at first been unwilling to believe.

"Is that the man?" demanded the physician hastily. "In God's name, be silent. You will kill the patient. She recognized your voice, and fell immediately into the most fearful paroxysm. She has got back again to the infernal number with which her delirium began, and she shrieks it out perpetually. It is a frightful relapse. Begone! young man; yet stay—I will go with you. You can, doubtless, give us a key to this mystery."

The old physician took Bernard's arm to lead him away; but at that very moment there was a shrill scream from the next room, and Elizabeth's voice was heard calling upon Bernard by name. The unfortunate young man could not restrain himself. Shaking off the grasp of the physician, he pushed old Kranhelm aside, tore back the bolts, and flung open the door. There lay Elizabeth on her deathbed, her arms stretched out towards him, her mild countenance ashy pale and frightfully distorted, her soft blue eyes straining from their orbits. She made a violent effort to speak, but death was too near at hand; the sound died away upon her lips, and her uplifted arms dropped powerless upon the bed; her head fell back—a convulsive shudder came over her: she was dead. Her unhappy lover fell senseless to the ground.

When Bernard awoke out of a long and deathlike swoon, it was night, and all around him was still and dark. He was lying on the stone floor outside Kranhelm's dwelling. The physicians had removed him thither; and, being occupied with the old tower-keeper and his daughter, they had thought no more about him. On first recovering sensation, he had but an indistinct idea of where he was, or what had happened. By degrees his senses returned to a certain extent—he knew that something horrible had occurred, but without remembering exactly what it was.

He felt about him, and touched a railing. It was the balustrade round the open turret where hung the great bell. He was lying under the bell itself, and, as he gazed up into its brazen throat, the recollection of the frightful dream which had persecuted him the night before his flight from Stralsund came vividly to his mind; he appeared to himself to be still dreaming, and yet his visions were mixed up with the realities of his everyday occupations.

He had just stepped out, he thought, to strike the hour on the bell, and rising with some difficulty from the hard couch which had stiffened his limbs, he sought about for the hammer. He made no effort to shake off the sort of dreaming semi-consciousness which seemed to prevent him from feeling the horror and anguish of reality.

"Thirteen strokes," thought he; "thirteen strokes, and at the Thirteenth the tower will fall, the city crumble to dust, the world be at an end." Such had been his dream, and the moment of its accomplishment was come.

He found the hammer, and struck with all his force upon the bell. He repeated the blow; twelve times he struck, and each stroke rang with deafening violence through his brain; but at the Thirteenth, as he raised his arms high above his head, and leaning back against the railing, threw his whole strength and energy into the blow, the frail balustrade gave way under his weight, and he fell headlong from the tower. The last stroke tolled out, sad and hollow as a funereal knell, and the sound mingled with the death-cry of the luckless Thirteenth!

[Pg 476]


Galloping, gossiping, flirting and fighting, feasting and starving, but always in high spirits and the best possible humour, Colonel Napier might answer an advertisement for "A Pleasant Companion in a Post-chaise," without the slightest chance of rejection. But it is difficult to imagine so dashing a traveller, boxed up in a civilized conveyance, rolling quietly along a macadamized road, with a diversity of milestones and an occasional turnpike gate, the only incidents by the way—no wild Maronite glimpsing at him over the hedge; no black-eyed houri peeping over the balustrades of the caravanserai, (called by vulgar men the Bricklayers' Arms)—no Saïces to help John Hostler to change horses; but dulness, uniformity, and most tiresome and unromantic safety. England, we are sorry to confess it, is not the land of stirring adventures or hair-breadth 'scapes—a railway coach occasionally blows up; a blind leader occasionally bolts into a ditch; a wheel comes occasionally into dangerous collision with one of Pickford's vans; but these are the utmost that can be hoped for in the way of peril, and other excitement there is positively none. We have treated life as the mathematician did Paradise Lost—we have struck out all its similes—obliterated its flights—expunged its glorious visions—we have made it prose. But fortunately for us—for Colonel Napier—for the reading public—there is a land where mathematicians are unknown, and where poetry continues to flourish in the full vigour of cimeters and turbans—the region of the sun—

"The first of Eastern lands he shines upon."

It was in this very beautiful, but rather overdone portion of earth's surface, that the adventures occurred of which we are now to give some account; and as probably most of our readers have heard the name of Syria pretty often of late, we need not display much geographical erudition in pointing out where it lies. It would be pleasant to us if we could atone for brevity in this respect, by illuminating the reader on the causes that have brought Syria so prominently forward; but on this point we confess, with shame and confusion of face, that we know no more than Lord Ponsonby or M. Thiers. The truth seems to be, that some time, about two or three years ago, five or six people in influential stations went mad, and our Secretary for Foreign Affairs took the infection. He showed his teeth and raised his "birse," and barked in a most audacious manner, till the French kennel answered the challenge; an old dog in Egypt cocked his tail at the same time, and the world began to be afraid that hydrophobia would be universal. All parties were delighted to let the rival yelpers fight it out on so distant a field as Syria; and in that country of heat and dryness, of poverty, anarchy, cruelty, and superstition, there was a skrimmage that kept all Christendom on the tenter-hooks for half-a-year; and this we believe to be the policy of the Syrian campaign. Better for all parties concerned, that a few thousand turbaned and malignant Turks or Egyptians should bite the dust, than that there should be another Austerlitz or Waterloo. So the signal was accordingly given, and the work began.

Wherever there is any fighting it is not to be doubted that the English hurra will be heard—and an apparition had been seen in the smoke of battle, which had sorely puzzled the wisest of the soothsayers of Egypt to explain. It was of a being apparently human, but dressed as if to represent Mars and Neptune at the same time, charging along the tops of houses, with the jolly cocked-hat of a captain of a British man-of-war on the point of his sword, and a variety of exclamations in his mouth, more complimentary to the enemy's speed than his courage. The muftis, we have said, were sorely puzzled, and at last set it down as an infallible truth that he must be none other than Old Harry, whereas there was not a sailor in the fleet that did not know that it was none other than Old Charley. And [Pg 477] this identical Old Charley, in a style of communication almost as rapid as his military evolutions, had indited the following epistle to the author of the volumes before us:—

"Headquarters of the Army of Lebanon.—Djouni, Sept. 1840.

"My dear Edward—I have hoisted my broad pendant on Mount Lebanon, and mean to advance against the Egyptians with a considerable force under my command; you may be of use here; therefore go to Sir John M'Donald, and ask him to get leave for you to join me without delay.

"Your affectionate father,
Charles Napier."

And the dutiful son, who seems to have no inconsiderable portion of the paternal penchant for broken heads and other similar divertisements, in three weeks from the receipt of the letter found himself on board the Hydra, and rapidly approaching the classic shores of Sidon, Tyre, Ptolemais; the scenes of scriptural records and deeds of chivalry—Palestine—the Holy Land. But the broad pendant in the mean time had been pulled down on Mount Lebanon, and once more fluttered to the sea breezes on board the Powerful. Sir Charles Smith had assumed the command of the land forces, and whether from ill-humour at finding half the work done during his absence by the amphibious commodore, or from some other cause, his reception of the author was, at first, far from cordial. Instead of being useful, as he had hoped, he found the sturdy old general blind to the value of his accession; and when the Powerful sailed he found himself without quarters appointed him, or even an invitation to join the officers' mess. But with the usual good-luck of people who bear disappointments well, all turned out for the best, as will be seen by the following extract:

"I had, on board the Powerful, a few days before, formed the acquaintance of a young Syrian of the name of Assaade el Khyat, who, brought up at one of our universities, was at heart a true Englishman, spoke fluently our own and several other European and Eastern languages, and whom I found, on the whole, a sensible, well-informed young man, and a most agreeable companion. As I was sitting alone, after a solitary dinner, (in the miserable hotel at Beyrout,) musing in a brown study over a bottle of red Cyprus wine, my new acquaintance was ushered into the apartment; I made no secret to him of my extremely uncomfortable position, when he, with great kindness and liberality, overcoming the usual prejudices of his country, offered me an asylum in his own family, which offer I most gladly accepted, and was accordingly the next morning comfortably installed in my new quarters, whereof I will endeavour to give the reader a slight description.

"The house of which I had just so unexpectedly become an inmate, was situated in one of the most retired and out of the way parts of the town, (and it was not before considerable time had elapsed, and then with difficulty, that I became acquainted with the labyrinth of narrow lanes, alleys, and dark passages which it was requisite to thread in order to arrive at this desired haven,) the property of a young man of the name of Giorgio Habbit Jummal—brother-in-law of my friend Assaade, to whom one of his sisters was married, and whom, as he spoke Italian with fluency and ease, I at once engaged as my dragoman or interpreter.

"By a strange coincidence, I, under the roof of Giorgio, for the first time became acquainted with Mr Hunter, the author of the Expedition to Syria, who, placed in similar circumstances with myself, was likewise an inmate of the same house, and of whom, as we were subsequently much known together during our residence in this country, I shall after have occasion to mention: at present I will take the liberty of borrowing from his amusing narrative the following account of the inmates of our new domicile. 'We lived in the house of a respectable Syrian family, that of Habbit Jummal, or interpreted, the esteemed camel-driver. Our landlord, Giorgius, the head of this family, was a young man hardly out of his teens; and having some competency, and being moreover un beau garçon, did not follow either his ancestral, or any other avocation. The harem, or woman's portion of the house, was composed of his mother, a fair widow of forty, and her two daughters, both Eastern beauties of their kind, Sarah and Nasarah (meaning Victory or Victoria;) the first, a laughing black eyed houri, with mischief in every dimple in her pretty face; the other, a more portly damsel, of a melancholy but not less pleasing expression. There were besides these, three younger children with equally poetic names, (Nassif, Iskunder, and Furkha,) and included in the coterie was a good-humoured negress, the general handmaid, whose original cognomen of Saade, was lost in the apposite soubriquet of Snowball.'—Although the greater part of the [Pg 478] inhabitants of Beyrout are Christians, generally speaking, of the Greek Church, to which persuasion likewise belonged the family of our host Giorgio; still in this land of bigotry and oppression—to such an extent is carried suspicion and jealousy, and so far have Mahommedan prejudices in this respect been adopted, that all the women (those of the peasantry alone excepted) lead nearly as secluded a life as the Osmanli ladies of Constantinople or Smyrna. On venturing abroad, which they seldom do, unless when the knessi or humaum (church or bath) are the limits of their excursions, they are so closely shrouded in the izar, or long white garment, which, coming over the head and hiding the face, falls in numerous folds to the ground, as to be scarcely recognizable by their nearest friends or relations. To allow, therefore, two unknown and friendless strangers to become familiar inmates of an Eastern family, exposing wives, daughters, and sisters, to their unhallowed gaze, was a favour and mark of confidence on the part of Assaade which we duly appreciated, nor ever abused; it was, however, a privilege to which no other stranger in the place was admitted, and affording, as it did, such opportunities of acquiring the Arabic language, I eagerly embraced it without any feeling of regret at the inhospitality to which I was originally indebted for my admission behind the scenes of Oriental life.

"The bare, gloomy, and massive stone walls of the exterior of our habitation had not prepared us for the comforts we found inside; and as for the first time we followed Giorgio and his brother-in-law up the rude and narrow stone staircase, which appeared to be scarped out of the very thickness of the wall—an open sesame from the former causing a strong iron studded door to fly back on its hinges, disclosed a handsome patis or court paved with black and white marble, along the sides of which were luxuriantly growing, and imparting a cooling freshness to the scene, the perfumed orange-tree, bearing at the same time both fruit and blossoms, and flanked by green myrtles and flowering geraniums; whilst an apartment opening on this garden terrace, and which appeared from the carpets and cushions scattered around the still smoking narghilis, (or water-pipe, in which is smoked the tumbic or Persian tobacco,) and other sundry traces of female industry, to be appropriated as the common sitting-room of the family, was on our entrance precipitately deserted by all its occupants, save one fine-looking matronly lady, whom Giorgio introduced as his mother; and while she was welcoming us with many 'Fāddālls,' and politely repeating, Anna mugsond shoufuk, (be seated, I am delighted to see you,) with innumerable other euphonious phrases, as we afterwards found high-flown Eastern compliments, but which at the time were sadly wasted on our Frankish ignorance, he, following the fair fugitives, soon brought back in each hand the blushing deserters, who have already been introduced to the reader as Mesdemoiselles Sarah and Nasarah. Pipes, narghilis, sherbet, and coffee followed in quick succession; the young negress, Saade, acting as Hebe on the occasion; and the ladies, at first timid as gazelles of the desert, soon, like those pretty creatures when reclaimed from the wilderness, became quite domesticated, acquired confidence, and freely joined in the conversation, which was with volubility carried on through the medium of Giorgio and Assaade; and ere an hour had elapsed, we were all on the friendly and easy footing of old acquaintances; when, taking leave for the time, we hastened to make the necessary arrangements for the conveyance of our goods and chattels to the capital billets we had had the good fortune to stumble on."

The colonel made good use of his opportunity, and, by a diligent perusal of Miss Sarah's eyes, and an attentive study of Miss Nasarah's dimple, managed to acquire a smattering of Arabic in a far shorter time than would have been required in the most assiduous turning over of dictionaries and grammars. But our school-boy days can't last for ever—and, ere a fortnight elapsed, an order arrived from England for the hopeful scholar to be placed on the returns of the Syrian army, and to draw his field allowance, rations, and forage, as assistant adjutant-general of the British force. Dictionaries and eyes, grammars and dimples, were now exchanged for less pleasing pursuits. Fifteen thousand troops were by this time assembled at Beyrout, and rumour kept perpetually blowing the charge against Ibrahim Pasha, who was still encamped at Zachli, with an army much superior to that of the allies. Booted and spurred—with a long sword, saddle, bridle, and all the other paraphernalia so captivating to an ancient fair, as recorded in one of the lays of Old England by some forgotten Macaulay of former times—the colonel is intent on some doughty deed, and already in imagination sees captive Egyptians following his triumphal [Pg 479] car. When all of a sudden, the sad news gets spread abroad that the old commodore has concluded a convention with Mehemet Ali, and that all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war is at an end. One only chance remained, and that was, that as all the big-wigs protested with all their might against the convention; and the fleet, in the midst of protestation and repudiations of all sorts and kinds, was forced by a severe gale to up anchor and run for Marmorice Bay, Ibrahim Pasha might perhaps be tempted to protest also in a still more unpleasant manner, and pay a visit to Beyrout in the absence of the navy. The very thoughts of it, however the English auxiliaries may have felt on the subject, gave an attack of fever to the unfortunate inhabitants, who devoutly prayed for a speedy fall of tubbish, (or snow,) by which his dreaded approach might be impeded. "Had such a movement on his part taken place at this critical moment, it is not improbable that it might have proved successful; as amid the variety of religious and conflicting interests, by which the people of Beyrout were influenced, Ibrahim had no doubt many friends in the town; and it is certain that he was moreover regularly made acquainted with every occurrence which took place, through the medium, as was supposed, of French agency and espionage."

Ibrahim, however, had had enough of red coats and blue jackets, and left the people of Beyrout to themselves—an example which was followed by the author, who, being foiled in his expectations of riding down the Egyptians on the noble Arab left to him by the commodore, determined to put that fiery animal (the Arab) to its paces in scouring the country in all directions. It is not often that an assistant adjutant-general sets out on a tour in search of the picturesque; but in this instance the search was completely successful. Rock, ravine, precipice, and dell—running waters and waving woods, come as naturally to his pen as returns of effective force and other professional details; and, whatever the writing of them may be, we are prepared to contend that the reading of them is infinitely pleasanter. But as travellers and poets have of late left few mountains or molehills unsung in Palestine, we prefer extracting a picturesque account of a venerable abbess, who threw the light of Christian goodness over that benighted land about a century ago, and must have impressed the heathens in the neighbourhood with an exalted notion of the virtues of a nunnery:—

"Héndia was a Maronite girl, possessing extraordinary personal charms, who, in 1755, first brought herself into notice by her pretended piety and attention to her religious duties, till at last she was by this simple and credulous people considered almost in the light of a saint or prophetess. When she had thus established a reputation for sanctity, she next thought of becoming the head and chief of an extensive establishment of monks and nuns, to receive whom, with the aid of large contributions raised among her credulous admirers and followers, she erected two spacious stone buildings, which soon became filled with proselytes of both sexes. The patriarch of Lebanon was named the director of this establishment, and for twenty years Héndia reigned with unbounded sway over the little community—performing miracles, uttering prophecies, and giving other tokens of being in the performance of a divine mission; and though it was remarked that many deaths yearly occurred among the nuns, the circumstance was generally attributed to disease incident to the insalubrity of the situation. At last, chance brought to light the cause of this very great mortality, and disclosed all the secret horrors which had so long remained covered by the veil of mystery in this abode of monastic abominations. A traveller, on his way from Damascus to the coast, happened to arrive one fine summer night at a late hour before the convent gates, which he found closed, and not wishing to disturb its inmates, who had apparently retired to rest, he spread his travelling rug under some neighbouring trees, and laid himself down to sleep. His slumbers were, however, shortly disturbed by a number of persons, who, issuing from the convent, appeared to be clandestinely bearing away what seemed to be a heavy bundle. Prompted by curiosity, he cautiously followed the party, who, after going a short distance, deposited their burden, and commenced digging a deep hole, into which having placed and covered with earth what was evidently a dead body, they immediately took their departure. Astonished, and rather dismayed, at an occurrence of so mysterious a nature, the traveller lost no time in mounting his mule, and on arriving at Beyrout made known the extraordinary occurrence to [Pg 480] which he had been witness the night before. This account reached the ears of a merchant who happened to have two daughters undergoing their noviciate at El Kourket, and reports had lately reached him of the illness of one of his children; this, together with the numerous deaths which had lately taken place at the convent, coupled with the traveller's narrative, excited in his mind the most serious apprehensions. He gave information on the subject, and laid a complaint before the Grand Prince at Dahr-el-Kamar, and, accompanied by his informant and a troop of horsemen furnished by the Emir, hastened to the spot of the alleged mysterious burial, when to his horror, on opening the newly made grave, he discovered it to contain the corpse of his youngest daughter! Frantic at this sight, he desired instant admission, in order to ascertain the safety of her sister. On this being refused, the gates were forced open, and the unfortunate girl was found closely confined in a dungeon, on the point of death, but retaining still strength enough to disclose horrors which led to an investigation, implicating the patriarch, the abbess, and several priests. This transaction, which happened in 1776, was submitted for the decision of the Papal See; when it appeared that the pretended prophetess had, by means of many ingenious mechanical devices, thus long imposed on public credulity, whilst in the retirement of the cloister the most licentious and profligate occurrences nightly took place; and that when any unfortunate nun gave offence, either by refusing to be sacrificed at the shrine of infamy, or that it became desirable to get rid of her, in order to appropriate for the convent the amount of her property, she was immured in a dungeon, left to perish by a lingering and miserable death, and then privately buried in the night. In consequence of these shocking discoveries, the patriarch was deposed—the priests, his accomplices, were severely punished, and the high priestess of this temple of cruelty and debauchery was immured in confinement, and survived for many years to repent of all the atrocities she had previously committed."

We should like to know the colonel's authority for this circumstantial account. It bears at present a startling resemblance to the confession of Maria Monk, and the villanies recorded of the nunnery at Montreal; and we will hope in the mean time, that the devil, even in the shape of a lady abbess, is not quite so black as he is painted. The present abbess of El Kourket is already as black as need be, for we are told she is an Ethiopian negress.

The war carried on in Syria after the decisive battle of Boharsef, seems to have been on the model of those recorded by Major Sturgeon, and to have consisted of marching and counter-marching, without any definite object, except, perhaps, the somewhat Universal-Peace-Society one of getting out of the enemy's way. General Jochmus, we guess from his name, was a Scotch schoolmaster, with a Latin termination—there being no mistaking the Jock—and in his religious tenets we feel sure he was a Quaker. The English officers attached to the staff had immense difficulty in bringing the troops (if they deserve to be called so) to the scratch; and we trust that, in all future commentaries on the Art of War, the method adopted by Commodore Napier, of throwing stones at his gallant army to force them forward, will not be forgotten. The author before us had no sinecure, and after the news of Ibrahim's retreat, galloped hither and thither, like the wild huntsman of a German story, to discover by what route the vanquished lion was growling his way to his den. With a hundred irregular horse, furnished him by Osman Aga, he set out on a foray beyond Jordan; and we do not wonder his two friends, Captain Lane, a Prussian edition of Don Quixote, and Mr Hunter, who has written an excellent account of his expedition to Syria, besides his old Beyrout friend Giorgio, volunteered to accompany him.

"My motley troop, apparently composed of every tribe from the Caspian to the Red Sea, displayed no less variety in arms and accoutrements than in their personal appearance, varying from the sturdy-looking Kourd, mounted on his strong powerful steed, to the swarthy, spare, and sinewy Arab, with his long reed-like spear, his head encircled with the Kéfiah, or thick rope of twisted camels' hair; whilst the flowing 'abbage' waved gracefully down the shining flanks of the high-mettled steed of the desert. In short, such an assemblage of cut-throat looking ruffians was probably never before seen; and whilst the Prussian military eye of old Lane glanced down our wide-spread and irregular line, I could see a curl of contempt on his grey mustaches, though his weather-beaten countenance maintained all the gravity of Frederick the Great. The troop [Pg 481] appeared to be divided into two distinct parties—one Arab, the other Turkish; and, on directing the two chiefs to call the 'roll' of their respective forces, I found that many were absent without leave, and the party which should have amounted to a hundred cavaliers only mustered between seventy and eighty. However, on the assurance that the rest would speedily follow—as there was no time to spare, after making them a short harangue, in which I promised abundance of nehub (plunder) whenever we came across the enemy, to which they responded by a wild yell of approbation—I gave the signal to move off, which was instantly obeyed, amidst joyous shouts, the brandishing of spears, and promiscuous discharge of fire-arms. Having thus got them under weigh, the next difficulty I experienced was to keep them together. I tried to form a rearguard to bring up the stragglers, but the guard would not remain behind, nor the stragglers keep up with the main body; and I soon, finding that something more persuasive than mere words was requisite to maintain them in order, took the first opportunity of getting a stout cudgel, with which I soundly belaboured all those whom I found guilty of thus disobeying my commands. The Eastern does not understand the suaviter in modo;—behave to him like a human being, he fancies you fear him, and he sets you at defiance—kick him and cuff him, treat him like a dog, and he crouches at your feet, the humble slave of your slightest wishes."

Discipline of so perfect a nature must have inspired the gallant colonel with the strongest hopes of success in case of an onslaught on the forces of Ibrahim Pasha, and in all probability his efforts, with those of Captain Lane, Hunter, and Giorgio, might have produced something like a skrimmage when they came near the tents of the Egyptians; but it would seem that the cudgels wielded by the Musree commanders were either not so strong or not so well applied, for on the first appearance of the hostile squadron, the heroes of Nezib evaporated as if by magic, but not before a similar feat of legerdemain had been performed by the rabble rout of Turks and Arabs; and on looking round, to inspire his followers with a speech after the manner of Thucydides, the colonel discovered the last of his escort disappearing at full speed on the other side of the plain, and the Europeans were left alone in their glory. As they had nobody to attack, (the enemy continuing still in a state of evaporation,) every thing ended well; and, if the trumpeter had not been among the fugitives, there might have been a triumphal blow performed although no blow had been struck. We do not believe in the courage of the Arabs. No amount of kicking and cuffing could cow a nation's spirit that had once been brave; and we therefore consider it the greatest marvel in history how the Arabians managed at one time to conquer half the world. They must have been very different fellows from the chicken-hearted children of the desert recorded in these volumes. One thing only is certain, that they have left their anti-fighting propensities to their mongrel descendants in Spain; for a series of actions—that is, jinking and skulking, and running up and down, hiding themselves as if they were the personages of a writ—more distinctly Arabian than the late campaign which ended in the overthrow of Espartero, could not have been performed under the shadows of Mount Ebal. All the nobility that we are so fond of picturing to ourselves in the deeds and thoughts of Saladin, has gone over to the horse. The wild steed retains its fire, though the miserable horseman would do for a Madrileno aide-de-camp. And yet this is the way they are treated:—

"It was a matter of surprise to us, how our horses stood without injury all the exposure, severe work, and often short commons, to which they were constantly subjected. When we came to a place where barley was to be procured, the grooms carried away as much as they could; when none was to be had, we gave our nags peas and tibbin, (chopped straw, the only forage used in the East,) or any thing we could lay hands on; they had little or no grooming, and frequently the saddles were not even removed from their backs. But I believe that nothing save the high mettle of the desert blood would carry an animal through all this toil and privation; and as to the much-extolled kindness of the Arab towards his horse, although it may be the case in the far deserts of the Hedged and Hedjar, I can avow that I never saw these noble animals treated with more inhuman neglect than I witnessed in the whole of my wanderings through Syria."

The dreariness of a ride through the desolate plains and rugged rocks of Palestine, was diversified with startling [Pg 482] adventures; and the fact of several of the powers of Europe and many of the tribes of Asia having chosen that sterile region for their battle-place, gave rise to some very odd coincidences. People from all the ends of the earth, who were lounging away their existence some three or four months before, without any anticipation of treading in the footsteps of the crusaders—some smoking strong tobacco in the coffeehouses of Berlin, or leaning gracefully (like the Chinese Admiral Kwang) against the pillars of the Junior United Service Club in London—or driving a heavy curricle in the Prado at Vienna—or reading powerfully for honours at the Great Go at Oxford—or climbing Albanian hills—or reclining in the silken recesses of a harem at Constantinople—all were thrown together in such unexpected groups, and found themselves so curiously banded together, that the tame realities of an ordinary campaign were thrown completely into the shade. The following introduces us to another member of the foray, whose character seems to have been such a combination of the gallant soldier and light-hearted troubadour, that we read of his after fate, in dying of the plague at Damascus, with great regret:—

"My troop had not yet cleared a difficult pass close to the khan, running between an abrupt face of the hill and the river, when the advanced guard came back at full speed with the announcement that a body of the enemy's infantry was near at hand. Closely jammed in a narrow defile, between inaccessible cliffs and the precipitous banks of the Jordan, with nothing but cavalry at my disposal, I was placed in rather a disagreeable position. There remained, however, no alternative but to put spurs to our horses, push forward through the pass, deploy on the level ground beyond it, and then trust to the chances of war. Having explained these intentions to the Sheikh and Aga, we lost no time in carrying them into effect; and on taking extended order after clearing the pass, saw immediately in front of us what we took to be an advanced guard of the enemy, consisting of some twenty or thirty soldiers, whom their white foustanellis" (the foustanellis is that part of the Albanian costume corresponding with the highland kilt) "and tall active forms immediately marked as Arnouts, or Albanians. Seeing, probably, that we had now the advantage of the ground, they hastily retired, recrossing a ravine which intersected the path, and extending in capital light infantry style, were soon sheltered behind the stones and rocks on the opposite bank, over the brow of which nought was to be seen but the protruding muzzles and long shining barrels of their firelocks. All this was the work of a few seconds, and passed in a much briefer space of time than it has taken to relate. I had now the greatest difficulty in keeping Mahommed Aga and his men from charging up to enemies who, from their present position, could have picked them easily off with perfect safety to themselves; and riding rapidly forward with Captain Lane, to see if we could by some means turn their flank, a few horsemen at this moment suddenly appeared over the swell on the opposite side of the ravine, the foremost of whom, whilst making many friendly signals, galloped across the intervening space, hailing us a friend, and at the same time waving his hand, to prevent his own people from opening their fire. Lane and myself were not backward in returning this greeting; and on approaching we beheld a handsome young man, dressed in the showy Austrian uniform, with a black Tartar sheepskin cap on his head, who, coming up, accosted us in French, and with all the frankness of a soldier, introduced himself as Count Szechinge, a captain of Austrian dragoons, then on his way from Tiberias with a party composed of one or two Turkish lancers, about twenty-five Albanian deserters, his German servant, dragoman, and suite, to raise troops in the Adjelloun hills—a mission very similar to the one I was myself employed on at Naplouse."

An acquaintance begun under such circumstances grows into friendship with amazing rapidity; and many are the joyous hours the foragers spend together, in spite of intolerable weather and storms of sleet and snow, which bear a far greater resemblance to the climate of Lochaber than to that of Syria, "land of roses." Reinforced with the count and his companions, Colonel Napier pushes on—gets into the vicinity of Ibrahim—his rabble rout turn tail, in case of being swallowed alive by the ferocious pasha, whose reputation for cruelty and all manner of iniquities seems well deserved, and having ascertained the movements of that formidable ruffian, he returned to Naplouse to take the command of 1500 half-tamed, undisciplined savages, with whom to oppose his retreat. Luckily, the ratification of the convention come in the nick [Pg 483] of time; for it is very evident that the best cudgels that were ever cut in "the classic woods of Hawthornden," could not have awakened a spark of military ardour in the wretched riff-raff assemblage appointed for this service—and of all the abortive efforts at generalship we have ever read of, the attempt of the Turkish commanders was infinitely the worse—no foresight in providing for difficulties—no valour in fighting their way out of them; but, to compensate for these trifling deficiencies, a plentiful supply of pride and cruelty, with a due admixture of dishonesty. We heartily join, with Colonel Napier, in wondering where the deuce the "integrity of the Ottoman empire" is to be found, as, beyond all doubt, not a particle of it exists in any of its subjects. The pashas of Egypt, bad as they undoubtedly are, have redeeming points about them, which the Hassans, and Izzets, and Reschids of the Turks have no conception of; and, lively and sparkling as the gallant colonel's narrative is, we confess it leaves a sadder impression on our minds of the hopelessness and the degeneracy of the Moslems, than any book we have met with. Turk and Egyptian should equally be whipped back into the desert, and the fairest portions of the world be won over to civilization, wealth, and happiness. The present volumes close at the end of January 1841, and perhaps they are among the best results of the campaign. We shall be glad to see the proceedings at Alexandria sketched off in the same pleasant style.

THE FATE OF POLYCRATES.—Herod. iii. 124-126.

"Oh! go not forth, my father dear—oh! I go not forth to-day,
And trust not thou that Satrap dark, for he fawns but to betray;
His courteous smiles are treacherous wiles, his foul designs to hide;
Then go not forth, my father dear—in thy own fair towers abide."
"Now, say not so, dear daughter mine—I pray thee, say not so!
Where glory calls, a monarch's feet should never fear to go;
And safe to-day will be my way through proud Magnesia's halls,
As if I stood 'mid my bowmen good beneath my Samian walls.
"The Satrap is my friend, sweet child—my trusty friend is he—
The ruddy gold his coffers hold he shares it all with me;
No more amid these clustering isles alone shall be my sway,
But Hellas wide, from side to side, thy empire shall obey!
"And of all the maids of Hellas, though they be rich and fair,
With the daughter of Polycrates, oh! who shall then compare?
Then dry thy tears—no idle fears should damp our joy to-day—
And let me see thee smile once more before I haste away!"
"Oh! false would be the smile, my sire, that I should wear this morn,
For of all my country's daughters I shall soon be most forlorn;
I know, I know,—ah, thought of woe!—I ne'er shall see again
My father's ship come sailing home across the Icarian main.
"Each gifted seer, with words of fear, forbids thee to depart,
And their warning strains an echo find in every faithful heart;
A maiden weak, e'en I must speak—ye gods, assist me now!
The characters of doom and death are graven on thy brow!
"Last night, my sire, a vision dire thy daughter's eyes did see,
Suspended in mid air there hung a form resembling thee;
[Pg 484] Nay, frown not thus, my father dear; my tale will soon be done—
Methought that form was bathed by Jove, and anointed by the sun!"
"My child, my child, thy fancies wild I may not stay to hear.
A friend goes forth to meet a friend—then wherefore should'st thou fear?
Though moonstruck seers with idle fears beguile a maiden weak,
They cannot stay thy father's hand, or blanch thy father's cheek.
"Let cowards keep within their holds, and on peril fear to run!
Such shame," quoth he, "is not for me, fair Fortune's favourite son!"
Yet still the maiden did repeat her melancholy strain—
"I ne'er shall see my father's fleet come sailing home again!"
The monarch call'd his seamen good, they muster'd on the shore,
Waved in the gale the snow-white sail, and dash'd the sparkling oar;
But by the flood that maiden stood—loud rose her piteous cry—
"Oh! go not forth, my dear, dear sire—oh, go not forth to die!"
A frown was on that monarch's brow, and he said as he turn'd away,
"Full soon shall Samos' lord return to Samos' lovely bay;
But thou shalt aye a maiden lone within my courts abide—
No chief of fame shall ever claim my daughter for his bride!
"A long, long maidenhood to thee thy prophet tongue hath given—"
"Oh would, my sire," that maid replied, "such were the will of Heaven!
Though I a loveless maiden lone must evermore remain,
Still let me hear that voice so dear in my native isle again!"
'Twas all in vain that warning strain—the king has crost the tide—
But never more off Samos shore his bark was seen to ride!
The Satrap false his life has ta'en, that monarch bold and free,
And his limbs are black'ning in the blast, nail'd to the gallows-tree!
That night the rain came down apace, and wash'd each gory stain,
But the sun's bright ray, the next noonday, glared fiercely on the slain;
And the oozing gore began once more from his wounded sides to run;
Good-sooth, that form was bathed by Jove, and anointed by the Sun!

[Pg 485]


We read this title with some pain, not doubting but that our modern landscape painters were severely handled in an ironical satire; and we determined to defend them. "Their superiority to all the ancient masters"—that was too hard a hit to come from any but an enemy! We must measure our man—a graduate of Oxford! The "scholar armed," without doubt. He comes, too, vauntingly up to us, with his contempt for us and all critics that ever were, or will be; we are all little Davids in the eye of this Goliath. Nevertheless, we will put a pebble in our sling. We saw this contempt of us, in dipping at hap-hazard into the volume. But what was our astonishment to find, upon looking further, that we had altogether mistaken the intent of the author, and that we should probably have not one Goliath, but many, to encounter; while our own particular friends, to whom we might look for help, were, alas! all dead men. We found that there were not "giants" in those days, but in these days—that the author, in his most superlative praise, is not ironical at all, but a most serious panegyrist, who never laughs, but does sometimes make his readers laugh, when they see his very unbecoming, mocking grimaces against the "old masters"—not that it can be fairly asserted that it is a laughable book. It has much conceit, and but little merriment; there is nothing really funny after you have got over, (vide page 6,) that he "looks with contempt on Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin." This contempt, however, being too limited for the "graduate of Oxford," in the next page he enlarges the scope of his enmity; "speaking generally of the old masters, I refer only to Claude, Gaspar Poussin, Salvator Rosa, Cuyp, Berghem, Both, Ruysdael, Hobbima, Teniers (in his landscapes,) P. Potter, Canaletti, and the various Van Somethings and Back Somethings, more especially and malignantly those who have libelled the sea." Self-convicted of malice, he has not the slightest suspicion of his ignorance; whereas he knows nothing of these masters whom he maligns. Still is he ready to be their general accuser—has not the slightest respect for the accumulated opinions of the best judges for these two or three hundred years—he puts them by with the wave of his hand, very like the unfortunate gentleman in an establishment of "unsound opinions," who gravely said—"The world and I differed in opinion—I was right, the world wrong; but they were too many for me, and put me here." We daresay that, in such establishments may be found many similar opinions to those our author promulgates, though, as yet, none of our respectable publishers have been convicted of a congenial folly. We said, that he suspects not his ignorance of the masters he maligns. Let it not hence be inferred that it is the work of an ignorant man. He is only ignorant with a prejudice. We will not say that it is not the work of a man who thinks, who has been habituated to a sort of scholastic reasoning, which he brings to bear, with no little parade and display, upon technicalities and distinctions. He can tutor secundum artem, lacking only, in the first point, that he has not tutored himself. With all his arrangements and distinctions laid down, as the very grammar of art, he confuses himself with his "truths," forgetting that, in matters of art, truths of fact must be referable to truths of mind. It is not what things in all respects really are, but what they appear, and how they are convertible by the mind into what they are not in many ways, respects, and degrees, that we have to consider, before we can venture to draw rules from any truths whatever. For art is something besides nature; and taste and feeling are first—precede practical art; and though greatly enhanced by [Pg 486] that practical cultivation, might exist without it—nay, often do; and true taste always walks a step in advance of what has been done, and ever desires to do, and from itself, more than it sees. We discover, therefore, a fallacy in the very proposal of his undertaking, when he says that he is prepared "to advance nothing which does not, at least in his own conviction, rest on surer ground than mere feeling or taste." Notwithstanding, however, that our graduate of Oxford puts his "demonstrations" upon an equality with "the demonstrations of Euclid," and "thinks it proper for the public to know, that the writer is no mere theorist, but has been devoted from his youth to the laborious study of practical art," and that he is "a graduate of Oxford;" we do not look upon him as a bit the better judge for all that, seeing that many have practised it too fondly and too ignorantly all their lives, and that Claude, and Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin must, according to him, have been in this predicament, and more especially do we decline from bowing down at his dictation, when we find him advocating any "surer ground than feeling or taste." Now, considering that thus, in initio, he sets aside feeling and taste, the reader will not be astonished to find a very substantial reason given for his contempt of the afore-mentioned old masters; it is, he says, "because I look with the most devoted veneration upon Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, that I do not distrust the principles which induce me to look with contempt," &c. We do not exactly see how these great men, who were not landscape painters, can very well be compared with those who were, but from some general principles of art, in which the world have not as yet found any very extraordinary difference. But we do humbly suggest, that Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, are in their practice, and principles, if you please, quite as unlike Messrs David Cox, Copley Fielding, J. D. Harding, Clarkson Stanfield, and Turner—the very men whom our author brings forward as the excellent of the earth, in opposition to all old masters whatever, excepting only Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, to whom nevertheless, by a perverse pertinacity of their respective geniuses, they bear no resemblance whatever—as they are to Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin. We do not by any means intend to speak disrespectfully of these our English artists, but we must either mistrust those principles which cause them to stand in opposition to the great Italians, or to conceive that our author has really discovered no such differing principles, and which possibly may not exist at all. Nor will we think so meanly of the taste, the good feeling, and the good sense of these men, as to believe that they think themselves at all flattered by any admiration founded on such an irrational contempt. They well know that Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, have been admired, together with Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin, and they do not themselves desire to be put upon a separate list. The author concludes his introduction with a very bad reason for his partiality to modern masters, and it is put in most ambitious language, very readily learned in the "Fudge School,"—a style of language with which our author is very apt to indulge himself; but the argument it so ostentatiously clothes, and which we hesitate not to call a bad one, is nothing more than this, (if we understand it,)—that the dead are dead, and cannot hear our praise; that the living are living, and therefore our love is not lost; in short, as a non-sequitur, "that if honour be for the dead, gratitude can only be for the living." This might have been simply said; but we are taken to the grave—with "He who has once stood beside the grave," &c. &c.; we have "wild love—keen sorrow—pleasure to pulseless hearts—debt to the heart—to be discharged to the dust—the garland—the tombstone—the crowned brow—the ashes and the spirit—heaven-toned voices and heaven-lighted lamps—the learning—sweetness by silence—and light by decay;" all which, we conceive, might have been very excusable in a young curate's sermon during his first year of probation, and might have won for him more nosegays and favours than golden opinions, but which we here feel inclined to put our pen across, as so we remember many similarly ambitious passages to have been served, before we were graduate of Oxford, with the insignificant signification from the pen of our [Pg 487] informator of nihil ad rem. As the author threatens the public with another, or more volumes, we venture to throw out a recommendation, that at least one volume may serve the purpose and do the real work of two, if he will check this propensity to unnecessary redundancy. His numerous passages of this kind are for the most part extremely unintelligible; and when we have unraveled the several coatings, we too often find the ribs of the mummy are not human. We think it right to object, in this place, to an affectation in phraseology offensive to those who think seriously of breaking the third commandment—he scarcely speaks of mountains without taking the sacred name in vain; there is likewise a constant repetition of expressions of very doubtful meaning in the first use, for the most part quite devoid of meaning in their application. One of these is "palpitating." Light is "palpitating," darkness is "palpitating"—every conceivable thing is "palpitating." We must, however, in justice say, that by far the best part of the book, the laying down rules and the elucidating principles, is clearly and expressively written. In this part of the work there is greater expansion than the student will generally find in books on art. Not that we are aware of the advancement of any thing new; but the admitted maxims of art are, as it were, grammatically analysed, and in a manner to assist the beginner in thinking upon art. To those who have already thought, this very studied analysis and arrangement will be tedious enough.

In the "Definition of Greatness in Art," we find—"If I say that the greatest picture is that which conveys to the mind of the spectator the greatest number of the greatest ideas, I have a definition which will include as subjects of comparison every pleasure which art is capable of conveying." Now, there are great ideas which are so conflicting as to annul the force of each other. This is not enough; there must be a congruity of great ideas—nay, in some instances, we can conceive one idea to be so great, as in a work of art not to admit of the juxtaposition of others. This is the principle upon which the sonnet is built, and the sonnet illustrates the picture not unaptly. "Ideas of Power" are great ideas—not always are ideas of beauty great; yet is there a tempering the one with the other, which it is the special province of art to attain, and that for its highest and most moral purposes. In his "Ideas of Power," he distinguishes the term "excellent" from the terms "beautiful," "useful," "good," &c.; thus—"And we shall always, in future, use the word excellent, as signifying that the thing to which it is applied required a great power for its production." Is not this doubtful? Does it not limit the perception of excellence to artists who can alone from their practice, and, as it were, measurement of powers with their difficulties, learn and feel its existence in the sense to which it is limited. The inference would be, that none but artists can be critics, as none but artists can perceive excellence, and we think in more than one place some such assertion is made. This is startling—"Power is never wasted; whatever power has been employed, produces excellence in proportion to its own dignity and exertion; and the faculty of perceiving this exertion, and approaching this dignity, is the faculty of perceiving excellence." "It is this faculty in which men, even of the most cultivated taste, must always be wanting, unless they have added practice to reflection; because none can estimate the power manifested in victory, unless they have personally measured the strength to be overcome." For the word strength use difficulty, and we should say that, to the unpractised, the difficulties must always appear greatest. He gives, as illustration, "Titian's flesh tint;" it may be possible that, by some felicitous invention, some new technicality of his art, Titian might have produced this excellence, and to him there would have been no such great measurement of the difficulty or strength to be overcome; while the admirer of the work, ignorant of the happy means, fancies the exertion of powers which were not exerted. In his chapter on "Ideas of Imitation," he imagines that Fuseli and Coleridge falsely apply the term imitation, making "a distinction between imitation and copying, representing the first as the legitimate function of art—the latter as its corruption." Yet we think he comes pretty much to the same conclusion. In like manner, he seems to disagree with [Pg 488] Burke in a passage which he quotes, but in reality he agrees with him; for surely the "power of the imitation" is but a power of the "jugglery," to be sensible of which, if we understand him, is necessary to our sense of imitation. "When the object," says Burke, "represented in poetry or painting is such as we could have no desire of seeing in the reality, then we may be sure that its power in poetry or painting is owing to the power of imitation." "We may," says our author, "be sure of the contrary; for if the object be undesirable in itself, the closer the imitation the less will be the pleasure." Certainly not; for Burke of course implied, and included in his sense of imitation, that it should be consistent with a knowledge in the spectator, that a certain trick of art was put upon him. And our author says the same—"Whenever the work is seen to resemble something which we know it is not, we receive what I call an idea of imitation." Again—"Now, two things are requisite to our complete and most pleasurable perception of this: first, that the resemblance be so perfect as to amount to deception; secondly, that there be some means of proving at the same moment that it is a deception." He justly considers "the pleasures resulting from imitation the most contemptible that can be received from art." He thus happily illustrates his meaning—"We may consider tears as a result of agony or of art, whichever we please, but not of both at the same moment. If we are surprised by them as an attainment of the one, it is impossible we can be moved by them as a sign of the other." This will explain why we are pleased with the exact imitation of the dewdrop on the peach, and why we are disgusted with the Magdalen's tears by Vanderwerf; and we further draw this inevitable conclusion, of very important consequence to artists, who have very erroneous notions upon the subject, that this sort of imitation, which, by the deception of its name, should be most like, is actually less like nature, because it takes from nature its impression by substituting a sense of the jugglery. This chapter on ideas of imitation is good and useful. We think, in the after part of his work, wherein is much criticism on pictures by the old masters and by moderns, our author must have lost the remembrance of what he has so well said on his ideas of imitation; and in the following chapter on "Ideas of Truth." "The word truth, as applied to art, signifies the faithful statement, either to the mind or senses, of any fact of nature." The reader will readily see how "ideas of truth" differ from "ideas of imitation." The latter relating only to material objects, the former taking in the conceptions of the mind—may be conveyed by signs or symbols, "themselves no image nor likeness of any thing." "An idea of truth exists in the statement of one attribute of any thing; but an idea of imitation only in the resemblance of as many attributes as we are usually cognizant of in its real presence." Hence it follows that ideas of truth are inconsistent with ideas of imitation; for, as we before said, ideas of imitation remove the impression by an ever-present sense of the deception or falsehood. This is put very conclusively—"so that the moment ideas of truth are grouped together, so as to give rise to an idea of imitation, they change their very nature—lose their essence as ideas of truth—and are corrupted and degraded, so as to share in the treachery of what they have produced. Hence, finally, ideas of truth are the foundation, and ideas of imitation the distinction, of all art. We shall be better able to appreciate their relative dignity after the investigation which we propose of functions of the former; but we may as well now express the conclusion to which we shall then be led—that no picture can be good which deceives by its imitation; for the very reason that nothing can be beautiful which is not true." This is perhaps rather too indiscriminate. It has been shown that ideas of imitation do give pleasure; by them, too, objects of beauty may be represented. We should not say that a picture by Gerard Dow or Van Eyck; even with the down on the peach and the dew on the leaf, were not good pictures. They are good if they please. It is true, they ought to do more, and even that in a higher degree; they cannot be works of greatness—and greatness was probably meant in the word good. In his chapter on "Ideas of Beauty," he considers that we derive, naturally and instinctively, pleasure from the [Pg 489] contemplation of certain material objects; for which no other reason can be given than that it is our instinct—the will of our Maker—we enjoy them "instinctively and necessarily, as we derive sensual pleasure from the scent of a rose." But we have instinctively aversion as well as desire; though he admits this, he seems to lose sight of it in the following—"And it would appear that we are intended by the Deity to be constantly under their influence, (ideas of beauty;) because there is not one single object in nature which is not capable of conveying them," &c. We are not satisfied; if the instinctive desire be the index to what is beautiful, so must the instinctive aversion be the index to its opposite. We have an instinctive dislike to many reptiles, to many beasts—as apes. These may have in them some beauty; we only object to the author's want of clearness. If there be no ugliness there is no beauty, for every thing has its opposite; so that we think he has not yet discovered and clearly put before us what beauty consists in. He shows how it happens that we do admire it instinctively; but that does not tell us what it is, and possibly, after all that has been said about it, it yet remains to be told. Nor are we satisfied with his definition of taste—"Perfect taste is the faculty of receiving the greatest possible pleasure from those material sources which are attractive to our moral nature in its purity and perfection." This will not do; for taste will take material sources, unattractive in themselves, and by combination, or for their contrast, receive pleasure from them. All literature and all art show this. That taste, like life itself, is instinctive in its origin and first motion, we doubt not; but what it is by and in its cultivation, and in its application to art, is a thing not to be altogether so cursorily discussed and dismissed. The distinction is laid down between taste and judgment—judgment being the action of the intellect; taste "the instinctive and instant preferring of one material object to another without any obvious reason," except that it is proper to human nature in its perfection so to do. But leaving this discussion of this original taste, taste in art is surely, as it is a thing cultivated, that for which a reason can be given, and in some measure, therefore, the result of judgment. For by the cultivation of taste we are actually led to love, admire, and desire many things of which we have no instinctive love at all; so that the taste for them arises from the intellect and the moral sense—our judgment. He proceeds to "Ideas of Relation," by which he means "to express all those sources of pleasure, which involve and require at the instant of their perception, active exertion of the intellectual powers." As this is to be more easily comprehended by an illustration, we have one in an incident of one of Turner's pictures, and, considering the object, it is surprising the author did not find one more important; but he herein shows that, in his eyes, every stroke of the brush by Mr Turner is important—indeed, is a considerable addition to our national wealth. In the picture of the "Building of Carthage," the foreground is occupied by a group of children sailing toy-boats, which he thinks to be an "exquisite choice of incident expressive of the ruling passion." He, with a whimsical extravagance in praise of Turner, which, commencing here, runs throughout all the rest of the volume, says—"Such a thought as this is something far above all art; it is epic poetry of the highest order." Epic poetry of the highest order! Ungrateful will be our future epic poets if they do not learn from this—if such is done by boys sailing toy-boats, surely boys flying a kite will illustrate far better the great astronomical knowledge of our days. But he is rather unfortunate in this bit of criticism; for he compares this incident with one of Claude's, which we, however, think a far better and more poetical incident. "Claude, in subjects of the same kind," (not, by the by, a very fair statement,) "commonly introduces people carrying red trunks with iron locks about, and dwells, with infantine delight, on the lustre of the leather and the ornaments of the iron. The intellect can have no occupation here, we must look to the imitation or to nothing." As to the "infantine delight," we presume it is rather with the boys and their toy-boats; but let us look a little into these trunks—no, we may not—there is something more in them than our graduate imagines—the very [Pg 490] iron locks and precious leather mean to tell you there is something still more precious within, worth all the cost of freightage; and you see, a little off, the great argosie that has brought the riches; and we humbly think that the ruling passion of a people whose "princes were merchants, and whose merchants princes," as happily expressed by the said "red trunks" as the rise of Carthage by the boys and boats; and in the fervour of this bit of "exquisite" epic choice, probably Claude did look with delight on the locks and the leather; and, whenever we look upon that picture again, we shall be ready to join in the delight, and say, in spite of our graduate's "contempt," there is nothing like leather. If the boys and boats express the beginning, the red trunks express the thing done—merchandise "brought home to every man's door;" so that the one serves for an "idea of relation," quite as well as the other. And here ends section the first.

The study of ideas of imitation are thrown out of the consideration of ideas of power, as unworthy the pursuit of an artist, whose purpose is not to deceive, and because they are only the result of a particular association of ideas of truth. "There are two modes in which we receive the conception of power; one, the most just, when by a perfect knowledge of the difficulty to be overcome, and the means employed, we form a right estimate of the faculties exerted; the other, when without possessing such intimate and accurate knowledge, we are impressed by a sensation of power in visible action. If these two modes of receiving the impression agree in the result, and if the sensation be equal to the estimate, we receive the utmost possible idea of power. But this is the case perhaps with the works of only one man out of the whole circle of the fathers of art, of him to whom we have just referred—Michael Angelo. In others the estimate and the sensation are constantly unequal, and often contradictory." There is a distinction between the sensation of power and the intellectual perception of it. A slight sketch will give the sensation; the greater power is in the completion, not so manifest, but of which there is a more intellectual cognizance. He instances the drawings of Frederick Tayler for sensations of power, considering the apparent means; and those of John Lewis for more complete ideas of power, in reference to the greater difficulties overcome, and the more complicated means employed. We think him unfortunate in his selection, as the subjects of these artists are not such as, of themselves, justly to receive ideas of power, therefore not the best to illustrate them. He proceeds to "ideas of power, as they are dependent on execution." There are six legitimate sources of pleasure in execution—truth, simplicity, mystery, inadequacy, decision, velocity. "Decision" we should think involved in "truth;" as so involved, not necessarily different from velocity. Mystery and inadequacy require explanation. "Nature is always mysterious and secret in her use of means; and art is always likest her when it is most inexplicable." Execution, therefore, should be "incomprehensible." "Inadequacy" can hardly, we think, be said to be a quality of execution, as it has only reference to means employed. Insufficient means, according to him, give ideas of power. We otherwise conclude—namely, that if the inadequacy of the means is shown, we receive ideas of weakness. "Ars est celare artem"—so is it to conceal the means. Strangeness in execution, not a legitimate source of pleasure, is illustrated by the execution of a bull's head by Rubens, and of the same by Berghem. Of the six qualities of execution, the three first are the greatest, the three last the most attractive. He considers Berghem and Salvator to have carried their fondness for these lowest qualities to a vice. We can scarcely agree with him, as their execution seems most appropriate to the character of their subjects—to arise, in fact, out of their "ideas of truth." There is appended a good note on the execution of the "drawing-master," that, under the title of boldness, will admit of no touch less than the tenth of an inch broad, and on the tricks of engravers' handling.

Our graduate dismisses the "sublime" in about two pages; in fact, he considers sublimity not to be a specific term, nor "descriptive of the effect of a particular class of ideas;" but as he immediately asserts that it is "greatness of any kind," and "the [Pg 491] effect of greatness upon the feelings," we should have expected to have heard a little more about what constitutes this "greatness," this "sublime," which "elevates the mind," something more than that "Burke's theory of the nature of the sublime is incorrect." The sublime not being "distinct from what is beautiful," he confines his subject to "ideas of truth, beauty, and relation," and by these he proposes to test all artists. Truth of facts and truth of thoughts are here considered; the first necessary, but the latter the highest: we should say that it is the latter which alone constitutes art, and that here art begins where nature ends. Facts are the foundation necessary to the superstructure; the foundation of which must be there, though unseen, unnoticed in contemplation of the noble edifice. Very great stress is laid upon "the exceeding importance of truth;" which none will question, reminding us of the commencement of Bacon's essay, "What is truth? said laughing Pilate, and would not wait for an answer." "Nothing," says our author, "can atone for the want of truth, not the most brilliant imagination, the most playful fancy, the most pure feeling (supposing that feeling could be pure and false at the same time,) not the most exalted conception, nor the most comprehensive grasp of intellect, can make amends for the want of truth." Now, there is much parade in all this, surely truth, as such in reference to art, is in the brilliancy of imagination, in the playfulness, without which is no fancy, in the feeling, and in the very exaltation of a conception; and intellect has no grasp that does not grasp a truth. When he speaks of nature as "immeasurably superior to all that the human mind can conceive," and professes to "pay no regard whatsoever to what may be thought beautiful, or sublime, or imaginative," and to "look only for truth, bare, clear downright statement of facts," he seems to forget what nature is, as adopted by, as taken into art; it is not only external nature, but external nature in conjunction with the human mind. Nor does he, in fact, adhere in the subsequent part of his work to this his declaration; for he loses it in his "fervour of imagination," when he actually examines the works of "the great living painter, who is, I believe, imagined by the majority of the public to paint more falsehood and less fact than any other known master." Here our author jumps at once into his monomania—his adoration of the works of Turner, which he examines largely and microscopically, as it suits his whim, and imagines all the while he is describing and examining nature; and not unfrequently he tells you, that nature and Turner are the same, and that he "invites the same ceaseless study as the works of nature herself." This is "coming it pretty strong." We confess we are with the majority—not that we wish to depreciate Turner. He is, or has been, unquestionably, a man of genius, and that is a great admission. He has, perhaps, done in art what never has been done before. He has illuminated "Views," if not with local, with a splendid truth. His views of towns are the finest; he led the way to this walk of art, and is far superior to all in it. We speak of his works collectively. Some of his earlier, more imaginative, were unquestionably poetical, though not, perhaps, of a very high character. We believe he has been better acquainted with many of the truths of nature, particularly those which came within the compass of his line of views, than any other artist, ancient or modern; but we believe he has neglected others, and some important ones too, and to which the old masters paid the greatest attention, and devoted the utmost study. We have spoken frequently, unhesitatingly, of the late extraordinary productions of his pencil, as altogether unworthy his real genius; it is in these we see, with the majority of the public, "more falsehood and less fact" than in any other known master—a defiance of the "known truths" in drawing, colour, and composition, for which we can only account upon the supposition, that his eye misrepresents to him the work of his hands. We see, in the almost adoration of his few admirers, that if it be difficult, and not always dependent, on merit to attain to eminence in the world's estimation, it is nearly as difficult altogether to fall from it; and that nothing the artist can do, though they be the veriest "ægri somnia," will separate from him habitual followers, who, with a zeal in proportion to the extravagances he [Pg 492] may perpetrate, will lose their relish for, and depreciate the great masters, whose very principles he seems capriciously in his age to set aside, and they will from followers become his worshippers, and in pertinacity exact entire compliance, and assent to every, the silliest, dictation of their monomania. We subjoin a specimen of this kind of worship, which will be found fully to justify our observations, and which, considering it speaks of mortal man, is somewhat blaspheming Divine attributes; we know not really whether we should pity the condition of the author, or reprehend the passage. After speaking of other modern painters, who are so superior to the old, he says: "and Turner—glorious in conception—unfathomable in knowledge—solitary in power—with the elements waiting upon his will, and the night and the morning obedient to his call, sent as a prophet of God to reveal to men the mysteries of his universe, standing, like the great angel of the Apocalypse, clothed with a cloud, and with a rainbow upon his head, and with the sun and stars given into his hand." Little as we are disposed to laugh at any such aberrations, we must, to remove from our minds the greater, the more serious offence, indulge in a small degree of justifiable ridicule; and ask what will sculptor or painter make of this description, should the reluctant public be convinced by the "graduate," and in their penitential reverence order statue or painting of Mr Turner for the Temple of Fame, which it is presumed Parliament, in their artistic zeal, mean to erect? How will they venture to represent Mr Turner looking like an angel—in that dress which would make any man look like a fool—his cloud nightcap tied with rainbow riband round his head, calling to night and morning, and little caring which comes, making "ducks and drakes" of the sun and the stars, put into his hand for that purpose? We will only suggest one addition, as it completes the grand idea, and is in some degree characteristic of Mr Turner's peculiar execution, that, with the sun and stars, there should be delivered into his hand a comet, whose tail should serve him for a brush, and supply itself with colour. We do not see, however, why the moon should have been omitted; sun, moon, and stars, generally go together. Is the author as jealous as the "majority of the public" may be suspicious of her influence? And let not the reader believe that Mr Turner is thus called a prophet in mere joke, or a fashion of words—his prophetic power is advanced in another passage, wherein it is asserted that Mr Turner not only tells us in his works what nature has done in hers, but what she will do. "In fact," says our author, "the great quality about Mr Turner's drawings, which more especially proves their transcendant truth, is the capability they afford us of reasoning on past and future phenomena." The book teems with extravagant bombastic praise like this. Mr Turner is more than the Magnus Apollo. Yet other English artists are brought forward, immediately preceding the above panegyric; we know not if we do them justice, by noticing what is said of them. There is a curious description of David Cos lying on the ground "to possess his spirit in humility and peace," of Copley Fielding, as an aeronaut, "casting his whole soul into space." We really cannot follow him, "exulting like the wild deer in the motion of the swift mists," and "flying with the wild wind and sifted spray along the white driving desolate sea, with the passion for nature's freedom burning in his heart;" for such a chase and such a heart-burn must have a frightful termination, unless it be mere nightmare. We see "J. D. Harding, brilliant and vigorous," &c., "following with his quick, keen dash the sunlight into the crannies of the rocks, and the wind into the tangling of the grass, and the bright colour into the fall of the sea-foam—various, universal in his aim;" after which very fatiguing pursuit, we are happy to find him "under the shade of some spreading elm;" yet his heart is oak—and he is "English, all English at his heart." But Mr Clarkson Stanfield is a man of men—"firm, and fearless, and unerring in his knowledge—stern and decisive in his truth—perfect and certain in composition—shunning nothing, concealing nothing, and falsifying nothing—never affected, never morbid, never failing—conscious of his strength, but never ostentatious of it—acquainted with every line and hue of the deep [Pg 493] sea—chiseling his waves with unhesitating knowledge of every curve of their anatomy, and every moment of their motion—building his mountains rock by rock, with wind in every fissure, and weight in every stone—and modeling the masses of his sky with the strength of tempest in their every fold." It is curious—yet a searcher after nature's truths ought to know, as he is here told, that waves may be anatomized, and must be chiseled, and that mountains are and ought to be built up rock by rock, as a wall brick by brick; no easy task considering that there is a disagreeable "wind in every fissure, and weight in every stone"—and that the aerial sky, incapable to touch, must be "modeled in masses." All this is given after an equally extravagant abuse of Claude, of Salvator Rosa, and Poussin. He finds fault with Claude, because his sea does not "upset the flower-pots on the wall," forgetting that they are put there because the sea could not—with Salvator, for his "contemptible fragment of splintery crag, which an Alpine snow-wreath" (which would have no business there) "would smother in its first swell, with a stunted bush or two growing out of it, and a Dudley or Halifax-like volume of smoke for a sky"—with Poussin, for that he treats foliage (whereof "every bough is a revelation!") as "a black round mass of impenetrable paint, diverging into feathers instead of leaves, and supported on a stick instead of a trunk." A page or two from this, our author sadly abuses poor Canaletti, as far as we can see, for not painting a tumbled-down wall, which perhaps, in his day, was not in a ruinous state at all; it is a curious passage—and shows how much may be made out of a wall. Pyramus's chink was nothing to this—behold a specimen of "fine writing!" "Well: take the next house. We remember that too; it was mouldering inch by inch into the canal, and the bricks had fallen away from its shattered marble shafts, and left them white and skeleton-like, yet with their fretwork of cold flowers wreathed about them still, untouched by time; and through the rents of the wall behind them there used to come long sunbeams gleamed by the weeds through which they pierced, which flitted, and fell one by one round those grey and quiet shafts, catching here a leaf and there a leaf, and gliding over the illumined edges and delicate fissures until they sank into the deep dark hollow between the marble blocks of the sunk foundation, lighting every other moment one isolated emerald lamp on the crest of the intermittent waves, when the wild sea-weeds and crimson lichens drifted and crawled with their thousand colours and fine branches over its decay, and the black, clogging, accumulated limpets hung in ropy clusters from the dripping and tinkling stone. What has Canaletti given us for this?" Alas, neither a crawling lichen, nor clogging limpets, nor a tinkling stone, but "one square, red mass, composed of—let me count—five-and-fifty—no, six-and-fifty—no, I was right at first, five-and-fifty bricks," &c. The picture, if it be painted by the graduate, must be a curiosity—we can make neither head nor tail of his words. But let us find another strange specimen—where he compares his own observations of nature with Poussin and Turner. Every one must remember a very pretty little picture of no great consequence by Gaspar Poussin—a view of some buildings of a town said to be Aricia, the modern La Riccia—just take it for what it is intended to be, a quiet, modest, agreeable scene—very true and sweetly painted. How unfit to be compared with an ambitious description of a combination of views from Rome to the Alban Mount, for that is the range of the description, though, perhaps, the description is taken from a poetical view of one of Turner's incomprehensibles, which may account for the conclusion, "Tell me who is likest this, Poussin or Turner?" Now, though Poussin never intended to be like this, let us see the graduate's description of it. We know the little town; it received us as well as our author, having left Rome to visit it.

"Egressum magnâ me accepit Aricia Roma."

Our author, however, doubts if it be the place, though he unhesitatingly abuses Poussin, as if he had fully intended to have painted nothing else than what was seen by the travelling graduate. "At any rate, it is a town on a hill, wooded with two-and-thirty bushes, of very uniform size, and [Pg 494] possessing about the same number of leaves each. These bushes are all painted in with one dull opaque brown, becoming very slightly greenish towards the lights, and discover in one place a bit of rock, which of course would in nature have been cool and grey beside the lustrous hues of foliage, and which, therefore, being moreover completely in shade, is consistently and scientifically painted of a very clear, pretty, and positive brick red, the only thing like colour in the picture. The foreground is a piece of road, which, in order to make allowance for its greater nearness, for its being completely in light, and, it may be presumed, for the quantity of vegetation usually present on carriage roads, is given in a very cool green-grey, and the truthful colouring of the picture is completed by a number of dots in the sky on the right, with a stalk to them, of a sober and similar brown." We need not say how unlike is this description of the picture. We pass on to—"Not long ago, I was slowly descending this very bit of carriage road, the first turn after you leave Albano;—it had been wild weather when I left Rome, and all across the Campagna the clouds were sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of thunder or two, and breaking gleams of sun along the Claudian aqueduct, lighting up the infinity of its arches like the bridge of Chaos. But as I climbed the long slope of the Alban mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and the noble outline of the domes of Albano, and graceful darkness of its ilex grove rose against pure streaks of alternate blue and amber, the upper sky gradually flushing through the last fragments of rain-cloud in deep, palpitating azure, half æther half dew. The noonday sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La Riccia, and its masses of entangled and tall foliage, whose autumnal tints were mixed with the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call it colour, it was conflagration. Purple, and crimson, and scarlet, like the curtains of God's tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in showers of light, every separate leaf quivering with buoyant and burning life; each, as it turned to reflect or to transmit the sunbeam, first a torch and then an emerald. Far up into the recesses of the valley, the green vistas arched like the hollows of mighty waves of some crystalline sea, with the arbutus flowers dashed along their flanks for foam, and silver flakes of orange spray tossed into the air around them, breaking over the grey walls of rock into a thousand separate stars, fading and kindling alternately as the weak wind lifted and let them fall. Every glade of grass burned like the golden floor of heaven, opening in sudden gleams as the foliage broke and closed above it, as sheet lightning opens in a cloud at sunset; the motionless masses of dark rock—dark though flushed with scarlet lichen—casting their quiet shadows across its restless radiance, the fountain underneath them filling its marble hollow with blue mist and fitful sound, and over all—the multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the sacred clouds that have no darkness, and only exist to illumine, were seen in fathomless intervals between the solemn and orbed repose of the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in the last, white, blinding lustre of the measureless line where the Campagna melted into the blaze of the sea." In verity, this is no "Campana Supellex." It is a riddle! Is he going up or down hill—or both at once? No human being can tell. He did not like the "sulphur and treacle" of "our Scotch connoisseurs;" but what colours has he not added here to his sulphur—colours, too, that we fear for the "idea of truth" cannot coexist! And how, in the name of optics, could it be possible for any painter to take in all this, with the "fathomless intervals," into an angle of vision of forty-five degrees? It is quite superfluous to ask "who is likest this, Turner or Poussin?" There immediately follows a remark upon another picture in the National Gallery, the "Mercury and Woodman," by Salvator Rosa, than which nothing can be more untrue to the original. He asserts that Salvator painted the distant mountains, "throughout, without one instant of variation. But what is its colour? Pure sky-blue, without one grain of grey, or any modifying hue whatsoever;—the same brush which had just given the bluest parts of the sky, has been more loaded at the same part of the pallette, and the whole mountain throw in with unmitigated ultramarine." [Pg 495] Now the fact is, that the picture has, in this part, been so injured, that it is hard to say what colour is under the dirty brown-asphaltum hue and texture that covers it. It is certainly not blue now, not "pure blue"—unless pictures change like the cameleon. We know the picture well, and have seen another of the same subject, where the mountains have variety, and yet are blue. We believe a great sum was given for this picture—far more than its condition justifies. We must return—we left the graduate discussing ideas of truth. There is a chapter to show that the truth of nature is not to be discerned by the uneducated senses. As we do not perceive all sounds that enter the ear, so do we not perceive all that is cognizable by the eye—we have, that is, a power of nullifying an impression; that this habit is so common, that from the abstraction of their minds to other subjects, there are probably persons who never saw any thing beautiful. Sensibility to the power of beauty is required—and to see rightly, there should be a perfect state of moral feeling. Even when we think we see with our eyes, our perception is often the result of memory, of previous knowledge; and it is in this way he accounts for the mistake painters and others make with respect to Italian skies. What will Mr Uwin and his followers in blue say to this, alas—Italian skies are not blue? "How many people are misled by what has been said and sung of the serenity of Italian skies, to suppose they must be more blue than the skies of the north, and think that they see them so; whereas the sky of Italy is far more dull and grey in colour than the skies of the north, and is distinguished only by its intense repose of light." Benevenuto Cellini speaks of the mist of Italy. "Repose of light" is rather a novelty—he is fond of it. But then Turner paints with pure white—for ourselves we are with the generality of mankind who prefer the "repose" of shade. "Ask a connoisseur, who has scampered over all Europe, the shape of the leaf of an elm, and the chances are ninety to one that he cannot tell you; and yet he will be voluble of criticism on every painted landscape from Dresden to Madrid"—and why not? The chances are ninety to one that the merits of not a single picture shall depend upon this knowledge, and yet the pictures shall be good and the connoisseur right. One man sees what another does not see in portraits. Undoubtedly; but how any one is to find in a portrait the following, we are at a loss to conceive. "The third has caught the trace of all that was most hidden and most mighty, when all hypocrisy and all habit, and all petty and passing emotion—the ice, and the bank, and the foam of the immortal river—were shivered and broken, and swallowed up in the awakening of its inward strength," &c. How can a man with a pen in his hand let such stuff as this drop from his fingers' ends?

In the chapter "on the relative importance of truths," there is a little needless display of logic—needless, for we find, after all, he does not dispute "the kind of truths proper to be represented by the painter or sculptor," though he combats the maxim that general truths are preferable to particular. His examples are quite out of art, whether one be spoken of as a man or as Sir Isaac Newton. Even logically speaking, Sir Isaac Newton may be the whole of the subject, and as such a whole might require a generality. There may be many particulars that are best sunk. So, in a picture made up of many parts, it should have a generality totally independent of the particularities of the parts, which must be so represented as not to interfere with that general idea, and which may be altogether in the mind of the artist. This little discussion seems to arise from a sort of quibble on the word important. Sir Joshua and others, who abet the generality maxim, mean no more than that it is of importance to a picture that it contain, fully expressed, one general idea, with which no parts are to interfere, but that the parts will interfere if each part be represented with its most particular truth—and that, therefore, drapery should be drapery merely, not silk or satin, where high truths of the subject are to be impressed.

"Colour is a secondary truth, therefore less important than form." "He, therefore, who has neglected a truth of form for a truth of colour, has neglected a greater truth for a less one." It is true with regard to any individual object—but we doubt if it be always so in picture. The character [Pg 496] of the picture may not at all depend upon form—nay, it is possible that the painter may wish to draw away the mind altogether from the beauty, and even correctness of form, his subject being effect and colour, that shall be predominant, and to which form shall be quite subservient, and little more of it than such as chiaro-scuro shall give; and in such a case colour is the more important truth, because in it lies the sentiment of the picture. The mystery of Rembrandt would vanish were beauty of form introduced in many of his pictures. We remember a picture, the most impressive picture perhaps ever painted, and that by a modern too, Danby's "Opening of the Sixth Seal." Now, though there are fine parts in this picture, the real power of the picture is in its colour—it is awful. We are no enemy to modern painters; we think this a work of the highest genius—and as such, should be most proud to see it deposited in our National Gallery. We further say, that in some respects it carries the art beyond the old practice. But, then, we may say it is a new subject. "It is not certain whether any two people see the same colours in things." Though that does not affect the question of the importance of colour, for it must imply a defect in the individuals, for undoubtedly there is such a thing as nature's harmony of colour; yet it may be admitted, that things are not always known by their colour; nay, that the actual local colour of objects is mainly altered by effects of light, and we are accustomed to see the same things, quoad colour, variously presented to us—and the inference that we think artists may draw from this fact is, that there will be allowed them a great licence in all cases of colour, and that naturalness may be preserved without exactness—and here will lie the value of a true theory of the harmony of colours, and the application of colouring to pictures, most suitable to the intended impression, not the most appropriate to the objects. We have often laid some stress upon this in the pages of Maga—and we think it has been too much omitted in the consideration of artists. Every one knows what is called a Claude glass. We see nature through a coloured medium—yet we do not doubt that we are looking at nature—at trees, at water, at skies—nay, we admire the colour—see its harmony and many beauties—yet we know them to be, if we may use the term, misrepresented. While speaking of the Claude glass, it will not be amiss to notice a peculiarity. It shows a picture—when the unaided eye will not; it heightens illumination—brings out the most delicate lights, scarcely perceptible to the naked eye, and gives greater power to the shades, yet preserves their delicacy. It seems to annihilate all those rays of light, which, as it were, intercept the picture—that come between the eye and the object. But to return to colour—we say that it must, in the midst of its license, preserve its naturalness—which it will do if it have a meaning in itself. But when we are called upon to question what is the meaning of this or that colour, how does its effect agree with the subject? why is it outrageously yellow or white, or blue or red, or a jumble of all these?—which are questions, we confess, that we and the public have often asked, with regard to Turner's late pictures—we do not acknowledge a naturalness—the license has been abused—not "sumpta pudenter." It is not because the vividness of "a blade of grass or a scarlet flower" shall be beyond the power of pigment, that a general glare and obtrusion of such colours throughout a picture can be justified. We are astonished that any man with eyes should see the unnaturalness in colour of Salvator and Titian, and not see it in Turner's recent pictures, where it is offensive because more glaring. Those masters sacrificed, if it be a sacrifice, something to repose—repose is the thing to be sacrificed according to the notions of too many of our modern schools. It is likewise singular, after all the falsehoods which he asserts the old masters to have painted, that he should speak of "imitation"—as their whole aim, their sole intention to deceive; and yet he describes their pictures as unlike nature in the detail and in the general as can be, strangely missing their object—deception. We fear the truths, particulars of which occupy the remainder of the volume—of earth, water, skies, &c.—are very minute truths, which, whether true or false, are of very little importance to art, unless it be to those branches of art which may treat the whole of each particular [Pg 497] truth as the whole of a subject, a line of art that may produce a multitude of works, like certain scenes of dramatic effect, surprising to see once, but are soon powerless—can we hope to say of such, "decies repetita placebunt?" They will be the fascinations of the view schools, nay, may even delight the geologist and the herbalist, but utterly disgust the imaginative. This kind of "knowledge" is not "power" in art. We want not to see water anatomized; the Alps may be tomahawked and scalped by geologists, yet may they be sorry painters. And we can point to the general admiration of the world, learned and unlearned, that a "contemptible fragment of a splintery crag" has been found to answer all the purposes of an impression of the greatness of nature, her free, great, and awful forms, and that depth, shades, power of chiaro-scuro, are found in nature to be strongest in objects of no very great magnitude; for our vision requires nearness, and we want not the knowledge that a mountain is 20,000 feet high, to be convinced that it is quite large enough to crush man and all his works; and that they, who, in their terror of a greater pressure, would call upon the mountains to cover them, and the holes of rocks to hide them, would think very little of the measurement of the mountains, or how the caverns of the earth are made. Greatness and sublimity are quite other things.

We shall not very systematically carry our views, therefore, into the detail of these truths, but shall just pick here and there a passage or so, that may strike us either for its utility or its absurdity.

With regard to truth of tone, he observes—that "the finely-toned pictures of the old masters are some of the notes of nature played two or three octaves below her key, the dark objects in the middle distance having precisely the same relation to the light of the sky which they have in nature, but the light being necessarily infinitely lowered, and the mass of the shadow deepened in the same degree. I have often been struck, when looking at a camera-obscura on a dark day, with the exact resemblance the image bore to one of the finest pictures of the old masters." We only ask if, when looking at the picture in the camera, he did not still recognize nature—and then, if it was beautiful, we might ask him if it was not true; and then when he asserts our highest light being white paper, and that not white enough for the light of nature—we would ask if, in the camera, he did not see the picture on white paper—and if the whiteness of paper be not the exact whiteness of nature, or white as ordinary nature? But there is a quality in the light of nature that mere whiteness will not give, and which, in fact, is scarcely ever seen in nature merely in what is quite white; we mean brilliancy—that glaze, as it were, between the object and the eye which makes it not so much light as bright. Now this quality of light was thought by the old masters to be the most important one of light, extending to the half tones and even in the shadows, where there is still light; and this by art and lowering the tone they were able to give, so that we see not the value of the praise when he says—

"Turner starts from the beginning with a totally different principle. He boldly takes pure white—and justly, for it is the sign of the most intense sunbeams—for his highest light, and lamp-black for his deepest shade," &c. Now, if white be the sign of the most intense sunbeams, it is as we never wish to see them; what under a tropical sun may be white is not quite white with us; and we always find it disagreeable in proportion as it approaches to pure white. We never saw yet in nature a sky or a cloud pure white; so that here certainly is one of the "fallacies," we will not call them falsehoods. But as far as we can judge of nature's ideas of light and colour, it is her object to tone them down, and to give us very little, if any, of this raw white, and we would not say that the old masters did not follow her method of doing it. But we will say, that the object of art, at any rate, is to make all things look agreeable; and that human eyes cannot bear without pain those raw whites and too searching lights; and that nature has given to them an ever present power of glazing down and reducing them, when she added to the eye the sieve, our eyelashes, through which we look, which we employ for this purpose, and desire not to be dragged at any time—"Sub curru nimium propinqui solis."

[Pg 498] After this praise of white, one does not expect—"I think nature mixes yellow with almost every one of her hues;" but this is said merely in aversion to purple. "I think the first approach to viciousness of colour in any master, is commonly indicated chiefly by a prevalence of purple and an absence of yellow." "I am equally certain that Turner is distinguished from all the vicious colourists of the present day, by the foundation of all his tones being black, yellow, and intermediate greys, while the tendency of our common glare-seekers is invariably to pure, cold, impossible purples."

"Silent nymph, with curious eye,
Who the purple evening lie,"

saith Dyer, in his landscape of "Grongar Hill." The "glare-seekers" is curious enough, when we remember the graduate's description of landscapes, (of course Turner's,) and his excursions; but we think we have seen many purples in Turner, and that opposed to his flaming red in sunsets. He prefers warmth where most people feel cold—this is not surprising; but as to picture "is it true?" "My own feelings would guide me rather to the warm greys of such pictures as the 'Snow-Storm,' or the glowing scarlet and gold of the 'Napoleon' and the 'Slave Ship.'" The two latter must be well remembered by all Exhibition visitors; they were the strangest things imaginable in colour as in every particle that should be art or nature. There is a whimsical quotation from Wordsworth, the "keenest-eyed," page 145. His object is to show the strength of shadow—how "the shadows on the trunk of the tree become darker and more conspicuous than any part of the boughs or limbs;" so, for this strength and blackness, we have—

"At the root
Of that tall pine, the shadow of whose bare
And slender stem, while here I sit at eve,
Oft stretches tow'rds me, like a long straight path,
Traced faintly in the greensward."

"Of the truth of space," he says that "in a real landscape, we can see the whole of what would be called the middle distance and distance together, with facility and clearness; but while we do so, we can see nothing in the foreground beyond a vague and indistinct arrangement of lines and colours; and that if, on the contrary, we look at any foreground object, so as to receive a distinct impression of it, the distance and middle distance become all disorder and mystery. And therefore, if in a painting our foreground is any thing, our distance must be nothing, and vice versa." "Now, to this fact and principle, no landscape painter of the old school, as far as I remember, ever paid the slightest attention. Finishing their foregrounds clearly and sharply, and with vigorous impression on the eye, giving even the leaves of their bushes and grass with perfect edge and shape, they proceeded into the distance with equal attention to what they could see of its details," &c. But he had blamed Claude for not having given the exactness and distinct shape and colour of leaves in foreground. The fact is, the picture should be as a piece of nature framed in. Within that frame, we should not see distinctly the foreground and distance at the same instant: but, as we have stated, the eye and mind are rapid, the one to see, the other to combine; and as a horse let loose into a field, runs to the extremity of it and around it, the first thing he does—so do we range over every part of the picture, but with wondrous rapidity, before our impression of the whole is perfect. We must not, therefore, slur over any thing; the difficulty in art is to give the necessary, and so made necessary, detail of foreground unostentatiously—to paint nothing, that which is to tell as nothing, but so as it shall satisfy upon examination; and we think so the old masters did paint the foregrounds, particularly Gaspar Poussin—so Titian, so Domenichino, and all of any merit. But this is merely an introduction, not to a palliation of, but the approbation and praise of a glaring defect in Turner. "Turner introduced a new era in landscape art, by showing that the foreground might be sunk for the distance, and that it was possible to express immediate proximity to the spectator, without giving any thing like completeness to the forms of the near objects." We are now, therefore, prepared for an absurd "justification of the want of drawing in Turner's figures," thus contemptuously, with regard to all but himself, accounted for. [Pg 499] "And now we see the reason for the singular, and, to the ignorant in art, the offensive execution of Turner's figures. I do not mean to assert that there is any reason whatsoever for bad drawing, (though in landscape it matters exceedingly little;) but there is both reason and necessity for that want of drawing which gives even the nearest figures round balls with four pink spots in them instead of faces, and four dashes of the brush instead of hands and feet; for it is totally impossible that if the eye be adapted to receive the rays proceeding from the utmost distance, and some partial impression from all the distances, it should be capable of perceiving more of the forms and features of near figures than Turner gives." Yet what wonderful detail has he required from Canaletti and others?—But is there any reason why we should have "pink spots?"—is there any reason why Turner's foreground figures should resemble penny German dolls?—and for the reason we have above given, there ought to be reason why the figures should be made out, at least as they are in a camera-obscura. We here speak of nature, of "truth," and with him ask, it may be all very well—but "is it true?" But we have another fault to find with Turner's figures; they are often bad in intention. What can be more absurd and incongruous, for instance, than in a picture of "elemental war"—a sea-coast—than to put a child and its nurse in foreground, the child crying because it has lost its hoop, or some such thing? It is according to his truth of space, that distances should have every "hair's-breadth" filled up, all its "infinity," with infinities of objects, but that whatever is near, if figures, may be "pink spots," and "four dashes of the brush." While with Poussin—"masses which result from the eclipse of details are contemptible and painful;" and he thinks Poussin has but "meaningless tricks of clever execution"—forgetting that all art is but a trick—yet one of those tricks worth knowing, and yet which how few have acquired! Surely our author is not well acquainted with Hobbima's works; that painter had not a niggling execution. "A single dusty roll of Turner's brush is more truly expressive of the infinity of foliage, than the niggling of Hobbima could have rendered his canvass, if he had worked on it till doomsday." Our author seems to have studied skies, such as they are in Turner or in nature. He talks of them with no inconsiderable swagger of observation, while the old masters had no observation at all;—"their blunt and feelingless eyes never perceived it in nature; and their untaught imaginations were not likely to originate it in study." What is the it, will be asked—we believe it to be a "cirrus," and that a cirrus is the subject of a chapter to itself. This beard of the sky, however, instead of growing below, is quite above, "never formed below an elevation of at least 15,000 feet, are motionless, multitudinous lines of delicate vapour, with which the blue of the open sky is commonly streaked or speckled after several days of fine weather. They are more commonly known as 'mare's tails.'" Having found this "mare's nest," he delights in it. It is the glory of modern masters. He becomes inflated, and lifts himself 15,000 feet above the level of the understanding of all old masters, and, as we think, of most modern readers, as thus:—"One alone has taken notice of the neglected upper sky; it is his peculiar and favourite field; he has watched its every modification, and given its every phase and feature; at all hours, in all seasons, he has followed its passions and its changes, and has brought down and laid open to the world another apocalypse of heaven." Very well, considering that the cirrus never touches even the highest mountains of Europe, to follow its phase (query faces) and feature 15,000 feet high, and given pink dots, four pink dots for the faces and features of human beings within fifteen feet of his brush. We will not say whether the old masters painted this cirrus or not. We believe they painted what they and we see, at least so much as suited their pictures—but as they were not, generally speaking, exclusively sky-painters, but painters of subjects to which the skies were subordinate, they may be fairly held excused for this their lack of ballooning after the "cirrus;" and we thank them that they were not "glare-seekers," "threading" their way, with it before them, "among the then transparent clouds, while all around the sun is unshadowed fire." We lose [Pg 500] him altogether in the "central cloud region," where he helps nature pretty considerably as she "melts even the unoccupied azure into palpitating shades," and hopelessly turns the corner of common observation, and escapes among the "fifty aisles penetrating through angelic chapels to the shechinah of the blue." We must expect him to descend a little vain of his exploit, and so he does—and wonders not that the form and colour of Turner should be misunderstood, for "they require for the full perception of their meaning and truth, such knowledge and such time as not one in a thousand possesses, or can bestow." The inference is, that the graduate has graduated a successful phæton, driving Mr Turner's chariot through all the signs of the zodiac. So he sends all artists, ancient and modern, to Mr Turner's country, as "a magnificent statement, all truth"—that is, "impetuous clouds, twisted rain, flickering sunshine, fleeting shadow, gushing water, and oppressed cattle"—yes, more, it wants repose, and there it is—"High and far above the dark volumes of the swift rain-cloud, are seen on the left, through their opening, the quiet, horizontal, silent flakes of the highest cirrus, resting in the repose of the deep sky;" and there they are, "delicate, soft, passing vapours," and there is "the exquisite depth and palpitating tenderness of the blue with which they are islanded." Thus islanded in tenderness, what wonder is it if Ixion embraced a cloud? Let not the modern lover of nature entertain such a thought; "Bright Phœbus" is no minor canon to smile complacently on the matter; he has a jealousy in him, and won't let any be in a melting mood with the clouds but himself; he tears aside your curtains, and steam-like rags of capricious vapour—"the mouldering sun, seeming not far away, but burning like a red-hot ball beside you, and as if you could reach it, plunges through the rushing wind and rolling cloud with headlong fall, as if it meant to rise no more, dyeing all the air about it with blood." This is no fanciful description, but among the comparative views of nature's and of Turner's skies, as seen, and verified upon his affidavit, by a graduate of Oxford; who may have an indisposition to boast of his exclusive privilege.

"Ἀεροβατῶ και περιφρονῶ τὸν ἥλιον."

Accordingly, in "the effects of light rendered by modern art," our author is very particular indeed. His extraordinary knowledge of the sun's position, to a hair's-breadth in Mr Turner's pictures, and minute of the day, is quite surprising. He gives a table of two pages and a-half, of position and moment, "morning, noon, and afternoon," "evening and night." In more than one instance, he is so close, as "five minutes before sunset."

Having settled the matter of the sky, our author takes the earth in hand, and tosses it about like a Titan. "The spirit of the hills is action, that of the lowlands, repose; and between these there is to be found every variety of motion and of rest, from the inactive plain, sleeping like the firmament, with cities for stars, to the fiery peaks which, with heaving bosoms and exulting limbs, with clouds drifting like hair from their bright foreheads, lift up their Titan hands to heaven saying, 'I live for ever.'" We learn, too, a wonderful power in the excited earth, far beyond that which other "naturalists" describe of the lobster, who only, ad libitum, casts off a claw or so. "But there is this difference between the action of the earth and that of a living creature, that while the exerted limb marks its bones and tendons through the flesh, the excited earth casts off the flesh altogether, and its bones come out from beneath. Mountains are the bones of the earth, their highest peaks are invariably those parts of its anatomy, which in the plains lie buried under five-and-twenty thousand feet of solid thickness of superincumbent soil, and which spring up in the mountain ranges in vast pyramids or wedges, flinging their garment of earth away from them on each side." If the gentle sketcher should happily escape a cuff from these cast-off clothes flung by excited earth from her extremities, he may be satisfied with repose in the lap of mother earth, who must be considerably fat and cushioned, though some may entertain a fear of being overlaid. What is the artist to do with an earth like this, body and bones? When he sits down to sketch some placid landscape, is he to think of poor nature with her bones sticking out from twenty-five thousand feet of her solid flesh! Mother of Gargantia—thou wert but a dwarf! Salvator Rosa could not [Pg 501] paint rock; Gaspar Poussin could not paint rock. A rock, in short, is such a thing as nobody ought to paint, or can paint but Turner; and all that, after his description of rock, we believe; but were not prepared to learn that "the foreground of the 'Napoleon' in last year's Academy," is "one of the most exquisite pieces of rock truth ever put on canvass." In fact, we really, in ignorance to be ashamed of, did not know there was any rock there at all. We only remember Napoleon and his cocked-hat—now, this is extraordinary; for as we only or chiefly remember the cocked-hat, so he sees the said cocked-hat in Salvator's rocks, where we never saw such a thing, though "he has succeeded in covering his foregrounds with forms which approximate to those of drapery, of ribands, of crushed cocked-hats, of locks of hair, of waves, of leaves, or any thing, in short, flexible or tough, but which, of course, are not only unlike, but directly contrary to the forms which nature has impressed on rocks." And the nature of rocks he must know, having the "Napoleon" before him. "In the 'Napoleon' I can illustrate by no better example, for I can reason as well from this as I could with my foot on the native rock." What rocks of Salvator's, besides the No. 220 of the Dulwich gallery, he has seen, we cannot pretend to say; we have, within these few days, seen one, and could not discover the "commas," the "Chinese for rocks," nor Sanscrit for rocks, but did read the language of nature, without the necessity of any writing under—"This is a rock." Poor Claude, he knew nothing of perspective, and his efforts "invariably ended in reducing his pond to the form of a round O, and making it look perpendicular;" but in one instance Claude luckily hits upon "a little bit of accidental truth;" he is circumstantial in its locality—"the little piece of ground above the cattle, between the head of the brown cow and the tail of the white one, is well articulated, just where it turns into shade."

After the entire failure of all artists that ever lived before Turner in land and skies, we are prepared to find that they had not the least idea of water. When they thought they painted water, in fact, they were like "those happier children, sliding on dry ground," and had not the chance of wetting a foot. Water, too, is a thing to be anatomized, a sort of rib-fluidity. The moving, transparent water, in shallow and in depth, of Vandervelde and Backhuysen, is not the least like water; they are men who "libelled the sea." Many of our moderns—Stanfield in particular—seem naturally web-footed; but the real Triton of the sea, as he was Titan of the earth, is Turner. To our own eyes, in this respect, he stands indebted to the engraver; for we do not remember a single sea-piece by Turner, in water-colour or oil, in which the water is liquid. What it is like, in the picture of the Slave-ship, which is considered one of his very finest productions, we defy any one to tell. We are led to guess it is meant for water, by the strange fish that take their pastime. A year or two ago were exhibited two sea-pieces, of nearly equal size, at the British Institution, by Vandervelde and Turner. It was certainly one of Turner's best; but how inferior was the water and the sky to the water and sky in Vandervelde! In Turner they were both rocky. We say not this to the disparagement of Turner's genius. He had not studied these elements as did Vandervelde. The two painters ought not to be compared together; and we humbly think that any man who should pronounce of Vandervelde and Backhuysen, that they "libelled the sea," convicts himself of a wondrous lack of taste and feeling. Of their works he thus speaks—"As it is, I believe there is scarcely such another instance to be found in the history of man, of the epidemic aberration of mind into which multitudes fall by infection, as is furnished by the value set upon the works of these men." Of water, he says—"Nothing can hinder water from being a reflecting medium but dry dust or filth of some kind on its surface. Dirty water, if the foul matter be dissolved or suspended in the liquid, reflects just as clearly and sharply as pure water, only the image is coloured by the hue of the mixed matter, and becomes comparatively brown or dark." We entirely deny this, from constant observation. Within this week we have been studying a stream, which has alternated in its clearness and muddiness. [Pg 502] We found the reflection not only less clear in the latter case, but instead of brown and dark, to have lost its brownness, and to have become lighter. To understand the "curves" of water being beyond the reach of most who are not graduates of Oxford; and painters and admirers of old masters being people without sense, at least in comparison with the graduate, he thus disposes of his learned difficulty:—"This is a point, however, on which it is impossible to argue without going into high mathematics, and even then the nature of particular curves, as given by the brush, would be scarcely demonstrable; and I am the less disposed to take much trouble about it, because I think that the persons who are really fond of these works are almost beyond the reach of argument." The celebrated Mrs Partington once endeavoured, at Sidmouth, to dispose of these "curves," and failed; and we suspect a stronger reason than the incapacity of his readers for our author's thus disposing of the subject. We believe the world would not give a pin's head for all the seas that ever might be painted upon these mathematical curves; and that, in painting, even a graduate's "high mathematics" are but a very low affair. But let us enliven the reader with something really high—and here is, in very high-flown prose, part of a description of a waterfall; and it will tell him a secret, that in the midst of these fine falls, nature keeps a furnace and steam-engine continually at work, and having the fire at hand, sends up rockets—if you doubt—read:—"And how all the hollows of that foam burn with green fire, like so much shattering chrysoprase; and how, ever and anon, startling you with its white flash, a jet of spray leaps hissing out of the fall, like a rocket, bursting in the wind, and driven away in dust, filling the air with light; and how, through the curdling wreaths of the restless, crashing abyss below, the blue of the water, paled by the foam in its body, shows purer than the sky through white rain-cloud, while the shuddering iris stoops in tremulous stillness over all, fading and flashing alternately through the choking spray and shattered sunshine, hiding itself at last among the thick golden leaves, which toss to and fro in sympathy with the wild water, their dripping masses lifted at intervals, like sheaves of loaded corn, by some stronger gush from the cataract, and bowed again upon the mossy rocks as its roar dies away." "Satque superque satis"—we cannot go on. There is nothing like calling things by their contraries—it is truly startling. Whenever you speak of water, treat it as fire—of fire, vice versa, as water; and be sure to send them all shattering out of reach and discrimination of all sense; and look into a dictionary for some such word as "chrysoprase," which we find to come from χρυσος gold, and πρασον a leek, and means a precious stone; it is capable of being shattered, together with "sunshine"—the reader will think the whole passage a "flash" of moonshine. But there is a discovery—"I believe, when you have stood by this for half an hour, you will have discovered that there is something more in nature than has been given by Ruysdaël." You will indeed—if this be nature! But, alas, what have we not to undergo—to discover what water is, and to become capable of judging of Turner! It is a comfort, however, that he is likely to have but few judges. Graduate has courage to undergo any thing. Ariel was nothing in his ubiquity to him, though he put a span about the world in forty minutes; "but there was some apology for the public's not understanding this, for few people have had the opportunity of seeing the sea at such a time, and when they have, cannot face it. To hold by a mast or rock, and watch it, is a prolonged endurance of drowning, which few people have courage to go through. To those who have, it is one of the noblest lessons in nature." Very few people, indeed, and those few "involuntary experimentalists."

We are glad to get on dry land again, "brown furze or any thing"—and here we must question one of his truths of vegetation: he asserts, that the stems of all trees, the "ordinary trees of Europe, do not taper, but grow up or out, in undiminished thickness, till they throw out branch and bud, and then go off again to the next of equal thickness." We have carefully examined many trees this last week, and find it is not the case; in almost all, the bulging at the bottom, nearest the root, is manifest. There is an early [Pg 503] association in our minds, that the birch for instance is remarkably tapering in its twigs. We would rather refer our "sworn measurer" to the factor than the painter, and we very much question whether his "top and top" will meet the market. We are satisfied the fact is not as he states it, and surely nature works not by such measure rule. We suspect, for nature we should here read Turner, for his trees, certainly, are strange things; it is true, he generally shirks them. We do not remember one picture that has a good, true, bona fide, conspicuous tree in it. The reader will not be surprised to learn that the worst painter of trees was Gaspar Poussin! and that the perfection of trees is to be found in Turner's "Marley," where most people will think the trees look more like brooms than trees. The chapter on "the Truth of Turner" concludes with a quotation—we presume the extract from a letter from Mr Turner to the author. If so, Mr Turner has somewhat caught the author's style, and tells very simple truths in a very fine manner, thus:—"I cannot gather the sunbeams out of the east, or I would make them tell you what I have seen; but read this, and interpret this, and let us remember together. I cannot gather the gloom out of the night-sky, or I would make that teach you what I have seen; but read this, and interpret this, and let us feel together." We must pause. Really we do not see the slightest necessity of an interpretation here. It is a simple fact. He cannot extract "sunbeams" from cucumbers—from the east, we should say. The only riddle seems to be, that they should, in one instance, remember together, and in the other, feel together; only we guess that, being night-gloom, people naturally feel about them in the dark. But he proceeds—"And if you have not that within you which I can summon to my aid, if you have not the sun in your spirit, and the passion in your heart, which my words may awaken, though they be indistinct and swift, leave me." We must pause again; here is a riddle: what can be the meaning of having the sun in one's spirit?—is it any thing like having the moon in one's head? We give it up. The passion in the heart we suppose to be dead asleep, and the words and voice harsh and grating, and so it is awakened. But what that if, or if not, has to do with "leave me," we cannot conjecture; but this we do venture to conjecture, that to expect our graduate ever to leave Mr Turner is one of the most hopeless of all Mr Turner's "Fallacies of Hope." But the writer proceeds with a for—that appears, nevertheless, a pretty considerable non-sequitur. "For I will give you no patient mockery, no laborious insult of that glorious nature, whose I am and whom I serve." Here the graduate is treated as a servant, and the writer of the letter assumes the Pythian, the truly oracular vein. "Let other servants imitate the voice and the gesture of their master while they forget his message. Hear that message from me, but remember that the teaching of Divine Truth must still be a mystery." "Like master like man." Both are in the "Cambyses' vein."

We do not think that landscape painters will either gain or lose much by the publication of this volume, unless it be some mortification to be so sillily lauded as some of our very respectable painters are. We do not think that the pictorial world, either in taste or practice, will be Turnerized by this palpably fulsome, nonsensical praise. In this our graduate is semper idem, and to keep up his idolatry to the sticking-point, terminates the volume with a prayer, and begs all the people of England to join in it—a prayer to Mr Turner!

[Pg 504]


"Should you like to be a queen, Christina?"

This question was addressed by an old man, whose head was bent carefully over a chess-board, to a young lady who was apparently rather tired of the lesson she had taken in that interesting game.

"Queen of hearts, do you mean?" answered the girl, patting with the greatest appearance of fondness a dreadfully ugly little dog that lay in her lap.

"Queen of hearts," replied the minister, with a smile; "you are that already, my dear. But have you no other ambition?" he added, tapping sagaciously the lid of a magnificently ornamented snuff-box, on which was depicted one of the ugliest monarchs that ever puzzled a court-painter to make him human.

"Why should my ambition go further?" said Christina. "I have more subjects already than I know how to govern."

"No doubt—no doubt—I knew very well that you could not avoid having subjects; but I hope and trust you have had too much sense to receive their allegiance."

The old man was proud of carrying on the metaphor so well, and of asking the question so delicately. It was quite evident he had been in the diplomatic line.

"How can I help it?" enquired the young beauty, passing her hand over the back of the disgusting little pet, which showed its teeth in a very uncouth fashion whenever the paternal voice was raised a little too high. "But, I assure you, I pay no attention to allegiance, which I consider my right. There is but one person's homage I care for"——

The brow of the Prime Minister of Sweden grew very black, and his face had something of the benign expression of the growling pug on his daughter's knee.

"Who is that person, Christina?"

But Christina looked at her father with an alarmed glance, which she shortly after converted into a smile, and went on in her pleasing occupation of smoothing the raven down of her favourite, but did not say a word.

The father, who seemed to be no great judge of pantomime, repeated his question.

"Who is that person, Christina?"

Christina disdained hypocrisy, and, moreover, was immensely spoiled.

"Who should it be, but your gallant nephew, Adolphus Hesse, dear father?"

"You haven't had the impudence, I hope, to engage yourself to that boy?"

"Boy—why he is twenty-one! He is my oldest friend—we learned all our lessons together. I can't recollect the time we were not engaged, it is so long since we loved each other!"

"Nonsense! You were brought up together by his mother; it is nothing but sisterly affection."

"Not at all—not at all!" cried Christina; "it would make me quite miserable if Adolphus were my brother."

"It is all you must think him, nevertheless. He has no fortune; he has nothing but his commission; and my generosity is"——

"Immense, my dear father; inexhaustible! And then Adolphus is so brave—so magnanimous; and, upon my word, when I saw how much he liked me, and heard him speak so much more delightfully than any body else, I never thought of asking if he was rich; and you know you love him yourself, dear father."

Christina neglected the pug in her lap for a moment, and laid her hand coaxingly on the old man's shoulder.

"But not enough to make him my heir," said the Count, gruffly. Christina renewed her attentions to the dog.

"He would be your heir notwithstanding," she said, "if I were to die."

There was something in the tone of her voice, or the idea suggested of her death, that softened the old man. He looked for a long time at the young and beautiful face of his child; and the shade of uneasiness her words had raised, disappeared from his brow.

"There is nothing but life there," he said, gently tapping her on the [Pg 505] forehead; "and therefore I must marry you, my girl!"

"And you will make us the happiest couple in the world. Adolphus will be so grateful," said Christina, her bright eyes sparkling through tears.

"Who the devil said a word about Adolphus?" said the father, looking angrily at Christina; but he added immediately in a softer tone, when he saw the real emotion of his daughter—"Poor girl, you have been sadly spoiled! You have had too much of your own way, and now you ask me to do what is impossible. Be a reasonable girl, there's a darling! and your aunt will present you at court. You will see such grand things—you will know our gallant young King—only be reasonable!"

"The rude monster!" cried Christina, starting up as if tired of the conversation. "I have no wish to know him. They say he hates women."

"A calumny, my dear girl; he is very fond of one at all events."

"Is she pretty?"

"And mischievous as yourself."

"As I?" enquired Christina, and fell into a long reverie, while the Count smiled as if he had made an excellent hit.

"But I have never seen him, papa," she said, awakening all of a sudden.

"He may have seen you though; and he says"——

"Oh, what does he say? Do tell me what the King says?"

"Poh! What do you want to know about what a rude monster says—that hates women?" answered the father with another smile of satisfaction.

"But he is a king, papa! What does he say? I am quite anxious to know."

But the minister of state had gained his object; he had excited curiosity, and determined not to gratify it. At last he said, as he rose to quit the apartment—"Let us turn the conversation, Christina; we have nothing to do with kings, and must content ourselves with humbler subjects. An officer will sup with us to-night, whom I wish you very much to please. He has influence with the King; and if you have any regard for my interest you will receive him well. I intend him for your husband."

"I won't have him!" cried Christina, running after her father as he left the room. "I won't have him! If I don't marry Adolphus, I won't marry at all!"

"Heaven grant it, sweet cousin!" said Adolphus Hesse in propria persona, emerging from behind the window-curtains, where, by some miraculous concatenation of events, he had found himself ensconced for the last hour. "'Tis delightful to act the spy, and hear an advocate so persuasive as you have been, Christina—but the cause is desperate."

"Who told you, sir, the cause was desperate?" said Christina, pretending to look offended. "The battle is half gained—my father's anger disappears in a moment. Now, dear Adolphus, don't sigh—don't cross your arms—don't look up to the sky with that heroic frown—I can't bear to groan and be dismal—I want to be gay—to have a ball—to——We shall have such a ball the day of our wedding, Adolphus!"

"Your hopes deceive you, dearest Christina. I know your father better than you do. Ah!" he added, gazing sadly on the beautiful features of the young girl who looked on him so brightly, "you will never be able to resist the brilliant offer that will be made you in exchange for one faithful, loving heart."

"Indeed!" replied Christina, feeling her eyes filling with tears, but endeavouring at the same time to conceal her emotion under an affectation of anger, "your opinion of me is not very flattering; and it is not in very good taste, methinks, to play the despairing lover, especially after the conversation you so honourably overheard."

"Dry that tear, dear girl!" said Adolphus, "I will believe any thing you like."

"Why do you make me cry then? Is it only to have the pleasure of telling me to dry my tears? Or did you think you had some rival; some splendid cavalier that it was impossible to resist—Count Ericson, for instance?"

"Oh! as to Ericson I am not at all uneasy. I know you hate him; and besides he is not much richer than myself; but, dear Christina"——

"Well—go on," said the girl, mocking the lugubrious tone of her cousin—"what are you sighing again for?"

[Pg 506] "Your father is going to bring you a new lover this evening, and poor Adolphus will be forgotten."

"You deserve it for all your ridiculous suspicions: but you are my cousin, and I forgive you this once." She looked at him with so sunny a smile, and so clear and open-hearted a countenance, that it was impossible to entertain a doubt.

"You love me really, then?" he said—"truly—faithfully?"

"I have told you so a hundred times," replied his cousin. "I am astonished you are not tired of hearing the same thing over and over again."

"'Tis so sweet, so new a thing for me," said Adolphus, "and I could listen to it for ever."

"Well, then, we love each other—that's very clear," said Christina, with the solemnity of the foreman of a jury delivering a verdict on the clearest evidence; "but since my father won't let us marry, we must wait—that is almost as clear as the other."

"And if he never consents?" enquired Adolphus.

"Never!" exclaimed Christina, to whom such an idea seemed never to have occurred, "can it be possible he will never consent?"

"I fear it is too possible," replied Adolphus, and the shadow fell on his face again.

"Well," said Christina, after a minute's pause, as if she had come to a resolution, "we must always stay as we are. Happiness is never increased by an act of disobedience."

"I think as you do," said the young soldier, admiring her all the more for the death-blow to his hopes; "and are you happy, quite happy, Christina?"

"What a question! Don't I see you every day? Isn't every body kind to me? Is there any thing I want?"

A different answer would have pleased the lover more. He looked at her for some time in silence—at last, in an altered tone, he said—

"I congratulate you on your prudence, Christina."

"I cannot break my father's heart."

"No, but mine, Christina!"

"Adolphus," said the young beauty solemnly, "if I cannot be your wife with the consent of my father, I never will marry another. This is all you can ask; all I can promise."

Filial affection was not quite so strong in Adolphus as in his cousin, and his face was by no means brightened on hearing this declaration. It was so uncommonly proper that it seemed nearly bordering on the cold and heartless. He tried to hate her; he walked up and down the room at a tremendous pace, stopping every now and then to take another glance at the tyrant who had pronounced his doom, and looked as beautiful as ever. He found it impossible to hate her, though we shall not enquire what were his sentiments towards her worthy progenitor, Count Ericson, the unknown lover, and even the young heroic King; for the sagacious reader must now be informed that this wonderful lovers' quarrel took place in the reign of Charles XII. Our fear is that he disliked all four. Christina found it very difficult to preserve the gravity essential to a heroine's appearance when she saw the long strides and bent brows of her lover. A smile was ready, on the slightest provocation, to make a dimple in her beautiful cheek, and all the biting she bestowed on her lips only made them redder and rosier. Adolphus had no inclination to smile, and could not believe that any body could see the least temptation to indulge in such a ridiculous occupation on such a momentous occasion. He was a regular lover, as Mr Weller would say, and no mistake. He saw in his fair cousin only a treasure of inestimable price, guarded by two monsters that made his approaches hopeless—avarice and ambition. How differently those two young people viewed the same event! Christina, knowing her power over her father, and unluckily not knowing that fathers (even though they are prime ministers, and are as courtier-like as Polonius) have flinty hearts when their interests are concerned, saw nothing in the present state of affairs to despair about; and in fact, as we have said already, was nearly committing the unpardonable crime of laughing at the grimaces of her cousin. He, poor fellow, knew the world a little better, and perceived in a moment that the new lover whom the ambitious father was going to present to his daughter, was some favourite of the king; and he was well aware, that any one backed by that impetuous monarch, was in a fair way to success. The king had seen [Pg 507] Christina too—and though despising love himself, was in the habit of rewarding his favourite officers with the hand of the beauties or heiresses of his court; and when, as in this instance, the lady chosen was both—how could he doubt that the king had already resolved that she should be the bride of some lucky rival, against whose claims it would be impossible to contend? And Christina standing all the while before him, scarcely able to restrain a laugh! He was only twenty-one—and not half so steady as his grandfather would probably have shown himself in the same circumstances, and being unable to vent his rage on any body else, he poured it all forth upon himself.

"What a fool I have been!—an ass—a dolt—to have been so blinded! But I see now—I deserve all I have got! To have been so deceived by an absurd fit of love—that has lasted all my life, too! But no!—I shall not repay my uncle's kindness to me by robbing him of his only child. I shall go at once to my regiment—I may be lucky enough to get into the way of a cannon—you will think kindly of me when I am gone, though you are so unk"——

The word died away upon his lips. Large tears filled Christina's eyes, and all her inclination to smile had disappeared. There was something either in his looks or the tone of his voice, or the thought of his being killed, that banished all her gaiety; and in a few minutes the quarrel was made up—the tears dried in the usual manner—vows made—hands joined—and resolutions passed and carried with the utmost unanimity, that no power on earth should keep them from being married. And a very good resolution it was. The only pity was, that it was not very likely to be carried into effect. A father, an unknown lover, and a king, all joined against a poor boy and girl. The odds are very much against Adolphus and Christina.

Now let us examine the real state of affairs as dispassionately as we can. The Count Gyllenborg was ambitious, as became a courtier with an only daughter who was acknowledged on all sides to be the most beautiful girl in Sweden; and as he was aware of the full value of red lips and sparkling eyes in the commerce of life, he was determined to make the most of these perishable commodities while they were at their best, and the particular make and colour of them were in fashion. The Count was rich—and with amply sufficient brains, according to the dictum of one of his predecessors, to govern a kingdom; but he was not warlike; and Charles, who had lately taken the power into his own hands, knew nothing of mankind further than that they were made to be drawn up in opposite lines, and make holes in each other as scientifically as they could. Count Gyllenborg had a decided objection to being made a receptacle for lead bullets or steel swords; and was by no means anxious to murder a single Russian or German, for the sake of the honour of the thing, or for the good of his country. His power resting only on his adroitness in civil affairs, was therefore not on the surest foundation; and a prop to it was accordingly wanted. Such a prop had never been seen before, with such sunny looks, and such a happy musical laugh. The looks and the laugh between them, converted the atmosphere of Stockholm into the climate of Italy; and the politician, almost without knowing it, began to be thawed into a father. But the fear of a rival in the King's favour—some gallant soldier—and dozens of them were reported every week—made him resolve once more to bring his daughter's beauties into play. The king had seen her, and, in his boorish way, had expressed his admiration; and Gyllenborg felt assured, that if he should marry his daughter according to the King's wishes, his influence would be greater than ever; and, in fact, that the premiership would be his for life.

Great preparations accordingly were made for the reception of the powerful stranger, the announcement of whose appearance at supper had spread such dismay in the hearts of the two lovers. Christina knew almost instinctively her father's plan, and determined to counteract it. She felt sure that the officer for whom she was destined, and whom she had been ordered to receive so particularly, was one of the new favourites of the warlike king; some leader of a forlorn-hope, created colonel on the field of battle; some young general fresh [Pg 508] from some heroic achievement, that had endeared him to his chief; but whoever it was, she was resolved to show him that the crown of Sweden was a very limited monarchy in regard to its female subjects, and that she would have nobody for her husband—neither count, nor colonel, nor general—but only her cousin Adolphus, lieutenant in the Dalecarlian hussars. Notwithstanding this resolution, it is astonishing what a time she stayed before the glass—how often she tried different coloured roses in her hair—how carefully she fitted on her new Parisian robes, and, in short, did every thing in her power to look her very best. What did all this arise from? She wished to show this young favourite, whoever he might be, that she was really as beautiful as people had told him; she wished to convince him that her smile was as sweet, her teeth as white, her eyes as captivating, her figure as superb, as he had heard them described—and then she wished to show him that all these—smiles—eyes—teeth—figure, were given, along with the heart that made them truly valuable, to another! and that other no favourite of a king—nor even of a minister, but only of a young girl of eighteen.

Radiant with beauty, and conscious of the sensation she was certain to create, she entered the magnificent apartment where supper was prepared—a supper splendid and costly enough to have satisfied a whole army of epicures, though only intended for her father, the stranger, and herself; and if you, oh reader! had been there, you would have thought Christina lovely enough to have excited the admiration of a whole court instead of an old man—and that, too, her father—and a young one, and that none other, to Christina's infinite disgust, than the very Count Ericson whose acquaintance she had already made, and whom she infinitely and unappeasably disliked. He was the most awkward, stupid-looking young man she ever saw, and had furnished her with a butt for her malicious pleasantries ever since she had known him. He rose to lead her to her seat. "How different from Adolphus! If he is no better performer in the battle-field than at the supper-table, the King must be very ill off for soldiers. What can papa mean by asking such a horrid being to his house? I am certain I shall laugh outright if I look again at his silly grey eyes and long yellow hair, as ragged as a pony's mane."

Such were Christina's thoughts, while she bit her lips to hide if possible her inclination to be angry, and to laugh at the same time. And in truth her dislike of the Count did not exaggerate the ridiculousness of the appearance of the tall ungainly figure—large-boned and stiff-backed—that now stood before her—with a nose so absurdly aquiline that it would have done for a caricature—coarse-skinned cheeks, and a stare of military impudence that shocked and nearly frightened the high-bred, elegant-looking beauty on whom it was fixed. And yet this individual, such as we have described, had been fixed on by the higher powers for her husband—was this night to be treated as her accepted lover, and, in short, had been closeted for hours every day with her father—settling all the preliminaries of course—for the last six weeks. Christina looked once more at the insolent stare of the triumphant soldier, and made a vow to die rather than speak to him—that is, in the affirmative.

But thoughts of affirmatives and negatives did not seem to enter Count Ericson's head—his grammatical education having probably been neglected. He stood gaping at his prey as a tiger may be supposed to cast insinuating looks upon a lamb, and made every now and then an attempt to conceal either his awkwardness, or satisfaction, or both, in immense fits of laughter, which formed the accompaniment of all the remarks—and they were nearly as heavy as himself—with which he favoured the company. Christina, on her part, if she had given way to the dictates of her indignation, would have also favoured the company with a few remarks, that in all probability would have put a stop to the laughter of the lover, and choked her old father by making a fish-bone stick in his throat. She was angry for twenty reasons, one of them was having wasted a moment over her toilette to receive such a visitor as Count Ericson; another was her father having dared to offer her hand to such an uncouth wooer and intolerable bore; and the principal one of all, was his having rejected his own nephew—undoubtedly the handsomest of [Pg 509] Dalecarlian hussars—in favour of such a vulgar, ugly individual. The subject of these flattering considerations seemed to feel at last that he ought to say something to the young beauty, on whose pouting lip had gathered something which was very different indeed from a smile, and yet nearly as captivating. He accordingly turned his large light eyes from his plate for a moment, and with a mouth still filled with a leg and wing of a capercailzie, enquired—

"What do you think of Alexander the Great, madam?"

This was too much. Even her rage disappeared, and she burst into a loud laugh at the serious face of the querist.

"I never think of Alexander the Great at all," she said. "I only recollect, that when I was reading his history, I could hardly make out whether he was most of a fool or a madman."

Ericson swallowed the leg and the wing of the capercailzie without any further mastication, and launched out in a torrent of admiration of the most prodigious courage the world had ever seen.

"If he had been as prodigiously wise," replied Christina, "as he was prodigiously courageous, he would have learned to govern himself before he attempted to govern the world."

Ericson blushed from chin to forehead with vexation, and answered in an offended tone—

"How can a woman enter into the fever of noble thoughts that impels a brave man to rush into the midst of dangers, and leads him to despise life and all its petty enjoyments to gain undying fame?"

"No, indeed," she replied, "I have no fever, and have no sympathy with destroyers. Oh, if I wished for fame, I should try to gain it by gathering round me the blessings of all who saw me! Yes, father," she went on, paying no regard to the signs and winks of the agonized Count Gyllenborg, "I would rather that countless thousands should live to bless me, than that they should die in heaping curses on my name! Men-killers—though you dignify them with the name of heroes—are atrocious. Let us speak of them, my lord, no more, unless to pray heaven to rid the earth of such monsters."

A feather of the smallest of birds would have knocked down the Prime Minister of Sweden; and Count Ericson appeared, from his stupefied look, to have gone through the process already—the difficulty was to lift him up again.

"Come, Count," cried the Minister, filling up Ericson's glass with champagne, "to Alexander's glory!"

"With all my heart," cried Ericson, moistening his rage with the delicious sparkler. "Come, fair savage," he added, addressing Christina, and touching her glass with such force that it fell in a thousand pieces on the table—"to Alexander's glory!"

"I have no wish to drink to such a toast," replied Christina, more offended than ever; "I can't endure those scourges of human kind who hide the skin of the tiger beneath the royal robe."

"The girl is mad!" exclaimed the astonished father, who seemed to begin to be slightly alarmed at the flashes of indignation that burst from Count Ericson's wild-looking eyes. "Don't mind what such a silly thing says; she does it only to show her cleverness. What does she know of war or warriors? She cares for nothing yet but her puppy-dog. She pats it all day, and lets it bite her pretty little hand. Such a hand it is to refuse a pledge to Alexander!"

The politician was on the right track; for such a pretty hand was not in Sweden—nor probably in Denmark either—and the cunning old minister took it between his finger and thumb, and placed it almost on the lip of the irate young worshipper of glory; if it did not actually touch the lip it went very near it, and distinctly moved one or two of the most prominent tufts of the stout yellow mustache. "The little goose," pursued the respectable sire, "to pretend to have an opinion on any subject except the colour of a riband. Upon my honour, I believe she presumes to be a critic of warriors, because she plays a good game of chess. It is one of her accomplishments, Count; and if you will take a little of the conceit out of her, you will confer an infinite obligation on both of us."

Saying this, he lifted with his own ministerial fingers a small table from a corner of the room, and placed it in front of the youthful couple, with the [Pg 510] men all ready laid out. Ericson's eyes sparkled at the sight of his favourite game; and he determined to display his utmost skill, and teach his antagonist a few secrets of the art of (mimic) war. But determinations, as has been remarked by several sages, past and present, are sometimes vain. Nothing, one would think, could be so likely to restore a man's self-possession as a quiet game of chess—an occupation as efficacious in soothing the savage breast as music itself. But Ericson seemed still agitated from the contradictions he had encountered from the free-spoken Christina, and threw a little more politeness into his manner than he had hitherto vouchsafed to show, when he invited her to be his adversary in a game.

"But, if I beat you?" she said ominously, holding up one of the fair fingers to which his attention had been so particularly called, and implying by the question, if you get angry when I only refuse your toast, won't you eat me if I am the winner at chess? "But, if I beat you?" she said.

"That will not be the only occasion on which you will have triumphed over me, you—you"——He seemed greatly at a loss for a word, and concluded his speech with—"beauty!" This expression, which was, no doubt, intended for the most complimentary he could find, was accompanied with a look of admiration so long, so broad, and so impudent, that she blushed, and a squeeze of her hand so hard, so rough, and so continued, that she screamed. She threw a glance of inexpressible disdain on the insolent wooer, and looked for protection to her father; but that venerable individual was at that moment so sound asleep on one of the sofas at the other end of the room, that no noise whatever could have awakened him. Ericson seemed totally unmoved by all the contempt she could express in her looks, and probably thought he was in a thriving condition, from the fact (somewhat unusual) of his being looked at at all. She lost her temper altogether. She covered her cheek, which was flushed with anger, with the little hand that was reddened with pain, and resolved to play her worst to spite her ill-mannered antagonist. But all her attempts at bad play were useless. The board shook beneath the immense hands of Ericson, who was in a tremendous state of agitation, and hardly knew the pieces. He pushed then hither and thither—made his knights slide along with the episcopal propriety of bishops, and made his bishops caracole across the squares with the unseemly elasticity of knights. His game got into such confusion, that Christina could not avoid winning, and at last—enjoying the victory she had determined not to win—she cried out, with a voice of triumph, "Check to the king by the queen."

"Cruel girl!" exclaimed the Count, dashing his hand among the pieces with an energy that scattered them all upon the floor. "Haven't you been anxious to make the king your prisoner?"

"But there is nothing to hinder him from saving himself," answered Christina, looking round once more to her father, who, however, pursued his slumber with the utmost assiduity and had apparently a very agreeable dream, for a smile was evident at the corners of his mouth. "It is impossible to place the board as it was," she continued, trying to gather up the pieces, and place castles, knights, and pawns in their proper position again.

"Don't try it—don't try it," cried Ericson, losing all command of himself, and pushing the board away from him, till it spun over with all its men on the carpet. "The game is over—you have given me check, and mated me!" And in a moment, as if ashamed of the influence exercised over him by so very unwarlike an individual as a little girl of eighteen, he hurried from the room, stumbling over his enormous sword, which got, somehow or other, between his legs, and cursing his awkwardness and the absurd excess of admiration which caused it.

"That man will surely never come here again," said Christina to her father, as he entered the room an hour after the incidents of the chess-board; for the obsequious minister had followed Ericson in his rapid retreat, and now returned radiant with joy, as if his guest had been the most fascinating of men.

"Not come here again!" chuckled the father. "That's all you know about it. He is dying with [Pg 511] impatience to return, and is angry with himself for having wasted the two precious hours of your society in the way he did. He never had two such happy hours in his life."

"Happy! is that what he calls happiness?" answered Christina, opening her eyes in amazement. "I don't know what his notions may be—but mine——oh, father!" she cried, emboldened by the smile she saw on the old man's countenance, "you are only trying me; say you are only proving my constancy, by persuading me that such a being as that has any wish to please me. He is more in love with Alexander the Great than with me; and he is quite right, for he has a far better chance of a return."

"An enthusiasm excusable, my dear, in a young warrior of twenty years of age, whose savage ambition it will be your delightful task to tame. He is in a terrible state of agitation—a most flattering thing, let me tell you, to a young gipsy like you—and you must humour him a little, and not break out quite so fiercely, you minx; and yet you managed very well, too. A fine fellow, Ericson, though a little wild; rich, powerful, nobly born—what can you wish for better?"

"My cousin," answered Christina, with a bluntness that astonished the advocate of Ericson's claims; "my cousin Adolphus, and no other. He is braver than this savage; and as to nobility, he is as nobly born as my own right honourable papa, and that is high enough for me."

"Go, go," said the courtier, a little puzzled by the openness of his daughter's confession, and kissing her forehead at the same time; "go to bed, my girl, and pray for your father's advancement."

Christina, like a dutiful child, prayed as she was told for her father's success and happiness, and then added a petition of her own, shorter, perhaps, but quite as sincere, for her cousin Adolphus. If she added one for herself, it was a work of supererogation, for she felt that in praying for the happiness of her lover, she was not unmindful of her own.

For some days after the supper recorded above, she was too happy tormenting the very object of all these aspirations, to trouble her head about the awkward and ill-mannered protégé of her father, whom she hated with as much cordiality as the most jealous of rivals could desire. But of course she was extremely careful to let no glimpse of this unchristian feeling towards Count Ericson be perceptible to the person who would have rejoiced in it so much. In fact, she carried her philanthropy to such a pitch, that she never mentioned any of the bad qualities of her new admirer, and Adolphus very naturally concluded that she felt as she spoke on the interesting subject. So, all of a sudden, Adolphus, who was prouder than Christina, perhaps because he was poorer, would not condescend to be made a fool of, as he magnanimously thought it, any longer. He had the immense satisfaction of staying away from the house for nearly half a week, and then, when he did pay a visit, he was almost as cold as the formal piece of diplomacy in the bag-wig and ruffles whom he called his uncle; and a great deal stiffer than the beautiful piece of pique, in silk gown and white satin corset, whom he called his cousin. Christina was dismayed at the sudden change—Adolphus never spoke to her, seldom looked at her, and evidently left the coast clear—so she thought—for the rich and powerful rival her father had so strongly supported. After much thinking, some sulkiness, and a good many fits of crying, Christina resolved, as the best way of recovering her own peace of mind, and the love of her cousin Adolphus, to put an end in a very decided manner to the pretensions of the Count. One day, accordingly, she watched her opportunity, and followed with anxious eyes her father's retreat from the room, under pretence of some important despatches to be sent off. She found herself alone with the object of her dislike—and only waited for a beginning to the conversation, that she might astonish his weak mind with the severity of her invectives. In fact, she had determined, according to the vulgar phrase, to tell him a bit of her mind—and a very small bit of it, she was well aware, would be sufficient to satisfy Count Ericson of the condition of all the rest. But the lover was in a contemplative mood, and stood as silent as a milestone, and looking [Pg 512] almost as animated and profound. She sighed, she coughed, she drops her handkerchief. All wouldn't do—the milestone took no notice—Christina at last grew angry, and could contain herself no longer.

"I dreamt of you last night," she said by way of a beginning. "I hope in future you will leave my sleep undisturbed by your presumptuous presence. It is bad enough to be forced to see you when one is awake."

"And I, also, had a dream," replied Ericson, starting from his reverie, confused and only having heard the first part of the somewhat fierce attack. "I dreamt that you looked at me with a smile, a long, long look, so sweet, so winning. It was a happy dream!"

"It was a false one," she said, with tremendous bitterness. "I know better where to direct my smiles, whether I am awake or asleep."

"And how did I appear to you?" asked the Count, presenting a splendid specimen in his astonished look of the state of mind called "the dumfoundered" by some learned philosophers, and by others "the flabbergasted."

"You appeared to me like the nightmare! frightful and unsupportable as you do to me now," was the answer, accompanied with the look and manner that showed she was a judge of nightmares, and thought him a very unfavourable specimen of the animal.

"Ill-natured little tyrant!" cried Ericson, rushing to her, "teach me how you would have me love you, and I will do everything you ask!" In a moment he had seized her in his arms, and imprinted a kiss of prodigious violence on her cheek, which was redder than fire with rage and surprise!

But the assault did not go unpunished. The might of Samson woke in that insulted bosom, and lent such incredible weight to the blow that fell on the aggressor's ear, that it took him a long time to believe that the thump proceeded from the beautiful little hand he had so often admired; or, in short, from any thing but a twenty-four pounder. He rubbed the wounded organ with astonishing assiduity for some time. At last he said, in a very calm and measured voice,

"Your father has deceived me, young lady. He led me to believe you did not receive my visits with indifference."

"My father knows nothing about things of that kind," replied Christina, still flaming with indignation, "or he never would have let such an ill-mannered monster into his house. But he was right in saying I did not receive your visits with indifference; your visits, Count Ericson, can never be indifferent to me, and"——

What more she would have said, it is impossible to discover, for she was interrupted by the sudden entrance of her cousin, who only heard her last words, and started back at what he considered so open a declaration of her attachment.

"Who are you, sir?" asked Ericson in an angry tone, and with such an assumption of superiority, that Christina's hand tingled to give him a mark of regard on his other ear.

"A soldier," answered Adolphus, drawing his sword from its sheath and instead of directing it against his rival, laying it haughtily on the table. "A soldier who has bled for his country, and would be happy," he added, "to die for it."

"Say you so?" said Ericson, "then we are friends." He held out his hand.

"We are rivals," replied Adolphus, drawing back.

"Christina loves you, then?" enquired the Count.

"She has told me so; and I was foolish enough to believe her. It is now your turn to trust to the truth of a heartless woman.—She has told you you are not an object of indifference to her, and I resign my pretensions in your favour."

"In whose favour?" cried Christina, trembling; while tears sprang to her eyes.

"The King's!" replied Adolphus, retiring sorrowfully.

Christina sank on a seat, and covered her face with her hands.

"Stay," cried Charles the Twelfth in a voice of thunder; "stay, I command you."

The young man obeyed; biting his lip to conceal his emotion, till the blood came.

"I have seen you," said the King, "but not in this house."

"It was shut against me by my uncle when you were expected," said Adolphus.

[Pg 513] "And yet I have seen you somewhere. What is your name?"

"Adolphus Hesse; the son of a brave officer who died fighting for you, and leaving me his misfortunes and the tears of his widow."

"Who told you I was not Count Ericson?"

"My eyes. I know you well."

"And I recollect you also," said Charles, advancing to the young man with a manner very different from that which characterized him in his intercourse with the softer sex. "Where did you get that scar on the left temple?"

"At Nerva, sire, where we tamed the pride of the Russians."

"True, true!" cried Charles, his nostrils dilated as if he snuffed up the carnage of the battle. "You need but this as your passport," he continued, placing his finger on the wound, "to ask me any favour, ay, even to measure swords with you, as I daresay you would be delighted to do in so noble a quarrel as the present; for on the day of that glorious fight, I learned, like you, the duty of a soldier, and the true dignity of a brave man. By the balls that rattled about our heads so playfully, give me your hand, brother, for we were baptized together in fire!"

Charles appeared to Christina, at this time, quite a different man addressing his fellow soldier, from what he had done upsetting the chess-board. Curiosity had dried her eyes, and she lost not a word of the conversation. The King turned to her with a smile.

"By my sword, Christina! I am but a poor wooer; one movement of your hand," and he touched his ear playfully as he spoke, "has banished all the silly thoughts that in a most traitorous manner had taken my heart prisoner. Speak, then, as forcibly as you act. Do you love this brave soldier?"

"Yes, sire."

"Who hinders the marriage?"

"The courtship of Count Ericson, with which my father perpetually threatens me."

"O ho!" thought Charles, "I see how it is. The King must console himself with the kiss, and pass the blow on the ear to the minister. Christina," he added aloud, "your father refuses to give you to the man you love; but he'll do it now, for it is my will. You'll confess, I am sure that if I was your nightmare as a lover, I am not your enemy as king."

"I confess it on my knees;" replied the humble beauty, taking her place beside her cousin, who knelt to his sovereign. While Charles joined the hands of the youthful pair, he imprinted a kiss on the fair brow of Christina; the last he ever bestowed on woman.

"Your Majesty pardons me then?" enquired the trembling girl. "If I had known it was the King, I would not have hit so hard."

That same evening Count Gyllenborg signed a contract of marriage, to which the name of Count Ericson was not appended, though it was witnessed by Charles the Twelfth; and in a few days afterwards, the old politician presided at the wedding dinner, and, by royal command, did the honours so nobly, and appeared so well pleased on the occasion, that nobody suspected that he had ever had higher dreams of ambition than to see his daughter happy; and if such had been his object, all Sweden knew that in bestowing her on her cousin he was eminently successful.

[Pg 514]


If Alexander and Archimedes, evoked from their long sleep, were to contemplate, with minds calmed by removal from contemporaneous interests, the state of mankind in the present year, with what different feelings would they regard the influence of their respective lives upon the existing human world of 1843! The Macedonian would find the empire which it was the labour of his life to aggrandize, frittered into parcels, modeled, remodeled, subjected to various dynasties; Turks, Greeks, Russians, still contending for portions of the territory which he had conjoined only to be dismembered; he would find in these little or no trace of his ever having existed; he would find that the unity of his vast political power had been severed before his body was yet entombed, and his prediction, that his funeral obsequies would be performed with bloody hands, verily fulfilled. In parts of the world which his living grasp had not seized, he would also see little to remind him of his past existence. Would not mortification darken the brow of the resuscitated conqueror on discovering, that when his name was mentioned in historic annals, it was less as a polar star to guide, than as a beacon to be avoided?

What would the Syracusan see in this present epoch to remind him of himself? Would he see the man of 212 B.C., at all connected with the men of 1843 A.D.? Yes. In Prussia, Austria, France, England, America, in every city of every civilized nation, he would find the lever, the pulley, the mirror, the specific gravimeter, the geometric demonstration; he would trace the influence of his mind in the power-loom, the steam-engine, in the building of the Royal Exchange, in the Great Britain steam-ship; he would find an application of his well-known invention, the subject of a patent, an important auxiliary to navigation. Alexander was a hero; Archimedes is one.

Are we guilty of exaggeration in this contrast of the hero of War with him of Science? We think not. It may undoubtedly be argued that Alexander's life was productive of ultimate good, that he did much to open Asia to European civilization; but would that consideration serve to soothe the gloomy Shade? To what does it amount but to the assertion that out of evil cometh good? It was through no aim of his mind that this resulted, nor are mankind indebted to him personally for a collateral effect of his existence.

As an instance of men of a more modern era, let us take Napoleon Buonaparte, Emperor of France, and James Watt of Greenock, civil engineer.

The former applied the energies of a sagacious and comprehensive intellect to his own political aggrandizement; the latter devoted his more modest talents to the improvement of a mechanical engine. The former was and is, par excellence, a hero of history—we should scarcely find in the works of the most voluminous annalists the name of the latter. What has Napoleon done to entitle his name to occupy so prominent a position? He has been the cause, mediate or immediate, of sacrificing the lives of two millions of men.[17]

Has the obscure Watt done nothing to merit a page in the records of mankind? Walk ten miles in any manufacturing district, enter any coal-mine, examine the bank of England, travel by the Great Western railway, or navigate the Danube, the Mediterranean, the Indian or the Atlantic [Pg 515] Ocean—in each and all of these, that giant slave, the steam-engine, will be seen, an ever-living testimony to the services rendered to mankind by its subjugator.

Attachment to a favourite pursuit is undoubtedly calculated to bias the judgment; but, however liable may be the obscure votary of science to override his hobby, Francis Bacon, Lord High Chancellor of England, in ascribing to scientific discoverers a higher merit than to legislators, emperors, or patriots, cannot be open to the charge of egoistic partiality. What, then, says this illustrious witness?—"The introduction of noble inventions seems to hold by far the most excellent place among all human actions. And this was the judgment of antiquity, which attributed divine honours to inventors, but conferred only heroical honours upon those who deserve well in civil affairs, such as the founders of empires, legislators, and deliverers of their country. And whoever rightly considers it, will find this a judicious custom in former ages, since the benefits of inventors may extend to all mankind, but civil benefits only to particular countries or seats of men; and these civil benefits seldom descend to more than a few ages, whereas inventions are perpetuated through the course of time. Besides, a state is seldom amended in its civil affairs without force and perturbation; whilst inventions spread their advantage without doing injury or causing disturbance."[18]

The opinion of a man who had reached the highest point to which a civilian could aspire, cannot, when he estimates the honours of the Chancellor as inferior to those of the natural philosopher, be ascribed to misjudging enthusiasm or personal disappointment. Without, however, seeking, for the sake of antithetic contrast, to underrate the importance of political services, civil or military, or to exaggerate those of the man of science, few, we think, will be disposed to deny that, although the one may be temporarily more urgent and necessary to the well-being of an existing race, yet that the benefits of the other are more lasting and universal. If, then, the influence on mankind of the secluded inventor be more extensive and durable than that of the active politician—if there be any truth in the opinion of Bacon, that the greatest political changes are wrought by the peaceful under-current of science; why is it that those who occupy the highest place as permanent benefactors of mankind, are, during their lifetime, neglected and comparatively unknown;—that they obtain neither the tangible advantages of pecuniary emolument, nor the more suitable, but less lucrative, honours of grateful homage? It is the common cry to exclaim against the neglect of science in the present day. Alas! history does not show us that our predecessors were more just to their scientific contemporaries. The evil is to a great extent remediless, the complaint to some extent irrational, and unworthy the dignity of the cause. The labourer in the field of science works not for the present, but for succeeding generations; he plants oaks for posterity, and must not look for the gratitude of contemporaries. Men will remunerate less, and be less grateful for, prospective than for present good—for benefits secured to their posterity than to themselves; the realization of the advantages is so distant, that the amount of discount is coextensive with the debt: it is only as the applications of science become more immediate, that the cultivators of science can reasonably expect an adequate reward or appreciation.

Even when practically applied, we too frequently see that the original discoveries of the physical philosopher are but little valued by those who make a daily, a most extensive, and a most lucrative use of their results. Men talk of "a million;" how few have ever counted one! Men walk along the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill; how few think of the multiplied passions and powers which flit by them on their way—of the separate world which surrounds each passer-by—of the separate history, external and internal, of each—each possessing feelings, motives of action, characters, differing from the others, as the stamp of nature on his brow differs from his fellows! Thus, also, men's ears ring [Pg 516] with the advancement of science, men's beards wag with repetition of the novel powers which have been educed from material nature; and if, in our daily traffic, we traverse without attention countless sands of thought, how much more, in our hackneyed talk of science, do we neglect the debt we owe to thought—thought, not the mere normal impulse of humanity, but the carefully elaborated lucubration of minds, of which the term thinking is emphatically predicable! Names which are met with but once in the annals of science, and there, dimly seen as a star of the least magnitude, have perhaps earned that remote and obscure corner by painful self-denial, by unwearied toil! And yet not only these, but others who have added to diligence high mental acumen or profundity, whose wells of thought are, compared with those of the general mass, unfathomable, earn but a careless, occasional notice—are known but to few of those who daily reap the harvest which they have sown, and who even boast of seeing further than they did, as the dwarf on the shoulders of a giant can see further than the giant. The first step of the unthinking is to deny the possibility of a given discovery, the next is to assert that any one could have foreseen such discovery.

There are, however, points of higher import than gain or glory to which the philosopher must ever look, and the absence of which must be a source of bitter disappointment and ground of just complaint. The most important of these is, that, by national neglect, the cause of science is injured, her progress retarded. Not only is she not honoured, she is dishonoured; and in no civilized nation is this contempt of physical science carried to a greater extent than in England, the country of commerce and of manufactures.

In this country, should a father observe in his gifted son a tendency to physical philosophy, he anxiously endeavours to dissuade him from this career, knowing that not only will it tend to no worldly aggrandizement, but that it will have the inevitable effect of lowering his position in what is called, and justly called, good society—the society of the most highly educated classes. At one of our universities, physical science is utterly neglected; at the other, only certain branches of it are cultivated. There are, it is true, university professors of each branch of physics, some of whom are able to collect a moderate number of pupils; others are obliged to carry with them an assistant, to whom alone they lecture, as Dean Swift preached to his clerk. But what part of the regular academic education does the study of Natural Philosophy occupy? It forms no necessary part of the examinations for degrees; no credit is attached to those who excel in its pursuit; no prizes, no fellowships, no university distinction, conferred upon its most successful votaries. On the contrary, physical, or at all events experimental, science is tabooed; it is written down "snobbish," and its being so considered has much influence in making it so: the necessity of manipulation is a sad drawback to the gentlemanliness of a pursuit. Bacon rebuked this fastidiousness, but in vain. "We will, moreover, show those who, in love with contemplation, regard our frequent mention of experiments as something harsh, unworthy, and mechanical, how they oppose the attainment of their own wishes, since abstract contemplation, and the construction and invention of experiments, rest upon the same principles, and are brought to perfection in a similar manner."[19]

Unfortunately, the fact of experimental science being rejected by the educated classes and thrown in a great measure upon the artizans of a country, has conducted, among other evils, to one of a most detrimental character; viz. the want of accuracy in scientific language, and consequently the want of accuracy in ideas. Perfection in language, as in every thing else, is not to be attained, and doubtless there are few of the most highly educated who would not, in many cases, assign different meanings to the same word; but if some confusion on this subject is unavoidable, how much is that confusion increased, as regards scientific subjects, by the mass of memoirs written by parties, who, however acute their mental perceptions [Pg 517] may be, yet, from want of early education, do not assign to words that accuracy of signification, and do not possess that perspicuity of style, which is absolutely necessary for the communication of ideas! Those, therefore, who, with different notions of language, read the writings of such as we are alluding to, either fail to attach to them any definite meaning, or attach one different from that which the authors intended to convey; whence arises a want of reciprocal intelligence, a want of unity of thought and purpose. Another defect arising from the circumstance that persons of a high order of education have not been generally the cultivators of experimental science in this country, is, that the path is thereby rendered more accessible to empiricism. Science, beautiful in herself, has thence a class of deformed disciples, who succeed in entangling their false pretensions with the claims of true merit. So much dust is puffed into the eyes of the public, that it can hardly distinguish between works of durable importance and the ephemeral productions of empirics; and those who would otherwise disdain the notoriety acquired by advertisement, end in adopting the system as the only means to avoid the mortification of seeing their own ideas appropriated and uttered in another form and in another's name.[20]

While the evils to which science is exposed by the necessarily unfashionable character of experimental manipulation are neither few nor trivial, there are still evils which arise from the directly opposite cause—from excess of intellectual cultivation; as is shown in the exclusive love of mathematics by a great number of philosophers. Minds which, left to themselves, might have eliminated the most valuable results, have, dazzled by the lustre cast by fashion upon abstract mathematical speculations, lost themselves in a mazy labyrinth of transcendentals. The fashion of mathematics has ruined many who might be most useful experimentalists; but who, wishing to take a higher flight, seek to attain distinction in mathematical analysis, and having acquired a certain celebrity for experimental research, dissipate, in simple equations, the fame they had acquired in a field equally productive, but not so select. Like Claude, who in his later years said, "Buy my figures, and I will give you my landscapes for nothing;" they fall in love with their own weakness, and estimate their merit by the labour they have undergone, not by the results they have deduced. M. Comte expresses himself well on this subject. "Mathematicians, too frequently taking the means for the end, have embarrassed Natural Philosophy with a crowd of analytical labours, founded upon hypotheses extremely hazardous, or even upon conceptions purely visionary; and consequently sober-minded people can see in them really nothing more than simple mathematical exercises, of which the abstract value is sometimes very striking, without their influence, in the slightest degree, accelerating the natural progress of Physics."[21]

The cultivators of science, despite the want of encouragement, have, like every other branch of the population, increased rapidly in number, and, being thrown upon their own resources, have organized Societies, the number of which is daily increasing, which do much good, which do much harm. They do good, in so far as they carry out their professed objects of facilitating intercourse between votaries of similar branches of study—they do good by the more attainable communication of the researches of those who cannot afford, or will not dare, the ordinary channels of publication; but who, sanctioned by the judgment of a select tribunal, are glad to work and to impart to the public the fruits of their labour—they give an esprit de corps, which forms a bond of union to each section, and induces a moral discipline in its ranks. The investment of their funds in the collection of libraries or of apparatus, the use of which becomes thus accessible to individuals, [Pg 518] to whom otherwise such acquisitions would have been hopeless, is another meritorious object of their institution; an object in many cases successfully carried out. On the other hand, they do harm, by becoming the channels of selfish speculation, their honorary offices being used as stepping-stones to lucrative ones, thereby causing their influential members to please the givers of "situations," and to publish the trash of the impertinently ambitious, the Titmice of the Credulous Societies! The ultra-ridiculous parade with which they have decked fair science, giving her a vest of unmeaning hieroglyphics, and thereby exposing her to the finger of scorn, is another prominent and unsightly feature of such societies; they do harm by the cliquerie which they generate, collecting little knots of little men, no individual of whom can stand his own ground, but a group of whom, by leaning hard together, can, and do, exercise a most pernicious influence; seeking petty gain and class celebrity, they exert their joint-stock brains to convert science into pounds, shillings, and pence; and, when they have managed to poke one foot upon the ladder of notoriety, use the other to kick furiously at the poor aspirants who attempt to follow them.

It has been frequently and strenuously urged, that these societies, or some of them, should be supported by government, and not dependent upon the subscriptions of their members. The arguments in favour of such a measure are, that by thus being accessible only to merit, and not depending upon money, their position would be more honourable and advantageous to the progress of science. With regard to such societies generally, this proposition is incapable of realization; every year sees a new society of this description; to annex many of these to government, would involve difficulties which, in the present state of politics, would be insurmountable. Who, for instance, would pay taxes for them? Another, and more reasonable, proposition is, that the government should establish and support one academy as a head and front of the others, accessible only to men of high distinction, who would be thus constituted the oligarchs of science. Of the advantage of this we have some doubts. Politics are already too much mixed up with all government appointments in England: their influence is at present scarcely felt in science, and we would not willingly risk an introduction so fraught with danger. The want of such an academy certainly lessens the English in the eyes of the continental savans; but could not such a one be organized, and perhaps endowed, by government, without any permanent connexion with it?

If we compare the proceedings, undoubtedly dignified and decorous, of our Royal Society with those of the French Academy, we fear the balance will be found to be in favour of the latter. At Somerset House, after the list of donations and abstract of former proceedings, a paper, or a portion of a paper, is read upon some abstruse scientific subject, and the meeting is adjourned in solemn silence, no observation can be made upon it, no question asked, or explanation given. The public is excluded,[22] and the greater part of the members generally exclude themselves, very few having resolution enough to leave a comfortable dinner-table to bear the solemn formalities of such an evening. The paper is next committed, it is not known to whom, reported on in private, and either published, or deposited in the archives of the Society, according to the judgment of the unknown irresponsible parties to whom it is committed. Let us now look at the proceedings of the French Academy; it is open to the public, and the public take so great an interest in it, that to secure a seat an early attendance is always requisite. Every scientific point of daily and passing interest is brought before it—comments, such as occur at the time, are made upon various points by the secretary, or any other member who likes to make an observation—the more elaborate memoirs are read by the authors themselves, and if any quære or suggestion occurs to a member present, he has an opportunity of being answered. The memoir is then committed to parties whose names are publicly [Pg 519] mentioned, who bring out their report in public, which report is read in public, and may be answered by the author if he object to it. Lastly, the whole proceedings are printed and published verbatim, and circulated at the next weekly meeting, while, in the mean time, the public press notices them freely. That, with all these advantages, the French Academy is not free from faults, we are far from asserting; that there is as much unseen manœuvring and petty tyranny in this as in most other institutions, is far from improbable;[23] but the effect upon the public, and the zest and vitality which its proceedings give to science, are undeniable, and it is also undeniable that we have no scientific institution approaching to it in interest or value.

The present perpetual secretary of the Academy, Arago, with much of prejudice, much of egotism, has talents most plastic, an energy of character, an indomitable will, a force and perspicuity of expression, which alone give to the sittings of the French Academy a peculiar and surpassing interest, but which, in the English Society, would be entirely lost.

In quitting, for the present, the subject of scientific societies, we must advert to a consequence of the increased number of candidates for scientific distinction of late years; of which increase the number of these societies may be regarded as an exponent. This increase, although on the whole both a cause and a consequence of the advancement of science, yet has in some respects lowered the high character of her cultivators by the competition it has necessarily engendered. Books tell us that the cultivation of science must elevate and expand the mind, by keeping it apart from the jangling of worldly interests. This dogma has its false as well as its true side, more especially when in this, as in every other field of human activity, the number of competitors is rapidly increasing; great watchfulness is requisite to resist temptations which beset the aspirant to success on this arena, more perhaps than in any other. The difficulty which the most honest find to avoid treading in the footsteps of others—the different aspect in which the same phenomena present themselves to different minds—the unwillingness which the mind experiences in renouncing published but erroneous opinions—are points of human weakness which, not to mislead, must be watched with assiduous care. Again, the ease with which plagiarism is committed from the number of roads by which the same point may be reached, is a great temptation to the waverer, and a great trial of temper to the victim. The disputants on the arenæ of law, politics, or other pursuits, the ostensible aim of which is worldly aggrandizement, however animated in debate, unsparing in satire, reckless in their invective and recrimination, seldom fail in their private intercourse to throw off the armour of professional antagonism, and to extend to each other the ungloved hand of social cordiality. On the other hand, it is too frequent a spectacle in scientific circles to behold a careful wording of public controversy, a gentle, apologetic phraseology, a correspondence never going beyond the "retort courteous," or "quip modest," while there exists an under-current of the bitterest personal jealousy, the outward philosopher being strangely at variance with the inward man.

Among the various circumstances which influence the progress of physical science in this country, one of the most prominent is the Patent law—a law in its intention beneficent; but whether the practical working of it be useful, either to science or its cultivators, is a matter of grave doubt. Of the greater number of patents enrolled in that depot of practical science, Chancery Lane, by far the majority are beneficial only to the revenue; and on the question of public economy, whether or not the price paid by miscalculating ingenuity is a fair and politic source of revenue, we shall not enter; but on the reasons which lead so many to be dupes of their own self-esteem, a few words may not be misspent. The chief reason [Pg 520] why a vast number of patents are unsuccessful, is, that it takes a long time (longer generally than fourteen years, the statutable limit of patent grants) to make the workmen of a country familiar with a new manufacture. A party, therefore, who proposes patenting an invention, and who sits down and calculates the value of the material, the time necessary for its manufacture, and other essential data; comparing these with the price at which it can be sold to obtain a remunerative profit, seldom takes into consideration the time necessary, first, to accustom the journeymen workers to its construction, and secondly, to make known to the public its real value. In the present universal competition, puffing is carried on to such an extent, that, to give a fair chance of success, not only must the first expense of a patent be incurred—no inconsiderable one either, even supposing the patentee fortunate enough to escape litigation—but a large sum of money must be invested in advertisements, with little immediate return; hence it is that the most valuable patents, viewed in relation to their scientific importance, their ultimate public benefit, and the merits of their inventors, are seldom the most lucrative, while a patent inkstand, a boot-heel, a shaving case, or a button, become rapidly a source of no inconsiderable profit. Is this beneficial to inventors? Is it an encouragement of science, or a proper object of legislative provision, that the improver of the most trivial mechanical application should be carefully protected, while those who open the hidden sources of myriads of patents, are unrewarded, and incapable of remunerating themselves? We seriously incline to think that, as the matter at present stands, an entire erasure from the statute-books of patent provision would be of service to science, and perhaps to the community; each tradesman would depend for success upon his own activity, and the perfection he could give his manufacture, and the scientific searcher after experimental truths would not find his path barred by prohibitions from speculative empirics.

According to the present patent laws, it is more than questionable whether the discoverer of a great scientific principle could pursue his own discovery, or whether he would not be arrested on the threshold by a subsequent patentee; if Jacobi lived in constitutional England instead of despotic Russia, it is doubtful if he could work out his discovery of the electrotype—we say doubtful; for, as far as we can learn, it seems hitherto judicially undecided whether the mere use of a patent, not for sale or a lucrative object, is such a use within the statute of James as would be an infringement of a patentee's rights. It appears to be settled, that a previous experimental and unpublished use by one party, does not prevent another subsequent inventor of the same process from patenting it; and, by parity of reasoning, we should say, that if a party have the advantage of patenting an invention which can be found to have been previously used, but not for sale, he should not have the additional privilege of prohibiting the same party, or others, from proceeding with their experiments. There are, however, not wanting arguments for the other view. The practice of a patented invention, for one's own benefit or pleasure, deprives the patentee of a possible source of profit; for it cannot be said that the party experimenting, if prohibited, might not apply for a license to the patentee. Take, for instance, the notorious and justly censured patent of Daguerre. Supposing, for argument's sake, this patent to be valid, can a private individual, under the existing patent laws, take photographic views or portraits for his own amusement, or in pursuance of scientific investigations? If he cannot, then is an exquisitely beautiful path of physics to be shut up for fourteen years; or if he can, then is the licensee, a purchaser for value, to be excluded from very many sources of pecuniary emolument? To us, the injury to the public, in this and similar cases, appears of incomparably greater consequence than that to the individual; but what the authorities at Westminster Hall may say is another question. Even could the patent laws be so modified, that the benefits derived from them could fall upon those scientific discoverers most justly entitled, we are still doubtful as to their utility, or whether they would contribute to the advancement of science, which is the point of view in which we here principally regard [Pg 521] them. It would scarcely add to the dignity of philosophy, or to the reverence due to its votaries, to see them running with their various inventions to the patent office, and afterwards spending their time in the courts of law, defending their several claims. They would thus entirely lose the respect due to them from their contemporaries and posterity, and waste, in pecuniary speculation, time which might be more advantageously, and without doubt more agreeably, employed. If parties look to money as their reward, they have no right to look for fame; to those who sell the produce of their brains, the public owes no debt.

We have observed recently a strong tendency in men of no mean scientific pretensions to patent the results of their labours. We blame them not: it is a matter of free election on their part, but we cannot praise them. A writer in a recent number of the Edinburgh Review, has the following remarks on the subject of Mr Talbot's patented invention of the Calotype. "Nor does the fate of the Calotype redeem the treatment of her sister art, (the Daguerreotype.) The Royal Society, the philosophical organ of the nation, has refused to publish its processes in her transactions. * * * No representatives of the people unanimously recommended a national reward. * * * It gives us great pleasure to learn, that though none of his (Mr Talbot's) photographical discoveries adorn the transactions of the Royal Society, yet the president and the council have adjudged him the Rumford medals for the last biennial period."[24]

The notion of a "national reward" for the Calotype scarcely requires a remark. If, after a discovery is once made and published, every subsequent new process in the same art is to be nationally rewarded, the income-tax must be at least quadrupled. The complaint, however, against the Royal Society, is not altogether groundless. True it is that the first paper of Mr Talbot did not contain an account of the processes employed by him, and therefore should not have been even read to the Society; but the paper on the Calotype did contain such description, and we see no reason why a society for the advancement of knowledge should not give publicity to a valuable process, though made the subject of a patent—but it certainly should not bestow an honorary reward upon an inventor who has withheld from the Royal Society and the public the practice of the invention whose processes he communicates. Mr Talbot had a perfect right to patent his invention, but has on that account no claim in respect of the same invention to an honorary reward. The Royal Society did not publish his paper, but awarded him a medal. In our opinion, they should have published his paper and not awarded him a medal.

Regarded as to her national encouragement of science, there are some features in which England differs not from other countries; there are others in which she may be strikingly contrasted with them; and, with all our love for her, we fear she will suffer by the contrast. A learned writer of the present day, has the following passage in reference to the state of science in England as contrasted with other countries:—"When the proud science of England pines in obscurity, blighted by the absence of the royal favour and the nation's sympathy; when her chivalry fall unwept and unhonoured, how can it sustain the conflict against the honoured and marshalled genius of foreign lands?"[25]

This, to be sure, is somewhat "tumultuous." We do not, however, cite it as a specimen of composition, but as an expression of a very prevalent feeling; the opinion involved in the concluding quære is open to doubt—England does sustain the conflict, if any conflict there be to sustain; but we are bound to admit, that in no country are the soldiers of science militant less honoured or rewarded. It is no uncommon remark, that despotic governments are the most favourable to the cultivation of the arts and sciences. There is, perhaps, a general truth in this, and the causes are not difficult of recognition. In a republican or constitutional government, politics are the all-engrossing topics of a people's thought, the [Pg 522] never-ending theme of conversation;—in purely despotic states, such discussions are prohibited, and the contemplation of such subjects confined to a few restless or patriotic spirits. It must also be ever the policy of absolute monarchs to open channels for the public mind, which may divert it from political considerations. Take America and Austria as existing instances of this contrast: in the former, the universality of political conversation is an object of remark to all travellers; in the latter, even books which touch at all on political matters are rigidly excluded. These are among the causes which strike us as most prominent, but whose effects obtain only when despotism is not so gross as to be an incubus upon the whole moral and intellectual energies of a people.

We should lose sight of the objects proposed in these pages, and also transgress our assigned limits, were we to enter into detail upon the present state of science in Europe, or trace the causes which have influenced her progress in each state. This would form a sufficient thesis for a separate essay; but we will not pass over this branch of our subject, without venturing to express an opinion on the delicate and embarrassing question as to what rank each nation holds as a promoter of physical science.

In experimental and theoretical Physics, we should be inclined to place the German nations in the first rank; in pure and applied mathematics, France. The former nations far excel all others in the independence and impartiality with which they view scientific results; researches of any value, from whatever part of the world they emanate, instantly find a place in their periodicals; and they generally estimate more justly the relative value of different discoveries than any other European nation; the æsthetical power which enables them to seize and appreciate what is beautiful in art, gives them perception and discrimination in science; but they are not great as originators. The French, notwithstanding the high pitch at which they have undoubtedly arrived in mathematical investigation, not withstanding the general accuracy of their experimental researches, have more of the pedantry of science; their papers are too professional—too much selon les règles; there are too many minutiæ; the reader is tempted to exclaim with Jacques—"I think of as many matters as he; but I give Heaven thanks, and make no boast of them." Their accuracy frequently degenerates into affectation and parade. We have now before us a paper in the Annales de Chimie, containing some chemical researches, in which, though the difference of each experiment in a small number, put together for average, amounts to several units, the weights are given to the fifth place of decimals. England, which we should place next, is by no means exempt from these trappings of science. Many English scientific papers seem written as if with the resolute purpose of filling a certain number of pages, and many of their writers seem to think a paper per annum, good or bad, necessary to indicate their philosophical existence. They write, not because they have made a discovery, but because their period of hybernation has expired. Still, in England, there is a strong vein of original thought. Competition, if it lead to puffing and quackery, yet stimulates the perceptions; and, in England, competition has done its worst and its best; in original chemical discovery, England has latterly been unrivalled.

Next to England we should place Sweden and Denmark—for their population they have done much, and done it well; then Italy—in Italy science is well organized, and the rulers of her petty states seem to feel a proper emulation in promoting scientific merit—in which laudable rivalry the Archduke of Tuscany deserves honourable mention; America and Russia come next—the former state is zealous, ready at practical application, and promises much for the future, but as yet has not done enough in original research to entitle her to be placed in the van. Russia at present possesses few, if any, native philosophers—her discoverers and discoveries are all imported; but the emperor's zeal and patronage (a word which we scarcely like to apply to science) is doing much to organize her forces, and the mercenary troops may impart vigour, and induce discipline into the national body. In this short enumeration, we have considered each country, not according to the number of its very eminent men; for though far [Pg 523] from denying the right which each undoubtedly possesses to shine by the reflected lustre of her stars, yet in looking, as it were, from an external point, it is more just to regard the general character of each people than to classify them according as they may happen to be the birthplace of those

"To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe."

A misunderstanding of the proper use of theory is among the prevalent scientific errors of the present day. Among one set of men of considerable intelligence, but who are not habitually conversant with physical science, there is a general tendency to despise theory. This contempt appears to rest on somewhat plausible grounds; as an instance of it, we may take the following passage from the fitful writings of Mr Carlyle:—"Hardened round us, encasing wholly every notion we form, is a wrappage of traditions, hearsays, mere words: we call that fire of the black thunder-cloud electricity, and lecture learnedly about it, and grind the like of it out of glass and silk, but what is it? Whence comes it? Where goes it?"[26]

However the experienced philosopher may be convinced that in themselves theories are nothing—that they are but collations of phenomena under a generic formula, which is useful only inasmuch as it groups these phenomena; yet it is difficult to see how, without these imperfect generalizations, any mind can retain the endless variety of facts and relations which every branch of science presents; still less, how these can be taught, learned, reasoned upon, or used. How could the facts of geology be recollected, or how, indeed, could they constitute a science without reference to some real or supposed bond of union, some aqueous or igneous theory? How could two chemists converse on chemistry without the use of the term affinity, and the theoretical conception it involves? How could a name be applied, or a nomenclature adopted, without that imperfect, or more or less perfect grouping of facts, which involves theory? As far as we can recollect, all the alterations of nomenclature which have been introduced, or attempted, proceed upon some alteration of theory.

If not theory but hypothesis be objected to—not the imperfect generalization of phenomena, but a gratuitous assumption for the sake of collating them, this, although ground which should be trodden more cautiously, appears in certain cases unavoidable; in fact, is scarcely separable from theory. Had men not "lectured learnedly" about the two fluids of electricity, we should not now possess many of the discoveries with which this science is enriched, although we do not, and probably never shall, know what electricity is.

On the other hand, among professed physical philosophers, the great abuse of theories and hypotheses is, that their promulgators soon regard them, not as aids to science, to be changed if occasion should require, but as absolute natural truths; they look to that as an end, which is in fact but a means; their theories become part of their mental constitution, idiosyncrasies; and they themselves become partizans of a faction, and cease to be inductive philosophers.

Another injury to science, in a great measure peculiar to the present day, arises from the number of speculations which are ushered into the world to account for the same phenomena; every one, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, when he wished to cudgel a Puritan, has for his opinion "no exquisite reasons, but reasons good enough." In the periods of science immediately subsequent to the time of Bacon, men commenced their career by successful experiment; and having convinced the world of their aptitude for perceiving the relations of natural phenomena, enounced theories which they believed the most efficient to give a comprehensive generality to the whole. Men now, however, commence with theories, though, alas! the converse does not hold good—they do not always end with experiment.

As, in the promulgation of theories, every aspirant is anxious to propound different news, so, in nomenclature, there is a strong tendency to promiscuous [Pg 524] coining. The great commentator on the laws of England, Sir William Blackstone, observes, "As to the impression, the stamping of coin is the unquestionable prerogative of the crown, * * * the king may also, by his proclamation, legitimate foreign coin, and make it current here."[27]

As coinage of money is the undoubted prerogative of the crown; so generally coinage of words has been the undoubted prerogative of the kings of science—those to whom mankind have bent as to unquestionable authority. But even these royal dignitaries have generally been sparing in the exercise of this prerogative, and used it only on rare occasions and when absolutely necessary, either from the discovery of new things requiring new names, or upon entire revolutions of theory.

"Si forte necesse est
Indiciis monstrare recentibus abdita rerum,
Fingere cinctutis non exaudita cethegis
Continget, labiturque licentia sumpta pudenter."

But now there is no "pudor" in the matter. Every man has his own mint; and although their several coins do not pass current very generally, yet they are taken here and there by a few disciples, and throw some standard money out of the market. The want of consideration evinced in these novel vocabularies is remarkable. Whewell, whose scientific position and dialectic turn of mind may fairly qualify him to be a word-maker, seems peculiarly deficient in ear. Take, as an instance, "idiopts," an uncomfortable word, barely necessary, as the persons to whom it applies are comparatively rare, and will scarcely thank the Master of Trinity College for approximating them in name to a more numerous and more unfortunate class—the word physicists, where four sibilant consonants fizz like a squib. In these, and we might add many from other sources, euphony is wantonly disregarded; by other authors of smaller calibre, classical associations are curiously violated. We may take, as an instance, platinode, Spanish-American joined to ancient Greek. In chemistry there is a profusion of new coin. Sulphate of ammonia—oxi-sulphion of ammonium—sulphat-oxide of ammonium—three names for one substance. This mania is by no means common to England. In Liebig's Chemistry, Vol. ii. p. 313, we have the following passage:—"It should be remarked that some chemists designate artificial camphor by the name of hydrochlorate of camphor. Deville calls it bihydrochlorate of térèbène, and Souberaine and Capelaine call it hydrochlorate of pencylène."

So generally does this prevail, that in chemical treatises the names of substances are frequently given with a tail of synonymes. Numerous words might be cited which are names for non-existences—mere hypothetic groupings; and yet so rapidly are these increasing, that it seems not impossible, in process of time, there will be more names for things that are not than for things that are. If this work go on, the scientific public must elect a censor whose fiat shall be final; otherwise, as every small philosopher is encouraged or tolerated in framing ad libitum a nomenclature of his own, the inevitable effect will be, that no man will be able to understand his brother, and a confusion of tongues will ensue, to be likened only to that which occasioned the memorable dispersion at Babel.

Many of the defects to which we have alluded in the course of this paper, time alone can remedy. In spite of all drawbacks, the progress of science has been vast and rapidly increasing; the very rapidity of its progress brings with it difficulties. So many points, once considered impossible, have been proved possible, that to some minds the suggestion of impossibility seems an argument in favour of possibility. Because steam-travelling was once laughed at as visionary, aerial navigation is to be regarded as practicable—perhaps, indeed, it will be so, give but the time proportionably requisite to master its difficulties, as there was given to steam. What proportion this should be we will not venture to predict. There can be little doubt that the most effectual way to induce a more accurate public discrimination of scientific efforts is to [Pg 525] turn somewhat more in that direction the current of national education. Prizes at the universities for efficiency in the physics of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, or chemistry, could, we conceive, do no harm. Why should not similar honours be conferred on those students who advance the progress of an infant science, as on those who work out with facility the formulæ of an exact one; and why should not acquirements in either, rank equally high with the critical knowledge of the digamma or the à priori philosophy of Aristotle? Is not Bacon's Novum Organon as much entitled to be made a standard book for the schools as Aldrich's logic? Venerating English universities, we approve not the inconsiderate outcries against systematic and time-honoured educational discipline; but it would increase our love for these seminaries of sound learning, could we more frequently see such men as Davy emanate from Oxford, instead of from the pneumatic institution of Bristol.

Provided science be kept separate from political excitement, we should like to see an English Academy, constituted of men having fair claims to scientific distinction, and not "deserving of that honour because they are attached to science."

It is unnecessary here to touch upon the details of such an Academy. The proposition is by no means new. On the contrary, we believe a wish for some such change pretty generally exists. Iteration is sometimes more useful than originality. The more frequently the point is brought before the public, the more probable is it that steps will be taken by those who are qualified to move in such a matter. The more the present defective state of our scientific organization is commented on, the more likely is it to be remedied; for the patency of error is ever a sure prelude to its extirpation.



One of the longest, the narrowest, the highest, the darkest, and the dirtiest streets of Paris, was, and is, and probably will long be, the Rue St Denis. Beginning at the bank of the Seine, and running due north, it spins out its length like a tape-worm, with every now and then a gentle wriggle, right across the capital, till it reaches the furthest barrier, and thence has a kind of suburban tail prolonged into the wide, straight road, a league in length, that stretches to the town of Sainct-Denys-en-France. This was, from time immemorial, the state-road for the monarchs of France to make their formal entries into, and exits from, their capital—whether they came from their coronation at Rheims, or went to their last resting-place beneath the tall spire of St Denis. This has always been the line by which travellers from the northern provinces have entered the good city of Paris; and for many a long year its echoes have never had rest from the cracking of the postilion's whip, the roll of the heavy diligence, and the perpetual jumbling of carts and waggons. It is, as it has ever been, one of the main arteries of the capital; and nowhere does the restless tide of Parisian life run more rapidly or more constantly than over its well-worn stones. In the pages of the venerable historians of the French capital, and in ancient maps, it is always called "La Grande Rue de Sainct Denys," being, no doubt, at one time the ne plus ultra of all that was considered wide and commodious. Now its appellation is curtailed into the Rue St D'nis, and it is avoided by the polite inhabitants of Paris as containing nothing but the bourgeoisie and the canaille. Once it was the Regent Street of Paris—a sort of Rue de la Paix—lounged along by the gallants of the days of Henri IV., and not unvisited by the red-heeled marquises of the Regent d'Orleans's time; now it sees nothing more recherché than the cap of the grisette or the poissarde, as the case may be, nor any thing more august than the casquette of the commis-voyageur, or the indescribable shako and equipments of the National Guard. As its frequenters have been changed in character, so have its houses and public buildings; they have lost much of the picturesque [Pg 526] appearance they possessed a hundred years ago—they are forced every year more and more into line, like a regiment of stone and mortar. Instead of showing their projecting, high-peaked gables to the street, they have now turned their fronts, as more polite; the roofs are accommodated with the luxury of pipes, and the midnight sound of "Gare l'eau!" which used to make the late-returning passenger start with all agility from beneath the opened window to avoid the odoriferous shower, is now but seldom heard. A Liliputian footway, some two feet wide, is laid down in flags at either side; the oscillating lamp, that used to hang on a rotten cord thrown across the roadway from house to house, and made darkness visible, has given place to the genius of gas—enfin, la Révolution a passé par là; and the Rue de St Denis is now a ghost only of what it was. Still it retains sufficient peculiarities of dimensions and outline to show that it is a child of the middle ages; and, like so many other children of the same kind, it contributes to make its mother Paris, as compared with the modern-built capitals of Europe, a town of former days. Long may it retain these oddities of appearance—long may it remain narrow, dark, and dirty; we rejoice that such streets still exist—they do one's eye good, if not one's nose. There is more of colour, of light and shade, of picturesque, fantastic outline, in a hundred yards of the Rue St Denis, than in all the line from Piccadilly to Whitechapel; a painter can pick up more food for his easel in this queer, old street—an antiquarian can find there more tales and crusts for his noddle, than in all Regent Street and Portland Place. We love a ramshackle place like this; it does one good to get out of the associations of the present century, and to retrograde a bit; it is pleasant to see how people used to pig together in ancient days, without any of the mathematical formalities of the present day; it keeps one's eye in tone to look back at works of the middle ages; and we may learn the more justly to criticize what we see arising about us, by refreshing our recollections of the mouldering past. Paris is a glorious place for things of this kind. Thank the stars, it never got burned out of its old clothes, as London did. Newfangled streets and quarters of every age have been added to it, but there still remains a mediæval nucleus—there is still an "old Paris"—a gloomy, filthy, old town, irregular and inconvenient as any town ever was yet; and a walk of twenty minutes will take you from the elegant uniformity of the Rue de Rivoli into the original chaos of buildings—into the Quartier des Halles and into the Rue St Denis. How often have we hurried down them on a cold winter's day—say the 31st of December—to buy bons-bons in the Rue des Lombards, once the abode of bankers, now the paradise of confiseurs, against the coming morrow—the grand day of visits and cadeaux—braving the snow some three feet deep in the midst of the street—or, if there happened to be no snow, the mud a foot and a half, splashing through it with our last new pair of boots from Legrand's, and the last pantalon from Blondel's—for cabriolet or omnibus, none might pass that way; and there, amid onion-smelling crowds, in a long, low shop, with lamps lighted at two o'clock, have consummated our purchase, and floundered back triumphant! Away, ye gay, seducing vanities of the Palais Royal or the Boulevards; your light is too garish for our sober eyes—the sugar of your comfitures is too chalky for our discriminating tooth! Our appropriate latitude is that of the Quartier St Denis! One thing, however, we must confess, we never did in the Rue St Denis—we never dined there! Oh non! il ne faut pas faire ça! 'Tis the headquarters of all the sausage-dealers, the charcutiers, and the rotisseurs of Paris. Genuine meat and drink there is none; cats hold the murderous neighbourhood in traditional abhorrence, and the ruddiest wine of Burgundy would turn pale were the aqueous reputation of the street whispered near its cellar-door. Thank Heaven, we have a gastronomic instinct that saved us from acts of suicidal rashness! When in Paris, gentle reader, we always dine at the Trois Frères Provençaux; the little room in blue, remember—time, six P.M.; potage à la Julienne—bifteck au vin de Champagne—poulet à la Marengo—Chambertin, and St Péray rosé. The next time you visit the [Pg 527] Palais-Royal, turn in there, and dine with us—we shall be delighted to see you!

There are few gaping Englishmen who have been on the other side of the Channel but have found their way along the Boulevards to the Porte St Denis, and have stared first of all at that dingy monument of Ludovican pride, and then have stared down the Rue St Denis, and then have stared up the Rue du Faubourg St Denis; but very few are ever tempted to turn either to the right hand or to the left, and so they generally poke on to the Porte St Martin, or stroll back to the Madeleine, and rarely make acquaintance with the Dionysian mysteries of Paris. For the benefit, therefore, of such travellers as go to the French capital with their eyes in their pockets, and of such as stay at home and travel by their fireside, but still can relish the recollections and associations of olden times, we are going to rake together some of the many odd notes that pertain to the history of this street and its immediate vicinity.

The readiest way into the Rue St Denis from the Isle de la Cité, the centre of Paris, has always been over the Pont-au-Change. This bridge, now the widest over the Seine, was once a narrow, ill-contrived structure of wood, covered with a row of houses on either side, that formed a dark and dirty street, so that you might pass through it a hundred times without once suspecting that you were crossing a river. These houses, built of stone and wood, overhung the edges of the bridge, and afforded their inhabitants an unsafe abode between the sky and the water. At times the river would rise in one of its periodical furies, and sweep away a pier or two with the superincumbent houses; at others the wooden supporters of the structure would catch fire by some untoward event, and the inhabitants had the choice of being fried or drowned, along with their penates and their supellectile property. Such a catastrophe happened in the reign of Louis XIII., when this and another wooden bridge, situated, oddly enough, close by its side, were set on fire by a squib, which some gamins de Paris were letting off on his Majesty's highway; and in less than three hours 140 houses had disappeared. It was Louis VII., in the twelfth century, who gave it the name it has since borne; for he ordered all the money-changers of Paris to come and live on this bridge—no very secure place for keeping the precious metals; and about two hundred years ago the money-changers, fifty-four in number, occupied the houses on one side, while fifty goldsmiths lived in those on the other. In the open roadway between, was held a kind of market or fair for bird-sellers, who were allowed to keep their standings on the curious tenure of letting off two hundred dozens of small birds whenever a new king should pass over this bridge, on his solemn entry into the capital. The birds fluttered and whistled on these occasions, the gamins clapped their hands and shouted, the good citizens cried "Noel!" and "Vive le Roy!" and the courtiers were delighted at the joyous spectacle. Whether the birds flew away ready roasted to the royal table, history is silent; but it would have been a sensible improvement of this part of the triumphal ceremony, and we recommend it to the serious notice of all occupiers of the French throne.

On arriving at the northern end of the bridge, the passenger had on his right a covered gallery of shops, stretching up the river side to the Pont Notre Dame, and called the Quai de Gesvres; here was a fashionable promenade for the beaux of Paris, for it was filled with the stalls of pretty milliners, like one of our bazars, and boasted of an occasional bookseller's shop or two, where the tender ballads of Ronsard, or the broad jokes of Rabelais, might be purchased and read for a few livres. To the left was a narrow street, known by the curious appellation of Trop-va-qui-dure, the etymology of which has puzzled the brains of all Parisian antiquaries; while just beyond it, and still by the river side, was the Vieille Vallée de Misère—words indicative of the opinion entertained of so ineligible a residence. In front frowned, in all the grim stiffness of a feudal fortress, the Grand Chastelet, once the northern defence of Paris against the Normans and the English, but at last changed into the headquarters of the police—the Bow Street of the French capital. Two large towers, with conical tops over a portcullised gateway, admitted the prisoners into a small square court, [Pg 528] round which were ranged the offices of the lieutenant of police, and the chambers of the law-officers of the crown. Part of the building served as a prison for the vulgar crew of offenders—a kind of Newgate, or Tolbooth; another was used as, and was called, the Morgue, where the dead bodies found in the Seine were often carried; there was a room in it called Cæsar's chamber, where the good citizens of Paris firmly believed that the great Julius once sat as provost of Paris, in a red robe and flowing wig; and there was many an out-of-the-way nook and corner full of dust and parchments, and rats and spiders. The lawyers of the Chastelet thought no small beer of themselves, it seems; for they claimed the right of walking in processions before the members of the Parliament, and immediately after the corporation of the capital. The unlucky wight who might chance to be put in durance vile within these walls, was commonly well trounced and fined ere he was allowed to depart; and next to the dreaded Bastile, the Grand Chastelet used to be looked on with peculiar horror. At the Revolution it was one of the first feudal buildings demolished—not a stone of the old pile remains; the Pont-au-Change had long before had its wooden piers changed for noble stone ones, and on the site where this fortress stood is now the Place de Chatelet, with a Napoleonic monument in the midst—a column inscribed with names of bloody battle-fields, on its summit a golden wing-expanding Victory, and at its base four little impudent dolphins, snorting out water into the buckets of the Porteurs d'Eau.

Behind the Chastelet stood the Grande Boucherie—the Leadenhall market of Paris an hundred years ago; and near it, up a dirty street or two, was one of the finest churches of the capital, dedicated to St Jacques. The lofty tower of this latter edifice (its body perished when the Boucherie and the Chastelet disappeared) still rises in gloomy majesty above all the surrounding buildings. It is as high as those of Notre Dame; and from its upper corners, enormous gargouilles—those fantastic water-spouts of the middle ages—gape with wide-stretched jaws, but no longer send down the washings of the roof on the innocent passengers. Hereabouts lived Nicholas Flamel, the old usurer, who made money so fast that it was said he used to sup nightly with his Satanic majesty, and who thereupon built part of the church to save his bacon. He was of opinion that it was well to have the "mens sana in corpore sano"—that it was no joke to be burnt; and so he stuck close to the church, taking care that himself and his wife, Pernelle, should have a comfortable resting-place for their bones within the walls of St Jacques. When this was a fashionable quarter of Paris, the court doctor and accoucheur did not disdain to reside in it; for Jean Fernel, the medical attendant of Catharine de Medicis, lived and died within the shade of this old tower. He was a fortunate fellow, a sort of Astley Cooper or Clarke in his way, and Catharine used to give him 10,000 crowns, or something like L.6000, every time she favoured France with an addition to the royal family. He and numerous other worthies mouldered into dust within the precincts of St Jacques; but their remains have long since been scattered to the winds; and where the church once stood is now an ignoble market for old clothes; the abode of Jews and thieves.

After passing round the Grand Chastelet, and crossing the market-place, you might enter the Rue St Denis, the great street of Paris in the time of the good King Henry, and you might walk along under shelter of its houses, projecting story above story, till they nearly met at top, for more than a mile. Before it was paved, the roadway was an intolerable quagmire, winter and summer; and, after stones had been put down, there murmured along the middle a black gurgling stream, charged with all the outpourings and filth of unnumbered houses. Over, or through this, according as the fluid was low or high, you had to make your way, if you wanted to cross the street and greet a friend; if you lived in the street and wished to converse with your opposite neighbour, you had only to mount to the garret story, open the lattice window, and literally shake hands with him, so near did the gables approach. The fronts of the houses were ornamented with every device which the skilful carpenters of former times could invent: the beam-ends were sculptured into queer little crouching figures of monkeys or [Pg 529] angels, and all sorts of diableries decorated the cornices that ran beneath the windows; there were no panes of glass, such as we boast of in these degenerate times, but narrow latticed lights to let in the day, and the wind, and the cold; while the roofs were covered commonly with shingles, or, in the houses of the wealthy, with sheets of lead. Between each gable came forth a long water-spout, and poured down a deluge into the gutter beneath; each gable-top was peaked into a fantastic spiry point or flower, and the chimneys congregated into goodly companies amidst the roofs, removed from the vulgar gaze or fastidious jests of the people below. So large were the fireplaces in those rooms that could own them, and so ample were the chimney flues, that smoky houses were unheard of: the staircases, it is true, enjoyed only a dubious ray, that served to prevent you from breaking your neck in a rapid descent; but the apartments were generally of commodious dimensions, and the tenements possessed many substantial comforts.

Once out of doors, you might proceed in all weather fearless of rain; the projecting upper stories sheltered completely the sides of the street, and a stout cloth cloak was all that was needed to save either sex from the inclemency of the seasons. At frequent intervals there opened into the main street, side streets, and ruelles or alleys, which showed in comparison like Gulliver in Brobdignag: up some of these ways a single horseman might be able to go; but along others—and some of them remain to the present day—two stout citizens could never have walked arm-in-arm. They looked like enormous cracks between a couple of buildings, rather than as ways made for the convenience of locomotion: they were pervious, perhaps, to donkeys, but not to the loaded packhorse—the great street was intended for that animal—coaches did not exist, and the long narrow carts of the French peasantry, whenever they came into the city, did not occupy much more space than the bags or packs of the universal carrier. To many of these streets the most eccentric appellations were given; there was the Rue des Mauvaises Paroles—people of ears polite had no business to go near it; the Rue Tire Chappe—a spot where those who objected to be plucked by the vests, or to have their clothes pulled off their backs by importunate accosters, need not present themselves; another in this quarter was called the Rue Tire-boudin. Marie Stuart, when Queen of France, was riding, it is said, through it one day, and struck, perhaps, by the looks of its inhabitants, asked what the street was called. The original appellation was so indecent that an officer of her guards, with courtly presence of mind, veiled it under its present title. One was known as the Rue Brise-miche, and the cleanliness of its inhabitants might instantly be judged of: a fifth was the Rue Trousse-vache, and one of the shops in it was adorned with an enormous sign of a red cow, with her tail sticking up in the air and her head reared in rampant sauciness. A notorious gambler, Thibault-au-dé, well known for his skill in loading dice, gave his name to one of these narrow veins of the town: Aubry, a wealthy butcher, is still immortalized in another: and the Rue du Petit Hurleur probably commemorated some wicked youngster, whose shouts were a greater nuisance to the neighbours than those of any of his companions.

A wider kind of street was the Rue de la Ferronerie, opening into the Rue St Denis, below the Church of the Innocents: it was the abode of all the tinkers and smiths of Paris, and had not Henri IV. been in a particular hurry that day, when he was posting off to old Sully in the Rue St Antoine, he had never gone this way, and Ravaillac, probably, had never been able to lean into the carriage and stab the king. Just over the spot where the murder was committed, the placid bust of the king still gazes on the busy scene beneath. The Rue de la Grande Truanderie, which was above the Innocents, must have been the rendez-vous of all the thieves and beggars of Paris, if there be any thing in a name: the old chronicles of the city relate, indeed, that it took a long time to respectabilize its neighbourhood; and they add that the herds of rogues and impostors who once lived in it took refuge, after their ejection, in the famous Cour des Miracles, a little higher up the Rue St Denis. We must not venture into this, the choicest preserve of Victor Hugo, whose [Pg 530] graphic description of its wonders in his Notre Dame needs hardly to be alluded to; but we may add, that there were several abodes of the same kind, all communicating with the Rue St Denis, and all equally infamous in their day, though now tenanted only by quiet button-makers and furniture-dealers. The real Puits d'Amour stood at the corner of the Rue de la Grande Truanderie, and took its name in sad truth from a crossing of true love. In the days of Philip Augustus, more than six hundred years ago, a beautiful young lady of the court, Agnes Hellebik, whose father held an important post under the king, was inveigled into the toils of love. The object of her affections, whether of noble birth or not, made her but a sorry return for her confidence: he loved her a while, and her dreams of happiness were realized; but by degrees his passion cooled, and at length he abandoned her. Stung with indignation, and broken-hearted at this thwarting of her soul's desire, the unfortunate young creature fled from her father's house, and betaking herself on a dark and stormy night to the brink of the well, commended her spirit to her Maker, and ended her troubles beneath its waters. The name of the Puits d'Amour was then given to the well; and no young maiden ever dared to draw water from it after sunset, for fear of the spirit that dwelt unquietly within. The tradition was always current in people's mouths; and three centuries after, a young man of the neighbourhood, who had been jilted and mocked by an inconstant mistress, determined to bear his ills no longer, so he rushed to the Puits, and took the fatal leap. The result was not what he anticipated: he did not, it is true, jump into a courtly assembly of knights and gallants, but he could not find water enough in it to drown him; while his mistress, on hearing of the mishap, hastened to the well with a cord, and promising to compensate him for his former woes, drew him with her fair hands safely into the upper regions. An inscription, in Gothic letters, was then placed over the well:—

"L'amour m'a refaict
En 1525 tout-à-faict."

The fate of Agnes Hellebik was far preferable to that of another young girl who lived in this quarter, indeed in the Rue Thibault-au-dé. Agnes du Rochier was the only daughter of one of the wealthiest merchants of Paris, and was admired by all the neighbourhood for her beauty and virtue. In 1403 her father died, leaving her the sole possessor of his wealth, and rumour immediately disposed of her hand to all the young gallants of the quarter; but whether it was that grief for the loss of her parent had turned her head, or that the gloomy fanaticism of that time had worked with too fatal effect on her pure and inexperienced imagination, she took not only marriage and the male sex into utter abomination, but resolved to quit the world for ever, and to make herself a perpetual prisoner for religion's sake. She determined, in short, to become what was then called a recluse, and as such to pass the remainder of her days in a narrow cell built within the wall of a church. On the 5th of October, accordingly, when the cell, only a few feet square, was finished in the wall of the church of St Opportune, Agnes entered her final abode, and the ceremony of her reclusion began. The walls and pillars of the sacred edifice had been hung with tapestry and costly cloths, tapers burned on every altar, the clergy of the capital and the several religious communities thronged the church. The Bishop of Paris, attended by his chaplains and the canons of Notre Dame, entered the choir, and celebrated a pontifical mass: he then approached the opening of the cell, sprinkled it with holy water, and after the poor young thing had bidden adieu to her friends and relations, ordered the masons to fill up the aperture. This was done as strongly as stone and mortar could make it; nor was any opening left, save only a small loophole through which Agnes might hear the offices of the church, and receive the aliments given her by the charitable. She was eighteen years old when she entered this living tomb, and she continued within it eighty years, till death terminated her sufferings! Alas, for mistaken piety! Her wealth, which she gave to the church, and her own personal exertions during so long a life, might have made her a blessing to all that quarter of the city, instead of remaining an useless object of compassion to the few, and of idle wonder to the many.

[Pg 531] Another entombment, almost as bad, occurred in the Rue St Denis, only five or six years ago. The cess-pools of modern Parisian houses are generally deep chambers, and sometimes wells, cut in the limestone rock on which the city stands: and in the absence of a good method of drainage, are cleaned out only once in every two or three years, according to their size. Meanwhile, they continue to receive all the filth of the building. One night, a large cess-pool had been emptied, and the aperture, which was in the common passage of the house on the ground floor, had been left open till the inspector appointed by the police should come round and see that the work had been properly executed. He came early in the morning, enquired carelessly of the porter if all was right, and ordered the stone covering to be fastened down. This was done amid the usual noise and talking of the workmen; and they went their way. That same afternoon, one of the lodgers in the house, a young man, was missed: days after days elapsed, and nothing was heard of him: his friends conjectured that he had drowned himself, but the tables of the Morgue never bore his body: and their despair was only equalled by their astonishment at the absence of every clue to his fate. On a particular evening, however, about three weeks after his disappearance, the porter was sitting at the door of his lodge, and the house as well as the street was unusually quiet, when he heard a faint groan somewhere beneath his feet. After a short interval he heard another; and being superstitious, got up, put his chair within the lodge, shut the door, and set about his work. At night he mentioned the circumstance to his wife, and going out with her into the passage, they had not stood there long before again a groan was heard. The good woman crossed herself and fell on her knees; but her husband, suspecting now that all was not right, and thinking that an attempt at infanticide had been made, by throwing a child's body down one of the passages leading to the cess-pool, (no uncommon occurrence in Paris,) resolved to call in the police. He did so without loss of time, the heavy stone covering was removed, and one of the attendants stooping down and lowering a lantern, as long as the stench would permit him, saw at the bottom, and at a considerable depth, something like a human form leaning against the side of the receptacle. Ropes and ladders were now immediately procured; two men went down, and in a few minutes brought up a body—it was that of the unfortunate young man who had been so long missing! Life was not quite extinct, for some motion of the limbs was perceptible, there was even one last low groan, but then all animation ceased for ever. The appearance of the body was most dreadful; the face was a livid green colour, the trunk looked like that of a man drowned, and kept long beneath the water, all brown and green—one of the feet had completely disappeared—the other was nearly half decomposed and gone; the hands were dreadfully lacerated, and told of a desperate struggle to escape: worms were crawling about; all was putrid and loathsome. How did this unfortunate young man come into so dreadful a position? was the question that immediately occurred; and the only answer that could be given was, that on the night of the cess-pool being emptied, the porter remembered this young man coming home very late, or rather early in the morning. He himself had forgotten to warn him of the aperture being uncovered, indeed he supposed that it would have been sufficiently seen by the lights left burning at its edge;—these had probably been blown out by the wind, and the young man had thus fallen in. That life should have been supported so long under such circumstances, seems almost incredible: but it is no less curious than true; for the porter was tried before the Correctional Tribunal for inadvertent homicide, the facts were adduced in evidence, and carelessness having been proved, he was sentenced to imprisonment for several weeks, and to a heavy fine.

Of churches and religious establishments, there were plenty in and about the Rue St Denis. Besides the great church of St Jacques, mentioned before, there were in the street itself the churches of the Holy Sepulchre, of St Leu, and St Gilles; of the Innocents; of the Saviour; and of St Jacques de l'Hôpital: while of conventual institutions, there were the Hospitals of St Catharine; of the [Pg 532] Holy Trinity; of the Filles de St Magloire; of the Filles Dieu; of the Community of St Chaumont; of the Sœurs de Charité; and of the great monastery of St Lazare. The fronts, or other considerable portions of those buildings, were all visible in the street, and added greatly to its antiquated appearance. The long irregular lines of gable roofs on either side, converging from points high above the spectator's head, until they met or crossed in a dim perspective, near the horizon, were broken here and there by the pointed front, or the tapering spire of a church or convent. A solemn gateway protruded itself at intervals into the street, and, with its flanking turrets and buttresses, gave broad masses of shade in perpendicular lines, strongly contrasted with the horizontal or diagonal patches of dark colour caused by the houses. At early morn and eve, a shrill tinkling of bells warned the neighbours of the sacred duties of many a secluded penitent, or admonished them that it was time to send up their own orisons to God. Before mid-day had arrived, and soon after it had passed, the deeper tones of a bourdon, from some of the parochial churches, invited the citizens to the sacrifice of the mass or the canticles of vespers. Not seldom the throngs of busy wordlings were forced to separate and give room to some holy procession, which, with glittering cross at the head, with often tossed and sweetly smelling censers at the side, with white-robed chanting acolyths, and reverend priests, in long line behind, came forth to take its way to some holy edifice. The zealous citizens would suspend their avocations for a while, would repeat a reverential prayer as the holy men went by, and then return to the absorbing calls of business, not unbenefited by the recollections just awakened in their minds. On the eves and on the mornings of holy festivals, business was totally suspended; the bells, great and small, rang forth their silvery sounds; the churches were crowded, the chapels glittered with blazing lights; the prayers of the priests and people rose with the incense before the high altar; the solemn organ swelled its full tones responsive to the loud-voiced choir; the curates thundered from the pulpits, to the edification of charitable congregations; and after all had been prostrated in solemn adoration of the Divine presence, the citizens would pour out into the street, and repair, some to their homes, some to the Palace of the Tournelles, with its towers and gardens guarded by the Bastille; others to the Louvre or to the Pré-aux-clercs, and the fields by the river side; others would stroll up the hill of Montmartre; and some in boats would brave the dangers of the Seine! On other and sadder occasions, the inhabitants of the Rue St Denis would quit their houses in earnestly talking groups, and would adjourn to the open space in front of the Halles. Here, on the top of an octagonal tower, some twenty feet high, and covered with a conical spire, between the openings of pointed arches, might be seen criminals with their heads and hands protruding through the wooden collar of the pillory. The guard of the provost, or the lieutenant of police, would keep off the noisy throng below, and the goodwives would discuss among themselves the enormities of the coin-clipper, the cut-purse, the incendiary, or the unjust dealer, who were exposed on those occasions for their delinquencies; while the offenders themselves, would—a few of them—hang down their heads, and close their eyes in the unsufferable agony of shame; but by far the greater number would shout forth words of bold defiance or indecent ribaldry, would protrude the mocking tongue, or spit forth curses with dire volubility. Then would rise the shouts of gamins, then would come the thick volley of eggs, fish-heads, butcher's-offal, and all the garbage of the market, aimed unerringly by many a strenuous arm at the heads of the culprits; and then the soldiers with their pertuisanes would make quick work among the legs of the retreating crowd, and the jailers would apply the ready lash to the backs of the hardened criminals aloft; and thus, the hour's exhibition ended, and the "king's justice" satisfied, away would the criminals be led, some on a hurdle to Montfauçon, and there hung on its ample gibbet, amid the rattling bones of other wretches; some would be hurried back to the Chastelet, or other prisons; and others would be sent off to work, chained to the oars of the royal galleys.

This was a common amusement of [Pg 533] the idlers of this quarter: but the passions of the mob, if they needed stronger excitement, had to find a scene of horrid gratification on the Place de Grève, opposite the Hotel de Ville, where at rare intervals a heretic would be burnt, a murderer hung, or a traitor quartered; but this spot of bloody memory lies far from the Rue St Denis, and we are not now called upon to reveal its terrible recollections: let us turn back to our good old street.

One of the most curious objects in it was the Church of the Innocents, with its adjoining cemetery, once the main place of interment for all the capital. The church lay at the north-eastern end of what is now the Marché des Innocents, and against it was erected the fountain which now adorns the middle of the market, and which was the work of the celebrated sculptor, Jean Goujon, and his colleague, the architect, Pierre Lescot. The former is said to have been seated at it, giving some last touches to one of the tall and graceful nymphs that adorn its high arched sides, on the day of the Massacre of St Bartholomew, when he was killed by a random shot from a Catholic zealot. The simple inscription which it still bears, Fontium Nymphis, is in better taste than that of any other among the numerous fountains of the French capital. The church itself (of which not the slightest vestige now remains) was not a good specimen of mediæval architecture, although it was large and richly endowed. It was founded by Philip Augustus, when he ordered the Jews to be expelled from his dominions, and seized on their estates—one of the most nefarious actions committed by a monarch of France. The absurd accusation, that the Jews used periodically to crucify and torture Christian children, was one of the most plausible pretexts employed by the rapacious king on this occasion; and, as a kind of testimonial that such had been his excuse, he founded this church; dedicated it to the Holy Innocents; and transferred hither the remains of a boy, named Richard, said to have been sacrificed at Pontoise by some unfortunate Jews, who expiated the pretended crime by the most horrible torments. St Richard's remains, (for he was canonized,) worked numerous miracles in the Church of the Innocents, or rather in the churchyard, where a tomb was erected over them; and so great was their reputation, that tradition says, the English, on evacuating Paris in the 15th century, carried off with them all but the little saint's head. Certain it is, that nothing but the head remained amongst the relics of this parish; and equally certain is it, that no Christian innocents have been sacrificed by those "circumcised dogs" either before or since, whether in France or England, or any other part of the world. It remained for the dishonest credulity of the present century, to witness the disgraceful spectacle of a French consul at Damascus, assisting at the torturing of some Jewish merchants under a similar accusation, and assuring his government of his belief in the confessions extorted by these inhuman means; and of many a party journal in Paris accrediting and re-echoing the tale. Had not British humanity intervened in aid of British policy, France had made this visionary accusation the ground of an armed intervention in Syria. The false accusers of the Jews of Damascus have indeed been punished; but the French consul, the Count de Ratti-Menton, has since been rewarded by his government with a high promotion in the diplomatic department!

Once more, "a truce to digression," let us see what the ancient cemetery of the Innocents was like. Round an irregular four-sided space, about five hundred feet by two, ran a low cloister-like building, called Les Charniers, or the Charnel Houses. It had originally been a cloister surrounding the churchyard; but, so convenient had this place of sepulture been found, from its situation in the heart of Paris, that the remains of mortality increased in most rapid proportion within its precincts, and it was continually found necessary to transfer the bones of long-interred, and long-forgotten bodies, to the shelter of the cloisters. Here, then, they were piled up in close order—the bones below and the skulls above; they reached in later times to the very rafters of these spacious cloisters all round, and heaps of skulls and bones lay in unseemly groups on the grass in the midst of the graveyard. At one corner of the church was a small grated window, where a recluse, like her of [Pg 534] St Opportune, had worn away forty-six years of her life, after one year's confinement as a preparatory experiment; and within the church was a splendid brass tomb, commemorating this refinement of the monastic virtues. At various spots about the cemetery, were erected obelisks and crosses of different dates, while against the walls of the church and cloister were affixed, in motley and untidy confusion, unnumbered tablets and other memorials of the dead. The suppression of this cemetery, just at the commencement of the Revolution, was a real benefit to the capital; and when the contents of the yard and its charnel-houses were removed to the catacombs south of the city, it was calculated that the remains of two millions of human beings rattled down the deep shafts of the stone pits to their second interment. In place of the cemetery, we now find the wooden stalls of the Covent Garden of Paris; low, dirty, unpainted, ill-built, badly-drained, stinking, and noisy; and their tenants are not better than themselves. Like their neighbours, the famous Poissardes, the Dames de la Halle as they are styled, are the quintessence of all that is disgusting in Paris. Covent Garden is worth a thousand of such markets, and Père la Chaise is an admirable substitute for the Cemetery of the Innocents.

High up in the Rue de Faubourg St Denis, which is only a continuation of the main street, just as Knightsbridge is of Piccadilly, stand the remains of the great convent and maladrerie of St Lazarus. In this religious house, all persons attacked with leprosy were received in former days, and either kept for life, if incurable, or else maintained until they were freed from that loathsome disease. From what cause we know not, (except that the House of St Lazarus was the nearest of any religious establishment to the walls of the capital,) the kings of France always made a stay of three days within its walls on their solemn inauguratory entrance into Paris, and their bodies always lay in state here before they were conveyed to the Abbey Church of St Denis. There was no lack of stiff ceremonial on these occasions; and, doubtless, the good fathers of the convent did not receive all the court within their walls without rubbing a little gold off the rich habits of the nobles. The king, on arriving at the Convent of St Lazare, proceeded to a part of the house allotted for this purpose, and called Le Logis du Roy, where, in a chamber of state, he took his seat beneath a canopy, surrounded by the princes of the blood-royal. The chancellor of France stood behind his majesty, to furnish him with replies to the different deputations that used to come with congratulatory addresses, and the receptions then commenced. They used to last from seven in the morning, without intermission, till four or five in the afternoon; there were the lawyers of the Chastelet, the Court of Aids, the Court of Accounts, and the Parliament, to say nothing of the city authorities and other constituted bodies. The addresses were no short unmeaning things, like those uttered in our poor cold times, but good long-winded harangues, some in French, some in Latin, and they went on, one after the other, for three days consecutively. On the third day, when the royal patience must have been wellnigh exhausted, and the chancellor's talents at reply worn tolerably threadbare, the king would rise, and mounting on horseback, would proceed to the cathedral church of Notre Dame, down the Rue St Denis. One of the best recorded of these royal entries is that of Louis XI. On this occasion, the king, setting out from a suburban residence in the Faubourg St Honoré, got along the northern side of Paris to the Convent of St Lazare; and thence, after the delay and the harangues of the three days—the real original glorious three days of the French monarchy—proceeded to the Porte St Denis. Here a herald met the monarch, and after the keys of the city had been presented by the provost, with long speeches and replies, the former officer introduced to his majesty five young ladies, all richly clad, and mounted on horses richly caparisoned, their housings bearing the arms of the city of Paris. Each young damsel represented an allegorical personage, and the initials of the names of their characters made up the word Paris. They each harangued the king, and their speeches, says an old chronicle, seemed "very agreeable" to the royal ears. Around the king, as he rode through the gateway, [Pg 535] were the princes and highest nobles of the land—the Dukes of Orleans, Burgundy, Bourbon, and Cleves: the Count of Charolois, eldest son of the Duke of Burgundy; the Counts of Angoulesme, St Paul, Dunois, and others; with, as a chronicle of the time relates, "autres comtes, barons, chevaliers, capitaines, et force noblesse, en très bel ordre et posture." All of these were mounted on horses of price, richly caparisoned, and covered with the finest housings; some were of cloth of gold furred with sable, others were of velvet or damask furred with ermine; all were enriched with precious stones, and to many were attached bells of silver gilt, with other "enjolivements." Over the gateway was a large ship, the armorial bearing of the city, and within it were a number of allegorical personages, with one who represented Louis XI. himself; in the street immediately within the gate was a party of savages and satyrs, who executed a mock-fight in honour of the approach of royalty. A little lower down came forth a troop of young women representing syrens; an old chronicle calls them, "Plusieurs belles filles accoustrées en syrenes, nues, lesquelles, en faisant voir leur beau sein, chantoient de petits motets de bergères fort doux et charmans." Near where these damsels stood was a fountain which had pipes running with milk, wine, and hypocras; at the side of the Church of the Holy Trinity was a tableau-vivant of the Passion of our Saviour, including a crucified Christ and two thieves, represented, as the chronicle states, "par personnages sans parler." A little further on was a hunting party, with dogs and a hind, making a tremendous noise with hautboys and cors-de-chasse. The butchers on the open place near the Chastelet, had raised some lofty scaffolds, and on them had erected a representation of the Bastille or Chateau of Dieppe. Just as the king passed by, a desperate combat was going on between the French besieging this chateau and the English holding garrison within; "the latter," adds the chronicle, "having been taken prisoners, had all their throats cut." Before the gate of the Chastelet, there were the personifications of several illustrious heroes; and on the Pont-au-Change, which was carpeted below, hung with arms at the sides, and canopied above for the occasion, stood the fowlers with their two hundred dozens of birds, ready to fly them as soon as the royal charger should stamp on the first stone. Such was a royal entry in those days of iron rule.

Before Louis XI.'s father, Charles VII., had any reasonable prospect of reigning in Paris as king, the English troops had to be driven out of the capital; and when the French forces had scaled the walls, and entered the city, A.D. 1436, the 1500 Englishmen who defended the place, had but little mercy shown them. Seeing that the game was lost, Sir H. Willoughby, captain of Paris, shut himself up with a part of the troops in the Bastille, accompanied by the Bishop of Therouenne, and Morhier, the provost of the city. The people rose to the cry of "Sainct Denys, Vive le noble Roy de France!" The constable of France, the Duke de Richemont, and the Bastard of Orleans, led them on; those troops that had been shut out of the Bastille, tried to make their way up the Rue St Denis, to the northern gateway, and so to escape on the road to Beauvais and England but the inhabitants stretched chains across the street, and men, women, and children, showered down upon them from the windows, chairs, tables, logs of wood, stones, and even boiling water; while others rushed in from behind and from the side streets, with arms in their hands, and the massacre of all the English fugitives ensued. A short time after, Sir H. Willoughby, and the garrison of the Bastille, not receiving succours from the commanders of the English forces, surrendered the fortress, and were allowed to retire to Rouen. As they marched out of Paris, the Bishop of Therouenne accompanied them, and the populace followed the troops, shouting out at the Bishop—"The fox! the fox!"—and at the English, "The tail! the tail!"

Another departure of a foreign garrison from Paris, took place in 1594, and this time in peaceable array, by the Rue St Denis. When Henry IV. had obtained possession of his capital, there remained in it a considerable body of Spanish troops, who had been sent into France to aid the chiefs of the League, and they were under [Pg 536] the command of the Duke de Feria. The reaction in the minds of the Parisians, after the misery of their siege, had been too sudden and too complete, to give the Spaniards any hope of holding out against the king; a capitulation was therefore agreed upon, the foreign forces were allowed to march out with the honours of war, and they were escorted with their baggage as far as the frontier. The king and his principal officers took post within the rooms over the Porte St Denis—then a square turreted building, with a pointed and portcullised gate and drawbridge beneath—to see the troops march out, and he stationed himself at the window looking down the street. First came some companies of Neapolitan infantry, with drums beating, standards flying, arms on their shoulders, but without having their matches lighted. Then came the Spanish Guards, in the midst of whom were the Duke de Feria, Don Diego d'Ibara, and Don Juan Baptista Taxis, all mounted on spirited Spanish chargers; while behind them marched the battalions of the Lansquenets, and the Walloons. As each company came up to the gateway, the soldiers, marching by fours, raised their eyes to the king, took off their headpieces, and bowed; the officers did the same, and Henry returned the salutation with the greatest courtesy. He was particular in showing this politeness, in the most marked manner, to the Duke de Feria and his noble companions, and when they were within hearing, cried out aloud, "Recommend me to your master, but never show your faces here again!" Some of the more obnoxious members of the League were allowed to retire with the Spaniards; and in the evening, bonfires were lighted in all the streets, and the Te Deum was sung on all the public places. The mediæval glory of the Porte St Denis vanished in the time of Louis XIV., where he unfortified the city, which one of his successors has taken such pains again to imprison within stone walls, and the present triumphal arch was erected upon its site. This modern edifice, it is well known, served for the entrance of Charles X. from Rheims, and, shortly after, for a post whence the trumpery patriots of 1830 contrived to annoy some of the cavalry who were fighting in the cause of the legitimacy and the true liberties of France. Many a barricade and many a skirmish has the Rue St Denis since witnessed!

All the churches have disappeared from the Rue St Denis except that of St Leu and St Gilles, a small building of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: all the convents have been rased to the ground except that of St Lazare. To this a far different destination has been given from what it formerly enjoyed: it is now the great female prison of the capital; and within its walls all the bread required for the prisons of Paris is baked, all the linen is made and mended. The prison consists of three distinct portions: one allotted for carrying on the bread and linen departments: a second for the detention of female criminals before conviction, or for short terms of imprisonment; and in this various light manufactures, such as the making of baskets, straw-plait, and the red phosphorus-match boxes, are carried on: the third is an hospital and house of detention for the prostitutes of the capital. We were once taken all through this immense establishment by the governor, who had the kindness to accompany us, and to explain every thing in person—a favour not often granted to foreigners—and a strong impression did the scenes we then saw leave. In the first two departments every thing was gloomy, orderly, and quiet: the prisoners were much fewer than we had expected—not above two hundred—many of them, however, were mere children; but the matrons were good kind of women and the work of reformation was going on rapidly to counteract the effects of early crime. In the third, though equal strictness of conduct on the part of the superiors prevailed, the behaviour of the inmates subjected to control was far different. The great majority had been confined there as hospital patients, not as offenders against the law, and they were divided into wards, according to their sanatory condition. Here they were very numerous; and a melancholy thing it was to see hundreds of wretched creatures wandering about their spacious rooms, or sitting up in their beds, with haggard looks, dishevelled hair, hardly any clothing, and a sort of reckless gaiety in their manner that spoke volumes as to their real condition. The [Pg 537] régime of this prison-hospital is found, however, to be on the whole most salutary: the seeds of good are sown with a few; the public health, as well as the public morals, has been notably improved; and from the time when a young painter employed in the prison was decoyed into this portion of it and killed within a few hours, the occurrence of deeds of violence within its walls has been very rare.

From the top of the Faubourg St Denis, all through the suburb of La Chapelle, the long line of modern habitations extends, without offering any points of historical interest. It is, indeed, a very commonplace, everyday kind of road, which hardly any Englishman that has jumbled along in the Messageries Royales can fail of recollecting. Nothing poetical, nothing romantic, was ever known to take place between the Barrière de St Denis and the town where the abbey stands. We know, however, of an odd occurrence upon this ground, towards the end of the thirteenth century, (we were not alive then, gentle reader,) strikingly illustrative of the superstition of the times. In 1274, the church of St Gervais, in Paris, was broken into one night by some sacrilegious dog, who ran off with the golden pix, containing the consecrated wafer or host. Not thinking himself safe within the city, away he went for St Denis—got without the city walls in safety, and made off as fast as he could for the abbatial town. Before arriving there, he thought he would have a look at the contents of the precious vessel, when, on his opening the lid, out jumped the holy wafer, up it flew into the air over his head, and there it kept dodging about, and bobbing up and down, behind the affrightened thief, and following him wherever he went. He rushed into the town of St Denis, but there was the wafer coming after him, and just above his head; whichever way he turned, there was the flying wafer. It was now broad daylight, and some of the inhabitants perceived the miracle. This was immediately reported by them to the abbot of the monastery. The holy father and his monks sallied forth; all saw the wafer as plain as they saw each others' shaven crowns. The man was immediately arrested; the pix was found on him, and the abbot, as a feudal seigneur, having the right of life and death within his own fief, had him hung up to the nearest tree within five minutes. The abbot then sent word to the Bishop of Paris of what had occurred; and the prelate, attended by the curates and clergy of the capital, went to St Denis to witness the miracle. But wonders were not to cease; there they found the abbot and monks looking up into the air; there was the wafer sticking up somewhere under the sun, and none of them could devise how they were to get it down again. The monks began singing canticles and litanies; the Parisian clergy did the same; still the wafer would not move a hair's breadth. At last they resolved to adjourn to the Abbey Church; and so they formed themselves into procession, and stepped forwards. The monks had reached the abbey door, the bishop and his clergy were following behind, and the clergy of St Gervais were just under the spot where the wafer was suspended, when, presto, down it popped into the hands of the little red-nosed curate. "Its mine!" cried the curate: "I'll have it!" shouted the bishop: "I wish you may get it," roared the abbot—and a regular scramble took place. But the little curate held his prize fast; his vicars stuck to him like good men and true; and they carried off their prize triumphant. The bishop and the abbot drew up a solemn memorial and covenant on the spot, whereby the wafer was legally consigned to its original consecrator and owner, the curate of St Gervais; and it was agreed that every 1st of September, the day of the miracle, a solemn office and procession of the Holy Sacrament should be celebrated within his church. The reverend father Du Breul, the grave historian of Paris, adds: "L'histoire du dit miracle est naifvement depeinte en une vitre de la chapelle Sainct Pierre d'icelle église, où sont aussi quelques vers François, contenans partie d'icelle histoire."

[Pg 538]


In days of old it was the remark of more than one philosopher, that, if it were possible to exhibit virtue in a personal form, and clothed with attributes of sense, all men would unite in homage to her supremacy. The same thing is true of other abstractions, and especially of the powers which work by social change. Could these powers be revealed to us in any symbolic incarnation—were it possible that, but for one hour, the steadfast march of their tendencies, their promises, and their shadowy menaces, could be made apprehensible to the bodily eye—we should be startled, and oftentimes appalled, at the grandeur of the apparition. In particular, we may say that the advance of civilization, as it is carried forward for ever on the movement continually accelerated of England and France, were it less stealthy and inaudible than it is, would fix, in every stage, the attention of the inattentive and the anxieties of the careless. Like the fabulous music of the spheres, once allowed to break sonorously upon the human ear, it would render us deaf to all other sounds. Heard or not heard, however, marked or not marked, the rate of our advance is more and more portentous. Old things are passing away. Every year carries us round some obstructing angle, laying open suddenly before us vast reaches of fresh prospect, and bringing within our horizon new agencies by which civilization is henceforth to work, and new difficulties against which it is to work; other forces for co-operation, other resistances for trial. Meantime the velocity of these silent changes is incredibly aided by the revolutions, both moral and scientific, in the machinery of nations; revolutions by which knowledge is interchanged, power propagated, and the methods of communication multiplied. And the vast aerial arches by which these revolutions mount continually to the common zenith of Christendom, so as to force themselves equally upon the greatest of nations and the humblest, express the aspiring destiny by which, already and irresistibly, they are coming round upon all other tribes and families of men, however distant in position, or alien by system and organization. The nations of the planet, like ships of war manœuvring prelusively to some great engagement, are silently taking up their positions, as it were, for future action and reaction, reciprocally for doing and suffering. And, in this ceaseless work of preparation or of noiseless combination, France and England are seen for ever in the van. Whether for evil or for good, they must be in advance. And if it were possible to see the relative positions of all Christendom, its several divisions, expressed as if on the monuments of Persepolis by endless evolutions of cities in procession or of armies advancing, we should be awakened to the full solemnity of our duties by seeing two symbols flying aloft for ever in the head of nations—two recognizances for hope or for fear—the roses of England and the lilies of France.

Reflections such as these furnish matter for triumphal gratulation, but also for great depression: and in the enormity of our joint responsibilities, we French and English have reason to forget the grandeur of our separate stations. It is fit that we should keep alive these feelings, and continually refresh them, by watching the everlasting motions of society, by sweeping the moral heavens for ever with our glasses in vigilant detection of new phenomena, and by calling to a solemn audit, from time to time, the national acts which are undertaken, or the counsels which in high places are avowed.

Amongst these acts and these counsels none justify a more anxious attention than such as come forward in the senate. It is true that great revolutions may brood over us for a long period without awakening any murmur or echo in Parliament; of which we have an instance in Puseyism, which is a power of more ominous capacities than the gentleness of its motions would lead men to suspect, and is well fitted (as hereafter we may show) to effect a volcanic explosion—such as may rend the Church of England by schisms more extensive and shattering than those which have recently [Pg 539] afflicted the Church of Scotland. Generally, however, Parliament becomes, sooner or later, a mirror to the leading phenomena of the times. These phenomena, to be valued thoroughly, must be viewed, indeed, from different stations and angles. But one of these aspects is that which they assume under the legislative revision of the people. It is more than ever requisite that each session of Parliament should be searched and reviewed in the capital features of its legislation. Hereafter we may attempt this duty more elaborately. For the present we shall confine ourselves to a hasty survey of some few principal measures in the late session which seem important to our social progress.

We shall commence our review by the fewest possible words on the paramount nuisance of the day—viz. the corn-law agitation. This is that question which all men have ceased to think sufferable. This is that "mammoth" nuisance of our times by which "the gaiety of nations is eclipsed." We are thankful that its "damnable iterations" have now placed it beyond the limits of public toleration. No man hearkens to such debates any longer—no man reads the reports of such debates: it is become criminal to quote them; and recent examples of torpor beyond all torpor, on occasion of Cobden meetings amongst the inflammable sections of our population, have shown—that not the poorest of the poor are any longer to be duped, or to be roused out of apathy, by this intolerable fraud. Full of "gifts and lies" is the false fleeting Association of these Lancashire Cottoneers. But its gifts are too windy, and its lies are too ponderous. To the Association is "given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;" and out of this mouth issues "fire," it is true, against all that is excellent in the land, but also "smoke"—as the consummation of its overtures. During many reigns of the Cæsars, a race of swindlers infested the Roman court, technically known as "sellers of smoke," and often punished under that name. They sold, for weighty considerations of gold, castles in the air, imaginary benefices, ideal reversions; and, in short, contracted wholesale or retail for the punctual delivery of unadulterated moonshine. Such a dealer, such a contractor, is the Anti-Corn-Law Association; and for such it has always been known amongst intelligent men. But its character has now diffused itself among the illiterate: and we believe it to be the simple truth at this moment, that every working man, whose attention has at any time been drawn to the question, is now ready to take his stand upon the following answer:—"We, that is our order, Mr Cobden, are not very strong in faith. Our faith in the Association is limited. So much, however, by all that reaches us, we are disposed to believe—viz. that ultimately you might succeed in reducing the price of a loaf, by three parts in forty-eight, which is one sixteenth; with what loss to our own landed order, and with what risk to the national security in times of war or famine, is no separate concern of ours. On the other hand, Mr Cobden, in your order there are said to be knaves in ambush; and we take it, that the upshot of the change will be this: We shall save three farthings in a shilling's worth of flour; and the honest men of your order—whom candour forbid that we should reckon at only twenty-five per cent on the whole—will diminish our wages simply by that same three farthings in a shilling; but the knaves (we are given to understand) will take an excuse out of that trivial change to deduct four, five, or six farthings; they will improve the occasion in evangelical proportions—some sixty-fold, some seventy, and some a hundred."

This is the settled practical faith of those hard-working men, who care not to waste their little leisure upon the theory of the corn-laws. It is this practical result only which concerns us; for as to the speculative logic of the case, as a question for economists, we, who have so often discussed it in this journal, (which journal, we take it upon us to say, has, from time to time, put forward or reviewed every conceivable argument on the corn question,) must really decline to re-enter the arena, and actum agere, upon any occasion ministered by Mr Cobden. Very frankly, we disdain to do so; and now, upon quitting the subject, we will briefly state why.

Mr Cobden, as we hear and believe, is a decent man—that is to say, upon any ground not connected with politics; equal to six out of any ten manufacturers you will meet in the [Pg 540] Queen's high road—whilst of the other four not more than three will be found conspicuously his superiors. He is certainly, in the senate, not what Lancashire rustics mean by a hammil sconce;[28] or, according to a saying often in the mouth of our French emigrant friends in former times, he "could not have invented the gun-powder, though perhaps he might have invented the hair-powder." Still, upon the whole, we repeat, that Mr Cobden is a decent man, wherever he is not very indecent. Is he therefore a decent man on this question of the corn-laws? So far from it, that we now challenge attention to one remarkable fact. All the world knows how much he has talked upon this particular topic; how he has itinerated on its behalf; how he has perspired under its business. Is there a fortunate county in England which has yet escaped his harangues? Does that happy province exist which has not reverberated his yells? Doubtless, not—and yet mark this: Not yet, not up to the present hour, (September 20, 1843,) has Mr Cobden delivered one argument properly and specially applicable to the corn question. He has uttered many things offensively upon the aristocracy; he has libelled the lawgivers; he has insulted the farmers; he has exhausted the artillery of political abuse: but where is the economic artillery which he promised us, and which, (strange to say!) from the very dulness of his theme making it a natural impossibility to read him, most people are willing to suppose that he has, after one fashion or other, actually discharged. The Corn-League benefits by its own stupidity. Not being read, every leaguer has credit for having uttered the objections which, as yet, he never did utter. Hence comes the popular impression, that from Mr Cobden have emanated arguments, of some quality or other, against the existing system. True, there are arguments in plenty on the other side, and pretty notorious arguments; but, pendente lite, and until these opposite pleas are brought forward, it is supposed that the Cobden pleas have a brief provisional existence—they are good for the moment. Not at all. We repeat that, as to economic pleas, none of any kind, good or bad, have been placed on the record by any orator of that faction; whilst all other pleas, keen and personal as they may appear, are wholly irrelevant to any real point at issue. In illustration of what we say, one (and very much the most searching) of Mr Cobden's questions to the farmers, was this—"Was not the object," he demanded, "was not the very purpose of all corn-laws alike—simply to keep up the price of grain? Well; had the English corn-laws accomplished that object? Had they succeeded in that purpose? Notoriously they had not; confessedly they had failed; and every farmer in the corn districts would avouch that often he had been brought to the brink of ruin by prices ruinously low." Now, we pause not to ask, why, if the law already makes the prices of corn ruinously low, any association can be needed to make it lower? What we wish to fix attention upon, is this assumption of Mr Cobden's, many times repeated, that the known object and office of our corn-law, under all its modifications, has been to elevate the price of our corn; to sustain it at a price to which naturally it could not have ascended. Many sound speculators on this question we know to have been seriously perplexed by this assertion of Mr Cobden's; and others, we have heard, not generally disposed to view that gentleman's doctrines with favour, who insist upon it, that, in mere candour, we must grant this particular postulate. "Really," say they, "that cannot be refused him; the law was for the purpose he assigns; its final cause was, as he tells us, to keep up artificially the price of our domestic corn-markets. So far he is right. But his error commences in treating this design as an unfair one, and, secondly, in denying that it has been successful. It has succeeded; and it ought to have succeeded. The protection sought for our agriculture was no more than it merited; and that protection has been faithfully realized."

We, however, vehemently deny [Pg 541] Mr Cobden's postulate in toto. He is wrong, not merely as others are wrong in the principle of refusing this protection, not merely on the question of fact as to the reality of this protection, (to enter upon which points would be to adopt that hateful discussion which we have abjured;) but, above all, he is wrong in assigning to corn-laws, as their end and purpose, an absolute design of sustaining prices. To raise prices is an occasional means of the corn-laws, and no end at all. In one word, what is the end of the corn-laws? It is, and ever has been, to equalize the prospects of the farmer from year to year, with the view, and generally with the effect, of drawing into the agricultural service of the nation, as nearly as possible, the same amount of land at one time as at another. This is the end; and this end is paramount. But the means to that end must lie, according to the accidents of the case, alternately through moderate increase of price, or moderate diminution of price. The besetting oversight, in this instance, is the neglect of the one great peculiarity affecting the manufacture of corn—viz. its inevitable oscillation as to quantity, consequently as to price, under the variations of the seasons. People talk, and encourage mobs to think, that Parliaments cause, and that Parliaments could heal if they pleased, the evil of fluctuation in grain. Alas! the evil is as ancient as the weather, and, like the disease of poverty, will cleave to society for ever. And the way in which a corn-law—that is, a restraint upon the free importation of corn—affects the case, is this:—Relieving the domestic farmer from that part of his anxiety which points to the competition of foreigners, it confines it to the one natural and indefeasible uncertainty lying in the contingencies of the weather. Releasing him from all jealousy of man, it throws him, in singleness of purpose, upon an effort which cannot be disappointed, except by a power to which, habitually, he bows and resigns himself. Secure, therefore, from all superfluous anxieties, the farmer enjoys, from year to year, a pretty equal encouragement in distributing the employments of his land. If, through the dispensations of Providence, the quantity of his return falls short, he knows that some rude indemnification will arise in the higher price. If, in the opposite direction, he fears a low price, it comforts him to know that this cannot arise for any length of time but through some commensurate excess in quantity. This, like other severities of a natural or general system, will not, and cannot, go beyond a bearable limit. The high price compensates grossly the defect of quantity; the overflowing quantity in turn compensates grossly the low price. And thus it happens that, upon any cycle of ten years, taken when you will, the manufacture of grain will turn out to have been moderately profitable. Now, on the other hand, under a system of free importation, whenever a redundant crop in England coincides (as often it does) with a similar redundancy in Poland, the discouragement cannot but become immoderate. An excess of one-seventh will cause a fall of price by three-sevenths. But the simultaneous excess on the Continent may raise the one-seventh to two-sevenths, and in a much greater proportion will these depress the price. The evil will then be enormous; the discouragement will be ruinous; much capital, much land, will be withdrawn from the culture of grain; and, supposing a two years' succession of such excessive crops, (which effect is more common than a single year's excess,) the result, for the third year, will be seen in a preternatural deficiency; for, by the supposition, the number of acres applied to corn is now very much less than usual, under the unusual discouragement; and according to the common oscillations of the season according to those irregularities that, in effect, are often found to be regular—this third year succeeding to redundant years may be expected to turn out a year of scarcity. Here, then, in the absence of a corn-law, comes a double deficiency—a deficiency of acres applied, from jealousy of foreign competition, and upon each separate acre a deficiency of crop, from the nature of the weather. What will be the consequence? A price ruinously high; higher beyond comparison than could ever have arisen under a temperate restriction of competition; that is, in other words, under a British corn-law.

Many other cases might be presented to the reader, and especially under the action of a doctrine repeatedly [Pg 542] pressed in this journal, but steadily neglected elsewhere—viz. the "devolution" of foreign agriculture upon lower qualities of land, (and consequently its permanent exaltation in price,) in case of any certain demand on account of England. But this one illustration is sufficient. Here we see that, under a free trade in corn, and in consequence of a free trade, ruinous enhancements of price would arise—such in magnitude as never could have arisen under a wise limitation of foreign competition. And further, we see that under our present system no enhancement is, or could be, absolutely injurious; it might be so relatively—it might be so in relation to the poor consumer; but in the mean time, that guinea which might be lost to the consumer would be gained to the farmer. Now, in the case supposed, under a free corn trade the rise is commensurate to the previous injury sustained by the farmer; and much of the extra bonus reaped goes to a foreign interest. What we insist upon, however, is this one fact, that alternately the British corn-laws have raised the price of grain and have sunk it; they have raised the price in the case where else there would have been a ruinous depreciation—ruinous to the prospects of succeeding years; they have sunk it under the natural and usual oscillations of weather to be looked for in these succeeding years. And each way their action has been most moderate. For let not the reader forget, that on the system of a sliding-scale, this action cannot be otherwise than moderate. Does the price rise? Does it threaten to rise higher? Instantly the very evil redresses itself. As the evil, i.e. the price, increases, in that exact proportion does it open the gate to relief; for exactly so does the duty fall. Does the price fall ruinously?—(in which case it is true that the instant sufferer is the farmer; but through him, as all but the short-sighted must see, the consumer will become the reversionary sufferer)—immediately the duty rises, and forbids an accessary evil from abroad to aggravate the evil at home. So gentle and so equable is the play of those weights which regulate our whole machinery, whilst the late correction applied even here by Sir Robert Peel, has made this gentle action still gentler; so that neither of the two parties—consumers who to live must buy, growers who to live must sell—can, by possibility, feel an incipient pressure before it is already tending to relieve itself. It is the very perfection of art to make a malady produce its own medicine—an evil its own relief. But that which here we insist on, is, that it never was the object of our own corn-laws to increase the price of corn; secondly, that the real object was a condition of equipoise which abstractedly is quite unconnected with either rise of price or fall of price; and thirdly, that, as a matter of fact, our corn-laws have as often reacted to lower the price, as directly they have operated to raise it; whilst eventually, and traced through succeeding years, equally the raising and the lowering have co-operated to that steady temperature (or nearest approximation to it allowed by nature) which is best suited to a comprehensive system of interests. Accursed is that man who, in speaking upon so great a question, will seek, or will consent, to detach the economic considerations of that question from the higher political considerations at issue. Accursed is that man who will forget the noble yeomanry we have formed through an agriculture chiefly domestic, were it even true that so mighty a benefit had been purchased by some pecuniary loss. But this it is which we are now denying. We affirm peremptorily, and as a fact kept out of sight only by the neglect of pursuing the case through a succession of years under the natural fluctuation of seasons, that, upon the series of the last seventy years, viewed as a whole, we have paid less for our corn by means of the corn-laws, than we should have done in the absence of such laws. It was, says Mr Cobden, the purpose of such laws to make corn dear; it is, says he, the effect, to make it cheap. Yes, in the last clause his very malice drove him into the truth. Speaking to farmers, he found it requisite to assert that they had been injured; and as he knew of no injury to them other than a low price, that he postulated at the cost of his own logic, and quite forgetting that if the farmer had lost, the consumer must have gained in that very ratio. Rather than not assert a failure quoad the intention of the corn-laws, he actually asserts a national benefit quoad the result. And, in a [Pg 543] rapture of malice to the lawgivers, he throws away for ever, at one victorious sling, the total principles of an opposition to the law.[29]

But enough, and more than enough, of THE nuisance. It will be expected, however, that we should notice two collateral points, both wearing an air of the marvellous, which have grown out of the nuisance during the recent session. One is the relaxation of our laws with respect to Canadian corn; a matter of no great importance in itself, but furnishing some reasons for astonishment in regard to the disproportioned opposition which it has excited. Undoubtedly the astonishment is well justified, if we view the measure for what it was really designed by the minister—viz. as a momentary measure, suited merely to the current circumstances of our relation to Canada. Long before any evil can arise from it, through changes in these circumstances, the law will have been modified. Else, and having, regard to the remote contingencies of the case (possible or probable) rather than to its instant certainties, we are disposed to think, that the irritation which this little anomalous law has roused amongst some of the landholders, is not quite so unaccountable, or so disproportionate, as the public have been taught to imagine. True it is, that for the present, lis est de paupere regno. Any surplus of grain which, at this moment, Canada could furnish, must be quite as powerless upon our home markets, as the cattle, living or salted which have been imported under the tariff in 1842 and 1843. But the fears of Canada potentially, were not therefore unreasonable, because the actual Canada is not in a condition for instantly using her new privileges. Corn, that hitherto had not been grown, both may be grown, and certainly will be grown, as soon as the new motive for growing it, the new encouragement, becomes operatively known. Corn, again, that from local difficulties did not find its way to eastern markets, will do so by continual accessions, swelling gradually into a powerful stream, as the many improvements of the land and water communication, now contemplated, or already undertaken, come into play. Another fear connects itself with possible evasions of the law by the United States. Cross an imaginary frontier line, and that will become Canadian which was not Canadian by its origin. We are told, indeed, that merely by its bulk, grain will always present an obstacle to any extensive system of smuggling. But obstacles are not impossibilities. And these obstacles, it must be remembered, are not founded in the vigilance of revenue officers, but simply in the cost; an [Pg 544] element of difficulty which is continually liable to change. So that upon the whole, and as applying to the reversions of the case, rather than to its present phenomena, undoubtedly there are dangers a-head to our own landed interest from that quarter of the horizon. For the present, it should be enough to say, that these dangers are yet remote. And perhaps it would have been enough under other circumstances. But it is the tendency of the bill which suggests alarm. All changes in our day tend to the consummation of free trade: and this measure, travelling in that direction, reasonably becomes suspicious by its principle, though innocent enough by its immediate operation.

The other point connected with the corn question is personal. Among the many motions and notices growing out of the dispute, which we hold it a matter of duty to neglect, was one brought forward by Lord John Russell. Upon what principle, or with what object? Strange to say, he refused to explain. That it must be some modification applied to a fixed duty, every body knew; but of what nature Lord John declined to tell us, until he should reach a committee which he had no chance of obtaining. This affair, which surprised every body, is of little importance as regards the particular subject of the motion. But in a more general relation, it is worthy of attention. No man interested in the character and efficiency of Parliament, can fail to wish that there may always exist a strong opposition, vigilant, bold, unflinching, full of partizanship, if you will, but uniformly suspending the partizanship at the summons of paramount national interests, and acting harmoniously upon some systematic plan. How little the present unorganized opposition answers to this description, it is unnecessary to say. The nation is ashamed of a body so determinately below its functions. But Lord John Russell is individually superior to his party. He is a man of sense, of information, and of known official experience. Now, if he, so notoriously the wise man of "her Majesty's Opposition," is capable of descending to harlequin caprices of this extreme order, the nation sees with pain, that a constitutional function of control is extinct in our present senate, and that her Majesty's Ministers must now be looked to as their own controllers. With the levity of a child, Lord John makes a motion, which, if adopted, would have landed him in defeat; but through utter want of judgment and concert with his party, he does not get far enough to be defeated: he does not succeed in obtaining the prostration for which he manœuvres; but is saved from a final exposure of his little statesmanship by universal mockery of his miserable partizanship. Alas for the times in which Burke and Fox wielded the forces of Parliamentary opposition, and redoubled the energies of Government by the energies of their enlightened resistance!

In quitting the subject of the corn agitation, (obstinately pursued through the session,) we may remark—and we do so with pain—that all laws whatsoever, strong or lax, upon this question are to be regarded as provisional. The temper of society being what it is, some small gang of cotton-dealers, moved by the rankest self-interest, finding themselves suffered to agitate almost without opposition, and the ancient landed interest of the country, if not silenced, being silent, it is felt by all parties that no law, in whatever direction, upon this great problem, can have a chance of permanence. The natural revenge which we may promise ourselves is—that the lunacies of the free-trader, when acted upon, as too surely they will be, may prove equally fugitive. Meantime, it is not by provisional acts, or acts of sudden emergency, that we estimate the service of a senate. It is the solemn and deliberate laws, those which are calculated for the wear and tear of centuries, which hold up a mirror to the legislative spirit of the times.

Of laws bearing this character, if we except the inaugural essays at improving the law of libel, and at founding a system of national education, of which the latter has failed for the present in a way fitted to cause some despondency, the last session offers us no conspicuous example, beyond the one act of Lord Aberdeen for healing and tranquillizing the wounds of the Scottish church. Self-inflicted these wounds undeniably were; but they were not the less severe on that account, nor was the contagion of spontaneous martyrdom on that account the less likely to [Pg 545] spread. In reality, the late astonishing schism in the Scottish church (astonishing because abrupt) is, in one respect, without precedent. Every body has heard of persecutions that were courted; but in such a case, at least, the spirit of persecution must have had a local existence, and to some extent must have uttered menaces—or how should those menaces have been defied? Now, the "persecutions," before which a large section of the Scottish church has fallen by an act of spontaneous martyrdom, were not merely needlessly defied, but were originally self-created; they were evoked, like phantoms and shadows, by the martyrs themselves, out of blank negations. Without provocation ab extra, without warning on their own part, suddenly they place themselves in an attitude of desperate defiance to the known law of the land. The law firmly and tranquilly vindicates itself; the whole series of appeals is threaded; the original judgment, as a matter of course, is finally re-affirmed—and this is the persecution insinuated; whilst the necessity of complying with that decision, which does not express any novelty even to the extent of a new law, but simply the ordinary enforcement of an old one, is the kind of martyrdom resulting. The least evil of this fantastic martyrdom, is the exit from the pastoral office of so many persons trained, by education and habit, to the effectual performance of the pastoral duties. That loss—though not without signal difficulty, from the abruptness of the summons—will be supplied. But there is a greater evil which cannot be healed—the breach of unity in the church. The scandal, the offence, the occasion of unhappy constructions upon the doctrinal soundness of the church, which have been thus ministered to the fickle amongst her own children—to the malicious amongst her enemies, are such as centuries do not easily furnish, and centuries do not remove. In all Christian churches alike, the conscientiousness which is the earliest product of heartfelt religion, has suggested this principle, that schism, for any cause, is a perilous approach to sin; and that, unless in behalf of the weightiest interests or of capital truths, it is inevitably criminal. And in connexion with this consideration, there arise two scruples to all intelligent men upon this crisis in the Scottish church, and they are scruples which at this moment, we are satisfied, must harass the minds of the best men amongst the seceders—viz. First, whether the new points contended for, waiving all controversy upon their abstract doctrinal truth, are really such, in practical virtue, that it could be worth purchasing them at the cost of schism? Secondly, supposing a good man to have decided this question in the affirmative for a young society of Christians, for a church in its infancy, which, as yet, might not have much to lose in credit or authentic influence—whether the same free license of rupture and final secession could belong to an ancient church, which had received eminent proofs of Divine favour through a long course of spiritual prosperity almost unexampled? Indeed, this last question might suggest another paramount to the other two—viz. not whether the points at issue were weighty enough to justify schism and hostile separation, but whether those points could even be safe as mere speculative credenda, which, through so long a period of trial, and by so memorable a harvest of national services, had been shown to be unnecessary?

Very sure we are, that no eminent servant of the Scottish church could abandon, without anguish of mind, the multitude of means and channels, that great machinery for dispensing living truths, which the power and piety of the Scottish nation have matured through three centuries of pure Christianity militant. Solemn must have been the appeal, and searching, which would force its way to the conscience on occasion of taking the last step in so sad an exodus from the Jerusalem of his fathers. Anger and irritation can do much to harden the obduracy of any party conviction, especially whilst in the centre of fiery partisans. But sorrow, in such a case, is a sentiment of deeper vitality than anger; and this sorrow for the result will co-operate with the original scruples on the casuistry of the questions, to reproduce the demur and the struggle many times over, in consciences of tender sensibility.

Exactly for men in this state of painful collision with their own higher nature, is Lord Aberdeen's bill likely to furnish the bias which can give rest to their agitations, and firmness to [Pg 546] their resolutions. The bill, according to some, is too early, and, according to others, too late. Why too early? Because, say they, it makes concessions to the church, which as yet are not proved to be called for. These concessions travel on the very line pursued by the seceders, and must give encouragement to that spirit of religious movement which it has been found absolutely requisite to rebuke by acts of the legislature. Why, on the other hand, is Lord Aberdeen's bill too late? Because, three years ago, it would, or it might, have prevented the secession. But is this true? Could this bill have prevented the secession? We believe not. Lord Aberdeen, undoubtedly, himself supposes that it might. But, granting that this were true, whose fault is it that a three years' delay has intercepted so happy a result? Lord Aberdeen assures us that the earlier success of the bill was defeated entirely by the resistance of the Government at that period, and chiefly by the personal resistance of Lord Melbourne. Let that minister be held responsible, if any ground has been lost that could have been peacefully pre-occupied against the schism. This, however, seems to us a chimera. For what is it that the bill concedes? Undoubtedly it restrains and modifies the right of patronage. It grants a larger discretion to the ecclesiastical courts than had formerly been exercised by the usage. Some contend, that in doing so the bill absolutely alters the law as it stood heretofore, and ought, therefore, to be viewed as enactory; whilst others maintain that is simply a declaratory bill, not altering the law at all, but merely expressing, in fuller or in clearer terms, what had always been law, though silently departed from by the usage, which, from the time of Queen Anne, had allowed a determinate preponderance to the rights of property in the person of the patron. Those, indeed, who take the former view, contending that it enacts a new principle of law, very much circumscribing the old right of patronage, insist upon it that the bill virtually revokes the decision of the Lords in the Auchterarder case. Technically and formally speaking, this is not true; for the presbytery, or other church court, is now tied up to a course of proceeding which at Auchterarder was violently evaded. The court cannot now peremptorily challenge the nominee in the arbitrary mode adopted in that instance. An examination must be instituted within certain prescribed limits. But undoubtedly the contingent power of the church court, in the case of the nominee not meeting the examination satisfactorily, is much larger now, under the new bill, than it was under the old practice; so that either this practice must formerly have swerved from the letter of the law, or else the new law, differing from the old, is really more than declaratory. Yet, however this may be, it is clear that the jurisdiction of the church in the matter of patronage, however ample it may seem as finally ascertained or created by the new bill, falls far within the extravagant outline marked out by the seceders. We argue, therefore, that it could not have prevented their secession even as regards that part of their pretensions; whilst, as regards the monstrous claim to decide in the last resort what shall be civil and what spiritual—that is, in a question of clashing jurisdiction, to settle on their own behalf where shall fall the boundary line—it may be supposed that Lord Aberdeen would no more countenance their claim in any point of practice, than all rational legislators would countenance it as a theory. How, therefore, could this bill have prevented the rent in the church, so far as it has yet extended? On the other hand, though apparently powerless for that effect, it is well calculated to prevent a second secession. Those who are at all disposed to follow the first seceders, stand in this situation. By the very act of adhering to the Establishment when the ultra party went out, they made it abundantly manifest that they do not go to the same extreme in their requisitions. But, upon any principle which falls short of that extreme being at all applicable to this church question, it is certain that Lord Aberdeen's measure will be found to satisfy their wishes; for that measure, if it errs at all, errs by conceding too much rather than too little. It sustains all objections to a candidate on their own merit, without reference to the quarter from which they arise, so long as they are relevant to the proper qualifications of a parish clergyman. It gives effect to every argument that can [Pg 547] reasonably be urged against a nominee—either generally, on the ground of his moral conduct, his orthodoxy, and his intellectual attainments; or specially, in relation to his fitness for any local varieties of the situation. A Presbyterian church has always been regarded as, in some degree, leaning to a republican character, but a republic may be either aristocratic or democratic: now, Lord Aberdeen has favoured the democratic tendency of the age by making the probationary examination of the candidate as much of a popular examination, and as open to the impression of objections arising with the body of the people, as could be done with any decent regard either to the rights yet recognised in the patron, or, still more, to the professional dignity of the clerical order.

Upon the whole, therefore, we look upon Lord Aberdeen as a national benefactor, who has not only turned aside a current running headlong into a revolution, but in doing this exemplary service, has contrived to adjust the temperament very equitably between, 1st, the individual nominee, having often his livelihood at stake; 2dly, the patron, exercising a right of property interwoven with our social system, and not liable to any usurpation which would not speedily extend itself to other modes of property; 3dly, the church, considered as the trustee or responsible guardian of orthodoxy and sound learning; 4thly, the same church considered as a professional body, and, therefore, as interested in upholding the dignity of each individual clergyman, and his immunity from frivolous cavils, however much against him they are interested in detecting his insufficiency; and, 5thly, the body of the congregation, as undoubtedly entitled to have the qualifications of their future pastor rigorously investigated. All these separate claims, embodied in five distinct parties, Lord Aberdeen has delicately balanced and fixed in a temperate equipoise by the machinery of his bill. Whilst, if we enquire for the probable effects of this bill upon the interests of pure and spiritual religion, the promise seems every way satisfactory. The Jacobinical and precipitous assaults of the Non-intrusionists upon the rights of property are summarily put down. A great danger is surmounted. For if the rights of patrons were to be arbitrarily trampled under foot on a pretence of consulting for the service of religion; on the next day, with the same unprincipled levity, another party might have trampled on the patrimonial rights of hereditary descent, on primogeniture, or any institution whatever, opposed to the democratic fanaticism of our age. No patron can now thrust an incompetent or a vicious person upon the religious ministrations of the land. It must be through their own defect of energy, if any parish is henceforth burdened with an incumbent reasonably obnoxious. It must be the fault of the presbytery or other church court, if the orthodox standards of the church are not maintained in their purity. It must be through his own fault, or his own grievous defects, if any qualified candidate for the church ministry is henceforth vexatiously rejected. It must be through some scandalous oversight in the selection of presentees, if any patron is defeated of his right to present.

Contrast with these great services the menaces and the tendencies of the Non-Intrusionists, on the assumption that they had kept their footing in the church. It may be that, during this generation, from the soundness of the individual partisans, the orthodox standards of the church would have been maintained as to doctrine. But all the other parties interested in the church, except the church herself, as a depositary of truth, would have been crushed at one blow. This is apparent, except only with regard to the congregation of each parish. That body, it may be thought, could not but have benefited by the change; for the very motive and the pretence of the movement arose on their behalf. But mark how names disguise facts, and to what extent a virtual hostility may lurk under an apparent protection. Lord Aberdeen, because he limits the right of the congregation, is supposed to destroy it; but in the mean time he secures to every parish in Scotland a true and effectual influence, so far as that body ought to have it, (that is, negatively,) upon the choice of its pastor. On the other hand, the whole storm of the Non-intrusionists was pointed at those who refused to make the choice of a pastor altogether popular. It was the people, [Pg 548] considered as a congregation, who ought to appoint the teacher by whom they were to be edified. So far, the party of seceders come forward as martyrs to their democratic principles. And they drew a colourable sanction to their democracy from the great names of Calvin, Zuinglius, and John Knox. Unhappily for them, Sir William Hamilton has shown, by quotations the most express and absolute from these great authorities, that no such democratic appeal as the Non-intrusionists have presumed, was ever contemplated for an instant by any one amongst the founders of the Reformed churches. That Calvin, whose jealousy was so inexorable towards princes and the sons of princes—that John Knox, who never "feared the face of man that was born of woman"—were these great Christian champions likely to have flinched from installing a popular tribunal, had they believed it eligible for modern times, or warranted by ancient times? In the learning of the question, therefore, Non-intrusionists showed themselves grossly wrong. Meantime it is fancied that at least they were generously democratic, and that they manifested their disinterested love of justice by creating a popular control that must have operated chiefly against their own clerical order. What! is that indeed so? Now, finally, take another instance how names belie facts. The people were to choose their ministers; the council for election of the pastor was to be a popular council abstracted from the congregation: but how? but under what conditions? but by whom abstracted? Behold the subtle design:—This pretended congregation was a small faction; this counterfeit "people" was the petty gathering of COMMUNICANTS; and the communicants were in effect within the appointment of the clergyman. They formed indirectly a secret committee of the clergy. So that briefly, Lord Aberdeen, whilst restraining the popular courts, gives to them a true popular authority; and the Non-intrusionists, whilst seeming to set up a democratic idol, do in fact, by dexterous ventriloquism, throw their own all-potential voice into its passive organs.

We may seem to owe some apology to our readers for the space which we have allowed to this great moral émeute in Scotland. But we hardly think so ourselves. For in our own island, and in our own times, nothing has been witnessed so nearly bordering on a revolution. Indeed, it is painful to hear Dr Chalmers, since the secession, speaking of the Scottish aristocracy in a tone of scornful hatred, not surpassed by the most Jacobinical language of the French Revolution in the year 1792. And, if this movement had not been checked by Parliament, and subsequently by the executive Government, in its comprehensive provision for the future, by the measure we have been reviewing, we cannot doubt that the contagion of the shock would have spread immediately to England, which part of the island has been long prepared and manured, as we might say, for corresponding struggles, by the continued conspiracy against church-rates. In both cases, an attack on church property, once allowed to prosper or to gain any stationary footing, would have led to a final breach in the life and serviceable integrity of the church.

Of the Factory bill, we are sorry that we are hardly entitled to speak. In the loss of the educational clauses, that bill lost all which could entitle it to a separate notice; and, where the Government itself desponds as to any future hope of succeeding, private parties may have leave to despair. One gleam of comfort, however, has shone out since the adjournment of Parliament. The only party to the bitter resistance under which this measure failed, whom we can sincerely compliment with full honesty of purpose—viz. the Wesleyan Methodists—have since expressed (about the middle of September) sentiments very like compunction and deep sorrow for the course they felt it right to pursue. They are fully aware of the malignity towards the Church of England, which governed all other parties to the opposition excepting themselves; and in the sorrowful result of that opposition, which has terminated in denying all extension of education to the labouring youth of the nation, they have learned (like the conscientious men that they are) to suspect the wisdom and the ultimate principle of the opposition itself. Fortunately, they are a most powerful body; to express regret for what they have done, [Pg 549] and hesitation at the casuistry of those motives which reconciled them to their act at the moment is possibly but the next step to some change in their counsels; in which case this single body, in alliance with the Church of England, would be able to carry the great measure which has been crushed for the present by so unexampled a resistance. Much remains to be said, both upon the introductory statements of Lord Ashley, with which (in spite of our respect for that nobleman) we do not coincide, and still more upon the extensive changes, and the principles of change, which must be brought to bear upon a national system of education, before it can operate with that large effect of benefit which so many anticipate from its adoption. But this is ample matter for a separate discussion.

Lastly, let us notice the Irish Arms' bill; which, amongst the measures framed to meet the momentary exigence of the times, stands foremost in importance. This is one of those fugitive and casual precautions, which, by intense seasonableness, takes its rank amongst the permanent means of pacification. Bridling the instant spirit of uproar, carrying the Irish nation over that transitional state of temptation, which, being once gone by, cannot, we believe, be renewed for generations, this, with other acts in the same temper, will face whatever peril still lingers in the sullen rear of Mr O'Connell's dying efforts. For that gentleman, personally, we believe him to be nearly extinct. Two months ago we expressed our conviction, so much the stronger in itself for having been adopted after some hesitation, that Sir Robert Peel had taken the true course for eventually and finally disarming him. We are thankful that we have now nothing to recant. Progress has been made in that interval towards that consummation, quite equal to any thing we could have expected in so short a lapse of weeks. Mr O'Connell is now showing the strongest symptoms of distress, and of conscious approach to the condition of "check to the king." Of these symptoms we will indicate one or two. In January 1843, he declared solemnly that an Irish Parliament should instal itself at Dublin before the year closed. Early in May, he promised that on the anniversary of that day the great change should be solemnized. On a later day in May, he proclaimed that the event would come off (according to a known nautical mode of advertising the time of sailing) not upon a settled day of that month but "in all May" of 1844. Here the matter rested until August 12, when again he shifted his day to the corresponding day of 1844. But September arrived, and then "before those shoes were old" in which he had made his promise, he declares by letter, to some correspondent, that he must have forty-three months for working out his plan. Anther symptom, yet more significant, is this: and strange to say it has been overlooked by the daily press. Originally he had advertised some pretended Parliament of 300 Irishmen, to which admission was to be had for each member by a fee of L.100. And several journals are now telling him that, under the Convention Act, he and his Parliament will be arrested on the day of assembling. Not at all. They do not attend to his harlequin motions. Already he has declared that this assembly, which was to have been a Parliament, is only to be a conciliatory committee, an old association under some new name, for deliberating on means tending to a Parliament in some future year, as yet not even suggested.

May we not say, after such facts, that the game is up? The agitation may continue, and it may propagate itself. But for any interest of Mr O'Connell's, it is now passing out of his hands.

In the joy with which we survey that winding up of the affair, we can afford to forget the infamous display of faction during the discussion of the Arms' bill. Any thing like it, in pettiness of malignity, has not been witnessed during this century: any thing like it, in impotence of effect, probably will not be witnessed again during our times. Thirteen divisions in one night—all without hope, and without even a verbal gain! This conduct the nation will not forget at the next election. But in the mean time the peaceful friends of this yet peaceful empire rejoice to know, that without war, without rigour, without an effort that could disturb or agitate—by mere silent precautions, and the sublime magnanimity of simply fixing upon the guilty conspirator one steadfast eye [Pg 550] of vigilant preparation, the conspiracy itself is melting into air, and the relics of it which remain will soon become fearful only to him who has evoked it.

The game, therefore, is up, if we speak of the purposes originally contemplated. This appears equally from the circumstances of the case without needing the commentary of Mr O'Connell, and from the acts no less than the words of that conspirator. True it is—and this is the one thing to be feared—that the agitation, though extinct for the ends of its author, may propagate itself through the maddening passions of the people, now perhaps uncontrollably excited. Tumults may arise, at the moment when further excitement is impossible, simply through that which is already in operation. But that stage of rebellion is open at every turn to the coercion of the law: and it is not such a phasis of conspiracy that Mr O'Connell wishes to face, or can face. Speaking, therefore, of the real objects pursued in this memorable agitation, we cannot but think that as the roll of possible meetings is drawing nearer to exhaustion, as all other arts fail, and mere written addresses are renewed, (wanting the inflammatory contagion of personal meetings, and not accessible to a scattered peasantry;) but above all, as the day of instant action is once again adjourned to a period both remote and indefinite, the agitation must be drooping, and virtually we may repeat that the game is up. But the last moves have been unusually interesting. Not unlike the fascination exercised over birds by the eye of the rattlesnake, has been the impression upon Mr O'Connell from the fixed attention turned upon him by Government. What they did was silent and unostentatious; more, however, than perhaps the public is aware of in the way of preparation for an outbreak. But the capital resource of their policy was, to make Mr O'Connell deeply sensible that they were watching him. The eye that watched over Waterloo was upon him: for six months that eagle glance has searched him and nailed him: and the result, as it is now revealing itself, may at length be expressed in the two lines of Wordsworth otherwise applied—

"The vacillating bondsman of the Pope
Shrinks from the verdict of that steadfast eye."

Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.


[1] A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive; being a connected view of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation. By John Stuart Mill. In two volumes. London: Parker.

[2] Necessary truths multiply on us very fast. "We maintain," says Mr Whewell, "that this equality of mechanical action and reaction is one of the principles which do not flow from, but regulate, our experience. A mechanical pressure, not accompanied by an equal and opposite pressure, can no more be given by experience than two unequal right angles. With the supposition of such inequalities, space ceases to be space, form ceases to be form, matter ceases to be matter." And again he says, "That the parallelogram of forces is a necessary truth;" a law of motion of which we surely can conceive its opposite to be true. In some of these instances Mr Whewell appears, by a confusion of thought, to have given to the physical fact the character of necessity which resides in the mathematical formula employed for its expression. Whether a moving body would communicate motion to another body—whether it would lose its own motion by so doing—or what would be the result if a body were struck by two other bodies moving in different directions—are questions which, if they could be asked us prior to experience, we could give no answer whatever to—which we can easily conceive to admit of a quite different answer to that which experience has taught us to give.

[3] Travels of Kerim Khan; being a narrative of his Journey from Delhi to Calcutta, and thence by Sea to England: containing his remarks upon the manners, customs, laws, constitutions, literature, arts, manufactures, &c., of the people of the British Isles. Translated from the original Oordu—(MS.)

[4] Shalwarlek—"tight trousers"—was a phrase used, under the old Turkish régime, as equivalent to a blackguard.

[5] The Moslems, and other natives of India descended from foreign races, are properly called Hindustanis, while the aborigines are the Hindus—a distinction not well understood in Europe. The former take their name from the country, as natives of Hindustan, which has derived its own name from the latter, as being the country of the Hindus.

[6] Journal of a Residence of Two Years and a Half in Great Britain, by Jehangeer Nowrojee and Hirjeebhoy Merwanjee of Bombay, Naval Architects. London: 1841.

[7] Many of our readers must have seen the beautiful ivory model of this far-famed edifice, lately exhibited in Regent Street, and now, we believe, in the Cambridge University museum. It is fortunate that so faithful a miniature transcript of the beauties of the Taj is in existence, since the original is doomed, as we are informed, to inevitable ruin at no distant period, from the ravages of the white ants on the woodwork.

[8] These sacred footmarks are more numerous among the Buddhists than the Moslems—the most celebrated is that on the summit of Adam's Peak, in Ceylon.

[9] Most of the principal cities of India, in addition to the ancient name by which they are popularly known, have another imposed by the Moslems:—thus Agra is Akbarabad, the residence of Akbar—Delhi, Shahjehanabad; and Patna, Azimabad. In some instances, as Dowlutabad in the Dekkan, the Hindu name of which is Deogiri, the Mohammedan appellation has superseded the ancient name; but, generally speaking, the latter is that in common use.

[10] "So called from Kali, the Hindu goddess, and kata, laughter; because human victims were formerly here sacrificed to her."

[11] From the sanctity attached by Oriental ideas to the privacy of the harem, it is a high crime and misdemeanour, punishable by law in all Moslem countries, to erect buildings overlooking the residence of a neighbour. At Constantinople, there is an officer called the Minar Aga, or superintendent of edifices, whose especial duty it is to prevent this.

[12] "Almost immediately on leaving Allahabad," (on his way from Calcutta to the Upper Provinces,) "I was struck with the appearance of the men, as tall and muscular as the largest stature of Europeans; and with the fields of wheat, almost the only cultivation."—Heber's Journal, vol. iii. "Some of our boatmen passing through a field of Indian corn, plucked two or three ears, certainly not enough to constitute a theft, or even a trespass. Two of the men, however, who were watching, ran after them, not as the Bengalis would have done, to complain with joined hands, but with stout bamboos, prepared to do themselves justice par voye de faict. The men saved themselves by swimming off to the boat; but my servants called out to them—'Ah! dandee folk, beware, you are now in Hindustan; the people here know well how to fight, and are not afraid.'"

[13] "I told his (Pertab Chund's) father, that it was wrong to keep him where he then was, and he told me to take him down to the river. He was lifted up on his bedding; his speech was not very distinct at that time, but sufficiently so to call on the name of his T'hakoor, (spiritual guide,) which he did as desired; he then began to shiver, and complained of being very cold. I was one of those who went with the rajah to the river side. Jago Mohun Dobee pressed his legs under the water, and kept them so; and about 10 p.m. his soul quitted the body. When he died, his knees were under water, but the rest of his body above." Evidence of Radha Sircar and Sham Chum Baboo, before the Mofussil Court of Hoogly, September 1838, in the enquiry on the impostor Kistololl, who personated the deceased Pertab.

[14] Tazîya, literally grief, is an ornamental shrine erected in Moslem houses during the Mohurrum, and intended to represent the mausoleum of Hassan and Hussein, at Kerbelah in Persia. On the 10th and last day of the mourning, the tazîyas are carried in procession to the outside of the city, and finally deposited with funeral rites in the burying-grounds.—See Mrs Meer Hassan Ali's Observations on the Mussulmans of India. Letter I.

[15] Reminiscences of Syria. By Colonel E. Napier.

[16] Modern Painters—their Superiority in the Art of Landscape Painting to all the Ancient Masters, &c. &c. By a Graduate of Oxford.

[17] From a rough calculation taken from the returns of those left dead on the fields of battle in which Napoleon commanded, from Montenotte to Waterloo, we make the amount 1,811,500; and if we add those who died subsequently of their wounds in the petty skirmishes, the losses in which are not reported, and in the naval fights, of which, though Napoleon was not present, he was the cause, the number given in the text will be far under the mark. A picture of the fathers, mothers, wives, children, and relatives of these victims, receiving the news of their death, would give a lively idea of the benefits conferred upon the world by Napoleon.

[18] Nov. Org. Aph. 29.

[19] Impetus Philosophici, p. 681.

[20] In any thing we have above said, we trust it is unnecessary to disclaim the slightest intention of discouraging those whose want of conventional advantages only renders their merit more conspicuous; we find fault not with the uneducated for cultivating science, but with the educated for neglecting it.

[21] Cours de Philosophie Positive, vol. ii. p. 409.

[22] Each Fellow can, indeed, by express permission of the Society, take with him two friends.

[23] An anonymous author, who has attracted some attention in France, in commenting on the rejection of Victor Hugo, and the election of a physician, says—that nothing could be more natural or proper, as the senility and feebleness of the Académie made it more in want of a physician than a poet.

[24] Edin. Rev. No. 159.

[25] Brewster's Life of Newton, p. 35.

[26] Carlyle on Hero Worship.

[27] Commentaries, vol. i. p. 277.

[28] A hammil sconce, or light of the hamlet, is the picturesque expression in secluded parts of Lancashire for the local wise man, or village counsellor.

[29] Those who fancy a possible evasion of the case supposed above, by saying, that if a failure, extensive as to England, should coincide with a failure extensive as to Poland, remedies might be found in importing from many other countries combined, forget one objection, which is decisive—these supplementary countries must be many, and they must be distant. For no country could singly supply a defect of great extent, unless it were a defect annually and regularly anticipated. A surplus never designed as a fixed surplus for England, but called for only now and then, could never be more than small. Therefore the surplus, which could not be yielded by one country, must be yielded by many. In that proportion increase the probabilities that a number will have no surplus. And, secondly, from the widening distances, in that proportion increases the extent of shipping required. But now, even from Mr Porter, a most prejudiced writer on this question, and not capable of impartiality in speaking upon any measure which he supposes hostile to the principle of free trade, the reader may learn how certainly any great hiatus in our domestic growth of corn is placed beyond all hope of relief. For how is this grain, this relief, to be brought? In ships, you reply. Ay, but in what ships? Do you imagine that an extra navy can lie rotting in docks, and an extra fifty thousand of sailors can be held in reserve, and borne upon the books of some colossal establishment, waiting for the casual seventh, ninth, or twelfth year in which they may be wanted—kept and paid against an "in case," like the extra supper, so called by Louis XIV., which waited all night on the chance that it might be wanted? That, you say, is impossible. It is so; and yet without such a reserve, all the navies of Europe would not suffice to make up such a failure of our home crops as is likely enough to follow redundant years under the system of unlimited competition.—See Porter.

Transcriber's Note

Minor typographic errors have been corrected. Please note there is some archaic spelling, which has been retained as printed. There are a few snippets of Greek, a few instances of the letter a with macron (straight line) over it, and some oe ligatures; you may need to adjust your settings for these to display correctly.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No.
CCCXXXVI. October, 1843. Vol. LIV., by Various


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