The Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1,
No. 3, August, 1850., by Various

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 3, August, 1850.

Author: Various

Release Date: August 10, 2009 [EBook #29655]

Language: English

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[Pg 289]



No. III.—AUGUST, 1850.—VOL. I.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article. Table of contents has been created for the HTML version.



[From the Art-Journal.]




While living in the neighborhood of Chelsea, we determined to look upon the few broken walls that once inclosed the residence of Sir Thomas More, a man who, despite the bitterness inseparable from a persecuting age, was of most wonderful goodness as well as intellectual power. We first read over the memories of him preserved by Erasmus, Hoddesdon, Roper, Aubrey, his own namesake, and others. It is pleasant to muse over the past; pleasant to know that much of malice and bigotry has departed, to return no more, that the prevalence of a spirit which could render even Sir Thomas More unjust and, to seeming, cruel, is passing away. Though we do implicitly believe there would be no lack of great hearts, and brave hearts, at the present day, if it were necessary to bring them to the test, still there have been few men like unto him. It is a pleasant and a profitable task, so to sift through past ages, so to separate the wheat from the chaff, to see, when the feelings of party and prejudice sink to their proper insignificance, how the morally great stands forth in its own dignity, bright, glorious, and everlasting. St. Evremond sets forth the firmness and constancy of Petronius Arbiter in his last[Pg 290] moments, and imagines he discovers in them a softer nobility of mind and resolution, than in the deaths of Seneca, Cato, or Socrates himself; but Addison says, and we can not but think truly, "that if he was so well pleased with gayety of humor in a dying man, he might have found a much more noble instance of it in Sir Thomas More, who died upon a point of religion, and is respected as a martyr by that side for which he suffered." What was pious philosophy in this extraordinary man, might seem frenzy in any one who does not resemble him as well in the cheerfulness of his temper as in the sanctity of his life and manners.

Oh, that some such man as he were to sit upon our woolsack now; what would the world think, if when the mighty oracle commanded the next cause to come on, the reply should be, "Please your good lordship, there is no other!" Well might the smart epigrammatist write:

When More some time had chancellor been,
No more suits did remain;
The same shall never more be seen,
Till More be there again!

We mused over the history of his time until we slept, and dreamed: and first in our dream we saw a fair meadow, and it was sprinkled over with white daisies, and a bull was feeding therein; and as we looked upon him he grew fatter and fatter, and roared in the wantonness of power and strength, so that the earth trembled; and he plucked the branches off the trees, and trampled on the ancient inclosures of the meadow, and as he stormed, and bellowed, and destroyed, the daisies became human heads, and the creature flung them about, and warmed his hoofs in the hot blood that flowed from them and we grew sick and sorry at heart, and thought, is there no one to slay the destroyer? And when we looked again, the Eighth Harry was alone in the meadow; and, while many heads were lying upon the grass, some kept perpetually bowing before him, while others sung his praises as wise, just, and merciful. Then we heard a trumpet ringing its scarlet music through the air, and we stood in the old tilt-yard at Whitehall, and the pompous Wolsey, the bloated king, the still living Holbein, the picturesque Surrey, the Aragonian Catharine, the gentle Jane, the butterfly Anne Bullen, the coarse-seeming but wise-thinking Ann of Cleves the precise Catherine Howard, and the stout hearted Catherine Parr, passed us so closely by, that we could have touched their garments; then a bowing troop of court gallants came on; others whose names and actions you may read of in history; and then the hero of our thoughts, Sir Thomas More—well dressed, for it was a time of pageants—was talking somewhat apart to his pale-faced friend Erasmus, while "Son Roper," as the chancellor loved to call his son-in-law, stood watchfully and respectfully a little on one side. Even if we had never seen the pictures Holbein painted of his first patron, we should have known him by the bright benevolence of his aspect, the singular purity of his complexion, his penetrating yet gentle eyes, and the incomparable grandeur with which virtue and independence dignified even an indifferent figure. His smile was so catching that the most broken-hearted were won by it to forget their sorrows; and his voice, low and sweet though it was, was so distinct, that we heard it above all the coarse jests, loud music, and trumpet calls of the vain and idle crowd. And while we listened, we awoke; resolved next day to make our pilgrimage, perfectly satisfied at the outset, that though no fewer than four houses in Chelsea contend for the honor of his residence, Doctor King's arguments in favor of the site being the same as that of Beaufort House—upon the greater part of which now stands Beaufort-row—are the most conclusive; those who are curious in the matter can go and see his manuscripts in the British Museum. Passing Beaufort-row, we proceeded straight on to the turn leading to the Chelsea Clock-house.


[Pg 291]

It is an old, patched-up, rickety dwelling, containing, perhaps, but few of the original stones, yet interesting as being the lodge-entrance to the offices of Beaufort-House; remarkable, also, as the dwelling of a family of the name of Howard, who have occupied it for more than a hundred years, the first possessor being gardener to Sir Hans Sloane, into whose possession, after a lapse of years, and many changes, a portion of Sir Thomas More's property had passed. This Howard had skill in the distilling of herbs and perfumes, which his descendant carries on to this day. We lifted the heavy brass knocker, and were admitted into the "old clock-house." The interior shows evident marks of extreme age, the flooring being ridgy and seamed, bearing their marks with a discontented creaking, like the secret murmurs of a faded beauty against her wrinkles! On the counter stood a few frost-bitten geraniums, and drawers, containing various roots and seeds, were ranged round the walls, while above them were placed good stout quart and pint bottles of distilled waters. The man would have it that the "clock-house" was the "real original" lodge-entrance to "Beaufort House;" and so we agreed it might have been, but not, "perhaps" built during Sir Thomas More's lifetime. To this insinuation he turned a deaf ear, assuring us that his family, having lived there so long, must know all about it, and that the brother of Sir Hans Sloane's gardener had made the great clock in old Chelsea Church, as the church books could prove. "You can, if you please," he said, "go under the archway at the side of this house, leading into the Moravian chapel and burying-ground, where the notice, that 'within are the Park-chapel Schools,' is put up." And that is quite true; the Moravians now only use the chapel which was erected in their burying-ground to perform an occasional funeral service in, and so they "let it" to the infant school. The burying-ground is very pretty in the summer time. Its space occupies only a small portion of the chancellor's garden; part of its walls are very old, and the south one certainly belonged to Beaufort House. There have been some who trace out a Tudor arch and one or two Gothic windows as having been filled up with more modern mason-work: but that may be fancy. There seems no doubt that the Moravian chapel stands on the site of the old stables.

"Then," we said, "the clock-house could only have been at the entrance to the offices." The man looked for a moment a little hurt at this observation, as derogatory to the dignity of his dwelling, but he smiled, and said. "Perhaps so;" and very good-naturedly showed us the cemetery of this interesting people. Indeed, their original settlement in Chelsea is quite a romance. The chapel stands to the left of the burying-ground, which is entered by a primitive wicket-gate; it forms a square of thick grass, crossed by broad gravel walks, kept with the greatest neatness The tombstones are all that, and the graves not raised above the level of the sward. They are of two sizes only: the larger for grown persons, the smaller for children. The inscriptions on the grave-stones, in general, seldom record more than the names and ages of the persons interred. The men are buried in one division, the women in another. We read one or two of the names, and they were quaint and strange: "Anne Rypheria Hurloch;" "Anna Benigna La Trobe;" and one was especially interesting, James Gillray, forty years sexton to this simple cemetery, and father of Gillray, the H. B. of the past century. One thing pleased us mightily, the extreme old age to which the dwellers in this house seemed to have attained.

A line of ancient trees runs along the back of the narrow gardens of Milman's-row, which is parallel with, but further from town than Beaufort-row, and affords a grateful shade in the summer time. We resolved to walk quietly round, and then enter the chapel. How strange the changes of the world! The graves of a simple, peace-loving, unambitious people were lying around us, and yet it was the place which Erasmus describes as "Sir Thomas More's estate, purchased at Chelsey," and where "he built him a house, neither mean nor subject to envy, yet magnificent and commodious enough." How dearly he loved this place, and how much care he bestowed upon it, can be gathered from the various documents still extant.[1] The bravery with which, soon after he was elected a burgess to parliament, he opposed a subsidy demanded by Henry the Seventh, with so much power that he won the parliament to his opinion,[Pg 292] and incensed the king so greatly, that, out of revenge, he committed the young barrister's father to the Tower, and fined him in the fine of a hundred pounds! That bravery remained with him to the last, and with it was mingled the simplicity which so frequently and so beautifully blends with the intellectuality that seems to belong to a higher world than this. When he "took to marrying," he fancied the second daughter of a Mr. Colt, a gentleman of Essex; yet when he considered the pain it must give the eldest to see her sister preferred before her, he gave up his first love, and framed his fancy to the elder. This lady died, after having brought him four children; but his second choice, Dame Alice, has always seemed to us a punishment and a sore trial. And yet how beautifully does Erasmus describe his mode of living in this very place: "He converseth with his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his three daughters and their husbands, with eleven grandchildren. There is not a man living so affectionate to his children as he. He loveth his old wife as if she were a young maid; he persuadeth her to play on the lute, and so with the like gentleness he ordereth his family. Such is the excellence of his temper, that whatsoever happeneth that could not be helped, he loveth, as if nothing could have happened more happily. You would say there was in that place Plato's academy; but I do his house an injury in comparing it to Plato's academy, where there were only disputations of numbers and geometrical figures, and sometimes of moral virtues. I should rather call his house a school or university of Christian religion; for, though there is none therein but readeth and studyeth the liberal sciences, their special care is piety and virtue."[2]


The king was used to visit his "beloved chancellor" here for days together to admire his terrace overhanging the Thames, to row in his state barge, to ask opinions upon divers matters, and it is said that the royal answer to Luther was composed under the chancellor's revising eye. Still, the penetrating vision of Sir Thomas was in no decree obscured by this glitter. One day the king came unexpectedly to Chelsea, and having dined, walked with Sir Thomas for the space of an hour, in the garden, having his arm about his neck. We pleased ourselves with the notion that they walked where then we stood! Well might such condescension cause his son Roper—for whom he entertained so warm an affection—to congratulate his father upon such condescension, and to remind him that he had never seen his majesty approach such familiarity with any one, save once, when he was seen to walk arm in arm with Cardinal Wolsey. "I thank our Lord," answered Sir Thomas, "I find his grace my very good lord, indeed; and I do believe, he[Pg 293] doth as singularly love me as any subject within the realm; however, son Roper, I may tell thee I have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head should win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go off."

With the exception of his own family (and his wife formed an exception here), there are few indeed of his contemporaries, notwithstanding the eulogiums they are prone to heap upon him, who understood the elevated and unworldly character of this extraordinary man.

The Duke of Norfolk, coming one day to dine with him, found him in Chelsea Church, singing in the choir, with his surplice on. "What! what!" exclaimed the duke, "what, what, my Lord Chancellor a parish clerk! a parish clerk! you dishonor the king and his office." And how exquisite his reply, "Nay, you may not think your master and mine will be offended with me for serving God his master, or thereby count his office dishonored." Another reply to the same abject noble, is well graven on our memory. He expostulated with him, like many of his other friends, for braving the king's displeasure. "By the mass, Master More," he said, "it is perilous striving with princes; therefore, I wish you somewhat to incline to the king's pleasure, for 'indignatio Principis mors est.'" "And is that all, my lord?" replied this man, so much above all paltry considerations; "then in good faith the difference between your grace and me is but this—that I may die to-day, and you to-morrow."


He took great delight in beautifying Chelsea Church, although he had a private chapel of his own; and when last there they told us the painted window had been his gift. It must have been a rare sight to see the chancellor of England sitting with the choir; and yet there was a fair share of pomp in the manner of his servitor bowing at his lady's pew, when the service of the mass was ended, and saying, "My lord is gone before." But the day after he resigned the great seal of England (of which his wife knew nothing), Sir Thomas presented himself at the pew-door, and, after the fashion of his servitor, quaintly said, "Madam, my lord is gone." The vain woman could not comprehend his meaning, which, when, during their short walk home, he fully explained, she was greatly pained thereby, lamenting it with exceeding bitterness of spirit.

We fancied we could trace a gothic door or window in the wall; but our great desire would have been to discover the water-gate from which he took his departure the morning he was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath of supremacy. True to what he believed right, he offered up his prayers and confessions in Chelsea Church, and then, returning to his own house, took an affectionate farewell of his wife and children, forbidding them to accompany hum to the water-gate, as was their custom, fearing, doubtless, that his mighty heart could not sustain a prolonged interview. Who could paint the silent parting between him and all he loved so well—the boat waiting at the foot of the stairs—the rowers in their rich liveries, while their hearts, heavy with apprehension for the fate of him they served, still trusted that nothing could be found to harm so good a master—the pale and earnest countenance of "son Roper," wondering at the calmness, at such a time, which more than all other things, bespeaks the master mind. For a moment his hand lingered on the gate, and in fastening the simple latch his fingers trembled, and then he took his seat by his son's side; and in another moment the boat was flying through the waters. For some time he spoke no word, but communed with and strengthened his great heart by holy thoughts; then looking straight into his son Roper's eyes, while his own brightened with a glorious triumph, he exclaimed in the fullness of his rich-toned voice, "I thank our Lord the field is[Pg 294] won." It was no wonder that, overwhelmed with apprehension, his son-in-law could not apprehend his meaning then, but afterward bethought him that he signified how he had conquered the world.

The abbot of Westminster took him that same day into custody, on his refusal to "take the king as head of his Church;" and upon his repeating this refusal four days afterward, he was committed to the Tower. Then, indeed, these heretofore bowers of bliss echoed to the weak and wavering complaints of his proud wife, who disturbed him also in his prison by her desires, so vain and so worldly, when compared with the elevated feelings of his dear daughter Margaret.

How did the fond, foolish woman seek to shake his purpose! "Seeing," she said, "you have a house at Chelsea, a right fair house, your library, your gallery, your garden, your orchard, and all other necessaries so handsome about you, where you might in company with me, your wife, your children, and household, be merry, I marvel that you who have been always taken for so wise a man, can be content thus to be shut up among mice and rats, and, too, when you might be abroad at your liberty, and with the favor and good-will both of the king and his council, if you would but do as all the bishops and best learned men of the realm have done."

And then not even angered by her folly, seeing how little was given her to understand, he asked her if the house in Chelsea was any nearer Heaven than the gloomy one he then occupied? ending his pleasant yet wise parleying with a simple question:

"Tell me," he said, "good Mistress Alice, how long do you think might we live and enjoy that same house?"

She answered, "Some twenty years."

"Truly," he replied, "if you had said some thousand years, it might have been somewhat; and yet he were a very bad merchant who would put himself in danger to lose eternity for a thousand years. How much the rather if we are not sure to enjoy it one day to an end?"

It is for the glory of women that his daughter Margaret, while she loved and honored him past all telling, strengthened his noble nature; for, writing him during his fifteen months' imprisonment in the Tower, she asks, in words not to be forgotten, "What do you think, most dear father, doth comfort us at Chelsey, in this your absence? Surely, the remembrance of your manner of life passed among us—your holy conversation—your wholesome counsels—your examples of virtue, of which there is hope that they do not only persevere with you, but that they are, by God's grace, much more increased."

After the endurance of fifteen months' imprisonment, he was arraigned, tried, and found guilty of denying the king's supremacy.

Alack! is there no painter of English history bold enough to immortalize himself by painting this trial? Sir Thomas More was beheaded on Tower Hill, in the bright sunshine of the month of July, on its fifth day, 1535, the king remitting the disgusting quartering of the quivering flesh, because of his "high office." When told of the king's "mercy," "Now, God forbid," he said, "the king should use anymore such to any of my friends; and God bless all my posterity from such pardons."

One man of all the crowd who wept at his death, reproached him with a decision he had given in Chancery. More, nothing discomposed, replied, that if it were still to do, he would give the same decision. This happened twelve months before. And, while the last scene was enacting on Tower-Hill, the king, who had walked in this very garden with his arm round the neck, which, by his command, the ax had severed, was playing at Tables in Whitehall, Queen Anne Bullen looking on; and when told that Sir Thomas More was dead, casting his eyes upon the pretty fool that had glittered in his pageants, he said, "Thou art the cause of this man's death." The COWARD! to seek to turn upon a thing so weak as that, the heavy sin which clung to his own soul!


Some say the body lies in Chelsea Church, beneath the tomb we have sketched—the epitaph having been written by himself before he anticipated the manner of his death.[3] It is too[Pg 295] long to insert; but the lines at the conclusion are very like the man. The epitaph and poetry are in Latin: we give the translation:

"For Alice and for Thomas More's remains
Prepared, this tomb Johanna's form contains
One, married young; with mutual ardor blest,
A boy and three fair girls our joy confest.
The other (no small praise) of these appear'd
As fond as if by her own pangs endeared.
One lived with me, one lives in such sweet strife,
Slight preference could I give to either wife.
Oh! had it met Heaven's sanction and decree,
One hallowed bond might have united three;
Yet still be ours one grave, one lot on high!
Thus death, what life denied us, shall supply."

Others tell that his remains were interred in the Tower,[4] and some record that the head was sought and preserved by that same daughter Margaret, who caused it to be buried in the family vault of the Ropers in St. Dunstan's Church, Canterbury;[5] and they add a pretty legend how that, when his head was upon London Bridge, Margaret would be rowed beneath it, and, nothing horrified at the sight, say aloud, "That head has layde many a time in my lappe; would to God, would to God, it would fall into my lappe as I pass under now," and the head did so fall, and she carried it in her "lappe" until she placed it in her husband's, "son Roper's" vault, at Canterbury.

The king took possession of these fair grounds at Chelsea, and all the chancellor's other property, namely, Dunkington, Trenkford, and Benley Park, in Oxfordshire, allowing the widow he had made, twenty pounds per year for her life, and indulging his petty tyranny still more, by imprisoning Sir Thomas's daughter, Margaret, "both because she kept her father's head for a relic, and that she meant to set her father's works in print."

We were calling to mind more minute particulars of the charities and good deeds of this great man, when, standing at the moment opposite a grave where some loving hand had planted two standard rose-trees, we suddenly heard a chant of children's voices, the infant scholars singing their little hymn; the tune, too, was a well-known and popular melody, and very sweet, yet sad of sound; it was just such music, as for its simplicity, would have been welcome to the mighty dead; and, as we entered among the little songsters, the past faded away, and we found ourselves speculating on the hopeful present.

We close Mrs. Hall's pleasant sketches of Sir Thomas More and his localities, with a brief description of a scene in his prison, which the pencil of Mr. Herbert, of the Royal Academy, has beautifully depicted. It must be remembered that More was a zealous Roman Catholic. He was committed to the Tower in 1534, by the licentious Henry VIII., partly to punish him for refusing to assist that monarch[Pg 296] in his marriage with Anne Boleyn, "the pretty fool," as Mrs. Hall calls her; but particularly because he declined to acknowledge the king's ecclesiastical supremacy as head of the Reformed Church. There he remained until his execution the following year. "During his imprisonment," says his son-in-law and biographer, Roper, who married his favorite daughter Margaret, "one day, looking from his window, he saw four monks (who also had refused the oath of supremacy) going to their execution, and regretting that he could not bear them company, said: 'Look, Megge, dost thou not see that these blessed fathers be now going as cheerful to their death, as bridegrooms to their marriage? By which thou may'st see, myne own good daughter, what a great difference there is between such as have spent all their days in a religious, hard, and penitential life, and such as have (as thy poore father hath done) consumed all their time in pleasure and ease;'" and so he proceeded to enlarge on their merits and martyrdom. His grandson, Cresacre More, referring to this scene, says, "By which most humble and heavenly meditation, we may easily guess what a spirit of charity he had gotten by often meditation, that every sight brought him new matter to practice most heroical resolutions."



[1] After the death of More, this favorite home of his, where he had so frequently gathered "a choice company of men distinguished by their genius and learning," passed into the rapacious hands of his bad sovereign, and by him was presented to Sir William Pawlet, ultimately Lord High Treasurer and Marquis of Winchester; from his hands it passed into Lord Dacre's, to whom succeeded Lord Burghley; then followed his son, the Earl of Salisbury, as its master; from him it passed successively to the Earl of Lincoln, Sir Arthur Gorges, the Earl of Middlesex, Villiers duke of Buckingham, Sir Bulstrode Whitelock, the second Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Bristol, the Duke of Beaufort, and ultimately to Sir Hans Slonne, who obtained it in 1738, and after keeping it for two years razed it to the ground; an unhappy want of reverence on the part of the great naturalist for the home of so many great men. There is a print of it by J. Knyff, in 1699, which is copied (p. 292); it shows some old features, but it had then been enlarged and altered. Erasmus has well described it as it was in More's lifetime. It had "a chapel, a library, and a gallery, called the New Buildings, a good distance from his main house, wherein his custom was to busy himself in prayer and meditation, whensoever he was at leisure." Heywood, in his II Moro (Florence, 1556), describes "the garden as wonderfully charming, both from the advantages of its site, for from one part almost the whole of the noble city of London was visible, and from the other the beautiful Thames, with green meadows by woody eminences all around, and also for its own beauty, for it was crowned with an almost perpetual verdure." At one side was a small green eminence to command the prospect.

[2] The conduct of this great man's house was a model to all, and as near an approach to his own Utopia as might well be. Erasmus says, "I should rather call his house a school or university of Christian religion, for though there is none therein but readeth and studyeth the liberal sciences, their special care is piety and virtue; there is no quarreling or intemperate words heard; none seen idle; which household discipline that worthy gentleman doth not govern, but with all kind and courteous benevolence." The servant-men abode on one side of the house, the women on another, and met at prayer-time, or on church festivals, when More would read and expound to them. He suffered no cards or dice, but gave each one his garden-plot for relaxation, or set them to sing or play music. He had an affection for all who truly served him, and his daughters' nurse is as affectionately remembered in his letters when from home as are they themselves. "Thomas More sendeth greeting to his most dear daughters Margaret, Elizabeth, and Cecily; and to Margaret Giggs, as dear to him as if she were his own," are his words in one letter; and his valued and trustworthy domestics appear in the family pictures of the family by Holbein. They requited his attachment by truest fidelity and love; and his daughter Margaret, in her last passionate interview with her father on his way to the Tower, was succeeded by Margaret Giggs and a maid-servant, who embraced and kissed their condemned master, "of whom, he said after, it was homely but very lovingly done." Of these and other of his servants, Erasmus remarks, "after Sir Thomas More's death, none ever was touched with the least suspicion of any evil fame."

[3] Wood and Weaver both affirm that the body of More was first deposited in the Tower Chapel, but was subsequently obtained by his devoted and accomplished daughter, Margaret Roper, and re-interred in Chelsea Church, in the tomb he had finished in 1532, the year in which he had surrendered the chancellorship, and resolved to abide the issue of his conscientious opposition to the king's wishes, as if he felt that the tomb should then be prepared.

[4] Faulkner, in his history of Chelsea, adheres to this opinion, and says that the tomb in that church is but "an empty cenotaph." His grandson, in his Life, says, "his body was buried in the Chapel of St. Peter, in the Tower, in the belfry, or, as some say, as one entereth into the vestry;" and he does not notice the story of his daughter's re-interment of it elsewhere.

[5] The Ropers lived at Canterbury, in St Dunstan's-street. The house is destroyed, and a brewery occupies its site; but the picturesque old gateway, of red brick, still remains, and is engraved above. Margaret Roper, the noble-hearted, learned, and favorite daughter of More resided here with her husband, until her death, in 1544, nine years after the execution of her father, when she was buried in the family vault at St. Dunstan's, where she had reverently placed the head of her father. The story of her piety is thus told by Cresacre More, in his life of his grandfather, Sir Thomas: "His head having remained about a month upon London Bridge, and being to be cast into the Thames, because room should be made for divers others, who, in plentiful sort, suffered martyrdom for the same supremacy, shortly after, it was bought by his daughter Margaret, lest, as she stoutly affirmed before the council, being called before them after for the matter, it should be food for fishes; which she buried, where she thought fittest." Anthony-a-Wood says, that she preserved it in a leaden box, and placed it in her tomb "with great devotion;" and in 1715, Dr. Rawlinson told Hearne the antiquary, that he had seen it there "inclosed in an iron grate." This was fully confirmed in 1835, when the chancel of the church being repaired, the Roper vault was opened, and several persons descended into it, and saw the skull in a leaden box, something like a bee-hive, open in the front, and which was placed in a square recess, in the wall, with an iron-grating before it. A drawing was made, which was engraved in the Gentleman's Magazine of May, 1837, which we have copied in our initial letter; Summerly, in his Handbook to Canterbury, says: "In the print there, however, the opening in the leaden box, inclosing the head, is made oval, whereas it should be in the form of a triangle." We have therefore so corrected our copy.

[From Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


Early on the 4th we inspanned and continued our march for Booby, a large party of savages still following the wagons. Before proceeding far I was tempted by the beautiful appearance of the country to saddle horses, to hunt in the mountains westward of my course. I directed the wagons to proceed a few miles under guidance of the natives, and there await my arrival. I was accompanied by Isaac, who was mounted on the Old Gray, and carried my clumsy Dutch rifle of six to the pound. Two Bechuanas followed us, leading four of my dogs. Having crossed a well wooded strath, we reached a little crystal river, whose margin was trampled down with the spoor of a great variety of heavy game, but especially of buffalo and rhinoceros. We took up the spoor of a troop of buffaloes, which we followed along a path made by the heavy beasts of the forest through a neck in the hills; and emerging from the thicket, we beheld, on the other side of a valley, which had opened upon us, a herd of about ten huge bull buffaloes. These I attempted to stalk, but was defeated by a large herd of zebras, which, getting our wind, charged past and started the buffaloes. I ordered the Bechuanas to release the dogs; and spurring Colesberg, which I rode for the first time since the affair with the lioness, I gave chase. The buffaloes crossed the valley in front of me, and made for a succession of dense thickets in the hills to the northward. As they crossed the valley by riding hard I obtained a broadside shot at the last bull, and fired both barrels into him. He, however, continued his course, but I presently separated him, along with two other bulls, from the troop. My rifle being a two-grooved, which is hard to load, I was unable to do so on horseback, and followed with it empty, in the hope of bringing them to bay. In passing through a grove of thorny trees I lost sight of the wounded buffalo; he had turned short and doubled back, a common practice with them when wounded. After following the other two at a hard gallop for about two miles, I was riding within five yards of their huge broad sterns. They exhaled a strong bovine smell, which came hot in my face. I expected every minute that they would come to bay, and give me time to load; but this they did not seem disposed to do. At length, finding I had the speed of them, I increased my pace; and going ahead, I placed myself right before the finest bull, thus expecting to force him to stand at bay; upon which he instantly charged me with a low roar, very similar to the voice of a lion. Colesberg neatly avoided the charge, and the bull resumed his northward course. We now entered on rocky ground, and the forest became more dense as we proceeded. The buffaloes were evidently making for some strong retreat. I, however, managed with much difficulty to hold them in view, following as best I could through thorny[Pg 297] thickets. Isaac rode some hundred yards behind, and kept shouting to me to drop the pursuit, or I should be killed. At last the buffaloes suddenly pulled up, and stood at bay in a thicket, within twenty yards of me. Springing from my horse, I hastily loaded my two-grooved rifle, which I had scarcely completed when Isaac rode up and inquired what had become of the buffaloes, little dreaming that they were standing within twenty yards of him. I answered by pointing my rifle across his horse's nose, and letting fly sharp right and left at the two buffaloes. A headlong charge, accompanied by a muffled roar, was the result. In an instant I was round a clump of tangled thorn-trees; but Isaac, by the violence of his efforts to get his horse in motion, lost his balance, and at the same instant, his girths giving way, himself, his saddle, and big Dutch rifle, all came to the ground together, with a heavy crash right in the path of the infuriated buffaloes. Two of the dogs, which had fortunately that moment joined us, met them in their charge, and, by diverting their attention, probably saved Isaac from instant destruction. The buffaloes now took up another position in an adjoining thicket. They were both badly wounded, blotches and pools of blood marking the ground where they had stood. The dogs rendered me assistance by taking up their attention, and in a few minutes these two noble bulls breathed their last beneath the shade of a mimosa grove. Each of them in dying repeatedly uttered a very striking, low, deep moan. This I subsequently ascertained the buffalo invariably utters when in the act of expiring.

On going up to them I was astonished to behold their size and powerful appearance. Their horns reminded me of the rugged trunk of an oak-tree. Each horn was upward of a foot in breadth at the base, and together they effectually protected the skull with a massive and impenetrable shield. The horns, descending and spreading out horizontally, completely over-shadowed the animal's eyes, imparting to him a look the most ferocious and sinister that can be imagined. On my way to the wagons I shot a stag sassayby, and while I was engaged in removing his head a troop of about thirty doe pallahs cantered past me, followed by one princely old buck. Snatching up my rifle, I made a fine shot, and rolled him over in the grass.

Early in the afternoon I dispatched men with a pack-horse to bring the finer of the two buffalo-heads. It was so ponderous that two powerful men could with difficulty raise it from the ground. The Bechuanas who had accompanied me, on hearing of my success, snatched up their shields and assagais, and hastened to secure the flesh, nor did I see any more of them, with the exception of the two Baquaines, who remained with me, being engaged in a plot with my interpreter to prevent my penetrating to Bamangwato. Isaac did not soon forget his adventure with the buffaloes; and at night over the fire he informed my men that I was mad, and that any man who followed me was going headlong to his own destruction. At an early hour on the 5th, I continued my march through a glorious country of hill and dale, throughout which water was abundant.

[From Household Words.]


"Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than War."
Milton's Sonnet to Cromwell.
Two hundred years ago,[6] the moon
Shone on a battle plain;
Cold through that glowing night of June
Lay steeds and riders slain;
And daisies, bending 'neath strange dew,
Wept in the silver light;
The very turf a regal hue
Assumed that fatal night.
Time past—but long, to tell the tale,
Some battle-ax or shield,
Or cloven skull, or shattered mail,
Were found upon the field;
The grass grew thickest on the spot
Where high were heaped the dead,
And well it marked had men forgot,
Where the great charge was made.
To-day—the sun looks laughing down
Upon the harvest plain,
The little gleaners, rosy-brown,
The merry reapers' train;
The rich sheaves heaped together stand,
And resting in their shade,
A mother, working close at hand,
Her sleeping babe hath laid.
A battle-field it was, and is,
For serried spears are there,
And against mighty foes upreared—
Gaunt hunger, pale despair.
We'll thank God for the hearts of old,
Their strife our freedom sealed;
We'll praise Him for the sheaves of gold
Now on the battle-field.


[6] Naseby, June 14, 1646.

[Pg 298]

Z. Taylor [From a Daguerreotype by Brady. [From a Daguerreotype by Brady.]


Who has not heard of the opening words with which the court preacher Massilon startled the titled throng who had gathered in Notre Dame to do the last honors to that monarch whose reign was the longest and most splendid in French annals, "God only is great!" How often does the knell of vanished power repeat the lesson! How constantly does the fleeting away of our own men of might teach us that

The paths of glory lead but to the grave!

Death has again asserted his supremacy by striking down the most exalted ruler of the land. The last sad cadence, dust to dust, his just been faltered aver one who was our country's pride, and joy, and strength. The love, the gratitude, and the veneration of a nation could not save him. The crying need of an imperiled republic could not reprieve him. His mortal strife over, his appointed task finished, he went down into the cold embrace of the grave, and there, like a warrior taking his rest, he lies and will lie forever. But he has left behind him what can not die, the memory of noble aims and heroic deeds. The plain story of his life is his best eulogy.

Zachary Taylor was born in Orange County Virginia, in November, 1784. He was the second son of Col. Richard Taylor, whose ancestors emigrated from England about two centuries ago, and settled in Eastern Virginia. The father, distinguished alike for patriotism and valor, served as colonel in the revolutionary war, and took part in many important engagements. About 1790 he left his Virginian farm and emigrated with his family to Kentucky. He[Pg 299] settled in the "dark and bloody ground," and for years encountered all the trials then incident to border life. The earliest impressions of young Zachary were the sudden foray of the savage foe, the piercing warwhoop, the answering cry of defiance, the gleam of the tomahawk, the crack of the rifle, the homestead saved by his father's daring, the neighboring cottage wrapped in flames, or its hearth-stone red with blood. Such scenes bound his young nerves with iron, and fired his fresh soul with martial ardor; working upon his superior nature they made arms his delight, and heroism his destiny. Zachary was placed in school at an early age, and his teacher, who now resides in Preston, Connecticut, still loves to dwell on the studiousness of his habits, the quickness of his apprehension, the modesty of his demeanor, the firmness and decision of his character, and a general thoughtfulness, sagacity, and stability, that made him a leader to his mates and a pride to his master.

After leaving school, the military spirit of young Taylor was constantly fanned by the popular excitement against the continual encroachments of England; and soon after the murderous attack of the British ship Leopard upon the Chesapeake, in 1808, he entered the army as first lieutenant in the 7th regiment of infantry. He soon gained distinction in border skirmishes with the Indians, and the declaration of war with England found him promoted to the rank of captain. Within sixty days after the commencement of hostilities in 1812, the imbecility of Hull lost to the country its Michigan territory, and fearfully jeoparded the whole northwestern region. It was of the utmost importance to intrust the few and feeble forts of that great dominion to men of established valor and discretion. Captain Taylor was at once invested with the command of Fort Harrison, situated on the Wabash, in the very heart of the Indian country. The defenses of this post were in a miserable condition, and its garrison consisted of only fifty men, of whom thirty were disabled by sickness. With this little handful of soldiers, the young commander immediately set about repairing the fortifications. He had hardly completed his work, when, on the night of the 4th of September, an alarm shot from one of his sentinels aroused him from a bed of fever, to meet the attack of a large force of Miami Indians. Every man was at once ordered to his post. A contiguous blockhouse was fired by the enemy, and a thick discharge of bullets and arrows was opened upon the fort. The darkness of the night, the howlings of the savages, the shrieks of the women and children, the fast approaching flames, and the panic of the debilitated soldiers, made up a scene of terror, but could not shake the determination nor the judgment of the young chieftain. He inspired his men with his own courage and energy. The flames were extinguished, the consumed breast-works were renewed, and volley answered volley for six long hours till day break enabled the Americans to aim with a deadly precision that soon dispersed their foes. This gallant repulse, at odds so unfavorable, prompted a report from Major General Hopkins to Governor Shelby that "the firm and almost unparalleled defense of Fort Harrison had raised for Captain Zachary Taylor a fabric of character not to be affected by eulogy;" and forthwith procured from President Madison a preferment to the rank of brevet major, the first brevet, it is said, ever conferred in the American army.

Major Taylor continued actively engaged throughout the war; but, being without a separate command, he had no opportunity to again signalize himself by any remarkable achievement. After the treaty of peace, he remained at the West, faithfully performing his duties at different military posts, and preparing himself for any future call to more active service. In 1832, he was promoted to the rank of colonel; and soon after the opening of the Florida war, he was ordered to that territory. Here he was in constant service, and distinguished himself for his discretion and gallantry in circumstances of the most trying difficulty and peril. His entire career won for him universal esteem and confidence.

The greatest achievement of Colonel Taylor in Florida was his victory of Okee-Chobee, which was gained on the 25th of December, 1837. The action was very severe, and continued nearly four hours. The Indians, under the command of Alligator and Sam Jones, numbered about 700 warriors, and were posted in a dense hammock, with their front covered by a small stream, almost impassable on account of quicksands, and with their flanks secured by swamps that prevented all access. Colonel Taylor's force amounted to about 500 men, a portion of whom were inexperienced volunteers. By an extraordinary effort, the stream in front was crossed, under a most galling fire of the enemy, by our soldiers, who sunk to the middle in the mire. A close and desperate fight ensued, during which the five companies of the sixth infantry, who bore the brunt of the fray, lost every officer but one, and one of these companies saved only four privates unharmed. The enemy's line was at last broken, and their right flank turned. They were soon scattered in all directions, and were pursued till near night. The American loss was 26 killed and 112 wounded; that of the Indians was very large, but never definitely ascertained. Throughout the whole engagement, Colonel Taylor was passing on his horse from point to point within the sweep of the Indian rifles, emboldening and directing his men, without the least apparent regard for his own personal safety. This victory had a decisive influence upon the turn of the war; and the government immediately testified their sense of its importance by conferring upon its gallant winner the rank of brigadier-general by brevet.

In the following May, General Taylor succeeded General Jesup in the command of the[Pg 300] Florida army, and in this capacity, during two years, he rendered vast services to the country by quelling the atrocities of Indian warfare, and restoring peace and security to the southern frontier. In 1840, at his own request, he was relieved by Brigadier-general Armistead, and was ordered to the southwestern department. Here he remained at various head-quarters until government had occasion for his services in Texas.

The project for the annexation of Texas, which was first officially broached in the last year of President Tyler's administration, acquired more and more weight and influence, until finally, in March, 1845, an act to that effect was passed by both Houses of Congress, and was soon after ratified by the Texian government. Mexico, although the independence of Texas had been long before de facto secured, stoutly protested against the annexation. The special American envoy sent to the Mexican capital to attempt an adjustment of this and other difficulties, was refused a hearing, and great preparations were carried on by the Mexican government for another invasion of Texas. In June, General Taylor received orders to advance with his troops over the Sabine, and protect all of the territory east of the Rio Grande, over which Texas exercised jurisdiction. He accordingly marched into Texas, and in August concentrated his forces, amounting to about 3000 men, at Corpus Christi. Receiving orders from Washington to proceed to the Rio Grande, the general, with his little army, moved westward in March, 1846: and after considerable suffering from the heal and the want of food and water, reached the banks of the river opposite Matamoras on the 28th of the month. Colonel Twiggs, with a detachment of dragoons, in the mean time took possession of Point Isabel, situated on an arm of the Gulf, about 25 miles east. General Taylor took every means to assure the Mexicans that his purpose was not war, nor violence in any shape, but solely the occupation of the Texian territory to the Rio Grande, until the boundary should be definitively settled by the two republics.

After encamping opposite Matamoras, the American general prepared with great activity for Mexican aggression, by erecting fortifications, and planting batteries. The Mexicans speedily evinced hostile intentions. General Ampudia arrived at Matamoras with 1000 cavalry and 1500 infantry, and made overtures to our foreign soldiers to "separate from the Yankee bandits, and array themselves under the tricolored flag!" Such solicitations were of course spurned with contempt. The American general was summoned to withdraw his forces at the penalty of being treated as an enemy; he replied that, while avoiding all occasion for hostilities, he should faithfully execute the will of his government. General Arista soon arrived at Matamoras, and, superseding Ampudia, issued a proclamation to the American soldiers, begging them not to be the "blind instruments of unholy and mad ambition, and rush on to certain death." He immediately threw a large body of troops over the river, in order to cut off all communication between General Taylor and his dépôt at Point Isabel. A detachment of 61 soldiers, under Captain Thornton, was waylaid by a Mexican force of ten times their number, and after a bloody conflict and the loss of many lives, was obliged to surrender. With but eight days' rations, and the country to the east fast filling up with the Mexican troops, the position of General Taylor became very critical. He at once resolved, at every hazard, to procure additional supplies; and, leaving the fort under the command of Major Brown, he set out with a large portion of his army, on the 1st of May, for Point Isabel. He reached that place the next day without molestation. Soon after his departure, the Mexicans opened their batteries upon Fort Brown. The fire was steadily returned with two long eighteen and sixteen brass six pounders by the garrison, which numbered about 900 men. The bombardment of the fort was kept up at intervals from batteries in its rear, as well as from the town, for six days. The Americans, though possessed of little ammunition, and having to mourn the fall of their gallant commander, sustained the cannonade with unyielding firmness until the afternoon of the 8th, when their hearts were thrilled with exultation by the answering peals of General Taylor at Palo Alto.

On the evening of the 7th, the American general, with about 2000 men and 250 wagons left Point Isabel for the relief of Fort Brown, and after advancing seven miles encamped. The next morning he resumed his march, and at noon met 6000 Mexican troops under Arista, with 800 cavalry, and seven field-pieces, in line of battle, on a plain flanked at both sides by small pools, and partly covered in front by thickets of chaparral and Palo Alto. General Taylor at once halted, refreshed his men, advanced to within a quarter of a mile of the Mexican line, and gave battle. The conflict first commenced between the artillery, and for two hours Ringgold's, and Duncan's, and Churchill's batteries mowed down rank after rank of the enemy. The infantry remained idle spectators until General Torrejon, with a body of lancers, made a sally upon our train. The advancing columns were received with a tremendous fire, and faltered, broke, and fled. The battle now became general, and for a time raged with terrific grandeur, amid a lurid cloud of smoke from the artillery, and the burning grass of the prairie. It rested for an hour, and then again moved on. The American batteries opened with more tremendous effect than ever; yet the ranks of the enemy were broken only to be refilled by fresh men courting destruction. Captain May charged upon the left, but with too few men to be successful. The chivalrous Ringgold fell. The cavalry of the enemy advanced upon our artillery of the right to within close range, when a storm of cannister swept[Pg 301] them back like a tornado. Their infantry made a desperate onset upon our infantry, but recoiled before their terrible reception. Again they rallied, and again were they repulsed. Panic seized the baffled foe, and soon squadron and column were in fall retreat. The conflict had lasted five hours, with a loss to the Americans of 7 killed and 37 wounded, and to the Mexicans of at least 250 killed and wounded.

In the evening, a council of war was held upon the propriety of persisting to advance upon Fort Brown in spite of the vastly superior force of the enemy. Of the thirteen officers present some were for retreating to Point Isabel, others for intrenching upon the spot, and only four for pushing ahead. The general, after hearing all opinions, settled the question by the laconic declaration, "I will be at Fort Brown before to-morrow night if I live." In the morning the army again marched.

The enemy were again met most advantageously posted in the ravine of Resaca de la Palma within three miles of Fort Brown. About 4 p.m. the battle commenced with great fury. The artillery on both sides did terrible execution. By order of General Taylor, May, with his dragoons, charged the enemy's batteries. The Mexicans reserved their fire until the horses were near the cannons' mouth, and then poured out a broadside which laid many a proud fellow low. Those of the dragoons not disabled rushed on, overleaped the batteries, and seized the guns. The enemy recoiled, again rallied, and with fixed bayonets returned to the onset. Again they were repulsed. The "Tampico veterans" came to the rescue, were met by the dragoons now reinforced with infantry, and all but seventeen fell sword in hand after fighting with the most desperate bravery. This decided the battle. The flanks of the enemy were turned, and soon the rout became general. The Mexicans fled to the flat boats of the river, and the shouts of the pursuers and the shrieks of the drowning closed the scene. A great number of prisoners including 14 officers, eight-pieces of artillery, and a large quantity of camp equipage fell into the hands of the victors. The American loss was 39 killed and 71 wounded; that of the enemy in the two actions was at least 1000 killed and wounded. Fort Brown was relieved, and the next day Barita on the Mexican bank was taken by Colonel Wilson without resistance.

The victories of the 8th and 9th filled our country with exultation. Government acknowledged the distinguished services of General Taylor by making him Major-general by brevet; Congress passed resolutions of high approval; Louisiana presented him with a sword, and the press every where teemed with his praise.

As soon as means could be procured, General Taylor crossed the Rio Grande, took Matamoras without opposition, and made Colonel Twiggs its governor. The army soon received large volunteer reinforcements, and on the 5th of August the American general left Matamoras for Camargo, and thence proceeded through Seralos to Monterey, where he arrived the 19th of September. The Mexicans, under General Ampudia had placed this strongly fortified town in a complete state of defense. Not only were the walls and parapets lined with cannons, but the streets and houses were barricaded and planted with artillery. The bishop's palace on a hill at a short distance west of the city was converted into a perfect fortress. The town was well supplied with ammunition, and manned with 7000 troops of the line, and from 2000 to 3000 irregulars. The attack commenced on the 21st, and two important redoubts without the city, and an important work within, were carried with a loss to the Americans in killed and wounded of not less than 394. At three the next morning, a considerable force under General Worth dragged their howitzers by main strength up the hill, and assaulted the palace. The enemy made a desperate sortie, but were driven back in confusion, and the fortification was soon taken by the Americans with a loss of only 7 killed and 12 wounded. The next night, the Mexicans evacuated nearly all their defenses in the lower part of the city. The Americans entered the succeeding day, and by the severest fighting slowly worked their way from street to street and square to square, until they reached the heart of the town. General Ampudia saw that further resistance was useless, and, on the morning of the 24th, proposed to evacuate the city on condition that he might take with him the personel and materiel of his army. This condition was refused by the American general. A personal interview between the two commanders ensued, which resulted in a capitulation of the city, allowing the Mexicans to retire with their forces and a certain portion of their materiel beyond the line formed by the pass of the Rinconada and San Fernando de Presas and engaging the Americans not to pass beyond that line for eight weeks. Our entire loss during the operations was 12 officers and 108 men killed, 31 officers and 337 men wounded; that of the enemy is not known, but was much larger. The terms accorded by the conqueror were liberal, and dictated by a regard to the interests of peace; they crowned a gallant conquest of arms with a more sublime victory of magnanimity.

General Taylor could not long remain inactive, and with a bold design to seek out the enemy and fight him on his own ground, he marched as far as Victoria. But by the transfer of the seat of the war to Vera Cruz, he was deprived of the greater portion of his army, and was obliged to fall back on Monterey. Here he remained until February, when, having received large reinforcements of volunteers, he marched at the head of 4,500 men, to meet Santa Anna; and on the 20th, took up a position at Buena Vista, the great advantages of which had previously struck his notice. On the 22d, a Mexican army of 20,000 made its appearance, and Santa Anna summoned the American commander to surrender. General Taylor, with Spartan brevity, "declined acceding to the request."[Pg 302] The next morning the ten-hour's conflict began. We shall not attempt to rehearse the history of that fearful battle: it is written forever on the memory of the nation. The advance of the hostile host with muskets and swords, and bayonets gleaming in the morning sun; the shouts of the marshaled foemen; the opening roar of the artillery; the sheeted fire of the musketry; the unchecked approach of the enemy; the outflanking by their cavalry and its concentration in our rear; the immovable fortitude of the Illinoians; the flight of the panic-stricken Indianians; the fall of Lincoln; the wild shouts of Mexican triumph; the deadly and successful charge upon the battery of O'Brien; the timely arrival of General Taylor from Saltillo, and his composed survey, amid the iron hail, of the scene of battle; the terrible onset of the Kentuckians and Illinoians; the simultaneous opening of the batteries upon the Mexican masses in the front and the rear; the impetuous but ill-fated charge of their cavalry upon the rifles of Mississippi; the hemming-in of that cavalry, and the errand of Lieutenant Crittenden to demand of Santa Anna its surrender; the response of the confident chieftain by a similar demand; the immortal rejoinder, "General Taylor never surrenders!" the escape of the cavalry to a less exposed position; its baffled charge upon the Saltillo train; its attack upon the hacienda, and its repulse by the horse of Kentucky and Arkansas; the fall of Yell and Vaughan, the insolent mission, under a white flag, to inquire what General Taylor was waiting for; the curt reply "for General Santa Anna to surrender;" the junction, by this ruse, of the Mexican cavalry in our rear with their main army; the concentrated charge upon the American line; the overpowering of the battery of O'Brien; the fearful crisis; the reinforcement of Captain Bragg "by Major Bliss and I;" the "little more grape, Captain Bragg;" the terrific carnage; the pause, the advance, the disorder, and the retreat; the too eager pursuit of the Kentuckians and Illinoians down the ravines; the sudden wheeling around of the retiring mass; the desperate struggle, and the fall of Harden, McKee, and Clay; the imminent destruction, and the rescuing artillery; the last breaking and scattering of the Mexican squadrons and battalions; the joyous embrace of Taylor and Wool; and Old Rough and Ready's "'Tis impossible to whip us when we all pull together;" the arrival of cold nightfall; the fireless, anxious, weary bivouac; the general's calm repose for another day's work; the retreat of the enemy under the cover of darkness—are not all these things familiar to every American schoolboy? The American loss was 267 killed, 456 wounded, and 23 missing. The Mexicans left 500 dead on the field, and the whole number of their killed and wounded was probably near 2000. History tells not of a battle more bravely contested and more nobly won: and well did the greatest warrior of the age, in learning it exclaim, "General Taylor's a general indeed!"

The victory of Buena Vista was the last and crowning achievement of General Taylor's military life. His department in Mexico was entirely reduced by it to subjection, and the subsequent operations of his army were few and unimportant. At the close of the war he retired from Mexico, carrying with him not only the adoration of his soldiers, but even the respect and attachment of the very people he had vanquished. Louisiana welcomed him with an ovation of the most fervent enthusiasm. Thrilling eloquence from her most gifted sons, blessings, and smiles, and wreaths from her fairest daughters, overwhelming huzzas from her warm-hearted multitudes, triumphal arches, splendid processions, costly banners, sumptuous festivals, and, in short, every mode of testifying love and homage was employed; but modesty kept her wonted place in his heart, and counsels of peace were, as ever, on his tongue. His prowess in conflict was no more admirable than his self-forgetfulness in triumph.

His last great deed had hardly ceased to echo over the land, before the people began to mark him out for their highest gift. He coveted no such distinction, and constantly expressed a wish that Henry Clay might be the chosen one. But the popular purpose grew stronger and stronger; and General Taylor was named for the Presidency by one of the great political parties of the country. During the political contest he remained steadfastly true to himself. He neither stooped nor swerved, neither sought nor shunned. He was borne by a triumphant majority to the Presidential chair, and in a way that has impelled the most majestic intellect of the nation to declare, that "no case ever happened in the very best days of the Roman Republic, where any man found himself clothed with the highest authority of the State, under circumstances more repelling all suspicion of personal application, all suspicion of pursuing any crooked path in politics, or all suspicion of having been actuated by sinister views and purposes."

The Inaugural Address of President Taylor was redolent with old-fashioned patriotism, and breathed the very spirit of Washington. And his subsequent administration, though beset by sectional strifes of fearful violence, was conducted with wisdom, firmness, equanimity, and moderation, on great national principles, and for great national ends. Owing to his profound deference to the co-ordinate branches of government, and his inability to either dictate or assume, his policy in reference to some of the exciting questions of the day was not, during the short period of his administration, fully proclaimed to Congress, and pressed upon its adoption; but, though a southern man and a slaveholder, he had deliberately and explicitly declared himself in favor of the prompt and untrammeled admission of California into the Union. He was taken away in the midst of the controversy, just as he was about to submit his views upon the subject to the representatives of the people. His last public appearance was in doing homage to[Pg 303] Washington, on the birthday of our liberties, and his last official act was adding a new guaranty to the peace of the world, by signing the convention recently concluded between our country and Great Britain respecting Central America. Disease soon did its work. Confronting Death with the fearless declaration, "I am prepared—I have endeavored to do my duty," the old hero succumbed—his first and last surrender.

General Taylor married in early life a lady of Virginia, and was connected either by affinity or blood with many of the most noted families of the Old Dominion. His excellent consort, a son, and a daughter, survive him. In person, General Taylor was about five feet eight inches in height, and like most of our revolutionary generals, was inclined to corpulency. His hair was gray, his brow ample, his eye vivid, and his features plain, but full of firmness, intelligence, and benevolence. His manners were easy and cordial, his dress, habits, and tastes simple, and his style of living temperate in the extreme. His speeches and his official papers, both military and civil, are alike famed for their propriety of feeling and their chastity of diction. His private life was unblemished, and the loveliness of his disposition made him the idol of his own household and the favorite of all who knew him. His martial courage was only equaled by his Spartan simplicity, his unaffected modesty, his ever wakeful humanity, his inflexible integrity, his uncompromising truthfulness, his lofty magnanimity, his unbounded patriotism, and his unfaltering loyalty to duty. His mind was of an original and solid cast, admirably balanced, and combining the comprehensiveness of reason with the penetration of instinct. Its controlling element was a strong, sterling sense, that of itself rendered him a wise counselor and a safe leader. All of his personal attributes and antecedents made him pre-eminently a man of the people, and remarkably qualified him to be the stay and surety of his country in this its day of danger.

A braver soldier never wielded sword—
A gentler heart did never sway in council.
But he is dead—and millions weep his loss.

[From "Hunting Adventures in South Africa."]


Suddenly I observed a number of vultures seated on the plain about a quarter of a mile ahead of us, and close beside them stood a huge lioness, consuming a blesblok which she had killed. She was assisted in her repast by about a dozen jackals, which were feasting along with her in the most friendly and confidential manner. Directing my followers' attention to the spot, I remarked, "I see the lion;" to which they replied, "Whar? whar? Yah! Almagtig! dat is he;" and instantly reining in their steeds and wheeling about, they pressed their heels to their horses' sides, and were preparing to betake themselves to flight. I asked them what they were going to do. To which they answered, "We have not yet placed caps on our rifles." This was true; but while this short conversation was passing the lioness had observed us. Raising her full, round face, she overhauled us for a few seconds, and then set off at a smart canter toward a range of mountains some miles to the northward; the whole troop of jackals also started off in another direction; there was, therefore, no time to think of caps. The first move was to bring her to bay, and not a second was to be lost. Spurring my good and lively steed, and shouting to my men to follow, I flew across the plain, and, being fortunately mounted on Colesberg, the flower of my stud, I gained upon her at every stride. This was to me a joyful moment, and I at once made up my mind that she or I must die.

The lioness having had a long start of me, we went over a considerable extent of ground before I came up with her. She was a large, full-grown beast, and the bare and level nature of the plain added to her imposing appearance. Finding that I gained upon her, she reduced her pace from a canter to a trot, carrying her tail stuck out behind her, and slewed a little to one side. I shouted loudly to her to halt, as I wished to speak with her, upon which she suddenly pulled up, and sat on her haunches like a dog, with her back toward me, not even deigning to look round. She then appeared to say to herself, "Does this fellow know who he is after?" Having thus sat for half a minute, as if involved in thought, she sprang to her feet, and, fating about, stood looking at me for a few seconds, moving her tail slowly from side to side, showing her teeth, and growling fiercely. She next made a short run forward, making a loud, rumbling noise like thunder. This she did to intimidate me; but, finding that I did not flinch an inch, nor seem to heed her hostile demonstrations, she quietly stretched out her massive arms, and lay down on the grass. My Hottentots now coming up, we all three dismounted, and, drawing our rifles from their holsters, we looked to see if the powder was up in the nipples, and put on our caps. While this was doing the lioness sat up, and showed evident symptoms of uneasiness. She looked first at us, and then behind her, as if to see if the coast were clear; after which she made a short run toward us, uttering her deep-drawn murderous growls. Having secured the three horses to one another by their rheims, we led them on as if we intended to pass her, in the hope of obtaining a broadside. But this she carefully avoided to expose, presenting only her full front. I had given Stofulus my Moore rifle, with orders to shoot her if she should spring upon me, but on no account to fire before me. Kleinboy was to stand ready to hand me my Purdey rifle, in case the two-grooved Dixon should not prove sufficient. My men as yet had been steady, but they were in a precious stew, their faces having assumed a ghastly paleness, and I had a painful feeling that I could place no reliance on them.[Pg 304]

Now, then, for it, neck or nothing! She is within sixty yards of us, and she keeps advancing. We turned the horses' tails to her. I knelt on one side, and, taking a steady aim at her breast, let fly. The ball cracked loudly on her tawny hide, and crippled her in the shoulder, upon which she charged with an appalling roar, and in the twinkling of an eye she was in the midst of us. At this moment Stofolus's rifle exploded in his hand, and Kleinboy, whom I had ordered to stand ready by me, danced about like a duck in a gale of wind. The lioness sprang upon Colesberg, and fearfully lacerated his ribs and haunches with her horrid teeth and claws; the worst wound was on his haunch, which exhibited a sickening, yawning gash, more than twelve inches long, almost laying bare the very bone. I was very cool and steady, and did not feel in the least degree nervous, having fortunately great confidence in my own shooting; but I must confess, when the whole affair was over, I felt that it was a very awful situation, and attended with extreme peril, as I had no friend with me on whom I could rely.

When the lioness sprang on Colesberg, I stood out from the horses, ready with my second barrel for the first chance she should give me of a clear shot. This she quickly did; for, seemingly satisfied with the revenge she had now taken, she quitted Colesberg, and, slewing her tail to one side, trotted sulkily past within a few paces of me, taking one step to the left. I pitched my rifle to my shoulder, and in another second the lioness was stretched on the plain a lifeless corpse. In the struggles of death she half turned on her back, and stretched her neck and fore arms convulsively, when she fell back to her former position; her mighty arms hung powerless by her side, her lower jaw fell, blood streamed from her mouth, and she expired. At the moment I fired my second shot, Stofolus, who hardly knew whether he was alive or dead, allowed the three horses to escape. These galloped frantically across the plain, on which he and Kleinboy instantly started after them, leaving me standing alone and unarmed within a few paces of the lioness, which they, from their anxiety to be out of the way, evidently considered quite capable of doing further mischief.

Such is ever the case with these worthies, and with nearly all the natives of South Africa. No reliance can be placed on them. They will to a certainty forsake their master in the most dastardly manner in the hour of peril, and leave him in the lurch. A stranger, however, hearing these fellows recounting their own gallant adventures, when sitting in the evening along with their comrades round a blazing fire, or under the influence of their adored "Cape smoke" or native brandy, might fancy them to be the bravest of the brave. Having skinned the lioness and cut off her head, we placed her trophies upon Beauty and held for camp. Before we had proceeded a hundred yards from the carcass, upward of sixty vultures, whom the lioness had often fed were feasting on her remains.

[From Dickens's "Household Words."]


Antoine de Chaulieu was the son of a poor gentleman of Normandy, with a long genealogy, a short rent-roll, and a large family. Jacques Rollet was the son of a brewer, who did not know who his grandfather was; but he had a long purse and only two children. As these youths flourished in the early days of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and were near neighbors, they naturally hated each other. Their enmity commenced at school, where the delicate and refined De Chaulieu being the only gentilhomme among the scholars, was the favorite of the master (who was a bit of an aristocrat in his heart) although he was about the worst dressed boy in the establishment, and never had a son to spend; while Jacques Rollet, sturdy and rough, with smart clothes and plenty of money, got flogged six days in the week, ostensibly for being stupid and not learning his lessons—which, indeed, he did not—but, in reality, for constantly quarreling with and insulting De Chaulieu, who had not strength to cope with him. When they left the academy, the feud continued in all its vigor, and was fostered by a thousand little circumstances arising out of the state of the times, till a separation ensued in consequence of an aunt of Antoine de Chaulieu's undertaking the expense of sending him to Paris to study the law, and of maintaining him there during the necessary period.

With the progress of events came some degree of reaction in favor of birth and nobility, and then Antoine, who had passed for the bar, began to hold up his head and endeavored to push his fortunes; but fate seemed against him. He felt certain that if he possessed any gift in the world it was that of eloquence, but he could get no cause to plead; and his aunt dying inopportunely, first his resources failed, and then his health. He had no sooner returned to his home, than, to complicate his difficulties completely, he fell in love with Mademoiselle Natalie de Bellefonds, who had just returned from Paris, where she had been completing her education. To expatiate on the perfections of Mademoiselle Natalie, would be a waste of ink and paper; it is sufficient to say that she really was a very charming girl, with a fortune which, though not large, would have been a most desirable acquisition to De Chaulieu, who had nothing. Neither was the fair Natalie indisposed to listen to his addresses; but her father could not be expected to countenance the suit of a gentleman, however well-born, who had not a ten-sous piece in the world, and whose prospects were a blank.

While the ambitions and love-sick young barrister was thus pining in unwelcome obscurity, his old acquaintance; Jacques Rollet, had been acquiring an undesirable notoriety. There was nothing really bad in Jacques' disposition, but having been bred up a democrat, with a hatred of the nobility, he could not easily[Pg 305] accommodate his rough humor to treat them with civility when it was no longer safe to insult them. The liberties he allowed himself whenever circumstances brought him into contact with the higher classes of society, had led him into many scrapes, out of which his father's money had one way or another released him; but that source of safety had now failed. Old Rollet having been too busy with the affairs of the nation to attend to his business, had died insolvent, leaving his son with nothing but his own wits to help him out of future difficulties, and it was not long before their exercise was called for. Claudine Rollet, his sister, who was a very pretty girl, had attracted the attention of Mademoiselle de Bellefonds' brother, Alphonso; and as he paid her more attention than from such a quarter was agreeable to Jacques, the young men had had more than one quarrel on the subject, on which occasions they had each, characteristically, given vent to their enmity, the one in contemptuous monosyllables, and the other in a volley of insulting words. But Claudine had another lover more nearly of her own condition of life; this was Claperon, the deputy governor of the Rouen jail, with whom she had made acquaintance during one or two compulsory visits paid by her brother to that functionary; but Claudine, who was a bit of a coquette, though she did not altogether reject his suit, gave him little encouragement, so that betwixt hopes, and fears, and doubts, and jealousies, poor Claperon led a very uneasy kind of life.

Affairs had been for some time in this position, when, one fine morning, Alphonse de Bellefonds was not to be found in his chamber when his servant went to call him; neither had his bed been slept in. He had been observed to go out rather late on the preceding evening, but whether or not he had returned, nobody could tell. He had not appeared at supper, but that was too ordinary an event to awaken suspicion; and little alarm was excited till several hours had elapsed, when inquiries were instituted and a search commenced, which terminated in the discovery of his body, a good deal mangled, lying at the bottom of a pond which had belonged to the old brewery. Before any investigations had been made, every person had jumped to the conclusion that the young man had been murdered, and that Jacques Rollet was the assassin. There was a strong presumption in favor of that opinion, which further perquisitions tended to confirm. Only the day before, Jacques had been heard to threaten Mons. de Bellefonds with speedy vengeance. On the fatal evening, Alphonse and Claudine had been seen together in the neighborhood of the now dismantled brewery; and as Jacques, betwixt poverty and democracy, was in bad odor with the prudent and respectable part of society, it was not easy for him to bring witnesses to character, or prove an unexceptionable alibi. As for the Bellefonds and De Chaulieus, and the aristocracy in general, they entertained no doubt of his guilt, and, finally, the magistrate; coming to the same opinion, Jacques Rollet was committed for trial, and as a testimony of good will. Antoine de Chaulieu was selected by the injured family to conduct the prosecution.

Here, at last, was the opportunity he had sighed for! So interesting a case, too, furnishing such ample occasion for passion, pathos, indignation! And how eminently fortunate that the speech which he set himself with ardor to prepare, would be delivered in the presence of the father and brother of his mistress, and, perhaps, of the lady herself! The evidence against Jacques, it is true, was altogether presumptive; there was no proof whatever that he had committed the crime; and for his own part, he stoutly denied it. But Antoine de Chaulieu entertained no doubt of his guilt, and his speech was certainly well calculated to carry that conviction into the bosom of others. It was of the highest importance to his own reputation that he should procure a verdict, and he confidently assured the afflicted and enraged family of the victim that their vengeance should be satisfied. Under these circumstances could any thing be more unwelcome than a piece of intelligence that was privately conveyed to him late on the evening before the trial was to come on, which tended strongly to exculpate the prisoner, without indicating any other person as the criminal. Here was an opportunity lost. The first step of the ladder on which he was to rise to fame, fortune, and a wife, was slipping from under his feet.

Of course, so interesting a trial was anticipated with great eagerness by the public, and the court was crowded with all the beauty and fashion of Rouen. Though Jacques Rollet persisted in asserting his innocence, founding his defense chiefly on circumstances which were strongly corroborated by the information that had reached De Chaulieu the preceding evening—he was convicted.

In spite of the very strong doubts he privately entertained respecting the justice of the verdict, even De Chaulieu himself, in the first flush of success, amid a crowd of congratulating friends, and the approving smiles of his mistress, felt gratified and happy: his speech had, for the time being, not only convinced others, but himself; warmed with his own eloquence, he believed what he said. But when the glow was over, and he found himself alone, he did not feel so comfortable. A latent doubt of Rollet's guilt now burst strongly on his mind, and he felt that the blood of the innocent would be on his head. It is true there was yet time to save the life of the prisoner, but to admit Jacques innocent, was to take the glory out of his own speech, and turn the sting of his argument against himself. Besides, if he produced the witness who had secretly given him the information, he should be self-condemned, for he could not conceal that he had been aware of the circumstance before the trial.

Matters having gone so far, therefore, it was necessary that Jacques Rollet should die; so the[Pg 306] affair took its course; and early one morning the guillotine was erected in the court-yard of the jail, three criminals ascended the scaffold, and three heads fell into the basket, which were presently afterward, with the trunks that had been attached to them, buried in a corner of the cemetery.

Antoine de Chaulieu was now fairly started in his career, and his success was as rapid as the first step toward it had been tardy. He took a pretty apartment in the Hôtel Marbœuf, Rue Grange-Batelière, and in a short time was looked upon as one of the most rising young advocates in Paris. His success in one line brought him success in another; he was soon a favorite in society, and an object of interest to speculating mothers; but his affections still adhered to his old love Natalie de Bellefonds, whose family now gave their assent to the match—at least, prospectively—a circumstance which furnished such an additional incentive to his exertions, that in about two years from the date of his first brilliant speech, he was in a sufficiently flourishing condition to offer the young lady a suitable home. In anticipation of the happy event, he engaged and furnished a suite of apartments in the Rue du Helder; and as it was necessary that the bride should come to Paris to provide her trousseau, it was agreed that the wedding should take place there, instead of at Bellefonds, as had been first projected; an arrangement the more desirable, that a press of business rendered Mons. de Chaulieu's absence from Paris inconvenient.

Brides and bridegrooms in France, except of the very high classes, are not much in the habit of making those honeymoon excursions so universal in this country. A day spent in visiting Versailles, or St. Cloud, or even the public places of the city, is generally all that precedes the settling down into the habits of daily life. In the present instance St. Denis was selected, from the circumstance of Natalie's having a younger sister at school there; and also because she had a particular desire to see the Abbey.

The wedding was to take place on a Thursday; and on the Wednesday evening, having spent some hours most agreeably with Natalie, Antoine de Chaulieu returned to spend his last night in his bachelor apartments. His wardrobe and other small possessions, had already been packed up and sent to his future home; and there was nothing left in his room now, but his new wedding suit, which he inspected with considerable satisfaction before he undressed and lay down to sleep. Sleep, however, was somewhat slow to visit him; and the clock had struck one, before he closed his eyes. When he opened them again it was broad daylight; and his first thought was, had he overslept himself? He sat up in bed to look at the clock which was exactly opposite, and as he did so, in the large mirror over the fire-place, he perceived a figure standing behind him. As the dilated eyes met his own, he saw it was the face of Jacques Rollet. Overcome with horror he sunk back on his pillow, and it was some minutes before he ventured to look again in that direction; when he did so, the figure had disappeared.

The sudden revulsion of feeling such a vision was calculated to occasion in a man elate with joy, may be conceived! For some time after the death of his former foe, he had been visited by not unfrequent twinges of conscience; but of late, borne along by success, and the hurry of Parisian life, these unpleasant remembrancers had grown rarer, till at length they had faded away altogether. Nothing had been further from his thoughts than Jacques Rollet, when he closed his eyes on the preceding night, nor when he opened them to that sun which was to shine on what he expected to be the happiest day of his life! Where were the high-strung nerves now? The elastic frame? The bounding heart?

Heavily and slowly he arose from his bed, for it was time to do so; and with a trembling hand and quivering knees, he went through the processes of the toilet, gashing his cheek with the razor, and spilling the water over his well-polished boots. When he was dressed, scarcely venturing to cast a glance in the mirror as he passed it, he quitted the room and descended the stairs, taking the key of the door with him for the purpose of leaving it with the porter; the man, however, being absent, he laid it on the table in his lodge, and with a relaxed and languid step proceeded on his way to the church, where presently arrived the fair Natalie and her friends. How difficult it was now to look happy, with that pallid face and extinguished eye!

"How pale you are! Has any thing happened? You are surely ill?" were the exclamations that met him on all sides. He tried to carry it off as well as he could, but felt that the movements he would have wished to appear alert, were only convulsive; and that the smiles with which he attempted to relax his features, were but distorted grimaces. However, the church was not the place for further inquiries; and while Natalie gently pressed his hand in token of sympathy, they advanced to the altar, and the ceremony was performed; after which they stepped into the carriage waiting at the door, and drove to the apartments of Madme. de Bellefonds, where an elegant déjeuner was prepared.

"What ails you, my dear husband?" inquired Natalie, as soon as they were alone.

"Nothing, love," he replied; "nothing, I assure you, but a restless night and a little over-work, in order that I might have to-day free to enjoy my happiness!"

"Are you quite Sure? Is there nothing else?"

"Nothing, indeed; and pray don't take notice of it, it only makes me worse!"

Natalie was not deceived, but she saw that what he said was true; notice made him worse; so she contented herself with observing him quietly, and saying nothing; but as he felt she was observing him, she might almost better[Pg 307] have spoken; words are often less embarrassing things than too curious eyes.

When they reached Madame de Bellefonds' he had the same sort of questioning and scrutiny to undergo, till he grew quite impatient under it, and betrayed a degree of temper altogether unusual with him. Then every body looked astonished; some whispered their remarks, and others expressed them by their wondering eyes, till his brow knit, and his pallid cheeks became flushed with anger. Neither could he divert attention by eating; his parched mouth would not allow him to swallow any thing but liquids, of which, however, he indulged in copious libations; and it was an exceeding relief to him when the carriage, which was to convey them to St. Denis, being announced, furnished an excuse for hastily leaving the table. Looking at his watch, he declared it was late; and Natalie, who saw how eager he was to be gone, threw her shawl over her shoulders, and bidding her friends good morning, they hurried away.

It was a fine sunny day in June; and as they drove along the crowded boulevards, and through the Porte St. Denis, the young bride and bridegroom, to avoid each other's eyes, affected to be gazing out of the windows; but when they reached that part of the road where there was nothing but trees on each side, they felt it necessary to draw in their heads, and make an attempt at conversation. De Chaulieu put his arm round his wife's waist, and tried to rouse himself from his depression; but it had by this time so reacted upon her, that she could not respond to his efforts, and thus the conversation languished, till both felt glad when they reached their destination, which would at all events furnish them something to talk about.

Having quitted the carriage, and ordered a dinner at the Hôtel de l'Abbaye, the young couple proceeded to visit Mademoiselle Hortense de Bellefonds, who was overjoyed to see her sister and new brother-in-law, and doubly so when she found that they had obtained permission to take her out to spend the afternoon with them. As there is little to be seen at St. Denis but the Abbey, on quitting that part of it devoted to education, they proceeded to visit the church, with its various objects of interest; and as De Chaulieu's thoughts were now forced into another direction, his cheerfulness began insensibly to return. Natalie looked so beautiful, too, and the affection betwixt the two young sisters was so pleasant to behold! And they spent a couple of hours wandering about with Hortense, who was almost as well informed as the Suisse, till the brazen doors were open which admitted them to the royal vault. Satisfied, at length, with what they had seen, they began to think of returning to the inn, the more especially as De Chaulieu, who had not eaten a morsel of food since the previous evening, owned to being hungry; so they directed their steps to the door, lingering here and there as they went, to inspect a monument or a painting, when, happening to turn his head aside to see if his wife, who had stopped to take a last look at the tomb of King Dagobert, was following, he beheld with horror the face of Jacques Rollett appearing from behind a column! At the same instant, his wife joined him, and took his arm, inquiring if he was not very much delighted with what he had seen He attempted to say yes, but the word would not be forced out; and staggering out of the door, he alleged that a sudden faintness had overcome him.

They conducted him to the Hôtel, but Natalie now became seriously alarmed; and well she might. His complexion looked ghastly, his limbs shook, and his features bore an expression of indiscribable horror and anguish. What could be the meaning of so extraordinary a change in the gay, witly, prosperous De Chaulieu, who, till that morning, seemed not to have a care in the world? For, plead illness as he might, she felt certain, from the expression of his features, that his sufferings were not of the body but of the mind; and, unable to imagine any reason for such extraordinary manifestations, of which she had never before seen a symptom, but a sudden aversion to herself, and regret for the step he had taken, her pride took the alarm, and, concealing the distress, she really felt, she began to assume a haughty and reserved manner toward him, which he naturally interpreted into an evidence of anger and contempt. The dinner was placed upon the table, but De Chaulieu's appetite, of which he had lately boasted, was quite gone, nor was his wife better able to eat. The young sister alone did justice to the repast; but although the bridegroom could not eat, he could swallow Champagne in such copious draughts, that ere long the terror and remorse that the apparition of Jacques Rollet had awakened in his breast were drowned in intoxication. Amazed and indignant, poor Natalie sat silently observing this elect of her heart, till overcome with disappointment and grief, she quitted the room with her sister, and retired to another apartment, where she gave free vent to her feelings in tears.

After passing a couple of hours in confidences and lamentations, they recollected that the hours of liberty granted, as an especial favor, to Mademoiselle Hortense, had expired: but ashamed to exhibit her husband in his present condition to the eyes of strangers, Natalie prepared to re-conduct her to the Maison Royale herself. Looking into the dining-room as they passed, they saw De Chaulieu lying on a sofa fast asleep, in which state he continued when his wife returned. At length, however, the driver of their carriage begged to know if Monsieur and Madame were ready to return to Paris, and it became necessary to arouse him. The transitory effects of the Champagne had now subsided; but when De Chaulieu recollected what had happened, nothing could exceed his shame and mortification. So engrossing indeed were these sensations that they quite overpowered his previous ones, and, in his present vexation, he, for the moment, forgot his fears. He knelt at his wife's[Pg 308] feet, begged her pardon a thousand times, swore that he adored her, and declared that the illness and the effect of the wine had been purely the consequences of fasting and over-work. It was not the easiest thing in the world to reassure a woman whose pride, affection, and taste, had been so severely wounded; but Natalie tried to believe, or to appear to do so, and a sort of reconciliation ensued, not quite sincere on the part of the wife, and very humbling on the part of the husband. Under these circumstances it was impossible that he should recover his spirits or facility of manner; his gayety was forced, his tenderness constrained; his heart was heavy within him; and ever and anon the source whence all this disappointment and woe had sprung would recur to his perplexed and tortured mind.

Thus mutually pained and distrustful, they returned to Paris, which they reached about nine o'clock. In spite of her depression, Natalie, who had not seen her new apartments, felt some curiosity about them, while De Chaulieu anticipated a triumph in exhibiting the elegant home he had prepared for her. With some alacrity, therefore, they stepped out of the carriage, the gates of the Hôtel were thrown open, the concierge rang the bell which announced to the servants that their master and mistress had arrived, and while these domestics appeared above, holding lights over the balusters, Natalie, followed by her husband, ascended the stairs. But when they reached the landing-place of the first flight, they saw the figure of a man standing in a corner as if to make way for them; the flash from above fell upon his face, and again Antoine de Chaulieu recognized the feature of Jacques Rollet!

From the circumstance of his wife's preceding him, the figure was not observed by De Chaulieu till he was lifting his foot to place it on the top stair: the sudden shock caused him to miss the step, and, without uttering a sound, he fell back, and never stopped till he reached the stones at the bottom. The screams of Natalie brought the concierge from below and the maids from above, and an attempt was made to raise the unfortunate man from the ground; but with cries of anguish he besought them to desist.

"Let me," he said, "die here! What a fearful vengeance is thine! Oh, Natalie, Natalie!" he exclaimed to his wife, who was kneeling beside him, "to win fame, and fortune, and yourself, I committed a dreadful crime! With lying words I argued away the life of a fellow-creature, whom, while I uttered them, I half believed to be innocent; and now, when I have attained all I desired, and reached the summit of my hopes, the Almighty has sent him back upon the earth to blast me with the sight. Three times this day—three times this day! Again! again!"—and, as he spoke, his wild and dilated eyes fixed themselves on one of the individuals that surrounded him.

"He is delirious," said they.

"No," said the stranger! "What he says is true enough—at least in part;" and bending over the expiring man, he added, "May Heaven forgive you, Antoine de Chaulieu! I was not executed; one who well knew my innocence saved my life. I may name him, for he is beyond the reach of the law now—it was Claperon, the jailor, who loved Claudine, and had himself killed Alphonse de Bellefonds from jealousy. An unfortunate wretch had been several years in the jail for a murder committed during the frenzy of a fit of insanity. Long confinement had reduced him to idiocy. To save my life Claperon substituted the senseless being for me, on the scaffold, and he was executed in my stead. He has quitted the country, and I have been a vagabond on the face of the earth ever since that time. At length I obtained, through the assistance of my sister, the situation of concierge in the Hôtel Marbœuf, in the Rue Grange-Batelière. I entered on my new place yesterday evening, and was desired to awaken the gentleman on the third floor at seven o'clock. When I entered the room to do so, you were asleep, but before I had time to speak you awoke, and I recognized your features in the glass. Knowing that I could not vindicate my innocence if you chose to seize me, I fled, and seeing an omnibus starting for St. Denis, I got on it with a vague idea of getting on to Calais, and crossing the Channel to England. But having only a franc or two in my pocket, or indeed in the world, I did not know how to procure the means of going forward; and while I was lounging about the place, forming first one plan and then another, I saw you in the church, and concluding you were in pursuit of me, I thought the best way of eluding your vigilance was to make my way back to Paris as fast as I could; so I set off instantly, and walked all the way; but having no money to pay my night's lodging, I came here to borrow a couple of livres of my sister Claudine, who lives in the fifth story."

"Thank Heaven!" exclaimed the dying man; "that sin is off my soul! Natalie, dear wife, farewell! Forgive! forgive all!"

These were the last words he uttered; the priest, who had been summoned in haste, held up the cross before his failing sight; a few strong convulsions shook the poor bruised and mangled frame; and then all was still.

And thus ended the Young Advocate's Wedding Day.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


The moral is evolved out of the physical, and the extraordinary in animal structure has a kinship to the portentous in human action.

Mirabeau, the infamous, born in an age, of a family, in a rank the most vicious in the annals of vice, of parents whose depravity had contaminated even their blood, was ushered with infinite difficulty into the breathing scene he was so much to trouble, and offered, at the outset of his disorderly career, misfortune and[Pg 309] singularity in a twisted fool, a tied tongue, and two molar teeth.

Maltreated by fortune, which, at the age of three, turned him by disease into the ugliest of children—"a tiger marked by the small-pox"—caressed and neglected by his dissolute mother, disowned and persecuted as a spurious graft in his house and home by the celebrated "Economist," his father—his very childhood presaged the disorders of his youth and manhood; and his father, mysteriously reverting to early crimes and calamities as the blight of his life, made it matter of complaint that Honoré Gabriel, as a boy, had more cleverness "than all the devils in h—l," and seemed destined from his childhood "to disturb the monarchy, as a second Cardinal de Retz."

He was indeed born a Revolutionist; and if he had not found the elements of a bouleversement, was competent to have created them. But just as nature gave the instinct, fortune supplied the breeding and the occasion. The heir, pupil, find victim of a second family of Atreus and Thyestes, the child was trained into demoralization, vicissitude, and daring. Believed himself to have been the favorite lover of the most lovely of his sisters, he describes her as the "Atrocious memoir-writer," a "Messalina, boasting of the purity of her morals, and an absconding wife, bragging of her love for her husband." The Vicomte, his brother, "would have been a roué and a wit," he tells us, "in any family but his own," and was, of a dissolute noblesse, its most dissolute member. His mother, driven with contumely from her home and the bosom of her family, under accusations the most revolting a wife may hear from one who is her husband and a father, addressed the world in public recriminations for her persecutor, not less disgusting or condemnatory. The son himself, the most infamous man of his time, completes the picture in the boast he made to the National Assembly, that among the tragic woes of his family he had been the witness of fifty-four lettres-de-cachet, seventeen of them on his own account!

As in Eastern climates the abundance of degenerate man will, at some spot and moment, reach a point where it breeds the plague which diminishes by depopulation the evil it can not remove by more merciful agencies, so would it seem that in France the demoralization which necessitated a revolution, concentrating itself in one family, produced the man who was to begin the catastrophe.

At seventeen, leaving a military academy, he entered the army as a sub-lieutenant, knowing, as he tells us, a little Latin, and no Greek, but possessing, with very tolerable acquirements in the mathematics, a fair share of the scattered erudition won by readings more desultory than diligent.

Presented at court, admitted to the rare aristocratic privilege of riding in the king's carriages at Versailles, laughed at as the Princess Elizabeth's living specimen of inoculation, the incipient courtier and embryo revolutionist was awakened from his delightful vision to find himself suddenly transferred from his regal residence and gayeties, to the sombre solitude of a country jail. He had been guilty of a passionate attachment to a young lady of disproportionate expectations.

The young victim of parental wrong, thus severely taught that the splendors of a court were but a veneer under which lay the terrible springs of a wayward tyranny, killed time in brooding over the ideas and studies which subsequently formed his "Essai" no less than his character—"sur le despotisme." But before completing the work, the father's monomania had been temporarily mitigated by the vengeance of a year's imprisonment; and the son, instead of being sent to Surinam, the Dutch Sierra Leone of that day, was graciously permitted, under the bourgeois name of "Buffiere," to enter as a gentleman volunteer the French army that was about to crush the Corsicans in their noble struggle against Genoese oppression.

In this liberticidal war, the liberty-loving Mirabeau performed his first manly act, won his first public distinction, and initiated that series of paradox, and moral revolutionism, that was hence to follow him as lover, litterateur, and politician, to the grave. As his sword was against Corsica and freedom, his pen was for them. He wrote over the ruins of both a boyish philippic, admired by his victims, and burnt by his father!

And while the brain that was to rule France as a tribune-king, was thus evolving its idle progeny, the womb of a Corsican woman near him was travailing with him who was to be Napoleon! At the instant France, by the sword of her future liberator, was mowing down the new-born liberties of Corsica—Corsica was breathing the breath of life into a child, whose sword was to cleave down the fresh-won freedom of France! As a Cæsar and a Marius sprung from the blood of the Gracchi, there would have been no Corsican exterminator for France, had there been no French exterminators for Corsica.[7] There are surely times when fate plays with mortals, making of the murder of a generation or the revolution of an empire a nursery game of coincidences!

Of the twenty years that followed, bringing Mirabeau to the footsteps of the revolution, and within two years of his death, it was the odd fate of this gay and gifted noble, guilty of no offense against the state, nor in a legal sense against society, to pass more than the moiety of his time in the sad rôle of a state prisoner; and the main incidents in the unhappy sequence of wrong and suffering, the inevitable but unrecognized logic of Providence, were briefly, and in succession, a profitless marriage with the most distinguished heiress of his province, carried off[Pg 310] from twenty more eligible rivals by the superior strategy of seduction and defamation, pecuniary extravagance, dissipation, debts, sequestration of property, marital separation, successive imprisonments by paternal intervention, deadly hate with the father, permanent alienation from his adulterous wife and only child, licentious connection with a friend's wife, with whom he abandoned his country, exile in Switzerland, Holland, and England, successive litigations self-conducted, a ministerial spyship in Prussia, and a career more or less stormy, as a litterateur, in France.

Entombed in one of the horrid dungeons of Vincennes, solitary, hopeless, almost without a sympathy, though in the very spring-tide of his rich youth and activity, the angel of consolation, never far from us in our darkest hour, came down, and in the genial guise of literature, visited in his dungeon this man of infamies and suffering. It must, however, be confessed against him that, maddened by the severity of a despotism without appeal, in the wrong—and from that hand, too, whence he might fairly have hoped a kinder gift, even the wholesomeness of books became poisoned under his diseased digestion, and it became his wretched pleasure through months to avenge himself on the virtue in whose injured name he suffered, by licentious compilations, in which the man degenerates into the satyr, and the distinctions of right and decency are lost in the beastly excesses of a maniac imagination.

But so morbid a vice in a mind like his can be protected by no madness of the passions or vindictiveness of misanthropy from the healing influence of time; and if the leisure of his tedious incarcerations gave us four or five books in the worst of services, they gave us also those extensive studies of history and its philosophy to which we owe, among much else that is great in literature or in event, the three works on "Despotism," "State Prisons," and "Lettres-de-Cachet."

To our present purpose it would be of little use to indulge in any lengthened analysis or literary estimate of these performances. Gratifying his need of money, his love of fame, and, above all, a vengeance warmly nursed, which even virtue can not censure, their publication formed, probably, the happiest incidents of his life. The first published in his twenty-fifth year, bears all the characteristics of the young man of genius, roughened, no less than strengthened by the asperities of the experience out of whose ireful plenitude he writes. Rough and disorderly in arrangement, it is lofty, striking, eloquent in style—cogent, daring, powerful in matter.

The last, the result of his long, final imprisonment, and published in his thirty-first year, possesses similar attributes, aggrandized, or improved. A great work, involving an inquiry into the first principles of government, and, therefore, of infinite practical utility in the career reserved for him, it wants too obviously the elevation of a Montesquieu, the philosophy of a Bolingbroke, or the comprehensive profundity of a Burke. It is a work of genius, but by a partisan, an advocate, a man of powerful emotion and vivid conception, having a strong will, a high purpose, and an enduring conviction. With a great, sometimes an inapt parade of erudition, and an occasional loss of time in inflated and declamatory commonplaces, there is yet, as a general rule, work, rather than literature, in his sentences, and the just, the practical, the statesman-like are the dominating qualities. We must not look for the artist in Mirabeau as a writer: he is above that: nor, whatever the range of thought we may justly concede him, may we, therefore, expect the sublime; he is below that. With the eloquence of an impassioned imagination, united to the unornamented vigor of a ready, versatile, and comprehensive reason, he reminds one of some colossal engine in forceful, though not always in graceful action.

In Holland, occupied in literature and the society of literary men, and subsequently in England, in commerce with Franklin, Dr. Price, Samuel Romilly, and Wilkes—among whom be it said, en passant, he acquired the reputation of an habitual liar—a thousand circumstances must have presented themselves, not more in his own studies than in the freedom, seriousness, and activity he saw around him, to prepare and stimulate his ambition for the lofty career of political action that awaited him at home. In truth, if we may judge from the letters written during his English residence, or the biographical fragments that occur in his other correspondence, he seems, beyond his personal indigence, to have had no other enduring interest but that of public affairs. His mind broods over the tragic epochs of English history with a fascinating and curious sympathy: there is an evident faith in a coming drama of popular action for France, in which he is to play a leading part—a faith so early ripened that, in 1782, meeting at Neufchatel certain State Deputies of Geneva, he based on the inevitable meeting of the States General the prediction, or rather the promise, that he would become a deputy, and in that character restore their country to freedom.

Returning to Paris at a moment when the increasing and unmanageable deficit brought national bankruptcy and confusion to the very door of the state, a course of angry and mercenary pamphleteering on Finance, while connecting him with discontented men of wealth and influence, willing, jointly with the police, to hire or use his ready pen, forced on him education in another important, if unattractive, department of the great question of the times.

His ministerial spyship in Prussia, which, subsequently divulged by his own audacious publication of his secret correspondence, won from M. de Montesquieu the remark, that "the infamy of the person might be estimated by the infamy of the thing," was not without its compensations in the political experience he extracted[Pg 311] from it. It brought before him the main interests of European diplomacy: won him access to the principal intrigues and intriguers of a Court in transitionship, by the death of Frederick, from eccentric greatness to orderly mediocrity; habituated him to ministerial correspondence and reports, which, if disgustingly mean, were, at all events, systematic and prescient, and secured him—I could wish to say honestly—those historic and statistical data which, published in his elaborate work on the Prussian monarchy, countenanced some serious claims to statesmanship.

Misfortune, passion, solitude, suffering, travel, extraordinary adventures, extensive readings, varied studies, innumerable writings thus admirably endowing his mind, so disposed, too, by nature, for the daring and stormy struggles of the revolution, the only resource that could surely be wanting to so enormous a compound of intellectual strength, I mean the power of oratory, he was fated to acquire in his lengthened trials for the recovery of his wife and legal rights.

Opposed by Alps of difficulties, the moral greater than the legal, for the suits ploughed deeply into all the crimes or errors that had dishonored his career, and would necessarily turn up masses of documentary evidence, which on no less authority than that of his father, must carry the tale of his infamy to every eye; yet his audacity dared, as his genius surmounted, every disadvantage, and after fixing the admiration of a province—to him a sufficient compensation—by the ingenuity, the power, and the extraordinary resources of his eloquence in a path so new to him, he succeeded in re-establishing his civil rights, and but failed in the second, and, perhaps, less important suit, by the accident of a technicality.

Passing by his double election as Deputy, at Aix and Marseilles, marked by excitement, insurrection and all the stirring incidents that, in a moment of great public agitation, might be expected to accompany the début of a daring and accomplished demagogue, we are now brought to the greatest epoch of France, and, therefore, of Mirabeau—the meeting of the States General; and the observation is naturally suggested that, if this extraordinary succession of circumstances, marvelous as incidents, but still more marvelous as coincidents, had not specially moulded the man for his work, it might well be doubted that the French revolution could have happened, or at all events, in such gigantic proportions. Mirabeau's life was, as we have seen, a pupilage, as it is now to become a mastership, in revolution. His Saturn of a father had trained him, from his youth upward, into the executionership of his order; and Heaven itself, as if seconding some such inscrutable design, seems to have stooped to lead by the hand this servant of Nemesis, through paths the most devious and unfrequented, but, of all others, the most fitted to form and conduct him to the emergency.

A change, it is true of some kind in French Government, accompanied by more or less confusion and bloodshed, had been long inevitable. Genius, good sense, suffering, luxury, oppression, contumely, unprincipledness, and folly, each boon of nature, each wrong of man, had concurred, after more than a century of struggle, in necessitating a consummation.

In my opinion, the popular horrors that darkened the end of the eighteenth century, though pointed in their way by the finger of Mirabeau, legitimately trace their pedigree to the royal grandeurs that closed the preceding one. The French Revolution was born of Louis the Fourteenth. His policy—his achievements—his failures, and, still more, his personal character and court deportment, killed monarchy in the hearts of the French people. The prominent ruling characteristic of himself and reign was an all-absorbing egotism. A maelstrom of selfishness, and unconscious of any law of reciprocity to arise from his relations to a common humanity, this chief and example of a numerous aristocracy was the grand centre to which was to be directed every affection and service, from which was to be circulated every volition and ordinance. And need I say that no eminence of intellectual power—no prudence of personal deportment—no brilliancy of external achievement, can or ought to have any effect on spectators so keen-witted and impressionable as the French, save to make additionally insupportable a character which, even on the smallest scale, is, of all others, the most odious and repulsive. The stern unity and perfection of order in which he was enabled to present political power—that necessary evil of human existence—but added intensity to the hate, as it added grandeur to the idea of his despotism. In the eyes of his suffering subjects it brought him face to face with the catastrophes no less than with the glories of his reign, and without the merit of the avowal—adsum qui feci! gave him all its dread responsibilities. An old despot surviving his greatness while retaining the stinging irony of its title—a saint amid the standing reminiscences of his adulteries, expiating his pleasures by annihilating those of others, and tormenting consciences to save his own—his suffering and downcast people became at length disabused but too utterly of the base apotheosis of his person and character, so long maintained by him in the name of a false glory and debased religion. They even publicly rejoiced at a death-bed made pitiable by the absence of his mistress, confessor, and family; and meeting in mobs that, encountering his corpse on its way through by-lanes to hugger-mugger interment at St. Denis, they might tear it into shreds, gave early and portentous evidence that the germ of an envenomed and bloody democracy had been elicited in the very perfection of his stern and heartless tyranny. The unblushing excesses of the Regent and of Louis the Fifteenth, who gratuitously withdrew the last vail that concealed the utter rottenness of all that claimed popular obedience, under the names of religion, and[Pg 312] authority, sufficed, though scarcely needed, to complete the discredit of the French monarchy; and, ascending his throne, surrounded by a dissolute clergy, an overbearing aristocracy, and a discontented and impoverished people, the robed Louis the Sixteenth seemed but the calf of atonement of the Scriptures decked for sacrifice, and doomed to expiate a century of court gayeties and crimes in which he had had no part!

Mirabeau began the revolution with a thousand vague hopes and expectations, and the conviction, communicated to his friend Mauvillon, that "it was not given to human sagacity to devise where all this would end." A living conflict of passions and principles, of low needs and high ambitions, of lofty genius and infamous repute, a demagogue by policy, an aristocrat by vanity, a constitutionalist by conviction, his public conduct anxiously and perpetually brought in evidence one or other of these conflicting agencies; but beyond the personal aim of recovering his rank, and winning some sort of greatness at any price, he was without one pervading or dominant public purpose, save that of extinguishing the despotism that had injured him. Above all policies, abstractedly considered, this was the one dear to his heart. "I come here to grant, not to ask pardon," was his reply, in a voice of angry defiance, to some oratorical assurance that a life of usefulness might secure the pardon of his earlier delinquencies. A horrid, but too natural vindictiveness had interwoven the hate of arbitrary power into every fibre of his brain. It was a passion or sentiment that he never abandoned: it may be even doubted if he could have been purchased out of it. Despite all the evils and mischances of life, there stood erect in his soul this one small altar to virtue, or something that resembled it, which he would have thrown down but under the direst necessity.

But of all the circumstances glanced at as furnishing the key to many of the paradoxes of his public conduct, one of the most important, though perhaps the least appreciated, is the dishonor of his repute. It is difficult, with his present position in history, especially when taken in relation to the now well-certified worthlessness of his contemporaries, to realize to the imagination the full extent of his infamy. "You dare," said his former friend Rulhiere, in a pamphlet that had a wide circulation, "You dare to speak of a country, Count Mirabeau! If your brow were not trebly bronzed, how must you have blushed at its very name! Have you one quality of father, friend, brother, husband, or relative? An honorable vocation? Any one attribute that constitutes the citizen? Not one! You are without a refuge, without a relative. I seek your most ordinary domiciles, and I find them but in the prison of Vincennes, the Chateau d'If, the fortress of Ioux, the jail of Pontarlier!"[8]

Dumont, coming over to Paris, was so moved by the discredit attached, in respectable circles, to his acquaintance, that he visited him with repugnance and as a duty, but records the characteristic incident, that on his first call he was so won by the magic of his host's conversation, as to depart resolved on retaining, at all hazards, so agreeable a friendship. The mention of his name, with the sight of his person, at the opening of the States General, elicited groans and hisses on all sides. The Tiers-Etat—whom he had honored by his aristocratic adoption—were unanimous in refusing him a hearing the two or three occasions on which he first sought to address them. The queen, whose life, family, and regal heritage were at stake, received the assurance, that such a person was willing to assist the views of the court, with "the contempt due to vice;"[9] and "assassin!" "robber!" "slanderer!" were the epithets almost daily applied to him in the senate of the nation! Society, expiring under the weight of its own vices, saw in him that well-defined excess that entitled it to the merits of purgation in his extruism, of atonement in his martyrdom, and to place the hand of menace and malediction on his head, as the scape-goat of its redemption!

Thus detested by all parties, his low character keeping him low, Mirabeau, with all his marvelous power, found himself placed, by public contempt, more even than by private need, at the mercy of circumstances. Befoulment had so far eaten into his name, that, with occasionally the best of desires, and always the greatest of energies, there stood a blight over both. He felt that a moral leprosy incrusted him, which repelled the good, and kept aloof the prudent. The contemned inferior, in moral standing, of those that surrounded him, it was difficult to be honest, and impossible to be independent. By a sort of law of nature, too, his tarred repute attracted to it every floating feather of suspicion, no less than of guilt, as to its natural seat; and thus it happened that the lofty genius of Mirabeau, under the "grand hests" of a hateful necessity, like the "too delicate spirit," Ariel, tasked to the "strong biddings" of the "foul witch Sycorax," was condemned for a while to pander rather than teach, to follow rather than lead, to please rather than patronize, and to halloo others' opinions rather than vindicate his own!

No man could appreciate the misfortune more fully or sensitively than himself. Dumont tells us that, taught by events that a good character would have placed France at his feet, "he would have passed seven times through the fiery furnace to purify his name;" and that, "weeping and sobbing, he was accustomed to exclaim, 'Cruelly do I expiate the errors of my youth!'" And, indeed, the more sensible his heart, the more rich and elevated his soul, the more must his torments have been bitter and redoubled; for the very preciousness of the gifts of nature, the charms of society, even the friendship[Pg 313] of those that surrounded him, must have turned but to the increase of his wretchedness!

It is easy to understand, then, that the tactics of Mirabeau, in the first days of the revolution, were those of a man outside "a swelling scene,"

"A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold,"

which he could only occupy by rudely breaking through a thousand circumvallations of usage, propriety, and public opinion. As it was the boast of Luther, that he, an obscure monk, stood alone for some time against respectable Europe, so Mirabeau, on the eve of his public greatness, was the most isolated politician of his age. "Mean men, in their rising," says Lord Bacon, "most adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves, were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral." Instinctively feeling that this was the policy of his position, when repelled by both sides, he haughtily repelled them in return, and the more he was despised the more inevitable did he make the establishment of his importance. As, without a party, he became one himself, so without a plan he took that of events, and without a policy was content with that of display. In these early days, indeed, his whole plan, system, and policy was to make his individualism tell, to demonstrate, to all parties, what he was worth in journalism as a writer, in the Assembly as an orator, in every thing as a statesman. As he had nothing but himself, it became his business to make the most of the commodity, which, so valueless in the beginning, ended in outworthing all that was opposed to it.

But if this policy of display, no less than his education, sympathies, and hates, bore him to the opposition, there were in his pecuniary wants, and his ambitious dreams of a statesmanship, à la Richelieu, circumstances that at times resistlessly brought him within the influence of court power. Uncertain how far he could overpower the disadvantages of his personal position, wounded that the movement party were little inclined to value his co-operation, and still less to accept his leadership, he early felt, or feigned alarm at the fermentation in the public mind, and its possible evolution in great national calamities; and before one act of legislation was accomplished, or he had had a month's experience of the fanatical impracticability of one side, I use his own words, and the intolerant spirit of resistance on the other, he personally proposed to his enemy, Necker, and through him to the queen, "the only man," he said, "connected with the court," to concur, at the price of an embassadorship to Constantinople, in supporting the court system of policy.

He appears to have fancied for some days that his proposals were accepted; but before he could enter on any of the Eastern arrangements his active mind had already suggested, he learned that the overture was rejected "with a contempt which," as Madame Campan sagaciously admits, "the court would doubtless have concealed, if they could have foreseen the future." Contenting himself with the angry menace, "They shall soon hear some of my news," within a month he became the author of successive defeats, the most insulting a monarch could receive from his parliament, and which were fated to exercise an active influence in the overturn of that royalty he was afterward to defend.

The king, anxious to arrange the differences which kept the three orders aloof from each other, and from legislation, had sent to the Tiers-Etat a message, wise in its suggestions, and conciliatory in its tone. Under the eloquence of Mirabeau, the house passed to the order of the day.

Irritated by insult, and complaining that the antagonism of the three orders prevented any progress in the public business for which they were convened, the king summoned a general meeting of all the deputies, and after an address, in which he expressed his royal pleasure that the three orders should form separate chambers, he commanded the assembly to disperse, that they might meet under the ordinances his prerogative had prescribed. The clergy, the nobles obey; the commons remain uncertain, hesitating, and almost in consternation. The royal command is again communicated to them, with the intimation, that having heard the king's intentions they had now only to obey. The crisis of the royal prerogative, obedience, hung but on the turn of a feather: the repulsed Mirabeau arose, and turned it against the king. "We have," said he, in a voice of thunder, "we have heard the intentions attributed to the king; and you, sir, who have no place, nor voice, nor right of speech here, are not competent to remind us of them. Go tell your master that we are here by the will of the people, and that we are not to be expelled but by the power of bayonets!"

Cheered and supported by the now reassured Tiers-Etat, he next, in imitation of the English parliament, carried, that the persons of the deputies were inviolate, that any one infringing that right should be pursued as an enemy of the country, and that the payment of taxes, till further legislation, should be obligatory only during the existence of the legislative corps.

Added to the bold title of "National Assembly," newly adopted, these votes were the assumption of a kingship by the Tiers-Etat; and as public opinion enthusiastically backed the innovation, the divided peers and ecclesiastics were compelled at length to join, and be submerged in the mass of popular deputies.

A civil war could alone stand between royal power and its destruction. For some weeks the court prepared for even such an eventuality. "Ministers play high stakes," writes Mirabeau, on the 5th of July; "they are compromising the king, for in menacing Paris and the Assembly they are menacing France. All reaction is equal to action: the more the pressure now, the more terrible do I foresee will be the reaction. Paris will not suffer itself to be muzzled by a bevy of nobles thrown into despair by their own stupidity; but they shall pay the penalty of the[Pg 314] attempt.... The storm must soon break out. It is arranged that I ask the withdrawal of the troops; but be you ready (at Paris) to help the step!"

The demand was evaded by the king; the soldiery were largely increased and concentrated; the arrests of the more revolutionary deputies, including, of course, Mirabeau, were decided on; Necker was summarily dismissed: but on the other side able and active emissaries roused Paris by statements the most exciting, and taking all characters, with the costumes of either sex, caressed, fêted, and partially won over the soldiery, and before the court could take one step toward its purposes, Paris was in full insurrection, the troops corrupted or overpowered, the Bastile taken, and under the plea of anarchical excuse, the whole bourgeoisie of Paris placed in a few hours under arms as National Guards.

The king, taught that it was not revolt but revolution, preferred, as every body foresaw, submission to civil war, recalled Necker, and visited triumphant Paris, at once the hostage and conquest of a popular triumph.

Mirabeau, more or less connected with the Orleanists, had speculated with them on the chances of confusion; for to him it was a small thing, provided he had bread, that it was baked in an oven warmed with the conflagration of an empire. Looking forward with complacency to every contingency of revolutionary crises, assured that a common danger, flinging aside, as unimportant, questions of personal character, would make power the prey of genius and audacity, he was correspondingly annoyed by a re-arrangement that promised for a time a well-grounded tranquillity.

The destruction of the Bastile securing that of "The Syllas of thought," he now transformed into a full political newspaper, his weekly "Letter to his Constituents," under which title he had evaded, from the first assembly of the States-General, the censorship on the press. Aware, from a knowledge of Wilkes and his history, of the power of journalism to a politician, and above all, to a demagogue in a free country, he was, in the full sense of the term, the first newspaper editor of France, and owed to the vigorous use of this novel agency, not only useful additions to his pecuniary resources, but a great portion of that popular idolatry that followed him to the grave.

The court which, in calling together the States, had no higher aim than to regenerate the finances of the country, and, as one step, to obtain the help of the people in stripping a numerous aristocracy of their baneful exemption from state-burdens, had already found out its own share in the peril of the experiment, and now sought, by a close alliance with the noblesse, to avert the ruin that too evidently menaced both. But the torrent had but accumulated at each irresistible concession, and every day's work added to the democratic elements of a constitution that had already made royalty a cipher, and annihilated, as political institutions, the church and aristocracy.

Of course new schemes of regal antagonism again raised their heads, and again a popular manifestation, bringing Paris into the very boudoir of the queen, at Versailles, demonstrated the impuissance of all that took the name of French royalism. The October insurrection was fomented by Mirabeau and his Orleanist friends, for the same purpose as that of July, to secure personal safety, and obtain a new scene of action, by terrifying the court into exile, or the acceptance of Orleans' protection. Had the duke been raised to the "lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom," Mirabeau counted on a premiership, in which he purposed to become the Chatham or Pitt of France. Had Louis the Sixteenth fled the kingdom after the example of the Comte D'Artois, he purposed to proclaim a republic, and become its "first consul;" and should the doom be that France should be divided by civil war, and cut up into its old kingdoms, he speculated on a sovereignty in his ancestral country, Provence, which had already greeted him with so encouraging an enthusiasm.

Strangeness of event! While the monarchy, so short-lived, still survived the insatiate Mirabeau, two of the extraordinary contingencies he speculated on have already happened, to the profit of other actors, and the existing republic, in its mutinous armies, intolerant factions, and insane dynasties, offers no very improbable portent that, even after half a century of a centralized and well-fixed nationality, the old repartition of kingdoms may again present itself!

The great consummation of the confusion, however, failed for the overmuch of means. "A bottle of brandy was given," said the orator, "instead of a glass!" and the mob's capricious impromptu of carrying the king back with them to Paris, still more than the cowardice of the Duke of Orleans, defeated this deep-laid Machiavelian combination.

Whatever the character, however, of the people's success, it could not but be an additional success for their leader. The revolution, of which he stood recognized the unquestioned head, was now beyond all danger of royal aggression, except by his own treacherous agency. In a campaign of unimaginable brevity, he had not only vindicated the first place as an orator in a senate now omnipotent, and become out of it the most potent demagogue of his time, but as un homme d'état, surrounded by a brilliant staff of the most active spirits and practical thinkers of the day, Camille Desmoulins, Danton, Volney, Champfort, Lamourette, Cabanis, Reybaz, Dumont, Duroverai, Claviere, Servan, De Caseaux, Panchaud, Pellenc, Brissot, and others, was understood by every party to hold the future destinies of France in his hand Emerging from two insurrections, possessing, by his power, all their profits, and by his adroitness, none of their responsibility, he found it now worth his while to break terms with the Duke of Orleans, by a public expression of his[Pg 315] contempt for him as a scoundrel not worth the trouble that might be taken for him; and excluded from the ministry, that lay open to him, by a self-denying ordonnance of the Assembly, directly leveled at his pretensions, he accepted a large subsidy from the king's brother—the Comte de Provence—and formed with him, for the restoration or upholding a monarchical authority, a mysterious and ineffective conspiracy, the character and extent of which may be conjectured from its involving the assassination of the Marquess de Lafayette.

The hate of Mirabeau for this worthy but feeble nobleman—his diligent colleague in the struggle for liberty—was as intense as, at first sight, it seems incredible. He was his Mordecai at the king's gate, for whom he could neither sleep nor eat. Remembering that Mirabeau's passion for complicated intrigue and daring adventure, even in politics, was extravagant to disease, it seems possible that, as he advanced in his rapid greatness, he secretly nursed projects or hopes as incompatible with a constitutional monarchy, and an organized public force, in respectable hands, as with the despotism with which he had originally battled; and that, in his successive conspiracies, now with the Republicans and Orleanists, now with the Count de Provence and the queen, he had no fixed intention of ultimately benefiting those he professed to serve, but proposed to use them as ladders to that exalted position of a Sylla or a Cæsar, which, as Bonaparte subsequently proved, was no more, perhaps, beyond his grasp than his ambition; influenced by the insidious suggestions and doubts he carefully spread abroad, the queen, as he saw with pleasure, looked on the new commander of the National Guards as a "Grandison-Cromwell" (Mirabeau's damaging epithet), whose concealed ambition aimed at the constableship of France, as a step to that dread of French sovereigns, the "Mayorship of the Palace;" and hence the court systematically declined the aids it might so often have derived from the honesty, the popularity, and sometimes the good sense of the American volunteer. At all events, we know that the assassination of Lafayette—twice it seems plotted—would have left the National Guards in the hands of some less popular and more pliant chief; and that, when the general specifically accused his rival of the horrid project, naming time, place, and means, he won no better defense than the reply, "You were sure of it, and I am alive! How good of you! And you aspire to play a leading part in a revolution!" The compact with the Comte de Provence was of short duration: the queen began to distrust the personal views of her brother-in-law, who threatened to become the Duke D'Orleans of a philosophical party, and Mirabeau, to whom popularity was the only capital, probably found that he could not afford the sacrifices his employers demanded.

To preserve the status quo, and wait events, became now, for some weeks or months, as much his policy as his accessibility to passion and sudden influences would permit. He seemed to feel that he should give time to the molten lava of his volcanic greatness to settle, harden, and assume its individualism among things received. Holding aloof, therefore, from indentification with either party—leaning now on one side, now on the other; his speeches more with the movement, his policy more with the court; forcing both parties into explanations, while keeping himself, however, disengaged—he constituted himself their arbitrator and moderator, overawing both extremes; and while maintaining his pre-eminence of political influence, held himself ready to take advantage, at the least cost of consistency, of any fundamental change in the position of affairs.

In the month of May or June, however, a private interview with the queen, in the Royal Garden of St. Cloud, followed by others, to the renewed scandal of her fame, laid the foundation of a new compact with the court, and a more decided policy. The chivalry of Mirabeau revived under the enthusiasm won by "Earth's loveliest vision"—a queen in distress and a suppliant—and he pledged himself, as the Hungarians to her royal mother, to die in the service of saving her throne. But the highest endeavors of Mirabeau have always at their base, like the monuments of his country, the filthy and the repulsive; and the chivalry of this new saviour of the monarchy received sustentation in a bribe—higgled for through months—of twenty thousand pounds, and a pension of more than that per annum.

About the end of the year, three or four months before his death, he opened systematically his great campaign for what professedly was the restoration of regal authority. He was to out-Herod in patriotism the Herods of the Jacobin club: the court was to dare every thing short of civil war—perhaps even that; and the existing confusion, whatever it might be, was to be cured by another of greater extent, artificially induced by the charlatanism of art political. His scheme, in some points, it must be allowed, successfully imitated in our own days in Prussia, was:

First—To reorganize the party of Order in the Assembly; and while, as far as possible, winning for it the sympathy of the country, to excite, by all available agencies, distrust and discontent with the opposing majority.

Secondly—To inundate the provinces with publications against the Assembly; and by commissioners, sent nominally for other purposes, to obtain remonstrances from the departments against its further continuance.

Thirdly—At a proper opportunity, to dissolve the Assembly, and order fresh elections; at the same time canceling the constitution as illegal, and granting another by royal charter, formed on a popular basis, and on the written instructions which (on a system unknown to England) had originally been drawn up for each deputy by his electors.[Pg 316]

I shall not descend to discuss the oft-mooted point, how far the wholesale venality that based the project is justified or palliated by the object it is supposed to have had in view, because I know that with Mirabeau money was not a means to his defense of constitutional monarchy, but his defense of constitutional monarchy a means to money. If we except his relentless hate to French despotism in any hands not his own, the principles, moral or political, of this leader of a nation had no other tenure but the interest of his personal aggrandizement.

On another debate, whether with a longer life he could have carried his counter-revolution to success, I will only remark, that, conceding that in robust health he would have had it at heart as sincerely as in the recorded hours of his sickness and despondency, it may be admitted, that a struggle which, under every imprudence, seemed long to hang in doubt, with the aid of his energetic and masterly polity might, perhaps, have poised for royalty. But it is not to be concealed that the difficulty of arresting and unmaking were even greater than those of creating and consolidating the revolution. The king's aversion to decisive measures, and well-known horror of civil war, made him the worst of colleagues for the only policy his tool could wield with effect; and the great demagogue himself, when obliged to discard the mask of democratic hypocrisy that still partly hid the subtle and venal traitor of his party, would have lost, like Strafford, many of the elements of his potency; and despoiled, especially, of the miraculous resources of his eloquence, must have contented himself with that lucid, common-sense, consecutive daring, and power of strategic combination, which his new friends were so ill-fitted to support.

Fortunately, perhaps, for his future fame, he died ere the structure his arts had undermined tested his powers of reparation, and before that wonderful magic of popularity which had so long survived, as it had, indeed, so long anticipated, his deserts, had time to vanish under the cock-crow of truth. His death was as well-timed as his political advent, and has been praised by French wit as the best evidence of his tact; for the expectations which the unparalleled rapidity, no less than the innate marvelousness of his achievements had raised, no future activity and fortune, scarcely those of a Napoleon, could have realized.

But if the retrospect of his career must convince us that one man in so short a period never accomplished so much before, against such disadvantages, so also must we admit that probably never before did any one rest so wholly for his amazing achievements on the sole power of intrinsic genius. It was intellect that did all with Mirabeau; and made his head, according to his own boast, a power among European states. It united almost every possible capacity and attainment. His rare and penetrating powers of observation were sustained by the equal depth and justness of his discrimination, and the rapidity and accuracy of his judgment. Uniting, to his admirable natural capacity, an activity and habitual power of application, more marvelous almost in their extent than even in their rare combination, he possessed an understanding full, beyond precedent, both of the recorded knowledge of books, and of that priceless experience of men and things, without which all else is naught; and as the complement of these amazing and unparalleled advantages, he had the still rarer advantage of a felicity and power of diction every way worthy of so incomparable a genius.

Looking with contempt at the stiff, ornamental, and childishly antithetical style of his day and nation, he welded the flimsy elements of the French language into instruments of strength akin to his own conceptions, and wrought out of them a style for himself in which a Demosthenic simplicity and severity of language is sustained by an earnest and straightforward power which vivifies and amplifies all that it touches. Startled by an innovation far beyond the conceptions of the French academy, the writer was smiled at and neglected by the critics; and it was not till they heard him launching from the tribune the thunders of justice, disposing at pleasure of the inclinations of the multitude, and subjugating even the captious by the imperious power of his eloquence, that they began to discover that there was a "power of life"[10] in his rude and singular language; that "things, commonplace, in his hand became of electric power;"[11] and that, standing "like a giant among pigmies,"[12] his style, albeit "savage,"[13] dominated the assembly, stupefying, and thundering down all opposition.

It is the affliction of history, that, while raising her monuments to gigantic genius, she is compelled so often to record an immorality of parallel proportions. It is right that the infamy of Mirabeau should be as eternal as his greatness. He was a man who, in his political, as in his private life, had no sense of right for its own sake, and from whom conscience never won a sacrifice. With great and glorious aims at times, he never had a disinterested one. His ambition, vanity, or passions, were his only standard of conduct—a standard, be it added, which, despite the wonderful justness of his judgments, the depravity of a sunken nature kept always below even his needs. Policy with him was often but a campaign of vengeance or market of venality, and the glorious exercises of literature but a relaxation of indecency or business of wrong. In the study, in the tribune, or in the council-chamber, glory was the only element that remained to counterpoise, often with a feather's weight, the smallest influence of gold or spleen; and in the most critical epoch of an empire, the poising of his tremendous influence—the influence of so much earnestness and magical power—was the accident of an accident. We admit for him, in palliation, the demoralizing[Pg 317] influence of terrific example, and of maddening oppression; but where is the worth of a morality that, in a man of heroic mould, will not stand assay? and what is virtue but a name, if she may be betrayed whenever she demands an effort?

But however much a moral wreck was the heart of Mirabeau, nature, true to the harmony, no less than the magnificence, of her great creations, had essentially formed it of noble and gentle elements. Touched to the core by the contaminating influence of "time and tide," its instincts were yet to the kindly, the generous, and elevated; and those about him who knew him best—attached to him more by his affections than his glory—eagerly attested that in the bosom of this depraved citizen resided most of the qualities which, under happier agencies, would have made him a dutiful son, a devoted husband, an attached friend, and truly noble character!

In fine, with an eye to see at a glance, a mind to devise, a tongue to persuade, a hand to execute, this great man was circumspect in recklessness, poised and vigorous in violence, cool and calculating to a minutia in audacity and passion. As a friend, affectionate and volatile—as an enemy, fierce and placable—as a politician, patriotic and venal. Proud of his patricianship, whose status and manners he has lost, he is humble about a statesmanship that makes the first of his glories. The best of writers, his works are written for him; the greatest of orators, his speeches are made for him! Has he the most unerring of judgments? He prefers another's! Is he a popular tribune? He is also a royalist parasite! Is he earnest? He is then insincere! Does he evidence great principles? He seeks bribes! Does he enforce moderation? He awaits vengeance! Does he cause confusion? He is seeking order! Would he save the nation? He is selling its liberties! Wonderful man! great with enormous weaknesses, bad with many excellencies, immortal by the expedients of an hour, his genius is a combination of almost impossible perfections, as his political life the colossal result of a thousand contradictions. United, they yield a deathless character, whose Titanic proportions shall, age after age, be huger, as the mighty shadows that cover it shall grow darker!


[7] It was this invasion that made Corsica a French island, and consequently Napoleon Bonaparte a French citizen

[8] He had also been confined in two prisons, in the Ile de Rue, and the Castle of Dijon.

[9] Madame Campan's Memoirs.

[10] Madame de Staël.

[11] Bertrand de Moleville.

[12] De Levis.

[13] De Ferrieres.

[From Hogg's Instructor.]


We have been struck with the following anecdote of the great Cuvier, which is recorded in the "Courrier de l'Europe" for February, 1850, and trust the following translation will prove as interesting to our readers as it has been to us. It forms an amusing chapter in natural history, and forcibly illustrates that close observation which so frequently characterizes eminent men.

Poverty in youth has a purifying tendency, like the "live coal" of old which the angel passed over the lips of Isaiah. It inures the soul to struggling, and the mind to persevering labor and self-confidence: it keeps the imagination away from the temptations of luxury, and the still more fatal one of idleness, that parent of vice. It, moreover, becomes one of the most fruitful sources of happiness to the man whom God permits to come out of the crowd and take his place at the head of science and art. It is with ineffable delight that he looks behind, and says, in thinking of his cold and comfortless garret, "I came out of that place, single and unknown." George Cuvier, that pupil of poverty, loved to relate one of his first observations of natural history, which he had made while tutor to the children of Count d'Henry.

Cuvier and his scholars inhabited an old mansion in the county of Caux à Fiquanville; the teacher's room overlooked the garden, and every morning, at break of day, he opened the window to inhale the refreshing air, before commencing his arduous duties to his indifferently trained pupils. One morning he observed, not without pleasure, that two swallows had begun to build their nest in the very corner of his little chamber window. The birds labored with the ardor of two young lovers who are in haste to start in housekeeping. The male bird brought the moistened clay in his beak, which the female kneaded, and with the addition of some chips of straw and hay, she built her little lodging with wonderful skill. As soon as the outside was finished, the betrothed gathered feathers, hair, and soft dry leaves for the inside, and then departed to hide themselves in a neighboring wood, there to enjoy the sweets of repose after their labor, and amid the thick foliage of the trees the mysterious joys of the honeymoon. However that may be, they did not think of returning to take possession of their nest till the end of twelve or fifteen days.

Alas! changes had taken place during their absence. While the swallows were laboring with such assiduity in building a house, Cuvier had observed two sparrows, that perched at a short distance, watching the industry of the two birds, not without interchanging between themselves some cries that appeared to Cuvier rather ironical. When the swallows departed for their country excursion, the sparrows took no pains to conceal their odious schemes; they impudently took possession of the nest, which was empty and without an owner to defend it, and established themselves there as though they had been its veritable builders. Cuvier observed that the cunning sparrows were never both out of the nest at the same time. One of the usurpers always remained as sentinel, with his head placed at the opening, which served for a door, and with his large beak interdicted the entrance of any other bird, except his companion, or rather, to call things by their right names, his brother robber. The swallows returned in due time to their nest, the male full of joy, which showed itself in the brightness of his eye, and[Pg 318] in the nervous kind of motion in his flight; the female rather languid, and heavy with the approach of laying. You can imagine their surprise at finding the nest, on which they had bestowed so much care, occupied. The male, moved with indignation and anger, rushed upon the nest to chase away the usurpers, but he found himself face to face with the formidable beak of the sparrow who, at that moment, guarded the stolen property. What could the slim beak of the swallow do against the redoubtable pincers of the sparrow, armed with a double and sharpened point? Very soon, the poor proprietor, dispossessed and beaten back, retreated with his head covered with blood, and his neck nearly stripped of its feathers. He returned with flashing eye, and trembling with rage, to the side of his wife, with whom he appeared for some minutes to hold counsel, after which they flew away into the air, and quickly disappeared. The female sparrow came back soon after; the male recounted all that had passed—the arrival, the attack, and flight of the swallows—not without accompanying the recital with what seemed to Cuvier to be roars of laughter. Be this as it may, the housekeeper did not rest satisfied with making only a hullah-balloo, for the female went forth again, and collected in haste a much larger quantity of provisions than usual. As soon as she returned, after having completed the supplies for a siege, two pointed beaks, instead of one, defended the entrance to the nest. Cries, however, began to fill the air, and an assemblage of swallows gathered together on a neighboring roof. Cuvier recognized distinctly the dispossessed couple, who related to each newcomer the impudent robbery of the sparrow. The male, with blood-stained head and bared neck, distinguished himself by the earnestness of his protestations and appeals of vengeance. In a little while two hundred swallows had arrived at the scene of conflict. While the little army was forming and deliberating, all at once a cry of distress came from an adjacent window. A young swallow, doubtless inexperienced, instead of taking part in the counsels of his brethren, was chasing some flies which were buzzing about a bunch of neglected or castaway flowers before the window. The pupils of Cuvier had stretched a net there to catch sparrows; one of the claws of the swallow was caught by the perfidious net. At the cry which this hair-brained swallow made, a score of his brethren flew to the rescue: but all their efforts were in vain; the desperate struggles which the prisoner made to free himself from the fatal trap only drew the ends tighter, and confined his foot more firmly. Suddenly a detachment took wing, and, retiring about a hundred paces, returned rapidly, and, one by one, gave a peck at the snare, which each time, owing to the determined manner of the attack, received a sharp twitch. Not one of the swallows missed its aim, so that, after half an hour of this persevering and ingenious labor, the chafed string broke, and the captive; rescued from the snare, went joyously to mingle with his companions. Throughout this scene, which took place twenty feet from Cuvier, and at almost as many from the usurped nest, the observer kept perfectly still, and the sparrows made not the slightest movement with their two large beaks, which, formidable and threatening, kept its narrow entrance. The council of swallows, while a certain number of them were succoring their companion, had continued to deliberate gravely. As soon as all were united, the liberated prisoner included, they took flight, and Cuvier felt convinced they had given up the field, or rather the nest, to the robbers, who had so fraudulently possessed themselves of it. Judge of his surprise when, in the course of a few seconds, he beheld a cloud of two or three hundred swallows arrive, with the rapidity of thought throw themselves before the nest, discharge at it some mud which they had brought in their bills, and retire to give place to another battalion, which repeated the same manœuvre. They fired at two or three inches from the nest, thus preventing the sparrows from giving them any blows with their beaks. Besides, the mud, shot with such perfidious precision, had so blinded the sparrows, after the first discharge, that they very soon knew not in what manner to defend themselves. Still the mud continued to thicken more and more on the nest, whose original shape was soon obliterated: the opening would have almost entirely disappeared, had not the sparrows, by their desperate efforts at defense, broken away some portions of it. But the implacable swallows, by a strategic movement, as rapidly as it was cleverly executed, rushed upon the nest, beat down with their beaks and claws the clay over the opening already half stopped up, and finished the attack by hermetically closing it. Then there arose a thousand cries of vengeance and victory. Nevertheless, the swallows ceased not the work of destruction. They continued to carry up moistened clay till they had built a second nest over the very opening of the besieged one. It was raised by a hundred beaks at once, and, an hour after the execution of the sparrows, the nest was occupied by the dispossessed swallows. The drama was complete and terrible; the vengeance inexorable and fatal. The unfortunate sparrows not only expiated their theft in the nest they had taken possession of, whence they could not escape, and where suffocation and hunger were gradually killing them, but they heard the songs of love from the two swallows, who thus so cruelly made them wipe out the crime of their theft. During the fight the female remained alone, languishing and motionless, on an angle of the roof. It was with difficulty, and with a heavy flight, that she left this spot to take up her abode in her new house; and, doubtless, while the agony of the sparrows was being filled up, she laid her eggs, for she did not stir out for two days; the male, during that time, taking upon himself to search for insects and hunt for flies. He brought[Pg 319] them alive in his beak, and gave them to his companion. Entirely devoted to the duties of incubation and maternity, she was only seen now and then to put out her head to breathe the pure air. Fifteen days after, the male flew away at day-break. He appeared more gay and joyful than usual; during the whole day he ceased not to bring to the nest a countless number of insects, and Cuvier, by standing on tiptoe at his window, could distinctly see six little yellow and hungry beaks, crying out, and swallowing with avidity all the food brought by their father. The female did not leave her family till the morrow; confinement and fatigue had made her very thin. Her plumage had lost its lustre; but in seeing her contemplate her little ones, you might conceive the maternal joy which filled her, and by what ineffable compensations she felt herself indemnified for all her privations and sufferings. After a short time the little creatures had advanced in figure; their large yellow bills were transformed into little black and charming ones; their naked bodies, covered here and there with ugly tufts, were now clothed with elegant feathers, on which the light played in brilliant flashes. They began to fly about the nest, and even to accompany their mother when she hunted for flies in the neighborhood.

Cuvier could not refrain from feelings of admiration, and was somewhat affected when he saw the mother, with indefatigable patience and grace, show her children how they should set about catching flies, which darted about in the air—to suck in an incautious one, or carry away a spider which had imprudently made his net between the branches of two trees. Often she would hold out to them at a distance in her beak a booty which excited their appetite; then she would go away by degrees, and gradually draw them unconsciously off to a shorter or a longer distance from the nest. The swallow taught her children to fly high when the air was calm, for then the insects kept in a more elevated part of the air; or to skim along the ground at the approach of a storm, as then the same insects would direct their course toward the earth, where they might find shelter under the stones at the fall of the first drop of rain. Then the little ones, more experienced, began, under the guidance of their father, to undertake longer flights. The mother, standing at the entrance of the nest, seemed to give her instructions before they departed: she awaited their return with anxiety, and when that was delayed, took a flight high, very high in the air, and there flew to and fro till she saw them. Then, full of a mother's joy, she would utter cries of emotion, scud before them, bring them back to the nest, happy and palpitating, and seemed to demand an account of the causes of their delay.

The autumn arrived. Some groups of swallows collected together on the very roof of the mansion of Fiquanville. After grave deliberation, and a vote being taken (whether by ballot or otherwise, Cuvier does not mention), the young ones of the nest, along with the other young swallows of the same age, were all placed in the middle of the troop; and one morning a living cloud rose above the chateau, and flew away swiftly due east.

The following spring two swallows, worn down by fatigue, came to take possession of the nest. Cuvier recognized them immediately; they were the very same—those whose manners and habits he had studied the preceding year. They proceeded to restore the nest, cracked and injured in some places by the frost: they garnished anew the inside with fresh feathers and choice moss, then, as last year, made an excursion of some days. On the very morrow after their return, while they were darting to and fro close to Cuvier's window, to whose presence they had become accustomed, and which did not in the least incommode them, a screech-owl, that seemed to fall from above, pounced upon the male, seized him in his talons, and was already bearing him away, when Cuvier took down his gun, which was within reach, primed and cocked it, and fired at the owl; the fellow, mortally wounded, fell head over heels into the garden, and Cuvier hastened to deliver the swallow from the claws of the dead owl, who still held him with his formidable nails. The poor swallow had received some deep wounds; the nails of the owl had penetrated deeply into his side, and one of the drops of shot had broken his leg. Cuvier dressed the wounds as well as he could, and, by the aid of a ladder, replaced the invalid in his nest, while the female flew sadly around it, uttering cries of despair. For three or four days she never left the nest but to go in search of food, which she offered the male. Cuvier saw his sickly head come out with difficulty, and try in vain to take the food offered by his companion; every day he appeared to get weaker. At length, one morning, Cuvier was awakened by the cries of the female, who with her wings beat against the panes of his window. He ran to the nest—alas! it contained only a dead body. From that fatal moment the female never left her nest. Overwhelmed with grief, she, five days after, died of despair, on the dead body of her companion.

Some months after this, the Abbé Tessier, whom the revolutionary persecution had compelled to flee to Normandy, where he disguised himself under the dress of a military physician of the hospital of Fécamp, fell in with the obscure tutor, who recounted to him the history of the swallows. The abbé engaged him to deliver a course of lectures on natural history to the pupils of that hospital, of which he was the head, and wrote to Jussieu and Geoffrey Saint Hilaire, to inform them of the individual he had become acquainted with. Cuvier entered into a correspondence with these two learned men, and a short time after he was elected to the chair of comparative anatomy at Paris His subsequent career is well known.

[Pg 320]

[From Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


This day was to me rather a memorable one, as the first on which I saw and slew the lofty, graceful-looking giraffe or camelopard, with which, during many years of my life, I had longed to form an acquaintance. These gigantic and exquisitely beautiful animals, which are admirably formed by nature to adorn the fair forests that clothe the boundless plains of the interior, are widely distributed throughout the interior of Southern Africa, but are nowhere to be met with in great numbers. In countries unmolested by the intrusive foot of man, the giraffe is found generally in herds varying from twelve to sixteen; but I have not unfrequently met with herds containing thirty individuals, and on one occasion I counted forty together; this, however, was owing to chance, and about sixteen maybe reckoned as the average number of a herd. These herds are composed of giraffes of various sizes, from the young giraffe of nine or ten feet in height, to the dark, chestnut-colored old bull of the herd, whose exalted head towers above his companions, generally attaining to a height of upward of eighteen feet. The females are of lower stature and more delicately formed than the males, their height averaging from sixteen to seventeen feet. Some writers have discovered ugliness and a want of grace in the giraffe, but I consider that he is one of the most strikingly beautiful animals in the creation; and when a herd of them is seen scattered through a grove of the picturesque parasol-topped acacias which adorn their native plains, and on whose uppermost shoots they are enabled to browse by the colossal height with which nature has so admirably endowed them, he must, indeed, be slow of conception who fails to discover both grace and dignity in all their movements. There can be no doubt, that every animal is seen to the greatest advantage in the haunts which nature destined him to adorn; and among the various living creatures which beautify this fair creation I have often traced a remarkable resemblance between the animal and the general appearance of the locality in which it is found. This I first remarked at an early period of my life, when entomology occupied a part of my attention No person following this interesting pursuit can fail to observe the extraordinary likeness which insects bear to the various abodes in which they are met with. Thus, among the long green grass we find a variety of long green insects, whose legs and antennæ so resemble the shoots emanating from the stalks of the grass that it requires a practiced eye to distinguish them. Throughout sandy districts varieties of insects are met with of a color similar to the sand which they inhabit. Among the green leaves of the various trees of the forest innumerable leaf-colored insects are to be found; while, closely adhering to the rough gray bark of these forest-trees, we observe beautifully-colored, gray-looking; moths of various patterns, yet altogether so resembling the bark as to be invisible to the passing observer. In like manner among quadrupeds I have traced a corresponding analogy, for, even in the case of the stupendous elephant, the ashy color of his hide so corresponds with the general appearance of the gray thorny jungles which he frequents throughout the day, that a person unaccustomed to hunting elephants, standing on a commanding situation, might look down upon a herd and fail to detect their presence. And further, in the case of the giraffe, which is invariably met with among venerable forests, where innumerable blasted and weather-beaten trunks and stems occur, I have repeatedly been in doubt as to the presence of a troop of them until I had recourse to my spy-glass; and on referring the case to my savage attendants, I have known even their optics to fail, at one time mistaking these dilapidated trunks for camelopards, and again confounding real camelopards with these aged veterans of the forest.

Although we had now been traveling many days through the country of the giraffe, and had marched through forests in which their spoor was abundant, our eyes had not yet been gifted with a sight of "Tootla" himself; it was therefore with indescribable pleasure that, on the evening of the 11th, I beheld a troop of these interesting animals.

Our breakfast being finished, I resumed my journey through an endless gray forest of cameel-dorn and other trees, the country slightly undulating and grass abundant. A little before the sun went down my driver remarked to me, "I was just going to say, sir, that that old tree was a camelopard." On looking where he pointed, I saw that the old tree was indeed a camelopard, and, on casting my eyes a little to the right, I beheld a troop of them standing looking at us, their heads actually towering above the trees of the forest. It was imprudent to commence a chase at such a late hour, especially in a country of so level a character, where the chances were against my being able to regain my wagons that night. I, however, resolved to chance every thing; and directing my men to catch and saddle Colesberg, I proceeded in haste to buckle on my shooting-belt and spurs, and in two minutes I was in the saddle. The giraffes stood looking at the wagons until I was within sixty yards of them, when, galloping round a thick bushy tree, under cover of which I had ridden, I suddenly beheld a sight the most astounding that a sportsman's eye can encounter. Before me stood a troop of ten colossal giraffes, the majority of which were from seventeen to eighteen feet high. On beholding me they at at once made off, twisting their long tails over their backs, making a loud switching noise with them, and cantered along at an easy pace, which, however, obliged Colesberg to put his best foot foremost to keep up with them.

The sensations which I felt on this occasion were different from any thing that I had before experienced during a long sporting career. My senses were so absorbed by the wondrous and[Pg 321] beautiful sight before me that I rode along like one entranced, and felt inclined to disbelieve that I was hunting living things of this world. The ground was firm and favorable for riding. At every stride I gained upon the giraffes, and after a short burst at a swinging gallop I was in the middle of them, and turned the finest cow out of the herd. On finding herself driven from her comrades and hotly pursued, she increased her pace, and cantered along with tremendous strides, clearing an amazing extent of ground at every bound; while her neck and breast, coming in contact with the dead old branches of the trees, were continually strewing them in my path. In a few minutes I was riding within five yards of her stern, and, firing at the gallop, I sent a bullet into her back. Increasing my pace, I next rode alongside, and, placing the muzzle of my rifle within a few feet of her, I fired my second shot behind the shoulder; the ball, however, seemed to have little effect. I then placed myself directly in front, when she came to a walk. Dismounting, I hastily loaded both barrels, putting in double charges of powder. Before this was accomplished she was off at a canter. In a short time I brought her to a stand in the dry bed of a water-course, where I fired at fifteen yards, aiming where I thought the heart lay, upon which she again made off. Having loaded, I followed, and had very nearly lost her; she had turned abruptly to the left, and was far out of sight among the trees. Once more I brought her to a stand, and dismounted from my horse. There we stood together alone in the wild wood. I gazed in wonder at her extreme beauty, while her soft dark eye, with its silky fringe, looked down imploringly at me, and I really felt a pang of sorrow in this moment of triumph for the blood I was shedding. Pointing my rifle toward the skies, I sent a bullet through her neck. On receiving it, she reared high on her hind legs, and fell backward with a heavy crash, making the earth shake around her. A thick stream of dark blood spouted out from the wound, her colossal limbs quivered for a moment, and she expired.

[From Picturesque Sketches of Greece and Turkey.]



A short time before leaving Constantinople I enjoyed a piece of good fortune which I believe has fallen to the lot of few men. Often as I passed by the garden walls of some rich Pacha, I felt, as every one who visits Constantinople feels, no small desire to penetrate, into that mysterious region—his harem—and see something more than the mere exterior of Turkish life. "The traveler landing at Stamboul complains," I used to say to myself, "of the contrast between its external aspect and the interior of the city; but the real interior, that is the inside of the houses, the guarded retreats of those vailed forms which one passes in gilded caiques—of these he sees nothing." Fortune favored my aspirations. I happened to make acquaintance with a young Frenchman, lively, spirited, and confident, who had sojourned at Constantinople for a considerable time, and who bore there the character of prophet, magician, and I know not what beside. The fact is, that he was a very clever fellow, living on his wits, ever ready to turn his hand to any thing, and numbering among his other accomplishments, a skill in conjuring feats extraordinary even in the East. He used to exhibit frequently before the Sultan, who always sent him away laden with presents, and who would, probably, had he professed the Mohammedan Faith, have made him his Prime Minister or his Lord High Admiral.

There was nothing which this conjuror could not do. He told me that on one occasion, dining in a numerous company, he had contrived to pick the pocket of every one present, depriving one of his watch, another of his purse, and a third of his pocket-handkerchief. As soon as the guests discovered their losses, to which he managed to direct their attention, a scene of violent excitement ensued, every one accusing his neighbor of theft; and at last it was agreed that the police should be sent, for to search the pockets of all present. The police arrived, and the search was duly made, but without any effect. "I think," said the young magician, "it would be but fair that the police should themselves undergo the same scrutiny to which we have all submitted." The suggestion was immediately acted on; and to the amazement of all present, and especially of the supposed culprits, in the pockets of the police all the missing articles were found.

The life of this man had been strange and eventful. Having quarreled with his family in early youth he had assumed an incognito, and enlisted as a private soldier, I forget in what service. On one occasion, in his first campaign, he was left for dead on the field of battle. In the evening some peasants visited the field for the sake of plunder. He was badly wounded, but had his wits sufficiently about him to know that, if he wished not to have his throat cut, he had better lie still and feign to be dead. In his turn he was visited by the marauders; but, as fame goes, it turned out that while they were hunting after the few pence he possessed, he contrived to lighten their pockets of their accumulated spoil. He had grown tired of war, however, and had settled in Constantinople, where he embarked in all manner of speculations, being bent, among other things, upon establishing a theatre at Pera. In all reverses he came down, like a cat, on his feet: he was sanguine and good-humored, always disposed to shuffle the cards till the right one came up; and, trusting a good deal to Fortune, while he improved what she gave, he was of course rich in her good graces.

One day this youth called on me, and mentioned that a chance had befallen him which he should be glad to turn to account—particularly[Pg 322] if sure of not making too intimate an acquaintance with the Bosphorus in the attempt. A certain wealthy Turk had applied to him for assistance under very trying domestic circumstances. His favorite wife had lost a precious ring, which had doubtless been stolen either by one of his other wives, under the influence of jealousy, or by a female slave. Would the magician pay a visit to his house, recover the ring, and expose the delinquent? "Now," said he, "if I once get within the walls, I shall be sure to force my way into the female apartments on some pretense. If I find the ring, all is well: but if not, this Turk will discover that I have been making a fool of him. However, as he is a favorite at court, and can not but know in what flattering estimation I am held there, he will probably treat me with the distinction I deserve. In fine, I will try it. Will you come, too? you can help me in my incantations, which will serve as an excuse." The proposal was too tempting to be rejected, and at the hour agreed on we set off in such state as we could command (in the East, state is essential to respect), jogging over the rough streets, in one of those hearse-like carriages without springs, which bring one's bones upon terms of far too intimate a mutual acquaintance.

We reached at last a gate, which promised little; but ere long we found ourselves in one of those "high-walled gardens, green and old," which are among the glories of the East. Passing between rows of orange and lemon-trees, we reached the house, where we were received by a goodly retinue of slaves, and conducted, accompanied by our dragoman, through a long suite of apartments. In the last of them stood a tall, handsome, and rather youthful man, in splendid attire, who welcomed us with a grave courtesy. We took our seats, and were presented in due form with long pipes, and with coffee, to me far more acceptable. After a sufficient interval of time had passed for the most meditative and abstracted of men to remember his purpose, our host, reminded of what he had apparently forgotten by my companion's conjuring robes, an electrical machine, and other instruments of incantation, which the slaves carried from our carriage, civilly inquired when we intended to commence operations. "What operations?" demanded my companion, with much apparent unconcern. "The discovery of the ring." "Whenever his highness pleased, and it suited the female part of his household to make their appearance," was the answer.

At this startling proposition even the Oriental sedateness of our majestic host gave way, and he allowed his astonishment and displeasure to become visible. "Who ever heard," he demanded, "of the wives of a true believer being shown to a stranger, and that stranger an Infidel and a Frank?" As much astonished in our turn, we demanded, "When a magician had ever been heard of, who could discover a stolen treasure without being confronted either with the person who had lost or the person who had appropriated it?" For at least two hours, though relieved by intervals of silence, the battle was carried on with much occasional vehemence on his part, and on ours with an assumption of perfect indifference. Our host at last, perceiving that our obstinacy was equal to the decrees of Fate, retired, as we were informed, to consult his mother on the subject. In a few minutes he returned, and assured us that our proposition was ridiculous; upon which we rose with much dignified displeasure, and moved toward the door, stating that our beards had been made little of. A grave-looking man who belonged to the household of our host, and occupied apparently a sort of semi-ecclesiastical position, now interposed, and after some consultation it was agreed that as we were not mere men, but prophets, and infidel saints, an exception might be made in our favor without violation of the Mussulman law; not, indeed, to the extent of allowing us to profane the inner sanctuary of the harem with our presence, but so far as to admit us into in apartment adjoining it, where the women would be summoned to attend us.

Accordingly, we passed through a long suite of rooms, and at last found ourselves in a chamber lofty and large, fanned by a breeze from the Bosphorus, over which its lattices were suspended, skirted by a low divan, covered with carpets and cushions, and "invested with purpureal gleams" by the splendid hangings through which the light feebly strove. Among a confused heap of crimson pillows and orange drapery, at the remote end of the apartment, sat, or rather reclined, the mother of our reluctant host. I could observe only that she was aged, and lay there as still as if she had belonged to the vegetable, not the human world. Usually she was half-vailed by the smoke of her long pipe; but when its wreaths chanced to float aside or grow thin, her dark eyes were fixed upon us with an expression half indifferent and half averse.

Presently a murmur of light feet was heard in an adjoining chamber: on it moved along the floor of the gallery; and in trooped the company of wives and female slaves. They laughed softly and musically as they entered, but seemed frightened also; and at once raising their shawls and drawing down their vails, they glided simultaneously into a semicircle, and stood there with hands folded on their breasts. I sat opposite to them, drinking coffee and smoking, or pretending to smoke a pipe eight feet long: at one side stood the Mollah and some male members of the household: at the other stood the handsome husband, apparently but little contented with the course matters had taken; and my friend, the magician, moved about among the implements of his art clad in a black gown spangled with flame-colored devices, strange enough to strike a bold heart with awe. Beyond the semicircle stood two children, a boy and a girl, holding in their hands twisted rods of barley-sugar about a yard long each, which they sucked assiduously the whole time of our visit. There they stood, mute and still as statues, with dark eyes fixed, now[Pg 323] on us, and now on the extremity of their sugar wands.

My companion commenced operations by displaying a number of conjuring tricks intended to impress all present with the loftiest opinion of his powers, and stopped every now and then to make his dragoman explain that it would prove in vain to endeavor to deceive a being endowed with such gifts. To these expositions the women apparently paid but little attention; but the conjuring feats delighted them; and again and again they laughed until, literally, the head of each dropped on her neighbor's shoulder. After a time the husband, who alone had never appeared the least entertained, interposed, and asked the conjuror whether he had yet discovered the guilty party. With the utmost coolness, my friend replied, "Certainly not: how could he while His Highness's wives continued vailed?" This new demand created new confusion and a long debate: I thought, however, that the women seemed rather to advocate our cause. The husband, the Mollah, and the mother again consulted; and in another moment the vails had dropped, and the beauty of many an Eastern nation stood before us revealed.

Four of those unvailed Orientals were, as we were informed, wives, and six were slaves. The former were beautiful indeed, though beautiful in different degrees and in various styles of beauty: of the latter two only. They were, all of them, tall, slender, and dark-eyed, "shadowing high beauty in their airy brows," and uniting a mystical with a luxurious expression, like that of Sibyls who had been feasting with Cleopatra. There was something to me strange as well as lovely in their aspect—as strange as their condition, which seems a state half-way between marriage and widowhood. They see no man except their husband; and a visit from him (except in the case of the favorite) is a rare and marvelous occurrence, like an eclipse of the sun. Their bearing toward each other was that of sisters: in their movements I remarked an extraordinary sympathy, which was the more striking on account of their rapid transitions from the extreme of alarm to child-like wonder, and again to boundless mirth.

The favorite wife was a Circassian, and a fairer vision it would not be easy to see. Intellectual in expression she could hardly be called; yet she was full of dignity, as well as of pliant grace and of sweetness. Her large black eyes, beaming with a soft and stealthy radiance, seemed as if they would have yielded light in the darkness; and the heavy waves of her hair, which, in the excitement of the tumultuous scene, she carelessly flung over her shoulders, gleamed like a mirror. Her complexion was the most exquisite I have ever seen, its smooth and pearly purity being tinged with a color, unlike that of flower or of fruit, of bud or of berry, but which reminded me of the vivid and delicate tints which sometimes streak the inside of a shell. Though tall she seemed as light as if she had been an embodied cloud, hovering over the rich carpets like a child that does not feel the weight of its body; and though stately in the intervals of rest, her mirth was a sort of rapture. She, too, had that peculiar luxuriousness of aspect, in no degree opposed to modesty, which belongs to the East: around her lips was wreathed, in their stillness, an expression at once pleasurable and pathetic, which seemed ever ready to break forth into a smile: her hands seemed to leave with regret whatever they had rested on, and in parting to leave something behind; and in all her soft and witching beauty she reminded me of Browning's lines—

"No swan-soft woman, rubbed in lucid oils.
The gift of an enamored god, more fair."

As feat succeeded to feat, and enchantment to enchantment, all remnant of reserve was discarded, and no trace remained of that commingled alarm and pleased expectation which had characterized those beaming countenances when first they emerged from their vails. Those fair women floated around us, and tossed their hands in the air, wholly forgetting that their husband was by. Still, however, we had made but little progress in our inquiry; and when the magician informed them that they had better not try to conceal any thing from him, their only answer was a look that said, "You came here to give us pleasure, not to cross-question us." Resolved to use more formidable weapons, he began to arrange an electrical machine, when the Mollah, after glancing at it two or three times, approached and asked him whether that instrument also was supernatural. The quick-witted Frenchman replied at once, "By no means; it is a mere scientific toy." Then, turning to me, he added, in a low voice, "He has seen it before—probably, he has traveled." In a few minutes, the women were ranged in a ring, and linked hand-in-hand. He then informed them, through our interpreter, that if a discovery was not immediately made, each person should receive, at the same moment, a blow from an invisible hand; that, the second time, the admonition would be yet severer; and that, the third time, if his warning was still despised, the culprit would drop down dead. This announcement was heard with much gravity, but no confession followed it: the shock was given, and the lovely circle was speedily dislinked, "with shrieks and laughter." Again the shock was given, and with the same effect; but this time the laughter was more subdued. Before making his last essay, the magician addressed them in a long speech, telling them that he had already discovered the secret, that if the culprit confessed, he would make intercession for her, but that, if she did not, she must take the consequences. Still no confession was made. For the first time, my confident friend looked downcast. "It will not do," he said to me; "the ring can not be recovered: they know nothing about it: probably it was lost. We can not fulfill our engagement; and, indeed, I wish," he added, "that we were well out of all this."[Pg 324]

I confess I wished the same, especially when I glanced at the master of the household, who stood apart, gloomy as a thunder-cloud, and with the look of a man who thinks himself in a decidedly false position. The Easterns do not understand a jest, especially in a harem; and not being addicted to irony (that great safety-valve for enthusiasm), they pass rapidly from immovability to very significant and sometimes disagreeable action. Speaking little, they deliver their souls by acting. I should have been glad to hear our host talk, even though in a stormy voice: on the whole, however, I trusted much to the self-possession and address of my associate. Nor was I deceived. "Do as you see me do," he said to me and the dragoman; and then, immediately after giving the third shock, which was as ineffectual as those that preceded it, he advanced to our grim host with a face radiant with satisfaction, and congratulated him vehemently. "You are a happy man," he said. "Your household has not a flaw in it. Fortunate it was that you sent for the wise man: I have discovered the matter." "What have you discovered?" "The fate of the ring. It has never been stolen: if it had, I would have restored it to you. Fear nothing; your household is trustworthy and virtuous. I know where the ring is; but I should deceive you if I bade you hope ever to find it again. This is a great mystery, and the happy consummation surpasses even my hopes. Adieu. The matter has turned out just as you see. You were born under a lucky star. Happy is the man whose household is trustworthy, and who, when his faith is tried, finds a faithful counselor. I forbid you, henceforth and forever, to distrust any one of your wives."

It would be impossible to describe the countenance of our Mussulman friend during this harangue. There he stood, like a tree half in sunshine and half in shade; gratification struggling with displeasure in his countenance, and wonder eclipsing both. It was not by any means our policy to wait until he had adjusted the balance, and made up his mind as to the exact degree of gratitude he owed his guests. On, accordingly, we passed to the door. In a moment the instinct of courtesy prevailed, and our host made a sign to one of his retinue. His slaves preceded us with torches (it had grown late); and, accompanied by half the household, as a guard of honor, we again traversed the large and straggling house, passed through the garden, and entered the carriage which waited for us beyond the wall. Our evening passed rapidly away as we discussed our adventure; and I have more than once thought, with pleasure, how amusing an incident the visit of the strangers must have been to the secluded beauties. No doubt the baths of Constantinople have rung with many a merry laugh occasioned by this invasion of the Franks. Never, perhaps, have the inmates of a harem seen so much of the infidel before, and conversed with him so familiarly, in the presence of their husband.

[From Sharpe's Magazine.]




Hyldreda Kalm stood at the door of her cottage, and looked abroad into the quietness of the Sabbath morn. The village of Skjelskör lay at a little distance down the vale, lighted by the sunshine of a Zealand summer, which, though brief, is glowing and lovely even as that of the south. Hyldreda had looked for seventeen years upon this beautiful scene, the place where she was born. Sunday after Sunday she had stood thus and listened for the distant tinkle of the church bell. A stranger, passing by, might have said, how lovely were her face and form; but the widowed mother, whose sole stay she was, and the little delicate sister, who had been her darling from the cradle, would have answered, that if none were so fair, none were likewise so good as Hyldreda; and that all the village knew. If she did love to bestow greater taste and care on her Sunday garments than most young damsels of her class, she had a right—for was she not beautiful as any lady? And did not the eyes of Esbern Lynge say so, when, week after week, he came up the hilly road, and descended again to the little chapel, supporting the feeble mother's slow steps, and watching his betrothed as she bounded on before, with little Resa in her hand?

"Is Esbern coming?" said the mother's voice within.

"I know not—I did not look," answered Hyldreda, with a girlish willfulness. "I saw only the sun shining on the river, and the oak-wood waving in the breeze."

"Look down the road, child; the time passes. Go quickly."

"She is gone already," said Resa, laughing merrily. "She is standing under the great elder-tree to wait for Esbern Lynge."

"Call her back—call her back!" cried the mother, anxiously. "To stand beneath an elder-tree, and this night will be St. John's Eve! On Sunday, too, and she a Sunday child! Call her quickly, Resa."

The little child lifted up her voice, "Hyld—"

"Not her name—utter not her name!" And the widow Kalm went on muttering to herself, "Perhaps the Hyldemoer[15] will not have heard. Alas the day! when my child was born under an elder-tree, and I, poor desolate mother! was terrified into giving my babe that name. Great Hyldemoer, be propitiated! Holy Virgin!" and the widow's prayer became a curious mingling of superstition and piety, "Blessed Mary! let not the elves have power over my child! Have[Pg 325] I not kept her heart from evil? does not the holy cross lie on her pure breast day and night? Do I not lead her every Sunday, winter and summer, in storm, sunshine, or snow, to the chapel in the valley? And this day I will say for her a double prayer."

The mother's counted beads had scarce come to an end when Hyldreda stood by her side, and, following the light-footed damsel, came Esbern Lynge.

"Child, why didst thou linger under the tree?" said the widow. "It does not become a young maiden to stand flaunting outside her door. Who wert thou watching so eagerly?"

"Not thee, Esbern," laughed the girl, shaking her head at her betrothed, who interposed with a happy conscious face; "I was looking at a grand train that wound along the road, and thinking how pleasant it would be to dress on a Sunday like the lady of the castle, and recline idly behind four prancing horses instead of trudging on in these clumsy shoes."

The mother frowned, and Esbern Lynge looked sorrowful.

"I wish I could give her all she longs for," sighed the young man, as they proceeded on their way, his duteous arm supporting the widow, while Hyldreda and Resa went bounding onward before them; "She is as beautiful as a queen—I would that I could make her one."

"Wish rather, Esbern, that Heaven may make her a pious, lowly-hearted maid, and, in good time, a wife; that she may live in humility and content, and die in peace among her own people."

Esbern said nothing—he could not think of death and her together. So he and the widow Kalm walked on silently—and so slowly that they soon lost sight of the two blithe sisters.

Hyldreda was talking merrily of the grand sight she had just seen, and describing to little Resa the gilded coach, the prancing horses, with glittering harness. "Oh! but it was a goodly train, as it swept down toward the river. Who knows? Perhaps it may have been the king and queen themselves."

"No," said little Resa, rather fearfully, "you know Kong Tolv[16] never lets any mortal king pass the bridge of Skjelskör."

"Kong Tolv! what, more stories about Kong Tolv!" laughed the merry maiden; "I never saw him; I wish I could see him, for then I might believe in thy tales, little one."

"Hush, hush!—But mother told me never to speak of these things to thee," answered Resa; "unsay the wish, or some harm may come."

"I care not! who would heed these elfin tales on such a lovely day? Look, Resa, down that sunny meadow, where there is a cloud shadow dancing on the grass; a strange cloud it is too, for it almost resembles a human form."

"It is Kong Tolv rolling himself in the sunshine," cried the trembling child; "Look away, my sister, lest he should hear us."

Again Hyldreda's fearless laugh made music through the still air, and she kept looking back until they passed from the open road into the gloom of the oak wood.

"It is strange that thou shouldst be so brave," said Resa once more. "I tremble at the very thought of the Elle-people of whom our villagers tell, while thou hast not a single fear. Why is it, sister?"

"I know not, save that I never yet feared any thing," answered Hyldreda, carelessly. "As for Kong Tolv, let him come, I care not."

While she spoke, a breeze swept through the oak wood, the trees began to bend their tops, and the under branches were stirred with leafy murmurings, as the young girl passed beneath. She lifted her fair face to meet them. "Ah 'tis delicious, this soft scented wind; it touches my face like airy kisses; it makes the leaves seem to talk to me in musical whispers. Dost thou not hear them too, little Resa? and dost thou not—?"

Hyldreda suddenly stopped, and gazed eagerly down the road.

"Well, sister," said Resa, "what art dreaming of now? Come, we shall be late at church, and mother will scold." But the elder sister stood motionless. "How strange thine eyes look; what dost thou see, Hyldreda."

"Look—what is there!"

"Nothing, but a cloud of dust that the wind sweeps forward. Stand back, sister, or it will blind thee."

Still Hyldreda bent forward with admiring eyes, muttering, "Oh! the grand golden chariot, with its four beautiful white horses! And therein sits a man—surely it is the king! and the lady beside him is the queen. See, she turns—"

Hyldreda paused, dumb with wonder, for despite the gorgeous show of jeweled attire, she recognized that face. It was the same she had looked at an hour before in the little cracked mirror. The lady in the carriage was the exact counterpart of herself!

The pageant came and vanished. Little Resa turned round and wiped her eyes—she, innocent child, had seen nothing but a cloud of dust. Her elder sister answered not her questionings, but remained silent, oppressed by a nameless awe. It passed not, even when the chapel was reached, and Hyldreda knelt to pray. Above the sound of the hymn she heard the ravishing music of the leaves in the oak wood, and instead of the priest she seemed to behold the two dazzling forms which had sat side by side in the golden chariot.

When service was ended, and all went homewards, she lingered under the trees where the vision, or reality, whichever it was, had met her sight, half longing for its reappearance. But her mother whispered something to Esbern, and they hurried Hyldreda away.

She laid aside her Sunday mantle, the scarlet woof which to spin, weave, and fashion, had cost[Pg 326] her a world of pains. How coarse and ugly it seemed! She threw it contemptuously aside, and thought how beautiful looked the purple-robed lady, who was so like herself.

"And why should I not be as fair as she? I should, if I were only dressed as fine. Heaven might as well have made me a lady, instead of a poor peasant girl."

These repinings entered the young heart hitherto so pure and happy. They haunted her even when she rejoined her mother, Resa, and Esbern Lynge. She prepared the noonday meal, but her step was heavy and her hand unwilling. The fare seemed coarse, the cottage looked dark and poor. She wondered what sort of a palace home was that owned by the beautiful lady; and whether the king, if king the stranger were, presided at his banquet table as awkwardly as did Esbern Lynge at the mean board here.

At the twilight, Hyldreda did not steal out as usual to talk with her lover beneath the rose-porch. She went and hid herself out of his sight, under the branches of the great elder-tree, which to her had always a strange charm, perhaps because it was the spot of all others where she was forbidden to stay. However, this day Hyldreda began to feel herself to be no longer a child, but a woman whose will was free.

She sat under the dreamy darkness of the heavy foliage. Its faint sickly odor overpowered her like a spell. Even the white bunches of elder flowers seemed to grow alive in the twilight, and to change into faces, looking at her whithersoever she turned. She shut her eyes, and tried to summon back the phantom of the golden chariot, and especially of the king-like man who sat inside. Scarce had she seen him clearly, but she felt he looked a king. If wishing could bring to her so glorious a fortune, she would almost like to have, in addition to the splendors of rich dress and grand palaces, such a noble-looking man for her lord and husband.

And the poor maiden was rudely awakened from her dream, by feeling on her delicate shoulders the two heavy hands of Esbern Lynge.

Haughtily she took them off. Alas! he, loving her so much, had ever been lightly loved in return! to-day he was not loved at all. He came at an ill time, for the moment his hand put aside the elder branches, all the dazzling fancies of his betrothed vanished in air. He came, too, with an ill-wooing, for he implored her to trifle no more, but to fulfill her mother's hope and his, and enter as mistress at the little blacksmith's forge. She, who had just been dreaming of a palace home! Not a word she answered at first, and then cold, cruel words, worse than silence. So Esbern, who, though a lover, was a manly-hearted youth, and thought it shame to be mocked by a girl's light tongue, left her there and went away, not angry, but very sorrowful.

Little Resa came to summon her sister. But Hyldreda trembled before the gathering storm, for widow Kalm, though a tender mother, was one who well knew how to rule. Her loud, severe voice already warned the girl of the reproof that was coming. To avoid it only for a little, until her own proud spirit was calmed. Hyldreda told Resa she would not come in until after she had taken a little walk down the moonlight road. As she passed from under the elder-tree, she heard a voice, like her mother's, and yet not her mother's—no, it could never be, for it shouted after her,

"Come now, or come no more!"

Some evil impulse goaded the haughty girl to assert her womanly right of free action, and she passed from her home, flying with swift steps. A little, only a little absence, to show her indignant pride, and she would be back again, to heal all strife. Nevertheless, ere she was aware, Hyldreda had reached the oak-wood, beneath which she had seen the morning's bewildering sight.

And there again, brighter in the moonlight than it had ever seemed in the day, came sweeping by the stately pageant. Its torches flung red shadows on the trees, its wheels resounded through the night's quiet with a music as of silver bells. And sitting in his state alone, grand but smiling, was the lord of all this splendor.

The chariot stopped, and he dismounted. Then the whole train vanished, and, shorn of all his glories, except a certain brightness which his very presence seemed to shed, the king, if he were indeed such, stood beside the trembling peasant maid.

He did not address her, but looked in her face inquiringly, until Hyldreda felt herself forced to be the first to speak.

"My lord, who art thou, and what is thy will with me?"

He smiled. "Thanks, gentle maiden, for thy question has taken off the spell. Otherwise it could not be broken, even by Kong Tolv."

Hyldreda shuddered with fear. Her fingers tried to seize the cross which always lay on her breast, but no! she had thrown aside the coarse black wooden crucifix, while dreaming of ornaments of gold. And it was St. John's Eve, and she stood beneath the haunted oak-wood. No power had she to fly, and her prayers died on her lips, for she knew herself in the Hill-king's power.

Kong Tolv began to woo, after the elfin fashion, brief and bold. "Fair maiden, the Dronningstolen[17] is empty, and 'tis thou must fill it. Come and enter my palace under the hill."

But the maiden sobbed out that she was too lowly to sit on a queen's chair, and that none of mortals, save the dead, made their home underground. And she prayed the Elle-king to let her go back to her mother and little Resa.

He only laughed. "Wouldst be content, then, with the poor cottage, and the black bread, and the labor from morn till eve. Didst thou not[Pg 327] of thyself wish for a palace and a lord like me? And did not the Hyldemoer waft me the wish, so that I came to meet and welcome thee under the hill?"

Hyldreda made one despairing effort to escape, but she heard again Kong Tolv's proud laugh, and looking up, she saw that the thick oak-wood had changed to an army. In place of every tree stood a fierce warrior, ready to guard every step. She thought it must be all a delirious dream that would vanish with the morning. Suddenly she heard the far village clock strike the hour. Mechanically she counted—one—two—three—four—up to twelve.

As she pronounced the last word, Kong Tolv caught her in his arms, saying, "Thou hast named me and art mine."

Instantly all the scene vanished, and Hyldreda found herself standing on the bleak side of a little hill, alone in the moonlight. But very soon the clear night darkened, and a heavy storm arose. Trembling, she looked around for shelter, and saw in the hill-side a tiny door, which seemed to invite her to enter. She did so! In a moment she stood dazzled by a blaze of light—a mortal amidst the festival of the elves. She heard the voice of Kong Tolv, half-speaking, half-singing,

"Welcome, maiden, fair and free,
Thou hast come of thyself in the hill to me;
Stay thou here, nor thy fate deplore;
Thou hast come of thyself in at my door."

And bewildered by the music, the dance, and the splendor, Hyldreda remembered no more the cottage, with its one empty chair, nor the miserable mother, nor the little sister straining her weeping eyes along the lonely road.

The mortal maiden became the Elle-king's bride, and lived in the hill for seven long years; at least, so they seemed in Elfinland, where time passes like the passing of a strain of music, that dies but to be again renewed. Little thought had she of the world above ground, for in the hill-palace was continual pleasure, and magnificence without end. No remembrance of lost kindred troubled her, for she sat in the Dronningstolen, and all the elfin people bowed down before the wife of the mighty Kong Tolv.

She might have lived so always, with no desire ever to go back to earth, save that one day she saw trickling down through the palace roof a pearly stream. The elves fled away, for they said it was some mortal weeping on the grassy hill overhead. But Hyldreda staid and looked on until the stream settled into a clear, pellucid pool. A sweet mirror it made, and the Hill-king's bride ever loved to see her own beauty. So she went and gazed down into the shining water.

There she beheld—not the image of the elfin-queen, but of the peasant maid, with her mantle of crimson wool, her coarse dress, and her black crucifix. She turned away in disgust, but soon her people brought her elfin mirrors, wherein she could see her present self, gorgeously clad, and a thousand times more fair. It kindled in her heart a proud desire.

She said to her lord, "Let me go back for a little while to my native village, and my ancient home, that I may show them all my splendor, and my greatness. Let me enter, sitting in my gilded chariot, with the four white horses, and feel myself as queen-like as the lady I once saw beneath the oak-wood."

Kong Tolv laughed, and assented. "But," he said, "keep thy own proud self the while. The first sigh, the first tear, and I carry thee back into the hill with shame."

So Hyldreda left the fairy-palace, sweeping through the village, with a pageant worthy a queen. Thus in her haughtiness, after seven years had gone by, she came to her mother's door.

Seven years, none of which had cast one shadow on the daughter's beauty. But time and grief together had bowed the mother almost to the verge of the grave. The one knew not the other, until little Resa came between; little Resa, who looked her sister's olden self, blooming in the sweetness of seventeen. Nothing to her was the magnificence of the beautiful guest; she only saw Hyldreda, the lost and found.

"Where hast thou been?" said the mother, doubtfully, when in answer to all their caresses, the stately lady only looked on them with a proud smile; "Who gave thee those grand dresses, and put the matron's vail upon thy hair?"

"I am the Hill-king's wife," said Hyldreda. "I dwell in a gorgeous palace, and sit on a queen's throne."

"God preserve thee!" answered the mother. But Hyldreda turned away, for Kong Tolv had commanded her never to hear or utter the holy Name. She began to inquire about her long-forgotten home, but half-carelessly, as if she had no interest in it now.

"And who was it," she asked, "that wept on the hill-side until the tears dropped through, staining my palace walls?"

"I," answered Resa, blushing; and then Hyldreda perceived that, young as she was, the girl wore the matron's head-tire. "I, sitting there with my babe, wept to think of my poor sister who died long ago, and never knew the sweetness of wifehood and motherhood. And almost it grieved me, to think that my love had blotted out the bitterness of her memory even from the heart of Esbern Lynge."

At the name, proudly laughed the elder sister, "Take thy husband, and be happy, girl; I envy thee not; I am the wife of the great Hill-king."

"And does thy lord love thee? Does he sit beside thee at eve, and let thee lean thy tired head on his breast, as Esbern does with me? And hast thou young children dancing about thy feet, and a little blue-eyed one to creep dove-like to thy heart at nights, as mine does? Say, dear sister, art thou as happy as I?"

Hyldreda paused. Earth's sweet ties arose[Pg 328] before her, and the grandeur of her lot seemed only loneliness. Forgetting her lord's command, she sighed, she even wept one regretful tear; and that moment in her presence stood Kong Tolv.

"Kill me, but save my mother, my sister," cried the wife, with a broken heart. The prayer was needless; they saw not the Elle-king, and he marked not them—he only bore away Hyldreda, singing mockingly in her ear something of the same rhyme which had bound her his:

"Complainest thou here all drearily—
Camest thou not of thyself in the hill to me?
And stayest thou here thy lot to deplore?
Camest thou not of thyself in at my door?"

When the mother and sister of Hyldreda lifted up their eyes, they saw nothing but a cloud of dust sweeping past the cottage-door, they heard nothing but the ancient elder-tree howling aloud as its branches were tossed about in a gust of wintry wind.

Kong Tolv took back to the hill his mortal bride. There he set her in a golden chair, and brought to her to drink a silver horn of elfin-wine, in the which he had dropped an ear of wheat. At the first draught, she forgot the village where she had dwelt—at the second, she forgot the sister who had been her darling—at the third, she forgot the mother who bore her. Again she rejoiced in the glories of the fairy-palace, and in the life of never-ceasing pleasure.

Month after month rolled by—by her scarce counted, or counted only in jest, as she would number a handful of roses, all held so fast and sure, that none could fall or fade; or as she would mark one by one the little waves of a rivulet whose source was eternally flowing.

Hyldreda thought no more of any earthly thing, until there came, added to her own, a young, new life. When her beautiful babe, half-elf, half-mortal, nestled in her woman's breast, it wakened there the fountain of human love, and of long-forgotten memories.

"Oh! let me go home once—once more," she implored of her lord. "Let me go to ask my mother's forgiveness, and above all, to crave the church's blessing on this my innocent babe."

Kong Tolv frowned, and then looked sad. For it is the one great sorrow of the Elle-people, that they, with all others of the elfin race, are shut out from Heaven's mercy. Therefore do they often steal mortal wives, and strive to have their children christened according to holy rite, in order to participate in the blessings granted to the offspring of Adam.

"Do as thou wilt," the Hill-king answered; "but know, there awaits a penalty. In exchange for a soul, must be given a life."

His dark saying fell coldly on the heart of the young mother. It terrified her for a time, but soon the sweet strange wiles of her elfin-babe beguiled her into renewed happiness; so that her longing faded away.

The child grew not like a mortal child. An unearthly beauty was in its face; wondrous precocious signs marked it from its birth. Its baby-speech was very wisdom. Its baby-smile was full of thought. The mother read her olden soul—the pure soul that was hers of yore—in her infant's eyes.

One day when Hyldreda was following the child in its play, she noticed it disappear through what seemed the outlet of the fairy-palace, which outlet she herself had never been able to find. She forgot that her boy was of elfin as well as of mortal race. Out it passed, the mother eagerly pursuing, until she found herself with the child in a meadow near the village of Skjelskör, where years ago she had often played. It was on a Sunday morning, and cheerfully yet solemnly rang out the chapel-bells. All the sounds and sights of earth came back upon her, with a longing that would not be restrained.

In the white frozen grass, for it was wintertime, knelt the wife of Kong Tolv, holding fast to her bosom the elfin babe, who shivered at every blast of wind, yet, shivering, seemed to smile. Hyldreda knelt, until the chapel-bells ceased at service-time. And then there came bursting from her lips the long-sealed prayers, the prayers of her childhood. While she breathed them, the rich fairy garments crumbled from her, and she remained clad in the coarse dress she wore when Kong Tolv carried her away; save that it hung in miserable tatters, as if worn for years, and through its rents the icy wind pierced her bosom, so that the heart within might have sunk and died, but for the ever-abiding warmth of maternal love.

That told her how in one other mother's heart there must be warmth still.

"I will go home," she murmured, "I will say, 'Mother, take me in and save me, or else I die!'" And so, when the night closed, and all the villagers were safe at home, and none could mock at her and her misery, the poor desolate one crept to her mother's door.

It had been open to her even when she came in her pride; how would it be closed against her sorrow and humility? And was there ever a true mother's breast, that while life yet throbbed there, was not a refuge for a repentant child?

Hyldreda found shelter and rest. But the little elfin babe, unused to the air of earth, uttered continual moanings. At night, the strange eyes never closed, but looked at her with a dumb entreaty. And tenfold returned the mother's first desire, that her darling should become a "christened child."

Much the old grandame gloried in this, looking with distrust on the pining, withered babe. But keenly upon Hyldreda's memory came back the saying of Kong Tolv, that for a soul would be exchanged a life. It must be hers. That, doubtless, was the purchase; and thus had Heaven ordained the expiation of her sin. If so, meekly she would offer it, so that Heaven would admit into its mercy her beloved child.[Pg 329] It was in the night—in the cold white night, that the widow Kalm, with her daughter and the mysterious babe, came to the chapel of Skjelskör. All the way thither they had been followed by strange, unearthly noises; and as they passed beneath the oak-wood, it seemed as if the overhanging branches were transformed into giant hands, that evermore snatched at the child. But in vain; for the mother held it fast, and on its little breast she had laid the wooden cross which she herself used to wear when a girl. Bitterly the infant had wailed, but when they crossed the threshold of the chapel, it ceased, and a smile broke over its face—a smile pure and saintly, such as little children wear, lying in a sleep so beautiful that the bier seems like the cradle.

The mother beheld it, and thought, What if her foreboding should be true; that the moment which opened the gate of Heaven's mercy unto her babe, should close upon herself life and life's sweetnesses? But she felt no fear.

"Let me kiss thee once again, my babe, my darling!" she murmured; "perhaps I may never kiss thee more. Even now, I feel as if my eyes were growing dark, and thy little face were gliding from my sight. But I can let thee go, my sweet! God will take care of thee, and keep thee safe, even amidst this bitter world."

She clasped and kissed the child once more, and, kneeling, calm, but very pale, she awaited whatever might be her doom.

The priest, performing by stealth what he almost deemed a desecration of the hallowed rite, began to read the ceremony over the fairy babe. All the while, it looked at him with those mysterious eyes, so lately opened to the world, yet which seemed to express the emotions of a whole existence. But when the sprinkled water touched them, they closed, softly, slowly, like a blue flower at night.

The mother, still living, and full of thankful wonder that she did live, took from the priest's arms her recovered treasure, her Christian child. It lay all smiling, but it lifted not its eyes: the color was fading on its lips, and its little hands were growing cold. For it—not for her, had been the warning. It had rendered up its little life, and received an immortal soul.

For years after this, there abode in the village of Skjelskör a woman whom some people thought was an utter stranger, for none so grave, and at the same time so good, was ever known among the light-hearted people of Zealand. Others said that if any one could come back alive from fairy land, the woman must be Hyldreda Kalm. But as later generations arose, they mocked at the story of Kong Tolv and the palace under the hill, and considered the whole legend but an allegory, the moral of which they did not fail to preach to their fair young daughters continually.

Nevertheless, this woman had surely once lived, for her memory, embalmed by its own rich virtues, long lingered in the place where she had dwelt. She must have died there, too, for they pointed out her grave, and a smaller one beside it, though whose that was, none knew. There was a tradition that when she died—it was on a winter night, and the clock was just striking twelve—there arose a stormy wind which swept through the neighboring oak-wood, laying every tree prostrate on the ground. And from that hour there was no record of the Elle-people or the mighty Kong Tolv having been ever again seen in Zealand.


[14] The idea of this story is partly taken from a Danish Visa, or legendary ballad, entitled "Proud Margaret."

[15] Hyldemoer, elder-mother, is the name of a Danish elf inhabiting the elder-tree. Eda signifies a grandmother or female ancestor. Children born on Sundays were especially under the power of the elves.

[16] Kong Tolv, or King Twelve, is one of the Elle-kings who divide the fairy sovereignty of Zealand.

[17] Dronningstolen, or Queen's Chair.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


[Continued from Page 233.]



I followed the soldiers as they marched beyond the outer boulevard, and gained the open country. Many of the idlers dropped off here; others accompanied us a little further; but at length, when the drums ceased to beat, and were slung in marching order on the backs of the drummers, when the men broke into the open order that French soldiers instinctively assume on a march, the curiosity of the gazers appeared to have nothing more to feed upon, and one by one they returned to the capital, leaving me the only lingerer.

To any one accustomed to military display, there was little to attract notice in the column, which consisted of detachments from various corps, horse, foot, and artillery; some were returning to their regiments after a furlough; some had just issued from the hospitals, and were seated in charettes, or country-cars; and, others, again, were peasant boys only a few days before drawn in the conscription. There was every variety of uniform, and, I may add, of raggedness, too—a coarse blouse and a pair of worn shoes, with a red or blue handkerchief on the head, being the dress of many among them. The republic was not rich in those days, and cared little for the costume in which her victories were won. The artillery alone seemed to preserve any thing like uniformity in dress. They wore a plain uniform of blue, with long white gaiters coming half way up the thigh; a low cocked hat, without feather, but with the tricolored cockade in front. They were mostly men middle-aged, or past the prime of life, bronzed, weather-beaten, hardy-looking fellows, whose white mustaches contrasted well with their sunburned faces. All their weapons and equipments were of a superior kind, and showed the care bestowed upon an arm whose efficiency was the first discovery of the republican generals. The greater number of these were Bretons, and several of them had served in the fleet, still bearing in their looks and carriage something of that air which seems inherent in the seaman. They were grave, serious, and almost stern in manner, and very unlike the young cavalry soldiers, who, mostly recruited from the south[Pg 330] of France, many of them Gascons, had all the high-hearted gayety and reckless levity of their own peculiar land. A campaign to these fellows seemed a pleasant excursion; they made a jest of every thing, from the wan faces of the invalids, to the black bread of the "Commissary;" they quizzed the new "Tourleroux," as the recruits were styled, and the old "Grumblers," as it was the fashion to call the veterans of the army; they passed their jokes on the republic, and even their own officers came in for a share of their ridicule. The grenadiers, however, were those who especially were made the subject of their sarcasm. They were generally from the north of France, and the frontier country toward Flanders, whence they probably imbibed a portion of that phlegm and moroseness so very unlike the general gayety of French nature; and when assailed by such adversaries, were perfectly incapable of reply or retaliation.

They all belonged to the army of the "Sambre et Meuse," which, although at the beginning of the campaign highly distinguished for its successes, had been latterly eclipsed by the extraordinary victories on the Upper Rhine and in Western Germany; and it was curious to hear with what intelligence and interest the greatest questions of strategy were discussed by those who carried their packs as common soldiers in the ranks. Movements and manœuvres were criticised, attacked, defended, ridiculed, and condemned, with a degree of acuteness and knowledge that showed the enormous progress the nation had made in military science, and with what ease the republic could recruit her officers from the ranks of her armies.

At noon the column halted in the wood of Belleville; and while the men were resting, an express arrived announcing that a fresh body of troops would soon arrive, and ordering the others to delay their march till they came up. The orderly who brought the tidings could only say that he believed some hurried news had come from Germany, for before he left Paris the rappel was beating in different quarters, and the rumor ran that reinforcements were to set out for Strasbourg with the utmost dispatch.

"And what troops are coming to join us?" said an old artillery sergeant, in evident disbelief of the tidings.

"Two batteries of artillery and the voltigeurs of the 4th, I know for certain are coming," said the orderly, "and they spoke of a battalion of grenadiers."

"What! do these Germans need another lesson," said the cannonier, "I thought Fleurus had taught them what our troops were made of?"

"How you talk of Fleurus," interrupted a young hussar from the south; "I have just come from the army of Italy, and, ma foi! we should never have mentioned such a battle as Fleurus in a dispatch. Campaigning among dykes and hedges—fighting with a river on one flank and a fortress on the t'other—parade manœuvres—where, at the first check, the enemy retreats, and leaves you free, for the whole afternoon, to write off your successes to the Directory. Had you seen our fellows scaling the Alps, with avalanches of snow descending at every fire of the great guns—forcing pass after pass against an enemy, posted on every cliff and crag above us—cutting our way to victory by roads the hardiest hunter had seldom trod; I call that war."

"And I call it the skirmish of an outpost!" said the gruff veteran, as he smoked away, in thorough contempt for the enthusiasm of the other. "I have served under Kleber, Hoche, and Moreau, and I believe they are the first generals of France."

"There is a name greater than them all," cried the hussar with eagerness.

"Let us hear it, then—you mean Pichegru, perhaps, or Massena?"

"No, I mean Bonaparte!" said the hussar, triumphantly.

"A good officer, and one of us," said the artilleryman, touching his belt to intimate the arm of the service the general belonged to "He commanded the seige-train at Toulon."

"He belongs to all," said the other. "He is a dragoon, a voltigeur, an artillerist, a pontonièr—what you will—he knows every thing, as I know my horse's saddle, and cloak-bag."

Both parties now grew warm; and as each was not only an eager partisan, but well acquainted with the leading events of the two campaigns they undertook to defend, the dispute attracted a large circle of listeners, who, either seated on the green-sward, or lying at full length, formed a picturesque group under the shadow of the spreading oak trees. Mean while the cooking went speedily forward, and the camp-kettles smoked with a steam whose savory odor was not a little tantalizing to one who, like myself, felt that he did not belong to the company.

"What's thy mess, boy?" said an old grenadier to me, as I sat at a little distance off, and affecting—but I fear very ill—a total indifference to what went forward.

"He is asking to what corps thou belong'st?" said another, seeing that the question puzzled me.

"Unfortunately I have none," said I. "I merely followed the march for curiosity."

"And thy father and mother, child—what will they say to thee on thy return home?"

"I have neither father, nor mother, nor home," said I, promptly.

"Just like myself," said an old red-whiskered sapeur; "or if I ever had parents, they never had the grace to own me. Come over here child, and take share of my dinner."

"No, parbleu! I'll have him for my comrade," cried the young hussar. "I was made a corporal yesterday, and have a large ration. Sit here, my boy, and tell us how art called."

"Maurice Tierney."

"Maurice will do; few of us care for more than one name, except in the dead muster they[Pg 331] like to have it in full. Help thyself, my lad, and here's the wine-flask beside thee."

"How comes it thou hast this old uniform, boy," said he, pointing to my sleeve.

"It was one they gave me in the Temple," said I. "I was a 'rat du prison' for some time."

"Thunder of war!" exclaimed the cannonier, "I had rather stand a whole platoon fire than see what thou must have seen, child."

"And hast heart to go back there, boy," said the corporal, "and live the same life again?"

"No, I'll never go back," said I. "I'll be a soldier."

"Well said, mon brave—thou'lt be a hussar, I know."

"If nature has given thee a good head, and a quick eye, my boy, thou might even do better; and in time, perhaps, wear a coat like mine," said the cannonier.

"Sacre bleu!" cried a little fellow, whose age might have been any thing from boyhood to manhood—for while small of stature, he was shriveled and wrinkled like a mummy—"why not be satisfied with the coat he wears?"

"And be a drummer, like thee," said the cannonier.

"Just so, like me, and like Massena—he was a drummer, too."

"No, no!" cried a dozen voices together, "that's not true."

"He's right; Massena was a drummer in the Eighth," said the cannonier; "I remember him when he was like that boy yonder."

"To be sure," said the little fellow, who, I now perceived, wore the dress of a "tambour;" "and is it a disgrace to be the first to face the enemy?"

"And the first to turn his back to him, comrade," cried another.

"Not always—not always"—said the little fellow, regardless of the laugh against him. "Had it been so, I had not gained the battle of Grandrengs on the Sambre."

"Thou gain a battle!" shouted half-a-dozen, in derisive laughter.

"What, Petit Pièrre gained the day at Grandrengs!" said the cannonier; "why, I was there myself, and never heard of that till now."

"I can believe it well," replied Pièrre; "many a man's merits go unacknowledged: and Kleber got all the credit that belonged to Pièrre Canot."

"Let us hear about it, Pièrre, for even thy victory is unknown by name to us, poor devils of the army of Italy. How call'st thou the place?"

"Grandrengs," said Pièrre, proudly. "It's a name will live as long, perhaps, as many of those high-sounding ones you have favored us with. Mayhap, thou hast heard of Cambray?"

"Never!" said the hussar, shaking his head.

"Nor of 'Mons,' either, I'll be sworn?" continued Pièrre.

"Quite true, I never heard of it before."

"Voila!" exclaimed Pièrre, in contemptuous triumph. "And these are the fellows who pretend to feel their country's glory, and take pride in her conquests. Where hast thou been, lad, not to hear of places that every child syllables nowadays?"

"I will tell you where I've been," said the hussar, haughtily, and dropping at the same time the familiar "thee" and "thou" of soldier intercourse—"I've been at Montenotte, at Millesimo, at Mondove—"

"Allons, done! with your disputes," broke in an old grenadier; "as if France was not victorious whether the enemies were English or German. Let us hear how Pièrre won his battle—at—at—"

"At Grandrengs," said Pièrre. "They call it in the dispatch the 'action of the Sambre,' because Kleber came up there—and Kleber being a great man, and Pièrre Canot a little one, you understand, the glory attaches to the place where the bullion epaulets are found—just as the old King of Prussia used to say, 'Dieu est toujours a coté de gros bataillons.'"

"I see we'll never come to this same victory of Grandrengs, with all these turnings and twistings," muttered the artillery sergeant.

"Thou art very near it now, comrade, if thou'lt listen," said Pièrre, as he wiped his mouth after a long draught of the vine-flask. "I'll not weary the honorable company with any description of the battle generally, but just confine myself to that part of it, in which I was myself in action. It is well known, that though we claimed the victory of the 10th May, we did little more than keep our own, and were obliged to cross the Sambre, and be satisfied with such a position as enabled us to hold the two bridges over the river—and there we remained for four days: some said preparing for a fresh attack upon Kaunitz, who commanded the allies; some, and I believe they were right, alleging that our generals were squabbling all day, and all night, too, with two commissaries that the government had sent down to teach us how to win battles. Ma foi! we had had some experience in that way ourselves, without learning the art from two citizens with tricolored scarfs round their waists, and yellow tops to their boots! However that might be, early on the morning of the 20th we received orders to cross the river in two strong columns and form on the opposite side; at the same time that a division was to pass the stream by boat two miles higher up, and, concealing themselves in a pine wood, be ready to take the enemy in flank, when they believed that all the force was in the front.

"Sacre tonnerre! I believe that our armies of the Sambre and the Rhine never have any other notion of battles than that eternal flank movement!" cried a young sergeant of the voltigeurs, who had just come up from the army of Italy. "Our general used to split the enemy by the centre, out him piecemeal by attack in columns, and then head him down with artillery at short range—not leaving him time for a retreat in heavy masses—"[Pg 332]

"Silence, silence, and let us hear Petit Pièrre," shouted a dozen voices, who cared far more for an incident, than a scientific discussion about manœuvres.

"The plan I speak of was General Moreau's," continued Pièrre; "and I fancy that your Bonaparte has something to learn ere he be his equal!"

This rebuke seeming to have engaged the suffrages of the company, he went on: "The boat division consisted of four battalions of infantry, two batteries of light-artillery, and a voltigeur company of the "Regiment de Marbœuf"—to which I was then, for the time, attached as "Tambour en chef." What fellows they were—the greatest devils in the whole army! They came from the Faubourg St. Antoine, and were as reckless and undisciplined as when they strutted the streets of Paris. When they were thrown out to skirmish, they used to play as many tricks as school-boys: sometimes they'd run up to the roof of a cabin or a hut—and they could climb like cats—and, sitting down on the chimney, begin firing away at the enemy, as coolly as from a battery; sometimes they'd capture half-a-dozen asses, and ride forward as if to charge, and then, affecting to tumble off, the fellows would pick down any of the enemy's officers that were fools enough to come near—scampering back to the cover of the line, laughing and joking as if the whole were sport. I saw one—when his wrist was shattered by a shot, and he couldn't fire—take a comrade on his back and caper away like a horse, just to tempt the Germans to come out of their lines. It was with these blessed youths I was now to serve, for the Tambour of the Marbœuf was drowned in crossing the Sambre a few days before. Well, we passed the river safely, and, unperceived by the enemy, gained the pine wood, where we formed in two columns, one of attack, and the other of support, the voltigeurs about five hundred paces in advance of the leading files. The morning was dull and hazy, for a heavy rain had fallen during the night, and the country is flat, and so much intersected with drains, and dykes, and ditches, that, after rain, the vapor is too thick to see twenty yards on any side. Our business was to make a counter-march to the right, and, guided by the noise of the cannonade, to come down upon the enemy's flank in the thickest of the engagement. As we advanced, we found ourselves in a kind of marshy plain, planted with willows, and so thick, that it was often difficult for three men to march abreast. This extended for a considerable distance, and, on escaping from it, we saw that we were not above a mile from the enemy's left, which rested on a little village."

"I know it well," broke in the cannonier; "it's called Huyningen."

"Just so. There was a formidable battery in position there; and part of the place was stockaded, as if they expected an attack. Still there were no videttes, nor any look-out party, so far as we could see; and our commanding officer didn't well know what to make of it, whether it was a point of concealed strength, or a position they were about to withdraw from. At all events, it required caution; and, although the battle had already begun on the right—as a loud cannonade and a heavy smoke told us—he halted the brigade in the wood, and held a council of his officers to see what was to be done. The resolution come to was, that the voltigeurs should advance alone to explore the way, the rest of the force remaining in ambush. We were to go out in sections of companies, and, spreading over a wide surface, see what we could of the place.

"Scarcely was the order given, when away we went; and it was now a race who should be earliest up, and exchange first shot with the enemy. Some dashed forward over the open field in front; others skulked along by dykes and ditches; some, again, dodged here and there, as cover offered its shelter; but about a dozen, of whom I was one, kept the track of little cart-road, which, half-concealed by high banks and furze, ran in a zig-zag line toward the village. I was always smart of foot; and now, having newly joined the 'voltigeurs,' was naturally eager to show myself not unworthy of my new associates. I went on at my best pace, and being lightly equipped—neither musket nor ball-cartridge to carry—I soon out stripped them all; and, after about twenty minutes' brisk running, saw in front of me a long, low farm-house, the walls all pierced for musketry, and two small eight-pounders in battery at the gate. I looked back for my companions, but they were not up, not a man of them to be seen. 'No matter,' thought I 'they'll be here soon; meanwhile, I'll make for that little copse of brushwood;' for a small clump of low furze and broom was standing at a little distance in front of the farm. All this time, I ought to say, not a man of the enemy was to be seen, although I, from where I stood, could see the crenelated walls, and the guns, as they were pointed: at a distance all would seem like an ordinary peasant-house.

"As I crossed the open space to gain the copse, piff! came a bullet, whizzing past me; and just as I reached the cover, piff! came another. I ducked my head, and made for the thicket, but just as I did so, my foot caught in a branch. I stumbled, and pitched forward; and, trying to save myself, I grasped a bough above me. It smashed suddenly, and down I went. Ay! down sure enough, for I went right through the furze, and into a well—one of those old, walled wells they have in these countries, with a huge bucket that fills up the whole space, and is worked by a chain. Luckily the bucket was linked up near the top, and caught me, or I should have gone where there would have been no more heard of Pièrre Canot; as it was, I was sorely bruised by the fall, and didn't recover myself for full ten minutes after. Then I discovered that I was sitting in a large wooden[Pg 333] trough, hooped with iron, and supported by two heavy chains that passed over a windlass, about ten feet above my head.

"I was safe enough, for the matter of that; at least none were likely to discover me, as I could easily see, by the rust of the chain and he grass-grown edges, that the well had been long disused. Now the position was far from being pleasant. There stood the farm-house, full of soldiers, the muskets ranging over every approach to where I lay. Of my comrades, there was nothing to be seen, they had either missed the way or retreated: and so time crept on, and I pondered on what might be going forward elsewhere, and whether it would ever be my own fortune to see my comrades again.

"It might be an hour—it seemed three or four to me—after this, as I looked over the plain, I saw the caps of our infantry just issuing over the brushwood, and a glancing lustre of their bayonets, as the sun tipped them. They were advancing, but, as it seemed, slowly—halting at times, and then moving forward again, just like a force waiting for others to come up. At last they debouched into the plain; but, to my surprise, they wheeled about to the right, leaving the farm-house on their flank, as if to march beyond it. This was to lose their way totally: nothing would be easier than to carry the position of the farm, for the Germans were evidently few, had no videttes, and thought themselves in perfect security. I crept out from my ambush, and holding my cap on a stick, tried to attract notice from our fellows, but none saw me. I ventured at last to shout aloud, but with no better success; so that, driven to the end of my resources, I set to and beat a 'roulade' on the drum, thundering away with all my might, and not caring what might come of it, for I was half mad with vexation as well as despair. They heard me now; I saw a staff officer gallop up to the head of the leading division, and halt them: a volley came peppering from behind me, but without doing me any injury, for I was safe once more in my bucket. Then came another pause, and again I repeated my manœuvre, and to my delight perceived that our fellows were advancing at quick march. I beat harder, and the drums of the grenadiers answered me. All right now, thought I, as, springing forward, I called out, 'This way, boys; the wall of the orchard has scarcely a man to defend it;' and I rattled out the 'pas-de-charge' with all my force. One crashing fire of guns and small arms answered me from the farm-house; and then away went the Germans as hard as they could; such running never was seen! One of the guns they carried off with them; the tackle of the other broke, and the drivers, jumping off their saddles, took to their legs at once. Our lads were over the walls, through the windows, between the stockades, every where, in fact, in a minute, and once inside, they carried all before them. The village was taken at the point of the bayonet, and in less than an hour the whole force of the brigade was advancing in full march on the enemy's flank. There was little resistance made after that, and Kaunitz only saved his artillery by leaving his rear guard to be cut to pieces."

The cannonier nodded, as if in full assent, and Pièrre looked around him with the air of a man who has vindicated his claim to greatness.

"Of course," said he, "the dispatch said little about Pièrre Canot, but a great deal about Moreau, and Kleber, and the rest of them."

While some were well satisfied that Pièrre had well established his merits as the conqueror of "Grandrengs," others quizzed him about the heroism of lying hid in a well, and owing all his glory to a skin of parchment.

"An' thou went with the army of Italy, Pièrre," said the hussar, "thou'd have seen men march boldly to victory, and not skulk under ground like a mole."

"I am tired of your song about this army of Italy," broke in the cannonier; "we who have served in La Vendée and the North know what fighting means, as well, mayhap, as men whose boldest feats are scaling rocks and clambering up precipices. Your Bonaparte, is more like one of these guerilla chiefs they have in the 'Basque,' than the general of a French army."

"The man who insults the army of Italy, or its chief, insults me!" said the corporal, springing up, and casting a sort of haughty defiance around him.

"And then?" asked the other.

"And then—if he be a French soldier—he knows what should follow."

"Parbleu!" said the cannonier, coolly, "there would be little glory in cutting you down, and even less in being wounded by you; but if you will have it so, it's not an old soldier of the artillery will balk your humor."

As he spoke, he slowly arose from the ground, and tightening his waist-belt, seemed prepared to follow the other. The rest sprung to their feet at the same time, but not, as I anticipated, to offer a friendly mediation between the angry parties, but in full approval of their readiness to decide by the sword a matter too trivial to be called a quarrel.

In the midst of the whispering conferences as to place and weapons—for the short, straight sword of the artillery was very unlike the curved sabre of the hussar—the quick tramp of horses was heard, and suddenly the head of a squadron was seen, as, with glancing helmets and glittering equipments, they turned off the high-road, and entered the wood.

"Here they come; here come the troops!" was now heard on every side, and all question of the duel was forgotten in the greater interest inspired by the arrival of the others. The sight was strikingly picturesque, for, as they rode up, the order to dismount was given, and in an instant the whole squadron was at work, picketing and unsaddling their horses; forage was shaken out before the weary and hungry beasts; kits were unpacked, cooking utensils produced, and every[Pg 334] one busy in preparing for the bivouac. An infantry column followed close upon the others, which was again succeeded by two batteries of field-artillery, and some squadrons of heavy dragoons; and now the whole wood, far and near, was crammed with soldiers, wagons, caissons, and camp-equipage. To me the interest of the scene was never-ending; life, bustle, and gayety on every side. The reckless pleasantry of the camp, too, seemed elevated by the warlike accompaniments of the picture; the caparisoned horses, the brass guns blackened on many a battle-field, the weather-seamed faces of the hardy soldiers themselves, all conspiring to excite a high enthusiasm for the career.

Most of the equipments were new and strange to my eyes. I had never before seen the grenadiers of the Republican Guard, with their enormous shakos, and their long-flapped vests descending to the middle of the thigh; neither had I seen the "Hussars de la mort," in their richly braided uniform of black, and their long hair curled in ringlets at either side of the face. The cuirassiers, too, with their low cocked hats, and straight, black feathers, as well as the "Portes Drapeaux," whose brilliant uniforms, all slashed with gold, seemed scarcely in keeping with yellow-topped boots: all were now seen by me for the first time. But of all the figures which amused me most by its singularity, was that of a woman, who, in a short frock-coat and a low-crowned hat, carried a little barrel at her side, and led an ass loaded with two similar, but rather larger casks. Her air and gait were perfectly soldier-like; and as she passed the different posts and sentries, she saluted them in true military fashion. I was not long to remain in ignorance of her vocation nor her name; for scarcely did she pass a group without stopping to dispense a wonderful cordial that she carried; and then I heard the familiar title of "La Mère Madou," uttered in every form of panegyric.

She was a short, stoutly-built figure, somewhat past the middle of life, but without any impairment of activity in her movements. A pleasing countenance, with good teeth and black eyes, a merry voice, and a ready tongue, were qualities more than sufficient to make her a favorite with the soldiers, whom I found she had followed to more than one battle field.

"Peste!" cried an old grenadier, as he spat out the liquor on the ground. "This is one of those sweet things they make in Holland; it smacks of treacle and bad lemons."

"Ah, Grognard!" said she, laughing, "thou art more vised to corn-brandy, with a clove of garlic in't, than to good curaçoa."

"What, curaçoa! Mère Madou, hast got curaçoa there?" cried a gray-whiskered captain, as he turned on his saddle at the word.

"Yes, mon capitaine, and such as no burgomaster ever drank better;" and she filled out a little glass, and presented it gracefully to him.

"Encore, ma bonne Mère," said he, as he wiped his thick mustache; "that liquor is another reason for extending the blessings of liberty to the brave Dutch."

"Didn't I tell you so?" said she, refilling the glass: "but, holloa, there goes Gregoire at full speed. Ah, scoundrels that ye are, I see what ye've done." And so was it: some of the wild, young voltigeur fellows had fastened a lighted furze-bush to the beast's tail, and had set him, at a gallop, through the very middle of the encampment, upsetting tents, scattering cooking-pans, and tumbling the groups, as they sat, in every direction.

The confusion was tremendous; for the picketed horses jumped about, and some, breaking loose, galloped here and there, while others set off with half-unpacked wagons, scattering their loading as they went.

It was only when the blazing furze had dropped off, that the cause of the whole mischance would suffer himself to be captured, and led quietly back to his mistress. Half crying with joy, and still wild with anger, she kissed the beast, and abused her tormentors by turns.

"Cannoniers that ye are," she cried, "ma foi! you'll have little face for the fire when the day comes that ye should face it! Pauvre Gregoire, they've left thee a tail like a tirailleur's feather! Plagues light on the thieves that did it! Come here, boy," said she, addressing me, "hold the bridle: what's thy corps, lad?"

"I have none now; I only followed the soldiers from Paris."

"Away with thee, street-runner; away with thee, then!" said she, contemptuously; "there are no pockets to pick here, and if there were, thou'd lose thy ears for the doing it. Be off, then; back with thee to Paris and all its villainies. There are twenty thousand of thy trade there, but there's work for ye all!"

"Nay, Mère, don't be harsh with the boy," said a soldier; "you can see by his coat that his heart is with us."

"And he stole that, I'll be sworn," said she, pulling me round by the arm, full in front of her. "Answer me, 'Gamin,' where didst find that old tawdry jacket?"

"I got it in a place where, if they had hold of thee and thy bad tongue, it would fare worse with thee than thou thinkest!" said I, maddened by the imputed theft and insolence together.

"And where may that be, young slip of the galleys?" cried she, angrily.

"In the 'Prison du Temple.'"

"Is that their livery, then?" said she laughing, and pointing at me with ridicule, "or is it a family dress made after thy father's?"

"My father wore a soldier's coat, and bravely, too," said I, with difficulty restraining the tears that rose to my eyes.

"In what regiment, boy?" asked the soldier who spoke before.

"In one that exists no longer," said I, sadly, and not wishing to allude to a service that would find but slight favor in republican ears.

"That must be the 24th of the Line; they were cut to pieces at 'Tongres.'"[Pg 335]

"No—no, he's thinking of the 9th, that got so roughly handled at Fontenoy," said another.

"Of neither," said I; "I am speaking of those who have left nothing but a name behind them, the 'Garde du Corps' of the king."

"Voila!" cried Madou, clapping her hands in astonishment at my impertinence; "there's an aristocrat for you! Look at him, mes braves! It's not every day we have the grand seigneurs condescending to come among us! You can learn something of courtly manners from the polished descendant of our nobility. Say, boy, art a count, or a baron, or perhaps a duke."

"Make way there—out of the road, Mère Madou," cried a dragoon, curveting his horse in such a fashion as almost to upset ass and "cantiniére" together, "the staff is coming."

The mere mention of the word sent numbers off in full speed to their quarters; and now, all was haste and bustle to prepare for the coming inspection. The Mère's endeavors to drag her beast along were not very successful; for, with the peculiar instinct of his species, the more necessity there was of speed, the lazier he became; and as every one had his own concerns to look after, she was left to her own unaided efforts to drive him forward.

"Thou'lt have a day in prison if thou'rt found here, Mère Madou," said a dragoon, as he struck the ass with the flat of his sabre.

"I know it well," cried she, passionately; "but I have none to help me. Come here, lad; be good-natured, and forget what passed. Take his bridle while I whip him on."

I was at first disposed to refuse, but her pitiful face and sad plight made me think better of it; and I seized the bridle at once; but just as I had done so, the escort galloped forward, and the dragoons coming on the flank of the miserable beast, over he went, barrels and all, crushing me beneath him as he fell.

"Is the boy hurt?" were the last words I heard, for I fainted; but a few minutes after I found myself seated on the grass, while a soldier was stanching the blood that ran freely from a cut in my forehead.

"It is a trifle, general—a mere scratch," said a young officer to an old man on horseback beside him, "and the leg is not broken."

"Glad of it," said the old officer; "casualties are insufferable, except before an enemy. Send the lad to his regiment."

"He's only a camp-follower, general. He does not belong to us."

"There, my lad, take this, then, and make thy way back to Paris," said the old general, as he threw me a small piece of money.

I looked up, and there, straight before me, saw the same officer who had given me the assignat the night before.

"General La Coste!" cried I, in delight, for I thought him already a friend.

"How is this—have I an acquaintance here?" said he, smiling: "on my life! it's the young rogue I met this morning. Eh! art not thou the artillery-driver I spoke to at the barrack?"

"Yes, general, the same."

"Diantre! It seems fated, then, that we are not to part company so easily; for hadst thou remained in Paris, lad, we had most probably never met again."

"Ainsi je suis bien tombé, general," said I, punning upon my accident.

He laughed heartily, less I suppose at the jest, which was a poor one, than at the cool impudence with which I uttered it; and then turning to one of the staff, said—

"I spoke to Berthollet about this boy already—see that they take him in the 9th. I say, my lad, what's thy name?"

"Tiernay, sir."

"Ay, to be sure, Tiernay. Well, Tiernay, thou shalt be a hussar, my man. See that I get no disgrace by the appointment."

I kissed his hand fervently, and the staff rode forward, leaving me the happiest heart that beat in all that crowded host.



If the guide who is to lead us on a long and devious track, stops at every by-way, following out each path that seems to invite a ramble or suggest a halt, we naturally might feel distrustful of his safe conduct, and uneasy at the prospect of the road before us. In the same way may the reader be disposed to fear that he who descends to slight and trivial circumstances, will scarcely have time for events which ought to occupy a wider space in his reminiscences; and for this reason I am bound to apologize for the seeming transgression of my last chapter. Most true it is, that were I to relate the entire of my life with a similar diffuseness, my memoir would extend to a length far beyond what I intend it to occupy. Such, however, is very remote from my thoughts. I have dwelt with, perhaps, something of prolixity upon the soldier-life and characteristics of a past day, because I shall yet have to speak of changes, without which the contrast would be inappreciable; but I have also laid stress upon an incident trivial in itself, because it formed an event in my own fortunes. It was thus, in fact, that I became a soldier.

Now, the man who carries a musket in the ranks, may very reasonably be deemed but a small ingredient of the mass that forms an army: and in our day his thoughts, hopes, fears, and ambitions are probably as unknown and uncared for, as the precise spot of earth that yielded the ore from which his own weapon was smelted. This is not only reasonable, but it is right. In the time of which I am now speaking it was far otherwise. The Republic, in extinguishing a class had elevated the individual; and now each, in whatever station he occupied, felt himself qualified to entertain opinions and express sentiments, which, because they were his own, he[Pg 336] presumed them to be national. The idlers of the streets discussed the deepest questions of politics; the soldiers talked of war with all the presumption of consummate generalship. The great operations of a campaign, and the various qualities of different commanders, were the daily subjects of dispute in the camp. Upon one topic only were all agreed; and there, indeed, our unanimity repaid all previous discordance. We deemed France the only civilized nation of the globe, and reckoned that people thrice happy who, by any contingency of fortune, engaged our sympathy, or procured the distinction of our presence in arms. We were the heaven-born disseminators of freedom throughout Europe; the sworn enemies of kingly domination; and the missionaries of a political creed, which was not alone to ennoble mankind, but to render its condition eminently happy and prosperous.

There could not be an easier lesson to learn than this, and particularly when dinned into your ears all day, and from every rank and grade around you. It was the programme of every message from the Directory; it was the opening of every general order from the general; it was the table-talk at your mess. The burden of every song, the title of every military march performed by the regimental band, recalled it, even the riding-master, as he followed the recruit around the weary circle, whip in hand, mingled the orders he uttered with apposite axioms upon republican grandeur. How I think I hear it still, as the grim old quartermaster-sergeant, with his Alsatian accent and deep-toned voice, would call out.

"Elbows back! wrist lower and free from the side; free, I say, as every citizen of a great Republic! head erect, as a Frenchman has a right to carry it! chest full out, like one who can breathe the air of Heaven, and ask no leave from king or despot! down with your heel, sir; think that you crush a tyrant beneath it!"

Such and such like were the running commentaries on equitation, till often I forgot whether the lesson had more concern with a seat on horseback or the great cause of monarchy throughout Europe. I suppose, to use a popular phrase of our own day, "the system worked well;" certainly the spirit of the army was unquestionable. From the grim old veteran, with snow-white mustache, to the beardless boy, there was but one hope and wish—the glory of France. How they understood that glory, or in what it essentially consisted, is another and a very different question.

Enrolled as a soldier in the ninth regiment of Hussars, I accompanied that corps to Nancy, where, at that time, a large cavalry school was formed, and where the recruits from the different regiments were trained and managed before being sent forward to their destination.

A taste for equitation, and a certain aptitude for catching up the peculiar character of the different horses, at once distinguished me in the riding school, and I was at last adopted by the riding-master of the regiment as a kind of aide to him in his walk. When I thus became a bold and skillful horseman, my proficiency interfered with my promotion, for instead of accompanying my regiment, I was detained at Nancy, and attached to the permanent staff of the cavalry school there.

At first I asked for nothing better. It was a life of continued pleasure and excitement, and while I daily acquired knowledge of a subject which interested me deeply, I grew tall and strong of limb, and with that readiness in danger, and that cool collectedness in moments of difficulty, that are so admirably taught by the accidents and mischances of a cavalry riding-school.

The most vicious and unmanageable beasts from the Limousin were often sent to us; and when any one of these was deemed peculiarly untractable, "Give him to Tiernay," was the last appeal, before abandoning him as hopeless. I'm certain I owe much of the formation of my character to my life at this period, and that my love of adventure, my taste for excitement, my obstinate resolution to conquer a difficulty, my inflexible perseverance when thwarted, and my eager anxiety for praise, were all picked up amid the sawdust and tan of the riding-school. How long I might have continued satisfied with such triumphs, and content to be the wonder of the freshly-joined conscripts, I know not, when accident, or something very like it, decided the question.

It was a calm, delicious evening in April, in the year after I had entered the school, that I was strolling alone on the old fortified wall, which, once a strong redoubt, was the favorite walk of the good citizens of Nancy. I was somewhat tired with the fatigues of the day, and sat down to rest under one of the acacia trees, whose delicious blossom was already scenting the air. The night was still and noiseless; not a man moved along the wall; the hum of the city was gradually subsiding, and the lights in the cottages over the plain told that the laborer was turning homeward from his toil. It was an hour to invite calm thoughts, and so I fell a-dreaming over the tranquil pleasures of a peasant's life, and the unruffled peace of an existence passed amid scenes that were endeared by years of intimacy. "How happily," thought I, "time must steal on in these quiet spots, where the strife and struggle of war are unknown, and even the sounds of conflict, never reach." Suddenly my musings were broken in upon by hearing the measured tramp of cavalry, as at a walk, a long column wound their way along the zig-zag approaches, which by many a redoubt and fosse, over many a draw bridge, and beneath many a strong arch, led to the gates of Nancy. The loud, sharp call of a trumpet was soon heard, and, after a brief parley, the massive gates of the fortress were opened for the troops to enter. From the position I occupied exactly over the gate, I could not only see the long, dark line of armed men as they passed, but also hear the colloquy which took place as they entered.[Pg 337]

"What regiment?"

"Detachments of the 12th Dragoons and the 22d Chasseurs-à-Cheval."

"Where from?"


"Where to?"

"The army of the Rhine."

"Pass on!"

And with the words the ringing sound of the iron-shod horses was heard beneath the vaulted entrance. As they issued from beneath the long, deep arch, the men were formed in line along two sides of a wide "Place" inside the walls, where, with that dispatch that habit teaches, the billets were speedily distributed, and the parties "told off" in squads for different parts of the city. The force seemed a considerable one, and with all the celerity they could employ, the billeting occupied a long time. As I watched the groups moving off, I heard the direction given to one party, "Cavalry School—Rue de Lorraine." The young officer who commanded the group took a direction exactly the reverse of the right one; and hastening down from the rampart, I at once overtook them, and explained the mistake. I offered them my guidance to the place, which being willingly accepted, I walked along at their side.

Chatting as we went, I heard that the dragoons were hastily withdrawn from the La Vendée to form part of the force under General Hoche. The young sous-lieutenant, a mere boy of my own age, had already served in two campaigns in Holland and the south of France; had been wounded in the Loire, and received his grade of officer at the hands of Hoche himself on the field of battle.

He could speak of no other name—Hoche was the hero of all his thoughts—his gallantry, his daring, his military knowledge, his coolness in danger, his impetuosity in attack, his personal amiability, the mild gentleness of his manner, were themes the young soldier loved to dwell on; and however pressed by me to talk of war and its chances, he inevitably came back to the one loved theme—his general.

When the men were safely housed for the night, I invited my new friend to my own quarters, where, having provided the best entertainment I could afford, we passed more than half the night in chatting. There was nothing above mediocrity in the look or manner of the youth; his descriptions of what he had seen were unmarked by any thing glowing or picturesque; his observations did not evince either a quick or a reflective mind, and yet, over this mass of commonplace, enthusiasm for his leader had shed a rich glow, like a gorgeous sunlight on a landscape, that made all beneath it seem brilliant and splendid.

"And now," said he, after an account of the last action he had seen, "and now, enough of myself; let's talk of thee. Where hast thou been?"

"Here!" said I, with a sigh, and in a voice that shame had almost made inaudible; "Here, here, at Nancy."

"Not always here?"

"Just so. Always here."

"And what doing, mon cher. Thou art not one of the Municipal Guard, surely?"

"No," said I, smiling sadly; "I belong to the 'Ecole d'Equitation.'"

"Ah, that's it," said he, in somewhat of confusion; "I always thought they selected old sergeants en retraite, worn out veterans, and wounded fellows, for riding-school duty."

"Most of ours are such," said I, my shame increasing at every word—"but somehow they chose me also, and I had no will in the matter—"

"No will in the matter, parbleu! and why not? Every man in France has a right to meet the enemy in the field. Thou art a soldier, a hussar of the 9th, a brave and gallant corps, and art to be told, that thy comrades have the road to fame and honor open to them; while thou art to mope away life like an invalided drummer? It is too gross an indignity, my boy, and must not be borne. Away with you to-morrow at day-break to the 'Etat Major,' ask to see the commandant. You're in luck, too, for our colonel is with him now, and he is sure to back your request. Say that you served in the school to oblige your superiors; but that you can not see all chances of distinction lost to you forever, by remaining there. They've given you no grade yet, I see," continued he, looking at my arm.

"None: I am still a private."

"And I a sous-lieutenant, just because I have been where powder was flashing! You can ride well, of course?"

"I defy the wildest Limousin to shake me in my saddle."

"And as a swordsman, what are you?"

"Gros Jean calls me his best pupil."

"Ah, true! you have Gros Jean here; the best 'sabreur' in France! And here you are—a horseman, and one of Gros Jean's 'eléves'—rotting away life in Nancy! Have you any friends in the service?"

"Not one."

"Not one! Nor relations, nor connections?"

"None. I am Irish by descent. My family are only French by one generation."

"Irish? Ah! that's lucky too," said he. "Our colonel is an Irishman. His name is Mahon. You're certain of getting your leave now. I'll present you to him to-morrow. We are to halt two days here, and before that is over, I hope you'll have made your last caracole in the riding-school of Nancy."

"But remember," cried I, "that although Irish by family, I have never been there. I know nothing of either the people or the language; and do not present me to the general as his countryman."

"I'll call you by your name, as a soldier of the 9th Hussars; and leave you to make out your claim as countrymen, if you please, together."[Pg 338]

This course was now agreed upon, and after some further talking, my friend, refusing all my offers of a bed, coolly wrapped his cloak about him, and, with his head on the table, fell fast asleep, long before I had ceased thinking over his stories and his adventures in camp and battle-field.



My duties in the riding-school were always over before mid-day, and as noon was the hour appointed by the young lieutenant to present me to his colonel, I was ready by that time, and anxiously awaiting his arrival. I had done my best to smarten up my uniform, and make all my accoutrements bright and glistening. My scabbard was polished like silver, the steel front on my shako shone like a mirror, and the tinsel lace of my jacket had undergone a process of scrubbing and cleaning that threatened its very existence. My smooth chin and beardless upper lip, however, gave me a degree of distress, that all other deficiencies failed to inflict: I can dare to say, that no mediæval gentleman's bald spot ever cost him one half the misery, as did my lack of mustache occasion me. "A hussar without beard, as well without spurs or sabretasche;" a tambour major without his staff, a cavalry charger without a tail, couldn't be more ridiculous: and there was that old sergeant of the riding-school, "Tronchon," with a beard that might have made a mattress! How the goods of this world are unequally distributed! thought I; still why might he not spare me a little—a very little would suffice—just enough to give the "air hussar" to my countenance. He's an excellent creature; the kindest old fellow in the world. I'm certain he'd not refuse me; to be sure the beard is a red one, and pretty much like bell-wire in consistence; no matter, better that than this girlish smooth chin I now wear.

Tronchon was spelling out the Moniteur's account of the Italian campaign as I entered his room, and found it excessively difficult to get back from the Alps and Apennines to the humble request I preferred.

"Poor fellows," muttered he, "four battles in seven days, without stores of any kind, or rations—almost without bread; and here comest thou, whining because thou hasn't a beard."

"If I were not a hussar—"

"Bah!" said he, interrupting, "what of that? Where should'st thou have had thy baptism of blood, boy? Art a child, nothing more."

"I shared my quarters last night with one, not older, Tronchon, and he was an officer, and had seen many a battle-field."

"I know that, too," said the veteran, with an expression of impatience, "that General Bonaparte will give every boy his epaulets, before an old and tried soldier."

"It was not Bonaparte. It was—"

"I care not who promoted the lad; the system is just the same with them all. It is no longer, 'Where have you served? what have you seen?' but, 'Can you read glibly? can you write faster than speak? have you learned to take towns upon paper, and attack a breast-work with a rule and a pair of compasses!' This is what they called 'la génie,' 'la génie!' ha! ha! ha!" cried he, laughing heartily; "that's the name old women used to give the devil when I was a boy."

It was with the greatest difficulty I could get him back from these disagreeable reminiscences to the object of my visit, and, even then, I could hardly persuade him that I was serious in asking the loan of a beard. The prayer of my petition being once understood, he discussed the project gravely enough; but to my surprise he was far more struck by the absurd figure he should cut with his diminished mane, than I with my mock mustache.

"There's not a child in Nancy won't laugh at me—they'll cry, 'There goes old Tronchon—he's like Klaber's charger, which the German cut the tail off to make a shako plume!'"

I assured him that he might as well pretend to miss one tree in the forest of "Fontainebleu"—that after furnishing a squadron like myself, his would be still the first beard in the Republic; and at last he yielded, and gave in.

Never did a little damsel of the nursery array her doll with more delighted looks, and gaze upon her handiwork with more self-satisfaction, than did old Tronchon survey me, as, with the aid of a little gum, he decorated my lip with a stiff line of his iron red beard.

"Diantre!" cried he, in ecstasy, "if thou ben't something like a man, after all. Who would have thought it would have made such a change? Thou might pass for one that saw real smoke and real fire, any day, lad. Ay! thou hast another look in thine eye, and another way to carry thy head, now! Trust me, thou'lt look a different fellow on the left of the squadron."

I began to think so, too, as I looked at myself in the small triangle of a looking-glass, which decorated Tronchon's wall, under a picture of Kellerman, his first captain. I fancied that the improvement was most decided. I thought that, bating a little over-ferocity, a something verging upon the cruel, I was about as perfect a type of the hussar as need be. My jacket seemed to fit tighter—my pelisse hung more jauntily—my shako sat more saucily on one side of my head—my sabre banged more proudly against my boot—my very spurs jangled with a pleasanter music—and all because a little hair bristled over my lip, and curled in two spiral flourishes across my cheek! I longed to see the effect of my changed appearance, as I walked down the "Place Carrière," or sauntered into the café where my comrades used to assemble. What will Mademoiselle Josephine say, thought I, as I ask for my "petit vèrre," caressing my mustache thus! Not a doubt of it, what a fan is to a woman, a beard is to a soldier! a something to fill up the pauses in conversation, by[Pg 339] blandly smoothing with the finger, or fiercely curling at the point!

"And so thou art going to ask for thy grade, Maurice?" broke in Tronchon, after a long silence.

"Not at all. I am about to petition for employment upon active service. I don't seek promotion till I have deserved it."

"Better still, lad. I was eight years myself in the ranks before they gave me the stripe on my arm. Parbleu! the Germans had given me some three or four with the sabre before that time."

"Do you think they'll refuse me, Tronchon?"

"Not if thou go the right way about it, lad. Thou mustn't fancy it's like asking leave from the captain to spend the evening in a guinguette, or to go to the play with thy sweetheart. No, no, boy. It must be done 'en regle.' Thou'lt have to wait on the general at his quarters at four o'clock, when he 'receives,' as they call it. Thou'lt be there, mayhap, an hour, ay, two, or three belike, and after all, perhaps, won't see him that day at all! I was a week trying to catch Kellerman, and, at last, he only spoke to me going down stairs with his staff.

"'Eh, Tronchon, another bullet in thy old carcass; want a furlough to get strong again, eh?'

"'No, colonel; all sound this time. I want to be a sergeant—I'm twelve years and four months corporal.'

"'Slow work, too,' said he, laughing, 'ain't it, Charles?' and he pinched one of his young officers by the cheek. 'Let old Tronehon have his grade; and I say, my good fellow,' said he to me, 'don't come plaguing me any more about promotion, till I'm General of Division. You hear that?'

"Well, he's got his step since; but I never teased him after."

"And why so, Tronchon?" said I.

"I'll tell thee, lad," whispered he, in a low, confidential tone, as if imparting a secret well worth the hearing. "They can find fellows every day fit for lieutenants and chefs d'escadron. Parbleu! they meet with them in every café, in every 'billiard' you enter; but a sergeant, Maurice, one that drills his men on parade—can dress them like a wall—see that every kit is well packed, and every cartouch well filled—who knows every soul in his company as he knows the buckles of his own sword-belt—that's what one should not chance upon, in haste. It's easy enough to manœuvre the men, Maurice; but to make them, boy, to fashion the fellows so that they be like the pieces of a great machine, that's the real labor—that's soldiering, indeed."

"And you say I must write a petition, Tronchon?" said I, more anxious to bring him back to my own affairs, than listen to these speculations of his. "How shall I do it?"

"Sit down there, lad, and I'll tell thee. I've done the thing some scores of times, and know the words as well as I once knew my 'Pater.' Parbleu, I often wish I could remember that now, just to keep me from gloomy thoughts when I sit alone of an evening."

It was not a little to his astonishment, but still more to his delight, that I told the poor fellow I could help to refresh his memory, knowing, as I did, every word of the litanies by heart; and, accordingly, it was agreed on that I should impart religious instruction, in exchange for the secular knowledge he was conferring upon me.

"As for the petition," said Tronchon, seating himself opposite to me at the table, "it is soon done; for, mark me, lad, these things must always be short; if thou be long-winded, they put thee away, and tell some of the clerks to look after thee—and there's an end of it. Be brief, therefore, and next—be legible—write in a good, large round hand; just as, if thou wert speaking, thou wouldst talk with a fine, clear, distinct voice. Well, then, begin thus, 'Republic of France, one and indivisible!' Make a flourish round that, lad, as if it came freely from the pen. When a man writes 'France!' he should do it as he whirls his sabre round his head in a charge! Ay, just so."

"I'm ready, Tronchon, go on."

"'Mon General!' Nay, nay—General mustn't be as large as France—yes, that's better. 'The undersigned, whose certificates of service and conduct are herewith inclosed.'" "Stay, stop a moment, Tronchon; don't forget that I have got neither one or t'other." "No matter; I'll make thee out both. Where was I? Ay, 'herewith inclosed; and whose wounds, as the accompanying report will show—'"

"Wounds! I never received one."

"No matter, I'll—eh—what? Feu d'enfer! how stupid I am! What have I been thinking of? Why, boy, it was a sick-furlough I was about to ask for; the only kind of petition I have ever had to write in a life long."

"And I am asking for active service."

"Ha! That came without asking for in my case."

"Then, what's to be done, Tronchon? clearly, this won't do!"

He nodded sententiously an assent, and, after a moment's rumination, said,

"It strikes me, lad, there can be no need of begging for that which usually comes unlooked for; but if thou don't choose to wait for thy billet for t'other world, but must go and seek it, the best way will be to up and tell the general as much."

"That was exactly my intention."

"If he asks thee 'Canst ride?' just say, 'Old Tronchon taught me;' he'll be one of the young hands, indeed, if he don't know that name! And mind, lad, have no whims or caprices about whatever service he names thee for, even were't the infantry itself! It's a hard word, that! I know it well! but a man must make up his mind for any thing and every thing. Wear any coat, go any where, face any enemy thou'rt ordered, and have none of those new-fangled notions about this general, or that army. Be a[Pg 340] good soldier, and a good comrade. Share thy kit and thy purse to the last sous, for it will not only be generous in thee, but that so long as thou hoardest not, thou'lt never be over eager for pillage. Mind these things, and with a stout heart and a sharp sabre, Maurice, 'tu ira loin.' Yes, I tell thee again, lad, 'tu ira loin'."

I give these three words as he said them, for they have rung in my ears throughout all my life long. In moments of gratified ambition, in the glorious triumph of success, they have sounded to me like the confirmed predictions of one who foresaw my elevation, in less prosperous hours. When fortune has looked dark and louring, they have been my comforter and support, telling me not to be downcast or depressed, that the season of sadness would soon pass away, and the road to fame and honor again open before me.

"You really think so, Tronchon? You think that I shall be something yet?'

"'Tu ira loin,' I say," repeated he emphatically, and with the air of an oracle who would not suffer further interrogation. I therefore shook his hand cordially, and set out to pay my visit to the general.

(To be continued.)

[From the London Eclectic Review.]


"Poetry is declining—poetry is being extinguished—poetry is extinct. To talk of poetry now is eccentricity—to write it is absurdity—to publish it is moonstruck madness." So the changes are rung. Now, it is impossible to deny that what is called poetry has become a drug, a bore, and nuisance, and that the name "Poet," as commonly applied, is at present about the shabbiest in the literary calendar. But we are far from believing that poetry is extinct. We entertain, on the contrary, sanguine hopes of its near and glorious resurrection. Soon do we hope to hear those tones of high melody, which are now like the echoes of forgotten thunder:

"From land to land re-echoed solemnly,
Till silence become music."

We expect, about the very time, when the presumption against the revivication of poetry shall have attained the appearance of absolute certainty, to witness a Tenth Avatar of Genius—and to witness its effect, too, upon the sapient personages who had been predicting that it was forever departed.

But this, it seems, is "not a poetical age." For our parts, we know not what age has not been poetical—in what age have not existed all the elements of poetry, been developed all its passions, and been heard many of its tones. "Were the dark ages poetical?" it will be asked. Yes, for then, as now, there was pathos—there was passion—there were hatred, revenge, love, grief, despair, religion. Wherever there is the fear of death and of judgment, there is, and must be poetry—and when was that feeling more intensely developed than during that dim period? The victims of a spell are objects of poetical interest. Here was a strong spell, embracing a world. Was no arm during the dark ages bared aloft in defense of outraged innocence? Or was no head then covered with the snows of a hundred winters, through one midnight despair? Was the voice of prayer then stifled throughout Europe's hundred lands? Was the mighty heart of man—the throbbing of which is just poetry, then utterly silent? But it was not expressed! We maintain, on the contrary, that it was—expressed at the time, in part by monks, and scalds, and orators, and expressed afterward in the glad energy of the spring which human nature made from its trance, into new life and motion. The elements of poetry had been accumulating in secret. The renovation of letters merely opened a passage for what had been struggling for vent. What is Dante's work but a beautiful incarnation of the spirit of the Middle Ages? His passion is that of a sublimated Inquisitor. His "Inferno" is such a dream as might have been dreamed by a poet monk, whose body had been macerated by austerities, and whose spirit had been darkened by long broodings on the fate of the victims of perdition. It is the poetical part of the passion of those ages of darkness finding a full voice—an eternal echo. And it was not in vain that so deep had been the slumber, when such had been its visions. There is a grandeur about any passion when carried to excess. Superstition, therefore, became the inspiration of one of the greatest productions of the universe. Dante was needed precisely when he appeared. The precise quantity of poetical material to answer the ends of a great original poet was accumulated; and the mighty Florentine, when he rose, became the mouth-piece and oracle of his age and of its cognate ages past—the exact index of all that redeemed, animated, excited, or adorned them.

The crusades, too, were another proof that the slumber in which Europe had been buried was not absolutely and altogether that of stupor or death. They occurred after the noon of that period we usually denominate dark. But they were the realization of a dream which had often passed through the monkish heart—the embodiment, of a wish which had often brought tears into the eyes of genuine enthusiasts. There was, surely, as much sublimity in the first conception as in the execution. What indeed were the crusades, but the means of bringing to light, feelings, desires, passions, a lofty disinterested heroism, which the very depth of the former darkness had tended to foster and fire?

If the dark ages had thus their poetical tendencies,[Pg 341] climbing toward a full poetic expression, surely no age need or can be destitute of theirs—need or can be called unpoetical. But the misfortune is, that men will not look at the essential poetry which is lying around them, and under their feet. They suppose their age to be unpoetical, merely because they grapple not with its great excitements, nor will venture to sail upon its "mighty stream of tendency." They overlook the volcano in the next mountain—while admiring or deploring those which have been extinct for centuries, or which are a thousand miles away. They are afraid that if they catch the spirit of their age in verse, they will give it a temporary stamp; and therefore they either abstain from writing, and take to abusing the age on which they have unluckily fallen, or else come to the same resolution after an unsuccessful attempt to revive faded stimulants. Dante embodied, for instance, his countrymen's rude conception of future punishment—and he did well. But our modern religious poets have never ventured to meddle with those moral aspects of the subject which have now so generally supplanted the material. They talk instead, with Pollok, of the "rocks of dark damnation," or outrage common sense by such barbarous mis-creations as he has sculptured on the gate of hell, and think they have written an "Inferno," or that, if they have failed, it is because their age is not poetical.

Indeed, the least poetry is sometimes written in the most poetical ages. Men, when acting poetry, have little time either to write or to read it. There was less poetry written in the age of Charles I., than in that which preceded it, and more poetry enacted. But the majority of men only listen to the reverberations of emotion in song. They sympathize not with poetry, but with poets. And, therefore, when a cluster of poets die, or are buried before they be dead, they chant dirges over the death of poetry—as if it ever did or ever could die! as if its roots, which are just the roots of the human soul, were perishable—as if, especially when a strong current of excitement was flowing, it were not plain, that there was a poetry which should, in due time, develop its own masters to record and prolong it forever. Surely, as long as the grass is green and the sky is blue, as long as man's heart is warm and woman's face is fair, poetry, like seed-time and harvest, like summer and winter shall not cease.

There was little poetry, some people think, about England's civil war, because the leader of one party was a red-nosed fanatic. They, for their part, cannot extract poetry from a red nose; but they are in raptures with Milton. Fools! but for that civil war, its high and solemn excitement, the deeds and daring of that red-nosed fanatic, would the "Paradise Lost" ever have been written, or written as it has been? That stupendous edifice of genius seems cemented by the blood of Naseby and of Marston Moor.

Such persons, too, see little that is poetical in the American struggle—no mighty romance in tumbling a few chests of tea into the Atlantic. Washington they think insipid; and because America has produced hitherto no great poet, its whole history they regard as a gigantic commonplace—thus ignoring the innumerable deeds of derring-do which distinguished that immortal contest—blinding their eyes to the "lines of empire" in the "infant face of that cradled Hercules," and the tremendous sprawlings of his nascent strength—and seeking to degrade those forests into whose depths a path for the sunbeams must be hewn, and where, lightning appears to enter trembling, and to withdraw in haste; forests which must one day drop down a poet, whose genius shall be worthy of their age, their vastitude, the beauty which they inclose, and the load of grandeur below which they bend.

Nor, to the vulgar eye, does there seem much poetry in the French Revolution, though it was the mightiest tide of human passion which ever boiled and raved: a great deal, doubtless, in Burke's "Reflections"—but none in the cry of a liberated people, which was heard in heaven—none in the fall of the Bastile—none in Danton's giant figure, nor in Charlotte Corday's homicide—nor in Madame Roland's scaffold speeches, immortal though they be as the stars of heaven—nor in the wild song of the six hundred Marseillese, marching northward "to die." The age of the French Revolution was proved to be a grand and spirit-stirring age by its after results—by bringing forth its genuine poet-children—its Byrons and Shelleys—but needed not this late demonstration of its power and tendencies.

Surely our age, too, abounds in the elements of poetical excitement, awaiting; only fit utterance. The harvest is rich and ripe—and nothing now is wanting but laborers to put in the sickle.

Special objections might indeed, and have been taken, to the poetical character of our time, which we may briefly dispose of before enumerating the qualities which a new and great poet, aspiring to be the Poet of the Age, must possess, and inquiring how far Mr. S. Yendys exhibits those qualities in this very remarkable first effort, "The Roman."

"It is a mechanical age," say some. To use Shakspeare's words, "he is a mechanical salt-butter rogue who says so." Men use more machines than formerly, but are not one whit more machines themselves. Was James Watt an automaton? Has the press become less an object of wonder or terror since it was worked by steam? How sublime was the stoppage of a mail as the index of rebellion. Luther's Bible was printed by a machine. The organ is a machine—and not the roar of a lion in a midnight forest is more sublime, or a fitter reply from earth to the thunder. The railway carriages of this mechanical age are the conductors of the fire of intellect and passion—and its steamboats may be loaded with thunderbolts, as well as with bullocks or yarn. The great[Pg 342] American ship is but a machine; and yet how poetical it becomes, as it walks the waters of the summer sea, or wrestles, like a demon of kindred power, with the angry billows. Mechanism, indeed, may be called the short-hand of poetry, concentrating its force and facilitating its operations.

But this is an "age too late." So doubted Milton, while the shadow of Shakspeare had scarce left the earth, and while he himself was writing the greatest epic the world ever saw. And so any one may say, provided he does not mutilate or restrain his genius in consequence. We have reason to bless Providence that Milton did not act upon his hasty peradventure. But some will attempt to prove its truth, by saying that the field of poetry is limited—that the first cultivators will probably exhaust it, and that, in fact, a decline in poetry has been observed—the first poets being uniformly the best. But we deny that the field of poetry is limited. That is nature and the deep heart of man; or, more correctly, the field of poetry is human nature, and the external universe, multiplied indefinitely by the imagination. This, surely, is a wide enough territory. Where shall poetry, if sent forth like Noah's dove, fail to find a resting-place? Each new fact in the history of man and nature is a fact for it—suited to its purposes, and awaiting its consecration.

"The great writers have exhausted it." True, they have exhausted, speaking generally, the topics they have handled. Few will think of attempting the "Fall of Man" after Milton—and Dryden and Galt, alone, have dared, to their own disgrace, to burst within Shakspeare's magic circle. But the great poets have not verily occupied the entire field of poetry—have not counted all the beatings of the human heart—have not lighted on all those places whence poetry, like water from the smitten rock, rushes at the touch of genius—have not exhausted all the "riches fineless" which garnish the universe—nay, they have multiplied them infinitely, and shed on them a deeper radiance. The more poetry there is, the more there must be. A good criticism on a great poem becomes a poem itself. It is the essence of poetry to increase and multiply—to create an echo and shadow of its own power, even as the voice of the cataract summons the spirits of the wilderness to return it in thunder. As truly say that storms can exhaust the sky, as that poems can exhaust the blue dome of poesy. We doubt, too, the dictum that the earliest poets are uniformly the best. Who knows not that many prefer Eschylus to Homer; and many, Virgil to Lucretius; and many, Milton to Shakspeare; and that a nation sets Goethe above all men, save Shakspeare; and has not the toast been actually given, "To the two greatest of poets—Shakspeare and Byron?" To settle the endless questions connected with such a topic by any dogmatical assertion of the superiority of early poets, is obviously impossible.

But "the age will not now read poetry." True, it will not read whatever bears the name it will not read nursery themes; nor tenth-rate imitations of tenth-rate imitations of Byron, Scott, or Wordsworth; nor the effusions either of mystical cant, or of respectable commonplace; nor yet very willingly the study-sweepings of reputed men, who deem, in their complacency, that the world is gaping for the rinsings of their intellect. But it will read genuine poetry, if it be accommodated to the wants of the age, and if it be fairly brought before it. "Vain to cast pearls before swine!" Cast down the pearls before you call the men of the age swine. In truth, seldom had a true and new poet a fairer field, or the prospect of a wider favor, than at this very time. The age remembers that many of those poets it now delights to honor, were at first received with obloquy or neglect. It is not so likely to renew the disgraceful sin, since it recollects the disgraceful repentance. It is becoming wide awake, and is ready to recognize every symptom of original power. The reviews and literary journals are still, indeed, comparatively an unfair medium; but, by their multitude and their contradictions, have neutralized each other's power, and rendered the public less willing and less apt to be bullied or blackguarded out of its senses. Were Hazlitt alive now, and called, by any miserable scribbler in the "Athenæum" or "Spectator," a dunce, he could laugh in his face; instead of retiring as he did, perhaps hunger-bitten, to bleed out his heart's blood in secret. Were Shelley now called in "Blackwood" a madman, and Keats a mannikin, they would be as much disturbed by it as the moon at the baying of a Lapland wolf. The good old art, in short, of writing an author up or down, is dying hard, but dying fast; and the public is beginning to follow the strange new fashion of discarding its timid, or truculent, or too-much-seasoned tasters, and judging for itself. We have often imaged to ourselves the rapture with which a poet, of proper proportions and due culture, if writing in his age's spirit, would be received in an age when the works of Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Keats, are so widely read and thoroughly appreciated. He would find it "all ear."

Great things, however, must be done by the man who cherishes this high ambition. He must not only be at once a genius and an artist, but his art and his genius must be proportioned, with chemical exactness, to each other. He must not only be a poet, but have a distinct mission and message, savoring of the prophetic—he must say as well as sing. He must use his poetic powers as wonders attesting the purpose for which he speaks—not as mere bravados of ostentatious power. He must, while feeling the beauty, the charm, and the meaning of mysticism, stand above it, on a clear and sun-lighted peak, and incline rather to the classical and masculine, than to the abstract and transcendental. His genius should be less epic and didactic, than lyrical and popular. He should[Pg 343] be not so much the Homer as the Tyrtæus of this strange time. He should have sung over to himself the deep controversies of his age, and sought to reduce them into an unique and intelligible harmony. Into scales of doubt, equally balanced, he should be ready to throw his lyre, as a makeweight. Not a partisan either of the old or the new, he should seek to set in song the numerous points in which they agree, and strive to produce a glorious synthesis between them. He should stand (as on a broad platform) on the identity and eternity of all that is good and true—on the fact that "faiths never die, but are only translated"—on the fact that beauty physical and beauty moral are in heart the same; and that Christianity, as rightly understood, is at once the root and the flower of all truth—and, standing on this, should sing his fearless strains to the world. He should have a high idea of his art—counting it a lower inspiration, a sacred trust, a minor grace—a plant from a seed originally dropped out of the paradise of God! He should find in it a work, and not a recreation—an affair of life, not of moments of leisure. And while appealing, by his earnestness, his faith, his holiness, his genius, to the imagination, the heart, and the conscience of man, he should possess, or attain to, the mechanical ingenuity that can satisfy man's constructive understanding, the elegance that can please his sensuous taste, the fluency that can blend ease with instruction, and the music that can touch through the ear the inner springs of his being. Heart and genius, art and nature, sympathy with man and God, love of the beautiful apparition of the universe, and of that divine halo of Christianity which surrounds its head, must be united in our poet. He should conjoin Byron's energy—better controlled; Shelley's earnestness—better instructed; Keats's sensibility—guarded and armed; Wordsworth's Christianized love of Nature; and Coleridge's Christianized view of philosophy—to his own fancy, language, melody, and purpose; a lofty ideal of man the spirit, to a deep sympathy with man the worm, toiling, eating, drinking, struggling, falling, rising, and progressing, amidst his actual environments; and become the Magnus Apollo of our present age.

Perhaps we have fixed the standard too high, and forced a renewal of the exclamation in Rasselas, "Thou hast convinced me that no man can ever be a poet"—or, at least, the poet thus described. But nothing, we are persuaded, is in the imagination which may not be in the fact. Had we defined a Shakspeare ere he arose, "impossible" had been the cry. It must, too, be conceded that hitherto we have no rising, or nearly-risen poet, who answers fully to our ideal. Macaulay and Aytoun are content with being brilliant ballad-singers—they never seek to touch the deeper spiritual chords of our being. Tennyson's exquisite genius is neutralized, whether by fastidiousness of taste or by morbidity of temperament—neutralized, we mean, so far as great future achievements are concerned. Emerson's undisguised Pantheism casts a cold shade over his genius and his poetry. There is something odd, mystical, and shall we say affected, about both the Brownings, which mars their general effect—the wine is good, but the shape of the cyathus is deliberately queer. Samuel Brown is devoted to other pursuits. Marston's very elegant, refined, and accomplished mind, lacks, perhaps, enough of the manly, the forceful, and the profound. Bailey of "Festus," and Yendys of the poem before us, are the most likely candidates for the vacant laurel.

That Bailey's genius is all that need be desired in the "coming poet," will be contested by few who have read and wondered at "Festus"—at its fire of speech, its force of sentiment, its music of sound, its Californian wealth of golden imagery; the infinite variety of its scenes, speeches, and songs; the spirit of reverence which underlies all its liberties, errors, and extravagances; and the originality which, like the air of a mountain summit, renders its perusal at first difficult, and almost deadly, but at last excites and elevates to absolute intoxication. It has, however, been objected to it, that it seems an exhaustion of the author's mind—that its purposeless, planless shape betrays a lack of constructive power—that it becomes almost polemical in its religious aspect, and gives up to party what was meant for mankind—that it betrays a tendency toward obscure, mystical raptures and allegorizings, scarcely consistent with healthy manhood of mind, and which seems growing, as is testified by the "Angel World"—that there is a great gulf between the powers it indicates, and the task of leading the age—and that, on the whole, it is rather a prodigious comet in the poetical heavens, than either a still, calm luminary, or even the curdling of a future fair creation.

Admitting the force of much of this criticism, and that Bailey's art and aptitude to teach are unequal to his native power and richness of mind, we are still willing to wait for a production more matured than "Festus," and less fragmentary and dim than the "Angel World;" and till then, must waive our judgment as to whether on his head the laurel crown is transcendently to flourish.

But meanwhile a young voice has suddenly been uplifted from a provincial town in England, crying, "Hear me—I also am a poet; I aspire, too, to prove myself worthy of being a teacher I aim at no middle flight, but commit myself at once to high, difficult, and daring song, and that, too, of varied kinds." Nor has the voice been despised or disregarded. Some of the most fastidious of critical journals have already waxed enthusiastic in his praise. Many fine spirits, both young and old, have welcomed him with acclamation, as his own hero was admitted, for the sake of one song, into the society of a band of experienced bards. Even the few who deny—unjustly and captiously, as it appears to us—the artistic, admit the poetical merit of his work And we have now before us, not the miserable drudgery of weighing a would-be poet, but the nobler duty of inquiring how far a man of undoubted[Pg 344] genius, and great artistic skill, is likely to fulfill the high-raised expectations of the period. The scene of the "Roman" is in Italy. The hero is a patriot, filled and devoured by a love for the liberation of Italy, and for the re-establishment of the ancient Roman Republic—"One, entire, and indivisible." To promote this purpose, he assumes the disguise of a monk; and the history of his progress—addressing now little groups, now single individuals, and now large multitudes of men—at one time captivating, unwittingly, a young and enthusiastic lady, by the fervor of his eloquence, who delivers him from death by suicide—and at another, shaking the walls of his dungeon, through the power and grandeur of his predictions and dreams—till at last, as, after the mockery of a trial, he is led forth to death, he hears the shout of his country, rising en masse—is the whole story of the piece. But around this slender thread, the author has strung some of the largest, richest, and most resplendent gems of poetry we have seen for years.

Let us present our readers with a few passages, selected almost at random. Take the "Song of the Dancers" for its music:

"Dancers. Sing lowly, foot slowly, oh, why should we chase
The hour that gives heaven to this earthly embrace?
To-morrow, to-morrow, is dreary and lonely;
Then love as they love who would live to love only!
Closer yet, eyes of jet—breasts fair and sweet!
No eyes flash like those eyes that flash as they meet!
Weave brightly, wear lightly, the warm-woven chain,
Love on for to-night if we ne'er love again.
Fond youths! happy maidens! we are not alone!
Bright steps and sweet voices keep pace with our own,
Love-lorn Lusignuolo, the soft-sighing breeze,
The rose with the zephyr, the wind with the trees.
While heaven blushing pleasure, is full of love notes,
Soft down the sweet measure the fairy world floats."
P. I, 2.

Take the Monk's Appeal to his "Mother, Italy," for its eloquence:

"By thine eternal youth,
And coeternal utterless dishonor—
Past, present, future, life and death, all oaths
Which may bind earth and heaven, mother, I swear it
We know we have dishonored thee. We know
All thou canst tell the angels. At thy feet,
The feet where kings have trembled, we confess,
And weep; and only bid thee live, my mother,
To see how we can die. Thou shalt be free!
By all our sins, and all thy wrongs, we swear it
We swear it, mother, by the thousand omens
That heave this pregnant time. Tempests for whom
The Alps lack wombs—quick earthquakes—hurricanes
That moan and chafe, and thunder for the light,
And must be native here. Hark, hark, the angel!
I see the birthday in the imminent skies!
Clouds break in fire. Earth yawns. The exulting thunder
Shouts havoc to the whirlwinds. And men hear
Amid the terrors of consenting storms,
Floods, rocking worlds, mad seas, and rending mountains,
Above the infinite clash, one long great cry,
Thou shalt be free!"
P. 14, 15.

Take the few lines about "Truth," for their depth:

"Truth is the equal sun,
Ripening no less the hemlock than the vine.
Truth is the flash that turns aside no more
For castle than for cot. Truth is a spear
Thrown by the blind. Truth is a Nemesis
Which leadeth her belovèd by the hand
Through all things; giving him no task to break
A bruisèd reed, but bidding him stand firm
Though she crush worlds."
P. 21, 22.

Take, for its harrowing power, blended with beauty, the description of a "Lost Female," symbolizing the degradation of Italy, and addressed to the heroine of the tale:

"Or, oh, prince's daughter, if
In some proud street, leaning 'twixt night and day
From out thy palace balcony to meet
The breeze—that tempted by the hush of eve,
Steals from the fields about a city's shows,
And like a lost child, scared with wondering, flies,
From side to side in touching trust and terror,
Crying sweet country names and dropping flowers—
Leaning to meet that breeze, and looking down
To the so silent city, if below,
With dress disordered, and disheveled passions
Streaming from desperate eyes that flash and flicker
Like corpse-lights (eyes that once were known on high
Morning and night, as welcome there as thine),
And brow of trodden snow, and form majestic
That might have walked unchallenged through the skies.
And reckless feet, fitful with wine and woe,
And songs of revel that fall dead about
Her ruined beauty—sadder than a wail—
(As if the sweet maternal eve for pity
Took out the joy, and, with a blush of twilight,
Uncrowned the Bacchanal)—some outraged sister
Passeth, be patient, think upon yon heaven,
Where angels hail the Magdalen, look down
Upon that life in death, and say, 'My country!'"
P. 36.

Take, for its wondrous pathos and truth, the description of "Infancy:"

"Thou little child,
Thy mother's joy, thy father's hope—thou bright
Pure dwelling where two fond hearts keep their gladness—
Thou little potentate of love, who comest
With solemn sweet dominion to the old,
Who see thee in thy merry fancies charged
With the grave embassage of that dear past,
When they were young like thee—thou vindication
Of God—thou living witness against all men
Who have been babes—thou everlasting promise
Which no man keeps—thou portrait of our nature,
Which in despair and pride we scorn and worship."
P. 71, 72.

But time would fail us to quote, or even indicate a tithe of the beautiful, melting, and magnificent passages in this noble "Roman." We would merely request the reader's attention to the whole of the sixth scene; to the ballad, a most exquisite and pathetic one, entitled the "Winter's Night;" to the "Vision of Quirinus," a piece of powerful and condensed imagination; and, best of all, to the "Dream of the Coliseum," in scene viii.—a dream which will not suffer by comparison with that of Sardanapalus.

But it is not the brilliance of occasional parts and passages alone, which justifies us in pronouncing the "Roman" an extraordinary production. We look at it as a whole, and thus regarding it, we find—first, a wondrous freedom from faults, major or minor, juvenile or non-juvenile; wondrous, inasmuch as the author is[Pg 345] still very young, not many years, indeed, in advance of his majority. There is exaggeration, we grant, in passages, but it is exaggeration as essential to the circumstances and the characters as Lear's insane language is to his madness, or Othello's turbid tide of figures to his jealousy. The hero—an enthusiast—speaks always in enthusiastic terms; but of extravagance we find little, and of absurdity or affectation none. Diffusion there is, but it is often the beautiful diffusion of one who dallies with beloved thoughts, and will not let them go till they have told him all that is in their heart. And ever and anon we meet with strong single lines and separate sentences, containing truth and fancy concentrated as "lion's marrow."

Take a few specimens. Of Italy he says:

"She wraps the purple round her outraged breast,
And even in fetters cannot be a slave."

Again, she

"Stands menacled before the world, and bears
Two hemispheres—innumerable wrongs,
Illimitable glories."
"The soul never
Can twice be virgin—the eye that strikes
Upon the hidden path to the unseen
Is henceforth for two worlds."
"To both worlds
—The inner and the outer—we come naked,
The very noblest heart on earth, hath oft
No better lot than to deserve."
"Before every man the world of beauty,
Like a great artist, standeth night and day
With patient hand retouching in the heart
God's defaced image."
"Rude heaps that had been cities clad the ground
With history."
"Strange fragments
Of forms once held divine, and still, like angels,
Immortal every where."
"The poet,
In some rapt moment of intense attendance,
The skies being genial, and the earthly air
Propitious, catches on the inward ear
The awful and unutterable meanings
Of a divine soliloquy."
"The very stars themselves are nearer to us than to-morrow."
"The great man ... is set
Among us pigmies, with a heavenlier stature,
And brighter face than ours, that we must leap
Even to smite it."
"Great merchants, men
Who dealt in kingdoms; ruddy aruspex,
And pale philosopher, who bent beneath
The keys of wisdom."
"The Coliseum ... stood out dark
With thoughts of ages: like some mighty captive
Upon his death-bed in a Christian land,
And lying, through the chant of Psalm and Creed
Unshriven and stern, with peace upon his brow,
And on his lips strange gods."

Our readers must perceive from such extracts, that our author belongs more to the masculine than to the mystic school. Deep in thought, he is clear in language and in purpose. Since Byron's dramas, we have seldom had such fiery and vigorous verse. He blends the strong with the tender, in natural and sweet proportions. His genius, too, vaults into the lyric motion with very great ease and mastery. He is a minstrel as well as a bard, and has shown power over almost every form of lyrical composition. His sentiment is clear without being commonplace, original, yet not extravagant, and betokens, as well as his style, a masculine health, maturity, and completeness, rarely to be met with in a first attempt. Above all, his tone of mind, while sympathizing to rapture with the liberal progress of the age, is that of one who feels the eternal divinity and paramount power of the Christian religion; that what God has once pronounced true can never become a lie; that what was once really alive may change, but can never die; that Christianity is a fact, great, real, and permanent, as birth or death; and that its seeming decay is only the symptom that it is putting off the old skin, and about to renew its mighty youth.

We have thus found many, if not all, the qualities of our ideal poet united in the author of the "Roman," and are not ashamed to say that we expect more from him than from any other of our rising "Sons of the Morning." But he must work and walk worthy of his high vocation, and of the hopes which now lie upon him—hopes which must either be the ribbons of his crown or the cords of his sacrifice. He must discard his tendency to diffusion, and break in that demon-steed of eloquence, who sometimes is apt to run away with him. He must give us next, not scattered scenes, but a whole epic, the middle of which shall be as obvious as the beginning or the end. He should, in his next work, seek less to please, startle, or gain an audience, than to tell them in thunder and in music what they ought to believe and to do. Thus acting, he may "fill his crescent-sphere;" revive the power and glory of song; give voice to a great dumb struggle in the mind of the age; rescue the lyre from the camp of the Philistines, where it has been but too long detained; and render possible the hope, that the day shall come when again, as formerly, the names "of poet and of prophet are the same."


[18] The Roman: a Dramatic Poem. By Sydney Yendys. London: Rantley, 1850.

[From Sharpe's London Magazine.]


In his intercourse with society, Campbell was a shrewd observer of those often contradictory elements of which it is composed. Adverting to the absurd and ludicrous, he had the art or talent of heightening their effect by touches peculiarly his own; while the quiet gravity with which he related his personal anecdotes or adventures, added greatly to the charm, and often threw his unsuspecting hearers into uncontrollable fits of laughter. Nor was[Pg 346] the pathos with which he dilated on some tale of human misery less captivating; it runs through all his poetry, and in hearing or relating a story of human wrongs or suffering, we have often seen him affected to tears, which he vainly strove to conceal by an abrupt transition to some ludicrous incident in his own personal history. As an example, which has not yet found its way to the public, we may relate the following, which he told one evening in our little domestic circle where he was a frequent visitor, and where the conversation had taken, as he thought, a somewhat too serious turn:

"In my early life, when I resided in the island of Mull, most of those old feudal customs which civilization had almost banished from the Lowlands, were still religiously observed in the Hebrides—more especially those of a social and festive character, which it was thought had the effect of keeping up old acquaintance, and of tightening the bonds of good fellowship. Rural weddings and "roaring wakes" were then occasions for social rendezvous, which were not to be overlooked. Both these ceremonies were accompanied by feasting, music, dancing, and that liberal enjoyment of the native browst which was too often carried to excess. I was in general a willing and a welcome guest at these doings; for, smitten as I often was with melancholy in this dreary solitude, I was glad to avail myself of any occasion that promised even temporary exhilaration. Well, the first of these meetings at which I was present one evening, happened to be a dredgee, a term which I need only explain, by saying that it was got up for the sake of a young widow, who had just put on her weeds, and stood much in need of friendly sympathy, and consolation. At first it was rather a dull affair, for the widow looked very disconsolate, and every look of her fair face was contagious. But as the quaigh was active, and the whisky went its frequent round, the circle became more lively; until at last, to my utter astonishment, the bagpipes were introduced; and after a coronach or so—just to quiet the spirit of their departed host—up started a couple of dancers, and began jigging it over the floor with all the grace and agility peculiar to my Hebridean friends. This movement was infectious: another and another couple started up—reel followed upon reel, until the only parties who had resisted the infection," continued the poet, "were the widow and myself, she, oppressed with her own private sorrow, and I, restrained by feelings of courtesy from quitting her side. I observed, however, that she 'kept time' with her hand—all unconsciously, no doubt—against the bench where we sat, while her thoughts were wandering about the moorland Cairn, which had that very morning received her husband's remains. I pitied her from my very heart. But, behold, just as I was addressing to her one of my most sympathizing looks, up came a brisk Highlander, whose step and figure in the dance had excited both admiration and envy; and, making a low bow to the widow, followed by a few words of condolence, he craved the honor of her hand for the next reel. The widow, as you may well suppose, was shocked beyond measure! while I starting to my feet, made a show as if I meant to resent the insult. But she, pulling me gently back, rebuked the kilted stranger with a look, at which he instantly withdrew. In a few minutes, however, the young chieftain returned to the charge. The widow frowned, and wept, and declared that nothing on earth should ever tempt her to such a breach of decorum. But the more she frowned, the more he smiled, and pressed his suit: 'Just one reel,' he repeated, 'only one! Allan of Mull, the best piper in the Isles, was only waiting her bidding to strike up.' The plea was irresistible. 'Weel, weel,' sighed the widow, rising, and giving him her hand, 'what maun be, maun be! But, hech, sirs, let it be a lightsome spring, for I hae a heavy, heavy heart!' The next minute the widow was capering away to a most 'lightsome' air—hands across—cast off—down the middle, and up again. And a merrier dredgee," concluded the poet, "was never seen in Mull."

On another occasion, when he presented a copy of some verses, which he had just finished, to a lady of our family, he described their origin as follows: "Many long years ago, while I was sealed up in the Hebrides, I became intimate with a family who had a beautiful parrot, which a young mariner had brought from South America, as a present to his sweetheart. This happened long before my arrival in Mull; and Poll for many years had been a much-prized and petted favorite in the household. He was a captive, to be sure, but allowed at times to be outside his cage on parole; and, always observing good faith and gratitude for such indulgences, they were repeated as often as appeared consistent with safe custody. The few words of Gaelic which he had picked up in his voyage to the north, were just sufficient, on his arrival, to bespeak the good-will of the family, and recommend himself to their hospitality; but his vocabulary was soon increased—he became a great mimic—he could imitate the cries of every domestic animal—the voices of the servants: he could laugh, whistle, and scold, like any other biped around him. He was, in short, a match even for Kelly's renowned parrot: for although he could not, or would not, sing 'God save the King,' he was a proficient in 'Charlie is my Darling,' and other Jacobite airs, with which he never failed to regale the company, when properly introduced.

"Poll was indeed a remarkable specimen of his tribe, and the daily wonder of the whole neighborhood. Years flew by: and although kind treatment had quite reconciled him to his cage, it could not ward off the usual effects of old age, particularly in a climate where the sun rarely penetrated within the bars of his prison. When I first saw him, his memory had greatly failed him; while his bright green plumage was vast verging into a silvery gray[Pg 347] He had but little left of that triumphant chuckle which used to provoke such laughter among the younkers; and day after day he would sit mute and moping on his perch, seldom answering the numerous questions that were put to him regarding the cause of his malady. Had any child of the family been sick, it could hardly have been treated with greater tenderness than Poll.

"At last, one fine morning, just as the vernal equinox had blown a few ships into harbor, a stranger was announced, and immediately recognized by the master of the house as a 'Don' something—a Spanish merchant, whose kindness to a young member of the family had been often mentioned in his letters from Mexico. One of his own ships, a brig, in which he had made the voyage, was then in the bay, driven in by stress of weather, for Mull was no market for Spanish goods. But that was not my business; he would most likely pay a visit to Greenock, where, in the present day at least, Spanish cargoes are rife enough.

"No sooner had their visitor exchanged salutations with the master of the house and his family, than the parrot caught his eye; and, going up to the cage, he addressed the aged bird in familiar Spanish. The effect was electric: the poor blind captive seemed as if suddenly awakened to a new existence; he fluttered his wings in ecstasy—opened his eyes, fixed them, dim and sightless as they were, intently on the stranger; then answered him in the same speech—not an accent of which he had ever heard for twenty years. His joy was excessive—but it was very short; for in the midst of his screams and antics, poor Poll dropped dead from his perch."

Such was the incident upon which Campbell composed the little ballad entitled "The Parrot." It had taken strong hold of his memory, and, after the lapse of forty years,[19] found its way into the pages of the "New Monthly," and is now incorporated with his acknowledged poems.


[19] See "Life and Letters of Campbell." Vol. I. Residence in Mull.

[From Sharpe's London Magazine.]


BY J. B.

I had been walking in a grove of lime-trees, arched above me, like the stately roofing of a cathedral. As I entered, the daylight was yet strong; but when I left my temporary retreat, the heavens were clustered over with stars, and one of them, high above the old gray tower of the ancient monastery of St. Augustine, almost cast a shadow across the landscape—it was the planet Jupiter: and I have never observed it—at least, thus eminent among its brethren—without being more or less reminded of,

"The starry Galileo, and his woes."

To this planet did the philosopher direct the then newly-invented telescope, the result being the discovery of four attendant moons: while the analogy derived from the motions of these little stars, performing their revolutions round the primary planet in perfect order and concord, afforded an argument that had a powerful influence in confirming Galileo's own views in favor of the Copernican system of the universe, and ultimately converting the scientific world to the same opinion.

Yet little more than two centuries since, on the 14th February, 1633, the astronomer, cited before the Inquisition, arrived at Rome, to answer the charge of heresy and blasphemy; while, a few months ago, in the brief but glorious day-burst of Roman liberty, that very Inquisition was invaded by an exultant populace, and among its archives, full memorials of martyred worth and of heroic endurance, most eagerly, but in vain, was sought the record of the process against the great philosopher.

Galileo, on a former occasion, in reference to some of his scientific discoveries, had heard rumors of papal persecution, and as a cautious friend whispered to him the unpleasing tidings, he had exclaimed, "Never will I barter the freedom of my intellect to one as liable to err as myself!"

The time quickly arrived to test his courage and his resolution.

For a little while, we are informed, he was allowed to remain secluded in the palace of his friend Nicolini. In a few months, however, he was removed to an apartment in the Exchequer of the Inquisition, still being permitted the attendance of his own servant, and many indulgences of which they had not decided to deprive him. On the twenty-first of June, of the same year, he appeared before the Holy Office. Through its gloomy halls and passages he passed to the tribunal. There was little here, as in the other ecclesiastical buildings of Rome, to captivate the senses. The dark walls were unadorned with the creations of art; state and ceremony were the gloomy ushers to the chamber of intolerance. In silence and in mystery commenced the preparations. The familiars of the office advanced to the astronomer, and arrayed him in the penitential garment; and as he approached, with a slow and measured step, the tribunal, cardinals, and prelates noiselessly assembled, and a dark circle of officers and priests closed in, while, as if conscious that the battle had commenced in earnest between mind and power, all the pomp and splendor of the hierarchy of Rome—that system which had hitherto possessed a sway unlimited over the fears and opinions of mankind—was summoned up to increase the solemnity and significance of the judgment about to be pronounced against him.

To the tedious succession of technical proceedings, mocking justice by their very assumption of formality, it would be needless to refer. Solemnly, however, and by an authority which it was fatal to resist, Galileo was called on to[Pg 348] renounce a truth which his whole life had been consecrated to reveal and to maintain, "The motion through space of the Earth and Planets round the Sun."

Then, immediately, assuming he had nothing to allege, would attempt no resistance, and offer no defense, came the sentence of the tribunal, banning and anathematizing all who held the doctrine, that the sun is the centre of the system, as a tenet "philosophically false, and formally heretical."

And then they sentenced the old and infirm philosopher—this band of infallibles!—they bade him abjure and detest the said errors and heresies. They decreed his book to the flames, and they condemned him for life to the dungeons of the Inquisition, bidding him recite, "once a week, seven penitential psalms for the good of his soul!"

Did Galileo yield? Did he renounce that theory now affording such ample proof of the beauty and order of the universe; to whose very laws Kepler, the friend and contemporary of the philosopher, was even then, though unconsciously, bearing evidence, by his wonderful theorem of velocities and distances, a problem which Newton afterward confirmed and illustrated?

Did Galileo yield? He did. Broken by age and infirmity, importuned by friends more alarmed than himself, perhaps, at the terrors of that merciless tribunal, he signed his abjuration; yielded all his judges demanded; echoed their curse and ban, as their superstition or their hate required. There is a darker tale dimly hinted by those familiar with the technicalities of the Holy Office, that the terms, "Il rigoroso esame," during which Galileo is reported to have answered like a good Christian, officially announce the application of the torture.

Then occurred, perhaps scarcely an hour afterward, that remarkable episode in this man's history. As he arose from the ground on which, all kneeling, he had pronounced his abjuration, he gave a significant stamp, and whispered to a friend, "E pur si muove!" "Yet it does move"—ay, and in spite of Inquisitions, has gone round—nay, the whole world of thought itself has moved, and having received an impulse from such minds, will revolve for ages in a glorious cycle for mankind! But the most touching incident of Galileo's story is yet to come.

After several years of confinement at Arcetri, the great astronomer was permitted to retire to Florence, upon the conditions that he should neither quit his house, nor receive the visits of his friends. They removed him from a prison, to make a prison of his home. Alas! it was even worse than this.

Much as the greatest minds love fame, and struggle to obtain it, the proudest triumphs of genius and of science, the applause of the world itself, ever loud and obtrusive, is not to be compared to the low and gentle murmurs of pleasure and of pride from those we love. There was one being from whom Galileo had been accustomed to hear those consolations—his child his gentle Maria Galilei. He had been otherwise a solitary indeed, and now more than ever so, when he was cut off from the communion of the greatest minds. To his lovely girl, his daughter, his heart clung with more than fondness. No wife of Pliny, perhaps, ever wafted to her husband with sweeter devotion the echoes of the applauding world without, greeting him she loved, than she did—his Maria Galilei. As he returned from prison, the way seemed tedious, the fleetest traveling all too slow, till he should once more fold her to his heart; and she, too, she anticipated meeting her father with a pleasure greater than ever before enjoyed, since he had now become a victim, sainted in her eyes, by the persecution he had suffered.

Short, indeed, was this happiness, if enjoyed at all. Within the month, she died, and the home of Galileo was more than a prison—it was a desolate altar, on which the last and most precious of his household gods was shivered. And he died too, a few years afterward, that good old man!

But he had yielded—he was no martyr! Yes, indeed! But be it remembered, that if he possessed not the moral courage of a Huss, a Savonarola, or a Luther, he was not called to exercise it in so high a cause. The assertion and support of a religious truth is impressed with far deeper obligations than the advocacy of a scientific one, however well maintained by analogy, and confirmed by reason.

Still there was a deep devotional sentiment that pervaded the character of Galileo. Before he died, he became totally blind; yet he did not despair. Like Milton, he labored on for mankind—nay, pursued his scientific studies, inventing mechanical substitutes for his loss of vision, to enable him still to pursue his arduous researches.

It is true he was shut out, like the elder Herschel, from the view of that glorious company, toward which his spirit had so often soared. Well might his friend Castelli say, in allusion to his infirmity, "that the noblest eyes were darkened which nature had ever made—eyes so privileged, and gifted with such rare qualities, that they might be said to have seen more than all those who had gone before him, and to have opened the eyes of all who were to come." Galileo himself bore noble tribute to his friend, when he exclaimed,

"Never, never will I cease to use the senses which God has left me; and though this heaven, this earth, this universe, be henceforth shrunk for me into the narrow space which I myself fill, so it please God, it shall content me."

The malice of his enemies long survived his death. The partisans of Rome disputed his right to make a will. They denied him a monument for which large sums had been subscribed.

A hundred years afterward, when a splendid memorial was about to be erected to his memory, the President of the Florentine Academy descended into his grave, and desecrated his remains, by bearing off, as relics for a museum,[Pg 349] the thumb of his right hand, and one of his vertebræ! So the victims of the religious fury of one age become the martyrs of science in another!

And what is the moral of what we have written concerning Galileo? Is there no teaching that may instruct our own times, especially when we see how, through scorn and persecution, and this world's contumely, and through the gloom and shadows of ignorance and fear, the form and substance of mighty Truth rises, slowly and dimly, perchance, at first, but grandly and majestically ere long? Little more than two hundred years have passed since the death of Galileo, but ample justice has been done to his memory. His name will be a watchword through all time, to urge men forward in the great cause of moral and intellectual progress; and the Tree of Knowledge, whose fruits were once on earth, plucked, perhaps, ere they were matured, has shot up with its golden branches into the skies, over which has radiated the smiles of a beneficent Providence to cheer man onward in the career of virtue and intelligence.

"There is something," as a profound writer has observed,[20] "in the spirit of the present age, greater than the age itself. It is, the appearance of a new power in the world, the multitude of minds now pressing forward in the great task of the moral and intellectual regeneration of mankind."

And this cause must ultimately triumph. The energies and discoveries of men like Galileo, remote as their history becomes, have an undying influence.

The power of a great mind is like the attraction of a sun. It appears in the infinite bounds of space, far, far away, as a grain among other gold dust at the feet of the Eternal, or, at most, but as a luminous spot; and yet we know that its influence controls, and is necessary for, the order and arrangement of the nearest, as well is the remotest system. So in the moral and intellectual universe, from world to world, from star to star, the influence of one great mind extends, and we are drawn toward it by an unseen, but all-pervading affinity. Thus has the cause of moral and intellectual progress a sure guarantee of success. It has become a necessity, interwoven with the spirit of the age—a necessity impressed by every revelation of social evil, as well as proclaimed by every scientific discovery—gaining increased energy and power from the manifestation of every new wonder and mystery of nature—nay, from the building of every steam-ship, the laying down of every new line of railway.


[20] Channing.

[From Dickens's "Household Words."]


The name of Ebenezer Elliott is associated with one of the greatest and most important political changes of modern times, with events not yet sufficiently removed from us, to allow of their being canvassed in this place with that freedom which would serve the more fully to illustrate his real merits. Elliott would have been a poet, in all that constitutes true poetry, had the corn laws never existed.

He was born on 25th March, 1781, at the New Foundry, Masborough, in the parish of Rotherham, where his father was a clerk in the employment of Messrs. Walker, with a salary of £60 or £70 per annum. His father was a man of strong political tendencies, possessed of humorous and satiric power, that might have qualified him for a comic actor. Such was the character he bore for political sagacity that he was popularly known as "Devil Elliott." The mother of the poet seems to have been a woman of an extreme nervous temperament, constantly suffering from ill health, and constitutionally awkward and diffident.

Ebenezer commenced his early training at a dame's school; but shy, awkward, and desultory, he made little progress; nor did he thrive much better at the school in which he was afterward placed. Here he employed his comrades to do his tasks for him, and of course laid no foundation for his future education. His parents, disheartened by the lad's apparent stolidity, sent him next to Dalton's school, two miles distant; and here he certainly acquired something, for he retained, to old age, the memory of some of the scenes through which he used to pass on his way to and from this school. For want of the necessary preliminary training, he could do little or nothing with letters: he rather preferred playing truant and roaming the meadows in listless idleness, wherever his fancy led him. This could not last. His father soon set him to work in the foundry; and with this advantage, that the lad stood on better terms with himself than he had been for a considerable period, for he discovered that he could compete with others in work—sheer hand-labor—if he could not in the school. One disadvantage, however, arose, as he tells us, from his foundry life; for he acquired a relish for vulgar pursuits, and the village alehouse divided his attentions with the woods and fields. Still a deep impression of the charms of nature had been made upon him by his boyish rambles, which the debasing influences and associations into which he was thrown could not wholly wipe out. He would still wander away in his accustomed haunts, and purify his soul from her alehouse defilements, by copious draughts of the fresh nectar of natural beauty imbibed from the sylvan scenery around him.

The childhood and youth of the future poet presented a strange medley of opposites and antitheses. Without the ordinary measure of adaptation for scholastic pursuits, he inhaled the vivid influences of external things, delighting intensely in natural objects, and yet feeling an infinite chagrin and remorse at his own idleness and ignorance. We find him highly imaginative; making miniature lakes by sinking an iron vessel filled with water in a heap of stones, and gazing therein with wondrous enjoyment at the reflection of the sun and skies overhead;[Pg 350] and exhibiting a strange passion for looking on the faces of those who had died violent deaths, although these dead men's features would haunt his imagination for weeks afterward.

He did not, indeed, at this period, possess the elements of an ordinary education. A very simple circumstance sufficed to apply the spark which fired his latent energies, and nascent poetical tendencies: and he henceforward became a different being, elevated far above his former self. He called one evening, after a drinking bout on the previous night, on a maiden aunt, named Robinson, a widow possessed of about £30 a year, by whom he was shown a number of "Sowerby's English Botany," which her son was then purchasing in monthly parts. The plates made a considerable impression on the awkward youth, and he assayed to copy them by holding them to the light with a thin piece of paper before them. When he found he could trace their forms by these means his delight was unbounded, and every spare hour was devoted to the agreeable task. Here commenced that intimate acquaintance with flowers, which seems to pervade all his works. This aunt of Ebenezer's, (good soul! would that every shy, gawky Ebenezer had such an aunt!) bent on completing the charm she had so happily begun, displayed to him still further her son's book of dried specimens; and this elated him beyond measure. He forthwith commenced a similar collection for himself, for which purpose he would roam the fields still more than ever, on Sundays as well as week days, to the interruption of his attendances at chapel. This book he called his "Dry Flora," (Hortus Siccus) and none so proud as he when neighbors noticed his plants and pictures. He was not a little pleased to feel himself a sort of wonder, as he passed through the village with his plants; and, greedy of praise, he allowed his acquaintance to believe that his drawings were at first hand, and made by himself from nature. "Thomson's Seasons," read to him about this time by his brother Giles, gave him a glimpse of the union of poetry with natural beauty; and lit up in his mind an ambition which finally transformed the illiterate, rugged, half-tutored youth into the man who wrote "The Village Patriarch," and the "Corn Law Rhymes."

From this time he set himself resolutely to the work of self-education. His knowledge of the English language was meagre in the extreme; and he succeeded at last only by making for himself a kind of grammar by reading and observation. He then tried French, but his native indolence prevailed, and he gave it up in despair. He read with avidity whatever books came in his way; and a small legacy of books to his father came in just at the right time. He says he could never read through a second-rate book, and he therefore read masterpieces only; "after Milton, then Shakspeare; then Ossian; then Junius; Paine's 'Common Sense;' Swift's 'Tale of a Tub;' 'Joan of Arc;' Schiller's 'Robbers;' Burger's 'Lenora;' Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall;' and long afterward, Tasso, Dante, De Staël, Schlegel, Hazlitt, and the 'Westminster Review.'" Reading of this character might have been expected to lead to something; and was well calculated to make an extraordinary impression on such a mind as Elliott's; and we have the fruit of this course of study in the poetry which from this time he began to throw off.

He remained with his father from his sixteenth to his twenty-third year, working laboriously without wages, except an occasional shilling or two for pocket-money. He afterward tried business on his own account. He made two efforts at Sheffield; the last commencing at the age of forty, and with a borrowed capital of £150. He describes in his nervous language the trials and difficulties he had to contend with; and all these his imagination embodied for him in one grim and terrible form, which he christened "Bread Tax." With this demon he grappled in desperate energy, and assailed it vigorously with his caustic rhyme This training, these mortifications, these misfortunes, and the demon "Bread Tax" above all, made Elliott successively despised, hated, feared, and admired, as public opinion changed toward him.

Mr. Howitt describes his warehouse as a dingy, and not very extensive place, heaped with iron of all sorts, sizes, and forms, with barely a passage through the chaos of rusty bars into the inner sanctum, at once, study, counting-house, library, and general receptacle of odds and ends connected with his calling. Here and there, to complete the jumble, were plaster casts of Shakspeare, Achilles, Ajax, and Napoleon, suggestive of the presidency of literature over the materialism of commerce which marked the career of this singular being. By dint of great industry he began to flourish in business, and, at one time, could make a profit of £20 a-day without moving from his seat. During this prosperous period he built a handsome villa-residence in the suburbs. He now had leisure to brood over the full force and effect of the Corn Laws. The subject was earnestly discussed then in all manufacturing circles of that district. Reverses now arrived. In 1837, he lost fully one-third of all his savings, getting out of the storm at last with about £6,000, which he wrote to Mr. Tait of Edinburgh, he intended, if possible, to retain. The palmy days of £20 profits had gone by for Sheffield, and instead, all was commercial disaster and distrust. Elliott did well to retire with what little he had remaining. In his retreat he was still vividly haunted by the demon "Bread Tax." This, then, was the period of the Corn-Law Rhymes, and these bitter experiences lent to them that tone of sincerity and earnestness—that fire and frenzy which they breathed, and which sent them, hot, burning words of denunciation and wrath, into the bosoms of the working classes—the toiling millions from whom Elliott sprang. "Bread Tax," indeed, to him was a thing of terrible import and bitter experience:[Pg 351] hence he uses no gentle terms or honeyed phrases when dealing with the obnoxious impost. Sometimes coarse invective and angry assertion take the place of convincing reason and calm philosophy. At others, there is a true vein of poetry and pathos running through the rather unpoetic theme, which touches us with its Wordsworthian feeling and gentleness. Then he would be found calling down thunders upon the devoted heads of the monopolists, with all a fanatic's hearty zeal, and in his fury he would even pursue them, not merely through the world, but beyond its dim frontiers and across the threshold of another state. Take them, however, as they stand—and more vigorous, effective, and startling political poetry has not graced the literature of the age.

It was not to be supposed but that this trumpet-blast of defiance, and shrill scream of "war to the knife," should bring down upon him much obloquy, much vituperation: but all this fell harmlessly upon him; he rather liked it. When people began to bear with the turbid humor and angry utterances of the "Corn Law Rhymer," and grew familiar with the stormy march of his verse, it was discovered that he was something more than a mere political party song-writer. He was a true poet, whose credentials, signed and sealed in the court of nature, attested the genuineness of his brotherhood with those children of song who make the world holier and happier by the mellifluous strains they bring to us, like fragments of a forgotten melody, from the far-off world of beauty and of love.

Elliott will not soon cease to be distinctively known as the "Corn Law Rhymer;" but it will be by his non-political poems that he will be chiefly remembered by posterity as the Poet of the People; for his name will still be, as it has long been, a "Household Word," in the homes of all such as love the pure influences of simple, sensuous, and natural poetry. As an author he did not make his way fast: he had written poetry for twenty years ere he had attracted much notice. A genial critique by Southey in the "Quarterly," another by Carlyle in the "Edinburgh," and favorable notices in the "Athenæum" and "New Monthly," brought him into notice; and he gradually made his way until a new and cheap edition of his works, in 1840, stamped him as a popular poet. His poetry is just such as, knowing his history, we might have expected; and such as, not knowing it, might have bodied forth to us the identical man as we find him.

As we have said, Nature was his school; but flowers were the especial vocation of his muse. A small ironmonger—a keen and successful tradesman—we should scarcely have given him credit for such an exquisite love of the beautiful in Nature, as we find in some of those lines written by him in the crowded counting-room of that dingy warehouse. The incident of the floral miscellany; the subsequent study of "The Seasons;" the long rambles in meadows and on hill-sides, specimen-hunting for his Hortus Siccus, sufficiently account for the exquisite sketches of scenery, and those vivid descriptions of natural phenomena, which showed that the coinage of his brain had been stamped in Nature's mint. The most casual reader would at once discover that, with Thomson, he has ever been the devoted lover and worshiper of Nature—at wanderer by babbling streams—a dreamer in the leafy wilderness—a worshiper of morning upon the golden hill-tops. He gives us pictures of rural scenery warm as the pencil of a Claude, and glowing as the sunsets of Italy.

A few sentences will complete our sketch, and bring us to the close of the poet's pilgrimage. He had come out of the general collapse of commercial affairs in 1837, with a small portion of the wealth he had realized by diligent and continuous labor. He took a walk, on one occasion, into the country, of about eighteen miles: reached Argilt Hill, liked the place, returned, and resolved to buy it. He laid out in house and land about one thousand guineas. His family consisted of Mrs. Elliott and two daughters; a servant-maid; an occasional helper; a Welch pony and small gig; "a dog almost as big as the mare, and much wiser than his master; a pony-cart; a wheel-barrow; and a grindstone—and," says he, "turn up your nose if you like!"

From his own papers we learn that he had one son a clergyman, at Lothedale, near Skipton; another in the steel trade, on Elliott's old premises at Sheffield; two others unmarried, living on their means; another "druggisting at Sheffield, in a sort of chimney called a shop;" and another, a clergyman, living in the West Indies. Of his thirteen children, five were dead, and of whom he says. "They left behind them no memorial—but they are safe in the bosom of Mercy, and not quite forgotten even here!"

In this retirement he occasionally lectured and spoke at public meetings; but he began to suffer from a spasmodic affection of the nerves, which obliged him wholly to forego public speaking. This disease grew worse; and in December, 1839, he was warned that he could not continue to speak in public, except at the risk of sudden death. This disorder lingered about him for about six years; he then fell ill of a more serious disease, which threatened speedy termination. This was in May, 1849. In September, he writes, "I have been very, very ill." On the first of December, 1849, the event, which had so long been impending, occurred, and Elliott peacefully departed in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

Thus, then, the sun set on one whose life was one continued heroic struggle with opposing influences—with ignorance first, then trade, then the corn laws, then literary fame, and, last of all, disease: and thus the world saw its last of the material breathing form of the rugged but kindly being who made himself loved, feared, hated, and famous, as the "Corn Law Rhymer."

[Pg 352]

[From Cumming's Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


In a few minutes one of those who had gone off to our left came running breathless to say that he had seen the mighty game. I, halted for a minute, and instructed Isaac, who carried the big Dutch rifle, to act independently of me, while Kleinboy was to assist me in the chase; but, as usual, when the row began, my followers thought only of number one. I bared my arms to the shoulder, and, having imbibed a draught of aqua pura from the calabash of one of the spoorers, I grasped my trusty two-grooved rifle, and told my guide to go ahead. We proceeded silently as might be for a few hundred yards, following the guide, when he suddenly pointed, exclaiming, "Klow!" and before us stood a herd of mighty bull elephants, packed together beneath a shady grove about a hundred and fifty yards in advance. I rode slowly toward them, and, as soon as they observed me, they made a loud rumbling noise, and, tossing their trunks, wheeled right about and made off in one direction, crashing through the forest and leaving a cloud of dust behind them. I was accompanied by a detachment of my dogs, who assisted me in the pursuit.

The distance I had come, and the difficulties I had undergone to behold these elephants, rose fresh before me. I determined that on this occasion at least I would do my duty, and, dashing my spurs into "Sunday's" ribs, I was very soon much too close in their rear for safety. The elephants now made an inclination to my left, whereby I obtained a good view of the ivory. The herd consisted of six bulls; four of them were full grown, first-rate elephants; the other two were fine fellows, but had not yet arrived at perfect stature. Of the four old fellows, two had much finer tusks than the rest, and for a few seconds I was undecided which of these two I would follow; when, suddenly, the one which I fancied had the stoutest tusks broke from his comrades, and I at once felt convinced that he was the patriarch of the herd, and followed him accordingly. Cantering alongside, I was about to fire, when he instantly turned, and, uttering a trumpet so strong and shrill that the earth seemed to vibrate beneath my feet, he charged furiously after me for several hundred yards in a direct line, not altering his course in the slightest degree for the trees of the forest, which he snapped and overthrew like reeds in his headlong career.

When he pulled up in his charge, I likewise halted; and as he slowly turned to retreat, I let fly at his shoulder, "Sunday" capering and prancing, and giving me much trouble. On receiving the ball the elephant shrugged his shoulder, and made off at a free, majestic walk. This shot brought several of the dogs to my assistance which had been following the other elephants, and on their coming up and barking another headlong charge was the result, accompanied by the never-failing trumpet as before In his charge he passed close to me, when I saluted him with a second bullet in the shoulder of which he did not take the slightest notice. I now determined not to fire again until I could make a steady shot; but, although the elephant turned repeatedly, "Sunday" invariably disappointed me, capering so that it was impossible to fire. At length, exasperated, I became reckless of the danger, and, springing from the saddle, approached the elephant under cover of a tree and gave him a bullet in the side of the head, when, trumpeting so shrilly that the forest trembled, he charged among the dogs, from whom he seemed to fancy that the blow had come; after which he took up a position in a grove of thorns, with his head toward me. I walked up very near, and, as he was in the act of charging (being in those days under wrong impressions as to the impracticability of bringing down an elephant with a shot in the forehead), stood coolly in his path until he was within fifteen paces of me, and let drive at the hollow of his forehead, in the vain expectation that by so doing I should end his career. The shot only served to increase his fury—an effect which, I had remarked, shots in the head invariably produced; and, continuing his charge with incredible quickness and impetuosity, he all but terminated my elephant-hunting forever. A large party of the Bechuanas who had come up, yelled out simultaneously, imagining I was killed, for the elephant was at one moment almost on the top of me: I, however, escaped by my activity, and by dodging round the bushy trees. As the elephant was charging, an enormous thorn ran deep into the sole of my foot the old Badenoch brogues, which I that day sported, being worn through, and this caused me severe pain, laming me throughout the rest of the conflict.

The elephant held on through the forest at a sweeping pace; but he was hardly out of sight when I was loaded and in the saddle, and soon once more alongside. About this time I heard Isaac blazing away at another bull; but when the elephant charged, his cowardly heart failed him, and he very soon made his appearance at a safe distance in my rear. My elephant kept crashing along at a steady pace, with blood streaming from his wounds; the dogs, which were knocked up with fatigue and thirst, no longer barked around him, but had dropped astern. It was long before I again fired, for I was afraid to dismount, and "Sunday" was extremely troublesome. At length I fired sharp right and left from the saddle: he got both balls behind the shoulder, and made a long charge after me, rumbling and trumpeting as before. The whole body of the Bamangwato men had now come up, and were following a short distance behind me. Among these was Mollyeon, who volunteered to help; and being a very swift and active fellow, he rendered me important service by holding my fidgety horse's head while I fired and loaded.[Pg 353] I then fired six broadsides from the saddle, the elephant charging almost every time, and pursuing us back to the main body in our rear, who fled in all directions as he approached.

The sun had now sunk behind the tops of the trees; it would very soon be dark, and the elephant did not seem much distressed, notwithstanding all he had received. I recollected that my time was short, and therefore at once resolved to fire no more from the saddle, but to go close up to him and fire on foot. Riding up to him. I dismounted, and, approaching very near, I gave it him right and left in the side of the head, upon which he made a long and determined charge after me; but I was now very reckless of his charges, for I saw that he could not overtake me, and in a twinkling I was loaded, and, again approaching, fired sharp right and left behind his shoulder. Again he charged with a terrific trumpet, which sent "Sunday" flying through the forest. This was his last charge. The wounds which he had received began to tell on his constitution, and he now stood at bay beside a thorny tree, with the dogs barking around him. These, refreshed by the evening breeze, and perceiving that it was nearly over with the elephant, had once more come to my assistance. Having loaded, I drew near and fired right and left at his forehead. On receiving these shots, instead of charging, he tossed his trunk up and down, and by various sounds and motions, most gratifying to the hungry natives, evinced that his demise was near. Again I loaded, and fired my last shot behind his shoulder: on receiving it, he turned round the bushy tree beside which he stood, and I ran round to give him the other barrel, but the mighty old monarch of the forest needed no more; before I could clear the bushy tree he fell heavily on his side, and his spirit had fled. My feelings at this moment can only be understood by a few brother Nimrods who have had the good fortune to enjoy a similar encounter. I never felt so gratified on any former occasion as I did then.

By this time all the natives had come up; they were in the highest spirits, and flocked around the elephant, laughing and talking at a rapid pace. I climbed on to him, and sat enthroned upon his side, which was as high as my eyes when standing on the ground. In a few minutes night set in, when the natives, having illuminated the jungle with a score of fires, and formed a semicircle of bushes to windward, lay down to rest without partaking of a morsel of food. Mutchuisho would not allow a man to put an assagai into the elephant until the morrow, and placed two relays of sentries to keep watch on either side of him. My dinner consisted of a piece of flesh from the temple of the elephant, which I broiled on the hot embers. In the conflict I had lost my shirt, which was reduced to streamers by the wait-a-bit thorns, and all the clothing that remained was a pair of buckskin knee-breeches.

[From The Ladies' Companion.]


By the Author of "Two Old Men's Tales," "Emilia Wyndham," &c.

[Concluded from page 178.]


Bless the Lord, oh my soul! and all that is within me bless his holy name;
Who forgiveth all thy iniquities and healeth all thy diseases,
Who saveth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.


I must now introduce you to Mrs. Fisher. She is so great a favorite of mine, that before I relate what became of Myra, I must make you acquainted with this lady.

Mrs. Fisher was a respectable gentlewoman like personage of about fifty-four, of a grave, authoritative and somewhat severe aspect; but with the remains of very extraordinary personal beauty which she had once possessed in an eminent degree. She was somewhat above the middle size, of an erect, firm, full figure, her hair now gently turning gray, drawn over her finely proportioned forehead; her eyes large, and of a fine color and form—clear and steady; her mouth expressive of sense and temper; and her dress in character with the rest. Mrs. Fisher was always handsomely dressed in silks of the best description, but in slight mourning, which she always wore; and on her head, also, a cap rather plainer than the mode, but of the finest and most expensive materials: nothing could be more dignified and complete than her appearance.

When first Myra was introduced to her she was both daunted and disappointed; the gravity, amounting almost to sternness, with which Mrs. Fisher received her, and explained to her the duties she was expected to perform, awed in the first place, and mortified in the second. The establishment of this fashionable modiste, with which Myra had associated nothing but laces and ribbons, dresses and trimmings, embroidery and feathers, flattery and display, struck cold and dull upon her imagination. She was introduced into a handsomely but very plainly furnished sitting-room, where not one trace of any of those pretty things were to be seen, and heard of nothing but regularity of hours, persevering industry, quaker neatness, attention to health, and the strictest observance of the rules of what she thought quite a prudish propriety.

Mrs. Fisher's life had been one of vicissitude, and in its vicissitudes, she, a strong, earnest-minded woman, had learned much. She had known sorrow, privation, cruelly hard labor, and the loneliness of utter desolation of the heart She had, moreover, been extremely beautiful, and she had experienced those innumerable perils to which such a gift exposes an unprotected[Pg 354] girl, struggling for her bread, under the cruelest circumstances of oppressive labor. Every description of hardship, and every description of temptation belonging to perhaps the hardest and almost the most dangerous position of female life, Mrs. Fisher had gone through.

She had outlived its sufferings and escaped its snares.

The suffering, thanks to one of the finest constitutions in the world; the snares, thanks to what she always, with inexhaustible gratitude, acknowledged as the special mercy and providence of God.

An orphan at the dangerous age of seventeen, the lovely blooming young creature was placed by her friends in one of the most fashionable and largest milliners' establishments at that time in London, and had found herself at once miserable and excited, oppressed and flattered.

The mistress of this flourishing house, intent upon making a rapid fortune before the years in which she could enjoy it should come to a close, cared little—I might say nothing—for the welfare of the poor creatures whose labors were to construct that edifice. She, in fact, never thought about them. Want of thought may be pleaded as the excuse, wretched one as it is, for the cruelties of those days. People certainly had not the claim of common humanity sounded into their ears as it is into all ears now. A few admirable philanthropists talked of it, and preached it; but it was not to be heard calling in the streets, as it is the triumph of our day to acknowledge, till the hardest heart for very shame is forced to pay some attention to the call.

It never entered into Miss Lavington's head that she had any other business with her young women, but to get all the work she possibly could out of their hands, and as well done, and as speedily done as possible. If she objected to night-work in addition to day-work, it was not in the slightest degree out of compassion for the aching limbs and wearied eyes of the poor girls; but because wax candles were expensive, and tallow ones were apt to drip; and there was always double the duty required from the superintendent (her special favorite), to keep the young women at those times to their duty, and prevent fine materials from being injured.

Oh! those dreadful days and nights of the season, which the poor Lucy Miles at that place went through.

She—accustomed to the sweet fresh air of the country, to the cheerful variety of daily labor in her father's large farm, and under the care of a brisk, clever, but most kind and sensible mother—to be shut up twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, nay twenty hours before a birth-night, in the sickening atmosphere of the close work-room. The windows were rarely opened, if ever; for the poor young things were so unnaturally chilly for want of exercise and due circulation of the blood, that they said they should, and perhaps they might, have taken cold if fresh air were admitted. There was nothing they all dreaded so much as taking cold; those fatal coughs, which every season thinned the ranks, to be filled with fresh victims, were invariably attributed to some particular occasion when they had "taken cold." They did not know that they were rejecting the very cordial of life and inhaling poison when they kept the room so close.

Oh! for the dreadful weariness which proceeds from in-action of the limbs! so different from the wholesome fatigue of action, In-action where the blood is stagnating in every vein: in-action, after which rest is not rest, but a painful effort of the repressed currents to recover their circulating power—so different from the delightful sensation of wholesome rest after physical exertion.

At first she felt it almost insupportable. I have heard her say that it seemed at times as if she would have given years of her existence to be allowed to get up and walk up and down the room for a few minutes. The sensation was so insupportable. That craving desire of the body for what it is in want of—be it water, be it bread, be it rest, be it change of posture—is so dreadful in its urgency. The most abominable tortures men have in their wickedness invented are founded upon this fact—tortures that render the black history of inquisitors yet blacker: and here it was, in one at least of its numerous forms, daily inflicted upon a set of helpless young women, by a person who thought herself perfectly justifiable, and whose conscience never pricked her in the least.

Such is negligent moral habit.

Oh! the delight at meal-times—to spring up, I was going to say—I meant to get up—for there was no spring left in these poor stiffened frames. Oh! the delight when the eye of that superintendent was no longer watching the busy circle, and her voice calling to order any one who durst just to raise a head, and pause in the unintermitting toil. Oh! the delight to get up and come to breakfast, or dinner, or tea.

They had not much appetite when they came to their meals to be sure. There was only one thing they were always ready to enjoy, and that was their tea. That blessed and long abused tea; which has done more to sweeten private life with its gentle warmth and excitement, than any cordial that has ever been invented. It is but a cordial, however; it is not a nourishment; though a little sugar, and wretched blue milk, such as London milk used to be, may be added to it. Most of the young ladies, however, preferred it without these additions; they found it more stimulating so, I believe, poor things!

Such nourishment as they received, it is plain, would ill supply the rapid exhaustion of their employment. One by one in the course of the season they sickened and dropped off; some died out and out; some, alas! tempted by suffering and insupportable fatigue, or by that vanity and levity which seems to be too common a result with many girls living together, did worse. There would have been a heavy record against[Pg 355] her every June, if Miss Lavington had taken the trouble to note down what had become of her missing young ladies.

I said they were relieved from their irksome continuance in one posture by going to their meals, and what a relief it was; but they did not always get that. When there was more than usual to be done, their tea would be brought to them where they sat, and there would be no intermission.

So things went on at Miss Lavington's in those days. I wonder in how many establishments of the same description, things go on so now! How many to which that voice of humanity which "calls in the streets" has not yet penetrated!

We shall by-and-by see what was the case in Mrs. Fisher's, but for the present we will go on with her history.

So beautiful a young creature as she was, could not long escape trials, yet more to be lamented than those of physical suffering.

In the first place, there was the conversation of the young ladies themselves; a whispering manner of conversation when at work; a busy chattering of emancipated tongues during the intervals. And what was it all about?

Why, what was it likely to be about?—love and lovers—beauty and its admirers—dress and its advantages—he and him—and, dear me, weren't you in the Park last Sunday? Where could you be? and did you not see the carriage go by? What had you on? Oh, that pink bonnet. I cribbed a bit of Mrs. M——'s blond for a voilette. If people will send their own materials they deserve as much. I've heard Mrs. Saunders (the superintendent) say so scores of times. Well, well, and I saw it, I'm certain of it. Well, did any thing come of it?

Alas! alas! and so on—and so on—and so on.

And Lucy was very soon taught to go on Sundays into the Park. At first, poor girl, merely to breathe the fresh air and inhale the delicious west wind, and look at trees and grass, and cows and deer once more, and listen to the birds singing. At first she thought the crowds of gayly dressed people quite spoiled the pleasure of the walk, and tried to coax her companions to leave the ring, and come and walk in the wood with her; but she soon learned better, and was rapidly becoming as bewitched with the excitement of gazing, and the still greater excitement of being gazed at, as any of them.

She was so uncommonly beautiful that she got her full—and more than her full share of this latter pleasure; and it was not long before she had those for whom she looked out amid the crowds upon the ring, and felt her heart beat with secret delight as she saw them.

Then, as her health began to decline, as dislike insupportable for her occupation and its confinement; as weariness not to be described, came on; as longings for little luxuries to be seen in every shop which she passed by, for fruit or confectionary, haunted her palled and diseased appetite as the vision of food haunts the wretch who is starving; as the desire of fine clothes, in which her companions managed to array themselves; as the more insidious, and more honorable longings of the heart, the desolate heart, beset her—cravings for affection and sympathy; when all these temptations were embodied together in the shape of one, but too gentle, and insinuating; oh, then it was perilous work indeed!

Her mother had tried to give her a good, honest, homely education; had made such a Christian of her, as going to church, reading a chapter in the Bible on a Sunday, and the catechism makes of a young girl. There was nothing very vital, or earnest about it; but such as it was, it was honest, and Lucy feared her God and reverenced her Saviour. Such sentiments were something of a defense, but it is to be feared that they were not firmly enough rooted in the character to have long resisted the force of overwhelming temptation.

This she was well aware of, and acknowledged to herself; and hence her deep, pervading, ineffable gratitude, for the Providence which she believed had saved her.

She was getting on very fast on the evil road upon which she had entered. Every Sunday the progress she made was fearful. A few more, at the pace at which she was advancing, and there would have been an end of it, when a most unexpected accident arrested her in the fatal career.

One remarkably fine Sunday, when all the members of the establishment had been enjoying their usual recreation in the Park—just as Lucy and some of her giddy friends were coming through Grosvenor Gate, they saw the superintendent before them.

"There's that old Saunders, I declare!" cried one. "Stand back a little, won't ye?—she'll see our bonnets else, and I'll be bound she'll know the rosettes, and where they come from."

There was time for no more. Mrs. Saunders, who was rather late, being in haste to get home, attempted to cross, as a curricle at full speed came driving down Parklane, and before the gentleman within could draw up, the unfortunate woman was under the horses' heels. There was a terrible bustle. The young ladies with the rosettes managed to escape; but Lucy, who had at least preserved her integrity thus far, and had nothing about her dress not strictly her own, rushed forward, and helped to raise the poor woman, declaring she knew who she was, and was placed with her by the assistants in the hackney coach in which she was carried home.

Lucy was naturally of a very kind and humane disposition; and her care of the poor suffering woman during the transit to Miss Lavington's—united to the kindness and assiduity with which, every one else but the under-maid of all being absent, she tended and waited upon her—so engaged Mrs. Saunders's affection, that afterward, during the whole of the subsequent illness, which broken limbs and ribs occasioned[Pg 356] she made it her particular request to Miss Lavington that Lucy might be spared from the work-room to nurse and keep her company; adding for that lady's satisfaction, that though the best nurse, and nicest young girl of the lot, she certainly, being the youngest, was the least of a proficient in the peculiar art she followed.

The poor woman lay groaning piteously upon her bed, waiting the arrival of the surgeon. The surgeon, an elderly man, was out of town, and could not attend; a young man, appeared in his place. He had just joined himself to the old man in the quality of assistant and future partner; and hearing that the case, was one of an accident, and urgent, he hurried to the house, resolving to send for more experienced assistance, if such should be found necessary.

He was shown up-stairs, and hastily entered the room in which the sufferer lay. She was very much bruised about the chest, and she drew her breath with difficulty; and though exceedingly weak and faint, was unable to lie down. She was resting in the arms of one who appeared to the young man like an angel.

The lovely girl, with a face of the tenderest pity, was holding the poor groaning woman upon one arm, bending over her with an air of almost divine kindness, and softly wiping the dew-drops which in the agony came starting upon the patient's brow.

The young man received an impression which death alone effaced, though the bright visionary glance was only momentary. He was instantly by the side of his patient, and soon with much skill and courage doing what was necessary for immediate relief, though at the very first moment when he had discovered the serious nature of the case, he had begged the young lady to tell Miss Lavington that it would be proper to send for some surgeon of more experience and eminence than himself to take the direction of it.

"Don't go away," said Mrs. Saunders feebly, as Lucy was rising to obey. "Don't send her away, mister—I can't do without her—Miss Lavington's not at home—one need not ask her for me. Who should be sent for?"

The young man named a gentleman high in his profession. Was it that able and benevolent man whom the world has so lately lost? That kind, frank, manly, courageous man of genius, whom no one approached but to find help and comfort? I don't know—but be he who he might, when he did at length arrive, he gave the most unqualified praise to the proceedings of our young gentleman, and called the color to the pale cheek of the young and serious-looking student by his approbation. He finished his visit by assuring Mrs. Saunders that she could not be in safer hands than those in which he had found her, and recommended her to put herself entirely under the charge of the young practitioner, adding an assurance that he would be ready at any instant to come if he should be wanted; and that he would, at all events, and in once or twice as a friend during the progress of the case.

Mrs. Saunders liked the looks of the young man much—and who did not? and was quite contented with this arrangement, to which as I told you, was added the comfort of retaining Lucy Miles as her nurse and companion during what threatened to be a very tedious confinement. Miss Lavington well knew the value of a Mrs. Saunders in such an establishment as hers, and was willing to make any sacrifice to forward her recovery.

So Lucy left the wearying work-room and the dangerous recreations of the Sunday, to sit and watch by the bed-side of a peevish, uncomfortable sort of an old woman, who was perpetually making demands upon her patience and good-nature, but who really suffered so greatly from her accident, that Lucy's pity and kindness were proof against every thing. The young surgeon went and came—went and came—and every time he came, this angel of beauty and goodness was ministering by the old woman's bed. And those eyes of his—eyes of such prevailing power in their almost enthusiastic expression of serious earnestness—were bent upon her; and sometimes her eyes, soft and melting as those of the dove, or bright and lustrous as twin stars, met his.

He could not but linger in the sick woman's room a little longer than was necessary, and the sick woman unwittingly favored this, for she took a great liking to him, and nothing seemed to refresh and amuse her amid her pains like a little chat with this nice young man. And then the young surgeon remarked that at such times Lucy was allowed to sit quietly down and amuse herself with a little needlework, and he thought this an excellent reason for making his visits as as long as he decently could.

The young nurse and the young doctor all this while had conversed very little with each other; but she listened and she gazed, and that was quite enough. The case proved a very serious one. Poor Mrs. Saunders, superintendent as she was, and not workwoman-driver, not slave—yet could no more than the rest escape the deleterious effects of the close work room. Her constitution was much impaired. The wines and cordials she had accustomed herself to take to support nature, as she thought, under these fatigues, had increased the mischief the wounds would not heal as they ought; contusions would not disperse; the internal injury in the chest began to assume a very threatening appearance. Mr. L. came to the assistance of the young surgeon repeatedly—all that human skill could do was done, but Mrs. Saunders grew alarmingly worse.

For a long time she resisted the evidence which her own sensations might have afforded her and avoided asking any questions which might enlighten her. She was determined not to die, and, even in a case so awfully serious and real as this, people seem to cling to the persuasion[Pg 357] so prevailing in lighter circumstances, that because a thing shan't be, it won't be, and because they are determined it is not, it is not. So, for many days, Mrs. Saunders went on, exceedingly angry if every body did not say she was getting better, and half inclined to dismiss her young surgeon, much as she liked him, because he looked grave after he had visited her injuries.

He did look grave, very grave. He was exceedingly perplexed in his mind as to what he ought to do: young surgeon as he was, fresh from those schools which, alas! so many who are acquainted with them represent as the very nurseries of infidelity and license both in speech and action, he was a deeply, seriously pious man. Such young men there are, who, like those three, walking unscathed through the furnace of fire in the faith of the Lord their God, walk through a more terribly destructive furnace—the furnace of temptation—in the same faith, and "upon their bodies the fire hath no power, neither is a hair of the head singed."

In what tears, in what prayers, in what anguished hope, what fervent aspiration, this sole treasure of a widowed mother, steeped in poverty to the very lips, had been reared, it would be long to tell; but she had committed him to one never found faithless, and under that blessing she had found in her pure and disinterested love for the being intrusted to her charge, that which had given her an eloquence, and a power, and a strength, which had told upon the boy.

He proved one of those rare creatures who pass through every stage of existence, as child, as schoolboy, as youth; through nursery, school, college, marked as some bright peculiar being—peculiar only in this one thing, sincere unaffected goodness. His religion had been, indeed, with him a thing little professed, and rarely talked about, but it had been a holy panoply about his heart—a bright shield, which had quenched all the darts of evil: it shone around him like something of the radiance from a higher world. There was a sort of a glory round the young saint's head.

Such being the man, you will not be surprised to hear that his practice called forth most serious reflections—most melancholy and sad thoughts—and in no sick room where he had ever attended more than in the present one.

He could not frequent the house as much as his attendance rendered necessary without being pretty well aware of the spirit of the place; and while he grieved over the ruinous waste of health to which these young creatures were exposed, he was struck to the heart with horror at the idea of their moral ruin.

Mrs. Saunders talked openly and unreservedly, and betrayed the state of mind she was in: so completely, so entirely devoted to, wrapt up in, buried fathoms and fathoms deep in the things of this world: so totally lost to—so entirely to seek in every thing connected with another: that the large, mournful, serious eye, as it turned to the sweet young creature sitting beside her, and passing her daily life in an element such as this, gazed with an expression of sad and tender pity such as the minister of heaven might cast upon a perishing soul.

She did not quite understand all this. Those looks of interest, so inexpressibly sweet to her, she thought were excited by the view of her position as affected her health and comfort. She thought it was that consumption which, sooner or later, she believed must be her fate, which he was anticipating with so much compassion. She was blind to the far more dreadful dangers which surrounded her.

Poor Mrs. Saunders! At last it could no longer be concealed from her. She must die.

He broke the intelligence to her in the gentlest terms, as she, at last, in a paroxysm of terror, asked the question; giving her what hope he could, but still not denying that she stood in a fearful strait. It was a terrible scene that followed. Such a frightful agitation and hurry to accomplish in a few counted hours what ought to have been the business of a life. Such calling for psalms and prayers; such piteous beseechings for help; and, last of all, such an awful awakening of a slumbering conscience.

Like Richard's bed, on the eve of Bosworth fight, it seemed as if the spectral shadows of all those she had injured in the body or the soul, by her unerring demands upon one, and her negligence as to the other, rose a host of dismal spectres round. Their pale, exhausted, pleading looks, as she scolded and threatened, when the clock struck one, and the task was yet undone, and the head for a moment dropped, and the throbbing fingers were still. Those hollow coughs in which she would not believe—those hectic flushes that she would not see—and worse, those walks, those letters, at which she had connived, because the girls did so much better when they had some nonsense to amuse them.

What fearful revelations were made as she raved aloud, or sank into a drowsy, dreary delirium The old clergyman, who attended her, consoled, and reasoned, and prayed in vain. The two young people—that lovely girl, and that feeling, interesting, young man—stood by the bed appalled: he, ghastly pale—pale with an agony of despairing pity—she, trembling in every limb.

The death agony, and then that poor woman went to her account. There was no one in the room but themselves; it was late in the night, the morning, indeed, began faintly to dawn. The maids were all gone to bed, glad enough to escape the scene. He stood silently watching the departing breath. It stopped. He gave a deep sigh, and, stooping down, piously closed the eyes. She had turned away in horror and in dread, but shedding some natural tears. He stood looking at her some time, as there she stood, weeping by the bed; at last he spoke.

"This may seem a strange time to choose, but I have something to say to you. Will you listen to me?"

She took her handkerchief from her eyes, and gazed at him with a wondering, grave sort of[Pg 358] look, as a child might do. His voice had something so very remarkable in it.

He passed to the side where she was standing, and said, "I am a very, very poor man, and I have a helpless mother entirely dependent upon me for support, and, if it were my last morsel of bread, ay, and wife and children were perishing for want of it, it is she who should have it."

She only looked at him wondering like.

"This is a fearful precipice upon which you stand. That poor creature has sunk into the gulf which yawns beneath your feet. May God, in his mercy, look upon her! But you, beautiful as one of heaven's angels—as yet pure and sinless as a child—must you fall, sink, perish, in this mass of loathsome corruption? Better starve, better die—far, far better."

"Alas, alas!" she cried, with a scared and terrified look, "Alas! alas! ten hundred thousand times better. Oh, what must I do? what must I do?"

"Take up your cross: venture upon the hardships of a poor man's wife. Discard all the prides, and pomps, and vanities—the vain, vain delusions of flattery: trample upon the sin, triumph over the temptation. Put yourself under the protection of an honest man, who loves you from his soul. Starve, if it must be, but die the death of the righteous and pure."

She gazed at him, amazed; she did not yet understand him.

"Marry me. Come to my blessed, my excellent mother's roof. It is homely, but it is honest; and let us labor and suffer together, if need be. It is all I can offer you, but it will save you."

The arms, the beautiful arms were expanded, as it were, in a very agony of joy. The face! oh, was it not glorious in its beauty then! Did he ever forget it?

And so the contract was sealed, and so she was rescued from the pit of destruction into which she was rapidly sinking.

And this it was that had excited such impassioned, such lasting, such devoted feelings of gratitude to Him who rules the course of this world, in a heart which had only to be shown what was good to embrace it.

Fisher was all he had said; extremely poor. His salary, as assistant, was handsome, nevertheless. He received one hundred a year and his board from the gentleman with whom he was; but his dress, which was necessarily rather expensive, and his mother, who had only an annuity of twelve pounds a year, consumed it all. Still you see he was by no means actually starving; and he thought the young wife he was going to bring home would be no very great addition to his expenses, and he trusted, if children came, that he should, by his exertions, be able to provide for them. In two years his engagement with the present gentleman as his assistant would be at an end; and he had received from the old man, who was a sort of humorist in his way, several very strong hints about partnership, if he would be satisfied with a reasonable share. Partnership would, in the course of time, he knew, become sole proprietorship, at the death or retirement of his aged patron—one of which events could not be very far distant.

It was, therefore, with great satisfaction, after having summoned the necessary attendance, and sent his young betrothed to rest, that Fisher walked home on a fine fresh morning.

It was true he had taken a step most people would call very imprudent, thus to encumber himself with a young wife at the very outset of his career; certainly, he had never intended any such thing. He had always resolved to be patient, and have a little store of money by him, before he persuaded any one to begin the world with him. He could not bear the idea of all being dependent upon his own life, and risking the chance of leaving a widow and a young family destitute. But this was an exceptional case, for he could not, without trembling, contemplate the dangers which surrounded this young and innocent girl. His medical knowledge taught him but too well the perils to the health of one so fresh and blooming, from labors in close rooms to which she was so little accustomed—death stared her in the face, unless she escaped it by means at which he shuddered to think.

The only way in which he, young as he was, could possibly help her, was to withdraw her from the dangerous scene and make her his wife; and on that step he had been for some days resolving. The emotion she had shown, the timorous joy, the sweet confidence in his love and honor, had given a rapturous feeling of happiness to him quite new. He had intended benevolently and kindly; he had met with all the blessings of sincere attachment.

Instead of walking to Mrs. Stedman's to take some rest, which he very much needed, he went to his mother's house, or rather the house where he had taken a snug little apartment for his mother.

It lay somewhere out Brompton way; in which district neat rows of small houses are to be found looking backward upon pleasant greens and gardens. There he had found a modest little suite of apartments; one sitting-room and two bedrooms—a room for his mother and another sometimes occupied by himself.

The little hut, a tiny place it was, was clean to the greatest nicety, and though fitted up in the very simplest and cheapest manner, had an air of perfect comfort. The walls were stained green, the drugget upon the floor was pink and fawn; the chairs were covered with what used to be called Manchester stripe—very clean and pleasant-looking, and excellent for wash and wear. There was a pretty little table for tea and dinner, and a nice, round three-clawed one close by the mother's side—who was established in the only article of luxury in the room, a very comfortable arm-chair. There the old lady passed her life.

She had lost the use of her lower limbs for[Pg 359] some years; but her health of body and mind in other respects was sound. The only thing for which the son had as yet coveted a little more money, had been that he might possess the means to give his mother the enjoyment of exercise and air; and when he passed young men, the very pictures of health and strength, lounging idly in their carriages, as one sometimes does in the Park, though not given to such nonsense, he could not help uttering a secret exclamation against the inequalities of fortune, and thinking the blindness of the goddess of the wheel no fable.

They were but passing thoughts these, such as the best have when they languish for the means of bestowing good.

Such indulgences, however, were rarely to be thought of, though now and then he managed to obtain them; but as the best compensation he could make, he paid a few guineas a year more for this pretty apartment, of which the back room, elongated into a little bow-window, formed the sitting-room—what would have been the front sitting-room being divided into the two bedrooms. This pleasant bow-window looked over a row of gardens belonging to the neighboring houses, and these to a considerable tract of nursery-ground filled with rows of fruit trees, and all the cheerful pleasant objects to be seen in such places. In summer the arm-chair was wheeled to the window, and the whole of the view was disclosed to the old lady; in winter it returned to the fire; but even there she did not lose her pretty view altogether, the room was so little that from her place she might easily command it. Miss Martineau, in a book of hers, has given us a most valuable and interesting account of the way in which, during a tedious and most trying illness, her active spirit confined to one place, she used to amuse herself, and while away the time by looking out of her window through her telescope and watching all that was going on. This old lady did much the same, minus the good telescope, which she had not. Her son, however, had presented her with an old-fashioned opera-glass, which he had picked up at some second-hand retailer or other, and as it was a good one, and, moreover, very light to the hand, it did as well for her and better.

In some things the old lady had a little resemblance to Miss Martineau. She had the same cheerful activity of mind, the same readiness of adapting herself to circumstances—things in a great measure constitutional. She was, moreover, a very shrewd, sensible woman, and deeply pious—pious in the most excellent way: really, vitally, seriously. She came of a good old puritan stock, where piety had been cherished from generation to generation. Some physiologists say, that even the acquired moral qualities and habits descend to the succeeding generation. It is possible an aptness for good or evil may be, and often is, inherited from those who have gone before. It would seem to have been so in this case. The pious father and mother, children of as pious parents, had left this pious daughter—and her excellencies had descended in accumulated measure to her son. This old lay had been sorely tried—death and poverty had done their worst—except in as far as the cruel ravager had spared her this one boy, one of many children, all followed the delicate, consumptive man who had been their father. She had borne it all. Strong in faith, she had surrendered her treasures to the Lord of Life, in trust that they should be found again when he maketh up his jewels. Cheerful as was her temper, life's course had been too rough with her, for her to value it very much, when those lovely, promising buds, but half disclosed, were one after the other gathered. But she had escaped that racking agony of the loving, but too faithless mother—when all the sweets of nature in its abundance flow around her, and they are not there to enjoy.

"When suns shine bright o'er heaven's blue vault serene,
Birds sing in trees, and sweet flowers deck the plain,
Weep I for thee, who in the cold, cold grave
Sleep, and all nature's harmony is vain.
But when dark clouds and threat'ning storms arise,
And doubt and fear my trembling soul invade;
My heart one comfort owns, thou art not here,
Safe slumbering, in the earth's kind bosom laid."

She was happier far than the author of these lines.

She looked upward; she almost saw those she had lost, the objects of a glorious resurrection—already living in the ineffable presence of the God whom they had so faithfully endeavored to serve.

I need not tell you, after this, that her spirits were subdued to a holy calmness and composure.

Her life had been one of the most active endeavors after usefulness. The good she had managed to do can scarcely be calculated. Grains of sand they might be, these hoarded minutes, but it was golden sand; the heap accumulated was large and precious, at the end of sixty-five years.

What money she had possessed she had expended courageously in giving a professional education to her son. Her little annuity of twelve pounds a year was all she had saved for herself. Upon that she believed with her own exertions, she could manage to exist till her son was able to support both; but she had been struck down earlier than she calculated upon. She had at this time lost the use of her lower limbs altogether, and was visited with such trembling in her hands, that she was obliged to close the task abruptly, and to sit down dependent upon her son before she had expected it.

It had been very trying work till he obtained his present situation, and he still felt very poor, because he was resolved every year to lay twenty pounds or so by, that, in case any thing should happen to him, his mother might have some little addition to her means provided. He was rather strangely provident for the case of his own death; so young man as he was; perhaps[Pg 360] he felt the faltering spring of life within, which he had inherited from his father.

Three years the mother and son had thus lived together, and Fisher was master of sixty pounds.

He had never allowed himself to cast a thought upon marriage, though of a temper ardently to desire, and rapturously to enjoy, domestic felicity. He said to himself he must first provide for his mother's independence, and then think about his own happiness. But the accident which had brought him and Lucy together had produced other thoughts—thoughts which he had, but the very day before the nursing so suddenly closed, communicated to his mother, and she had said,

"I think you are quite right, John. Imprudent marriages are, in most cases, very wrong things—a mere tempting of Providence: and, that no blessing follows such tempting, we know from the best authority: but this is a most pious, benevolent, and very rational attempt to save a fellow-creature upon the brink of destruction, and I think it would be a want of faith, as well as a want of common humanity, in either of us to hesitate; I am very glad she seems such a sweet, innocent, pretty creature, for your sake, my darling John; I hope she will bring a blessing into your dwelling and repay you for your goodness to me; I am sorry she must come and live with your old mother, for young wives don't like that—but I promise you I will do my very best to be as amiable as an old woman can; and, moreover, I will neither be cross nor disappointed if she is not always as amiable as a young woman ought to be. Will that do? Yes, yes; fetch her away from that sink of iniquity, and we'll all get along somehow or other, never fear."

And so Lucy Miles, blushing like a rose, and, as her young and delighted husband thought, more beauteous than an angel of light, was in a few weeks married to John Fisher, and she went home to the old lady.

"Amid the smoke of cities did you pass
The time of early youth, and there you learnt
From years of quiet industry to love
The living beings of your own fire-side."

The eloquent tongue of Fisher had over and over again related with deep feeling the history of all he owed to his mother, and Lucy, far from feeling inclined to be jealous of the devoted affection he felt for her, like a good loving girl as she was, extended the ardent attachment she felt toward her husband to every thing that belonged to him.

She had lost her own parents, whom she had loved exceedingly, though they were quite ordinary people. She soon almost worshiped old Mrs. Fisher.

Lucy had been little improved by those who had the rearing of her; she was a girl of excellent dispositions, but her education had been commonplace. In the society of the old lady her good gifts, both of head and heart, expanded rapidly. The passionate desire she felt to render herself worthy of her husband, whom she adored almost as some superior being, made her an apt and docile pupil.

A few years thus spent, and you would scarcely have known her again. Her piety was deep, and had become a habit—a part of her very soul; her understanding naturally excellent, had been developed and strengthened; the most earnest desire to perform her part well—to do good and extend virtue and happiness, and to sweeten the lives of all with whom she had to do, had succeeded to thoughtless good nature, and a sort of instinctive kindness. Anxiety for her husband's health, which constantly oppressed her, a sort of trembling fear that she should be bereaved early of this transcendent, being; this it was, perhaps, which enhanced the earnest, serious tone of one so young.

She was extremely industrious, in the hope of adding to her husband's means of rest and recreation, and the accidental acquaintance with a French modiste, who had fallen ill in London, was in great distress, and whom Fisher attended through charity, had put her into the way of improving herself in this art more than she could have done even in that eminent school, the work-room of Miss Lavington. The French-woman was a very amiable, and pious person, too. She was a French Protestant; the connection ripened into friendship, and it ended by placing Mrs. Fisher in the state of life in which we find her. Fisher fell desperately ill in consequence of a fever brought on at a dissection, from which he narrowly escaped with life; the fever left him helpless and incapable of exertion. The poor mother was by this time dead; he succeeded to the vacant arm-chair. Then his wife resolved upon doing that openly which she had till now done covertly, merely working for the bazaars. She persuaded her husband, when a return to his profession appeared hopeless, to let her employ his savings in setting up business with Madame Noel, and from small beginnings had reached that high place in her profession which she now occupied.

No sooner had Mrs. Fisher established a working-room of her own, and engaged several young women to labor under her superintendence, than the attention of her husband was seriously turned to the subject of those evils from which he had rescued his wife.

She had suffered much, and experienced several of the evils consequent upon the manner such places were managed; but she would probably not have reflected upon the causes of these evils, nor interested herself so deeply as she afterward did in applying the remedies, if it had not been for the promptings of this excellent man.

His medical skill made him thoroughly aware of the injurious effect produced upon the health by the ill-regulated system of such establishments; and his thoughts, as he sat resigned to helplessness in his arm-chair, were seriously directed to that subject.[Pg 361]

In consequence of his suggestions it was that Mrs. Fisher began her life of business upon a plan of her own, to which she steadily adhered. At first she found considerable difficulty in carrying it out—there are always numerous obstructions to be met with in establishing any improvements; but where the object is rational and benevolent, perseverance and a determined will triumph over every difficulty.

The first thing Fisher insisted upon was ventilation; the second, warmth; the third, plenty of good, wholesome, and palatable food; the fourth, exercise. He determined upon a house being selected which was not closely built up behind, and that the room in which the young ladies worked should be large and commodious in proportion to the inmates. A portion of the little money he had saved was sacrificed to the additional expense thus incurred. He looked upon it, he told his wife, as given to charity, for which she must expect no return, and for which he should look for no interest. A good wide grate, which should be well supplied with a cheerful fire in winter, was to assist the ventilation proceeding from a scientific plan of his own, which kept the room constantly supplied with a change of air; and under the table at which the girls sat at work, there was in winter a sort of long, square, wooden pipe filled with hot water and covered with carpeting, upon which they could put their feet: the extreme coldness of the feet arising from want of circulation, being one of the causes to which Fisher attributed many of the maladies incident to this mode of life.

The next object of attention was the table. Fisher had been at school, at one or two different schools, resembling each other in one thing only—the scandalous—I must use the strong and offensive word—the scandalous neglect or worse than neglect—the infamous and base calculations upon the subject of food which pervaded the system of those schools, and which pervaded, I am sorry to say, so many of the schools with which he had chanced to be acquainted. In the course of his practice as a medical man, his opportunities for observation had been above the common.

In fine ladies' schools, I can not assert that the shameful economy of buying inferior provisions, and the shameful indifference as to how they were cooked, which prevail in so many boys' schools, were to be found—but a fault almost equally great prevailed too generally. There was not enough. These growing girls, stimulated to most unnatural exertions both of body and mind, peculiarly unnatural to growing girls who require so much care, fresh air, exercise, and rest, for their due development—these young things had very rarely nearly so much to eat as they could have eaten.

Sometimes enough was literally not set before them; at others, a sort of fashion in the school to consider a good appetite as a proof of coarseness, greediness, and vulgarity, worked but too effectually upon these sensitive creatures. A girl at that age would rather be starved than ridiculed or sneered at for eating.

But in boys' schools—expensive boys' schools too—where six times as much was paid for a boy's board as would have boarded him—either through scandalous parsimony, or the most inexcusable negligence, he had seen meat brought into the house not fit to eat; cheap and bad in itself, but rendered doubly unwholesome in summer by the most utter carelessness as to whether it was fresh. Boys are hardy things, and it is right they should not be accustomed to be too nice; but wholesome, plain roast and boiled is what they pay for and ought to have; and the defrauding them of what is so necessary to health, vigor, and even intellect, in this unprincipled manner, is almost the very worst form of robbery any man can be guilty of.

Fisher was resolved it should not be so in his wife's house. He and his wife had agreed that the young ladies she employed should be lodged and boarded under her roof, unless they had respectable parents who could and would be fully answerable for them; and they should have a plentiful and a pleasant table—that he was resolved upon. As he was competent to little else, he took this matter upon himself. He calculated what ought fairly to be laid out, and he laid it all out. He would not economize a penny. If he was able to make a good bargain with his butcher, the young ladies, not he, should have the benefit of it all. They should have a bit of fish, or a little poultry, or a little good fruit, poor girls, to vary a meal, to which they could not bring the sturdy appetite of much out-of-door exercise.

Then came the great chapter of that exercise. There was the difficulty—how much time could Mrs. Fisher possibly afford to lose?—to abandon to this object?—for the work must pay—or it could not continue to be done. But the difficulty diminished upon examination. Time may be counted by strength as well as by minutes. The same thing may, by two different hands, be accomplished in most unequal portions of time.

The dreadful feeling of weariness, which, as Lucy, she so well remembered—one consequence of sitting so long in an unchanged position, and at the same employment—that dreadful feeling could not be forgotten by her. Her horror at the recollection was so strong, that of this matter she thought more than even her benevolent husband.

He recollected to have heard that the Jesuits, those masters of human development, physical as well as intellectual, never suffered a pupil to be employed more than two hours upon the same thing without a change—to get up and turn round the chair—to pace five minutes up and down the room would in many cases suffice. Mr. Fisher laid down his plan.

Two hours the young ladies worked, and then for ten minutes they were allowed to lay down their needles; they might walk about the room, into the passage, up and down stairs, or sit still[Pg 362] and lounge. That precious, useful lounge, so fatally denied to the wearied spine of many a growing girl, was here permitted. They might look about them, or close their eyes and be stupefied; in short, do just what they liked.

It was soon found by experience that the work done after this refreshing pause more than made up for the time thus expended.

Such were some of the plans of this kind-hearted and highly-principled man—and the blooming looks, the gay spirits, the bright eyes, of the happy little community did credit to the scheme.

Fisher lived but a few years to carry out the rule he had instituted; but to his wife it was as a sacred legacy from his hand, and during the whole course of her subsequent life she faithfully adhered to it.

Her house was like a convent in some things, but it was a very happy convent. Every thing proceeded with a clock-work order, and yet there was a liberty such as few girls thus employed, in spite of their intervals of license, could enjoy.

It was a happy party, over which this remarkably handsome, and now distinguishedly fashionable milliner, and dignified-looking lady presided. Nothing indiscreet or unseemly was ever permitted. The rule, perhaps, might be a little too grave, and the manner of the young ladies too sedate; but they were innocent and good; and they had their recreations, for Mrs. Fisher look them out, turn and turn about, upon a Sunday, in her carriage, and the others walked with the two superintendents—persons carefully selected for their good principles and good conduct.

Mrs. Fisher, too, was a little bit of a match-maker; and if she had a weakness, it was her fondness for settling her young ladies. Nothing pleased her better than when they were sought—and they were such nice, well-behaved girls, this often happened—by worthy young men in their own rank of life. Mrs. Fisher always gave the wedding-gown and bonnet, and the wedding dinner, and a white satin reticule or bag, drawn with rose-colored ribbons, with a pretty pink and white purse in it, with silver tassels and rings, and containing a nice little sum for the bride's pocket-money. You will easily understand how Mrs. Danvers had struck up quite a friendship with Mrs. Fisher. Once, indeed, in her days of youth and gayety, she had been one of her most valuable customers. She had long done with fine things, but the interest she took in the affairs of Mrs. Fisher's establishment had endeared her very much to that good lady, and hence she had, at her earnest request, consented to take Myra, though her own instinct, the moment she cast her eyes upon this beautiful, dawdling-looking being, had assured her that she was, to use her own phrase, not one of her sort.

Myra was grievously disappointed, upon her side. She was quite one to be blind to the solid advantages of her position, and to look with querulous regret upon all the flashy and brilliant part of such a business, in which she was not allowed to take the least share.

Precisely because she was so beautiful did Mrs. Fisher exclude her from the show-room—that theatre which was to have been the scene of her triumphs.

The beautiful things she was employed in manufacturing left her hands to be seen no more—and, alas! never by her to be tried on. It was tantalizing work to part with them, and forever, as soon as they left her hand.

Then she was obliged to be punctual to a moment in her hours; a grievous yoke to her who had never been educated to submit to any. To dress with the most careful attention to neatness, though there was "nothing but a pack of women to look at her"—to listen to "a prosy book"—a book, I forgot to say, was read aloud in the work-room—instead of gossiping and having a little fun; and to walk out on Sundays under the wing of that old, hideous harridan, Mrs. Sterling, instead of going with her companions where she pleased. In short, it was worse "than negro slavery," but there was no help for it—there she was, and there she was obliged to stay.

Well, and did she improve under this good discipline? Was she any the better for it? I am sorry to say very little.

There are subjects that are almost unimprovable. She was, by nature, a poor, shallow, weedy thing; her education had been the worst possible for her. Evil habits, false views, low aims, had been imbibed, and not one fault corrected while young; and self-experience, which rectifies in most so much that is wrong, seemed to do nothing for her. There was no substance to work upon. Mrs. Fisher was soon heartily tired of her, and could have regretted her complaisance to Mrs. Danvers' wishes in receiving her against her judgment; but she was too good to send her away. She laughed, and accepted her as a penance for her sins, she said—as a thorn in the flesh—and she let the thorn rankle there. She remembered her honored Fisher, and the scene by the bed-side of poor Saunders. She looked upon the endurance of this plague as a fresh offering to the adored memory.

She bore this infliction like a martyr for a long time; at last a smart young tailor fell in love with Myra at church—a place where he had been better employed thinking of other things. And so I believe he thought after he had married her, in spite of the white dress and silk bonnet, and the reticule with pink ribbons, and the bride's pocket-money, which Mrs. Fisher bestowed with more pleasure and alacrity than even she had been known to do upon many a worthier subject.[Pg 363]


"Yet once more, oh, ye laurels, and once more,
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forced fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me—"
Milton's Lycidas.

I must beg of you to slip over a portion of time, and to suppose about two years passed over our heads, and we return to Lettice, who has passed that period at General Melwyn's.

So useful, so cheerful, so thoroughly good, so sincerely pious, so generously disinterested she was; and the transformation she had accomplished was astonishing.

And was she as happy herself as she made others? Nobody at the Hazels thought of exactly asking that question. And yet they might have reflected a little, and inquired, whether to one, the source of so much comfort to others, the natural felicity of her age was not denied?

Could a young being like her be very happy, living with two old people, and without one single companion of her own age? Without prospect, without interest in that coming life, which the young imagination paints in such lovely colors?

One may boldly affirm she was not so happy as she deserved to be, and that it was quite impossible, with a heart formed for every tender affection as was hers, that she should.

She began to be visited by a troublesome guest, which in the days of hardship she had never known. The very ease which surrounded her, the exemption from all necessity for laborious industry actually increasing the evil, gradually seemed to grow upon her. There was a secret distaste for life—a void in the heart, not filled by natural affections—a something which asked for tenderer relations, more earnest duties—a home—a household—a family of her own!

She blamed herself very much when first this little secret feeling of dissatisfaction and discontent began to steal over her. How could she be so ungrateful? She had every comfort in the world—more, much more, than she had any title to expect; infinitely more than many far more deserving than herself were allowed to enjoy. Why could she not have the same light contented spirit within her breast, that had carried her triumphantly through so many hardships, and enlivened so many clouded days?

Poor Lettice! It was vain to find fault with herself. Life would seem flat. The mere routine of duties, unsweetened by natural affection, would weary the spirit at times. There was a sweetness wanting to existence—and existence, without that invigorating sweetness, is to the best of us a tedious and an exhausting thing.

So thought Catherine, when, about eighteen months or two years after her marriage, she came for the first time with Edgar to visit her father and mother.

The regimental duties of the young officer had carried him to the Ionian Islands very shortly after his marriage; promotion had brought him home, and he and his young and happy wife, with a sweet infant of about twelve months old, hastened down to the Hazels to visit Catherine's parents.

I pass over the joy of the meeting—I pass over the satisfaction felt by Catherine at the happy revolution which had taken place—at her father's improved temper, her mother's more tranquil spirits, the absence of Randall, and the general good behavior which pervaded the household.

She looked upon every member of it with satisfaction except one; and that was the very one who ought to have been the happiest; for she was the cause and the origin of all this happiness. But Lettice did not, she thought, look as she used to do; her eyes had lost something of their vivacity; and the good heart of Catherine was grieved.

"It pains me so, Edgar—you can not think," she said to her husband, as she walked, leaning upon his arm, through the pleasant groves and gardens of the Hazels. "I can scarcely enjoy my own happiness for thinking of her. Poor, dear, she blames herself so for not being perfectly happy—as if one could have effects without causes—as if the life she leads here could make any one perfectly happy. Not one thing to enjoy—for as to her comfortable room, and the good house, and the pretty place, and all that sort of thing, a person soon gets used to it, and it shuts out uneasiness, but it does not bring delight, at least to a young thing of that age. Child of the house as I was, and early days as they were with me when you were among us, Edgar—I never knew what true happiness was till then—that is, I should very soon have felt a want of some object of interest; though it was my own father and mother—"

"So I took the liberty to lay before you, my fair haranguer, if you recollect, when you made so many difficulties about carrying my knapsack."

"Ah! that was because it seemed so heartless, so cruel, to abandon my parents just when they wanted me so exceedingly. But what a debt of gratitude I owe to this dear Lettice for settling all these matters so admirably for me."

"I am glad you confess to a little of that debt, which I, on my part, feel to be enormous."

"I heartily wish there were any means of paying it. I wish I could make Lettice as happy as she has made all of us."

The young officer shook his handsome head.

"Mammas in our rank of life make such a point of endeavoring to settle their daughters—to start them in households of their own—where, if they are exposed to many troubles which they escape under their father's roof, they have many more interests and sources of happiness. But there is nobody to think of such matters as connegated[Pg 364] with this poor fatherless and motherless girl."

"Mothers, even in your rank, my love, don't always succeed in accomplishing this momentous object. I don't see what possible chance there is for one in Lettice's condition—except the grand one, the effective one—in my opinion almost the only one, namely, the chapter of accidents."

"Ah! that chapter of accidents! It is a poor dependence."

"Nay, Catherine, that is not said with your usual piety."

"True—I am sorry—and yet, where another's happiness is concerned, one feels as if it were wrong to trust too much—even to Providence; with great reverence be it said—I mean, that in no given event can we exactly tell how much we are expected to use our own exertions, how much diligence on our part is required of us, in order to produce a happy result."

"I agree with you quite and entirely; and if there is a thing that angers me beyond measure, it is to see a pious person fold his hands—sit down and trust the happiness of another to, as he says, Providence. If I have any just idea of Providence, an ample retribution will be in store for these sort of religionists."

"Well, that is just as I feel—but in a sort of confused way. You say those things so much better than I do, Edgar."

"Do I? Well, that is news to me."

"But to return. Can not we do something for this good creature?"

"I don't exactly see that we can do. Besides, there is your poor mother. Would you pull down all her little edifice of happiness, by taking Lettice away from her?"

"That is a terrible consideration; and yet what was true of me is doubly and trebly true of Lettice. My darling mother would not hear of me relinquishing my happiness upon her account—and ought Lettice to be allowed to make such a sacrifice?"

"Well, well, my dear, it is time enough to begin to deprecate such a sacrifice when the opportunity for it occurs, but I own I see little hope of a romance for your poor, dear Lettice, seeing that an important personage in such matters, namely, a hero, seems to me to be utterly out of the question. There is not a young gentleman within twenty miles, so far as I can see, that is in the least likely to think of the good girl."

"Alas, no! that is the worst of it."

But the romance of Lettice's life was nearer than they imagined.

The visit of Catherine at the Hazels cheered up Lettice very much; and in the delights of a little society with those of her own age, she soon forgot all her quarrels with herself; and brushed away the cobwebs which were gathering over her brain. She was enchanted, too, with the baby, and as she felt that, while Catherine was with her mother, she rather interfered with, than increased Mrs. Melwyn's enjoyment, she used to indulge herself with long walks through the beautiful surrounding country, accompanying the nurse and helping to carry the babe.

She visited several lonely places and remote cottages, where she had never been before; and began to feel a new interest given to existence when she was privileged to assist others under the pressure of that want and misery which she understood but too well. One evening she and the nurse had strayed in a new direction, and did not exactly know where they were. Very far from the house she was aware it could not be, by the time she had been absent, but they had got into one of those deep, hollow lanes, from which it is impossible to catch a glimpse of the surrounding country: those lanes so still, and so beautiful, with their broken sandy banks, covered with tufts of feathering grass, with peeping primroses and violets, and barren strawberries between; the beech and ash of the copses casting their slender branches across, and checkering the way with innumerable broken lights! While, may be, as was here the case, a long pebbly stream runs sparkling and shining upon one side of the way, forming ten thousand little pools and waterfalls as it courses along.

Charmed with the scene, Lettice could not prevail upon herself to turn back till she had pursued her way a little farther. At last a turn in the lane brought her to a lowly and lonely cottage, which stood in a place where the bank had a little receded, and the ground formed a small grassy semicircle, with the steep banks rising all around it—here stood the cottage.

It was an ancient, picturesque looking thing, built one knows not when. I have seen one such near Stony Cross in Hampshire, which the tradition of the county affirms to be the very identical cottage into which the dying William Rufus was carried, and I am half inclined to believe it.

Their deep heavy roofs, huge roof-trees, little low walls and small windows, speak of habits of life very remote from our own—and look to me as if like a heap of earth—a tumulus—such edifices might stand unchanged for tens of ages.

The cottage before us was of this description, and had probably been a woodman's hut when the surrounding country was all one huge forest. The walls were not more than five feet high, over which hung the deep and heavy roof, covered with moss, and the thatch was overlaid with a heap of black mould, which afforded plentiful nourishment to stonecrops, and various tufts of beautifully feathered grass, which waved in fantastic plumes over it. The door, the frame of which was all aslant, seemed almost buried in, and pressed down by this roof, placed in which were two of those old windows which show that the roof itself formed the upper chamber of the dwelling. A white rose bush was banded up on one side of this door; a rosemary tree upon the other; a little border with marigolds, lemon thyme and such like pot-herbs, ran round the house, which lay in a tiny plot of ground carefully cultivated as a garden. Here[Pg 365] a very aged man, bent almost double as it would seem with the weight of years, was very languidly digging or attempting it.

The nurse was tired, so was the babe, so was Lettice. They agreed to ask the old man's leave to enter the cottage, and sit down a little, before attempting to return home.

"May we go in, good man, and rest ourselves a little while?" asked Lettice.


"Will you give us leave to go in and rest ourselves a little? We are both tired with carrying the baby."

"I don't know well what it is you're saying. How many miles to Brainford? Maybe two; but it's a weary while sin' I've been there."

"He can't understand us, nurse, at all. He seems almost stone deaf. Let us knock at the door, and see who's within, for you look ready to drop; and I am so excessively tired I can hardly help you. However, give me your sleeping babe at all events, for you really seem as if you could stand no longer."

She took the child, which had long been fast asleep, went to the cottage door, and knocked.

"Come in," said a voice.

Not such a voice as she expected to hear, but a sweet, well-modulated voice, that of a person of education. A man's voice, however, it was. She hesitated a little, upon which some one rose and opened the door, but started back upon seeing a young lady with a child in her arms, looking excessively tired, and as if she could hold up no longer.

"Pray, come in," he said, observing she hesitated, and, retreating back a little as he spoke, showed a small bed not far from the fire, standing in the chimney place, as it is called. In this bed lay a very aged woman. A large, but very, very ancient Bible lay open upon the bed, and a chair a little pushed back was standing near it. It would seem that the young gentleman had risen from the chair where he to all appearance had been reading the Bible to the bed-ridden old woman. "Pray, come in, and sit down," he repeated, holding the door to let Lettice enter. "You look exceedingly tired. The place is very humble but perfectly clean, and poor old Betty Rigby will be very happy to give you leave to enter."

The young man who spoke was dressed in deep black; but as there was a crape band round his hat which lay upon the table, it would seem that he was in mourning, and possibly, therefore, not a clergyman. He was something above the middle height; but his figure was spoiled by its extreme thinness, and a stoop in the shoulder which seemed to be the effect of weakness. His face was very thin, and his cheek perfectly pale; but his features were beautifully proportioned, and his large gray eyes beamed with a subdued and melancholy splendor. There was the fire of fever, and there was that of genius.

The expression of this face was soft and sweet in the extreme, but it was rendered almost painful by its cast of deep sadness. Lettice looked at him, and was struck by his appearance in a way she had never in her life been before. He was, I believe, as much struck with hers. These unexpected meetings, in totally unexpected places, often produce such sudden and deep impressions. The happier being was moved and interested by the delicacy the attenuation, the profound sadness of the beautiful countenance before her; the other with the bloom of health, the cheerful, wholesome expression, the character and meaning of the face presented to him, as the young girl stood there holding the sleeping infant in her arms. Certainly though not regularly pretty, she was a very picturesque and pleasing looking object at that moment.

The old woman from her bed added her invitation to that of the young man.

"Please to walk in, miss. It's a poor place. Please take a chair. Oh, my poor limbs! I've been bed-ridden these half-score years; but pray, sit down and rest yourselves, and welcome. Law! but that's a pretty bairn, ben't it."

Lettice took the offered chair and sat down, still holding the baby; the nurse occupied the other; the young man continued standing.

"I am afraid we have interrupted you," said Lettice, glancing at the book.

"Oh, pray don't think of it! I am in no hurry to be gone. My time," with a suppressed sigh, "is all my own. I will finish my lecture by-and-by."

"Ay, do—do—that's a good gentleman. Do you know, ma'am, he's been the kindest friend, young as he looks, that ever I or my good man met with. You see we lie here out of the way like—it's a big monstrous parish this, and our parson has a world of work to do. So we gets rather overlooked, though, poor man, I believe, he does what he can. I've lived here these ten years, crippled and bed-ridden as you see, but I got along pretty well for some time, for I was a bit of a schollard in my youth; but last winter my eyes took to being bad, and since then I've not been able to read a line. All gets dizzy like. And I was very dull and sore beset that I couldn't even see to read the word of God, and my poor husband, that's the old man as is delving in the garden there, why he has hardly any eyes left in his head. Enough just to potter about like, an' see his way, but he couldn't read a line, and it was never so; and so that blessed young gentleman—law! where is he? Why, I declare he's gone!"

The young gentleman had, indeed, quietly glided out of the cottage as soon as his éloge began.

"That young gentleman—I can say what I like now he is gone—has been so good to us. Many's the half-crown he's given me, and a warm winter coat of his own to my poor rheumatized old man. Oh! he's a blessed one—and then he comes and sits and reads to me of an afternoon for an hour together, because as how one day he called he found me a-cryin,[Pg 366] for why, I could no longer read the Holy Word—and he says 'Cheer up, Betty, be of good comfort, I'll read it to you daily'—and when I said 'daily, sir—that'll take up too much of your time, I fear'—he sighed a little, and said he'd nothing particular to do with his time."

"Who is he? Does he belong to this neighborhood?"

"No, miss, he's only been here maybe a half-year or so. He came down on a visit to Mr. Hickman the doctor out there, Brainwood way, and presently he went and lodged at a cottage hard by, to be near Hickman, who's a great name for such complaints as his'n—A-A—I don't know what's the name—but he's very bad, they say, and not able to do any thing in the world. Well, he's the best, kindest, Christian young man, you ever see or I ever see. The power of good he does among the poor—poor young fellow—is not to be told or counted—but he's so melancholy like, and so gentle, and so kind, it makes one a'most cry to look at him; that's the worst of it."

"He looks like a clergyman; I could fancy he was in holy orders. Do you know whether he is so or not?"

"Yes, ma'am, I have heard say that he is a parson, but nobody in these parts has ever seen him in a pulpit; but now it strikes me I've heard that he was to be curate to Mr. Thomas, of Briarwood parish, but he was ta'en bad of his chest or his throat, and never able to speak up like, so it would not do; he can not at present speak in a church, for his voice sounds so low, so low."

"I wonder we have never met with him, or heard of him before."

"Oh, miss! he's not been in this country very long, and he goes out nowhere but to visit the poor; and tired and weak as he looks, he seems never tired of doing good."

"He looks very pale and thin."

"Ay, doesn't he? I'm afraid he's but badly; I've heard some say he was in a galloping consumption, others a decline; I don't know, but he seems mighty weak like."

A little more talk went on in the same way, and then Lettice asked the nurse whether she felt rested, as it was time to be returning home, and, giving the poor bed-ridden patient a little money, which was received with abundance of thanks, Lettice left the house.

When she entered the little garden, she saw the young man was not gone; he was leaning pensively against the gate, watching the swinging branches of a magnificent ash tree, which grew upon a green plot by the side of the lane. Beautiful it was as it spread its mighty magnificent head against the deep blue summer sky, and a soft wind gently whispered among its forest of leaves.

Lettice could not help, as she observed the countenance of the young man, who seemed lost in thought, admiring the extraordinary beauty of its expression. Something of the sublime, something of the angelic, which we see in a few remarkable countenances, but usually in those which are spiritualized by mental sufferings, and great physical delicacy.

He started from his reverie as she and the nurse approached, and lifted the latchet of the little wicket to lot them pass. And, as he did so, the large, melancholy eye was lighted up with something of a pleasurable expression, as he looked at Lettice, and said,

"A beautiful afternoon. May I venture to ask were you intending to visit that poor bed-ridden creature? I thought by the expression she used that you were not acquainted with her case, and probably had never been in the cottage before. Will you excuse me for saying she is in great necessity?"

"It is the first time I have ever been down this lane, sir, but I assure you it shall not be the last; I will come and see the poor woman again. There are few things I pity so much as the being bed-ridden."

She had walked into the lane. He had quitted the garden too, and continued to walk by her side talking as he went.

"I hope there is not so much suffering in that state as we are apt to imagine," he said; "at least, I have observed that very poor people are enabled to bear it with wonderful cheerfulness and patience. I believe, to those who have lived a life of hard labor, rest has something acceptable in it, which compensates for many privations—but these old creatures are also miserably poor. The parish can not allow much, and they are so anxious not to be forced into the house, that they contrive to make a very little do. The poor woman has been for years receiving relief as member of a sick-club; but lately the managers have come to a resolution, that she has been upon the list for such an unexampled length of time, that they can not afford to go on with the allowance any longer."

"How cruel and unjust!"

"Very sad, as it affects her comforts, poor creature, and certainly not just; yet, as she paid only about three years, and has been receiving an allowance for fifteen, it would be difficult, I fancy, to make the sort of people who manage such clubs see it quite in that light. At all events, we can get her no redress, for she does not belong to this parish, though her husband does; and the club of which she is a member is in a place at some distance, of which the living is sequestrated, and there is no one of authority there to whom we can apply. I only take the liberty of entering into these details, madam, in order to convince you that any charity you may extend in this quarter, will be particularly well applied."

"I shall be very happy, if I can be of any use," said Lettice, "but I am sorry to say, but little of my time is at my own disposal—it belongs to another—I can not call it my own—and my purse is not very ample. But I have more money than time," she added, cheerfully, "at all events. And, if you will be pleased to point out in what way I can best help this poor[Pg 367] creature, I shall be very much obliged to you, for I am quite longing for the pleasure of doing a little among the poor. I have been very poor myself; and, besides, I used to visit them so much in my poor father's day."

"I have more time than money," he said, with a gentle but very melancholy smile; "and, therefore, if you will give me leave, I would take the liberty of pointing out to you how you could help this poor woman. If—if I knew...."

"I live with General and Mrs. Melwyn—I am Mrs. Melwyn's dame de compagnie," said Lettice, with simplicity.

"And I am what ought to be Mr. Thomas's curate," answered he, "but that I am too inefficient to merit the name. General Melwyn's family never attends the parish church, I think."

"No; we go to the chapel of ease at Furnival's Green. It is five miles by the road to the parish church, and that road a very bad one. The general does not like his carriage to go there.

"So I have understood; and, therefore, Mr. Thomas is nearly a stranger, and I perfectly one, to the family, though they are Mr. Thomas's parishioners."

"It seems so strange to me—a clergyman's daughter belonging formerly to a small parish—that every individual in it should not be known to the vicar. It ought not to be so, I think."

"I entirely agree with you. But I believe Mr. Thomas and the general never exactly understood or suited each other."

"I don't know—I never heard."

"I am myself not utterly unknown to every member of the family. I was at school with the young gentleman who married Miss Melwyn.... Yet why do I recall it? He has probably forgotten me altogether.... And yet, perhaps, not altogether. Possibly he might remember James St. Leger;" and he sighed.

It was a light, suppressed sigh. It seemed to escape him without his observing it.

Lettice felt unusually interested in this conversation, little as there may appear in it to interest any one; but there was something in the look and tone of the young man that exercised a great power over her imagination. His being of the cloth—a clergyman—may account for what may seem rather strange in her entering into conversation with him. She had been brought up to feel profound respect for every one in holy orders; and, moreover, the habits of her life at one time, when she had sunk to such depths of poverty, had, in a considerable degree, robbed her of the conventional reserve of general society. She had been so used at one time to be accosted and to accost without thinking of the ceremony of an introduction, that she probably forgot the absence of it in the present case, more than another equally discreet girl might have done.

The young man, on his part, seemed under the influence of a strange charm. He continued to walk by her side, but he had ceased to speak. He seemed lost in thought—melancholy thought. It certainly would seem as if the allusion to Edgar's home, and his own school life, had roused a host of painful recollections, in which he was for the time absorbed.

So they followed the windings of the deep hollow lane together. Necessarily it would seem, for this lane appeared to defy the proverb and have no turning. But that it had one we know—and to it the little party came at last. A gate led to some fields belonging to the estate of the Hazels—Lettice and the nurse prepared to open it and enter.

"Good morning, sir," said Lettice, "this is my way; I will strive to do something for the poor woman you recommended to me, and I will mention your recommendation to Mrs. Melwyn."

He started as if suddenly awakened when she spoke; but he only said, "Will you? It will be right and kind. Thank you, in her name." And, with a grave, abstracted sort of salute, he left her, and pursued his way.

Catherine was standing rather anxiously upon the hall-steps, looking round and wondering what had become of her nurse and her baby, when nurse, baby, and Lettice returned.

"Dear people," she cried, "I am glad you are come back."

She had been, if the truth were told, a good deal fidgeted and frightened, as young mothers are very apt to be, when the baby does not come home at the usual hour. She had suffered a good deal of uneasiness, and felt half inclined to be angry. A great many people with whom I am acquainted, would have burst out into a somewhat petulant scold, when the cause for anxiety was at an end, and baby and her party, all safe, appeared quietly walking up the road as if nothing in the world were amiss. The very quiet and tranquillity which proved that they were quite unconscious of having done any thing wrong would have irritated some people more than all the rest. I thought it was very nice of Catherine to be good-humored and content as soon as she saw all was safe, after the irritating anxiety she had just been going through. She, however, ran eagerly down the steps, and her eyes sparkling with impatience caught her little one in her arms and kissed it very fast and hard. That being the only sign of an impatient spirit which she showed, and, except crying out, "Oh! I am glad to see you safe back, all of you. Do you know, Lettice, I began to wonder what had become of you?"—not a syllable approaching to reproof passed her lips.

"Dear Mrs. D'Arcy! Dear Catherine! I am afraid we are late. We went too far—we partly lost ourselves. We got into a long, but oh! such a lovely lane—where I never was before, and then, we have had a little wee bit of an adventure."

"Adventure! Oh goodness! I am glad of that. Adventures are so excessively rare in[Pg 368] this country. I never met with one in my life, but happening upon Edgar, as the people say, when he was coming from hunting; and the wind had blown off my hat. A wind that blew somebody good, that ... dear, beloved, Lettice, I wish to goodness, that I do—an adventure of the like of that, might have happened to you."

Lettice colored a little.

"Gracious!" cried Catherine, laughing merrily, and peeping at her under her bonnet—"I declare—you're blushing Lettice. Your adventure is something akin to my adventure. Have you stumbled upon an unparalleled youth—by mere accident as I did? and did he—did he pick up your hat?"

"If he had," said Lettice, "I am afraid my face with my hair all blown about it would not have looked quite so enchanting as yours must have done. No, I did not lose my bonnet."

"Any thing else? Your heart, perhaps?"

"Dear Catherine! How can you be so silly."

"Oh! it was such a blessed day when I lost mine," said Mrs. D'Arcy, gayly. "Such a gain of a loss! that I wish just the same misfortune to befall every one I love—and I love you dearly, Lettice."

"There must be more than one heart lost I fancy, to make adventures turn out as well as yours did, Catherine."

"Oh! that's a matter of course in such sort of things. There is always an exchange, where there is love at first sight. But now do tell me, that's a dear girl, what your adventure was."

"I only saw a clergyman reading to a poor woman—or rather I only saw a clergyman, a Bible, and a poor woman, and thence concluded that he had been reading to her."

"Oh! you tiresome creature. Poor, dear, old Mr. Hughes, I'll be bound. Good old fellow—but such a hum-drum. Nay, Lettice, my dear, don't look shocked and cross. A clergyman may be a very stupid, hum-drum, tiresome fellow, as well as any other man. Don't pretend to deny that."

"I would as lief not hear them called so—but this was not Mr. Hughes."

"Oh, no! I remember now you were not in his parish. If you went down Briarwood-lane far enough you would be in Briarwood parish. Mr. Thomas, perhaps."


"Mr. Thomas's curate. Oh! of course the curate. Only I don't think Mr. Thomas keeps one."

"No; I believe not Mr. Thomas's, or any one else's curate; but a gentleman who says he knew Captain D'Arcy at school."

"Nay, that is too charming. That really is like an adventure."

"Here, Edgar!"

He was crossing the paddock at some little distance.

"Come here for one instant. Do you recollect what I was talking to you about this very morning? Well, Lettice has met with an adventure, and has stumbled upon an old acquaintance of yours—reading the Bible to an old woman—he was at school with you.

"Well, as there were about five hundred people, more or less, who had that honor—if you mean to know any thing about him, Miss Arnold, you must go a little more into detail; and, first and foremost, what is the young gentleman's name?"

"James St. Leger," said Lettice.

A start for answer, and,

"Ha! Indeed! Poor fellow! he turned up again. I little thought our paths in life would ever cross more. How strange to unearth him in such a remote corner of the world as Briarwood. Poor fellow! Well, what is he like? and how does he look?"

"Ill and melancholy," said Lettice. "I should say very ill and very melancholy—and with reason I believe; for though he is in holy orders, something is the matter with his throat or his chest; which renders him useless in the pulpit."

"You don't say so. His chest! I hope not. And yet," continued Edgar, as if musing aloud, "I know not. He was one when I knew him, Miss Arnold, so marked out through the vices of others for misery in this world, that I used to think the sooner he went out of it the better for him."

"Ah!" cried Catherine, "there is an interesting history here. Do tell it us, Edgar. Of all your charming talks, what I like almost the best are your reminiscences. He has such a memory, Lettice; and so much penetration into the characters of persons: and the connection of things; that nothing is so delightful as when he will tell some old history of his earlier years. Do, dear Edgar, tell us all about this charming young curate of Briarwood."

"Flatterer! Coaxing flatterer! Don't believe a word she says, Miss Arnold. I am as empty-pated a rattle-skull, as ever was turned raw into one of her Majesty's regiments—and that's saying a good deal, I can tell you. But this dear creature here loves a bit of romance in her heart. What's o'clock?"

"Oh!" looking at the tiniest of watches, "a full two hours to dinner; and such a day too for a story—and just look at that spreading oak with the bench under it, and the deer lying crouching there so sweetly, and the wind just lulling the boughs as it were to rest. Here, nurse, bundle the baby away to her nursery. Now, do, there's a darling Edgar."

"Why, my love, you are making awful preparation. It is almost as terrible as reading a manuscript to begin a relation, all sitting solemnly upon a bench under a tree together. There is not much to tell, poor fellow; only I did pity him from my heart of hearts."

Catherine had her way, and they sat down under the green leafy canopy of this majestic oak; and she put her arm in her husband's, and her hand into that of Lettice, and thus sitting between them, loving and beloved, she listened,[Pg 369] the happiest, as she was one of the honestest and best, of heaven's creatures.

"We were both together at a large rough sort of preparatory school," began Edgar, "where there might be above a hundred boys or so. They were mostly, if not entirely, intended for the military profession, and came from parents of all sorts of positions and degrees, and of all sorts of principles, characters, and manners. A very omnium gatherum that school was, and the ways of it were as rough as in any school. I should think, they could possibly be. I was a tall, healthy rebel, when I was sent there, as strong as a little Hercules, and excessively proud of my force and prowess. A bold, daring, cheerful, merry lad, as ever left his mother's apron-string; very sorry to quit the dotingest of mothers, and the happiest of homes, and the pleasantest of fathers; but mighty proud to come out of the Gynyseum, and to be a man, as I thought it high time I should, in cloth trowsers and jacket, instead of a black velvet coatee. In I plunged, plump head-foremost amid the vortex, and was soon in a thousand scrapes and quarrels, battling my way with my fists, and my merry eye; for they used to tell me the merry eye did more for me even than my impudence in fighting every thing that would condescend to fight such a youngster. I was soon established, and then I breathed after my victories, and began to look round.

"So long as I had considered the throng about me but in the light of so many adversaries to be beaten by main force, and their rude and insulting ways only as provocatives to the fray, I had cared little for their manners or their proceedings, their coarseness and vulgarity, their brutality and their vices. But now, seated in peace upon the eminence to which I had fought my way, I had time to breathe and to observe. I can not describe to you how shocked, how sickened, how disgusted I became. Par parenthèse, I will say that it has always been an astonishment to me, how parents so tender as mine could send a frank, honest-hearted, well-meaning little fellow into such a place. But the school had a high reputation. I was then a fourth son, and had to make my way as best I could in the profession chosen for me. So here I came. I was about ten or eleven years old, I must add, in excuse for my parents, though I called myself so young, I felt younger, because this was my first school. To resume. When I had vanquished them, it is not in words to describe how I despised and detested the majority of my schoolfellows—for their vulgar pleasures, their offensive habits—their hard, rough, brutal manners—their vicious principles, and their vile, blasphemous impiety. I was a warm lover and a still more ardent hater, and my hatred to most of them exceeded all bounds of reason; but it was just such as a straightforward, warm-tempered fellow, is certain to entertain without mitigation in such a case.

"It is a bad element for a boy to be living in. However, I was saved from becoming an utter young monster, by the presence in the school of this very boy, James St. Leger.

"In the bustle and hurry of my early wars, I had taken little heed of, scarcely observed this boy at all. But when the pause came, I noticed him. I noticed him for many reasons. He was tall for his age, slender, and of extremely delicate make, but with limbs of a symmetry and beauty that reminded one of a fine antique statue. His face, too, was extremely beautiful; and there was something in his large, thoughtful, melancholy eyes, that it was impossible ever to look upon and to forget.

"I no sooner observed him at all, than my whole boyish soul seemed knit to him.

"His manner was extremely serious; the expression of his countenance sad to a degree—deeply, intensely sad, I might say; yet through that deep sadness there was a tender sweetness which was to me most interesting. I never shall forget his smile—for laugh he never was heard to do.

"I soon discovered two things, that made me feel more for him than all the rest. One, that he was an extremely well-informed boy, and had received a home education of a very superior order; and the other, that he was most unfortunate, and that his misfortunes had one peculiar ingredient of bitterness in them, namely, that they were of a nature to excite the scorn and contempt of the vulgar herd that surrounded him, rather than to move their rude hearts to sympathy and pity.

"The propensity to good in rough, vulgar, thoughtless human beings, is very apt to show itself in this way—in a sort of contemptuous disgust against vice and folly, and an alienation from those connected with it, however innocent We must accept it, upon reflection, I suppose, as a rude form of good inclination; but I was too young for reflection—too young to make allowances, too young to be equitable. Such conduct appeared to me the most glaring and barbarous injustice, and excited in me a passion ate indignation.

"Never did I hear St. Leger taunted, as he often was, with the frailties of his mother or the errors of his father, but my heart was all in a flame—my fist clinched—my cheek burning. Many a fellow have I laid prostrate upon the earth with a sudden blow who dared, in my presence, to chase the color from St. Leger's cheek by alluding to the subject. There was this remarkable in St. Leger, by the way, that he never colored when his mother's shame or his father's end was alluded to, but went deadly pale.

"The history was a melancholy one of human frailty, and is soon told. His mother had been extremely beautiful, his father the possessor of a small independent fortune. They had lived happily together many years, and she had brought him five children; four girls and this boy. I have heard that the father doted with no common passion—in a husband, Catherine—upon the beautiful creature, who was moreover[Pg 370] accomplished and clever. She seemed devoted to her children, and had given no common attention to her boy in his early years. Hence his mental accomplishments. The husband was, I suspect, rather her inferior in intellect; and scarcely her equal in refinement and manner, but it's no matter, it would have been probably the same whatever he had been. She who will run astray under one set of circumstances, would probably have run astray under any. She was very vain of her beauty and talents, and had been spoiled by the idolatry and flattery of all who surrounded her.

"I will not pain you by entering into any particulars; in brief, she disgraced herself, and was ruined.

"The rage, the passionate despair, the blind fury of the injured husband, it was said, exceeded all bounds. There was of course every sort of public scandal. Legal proceedings and the necessary consequences—a divorce. The wretched history did not even end here. She suffered horribly from shame and despair I have been told, but the shame and despair, had not the effect it ought to have produced. She fell from bad to worse, and was utterly lost. The husband did the same. Wild with the stings of wounded affection, blinded with suffering, he flew for refuge to any excitement which would for a moment assuage his agonies; the gaming-table, and excess in drinking, soon finished the dismal story. He shot himself in a paroxysm of delirium tremens, after having lost almost every penny he possessed at Faro.

"You tremble Catherine. Your hand in mine is cold. Oh the pernicious woman! Oh the depths of the misery—if I were indeed to tell you all I have met with and known—which are entailed upon the race by the vanity, the folly, and the vice of women. Angels! yes, angels you are. Sweet Saint—sweet Catherine, and men fall down and worship you—but woe for them when she they worship, proves a fiend.

"Dear Miss Arnold, you are shedding tears—but you would have this dismal story. You had better hear no more of it, let me stop now."

"Go on—pray go on, Edgar. Tell us about the poor boy and the girls, you said there were four of them."

"The boy and his sisters were taken by some relations. It was about a year after these events that I met him at this school. They had sent him here, thinking the army the best place for him. To get him shot off, poor fellow, perhaps, if they could. His four sisters were all then living, and how tenderly, poor lad, he used to talk to me about them. How he would grieve over the treatment they were receiving, with the best intentions he acknowledged, but too hardening and severe he thought for girls so delicate. They wanted a mother's fostering, a father's protection, poor things, but he never alluded in the remotest way to either father or mother. Adam, when he sprung from the earth, was not more parentless than he seemed to consider himself. But he used to talk of future for his sisters, and sometimes in his more cheerful moods, would picture to himself what he would do when he should be a man, and able to shelter them in a home, however humble, of his own. His whole soul was wrapped up in these girls."

"Did you ever hear what became of them?"

"Three died of consumption, I have been told, just as they were opening into the bloom of early womanhood, almost the loveliest creatures that ever were seen."

"And the fourth."

"She was the most beautiful of all—a fine, high-spirited, dashing creature. Her brother's secret terror and darling."


"She followed her mother's example, and died miserably at the age of two-and-twenty."

"What can we do for this man?" cried Catherine, when she had recovered voice a little. "Edgar, what can we do for this man?"

"Your first question, dear girl—always your first question—what can be done?" Ever, my love, may you preserve that precious habit. My Catherine never sits down lamenting, and wringing her hands helplessly about other people's sorrows. The first thing she asks, is, "what can be done."


Strongest minds
Are often those of whom the noisy world
Hears least; else surely this man had not left
His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.

The first thing to be done, it was obvious to all parties, was for Edgar to go and call upon Mr. St. Leger, which he did.

He found him occupying one very small room, which served him for bed and sitting room, in a small cottage upon the outskirts of the little secluded town of Briarwood. He looked extremely ill; his beautiful countenance was preternaturally pale; his large eyes far too bright and large; his form attenuated; and his voice so faint, husky, and low that it was with difficulty he could make himself heard, at least for any length of time together.

The expression of his countenance, however, was rather grave than sad; resigned than melancholy. He was serious but perfectly composed; nay, there was even a chastened cheerfulness in his manner. He looked like one who had accepted the cup presented to him; had already exhausted most of the bitter potion, and was calmly prepared to drain it to the dregs.

And so it had been.

No man was ever more exquisitely constituted to suffer from circumstances so agonizing than he. But his mind was of a lofty stamp; he had not sunk under his sufferings. He had timely considered the reality of these things. He had learned to connect—really, truly, faithfully—the[Pg 371] trials and sorrows of this world with the retributions of another. He had accepted the part allotted to him in the mysterious scheme; had played it as best he could, and was now prepared for its impending close.

It is consoling to know one thing. In his character of minister of the holy word of God he had been allowed the privilege of attending the last illness of both mother and sister, both so deeply, deeply, yet silently beloved, in spite of all; and, through those blessed means, the full value and mercy of which, perhaps such grievous sinners are alone able to entirely estimate, he had reconciled them, as he trusted, with that God "who forgiveth all our iniquities and healeth all our diseases." Having been allowed to do this, he felt as if it would be the basest ingratitude to murmur because his services in the pulpit were suddenly arrested by the disease in his chest, and with it a stop put to further usefulness, and even to the supply of his daily bread.

He was calmly expecting to die in the receipt of parish relief; for he had not a penny beyond his curate's salary; and it was impossible to allow Mr. Thomas, who was a poor man himself, to continue that, now the hope of restoration to usefulness seemed at an end. It was not likely, indeed, that he should, upon the spare hermit's diet which his scanty means allowed, recover from a complaint of which weakness was the foundation.

He had tried to maintain himself by his pen; but the complaint which prevented his preaching was equally against the position when writing. He could do so little in this way that it would not furnish him with a loaf a week. A ray of genuine pleasure, however, shot to his eye, and a faint but beautiful flush mounted to his cheek, when Edgar entered and cordially held out his hand.

He was such a dear warm-hearted fellow, was Edgar. St. Leger had loved him so entirely at school; and those days were not so very long since! The impression old Time had not even yet attempted with his busy fingers to efface.

"I am so glad to have found you out, my dear fellow," Edgar began. "Who would have thought of meeting you, of all people in the world, here, ensconsed in such a quiet nook of this busy island—a place where the noise and bustle and stir of the Great Babylon can not even be heard. But what are you doing in this place? for you look ill, I must say, and you seem to be left to yourself without a human being to look after you."

"Much so. You know I am quite alone in the world."

"A dismal position that, and I am come to put an end to it. My wife insists upon making your acquaintance, and scuttled me off this morning without giving me time to eat my breakfast, though, to own the truth, I was ready enough of myself to set out. The general desired me to bring his card; he is too infirm to go out himself, and he and Mrs. Melwyn request the favor of your company to dinner to-morrow at six o'clock."

"I should be very happy—but—," and he hesitated a little.

"I'll come and fetch you in the dog-cart about five, and drive you down again in the evening. It's a mere step by Hatherway-lane, which is quite passable at this time of the year, whatever it may be in winter."

St. Leger looked as if he should like very much to come. His was a heart, indeed, formed for society, friendship, and love; not the least of the monk or the hermit was to be found in his composition. And so it was settled.

St. Leger came to dinner, as arranged, Edgar fetching him up in the dog-cart.

Every one was struck with his appearance. There was a gentleness and refinement in his manner which charmed Mrs. Melwyn; united to the ease and politeness of a man of the world, equally acceptable to the general; Catharine was delighted; and Lettice only in a little danger of being too well pleased.

His conversation soon showed him to be a man of a very superior turn of thought, and was full of information. In short, it was some time, with the exception of Edgar, since so agreeable a person had sat down at that dinner-table; for the Hazels lay rather out of the way, and neither the general nor Mrs. Melwyn were of a temper to cultivate society.

Edgar returned home in the evening from an agreeable drive with his friend through the bright glittering starlight night. It was slightly frosty, and he came into the drawing-room rubbing his hands, with his cheeks freshened by the air, looking as if he was prepared very much to enjoy the fire.

He found the whole party sitting up, and very amicably discussing the new acquaintance, who had pleased them all so much. So Edgar sat down between his wife and her mother, and readily joined in the conversation.

The general, who really was much altered for the better under the good influences of Lettice, had been speaking in high terms of their late guest. And when Edgar came in and sat down in the circle, spreading his hands to the fire, and looking very comfortable, the general, in an amicable tone, began:

"Really, Edgar, we have been saying we are quite obliged to you for introducing to us so agreeable a man as this Mr. St. Leger, of yours. He is quite a find in such a stupid neighborhood as ours, where, during the ten years I have lived in it, I have never met one resident"—with an emphasis upon the word, that it might not be supposed to include Edgar himself—"one resident whose company I thought worth a brass farthing."

"I am very glad my friend gives satisfaction, sir," said Edgar cheerfully; "for I believe, poor fellow, he has much more to seek than even yourself, general, in the article of companionship. One can not think that the society of the worthy Mr. Thomas can afford much of interest to a man like St. Leger. But whatever pleasure you may mutually afford each other will soon be at[Pg 372] an end, I fear; and I have been beating my brains all the way coming home, to think what must be done."

"Why must the pleasure come so soon to an end, Edgar?" asked Mrs. Melwyn.

"Why, if something can't be done, the poor lad is in a fair way to be starved to death," was the answer.

"Starved to death! How shockingly you do talk, Edgar," cried Mrs. Melwyn. "I wish you would not say such things—you make one quite start. The idea is too horrible—besides, it can not be true. People don't starve to death nowadays—at least not in a sort of case like that."

"I don't know—such things do sound as if they couldn't be true—and yet," said Catherine, "they do come very nearly to the truth at times."

"Indeed do they," said Lettice. "Starved to death," observed the general, "I take to be merely a poetic exaggeration of yours, captain. But do you mean to say that young man is literally in distressed circumstances?"

"The most urgently distressing circumstances, sir. The fact is, that he inherited nothing from his father but a most scandalous list of debts, which he most honorably sold every farthing of his own little property to pay—relying for his subsistance upon the small stipend be was to receive from Mr. Thomas. You don't like Mr. Thomas, sir."

"Who would like such a stupid old drone?"

"He's a worthy old fellow, nevertheless. Though his living is a very poor one, he has acted with great liberality to James St. Leger. The poor fellow has lost his voice: you would perceive in conversation how very feeble and uncertain it was. It is utterly powerless in the reading-desk; and yet Mr. Thomas has insisted upon retaining him—paying his salary, and doing all the duty himself. As long as there was any hope of recovery, to this St. Leger most unwillingly submitted; but, now he despairs of ever again being useful, it is plain it can no longer be done."

"And what is to become of him?" exclaimed Lettice.

She knew what it was to be utterly without resource—she knew how possible it was for such things to happen in this world—she knew what it was to be hungry and to want bread, and be without the means of assistance—to be friendless, helpless, and abandoned by all.

"What is to be done?" she cried.

"What is to be done?" said the general, rather testily. "Why, the young fellow must turn his hand to something else. None but a fool starves."

"Ay, but," said Edgar, shaking his head, "but what is that something? I see no prospect for one incapacitated by his cloth for enlisting as a soldier or standing behind a counter, and by his illness for doing any thing consistent with his profession."

"I should think he might write a canting book," said the general with a sneer; "that would be sure to sell."

"Whatever book St. Leger wrote," Edgar answered coldly, "would be a good one, whether canting or not. But he can not write a book. The fatigue, the stooping, would be intolerable to his chest in its present irritable state. Besides, if he did write a book, it's a hundred to one whether he got any thing for it; and, moreover, the book is not written; and there is an old proverb which says, while the grass grows the horse starves. He literally will starve, if some expedient can not be hit upon."

"And that is too, too dreadful to think of," cried Mrs. Melwyn piteously. "Oh, general!"

"Oh, papa! oh, Edgar! Can you think of nothing?" added Catharine in the same tone.

"It would be a pity he should starve; for he is a remarkably gentlemanlike, agreeable fellow," observed the general. "Edgar, do you know what was meant by the term, one meets with in old books about manners, of 'led captain?' I wish to heaven I could have a led captain like that."

"Oh, there was the chaplain as well as the led captain in those days, papa," said Catherine, readily. "Dearest papa, if one could but persuade you you wanted a domestic chaplain."

"Well, and what did the chaplain do in those days. Mrs. Pert?"

"Why, he sat at the bottom of the table, and carved the sirloin."

"And he read, and played at backgammon—when he was wanted, I believe," put in Edgar.

"And he did a great deal more," added Catherine in a graver tone. "He kept the accounts, and looked after important business for his patron."

"And visited the poor and was the almoner and their friend," said Lettice in a low voice.

"And played at bowls, and drank—"

Catherine put her hand playfully over the general's mouth.

"Don't, dear papa—you must not—you must not, indeed. Do you know this irreverence in speaking of the members of so sacred a profession is not at all what ought to be done. Don't Edgar. Dear papa, I may be foolish, but I do so dislike it."

"Well, well, well—any thing for a quiet life."

"But to resume the subject," locking her arm in his, and smiling with a sweetness which no one, far least he, could resist. "Really and seriously I do think it would be an excellent thing if you would ask Mr. St. Leger to be your domestic chaplain."

"Stuff and nonsense."

"Not such stuff and nonsense as you think. Here's our darling Lettice—think what a comfort she has been to mamma, and think what a pleasant thing it would be for you to have a confidential and an agreeable friend at your elbow—just as mamma has in Lettice. Hide your face, Lettice, if you can't bear to be praised a little before it; but I will have it done, for I[Pg 373] see you don't like it. But, papa, you see things are getting a good deal into disorder, they say, upon your property out of doors, just for want of some one to look after them. I verily believe, that if we could persuade this young gentleman to come and do this for you, he would save you a vast deal of money."

The general made no answer. He sank back in his chair, and seemed to meditate. At last, turning to Edgar, he said,

"That little wife of yours is really not such a fool as some might suppose her to be, captain."


"What say you, Mrs. Melwyn? Is there any sense in the young lady's suggestion, or is there not? What says Miss Arnold? Come, let us put it to the vote."

Mrs. Melwyn smiled. Catherine applauded and laughed, and kissed her father, and declared he was the dearest piece of reasonableness in the world. And, in short, the project was discussed, and one said this, and the other said that, and after it had been talked over and commented upon, with a hint from one quarter, and a suggestion from another, and so on, it began to take a very feasible and inviting shape.

Nothing could be more true than a person of this description in the family was terribly wanted. The general was becoming every day less able and less inclined to look after his own affairs. Things were mismanaged, and he was robbed in the most notorious and unblushing manner. This must be seen to. Of this Edgar and Catherine had been upon their return speedily aware. The difficulty was how to get it done; and whom to trust in their absence; which would soon, owing to the calls of the service, take place again, and for an indefinite period of time.

Mr. St. Leger seemed the very person for such an office, could he be persuaded to undertake it; and his extremity was such, that, however little agreeable to such a man the proposal might be, it appeared not impossible that he might entertain it. Then he had made himself so much favor with the general, that one difficulty, and the greatest, was already overcome.

Mrs. Melwyn seconded their designs with her most fervent wishes. She could not venture to do much more.

To have expressed her sentiments upon the subject—to have said how much she felt the necessity of some such plan, and how ardently she desired that it might be carried into execution, would have been one very likely reason for setting her wayward old partner against it.

She had found so much happiness in the possession of Lettice as a friend, that she anticipated every possible advantage from a similar arrangement for the general.

You may remark as you go along, that it was because Lettice had so admirably performed her own part, that the whole family were so desirous of repeating it under other circumstances. Such are among the incidental—if I may call them so—fruits of good conduct.

If the vices spread wide their devastating influences—the virtues extend their blessings a thousand fold.

The general did not want for observation He had estimated the good which had arisen from the admission of Lettice Arnold into his family, and he felt well inclined to the scheme of having a companion of his own. He could even tolerate the idea of a species of domestic chaplain; provided the personage so designated would look to his home farm and keep his accounts.

The proposal was made to Mr. St. Leger.

He hesitated. Edgar expected that he would.

"I do not know," he said. "I feel as if I were, in some measure, running the risk of degrading my holy office, by accepting, merely for my personal convenience, a dependent position, where certain compliances, as a necessary condition, might be expected, which are contrary to my views of things."

"Why so? I assure you, upon my honor, nothing of that sort is to be apprehended. These are really very well meaning people, and you may serve them more than you seem aware. The part of domestic chaplain is not held beneath the members of your church. I own this is not a noble family, and doubt whether you can legitimately claim the title. Yet the office is the same."

"Yes—if I may perform the duties of that office. On that condition alone, will I entertain the thought of it for a moment. And I must add, that as soon as ever I am in a condition—if that time ever arrives—to resume my public duties, I am to be allowed to do so."


"And, that while I reside under the general's roof, I may carry out certain reforms which I believe to be greatly wanted."

"No doubt."

"And that I shall be enabled to assist Mr. Thomas in the care of this extremity of his large parish, which so deplorably requires looking after."

The general grumbled a little at some of these conditions, but finally consented to all.

He was getting an old man. Perhaps he was not sorry—though he thought it due to those ancient prejudices of his profession, I am happy to say now fast growing obsolete, to appear so—perhaps he was not really sorry, now the wheel was beginning to pause at the cistern, and the darkness of age was closing around him, to have some one in his household to call his attention to things which he began to feel had been neglected too long.

Perhaps he was not sorry to allow family prayer in a mansion, where the voice of united family prayer had, till then, never been heard. To anticipate a little—I may add, as certain, that he, who began with never attending at all, was known to drop in once or twice; and ended by scolding Lettice heartily in a morning if there was any danger of her not having bound up his arm in time for him to be present.[Pg 374]

His gray venerable head—his broken, but still manly figure—his wrinkled face—his still keen blue eye, might be seen at last amid his household. The eye fixed in a sort of determined attention—the lips muttering the prayer—a sort of child in religion still—yet far to seek in many things; but accepted, we will hope, as a child.

He could share, too, as afterward appeared, in the interest which Mrs. Melwyn and Lettice, after Mr. St. Leger's arrival, ventured openly to take in the concerns of the poor; and even in the establishment of a school, against which, with an obstinate prejudice against the education of the lower classes, the general had long so decidedly set his face.

In short, having accepted all the conditions upon which alone St. Leger, even in the extremity of his need, could be persuaded to accept a place in his family, the old soldier ended by taking great comfort, great interest, great pleasure, in all the improvements that were effected.

One difficulty presented itself in making the arrangement; and this came from a quarter quite unexpected by Catherine—from poor Mrs. Melwyn.

"Ah, Catherine," said she, coming into her room, and looking most nervous and distressed, "take care what you and Edgar are about, in bringing this Mr. St. Leger into the family. Suppose he should fall in love with Lettice?"

"Well, mamma, suppose he should—where would be the dreadful harm of that?" said Catherine, laughing.

"Ah, my dear! Pray, don't laugh, Catherine. What would become of us all?"

"Why, what would become of you all?"

"I'm sure I don't wish to be selfish. I should hate myself if I were. But what could we do without Lettice? Dear Catherine! only think of it. And that would not be the worst. They could not marry—for they would have nothing to live upon if they left us—so they would both be miserable. For they could neither go nor stay. It would be impossible for them to go on living together here, if they were attached to each other and could never be married. And so miserable as they would be, Catherine, it makes me wretched to think of it."

"Ah! dear, sweet mother, don't take up wretchedness at interest—that's my own mother. They're not going to fall in love. Mr. St. Leger looks not the least inclined that way."

"Ah, that's easily said, but suppose they did?"

"Well, suppose they did. I see no great harm in it; may I confess to you, mother, for my part, I should be secretly quite glad of it."

"Oh, Catherine! how can you talk so? What would be done?"

"Done! Why, let them marry to be sure, and live on here."

"Live on here! Who on earth ever heard of such a scheme! Dearest child, you are too romantic. You are almost absurd, my sweet Catherine—forgive your poor mother for saying so."

"No, that I won't," kissing her with that playful tenderness which so well became her, "that I won't, naughty mamma. Because, do you know, you say the most unjust thing in the world when you call me romantic. Why, only ask papa, ask Edgar, ask Mrs. Danvers, ask any body, if I am not common-sense personified."

"If I asked your papa, my dear girl, he would only say you had a way of persuading one into any thing, even into believing you had more head than heart, my own darling," said the fond mother, her pale cheek glowing, and those soft eyes swimming in delight, as she looked upon her daughter.

"That's right; and now you have acknowledged so much, my blessed mother, I am going to sit down by you, and seriously to give you my well weighed opinions upon this most weighty matter." So Catherine drew a low stool, and sat too down by her mother's knee, and threw her arm over her lap, and looked up in her face and began her discourse.

"First of all, then, dearest mamma, I think you a little take up anxiety at interest in this case. I really never did see a man that seemed to me less likely to fall in love imprudently than this Mr. St. Leger. He is so extremely grave and sedate, so serious, and so melancholy, and he seems so completely to have done with this world—it has, indeed, proved a bitter world to him—and to have so entirely placed his thoughts upon another, that I think the probability very remote indeed, if to the shadow of any thing above a possibility it amounts, of his ever taking sufficient interest in present things to turn his thoughts upon his own happiness. He seems absorbed in the performance of the duties to which he has devoted himself. Secondly, this being my idea of the state of the case, I have not the slightest apprehension in the world for dear Lettice's happiness; because I know what a sensible, kind, and what a well regulated heart hers is, and that she is far too good and right-minded to attach herself in any way beyond mere benevolence, and friendship, and so forth, where there was not a prospect of an adequate return."

"Oh, yes! my love, very true; yet, Catherine, you admit the possibility, however remote, of what I fear. And then what would become of us all? Surely, it is not right to shut our eyes to this possibility."

"Why, mamma, I don't deny the possibility you speak of, and I quite see how wrong it would be to shut our eyes to it; but just listen to me, dearest mother, and don't call me wild and romantic till you have heard me out."

"Well, my love, go on; I am all attention."

"I should think it really, the most ridiculous thing in the world," and she laughed a little to herself, "to enter so seriously into this matter, if Edgar and I, alas! were not ordered away in so short a time, and I fear my dearest mamma will be anxious and uncomfortable after I am[Pg 375] gone—about this possibility, if we do not settle plans a little, and agree what ought, and what could be done, supposing this horrible contingency to arise."

"How well you understand your poor mother, love! Yes; that is just it. Only let me have the worst placed steadily before my eyes, and the remedies, if any, proposed, or if none, the state of the case acknowledged, and I can bear the contemplation of almost any thing. I think it is not patience, but courage, that your poor mother wants, my child. Uncertainty—any thing that is vague—the evils of which are undefined, seems to swell into such terrific magnitude. I am like a poor frightened child, Catherine; the glimmering twilight is full of monstrous spectres to me."

"Yes, mamma, I believe that is a good deal the case with most of us; but more especially with those who have so much sensibility and such delicate nerves as you have. How I adore you, dear mother, for the patient sweetness with which you bear that trying sort of constitution."

"Dear child!"

"Well, then, mother, to look this evil steadily in the face, as you say. Suppose Lettice and Mr. St. Leger were to form an attachment for each other, what should hinder them from marrying?"

"Ah, my dear, that was what I said before, what would become of them—they must starve."

"Why so? why not live on here?"

"Nay, Catherine, you made me promise not to call you romantic, but who ever heard of such an out-of-the-way scheme. A young married couple, living in the condition of domestic companions to people, and in another man's house. Utterly impossible—what nobody ever attempted to do—utterly out of the question."

"Well, mamma, I, for one, think that a great many rather out-of-the-way plans, which, nevertheless, might make people very happy, are often rejected—merely because 'nobody ever heard of such a thing,' or, 'nobody ever thought of doing so, and therefore it is utterly impossible.'... But I think I have observed that those who, in their own private arrangements, have had the courage, upon well considered grounds—mind I say upon well considered grounds—to overlook the consideration of nobody ever having thought of doing such a thing before—have found their account in it, and a vast deal of happiness has been secured which would otherwise have been quite lost."

"As how, Catherine. Give me instances. I don't quite follow you."

"Why, in marriages, for instance, then, such cases arise very often. Late marriages for one—between people quite advanced in years—which the world often laugh and sneer at. Most wrongly in my opinion—for through them how often do we see what would otherwise have been a solitary old age, rendered cheerful and comfortable; and sometimes a weary, disappointed life, consoled by a sweet friendship and affection at its close. Then, there are marriages founded upon reason and arrangement; such as when an ugly man with an ungraceful manner, yet perhaps a good heart and head, and with it plenty of money, marries one rather his inferior in social rank, whom his circumstances enable him to indulge with many new sources of enjoyment, and who in return is grateful for the elevation, and proud of a husband young ladies of his own class might have looked down upon. Then there might be another arrangement, which is, indeed, at present, I own, almost a romance, it is so rarely entered into. I mean, supposing single women from different families, somewhat advanced in life, were to put their little fortunes together, and form a household, wherein, by their united means, they might live easily—instead of almost in penury alone. In short, the instances are innumerable, in which, I think, the path a little out of the ordinary course, is the wisest a person can pursue."

"Go on, my love, you talk so prettily, I like to hear you."

The daughter kissed the soft white hand she held in hers—white it was as the fairest wax, and still most beautiful. The signs of age were only discernible in the wasting blue veins having become a little too obvious.

"Well, then, mamma, to draw my inference. I think, under the peculiar circumstances of our family, you, who are so in want of children and companions, could not do better, than if these two valuable creatures did attach themselves to one another, to let them marry and retain them as long as they were so minded under your roof."

"My goodness, child!"

"I have planned it all. This house is so big. I should allot them an apartment at the east end of it. Quite away from the drawing-room and yours and my father's rooms—where they might feel as much at home as it is possible for people to feel in another man's house. I should increase their salary—by opening a policy upon their lives; as a provision for their children if they had any. A large provision of this sort would not be needed. It is not to be supposed their children would not have to earn their own living as their parents had done before them. Why should they not? Nota bene—Edgar and I hold that the rage for making children independent, as it is called—that is, enabling them just to exist, doing nothing, so as just to keep them from starving upon a minimum income, is a very foolish thing among those whose habits of life render no such independence necessary, and who have never thought of enjoying this exemption from labor in their own case."

"But, your father! And then, suppose they got tired of the plan, and longed for a house of their own?"

"My father is much more easily persuaded to what is good for him, than we used to think, dear mother. See how nice he has been about Lettice and this Mr. St. Leger. As to their[Pg 376] wishing at last for a home of their own, that is possible I allow: but think, sweetest mother, of the pleasure of rewarding this dear, good girl, by making her happy. As for the rest, fear not, mamma. God will provide."

Mrs. Melwyn made no answer. But she listened more comfortably. The nervous, anxious, harassed expression of face, which Catherine knew but too well, began to compose, and her countenance to resume its sweet and tranquil smile.

"Mind, dear mamma, after all I am only speaking of the remote possibility, and what might be done. You would have such pleasure in carrying out the scheme. Oh! I do wish there were but a chance of it—really I can't help it, mamma—it would be so nice;" said the sanguine, kind-hearted Catherine.


Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools who came to scoff, remained to pray.

Accordingly, Mr. St. Leger, his objections having been overruled by Edgar, accepted the place offered him in General Melwyn's family.

In old times it would probably have been called, what it literally was, that of domestic chaplain: and the dignity of the name, the defined office, and the authority in the household which it implies, would not have been without their use—but, in spite of the want of these advantages, Mr. St. Leger managed to perform the duties, which, in his opinion, attached to the office, to the satisfaction of every one.

It had not been without considerable difficulty and hesitation that he had persuaded himself to enter into the plan. He had scruples, as we have seen; and he had, moreover, an almost invincible dislike to any thing approaching to family dependence.

The extremity of his circumstances, however, made him, upon a little consideration, feel that the indulgence of these latter mentioned feelings of pride and delicacy, was not only unreasonable but almost positively wrong. And, as for the scruples connected with his profession, Edgar did not find it difficult to dissipate them.

He set forth, what was in truth the present state of the family at the Hazels, and enlarged upon the very great need there was for the introduction of more religious views than now prevailed. According to a fashion almost universally prevalent when General Melwyn was young, except with those of professed religious habits, and who were universally stigmatized as Methodists, family prayer had been utterly neglected in his family. And, notwithstanding the better discipline maintained since the evil star of Randall had sunk beneath the horizon, not the slightest approach to regularity, in this respect, had been as yet made. Mrs. Melwyn was personally pious, though in a timid and unconfiding way, her religion doing little to support and strengthen her mind; but the general, though he did not live, as many of his generation were doing, in the open profession of skepticism, and that contempt for the Bible, which people brought up when Tom Paine passed for a great genius, used to reckon so clever, yet it was but too probable that he never approached his Creator, in the course of the twenty-four hours, in any way; nor had he done so, since he was a child at his mother's knee.

The young captain and his lady were blest with loving, pious, simple dispositions. They loved one another—they delighted in the dear, happy world in which they lived, and in the sweet little creature, their own darling and most precious possession, and they both loved, and most gratefully served their God, who had given them all these good things, and loved him with the full warmth of their feeling hearts. They showed their reverence for divine things by every means in their power: and though they were not of those who go about hurling the awful vengeance of God, upon all they may think less pious than themselves, they were naturally anxious, and as advancing years brought increase of serious thought, they became more and more anxious that their parents should share the consolations, and their house hold the moral guidance to be derived from a better system.

Then, as I hinted to you before, in anticipation of this change, there had been a very serious neglect, upon the part of this family, of all those duties connected with the poor and ignorant. None of those efforts were here made to assist in softening the evils of destitution, or in forwarding the instruction of the young, which almost every body, nowadays, considers such obvious duties.

Such were among the considerations urged by Edgar, and to such Mr. St. Leger yielded.

The general was profuse in his offers as regarded salary, and gave Edgar a carte blanche upon the matter; but Mr. St. Leger would only accept of one hundred a year, and this, with the stipulation that so soon as the state of his health would enable him, he should be at liberty to undertake the duties belonging to a curate for Mr. Thomas, without diminishing that gentleman's slender stipend by receiving any remuneration from his hands.

This last part of the arrangement was particularly acceptable to Mr. St. Leger, as he thought with the highest satisfaction upon the probability now opening of resuming his clerical duties, and of thus being able to repay the debt of gratitude he felt to be owing to the good old vicar.

And now behold Mr. St. Leger introduced as a member of the family at the Hazels, and shedding, on his part, as Lettice had before him done, upon hers, a new set of benign influences upon this household.

He was installed the first day by the general,[Pg 377] with much politeness and some little formality, in Edgar's place, at the bottom of the table; that young gentleman having made it his particular request that he might see his friend sitting there before his departure. With due gravity was all this done; while Edgar, chuckling with delight, came and popped down in his place by the side of his wife.

The young stranger, looking extremely quiet and composed, without fuss, ceremony, or hurry, took the place appointed to him; but, before seating himself, with a serious air, he opened his ministerial functions, by saying grace.

Not as the general was wont to say it—for say it he did, more as if making a grimace than even as going through a form—but so impressively and reverently, though very briefly, that the hearts of those about to sit down, were touched, and they were reminded in spite of themselves, as they ought to be reminded, that there is One above all who is the Giver of these good things.

The scene was striking. The very footmen—the officer's footmen—paused, napkin in hand; astonished—awe-struck by the service. They stood and stared with vacant eyes, but remained stock still.

That over, the dinner went on as usual. People ate and drank with cheerful enjoyment. They all, indeed, felt particularly warm-hearted and comfortable that day. A sort of genial glow seemed to pervade the little party. The footmen rushed about more light-footed and assiduous than ever; and, be it observed to their credit, they were all, without exception, most particularly attentive to the new comer.

In the evening, at ten o'clock, the bell rang for prayers.

Mr. St. Leger, be it understood, had not stipulated for obligatory attendance upon this service—only for the right to have candles in the library, and of reading prayers to such as might chose to come; but Mrs. Melwyn had ordered the servants to attend; and she, and Edgar, and Catherine, were also there, leaving poor Lettice to take charge of the general.

The service was short, but impressive, as the grace had been before. It was necessarily very brief, for the voice of the fair and delicate young man, looking, indeed, as we might imagine one of the angels of the churches, figured in Scripture, was so extremely feeble that more he could not do.

But even if he had possessed the power, I question whether much more he would have done, he looked upon impressive brevity as the very soul of such exercises in a family like the present.

Poor Lettice! how hard she found it that evening to remain playing backgammon with the general, when the rest went out of the room. Going to attend those services to which she had been accustomed in the house of her father; and after which, during her stay here, her heart had so often yearned; but it could not be.

She was, however, consoled by a whisper from Catherine, as she came back, passing her upon her way to take her place by the fire.

"To-morrow you go and I stay. We will take it in turns."

The new plans were of course—as what taking place in a family is not—discussed in full conclave that evening over the kitchen fire.

The servants all came back and assembled round it preparatory to washing up and going to bed; for though it was summer and warm weather, what servant in the world does not enjoy the kitchen fire in the evening, be the weather what it may? And, to tell truth, there are not a few in the parlor, who usually would be glad to share the privilege; but to proceed.

"Well, Thomas, how do you like these new ways of going on?" asked Mary, the serious, stiff, time-dried, and smoke-dyed head-laundress—a personage of unknown antiquity, and who had been in the family ever since it was a family—addressing the fine powdered gentleman in silk stockings, and pink, white, and silver livery, who leaned negligently against the chimney-piece.

"For my part, I'm glad, indeed, to see serious ways taken up in this house; but how will it suit the rest of you? And especially you, my fine young gentleman?"

"Why," answered Thomas, assuming a grave and thoughtful aspect, "I'm going to confess something which will, perhaps, astonish you, Mistress Mary—and thus it is—if I'd been told twelve months ago that such new regulations were to be introduced into this household, I have very great doubts whether I could have made up my mind to have submitted to them; but within these few hours, d'ye see, there's been a change."

"Bravo, Thomas!" said the butler; "a conversion like—I've heard of such things in my time."

"Call it what you will, Mr. Buckminster, I call it a change—for a change there has been."

"What! well! what!" from different voices round. "Do tell us all about it."

"Why, Charles, you were there; and Mr. Buckminster, you were there too. But Charles is young and giddy; and Mr. Buckminster being always rather of the serious order, very probably the effect you see was not produced so strongly upon either of them as upon me."

"What effect? Well—"

"Why of the grace, as was said before they sat down to dinner."

"The grace! Was it the first time you ever heard grace said, you booby?"

"Yes, I'd heard grace said—I should suppose as often as any as may be here—though, perhaps, not so sensible to its importance and value as some present, meaning you, Mistress Mary. The general, for one, never used to omit it; but, save us! in what a scuffling careless manner it was said. I protest to you, I thought no more of it than of Mr. Buckminster taking off the covers and handing them to me. Just as a necessary[Pg 378] preliminary, as they say, to the dinner, and nothing on earth more."

"Well, do go on, Thomas. It's very interesting," said Mistress Mary, and the rest gathered closer, all attention.

"Well, I was a-going to go scuttling about just as usual, thinking only of not making any noise lest I should see the general—heeding no more of the grace than of what cook was doing at her fire—when that young gentleman, as is come newly among us, bent forward and began to speak it. The effect upon me was wonderful—it was electric—Mr. Buckminster, you know what I mean; I stood as one arrested—I couldn't have moved or not cared if it had been never so—I really couldn't. It seemed to me as if he truly was thanking God for the good things that were set before them. Their plenty, and their comfort, and their abundance; it seemed to me as if things were opened to my mind—what I had never thought of before—who it was—who did give them, and us after them, all sorts of delicacies, and food, and drink, when others might be wanting a morsel of bread; and I seemed to be standing before Him—I felt need to thank Him with the rest.... All this flashed through me like lightning; but he had done in a moment, and they all sat down."

"How beautiful Thomas does talk when he has a mind," whispered the under-housemaid to the under-laundry-maid. "What a fine tall young man he is, and what a gift of the gab."

"Well," said the rest, "go on—is there any more?"

"Yes, there is more. Someway, I could not get it out of my head—I kept thinking of it all dinner. It was as much as I could do to mind what I was about; and once I made such a clatter in putting a knife and fork upon a plate, that if it hadn't been for the greatest good luck in the world, I should have got it. But the general was talking quite complacent like with the two young gentlemen, and by huge good fortune never heeded."


"Well, when I got into the pantry and began washing up, I had more time for quiet reflection. And this is what I thought. What a lot of lubberly, inanimated, ungrateful, stupid slaves we all must be. Here serving an earthly master, to the best of our abilities, for a few beggarly pounds, and for his meat and drink and fine clothing; and very well contented, moreover, when there's roast beef of a Sunday, or plum-pudding, and a glass of wine besides on a wedding-day or a birthday; and thank him, and feel pleased with him, and anxious next day to do better than ordinary, mayhap—And there's the Great Master—the Lord and Giver of all, who made us by his hand, and created us by his power, and feeds us by his bounty, and shelters us by his care; and all for no good of his, but ours—simply ours. For what's he to get of it, but the satisfaction of his merciful and generous spirit, when he sees his poor creatures happy?

"And we are such dolts! such asses! such brute beasts! such stocks! such stones! that here we go on from day to day, enjoying the life he gives us, eating the bread and meat he gives us, drinking his good refreshments, resting upon his warm beds, and so on.... Every day, and every day, and every day—and who among us, I, most especially for one, ever thinks, except may be by scuttling through a few rigmarole words—ever thinks, I say, of thanking Him for it—of lifting up a warm, honest heart, of true real thanking, I mean? Of loving Him the better, and trying to serve and please Him the better—when He, great and powerful as He is—Lord of all the lords, emperors, and kings, that ever wore crowns and coronets in this world—condescends to let us thank Him, to like us to thank Him, and to take pleasure in our humble love and service!"

Ha paused—every eye was fixed upon the speaker.

"And, therefore," continued Thomas, turning to the laundry-maid, who stood there with a tear in her eye; "therefore, Mistress Mary, I am pleased with, and I do like these new ways of going on, as you say; and I bless God, and hope to do it well in my prayers this night, for having at last made of us what I call a regular Christian family."

I have told you, a little in the way of anticipation, that the popularity of Mr. St. Leger's new measures was not confined to the kitchen; but that the general, by slow steps, gradually conformed to the new usages established at the Hazels.

Lettice and Catherine had not long to take it it turns to stay out with him, playing backgammon, at the time of evening prayers.

At first it was a polite—"Oh, pray don't think of staying in the drawing-room upon my account; I can do very well by myself."... Next it was, "Nay, rather than that, I will go into the library too; why should I not?" He began to feel, at first, probably, from a vague sense of propriety only, but before long from better reasons, that it was not very seemly for the master of the house alone to be absent, when the worship of God was going on in his family.

So there he might, as I told you, ere long be seen, regularly at night—in the morning more and more regularly—muttering the responses between his teeth at first; at length, saying them aloud, and with greater emphasis than any of the rest of the little congregation. His once majestic figure, now bent with age, towering above the rest; and his eagle eye of authority, still astonishingly piercing, rolling round from time to time, upon the watch to detect and rebuke, by a glance, the slightest sign of inattention upon the part of any of those assembled.

It was a beautiful picture that evening meeting for prayer, for the library was a very ancient room, it having retained the old fittings put in at the time the Hazels was built, some three half centuries ago. The massive and handsome[Pg 379] book-cases of dark oak; the family pictures, grim with age, which hung above them; the urns and heads of old philosophers and poets adorning the cornice; the lofty chimney-piece, with the family arms carved and emblazoned over it; the massive oaken chairs, with their dark-green morocco cushions; the reading-desk; the large library table, covered with portfolios of rare prints; and large books containing fine illustrated editions of the standard authors of England; gave a somewhat serious, almost religious aspect to the apartment.

Mrs. Melwyn, in her soft gray silks and fine laces; her fair, colorless cheek; her tender eyes bent downward; her devout, gentle, meek, humble attitude and expression; Catherine by her side, in all the full bloom of health and happiness; that charming-looking, handsome Edgar; and Lettice, with so much character in her countenance, seated upon one side of the room, formed a charming row of listening faces, with this rugged, magnificent-looking old general at their head.

On the opposite side were—the grave, stern, old housekeeper, so fat, so grave, and so imposing; Mrs. Melwyn's new maid, a pretty young woman, in the lightest possible apology for a cap, trimmed with pink ribbons; the laundry-maid, so serious, and sitting stiff and starched as one of her own clear muslins; the cook and housemaid looking as attentive as they could; and the under-servants staring with vacant eyes—eyes that looked as if they were ready to drop out of their heads; Mr. Buckminster, as the charming Dickens has it, so "respectable;" Thomas, all spirit and enthusiasm; and Charles doing all in his power not to fall asleep.

At the table the young minister, with that interesting and most delicate face of his; his tall, wasted figure bending forward, his fair, emaciated hands resting upon the book, from which, in a voice low and feeble, but most penetrating and sweet, he read.

They would come back to the drawing-room in such a composed, happy, cheerful frame of mind. The general more remarkably so. He felt more self-satisfaction than the others; because the course of proceeding was so new to him that he imagined it to be very particularly meritorious. A bit of a pharisee you will think—but not the least of that, I assure you. Only people, at their first trying of such paths, do often find them most peculiarly paths of pleasantness and ways of peace; and, this sort of peace, this being at ease with the conscience, is, to be sure, very soothing and comfortable.

In short, nothing could proceed better than things did; and every one was quite content but the charming match-maker, Catherine.

She watched, and watched with the greatest interest; but watch as she might, she could detect no symptoms of falling in love upon the part of Mr. St. Leger.

He spent, indeed, the whole of his mornings either in his own room or in the library, absorbed in the books of divinity, of which there happened to be a very valuable collection; a collection which had slept undisturbed upon the shelves for many and many a long year. These afforded to him a source of interest and improvement which he had never enjoyed since he had left the too often neglected library of the small college where he had been educated. He was ready to devour them. Every moment of time he considered his own—and the whole of the morning was chiefly at his disposal—was devoted to them; with the exception, be it mentioned, of a large portion, which, when the weather would allow, was spent in visiting among the poor at that end of the parish.

At dinner Mr. St. Leger for the first time joined the family party. When he did, however, it must be confessed, he made ample amends for his absence, and was excessively agreeable. He had great powers of conversation, and evidently considered it his duty to exert himself to raise the tone of conversation at the general's table, so as to make the time pass pleasantly with the old man. In this Edgar and Catherine seconded him to the best of their power.

Lettice said little. She sat at the bottom of the table, by Mr. St. Leger; but though he often addressed her—taking care that she should not feel left out—as did Catherine also, she was very silent. She had not, indeed, much that she could venture to say. When conversation took this higher tone, she felt afraid of her own ignorance; and then she first knew what it was to lament not having had a better education.

As they grew more intimate—for people who sit side by side at dinner every day can not help growing intimate—Mr. St. Leger would gently remark upon this reserve; and one day he began to speak openly upon the subject. He had attributed her silence, I believe, to a bashful feeling of inferiority in rank; for her face was so intelligent and full of meaning, that he did not divine its real cause, so he said, with a certain gentle abruptness which became him much:

"I have discovered a fault in you, Miss Arnold, at last; though every body here seems to think it impossible you should have one. May I tell you of it?"

"Oh! if you once begin with my faults, I am afraid you will never have done. I know the length of the score that might be summed up against me, though others are so good-natured as to forget it. Yes, indeed, I shall be much obliged to you."

"Don't you think it is the duty of all to exert themselves in a family party, to make conversation circulate in an agreeable manner?"

"To be sure, I do—and" ... how well you perform that duty, she was prompted to say, but she did not. She hesitated a little, and then added—"And, perhaps, you think I do not do that so much as I ought to do."

"Precisely. You will not be angry. No, you can not be angry. You never are. The most trying and provoking things, I observe, can not ruffle you. So I will venture to say, that I think you don't play fair by me. We are[Pg 380] both here chiefly to make ourselves agreeable, I believe; and I sometimes wish I had a little more assistance in that duty from one who, I am sure, could perform it admirably, if she so pleased."

Lettice shook her head. Then she said, with her usual simplicity, "I used to talk more before you came."

"Did you? But that's not quite generous, is it, to throw the whole burden upon me now I am come, instead of sharing it? Why will you not talk now?"

"Simply, because I can't. Oh, Mr. St. Leger! the talk is so different since you came here, and I feel my own incapacity so sadly—my own ignorance so forcibly—I should say so painfully; but that, indeed, is not my own fault, and that takes the worst pain, you know, out of things."

"Ignorant!" he said: "of what?"

"Of all these things you talk about. I used to pick up a little from the newspapers, but now I have done reading them I seem literally to know nothing."

"Nothing! Nothing about books, I suppose you mean; for you seem to me to understand men and things better than most people I have met with."

"I have experienced more, perhaps, than most girls of my age have done, through my poverty and misfortunes; but what is that?"

"Ah, Miss Arnold! what is it but the best part of all knowledge; to understand one's self and others; the best of all possessions; to possess one's own spirit. But I beg your pardon, I will only add, that I do not, by what I say, intend at all to undervalue the advantages of reading, or the happiness of having a love of reading. Do you love reading?"

"Why, I don't quite know. I find the books I read aloud to Mrs. Melwyn often very tiresome, I must confess."

"And what sort of books do you read to Mrs. Melwyn?"

"Why, only two sorts—novels and essays."

He laughed a little, in his quiet way, and then said, "I wonder at any young lady disliking novels; I thought it was the very reading they liked best; but as for essays, with very few exceptions, I must own I share in your distaste for them."

"I can't understand them very often. I am ashamed to say it; but the writers use such fine language and such strange new words, and then they go over and over again upon the same thought, and illustrate it twenty different ways, when one happy illustration, I think, would be so much better; I like a writer who marches promptly through a subject; those essayists seem as if they never could have done."

"What you say is just, in many instances, I think. It is a pity you have not tried other reading. History, travels, poetry; you can not think how pleasantly such subjects seem to fill and enlarge the mind. And if you have a little time of your own, you can not easily believe, perhaps, how much may be done. Even with an hour each day, of steady reading, a vast deal."

"Ah! but where shall I begin? Every body reads Hume's History of England first, and I have never even done that; and if I were to begin I should never get to the end of it."

"Oh, yes, but you would, and be surprised to find how soon that end had arrived, and what a pleasant journey you had made. But if you are frightened at Hume, and I own he looks formidable, let me select you something in the library, to commence operations with, which will not be quite so alarming."

"Oh! if you would...."

"With the greatest pleasure in the world. If you will allow me to assist you a little in the choice of your books, I think, with the virtue of perseverance—and I know you have all the virtues—you would get through a good deal in a comparatively short space of time; and when I reflect how much it would add to your happiness, as it does to every one's happiness, I confess I can not feel easy till I have set you going."

This conversation had been carried on in a low voice, while the rest had been talking over some family matters together. The speakers at the head of the table stopped, and the silence aroused the two. Catherine glanced at them suddenly; she saw Lettice color a little, but Mr. St. Leger preserved the most provoking composure.

The evenings Mr. St. Leger devoted exclusively to the good pleasure of the general. He read the newspapers, making them the vehicle of the most intelligent and agreeable comments, he looked out the places mentioned in the maps, and had something perpetually to say that was interesting of this or that. He answered every question the general wanted solved in the cleverest manner; and, in short, he so won upon the old man's heart, that he became quite attached to him. The evenings, once so heavy, and spent in a sort of irritable fretfulness, became quite delightful to him: nor were they less delightful to others. At last, things came to that pass that the wearisome backgammon was given up, and reading aloud took its place. The ladies worked and read in turns, Edgar taking double tides, and Mr. St. Leger doing a little, which he insisted upon, assuring them that it did not hurt his chest at all. He was, indeed, getting stronger and better every day; he was a beautiful reader.

Lettice sat plying her busy needle, but with a countenance so filled with intelligent pleasure, that it is not to be wondered at if Mr. St. Leger, when his reading was over, and he had nothing else to do, and, the books being usually such as he was well acquainted with, not much at the moment to think of, took pleasure in observing her.

He had not forgotten his promise of selecting authors for her own private studies; he seemed to take much benevolent pleasure in endeavoring to compensate to this generous and excellent creature, for the intellectual disadvantages of a[Pg 381] life devoted to others as hers had been. He usually, also, found or made an opportunity for talking over with her what she had been reading; and, he believed, in all sincerity, and so did she, that he was actuated in these proceedings merely, as I said, by the disinterested desire of offering compensation for past sacrifices; stimulated by the very high value he himself attached to mental cultivation, regarding it as the best source of independent happiness both for men and women.

But whatever were the motives with which he began this labor of kindness, it is certain as he proceeded therein a vast deal more interest and pleasure were mingled up with this little task than had been the case at first.

Her simple, unaffected purity of heart; her single-mindedness, unstained by selfish thought, pride, or vanity, or folly, in its simplicity and singleness of purpose, were displayed before him. The generous benevolence of purpose; the warm and grateful piety; the peculiar right-mindedness; the unaffected love for all that was excellent, true, good, or beautiful, and the happy facility of detecting all that was good or beneficial wherever it was to be found, and wherever observed; the sweet cheerfulness and repose of the character; that resemblance to a green field, which I have heard a husband of only too sensitive a nature gratefully attribute to his partner; all this worked strongly, though unmarked.

Mr. St. Leger began to experience a sense of a sweetness, solace, and enjoyment, in the presence of Lettice Arnold, that he had not found upon this earth for years, and which he never had hoped to find again.

But all this time he never dreamed of falling in love. His imagination never traveled so far as to think of such a thing as appropriating this rare blessing to himself. To live with her was his destiny at present, and that seemed happiness enough; and, indeed he scarcely had got so far as to acknowledge to his own heart, how much happiness that privilege conferred.

She, on her side, was equally tranquil, undisturbed by the slightest participation in the romance Catherine would so gladly have commenced. She went on contentedly, profiting by his instructions, delighting in his company, and adoring his goodness; but would as soon have thought of appropriating some "bright particular star" to herself as this gifted man.

She deemed him too infinitely her superior.

Well, it is no use keeping the matter in suspense any longer. You all see how it must end.

You do not fret and worry yourselves as Catherine did, and abuse Mr. St. Leger for his indifference. You see plainly enough that two such very nice people, and so excellently suited to each other, must, thrown together as they were every day, end by liking each other, which, but for the previous arrangements of the excellent Catherine, would have been a very perplexing business to all parties.

When at last—just before Edgar and his wife were going to sail for Canada, and he and she were making their farewell visit at the Hazels—when at last Mr. St. Leger, after having looked for two or three days very miserable, and having avoided every one, and particularly poor Lettice—to whom he had not spoken a word all that time, and who was miserable at the idea that she must have offended him—when at last he took Edgar out walking, and then confessed that he thought it no longer right, safe, or honorable, for him to remain at the Hazels, finding, as he did, that one creature was becoming too dear to him; and he trembled every moment, lest by betraying his secret he might disturb her serenity. When at last the confession was made, and Edgar reported it to his wife—then Catherine was ready to jump for joy. In vain Edgar strove to look wise, and tell her to be reasonable. In vain he represented all the objections that must be urged against her out-of-the-way scheme, as he was ill-natured enough to call it. She would hear of none.

No, nothing. She was perfectly unreasonable—her husband told her so—but it was all in vain. Men are more easily discouraged at the idea of any proceeding out of the usual course than women are. They do not, I think, set so much value upon abstract happiness, if I may use the term; they think more of the attending circumstances, and less of that one ingredient—genuine happiness—than women do.

Catherine could and would think of nothing else, but how perfectly these two were suited to each other, and how excessively happy they would be.

Dear, good thing! how she labored in the cause, and what a world of contradiction and trouble she had to go through. First, there was Mr. St. Leger himself, to be persuaded to be happy upon her plan, the only possible plan under the circumstances; then there was Lettice to persuade that Mr. St. Leger's happiness and dignity would not be hazarded; then there was Edgar to reason out of calling her romantic; and last of all there was the general, for Mrs. Melwyn, I consider, as Catherine did, already persuaded.

This last task did appear formidable. She put it off as long as she could; she got every body else in the right frame of mind before she ventured upon it; she had persuaded both Edgar and Mrs. Melwyn to second her, if need were, and at length, with a dreadful feeling of trepidation, she broached the subject to the old veteran. With all the coolness she could muster she began her speech, and laid the whole matter before him. He did not interrupt her while she spoke by one single word, or remark good, bad, or indifferent. It was awful—her poor little heart fluttered, as if it were going to stop; she expected the storm every instant to burst forth in some terrible outbreak. She sat there shuddering at her own rashness. If even Edgar had called her absurd, what would her father do! If St. Leger himself had been so difficult to manage, what would the old[Pg 382] general say! He said nothing. She would not be discouraged: she began to speak again, to recapitulate every argument; she warmed with the subject; she was earnest, eloquent, pathetic—tears were in the good creature's eyes; still he was silent. At last, wearied out with useless exertion, she ceased to urge the matter any further; and endeavoring to conquer her feelings of deep disappointment, looked up in his face to see whether the slightest relenting expression was visible in it. No; his eyes were fixed upon the floor; he seemed lost in deep thought.

"Papa," she ventured to say, "have you heard all I have been saying?"

"Yes, child."

Silence again for a few minutes, then—"Catherine, did you ever know me do a good action in your life?"

"Dear papa, what a question."

"Did you ever know me, I say, to do one thoroughly generous, benevolent action, without regard to self in the slightest degree—such as I call—such as alone merits the name of a really good action? If you ever did, I can't easily forgive you."

"Dearest papa! what have I done? Did I ever say? Did I ever hint? Dear papa!" and she looked ready to cry.

"Did you ever?—no—I know you never did."

"Don't say so—don't think so badly of me, papa."

"I'm not thinking badly of you, child—God forbid; for well he knows if I ever did one really generous, benevolent action—one without reference to self.... Heaven bless thee, thou dearest thing, thy life seems only made up of such actions; but I say again, did you ever?—No; I know you never did—and I'll tell you why I know it."

"Ah, papa! What can you mean?"

"Because," he went on without seeming to mind her emotion, "because, I observe, that whenever you want to persuade other people—your mother, or Edgar, or Lettice, for instance—to do something you've set your heart upon, you hussy—you always enlarge upon the happiness it will give to other people; but when you're trying to come round me, you only talk of how comfortable it will make myself."

She could only utter a faint exclamation. The accusation, if accusation it may be called, was not to be denied.

"Now, Catherine, since this young man came into the house, what with his conversation, he's a most gentlemanlike, agreeable converser as ever I met with ... and the prayers, and the chapters, and such like; and, in short, a certain new tone of thought altogether; there has been gradually something new growing up in me. I have at times begun to think back upon my life, and to recollect what a nasty, mean, greedy, calculating, selfish fellow I've been throughout, never troubling myself about other people's comforts, or so on, but going on as if every body was only created to promote mine; and I'd have been glad, Catherine, before I went into my grave, which won't be long too—I own to you I would have been glad, for once in my life to have done a purely good, unselfish thing—made a sacrifice, as you pious folk call it; and, therefore, to own the truth, I have been very sorry, and could not help feeling disappointed, as here you've sat prosing this half hour and more, showing me what a great deal I was to get by this notable arrangement of yours."

"Papa!—dearest—dear papa!"

"Be quiet—I have indeed—I'd have liked to have had something to give up, instead of its being, as I verily believe it is, the most charmingly delightful scheme for your mother and me that ever was hit upon—for that man is the happiness of my life—my body's comfort and my soul's health—and Lettice is more like a dear child than any thing else to that poor mother of yours, whom I have not, perhaps, been so considerate of as I ought; and to have them thus fixed together in this house, is better luck than could be conceived, such as scarcely ever happens in this world to any body; and far better than I—almost better than your poor mother deserves. So you're a darling little courageous creature for planning it, when I'll be bound they all thought you a fool, so have it all your own way, and give your old father a kiss," which she joyfully did. "And now you go to Mr. St. Leger, and tell him from me, that if he consents to this scheme I shall esteem it the greatest favor and satisfaction that was ever conferred upon me in my life. I know what it is to be thus trusted by such a man—I know the confidence on his part which such an arrangement implies—and you may add, that if he will only extend to me his usual indulgence for human folly and frailty, I will do every thing that is in the power of an ill-tempered, good-for-nothing, selfish old fellow, to prevent him repenting his bargain. And tell Lettice she's a darling, excellent creature; and I have thought so long, though I have said little about it, and she has been like an angel of love and peace in our family; and if she will only go on as she has done, she will make us all as happy as the day is long; and tell your mother I wish I did not enjoy the thoughts of this so much myself, that I might have the pleasure of making an offering of my satisfaction to her."

"Dear!—dear beloved papa!"

"Stop a little, child; Edgar and you will have to pay the piper, you know."

"Oh, gladly! thankfully!"

"Because you see, my dear, if these two people marry and live with us, and become as children, I must treat them, in a manner, as children, and make a little codicil to my will; and you and Edgar will be something the worse for it. But, bless you, child, there's enough for all."

"And bless you, my honored, generous father, for thinking so; that there is. Edgar and I only earnestly desired this; thank you, thank you, ten thousand times."[Pg 383]

I will only detain you for a few moments longer, to tell you that the scheme was carried into execution, and fully answered the hopes of the generous contriver.

Mr. St. Leger found, in the attachment of Lettice, a compensation for the cruel sufferings of his past life; and, under her tender and assiduous care, he speedily recovered his health and his powers of usefulness. She, while performing a woman's best and happiest part, that of proving the true happiness of an admirable and a superior man, contrived likewise to fulfill all her other duties in the most complete and exemplary manner.

It would be difficult to say, whether the happiness she felt or conferred was the greater.

Exceptional people may venture upon exceptional measures. Those who are a great deal more sweet tempered, and loving, and good, and reasonable than others, may venture to seek happiness in ways that the generality would be mad to attempt.

And sensible, well-principled, right-tempered human beings, one may take into close family intimacy, and discard that reserve, and those arm's-length proceedings, which people's faults, in too many cases, render prudent and necessary.

It was because the subjects of Catherine's schemes were so excellent, that the object of them was so wise.

I have now told you how perfectly they answered upon trial; and I am only sorry that the world contains so very few with whom one could venture to make the same experiment.

For a very large portion of possible happiness is thrown away, because people are not fit to take part in plans of this nature—plans wherein one shall give what he has, to receive back what he wants; and thus the true social communism be established.

[From the Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers, Vol. II., unpublished.]



The first sermon which Mr. Chalmers preached in Glasgow was delivered before the Society of the Sons of the Clergy, on Thursday the 30th day of March, 1815, a few months after his appointment, and a few months previous to his admission as minister of the Tron Church. The recent excitement of the canvass, the rumors strange and various, which crossing the breadth of Scotland were circulating in all quarters through the city, the quickened curiosity of opponents, the large but somewhat tremulous expectation of friends, drew together a vast multitude to hear him. Among the crowd which filled the church was a young Oxford student, himself the son of a Scottish minister, who had been surprised by hearing Mr. Chalmers's work on the Evidences of Christianity mentioned with high approval, within the walls of an English University, shortly after the date of its publication. The keen dark eye of the youthful auditor fixed itself in searching scrutiny upon the preacher, and a few years later his graceful and graphic pen drew the following sketch:

"I was a good deal surprised and perplexed with the first glimpse I obtained of his countenance, for the light that streamed faintly upon it for the moment did not reveal any thing like that general outline of feature and visage for which my fancy had by some strange working of presentiment, prepared me. By-and-by, however, the light became stronger, and I was enabled to study the minutiae of his face pretty leisurely, while he leaned forward and read aloud the words of the Psalm, for that is always done in Scotland, not by the clerk, but the clergyman himself. At first sight, no doubt, his face is a coarse one, but a mysterious kind of meaning breathes from every part of it, that such as have eyes to see cannot be long without discovering. It is very pale, and the large, half-closed eyelids have a certain drooping melancholy weight about them, which interested me very much. I understood not why. The lips, too, are singularly pensive in their mode of falling down at the sides, although there is no want of richness and vigor in their central fullness of curve. The upper lip, from the nose downward, is separated by a very deep line, which gives a sort of leonine firmness of expression to all the lower part of the face. The cheeks are square and strong, in texture like pieces of marble, with the cheek-bones very broad and prominent. The eyes themselves are light in color, and have a strange dreamy heaviness, that conveys any idea rather than that of dullness, but which contrasts in a wonderful manner with the dazzling watery glare they exhibit when expanded in their sockets, and illuminated into all their flame and fervor in some moment of high entranced enthusiasm. But the shape of the forehead is, perhaps, the most singular part of the whole visage; and, indeed, it presents a mixture so very singular, of forms commonly exhibited only in the widest separation, that it is no wonder I should have required some little time to comprehend the meaning of it. In the first place, it is without exception the most marked mathematical forehead I ever met with—being far wider across the eyebrows than either Mr. Playfair's or Mr. Leslie's—and having the eyebrows themselves lifted up at their exterior ends quite out of the usual line, a peculiarity which Spurzheim had remarked in the countenances of almost all the great mathematical or calculating geniuses—such, for example, if I rightly remember, as Sir Isaac Newton himself, Kaestener, Euler, and many others. Immediately above the extraordinary breadth of this region, which, in the heads of most mathematical persons, is surmounted by no fine points of organization whatever, immediately above this, in the forehead, there is an arch of imagination, carrying out the[Pg 384] summit boldly and roundly, in a style to which the heads of very few poets present any thing comparable, while over this again there is a grand apex of high and solemn veneration and love, such as might have graced the bust of Plato himself, and such as in living men I had never beheld equaled in any but the majestic head of Canova. The whole is edged with a few crisp dark locks, which stand forth boldly, and afford a fine relief to the death-like paleness of those massive temples.... Of all human compositions there is none surely which loses so much as a sermon does when it is made to address itself to the eye of a solitary student in his closet and not to the thrilling ears of a mighty mingled congregation, through the very voice which nature has enriched with notes more expressive than words can ever be of the meanings and feelings of its author. Neither, perhaps, did the world ever possess any orator whose minutest peculiarities of gesture and voice have more power in increasing the effect of what he says—whose delivery, in other words, is the first, and the second, and the third excellence of his oratory—more truly than is that of Dr. Chalmers. And yet were the spirit of the man less gifted than it is, there is no question these, his lesser peculiarities, would never have been numbered among his points of excellence. His voice is neither strong nor melodious, his gestures are neither easy nor graceful; but, on the contrary, extremely rude and awkward; his pronunciation is not only broadly national, but broadly provincial, distorting almost every word he utters into some barbarous novelty, which, had his hearer leisure to think of such things, might be productive of an effect at once ludicrous and offensive in a singular degree. But, of a truth, these are things which no listener can attend to while this great preacher stands before him armed with all the weapons of the most commanding eloquence, and swaying all around him with its imperial rule. At first, indeed, there is nothing to make one suspect what riches are in store. He commences in a low, drawling key, which has not even the merit of being solemn, and advances from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph, while you seek in vain to catch a single echo that gives promise of that which is to come. There is, on the contrary, an appearance of constraint about him that affects and distresses you. You are afraid that his breast is weak, and that even the slight exertion he makes may be too much for it. But then, with what tenfold richness does this dim preliminary curtain make the glories of his eloquence to shine forth, when the heated spirit at length shakes from it its chill confining fetters, and bursts out elate and rejoicing in the full splendor of its disimprisoned wings.... I have heard many men deliver sermons far better arranged in regard to argument, and have heard very many deliver sermons far more uniform in elegance both of conception and of style; but most unquestionably, I have never heard, either in England or Scotland, or in any other country, any preacher whose eloquence is capable of producing an effect so strong and irresistible as his."[21]

First Delivery Of The Astronomical Discourses.—At the time of Dr. Chalmers's settlement in Glasgow it was the custom that the clergymen of the city should preach in rotation on Thursday in the Tron Church, a duty which, as their number was then but eight, returned to each within an interval of two months. On Thursday, the 23d of November, 1815, this week-day service devolved on Dr. Chalmers. The entire novelty of the discourse delivered upon this occasion, and the promise held out by the preacher that a series of similar discourses was to follow, excited the liveliest interest, not in his own congregation alone, but throughout the whole community. He had presented to his hearers a sketch of the recent discoveries of astronomy—distinct in outline, and drawn with all the ease of one who was himself a master in the science, yet gorgeously magnificent in many of its details, displaying, amid "the brilliant glow of a blazing eloquence,"[22] the sublime poetry of the heavens. In his subsequent discourses Dr. Chalmers proposed to discuss the argument or rather prejudice against the Christian Revelation which grounds itself on the vastness and variety of those unnumbered worlds which lie scattered over the immeasurable fields of space. This discussion occupied all the Thursday services allotted to him during the year 1816. The spectacle which presented itself in the Trongate upon the day of the delivery of each new astronomical discourse, was a most singular one. Long ere the bell began to toll, a stream of people might be seen pouring through the passage which led into the Tron Church. Across the street, and immediately opposite to this passage, was the old reading-room, where all the Glasgow merchants met. So soon, however, as the gathering quickening stream upon the opposite side of the street gave the accustomed warning, out flowed the occupants of the coffee-room; the pages of the Herald or the Courier were for a while forsaken, and during two of the best business hours of the day the old reading-room wore a strange aspect of desolation. The busiest merchants of the city were wont, indeed, upon those memorable days to leave their desks, and kind masters allowed their clerks and apprentices to follow their example. Out of the very heart of the great tumult an hour or two stood redeemed for the highest exercises of the spirit; and the low traffic of earth forgotten, heaven and its high economy and its human sympathies and eternal interests, engrossed the mind at least and the fancy of congregated thousands.

In January, 1817, this series of discourses was announced as ready for publication. It had generally been a matter of so much commercial[Pg 385] risk to issue a volume of sermons from the press, that recourse had been often had in such cases to publication by subscription. Dr. Chalmers's publisher, Mr. Smith, had hinted that perhaps this method ought in this instance also to be tried. "It is far more agreeable to my feelings," Dr. Chalmers wrote to him a few days before the day of publication, "that the book should be introduced to the general market, and sell on the public estimation of it, than that the neighborhood here should be plied in all the shops with subscription papers, and as much as possible wrung out of their partialities for the author." Neither author nor publisher had at this time the least idea of the extraordinary success which was awaiting their forthcoming volume. It was published on the 28th of January, 1817. In ten weeks 6000 copies had been disposed of, the demand showing no symptom of decline. Nine editions were called for within a year, and nearly 20,000 copies were in circulation. Never previously, nor ever since, has any volume of sermons met with such immediate and general acceptance. The "Tales of my Landlord" had a month's start in the date of publication, and even with such a competitor it ran an almost equal race. Not a few curious observers were struck with the novel competition, and watched with lively curiosity how the great Scottish preacher and the great Scottish novelist kept for a whole year so nearly abreast of one another. It was, besides, the first volume of Sermons which fairly broke the lines which had separated too long the literary from the religious public. Its secondary merits won audience for it in quarters where evangelical Christianity was nauseated and despised. It disarmed even the keen hostility of Hazlitt, and kept him for a whole forenoon spell-bound beneath its power. "These sermons," he says, "ran like wild-fire through the country, were the darlings of watering-places, were laid in the windows of inns, and were to be met with in all places of public resort.... We remember finding the volume in the orchard of the inn at Burford Bridge, near Boxhill, and passing a whole and very delightful morning in reading it without quitting the shade of an apple tree." The attractive volume stole an hour or two from the occupations of the greatest statesman and orator of the day. "Canning," says Sir James Mackintosh, "told me that he was entirely converted to admiration of Chalmers; so is Bobus, whose conversion is thought the greatest proof of victory. Canning says there are most magnificent passages in his 'Astronomical Sermons."[23] Four years before this time, through the pages of the "Edinburgh Christian Instructor," Dr. Chalmers had said, "Men of tasteful and cultivated literature are repelled from theology at the very outset by the unseemly garb in which she is presented to them. If there be room for the display of eloquence in urgent and pathetic exhortation, in masterly discussion, in elevating greatness of conception, does not theology embrace all these, and will not the language that is clearly and appropriately expressive of them possess many of the constituents and varieties of good writing? If theology, then, can command such an advantage, on what principle should it be kept back from her?... In the subject itself there is a grandeur which it were vain to look for in the ordinary themes of eloquence or poetry. Let writers arise, then, to do it justice. Let them be all things to all men, that they may gain some; and if a single proselyte can be thereby drawn from the ranks of literature, let all the embellishments of genius and fancy be thrown around the subject. One man has already done much. Others are rising around him, and with the advantage of a higher subject, they will in time rival the unchristian moralists of the day, and overmatch them." He was one of the first to answer to his own call, to fulfill his own prediction. No single writer of our age has done so much to present the truths of Christianity in new forms, and to invest them with all the attractions of a fascinating eloquence; nor could a single volume be named which has done more than this very volume of "Astronomical Discourses" to soften and subdue those prejudices which the infidelity of natural science engenders.

Effect of his Eloquence.—Sermon on Dissipation in Large Cities.—Dr. Chalmers returned to Glasgow on Saturday, the 27th December, and on the following day found a prodigious crowd awaiting his appearance in the Tron Church pulpit. His popularity as a preacher was now at its very highest summit, and judging merely by the amount of physical energy displayed by the preacher, and by the palpable and visible effects produced upon his hearers, we conclude that it was about this period, and within the walls of the Tron Church, that by far the most wonderful exhibitions of his power as a pulpit orator were witnessed. "The Tron Church contains, if I mistake not," says the Rev. Dr. Wardlaw, who, as frequently as he could, was a hearer in it, "about 1400 hearers, according to the ordinary allowance of seat-room; when crowded of course proportionally more. And, though I can not attempt any pictorial sketch of the place, I may, in a sentence or two, present you with a few touches of the scene which I have, more than once or twice, witnessed within its walls; not that it was at all peculiar, for it resembled every other scene where the doctor in those days, when his eloquence was in the prime of its vehemence and splendor, was called to preach. There was one particular, indeed, which rendered such a scene, in a city like Glasgow, peculiarly striking. I refer to the time of it.[Pg 386] To see a place of worship, of the size mentioned, crammed above and below, on a Thursday forenoon, during the busiest hours of the day, with fifteen or sixteen hundred hearers, and these of all descriptions of persons, in all descriptions of professional occupation, the busiest as well as those who had most leisure on their hands, those who had least to spare taking care so to arrange their business engagements previously as to make time for the purpose, all pouring in through the wide entrance at the side of the Tron steeple, half an hour before the time of service, to secure a seat, or content if too late for this to occupy, as many did, standing room—this was, indeed, a novel and strange sight. Nor was it once merely, or twice, but month after month the day was calculated when his turn to preach again was to come round, and anticipated, with even impatient longing, by multitudes.

"Suppose the congregation thus assembled—pews filled with sitters, and aisles, to a great extent, with standers. They wait in eager expectation. The preacher appears. The devotional exercises of praise and prayer having been gone through with unaffected simplicity and earnestness, the entire assembly set themselves for the treat, with feelings very diverse in kind, but all eager and intent. There is a hush of dead silence. The text is announced, and he begins. Every countenance is up—every eye bent, with fixed intentness, on the speaker. As he kindles the interest grows. Every breath is held—every cough is suppressed—every fidgety movement is settled—every one, riveted himself by the spell of the impassioned and entrancing eloquence, knows how sensitively his neighbor will resent the very slightest disturbance. Then, by-and-by, there is a pause. The speaker stops—to gather breath—to wipe his forehead—to adjust his gown, and purposely too, and wisely, to give the audience, as well as himself, a moment or two of relaxation. The moment is embraced—there is free breathing—suppressed coughs get vent—postures are changed—there is a universal stir, as of persons who could not have endured the constraint much longer—the preacher bends forward—his hand is raised—all is again hushed. The same stillness and strain of unrelaxed attention is repeated, more intent still, it may be, than before, as the interest of the subject and of the speaker advance. And so, for perhaps four or five times in the course of a sermon, there is the relaxation and the 'at it again' till the final winding up.

"And then, the moment the last word was uttered, and followed by the—'let us pray,' there was a scene for which no excuse or palliation can be pleaded but the fact of its having been to many a matter of difficulty, in the morning of a week-day, to accomplish the abstraction of even so much of their time from business—the closing prayer completely drowned by the hurried rush of large numbers from the aisles and pews to the door; an unseemly scene, without doubt, as if so many had come to the house of God not to worship, but simply to enjoy the fascination of human eloquence. Even this much it was a great thing for eloquence to accomplish. And how diversified soever the motives which drew so many together, and the emotions awakened and impressions produced by what was heard—though, in the terms of the text of one of his most overpoweringly stirring and faithful appeals, he was to not a few 'as one that had a pleasant voice and could play well on an instrument,' yet there is abundant proof that, in the highest sense, 'his labor was not in vain in the Lord;' that the truths which, with so much fearless fidelity and impassioned earnestness, he delivered, went in many instances farther than the ear, or even the intellect—that they reached the heart, and, by the power of the Spirit, turned it to God."

"On Thursday, the 12th February, 1818," I now quote from a manuscript of the Rev. Mr. Fraser, minister of Kilchrennan, "Dr. Chalmers preached in the Tron Church before the Directors of the Magdalene Asylum. The sermon delivered on this occasion was that 'On the Dissipation of Large Cities.' Long before the service commenced every seat and passage was crowded to excess, with the exception of the front pew of the gallery, which was reserved for the magistrates. A vast number of students deserted their classes at the University and were present. This was very particularly the case in regard to the Moral Philosophy Class, which I attended that session, as appeared on the following day when the list of absentees was given in by the person who had called the catalogue, and at the same time a petition from several of themselves was handed in to the professor, praying for a remission of the fine for non-attendance, on the ground that they had been hearing Dr. Chalmers. The doctor's manner during the whole delivery of that magnificent discourse was strikingly animated, while the enthusiasm and energy which he threw into some of its bursts rendered them quite overpowering. One expression which he used, together with his action, his look, and the very tones of his voice when it came forth, made a most vivid and indelible impression upon my memory: 'We, at the same time,' he said, 'have our eye perfectly open to that great external improvement which has taken place, of late years, in the manners of society. There is not the same grossness of conversation. There is not the same impatience for the withdrawment of him who, asked to grace the outset of an assembled party, is compelled, at a certain step in the process of conviviality, by the obligations of professional decency, to retire from it. There is not so frequent an exaction of this as one of the established proprieties of social or of fashionable life. And if such an exaction was ever laid by the omnipotence of custom on a minister of Christianity, it is such an exaction as ought never, never to be complied with. It is not for him to lend the sanction of his presence to a meeting with which he could not sit to its final[Pg 387] termination. It is not for him to stand associated, for a single hour, with an assemblage of men who begin with hypocrisy, and end with downright blackguardism. It is not for him to watch the progress of the coming ribaldry, and to hit the well selected moment when talk and turbulence and boisterous merriment are on the eve of bursting forth upon the company, and carrying them forward to the full acme and uproar of their enjoyment. It is quite in vain to say, that he has only sanctioned one part of such an entertainment. He has as good as given his connivance to the whole of it, and left behind him a discharge in full of all its abominations; and, therefore, be they who they may, whether they rank among the proudest aristocracy of our land, or are charioted in splendor along, as the wealthiest of our citizens, or flounce in the robes of magistracy, it is his part to keep as purely and indignantly aloof from such society as this, as he would from the vilest and most debasing associations of profligacy.'

"The words which I have underlined do not appear in the sermon as printed. While uttering them, which he did with peculiar emphasis, accompanying them with a flash from his eye and a stamp of his foot, he threw his right arm with clenched hand right across the book-board, and brandished it full in the face of the Town Council, sitting in array and in state before him. Many eyes were in a moment directed toward the magistrates. The words evidently fell upon them like a thunderbolt, and seemed to startle like an electric shock the whole audience."

Another interesting memorial of this sermon is supplied by Dr. Wardlaw, who was present at its delivery. "The eloquence of that discourse was absolutely overpowering. The subject was one eminently fitted to awaken and summon to their utmost energy all his extraordinary powers; especially when, after having cleared his ground by a luminously scriptural exhibition of that supreme authority by which the evils he was about to portray were interdicted, in contradistinction to the prevailing maxims and practices of a worldly morality, he came forward to the announcement and illustration of his main subject—'the origin, the progress, and the effects of a life of dissipation.' His moral portraitures were so graphically and vividly delineated—his warnings and entreaties, especially to youth, so impassioned and earnest—his admonitions so faithful, and his denunciations so fearless and so fearful—and his exhortations to preventive and remedial appliances so pointed and so urgent to all among his auditors who had either the charge of youth, or the supervision of dependents! It was thrilling, overwhelming. His whole soul seemed in every utterance. Although saying to myself all the while, 'Oh! that this were in the hands of every father, and master, and guardian, and young man in the land!' I yet could not spare an eye from the preacher to mark how his appeal was telling upon others. The breathless, the appalling silence told me of that. Any person who reads that discourse, and who had the privilege of listening to Dr. Chalmers during the prime and freshness of his public eloquence, will readily imagine the effect of some passages in it, when delivered with even more than the preacher's characteristic vehemence."


[21] Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk, 2d edit, vol. iii pp 267-273.

[22] Foster.

[23] Memoirs of the Life of the Right Hon. Sir James Mackintosh, vol. ii. p. 343. The person known among his particular friends by the name of "Bobus" was Robert Smith, who had held the office of Advocate-General in Bengal, and who is not to be confounded with his namesake, the brother of the Rev. Sydney Smith.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


Through the ornamental grounds of a handsome country residence, at a little distance from a large town in Ireland, a man of about fifty years of age was walking, with a bent head, and the impress of sorrow on his face.

"Och, yer honor, give me one sixpence, or one penny, for God's sake," cried a voice from the other side of a fancy paling which separated the grounds in that quarter from a thoroughfare. "For heaven's sake, Mr. Lawson, help me as ye helped me before. I know you've the heart and hand to do it."

The person addressed as Mr. Lawson looked up and saw a woman whom he knew to be in most destitute circumstances, burdened with a large and sickly family, whom she had struggled to support until her own health was ruined.

"I have no money—not one farthing," answered John Lawson.

"No money!" reiterated the woman in surprise; "isn't it all yours, then? isn't this garden yours, and that house, and all the grand things that are in it yours? ay, and grand things they are—them pictures, and them bright shinin' things in that drawing-room of yours and sure you deserve them well, and may God preserve them long to you, for riches hasn't hardened your heart, though there's many a one, and heaven knows the gold turns their feelin's to iron."

"It all belongs to my son, Henry Lawson, and Mrs. Lawson, and their children—it is all theirs;" he sighed heavily, and deep emotion was visible in every lineament of his thin and wrinkled face.

The poor woman raised her bloodshot eyes to his face, as if she was puzzled by his words. She saw that he was suffering, and with intuitive delicacy, she desisted from pressing her wants, though her need was great.

"Well, well, yer honor, many's the good penny ye have given me and the childer, and maybe the next time I see you you'll have more change."

She was turning sadly away, when John Lawson requested her to remain, and he made inquiries into the state of her family; the report he heard seemed to touch him even to the forgetfulness of his own sorrows; he bade her stop for a few moments and he would give her some relief.

He walked rapidly toward the house and proceeded to the drawing-room. It was a large and airy apartment, and furnished with evident profusion: the sunlight of the bright summer[Pg 388] day, admitted partially through the amply-draperied windows, lighted up a variety of sparkling gilding in picture-frames, and vases, and mirrors, and cornices; but John Lawson looked round on the gay scene with a kind of shudder; he had neither gold, silver, nor even copper in his pocket, or in his possession.

He advanced to a lady who reclined on a rose-colored sofa, with a fashionable novel in her hand, and, after some slight hesitation, he addressed her, and stating the name and wants of the poor woman who had begged for aid, he requested some money.

As he said the words "some money," his lips quivered, and a tremor ran through his whole frame, for his thoughts were vividly picturing a recently departed period, when he was under no necessity of asking money from any individual.

"Bless me, my dear Mr. Lawson!" cried the lady, starting up from her recumbent position, "did I not give you a whole handful of shillings only the day before yesterday; and if you wasted it all on poor people since, what am I to do? Why, indeed, we contribute so much to charitable subscriptions, both Mr. Lawson and I, you might be content to give a little less to common beggars."

Mrs. Lawson spoke with a smile on her lips, and with a soft caressing voice, but a hard and selfish nature shone palpably from her blue eyes. She was a young woman, and had the repute of beauty, which a clear pink-and-white complexion, and tolerable features, with luxuriant light hair, generally gains from a portion of the world. She was dressed for the reception of morning visitors whom she expected, and she was enveloped in expensive satin and blond, and jewelry in large proportions.

John Lawson seemed to feel every word she had uttered in the depths of his soul, but he made a strong effort to restrain the passion which was rising to his lips.

"Augusta, my daughter, you are the wife of my only and most beloved child—I wish to love you—I wish to live in peace with you, and all—give me some money to relieve the wants of the unfortunate woman to whom I have promised relief, and who is waiting without. I ask not for myself, but for the poor and suffering—give me a trifle of money, I say."

"Indeed, Mr. Lawson, a bank would not support your demands for the poor people; that woman for whom you are begging has been relieved twenty times by us. I have no money just now."

She threw herself back on the sofa and resumed her novel; but anger, darting from her eyes, contrasted with the trained smile which still remained on her lips.

A dark shade of passion and scorn came over John Lawson's face, but he strove to suppress it, and his voice was calm when he spoke.

"Some time before my son married you, I gave up all my business to him—I came to live here among trees and flowers—I gave up all the lucrative business I had carried on to my son, partly because my health was failing, and I longed to live with nature, away from the scenes of traffic; but more especially, because I loved my son with no common love, and I trusted to him as to a second self. I was not disappointed—we had one purse and one heart before he married you; he never questioned me concerning what I spent in charity—he never asked to limit in any way my expenditure—he loved you, and I made no conditions concerning what amount of income I was to receive, but still I left him in entire possession of my business when he married you. I trusted to your fair, young face, that you would not controvert my wishes—that you would join me in my schemes of charity."

"And have I not?" interrupted Mrs. Lawson, in a sharp voice, though the habitual smile still graced her lips; "do I not subscribe to, I don't know how many, charitable institutions? Charity, indeed—there's enough spent in charity by myself and my husband. But I wish to stop extravagances—it is only extravagance to spend so much on charity as you would do if you could; therefore you shall not have any money just now."

Mrs. Lawson was one of those women who can cheerfully expend a most lavish sum on a ball, a dress, or any other method by which rank and luxury dissipate their abundance, but who are very economical, and talk much of extravagance when money is demanded for purposes not connected with display and style.

"Augusta Lawson, listen to me," his voice was quivering with passion, "my own wants are very few; in food, in clothes, in all points my expenditure is trifling. I am not extravagant in my demands for the poor, either. All I have expended in charity during the few years since you came here, is but an insignificant amount as contrasted with the income which I freely gave up to my son and you; therefore, some money for the poor woman who is waiting, I shall now have; give me some shillings, for God's sake, and let me go." He advanced closer to her, and held out his hand.

"Nonsense!" cried Mrs. Lawson; "I am mistress here—I am determined to stop extravagance. You give too much to common beggars; I am determined to stop it—do not ask me any further."

A kind of convulsion passed over John Lawson's thin face; but he pressed his hand closely on his breast, and was silent for some moments.

"I was once rich, I believe. Yes—it is not a dream," he said, in a slow, self-communing voice. "Gold and silver, once ye were plenty with me; my hands; my pockets were filled—guineas, crowns, shillings—now I have not one penny to give to that starving, dying woman, whose face of misery might soften the very stones she looks on—not one penny."

"Augusta," he said, turning suddenly toward her, after a second pause of silence, "give me[Pg 389] only one shilling, and I shall not think of the bitter words you have just said?"

"No; not one shilling," answered Mrs. Lawson, turning over a leaf of her novel.

"One sixpence, then—one small, poor sixpence. You do not know how even a sixpence can gladden the black heart of poverty, when starvation is come. One sixpence, I say—let me have it quickly."

"Not one farthing I shall give you. I do beg you will trouble me no further."

Mrs. Lawson turned her back partially to him, and fixed all her attention on the novel.

"Woman! I have cringed and begged; I would not so beg for myself, from you—no; I would lie down and die of want before I would, on my own account, request of you—of your hard heart—one bit of bread. All the finery that surrounds you is mine—it was purchased with my money, though now you call it yours; and, usurping the authority of both master and mistress here, you—in what you please to call your economical management—dole out shillings to me when the humor seizes you, or refuse me, as now, when it pleases you. But, woman, listen to me. I shall never request you for one farthing of money again. No necessity of others shall make me do it. You shall never again refuse me, for I shall never give you the opportunity."

He turned hastily from the room, with a face on which the deep emotion of an aroused spirit was depicted strongly.

In the lobby he met his son, Henry Lawson. The young man paused, something struck by the excited appearance of his father.

"Henry," said the father, abruptly, "I want some money; there is a poor woman whom I wish to relieve—will you give me some money for her?"

"Willingly, my dear father; but have you asked Augusta. You know I have given her the management of the money-matters of the establishment, she is so very clever and economical."

"She has neither charity, nor pity, nor kindness; she saves from me; she saves from the starving poor; she saves, that she may waste large sums on parties and dresses. I shall never more ask her for money; give me a few shillings. My God! the father begs of the son for what was his own—for what he toiled all his youth—for what he gave up out of trusting love to that son. Henry, my son, I am sick of asking and begging—ay, sick—sick; but give me some shillings now."

"You asked Augusta, then," said Henry, drawing out his purse, and glancing with some apprehension to the drawing-room door.

"Henry," cried Mrs. Lawson, appearing at that instant with a face inflamed with anger—"Henry, I would not give your father any money to-day, because he is so very extravagant in giving it all away."

Henry was in the act of opening his purse; he glanced apprehensively to Mrs. Lawson; his face had a mild and passive expression, which was a true index of his yielding and easily-governed nature. His features were small, delicate, and almost effeminately handsome; and in every lineament a want of decision and force of character was visible.

"Henry, give me some shillings, I say—I am your father—I have a just right."

"Yes, yes, surely," said Henry, making a movement to open his purse.

"Henry, I do not wish you to give him money to waste in charity, as he calls it."

Mrs. Lawson gave her husband an emphatic, but, at the same time, cunningly caressing and smiling look.

"Henry, I am your father—give me the money I want."

"Augusta, my love, you know it was all his," said Henry, going close to her, and speaking in a kind of whisper.

"My dearest Henry, were it for any other purpose but for throwing away, I would not refuse. I am your father's best friend, and your best friend, in wishing to restrain all extravagance."

"My dear father, she wishes to be economical, you know."

He dangled the purse, undecidedly, in his fingers.

"Will you give me the money at once, and let me go?" cried John Lawson, elevating his voice.

"My dear Augusta, it is better."

"Henry, do not, I beg of you."

"Henry, my son, will you let me have the money?"

"Indeed, Augusta—"


Mrs. Lawson articulated but the one word; there was enough of energy and determination in it to make her husband close the purse he had almost opened.

"I ask you only this once more—give me the few shillings?"

John Lawson bent forward in an eager manner; a feverish red kindled on his sallow cheeks; his eyes were widely dilated, and his lips compressed. There was a pause of some moments.

"You will not give it me?" he said, in a voice deep-toned and singularly calm, as contrasted with his convulsed face.

Henry dangled the purse again in his hand, and looked uneasily and irresolutely toward his wife.

"No, he will not give it—you will get no money to squander on poor people this day," Mrs. Lawson said, in a very sharp and decided voice.

John Lawson did not say another word; he turned away and slowly descended the stairs, and walked out of the house.

He did not return that evening. He had been seen on the road leading to the house of a relative who was in rather poor circumstances Henry felt rather annoyed at his father's absence; he had no depth in his affection, but he[Pg 390] had been accustomed to see him and hear his voice every day, and therefore he missed him, but consoled himself with the thought that they would soon meet again, as it never entered his imagination that his father had quitted the house for a lengthened period. Mrs. Lawson felicitated herself on the event, and hoped that the old man would remain some time with his relative.

The following day a letter was handed to Henry; it was from his father, and was as follows:

"To my Son Henry—I have at last come to the resolution of quitting your house, which I can no longer call mine, in even the least degree. For weeks—for months—ever since you married—ever since your wife took upon herself what she calls the management of your house and purse, I have felt bound down under the weight of an oppressive bondage. I could not go and take a pound or a shilling from our common stock, as I used to do before you married, when you and I lived in one mind, and when I believed that the very spirit of your departed, your angel mother, dwelt in you, as you had, and have still, her very face and form. No, no, we had no common stock when you married. She put me on an allowance—ay, an allowance. You lived, and saw me receiving an allowance; you whom I loved with an idolatry which God has now punished; you to whom I freely gave up my business—my money-making business. I gave it you—I gave all to you—I would have given my very life and soul to you, because I thought that with your mother's own face you had her noble and generous nature. You were kind before you married; but that marriage has proved your weakness and want of natural affection. Yes, you stood at my side yesterday; you looked on my face—I, the father who loved you beyond all bounds of fatherly love—you stood and heard me beg for a few shillings; you heard me supplicate earnestly and humbly, and you would not give, because your wife was not willing. Henry, I could force you to give me a share of the profits of your business; but keep it—keep it all. You would not voluntarily give me some shillings, and I shall not demand what right and justice would give me. Keep all, every farthing.

"It was for charity I asked the few shillings; you know it. You know from whom I imbibed whatever I possess of the blessed spirit of charity. I was as hard and unpitying as even your wife before your mother taught me to feel and relieve the demands of poverty. Yes, and she taught you; you can not forget it. She taught you to give food to the starving, in your earliest days. She strove to impress your infant mind with the very soul of charity; and yesterday she looked down from the heaven of the holy departed, and saw you refusing me, your father, a few shillings to bestow on charity.

"Henry, I can live with you and your wife no more. I should grow avaricious in my old age, were I to remain with you. I should long for money to call my own. Those doled out shillings which I received wakened within me feelings of a dark nature—covetousness, and envy, and discontent—which must have shadowed the happiness of your mother in heaven to look down upon. I must go and seek out an independent living for myself, even yet, though I am fifty-two. Though my energies for struggling with the world died, I thought, when your mother died, and, leaving my active business to you, I retired to live in the country, I must go forth again, as if I were young, to seek for the means of existence, for I feel I was not made to be a beggar—a creature hanging on the bounty of others; no, no, the merciful God will give me strength yet to provide for myself, though I am old, and broken down in mind and body. Farewell; you who were once my beloved son, may God soften and amend your heart."

When Henry perused this letter, he would immediately have gone in search of his father, in order to induce him to return home; but Mrs. Lawson was at his side, and succeeded in persuading him to allow his father to act as he pleased, and remain away as long as he wished.

Ten years rolled over our world, sinking millions beneath the black waves of adverse fortune and fate, and raising the small number who, of the innumerable aspirants for earthly good, usually succeed. Henry Lawson was one of those whom time had lowered in fortune. His business speculations had, for a lengthened period, been rather unsuccessful, while Mrs. Lawson's expensive habits increased every day. At length affairs came to such a crisis, that retrenchment or failure was inevitable. Henry had enough of wisdom and spirit to insist on the first alternative, and Mrs. Lawson was compelled by the pressure of circumstances to yield in a certain degree; the country-house, therefore, was let, Mrs. Lawson assigning as a reason, that she had lost all relish for the country after the death of her dear children, both of whom had died, leaving the parents childless.

It was the morning of a close sultry day in July, and Mrs. Lawson was seated in her drawing-room. She was dressed carefully and expensively as of old, but she had been dunned and threatened at least half-a-dozen times for the price of the satin dress she wore. Her face was thin and pale, and there was a look of much care on her countenance; her eyes were restless and sunken, and discontent spoke in their glances as she looked on the chairs, sofas, and window-draperies, which had once been bright-colored, but were now much faded. She had just come to the resolution of having new covers and hangings, though their mercer's and upholsterer's bills were long unsettled, when a visitor was shown into the room. It was Mrs. Thompson, the wife of a very prosperous and wealthy shopkeeper.

Mrs. Lawson's thin lips wreathed themselves[Pg 391] into bright smiles of welcome, while the foul demon of envy took possession of her soul. Mrs. Thompson's dress was of the most costly French satin, while hers was merely British manufacture. They had been old school companions and rivals in their girlish days. During the first years of the married life of each, Mrs. Lawson had outshone Mrs. Thompson in every respect; but now the eclipsed star beamed brightly and scornfully beside the clouds which had rolled over her rival. Mrs. Thompson was, in face and figure, in dress and speech, the very impersonation of vulgar and ostentatious wealth.

"My goodness, it's so hot!" she said, loosening the fastening of her bonnet, the delicate French blond and white satin and plume, of which that fabric was composed, contrasting rather painfully at the same time with her flashed mahogany-colored complexion, and ungracefully-formed features. "Bless me, I'm so glad we'll get off to our country-house to-morrow. It's so very delightful, Mrs. Lawson, to have a country residence to go to. Goodness me what a close room, and such a hot, dusty street. It does just look so queer to me after Fitzherbert-square."

To this Mrs. Lawson made a response as composed as she could; she would have retorted bitterly and violently, but her husband had a connection with the Thompson establishment, and for strong reasons she considered it prudent to refrain from quarreling with Mrs. Thompson. She, therefore, spoke but very little, and Mrs. Thompson was left at liberty to give a lengthened detail of Mr. Thompson's great wealth and her own great profusion. She began first with herself, and furnished an exact detail of all the fine things she had purchased in the last month, down to the latest box of pins. Next, her babies occupied her for half an hour—the quantity of chicken they consumed, and the number of frocks they soiled per diem were minutely chronicled. Then her house came under consideration: she depicted the bright glory of the new ponceau furniture, as contrasted with shocking old faded things—and she glanced significantly toward Mrs. Lawson's sofas and chairs. Next she made a discursive detour to the culinary department, and gave a statement of the number of stones of lump sugar she was getting boiled in preserves, and of the days of the week in which they had puddings, and the days they had pies at dinner.

"But, Mrs. Lawson, dear, have you seen old Mr. Lawson since he came home?" she said, when she was rising to depart; "but I suppose you haven't, for they say he won't have any thing to do with his relations now—he won't come near you, I have heard. They say he has brought such a lot of money with him from South America."

At this intelligence every feature of Mrs. Lawson's face brightened with powerful interest. She inquired where Mr. Lawson stopped, and was informed that he had arrived at the best hotel in the town about three days previously, and that every one talked of the large fortune he had made abroad, as he seemed to make no secret of the fact.

A burning eagerness to obtain possession of that money entered Mrs. Lawson's soul, and she thought every second of time drawn out to the painful duration of a long hour, while Mrs. Thompson slowly moved her ample skirts of satin across the drawing-room, and took her departure. Mrs. Lawson dispatched a messenger immediately for her husband.

Henry Lawson came in, and listened with surprise to the intelligence of his father's return. He was taking up his hat to proceed to the hotel in quest of him, when a carriage drove to the door. Mrs. Lawson's heart palpitated with eagerness—if it should be her husband's father in his own carriage—how delightful! that horrible Mrs. Thompson had not a carriage of her own yet, though she was always talking of it. They, Mrs. Lawson and her husband, had just been about setting up a carriage when business failed with them. She ran briskly down the stairs—for long years she had not flown with such alertness—rapid visions of gold, of splendor, and triumph seemed to bear her along, as if she had not been a being of earth.

She was not disappointed, for there, at the open door, stood John Lawson. He was enveloped in a cloak of fur, the costliness of which told Mrs. Lawson that it was the purchase of wealth; a servant in plain livery supported him, for he seemed a complete invalid.

Mrs. Lawson threw her arms around his neck, and embraced him with a warmth and eagerness which brought a cold and bitter smile over the white, thin lips of John Lawson. He replied briefly to the welcomings he received. He threw aside his cloak, and exhibited the figure of an exceedingly emaciated and feeble old man, who had all the appearance of ninety years, though he was little more than sixty; his face was worn and fleshless to a painful degree; his hair was of the whitest shade of great age, but his eyes had grown much more serene in their expression than in his earlier days, notwithstanding a cast of suffering which his whole countenance exhibited. He was plainly, but most carefully and respectably dressed; a diamond ring of great value was on one of his fingers; the lustre of the diamonds caught Mrs. Lawson's glance on her first inspection of his person, and her heart danced with rapture—Mrs. Thompson had no such ring, with all her boasting of all her finery.

"I have come to see my child before I die," said the old man, gazing on his son with earnest eyes; "you broke the ties of nature between us on your part, when, ten years ago, you refused your father a few shillings from your abundance, but—"

He was interrupted by Mrs. Lawson, who uttered many voluble protestations of her deep grief at her having, even though for the sake of economy, refused the money her dear father had solicited before he left them. She vowed that she had neither ate, nor slept, nor even dressed[Pg 392] herself for weeks after his departure; and that, sleeping or waking, she was perpetually wishing she had given him the money, even though she had known that he was going to throw it into the fire, or lose it in any way. Her poor, dear father—oh, she wept so after she heard that he had left the country. To be sure Henry could tell how, for two or three nights, her pillow was soaked with tears.

A cold, bitter smile again flitted across the old man's lips; he made no response to her words, but in the one look which his hollow eyes east on her, he seemed to read the falsehood of her assertions.

"I was going to add," he said, "that though you forgot you were my son, and refused to act as my son, when you withheld the paltry sum for which I begged, yet I could not refrain from coming once more to look on my child's face—to look on the face of my departed wife in yours—for I know that a very brief period must finish my life now. I should not have come here, I feel—I know it is the weakness of my nature—should have died among strangers, for the strangers of other countries, the people of a different hue, and a different language, I have found kind and pitiful, compared with those of my own house.

"Oh, don't say so—don't say so—you are our own beloved father; ah, my heart clings to every feature of your poor, dear, old face; there are the eyes and all that I used to talk to Henry so much about. Don't talk of strangers—I shall nurse you and attend to you night and day."

She made a movement, as if she would throw her arms around his neck again, but the old man drew back.

"Woman! your hypocritical words show me that your pitiless heart is still unchanged—that it is grown even worse. You forced me out to the world in my old age, when I should have had no thoughts except of God and the world to come; you forced me to think of money-making, when my hair was gray and my blood cold with years. Yes, I had to draw my thoughts from the future existence, and to waste them on the miserable toils of traffic, in order to make money; for it was better to do this than to drag out my life a pensioner on your bounty, receiving shillings and pence which you gave me as if it had been your heart's blood, though I only asked my own. Woman! the black slavery of my dependence on you was frightful; but now I can look you thanklessly in the face, for I have the means of living without you. I spent sick and sleepless days and nights, but I gained an independence; the merciful God blessed the efforts of the old man, who strove to gain his livelihood—yes, I am independent of you both. I came to see my son before I die—that is all I want."

Mrs. Lawson attempted a further justification of herself, but the words died on her lips. The stern looks of the old man silenced her.

After remaining for a short time, he rose to take his departure; but, at the earnest solicitations of his son, he consented to remain for a few days, only on condition that he should pay for his board and lodging. To this Mrs. Lawson made a feint of resistance, but agreed in the end, as the terms offered by the old man were very advantageous.

"I shall soon have a lodging for which no mortal is called on to pay—the great mother-earth," said the old man, "and I am glad, glad to escape from this money-governed world. Do not smile so blandly on me, both of you, and attend me with such false tenderness. There, take it away," he said, as Mrs. Lawson was placing her most comfortable footstool under his feet; "there was no attendance, no care, not a civil action or kind look for me when I was poor John Lawson, the silly, most silly old man, who had given up all to his son and his son's wife, for the love of them, and expected, like a fool that he was, to live with them on terms of perfect equality, and to have the family purse open to him for any trifling sums he wished to take. Go, go for God's sake; try and look bitterly on me now, as you did when you forced me out of your house. I detest your obsequious attentions—I was as worthy of them ten years ago, before I dragged down my old age to the debasing efforts of money-making. You know I am rich; you would worship my money in me now. Not a smiling look, not a soft word you bestow on me, but is for my riches, not for me. Ay, you think you have my wealth in your grasp already; you know I can not live long. Thank God that my life is almost ended, and I hope my death will be a benefit to you, in softening your hard hearts."

Mrs. Lawson drew some hope from his last words, and she turned away her head to hide the joy which shone on her face.

In a few days the old man became seriously ill, and was altogether confined to his room. As death evidently approached, his mind became serene and calm, and he received the attentions which Mrs. Lawson and his son lavished on him with a silent composure, which led them to hope that he had completely forgotten their previous conduct to him.

The night on which he died, he turned to his son, and said a few words, a very few words, regarding worldly matters. He exhorted Henry to live in a somewhat less expensive style, and to cultivate a spirit of contentment without riches; then he blessed God that he was entering on a world in which he would hear no more of money, or earthly possession. He remained in a calm sleep during the greater part of the night, they thought, but in the morning they found him dead.

The funeral was over, and the time was come in which the old man's will was to be opened Mrs. Lawson had waited for that moment—she would have forcibly dragged time onward to that moment—she had execrated the long hours of night since the old man's death—she had still more anathematized the slowly passing days, when gazing furtively through a corner of the[Pg 393] blinded window, she saw fine equipages and finely-dressed ladies passing, and she planned how she would shine when the old man's wealth would be her own. She drew glorious mental pictures of how she would burst from behind the shadowing cloud of poverty, and dazzle all her acquaintances. Her dress, her carriage, her style of living would be unique in her rank of life for taste and costliness. She would show them she had got money—money at last—more money than them all.

Now at last she sat and saw the will being opened; she felt that it was a mere formality, for the old man had no one but them to whom he could leave his money; she never once doubted but all would be theirs; she had reasoned, and fancied herself into the firm conviction. Her only fear was, that the amount might not be so large as she calculated on.

She saw the packet opened. Her eyes dilated, her lips became parched; her heart and brain burned with a fierce eagerness—money, money! at last uttered the griping spirit within her.

The will, after beginning in the usual formal style, was as follows:

"I bequeath to my son Henry's wife, Augusta Lawson, a high and noble gift" (Mrs. Lawson almost sprung from her seat with eagerness), "the greatest of all legacies, I bequeath to Augusta Lawson—Charity! Augusta Lawson refused me a few shillings which I wished to bestow on a starving woman; but now I leave her joint executrix, with my son Henry, in the distribution of all my money and all my effects, without any reservation, in charity, to be applied to such charitable purposes as in this, my last will and testament, I have directed."

Then followed a statement of his effects and money, down to the most minute particular; the money amounted to a very considerable sum; his personal effects he directed to be sold, with the exception of his valuable diamond ring, which he bequeathed to the orphan daughter of a poor relation in whose house he had taken refuge, and remained for a short time, previous to his going abroad. All the proceeds of his other effects, together with the whole amount of his money, he bequeathed for different charitable purposes, and gave minute directions as to the manner in which various sums were to be expended. The largest amount he directed to be distributed in yearly donations among the most indigent old men and women within a circuit of ten miles of his native place. Those who were residing with their sons, and their sons' wives, were to receive by far the largest relief. He appointed as trustees two of the most respectable merchants of the town, to whom he gave authority to see the provisions of his will carried out, in case his son and Mrs. Lawson should decline the duties of executor-ship which he had bequeathed to them; the trustees were to exercise a surveillance over Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, to see that the will should in every particular be strictly carried into effect. The will was dated, and duly signed in the town in South America where the old man had for some years resided; a codicil, containing the bequest of the ring, with some further particulars regarding the charities, had been added a few days previous to the old man's death.

Mrs. Lawson was carried fainting from the room before the reading of the will was concluded. She was seized with violent fever, and her life was despaired of. She recovered, however, and from the verge of the eternal existence on which she had been, she returned to life with a less worldly and ostentatious nature, and a soul more alive to the impulses of kindness and charity.

[From Cumming's Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


It was a glorious day, with a cloudy sky, and the wind blew fresh off the Southern Ocean. Having ridden some miles in a northerly direction, we crossed the broad and gravelly bed of a periodical river, in which were abundance of holes excavated by the elephants, containing delicious water. Having passed the river, we entered an extensive grove of picturesque cameel-dorn trees, clad in young foliage of the most delicious green. On gaining a gentle eminence about a mile beyond this grove, I looked forth upon an extensive hollow, where I beheld, for the first time for many days, a fine old cock ostrich, which quickly observed us, and dashed away to our left. I had ceased to devote my attention to the ostrich, and was straining my eyes in an opposite direction, when Kleinboy called out to me, "Dar loup de ould carle;" and turning my eyes to the retreating ostrich, I beheld two first-rate old bull elephants, charging along at their utmost speed within a hundred yards of it. They seemed at first to be in great alarm, but quickly discovering what it was that had caused their confusion, they at once reduced their pace to a slow and stately walk. This was a fine look-out; the country appeared to be favorable for an attack, and I was followed by Wolf and Bonteberg, both tried and serviceable dogs with elephants. Owing to the pace at which I had been riding, both dogs and horses were out of breath, so I resolved not to attack the elephants immediately, but to follow slowly, holding them in view.

The elephants were proceeding right up the wind, and the distance between us was about five hundred yards. I advanced quietly toward them, and had proceeded about half way, when, casting my eyes to my right, I beheld a whole herd of tearing bull elephants standing thick together on a wooded eminence within three hundred yards of me. These elephants were almost to leeward. Now, the correct thing to do was to slay the best in each troop, which I accomplished in the following manner: I gave the large herd my wind, upon which they instantly tossed their trunks aloft, "a moment[Pg 394] snuffed the tainted gale," and, wheeling about, charged right down wind, crashing through the jungle in dire alarm. My object now was to endeavor to select the finest bull, and hunt him to a distance from the other troop, before I should commence to play upon his hide. Stirring my steed, I galloped forward. Right in my path stood two rhinoceroses of the white variety, and to these the dogs instantly gave chase. I followed in the wake of the retreating elephants, tracing their course by the red dust which they raised, and left in clouds behind them.

Presently emerging into an open glade, I came full in sight of the mighty game: it was a truly glorious sight; there were nine or ten of them, which were, with one exception, full-grown, first-rate bulls, and all of them carried very long, heavy, and perfect tusks. Their first panic being over, they had reduced their pace to a free, majestic walk, and they followed one leader in a long line, exhibiting an appearance so grand and striking, that any description, however brilliant, must fail to convey to the mind of the reader an adequate idea of the reality. Increasing my pace, I shot alongside, at the same time riding well out from the elephants, the better to obtain an inspection of their tusks. It was a difficult matter to decide which of them I should select, for every elephant seemed better than his neighbor; but, on account of the extraordinary size and beauty of his tusks, I eventually pitched upon a patriarchal bull, which, as is usual with the heaviest, brought up the rear. I presently separated him from his comrades, and endeavored to drive him in a northerly direction. There is a peculiar art in driving an elephant in the particular course which you may fancy, and, simple as it may seem, it nevertheless requires the hunter to have a tolerable idea of what he is about. It is widely different from driving in an eland, which also requires judicious riding: if you approach too near your elephant, or shout to him, a furious charge will certainly ensue, while, on the other hand, if you give him too wide a berth, the chances are that you lose him in the jungle, which, notwithstanding his size, is a very simple matter, and, if once lost sight of, it is more than an even bet that the hunter will never again obtain a glimpse of him. The ground being favorable, Kleinboy called to me to commence firing, remarking, very prudently, that he was probably making for some jungle of wait-a-bits, where we might eventually lose him. I continued, however, to reserve my fire until I had hunted him to what I considered to be a safe distance from the two old fellows which we had at first discovered.

At length closing with him, I dared him to charge, which he instantly did in fine style, and as he pulled up in his career I yelled to him a note of bold defiance, and cantering alongside, again defied him to the combat. It was thus the fight began, and the ground being still favorable, I opened a sharp fire upon him, and in about a quarter of an hour twelve of my bullets were lodged in his fore-quarters. He now evinced strong symptoms of approaching dissolution, and stood catching up the dust with the point of his trunk, and throwing it in clouds above and around him. At such a moment it is extremely dangerous to approach an elephant on foot, for I have remarked that, although nearly dead, he can muster strength to make a charge with great impetuosity. Being anxious to finish him, I dismounted from my steed, and availing myself of the cover of a gigantic nwana-tree, whose diameter was not less than ten feet, I ran up within twenty yards, and gave it him sharp right and left behind the shoulder. These two shots wound up the proceeding; on receiving them, he backed stern foremost into the cover, and then walked slowly away. I had loaded my rifle, and was putting on the caps, when I heard him fall over heavily; but, alas! the sound was accompanied by a sharp crack, which I too well knew denoted the destruction of one of his lovely tusks; and, on running forward, I found him lying dead, with the tusk, which lay under, snapped through the middle.

I did not tarry long for an inspection of the elephant, but mounting my horse, at once set off to follow on the spoor of the two old fellows which the ostrich had alarmed. Fortunately, I fell in with a party of natives, who were on their way to the wagons with the impedimenta, and assisted by these, I had sanguine hopes of shortly overtaking the noble quarry. We had not gone far when two wild boars, with enormous tusks, stood within thirty yards of me: but this was no time to fire: and a little after a pair of white rhinoceroses stood directly in our path. Casting my eyes to the right, I beheld within a quarter of a mile of me a herd of eight or ten cow elephants, with calves, peacefully browsing on a sparely-wooded knoll. The spoor we followed led due south, and the wind was as fair as it could blow. We passed between the twin-looking, abrupt, pyramidal hills, composed of huge disjointed blocks of granite, which lay piled above each other in grand confusion. To the summit of one of these I ascended with a native, but the forest in advance was so impenetrable that we could see nothing of the game we sought. Descending from the hillock, we resumed the spoor, and were enabled to follow at a rapid pace, the native who led the spooring-party being the best tracker in Bamangwato. I had presently very great satisfaction to perceive that the elephants had not been alarmed, their course being strewed with branches which they had chewed as they slowly fed along. The trackers now became extremely excited, and I strained their eyes on every side in the momentary expectation of beholding the elephants. At length we emerged into an open glade, and, clearing a grove of thorny mimosas, we came full in sight of one of them. Cautiously advancing, and looking to my right, I next discovered his comrade, standing in a thicket of low wait-a-bits, within a hundred and fifty yards of me;[Pg 395] they were both first-rate old bulls, with enormous tusks of great length. I dismounted, and warily approached the second elephant for a closer inspection of his tusks. As I drew near, he slightly turned his head, and I then perceived that his farther one was damaged toward the point; while at the same instant his comrade, raising his head clear of the bush on which he browsed, displayed to my delighted eyes a pair of the most beautiful and perfect tusks I had ever seen.

Regaining my horse, I advanced toward this elephant, and when within forty yards of him, he walked slowly on before me in an open space, his huge ears gently flapping, and entirely concealing me from his view. Inclining to the left, I slightly increased my pace, and walked past him within sixty yards, upon which he observed me for the first time; but probably mistaking "Sunday" for a hartebeest, he continued his course with his eye upon me, but showed no symptoms of alarm. The natives had requested me to endeavor, if possible, to hunt him toward the water, which lay in a northerly direction, and this I resolved to do. Having advanced a little, I gave him my wind, when he was instantly alarmed, and backed into the bushes, holding his head high and right to me. Thus he stood motionless as a statue, under the impression, probably, that, owing to his Lilliputian dimensions, I had failed to observe him, and fancying that I would pass on without detecting him. I rode slowly on, and described a semicircle to obtain a shot at his shoulder, and halting my horse, fired from the saddle; he got it in the shoulder-blade, and, as slowly and silently I continued my course, he still stood gazing at me in utter astonishment. Bill and Flam were now slipped by the natives, and in another moment they were barking around him. I shouted loudly to encourage the dogs and perplex the elephant, who seemed puzzled to know what to think of us, and, shrilly trumpeting, charged headlong after the dogs. Retreating, he backed into the thicket, then charged once more, and made clean away, holding the course I wanted. When I tried to fire, "Sunday" was very fidgety, and destroyed the correctness of my aim. Approaching the elephant, I presently dismounted, and, running in, gave him two fine shots behind the shoulder; then the dogs, which were both indifferent ones, ran barking at him. The consequence was a terrific charge, the dogs at once making for their master, and bringing the elephant right upon me. I had no time to gain my saddle, but ran for my life. The dogs, fortunately, took after "Sunday," who, alarmed by the trumpeting, dashed frantically away, though in the heat of the affray I could not help laughing to remark horse, dogs, and elephant all charging along in a direct line.

The dogs, having missed their master, held away for Kleinboy, who had long disappeared, I knew not whither. "Sunday" stood still, and commenced to graze, while the elephant, slowly passing within a few yards of him, assumed a position under a tree beside him. Kleinboy presently making his appearance, I called to him to ride in, and bring me my steed; but he refused, and asked me if I wished him to go headlong to destruction. "Sunday" having fed slowly away from the elephant. I went up, and he allowed me to recapture him. I now plainly saw that the elephant was dying, but I continued firing to hasten his demise. Toward the end he took up a position in a dense thorny thicket, where for a long time he remained. Approaching within twelve paces, I fired my two last shots, aiming at his left side, close behind the shoulder. On receiving these, he backed slowly through the thicket, and clearing it, walked gently forward about twenty yards, when he suddenly came down with tremendous violence right on his broadside. To my intense mortification, the heavy fall was accompanied by a loud, sharp crack, and on going up I found one of his matchless tusks broken short off by the lip. This was a glorious day's sport: I had bagged, in one afternoon, probably the two finest bull elephants in Bamangwato, and, had it not been for the destruction of their noble trophies, which were the two finest pair of tusks I had obtained that season, my triumph on the occasion had been great and unalloyed.

[From Dickens's Household Words.]


Quiet enough, in general, is the quaint old town of Lamborough. Why all this bustle to-day? Along the hedge-bound roads which lead to it, carts, chaises, vehicles of every description are jogging along filled with countrymen; and here and there the scarlet cloak or straw bonnet of some female occupying a chair, placed somewhat unsteadily behind them, contrasts gayly with the dark coats, or gray smock-frocks of the front row; from every cottage of the suburb, some individuals join the stream, which rolls on increasing through the streets till it reaches the castle. The ancient moat teems with idlers, and the hill opposite, usually the quiet domain of a score or two of peaceful sheep, partakes of the surrounding agitation.

The voice of the multitude which surrounds the court-house, sounds like the murmur of the sea, till suddenly it is raised to a sort of shout. John West, the terror of the surrounding country, the sheep-stealer and burglar, had been found guilty.

"What is the sentence?" is asked by a hundred voices.

The answer is "Transportation for Life."

But there was one standing aloof on the hill, whose inquiring eye wandered over the crowd with indescribable anguish, whose pallid cheek grew more and more ghastly at every denunciation of the culprit, and who, when at last the sentence was pronounced, fell insensible upon the green-sward. It was the burglar's son.

When the boy recovered from his swoon, it was late in the afternoon; he was alone; the faint tinkling of the sheep-bell had again replaced[Pg 396] the sound of the human chorus of expectation, and dread, and jesting; all was peaceful, he could not understand why he lay there, feeling so weak and sick. He raised himself tremulously and looked around, the turf was cut and spoiled by the trampling of many feet. All his life of the last few months floated before his memory, his residence in his father's hovel with ruffianly comrades, the desperate schemes he heard as he pretended to sleep on his lowly bed, their expeditions at night, masked and armed, their hasty returns, the news of his father's capture, his own removal to the house of some female in the town, the court, the trial, the condemnation.

The father had been a harsh and brutal parent, but he had not positively ill-used his boy. Of the great and merciful Father of the fatherless the child knew nothing. He deemed himself alone in the world. Yet grief was not his pervading feeling, nor the shame of being known as the son of a transport. It was revenge which burned within him. He thought of the crowd which had come to feast upon his father's agony; he longed to tear them to pieces, and he plucked savagely a handful of the grass on which he leant. Oh, that he were a man! that he could punish them all—all—the spectators first, the constables, the judge, the jury, the witnesses—one of them especially, a clergyman named Leyton, who had given his evidence more positively, more clearly, than all the others. Oh, that he could do that man some injury—but for him his father would not have been identified and convicted.

Suddenly a thought occurred to him, his eyes sparkled with fierce delight. "I know where he lives," he said to himself; "he has the farm and parsonage of Millwood. I will go there at once—it is almost dark already. I will do as I have heard father say he once did to the squire. I will set his barns and his house on fire. Yes, yes, he shall burn for it—he shall get no more fathers transported."

To procure a box of matches was an easy task, and that was all the preparation the boy made.

The autumn was far advanced. A cold wind was beginning to moan among the almost leafless trees, and George West's teeth chattered, and his ill-clad limbs grew numb as he walked along the fields leading to Millwood. "Lucky it's a dark night; this fine wind will fan the flame nicely," he repeated to himself.

The clock was striking nine, but all was quiet as midnight; not a soul stirring, not a light in the parsonage windows that he could see. He dared not open the gate, lest the click of the latch should betray him, so he softly climbed over; but scarcely had he dropped on the other side of the wall before the loud barking of a dog startled him. He cowered down behind the hay-rick, scarcely daring to breathe, expecting each instant that the dog would spring upon him. It was some time before the boy dared to stir, and as his courage cooled, his thirst for revenge somewhat subsided also, till he almost determined to return to Lamborough, but he was too tired, too cold, too hungry—besides, the woman would beat him for staying out so late. What could he do? where should he go? and as the sense of his lonely and forlorn position returned, so did also the affectionate remembrance of his father, his hatred of his accusers, his desire to satisfy his vengeance; and once more, courageous through anger, he rose, took the box from his pocket, and boldly drew one of them across the sand-paper. It flamed; he stuck it hastily in the stack against which he rested—it only flickered a little, and went out. In great trepidation, young West once more grasped the whole of the remaining matches in his hand and ignited them, but at the same instant the dog barked. He hears the gate open, a step is close to him, the matches are extinguished, the lad makes a desperate effort to escape, but a strong hand was laid on his shoulder, and a deep, calm voice inquired, "What can have urged you to such a crime?" Then calling loudly, the gentleman, without relinquishing his hold, soon obtained the help of some farming men, who commenced a search with their lanterns all about the farm. Of course they found no accomplices, nothing at all but the handful of half-consumed matches the lad had dropped, and he all that time stood trembling, and occasionally struggling, beneath the firm but not rough grasp of the master who held him.

At last the men were told to return to the house, and thither, by a different path, was George led, till they entered a small, poorly-furnished room. The walls were covered with books, as the bright flame of the fire revealed to the anxious gaze of the little culprit. The clergyman lit a lamp, and surveyed his prisoner attentively. The lad's eyes were fixed on the ground, while Mr. Leyton's wandered from his pale, pinched features to his scanty, ragged attire, through the tatters of which he could discern the thin limbs quivering from cold or fear; and when at last impelled by curiosity at the long silence, George looked up, there was something so sadly compassionate in the stranger's gentle look, that the boy could scarcely believe that he was really the man whose evidence had mainly contributed to transport his father. At the trial he had been unable to see his face, and nothing so kind had ever gazed upon him. His proud bad feelings were already melting.

"You look half-starved," said Mr. Leyton; "draw nearer to the fire, you can sit down on that stool while I question you; and mind you answer me the truth. I am not a magistrate, but of course can easily hand you over to justice if you will not allow me to benefit you in my own way."

George still stood twisting his ragged cap in his trembling fingers, and with so much emotion depicted on his face, that the good clergyman resumed, in still more soothing accents: "I have[Pg 397] no wish to do you any thing but good, my poor boy; look up at me, and see if you can not trust me: you need not be thus frightened. I; only desire to hear the tale of misery your appearance indicates, to relieve it, if I can."

Here the young culprit's heart smote him. Was this the man whose house he had tried to burn? On whom he had wished to bring ruin and perhaps death? Was it a snare spread for him to lead to a confession? But when he looked on that grave compassionate countenance, he felt that it was not.

"Come, my lad, tell me all."

George had for years heard little but oaths, and curses, and ribald jests, or the thief's jargon of his father's associates, and had been constantly cuffed and punished; but the better part of his nature was not extinguished; and at those words from the mouth of his enemy, he dropped on his knees, and clasping his hands, tried to speak; but could only sob. He had not wept before during that day of anguish; and now his tears gushed forth so freely, his grief was so passionate as he half knelt, half rested on the floor, that the good questioner saw that sorrow must have its course ere calm could be restored. The young penitent still wept, when a knock was heard at the door, and a lady entered. It was the clergyman's wife, he kissed her as she asked how he had succeeded with the wicked man in the jail?

"He told me," replied Mr. Leyton, "that he had a son whose fate tormented him more than his punishment. Indeed, his mind was so distracted respecting the youth, that he was scarcely able to understand my exhortations. He entreated me with agonizing energy to save his son from such a life as he had led, and gave me the address of a woman in whose house he lodged. I was, however, unable to find the boy in spite of many earnest inquiries."

"Did you hear his name?" asked the wife.

"George West," was the reply.

At the mention of his name, the boy ceased to sob. Breathlessly he heard the account of his father's last request, of the benevolent clergyman's wish to fulfill it. He started up, ran toward the door, and endeavored to open it; Mr. Leyton calmly restrained him, "You must not escape," he said.

"I can not stop here. I can not bear to look at you. Let me go!" The lad said this wildly, and shook himself away.

"Why, I intend you nothing but kindness."

A new flood of tears gushed forth; and George West said, between his sobs,

"While you were searching for me to help me, I was trying to burn you in your house. I can not bear it." He sunk on his knees, and covered his face with both hands.

There was a long silence, for Mr. and Mrs. Leyton were as much moved as the boy, who was bowed down with shame and penitence, to which hitherto he had been a stranger.

At last the clergyman asked, "What could have induced you to commit such a crime?"

Rising suddenly in the excitement of remorse, gratitude, and many feelings new to him, he hesitated for a moment, and then told his story, he related his trials, his sins, his sorrows, his supposed wrongs, his burning anger at the terrible fate of his only parent, and his rage at the exultation of the crowd: his desolation on recovering from his swoon, his thirst for vengeance, the attempt to satisfy it. He spoke with untaught, child-like simplicity, without attempting to suppress the emotions which successively overcame him.

When he ceased, the lady hastened to the crouching boy, and soothed him with gentle words. The very tones of her voice were new to him. They pierced his heart more acutely than the fiercest of the upbraidings and denunciations of his old companions. He looked on his merciful benefactors with bewildered tenderness. He kissed Mrs. Leyton's hand, then gently laid on his shoulder. He gazed about like one in a dream who dreaded to wake. He became faint and staggered. He was laid gently on a sofa, and Mr. and Mrs. Leyton left him.

Food was shortly administered to him, and after a time, when his senses had become sufficiently collected, Mr. Leyton returned to the study, and explained holy and beautiful things, which were new to the neglected boy: of the great yet loving father; of Him who loved the poor, forlorn wretch, equally with the richest, and noblest, and happiest; of the force and efficacy of the sweet beatitude, "Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain Mercy."

I heard this story from Mr. Leyton, during a visit to him in May. George West was then head ploughman to a neighboring farmer, one of the cleanest, best behaved, and most respected laborers in the parish.

[From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.]


In a mountainous district of Tuscany, lying about twenty miles west of Sienna, are situated the extraordinary lagoons from which borax is obtained. Nothing can be more desolate than the aspect of the whole surrounding country. The mountains, bare and bleak, appear to be perpetually immersed in clouds of sulphurous vapor, which sometimes ascend in wreathed or twisted columns, and at other times are beaten down by the winds, and dispersed in heavy masses through the glens and hollows. Here and there water-springs, in a state of boiling heat, and incessantly emitting smoke and vapor, burst with immense noise from the earth, which burns and shakes beneath your feet. The heat of the atmosphere in the vicinity of the lagoons is almost intolerable, especially when the wind blows about you the fiery vapor, deeply impregnated with sulphur. Far and near the earth is covered with glittering crystallizations of various minerals, while the soil beneath is composed of black marl, streaked with chalk, which, at a distance, imparts to it the appearance of variegated[Pg 398] marble. As you proceed, you are stunned by the noise of constant explosions, which remind you that you are traversing the interior of a mighty crater, which in past ages was, perhaps, filled with a flood of liquid fire.

Borax was first brought to Europe, through India, from Thibet, where it is found in a mountainous region, resembling in character the district of Tuscany we have described. If we except some doubtful specimens, said to have been discovered in coal-pits in Saxony, we may assert that the mineral is found nowhere else in Europe, or that the territories of the Grand Duke enjoy a natural monopoly of the article, which, with the growth of the manufacturing system, is coming more and more into use every day, especially in France. In former times, when the value of the lagoons was not understood, the hollows and gorges in the mountains where they are situated were regarded by the superstitious peasantry as the entrance to hell. Experience taught them that it was in many respects a region of death. Whatever living thing fell into the lagoons inevitably perished, for the devouring acid almost in a moment separated the flesh from the bones. Cattle were frequently thus lost, and the peasants themselves or their children sometimes encountered a similar fate. A celebrated chemist, engaged in making experiments on the impregnated water, accidentally fell into a lagoon which he himself had caused to be excavated, and perished immediately, leaving a wife and several children in indigence.

For many ages no use was made of the boracic acid, and the whole district containing it—altogether about thirty miles in length—was dreaded and shunned by the inhabitants. Many inducements were vainly held out to the peasantry to cultivate the lands in the neighborhood, which might generally be obtained for nothing. From time to time a few adventurous families would take up their residence near Monte Cerboli, and bring a few fields into cultivation, leaving, however, more than nine-tenths of the land fallow.

About the middle of the last century, Hoefer, who is described as apothecary to the Grand Duke, first detected the presence of boracic acid in the lagoon Orcherio, near Monte Botardo. Masgagin, a professor of anatomy, found the mineral in a concrete state in several streams issuing from the lagoons, and suggested the propriety of establishing manufactories of borax. As late, however, as 1801, in consequence of the failure of numerous experiments, Professor Gazzeri arrived at the conclusion that the quantity of acid contained in the water of the lagoons was too small to render the working of them profitable. But this opinion was based on the old practice of attempting the extracting the mineral by the use of charcoal furnaces. It was M. Larderel who introduced the improved method of employing the hot vapors of the lagoons themselves in the elaboration of the acid, and may be said to have invented the present method, which will probably go on improving for ages.

The system of the Chevalier Larderel, now Comte de Pomerasce, displays at once great ingenuity and courage. The soffioni, or vapors, having been observed to burst forth with more or less vehemence in various parts of the mountains—which, fortunately for industry and commerce, are copiously irrigated with streams of water—the idea was conceived of forming an artificial lagoon on the site of the most elevated vent. A large basin having been excavated, the nearest stream was turned into it. The burning blasts from below forcing up their way through the water, keep it in a state of perpetual ebullition, and by degrees impregnate it with boracic acid. Nothing can be more striking than the appearance of such a lagoon. Surrounded by aridity and barrenness, its surface presents the aspect of a huge caldron, boiling and steaming perpetually, while its margin trembles, and resounds with the furious explosions from below. Sometimes the vapor issues like a thread from the water, and after rising for a considerable height, spreads, and assumes an arborescent form as it is diluted by the atmospheric air. It then goes circling over the surface of the lagoon, till, meeting with other bodies of vapor in a similar condition, the whole commingling, constitute a diminutive cloud, which is wafted by the breeze up the peaks of the mountains, or precipitated into the valleys, according to its comparative density.

To stand on the brink of one of these deadly lakes, stunned by subterranean thunder, shaken by incessant earthquakes, and scorched and half suffocated by the fiery pestilential vapor, is to experience very peculiar sensations, such as one feels within the crater of Vesuvius or Ætna, or in the obscurity of the Grotto del Cave.

Another lagoon is scooped out lower down the mountain, the site being determined by the occurrence of soffioni; and here the same processes are followed, and the same phenomena observable. The water from the lagoon above, after it has received impregnation during twenty-four hours, is let off, and conducted by an artificial channel to the second lagoon; and from thence, with similar precautions, to a third, a fourth, and so on, till it at length reaches a sixth or eighth lagoon, where the process of impregnation is supposed to be completed. By this time the water contains half per cent, of acid, which Professor Gazzeri considered far too little to repay the expense of extracting it. From the last lagoon it is conveyed into reservoirs, whence again, after having remained quiescent a few hours, for what purpose is not stated, it passes into the evaporating pans. "Here the hot vapor concentrates the strength of the acid by passing under shallow leaden vessels from the boiling fountains above, which it quits at a heat of 80 degrees Reaumur, and is discharged at a heat of 60 degrees (101 Fahrenheit)."

The evaporating pans are arranged on the same principles as the lagoons, though in some cases almost four times as numerous, each placed on a lower level than the other. In every successive pan the condensation becomes greater.[Pg 399] All the water at length descends into the crystallizing vessels, where the process is completed. From these the borax is conveyed to the drying-rooms, where in the course of a very few hours, it is ready to be packed for exportation. The number of establishments has for many years been on the increase, though about twelve or fourteen years ago they did not exceed nine. Nothing can be more fallacious than the opinions formed by hasty visitors on matters of this kind, which are susceptible of perpetual improvement. When the produce was from 7000 to 8000 Tuscan pounds per day, the manufacturers were supposed to have reached the maximum, because all the water of the mountains was supposed to have been called into requisition. Experience, however, is perpetually teaching us new methods of economy; and though it would a priori be impossible to say by what means this economy is to be effected, we can not permit ourselves to doubt that the manufacture of borax in Tuscany will hereafter be carried to a degree of perfection greatly transcending the expectations of those who formerly wrote on the subject. One of these observes the atmosphere has some influence on the results. In bright and clear weather, whether in winter or summer, the vapors are less dense, but the depositions of boracic acid in the lagoons are greater. Increased vapors indicate unfavorable change of weather, and the lagoons are infallible barometers to the neighborhood, even at a great distance, serving to regulate the proceedings of the peasantry in their agricultural pursuits.

As the quantity of boracic acid originally contained in the water of the lagoons is so very small as we now know it to be, we can no longer wonder at the opinion formerly entertained, that it did not exist at all. After five or six successive impregnations we see it does not exceed half per cent., which, estimating the quantity of borax at 7500 pounds a day, will give 1,500,000 Tuscan pounds, or 500 tons, of water for the same period. By the construction of immense cisterns for the catching of rain water, by the employment of steam-engines for raising it from below, and probably by creating artificial vents for the soffioni, the quantity of borax produced might be almost indefinitely increased, since the range of country through which the vapor ascends is far too great for us to suppose it to be exhausted by the production of 7000 pounds of borax a day. Science in all likelihood will bring about a revolution in this as in so many other manufactures, and our descendants will look back with a smile on our hasty and unphilosophical decision.

We are without information on many points connected with the population of those districts, to throw light on which it would be necessary to institute fresh investigations on the spot. The lagoons are usually excavated by laborers from Lombardy, who wander southward in search of employment in those months of the year during which the Apennines are covered with snow. They do not, however, remain to be employed in the business of manufacture. This is carried on by native Tuscan laborers, who occupy houses, often spacious and well built, in the neighborhood of the evaporating pans. They are in nearly all cases married men, and are enabled to maintain themselves and their families on the comparatively humble wages of a Tuscan lira a day. It would have been satisfactory to know the number of the Lombard navigators from time to time employed in excavating the lagoons, as well as of the native laborers, who carry on operations after their departure; but we may with certainty infer the successive appearance of fresh soffioni on the sides of the mountains from the perpetually-recurring necessity of excavating new lagoons. Again, from the immense increase of borax produced in former times we may safely infer its increase in future. The quantity obtained was quadrupled in four years by superior methods of extraction, by economy of water and vapor, and other improvements suggested by experience. There can, therefore, be no doubt in our minds that similar improvements will produce similar results. In 1832, about 650,000 Tuscan pounds were obtained; in 1836, 2,500,000.

We quote the following suggestion from the observation of a traveler: "It appears to me that the power and riches of these extraordinary districts remain yet to be fully developed. They exhibit an immense number of mighty steam-engines, furnished by nature at no cost, and applicable to the production of an infinite variety of objects. In the progress of time this vast machinery of heat and force will probably become the moving central point of extensive manufacturing establishments. The steam which has been so ingeniously applied to the concentration and evaporation of the boracic acid, will probably hereafter, instead of wasting itself in the air, be employed to move huge engines, which will be directed to the infinite variety of production which engages the attention of the industrious artisans; and thus in course of time there can be little doubt that these lagoons, which were fled from as objects of danger and terror by uninstructed man, will gather round them a large, intelligent population, and become sources of prosperity to innumerable individuals through countless generations."

Whoever has traveled through Tuscany, will every where have observed that the peasants live in better houses than they do any where else in Europe. Some one has said that nearly all their dwellings have been built within the last eighty years, an observation which in itself shows the substantial nature of their tenements, for where else will a peasant's house last so long? In the secluded mountain valleys, where agriculture supplies the only employment of the industrious classes, you sometimes meet with very ancient cottages, built quite in the style of the middle ages, with an abundance of projection and recesses, all calculated to produce picturesqueness of effect. The modern houses, more particularly in the district of the lagoons,[Pg 400] are constructed more with reference to comfort than show, the object being to secure as much room and air as possible. In most places a garden is attached to every dwelling; and where trees will grow, a large linden or chestnut stretches its large boughs lovingly about the corner, and sometimes over the roof, of the dwelling. Under this the peasant and his family sit to enjoy themselves on summer evenings. Not to be entirely idle, however, the father is usually engaged in weaving baskets, while the children amuse themselves with cleaning and preparing the twigs; the mother, often with a baby in her lap, applies herself to the reparation of the family wardrobe; and the whole group, especially when lighted up by the slanting rays of the setting sun, presents to the eye a picture not to be equaled by Dutch or Flemish school.

In other respects, the peasant of the lagoons aims at an inferior standard of luxury. His house is by far the finest portion of his possessions. The style of furniture, though comfortable, is inferior; and in the matters of dress and food the most primitive theories evidently prevail. Here, however, as in most other parts of Europe, we behold the extremities, as it were, of two systems—the one which is going out of date, and the one which is coming in. Much bigotry is no doubt often displayed in the attachment of some persons to old habits and customs, not otherwise valuable or respectable than from their mere antiquity; but in several parts of Italy the advocates of novelty are seldom in possession of so much comfort as they who abide by the habits and customs of their forefathers. These, for the most part, are content with the coarse manufactures of the country, which, rough and uncouth in appearance, supply the requisite warmth, and are extremely enduring. On the other hand, the imported goods within the reach of the poor, though gay, and of brilliant colors, are too often of the most flimsy texture, and melt away from about the persons of the wearers almost like vapor. The two classes of peasants view each other with secret contempt; but the old fashion is rapidly dying out because it is old, while the new chiefly triumphs perhaps because it is new.

A native, when questioned on the subject of the recent innovations, observed that the lower classes of the population would have the means of providing for their necessities if they were not so eager after luxuries. The females are given to expensive dress, which deprives them of the means of supplying themselves with more necessary articles. The gluttony of the artisans has become proverbial among us: what is not spent in finery in dress is consumed in pampering the appetite. In consequence of the prosperity of the straw trade, which lasted from 1818 to 1825, luxury spread throughout the country; and it would excite a smile, were it not a subject for regret, to observe the country folks in embroidered stockings and pumps, with large velvet bonnets trimmed with feathers and lace; but in their homes they, as well as the artisans in the towns, are miserably off; and they who are even genteelly dressed when abroad, have rarely more than a miserable palliasse for a bed at home. Deprived of the advantages of the straw trade, the situation of the country people, especially those of the mountainous parts, is very distressing.

But this and similar causes operate much less on the population in the district of the lagoons than elsewhere; and, indeed, it may almost be said that these persons, for the most part, offer a striking contrast with their neighbors. Notwithstanding the nature of the vapors by which the air they breathe is impregnated, they are said, upon the whole, to be healthy and long-lived; and the regularity of employment, the goodness of their wages, and their constant residence on the same spot, with many other causes, combine to render them one of the most thriving sections of the Tuscan population. It must, nevertheless, be admitted that we want several data for correctly appreciating their condition, and these could only be supplied by one who should remain a long time among them. The owners and conductors of the works are too much absorbed by the love of gain to pay much attention to the state of the laborers, who, as in most other parts of Italy, lead a retired life, and are reserved and shy of communicating with strangers. On ordinary topics they will converse with you freely enough, but the moment you allude to their domestic concerns, they shrink into themselves, and decline entering into explanations. This, however, they usually do in the most civil manner, affecting stupidity, and carefully avoiding the least appearance of rudeness. Even in the neighboring towns and villages the laborers of the lagoons are little known; and the produce of their manufacture, though exported to France and England, attracts little notice to the country itself, except among those who are engaged in its production. This will account for the very little that is popularly known of the borax lagoons of Tuscany, or of the race of peasants by whom they are rendered profitable.

[From Colburn's "New Monthly Magazine."]



This ballad was suggested by one of the notes to the Lay of the Last Minstrel. Wallace, the great Scottish patriot, had been defeated in a sharp encounter with the English. He was forced to retreat with only sixteen followers, the English pursued him with a bloodhound and his sole chance of escape from that tremendous investigator was either in baffling the scent altogether (which was impossible, unless fugitives could take to the water, and continue there for some distance), or in confusing it by the spilling of blood. For the latter purpose, a captive was sometimes sacrificed; in which case the hound stopped upon the body.[Pg 401]

The supernatural part of the story of Fawdon is treated by its first relater, Harry the Minstrel, as a mere legend, and that not a very credible one; but as a mere legend it is very fine, and quite sufficient for poetical purposes; nor should the old poet's philosophy have thought proper to gainsay it. Nevertheless, as the mysteries of the conscience are more awful things than any merely gratuitous terror (besides leaving optical phenomena quite as real as the latter may find them), even the supernatural part of the story becomes probable when we consider the agitations which the noble mind of Wallace may have undergone during such trying physical circumstances, and such extremes of moral responsibility. It seems clear, that however necessary the death of Fawdon may have been to his companions, or to Scotland, his slayer regretted it; I have suggested the kind of reason which he would most likely have had for the regret; and, upon the whole, it is my opinion, that Wallace actually saw the visions, and that the legend originated in the fact. I do not mean to imply that Fawdon became present, embodied or disembodied, whatever may have been the case with his spectre. I only say that what the legend reports Wallace to have seen, was actually in the hero's eyes. The remainder of the question I leave to the psychologist.


Wallace with his sixteen men
Is on his weary way;
They have hasting been all night,
And hasting been all day;
And now, to lose their only hope,
They hear the bloodhound bay.
The bloodhound's bay comes down the wind,
Right upon the road;
Town and tower are yet to pass,
With not a friend's abode.
Wallace neither turn'd nor spake;
Closer drew the men;
Little had they said that day,
But most went cursing then.
Oh! to meet twice sixteen foes
Coming from English ground,
And leave their bodies on the track,
To cheat King Edward's hound
Oh! to overtake one wretch
That left them in the fight,
And leave him cloven to the ribs,
To mock the bloody spite.
Suddenly dark Fawdon stopp'd,
As they near'd a town;
He stumbled with a desperate oath,
And cast him fiercely down.
He said, "The leech took all my strength,
My body is unblest;
Come dog, come devil, or English rack,
Here must Fawdon rest."
Fawdon was an Irishman,
Had join'd them in the war;
Four orphan children waited him
Down by Eden Scawr.
But Wallace hated Fawdon's ways,
That were both fierce and shy;
And at his words he turn'd, and said,
"That's a traitor's lie.
"No thought is thine of lingering here,
A captive for the hound;
Thine eye is bright; thy lucky flesh
Hath not a single wound:
The moment we depart, the lane
Will see thee from the ground."
Fawdon would not speak nor stir,
Speak as any might;
Scorn'd or sooth'd, he sat and lour'd
As though in angry spite.
Wallace drew a little back,
And waved his men apart;
And Fawdon half leap'd up, and cried,
"Thou wilt not have the heart!"
Wallace with his dreadful sword,
Without further speech,
Clean cut off dark Fawdon's head,
Through its stifled screech:
Through its stifled screech, and through
The arm that fenc'd his brow;
And Fawdon, as he leap'd, fell dead,
And safe is Wallace now.
Safe is Wallace with his men,
And silent is the hound;
And on their way to Castle Gask
They quit the sullen ground.


Wallace lies in Castle Gask,
Resting with his men;
Not a soul has come, three days,
Within the warder's ken.
Resting with his men is Wallace,
Yet he fareth ill
There are tumults in his blood,
And pangs upon his will.
It was night, and all were housed,
Talking long and late;
Who is this that blows the horn
At the castle-gate?
Who is this that blows a horn
Which none but Wallace hears?
Loud and louder grows the blast
In his frenzied ears.
He sends by twos, he sends by threes,
He sends them all to learn;
He stands upon the stairs, and calls
But none of them return.
Wallace flung him forth down stairs;
And there the moonlight fell
Across the yard upon a sight,
That makes him seem in hell
Fawdon's headless trunk he sees,
With an arm in air,
Brandishing his bloody head
By the swinging hair.[Pg 402]
Wallace with a stifled screech
Turn'd and fled amain,
Up the stairs, and through the bowers,
With a burning brain:
From a window Wallace leap'd
Fifteen feet to ground,
And never stopp'd till fast within
A nunnery's holy bound.
And then he turn'd, in gasping doubt,
To see the fiend retire,
And saw him not at hand, but saw
Castle Gask on fire.
All on fire was Castle Gask;
And on its top, endued
With the bulk of half a tower,
Headless Fawdon stood.
Wide he held a burning beam,
And blackly fill'd the light;
His body seem'd, by some black art,
To look at Wallace, heart to heart,
Threatening through the night.
Wallace that day week arose
From a feeble bed;
And gentle though he was before,
Yet now to orphans evermore
He gentlier bow'd his head.

[From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.]


During a visit to a friend in the country, I was enjoying a walk in his garden before breakfast on a delightful morning in June, when my attention was suddenly arrested by the pensive attitude of a little boy, the son of my host, whom I observed standing before a rose-bush, which he appeared to contemplate with much dissatisfaction. Children have always been to me a most interesting study; and yielding to a wish to discover what could have clouded the usually bright countenance of my little friend, I inquired what had attracted him to this particular rose-bush, which presented but a forlorn appearance when compared with its more blooming companions. He replied: "This rose-bush is my own; papa gave it to me in spring, and promised that no one else should touch it. I have taken great pains with it; and as it was covered with beautiful roses last summer, I hoped to have had many fine bouquets from it; but all my care and watching have been useless: I see I shall not have one full-blown rose after all."

"And yet," said I, "it appears to be as healthy as any other bush in the garden: tell me what you have done for it, as you say it has cost me so much pains?"

"After watching it for some time," he replied, "I discovered a very great number of small buds, but they were almost concealed by the leaves which grew so thickly; I therefore cleared away the greater part of these, and my little buds then looked very well. I now found, as I watched them, that though they grew larger every day, the green outside continued so hard that I thought it impossible for the delicate rose-leaves to force their way out; I therefore picked them open; but the pale, shriveled blossoms which I found within never improved, but died one after another. Yesterday morning I discovered one bud which the leaves had till then hidden from me, and which was actually streaked with the beautiful red of the flower confined in it; I carefully opened and loosened it, in the hope that the warm sun would help it to blow: my first thought this morning was of the pleasure I should have in gathering my one precious bud for mamma—but look at it now!"

The withered, discolored petals to which the child thus directed my eye did indeed present but a melancholy appearance, and I now understood the cause of the looks of disappointment which had at first attracted my attention. I explained to the zealous little gardener the mischief which he had unintentionally done by removing the leaves and calyx with which nature had covered and inclosed the flower until all its beauties should be ready for full development; and having pointed out to him some buds which had escaped his care, I left him full of hope that, by waiting patiently for nature to accomplish her own work, he might yet have a bouquet of his own roses to present to his mother.

As I pursued my walk, it occurred to me that this childish incident suggested an answer to the question asked by Dr. Johnson, "What becomes of all the clever children?" Too often, it is to be feared, are the precious human buds sacrificed to the same mistaken zeal that led to the destruction of the roses which had been expected with so much pleasure by their little owner. Perhaps a few hints, suggested—not by fanciful theory, but by practical experience in the mental training of children—may help to rescue some little ones from the blighting influences to which they are too often exposed.

The laws by which the physical development of every infant, during the earliest period of its existence, is regulated, seem to afford a striking lesson by the analogy they bear to these laws on which the subsequent mental development depends; and by the wise arrangement of an ever-kind Providence, this lesson is made immediately to precede the period during which it should be carried into practice. On the babe's first entrance into the world, it must be fed only with food suitable to its delicate organs of digestion; on this depends its healthful growth, and likewise the gradual strengthening of those organs. Its senses must at first be acted upon very gently: too strong a light, or too loud a noise, may impair its sight or hearing for life.

The little limbs of a young infant must not be allowed to support the body before they have acquired firmness sufficient for that task, otherwise they will become deformed, and the whole system weakened; and last, not least, fresh and pure air must be constantly inhaled by the lungs, in order that they may supply vigor to the whole[Pg 403] frame. All enlightened parents are acquainted with these laws of nature, and generally act on them; but when, owing to judicious management, their children emerge from babyhood in full enjoyment of all the animal organs, and with muscles and sinews growing firmer every day in consequence of the exercise which their little owners delight in giving them, is the same judicious management extended to the mind, of which the body, which has been so carefully nourished, is only the outer case? In too many cases it is not. Too often the tender mind is loaded with information which it has no power of assimilating, and which, consequently, can not nourish it. The mental faculties, instead of being gradually exercised, are overwhelmed: parents who would check with displeasure the efforts of a nurse who should attempt to make their infant walk at too early a period, are ready eagerly to embrace any system of so-called education which offers to do the same violence to the intellect; forgetting that distortion of mind is at least as much to be dreaded as that of the body, while the motives held out to encourage the little victims are not calculated to produce a moral atmosphere conducive either to good or great mental attainments. Children are sometimes met with—though few and far between—whose minds seem ready to drink in knowledge in whatever form or quantity it may be presented to them; and the testimony of Dr. Combe, as well as of many other judicious writers, proves the real state of the brain in such cases, and also the general fate of the poor little prodigies. Such children, however, are not the subject of these observations, of which the object is to plead for those promising buds which are closely encased in their "hard" but protecting covering; to plead for them especially at that period when the "beautiful red streak" appears; in other words, when, amid the thoughtless sports and simple studies of childhood, the intellect begins to develop itself, and to seek nourishment from all that is presented to it. There exists at the period alluded to a readiness in comparison, and a shrewdness of observation, which might be profitably employed in the great work of education. And here it may be observed, that as to "educate" signifies to bring out, the term education can only be applied with propriety to a system which performs this work, and never to one which confines itself to laying on a surface-work of superficial information, unsupported by vigorous mental powers. Information may be acquired at any age, provided that the intellectual machinery has been kept in activity; whereas, if the latter has been allowed to rust and stiffen from disease, the efforts of the man—supposing him to have energy sufficient to make an effort—to redress the wrongs done to the boy, will in most cases be vain. That self-educated men are generally the best educated is a trite remark; so trite, indeed, that it frequently falls on the ear without rousing attention to the apparent paradox which it contains; and yet there must be some reason well worthy of attention for the fact, that so many who, in early life, have enjoyed advantages, have, on reaching manhood, found themselves surpassed by others who have been forced to struggle up unassisted, and in many cases surrounded by apparent obstacles to their rise. It is obvious that the point in which the latter have the advantage, is the necessity which they find for exercising their own intellectual powers at every step; and, moreover, for taking each step firmly before they attempt the next; which necessity, while it may retard the rapid skimming over various subjects which is sometimes effected, gives new vigor continually to the mind, and also leads to the habit of that "industry and patient thought" to which the immortal Newton attributed all he had done; while at the same time a vivid pleasure is taken in the acquirement of knowledge so obtained beyond any that can be conferred by reward or encouragement from others.

From these considerations, it appears that the most judicious system of education is that in which the teacher rather directs the working of his pupil's mind than works for him; and it must be recollected that such a system, compared with some others, will be slow, though sure, in producing the desired result. Every one familiar with children must have observed with what apparently fresh interest they will listen to the same tale repeated again and again Now, if time and repetition are necessary to impress on the young mind facts interesting in themselves, they are surely more necessary when the information to be imparted is in itself dry and uninteresting, as is the ease with much which it is requisite for children to learn. The system here recommended is one which requires patience both on the part of parents and teachers; but patience so exercised would undoubtedly be rewarded by the results, one of which would be, that we should not so frequently see "clever children" wane into very commonplace, if not stupid men.

[From Fraser's Magazine.]


After the Americans had established their political nationality beyond cavil, and taken a positive rank among the powers of the civilized world, they still remained subject to reproach, that in the worlds of Art, Science, and Literature, they had no national existence. Admitting, or, at any rate, feeling, the truth of this taunt, they bestirred themselves resolutely to produce a practical refutation of it. Their first and fullest success was, as might be expected from their notoriously utilitarian character, in practical inventions. In oratory, notwithstanding a tendency to more than Milesian floridness and hyperbole, they have taken no mean stand among the free nations of christendom. In history, despite the disadvantages arising from the scarcity of large libraries, old records, and other appliances of the historiographer, they[Pg 404] have produced some books which are acknowledged to be well worthy a place among our standard works, and which have acquired, not merely an English, but a continental reputation. In the fine arts, notwithstanding obviously still greater impediments—the want at home, not only of great galleries and collections, but of the thousand little symbols and associations that help to educate the artist—the consequent necessity of going abroad to seek all that the student requires—they have still made laudable progress. The paintings of Washington Allston are the most noteworthy lions in Boston; the statues of Powers command admiration even in London. In prose fiction, the sweet sketches of Irving have acquired a renown second only to that of the agreeable essayists whom he took for his models, while the Indian and naval romances of Cooper are purchased at liberal prices by the chary bibliopoles of England, and introduced to the Parisian public by the same hand which translated Walter Scott. In poetry alone they are still palpably inferior: no world-renowned minstrel has yet arisen in the New Atlantis, and the number of those versifiers who have attained a decided name and place among the lighter English literature of their day, or whose claims to the title of poet are acknowledged in all sections of their own country, is but small.

If we come to inquire into the causes of this deficiency, we are apt at first to light upon several reasons why it should not exist. In the first place, there is nothing unpoetical about the country itself, but every thing highly the reverse. All its antecedents and traditions, its discovery, its early inhabitants, its first settlement by civilized men, are eminently romantic. It is not wanting in battle-grounds, or in spots hallowed by recollections and associations of patriots and sages. The magnificence of its scenery is well known. The rivers of America are at the same time the most beautiful and the most majestic in the world: the sky of America, though dissimilar in hue, may vie in loveliness with the sky of Italy. No one who has floated down the glorious Hudson (even amid all the un-ideal associations of a gigantic American steamer), who has watched the snowy sails—so different from the tarry, smoky canvas of European craft—that speck that clear water; who has noticed the faultless azure and snow of the heaven above, suggesting the highest idea of purity, the frowning cliffs that palisade the shore, and the rich masses of foliage that overhang them, tinged a thousand dyes by the early autumn frost—no one who has observed all this, can doubt the poetic capabilities of the land.

A seeming solution, indeed, presents itself in the business, utilitarian character of the people; and this solution would probably be immediately accepted by very many of our readers. Brother Jonathan thinks and talks of cotton, and flour, and dollars, and the ups and downs of stocks. Poetry doesn't pay: he can not appreciate, and does not care for it. "Let me get something for myself," he says, like the churl in Theocritus. "Let the gods whom he invokes reward the poet. What do we want with more verse? We have Milton and Shakspeare (whether we read them or not). He is the poet for me who asks me for nothing;" and so the poor Muses wither (or as Jonathan himself might say, wilt) away, and perish from inanition and lack of sympathy. Very plausible; but now for the paradox. So far from disliking, or underrating, or being indifferent to poetry, the American public is the most eager devourer of it, in any quantity, and of any quality; nor is there any country in which a limited capital of inspiration will go farther. Let us suppose two persons, both equally unknown, putting forth a volume of poems on each side of the Atlantic; decidedly the chances are, that the American candidate for poetic fame will find more readers, and more encouragement in his country, than the British in his. Very copious editions of the standard English poets are sold every year, generally in a form adapted to the purses of the million; to further which end they are frequently bound two or three in a volume (Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats, for instance, is a favorite combination). Even bardlings like Pollok enjoy a large number of readers and editions. Nor is there—notwithstanding the much-complained-of absence of an international copyright law—any deficiency of home supply for the market. Writing English verses, indeed, is as much a part of an American's education, as writing Latin verses is of an Englishman's; recited "poems" always holding a prominent place among their public collegiate exercises; about every third man, and every other woman of the liberally-educated classes, writes occasional rhymes, either for the edification of their private circle, or the poets'-corner of some of the innumerable newspapers that encumber the land; and the number of gentlemen and ladies one meets who have published a volume of Something and Other Poems, is perfectly astounding.

The true secret seems to be, that the Americans, as a people, have not received that education which enables a people to produce poets. For, however true the poeta nascitur adage may be negatively of individuals, it is not true positively of nations. The formation of a national poetic temperament is the work of a long education, and the development of various influences. A peculiar classicality of taste, involving a high critical standard, seems necessary, among the moderns, to high poetic production; and such a taste has not yet been formed in America. True, there are kinds of poetry—the Ballad and the Epic, which, so far as we can trace them, are born, Pallas-like, full-grown; which sound their fullest tone in a nation's infancy, and are but faintly echoed in its maturity. But there are numbers in which lisps the infancy, not of a nation merely, but of a race. And the Americans were an old race though a young nation. They began with too much civilization for the heroic school of poetry: they have not yet attained enough cultivation for the philosophic.

[Pg 405]

[From the London Christian Times.]


All the ordinary incidents of the past week have been thrown into temporary oblivion, by the lamentable occurrence that has deprived the country of one of its most eminent statesmen; the House of Commons, of one of its chiefs; the family of the right honorable baronet of its most amiable and distinguished head; and many of the public institutions, those of the fine arts especially, of an enlightened and generous patron.

The late member for Tamworth was the eldest son of the first Sir R. Peel, formerly of the house of Peel and Yates, which, in 1803, employed about 15,000 persons at Bury, and which paid at that time £40,000 a year duty on their printed cotton fabrics. In 1787, Mr. Peel married his partner's daughter, Miss Yates, who bore the subject of this memoir—5th February, 1788—in a little cottage, near Chamber Hall. The husband of Miss Yates was very successful in his cotton speculations, and in 1798, when the English Government appealed to the country for pecuniary aid to carry on the French war, subscribed himself £10,000. Some notion may be formed of the extent of the wealth of the first Sir R. Peel, from the fact that when, in 1830, his will was proved, the personal property was sworn at £1,200,000. The much-lamented baronet received the rudiments of his education under parental superintendence, near Bury. He was removed to Harrow, when he became a form-fellow of the more brilliant, but less amiable, Lord Byron, who has left several commendatory notices of his youthful friend, and whose eminence he very sagaciously predicted.

From Harrow, Mr. Peel became a Gentleman Commoner of Christ Church, Oxford, where, in 1808, he was the first who took the honors of double first-class. In the following year, having attained his majority, he entered the House of Commons for Cashel, as the nominee of Mr. Richard Pennefather. Mr. Peel continued to represent the twelve electors of Cashel and their lord till 1812, when he represented the close borough of Chippenham, with a constituency of 135. The prodigious wealth of the first baronet of Drayton Manor gave his son great advantages in the House of Commons, where, in 1810, he was selected to second the Address, in reply to the Royal Speech. Shortly after, he became the Under-Secretary of State in the Perceval Cabinet, and, upon the fall of his chief, though only twenty-six years of age, he was made principal Secretary for Ireland—an office, at that time, of the greatest difficulty and importance—and held that post with as much address as his ultra-Toryism, and his extreme unpopularity in Ireland, admitted, under the Viceroyships of the Duke of Richmond, Earl Whitworth, and Earl Talbot. The most permanent and beneficial measure which Ireland owes to its former Secretary, Peel, is its constabulary force, introduced in 1817, which was the wedge to the introduction of the English body of police.

The masterly tactics of the still youthful statesman, in part, but his "thorough and throughout" Toryism, chiefly recommended him to the electors of Oxford University, which he represented twelve years, till 1828; when, upon an obvious change in his opinions on the question of Catholic emancipation, he was rejected.

In 1820, Mr. Peel, then in his thirty-third year, had married Julia, the daughter of General Sir John Floyd, who was only twenty-five, and who survives her illustrious husband. The issue of this marriage is five sons and two daughters. One of his sons has already entered diplomatic employment in Switzerland; a second has recently entered, as our readers will remember, the House of Commons; a third is in the army, and one in the navy. One of Sir Robert's daughters was married to Viscount Villiers in 1840.

In 1819, the monetary affairs of the country had become so alarming, that the House of Commons appointed a secret committee to inquire into the state of the Bank of England, of which committee Mr. Peel was appointed chairman. He had hitherto been one of the most strenuous opponents of Mr. Horner's celebrated propositions of 1811, from which period he had strongly defended the currency policy of Mr. Vansittart. But the evidence produced to the secret committee effected a complete change in Mr. Peel's opinions, and it was chiefly through his agency that the currency was settled on its present metallic basis. In the conflict, a touching incident of antagonism, between the subject of this memoir and his father, occurred in the House of Commons. Mr. Peel was, in 1822, promoted to the head of the Home-office, which he occupied till the overthrow of Lord Liverpool, in 1827, when he retired, in consequence, as it is alleged, of the elevation of Mr. Canning, whose opinions were in favor of the abolition of the Roman Catholic disabilities. Upon the accession of the Duke of Wellington to power, in 1828, Mr. Peel returned to the Home-office, and, in conjunction with his noble friend, repealed the disabilities of the Roman Catholics; which not only cost him Ireland, and brought upon him a hurricane of abuse from his party, but shook the general confidence in either the soundness or the integrity of his opinions.

The skirts of the Gallic storm of 1830, that crushed the Bourbonic throne, destroyed the Wellington Administration, and made the Reform Bill no longer deferable, which the Whigs entered office to carry. Meantime, the deceased had succeeded to an enormous estate and the baronetcy, by the demise of his father, Sir R. Peel. But he was, in opposition, fiercely assailed with the maledictions of Ireland; the censures of the High Tory party—whom he was alleged to have betrayed—the clamors of the advocates of a paper currency; and what, perhaps, was the most difficult to bear, his party imputed to him the real authorship of the Reform Bill and its consequences, by his vacillation in reference[Pg 406] to the emancipation of the Catholics. But, nothing dismayed by the angry elements surrounding him, and the new political vista of England and the Continent, Sir R. Peel now displayed all the resources of his statesmanship in concentrating the new Conservative party. He so far succeeded—chiefly through the want of more courage and honesty in the Whigs—that he was again called to office in 1834, during his brief tenancy of which, no one can withhold praise for his command of temper, his Liberal tendencies, and his spirit of general conciliation. In 1841, Sir R. Peel again entered office; and—though he undeniably was enabled to do so by the Protectionist party, by the force of circumstances, the stagnation of commerce, the failure of the crops, and the famine in Ireland—he opened the ports, and repealed the Corn-laws forever, to the consternation of the world, and in opposition to all the opinions of his life; this was in 1845. Since that period Sir R. Peel has been in Opposition, indeed, but not its leader so much as a distinguished debater, an accomplished financier, and the expositor of opinions which neither the Whigs nor Tories heartily espouse.

During forty years servitude in the House of Commons—though not generally in favor of popular sentiments, and, in religious matters, rather liberal than generous—Sir R. Peel has undoubtedly rendered, in addition to his three great measures—the Bullion-law, Catholic Emancipation, and the repeal of the Corn-law—many minor political benefits to the country. Of this class of services, that which reflects on him the most honor, is his amelioration of the Criminal Law. As to the measures to which we have just alluded, there will still continue to be a large diversity of opinion. Thousands of the wealthy classes will regard them all as steps in the declination of the national power; while the more popular mind, that rarely troubles itself with large or profound views, has already registered its approval of them.

It is a singular fact, that he spent eleven years in Parliamentary opposition to the Bullion doctrine that he adopted in 1822; that he waged strenuous war against the repeal of the Roman Catholic disabilities for eighteen years, and at last carried them in spite of his own party; and that for thirty years in the House of Commons, he maintained that the prosperity of Great Britain depended on the retention of her Corn-laws, which he repealed in 1845. It is, therefore, clear that his final measures, in reference to these three great departments of his political life, were rather concessions to the force of events, than the voluntary policy of his own mind. His wisdom lay in the concession. Many of his chief colleagues, in each of these instances, would have blindly rushed upon destruction. His greater sagacity foresaw the gulf and turned away, choosing to win the courage of relinquishing his life's opinions, than that of courting the dangers of resistance. And in these three famous instances of Sir R. Peel's life, we have the true elaboration of his own character. He was by education and preference a Tory; by necessity he became a Progressionist.

While we have felt it our duty to write the last paragraph, we cheerfully record our admiration of Sir Robert Peel's great talents, of his moral integrity, of his very exemplary private life, and, we believe, of his firm attachment to his country and its institutions. He is another memorable instance of what the children of democracy may become in England, with adequate talents and exertions. Sir R. Peel owed much to his wealth, to his associates, and to his early opinions. But far beyond the factitious influences derivable from such sources, he had great elements in himself. When his heart and mind received free permission from his policy to display themselves, they were of the highest order. Such a man is not easily made: of his loss we are only at present very imperfectly able to appreciate the consequences, one of which, we fear will be a mischievous re-formation of the Protectionist party, and, if we read the auspices aright, his death will not improve the Ministerial Whigs.

The motion on Wednesday night, in the House of Commons, not to proceed with public business that evening, in honor of the memory of Sir R. Peel, was as becoming to the House itself as it was to its mover, Mr. Hume. It is a poor recompense to a bereaved family, we are aware; but it is such a tribute as has not always been granted to even greater men, and to some of the blood royal. In due time the public feeling will doubtless imbody itself in more tangible and permanent forms; and when that occurs, it will not be the least of the monumental honors of the deceased, that the gratitude of the widow, the orphan, the neglected genius, and suffering worth, will lead many to shed their tears on the bronze or marble effigies of him whose like England will not easily see again.

[From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.]


About three centuries and a half before the Christian era, the question, Are sponges animal or vegetable? was proposed by Aristotle, who, unable himself to solve the difficulty, was contented, in the true spirit of a lover of nature, with carefully recording the results of his accurate observations, and advancing his opinion rather in the form of an inquiry than of an allegation. Upward of two thousand years rolled away ere this question was satisfactorily answered. Nay, we believe that the vegetable theory has, even at the present time, its advocates; while some are still disposed to consider that the sponge is at one period of its existence a vegetable, and at another an animal.

To any one who hesitates to acknowledge that the sponge is endowed with animal life—confessedly in its lowest form, yet with a most exquisite adaptation to its destiny—we would offer the spectacle of a living sponge in a portion of its native element. We would let him gaze[Pg 407] on the animated fountain, which is perpetually sucking the water into its substance through its countless pores, and after assimilating such particles of it as are essential to its existence, ceaselessly expelling it, at more distant intervals, through the larger channels which may be observed on its outer surface. We would point out innumerable gemmules of gelatinous matter, which at certain seasons of the year may be seen spouting "from all parts of the living film which invests the horny skeleton;"[24] until, at length, escaping from the nursery in which they grew, they are carried off to the wide sea by means of the force of the currents issuing from the sponge, though not left to perish at the mercy of the waves. For he will find that the young animal or egg is covered with numberless minute hairs or cilia, each one of which is endowed with a distinct and innate power of vibration; so that by means of thousands of almost invisible oars, the young sponge "shoots like a microscopic meteor through the sea," until it arrives at some rock or other place properly adapted for its future growth; then it settles calmly and contentedly down, and gradually losing its locomotive power, begins to spread on its base; and builds up, within its living substance, a horny framework, such as we have already seen in its parent.

The above-named currents may be more distinctly seen by powdering the surface of the water with chalk or any similar substance; and Professor Grant mentions, that by placing pieces of cork or dry paper over the apertures, he could see them moving "by the force of the currents at the distance of ten feet from the table on which the specimen rested."

Dr. Peysonell, who paid great attention to the structure of the sponge, brought proofs of its animal vitality before the Royal Society in the years 1752—57. And Mr. Ellis, five years afterward, by his dissections, set the question quite at rest; though he fell into the error of believing that the frame of the sponge was the outer case of worms or polypes. Later examination, however, has shown that the frame or sponge, commonly so called, is an internal skeleton, while the vital power is simply composed of a slimy film which coats over every fibre, and which, inert as it appears, possesses the power of secreting the particles essential to its growth.

It has been affirmed, that the sponge is observed to contract or shrink when torn from the rooks; but there is satisfactory evidence to prove that neither this nor any degree of laceration has a sensible effect on this nerveless though vital mass.

All sponges, however, have not a horny framework, but some, which are thereby rendered useless in a commercial point of view, are supported by a skeleton composed of siliceous particles imbedded in a tough, fibrous material. These particles, or spicula, as they are termed, are so uniform in the species to which they severally belong, that, in the words of Professor Grant, if the soft portion be destroyed, and a "few of them brought from any pan of the world on the point of a needle, they would enable the zoologist to identify the species to which they originally belonged." Professor R. Jones, however, considers that this opinion should be received with considerable limitations.

The last fact, trivial as it appears, assumes immense importance when we learn that to these spicula we must turn for an explanation of the isolated masses of flint which abound in various chalk formations. "The mere assertion," says Rhymer Jones, "that flints were sponges, would no doubt startle the reader who was unacquainted with the history of these fossil relics of a former ocean;" and yet a little reflection "will satisfy the most skeptical." For long ages the sponge is imbedded in the chalk, through which water is continually percolating. A well-known law of chemistry explains why similar matter should become aggregated; and thus the siliceous matter of the sponge forms a nucleus for the siliceous matter contained in the water, until at length the entire mass is converted into a solid flint. But we are not left, he adds, to mere conjecture or hypothesis on this point, "for nothing is more common in chalky districts than to find flints, which, on being broken, still contain portions of the original sponge in an almost unaltered state."

There is every reason to believe that the sponge-fisheries of the Ægean are at present conducted precisely in the same manner as they were in the time of Aristotle. The sponge-divers are mostly inhabitants of the islands which lie off the Carian coast, and of those situated between Rhodes and Calymnos. These men—who form a distinct society, and are governed by peculiar laws, which prohibit their marriage until they shall have attained a prescribed proficiency in their art—go out in little fleets, composed of caiques, each of six or seven tons' burden, and manned by six or eight divers: each man is simply equipped with a netted bag in which to place the sponges, and a hoop by which to suspend it round his neck; and thus furnished, he descends to a depth of from five to twenty, or even occasionally thirty fathoms. The sponges which he collects are first saturated with fresh water, which destroys the vitality, and decomposing the gelatinous matter, turns it black; this matter is stamped out by the feet of the divers, and the sponges are then dried in the sun, and strung in circles, after which they are ready for sale and exportation.

In a good locality an expert diver may bring up fifty okes in a day, and for each oke he obtains about twenty-five drachmas. The weight is calculated, says Forbes, when the sponges are dry, and a very large sponge may weigh two okes. The chief sponge-markets are Smyrna. Rhodes, and Napoli.

Blount, who wrote in 1634, affirms that these sponge-divers "are from infancy bred up on dry biscuites and other extenuatinge dyet, to[Pg 408] make them extreme lean; then takinge a spunge wet in oyle, they hold it, part in their mouths, and part without, soe they go under water, where at first they can not stay long, but after practice, the leanest stay an hour and a halfe, even till the oyle of the spunge be corrupted.... Thus they gather spunges from more than an hundred fathom deep," &c. All this is very wonderful, but the narrator stamps the value of his tale by telling us immediately afterward that "Samos is the only place in the world on whose rocks the spunges grow." So that, in the words which he elsewhere makes use of, "we applaude hys belief, but keep our owne." We do not, however, mean to assert that there are not sponges of some species (though not the sponge of commerce) which exist at a depth as great as that which he mentions, for Forbes dredged a living specimen of one small kind from 185 fathoms in the Gulf of Macri.

The sponge of commerce (Spongia officinalis) was divided by Aristotle into three kinds—namely, the loose and porous, the thick and close, and the fine and compact. These last, which are rare, were called the sponges of Achilles, and were placed by the ancients in the interior of their helmets and boots, as protections from pressure and abrasion.

The same naturalist states that those sponges are best which are found on coasts where the water becomes suddenly deep, and attributes this superiority to the greater equality of temperature obtained in such waters—observations which have been corroborated by Professor E. Forbes.

Fifty-six species of sponges have been enumerated, ten or eleven of which are found in the British isles. A portion of these inhabit fresh water, among which we may mention the river sponge (S. fluviatilis), which abounds in the Thames. Among the British sponges, too, is the stinging or crumb-of-bread sponge (S. urens), a widely-diffused species, which, when taken out of the sea is of a bright orange color, and which will, if rubbed on the hand raise blisters. This stinging quality is highly increased by drying the sponge; a process which also gives it the color and appearance of crumbs of bread, whence its popular name.

Sponges, as may be imagined from the mode of their growth, are most sportive in their forms: some a tubular, others mushroom-like, a few almost globular, and still others branched or hand-shaped; in the warmer seas they hang in fantastic and gorgeous fans from the roofs of submarine caverns, or decorate the sides with vases of classic elegance, though of nature's handiwork. Nor are their colors less various: some are of the most brilliant scarlet or the brightest yellow, others green, brown, blackish, or shining white; while Peron mentions one procured by him in the South Sea which was of a beautiful purple, and from which a liquor of the same color was extracted by the slightest pressure; with this liquor he stained several different substances, and found that the color was not affected by the action of the air, and that it would bear several washings.

The value of the sponge in surgery is well known; and it is also used, medicinally, being for this purpose lightly burned to powder, and given in small doses in scrofulous complaints. It has also been regarded as a specific in leprosy and hydrophobia. It is, however, needless to say that in these last it can have no influence whatever.

There are several representations of sponges given in the balneal feasts depicted on various Etruscan vases; and the sponge has been found in a perfect state in a Roman barrow at Bartlow Hills. It was discovered near the sacrificing utensils. Livy says that the covering of the breast of the Samnite gladiators was sponge.

When the animal matter remains in the sponges of various kinds, they have always a very strong fishy smell, which may perhaps be regarded as an additional proof of the fealty which they give to the animal kingdom. Yet we must not omit that there are substances which, though they bear the name of sponges, would rather appear, from their microscopic structure, to belong to the vegetable world; we allude to those known as gelatinous sponges, which are perfectly different from the sponges properly so called.


[24] Professor Rymer Jones.

[From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.]


"What place is this?" said the worthy old gentleman, my traveling companion on the London and North Western railway, as he woke up from a comfortable nap when the train slackened speed, and entered a spacious and expensively-decorated station.

"This is Crewe, sir, I believe."

And scarcely had I answered, when there was a general shout of "Crewe, Crewe!" from an army of porters who came rushing out, and pounced upon the train as if it were their lawful prey.

Presently a head peered in at the door, inquiring,

"All here for the Liverpool line?"

And on my elderly friend saying that he was for Manchester, he was politely but smartly informed that he must change carriages here. So I we both got out; and my friend, after some bother about his luggage, and the use of some hasty language, was at last made "all right" by being put into a carriage bearing an announcement that that was the "Manchester train." On another carriage in front was a similar board announcing the "Liverpool train," and behind was a third to announce that for Chester. Passengers were running up and down the platform: some looking after luggage, some for the right carriage, and others darting into the handsome refreshment-room. But nobody seemed to think of going away from the station; indeed the[Pg 409] only mode of exit and entrance was through a close-shut iron gate, beside which sat a policeman looking with enviable coolness on all the bustle around him. There was a ring of a bell; a banging of doors; a puff of the engine; and off went the train to Liverpool. Another locomotive now appeared moving cautiously down the line, and was speedily attached to the Manchester train, which was soon out of sight. A third came; caught hold of the Chester train, and away it rushed. The passengers who had journeyed so amicably together from London were now thoroughly dispersed, and ere the sun set, some would be crossing the Scotch Border at Carlisle, some embarking at Holyhead for Dublin, and others attending to their business on the Mersey or the Dee, or amid the tall chimneys of Manchester. A luggage train came crawling out from its hiding-place, and finding the coast clear, went thundering past: the porters wiped their foreheads, and went to have a little rest; and I, the solitary passenger for Crewe, was left cooling my heels on the platform.

"Where is Crewe?" I said to the guardian of the iron gate.

"Cross the bridge, go straight on, and turn to the right," was the concise reply.

So I crossed the bridge, and found myself in a pleasant country road. The flat rich fields of Cheshire extended on the left and to the right; at the distance of about half a mile appeared the square massive tower of a church, surrounded by long ranges of low buildings like work-shops, and rows of houses evidently quite new. Some neat cottages lined the sides of the road, and there were two or three inns all bearing marks of youth; while some zealous people had caused a few bills, bearing the words "Prepare to meet thy God," printed in conspicuous type, to be affixed to the walls, giving a stranger not & very high idea of the character of the people in the habit of using that road. Turning to the right, I passed a Methodist chapel, bearing the date of its erection, 1848; a new flour-mill driven by water; a new inn with a brave new sign-board; and, crossing the boundary made by the Chester line, I arrived in Crewe.

Not many years ago, there were only two or three houses here, and the land on which the station and the town are built formed part of a good Cheshire farm. The worthy farmer plowed his fields and reaped his harvest, his dame made good Cheshire cheese; and both lived merrily on, quite unconscious of the change that their farm was about to undergo. The eyes of engineers were on it: it was placed, as an Irishman would say, "very convanient" for railway purposes and after a few years had rolled away, it became the great workshop of the Grand Junction Line, and the point where the main line to Birmingham received its tributaries from the north and west. Several thousands of people were brought here; the company laid out streets and built houses; shops were opened; churches and schools erected; a market-place provided; a Mechanics' Institution established; many hotels built, one of which was destined to lodge royalty for a night; and a town was erected with a rapidity unexampled even in America.

The general appearance of Crewe is very pleasing. The streets are wide, and well paved; the houses are very neat and commodious, usually of two stories, built of bricks, but the brick concealed by rough-cast plaster, with porches, lattice-windows, and a little piece of garden-ground before the door. The greater part of these houses belong to the company, and are let to the men at rents from 2s. 9d. per week upward. The accommodation is good, and it would be difficult to find such houses at such low rents even in the suburbs of a large town. Water is plentifully supplied by public pumps, and the town is well lighted with gas. The names of the streets are expressive: some are called after the towns to which their direction points—such as Liverpool, Chester, Sandbach, &c.; others from the works to which they lead—such as Forge-street; and others from well-known but very modern names—such as Prince Albert-street. The placards on the walls, however, seem somewhat out of place in a railway town, as nearly all have relation to sales of cattle, timber, &c., indicating clearly enough that Crewe is but a mechanical settlement in an agricultural district. The market-place is spacious, and roofed over; the church is a handsome edifice of stone; and the Mechanics' Institution a fine building with a large lecture-room (used also as a town-hall), a good library and news-room, and commodious class-rooms. These were all built by the company; and indeed the completeness of every thing connected with the town gives evidence of such an amplitude of means possessed by its founders, as seldom, if ever, fall to the lot of private individuals.

The most interesting objects, however, about Crewe are the railway works. These are placed on a large tongue of land near the station, and so adapted, that wagons, and carriages, and engines can easily be run into them from the main line. In these works every thing connected with "the rolling stock" of the company for the northern section of the line (Walnerton being used for the southern) is made and repaired. The number of hands employed at present is about eight hundred; but formerly, when railways were more prosperous than now, it exceeded a thousand. The workmen seem to belong, in tolerably equal proportions, to the four great divisions of the United Kingdom; and the slow, deliberate speech of the Scot, the rich brogue of the Irishman, and the sharp, quick utterance of the Welshman, have lost very little of their purity and richness amid the air of the county palatine of Chester. The greater portion of the work is carried on in long, largo sheds, for the most part of one story, and called the "fitting," "erecting," and other shops, according to the nature of the work done in them. The artisans may be divided into two great[Pg 410] classes—the workers in metal, and those in wood; the former being employed in making locomotives' wheels, axles, springs, &c., and the latter in constructing the carriages. By far the greatest number of hands are employed in the former.

That our hasty inspection may begin at the beginning, let us peep at the foundry. Both brass and iron are east here, but to-day it is iron. The sandy floor is covered with moulds of all descriptions, and swarthy workmen are preparing them to receive the melted iron. Occasionally you are startled by the shout of "Mind your eye!" which must be taken in its literal signification, for it comes from a moulder blowing away with a bellows the superfluous grains of fine sand, which, if once in the eye, will give some trouble. The moulds are ready, the furnace is opened, and a stream of bright white metal rolls out into the pots prepared for its reception, and is speedily poured into the moulds. In an adjoining shed are blacksmiths plying forehammers; but their greatest efforts are entirely eclipsed by the mighty steam-hammer that is seen at work in another part of the shed. This hammer is the invention of Mr. Nasmyth, of the Bridgewater Foundry, near Manchester. It moves up and down in a strong frame, at a speed subject to such nice regulations, that, according to the will of its director, it can gently drive a nail, or crush to splinters a log of wood. When Lord John Russell lately visited Manchester, the delicate touch of this hammer was strikingly displayed before him: an egg was procured, and placed in a wine-glass, and such was the power possessed over this giant, that after a little adjustment, the mighty hammer was brought repeatedly down so as just to chip the egg as gently as by a spoon in the hands of a child, while the glass was not in the slightest degree injured or disturbed. The labor saved by this hammer is immense. One man sits perched up on the frame to direct it, and another stands below to guide the iron on the anvil. The great long bar, white with heat, is pulled out of the furnace, laid on the massive piece of iron under the frame, and, with a dull, heavy sound, down conies the hammer, swiftly or slowly, according to the wishes of the director. From the forge and the foundry the "rough-hewn" iron-work passes to be planed, and its surface to be made "true." The wheel of an engine or a carriage, for example, after being forged by the black-smith, requires to be most carefully cut round the rim, so that the space between the flange—that is, the projecting inner part of the wheel, and the outer part—may be perfectly conical, in order that the least amount of surface may be exposed to the rail, and consequently the least amount of friction produced. Again, when a cylinder comes from the foundry, the interior must be cut and polished to a perfect circle, otherwise it would be useless. In short, there is no part of a locomotive that does not require to be prepared with the most perfect accuracy to fit some other part; and if this accuracy is not gained, the engine will either not work at all, or work very imperfectly. It must be remembered that it is hard metal, like iron and brass, that has thus to be wrought on, not comparatively soft material, like wood and stone.

But the machinery employed at Crewe seems capable of cutting any thing, even though it were a rock of adamant. You pass into a shed full of little machines, standing separate from each other, with all manner of curious wheels and belts, driven by steam, of course, and each with a man stationed by its side, gazing attentively at the little machine, as if he were absorbed in thought; and, indeed, were it not for an occasional quick movement of his hands, and a rapid change of position, you might almost suppose that he was sleeping on his legs. But go close up, and you notice that the machine is slowly moving backward and forward, and still more slowly at the same time in a lateral direction. Some curious piece of mechanism is placed on it, and the movements of the machine cause a sharp steel-cutter to pass over the iron surface, which cuts it as easily and truly as a joiner planes a piece of fir. The side motion brings all the surface gradually under the instrument, but the machine, clever and powerful though it is, requires to be constantly watched and regulated, and hence the fixed attention of the man in charge. At a large machine, you will see those long, curious rods called "eccentrics" undergoing this operation; at another, a cylinder is being planed; and at a third, the rims of wheels are being cut. The filings thus made are preserved, and will be seen in large heaps in a yard, ready to be melted down, and "used up" again. In some cases both iron and brass filings are produced, which, of course, are mixed with each other; but in a quiet corner of one of the sheds you will find a boy with a heap of these filings before him, separating the brass from the iron by means of a magnet. Only imagine a boy of fourteen or fifteen doing nothing all day long except raking a magnet through a heap of black and yellow dust, and brushing into a separate heap the iron filings off his magnet! You will also see a series of three iron rollers working on each other, by means of which plate iron can be twisted into any given form; a mighty "punch" which will make a hole an inch in diameter through iron an inch in thickness as easily as though it were clay; and a sharp-cutting instrument that shears through sheets of iron as easily as a pair of scissors through a sheet of paper.

Go into another shed, and you will see all these various parts getting their last touches from the hand, and being fitted into each other; and here, also you find two or three men engraving, on circular segments of brass, the names the various engines are to be known by. In another shed the engines are being "erected." Here you see from twenty to thirty in all stages of progress. Perhaps the framework only has[Pg 411] been laid; or the boiler, with its many rows of long, circular brass tubes, has just been fastened, and is now receiving its outer clothing of long slips of wood; or the whole is complete, merely wanting to be tried on the many lines of rail in and around the sheds. There are two classes of engines here, whose difference is observable at a glance: some have six wheels, two of which are very large, about six feet in diameter, and the other four much smaller. The two first only are driven by the machinery, the others being merely what are called "bearing wheels." With this description of engine more speed than power is obtained, and hence it is used for passenger trains, where a high velocity is required, and where there is usually little weight, comparatively speaking, to draw. The others have only four wheels, not so large as the two just described, but all driven by the machinery. Such engines I are more remarkable for power than speed, and accordingly they are used for luggage trains. In another shed, "The Hospital," will be found a number of engines laboring under various disorders, sent here to be repaired.

But carriages and wagons are also built here. You enter a shed (of two stories this time), and find wood shavings instead of iron filings, and the hissing of a circular saw instead of the quiet, steady scraping of a "cutter." Here all the woodwork of the carriages is executed, and when ready they are hoisted through a large trap-door in the roof to the second story, where they are painted and varnished, and, if first-class, "up-holstered." In a store-room above stairs, are piled heaps of cushions ready for the most expensive carriages; at a table is a boy stuffing with horse-hair the leathern belts that hang by the sides of the windows; and elsewhere an artist is painting the arms of the company on the panels of a door. Here and there are boards placed before a carriage, with the intimation "Wet!" indicating that you must not go too near; and some of the carriages give evidence of having seen service, but are now renewing their youth under the skillful hands of the painter and the upholsterer. When ready to "go on the line," they are let down through the trap-door, fixed on their wheels and axles, and sent to relieve others that require repair.

Six o'clock strikes, and work ceases. In walking back leisurely to the station, I saw many of the workmen digging in their little gardens, "bringing themselves," as Emerson phrases it, "into primitive relations with the soil and nature;" others were reading the papers of the day at the Mechanics' Institution; others strolling among the green fields round the town; and others walking to a class-room, to hear a teetotal lecture; while some were proceeding to recreations of a very different kind. I was admitted through the iron gate by the same policeman; the "down" express train arrived, and it conveyed me in an hour and a half to Liverpool, a distance of about forty-five miles, stopping only once at the well-known town of Warrington.

[From Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.]


In the summer of 1838 the Atlantic Ocean was crossed for the first time by vessels exclusively propelled by steam-power. These pioneers were the Sirius and the Great Western—the former built for another class of voyages, and afterward lost on the station between Cork and London; the latter built expressly for Atlantic navigation, and which has ever since been more or less employed in traversing that ocean. Other ships followed: the British Queen, afterward sold to the Belgian government; the Great Liverpool, subsequently altered and placed on the line between Southampton and Alexandria; and the President, lost, no man knows how or where, in the year 1841. Then came what is called "Cunard's Line," consisting of a number of majestic steam-ships built in the Clyde, to carry passengers and mails between Liverpool in Europe, and Halifax, Boston, and New York in America; a service they have performed with the most marvelous regularity. The only great misfortune that has befallen this line has been the loss of one of the vessels, the Columbia, which, in nautical phrase, "broke her back" on some rocks on the American shore of the Atlantic. Then came the Great Britain, the greatest of them all, differing from the others in two respects—first, in being built of iron instead of wood; and second, in being propelled by the Archimedean screw instead of by the old paddle-wheels; and, alas! she has differed from them all in a third respect, inasmuch as neither the same good-luck attended her as in general fell to the lot of the ships of the Cunard Line, nor the same irretrievable bad fortune as was met by the President and the Columbia; for, after having made several voyages very successfully, she, to the amazement of all mankind, very quietly went ashore in Dundrum Bay, on the east coast of Ireland, from whence, after spending a most uncomfortable winter, she was brought back to Liverpool, and now lies in the Bramley-Moore Dock there, like a huge mass of iron suffering under premature rust. But all this time these ocean steamers that periodically brought to New York passengers and intelligence from Europe were British built. They had been constructed in the Avon, the Mersey, and the Clyde, the greater number having been launched in the same waters as first received Henry Bell's little Comet. Why did America not embark in such enterprise? As regards steam navigation, Fulton was before Bell; New York before Glasgow; the Fulton's Folly before the Cornet; and was

"The greatest nation
In all creation"

to be outdone in the field of enterprise by the old Britishers? American pride said "No;" American instinct said "No;" and, above all, American capitalists said "No!" Keels were laid down in New York; the shipbuilders' yards became unusually active; and the stately timbers[Pg 412] of majestic ships gradually rose before the admiring gaze of the citizens of the great republic.

But the race of William the Doubter is not yet extinct, and many, as usual, shook their wise heads at the enterprise. It was admitted that in inland navigation the Americans had beaten the world; that except an occasional blow-up, their river steamers were really models of enterprise and skill; but it was gravely added, the Mississippi is not the Atlantic; icebergs are not snags; and an Atlantic wave is somewhat different from an Ohio ripple. These truisms were of course undeniable; but to them was quickly added another fact, about which there could be as little mistake—namely, the arrival at Southampton, after a voyage which, considering it was the first, was quite successful, of the American-built steam-ship Washington from New York. There seemed to be a touch of calm irony in thus making the Washington the first of their Atlantic-crossing steamers, as if the Americans had said, "You doubting Britishers! when you wished to play tyrant over us, did we not raise one Washington who chastised you? and now that you want to monopolize Atlantic navigation, we have raised another Washington, just to let you know that we will beat you again!"

The Washington, however, was only the precursor of greater vessels. These were to sail between New York and Liverpool, carrying the mails under a contract with the American government. In size, and speed, and splendor of fittings, these new ships were to surpass the old; even their names were, if possible, to be more grand and expressive. The vessels of Cunard's Line had lately appropriated the names of the four great continents of the globe, but the oceans remained, and their names were adopted; the new steamers being called the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Baltic, and Adriatic. The first of these was dispatched from New York on the 27th of April last, and arrived in the Mersey on the 10th of May, thus making the passage in about thirteen days. The voyage would have been made in a shorter time but for two accidents: the bursting of the condenser, and the discovery, after the vessel was some distance at sea, of the weakness of the floats or boards on the paddle-wheels. About two days were entirely lost in making repairs; and the speed was reduced, in order to prevent the floats from being entirely torn away from the paddle-wheels. These things considered, the passage was very successful. The average time occupied during 1849 by the vessels of the old line between New York and Liverpool was 12; days; but their voyages were longer than those of the Atlantic, as they called at Halifax. The shortest passage was that made by the Canada from New York to Liverpool via Halifax in eleven days four hours.[25]

The Atlantic remained for nineteen days at Liverpool; and during all that time she had to lie in a part of the river called the Sloyne, in consequence of none of the dock-entrances being wide enough to allow her to pass in. Her breadth, measuring across the paddle-boxes, is 75 feet; of the vessels of Cunard's Line, about 70 feet; and the widest dock-entrance is barely sufficient to admit the latter. The Great Britain, though longer than any other steam-ship that ever entered the Mersey, is not so broad, as, being propelled by the screw, she has no paddle-wheels. A dock at the north shore is now in course of construction expressly for the accommodation of the Atlantic and her consorts.

For several days during her stay at Liverpool the Atlantic was open to visitors on payment of sixpence each, the money thus realized (upward of £70) being paid over to the trustees of the Institution for the Blind, whose church and school are now being removed to give greater space round the station of the London and Northwestern Railway. On the day of my visit crowds of people were waiting at the pier for the steamer that was to convey them to the Atlantic. Whitsuntide visitors from the manufacturing districts were hastening on board the numerous vessels waiting to take them on pleasure excursions to the Isle of Man, North Wales, or round the light-ship at the mouth of the river. There was great risk of making mistakes in the hurry; and the remark of an old sailor, that the vessel could "easily be known by the Yankee flag flying at the fore," served only still further to confuse the many, who could not tell one flag from another. However, a small tug-steamer soon appeared with a dirty piece of bunting, just recognizable as the famous "star-spangled banner," flying at the fore; and her deck was in a few minutes so crowded, that orders were issued to take no more on board, and away we steamed, leaving about a hundred people to exercise their patience until the steamer's return. A man at my elbow, who afterward appeared in the capacity of money-taker, whispered, "There's the captin" and on looking up the gangway, I saw

"A man of middle age,
In aspect manly, grave, and sage,"

looking calmly in the direction of the colossal ship of which he was the commander; his complexion browned by exposure to sun and wind, storm and spray; and his whole demeanor indicating the calm strength acquired by long familiarity with the elements in their roughest moods. As we approached the ship, her appearance was not prepossessing. She is undoubtedly clumsy; the three masts are low, the funnel is short and dumpy, there is no bowsprit, and her sides are painted black, relieved only by one long streak of dark red. Her length between the perpendiculars—that is, the length of her keel—is 276 feet; breadth (exclusive of paddle-boxes), 45; thus keeping up the proportion, as old as Noah's ark, of six feet of length to one of[Pg 413] breadth. The stern is rounded, having in the centre the American eagle, clasping the starred and striped shield, but no other device. The figure-head is of colossal dimensions, intended, say some, for Neptune; others say that it is the "old Triton blowing his wreathed horn," so lovingly described by Wordsworth; and some wags assert that it is the proprietor of the ship blowing his own trumpet. The huge bulk of the Atlantic was more perceptible by contrast with the steamer—none of the smallest—that was now alongside; for though the latter was large enough to accommodate about four hundred people on deck, yet its funnel scarcely reached as high as the bulwarks of the Atlantic. The diameter of the paddle-wheels is 36 feet; and the floats, many of which, split and broken, were lying about in the water, are nearly 15 feet long. The depth of the hold is 31 feet, and the estimated burden 2860 tons, being about the same as the Great Britain, and about 500 tons more than the ships of the old Cunard Line.

Like all the other Atlantic steamers, the run of the deck is almost a straight line. Around the funnel, and between the paddle-boxes, is a long wooden house, and another is placed at the stern. These contain the state-rooms of the captain and officers; and in a cluster are to be found the kitchen, the pastry-room, and the barber's shop. The two former are, like similar establishments, replete with every convenience, having even a French maître de cuisine; but the latter is quite unique. It is fitted up with all necessary apparatus—with glass-cases containing perfumery, &c.; and in the centre is "the barber's chair." This is a comfortable, well-stuffed seat, with an inclined back. In front is a stuffed trestle, on which to rest feet and legs; and behind is a little stuffed apparatus like a crutch, on which to rest the head. These are movable, so as to suit people of all sizes; and in this comfortable horizontal position the passenger lies, and his beard is taken off in a twinkling, let the Atlantic waves roll as they may. The house at the stern contains a smoking-room, and a small apartment completely sheltered from the weather for the steersman. The smoking-room communicates with the cabin below, so that, after dinner, those passengers so disposed may, without the least exposure to the weather, or annoyance to their neighbors, enjoy the weed of old Virginia in perfection. This smoking-room is the principal prospect of the man at the helm, who, however, has to steer according to his signals. Before him is a painted intimation that one bell means "port," and two bells mean "starboard;" a like intimation appears on the large bell in the bow of the ship; and according to the striking of the bell, so must he steer.

Proceeding below, we come to the great saloon, 67 feet long, and the dining-saloon, 60 feet long, each being 20 feet broad, and divided from each other by the steward's pantry. This pantry is more like a silversmith's shop, the sides being lined with glass-cases stored with beautifully-burnished plate; crockery of every description, well secured, is seen in great quantities, and the neatness of arrangement shows that the gilded inscription, full in the sight of every visitor—"A place for every thing, and every thing in its place"—has been reduced to practice. Above the tables in the dining-saloon are suspended racks, cut to receive decanters, passes, &c. so that they can be immediately placed on the table without the risk attendant on carrying them from place to place. The two saloons are fitted up in a very superior manner: rose, satin, and olive are the principal woods that have been used, and some of the tables are of beautifully-variegated marble, with metal supporters. The carpets are very rich, and the coverings of the sofas, chairs, &c. are of the same superior quality. The panels round the saloons contain beautifully-finished emblems of each of the states in the Union, and a few other devices that savor very strongly of republicanism. For example, a young and beautiful figure, all radiant with health and energy, wearing a cap of liberty, and waving a drawn sword, is represented trampling on a feudal prince, from whose head a crown has rolled in the dust. The cabin windows are of beautifully-painted glass, embellished with the arms of New York, and other cities in the States. Large circular glass ventilators, reaching from the deck to the lower saloon, are also richly ornamented, while handsome mirrors multiply all this splendor. The general effect is that of chasteness and a certain kind of solidity. There is not much gilding, the colors used are not gaudy, and there is a degree of elegant comfort about the saloons that is sometimes wanting amid splendid fittings. There is a ladies' drawing-room near the chief saloon full of every luxury. The berths are about 150 in number, leading out, as usual, from the saloons. The most novel feature about them is the "wedding-berths," wider and more handsomely furnished than the others, intended for such newly-married couples as wish to spend the first fortnight of the honeymoon on the Atlantic. Such berths are, it seems, always to be found on board the principal river-steamers in America, but are as yet unknown on this side of the water. Each berth has a bell-rope communicating with a patented machine called the "Annunciator." This is a circular plate about the size of the face of an eight-day clock, covered with numbers corresponding with those of the state-rooms. Each number is concealed by a semi-circular plate, which is removed or turned round as soon as the rope is pulled in the state-room with the corresponding number. A bell is at the same time struck to call the attention of the stewards, who then replace the plate in its former position, and attend to the summons.

The machinery which propels the ship consists of two engines, each of 500 horse-power, the engines of the old line being also two in number, but only about 400 horse-power each Such cylinders, and shafts, and pistons, and beams are, I believe unrivaled in the world.[Pg 414] There are four boilers, each heated by eight furnaces, in two rows of four each. The consumption of coal is about fifty tons every twenty-four hours; "and that," said one of the engineers, "is walking pretty fast into a coal-mine, I guess!" According to the calculations of the very wise men who predicted the failure of Atlantic steam navigation, such a vessel as the Atlantic ought to carry 3700 tons of coal; but it will be seen that one-fourth of that quantity is more than enough, even making allowance for extra stores to provide against accidents. In the engine-room is a long box with five compartments, each communicating with a wire fastened like a bell-pull to the side of the paddle-box. These handles are marked respectively, "ahead," "slow," "fast," "back," and "hook-on;" and whenever one is pulled, a printed card with the corresponding signal appears in the box opposite the engineer, who has to act accordingly. There is thus no noise of human voices on board this ship: the helmsman steers by his bells, the engineer works by the telegraph, and the steward waits by the annunciator.

Two traces of national habits struck me very much. Even in the finest saloon there are, in places where they would be least expected, handsome "spittoons," the upper part fashioned like a shell, and painted a sea-green or sky-blue color, thus giving ample facility for indulging in that practice of spitting of which Americans are so fond. Again, much amusement was caused by the attempt of one of the officers in charge of the communication between the small steamer and the Atlantic to prevent the gentlemen from leaving the latter until the ladies had seated themselves on the former. The appearance of the deck, crowded with ladies only, and a host of gentlemen kept back, some impatient to get down, but the greater part entering into the humor of the thing, was quite new to English ideas. It is but fair to add that the ladies did not seem to like it; and that, when the steamer again came alongside, it was not repeated.

Upon the whole, this Atlantic steamer is really worthy of the great country from which she has come. If, in shape and general appearance, she is inferior to the old vessels, she is decidedly equal, if not superior, to them in machinery and fittings. Her powers as regards speed have of course yet to be tried. One voyage is no test, nor even a series of voyages during the summer months: she must cross and recross at least for a year before any just comparison can be instituted. The regular postal communication between Liverpool and the United States will speedily be twice every week—the ships of the new line sailing on Wednesday, and the old on Saturday.

But other ports besides Liverpool are now dispatching steamers regularly to America. Glasgow sent out a powerful screw steamer—the City of Glasgow, 1087 tons—on 16th April, for New York, where she arrived on 3d May; thus making the passage in about seventeen days, in spite of stormy weather and entanglements among ice; the average time taken by the Liverpool steamers during 1849 being fourteen days. Her return voyage, however, made under more favorable circumstances, was within this average, the distance being steamed between the 18th May and the 1st June. A vessel called the Viceroy is about to sail from Galway to New York, and her voyage is looked forward to with considerable interest. The Washington and Hermann sail regularly between Bremen and Southampton and New York, and the British Queen has been put on the passage between Hamburg and New York. All these enterprises seem to indicate that ere long the Atlantic carrying trade will be conducted in steam-ships, and sailing vessels superseded to as great extent as has been the case in the coasting trade.


[25] The Atlantic has just made the passage direct in ten days and sixteen hours.

[From Sharpe's Magazine]


At an early period in the history of Holland, a boy was born in Haarlem, a town remarkable for its variety of fortune in war, but happily still more so for its manufactures and inventions in peace. His father was a sluicer—that is, one whose employment it was to open and shut the sluices, or large oak-gates which, placed at certain regular distances, close the entrance of the canals, and secure Holland from the danger to which it seems exposed, of finding itself under water, rather than above it. When water is wanted, the sluicer raises the sluices more or less, as required, as a cook turns the cock of a fountain, and closes them again carefully at night; otherwise the water would flow into the canals, then overflow them, and inundate the whole country; so that even the little children in Holland are fully aware of the importance of a punctual discharge of the sluicer's duties. The boy was about eight years old when, one day, he asked permission to take some cakes to a poor blind man, who lived at the other side of the dyke. His father gave him leave, but charged him not to stay too late. The child promised, and set off on his little journey. The blind man thankfully partook of his young friend's cakes, and the boy, mindful of his father's orders, did not wait, as usual, to hear one of the old man's stories, but as soon as he had seen him eat one muffin, took leave of him to return home.

As he went along by the canals, then quite full, for it was in October, and the autumn rains had swelled the waters, the boy now stopped to pull the little blue flowers which his mother loved so well, now, in childish gayety, hummed some merry song. The road gradually became more solitary, and soon neither the joyous shout of the villager, returning to his cottage-home, nor the rough voice of the carter, grumbling at his lazy horses, was any longer to be heard The little fellow now perceived that the blue of[Pg 415] the flowers in his hand was scarcely distinguishable from the green of the surrounding herbage, and he looked up in some dismay. The night was falling; not, however, a dark winter-night, but one of those beautiful, clear, moonlight nights, in which every object is perceptible, though not as distinctly as by day. The child thought of his father, of his injunction, and was preparing to quit the ravine in which he was almost buried, and to regain the beach, when suddenly a slight noise, like the trickling of water upon pebbles, attracted his attention. He was near one of the large sluices, and he now carefully examines it, and soon discovers a hole in the wood, through which the water was flowing. With the instant perception which every child in Holland would have, the boy saw that the water must soon enlarge the hole through which it was now only dropping, and that utter and general ruin would be the consequence of the inundation of the country that must follow. To see, to throw away the flowers, to climb from stone to stone till he reached the hole, and to put his finger into it, was the work of a moment, and, to his delight, he finds that he has succeeded in stopping the flow of the water.

This was all very well for a little while, and the child thought only of the success of his device. But the night was closing in, and with the night came the cold. The little boy looked around in vain. No one came. He shouted—he called loudly—no one answered. He resolved to stay there all night, but, alas! the cold was becoming every moment more biting, and the poor finger fixed in the hole began to feel benumbed, and the numbness soon extended to the hand, and thence throughout the whole arm. The pain became still greater, still harder to bear, but still the boy moved not. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he thought of his father, of his mother, of his little bed, where he might now be sleeping so soundly; but still the little fellow stirred not, for he knew that did he remove the small slender finger which he had opposed to the escape of the water, not only would he himself be drowned, but his father, his brothers, his neighbors—nay, the whole village. We know not what faltering of purpose, what momentary failures of courage there might have been during that long and terrible night; but certain it is, that at day-break he was found in the same painful position by a clergyman returning from attendance on a death-bed, who, as he advanced, thought he heard groans, and bending over the dyke, discovered a child seated on a stone, writhing from pain, and with pale face and tearful eyes.

"In the name of wonder, boy," he exclaimed, "what are you doing there?"

"I am hindering the water from running out," was the answer, in perfect simplicity, of the child, who, during that whole night had been evincing such heroic fortitude and undaunted courage.

The Muse of History, too often blind to (true) glory, has handed down to posterity many a warrior, the destroyer of thousands of his fellow-men—she has left us in ignorance of the name of this real little hero of Haarlem.

[From Cumming's Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


As I was examining the spoor of the game by the fountain, I suddenly detected an enormous old rook-snake stealing in beneath a mass of rock beside me. He was truly an enormous snake, and, having never before dealt with this species of game, I did not exactly know how to set about capturing him. Being very anxious to preserve his skin entire, and not wishing to have recourse to my rifle, I cut a stout and tough stick about eight feet long, and having lightened myself of my shooting-belt, I commenced the attack. Seizing him by the tail, I tried to get him out of his place of refuge; but I hauled in vain; he only drew his large folds firmer together: I could not move him. At length I got a rheim round one of his folds, about the middle of his body, and Kleinboy and I commenced hauling away in good earnest.

The snake, finding the ground too hot for him, relaxed his coils, and suddenly bringing round his head to the front, he sprang out at us like an arrow, with his immense and hideous mouth opened to its largest dimensions, and before I could get out of his way he was clean out of his hole, and made a second spring, throwing himself forward about eight or ten feet, and snapping his horrid fangs within a foot of my naked legs. I sprang out of his way, and getting hold of the green bough I had cut, returned to the charge. The snake now glided along at top speed: he knew the ground well, and was making for a mass of broken rocks, where he would have been beyond my reach, but before he could gain this place of refuge, I caught him two or three tremendous whacks on the head. He, however, held on, and gained a pool of muddy water, which he was rapidly crossing, when I again belabored him, and at length reduced his pace to a stand. We then hanged him by the neck to a bough of a tree, and in about fifteen minutes he seemed dead; but he again became very troublesome during the operation of skinning, twisting his body in all manner of ways. This serpent measured fourteen feet.

[Pg 416]


The death of President Taylor is the leading event of interest in our domestic record for the month, as it has been the leading topic of public attention throughout the country. He died at half-past ten o'clock on the evening of Wednesday, July 9th, after an illness of but five days, the last of which alone was deemed dangerous. Exposure to the sun in attendance upon the public celebration of the Fourth, imprudent diet on returning home, and neglect of medical remedies until too late, aggravated rapidly and fatally the disease which he had contracted, which few of our army officers escaped, and from which several have already died, during his Mexican campaign. On the afternoon of Wednesday his alarming condition was announced in the two Houses of Congress, both of which at once adjourned: and they only met the next day to make arrangements for his funeral, which took place on Saturday, and was attended by a large military display, by the officers of government and the representatives of foreign nations, and by an immense concourse of his fellow-citizens. His death was announced on Thursday by the Vice President, Millard Fillmore, upon whom the duties of the Presidential office at once devolved, by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution, in a Message to both Houses of Congress, and suitable words of eulogy were pronounced, in the Senate, by Senators Downs, of Louisiana, Webster, of Massachusetts, Cass, of Michigan, King, of Alabama, Pearce, of Maryland, and Berrien, of Georgia; and in the House by Mr. Speaker Cobb, of Georgia, Messrs. Conrad, of Louisiana, Winthrop, of Massachusetts, Baker, of Illinois, Bayly, of Virginia, Hilliard, of Alabama, John A. King, of New York, McLane, of Maryland, and Marshall, of Kentucky. Mr. Fillmore, on the same day, took the oath of the Presidential office in presence of both Houses of Congress, and thus quietly, quickly, and peaceably was effected a transfer of all the Executive powers of this great nation—a transfer never effected without difficulty, and often causing commotion, turmoil, and bloodshed in the less free and more conservative nations of the Old World. In the preceding pages of this Magazine will be found a condensed outline of the life of the late President, which obviates the necessity of further reference in this place. His decease was celebrated by public obsequies in all the principal cities of the Union, and has awakened a universal and intense sentiment of regretful grief.

Immediately upon the death of President Taylor the members of his Cabinet tendered their resignations to President Fillmore, but at his request, and for the safety of the public service, they retained their offices for a few days, to give him the desired opportunity for care and inquiry in selecting their successors. That selection was made as soon as practicable, and on the 15th the President made the following nominations, which were at once confirmed by the Senate, which had previously and by a unanimous vote, chosen Senator William R. King, of Alabama, to preside over its deliberations:

Secretary of StateDaniel Webster, Mass.
Secretary of the TreasuryThomas Corwin, Ohio.
Secretary of the InteriorJames A. Pearce, Md.
Secretary of WarEdward Bates, Missouri.
Secretary of the NavyWilliam A. Graham, N. C.
Attorney GeneralJohn J. Crittenden, Ky.
Postmaster GeneralNathan K. Hall, N. York.

It is understood that Mr. Pearce declines the secretaryship of the Interior, but no official nomination has yet been made to fill his place.

No business of public importance has been transacted in Congress. In the Senate the Compromise Bill, reported by Mr. Clay from the Committee of Thirteen, continues under debate. Mr. Webster, on the 17th ult., made a very eloquent speech in its support, declaring himself earnestly in favor of admitting California, of providing a Territorial government for New Mexico, without the anti-slavery proviso, which he deems superfluous, and of settling the question of boundary between Texas and New Mexico. He said he should have preferred to act upon these measures separately, but he was willing to vote for them as conjoined in the bill. Speeches were also made by several Senators against the bill, and some amendments, offered to obviate objections entertained to it in various quarters, were rejected. No decisive action has been had upon it up to the time of putting these pages to press.

The chief action in the House, of general interest, relates to what is known as the Galphin Claim, the history of which is briefly as follows: Prior to the year 1773 George Galphin, the original claimant, was a licensed trader among the Creek and Cherokee Indians in the then province of Georgia. The Indians became indebted to him in amounts so large that they were unable to pay them; and in 1773, in order to give him security for his claims, they ceded to the King of Great Britain, as trustee, a tract of land containing two and a half millions of acres. The trust was accepted, commissioners were appointed, some of the lands were sold, and the proceeds applied to the payment of the expenses of the commission, but none was then paid to the claimants for whose benefit the trust had been created. The sum found due to George[Pg 417] Galphin was £9791, for which amount a certificate was issued to him by the Governor and Council in May, 1775. Meantime the war of the Revolution broke out, and its successful result destroyed the trust, and the lands were no longer subject to the control of the king. After the war was over the state of Georgia granted these lands to those of her soldiers who had been engaged in the war, and who became actual settlers upon them. The descendants of Mr. Galphin applied to the state of Georgia for the payment of their claims, as Georgia had merely succeeded to the trusteeship of the King of England. The claim was prosecuted and pressed for many years without success, it being contended that, as the lands had been used to pay for services in the Revolution, the government of the United States was properly liable for the private injury that might have been sustained. In 1848 the Legislature of the state of Georgia passed resolutions directing their Senators and Representatives in Congress to urge the payment of these claims upon the General Government; and Hon. George W. Crawford was engaged by the claimants as their agent, and was made interested to the amount of one-third of the claim. Congress, at the session of 1848, passed a bill directing the Secretary of the Treasury to examine and adjust the claims, and to pay out of the public funds whatever might prove to be due. The Hon. R. J. Walker, then Secretary of the Treasury, examined the question, adjudged the claim valid, paid the principal sum which he found to be due, amounting to $43,518, and left the question of paying interest upon it to the next Cabinet. In that Cabinet Mr. Crawford held a seat, having first transferred his agency for the claimants to Judge Bryan, but retaining his interest in the claim. The matter was pressed upon the attention of the Secretary of the Treasury, who consulted the Attorney General as to the legality of paying interest on a claim of this kind. Mr. Johnson gave a written opinion in favor of its payment. Mr. Meredith paid the interest, amounting to $191,352, Mr. Crawford receiving his share. The subject has been before Congress for several weeks, and has excited a very earnest and somewhat acrimonious debate. The House, on the 8th, adopted a resolution affirming that "the claim of the representatives of George Galphin was not a just demand against the United States," by a vote of 142 yeas and 49 nays. The same day they adopted another resolution, declaring that "the act of Congress made it the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to pay the principal of said claim, and it was therefore paid in conformity with law and precedent," by a vote of 112 yeas and 66 nays. A third resolution, declaring that "the act aforesaid did not authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to pay interest on said claim, and its payment was not in conformity with law or precedent," was also passed, 118 yeas and 71 nays. Soon after the adoption of these resolutions, Mr. Crawford addressed a letter to the House asking that a suit might be commenced against him for the recovery of the interest which he had received, and payment of which the House had condemned, in order to bring the question to the test of the judicial tribunals. No further action has yet been had upon the subject.—The House has also taken action on the application of Mr. Hugh N. Smith, a delegate from New Mexico, chosen by a convention of her people, to be admitted upon the floor of Congress, not of course to take any other part in the business of that body than to be heard upon questions affecting the rights and interests of his constituents. In the early part of the session the application was referred to the proper committee, the majority of which reported against his admission. On the 19th the whole subject was laid on the table—equivalent to Mr. Smith's rejection—by a vote of 105 yeas, 94 nays, and 29 absent. This disposes of the question for the present session, although substantially the same issue will indubitably come up in some new form.—The next day a similar resolution was adopted rejecting the application of Mr. Babbitt to be admitted as a delegate from the Territory of Utah, or Deseret.

The authorities of Cuba have decided to release the American prisoners taken from the island of Contoy, beyond Spanish jurisdiction. This will probably terminate all difficulties between the two governments growing out of this affair.—Considerable currency has been given to a story stated by correspondents of the London press, that the Spanish Gen. Narvaez had grossly insulted the U.S. Minister at Madrid, refusing in public to hold any intercourse with the representative of a nation which tolerated and countenanced pirates and assassins. The story is entirely discredited by direct advices.—The State Convention of Ohio called to revise the Constitution has adjourned until the first Monday in September.—A very destructive fire occurred at Philadelphia on the night of the 9th ult. Although not in the chief business part of the city, property to the amount of more than a million of dollars was destroyed, and over thirty lives were lost by the explosion of various materials in the buildings burned The occurrence has elicited from Prof. Rogers, of the University of Pennsylvania, a letter stating that, in his opinion, saltpetre by itself is not explosive, but that the great quantity of oxygen which it contains greatly increases the combustion of ignited matter with which it may be brought in contact, and that this may evolve gases so rapidly as to cause an explosion.—The cholera is prevailing with a good deal of fatality in some of the western cities. In Cincinnati the number of deaths has averaged 20 to 35, and has been as high as 65: in St. Louis it has been still higher, and in Nashville, Tenn., it has been quite as large in proportion to the population. At the latest advices it seemed to be diminishing. It has not made its appearance in any of the eastern cities.—The case of Prof. Webster, convicted at Boston of the[Pg 418] murder of Dr. Parkman, has been definitively decided. Soon after the trial he sent in a petition for a full pardon, on the ground of his entire innocence and ignorance of the whole matter, solemnly asserting, and calling God to witness, that he knew nothing whatever of the manner in which Dr. Parkman's remains came to be found in his room. A few days afterward he sent in another petition, praying for a commutation of his sentence. It was presented by the Rev. Dr. Putnam, who had acted as his spiritual adviser, and who laid before the Council a detailed confession, which he had received from Prof. Webster, in which he confessed that he killed Dr. Parkman with a single blow from a stick, but claimed that it was done without premeditation, in a moment of great excitement caused by abusive language. He gave at length a statement of the whole transaction. After considering the subject fully and carefully, acting under the advice of the Council, Governor Briggs decided against the application, and appointed Friday, the 30th day of August, for the execution of the sentence of the Court. Upon that day, therefore, Prof. Webster will undoubtedly be hung.—A good deal of public interest has been enlisted in the performances of the new American line of Transatlantic steamers, running between New York and Liverpool. There are to be five steamers in the line, but only two of them have as yet been finished. These two are the Atlantic and the Pacific, the former of which has made two trips, and the latter one, each way. On the morning of Sunday, July 21st, the Atlantic arrived at New York at 3 o'clock, having left Liverpool on the 10th, at 11 o'clock a.m.—making the passage in ten days and sixteen hours, the shortest by several hours ever made between the two ports. Her passage out was also very short. These trips have confirmed the opinion which has very generally been entertained, that the Americans would speedily have a line of steamers on the ocean superior in speed, comfort, and elegance to those of the Cunard Company which have hitherto enjoyed so high a reputation.—Mr. E. George Squier, U. S. Charge near the government of Nicaragua, has returned to this country on a brief visit. We learn that he has made a very full record of his observations upon the country in which he has been residing, and that very volumnious papers from him on the subject are in possession of the State Department. It is to be hoped that they may be given to the public.—The initial steps have been taken in Virginia toward an enterprise of decided importance to the southern states if it should be carried out: it is nothing less than the establishment of direct intercourse by a line of steamers between some southern port and Liverpool, for the export of cotton and other articles of southern growth, and for the transmission of southern correspondence, &c. The meeting of delegates was held at Old Point on the 4th of July, and committees were appointed to make proper representations on the subject to Congress and the state Legislature, and to take such other steps as they might deem essential.—A convention was held at Syracuse of persons favorable to maintaining the existing Free School System of the State of New York. The necessity for such action grows out of the fact that the principle is to be submitted to the popular suffrage in November. The Legislature of 1848 passed a law making education in the common schools of the state absolutely free to all the children who might choose to attend, making the law dependent for its validity on its adoption by the people. Accordingly it was submitted to them in November, 1848, and was sanctioned by a majority of over 90,000. It accordingly went into effect. At the last session of the Legislature, however, petitions were sent in, in great numbers, some of them praying for the entire repeal of the law, and others for its essential modification. The opponents of the law resisted the principle that property should be taxed for purposes of education, inasmuch as men of property would thus be compelled to pay for educating children not their own. Others objected mainly to details of the law, and to the injurious effect of the established mode of collecting the rate bills. The two branches of the Legislature not being able to agree upon amendments of the law, and not wishing to discard the principle on which it is founded, agreed to submit it again to the popular suffrage. The Convention in question assembled accordingly, to aid the law. Hon. Christopher Morgan, Secretary of State, presided, and an address and resolutions affirming the principles on which the law is based, and calling on the people to give it their renewed support, were adopted.—Col. Fremont has received from the Royal Geographical Society of London a medal, in token of their sense of his eminent services in promoting the cause of geographical knowledge. It was presented through the U.S. Minister.—Mr. John R. Bartlett, who was appointed by the President Commissioner to run the boundary line between Mexico and the United States, in accordance with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, has set out upon his mission. The point of departure is to be upon the Rio Grande, and the Commissioners of the two countries are to meet at El Paso. This will be the most extensive line of surveys ever made in the United States, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and mostly through a country wholly unknown.

From Mexico we have advices to the 1st of July. The Presidential election, which was to occur soon, was becoming a topic of general discussion. There are several candidates, among whom Gen. Almonte, Gomez Farias, and Domingo Ibarra are the best known in this country. Congress was to have assembled, but not a quorum of the members could be collected. The cholera was raging with excessive and terrible fatality. From the 17th of May to the 16th of June there had been in the city of[Pg 419] Mexico 7,846 cases, and on the last day named there were 230 deaths. Among the victims was Don Mariano Otero, a distinguished statesman and lawyer. In San Luis and other sections it was prevailing with great severity. The financial affairs of the State of Durango were in such a condition that an extra session of the Legislature had been called in order to save them from total ruin.—Advices have been received of the conclusion of a treaty with the Mexican Government by the U.S. Minister, Mr. Letcher, by which is ceded the right of transit by railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This step has been taken in accordance with, and probably in consequence of, the position taken upon the subject by President Taylor in his first message to Congress. The late President Polk, when he sent out Mr. Trist to negotiate a treaty of peace with Mexico, authorized him to offer five millions of dollars for the right which has now been secured without the expense of a dollar: and Mexico, moreover, has now stipulated to protect the parties constructing the work, as well as the work itself after it shall have been completed. The benefits resulting from this treaty, if the work shall be completed, will be of the most important character. As an auxiliary measure to the Nicaraguan Canal, it will tend very powerfully to unite the Atlantic and the Pacific states.

From California we have intelligence to the 17th of June. San Francisco has been visited by two successive fires which had destroyed property to the amount of several millions of dollars. A large proportion of the goods burned were consigned by New York merchants to their agents in California, so that the loss will fall very heavily upon them. As insurance could not readily be effected the loss will be large. Nearly three millions of dollars in gold dust have reached the United States during the month. The foreigners resident in California had resisted the payment of the tax of twenty-five dollars per month levied by the state laws, and some difficulty was anticipated in enforcing payment, but at the latest accounts this had been obviated, and every thing was quiet. The intelligence from the mines encourages the belief that the quantity of gold dug this season will be greater than ever before. From the valleys of both the Sacramento and the San Joaquin very large amounts were constantly obtained, and new mines have been found as far north as Oregon, and as far south as Los Angelos. From the Mariposa mines many very beautiful specimens of the gold-bearing quartz have been procured. Difficulties had arisen with the Indians in different sections of the country, and several severe battles between them and detachments of U. S. troops had been fought. They grew mainly out of the hostile disposition of the Indians which is often excited and encouraged by the lawless conduct of the whites. Measures were in progress which, it was hoped, would restore quiet and security. It is stated that the property in San Francisco as assessed for taxation amounts to three hundred millions of dollars.

From New Mexico we have intelligence of some interest. It seems that the people, becoming impatient of the delay of Congress in acting upon the question of framing a government for them, and probably taking the hint from the declared sentiments of President Taylor, resolved to form a government for themselves. Public meetings were accordingly held, and resolutions adopted, requesting Governor Munroe to call a convention of delegates from the several counties to form a State Constitution. Col. Munroe accordingly issued a proclamation to that effect, and a Convention met at Santa Fé on the 15th of May. The session lasted eight or ten days, and a Constitution was adopted, which was to go into operation in July. The boundaries of the state were defined, and slavery was prohibited. An election was soon to take place for members of the Legislature. Two Senators and one Representative in Congress were to be elected, and application was to be made for the immediate admission of the State into the Union.

Of Literary Intelligence there is little of general interest. The distinguished English novelist, Mr. G. P. R. James, arrived with his family at New York on the 4th of July, and will spend several months in visiting different sections of the United States. There are very few Englishmen who would be more cordially welcomed to this country than Mr. James. His long and most honorable and productive career as an author has made him universally known, and his works have been very widely read in the United States as well as in England. The officious and impertinent gossip of a portion of our newspaper press led Mr. James to publish a note disclaiming the intention of writing a book upon this country. We regret that he should have found it necessary either to announce such a purpose, or to form it. This country has nothing to lose from the published observations of a man at once so competent and so candid. Mr. James had for fellow-passengers Count Dembinski, who was a major in the Hungarian service and nephew of General Dembinski, whose name is so well known to the whole world in connection with that gallant but ill-fated struggle. Count D. was also aid to Kossuth, and fled with him, accompanied with his wife, whom he had married at Temeswar during the war, to Turkey, whence he came to this country. He is a young man of great talent and accomplishments, and will probably make the United States his home.—The anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence was celebrated on the 4th throughout the country with the usual demonstrations. Orations were delivered in nearly all the principal cities of the Union, some of which have since been published. The ablest one that has fallen under[Pg 420] our notice was delivered by Mr. E. P. Whipple before the authorities of Boston. He spoke upon Washington and the Principles of the Revolution, holding up the former as a model of greatness, combating the popular notion that he was not a man of genius, and dwelling upon the fact that our revolution was fought, not on abstract principles, or in the assertion of abstract rights, but for the redress of practical evils and the attainment of practical ends. It was a timely, able, and judicious address, and was marked by the peculiar vigor of style and of thought, injured by an occasional straining after effect in expression and phrases, which characterize the writings of Mr. Whipple. Senator Foote, of Mississippi, delivered an address before the Washington Monument Association at the National Capital; it was a strong appeal on behalf of united and harmonious councils, and was both timely and effective. Hon. J. W. Edmonds, of New York city, delivered the address at Washington's Head Quarters at New-burgh, which the Legislature of New York, very properly and creditably, took measures at the last session to preserve as a permanent monument of the revolution. E. A. Raymond. Esq. delivered an address at Rochester, which was a skillfully condensed summary of the growth of the country, and especially of its political development.—A new Historical Society of the Episcopal Church has just been formed at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., of which Bishop Brownell has been chosen President.—The inventor of the Ramage printing press, which, until superseded by subsequent improvements, was an important step in the progress of printing, Adam Ramage, died at Philadelphia on the 9th of July. He was a native of Scotland, and was nearly eighty years old at the time of his death.—Margaret Fuller, well known in this country as a gifted and accomplished lady, and author of several works of marked value and interest, perished on the 19th of July, by the wreck of the ship Elizabeth from Leghorn, in which she had taken passage with her husband, the Marquis d'Ossoli, and her child, in returning to her native land from Italy, where she had been spending several years. Her loss will be deplored by a large circle of personal friends, and by the still larger number of those who knew her only through her writings. She was the eldest daughter of Hon. Timothy Fuller, formerly a lawyer of Boston, but more recently a resident of Cambridge. She was remarkable for her thorough intellectual cultivation, being familiar with both the ancient and most of the modern languages and their literature—for the vigor and natural strength of her mind—for her conversational powers, and for her enthusiastic devotion to letters and art. She was at Rome during the recent revolution, and took the deepest interest in the struggles of that day. She had been for some time engaged upon a work on Italy, which it is feared has perished with her. Her husband and child were lost at the same time. Mr. Henry Sumner, of Boston, also perished.—Ralph Waldo Emerson is traveling in the region on the Upper Waters of the Mississippi.—No original books of special interest have been published during the month. In our department of Literary Notices mention is made of those which are of most importance.—Mr. Prescott, the historian, is traveling in Europe. He is announced as having been present at a recent meeting of the London Archaeological Society.—Mr. H. N. Hudson, whose lectures on Shakspeare have made him widely and favorably known as a critic, has been engaged by a Boston publishing house to edit a new edition of the works of the great Dramatist, which will be published during the coming year. Mr. Hudson's ability and familiarity with the subject will enable him to make a very valuable and interesting work.—Garibaldi, who achieved distinction in the defense of Rome against the French, is coming to New York, where he was to be honored with a public reception from the authorities.—The capture of Stoney Point was celebrated this year at that place, for the first time. Hugh Maxwell, Esq., of New York, delivered the address. The celebration is hereafter to be annual.—In no department of mechanism is the progress of the age more conspicuous than in printing presses, as is shown by the fact that Messrs. Hoe and Co., of New York, are now constructing a press which will work from 15,000 to 20,000 per hour. It will be thirty-three feet long, with eight printing cylinders, and will cost about $21,000.—A newly invented locomotive engine, intended for use in the streets of cities, has just been put upon the Hudson River Railroad at its termination in New York. It consumes its own smoke, and is entirely inclosed from public view—presenting the appearance of a simple baggage-car. The engine is of ninety horse power.

News from Liberia has been received announcing that the government has at last been able to effect the purchase of the Gallinas territories, including the whole from Cape Mount to Shebar, except a small strip of five miles of coast which will soon fall into their hands. The chief importance of this purchase springs from the fact that Gallinas has been for many years the head quarters of the slave-trade—an enormous number of slaves having been shipped from there every year. The government paid $9500 for the territory, and further agreed to appoint commissioners to settle the wars in the country, and open trade with the interior tribes, as well as to settle among them and instruct them in the arts of civilized life. This may prove to be an important step not only toward the suppression of the horrible traffic in slaves, which the united efforts of England, France, and the United States have hither to been unable to effect, but also toward the civilization of Africa, a result to which no philanthropic mind can be indifferent.

In England by far the most important event[Pg 421] of the month is the sudden death of Sir Robert Peel. On the 29th of June he had called at Buckingham Palace to pay his respects to the Queen, and was riding away upon horseback, when his horse swerved slightly and threw him to the ground; he fell sideways, striking upon his left shoulder. He was at once raised up by several gentlemen who rushed to his assistance, and said that he was very much hurt indeed. He was taken to his residence and received all the attention of the highest surgical skill, which, however, was less effective than would have been anticipated on account of the intense pain which he suffered. He lingered until near midnight of the 2d July, when he expired. A partial examination of his body showed that one of his ribs had been broken and was pressing upon his lungs. His family declined a public funeral tendered by the government, and his remains were interred at Tamworth. Both houses of Parliament adjourned, and demonstrations of profound regret and respect for his character were general. An outline of his life and political career will be found in the preceding pages of this Magazine. His death is justly considered an event of great political importance. It was generally anticipated that he would soon be called upon to resume the office of prime minister, and universal confidence was felt in his large experience, his eminent ability, and his intimate acquaintance with the condition and events of the United Kingdom.

The Greek question was still under discussion at our last advices: it has led to events of no small importance in connection with the politics of England and the fundamental principles of the British constitution. On the 17th of June, in the House of Lords, Lord Stanley moved a resolution censuring the government for having adopted coercive measures to enforce claims against Greece, doubtful in point of justice or exaggerated in amount. He supported his motion at great length, entering into a detailed history of the whole matter, and accusing the government of having, through its foreign minister, insisted on exorbitant demands, oppressed the weak, and endangered the peace of Europe. He was sustained by the Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Brougham and others, and was answered by the Marquis of Lansdowne who, with others, defended the government. The resolution was carried by 169 to 132, showing a majority against the government of 37. On the 20th, Mr. Roebuck called the attention of the Commons to the vote of the Lords, and desired to know whether the government would adopt any special course of conduct in consequence of it. Lord John Russell replied that they should not alter their course in respect to foreign powers at all, and that they did not feel called upon to resign because the House of Lords had passed a vote of censure. That house did not represent the nation: whenever the House of Commons should adopt such a resolution the ministry would quit office. On the 24th, for the purpose of enabling the Commons to express their opinion upon the subject, Mr. Roebuck moved a resolution declaring that the principles on which the foreign policy of the government had been regulated were calculated to maintain the honor and dignity of the country, and in times of unexampled difficulty, to preserve peace between England and foreign nations. The motion was warmly opposed by Sir James Graham and others, and was advocated with equal zeal. Lord Palmerston defended the foreign policy of the government in a speech of five hours, marked by great ability and eloquence. After going over the whole ground fully and in detail, he concluded by challenging the verdict of the house, whether the principles which had guided the foreign policy of the government had been proper and fitting, and whether, as a subject of ancient Rome could hold himself free from indignity by saying, "Civis Romanus sum," a British subject in a foreign country should not be protected by the vigilant eye and the strong arm of his government against injustice and wrong. The debate was then adjourned, and had not been resumed at our latest advices. The ministry seems very firmly to have taken the position that England can be governed without the House of Lords, and that its foreign policy is not to be shaped according to their wishes, but according to the popular will, as represented by the Commons. This position indicates the strong tendency which prevails in England even, toward popular and democratic government. Lord John Russell, on the 20th, also remarked, in reply to the intimation that the foreign policy of the government was calculated to foment differences between England and other nations, that he could answer for it that Lord Palmerston, so long as he should continue in office, would act not as a minister of Austria, Russia, France, or any other country, but as the minister of England. The declaration was received with great applause, not only in the house but throughout the country. It is understood that the diplomatic misunderstanding between France and England, growing out of the Greek question, has been settled. No other business of general interest in this country has been before Parliament during the month. Inquiries were made in both Houses as to the Cuban expedition, and the ministers stated that it was fitted out against the most strenuous efforts of the American government, which has, nevertheless, been very strongly censured for its inability to prevent it.—The government has issued orders restricting very considerably the posting and delivery of letters on Sunday, which has elicited very clamorous complaints in every part of the country. Lord Brougham in speaking of the matter in Parliament, doubted the power of the government to issue such orders, and said that it was causing a vast increase of Sunday travel and work throughout the kingdom, as messengers were now dispatched to obtain indispensable intelligence formerly received by mail. Lord Ashley had carried a motion in the House of Lords to suppress Sunday labor in the post-office, by a[Pg 422] vote of 93 to 68.—Sir Edward Buxton on the 31st of June, moved a resolution against exposing the free-grown sugar of the British colonies to unrestricted competition with the sugar of slave-trading countries. It failed, however, by 275 to 234.—A bill prohibiting intra-mural interments, has passed the Commons. The remaining transactions of Parliament have no general interest.

The Queen while riding with the Prince in an open carriage, on the 27th of June, was struck across the face by a respectably dressed man, armed with a small cane. Her bonnet was cut through, and a severe wound was inflicted upon her forehead. She attended the opera, however, in the evening, and was received with great enthusiasm. The assailant proved to be a discharged officer, named Robert Pate, subject to attacks of insanity. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to transportation for seven years.—Very shortly, fifteen screw steamers will ply between Liverpool and various ports in the Mediterranean.—Meyerbeer, the composer, has received the degree of Doctor from the University of Jena.—Dr. Gutzlaff, who is preaching at Berlin and at Potsdam, on behalf of the Chinese mission, expresses a confident hope that the Emperor of Japan will be converted to Christianity.—Mr. Corbould, the artist, has received the commands of her Majesty to paint a large picture of the grand coronation scene in the opera of "La Prophete," as represented at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent-garden.—Mr. Gibson, of Rome, now in England, has received an order for a colossal group, in marble, of figures of her Majesty, Queen Victoria, supported on either side by Justice and Clemency. The figure of the queen will be ten feet in height; the side figures, eight feet. This group will occupy a place in the new Houses of Parliament.—The Duke of Cambridge died on the 8th of July. He was the seventh and youngest son of George III., and was seventy-six years old at the time of his death.

Many accidents to vessels in the Northern Atlantic have arisen during the season from floating icebergs. The ship Oriental, of Liverpool, was lost, with all her crew and cargo from this cause, on the 27th of April; and on the 29th of March, the English ship Signet, with all on board, also foundered. Eighteen or twenty other vessels are known to have been lost in the same manner, their crews having escaped. New hopes of the safety of Sir John Franklin have been suggested by these reports. It is supposed that these vast fields of ice are portions of the slowly released masses, the growth of many preceding winters, which were first broken two winters ago by the strong southwest and southerly gales over all the North Atlantic and North Pacific; but which, in consequence of their bulk and extent, were again condensed before they could be fairly swept into the Atlantic, and thus offered continued obstruction to the release of Franklin and his ships. Nor would this appear to be impossible, assuming detention in the ice to have been the only danger, and that continued means of subsistence were accessible.—The Steamer Orion, plying between Liverpool and Glasgow, was wrecked June 18th, off Port Patrick, in a smooth sea, by striking upon a rock, and over two hundred lives were lost.—The baptism of the infant prince was celebrated June 22d, the Duke of Wellington being one of the sponsors, and the ceremony being performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who named the royal infant, "Arthur William Patrick Albert."

The English Literary Intelligence of the month is summed up in the Household Narrative, from which mainly we copy. It remarks that the class of books which has received the largest additions, is that of biography. Mr. Edmund Phipps has published extracts from the diaries and literary remains of the author of Tremaine, with biographical and critical comment, under the title of "Memoirs of the Political and Literary Life of Robert Plumer Ward;" and the book has been made more interesting than the subject would have seemed to promise, by the fact of Mr. Ward's intimate connection, both in private and public life, with the leading tory statesmen of the administrations of Addington, Perceval, and Liverpool. The political and administrative characteristics of the Duke of Wellington have probably never had such vivid illustration.—Mr. Leigh Hunt has published his "Autobiography, with Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries," of which very copious extracts were given in the July number of this Magazine. It will be issued in a few days from the press of the Harpers. Some of it is the republication of a former work, but the greater part is original, or at least so changed by interpolations, recantations, or additions, as to produce the effect of novelty.—The Reverend Mr. Field, an enthusiast for the separate and silent system of imprisonment, has published a new Life of Howard, dedicated to Prince Albert, of which the design appears to be to counteract the evil tendency of a recent memoir of the philanthropist, remarkable for what the reverend enthusiast calls "the advocacy of democratic principles, and the aspersion of a godly prince."—Each in a goodly-sized volume, we have had a sort of general biographical notice of Celebrated Etonians, and of Speakers of the House of Commons, the first by an able man, quite competent to the subject.—Miss Pardoe has edited the first volume of a series of Memoirs of the Queens of Spain, of which the author is a Spanish lady, resident in America. An ingenious northern antiquary has published memorials of one of the old border mansions, called Dilston Hall, which amounts in effect to an interesting Memoir of the Earl of Derwentwater, who suffered in the Jacobite rebellion. And, finally, Mr. Andrew Bisset has done good service to both history and biography by a very careful publication of the [Pg 423]Memoirs and Papers of Sir Andrew Mitchell, Lord Chatham's embassador at the court of Frederic the Great, and one of the very ablest of English diplomatists.

To the department of philosophy a somewhat remarkable contribution is to be noticed, under the title of The Progress of the Intellect as exemplified in the religious development of the Greeks and Hebrews. The writer is Mr. Robert William Mackay. Its design is to explain by a rationalistic process all the religious faiths and beliefs which have exerted the greatest influence over man, and to refer them exclusively to moral and intellectual development. In this design the writer may, or may not, have succeeded; but it is certain, making all draw-backs on the score of what has probably been borrowed from German investigation, that the book has high pretensions to eloquence and research, and reminds us of a time when publication was less frequent than now, and a single book might embody the labor of a life. For its antidote in respect of opinion and purpose there has been published, not inopportunely, after a peaceful slumber of nearly two centuries in the library at Wotton, A Rational Account of the True Religion, by John Evelyn. Here the design is, by all possible arguments and authorities, to confirm our faith in Christianity.

We must speak very summarily and briefly of the publications in general literature. Of books of travel and adventure, the most attractive and interesting in point of subject is, Five Years of a Hunter's Life in the Far Interior of South Africa, by Mr. Roualeyn Gordon Cumming, a kinsman of the Chief of Argyll, in whom a love of deer-stalking seems to have gradually expanded into dimensions too gigantic to be satisfied with any thing less than the stalking of the lion, the elephant, the hippopotamus, the giraffe, or the rhinoceros. The book is filled with astonishing incidents and anecdotes, and keeps the reader very nearly as breathless with excitement as the elephant and lion-hunter himself must have been. Copious extracts from the work will be found in the preceding pages of this number.—Mr. Aubrey de Vere has published some very graceful Picturesque Sketches of Greece and Turkey; and the brave and high-minded old General Pepe has given the world, A Narrative of Scenes and Events in Italy from 1847 to 1849. Mr. Johnson, the distinguished geographer of Edinburgh, has issued the most complete General Gazetteer of the World that has yet been comprised in a single volume; and as part of the republication of the treatises of the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, in separate and portable volumes, we have to mention an interesting volume on Greek Literature by Mr. Justice Talfourd, the Bishop of London, and other accomplished scholars.—In poetical translation, a new version of Æschylus by Professor Blackie, of Aberdeen, has been issued; and in poetry, with the title of In Memoriam, a noble and affecting series of elegies to the memory of a friend (son of the historian Hallam), from the pen of Mr. Alfred Tennyson.

Considerable interest was excited by the unswathing of an Egyptian mummy at the residence of Lord Londesborough, at which Mr. Birch of the British Museum, describing the embalming process, and following in this the narrative of Herodotus, said the subject had evidently suffered from the use of bitumen and the application of heat, as the bones were charred and the muscles calcined. Dr. Cormack has published a letter in the Athenæum expressing and sustaining the opinion that all mummies were prepared in this way.—A recent number of Galignani contains an interesting item of intelligence. It may be remembered that Goethe in 1827 delivered over to the keeping of the Government of Weimar a quantity of his papers, contained in a sealed casket, with an injunction not to open it until 1850. The 17th of May being fixed for breaking the seals, the authorities gave formal notice to the family of Goethe that they would on that day deliver up the papers as directed by the deceased poet. The descendants of the poet Schiller also received an intimation that, as the papers were understood to concern their ancestor likewise, they had a right to be present. The casket was opened with all due form, and was found to contain the whole of the correspondence between Goethe and Schiller. It is added, that these letters are immediately to be published, according to directions found in the casket. A new society has recently been formed in London for the investigation of the laws and nature of epidemic diseases, of which Dr. Babington has been chosen President. Another has been instituted for the collection of facts, observations, &c., in Meteorology, of which Mr. Whitbread is to be the first President. Rogers the poet was severely injured by being knocked down by a cab in the streets of London. Being 87 years old his case was considered precarious, though at the last accounts he seems to have partially recovered.—Several meetings have been held at the house of Mr. Justice Coleridge for the purpose of initiating a subscription to do honor, in some form, to the memory of Wordsworth, and have resulted in the formation of a powerful committee, with the Bishop of London at its head. The objects which this committee have in view are—to place a whole length effigy of the deceased poet in Westminster Abbey—and, if possible, to erect some monument to his memory in the neighborhood of Grasmere. The list of subscriptions is headed by the Queen and her Royal Consort, with a sum of £50.—Some singular decisions have recently been made by the Vice Chancellor. It seems that a Mr. Hartley deceased in 1843, left directions in his will that £300 should be set apart as a prize for the best Essay on "Natural Theology," treating it as a substantive science, and as adequate to constitute a true, perfect, and philosophical system of universal religion. It was ruled by the Vice Chancellor that this bequest was void, on account of the evident tendency which the essay so described would have to demoralize society and subvert the church.[Pg 424] Another decision, arising out of the same trial, is yet more curious. Mr. Hartley had left £200 for the best essay on Emigration, and appointed the American Minister trustee of the fund. This bequest was also declared void, on the ground that such an essay would encourage persons to emigrate to the United States, and so throw off their allegiance to the Queen! The race of Justice Shallows seems not to be extinct.

In France, after the passage of the electoral law, a bill was presented for increasing the President's salary to 3,600,000 francs per annum. Its introduction created considerable feeling. The committee to which it was referred reported in its stead a bill granting 1,600,000 francs to defray expenses incurred at the President's inauguration: and this was afterward modified so as to grant 2,160,000 for the expenses of the President, in which form it was adopted by the Assembly, by a vote of 354 to 308, a majority of 46 for the government. This is regarded as a government triumph, but it was not won until after a sharp struggle, and it has increased very considerably the public disaffection.—New laws for the restriction of the press have also been brought forward. The amount of caution money which newspapers are required to deposit is increased, and the system of postage stamps is introduced. During the discussion of these laws on the 8th of July, a scene of some warmth occurred in the Assembly. M. Rouher, in the course of a speech, spoke of the revolution of February as a great catastrophe, for which he was immediately called to order by Girardin, recently elected a member by the department of the Lower Rhine, as well as by others. The President refused to call him to order, but rebuked those who had interrupted him. The laws in regard to the press have been declared "urgent" by a vote of 370 to 251.—A man named Walker has been arrested on his own confession of a design to assassinate Louis Napoleon, for which purpose he had waited several hours for him to pass out of his gate. He proves to have been insane.—M. Thiers has been on a visit to London, where he was received with distinction. He visited Louis Philippe, whose health is said to be failing.

In Germany the settlement of the Constitution makes little progress. The Saxon chambers were suddenly dissolved on the 1st, to evade a discussion in the Second Chamber on an address to the sovereign, expressing dissatisfaction with the conduct of the government on the German question; and the Second Chamber broke up in solemn silence, withholding the usual cheers for the king. The Wurtemburg Diet, for a similar reason, was prorogued on the 4th. The German senate has given its consent for the meeting of the Peace Congress at Frankfort, and its sessions will commence on the 23d of August. It is to be a New World's Convention of the Friends of Peace.

The King of Prussia has recovered from the wound inflicted by the assassin Sefeloge. A royal decree has been published at Berlin, curtailing still further the Freedom of the Press. The system of "caution-money" is re-established, with the government powers of canceling the license to sell newspapers, and of refusing conveyance by post to obnoxious journals; and certain offenses against the press laws are "withdrawn from the competency of a jury." Among the journals affected by the decree is the London Punch, which has been proscribed in the city of Konigsberg and its province, and placed on the list of journals that are no longer permitted to pass through the post-office.

From Portugal we have intelligence of difficulties with this country, growing out of claims on that government which have been in existence for many years. The amount claimed is about $300,000. The principal one grows out of the destruction of the American ship, the General Armstrong, during the war of 1812, by a British fleet, while lying in the neutral port of Fayal, and therefore entitled to the protection of the Portuguese government. According to the law of nations, Portugal is responsible for her failure to protect her; and although Great Britain is the party in equity responsible, the United States have to look, in conformity to law, only to Portugal. The claims have been unsuccessfully pressed for a number of years; but the administration of General Taylor demanded an immediate settlement. Our Chargé, Mr. Clay, under instructions, had required an answer to his demands within twenty days, and an American squadron had meantime arrived in the Tagus to enforce them. Some uneasiness was felt as to the issue, but it was believed that the Portuguese government would yield.

[Pg 425]


Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell. Edited by William Beattie. In two volumes, 8vo, pp. 1077. New York: Harper and Brothers.

This charming piece of biography is already familiar to the reading public in this country, from the copious and flattering notices it has received from the British journals and reviews. It will be welcomed in its present complete form by every lover of literary history, no less than by the admirers of the favorite poet of "The Pleasures of Hope." The author had abundance of materials at his command, and has executed his task with commendable industry and good taste. In any hands, the subject could not be without intense interest, and as it has been treated in the volumes before us, possesses a fascination rarely found in any recent production. Free use is made of the letters of Campbell, many of which are of the highest order of epistolary composition, abounding in those delicate and expressive touches which reveal the heart of the man and the genius of the poet in the purest and most beautiful light.

The American edition is introduced by a letter of Washington Irving to the publishers, in which our admirable countryman relates some personal reminiscences of Campbell with so much felicity and exquisite grace, that we can not avoid transferring them to our pages:

"My acquaintance with Campbell commenced in, I think, 1810, through his brother Archibald, a most amiable, modest, and intelligent man, but more of a mathematician than a poet. He resided at that time in New York, and had received from his brother a manuscript copy of "O'Connor's Child; or, the Flower of Love lies bleeding," for which he was desirous of finding a purchaser among the American publishers. I negotiated the matter for him with a publishing house in Philadelphia, which offered a certain sum for the poem, provided I would write a biographical sketch of the author to be prefixed to a volume containing all his poetical works. To secure a good price for the poet, I wrote the sketch, being furnished with facts by his brother; it was done, however, in great haste, when I was 'not in the vein,' and, of course, was very slight and imperfect. It served, however, to put me at once on a friendly footing with Campbell, so that, when I met him for the first time a few years subsequently in England, he received me as an old friend. He was living at that time in his rural retreat at Sydenham. His modest mansion was fitted up in a simple style, but with a tact and taste characteristic of the occupants.

"Campbell's appearance was more in unison with his writings than is generally the case with authors. He was about thirty-seven years of age; of the middle size; lightly and genteelly made: evidently of a delicate, sensitive organization, with a fine intellectual countenance and a beaming poetic eye.

"He had now been about twelve years married. Mrs. Campbell still retained much of that personal beauty for which he praises her in his letters written in the early days of matrimony; and her mental qualities seemed equally to justify his eulogies: a rare circumstance, as none are more prone to dupe themselves in affairs of the heart than men of lively imaginations. She was, in fact, a more suitable wife for a poet than poet's wives are apt to be; and for once a son of song had married a reality and not a poetical fiction.

"I had considered the early productions of Campbell as brilliant indications of a genius yet to be developed, and trusted that, during the long interval which had elapsed, he had been preparing something to fulfill the public expectation; I was greatly disappointed, therefore, to find that, as yet, he had contemplated no great and sustained effort. My disappointment in this respect was shared by others, who took the same interest in his fame, and entertained the same idea of his capacity. 'There he is, cooped up in Sydenham,' said a great Edinburgh critic to me, 'simmering his brains to serve up a little dish of poetry, instead of pouring out a whole caldron.'

"Scott, too, who took a cordial delight in Campbell's poetry, expressed himself to the same effect. 'What a pity is it,' said he to me, 'that Campbell does not give full sweep to his genius. He has wings that would bear him up to the skies, and he does now and then spread them grandly, but folds them up again and resumes his perch, as if afraid to launch away. The fact is, he is a bugbear to himself. The brightness of his early success is a detriment to all his future efforts. He is afraid of the shadow that his own fame casts before him.

"Little was Scott aware at the time that he, in truth, was a 'bugbear' to Campbell. This I infer from an observation of Mrs. Campbell's in reply to an expression of regret on my part that her husband did not attempt something on a grand scale. 'It is unfortunate for Campbell,' said she, 'that he lives in the same age with Scott and Byron.' I asked why. 'Oh,' said she, 'they write so much and so rapidly. Now Campbell writes slowly, and it takes him some time to get under way; and just as he has fairly begun, out comes one of their poems, that sets the world agog and quite daunts him, so that he throws by his pen in despair.'

"I pointed out the essential difference in their kinds of poetry, and the qualities which insured perpetuity to that of her husband. 'You can't persuade Campbell of that,' said she. 'He is apt to undervalue his own works, and to consider his own little lights put out whenever they come blazing out with their great torches.'

"I repeated the conversation to Scott some time afterward, and it drew forth a characteristic comment.

"'Pooh!' said he, good humoredly, 'how can Campbell mistake the matter so much. Poetry goes by quality, not by bulk. My poems are mere cairngorms, wrought up, perhaps, with a cunning hand, and may pass well in the market as long as cairngorms are the fashion; but they are mere Scotch pebbles after all; now Tom Campbell's are real diamonds, and diamonds of the first water.'

"I have not time at present to furnish personal anecdotes of my intercourse with Campbell, neither does it afford any of a striking nature. Though extending over a number of years, it was never very intimate. His residence in the country, and my long intervals of absence on the Continent, rendered our meetings few and far between. To tell the truth, I was not much drawn to Campbell, having taken up a wrong notion concerning him from seeing him at times when his mind was ill at ease, and preyed upon by secret griefs. I had thought him disposed to be querulous and captious, and had heard his apparent discontent attributed to jealous repining at the success of his poetical contemporaries. In a word, I knew little of him but what might be learned in the casual intercourse of general society, whereas it required the close communion of confidential friendship to sound the depths of his character and know the treasures of excellence hidden beneath its surface. Besides, he was dogged[Pg 426] for years by certain malignant scribblers, who took a pleasure in misrepresenting all his actions, and holding him up in an absurd and disparaging point of view. In what this hostility originated I do not know, but it must have given much annoyance to his sensitive mind, and may have affected his popularity. I know not to what else to attribute a circumstance to which I was a witness during my last visit to England. It was at an annual dinner of the Literary Fund, at which Prince Albert presided, and where was collected much of the prominent talent of the kingdom. In the course of the evening Campbell rose to make a speech. I had not seen him for years, and his appearance showed the effect of age and ill health; it was evident also, that his mind was obfuscated by the wine he had been drinking. He was confused and tedious in his remarks; still, there was nothing but what one would have thought would be received with indulgence, if not deference, from a veteran of his fame and standing, a living classic. On the contrary, to my surprise, I soon observed signs of impatience in the company; the poet was repeatedly interrupted by coughs and discordant sounds, and as often endeavored to proceed; the noise at length became intolerable, and he was absolutely clamored down, sinking into his chair overwhelmed and disconcerted. I could not have thought such treatment possible to such a person at such a meeting.

"Hallam, author of the Literary History of the Middle Ages, who sat by me on this occasion, marked the mortification of the poet, and it excited his generous sympathy. Being shortly afterward on the floor to reply to a toast, he took occasion to advert to the recent remarks of Campbell, and in so doing called up in review all his eminent achievements in the world of letters, and drew such a picture of his claims upon popular gratitude and popular admiration as to convict the assembly of the glaring impropriety they had been guilty of—to soothe the wounded sensibility of the poet, and send him home to, I trust, a quiet pillow.

"I mention these things to illustrate the merit of the piece of biography which you are about to lay before the American world. It is a great act of justice to the memory of a distinguished man, whose character has not been sufficiently known. It gives an insight into his domestic as well as his literary life, and lays open the springs of all his actions and the causes of all his contrariety of conduct. We now see the real difficulties he had to contend with in the earlier part of his literary career; the worldly cares which pulled his spirit to the earth whenever it would wing its way to the skies; the domestic afflictions, tugging at his heart-strings even in his hours of genial intercourse, and converting his very smiles into spasms; the anxious days and sleepless nights preying upon his delicate organization, producing that morbid sensitiveness and nervous irritability which at times overlaid the real sweetness and amenity of his nature, and obscured the unbounded generosity of his heart.

"The biography does more: it reveals the affectionate considerateness of his conduct in all the domestic relations of life. The generosity with which he shared his narrow means with all the members of his family, and tasked his precarious resources to add to their relief; his deep-felt tenderness as a husband and a father, the source of exquisite home-happiness for a time, but ultimately of unmitigated wretchedness; his constant and devoted friendships, which in early life were almost romantic passions, and which remained unwithered by age: his sympathies with the distressed of every nation, class, and condition; his love of children, that infallible sign of a gentle and amiable nature; his sensibility to beauty of every kind; his cordial feeling toward his literary contemporaries, so opposite to the narrow and despicable jealousy imputed to him; above all, the crowning romance of his life, his enthusiasm in the cause of suffering Poland, a devotion carried to the height of his poetic temperament, and, in fact, exhausting all that poetic vein which, properly applied, might have produced epics; these and many more traits set forth in his biography bring forth his character in its true light, dispel those clouds which malice and detraction may at times have cast over it, and leave it in the full effulgence of its poetic glory."

The Life and Correspondence of Andrew Combe, M.D. By George Combe. Philadelphia: A. Hart. 12mo, pp. 424.

The remarkable popularity of the works of Andrew Combe on Physiology and Hygiene, in this country, will make the present biography an object of interest with a very large number of readers. It is written with singular impartiality, indeed with too little of the spirit of affectionate admiration, by the celebrated George Combe, whose own writings on the constitution of man and the observance of physical laws, have made him a general favorite in many intelligent circles, which have no peculiar interest in the special department of science with which his name has been identified. Each of the brothers has the merit of presenting important principles in plain language. With utility for their motto, they have written for the mass of the people, and, perhaps, have done more for the diffusion of popular knowledge, than many authors whose intellectual pretensions are far superior to their own. Destitute, to a remarkable degree, of every ray of imagination, with no approach to the creative power, which is the test of genius, their writings are marked with a robust common sense, a patience and clearness of statement, and a fertility of simple, homely illustration, which account for their deep impression on the popular mind.

In early life, the subject of this memoir displayed none of the brilliant qualities which give promise of future eminence. He was shy and reserved in his manners, and with no facility in the use of words, though often showing a certain droll humor in his actions. His progress in learning was slow, though this may be ascribed in part to the injudicious method which was pursued in his education. While engaged in his medical studies, he first made the acquaintance of Dr. Spurzheim, an event which decided the direction of his mind for the remainder of his life. This soon ripened into intimate friendship, which was cherished by frequent personal intercourse with Spurzheim during a visit at Paris. He at once became a zealous convert to the doctrines of Phrenology, making them the basis of his medical practice, and his anthropological system.

From an imprudent exposure to cold, Dr. Combe's health early received a severe shock, from the effects of which his system never fully recovered. His subsequent life was that of an habitual invalid. He was forced to maintain a constant battle with disease. While spreading the principles of health in a multitude of households, wherever the English language is spoken, by his lucid writings on the subject, he was scarcely permitted for a single day to enjoy the inestimable treasure. He, consequently, spent[Pg 427] no small portion of his time in traveling in different countries, visiting France, Belgium, Germany, and the United States, and his letters and observations during these various tours constitute one of the most interesting features in the present volume. His death took place on the 9th of August, 1847.

He left the character of a man of sterling integrity, excellent judgment, admirable candor and fairness of mind, a single-hearted devotion to truth, and a disposition of rare kindness and disinterested humanity. His biography will be read with satisfaction, by those who feel themselves indebted to his writings. It is simple, honest, unpretending, like its subject. With the singularly prosaic mind of Mr. George Combe, no one can expect to find it animated with any living glow. It records the life of a public benefactor, but with as little freshness or enthusiasm, as if the author were giving a Phrenological lecture on a collection of skulls.

Dr. Johnson; His Religious Life and His Death. New York: Harper and Brothers. 12mo, pp. 405.

The author of this volume is not surpassed by Boswell in reverence for "the Great Old Samuel," but happily is not infected with his puerilities. His book is a favorable specimen of the right kind of "Hero Worship," dealing tenderly with every relic of the departed, and religiously gathering every precious tribute to his memory. It reproduces a variety of characteristic events and scenes in the life of Dr. Johnson, without having the air of a compilation. No source of information seems to have been overlooked, while the labors of previous writers are so digested and arranged as to give the effect of an original production. The main subject to which the volume is devoted, is the illustration of Dr. Johnson's religious character, but numerous attractive episodes are also introduced, which relieve it from all tendency to monotony. The last incidents in his life are described with peculiar interest. Several chapters are wholly occupied with his Churchmanship, and under different heads, we have a spirited description of his humanity, his treatment of dissenters, his views of monastic life, his sympathy with Roman Catholics, and his superstition, all the statements being fortified with quotations from his own language. Various questions of collateral interest are discussed by the author, as suggested by the topics under review, and are usually treated with equal ability and religious feeling. The work will doubtless be received as a valuable complement to our Johnsonian literature.

Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, published by Harper and Brothers, has reached its fifth number, and fully sustains the wide reputation which it has acquired, as an elegant, spirited, and instructive work on American history. The union of narrative and description, which forms a leading feature of the series, is managed by Mr. Lossing with remarkable dexterity, and gives a perpetual charm to the composition. In the five numbers already issued, we have a graphic survey of the scenery and historical reminiscences of the portion of the State of New York and of Canada, which is embraced within the routes of our fashionable summer tourists. They describe the principal theatre of the French and Indian Wars, and many of the most interesting localities of the American Revolution, including Glenn's Falls, Lake George, Ticonderoga and Champlain from Whitehall to St. John's, Montreal, Quebec, the St. Lawrence to Kingston, Lake Ontario, Niagara, and a part of the Upper Valley of the Mohawk—all truly classic ground to the lover of American history. Whoever would obtain an accurate and indelible impression of the great battle-grounds of the Revolution, while seeking recreation in a summer jaunt, should not fail to make these beautiful numbers his traveling companions.

Harper and Brothers have reprinted Sydney Smith's posthumous Lectures entitled Sketches of Moral Philosophy, which is introduced with a commendatory letter by Lord Jeffrey, written but a few days before his death, wherein he says that these Lectures "will do their author as much credit as any thing he ever wrote, and produce on the whole a stronger impression by the force and vivacity of his intellect, as well as a truer and more engaging view of his character than what the world has yet seen of his writings. The book seems to me to be full of good sense, acuteness, and right feeling—very clearly and pleasingly written—and with such an admirable mixture of logical intrepidity, with the absence of all dogmatism, as is rarely met with in the conduct of such discussions." The versatile author discusses a great variety of topics, slenderly connected it is true, with Metaphysics or Moral Philosophy, and on this account has left a far more readable volume, than if it had been rigidly devoted to the questions which it professes to treat. His remarks are always lively, pointed, and apposite, betraying a familiar knowledge of the world, and a quick perception of the bearing and character of current events, while their caustic wit is usually attempered with an inexhaustible fountain of good humor.

We have received The Plough, the Loom, and the Anvil, volume 2d, from the veteran editor of whose zeal and ability in maintaining the doctrine of "harmony" and mutual dependence between all the great branches of domestic industry, it affords abundant evidence.

Mr. Skinner contends, with every appearance of assured conviction, that as our country spreads over so many latitudes, and embraces climates and resources more various and abundant than any other, our policy, too, should be peculiar; and that instead of importing iron, cloth, and other manufactures, for which we have materials, or capabilities inexhaustible, we should import[Pg 428] men, as the best of all importations, whose demands, while occupied with other industries, would create a steady and remunerating market for the products of agriculture, which, he insists, would be, of all things, the surest guarantee for improvements in the art of terra-culture. This enterprise is one of the ablest of the kind, to illustrate the importance of placing the consumer by the side of the agriculturist; and whether reference be had to the long services of the editor in the cause of cultivators of the soil, or the earnestness and power with which he and his correspondents enforce their doctrine, there can be no hesitation in saying, that those who unite with them in opinion will do well to give encouragement to The Plough, the Loom, and the Anvil. It is but justice to add, that it is well printed on fine paper, giving no less than 64 pages monthly, at the rate of $5 for two subscribers, or $3 for one. Edited and published by that old and tried soldier in the cause—the founder of the first agricultural journal in the United States—J. S. Skinner, 79, Walnut-street, Philadelphia.

Phillips, Sampson, and Co. have published a new edition of The Rebels, one of the earliest and most popular novels of the admirable Mrs. Child. Its character is too well known to authorize criticism at this time, and its reproduction in the present edition will gratify the troops of friends, with whom the author is a distinguished favorite.

One of the most remarkable books of the month is The Logic and Utility of Mathematics, by Charles Davies, LL.D., published by Barnes and Co. It is not intended as a treatise on any special branch of mathematical science, and demands for its full appreciation a general acquaintance with the leading methods and routine of mathematical investigation. To those who have a natural fondness for this pursuit, and enjoy the leisure for a retrospect of their favorite studies, the present volume will possess a charm, not surpassed by the fascinations of a romance. It is an elaborate and lucid exposition of the principles which lie at the foundation of pure mathematics, with a highly ingenious application of their results to the development of the essential idea of Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, Analytic Geometry, and the Differential and Integral Calculus. The work is preceded by a general view of the subject of Logic, mainly drawn from the writings of Archbishop Whately and Mr. Mill, and closes with an essay on the utility of mathematics. Some occasional exaggerations, in presenting the claims of the science to which his life has been devoted, must here be pardoned to the professional enthusiasm of the author. In general, the work is written with singular circumspection; the views of the best thinkers on the subject have been thoroughly digested, and are presented in an original form; every thing bears the impress of the intellect of the writer; his style is for the most part chaste, simple, transparent, and in admirable harmony with the dignity of the subject, and his condensed generalizations are often profound and always suggestive.

The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, edited by C. Edwards Lester, Esq. has reached its seventh number, which contains a portrait and biographical sketch of the distinguished ornithologist, J. J. Audubon. The engraving presents a delightful view of the intellectual and expressive features of the veteran forester, savan, and artist, while the sketch by Mr. Lester gives a rapid and satisfactory summary of the principal incidents in his adventurous life. The daguerreotypes by Brady, and the lithographs by D'Avignon, throughout this series, are highly creditable specimens of their respective arts. The biographical notices are carefully written and beautifully printed. The previous numbers embrace Taylor, Calhoun, Webster, Wright, Clay, and Fremont—and that our readers may form some idea of the striking fidelity of the Portraits, we present, in a previous page, the well-known likeness of our late President, copied on wood by Lossing, from the first number of the work.

A. Hart, Philadelphia, has reprinted from the English edition, The Phantom World, from the French of Calmet, with a Preface and Notes by Rev. Henry Christmas, giving a general survey of the history and philosophy of spirits, apparitions, ghosts, elves, fairies, spooks, bogles, bugaboos, and hobgoblins. It will probably meet with an extensive circulation in these days when Connecticut divines are haunted by infernal visits, and the Rochester sibyls are on exhibition in New York.

Dies Boreales, or Christopher Under Canvas, is republished from Blackwood's Magazine in a neat edition, by A. Hart, Philadelphia, and will meet with a warm reception from the innumerable admirers of the noble, eloquent, impassioned, kaleidoscopic, frisky, and genial old Christopher.

Among the valuable scientific serials now issuing from the New York press, is The Dictionary of Mechanics, Engine Works, and Engineering, edited by Oliver Byrne, and published by D. Appleton and Co. Of this work we have thirteen numbers, which bring the subjects, in alphabetical order, to the article on "Etching," the last number completing the elaborate description of the "Steam Engine," which in itself forms a treatise on a leading branch of practical science, and may be commended in high terms to the attention both of the general reader and the professional engineer. It is rarely that such a mass of important information is condensed into so lucid and pleasing a form, attractive no less by the clearness of its scientific details, than by the bright picture which it gives of the progress of the useful arts in modern times.

Another work, of similar value, is A Treatise on Marine and Naval Architecture, by John W. Griffiths, a serial which has reached its seventh number, and has elicited the warmest encomiums from distinguished constructors and[Pg 429] engineers. The style is a fine model of scientific discussion, presenting the first principles of naval architecture with precision, compactness, and simplicity, abounding with graphic descriptive details, and preserving a spirited freedom and boldness in the most intricate and difficult expositions. The superior character of its contents, with the low price at which it is afforded, will insure it a wide circulation among American mechanics, who can not fail to gain both a pecuniary and an intellectual advantage from its perusal.

Specimens of the Bridges, Viaducts, &c., on the United Slates Railroads, by George Duggin, deserves an honorable place by the side of the two preceding serials, as an important contribution to the science of civil engineering in this country. The sixth number has already made its appearance, being the commencement of an elaborate treatise on Bridge-building, illustrated with sketches of the most remarkable specimens in this branch of architecture. The multiplicity of works like those we have just alluded to, and the great and instant popularity which they attain, present a cheering proof of the prevalence of scientific curiosity, and of the mental activity which leads to thorough investigation, among the leading artisans of the United States.

The Second Book in Greek, by John M'Clintock, published by Harper and Brothers, is the complement to the previous volume, entitled First Book in Greek, which, as a practical manual in this branch of philology, has elicited the warmest approbation of judicious teachers. Dr. M'Clintock has brought the resources of a ripe and generous scholarship to the preparation of this work, which, with the other volumes of his Elementary Series in Greek and Latin, is a highly honorable proof of his sound learning and correct taste. The present work gives a full view of the Greek Syntax, with copious illustrations, and extracts from Xenophon's Anabasis, Homer, Anacreon, and sentences from the Greek Dramatists. Its peculiar merit consists in the progressive manner in which the various difficulties of Greek combination are unfolded, the pupil being thus led forward, by a natural sequence, to a mastery of the complicated idioms of the language, and trained imperceptibly to a perception of its rich and wonderful beauties.

Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia, have republished Impressions and Experiences of the West Indies and North America in 1849, by Robert Baird, an intelligent Scotchman, apparently of the legal profession, but with little of the talent essential to the composition of a popular book of travels. His remarks on the United States are in a more discriminating tone than is often attained by English tourists, but the whole tone of the volume is, for the most part, so prosy and commonplace as to make its perusal an intolerable bore.

Tallis, Willoughby, and Company are publishing a beautifully embellished edition of The Life of Christ, by the Rev. John Fleetwood, with original illustrations by Warren, who has attained a distinguished reputation, as a delineator of Oriental scenery, characters, and costumes. It is to be completed in twenty-five parts, of which two have been issued, in a style of elegant typography, highly creditable to the taste and enterprise of the publishers. The biography of the Saviour by Dr. Fleetwood is written with decorum and gravity, reproducing the consecutive events of the sacred narrative in symmetrical order, and presenting with becoming reserve, such moral reflections as are naturally suggested by the different topics of the sublime history. The work is happily distinguished from several recent attempts on similar themes, by its freedom from the ambitious and disgusting pretension of dressing up the severe simplicity of the Oriental writers in the tawdry and finical robes of modern rhetoric.

The Shoulder-Knot, by the Rev. B. F. Tefft, published by Harper and Brothers, is a work of more than common originality, intended to convey important views of life, through the medium of fiction, and containing many passages of remarkable vigor and beauty. The story is derived from facts in the history of Louis XIII. of France, who, with his Queen, the admirable Anne of Austria, the Queen Mother, the selfish and passionate Mary, and the consummate master of intrigue, Cardinal Richelieu, is made to act a leading part in the development of the narrative. The author displays less skill in the artistic blending together of the principal incidents of the plot, than in his isolated descriptions and conversations, many of which indicate a high order of talent. The whole story is pervaded with a wholesome and elevated religious tone, showing the power of fictitious creation to illustrate the most vitally important truths.

Stringer and Townsend have published a Supplement to Frank Forrester's Fish and Fishing in the United States, by W. H. Herbert, correcting some errors which had crept into the principal work on that subject, and completing the memoirs of the finny tribes under the democratic institutions of America, with the jaunty airiness of description, and genuine relish of natural scenery (as well as of fried fish), which have given such a wide celebrity to the flowing and unctuous pen of Frank Forrester.

The Morning Watch is an anonymous poem, published by George P. Putnam, breathing an atmosphere of tender, religious sentiment, and showing considerable descriptive power. It has not, however, sufficient vigor of imagination to atone for the intense subjectivity of thought which throws a dim haze over the best-conceived passages.

J. Ross Browne's Report of the Debates in the Convention of California on the Formation of the State Constitution, is a curious historical document, and will possess still more interest when the antiquities of the modern Eldorado shall become the object of learned research.

The Mothers of the Wise and Good, by Jabez Burns, D.D., reprinted by Gould, Kendall, and Lincoln, Boston, is a collection of interesting[Pg 430] incidents, showing the effects of maternal influence on the formation of character, and tracing the excellence of many eminent men in various walks of life, to the pure and exalted virtues with which they were familiar in early life, within the sacred retirements of the domestic circle.

The seventh number of Carlyle's Latter-Day Pamphlets, issued by Harper and Brothers, is a mere seven-fold repetition of the ancient discontent of the author, whose mirth is changed into a permanent wail, and for whom the "brave o'erhanging firmament has become only a foul and pestilential congregation of vapors." The subject of this number is the "Statue of Hudson," the great deposed Railway King. It says much more of statues in general, than of this particular one of Hudson's. Like all the recent productions of Carlyle, it reminds us of the strugglings of a sick giant, whom his friends in mercy should compel to take to his bed and turn his face to the wall.

An elegant edition of The Illustrated Domestic Bible, by the Rev. Ingram Cobbin, is publishing in numbers by Samuel Hueston. It has brief notes and reflections by the editor, and copious pictorial embellishments, illustrative of Oriental scenery and manners. The work is to be completed in twenty-five numbers.

Stanford and Swords have reprinted a neat edition of Earnestness, or Incidents in the Life of an English Bishop, by Charles B. Taylor, whose rare talent for applying the resources of fiction to the illustration of religious truth has given him an enviable reputation with a large circle of readers. The present work will be found to possess equal interest with the previous religious stories of the author.

Amy Harrington, by the author of The Curate of Linwood, another spirited religious novel, directing a battery of red-hot shot against the Tractarian or Puseyite movement in England, is republished by J. C. Riker. It is written in a tone of uncommon earnestness, and contains some passages of genuine pathos and eloquence.

The Vale of Cedars, by Grace Aguilar, republished by D. Appleton and Co., is a novel of more than ordinary power, indebted for its principal interest to its vivid description of the social condition of Spain during the reign of Isabella. The volume is introduced with an interesting biographical sketch of the able authoress, who died in 1847.

Crosby and Nichols, Boston, have republished Chronicles and Characters of the Stock Exchange, by John Francis, a work describing the progress of financial speculation in England, with great liveliness of delineation, and illustrated with a variety of personal incidents and scenes of the richest character. The volume is intended to give a popular narrative of the money power of England, in a manner at once interesting and suggestive, and it accomplishes its purpose with eminent success.

Wah-to-yah, and the Taos Trail, by Lewis W. Garrard published by H. W. Derby and Co., Cincinnati, is a record of wild adventures among the Indians, by a rollicking Western youth, who never misses the opportunity for a scene, and who tells his story with a gay saucy, good-natured audacity, which makes his book far more companionable than most volumes of graver pretensions. Commend us to young Garrard, whoever he may be, as a free and easy guide to the mysteries of life in the forest.

Poems by H. Ladd Spencer, published by Phillips, Sampson, and Co., Boston, are rather remarkable specimens of juvenile precocity, most of them having been written in the days of the author's earliest boyhood, and some of them during his twelfth year, and at a period little less remote. Their poetical merit must, of course, be inconsiderable, and they are not sufficiently curious to warrant publication.

D. Appleton and Co. have issued a novel entitled Heloise, or the Unrevealed Secret, by Talvi, the gifted authoress of The Sketch of the Slavic Language and Literature, which is entitled to special commendation among the recent productions of American literature. Without the machinery of a complicated plot, and in language that is almost sculpturesque in its chaste simplicity, it possesses an intense and unflagging interest, by its artistic delineation of character, its profound insight into the mysteries of passion, and the calm, delicate, spiritual beauty of its heroine. Its subtle conception of the nicest variations of feeling, is no less remarkable than its precision in the use of language, the work, for the most part, not only reading like the production of a native, but of one familiar with the most intimate resources of idiomatic English. A very few exceptions to this remark in some portions of the dialogue, whose naïveté atones for their inaccuracy, only present the general purity of the composition in a more striking light. We sincerely trust that the writer, who has been so happily distinguished in the field of literary research, will be induced, by the success of this volume, to continue her labors in the province of fictitious creation. Nothing is wanting to her assurance of an enviable fame in this department of letters.

The Initials is the title of an English novel, reprinted by A. Hart, Philadelphia, illustrative of German life and character, and in all respects of more interest than would be predicted from its ambiguous designation.

The Lorgnette, published by Stringer and Townsend, continues to make its appearance once a fortnight, and well sustains the reputation it has acquired, as a brilliant, searching, and good-humored satirical commentary on the many-colored phantasmagoria of the town. The name of the author is still a dead secret, in spite of numerous hints and winks among the knowing ones, and he is shrewd enough to prefer the prestige of concealment to the tickling of his vanity by publicity. The most noticeable feature in his work is its quiet, effective style of composition, which is utterly free from the pyrotechnic arts of so many current pretenders.

[Pg 431]


Fig. 1. Promenade Dress.—For walking in public gardens, barège dresses, plain or figured, are generally adopted; but glacé, or damask bareges are the most recherchés. Dresses of shot silk form also charming toilets. The skirts are less full than those of last year—but, to compensate for it, they are trimmed with graduated flounces up to the waist—as many as five are worn, and they are pinked and stamped at the edges. The bodies are tight, and open in front; a cord connects the two sides of the corsage, and buttons, either of silk, colored stones, or steel, are placed on the centre of this cord. The sleeves are wider at the bottom than at the top, and are trimmed with two small flounces; from beneath them a large lace sleeve falls over the hand, leaving the lower part of the arm uncovered. This form of sleeve is very becoming to the hand.

Mantelets are very slightly altered; they are, however, rather more closely fitted to the figure than last year; they are all made of taffetas glacé, and trimmed with pinked ruches of the same material for young persons, and with wide black lace for married ladies.

Fig. 1.—Promenade Dress. Fig. 1.—Promenade Dress.

Fig. 2, is a Pelerine of a pattern quite new; made of embroidered net, trimmed with three rows of point d'Alençon, and ornamented with a large knot of ribbons Bayadère. Another pattern is of Indian muslin Canezcu, embroidered and trimmed with malines, open and buttoned up in the back.

Fig. 2.—Pelerine. Fig. 2.—Pelerine.

Fig. 3 is a neat costume for a little girl.

Dress of glacé silk, shaded in light green and lilac. The skirt trimmed with four rows of fringe of green and lilac silk intermingled. The corsage low and plain, with a pelerine which passes along the back and shoulders, and is brought down to the front of the waist in a point. This pelerine is edged with two rows of fringe. The sleeves of the dress, which are short, are edged simply with one row of fringe. Attached to these short sleeves are long sleeves of white muslin made so as to set nearly close to the upper part of the arms, but finished between the elbow and the wrist with three drawings separated by bands of needlework insertion. Above these drawings there is a frill which falls back on the arm. The neck is covered by a chemisette of muslin, finished at the throat with a trimming of needlework, turned over.[Pg 432]

Fig. 3.—Little Girl's Costume. Fig. 3.—Little Girl's Costume.

Fig. 4. Home Dress.—Morning cap trimmed with Valenciennes and gauze ribbons, cut out in the shape of leaves, muslin guimpe bouillonné, with embroidered entre-deux; the gown en gros d'Ecosse, with facing and trimmings cut out; pagode sleeves, with a white muslin puffing ornamented with a very large bouillonné.

Fig. 4.—Home Dress. Fig. 4.—Home Dress.

In the engraving (Fig. 5) is represented a Ball Costume, with a graceful head-dress, composed of a vine garland with grapes; on each side hangs a bunch of grapes (several little hunches are preferred). The novelty of this year is to be observed in the length of the branches, which come down on the shoulders, mixing with long curls. This head-dress is worn also with bandeaux, but then the garland must be thicker in the lower part. The leaves are of different colors, from the various shades of green to the autumnal red tint. This kind of garland is made also of ivy, with small red balls. The gowns are of taffetas d'Italiewhite, rose, or blue (their shades are to be glacés de blanc): the body is trimmed with a berthe, made of two rows of blonde; the front ornamented with a puffing of white net laced with satin ribbons the color of the gown.

Fig. 5.—Ball Dress. Fig. 5.—Ball Dress.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume
1, No. 3, August, 1850., by Various


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