The Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1,
No. 4, September, 1850, by Various

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 4, September, 1850

Author: Various

Release Date: February 22, 2010 [EBook #31358]

Language: English

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Table of Contents
Memories of Miss Jane Porter.
Shooting Stars and Meteoric Showers.
A Five Days’ Tour in The Odenwald.
The Mysterious Preacher.
Assyrian Sects.
The Approach of Christmas.
Ugliness Redeemed—a Tale of a London Dust-heap.
The Old Squire.
The Young Squire.
Presence of Mind—a Fragment.
Fearful Tragedy—a Man-Eating Lion.
The Haunted House in Charnwood Forest.
Ledru Rollin—Biographical Sketch.
A Chip from a Sailor’s Log.
The Two Thompsons.
Habits of the African Lion.
The Old Church-Yard Tree.
The English Peasant.
Maurice Tiernay, the Soldier of Fortune.
An Aerial Voyage.
Andrew Carson’s Money; A Story of Gold.
The Disasters of a Man Who Wouldn’t Trust His Wife.
Little Mary.—a Tale of the Irish Famine.
The Old Well in Languedoc.
Summer Pastime.
The Chemistry of a Candle.
The Mysterious Compact.
Wordsworth’s Posthumous Poem.
The Literary Profession—Authors and Publishers.
The Brothers Cheeryble.
Writing for Periodicals.
Anecdote of Lord Clive.
The Imprisoned Lady.
Literary and Scientific Miscellany.
Monthly Record of Current Events.
Literary Notices.
Fashions for Early Autumn.
Transcriber’s Note.

[Pg 433]


No. IV.—SEPTEMBER, 1850.—Vol. I.


[From the London Art Journal.]



The frequent observation of foreigners is, that in England we have few “celebrated women.” Perhaps they mean that we have few who are “notorious;” but let us admit that in either case they are right; and may we not express our belief in its being better for women and for the community that such is the case: “celebrity” rarely adds to the happiness of a woman, and almost as rarely increases her usefulness. The time and attention required to attain “celebrity,” must, except under very peculiar circumstances, interfere with the faithful discharge of those feminine duties upon which the well-doing of society depends, and which shed so pure a halo around our English homes. Within these “homes” our heroes—statesmen—philosophers—men of letters—men of genius—receive their first impressions, and the impetus to a faithful discharge of their after callings as Christian subjects of the State.

There are few of such men who do not trace back their resolution, their patriotism, their wisdom, their learning—the nourishment of all their higher aspirations—to a wise, hopeful, loving-hearted and faith-inspired mother; one who believed in a son’s destiny to be great; it may be, impelled by such belief rather by instinct than by reason; who cherished (we can find no better word), the “Hero-feeling” of devotion to what was right, though it might have been unworldly; and whose deep heart welled up perpetual love and patience, toward the over-boiling faults and frequent stumblings of a hot youth, which she felt would mellow into a fruitful manhood.

The strength and glory of England are in the keeping of the wives and mothers of its men; and when we are questioned touching our “celebrated women,” we may in general terms refer to those who have watched over, moulded, and inspired our “celebrated” men.

Happy is the country where the laws of God and nature are held in reverence—where each sex fulfills its peculiar duties, and renders its sphere a sanctuary! and surely such harmony is blessed by the Almighty—for while other nations writhe in anarchy and poverty, our own spreads wide her arms to receive all who seek protection or need repose.

But if we have few “celebrated” women, few, who impelled either by circumstances or the irrepressible restlessness of genius, go forth amid the pitfalls of publicity, and battle with the world, either as poets—or dramatists—or moralists—or mere tale-tellers in simple prose—or, more dangerous still, “hold the mirror up to nature” on the stage that mimics life—if we have but few, we have, and have had some, of whom we are justly proud; women of such well-balanced minds, that toil they ever so laboriously in their public and perilous paths, their domestic and social duties have been fulfilled with as diligent and faithful love as though the world had never been purified and enriched by the treasures of their feminine wisdom; yet this does not shake our belief, that, despite the spotless and well-earned reputations they enjoyed, the homage they received (and it has its charm), and even the blessed consciousness of having contributed to the healthful recreation, the improved morality, the diffusion of the best sort of knowledge—the woman would have been happier had she continued enshrined in the privacy of domestic love and domestic duty. She may not think this at the commencement of her career; and at its termination, if she has lived sufficiently long to have descended, even gracefully from her pedestal, she may often recall the homage of the past to make up for its lack in the present. But so perfectly is woman constituted for the cares, the affections, the duties—the blessed duties of un-[Pg 434]public life—that if she give nature way it will whisper to her a text that “celebrity never added to the happiness of a true woman.” She must look for her happiness to home. We would have young women ponder over this, and watch carefully, ere the vail is lifted, and the hard cruel eye of public criticism fixed upon them. No profession is pastime; still less so now than ever, when so many people are “clever,” though so few are great. We would pray those especially who direct their thoughts to literature, to think of what they have to say, and why they wish to say it; and above all, to weigh what they may expect from a capricious public, against the blessed shelter and pure harmonies of private life.[A]

But we have had some—and still have some—“celebrated” women of whom we have said “we may be justly proud.” We have done pilgrimage to the shrine of Lady Rachel Russell, who was so thoroughly “domestic” that the Corinthian beauty of her character would never have been matter of history, but for the wickedness of a bad king. We have recorded the hours spent with Hannah More; the happy days passed with, and the years invigorated by Maria Edgeworth. We might recall the stern and faithful puritanism of Maria Jane Jewsbury; and the Old World devotion of the true and high-souled daughter of Israel—Grace Aguilar. The mellow tones of Felicia Heman’s poetry linger still among all who appreciate the holy sympathies of religion and virtue. We could dwell long and profitably on the enduring patience and life-long labor of Barbara Hofland, and steep a diamond in tears to record the memories of L.E.L. We could—alas, alas! barely five-and-twenty years’ acquaintance with literature and its ornaments, and the brilliant catalogue is but a Momento Mori! Perhaps of all this list, Maria Edgworth’s life was the happiest; simply because she was the most retired, the least exposed to the gaze and observation of the world, the most occupied by loving duties toward the most united circle of old and young we ever saw assembled in one happy home.

The very young have never, perhaps read one of the tales of a lady whose reputation, as a novelist, was in its zenith when Walter Scott published his first novel. We desire to place a chaplet upon the grave of a woman once “celebrated” all over the known world; yet who drew all her happiness from the lovingness of home and friends, while her life was as pure as her renown was extensive.

In our own childhood romance reading was prohibited, but earnest entreaty procured an exception in favor of the “Scottish Chiefs.” It was the bright summer, and we read it by moonlight, only disturbed by the murmur of the distant ocean. We read it, crouched in the deep recess of the nursery window; we read it until moonlight and morning met, and the breakfast bell ringing out into the soft air from the old gable, found us at the end of the fourth volume. Dear old times! when it would have been deemed little less than sacrilege to crush a respectable romance into a shilling volume, and our mammas considered only a five volume story curtailed of its just proportions.

Sir William Wallace has never lost his heroic ascendency over us, and we have steadily resisted every temptation to open the “popular edition” of the long-loved romance, lest what people will call “the improved state of the human mind,” might displace the sweet memory of the mingled admiration and indignation that chased each other, while we read and wept, without ever questioning the truth of the absorbing narrative.

Yet, the “Scottish Chiefs” scarcely achieved the popularity of “Thaddeus of Warsaw,” the first romance originated by the active brain and singularly constructive power of Jane Porter, produced at an almost girlish age.

The hero of “Thaddeus of Warsaw” was really Kosciuszko, the beloved pupil of George Washington, the grandest and purest patriot the Modern World has known. The enthusiastic girl was moved to its composition by the stirring times in which she lived; and a personal observation of, and acquaintance with some of those brave men whose struggles for liberty only ceased with their exile, or their existence.

Miss Porter placed her standard of excellence on high ground, and—all gentle-spirited as was her nature—it was firm and unflinching toward what she believed the right and true. We must not, therefore, judge her by the depressed state of “feeling” in these times, when its demonstration is looked upon as artificial or affected. Toward the termination of the last and the commencement of the present century, the world was roused into an interest and enthusiasm, which now we can scarcely appreciate or account for; the sympathies of England were awakened by the terrible revolutions of France, and the desolation of Poland; as a principle, we hated Napoleon, though he had neither act nor part in the doings of the democrats; and the sea-songs of Dibdin, which our youth now would call uncouth and ungraceful rhymes, were key-notes to public feeling; the English of that time[Pg 435] were thoroughly “awake,” the British Lion had not slumbered through a thirty years’ peace. We were a nation of soldiers and sailors, and patriots; not of mingled cotton-spinners and railway speculators and angry protectionists; we do not say which state of things is best or worst, we desire merely to account for what may be called the taste for heroic literature at that time, and the taste for—we really hardly know what to call it—literature of the present, made up, as it too generally is, of shreds and patches—bits of gold and bits of tinsel—things written in a hurry to be read in a hurry, and never thought of afterward—suggestive rather than reflective, at the best; and we must plead guilty to a too great proneness to underrate what our fathers probably overrated.

At all events we must bear in mind, while reading or thinking over Miss Porter’s novels, that, in her day, even the exaggeration of enthusiasm was considered good tone and good taste. How this enthusiasm was fostered, not subdued, can be gathered by the author’s ingenious preface to the, we believe, tenth edition of “Thaddeus of Warsaw.”

This story brought her abundant honors, and rendered her society, as well as the society of her sister and brother, sought for by all who aimed at a reputation for taste and talent. Mrs. Porter, on her husband’s death (he was the younger son of a well-connected Irish family, born in Ireland, in or near Coleraine, we believe, and a major in the Enniskillen dragoons), sought a residence for her family in Edinburgh, where education and good society are attainable to persons of moderate fortunes, if they are “well born;” but the extraordinary artistic skill of her son Robert required a wider field, and she brought her children to London sooner than she had intended, that his promising talents might be cultivated. We believe the greater part of “Thaddeus of Warsaw” was written in London, either in St. Martin’s-lane, Newport-street, or Gerard-street, Soho (for in these three streets the family lived after their arrival in the metropolis); though as soon as Robert Ker Porter’s abilities floated him on the stream, his mother and sisters retired, in the brightness of their fame and beauty, to the village of Thames Ditton, a residence they loved to speak of as their “home.” The actual labor of “Thaddeus”—her first novel—must have been considerable; for testimony was frequently borne to the fidelity of its localities, and Poles refused to believe that the author had not visited Poland; indeed, she had a happy power in describing localities.

It was on the publication of Miss Porter’s two first works in the German language that their author was honored by being made a Lady of the Chapter of St. Joachim, and received the gold cross of the order from Wurtemberg; but “The Scottish Chiefs” was never so popular on the continent as “Thaddeus of Warsaw,” although Napoleon honored it with an interdict, to prevent its circulation in France. If Jane Porter owed her Polish inspirations so peculiarly to the tone of the times in which she lived, she traces back, in her introduction to the latest edition of “The Scottish Chiefs,” her enthusiasm in the cause of Sir William Wallace to the influence of an old “Scotch wife’s” tales and ballads produced upon her mind while in early childhood. She wandered amid what she describes as “beautiful green banks,” which rose in natural terraces behind her mother’s house, and where a cow and a few sheep occasionally fed. This house stood alone, at the head of a little square, near the high school; the distinguished Lord Elchies formerly lived in the house, which was very ancient, and from those green banks it commanded a fine view of the Firth of Forth. While gathering “gowans” or other wild flowers for her infant sister (whom she loved more dearly than her life, during the years they lived in most tender and affectionate companionship), she frequently encountered this aged woman with her knitting in her hand; and she would speak to the eager and intelligent child of the blessed quiet of the land, where the cattle were browsing without fear of an enemy; and then she would talk of the awful times of the brave Sir William Wallace, when he fought for Scotland “against a cruel tyrant; like unto them whom Abraham overcame when he recovered Lot, with all his herds and flocks, from the proud foray of the robber kings of the South,” who, she never failed to add, “were all rightly punished for oppressing the stranger in a foreign land! for the Lord careth for the stranger.” Miss Porter says that this woman never omitted mingling pious allusions with her narrative, “Yet she was a person of low degree, dressed in a coarse woolen gown, and a plain Mutch cap clasped under the chin with a silver brooch, which her father had worn at the battle of Culloden.” Of course she filled with tales of Sir William Wallace and the Bruce, the listening ears of the lovely Saxon child who treasured them in her heart and brain, until they fructified in after years into the “Scottish Chiefs.” To these two were added “The Pastor’s Fireside,” and a number of other tales and romances; she contributed to several annuals and magazines, and always took pains to keep up the reputation she had won, achieving a large share of the popularity, to which, as an author, she never looked for happiness. No one could be more alive to praise or more grateful for attention, but the heart of a genuine, pure, loving woman, beat within Jane Porter’s bosom, and she was never drawn out of her domestic circle by the flattery that has spoiled so many, men as well as women. Her mind was admirably balanced by her home affections, which remained unsullied and unshaken to the end of her days. She had, in common with her three brothers and her charming sister, the advantage of a wise and loving mother—a woman pious without cant, and worldly-wise without being worldly. Mrs. Porter was born at Durham, and when very young bestowed her hand and heart on Major Porter; an old friend of the[Pg 436] family assures us that two or three of their children were born in Ireland, and that certainly Jane was among the number;[B] although she left Ireland when in early youth, perhaps almost an infant, she certainly must be considered “Irish,” as her father was so both by birth and descent, and esteemed during his brief life as a brave and generous gentleman; he died young, leaving his lovely widow in straightened circumstances, having only her widow’s pension to depend on. The eldest son—afterward Colonel Porter—was sent to school by his grandfather.

We have glanced briefly at Sir Robert Ker Porter’s wonderful talents, and Anna Maria, when in her twelfth year, rushed, as Jane acknowledged, “prematurely into print.” Of Anna Maria we knew personally but very little; enough, however, to recall with a pleasant memory her readiness in conversation, and her bland and cheerful manners. No two sisters could have been more different in bearing and appearance: Maria was a delicate blonde, with a riant face, and an animated manner—we had said almost peculiarly Irish—rushing at conclusions, where her more thoughtful and careful sister paused to consider and calculate. The beauty of Jane was statuesque, her deportment serious yet cheerful, a seriousness quite as natural as her younger sister’s gayety; they both labored diligently, but Anna Maria’s labor was sport when compared to her elder sister’s careful toil; Jane’s mind was of a more lofty order, she was intense, and felt more than she said, while Anna Maria often said more than she felt; they were a delightful contrast, and yet the harmony between them was complete; and one of the happiest days we ever spent, while trembling on the threshold of literature, was with them at their pretty road-side cottage, in the village of Esher, before the death of their venerable and dearly-beloved mother, whose rectitude and prudence had both guided and sheltered their youth, and who lived to reap with them the harvest of their industry and exertion. We remember the drive there, and the anxiety as to how those very “clever ladies” would look, and what they would say; we talked over the various letters we had received from Jane, and thought of the cordial invitation to their cottage—their “mother’s cottage”—as they always called it. We remember the old white friendly spaniel who looked at us with blinking eyes, and preceded us up-stairs; we remember the formal, old-fashioned courtesy of the venerable old lady, who was then nearly eighty—the blue ribbons and good-natured frankness of Anna Maria, and the noble courtesy of Jane, who received visitors as if she granted an audience; this manner was natural to her; it was only the manner of one whose thoughts have dwelt more on heroic deeds, and lived more with heroes than with actual living men and women; the effect of this, however, soon passed away, but not so the fascination which was in all she said and did. Her voice was soft and musical, and her conversation addressed to one person rather than to the company at large, while Maria talked rapidly to every one, or for every one who chose to listen. How happily the hours passed! we were shown some of those extraordinary drawings of Sir Robert, who gained an artist’s reputation before he was twenty, and attracted the attention of West and Shee[C] in his mere boyhood. We heard all the interesting particulars of his panoramic picture of the Storming of Seringapatam, which, the first of its class, was known half over the world. We must not, however, be misunderstood—there was neither personal nor family egotism in the Porters; they invariably spoke of each other with the tenderest affection—but unless the conversation was forced by their friends, they never mentioned their own, or each other’s works, while they were most ready to praise what was excellent in the works of others; they spoke with pleasure of their sojourns in London; while their mother said, it was much wiser and better for young ladies who were not rich, to live quietly in the country, and escape the temptations of luxury and display. At that time the “young ladies” seemed to us certainly not young; that was about two-and-twenty years ago, and Jane Porter was seventy-five when she died. They talked much of their previous dwelling at Thames Ditton, of the pleasant neighborhood they enjoyed there, though their mother’s health and their own had much improved since their residence on Esher-hill; their little garden was bounded at the back by the beautiful park of Claremont, and the front of the house overlooked the leading roads, broken as they are by the village green, and some noble elms. The view is crowned by the high trees of Esher-place, opening from the village on that side of the brow of the hill. Jane pointed out the locale of the proud Cardinal Wolsey’s domain, inhabited during the days of his power over Henry VIII., and in their cloudy evening, when that capricious monarch’s favor changed to bitterest hate. It was the very spot to foster her high romance, while she could at the same time enjoy the sweets of that domestic converse she loved best of all. We were prevented by the occupations and heart-beatings of our own literary labors [Pg 437]from repeating this visit; and in 1831, four years after these well-remembered hours, the venerable mother of a family so distinguished in literature and art, rendering their names known and honored wherever art and letters flourish, was called home. The sisters, who had resided ten years at Esher, left it, intending to sojourn for a time with their second brother, Doctor Porter, (who commenced his career as a surgeon in the navy) in Bristol; but within a year the youngest, the light-spirited, bright-hearted Anna Maria died: her sister was dreadfully shaken by her loss, and the letters we received from her after this bereavement, though containing the outpourings of a sorrowing spirit, were full of the certainty of that reunion hereafter which became the hope of her life. She soon resigned her cottage home at Esher, and found the affectionate welcome she so well deserved in many homes, where friends vied with each other to fill the void in her sensitive heart. She was of too wise a nature, and too sympathizing a habit, to shut out new interests and affections, but her old ones never withered, nor were they ever replaced; were the love of such a sister-friend—the watchful tenderness and uncompromising love of a mother—ever “replaced,” to a lonely sister or a bereaved daughter! Miss Porter’s pen had been laid aside for some time, when suddenly she came before the world as the editor of “Sir Edward Seward’s Narrative,” and set people hunting over old atlases to find out the island where he resided. The whole was a clever fiction; yet Miss Porter never confided its authorship, we believe, beyond her family circle; perhaps the correspondence and documents, which are in the hands of one of her kindest friends (her executor), Mr. Shepherd, may throw some light upon a subject which the “Quarterly” honored by an article. We think the editor certainly used her pen, as well as her judgment, in the work, and we have imagined that it might have been written by the family circle, more in sport than in earnest, and then produced to serve a double purpose.

After her sister’s death Miss Jane Porter was afflicted with so severe an illness, that we, in common with her other friends, thought it impossible she could carry out her plan of journeying to St. Petersburgh to visit her brother, Sir Robert Ker Porter, who had been long united to a Russian princess, and was then a widower; her strength was fearfully reduced; her once round figure become almost spectral, and little beyond the placid and dignified expression of her noble countenance remained to tell of her former beauty; but her resolve was taken; she wished, she said, to see once more her youngest and most beloved brother, so distinguished in several careers, almost deemed incompatible—as a painter, an author, a soldier, and a diplomatist, and nothing could turn her from her purpose: she reached St. Petersburgh in safety, and with apparently improved health, found her brother as much courted and beloved there as in his own land, and his daughter married to a Russian of high distinction. Sir Robert longed to return to England. He did not complain of any illness, and every thing was arranged for their departure; his final visits were paid, all but one to the Emperor, who had ever treated him as a friend; the day before his intended journey he went to the palace, was graciously received, and then drove home, [Pg 438]but when the servant opened the carriage-door at his own residence he was dead! One sorrow after another pressed heavily upon her, yet she was still the same sweet, gentle, holy-minded woman she had ever been, bending with Christian faith to the will of the Almighty—“biding her time.”


How differently would she have “watched and waited” had she been tainted by vanity, or fixed her soul on the mere triumphs of “literary reputation.” While firm to her own creed, she fully enjoyed the success of those who scramble up—where she bore the standard to the heights—of Parnassus; she was never more happy than when introducing some literary “Tyro” to those who could aid or advise a future career. We can speak from experience of the warm interest she took in the Hospital for the cure of Consumption, and the Governesses’ Benevolent Institution; during the progress of the latter, her health was painfully feeble, yet she used personal influence for its success, and worked with her own hands for its bazaars. She was ever aiding those who could not aid themselves; and all her thoughts, words, and deeds, were evidence of her clear, powerful mind, and kindly loving heart; her appearance in the London coteries was always hailed with interest and pleasure; to the young she was especially affectionate; but it was in the quiet mornings, or in the long twilight evenings of summer, when visiting her cherished friends at Shirley Park, in Kensington-square, or wherever she might be located for the time—it was then that her former spirit revived and she poured forth anecdote and illustration, and the store of many years’ observation, filtered by experience and purified by that delightful faith to which she held—that “all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.” She held this in practice, even more than in theory: you saw her chastened yet hopeful spirit beaming forth from her gentle eyes, and her sweet smile can never be forgotten. The last time we saw her, was about two years ago—in Bristol—at her brother, Dr. Porter’s house in Portland-square: then she could hardly stand without assistance, yet she never complained of her own suffering or feebleness—all her anxiety was about the brother—then dangerously ill, and now the last of “his race.” Major Porter, it will be remembered, left five children, and these have left only one descendant—the daughter of Sir Robert Ker Porter and the Russian Princess whom he married, a young Russian lady, whose present name we do not even know.

We did not think at our last leave-taking that Miss Porter’s fragile frame could have so long withstood the Power that takes away all we hold most dear; but her spirit was at length summoned, after a few days’ total insensibility, on the 24th of May.

We were haunted by the idea that the pretty cottage at Esher, where we spent those happy hours, had been treated even as “Mrs. Porter’s Arcadia” at Thames Ditton—now altogether removed; and it was with a melancholy pleasure we found it the other morning in nothing changed; it was almost impossible to believe that so many years had passed since our last visit. While Mr. Fairholt was sketching the cottage, we knocked at the door, and were kindly permitted by two gentle sisters, who now inhabit it, to enter the little drawing-room and walk round the garden; except that the drawing-room has been re-papered and painted, and that there were no drawings and no flowers, the room was not in the least altered; yet to us it seemed like a sepulchre, and we rejoiced to breathe the sweet air of the little garden, and listen to a nightingale, whose melancholy cadence harmonized with our feelings.

“Whenever you are at Esher,” said the devoted daughter, the last time we conversed with her, “do visit my mother’s tomb.” We did so. A cypress flourishes at the head of the grave; and the following touching inscription is carved on the stone:

OBIIT JUNE 18TH, 1831, ÆTAT. 86;


[A] In support of this opinion, which we know is opposed to the popular feeling of many in the present day, we venture to quote what Miss Porter herself repeats, as said to her by Madame de Stael: “She frequently praised my revered mother for the retired manner in which she maintained her little domestic establishment, yielding her daughters to society, but not to the world.” We pray those we love, to mark the delicate and most true distinction, between “society” and the “world.” “I was set on a stage,” continued De Stael, “I was set on a stage, at a child’s age, to be listened to as a wit and worshiped for my premature judgment. I drank adulation as my soul’s nourishment, and I cannot now live without its poison; it has been my bane, never an aliment. My heart ever sighed for happiness, and I ever lost it, when I thought it approaching my grasp. I was admired, made an idol, but never beloved. I do not accuse my parents for having made this mistake, but I have not repeated it in my Albertine” (her daughter.) “She shall not

‘Seek for love, and fill her arms with bays.’

I bring her up in the best society, yet in the shade.”

[B] Miss Porter never told me she was an Irishwoman, but once she questioned me concerning my own parentage and place of birth; and upon my explaining that my mother was an English woman, my father Irish, and that I was born in Ireland, which I quitted early in life, she observed her own circumstances were very similar to mine. For my own part, I have no doubt that she was Irish by birth and by descent on the father’s side, but it will be no difficult matter to obtain direct evidence of the facts; and we hope that some Irish patriotic friend will make due inquiries on the subject. During her life, I had no idea of her connection with Ireland, or I should certainly have ascertained if my own country had a claim of which it may be justly proud.

[C] In his early days the President of the Royal Academy painted a very striking portrait of Jane Porter, as “Miranda,” and Harlowe painted her in the canoness dress of the order of St. Joachim.

[Pg 439]

[From the Gallery of Nature.]



From every region of the globe and in all ages of time within the range of history, exhibitions of apparent instability in the heavens have been observed, when the curtains of the evening have been drawn. Suddenly, a line of light arrests the eye, darting like an arrow through a varying extent of space, and in a moment the firmament is as sombre as before. The appearance is exactly that of a star falling from its sphere, and hence the popular title of shooting star applied to it. The apparent magnitudes of these meteorites are widely different, and also their brilliancy. Occasionally, they are far more resplendent than the brightest of the planets, and throw a very perceptible illumination upon the path of the observer. A second or two commonly suffices for the individual display, but in some instances it has lasted several minutes. In every climate it is witnessed, and at all times of the year, but most frequently in the autumnal months. As far back as records go, we meet with allusions to these swift and evanescent luminous travelers. Minerva’s hasty flight from the peaks of Olympus to break the truce between the Greeks and Trojans, is compared by Homer to the emission of a brilliant star. Virgil, in the first book of the Georgics, mentions the shooting stars as prognosticating weather changes:

“And on, before tempestuous winds arise,
The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies,
And, shooting through the darkness, gild the night
With sweeping glories and long trains of light.”

Various hypotheses have been framed to explain the nature and origin of these remarkable appearances. When electricity began to be understood, this was thought to afford a satisfactory explanation, and the shooting stars were regarded by Beccaria and Vassali as merely electrical sparks. When the inflammable nature of the gases became known, Lavosier and Volta supposed an accumulation of hydrogen in the higher regions of the atmosphere, because of its inferior density, giving rise by ignition to the meteoric exhibitions. While these theories of the older philosophers have been shown to be untenable, there is still great obscurity resting upon the question, though we have reason to refer the phenomena to a cause exterior to the bounds of our atmosphere. Upon this ground, the subject assumes a strictly astronomical aspect, and claims a place in a treatise on the economy of the solar system.

The first attempt accurately to investigate these elegant meteors was made by two university students, afterward Professors Brandes of Leipsic, and Benzenberg of Dusseldorf, in the year 1798. They selected a base line of 46,200 feet, somewhat less than nine English miles, and placed themselves at its extremities on appointed nights, for the purpose of ascertaining their average altitude and velocity. Out of twenty-two appearances identified as the same, they found,

7 under 45 miles
9 between 45 and 90 miles
5 above 90 miles
1 above 140 miles.

The greatest observed velocity gave twenty-five miles in a second. A more extensive plan was organized by Brandes in the year 1823, and carried into effect in the neighborhood of Breslaw. Out of ninety-eight appearances, the computed heights were,

4 under 15 miles
15 from 15 to 30 miles
22 from 30 to 45 miles
33 from 45 to 70 miles
13 from 70 to 90 miles
6 above 90 miles
5 from 140 to 460 miles.

The velocities were between eighteen and thirty-six miles in a second, an average velocity far greater than that of the earth in its orbit.

The rush of luminous bodies through the sky of a more extraordinary kind, though a rare occurrence, has repeatedly been observed. They are usually discriminated from shooting stars, and known by the vulgar as fire-balls; but probably both proceed from the same cause, and are identical phenomena. They have sometimes been seen of large volume, giving an intense light, a hissing noise accompanying their progress, and a loud explosion attending their termination. In the year 1676, a meteor passed over Italy about two hours after sunset, upon which Montanari wrote a treatise. It came over the Adriatic Sea as if from Dalmatia, crossed the country in the direction of Rimini and Leghorn, a loud report being heard at the latter place, and disappeared upon the sea toward Corsica. A similar visitor was witnessed all over England, in 1718, and forms the subject of one of Halley’s papers to the Royal Society. Sir Hans Sloane was one of its spectators. Being abroad at the time of its appearance, at a quarter past eight at night, in the streets of London, his path was suddenly and intensely illuminated. This, he apprehended at first, might arise from a discharge of rockets; but found a fiery object in the heavens, moving after the manner of a falling star, in a direct line from the Pleiades to below the girdle of Orion. Its brightness was so vivid, that several times he was obliged to turn away his eyes from it. The stars disappeared, and the moon, then nine days old, and high near the meridian, the sky being[Pg 440] very clear, was so effaced by the lustre of the meteor as to be scarcely seen. It was computed to have passed over three hundred geographical miles in a minute, at the distance of sixty miles above the surface, and was observed at different extremities of the kingdom. The sound of an explosion was heard through Devon and Cornwall, and along the opposite coast of Bretagne. Halley conjectured this and similar displays to proceed from combustible vapors aggregated on the outskirts of the atmosphere, and suddenly set on fire by some unknown cause. But since his time, the fact has been established, of the actual fall of heavy bodies to the earth from surrounding space, which requires another hypothesis. To these bodies the term aërolites is applied, signifying atmospheric stones, from αηρ, the atmosphere, and λιθος, a stone. While many meteoric appearances may simply arise from electricity, or from the inflammable gases, it is now certain, from the proved descent of aërolites, that such bodies are of extra-terrestrial origin.

Antiquity refers us to several objects as having descended from the skies, the gifts of the immortal gods. Such was the Palladium of Troy, the image of the goddess of Ephesus, and the sacred shield of Numa. The folly of the ancients in believing such narrations has often been the subject of remark; but, however fabulous the particular cases referred to, the moderns have been compelled to renounce their skepticism respecting the fact itself, of the actual transition of substances from celestial space to terrestrial regions; and no doubt the ancient faith upon this subject was founded on observed events. The following table, taken from the work of M. Izarn, Des Pierres tombées du Ciel, exhibits a collection of instances of the fall of aërolites, together with the eras of their descent, and the persons on whose evidence the facts rest; but the list might be largely extended.

Shower of stonesAt RomeUnder Tullus HostiliusLivy.
Shower of stonesAt RomeConsuls C. Martius and M. TorquatusJ. Obsequens.
Shower of ironIn LucaniaYear before the defeat of CrassusPliny.
Shower of mercuryIn Italy Dion.
Large stone Near the river Negos, ThraceSecond year of the 78th OlympiadPliny.
Three large stonesIn ThraceYear before J. C. 452Ch. of Count Marcellin.
Shower of fireAt QuesnoyJanuary 4, 1717Geoffroy le Cadet.
Stone of 72lbs.Near Larissa, MacedoniaJanuary 1706Paul Lucas.
About 1200 stones }
—one of 120lbs. }
Another of 60lbs. }
Near Padua in ItalyIn 1510Carden, Varcit.
Another of 59lbs.On Mount Vasier, ProvenceNovember 27, 1627Gassendi.
Shower of sand for 15 hoursIn the AtlanticApril 6, 1719Père la Fuillée.
Shower of sulphurSodom and Gomorra Moses.
Sulphurous rainIn the Duchy of MansfieldIn 1658Spangenburgh.
The sameCopenhagenIn 1646Olaus Wormius.
Shower of sulphurBrunswickOctober 1721Siegesbær.
Shower of unknown matterIrelandIn 1695Muschenbroeck.
Two large stones, weighing 20lbs.Liponas, in BresseSeptember 1753Lalande.
A stony massNiort, NormandyIn 1750Lalande.
A stone of 7-1/2lbs.At Luce, in Le MaineSeptember 13, 1768Bachelay.
A stoneAt Aire, in ArtoisIn 1768Gursonde de Boyaval.
A stoneIn Le CotentinIn 1768Morand.
Extensive shower of stonesEnvirons of AgenJuly 24, 1790St. Amand, Baudin, &c.
About twelve stonesSienna, TuscanyJuly 1794Earl of Bristol.
A large stone of 56lbs.Wold Cottage, YorkshireDecember 13, 1795Captain Topham.
A stone of about 20lbs.Sale, Department of the RhoneMarch 17, 1798Lelievre and De Drée.
A stone of 10lbs.In PortugalFebruary 19, 1796Southey.
Shower of stonesBenares, East IndiesDecember 19, 1798J. Lloyd Williams, Esq.
Shower of stonesAt Plaun, near Tabor, BohemiaJuly 3, 1753B. de Born.
Mass of iron, 70 cubic feetAmericaApril 5, 1800Philosophical Mag.
Mass of iron, 14 quintalsAbakauk, SiberiaVery oldPallas, Chladni, &c.
Shower of stonesBarboutan, near RoquefortJuly 1789Darcet Jun., Lomet, &c.
Large stone of 260lbs.Ensisheim, Upper RhineNovember 7, 1492Butenschoen.
Two stones, 200 and 300lbs.Near VeronaIn 1762Acad. de Bourd.
A stone of 20lbs.Sules, near Ville FrancheMarch 12, 1798De Drée.
Several stones from 10 to 17lbs.Near L’Aigle, NormandyApril 26, 1803Fourcroy.

Some of the instances in the table are of sufficient interest to deserve a notice.

A singular relation respecting the stone of Ensisheim on the Rhine, at which philosophy once smiled incredulously, regarding it as one of the romances of the middle ages, may now be admitted to sober attention as a piece of authentic history. A homely narrative of its fall was drawn up at the time by order of the Emperor Maximilian, and deposited with the stone in the church. It may thus be rendered: [Pg 441]“In the year of the Lord 1492, on Wednesday, which was Martinmas eve, the 7th of November, a singular miracle occurred; for, between eleven o’clock and noon, there was a loud clap of thunder, and a prolonged confused noise, which was heard at a great distance; and a stone fell from the air, in the jurisdiction of Ensisheim, which weighed two hundred and sixty pounds, and the confused noise was, besides, much louder than here. Then a child saw it strike on a field in the upper jurisdiction, toward the Rhine and Inn, near the district of Giscano, which was sown with wheat, and it did it no harm, except that it made a hole there: and then they conveyed it from that spot; and many pieces were broken from it; which the landvogt forbade. They, therefore, caused it to be placed in the church, with the intention of suspending it as a miracle: and there came here many people to see this stone. So there were remarkable conversations about this stone: but the learned said that they knew not what it was; for it was beyond the ordinary course of nature that such a large stone should smite the earth from the height of the air; but that it was really a miracle of God; for, before that time, never any thing was heard like it, nor seen, nor described. When they found that stone, it had entered into the earth to the depth of a man’s stature, which every body explained to be the will of God that it should be found; and the noise of it was heard at Lucerne, at Vitting, and in many other places, so loud that it was believed that houses had been overturned: and as the King Maximilian was here the Monday after St. Catharine’s day of the same year, his royal excellency ordered the stone which had fallen to be brought to the castle, and, after having conversed a long time about it with the noblemen, he said that the people of Ensisheim should take it, and order it to be hung up in the church, and not to allow any body to take any thing from it. His excellency, however, took two pieces of it; of which he kept one, and sent the other to the Duke Sigismund of Austria: and they spoke a great deal about this stone, which they suspended in the choir, where it still is; and a great many people came to see it.” Contemporary writers confirm the substance of this narration, and the evidence of the fact exists; the aërolite is precisely identical in its chemical composition with that of other meteoric stones. It remained for three centuries suspended in the church, was carried off to Colmar during the French revolution; but has since been restored to its former site, and Ensisheim rejoices in the possession of the relic. A piece broken from it is in the Museum of the Jardin des Plantes at Paris.

The celebrated Gassendi was an eye-witness of a similar event. In the year 1627, on the 27th of November, the sky being quite clear, he saw a burning stone fall in the neighborhood of Nice, and examined the mass. While in the air it appeared to be about four feet in diameter, was surrounded by a luminous circle of colors like a rainbow, and its fall was accompanied by a noise like the discharge of artillery. Upon inspecting the substance, he found it weighed 59 lbs., was extremely hard, of a dull, metallic color, and of a specific gravity considerably greater than that of common marble. Having only this solitary instance of such an occurrence, Gassendi concluded that the mass came from some of the mountains of Provence, which had been in a transient state of volcanic activity. Instances of the same phenomenon occurred in the years 1672, 1756, and 1768; but the facts were generally doubted by naturalists, and considered as electrical appearances, magnified by popular ignorance and timidity. A remarkable example took place in France in the year 1790. Between nine and ten o’clock at night, on the 24th of July, a luminous ball was seen traversing the atmosphere with great rapidity, and leaving behind it a train of light; a loud explosion was then heard, accompanied with sparks which flew off in all directions; this was followed by a shower of stones over a considerable extent of ground, at various distances from each other, and of different sizes. A procès verbal was drawn up, attesting the circumstance, signed by the magistrates of the municipality, and by several hundreds of persons inhabiting the district. This curious document is literally as follows: “In the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and the thirtieth day of the month of August, we, the Lieut. Jean Duby, mayor, and Louis Massillon, procurator of the commune of the municipality of La Grange-de-Juillac, and Jean Darmite, resident in the parish of La Grange-de-Juillac, certify in truth and verity, that on Saturday, the 24th of July last, between nine and ten o’clock, there passed a great fire, and after it we heard in the air a very loud and extraordinary noise; and about two minutes after there fell stones from heaven; but fortunately there fell only a very few, and they fell about ten paces from one another in some places, and in others nearer, and, finally, in some other places farther; and falling, most of them, of the weight of about half a quarter of a pound each, some others of about half a pound, like that found in our parish of La Grange; and on the borders of the parish of Creon, they were found of a pound weight; and in falling, they seemed not to be inflamed, but very hard and black without, and within of the color of steel: and, thank God, they occasioned no harm to the people, nor to the trees, but only to some tiles which were broken on the houses; and most of them fell gently, and others fell quickly, with a hissing noise; and some were found which had entered into the earth, but very few. In witness thereof, we have written and signed these presents. Duby, mayor. Darmite.” Though such a document as this, coming from the unlearned of the district where the phenomenon occurred, was not calculated to win acceptance with the savans of the French capital, yet it was corroborated by a host of intelligent witnesses at Bayonne, Thoulouse, and Bordeaux, and by transmitted specimens containing the substances usually found in atmospheric stones, and in nearly the same proportions. A few years afterward, an undoubted instance of the fall of an aërolite occurred in England, which largely excited[Pg 442] public curiosity. This was in the neighborhood of Wold Cottage, the house of Captain Topham, in Yorkshire. Several persons heard the report of an explosion in the air, followed by a hissing sound; and afterward felt a shock, as if a heavy body had fallen to the ground at a little distance from them. One of these, a plowman, saw a huge stone falling toward the earth, eight or nine yards from the place where he stood. It threw up the mould on every side, and after penetrating through the soil, lodged some inches deep in solid chalk rock. Upon being raised, the stone was found to weigh fifty-six pounds. It fell in the afternoon of a mild but hazy day, during which there was no thunder or lightning; and the noise of the explosion was heard through a considerable district. It deserves remark, that in most recorded cases of the descent of projectiles, the weather has been settled, and the sky clear; a fact which plainly places them apart from the causes which operate to produce the tempest, and shows the popular term thunder-bolt to be an entire misnomer.

While this train of circumstances was preparing the philosophic mind of Europe to admit as a truth what had hitherto been deemed a vulgar error, and acknowledge the appearance of masses of ignited matter in the atmosphere occasionally descending to the earth, an account of a phenomenon of this kind was received from India, vouched by an authority calculated to secure it general respect. It came from Mr. Williams, F.R.S., a resident in Bengal. It stated that on December 19th, 1798, at eight o’clock in the evening, a large, luminous meteor was seen at Benares and other parts of the country. It was attended with a loud, rumbling noise, like an ill-discharged platoon of musketry; and about the same time, the inhabitants of Krakhut, fourteen miles from Benares, saw the light, heard an explosion, and immediately after the noise of heavy bodies falling in the neighborhood. The sky had previously been serene, and not the smallest vestige of a cloud had appeared for many days. Next morning, the mould in the fields was found to have been turned up in many spots; and unusual stones, of various sizes, but of the same substance, were picked out from the moist soil, generally from a depth of six inches. As the occurrence took place in the night, after the people had retired to rest, the explosion and the actual fall of the stones were not observed; but the watchman of an English gentleman, near Krakhut, brought him a stone the next morning, which had fallen through the top of his hut, and buried itself in the earthen floor. This event in India was followed, in the year 1803, by a convincing demonstration in France, which compelled the eminent men of the capital to believe, though much against their will. On Tuesday, April 26th, about one in the afternoon, the weather being serene, there was observed in a part of Normandy, including Caen, Falaise, Alençon, and a large number of villages, a fiery globe of great brilliancy moving in the atmosphere with great rapidity. Some moments after, there was heard in L’Aigle and in the environs, to the extent of more than thirty leagues in every direction, a violent explosion, which lasted five or six minutes. At first there were three or four reports, like those of a cannon, followed by a kind of discharge which resembled the firing of musketry; after which there was heard a rumbling like the beating of a drum. The air was calm, and the sky serene, except a few clouds, such as are frequently observed. The noise proceeded from a small cloud which had a rectangular form, and appeared motionless all the time that the phenomenon lasted. The vapor of which it was composed was projected in all directions at the successive explosions. The cloud seemed about half a league to the northeast of the town of L’Aigle, and must have been at a great elevation in the atmosphere, for the inhabitants of two hamlets, a league distant from each other, saw it at the same time above their heads. In the whole canton over which it hovered, a hissing noise like that of a stone discharged from a sling was heard, and a multitude of mineral masses were seen to fall to the ground. The largest that fell weighed 17-1/2 pounds; and the gross number amounted to nearly three thousand. By the direction of the Academy of Sciences, all the circumstances of this event were minutely examined by a commission of inquiry, with the celebrated M. Biot at its head. They were found in harmony with the preceding relation, and reported to the French minister of the interior. Upon analyzing the stones, they were found identical with those of Benares.

The following are the principal facts with reference to the aërolites, upon which general dependence may be placed. Immediately after their descent they are always intensely hot. They are covered with a fused black incrustation, consisting chiefly of oxide of iron; and, what is most remarkable, their chemical analysis develops the same substances in nearly the same proportions, though one may have reached the earth in India and another in England. Their specific gravities are about the same; considering 1000 as the proportionate number for the specific gravity of water, that of some of the aërolites has been found to be,

Ensisheim stone3233

The greater specific gravity of the Bohemian stone arose from its containing a greater proportion of iron. An analysis of one of the stones that fell at L’Aigle gives:

[Pg 443] Silica46 per cent
Magnesia10       ”
Iron45       ”
Nickel  2       ”
Sulphur  5       ”
Zinc  1       ”

Iron is found in all these bodies, and in a considerable quantity, with the rare metal nickel. It is a singular fact, that though a chemical examination of their composition has not discovered any substance with which we were not previously acquainted, yet no other bodies have yet been found, native to the earth, which contain the same ingredients combined. Neither products of the volcanoes, whether extinct or in action, nor the stratified or unstratified rocks, have exhibited a sample of that combination of metallic and earthy substances which the meteoric stones present. During the era that science has admitted their path to the earth as a physical truth, scarcely amounting to half a century, few years have elapsed without a known instance of descent occurring in some region of the globe. To Izarn’s list, previously given, upward of seventy cases might be added, which have transpired during the last forty years. A report relating to one of the most recent, which fell in a valley near the Cape of Good Hope, with the affidavits of the witnesses, was communicated to the Royal Society, by Sir John Herschel, in March, 1840. Previously to the descent of the aërolites, the usual sound of explosion was heard, and some of the fragments falling upon grass, caused it instantly to smoke, and were too hot to admit of being touched. When, however, we consider the wide range of the ocean, and the vast unoccupied regions of the globe, its mountains, deserts, and forests, we can hardly fail to admit that the observed cases of descent must form but a small proportion of the actual number; and obviously in countries upon which the human race are thickly planted many may escape notice through descending in the night, and will lie imbedded in the soil till some accidental circumstance exposes their existence. Some, too, are no doubt completely fused and dissipated in the atmosphere, while others move by us horizontally, as brilliant lights, and pass into the depths of space. The volume of some of these passing bodies is very great. One which traveled within twenty-five miles of the surface, and cast down a fragment, was suppose to weigh upward of half a million of tons. But for its great velocity, the whole mass would have been precipitated to the earth. Two aërolites fell at Braunau, in Bohemia, July 14, 1847.

In addition to aërolites, properly so called, or bodies known to have come to us from outlying space, large metallic masses exist in various parts of the world, lying in insulated situations, far remote from the abodes of civilization, whose chemical composition is closely analogous to that of the substances the descent of which has been witnessed. These circumstances leave no doubt as to their common origin. Pallas discovered an immense mass of malleable iron, mixed with nickel, at a considerable elevation on a mountain of slate in Siberia, a site plainly irreconcilable with the supposition of art having been there with its forges, even had it possessed the character of the common iron. In one of the rooms of the British Museum there is a specimen of a large mass which was found, and still remains, on the plain of Otumba, in the district of Buenos Ayres. The specimen alone weighs 1400 lbs., and the weight of the whole mass, which lies half buried in the ground, is computed to be thirteen tons. In the province of Bahia, in Brazil, another block has been discovered weighing upward of six tons. Considering the situation of these masses, with the details of their chemical analysis, the presumption is clearly warranted that they owe their origin to the same causes that have formed and projected the aërolites to the surface. With reference to the Siberian iron a general tradition prevails among the Tartars that it formerly descended from the heavens. A curious extract, translated from the Emperor Tchangire’s memoirs of his own reign is given in a paper communicated to the Royal Society, which speaks of the fall of a metallic mass in India. The prince relates, that in the year 1620 (of our era) a violent explosion was heard at a village in the Punjaub, and at the same time a luminous body fell through the air on the earth. The officer of the district immediately repaired to the spot where it was said the body fell, and having found the place to be still hot, he caused it to be dug. He found that the heat kept increasing till they reached a lump of iron violently hot. This was afterward sent to court, where the emperor had it weighed in his presence, and ordered it to be forged into a sabre, a knife, and a dagger. After a trial the workmen reported that it was not malleable, but shivered under the hammer; and it required to be mixed with one third part of common iron, after which the mass was found to make excellent blades. The royal historian adds, that on the incident of this iron of lightning being manufactured, a poet presented him with a distich that, “during his reign the earth attained order and regularity; that raw iron fell from lightning, which was, by his world-subduing authority, converted into a dagger, a knife, and two sabres.”

A multitude of theories have been devised to account for the origin of these remarkable bodies. The idea is completely inadmissible that they are concretions formed within the limits of the atmosphere. The ingredients that enter into their composition have never been discovered in it, and the air has been analyzed at the sea level and on the tops of high mountains. Even supposing that to have been the case, the enormous volume of atmospheric air so charged required to furnish the particles of a mass of several tons, not to say many masses, is, alone, sufficient to refute the notion. They can not, either, be projectiles from terrestrial volcanoes, because coincident volcanic activity has not been observed, and aërolites descend thousands of miles apart from the nearest volcano, and their substances are discordant with any known volcanic product. Laplace suggested their projection from lunar volcanoes. It has been calculated that a projectile leaving the lunar surface, where there is no atmospheric resistance, with a veloc[Pg 444]ity of 7771 feet in the first second, would be carried beyond the point where the forces of the earth and the moon are equal, would be detached, therefore, from the satellite, and come so far within the sphere of the earth’s attraction as necessarily to fall to it. But the enormous number of ignited bodies that have been visible, the shooting stars of all ages, and the periodical meteoric showers that have astonished the moderns, render this hypothesis untenable, for the moon, ere this, would have undergone such a waste as must have sensibly diminished her orb, and almost blotted her from the heavens. Olbers, was the first to prove the possibility of a projectile reaching us from the moon, but at the same he deemed the event highly improbable, regarding the satellite as a very peaceable neighbor, not capable now of strong explosions from the want of water and an atmosphere. The theory of Chladni will account generally for all the phenomena, be attended with the fewest difficulties, and, with some modifications to meet circumstances not known in his day, it is now widely embraced. He conceived the system to include an immense number of small bodies, either the scattered fragments of a larger mass, or original accumulations of matter, which, circulating round the sun, encounter the earth in its orbit, and are drawn toward it by attraction, become ignited upon entering the atmosphere, in consequence of their velocity, and constitute the shooting stars, aërolites, and meteoric appearances that are observed. Sir Humphry Davy, in a paper which contains his researches on flame, strongly expresses an opinion that the meteorites are solid bodies moving in space, and that the heat produced by the compression of the most rarefied air from the velocity of their motion must be sufficient to ignite their mass so that they are fused on entering the atmosphere. It is estimated that a body moving through our atmosphere with the velocity of one mile in a second, would extricate heat equal to 30,000° of Fahrenheit—a heat more intense than that of the fiercest artificial furnace that ever glowed. The chief modification given to the Chladnian theory has arisen from the observed periodical occurrence of meteoric showers—a brilliant and astonishing exhibition—to some notices of which we proceed.

The writers of the middle ages report the occurrence of the stars falling from heaven in resplendent showers among the physical appearances of their time. The experience of modern days establishes the substantial truth of such relations, however once rejected as the inventions of men delighting in the marvelous. Conde, in his history of the dominion of the Arabs, states, referring to the month of October in the year 902 of our era, that on the night of the death of King Ibrahim ben Ahmed, an infinite number of falling stars were seen to spread themselves like rain over the heavens from right to left, and this year was afterward called the year of stars. In some Eastern annals of Cairo, it is related that “In this year (1029 of our era) in the month Redjeb (August) many stars passed, with a great noise, and brilliant light;” and in another place the same document states: “In the year 599, on Saturday night, in the last Moharrem (1202 of our era, and on the 19th of October), the stars appeared like waves upon the sky, toward the east and west; they flew about like grasshoppers, and were dispersed from left to right; this lasted till day-break; the people were alarmed.” The researches of the Orientalist, M. Von Hammer, have brought these singular accounts to light. Theophanes, one of the Byzantine historians, records, that in November of the year 472 the sky appeared to be on fire over the city of Constantinople with the coruscations of flying meteors. The chronicles of the West agree with those of the East in reporting such phenomena. A remarkable display was observed on the 4th of April, 1095, both in France and England. The stars seemed, says one, “falling like a shower of rain from heaven upon the earth;” and in another case, a bystander, having noted the spot where an aërolite fell, “cast water upon it, which was raised in steam, with a great noise of boiling.” The chronicle of Rheims describes the appearance, as if all the stars in heaven were driven like dust before the wind. “By the reporte of the common people, in this kynge’s time (William Rufus),” says Rastel, “divers great wonders were sene—and therefore the king was told by divers of his familiars, that God was not content with his lyvyng, but he was so wilful and proude of minde, that he regarded little their saying.” There can be no hesitation now in giving credence to such narrations as these, since similar facts have passed under the notice of the present generation.

The first grand phenomena of a meteoric shower which attracted attention in modern times was witnessed by the Moravian Missionaries at their settlements in Greenland. For several hours the hemisphere presented a magnificent and astonishing spectacle, that of fiery particles, thick as hail, crowding the concave of the sky, as though some magazine of combustion in celestial space was discharging its contents toward the earth. This was observed over a wide extent of territory. Humboldt, then traveling in South America, accompanied by M. Bonpland, thus speaks of it: “Toward the morning of the 13th November, 1799, we witnessed a most extraordinary scene of shooting meteors. Thousands of bodies and falling stars succeeded each other during four hours. Their direction was very regular from north to south. From the beginning of the phenomenon there was not a space in the firmament equal in extent to three diameters of the moon which was not filled every instant with bodies of falling stars. All the meteors left luminous traces or phosphorescent bands behind them, which lasted seven or eight seconds.” An agent of the United States, Mr. Ellicott, at that time at sea between Cape Florida and the West India Islands, was another spectator, and thus describes the scene:[Pg 445] “I was called up about three o’clock in the morning, to see the shooting stars, as they are called. The phenomenon was grand and awful The whole heavens appeared as if illuminated with sky-rockets, which disappeared only by the light of the sun after daybreak. The meteors, which at any one instant of time appeared as numerous as the stars, flew in all possible directions, except from the earth, toward which they all inclined more or less; and some of them descended perpendicularly over the vessel we were in, so that I was in constant expectation of their falling on us.” The same individual states that his thermometer, which had been at 80° Fahr. for four days preceding, fell to 56°, and, at the same time, the wind changed from the south to the northwest, from whence it blew with great violence for three days without intermission. The Capuchin missionary at San Fernando, a village amid the savannahs of the province of Varinas, and the Franciscan monks stationed near the entrance of the Oronoco, also observed this shower of asteroids, which appears to have been visible, more or less, over an area of several thousand miles, from Greenland to the equator, and from the lonely deserts of South America to Weimar in Germany. About thirty years previous, at the city of Quito, a similar event occurred. So great a number of falling stars were seen in a part of the sky above the volcano of Cayambaro, that the mountain itself was thought at first to be on fire. The sight lasted more than an hour. The people assembled in the plain of Exida, where a magnificent view presented itself of the highest summits of the Cordilleras. A procession was already on the point of setting out from the convent of Saint Francis, when it was perceived that the blaze on the horizon was caused by fiery meteors, which ran along the sky in all directions, at the altitude of twelve or thirteen degrees. In Canada, in the years 1814 and 1819, the stellar showers were noticed, and in the autumn of 1818 on the North Sea, when, in the language of one of the observers, the surrounding atmosphere seemed enveloped in one expansive ocean of fire, exhibiting the appearance of another Moscow in flames. In the former cases, a residiuum of dust was deposited upon the surface of the waters, on the roofs of buildings, and on other objects. The deposition of particles of matter of a ruddy color has frequently followed the descent of aërolites—the origin of the popular stories of the sky having rained blood. The next exhibition upon a great scale of the falling stars occurred on the 13th of November, 1831, and was seen off the coasts of Spain and in the Ohio country. This was followed by another in the ensuing year at exactly the same time. Captain Hammond, then in the Red Sea, off Mocha, in the ship Restitution, gives the following account of it; “From one o’clock A.M. till after daylight, there was a very unusual phenomenon in the heavens. It appeared like meteors bursting in every direction. The sky at the time was clear, and the stars and moon bright, with streaks of light and thin white clouds interspersed in the sky. On landing in the morning, I inquired of the Arabs if they had noticed the above. They said they had been observing it most of the night. I asked them if ever the like had appeared before? The oldest of them replied it had not.” The shower was witnessed from the Red Sea westward to the Atlantic, and from Switzerland to the Mauritius.

We now come to by far the most splendid display on record; which, as it was the third in successive years, and on the same day of the month as the two preceding, seemed to invest the meteoric showers with a periodical character; and hence originated the title of the November meteors. The chief scene of the exhibition was included within the limits of the longitude of 61° in the Atlantic Ocean, and that of 100° in Central Mexico, and from the North American lakes to the West Indies. Over this wide area, an appearance presented itself, far surpassing in grandeur the most imposing artificial fire-works. An incessant play of dazzlingly brilliant luminosities was kept up in the heavens for several hours. Some of these were of considerable magnitude and peculiar form. One of large size remained for some time almost stationary in the zenith, over the Falls of Niagara, emitting streams of light. The wild dash of the waters, as contrasted with the fiery uproar above them, formed a scene of unequaled sublimity. In many districts, the mass of the population were terror-struck, and the more enlightened were awed at contemplating so vivid a picture of the Apocalyptic image—that of the stars of heaven falling to the earth, even as a fig-tree casting her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. A planter of South Carolina, thus describes the effect of the scene upon the ignorant blacks: [Pg 446]“I was suddenly awakened by the most distressing cries that ever fell on my ears. Shrieks of horror and cries for mercy I could hear from most of the negroes of three plantations, amounting in all to about six or eight hundred. While earnestly listening for the cause, I heard a faint voice near the door calling my name. I arose, and taking my sword, stood at the door. At this moment, I heard the same voice still beseeching me to rise, and saying, ‘O my God, the world is on fire!’ I then opened the door, and it is difficult to say which excited me most —the awfulness of the scene, or the distressed cries of the negroes. Upward of one hundred lay prostrate on the ground—some speechless, and some with the bitterest cries, but with their hands raised, imploring God to save the world and them. The scene was truly awful; for never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell toward the earth; east, west, north, and south, it was the same.”

This extraordinary spectacle commenced a little before midnight, and reached its height between four and six o’clock in the morning.[Pg 447] The night was remarkably fine. Not a cloud obscured the firmament. Upon attentive observation, the materials of the shower were found to exhibit three distinct varieties:—1. Phosphoric lines formed one class apparently described by a point. These were the most abundant. They passed along the sky with immense velocity, as numerous as the flakes of a sharp snow-storm. 2. Large fire-balls formed another constituency of the scene. These darted forth at intervals along the arch of the sky, describing an arc of 30° or 40° in a few seconds. Luminous trains marked their path, which remained in view for a number of minutes, and in some cases for half an hour or more. The trains were commonly white, but the various prismatic colors occasionally appeared, vividly and beautifully displayed. Some of these fire-balls, or shooting-stars, were of enormous size. Dr. Smith of North Carolina observed one which appeared larger than the full moon at the horizon. “I was startled,” he remarks, “by the splendid light in which the surrounding scene was exhibited, rendering even small objects quite visible.” The same, or a similar luminous body, seen at New Haven, passed off in a northwest direction, and exploded near the star Capella. 3. Another class consisted of luminosities of irregular form, which remained nearly stationary for a considerable time, like the one that gleamed aloft over the Niagara Falls. The remarkable circumstance is testified by every witness, that all the luminous bodies, without a single exception, moved in lines, which converged in one and the same point of the heavens; a little to the southeast of the zenith. They none of them started from this point, but their direction, to whatever part of the horizon it might be, when traced backward, led to a common focus. Conceive the centre of the diagram to be nearly overhead, and a proximate idea may be formed of the character of the scene, and the uniform radiation of the meteors from the same source. The position of this radiant point among the stars was near γ Leonis. It remained stationary with respect to the stars during the whole of the exhibition. Instead of accompanying the earth in its diurnal motion eastward, it attended the stars in their apparent movement westward. The source of the meteoric shower was thus independent of the earth’s rotation, and this shows its position to have been in the regions of space exterior to our atmosphere. According to the American Professor, Dr. Olmsted, it could not have been less than 2238 miles above the earth’s surface.

The attention of astronomers in Europe, and all over the world, was, as may be imagined, strongly roused by intelligence of this celestial display on the western continent; and as the occurrence of a meteoric shower had now been observed for three years successively, at a coincident era, it was inferred that a return of this fiery hail-storm might be expected in succeeding Novembers. Arrangements were therefore made to watch the heavens on the nights of the 12th and 13th in the following years at the principal observatories; and though no such imposing spectacle as that of 1833 has been witnessed, yet extraordinary flights of shooting stars have been observed in various places at the periodic time, tending also from a fixed point in the constellation Leo. They were seen in Europe and America on November 13th, 1834. The following results of simultaneous observation were obtained by Arago from different parts of France on the nights of November 12th and 13th, 1830:

Paris, at the Observatory170
Dieppe 36
Arras 27
Strasburg 85
Von Altimarl 75
Angou 49
Rochefort 23
Havre 300

On November 12th, 1837, at eight o’clock in the evening, the attention of observers in various parts of Great Britain was directed to a bright, luminous body, apparently proceeding from the north, which, after making a rapid descent, in the manner of a rocket, suddenly burst, and scattering its particles into various beautiful forms, vanished in the atmosphere. This was succeeded by others all similar to the first, both in shape and the manner of its ultimate disappearance. The whole display terminated at ten o’clock, when dark clouds which continued up to a late hour, overspread the earth, preventing any further observation. In the November of 1838, at the same date, the falling stars were abundant at Vienna: and one of remarkable brilliancy and size, as large as the full moon in the zenith, was seen on the 13th by M. Verusmor, off Cherburg, passing in the direction of Cape La Hogue, a long, luminous train marking its course through the sky. The same year, the non-commissioned officers in the island of Ceylon were instructed to look out for the falling stars. Only a few appeared at the usual time; but on the 5th of December, from nine o’clock till midnight, the[Pg 448] shower was incessant, and the number defied all attempts at counting them.

Professor Olmsted, an eminent man of science, himself an eye-witness of the great meteoric shower on the American continent, after carefully collecting and comparing facts, proposed the following theory: The meteors of November 13th, 1833, emanated from a nebulous body which was then pursuing its way along with the earth around the sun; that this body continues to revolve around the sun in an elliptical orbit, but little inclined to the plane of the ecliptic, and having its aphelion near the orbit of the earth; and finally, that the body has a period of nearly six months, and that its perihelion is a little within the orbit of Mercury. The diagram represents the ellipse supposed to be described, E being the orbit of the earth, M that of Mercury, and N that of the assumed nebula, its aphelion distance being about 95 millions of miles, and the perihelion 24 millions. Thus, when in aphelion, the body is close to the orbit of the earth, and this occurring periodically, when the earth is at the same time in that part of its orbit, nebulous particles are attracted toward it by its gravity, and then, entering the atmosphere, are consumed in it by their concurrent velocities, causing the appearance of a meteoric shower. The parent body is inferred to be nebular, because, though the meteors fall toward the earth with prodigious velocity, few, if any, appear to have reached the surface. They were stopped by the resistance of the air and dissipated in it, whereas, if they had possessed any considerable quantity of matter, the momentum would have been sufficient to have brought them down in some instances to the earth. Arago has suggested a similar theory, that of a stream or group of innumerable bodies, comparatively small, but of various dimensions, sweeping round the solar focus in an orbit which periodically cuts that of the earth. These two theories are in substance the Chladnian hypothesis, first started to explain the observed actual descent of aërolites. Though great obscurity rests upon the subject, the fact may be deemed certain that independently of the great planets and satellites of the system, there are vast numbers of bodies circling round the sun, both singly and in groups, and probably an extensive nebula, contact with which causes the phenomena of shooting stars, aërolites, and meteoric showers. But admitting the existence of such bodies to be placed beyond all doubt, the question of their origin, whether original accumulations of matter, old as the planetary orbs, or the dispersed trains of comets, or the remains of a ruined world, is a point beyond the power of the human understanding to reach.




The Odenwald, or Forest of Odin, is one of the most primitive districts of Germany. It consists of a hilly, rather than a mountainous district, of some forty miles in one direction, and thirty in another. The beautiful Neckar bounds it on the south; on the west it is terminated by the sudden descent of its hills into the great Rhine plain. This boundary is well known by the name of the Bergstrasse, or mountain road; which road, however, was at the foot of the mountains, and not over them, as the name would seem to imply. To English travelers, the beauty of this Bergstrasse is familiar. The hills, continually broken into by openings into romantic valleys, slope rapidly down to the plain, covered with picturesque vineyards; and at their feet lie antique villages, and the richly-cultivated plains of the Rhine, here thirty or forty miles wide. On almost every steep and projecting hill, or precipitous cliff, stands a ruined castle, each, as throughout Germany, with its wild history, its wilder traditions, and local associations of a hundred kinds. The railroad from Frankfort to Heidelberg now runs along the Bergstrasse, and will ever present to the eyes of travelers the charming aspect of these old legendary hills; till the enchanting valley of the Neckar, with Heidelberg reposing amid its lovely scenery at its mouth, terminates the Bergstrasse, and the hills which stretch onward, on the way toward Carlsruhe, assume another name.

Every one ascending the Rhine from Mayence to Mannheim has been struck with the beauty of these Odenwald hills, and has stood watching that tall white tower on the summit of one of them, which, with windings of the river, seem now brought near, and then again thrown very far off; seemed to watch and haunt you, and, for many hours, to take short cuts to meet you, till, at length, like a giant disappointed of his prey, it glided away into the gray distance, and was lost in the clouds. This is the tower of Melibocus, above the village of Auerbach, to which we shall presently ascend, in order to take our first survey of this old and secluded haunt of Odin.

This quiet region of hidden valleys and deep forests extends from the borders of the Black[Pg 449] Forest, which commences on the other side of the Neckar, to the Spessart, another old German forest; and in the other direction, from Heidelberg and Darmstadt, toward Heilbronn. It is full of ancient castles, and a world of legends. In it stands, besides the Melibocus, another tower, on a still loftier point, called the Katzenbuckel, which overlooks a vast extent of these forest hills. Near this lies Eberbach, a castle of the descendants of Charlemagne, which we shall visit; the scenes of the legend of the Wild Huntsman; the castles of Götz von Berlichingen, and many another spot familiar by its fame to our minds from childhood. But besides this, the inhabitants are a people living in a world of their own; retaining all the simplicity of their abodes and habits; and it is only in such a region that you now recognize the pictures of German life such as you find them in the Haus Märchen of the brothers Grimm.

In order to make ourselves somewhat acquainted with this interesting district, Mrs. Howitt and myself, with knapsack on back, set out at the end of August, 1841, to make a few days’ ramble on foot through it. The weather, however, proved so intensely hot, and the electrical sultriness of the woods so oppressive, that we only footed it one day, when we were compelled to make use of a carriage, much to our regret.

On the last day in August we drove with a party of friends, and our children, to Weinheim; rambled through its vineyards, ascended to its ancient castle, and then went on to Birkenau Thal, a charming valley, celebrated, as its name denotes, for its lovely hanging birches, under which, with much happy mirth, we dined.

Scrambling among the hills, and winding up the dry footpaths, among the vineyards of this neighborhood, we were yet more delighted with the general beauty of the scenery, and with the wild-flowers which every where adorned the hanging cliffs and warm waysides. The marjorum stood in ruddy and fragrant masses; harebells and campanulas of several kinds, that are cultivated in our gardens, with bells large and clear; crimson pinks; the Michaelmas daisy; a plant with a thin, radiated yellow flower, of the character of an aster; a centaurea of a light purple, handsomer than any English one; a thistle in the dryest places, resembling an eryngo, with a thick, bushy top; mulleins, yellow and white; the wild mignonnette, and the white convolvulus; and clematis festooning the bushes, recalled the flowery fields and lanes of England, and yet told us that we were not there. The meadows had also their moist emerald sward scattered with the grass of Parnassus, and an autumnal crocus of a particularly delicate lilac.

At the inn, at the mouth of Birkenau Thal, we proposed to take the eilwagen as far as Auerbach, but that not arriving, we availed ourselves of a peasant’s light wicker wagon. The owner was a merry fellow, and had a particularly spirited black horse; and taking leave of our friends, after a delightful day, we had a most charming drive to Auerbach, and one equally amusing, from the conversation of our driver.

After tea we ascended to Auerbach Castle, which occupies a hill above the town, still far overtopped, however, by the height of Melibocus. The view was glorious. The sunset across the great Rhine plain was magnificent. It diffused over the whole western sky an atmosphere of intense crimson light, with scattered golden clouds, and surrounded by a deep violet splendor. The extremities of the plain, from the eye being dazzled with this central effulgence, lay in a solemn and nearly impenetrable gloom. The castle in ruins, seen by this light, looked peculiarly beautiful and impressive. In the court on the wall was an inscription, purporting that a society in honor of the military career of the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, in whose territory and in that of Baden the Odenwald chiefly lies, had here celebrated his birthday in the preceding July. Round the inscription hung oaken garlands, within each of which was written the name and date of the battles in which he had been engaged against the French. An altar of moss and stones stood at a few yards’ distance in front of these memorials, at which a peasant living in the tower told us, the field-preacher had delivered an oration on the occasion.

In the morning, at five o’clock, we began to ascend the neighboring heights of Melibocus. It took us an hour and a quarter. The guide carried my knapsack; and as we went, men came up through different footpaths in the woods, with hoes on their shoulders. When we arrived on the top, we found others, and among them some women, accompanied by a policeman. They were peasants who had been convicted of cutting wood for fuel in the hills, and were adjudged to pay a penalty, or in default, to work it out in hoeing and clearing the young plantations for a proportionate time—a much wiser way than shutting them up in a prison, where they are of no use either to themselves or the state.

The view from the tower, eighty feet in height, over the great Rhine plain, is immense and splendid, including two hundred villages, towns, and cities. The windings of the magnificent Rhine lie mapped out below you, and on its banks are seen, as objects of peculiar interest, the cathedral of Speier, the lofty dome of the Jesuits’ church at Mannheim, and the four towers of the noble cathedral of Worms. In the remote distance, as a fitting termination to this noble landscape, are seen the heights of the Donnersberg, the Vosges, and the Schwarzwald.

The policeman, who followed us up into the tower, mentioned the time when the inhabitants of that district had hastened thither to watch the approach of the French armies, and pointed out the spot where they were first seen, and described their approach, and the terrors[Pg 450] and anxieties of the people, in the most lively and touching manner.

The wind was strong on this lofty height, and the rattling of the shutters in the look-out windows in the tower, and of their fastenings, would have been dismal enough on a stormy night, and gave quite a wildness to it even then. The view over the Odenwald was beautiful. Half covered with wood, as far as you could see, with green, winding straths between them, distant castles, and glimpses of the white walls of low-lying dorfs or villages, it gave you an idea of a region at once solitary and attractive. The whole was filled with the cheerful light of morning, and the wooded hills looked of the most brilliant green. We descended, and pursued our way through the forest glades with that feeling of enjoyment which the entrance into an unknown region, pleasant companionship, and fine weather, inspire. When we issued from the woods which clothe the sides of Melibocus, we sate down on the heathy turf, and gazed with a feeling of ever-youthful delight on the scene around us. Above us, and over its woods, rose the square white tower of Melibocus; below, lay green valleys, from among whose orchards issued the smoke of peaceful cottages; and beyond, rose hills covered with other woods, with shrouded spots, the legends of which had reached us in England, and had excited the wonder of our early days—the castle of the Wild Huntsman—the traditions of the followers of Odin—and the strongholds of many an iron-clad knight, as free to seize the goods of his neighbors as he was strong to take and keep them. Now all was peaceful and Arcadian. We met, as we descended into the valley, young women coming up with their cows, and a shepherd with a mixed flock of sheep and swine. He had a belt around him, to which hung a chain, probably to fasten a cow to, as we afterward saw cows so secured.

We found the cottages, in the depths of the valleys, among their orchards, just those heavy, old-fashioned sort of things that we see in German engravings; buildings of wood-framing, the plaster panels of which were painted in various ways, and the windows of those circular and octagon panes which, from old association, always seem to belong to German cottages, just such as that in which the old witch lived in Grimm’s Kinder und Haus Märchen; and in the Folk Sagor of Sweden and Norway. There were, too, the large ovens built out of doors and roofed over, such as the old giantess, Käringen som vardt stekt i ugnen, was put into, according to German and Scandinavian legends. The people were of the simplest character and appearance. We seemed at once to have stepped out of modern times into the far-past ages. We saw several children sitting on a bench in the open air, near a school-house, learning their lessons, and writing on their slates; and we wept into the school.

The schoolmaster was a man befitting the place; simple, rustic, and devout. He told us that the boys and girls, of which his school was full, came, some of them, from a considerable distance. They came in at six o’clock in the morning and staid till eight, had an hour’s rest, and then came in till eleven, when they went home, and did not return again till the next morning, being employed the rest of the day in helping their parents; in going into the woods for fuel; into the fields to glean, tend cattle, cut grass, or do what was wanted. All the barefooted children of every village, how ever remote, thus acquire a tolerable education, learning singing as a regular part of it. They have what they call their Sing-Stunde, singing lesson, every day. On a black board the Lied, song, or hymn for the day, was written in German character in chalk; and the master, who was naturally anxious to exhibit the proficiency of his scholars, gave them their singing lesson while we were there. The scene was very interesting in itself; but there was something humiliating to our English minds, to think that in the Odenwald, a portion of the great Hyrcanian forest, a region associating itself with all that is wild and obscure, every child of every hamlet and cottage, however secluded, was provided with that instruction which the villages of England are in a great measure yet destitute of. But here the peasants are not, as with us, totally cut off from property in the soil which they cultivate; totally dependent on the labor afforded by others; on the contrary, they are themselves the possessors. This country is, in fact, in the hands of the people. It is all parceled out among the multitude; and, wherever you go, instead of the great halls, vast parks, and broad lands of the few, you see perpetual evidences of an agrarian system. Except the woods, the whole land is thrown into small allotments, and upon them the people are laboring busily for themselves.

Here, in the Odenwald, the harvest, which in the great Rhine plain was over in July, was now, in great measure, cut. Men, women, and children, were all engaged in cutting it, getting it in, or in tending the cattle. Everywhere stood the simple wagons of the country with their pair of yoked cows. Women were doing all sorts of work; reaping, and mowing, and threshing with the men. They were without shoes and stockings, clad in a simple, dark-blue petticoat; a body of the same, leaving the white chemise sleeves as a pleasing contrast; and their hair, in some instances, turned up under their little black or white caps; in others hanging wild and sunburnt on their shoulders. The women, old and young, work as hard as the men, at all kinds of work, and yet with right good-will, for they work for themselves. They often take their dinners with them to the fields, frequently giving the lesser children a piece of bread each, and locking them up in their cottages till they return. This would be thought a hard life in England; but hard as it is, it is better than the degradation of agricultural laborers, in a dear country like England, with[Pg 451] six or eight shillings a week, and no cow, no pig, no fruit for the market, no house, garden, or field of their own; but, on the contrary, constant anxiety, the fear of a master on whom they are constantly dependent, and the desolate prospect of ending their days in a union work-house.

Each German has his house, his orchard, his road-side trees, so laden with fruit, that if he did not carefully prop up, and tie together, and in many places hold the boughs together with wooden clamps, they would be torn asunder by their own weight. He has his corn-plot, his plot for mangel-wurzel or hay, for potatoes, for hemp, etc. He is his own master, and he therefore, and every branch of his family, have the strongest motives for constant exertion. You see the effect of this in his industry and his economy.

In Germany, nothing is lost. The produce of the trees and the cows is carried to market. Much fruit is dried for winter use. You see wooden trays of plums, cherries, and sliced apples, lying in the sun to dry. You see strings of them hanging from their chamber windows in the sun. The cows are kept up for the greater part of the year, and every green thing is collected for them. Every little nook where the grass prows by roadside, and river, and brook, is carefully cut with the sickle, and carried home, on the heads of women and children, in baskets, or tied in large cloths. Nothing of any kind that can possibly be made of any use is lost. Weeds, nettles, nay, the very goose-grass which covers waste places, is cut up and taken for the cows. You see the little children standing in the streets of the villages, in the streams which generally run down them, busy washing these weeds before they are given to the cattle. They carefully collect the leaves of the marsh-grass, carefully cut their potato tops for them, and even, if other things fail, gather green leaves from the woodlands. One can not help thinking continually of the enormous waste of such things in England—of the vast quantities of grass on banks, by roadsides, in the openings of plantations, in lanes, in church-yards, where grass from year to year springs and dies, but which, if carefully cut, would maintain many thousand cows for the poor.

To pursue still further this subject of German economy. The very cuttings of the vines are dried and preserved for winter fodder. The tops and refuse of the hemp serve as bedding for the cows; nay, even the rough stalks of the poppies, after the heads have been gathered for oil, are saved, and all these are converted into manure for the land. When these are not sufficient, the children are sent into the woods to gather moss; and all our readers familiar with Germany will remember to have seen them coming homeward with large bundles of this on their heads. In autumn, the falling leaves are gathered and stocked for the same purpose. The fir-cones, which with us lie and rot in the woods, are carefully collected, and sold for lighting fires.

In short, the economy and care of the German peasant are an example to all Europe. He has for years—nay, ages—been doing that, as it regards agricultural management, to which the British public is but just now beginning to open its eyes. Time, also, is as carefully economized as every thing else. They are early risers, as may well be conceived, when the children, many of whom come from considerable distances, are in school at six in the morning. As they tend their cattle, or their swine, the knitting never ceases, and hence the quantities of stockings, and other household things, which they accumulate, are astonishing.

We could not help, as often before, being struck in the Odenwald with the resemblance of the present country and life of the Germans to those of the ancient Hebrews. Germany, like Judea, is literally a land flowing with milk and honey: a land of corn, and vine, and oil. The plains are full of corn; the hill-sides, however stony, are green with vineyards; and though they have not the olive, they procure vast quantities of oil from the walnut, the poppy, and the rape. The whole country is parceled out among its people. There are no hedges, but the landmarks, against the removal of which the Jewish law so repeatedly and so emphatically denounces its terrors, alone indicate the boundaries of each man’s possession. Every where you see the ox and the heifer toiling beneath the primitive yoke, as in the days of David. The threshing-floor of Araunah often comes to your mind when you see the different members of a family—father, mother, brother, and sister, all threshing out their corn together on the mud floor of their barn; but much more so when you see them, in the corn-field itself, collect the sheaves into one place, and treading down the earth into a solid floor, there, in the face of heaven and fanned by its winds, thresh out on the spot the corn which has been cut. This we saw continually going forward on the steep slopes of the Odenwald, ten or a dozen men and women all threshing together. A whole field is thus soon threshed, the corn being beaten out much more easily while the ear is crisp with the hot sun.

Having taken leave of the schoolmaster, his scholars, and his bees, with whose hives nearly all his house-side was covered, we pursued our way to the Jägerhaus on the top of the Felsberg, one of the highest hills in the Odenwald. The day was splendid, with a fine breeze, and all around was new, cheerful, yet solitary, bright and inspiriting. The peasants in the harvest-fields, the herds watching their cattle, gave us a passing salutation, and when within sight of you, took off their hats, even at a field’s distance. We walked on in great enjoyment, here sitting to look back on the scenes we had left, or to drink from the glittering waters that we had to pass.

Just as we were about to enter the woods[Pg 452] again, we met an old woman slowly wandering on from some cottages among the trees by the wood-side. She had a leathern belt round her waist, and a cord fastened to it, by which she led her cow to graze in the thickets and by the foot-path, while her hands were busy with her knitting. A boy, about seven years old, was leading a kid by a chain, letting it crop the flowers of the hawkweed in the grass. The old woman saluted us cheerfully; told us that the boy’s father was in America, and his mother gone out to service, and that he was intrusted to her care. Could there be any thing more like a scene in the old Märchen, or less like one in England?

[From Howitt’s Country Year-Book.]


In one of those strolls which I have always loved to take into different and little frequented parts of these kingdoms, I fell in with a venerable old man, dressed in black, with very white hair, and of a mild, somewhat melancholy and intelligent look. It was a beautiful scene where I first encountered him—in a wood, on the banks of a noble river. I accosted the old man with a remark on the delightfulness of the time and place; and he replied to my observations with a warmth, and in a tone, which strongly affected me. I soon found that he was as enthusiastic a lover of nature as myself—that he had seen many of the finest portions of the kingdom, and had wandered through them with Milton or Shakspeare, Herbert or Quarles, in his hand. He was one of those who, reading with his own eyes and heart, and not through the spectacles of critics, had not been taught to despise the last old poet, nor to treat his rich and quaint versification, and his many manly and noble thoughts, as the conceits and rhymes of a poetaster. His reverence for the great names of our literature, and his just appreciation of their works, won upon me greatly. I invited him to continue his walk; and—so well was I pleased with him—to visit me at my rustic lodgment.

From that day, for some weeks, we daily walked together. I more and more contemplated with admiration and esteem the knowledge, the fine taste, the generous sentiments, the profound love of nature which seemed to fill the whole being of the old man. But who and whence was he? He said not a word on that subject, and I did not, therefore, feel freedom to inquire. He might have secret griefs, which such a query might awaken. I respect too much the wounded heart of humanity carelessly to probe it, and especially the heart of a solitary being who, in the downward stage of life, may, perchance, be the stripped and scathed remnant of a once-endeared family. He stood before me alone. He entered into reminiscences, but they were reminiscences connected with no near ties; but had such ties now existed, he would in some hour of frank enthusiasm have said so. He did not say it, and it was, therefore, sufficiently obvious, that he had a history which he left down in the depths of his heart, beyond the vision of all but that heart itself. And yet, whatever were the inward memories of this venerable man, there was a buoyancy and youthfulness of feeling about him which amply manifested that they had not quenched the love and enjoyment of life in him.

On different days we took, during the most beautiful spring, strolls of many miles into distant dales and villages, and on the wild brown moors. Now we sate by a moorland stream, talking of many absorbing things in the history of the poetry and the religion of our country, and I could plainly see that my ancient friend had in him the spirit of an old Covenanter, and that, had he lived in the days of contest between the church of kings and the church of God, he would have gone to the field or the stake for his faith as triumphantly as any martyr of those times. It was under the influence of one of these conversations that I could not avoid addressing to the old man the following youthful stanzas, which, though they may exhibit little poetry, testify to the patriotism which his language inspired:

[Pg 453]

My friend! there have been men
To whom we turn again
After contemplating the present age,
And long, with vain regret,
That they were living yet,
Virtue’s high war triumphantly to wage.
Men whose renown was built
Not on resplendent guilt—
Not through life’s waste, or the abuse of power,
But by the dauntless zeal
With which at truth’s appeal,
They stood unto the death in some eventful hour.
But he who now shall deem,
Because among us seem
No dubious symptoms of a realm’s decline—
Wealth blind with its excess
’Mid far-diffused distress,
And pride that kills, professing to refine—
He who deems hence shall flow
The utter overthrow
Of this most honored and long happy land,
Little knows what there lies
Even beneath his eyes,
Slumbering in forms that round about him stand.
Little knows he the zeal
Myriads of spirits feel
In love, pure principle, and knowledge strong;
Little knows he what men
Tread this dear land again,
Whose souls of fire invigorate the throng.
My friend! I lay with thee
Beneath the forest tree,
When spring was shedding her first sweets around.
And the bright sky above
Woke feelings of deep love,
And thoughts which traveled through the blue profound.
I lay, and as I heard—
The joyful faith thus stirred,
Shot like Heaven’s lightning through my wondering breast
I heard, and in my thought
Glory and greatness wrought,
And blessing God—my native land I blest.

Now we entered a village inn, and ate our simple luncheon; and now we stood in some hamlet lane, or by its mossy well, with a group of children about us, among whom not a child appeared more child-like or more delighted than the old man. Nay, as we came back from a fifteen or twenty miles’ stroll, he would leap over a stile with the activity of a boy, or run up to a wilding bush, covered with its beautiful pink blossoms, and breaking off a branch hold it up in admiration, and declare that it appeared almost sinful for an old man like him to enjoy himself so keenly. I know not when I more deeply felt the happiness and the holiness of existence, the wealth of intellect, and the blessings of our fancies, sympathies, and affection, than I used to do as this singular stranger sate with me on the turf-seat at the vine-covered end of the old cottage, which then made my temporary residence, on the serene evenings of that season, over our rustic tea-table, and with the spicy breath of the wall-flowers of that little garden breathing around us, and held conversation on many a subject of moral and intellectual speculation which then deeply interested me. In some of those evening hours he at length gave me glimpses into his past existence. Things more strange and melancholy than I could ever have suspected had passed over him, and only the more interested me in him.

Such had been our acquaintance for some months, when, one evening, happening to be in the neighboring town, and passing through a densely-populated part of it, I saw a number of people crowding into a chapel. With my usual curiosity in all that relates to the life, habits, and opinions of my fellow-men, I entered, and was no little surprised to behold my ancient friend in the pulpit. As I believed he had not observed me enter, and as I was desirous to hear my worthy friend, thus most unexpectedly found in this situation, without attracting his attention, I therefore seated myself in the shade of a pillar, and awaited the sermon. My surprise, as I listened to it, was excessive, on more accounts than one. I was surprised at the intense, fervid, and picturesque blaze of eloquence that breathed forth from the preacher, seeming to light up the whole place, and fill it with an unearthly and cloudy fire. I was more astonished by the singularity and wildness of the sentiments uttered. I looked again and again at the rapt and ecstatic preacher. His frame seemed to expand, and to be buoyed up, by his glowing enthusiasm, above the very height of humanity. His hair, white as snow, seemed a pale glory burning round his head, and his countenance, warm with the expression of his entranced spirit, was molten into the visage of a pleading seraph, who saw the terrors of the Divinity revealed before him, and felt only that they for whom he wrestled were around him. They hung upon that awful and unearthly countenance with an intensity which, in beings at the very bar of eternal judgment, hanging on the advocacy of an angel, could scarcely have been exceeded; and when he ceased, and sat down, a sigh, as from every heart at once, went through the place, which marked the fall of their rapt imaginations from the high region whither his words and expressive features had raised them, to the dimness and reality of earth. I could scarcely persuade myself that this was my late friend of the woods and fields, and of the evening discourse, so calm and dispassionate, over our little tea-table.

I escaped cautiously with the crowd, and eagerly interrogated a man who passed out near me who was the preacher? He looked at me with an air of surprise; but seeing me a stranger, he said he thought I could not have been in those parts long, or I should have known Mr. M——. I then learned that my venerable acquaintance was one whose name was known far and wide—known for the strange and fascinating powers of his pulpit eloquence, and for the peculiarity of his religious views. The singularity of those notions alone had prevented his becoming one of the most popular religious orators of his time. They had been the source of perpetual troubles and persecutions to him, they had estranged from him the most zealous of his friends from time to time; yet they were such only as he could lay down at the threshold of Divine judgment; and still, wherever he went, although they were a root of bitterness to him in private, he found in public a crowd of eager and enthusiastic hearers, who hung on his words as if they came at once warm from the inner courts of heaven.

The sense of this discovery, and of the whole strange scene of the last evening, hung powerfully upon me through the following day. I sat on the bench of my cottage window, with a book in my hand, the greater part of it, but my thoughts continually reverted to the image of the preacher in the midst of his audience; when, at evening, in walked the old man with his usual quiet smile, and shaking me affectionately by the hand, sat down in a wooden chair opposite me. I looked again and again, but in vain, to recognize the floating figure and the exalted countenance of the evening.

The old man took up my book, and began to read. A sudden impulse seized me which I have never ceased to regret. I did not wish abruptly to tell the old man that I had seen him in the pulpit, but I longed to discuss with him the ground of his peculiar views, and said,

“What do you think, my friend, of the actual future destiny of the—?”

I made the question include his peculiar doctrines. He laid down the volume with a remarkable quickness of action. He gazed at me for a moment with a look humbled but not confused, such as I had never seen in him before, and, in a low voice, said,

“You were then at my chapel last night?”

“I was,” I replied.

“I am sorry—I am sorry,” he said, rising with a sigh. [Pg 454]“It has been a pleasant time, but it is ended. Good-by, my dear young friend, and may God bless you!”

He turned silently but quickly away.

“Stop!” I cried. “Stop!” But he heard or heeded not. I ran to the gate to lay hold on him, and assure him that his sentiments would not alter my regard for him, but I observed him already hastening down the lane at such a speed that I judged it rude and useless at that moment to pursue.

I went down that day to his lodgings, to assure him of my sentiments toward him, but door and window were closed, and if he were in he would not hear me. Early next morning a little ragged boy brought me a note, saying a gentleman in the lane had given it to him. It simply said:

“Dear young friend, good-by. You wonder at my abruptness; but my religion has always been fatal to my friendship. You will say it would not with you: so has many another assured me; but I am too well schooled by bitter experience. I have had a call to a distant place. No one knows of it, and I trust the name to no one. The pleasure of your society has detained me, or I had obeyed the call a month ago. May we meet in Heaven! C.M.”

He was actually gone, and no one knew whither.

Time had passed over, and I had long imagined this strange and gifted being in his grave, when in a wild and remote part of the kingdom, the other day, I accidentally stumbled upon his retreat, and found him in his pulpit with the same rapt aspect, uttering an harangue as exciting, and surrounded by an audience as eagerly devouring his words.

[From Chesney’s Expedition to the Euphrates and Tigris.]


There are two remarkable sects, one of which, called the Mendajaha (disciples of John), is found scattered in small communities in Basrah, Kurnah, Mohammarah, and, lastly, Sheikh el Shuyukh, where there are about three hundred families. Those of Basrah are noticed by Pietro de la Valle who says the Arabs call them Sabeans. Their religion is evidently a mixture of Paganism, Hebrew, Mohammedan, and Christian. They profess to regulate their lives by a book called the Sidra, containing many moral precepts, which, according to tradition, have been handed down from Adam, through Seth and Enoch; and it is understood to be in their language (the Chaldee), but written in a peculiar character. They abhor circumcision, but are very particular in distinguishing between clean and unclean animals, and likewise in keeping the Sabbath with extraordinary strictness. The Psalms of David are in use, but they are held to be inferior to their own book. They abstain from garlic, beans, and several kinds of pulse, and likewise most carefully from every description of food between sunrise and sunset during a whole moon before the vernal equinox; in addition to which, an annual festival is kept, called the feast of five days. Much respect is entertained for the city of Mecca, and a still greater reverence for the Pyramids of Egypt, in one of which they believe that their great progenitor, Saba, son of Seth, is buried; and to his original residence at Haran they make very particular pilgrimages, sacrificing on these occasions a ram and a hen. They pray seven times a day, turning sometimes to the south and sometimes to the north. But, at the same time, they retain a part of the ancient worship of the heavenly bodies, adding that of angels, with the belief that the souls of the wicked are to enjoy a happier state after nine hundred centuries of suffering. The priests, who are called sheikhs, or chiefs, use a particular kind of baptism, which, they say, was instituted by St. John; and the Chaldee language is used in this and other ceremonies.

The other religion, that of a more numerous branch, the Yezidis, is, in some respects, like the Mendajaha, but with the addition of the evil principle, the exalted doctor, who, as an instrument of the divine will, is propitiated rather than worshiped, as had been once supposed. The Yezidis reverence Moses, Christ, and Mohammed, in addition to many of the saints and prophets held in veneration both by Christians and Moslems. They adore the sun, as symbolical of Christ, and believe in an intermediate state after death. The Yezidis of Sinjar do not practice circumcision, nor do they eat pork; but they freely partake of the blood of other animals. Their manners are simple, and their habits, both within and without, remarkable for cleanliness. They are, besides, brave, hospitable, sober, faithful, and, with the exception of the Mohammedan, are inclined to tolerate other religions; they are, however, lamentably deficient in every branch of education. Polygamy is not permitted, and the tribes intermarry with each other. The families of the father and sons live under the same roof, and the patriarchal system is carried out still further, each village being under its own hereditary chief.


The time draws near the birth of Christ,
The moon is hid, the night is still;
A single church below the hill
Is pealing, folded in the mist

A single peal of bells below,
That wakens at this hour of rest
A single murmur in the breast,
That these are not the bells I know
Like strangers’ voices here they sound,
In lands where not a memory strays,
Nor landmark breathes of other days.
But all is new unhallow’d ground.
Tennyson’sIn Memoriam”.

[Pg 455] [From Dickens’s Household Words.]


On a murky morning in November, wind northeast, a poor old woman with a wooden leg was seen struggling against the fitful gusts of the bitter breeze, along a stony, zig-zag road full of deep and irregular cart-ruts. Her ragged petticoat was blue, and so was her wretched nose. A stick was in her left hand, which assisted her to dig and hobble her way along; and in her other hand, supported also beneath her withered arm, was a large, rusty, iron sieve. Dust and fine ashes filled up all the wrinkles in her face; and of these there were a prodigious number, for she was eighty-three years old. Her name was Peg Dotting.

About a quarter of a mile distant, having a long ditch and a broken-down fence as a foreground, there rose against the muddled-gray sky, a huge dust-heap of a dirty-black color—being, in fact, one of those immense mounds of cinders, ashes, and other emptyings from dust-holes and bins, which have conferred celebrity on certain suburban neighborhoods of a great city. Toward this dusky mountain old Peg Dotting was now making her way.

Advancing toward the dust-heap by an opposite path, very narrow and just reclaimed from the mud by a thick layer of freshly broken flints, there came at the same time Gaffer Doubleyear, with his bone-bag slung over his shoulder. The rags of his coat fluttered in the east-wind, which also whistled keenly round his almost rimless hat, and troubled his one eye. The other eye, having met with an accident last week, he had covered neatly with an oyster-shell, which was kept in its place by a string at each side, fastened through a hole. He used no staff to help him along, though his body was nearly bent double, so that his face was constantly turned to the earth, like that of a four-footed creature. He was ninety-seven years of age.

As these two patriarchal laborers approached the great dust-heap, a discordant voice hallooed to them from the top of a broken wall. It was meant as a greeting of the morning, and proceeded from little Jem Clinker, a poor deformed lad, whose back had been broken when a child. His nose and chin were much too large for the rest of his face, and he had lost nearly all his teeth from premature decay. But he had an eye gleaming with intelligence and life, and an expression at once patient and hopeful. He had balanced his misshapen frame on the top of the old wall, over which one shriveled leg dangled, as if by the weight of a hob-nailed boot, that covered a foot large enough for a plowman.

In addition to his first morning’s salutation of his two aged friends, he now shouted out in a tone of triumph and self-gratulation, in which he felt assured of their sympathy—“Two white skins, and a tor’shell-un.”

It may be requisite to state that little Jem Clinker belonged to the dead-cat department of the dust-heap, and now announced that a prize of three skins, in superior condition, had rewarded him for being first in the field. He was enjoying a seat on the wall in order to recover himself from the excitement of his good fortune.

At the base of the great dust-heap the two old people now met their young friend—a sort of great-grandson by mutual adoption—and they at once joined the party who had by this time assembled as usual, and were already busy at their several occupations.

But besides all these, another individual, belonging to a very different class, formed a part of the scene, though appearing only on its outskirts. A canal ran along at the rear of the dust-heap, and on the banks of its opposite side slowly wandered by—with hands clasped and hanging down in front of him, and eyes bent vacantly upon his hands—the forlorn figure of a man in a very shabby great-coat, which had evidently once belonged to one in the position of a gentleman. And to a gentleman it still belonged—but in what a position! A scholar, a man of wit, of high sentiment, of refinement, and a good fortune withal—now by a sudden “turn of law” bereft of the last only, and finding that none of the rest, for which (having his fortune) he had been so much admired, enabled him to gain a livelihood. His title deeds had been lost or stolen, and so he was bereft of every thing he possessed. He had talents, and such as would have been profitably available had he known how to use them for this new purpose; but he did not; he was misdirected; he made fruitless efforts, in his want of experience; and he was now starving. As he passed the great dust-heap, he gave one vague, melancholy gaze that way, and then looked wistfully into the canal. And he continued to look into the canal as he slowly moved along, till he was out of sight.

A dust-heap of this kind is often worth thousands of pounds. The present one was very large and very valuable. It was in fact a large hill, and being in the vicinity of small suburb cottages, it rose above them like a great black mountain. Thistles, groundsel, and rank grass grew in knots on small parts which had remained for a long time undisturbed; crows often alighted on its top, and seemed to put on their spectacles and become very busy and serious; flocks of sparrows often made predatory descents upon it; an old goose and gander might sometimes be seen following each other up its side, nearly midway; pigs rooted round its base, and, now and then, one bolder than the rest would venture some way up, attracted by the mixed odors of some hidden marrow-bone enveloped in a decayed cabbage leaf—a rare event, both of these articles being unusual oversights of the searchers below.

The principal ingredient of all these dust-heaps is fine cinders and ashes; but as they are accumulated from the contents of all the dust-[Pg 456]holes and bins of the vicinity, and as many more as possible, the fresh arrivals in their original state present very heterogeneous materials. We can not better describe them, than by presenting a brief sketch of the different departments of the searchers and sorters, who are assembled below to busy themselves upon the mass of original matters which are shot out from the carts of the dustmen.

The bits of coal, the pretty numerous results of accident and servants’ carelessness, are picked out, to be sold forthwith; the largest and best of the cinders are also selected, by another party, who sell them to laundresses, or to braziers (for whose purposes coke would not do so well); and the next sort of cinders, called the breeze, because it is left after the wind has blown the finer cinders through an upright sieve, is sold to the brick-makers.

Two other departments, called the “soft-ware” and the “hard-ware,” are very important. The former includes all vegetable and animal matters—every thing that will decompose. These are selected and bagged at once, and carried off as soon as possible, to be sold as manure for ploughed land, wheat, barley, &c. Under this head, also, the dead cats are comprised. They are, generally, the perquisites of the women searchers. Dealers come to the wharf, or dust-field, every evening; they give sixpence for a white cat, fourpence for a colored cat, and for a black one according to her quality. The “hard-ware” includes all broken pottery, pans, crockery, earthenware, oyster-shells, &c., which are sold to make new roads.

“The bones” are selected with care, and sold to the soap-boiler. He boils out the fat and marrow first, for special use, and the bones are then crushed and sold for manure.

Of “rags,” the woolen rags are bagged and sent off for hop-manure; the white linen rags are washed, and sold to make paper, &c.

The “tin things” are collected and put into an oven with a grating at the bottom, so that the solder which unites the parts melts, and runs through into a receiver. This is sold separately; the detached pieces of tin are then sold to be melted up with old iron, &c.

Bits of old brass, lead, &c., are sold to be melted up separately, or in the mixture of ores.

All broken glass vessels, as cruets, mustard-pots, tumblers, wine-glasses, bottles, &c., are sold to the old-glass shops.

As for any articles of jewelry, silver-spoons, forks, thimbles, or other plate and valuables, they are pocketed off-hand by the first finder. Coins of gold and silver are often found, and many “coppers.”

Meantime, every body is hard at work near the base of the great dust-heap. A certain number of cart-loads having been raked and searched for all the different things just described, the whole of it now undergoes the process of sifting. The men throw up the stuff, and the women sift it.

“When I was a young girl,” said Peg Dotting—

“That’s a long while ago, Peggy,” interrupted one of the sifters: but Peg did not hear her.

“When I was quite a young thing,” continued she, addressing old John Doubleyear, who threw up the dust into her sieve, “it was the fashion to wear pink roses in the shoes, as bright as that morsel of ribbon Sally has just picked out of the dust; yes, and sometimes in the hair, too, on one side of the head, to set off the white powder and salve-stuff. I never wore one of these head-dresses myself—don’t throw up the dust so high, John—but I lived only a few doors lower down from those as did. Don’t throw up the dust so high, I tell ’ee—the wind takes it into my face.”

“Ah! There! What’s that?” suddenly exclaimed little Jem, running as fast as his poor withered legs would allow him, toward a fresh heap, which had just been shot down on the wharf from a dustman’s cart. He made a dive and a search—then another—then one deeper still. “I’m sure I saw it!” cried he, and again made a dash with both hands into a fresh place, and began to distribute the ashes, and dust, and rubbish on every side, to the great merriment of all the rest.

“What did you see, Jemmy?” asked old Doubleyear, in a compassionate tone.

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the boy, “only it was like a bit of something made of real gold!”

A fresh burst of laughter from the company assembled followed this somewhat vague declaration, to which the dustmen added one or two elegant epithets, expressive of their contempt of the notion that they could have overlooked a bit of any thing valuable in the process of emptying sundry dust-holes, and carting them away.

“Ah,” said one of the sifters, “poor Jem’s always a-fancying something or other good—but it never comes.”

“Didn’t I find three cats this morning!” cried Jem; “two on ’em white ’uns! How you go on!”

“I meant something quite different from the like o’ that,” said the other; “I was a-thinking of the rare sights all you three there have had, one time and another.”

The wind having changed and the day become bright, the party at work all seemed disposed to be more merry than usual. The foregoing remark excited the curiosity of several of the sifters, who had recently joined the “company,” the parties alluded to were requested to favor them with the recital; and though the request was made with only a half-concealed irony, still it was all in good-natured pleasantry, and was immediately complied with. Old Doubleyear spoke first.

[Pg 457]

“I had a bad night of it with the rats some years ago—they run’d all over the floor, and over the bed, and one on ’em come’d and guv a squeak close into my ear—so I couldn’t sleep comfortable. I wouldn’t ha’ minded a trifle of at; but this was too much of a good thing. So, I got up before sun-rise, and went out for a walk; and thinking I might as well be near our work-place, I slowly come’d down this way. I worked in a brick-field at that time, near the canal yonder. The sun was just a-rising up behind the dust-heap as I got in sight of it; and soon it rose above, and was very bright; and though I had two eyes then, I was obligated to shut them both. When I opened them again, the sun was higher up; but in his haste to get over the dust-heap, he had dropped something. You may laugh. I say he had dropped something. Well—I can’t say what it was, in course—a bit of his-self, I suppose. It was just like him—a bit on him, I mean—quite as bright—just the same—only not so big. And not up in the sky, but a-lying and sparkling all on fire upon the dust-heap. Thinks I—I was a younger man then by some years than I am now—I’ll go and have a nearer look. Though you be a bit o’ the sun, maybe you won’t hurt a poor man. So, I walked toward the dust-heap, and up I went, keeping the piece of sparkling fire in sight all the while. But before I got up to it, the sun went behind a cloud—and as he went out-like, so the young ’un he had dropped, went out after him. And I had my climb up the heap for nothing, though I had marked the place were it lay very percizely. But there was no signs at all on him, and no morsel left of the light as had been there. I searched all about; but found nothing ’cept a bit o’ broken glass as had got stuck in the heel of an old shoe. And that’s my story. But if ever a man saw any thing at all, I saw a bit o’ the sun; and I thank God for it. It was a blessed sight for a poor ragged old man of three score and ten, which was my age at that time.”

“Now, Peggy!” cried several voices, “tell us what you saw. Peg saw a bit o’ the moon.”

“No,” said Mrs. Dotting, rather indignantly; “I’m no moon-raker. Not a sign of the moon was there, nor a spark of a star—the time I speak on.”

“Well—go on, Peggy—go on.”

“I don’t know as I will,” said Peggy.

But being pacified by a few good-tempered, though somewhat humorous compliments, she thus favored them with her little adventure:

“There was no moon, nor stars, nor comet, in the ’versal heavens, nor lamp nor lantern along the road, when I walked home one winter’s night from the cottage of Widow Pin, where I had been to tea, with her and Mrs. Dry, as lived in the almshouses. They wanted Davy, the son of Bill Davy the milkman, to see me home with the lantern, but I wouldn’t let him ’cause of his sore throat. Throat!—no, it wasn’t his throat as was rare sore—it was—no, it wasn’t—yes, it was—it was his toe as was sore. His big toe. A nail out of his boot had got into it. I told him he’d be sure to have a bad toe, if he didn’t go to church more regular, but he wouldn’t listen; and so my words come’d true. But, as I was a-saying, I wouldn’t let him light me with the lantern by reason of his sore throat—toe, I mean—and as I went along, the night seemed to grow darker and darker. A straight road, though, and I was so used to it by day-time, it didn’t matter for the darkness. Hows’ever, when I come’d near the bottom of the dust-heap as I had to pass, the great dark heap was so zackly the same as the night, you couldn’t tell one from t’other. So, thinks I to myself—what was I thinking of at this moment?—for the life o’ me I can’t call it to mind; but that’s neither here nor there, only for this—it was a something that led me to remember the story of how the devil goes about like a roaring lion. And while I was a-hoping he might not be out a-roaring that night, what should I see rise out of one side of the dust-heap, but a beautiful shining star of a violet color. I stood as still—as stock-still as any I don’t-know-what! There it lay, as beautiful as a new-born babe, all a-shining in the dust! By degrees I got courage to go a little nearer—and then a little nearer still—for, says I to myself, I’m a sinful woman, I know, but I have repented, and do repent constantly of all the sins of my youth, and the backslidings of my age—which have been numerous; and once I had a very heavy backsliding—but that’s neither here nor there. So, as I was a-saying, having collected all my sinfulness of life, and humbleness before heaven, into a goodish bit of courage, forward I steps—little furder—and a leetle furder more—un-til I come’d just up to the beautiful shining star lying upon the dust. Well, it was a long time I stood a-looking down at it, before I ventured to do, what I arterwards did. But at last I did stoop down with both hands slowly—in case it might burn, or bite—and gathering up a good scoop of ashes as my hands went along, I took it up, and began a-carrying it home, all shining before me, and with a soft, blue mist rising up round about it. Heaven forgive me!—I was punished for meddling with what Providence had sent for some better purpose than to be carried home by an old woman like me, whom it has pleased heaven to afflict with the loss of one leg, and the pain, ixpinse, and inconvenience of a wooden one. Well—I was punished; covetousness had its reward; for, presently, the violet light got very pale, and then went out; and when I reached home, still holding in both hands all I had gathered up, and when I took it to the candle, it had turned into the red shell of a lobsky’s head, and its two black eyes poked up at me with a long stare—and I may say, a strong smell too—enough to knock a poor body down.”

Great applause, and no little laughter, followed the conclusion of old Peggy’s story, but she did not join in the merriment. She said it was all very well for young people to laugh, but at her age she had enough to do to pray; and she had never said so many prayers, nor with so much fervency, as she had done since she received the blessed sight of the blue star[Pg 458] on the dust-heap, and the chastising rod of the lobster’s head at home.

Little Jem’s turn now came; the poor lad was, however, so excited by the recollection of what his companions called “Jem’s Ghost,” that he was unable to describe it in any coherent language. To his imagination it had been a lovely vision—the one “bright consummate flower” of his life, which he treasured up as the most sacred image in his heart. He endeavored, in wild and hasty words, to set forth, how that he had been bred a chimney-sweep; that one Sunday afternoon he had left a set of companions, most on ’em sweeps, who were all playing at marbles in the church-yard, and he had wandered to the dust-heap, where he had fallen asleep; that he was awoke by a sweet voice in the air, which said something about some one having lost her way!—that he, being now wide awake, looked up, and saw with his own eyes a young angel, with fair hair and rosy cheeks, and large white wings at her shoulders, floating about like bright clouds, rise out of the dust! She had on a garment of shining crimson, which changed as he looked upon her to shining gold, then to purple and gold. She then exclaimed, with a joyful smile, “I see the right way!” and the next moment the angel was gone.

As the sun was just now very bright and warm for the time of the year, and shining full upon the dust-heap in its setting, one of the men endeavored to raise a laugh at the deformed lad, by asking him if he didn’t expect to see just such another angel at this minute, who had lost her way in the field on the other side of the heap; but his jest failed. The earnestness and devout emotion of the boy to the vision of reality which his imagination, aided by the hues of sunset, had thus exalted, were too much for the gross spirit of banter, and the speaker shrank back into his dust-hovel, and affected to be very assiduous in his work as the day was drawing to a close.

Before the day’s work was ended, however, little Jem again had a glimpse of the prize which had escaped him on the previous occasion. He instantly darted, hands and head foremost, into the mass of cinders and rubbish, and brought up a black mass of half-burnt parchment, entwined with vegetable refuse, from which he speedily disengaged an oval frame of gold, containing a miniature, still protected by its glass, but half covered with mildew from the damp. He was in ecstasies at the prize. Even the white cat-skins paled before it. In all probability some of the men would have taken it from, him “to try and find the owner,” but for the presence and interference of his friends Peg Dotting and old Doubleyear, whose great age, even among the present company, gave them a certain position of respect and consideration. So all the rest now went their way, leaving the three to examine and speculate on the prize.

The dust-heaps are a wonderful compound of things. A banker’s check for a considerable sum was found in one of them. It was on Herries and Farquhar, in 1847. But bankers’ checks, or gold and silver articles, are the least valuable of their ingredients. Among other things, a variety of useful chemicals are extracted. Their chief value, however, is for the making of bricks. The fine cinder-dust and ashes are used in the clay of the bricks, both for the red and gray stacks. Ashes are also used as fuel between the layers of the clump of bricks, which could not be burned in that position without them. The ashes burn away, and keep the bricks open. Enormous quantities are used. In the brick-fields at Uxbridge, near the Drayton Station, one of the brickmakers alone will frequently contract for fifteen or sixteen thousand chaldron of this cinder-dust, in one order. Fine coke or coke-dust, affects the market at times as a rival; but fine coal, or coal-dust, never, because it would spoil the bricks.

As one of the heroes of our tale had been originally—before his promotion—a chimney-sweeper, it may be only appropriate to offer a passing word on the genial subject of soot. Without speculating on its origin and parentage, whether derived from the cooking of a Christmas dinner, or the production of the beautiful colors and odors of exotic plants in a conservatory, it can briefly be shown to possess many qualities both useful and ornamental. When soot is first collected, it is called “rough soot,” which, being sifted, is then called “fine soot,” and is sold to farmers for manuring and preserving wheat and turnips. This is more especially used in Herefordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, &c. It is rather a costly article, being fivepence per bushel. One contractor sells annually as much as three thousand bushels; and he gives it as his opinion, that there must be at least one hundred and fifty times this quantity (four hundred and fifty thousand bushels per annum) sold in London. Farmer Smutwise of Bradford, distinctly asserts that the price of the soot he uses on his land is returned to him in the straw, with improvement also to the grain. And we believe him. Lime is used to dilute soot when employed as a manure. Using it pure will keep off snails, slugs, and caterpillars, from peas and various other vegetables, as also from dahlias just shooting up, and other flowers; but we regret to add that we have sometimes known it kill, or burn up the things it was intended to preserve from unlawful eating. In short, it is by no means so safe to use for any purpose of garden manure, as fine cinders, and wood-ashes, which are good for almost any kind of produce, whether turnips or roses. Indeed, we should like to have one fourth or fifth part of our garden-beds composed of excellent stuff of this kind. From all that has been said, it will have become very intelligible why these dust-heaps are so valuable. Their worth, however, varies not only with their magnitude (the quality of all of them is much the same), but with the demand. About the year 1820, the Marylebone dust-heap produced between four thousand and five thousand pounds. In 1832,[Pg 459] St. George’s paid Mr. Stapleton five hundred pounds a year, not to leave the heap standing, but to carry it away. Of course he was only too glad to be paid highly for selling his dust.

But to return. The three friends having settled to their satisfaction the amount of money they should probably obtain by the sale of the golden miniature-frame, and finished the castles which they had built with it in the air, the frame was again enfolded in the sound part of the parchment, the rags and rottenness of the law were cast away, and up they rose to bend their steps homeward to the little hovel where Peggy lived, she having invited the others to tea that they might talk yet more fully over the wonderful good luck that had befallen them.

“Why, if there isn’t a man’s head in the canal!” suddenly cried little Jem. “Looky there!—isn’t that a man’s head?—Yes; it’s a drowndedd man?”

“A drowndedd man, as I live!” ejaculated old Doubleyear.

“Let’s get him out, and see!” cried Peggy. “Perhaps the poor soul’s not quite gone.”

Little Jem scuttled off to the edge of the canal, followed by the two old people. As soon as the body had floated nearer, Jem got down into the water, and stood breast-high, vainly measuring his distance with one arm out, to see if he could reach some part of the body as it was passing. As the attempt was evidently without a chance, old Doubleyear managed to get down into the water behind him, and holding him by one hand, the boy was thus enabled to make a plunge forward as the body was floating by. He succeeded in reaching it; but the jerk was too much for the weakness of his aged companion, who was pulled forward into the canal. A loud cry burst from both of them, which was yet more loudly echoed by Peggy on the bank. Doubleyear and the boy were now struggling almost in the middle of the canal with the body of the man swirling about between them. They would inevitably have been drowned, had not old Peggy caught up a long dust-rake that was close at hand—scrambled down up to her knees in the canal—clawed hold of the struggling group with the teeth of the rake, and fairly brought the whole to land. Jem was first up the bank, and helped up his two heroic companions; after which with no small difficulty, they contrived to haul the body of the stranger out of the water. Jem at once recognized in him the forlorn figure of the man who had passed by in the morning, looking so sadly into the canal, as he walked along.

It is a fact well known to those who work in the vicinity of these great dust-heaps, that when the ashes have been warmed by the sun, cats and kittens that have been taken out of the canal and buried a few inches beneath the surface, have usually revived; and the same has often occurred in the case of men. Accordingly the three, without a moment’s hesitation, dragged the body along to the dust-heap, where they made a deep trench, in which they placed it, covering it all over up to the neck.

“There now,” ejaculated Peggy, sitting down with a long puff to recover her breath, “he’ll lie very comfortable, whether or no.”

“Couldn’t lie better,” said old Doubleyear, “even if he knew it.”

The three now seated themselves close by, to await the result.

“I thought I’d a lost him,” said Jem, “and myself too; and when I pulled Daddy in arter me, I guv us all three up for this world.”

“Yes,” said Doubleyear, “it must have gone queer with us if Peggy had not come in with the rake. How d’yee feel, old girl; for you’ve had a narrow escape too. I wonder we were not too heavy for you, and so pulled you in to go with us.”

“The Lord be praised!” fervently ejaculated Peggy, pointing toward the pallid face that lay surrounded with ashes. A convulsive twitching passed over the features, the lips trembled, the ashes over the breast heaved, and a low moaning sound, which might have come from the bottom of the canal, was heard. Again the moaning sound, and then the eyes opened, but closed almost immediately. “Poor dear soul!” whispered Peggy, “how he suffers in surviving. Lift him up a little. Softly. Don’t be afeared. We’re only your good angels, like—only poor cinder-sifters—don’tee be afeared.”

By various kindly attentions and manœuvres such as these poor people had been accustomed to practice on those who were taken out of the canal, the unfortunate gentleman was gradually brought to his senses. He gazed about him, as well he might—now looking in the anxious, though begrimed, faces of the three strange objects, all in their “weeds” and dust—and then up at the huge dust-heap, over which the moon was now slowly rising.

“Land of quiet Death!” murmured he, faintly, “or land of Life, as dark and still—I have passed from one into the other; but which of ye I am now in, seems doubtful to my senses.”

“Here we are, poor gentleman,” cried Peggy, “here we are, all friends about you. How did ’ee tumble into the canal?”

“The Earth, then, once more!” said the stranger, with a deep sigh. “I know where I am, now. I remember this great dark hill of ashes—like Death’s kingdom, full of all sorts of strange things, and put to many uses.”

“Where do you live?” asked old Doubleyear; “shall we try and take you home, sir?”

The stranger shook his head mournfully. All this time, little Jem had been assiduously employed in rubbing his feet and then his hands; in doing which the piece of dirty parchment, with the miniature-frame, dropped out of his breast-pocket. A good thought instantly struck Peggy.

[Pg 460]

“Run, Jemmy dear—run with that golden thing to Mr. Spikechin, the pawnbroker’s—get something upon it directly, and buy some nice brandy—and some Godfrey’s cordial—and a blanket, Jemmy—and call a coach, and get up outside on it, and make the coachee drive back here as fast as you can.”

But before Jemmy could attend to this, Mr. Waterhouse, the stranger whose life they had preserved, raised himself on one elbow, and extended his hand to the miniature-frame. Directly he looked at it, he raised himself higher up—turned it about once or twice—then caught up the piece of parchment; and uttering an ejaculation, which no one could have distinguished either as of joy or of pain, sank back fainting.

In brief, this parchment was a portion of the title-deeds he had lost; and though it did not prove sufficient to enable him to recover his fortune, it brought his opponent to a composition, which gave him an annuity for life. Small as this was, he determined that these poor people, who had so generously saved his life at the risk of their own, should be sharers in it. Finding that what they most desired was to have a cottage in the neighborhood of the dust-heap, built large enough for all three to live together, and keep a cow, Mr. Waterhouse paid a visit to Manchester-square, where the owner of the property resided. He told his story, as far as was needful, and proposed to purchase the field in question.

The great dust-contractor was much amused, and his daughter—a very accomplished young lady—was extremely interested. So the matter was speedily arranged to the satisfaction and pleasure of all parties. The acquaintance, however, did not end here. Mr. Waterhouse renewed his visits very frequently, and finally made proposals for the young lady’s hand, she having already expressed her hopes of a propitious answer from her father.

“Well, sir,” said the latter, “you wish to marry my daughter, and she wishes to marry you. You are a gentleman and a scholar, but you have no money. My daughter is what you see, and she has no money. But I have; and therefore, as she likes you, and I like you, I’ll make you both an offer. I will give my daughter twenty thousand pounds—or you shall have the dust-heap. Choose!”

Mr. Waterhouse was puzzled and amused, and referred the matter entirely to the young lady. But she was for having the money, and no trouble. She said the dust-heap might be worth much, but they did not understand the business. “Very well,” said her father, laughing, “then there’s the money.”

This was the identical dust-heap, as we know from authentic information, which was subsequently sold for forty thousand pounds, and was exported to Russia to rebuild Moscow.




The old squire, or, in other words, the squire of the old school, is the eldest born of John Bull; he is the “very moral of him;” as like him as pea to pea. He has a tolerable share of his good qualities; and as for his prejudices—oh, they are his meat and drink, and the very clothes he wears. He is made up of prejudices—he is covered all over with them. They are the staple of his dreams; they garnish his dishes, they spice his cup, they enter into his very prayers, and they make his will altogether. His oaks and elms in his park, and in his woods—they are sturdy timbers, in troth, and gnarled and knotted to some purpose, for they have stood for centuries; but what are they to the towering upshoots of his prejudices? Oh, they are mere wands! If he has not stood for centuries, his prejudices have; for they have come down from generation to generation with the family and the estate. They have ridden, to use another figure, like the Old Man of the Sea, on the shoulders of his ancestors, and have skipped from those of one ancestor to those of the next; and there they sit on his own most venerable, well-fed, comfortable, ancient, and gray-eyed prejudices, as familiar to their seat as the collar of his coat. He would take cold without them; to part with them would be the death of him. So! don’t go too near—don’t let us alarm them; for, in truth, they have had insults, and met with impertinences of late years, and have grown fretful and cantankerous in their old age. Nay, horrid radicals have not hesitated, in this wicked generation, to aim sundry deadly blows at them; and it has been all that the old squire has been able to do to protect them. Then—

You need not rub them backwards like a cat,
If you would see them spirt and sparkle up.

You have only to give one look at them, and they will appear to all in bristles and fury, like a nest of porcupines.

The old squire, like his father, is a sincere lover and a most hearty hater. What does he love? Oh, he loves the country—’tis the only country on the earth that is worth calling a country; and he loves the constitution. But don’t ask him what it is, unless you want to test the hardness of his walking-stick; it is the constitution, the finest thing in the world, and all the better for being, like the Athanasian creed, a mystery. Of what use is it that the mob should understand it? It is our glorious constitution—that is enough. Are you not contented to feel how good it is, without going to peer into its very entrails, and perhaps ruin it, like an ignorant fellow putting his hand into the works of a clock? Are you not contented to let the sun shine on you? Do you want to go up and see what it is made of? Well, then, it is the constitution—the finest thing in the world; and, good as the country is, it would be good for nothing without it, no more than a hare would without stuffing, or a lantern without a candle, or the church without the steeple or the ring of bells. Well, he loves the constitution, as he ought to do; for has it not done well for him and his forefathers? And has it not kept the mob in their places, spite of the French Revolution? And taken care of the[Pg 461] National Debt? And has it not taught us all to “fear God and honor the king;” and given the family estate to him, the church to his brother Ned, and put Fred and George into the army and navy? Could there possibly be a better constitution, if the Whigs could but let it alone with their Reform Bills? And, therefore, as he most reasonably loves the dear, old, mysterious, and benevolent constitution to distraction, and places it in the region of his veneration somewhere in the seventh heaven itself, so he hates every body and thing that hates it.

He hates Frenchmen because he loves his country, and thinks we are dreadfully degenerated that we do not nowadays find some cause, as the wisdom of our ancestors did, to pick a quarrel with them, and give them a good drubbing. Is not all our glory made up of beating the French and the Dutch? And what is to become of history, and the army and the fleet, if we go on this way? He does not stop to consider that the army, at least, thrives as well with peace as war; that it continues to increase; that it eats, drinks, and sleeps as well, and dresses better, and lives a great deal more easily and comfortably in peace than in war. But, then, what is to become of history, and the drubbing of the French? Who may, however, possibly die of “envy and admiration of our glorious constitution.”

The old squire loves the laws of England; that is, all the laws that ever were passed by kings, lords, and commons, especially if they have been passed some twenty years, and he has had to administer them. The poor-law and the game-law, the impressment act, the law of primogeniture, the law of capital punishments; all kind of private acts for the inclosure of commons; turnpike acts, stamp acts, and acts of all sorts; he loves and venerates them all, for they are part and parcel of the statute law of England. As a matter of course, he hates most religiously all offenders against such acts. The poor are a very good sort of people; nay, he has a thorough and hereditary liking for the poor, and they have sundry doles and messes of soup from the Hall, as they had in his father’s time, so long as they go to church, and don’t happen to be asleep there when he is awake himself; and don’t come upon the parish, or send bastards there; so long as they take off their hats with all due reverence, and open gates when they see him coming. But if they presume to go to the Methodists’ meeting, or to a Radical club, or complain of the price of bread, which is a grievous sin against the agricultural interest; or to poach, which is all crimes in one—if they fall into any of these sins, oh, then, they are poor devils indeed! Then does the worthy old squire hate all the brood of them most righteously; for what are they but Atheists, Jacobins, Revolutionists, Chartists, rogues and vagabonds? With what a frown he scowls on them as he meets them in one of the narrow old lanes, returning from some camp meeting or other; how he expects every dark night to hear of ricks being burnt, or pheasants shot. How does he tremble for the safety of the country while they are at large; and with what satisfaction does he grant a warrant to bring them before him; and, as a matter of course, how joyfully, spite of all pleas and protestations of innocence, does he commit them to the treadmill, or the county jail, for trial at the quarter sessions.

He has a particular affection for the quarter sessions, for there he, and his brethren all put together, make, he thinks, a tolerable representation of majesty; and thence he has the satisfaction of seeing all the poachers transported beyond the seas. The county jail and the house of correction are particular pets of his. He admires even their architecture, and prides himself especially on the size and massiveness of the prison. He used to extend his fondness even to the stocks; but the treadmill, almost the only modern thing which has wrought such a miracle, has superseded it in his affections, and the ancient stocks now stand deserted, and half lost in a bed of nettles; but he still looks with a gracious eye on the parish pound, and returns the pinder’s touch of his hat with a marked attention, looking upon him as one of the most venerable appendages of antique institutions.

Of course the old squire loves the church. Why, it is ancient, and that is enough of itself; but, beside that, all the wisdom of his ancestors belonged to it. His great-great-uncle was a bishop; his wife’s grandfather was a dean; he has the presentation of the living, which is now in the hands of his brother Ned; and he has himself all the great tithes which, in the days of popery, belonged to it. He loves it all the better, because he thinks that the upstart dissenters want to pull it down; and he hates all upstarts. And what! Is it not the church of the queen, and the ministers, and all the nobility, and of all the old families? It is the only religion for a gentleman, and, therefore, it is his religion. Would the dissenting minister hob-nob with him as comfortably over the after-dinner bottle as Ned does, and play a rubber as comfortably with him, and let him swear a comfortable oath now and then? ’Tis not to be supposed. Besides, of what family is this dissenting minister? Where does he spring from? At what university did he graduate? ’Twon’t do for the old squire. No! the clerk, the sexton, and the very churchwardens of the time being, partake, in his eye, of the time-tried sanctity of the good old church, and are bound up in the bundle of his affections.

These are a few of the old squire’s likings and antipathies, which are just as much part of himself, as the entail is of his inheritance. But we shall see yet more of them when we come to see more of him and his abode. The old squire is turned of threescore, and every thing is old about him. He lives in an old house in the midst of an old park, which has a very old wall, end gates so old, that though they are made of oak as hard as iron, they begin to stoop in the shoulders, like the old gentleman himself[Pg 462] and the carpenter, who is an old man too, and has been watching them forty years in hopes of their tumbling, and gives them a good lusty bang after him every time he passes through, swears they must have been made in the days of King Canute. The squire has an old coach drawn by two and occasionally by four old fat horses, and driven by a jolly old coachman, in which his old lady and his old maiden sister ride; for he seldom gets into it himself, thinking it a thing fit only for women and children, preferring infinitely the back of Jack, his old roadster.

If you went to dine with him, you would find him just as you would have found his father; not a thing has been changed since his days. There is the great entrance hall, with its cold stone floor, and its fine tall-backed chairs, and an old walnut cabinet; and on the walls a quantity of stags’ horns, with caps and riding-whips hung on them; and the pictures of his ancestors, in their antiquated dresses, and slender, tarnished, antiquated frames. In his drawing-room you will find none of your new grand pianos and fashionable couches and ottomans; but an old spinet and a fiddle, another set of those long-legged, tall-backed chairs, two or three little settees, a good massy table, and a fine large carved mantle-piece, with bright steel dogs instead of a modern stove, and logs of oak burning, if it be cold. At table, all his plate is of the most ancient make, and he drinks toasts and healths in tankards of ale that is strong enough to make a horse reel, but which he continually avows is as mild as mother’s milk, and wouldn’t hurt an infant. He has an old rosy butler, and loves very old venison, which fills the whole house with its perfume while roasting; and an old double-Gloucester cheese, full of jumpers and mites; and after it a bottle of old port, at which he is often joined by the parson, and always by a queer, quiet sort of a tall, thin man, in a seedy black coat, and with a crimson face, bearing testimony to the efficacy of the squire’s port and “mother’s milk.”

This man is always to be seen about, and has been these twenty years. He goes with the squire a-coursing and shooting, and into the woods with him. He carries his shot-belt and powder-flask, and gives him out his chargings and his copper caps. He is as often seen about the steward’s house; and he comes in and out of the squire’s just as he pleases, always seating himself in a particular chair near the fire, and pinches the ears of the dogs, and gives the cat, now and then, a pinch of snuff as she lies sleeping in a chair; and when the squire’s old lady says, “How can you do so, Mr. Wagstaff?” he only gives a quiet, chuckling laugh, and says, “Oh, they like it, madam; they like it, you may depend.” That is the longest speech he ever makes, for he seldom does more than say “yes” and “no” to what is said to him, and still oftener gives only a quiet smile and a soft of little nasal “hum.” The squire has a vast affection for him, and always walks up to the little chamber which is allotted to him, once a week, to see that the maid does not neglect it; though at table he cuts many a sharp joke upon Wagstaff, to which Wagstaff only returns a smile and a shake of the head, which is more full of meaning to the squire than a long speech. Such is the old squire’s constant companion.

But we have not yet done with the squire’s antiquities. He has an old woodman, an old shepherd, an old justice’s clerk, and almost all his farmers are old. He seems to have an antipathy to almost every thing that is not old. Young men are his aversion; they are such coxcombs, he says, nowadays. The only exception is a young woman. He always was a great admirer of the fair sex; though we are not going to rake up the floating stories of the neighborhood about the gallantries of his youth; but his lady, who is justly considered to have been as fine a woman as ever stepped in shoe-leather, is a striking proof of his judgment in women. Never, however, does his face relax into such pleasantness of smiles and humorous twinkles of the eye, as when he is in company with young ladies. He is full of sly compliments and knowing hints about their lovers, and is universally reckoned among them “a dear old gentleman.”

When he meets a blooming country damsel crossing the park, or as he rides along a lane, he is sure to stop and have a word with her. “Aha, Mary! I know you, there! I can tell you by your mother’s eyes and lips that you’ve stole away from her. Ay, you’re a pretty slut enough, but I remember your mother. Gad! I don’t know whether you are entitled to carry her slippers after her! But never mind, you’re handsome enough; and I reckon you’re going to be married directly. Well, well, I won’t make you blush; so, good-by, Mary, good-by! Father and mother are both hearty—eh?”

The routine of the old squire’s life may be summed up in a sentence: hearing cases and granting warrants and licenses, and making out commitments as justice; going through the woods to look after the growth, and trimming, and felling of his trees; going out with his keeper to reconnoitre the state of his covers and preserves; attending quarter sessions; dining occasionally with the judge on circuit; attending the county ball and the races; hunting and shooting, dining and singing a catch or glee with Wagstaff and the parson over his port. He has a large, dingy room, surrounded with dingy folios, and other books in vellum bindings, which he calls his library. Here he sits as justice; and here he receives his farmers on rent-days, and a wonderful effect it has on their imaginations; for who can think otherwise than that the squire must be a prodigious scholar, seeing all that array of big books? And, in fact, the old squire is a great reader in his own line. He reads the Times daily; and he reads Gwillim’s “Heraldry,” the “History of the Landed Gentry,” Rapin’s “History of England,” and all the works of Fielding, Richardson, and Sterne, whom he declares to be the greatest writers England ever produced, or ever will produce[Pg 463].

But the old squire is not without his troubles. In his serious judgment all the world is degenerating. The nation is running headlong to ruin. “Lord, how different it was in my time!” is his constant exclamation. The world is now completely turned topsy-turvy. Here is the Reform Bill, the New Poor-law, which though it does make sharp work among the rogues and vagabonds, yet has sorely shorn the authority of magistrates. Here are the New Game-laws, Repeal of the Corn-laws, and the Navigation-laws; new books, all trash and nonsense; and these harum-scarum railroads, cutting up the country and making it dangerous to be riding out any where. “Just,” says he, “as a sober gentleman is riding quietly by the side of his wood, bang! goes that ‘hell-in-harness,’ a steam-engine, past. Up goes the horse, down goes the rider to a souse in the ditch, and a broken collar bone.”

Then all the world is now running all over the continent, learning all sorts of Frenchified airs and fashions and notions, and beggaring themselves into the bargain. He never set foot on the d—d, beggarly, frog-eating Continent—not he! It was thought enough to live at home, and eat good roast beef, and sing “God save the King,” in his time; but now a man is looked upon as a mere clown who has not run so far round the world that he can seldom ever find his way back again to his estate, but stops short in London, where all the extravagance and nonsense in creation are concentrated, to help our mad gentry out of their wits and their money together. The old squire groans here in earnest; for his daughter, who has married Sir Benjamin Spankitt, and his son Tom, who has married the Lady Babara Ridemdown, are as mad as the rest of them.

Of Tom, the young squire, we shall take a more complete view anon. But there is another of the old squire’s troubles yet to be noticed, and that is in the shape of an upstart. One of the worst features of the times is the growth and spread of upstarts. Old families going down, as well as old customs, and new people, who are nobody, taking their places. Old estates bought up—not by the old gentry, who are scattering their money in London, and among all the grinning monsieurs, mynheers, and signores, on the frogified continent, but by the soap-boilers and sugar-bakers of London. The country gentry, he avers, have been fools enough to spend their money in London, and now the people they have spent it among are coming and buying up all the estates about them. Ask him, as you ride out with him by the side of some great wood or venerable park, “What old family lives there?” “Old family!” he exclaims, with an air of angry astonishment; “old family! Where do you see old families nowadays? That is Sir Peter Post, the great horse-racer, who was a stable-boy not twenty years ago; and that great brick house on the hill there is the seat of one of the great Bearrings, who have made money enough among the bulls and bears to buy up the estates of half the fools hereabout. But that is nothing; I can assure you, men are living in halls and abbeys in these parts, who began their lives in butchers’ shops and cobblers’ stalls.”

It might, however, be tolerated that merchants and lawyers, stock-jobbers, and even sugar-bakers and soap-boilers, should buy up the old houses; but the most grievous nuisance, and perpetual thorn in the old squire’s side, is Abel Grundy, the son of an old wheelwright, who, by dint of his father’s saving and his own sharpness, has grown into a man of substance under the squire’s own nose. Abel began by buying odds and ends of lands and scattered cottages, which did not attract the squire’s notice; till at length, a farm being to be sold, which the squire meant to have, and did not fear any opponent, Abel Grundy bid for it, and bought it, striking the old steward actually dumb with astonishment; and then it was found that all the scattered lots which Grundy had been buying up, lay on one side or other of this farm, and made a most imposing whole. To make bad worse, Grundy, instead of taking off his hat when he met the old squire, began now to lift up his own head very high; built a grand house on the land plump opposite to the squire’s hall-gates; has brought a grand wife—a rich citizen’s daughter; set up a smart carriage; and as the old squire is riding out on his old horse Jack, with his groom behind him, on a roan pony with a whitish mane and tail, the said groom having his master’s great coat strapped to his back, as he always has on such occasions, drives past with a dash and a cool impudence that are most astonishing.

The only comfort that the old squire has in the case is talking of the fellow’s low origin. “Only to think,” says he, “that this fellow’s father hadn’t even wood enough to make a wheel-barrow till my family helped him; and I have seen this scoundrel himself scraping manure in the high roads, before he went to the village school in the morning, with his toes peeping out of his shoes, and his shirt hanging like a rabbit’s tail out of his ragged trowsers; and now the puppy talks of ‘my carriage,’ and ‘my footman,’ and says that ‘he and his lady purpose to spend the winter in the town,’ meaning London!”

Wagstaff laughs at the squire’s little criticism on Abel Grundy, and shakes his head; but he can not shake the chagrin out of the old gentleman’s heart. Abel Grundy’s upstart greatness will be the death of the old squire.


By smiling fortune blessed
With large demesnes, hereditary wealth.

The Old Squire and the Young Squire are the antipodes of each other. They are representatives of two entirely different states of society in this country; the one, but the vestige of that which has been; the other, the full and perfect image of that which is. The old squires are like the last fading and shriveled leaves of autumn[Pg 464] that yet hang on the tree. A few more days will pass; age will send one of his nipping nights, and down they will twirl, and be swept away into the oblivious hiding-places of death, to be seen no more. But the young squire is one of the full-blown blossoms of another summer. He is flaunting in the sunshine of a state of wealth and luxury, which we, as our fathers in their days did, fancy can by no possibility be carried many degrees farther, and yet we see it every day making some new and extraordinary advance.

It is obvious that there are many intervening stages of society, among our country gentry, between the old squire and the young, as there are intermediate degrees of age. The old squires are those of the completely last generation, who have outlived their contemporaries, and have made a dead halt on the ground of their old habits, sympathies, and opinions, and are resolved to quit none of them for what they call the follies and new-fangled notions of a younger, and, of course, more degenerate race. They are continually crying, “Oh, it never was so in my day!” They point to tea, and stoves in churches, and the universal use of umbrellas, parasols, cork-soled shoes, warming-pans, and carriages, as incontestible proofs of the rapidly-increasing effeminacy of mankind. But between these old veterans and their children, there are the men of the middle ages, who have, more or less, become corrupted with modern ways and indulgences; have, more or less, introduced modern furniture, modern hours, modern education, and tastes, and books; and have, more or less, fallen into the modern custom of spending a certain part of the year in London. With these we have nothing whatever to do. The old squire is the landmark of the ancient state of things, and his son Tom is the epitome of the new; all between is a mere transition and evanescent condition.

Tom Chesselton was duly sent by his father to Eton as a boy, where he became a most accomplished scholar in cricket, boxing, horses, and dogs, and made the acquaintance of several lords, who taught him the way of letting his father’s money slip easily through his fingers without burning them, and engrafted him besides with a fine stock of truly aristocratic tastes, which will last him his whole life. From Eton he was duly transferred to Oxford, where he wore his gown and trencher-cap with a peculiar grace, and gave a classic finish to his taste in horses, in driving, and in ladies. Having completed his education with great éclat, he was destined by his father to a few years’ soldiership in the militia, as being devoid of all danger, and moreover, giving opportunities for seeing a great deal of the good old substantial families in different parts of the kingdom. But Tom turned up his nose, or rather his handsome upper lip, with a most consummate scorn at so groveling a proposal, and assured his father that nothing but a commission in the Guards, where several of his noble friends were doing distinguished honor to their country, by the display of their fine figures, would suit him. The old gentleman shrugged his shoulders and was silent, thinking that the six thousand pounds purchase-money would be quite as well at fifteen per cent. in turnpike shares a little longer. But Tom, luckily, was not doomed to rusticate long in melancholy under his patrimonial oaks: his mother’s brother, an old bachelor of immense wealth, died just in time, leaving Tom’s sister, Lady Spankitt, thirty thousand pounds in the funds; and Tom, as heir-at-law, his great Irish estates. Tom, on the very first vacancy, bought into the Guards, and was soon marked out by the ladies as one of the most distingué officers that ever wore a uniform. In truth, Tom was a very handsome fellow; that he owed to his parents, who, in their day, were as noble-looking a couple as ever danced at a county-ball, or graced the balcony of a race-stand.

Tom soon married; but he did not throw himself away sentimentally on a mere face; he achieved the hand of the sister of one of his old college chums, and now brother-officer—the Lady Barbara Ridemdown. An earl’s daughter was something in the world’s eye; but such an earl’s daughter as Lady Barbara, was the height of Tom’s ambition. She was equally celebrated for her wit, her beauty, and her large fortune. Tom had won her from amid the very blaze of popularity and the most splendid offers. Their united fortunes enabled them to live in the highest style. Lady Barbara’s rank and connections demanded it, and the spirit of our young squire required it as much. Tom Chesselton disdained to be a whit behind any of his friends, however wealthy or high titled. His tastes were purely aristocratic; with him, dress, equipage, and amusements, were matters of science. He knew, both from a proud instinct and from study, what was precisely the true ton in every article of dress or equipage, and the exact etiquette in every situation. But Lady Barbara panted to visit the Continent, where she had already spent some years, and which presented so many attractions to her elegant tastes. Tom had elegant tastes, too, in his way; and to the Continent they went. The old squire never set his foot on even the coast of Calais: when he has seen it from Dover, he has only wished that he could have a few hundred tons of gunpowder, and blow it into the air; but Tom and Lady Barbara have lived on the Continent for years.

This was a bitter pill for the old squire. When Tom purchased his commission in the Guards, and when he opened a house like a palace, on his wedding with Lady Barbara, the old gentleman felt proud of his son’s figure, and proud of his connections. “Ah,” said he, “Tom’s a lad of spirit; he’ll sow his wild oats, and come to his senses presently.” But when he fairly embarked for France, with a troop of servants, and a suite of carriages, like a nobleman, then did the old fellow fairly curse and swear, and call him all the unnatural and petticoat-pinioned fools in his vocabulary, and prophesy his bringing his ninepence to a groat. Tom[Pg 465] and Lady Barbara, however, upheld the honor of England all over the Continent. In Paris, at the baths of Germany, at Vienna, Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples—every where, they were distinguished by their fine persons, their fine equipage, their exquisite tastes, and their splendid entertainments. They were courted and caressed by all the distinguished, both of their own countrymen and of foreigners. Tom’s horses and equipage were the admiration of the natives. He drove, he rode, he yachted, to universal admiration; and, meantime, his lady visited all the galleries and works of art, and received in her house all the learned and the literary of all countries. There, you always found artists, poets, travelers, critics, dilettanti, and connoisseurs, of all nations and creeds.

They have again honored their country with their presence; and who so much the fashion as they? They are, of course, au fait in every matter of taste and fashion; on all questions of foreign life, manners, and opinions, their judgment is the law. Their town-house is in Eaton-square; and what a house is that! What a paradise of fairy splendor! what a mine of wealth, in the most superb furniture, in books in all languages, paintings, statuary, and precious fragments of the antique, collected out of every classical city and country. If you see a most exquisitely tasteful carriage, with a most fascinatingly beautiful lady in it, in the park, amid all the brilliant concourse of the ring, you may be sure you see the celebrated Lady Barbara Chesselton; and you can not fail to recognize Tom Chesselton the moment you clap eyes on him, by his distinguished figure, and the splendid creature on which he is mounted—to say nothing of the perfection of his groom, and the steed which he also bestrides. Tom never crosses the back of a horse of less value than a thousand pounds; and if you want to know really what horses are, you must go down to his villa at Wimbledon, if you are not lucky enough to catch a sight of him proceeding to a levee, or driving his four-in-hand to Ascot or Epsom. All Piccadilly has been seen to stand, lost in silent admiration, as he has driven his splendid britchzka along it, with his perfection of a little tiger by his side; and such cattle as never besides were seen in even harness of such richness and elegance. Nay, some scores of ambitious young whips became sick of their envy of his superb gauntlet driving-gloves.

But, in fact, in Tom’s case, as in all others, you have only to know his companions to know him; and who are they but Chesterfield, Conyngham, D’Orsay, Eglintoun, my Lord Waterford, and men of similar figure and reputation. To say that he is well known to all the principal frequenters of the Carlton Club; that his carriages are of the most perfect make ever turned out by Windsor; that his harness is only from Shipley’s; and that Stultz has the honor of gracing his person with his habiliments; is to say that our young squire is one of the most perfect men of fashion in England. Lady Barbara and himself have a common ground of elegance of taste, and knowledge of the first principles of genuine aristocratic life; but they have very different pursuits, arising from the difference of their genius, and they follow them with the utmost mutual approbation.

Lady Barbara is at once the worshiped beauty, the woman of fashion, and of literature. No one has turned so many heads, by the loveliness of her person, and the bewitching fascination of her manners, as Lady Barbara. She is a wit, a poetess, a connoisseur in art; and what can be so dangerously delightful as all these characters in a fashionable beauty, and a woman, moreover, of such rank and wealth? She does the honors of her house to the mutual friends and noble connections of her husband and herself with a perpetual grace; but she has, besides, her evenings for the reception of her literary and artistic acquaintance and admirers. And who, of all the throng of authors, artists, critics, journalists, connoisseurs, and amateurs, who flock there are not her admirers? Lady Barbara Chesselton writes travels, novels, novellets, philosophical reflections, poems, and almost every species of thing which ever has been written—such is the universality of her knowledge, experience, and genius: and who does not hasten to be the first to pour out in reviews, magazines, daily and hebdomadal journals, the earliest and most fervid words of homage and admiration? Lady Barbara edits an annual, and is a contributor to the “Keepsake;” and in her kindness, she is sure to find out all the nice young men about the press; to encourage them by her smile, and to raise them, by her fascinating conversation and her brilliant saloons, above those depressing influences of a too sensitive modesty, which so weighs on the genius of the youth of this age; so that she sends them away, all heart and soul, in the service of herself and literature, which are the same thing; and away they go, extemporizing praises on her ladyship, and spreading them through leaves of all sizes, to the wondering eyes of readers all the world over. Publishers run with their unsalable manuscripts, and beg Lady Barbara to have the goodness to put her name on the title, knowing by golden experience that one stroke of her pen, like the point of a galvanic wire, will turn all the dullness of the dead mass into flame. Lady Barbara is not barbarous enough to refuse so simple and complimentary a request; nay, her benevolence extends on every hand. Distressed authors, male and female, who have not her rank, and, therefore, most clearly not her genius, beg her to take their literary bantlings under her wing; and with a heart, as full of generous sympathies as her pen is of magic, she writes but her name on the title as an “Open Sesame!” and lo! the dead become alive; her genius permeates the whole volume, which that moment puts forth wings of popularity, and flies into every bookseller’s shop and every circulating library in the kingdom.

Such is the life of glory and Christian benev[Pg 466]olence which Lady Barbara daily leads, making authors, critics, and publishers all happy together, by the overflowing radiance of her indefatigable and inexhaustible genius, though she sometimes slyly laughs to herself, and says, “What a thing is a title! if it were not for that, would all these people come to me?” While Tom, who is member of parliament for the little borough of Dearish, most patriotically discharges his duty by pairing off—visits the classic grounds of Ascot, Epsom, Newmarket, or Goodwood, or traverses the moors of Scotland and Ireland in pursuit of grouse. But once a year they indulge their filial virtues in a visit to the old squire. The old squire, we are sorry to say, has grown of late years queer and snappish, and does not look on this visit quite as gratefully as he should. “If they would but come,” he says, “in a quiet way, as I used to ride over and see my father in his time, why I should be right glad to see them; but, here they come, like the first regiment of an invading army, and God help those who are old, and want to be quiet!”

The old gentleman, moreover, is continually haranguing about Tom’s folly and extravagance. It is his perpetual topic to his wife, and wife’s maiden sister, and Wagstaff. Wagstaff only shakes his head, and says, “Young blood! young blood!” but Mrs. Chesselton and the maiden sister say, “Oh! Mr. Chesselton, you don’t consider: Tom has great connections, and he is obliged to keep a certain establishment. Things are different now to what they were in our time. Tom is universally allowed to be a very fine man, and Lady Barbara is a very fine woman, and a prodigious clever woman! and you ought to be proud of them, Chesselton.” At which the old gentleman breaks out, if he be a little elevated over his wine:

When the Duke of Leeds shall married be
To a fine young lady of high quality,
How happy will that gentlewoman be
In his grace of Leeds good company!
She shall have all that’s fine and fair,
And the best of silk and satin to wear;
And ride in a coach to take the air,
And have a house in St. James’s-square.

Lady Barbara always professes great affection and reverence for the old gentleman, and sends him many merry and kind compliments and messages; and sends him, moreover, her new books as soon as they are out, most magnificently bound; but all won’t do. He only says, “If she’d please me, she’d give up that cursed opera-box. Why, the rent of that thing—only to sit in and hear Italian women squealing and squalling, and to see impudent, outlandish baggages kicking up their heels higher than any decent heads ought to be—the rent, I say, would maintain a parish rector, or keep half-a-dozen parish schools a-going.” As for her books, that all the world besides are in raptures about, the old squire turns them over as a dog would a hot dumpling; says nothing but a Bible ought to be so extravagantly bound; and professes that “the matter may all be very fine, but he can make neither head nor tail of it.” Yet, whenever Lady Barbara is with him, she is sure to talk and smile herself in about half an hour into his high favor; and he begins to run about to show her this and that, and calls out every now and then, “Let Lady Barbara see this, and go to look at that.” She can do any thing with him, except get him to London. “London!” he exclaims; “no; get me to Bedlam at once! What has a rusty old fellow, like me, to do at London? If I could find again the jolly set that used to meet, thirty years ago, at the Star and Garter, Pall Mall, it might do; but London isn’t what London used to be. It’s too fine by half for a country squire, and would drive me distracted in twenty-four hours, with its everlasting noise and nonsense.”

But the old squire does get pretty well distracted with the annual visit. Down come driving the young squire and Lady Barbara, with a train of carriages like a fleet of men-of-war, leading the way with their traveling-coach and four horses. Up they twirl to the door of old hall. The old bell rings a thundering peal through the house. Doors fly open—out come servants—down come the young guests from their carriages; and while embraces and salutations are going on in the drawing-room, the hall is fast filling with packages upon packages; servants are running to and fro along the passages; grooms and carriages are moving off to the stables without; there is lifting and grunting at portmanteaus and imperials, as they are borne up-stairs; while ladies’ maids and nursemaids are crying out, “Oh, take care of that trunk!” “Mind that ban’-box!” “Oh, gracious! that is my lady’s dressing-case; it will be down, and be totally ruined!” Dogs are barking; children crying, or romping about, and the whole house in the most blessed state of bustle and confusion.

For a week the hurly-burly continues; in pour all the great people to see Tom and Lady Barbara. There are shootings in the mornings, and great dinner parties in the evenings. Tom and my lady have sent down before them plenty of hampers of such wines as the old squire neither keeps nor drinks, and they have brought their plate along with them; and the old house itself is astonished at the odors of champagne, claret, and hook, that pervade, and at the glitter of gold and silver in it. The old man is full of attention and politeness, both to his guests and to their guests; but he is half worried with the children, and t’other half worried with so many fine folks; and muddled with drinking things that he is not used to, and with late hours. Wagstaff has fled—as he always does on such occasions—to a farm-house on the verge of the estate. The hall, and the parsonage, and even the gardener’s house, are all full of beds for guests, and servants, and grooms. Presently, the old gentleman, in his morning rides, sees some of the young bucks shooting the pheasants in his[Pg 467] home-park, where he never allows them to be disturbed, and comes home in a fume, to hear that the house is turned upside-down by the host of scarlet-breeched and powdered livery-servants, and that they have turned all the maids’ heads with sweethearting. But, at length, the day of departure arrives, and all sweep away as suddenly and rapidly as they came; and the old squire sends off for Wagstaff, and blesses his stars that what he calls “the annual hurricane,” is over.

But what a change will there be when the old squire is dead! Already have Tom and Lady Barbara walked over the ground, and planned it. That horrid fright of an old house, as they call it, will be swept as clean away as if it had not stood there five hundred years. A grand Elizabethean pile is already decreed to succeed it. The fashionable architect will come driving down in his smart Brougham, with all his plans and papers. A host of mechanics will come speedily after him, by coach or by wagon: booths will be seen rising all around the old place, which will vanish away, and its superb successor rise where it stood, like a magical vision. Already are ponderous cases lying loaded, in London, with massive mantle-pieces of the finest Italian marble, marble busts, and heads of old Greek and Roman heroes, genuine burial-urns from Herculaneum and Pompeii, and vessels of terra-cotta, gloriously-sculptured vases, and even columns of verde antique—all from classic Italy—to adorn the walls of this same noble new house.

But, meantime, spite of the large income of Tom and Lady Barbara, the old squire has strange suspicions of mortgages, and dealings with Jews. He has actually inklings of horrid post-obits; and groans as he looks on his old oaks, as he rides through his woods and parks, foreseeing their overthrow; nay, he fancies he sees the land-agent among his quiet old farmers, like a wild-cat in a rabbit warren, startling them out of their long dream of ease and safety, with news of doubled rents, and notices to quit, to make way for threshing-machines, winnowing-machines, corn-crushers, patent ploughs, scufflers, scarifiers, and young men of more enterprise. And, sure enough, such will be the order of the day the moment the estate falls to the young squire.—Country Year Book.

[From Hogg’s Instructor.]



The Roman formula for summoning an earnest concentration of the faculties upon any object whatever, that happened to be critically urgent, was Hoc age, “Mind this!” or, in other words, do not mind thatnon illud age. The antithetic formula was “aliud agere,” to mind something alien, or remote from the interest then clamoring for attention. Our modern military orders of “Attention!” and “Eyes strait!” were both included in the “Hoc age.” In the stern peremptoriness of this Roman formula we read a picturesque expression of the Roman character both as to its strength and its weakness—of the energy which brooked no faltering or delay (for beyond all other races the Roman was natus rebus agendis)—and also of the morbid craving for action, which was intolerant of any thing but the intensely practical.

In modern times, it is we of the Anglo-Saxon blood, that is, the British and the Americans of the United States, who inherit the Roman temperament with its vices and its fearful advantages of power. In the ancient Roman these vices appeared more barbarously conspicuous. We, the countrymen of Lord Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton, and at one time the leaders of austere thinking, can not be supposed to shrink from the speculative through any native incapacity for sounding its depths. But the Roman had a real inaptitude for the speculative: to him nothing was real that was not practical. He had no metaphysics; he wanted the metaphysical instinct. There was no school of native Roman philosophy: the Roman was merely an eclectic or dilettanti picking up the crumbs which fell from Grecian tables; and even mathematics was so repulsive in its sublimer aspects to the Roman mind, that the very word mathematics had in Rome collapsed into another name for the dotages of astrology. The mathematician was a mere variety of expression for the wizard or the conjurer.

From this unfavorable aspect of the Roman intellect it is but justice that we should turn away to contemplate those situations in which that same intellect showed itself preternaturally strong. To face a sudden danger by a corresponding weight of sudden counsel or sudden evasion—that was a privilege essentially lodged in the Roman mind. But in every nation some minds much more than others are representative of the national type: they are normal minds, reflecting, as in a focus, the characteristics of the race. Thus Louis XIV. has been held to be the idealized expression of the French character; and among the Romans there can not be a doubt that the first Cæsar offers in a rare perfection the revelation of that peculiar grandeur which belonged to the children of Romulus.

What was that grandeur? We do not need, in this place, to attempt its analysis. One feature will suffice for our purpose. The late celebrated John Foster, in his essay on decision of character, among the accidents of life which might serve to strengthen the natural tendencies to such a character, or to promote its development, rightly insists on desertion. To find itself in solitude, and still more to find itself thrown upon that state of abandonment by sudden treachery, crushes the feeble mind, but rouses a terrific reaction of haughty self-assertion in that order of spirits which matches and measures itself against difficulty and danger. There is something corresponding to this case of human treachery in the sudden caprices of fortune. A[Pg 468] danger, offering itself unexpectedly in some momentary change of blind external agencies, assumes to the feelings the character of a perfidy accomplished by mysterious powers, and calls forth something of the same resentment, and in a gladiatorial intellect something of the same spontaneous resistance. A sword that breaks in the very crisis of a duel, a horse killed by a flash of lightning in the moment of collision with the enemy, a bridge carried away by an avalanche at the instant of a commencing retreat, affect the feelings like dramatic incidents emanating from a human will. This man they confound and paralyze, that man they rouse into resistance, as by a personal provocation and insult. And if it happens that these opposite effects show themselves in cases wearing a national importance, they raise what would else have been a mere casualty into the tragic or the epic grandeur of a fatality. The superb character, for instance, of Cæsar’s intellect throws a colossal shadow as of predestination over the most trivial incidents of his career. On the morning of Pharsalia, every man who reads a record of that mighty event feels[D] by a secret instinct that an earthquake is approaching which must determine the final distribution of the ground, and the relations among the whole family of man through a thousand generations. Precisely the inverse case is realized in some modern sections of history, where the feebleness or the inertia of the presiding intellect communicates a character of triviality to events that otherwise are of paramount historical importance. In Cæsar’s case, simply through the perfection of his preparations arrayed against all conceivable contingencies, there is an impression left as of some incarnate Providence, vailed in a human form, ranging through the ranks of the legions; while, on the contrary, in the modern cases to which we allude, a mission, seemingly authorized by inspiration, is suddenly quenched, like a torch falling into water, by the careless character of the superintending intellect. Neither case is without its appropriate interest. The spectacle of a vast historical dependency, pre-organized by an intellect of unusual grandeur, wears the grace of congruity and reciprocal proportion. And on the other hand, a series of mighty events contingent upon the motion this way or that of a frivolous hand, or suspended on the breath of caprice, suggests the wild and fantastic disproportions of ordinary life, when the mighty masquerade moves on forever through successions of the gay and the solemn—of the petty and the majestic.

Cæsar’s cast of character owed its impressiveness to the combination which it offered of moral grandeur and monumental immobility, such as we see in Marius, with the dazzling intellectual versatility found in the Gracchi, in Sylla, in Catiline, in Antony. The comprehension and the absolute perfection of his prescience did not escape the eye of Lucan, who describes him as—“Nil actum reputans, si quid superesset agendum.” A fine lambent gleam of his character escapes also in that magnificent fraction of a line, where he is described as one incapable of learning the style and sentiments suited to a private interest—“Indocilis privata loqui.”

There has been a disposition manifested among modern writers to disturb the traditional characters of Cæsar and his chief antagonist. Audaciously to disparage Cæsar, and without a shadow of any new historic grounds to exalt his feeble competitor, has been adopted as the best chance for filling up the mighty gulf between them. Lord Brougham, for instance, on occasion of a dinner given by the Cinque Ports at Dover to the Duke of Wellington, vainly attempted to raise our countryman by unfounded and romantic depreciations of Cæsar. He alleged that Cæsar had contended only with barbarians. Now, that happens to be the literal truth as regards Pompey. The victories on which his early reputation was built were won from semi-barbarians—luxurious, it is true, but also effeminate in a degree never suspected at Rome until the next generation. The slight but summary contest of Cæsar with Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates, dissipated at once the cloud of ignorance in which Rome had been involved on this subject by the vast distance and the total want of familiarity with Oriental habits. But Cæsar’s chief antagonists, those whom Lord Brougham specially indicated, viz., the Gauls, were not barbarians. As a military people, they were in a stage of civilization next to that of the Romans. They were quite as much aguerris, hardened and seasoned to war, as the children of Rome. In certain military habits they were even superior. For purposes of war four races were then pre-eminent in Europe—viz., the Romans, the Macedonians, certain select tribes among the mixed population of the Spanish peninsula, and finally the Gauls. These were all open to the recruiting parties of Cæsar; and among them all he had deliberately assigned his preference to the Gauls. The famous legion, who carried the Alauda (the lark) upon their helmets, was raised in Gaul from Cæsar’s private funds. They composed a select and favored division in his army, and, together with the famous tenth legion, constituted a third part of his forces—a third numerically on the day of battle, but virtually a half. Even the rest of Cæsar’s army had been for so long a space recruited in the Gauls, Transalpine as well as Cisalpine, that at Pharsalia the bulk of his forces is known to have been Gaulish. There were more reasons than one for concealing that fact. The policy of Cæsar was, to conceal it not less from Rome than from the army itself. But the truth became known at last to all wary observers. Lord Brougham’s objection to the quality[Pg 469] of Cæsar’s enemies falls away at once when it is collated with the deliberate composition of Cæsar’s own army. Besides that, Cæsar’s enemies were not in any exclusive sense Gauls. The German tribes, the Spanish, the Helvetian, the Illyrian, Africans of every race, and Moors; the islanders of the Mediterranean, and the mixed populations of Asia, had all been faced by Cæsar. And if it is alleged that the forces of Pompey, however superior in numbers, were at Pharsalia largely composed of an Asiatic rabble, the answer is—that precisely of such a rabble were the hostile armies composed from which he had won his laurels. False and windy reputations are sown thickly in history; but never was there a reputation more thoroughly histrionic than that of Pompey. The late Dr. Arnold of Rugby, among a million of other crotchets, did (it is true) make a pet of Pompey; and he was encouraged in this caprice (which had for its origin the doctor’s political[E] animosity to Cæsar) by one military critic, viz., Sir William Napier. This distinguished soldier conveyed messages to Dr. Arnold, warning him against the popular notion, that Pompey was a poor strategist. Now, had there been any Roman state-paper office, which Sir William could be supposed to have searched and weighed against the statements of surviving history, we might, in deference to Sir William’s great experience and talents, have consented to a rehearing of the case. Unfortunately, no new materials have been discovered; nor is it alleged that the old ones are capable of being thrown into new combinations, so as to reverse or to suspend the old adjudications. The judgment of history stands; and among the records which it involves, none is more striking than this—that, while Cæsar and Pompey were equally assaulted by sudden surprises, the first invariably met the sudden danger (sudden but never unlooked-for) by counter resources of evasion. He showed a new front, as often as his situation exposed a new peril. At Pharsalia, where the cavalry of Pompey was far superior to his own, he anticipated and was in full readiness for the particular manœuvre by which it was attempted to make this superiority available against himself. By a new formation of his troops he foiled the attack, and caused it to recoil upon the enemy. Had Pompey then no rejoinder ready for meeting this reply? No. His one arrow being shot, his quiver was exhausted. Without an effort at parrying any longer, the mighty game was surrendered as desperate. “Check to the king!” was heard in silent submission; and no further stratagem was invoked even in silent prayer, but the stratagem of flight. Yet Cæsar himself, objects a celebrated doctor (viz., Bishop Warburton), was reduced by his own rashness at Alexandria to a condition of peril and embarrassment not less alarming than the condition of Pompey at Pharsalia. How far this surprise might be reconcilable with Cæsar’s military credit, is a question yet undecided; but this at least is certain, that he was equal to the occasion; and, if the surprise was all but fatal, the evasion was all but miraculous. Many were the sudden surprises which Cæsar had to face before and after this—on the shores of Britain, at Marseilles, at Munda, at Thapsus—from all of which he issued triumphantly, failing only as to that final one from which he had in pure nobility of heart announced his determination to shelter himself under no precautions.

Such eases of personal danger and escape are exciting to the imagination, from the disproportion between the interests of an individual and the interests of a whole nation which for the moment happen to be concurrent. The death or the escape of Cæsar, at one moment, rather than another, would make a difference in the destiny of many nations. And in kind, though not in degree, the same interest has frequently attached to the fortunes of a prince or military leader. Effectually the same dramatic character belongs to any struggle with sudden danger, though not (like Cæsar’s) successful. That it was not successful becomes a new reason for pursuing it with interest; since equally in that result, as in one more triumphant, we read the altered course by which history is henceforward destined to flow.

For instance, how much depended—what a weight of history hung in suspense, upon the evasions, or attempts at evasion, of Charles I. He was a prince of great ability; and yet it confounds us to observe, with how little of foresight, or of circumstantial inquiry, either as regarded things or persons, he entered upon these difficult enterprises of escape from the vigilance of military guardians. His first escape, viz., that into the Scottish camp before Newark, was not surrounded with any circumstances of difficulty. His second escape from[Pg 470] Hampton Court had become a matter of more urgent policy, and was proportionally more difficult of execution. He was attended on that occasion by two gentlemen (Berkely and Ashburnham), upon whose qualities of courage and readiness, and upon whose acquaintance with the accidents, local or personal, that surrounded their path, all was staked. Yet one of these gentlemen was always suspected of treachery, and both were imbecile as regarded that sort of wisdom on which it was possible for a royal person to rely. Had the questions likely to arise been such as belong to a masquerading adventure, these gentlemen might have been qualified for the situation. As it was, they sank in mere distraction under the responsibilities of the occasion. The king was as yet in safety. At Lord Southampton’s country mansion, he enjoyed the protection of a loyal family ready to face any risk in his behalf; and his retreat was entirely concealed. Suddenly this scene changes. The military commander in the Isle of Wight is acquainted with the king’s situation, and brought into his presence, together with a military guard, though no effort had been made to exact securities from his honor in behalf of the king. His single object was evidently to arrest the king. His military honor, his duty to the parliament, his private interest, all pointed to the same result, viz., the immediate apprehension of the fugitive prince. What was there in the opposite scale to set against these notorious motives? Simply the fact that he was nephew to the king’s favorite chaplain, Dr. Hammond. What rational man, in a case of that nature, would have relied upon so poor a trifle? Yet even this inconsiderable bias was much more than balanced by another of the same kind but in the opposite direction. Colonel Hammond was nephew to the king’s chaplain, but in the meantime he was the husband of Cromwell’s niece; and upon Cromwell privately, and the whole faction of the Independents politically, he relied for all his hopes of advancement. The result was, that, from mere inertia of mind and criminal negligence in his two attendants, the poor king had run right into the custody of the very jailer whom his enemies would have selected by preference.

Thus, then, from fear of being made a prisoner Charles had quietly walked into the military prison of Carisbrook Castle. The very security of this prison, however, might throw the governor off his guard. Another escape might be possible; and again an escape was arranged. It reads like some leaf torn from the records of a lunatic hospital, to hear its circumstances and the particular point upon which it split. Charles was to make his exit through a window. This window, however, was fenced by iron bars; and these bars had been to a certain extent eaten through with aqua fortis. The king had succeeded in pushing his head through, and upon that result he relied for his escape; for he connected this trial with the following strange maxim or postulate, viz., that wheresoever the head could pass, there the whole person could pass. It needs not to be said, that, in the final experiment, this absurd rule was found not to hold good. The king stuck fast about the chest and shoulders, and was extricated with some difficulty. Had it even been otherwise, the attempt would have failed; for, on looking down from amidst the iron bars, the king beheld, in the imperfect light, a number of people who were not among his accomplices.

Equal in fatuity, almost 150 years later, were the several attempts at escape concerted on behalf of the French royal family. The abortive escape to Varennes is now familiarly known to all the world, and impeaches the good sense of the king himself not less than of his friends. The arrangements for the falling in with the cavalry escort could not have been worse managed had they been intrusted to children. But even the general outline of the scheme, an escape in a collective family party—father, mother, children, and servants—and the king himself, whose features were known to millions, not even withdrawing himself from the public gaze at the stations for changing horses—all this is calculated to perplex and sadden the pitying reader with the idea that some supernatural infatuation had bewildered the predestined victims. Meantime an earlier escape than this to Varennes had been planned, viz., to Brussels. The preparations for this, which have been narrated by Madame de Campan, were conducted with a disregard of concealment even more astounding to people of ordinary good sense. “Do you really need to escape at all?” would have been the question of many a lunatic; “if you do, surely you need also to disguise your preparations for escape.”

But alike the madness, or the providential wisdom, of such attempts commands our profoundest interest; alike—whether conducted by a Cæsar or by the helpless members of families utterly unfitted to act independently for themselves. These attempts belong to history, and it is in that relation that they become philosophically so impressive. Generations through an infinite series are contemplated by us as silently awaiting the turning of a sentinel round a corner, or the casual echo of a footstep. Dynasties have trepidated on the chances of a sudden cry from an infant carried in a basket; and the safety of empires has been suspended, like the descent of an avalanche, upon the moment earlier or the moment later of a cough or a sneeze. And, high above all, ascends solemnly the philosophic truth, that the least things and the greatest are bound together as elements equally essential of the mysterious universe.[Pg 471]


[D] “Feels by a secret instinct;”—A sentiment of this nature is finely expressed by Lucan in the passage beginning, “Advenisse diem,” &c. The circumstance by which Lucan chiefly defeats the grandeur and simplicities of the truth, is, the monstrous numerical exaggeration of the combatants and the killed at Pharsalia.

[E] It is very evident that Dr. Arnold could not have understood the position of politics in Rome, when he allowed himself to make a favorite of Pompey. The doctor hated aristocrats as he hated the gates of Erebus. Now Pompey was not only the leader of a most selfish aristocracy, but also their tool. Secondly, as if this were not bad enough, that section of the aristocracy to which he had dedicated his services was an odious oligarchy; and to this oligarchy, again, though nominally its head, he was in effect the most submissive of tools. Cæsar, on the other hand, if a democrat in the sense of working by democratic agencies, was bending all his efforts to the reconstruction of a new, purer, and enlarged aristocracy, no longer reduced to the necessity of buying and selling the people in mere self-defense. The everlasting war of bribery, operating upon universal poverty, the internal disease of Roman society, would have been redressed by Cæsar’s measures, and was redressed according to the degree in which those measures were really brought into action. New judicatures were wanted, new judicial laws, a new aristocracy, by slow degrees a new people, and the right of suffrage exercised within new restrictions—all these things were needed for the cleansing of Rome; and that Cæsar would have accomplished this labor of Hercules was the true cause of his death. The scoundrels of the oligarchy felt their doom to be approaching. It was the just remark of Napoleon, that Brutus (but still more, we may say, Cicero), though falsely accredited as a patriot, was, in fact, the most exclusive and the most selfish of aristocrats.

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


On the 29th we arrived at a small village of Bakalahari. These natives told me that elephants were abundant on the opposite side of the river. I accordingly resolved to halt here and hunt, and drew my wagons up on the river’s bank, within thirty yards of the water, and about one hundred yards from the native village. Having outspanned, we at once set about making for the cattle a kraal of the worst description of thorn-trees. Of this I had now become very particular, since my severe loss by lions on the first of this month; and my cattle were, at night, secured by a strong kraal, which inclosed my two wagons, the horses being made fast to a trek-tow stretched between the hind wheels of the wagons. I had yet, however, a fearful lesson to learn as to the nature and character of the lion, of which I had at one time entertained so little fear; and on this night a horrible tragedy was to be acted in my little lonely camp of so very awful and appalling a nature as to make the blood curdle in our veins. I worked till near sundown at one side of the kraal with Hendric, my first wagon-driver—I cutting down the trees with my ax, and he dragging them to the kraal. When the kraal for the cattle was finished, I turned my attention to making a pot of barley-broth, and lighted a fire between the wagons and the water, close on the river’s bank, under a dense grove of shady trees, making no sort of kraal around our sitting-place for the evening.

The Hottentots, without any reason, made their fire about fifty yards from mine; they, according to their usual custom, being satisfied with the shelter of a large dense bush. The evening passed away cheerfully. Soon after it was dark we heard elephants breaking the trees in the forest across the river, and once or twice I strode away into the darkness some distance from the fireside to stand and listen to them. I little, at that moment, deemed of the imminent peril to which I was exposing my life, nor thought that a bloodthirsty man-eater lion was crouching near, and only watching his opportunity to spring into the kraal, and consign one of us to a most horrible death. About three hours after the sun went down I called to my men to come and take their coffee and supper, which was ready for them at my fire; and after supper three of them returned before their comrades to their own fireside, and lay down; these were John Stofolus, Hendric, and Ruyter. In a few minutes an ox came out by the gate of the kraal and walked round the back of it. Hendric got up and drove him in again, and then went back to his fireside and lay down. Hendric and Ruyter lay on one side of the fire under one blanket, and John Stofolus lay on the other. At this moment I was sitting taking some barley-broth; our fire was very small, and the night was pitch-dark and windy. Owing to our proximity to the native village the wood was very scarce, the Bakalahari having burned it all in their fires.

Suddenly the appalling and murderous voice of an angry, bloodthirsty lion burst upon my ear within a few yards of us, followed by the shrieking of the Hottentots. Again and again the murderous roar of attack was repeated. We heard John and Ruyter shriek “The lion! the lion!” still, for a few moments, we thought he was but chasing one of the dogs round the kraal; but, next instant, John Stofolus rushed into the midst of us almost speechless with fear and terror, his eyes bursting from their sockets, and shrieked out, “The lion! the lion! He has got Hendric; he dragged him away from the fire beside me. I struck him with the burning brands upon his head, but he would not let go his hold. Hendric is dead! Oh God! Hendric is dead! Let us take fire and seek him.” The rest of my people rushed about, shrieking and yelling as if they were mad. I was at once angry with them for their folly, and told them that if they did not stand still and keep quiet the lion would have another of us; and that very likely there was a troop of them. I ordered the dogs, which were nearly all fast, to be made loose, and the fire to be increased as far as could be. I then shouted Hendric’s name, but all was still. I told my men that Hendric was dead, and that a regiment of soldiers could not now help him, and, hunting my dogs forward, I had every thing brought within the cattle-kraal, when we lighted our fire and closed the entrance as well as we could.

My terrified people sat round the fire with guns in their hands till the day broke, still fancying that every moment the lion would return and spring again into the midst of us. When the dogs were first let go, the stupid brutes, as dogs often prove when most required, instead of going at the lion, rushed fiercely on one another, and fought desperately for some minutes. After this they got his wind, and, going at him, disclosed to us his position: they kept up a continued barking until the day dawned, the lion occasionally springing after them and driving them in upon the kraal. The horrible monster lay all night within forty yards of us, consuming the wretched man whom he had chosen for his prey. He had dragged him into a little hollow at the back of the thick bush beside which the fire was kindled, and there he remained till the day dawned, careless of our proximity.

It appeared that when the unfortunate Hendric rose to drive in the ox, the lion had watched him to his fireside, and he had scarcely laid down when the brute sprang upon him and Ruyter (for both lay under one blanket), with his appalling, murderous roar, and, roaring as he lay, grappled him with his fearful claws, and kept biting him on the breast and shoulder, all the while feeling for his neck; having got hold of which, he at once dragged him away backward round the bush into the dense shade.

As the lion lay upon the unfortunate man, he[Pg 472] faintly cried, “Help me, help me! Oh God! men, help me!” After which the fearful beast got a hold of his neck, and then all was still, except that his comrades heard the bones of his neck cracking between the teeth of the lion. John Stofolus had lain with his back to the fire on the opposite side, and on hearing the lion he sprang up, and, seizing a large flaming brand, had belabored him on the head with the burning wood; but the brute did not take any notice of him. The Bushman had a narrow escape; he was not altogether scatheless, the lion having inflicted two gashes in his seat with his claws.

The next morning, just as the day began to dawn, we heard the lion dragging something up the river side, under cover of the bank. We drove the cattle out of the kraal, and then proceeded to inspect the scene of the night’s awful tragedy. In the hollow, where the lion had lain consuming his prey, we found one leg of the unfortunate Hendric, bitten off below the knee, the shoe still on his foot; the grass and bushes were all stained with his blood, and fragments of his pea-coat lay around. Poor Hendric! I knew the fragments of that old coat, and had often marked them hanging in the dense covers where the elephant had charged after my unfortunate after-rider. Hendric was by far the best man I had about my wagons, of a most cheerful disposition, a first-rate wagon-driver, fearless in the field, ever active, willing, and obliging: his loss to us all was very serious. I felt confounded and utterly sick in my heart; I could not remain at the wagons, so I resolved to go after elephants to divert my mind. I had that morning heard them breaking the trees on the opposite side of the river. I accordingly told the natives of the village of my intentions, and having ordered my people to devote the day to fortifying the kraal, started with Piet and Ruyter as my after-riders. It was a very cool day. We crossed the river, and at once took up the fresh spoor of a troop of bull elephants. These bulls unfortunately joined a troop of cows, and when we came on them the dogs attacked the cows, and the bulls were off in a moment, before we could even see them. One remarkably fine old cow charged the dogs. I hunted this cow, and finished her with two shots from the saddle. Being anxious to return to my people before night, I did not attempt to follow the troop. My followers were not a little gratified to see me returning, for terror had taken hold of their minds, and they expected that the lion would return, and, emboldened by the success of the preceding night, would prove still more daring in his attack. The lion would most certainly have returned, but fate had otherwise ordained. My health had been better in the last three days: my fever was leaving me, but I was, of course, still very weak. It would still be two hours before the sun would set, and, feeling refreshed by a little rest, and able for further work, I ordered the steeds to be saddled, and went in search of the lion.

I took John and Carey as after-riders, armed, and a party of the natives followed up the spoor and led the dogs. The lion had dragged the remains of poor Hendric along a native foot-path that led up the river side. We found fragments of his coat all along the spoor, and at last the mangled coat itself. About six hundred yards from our camp a dry river’s course joined the Limpopo. At this spot was much shade, cover, and heaps of dry reeds and trees deposited by the Limpopo in some great flood. The lion had left the foot-path and entered this secluded spot. I at once felt convinced that we were upon him, and ordered the natives to make loose the dogs. These walked suspiciously forward on the spoor, and next minute began to spring about, barking angrily, with all their hair bristling on their backs: a crash upon the dry reeds immediately followed—it was the lion bounding away.

Several of the dogs were extremely afraid of him, and kept rushing continually backward and springing aloft to obtain a view. I now pressed forward and urged them on; old Argyll and Bles took up his spoor in gallant style, and led on the other dogs. Then commenced a short but lively and glorious chase, whose conclusion was the only small satisfaction that I could obtain to answer for the horrors of the preceding evening. The lion held up the river’s bank for a short distance, and took away through some wait-a-bit thorn cover, the best he could find, but nevertheless open. Here, in two minutes, the dogs were up with him, and he turned and stood at bay. As I approached, he stood, his horrid head right to me, with open jaws, growling fiercely, his tail waving from side to side.

On beholding him my blood boiled with rage. I wished that I could take him alive and torture him, and, setting my teeth, I dashed my steed forward within thirty yards of him and shouted, “Your time is up, old fellow.” I halted my horse, and, placing my rifle to my shoulder, waited for a broadside. This the next moment he exposed, when I sent a bullet through his shoulder and dropped him on the spot. He rose, however, again, when I finished him with a second in the breast. The Bakalahari now came up in wonder and delight. I ordered John to cut off his head and forepaws and bring them to the wagons, and, mounting my horse, galloped home, having been absent about fifteen minutes. When the Bakalahari women heard that the man-eater was dead, they all commenced dancing about with joy, calling me their father.

[From Howitt’s Country Year-Book.]


One fine, blustering, autumn day, a quiet and venerable-looking old gentleman might be seen, with stick in hand, taking his way through the streets of Leicester. If any one had fol[Pg 473]lowed him, they would have found him directing his steps toward that side of the town which leads to Charnwood. The old gentleman, who was a Quaker, took his way leisurely, but thoughtfully, stopping every now and then to see what the farmers’ men were about, who were plowing up the stubbles to prepare for another year’s crop. He paused, also, at this and that farm-house, evidently having a pleasure in the sight of good fat cattle, and in the flocks of poultry—fowls, ducks, geese, and turkeys, busy about the barn-door, where the sound of the flail, or the swipple, as they there term it, was already heard busily knocking out the corn of the last bountiful harvest. Our old friend—a Friend—for though you, dear reader, do not know him, he was both at the time we speak of—our old friend, again trudging on, would pause on the brow of a hill, at a stile, or on some rustic bridge, casting its little obliging arch over a brooklet, and inhale the fresh autumnal air; and after looking round him, nod to himself, as if to say, “Ay, all good, all beautiful!” and so he went on again. But it would not be long before he would be arrested again by clusters of rich, jetty blackberries, hanging from some old hawthorn hedge; or by clusters of nuts, hanging by the wayside, through the copse. In all these natural beauties our old wayfarer seemed to have the enjoyment of a child. Blackberries went into his mouth, and nuts into his pockets; and so, with a quiet, inquiring, and thoughtful, yet thoughtfully cheerful look, the good old man went on.

He seemed bound for a long walk, and yet to be in no hurry. In one place he stopped to talk to a very old laborer, who was clearing out a ditch; and if you had been near, you would have heard that their discourse was of the past days, and the changes in that part of the country, which the old laborer thought were very much for the worse. And worse they were for him: for formerly he was young and full of life; and now he was old and nearly empty of life. Then he was buoyant, sang songs, made love, went to wakes and merry-makings; now his wooing days, and his marrying days, and his married days were over. His good old dame, who in those young, buxom days was a round-faced, rosy, plump, and light-hearted damsel, was dead, and his children were married, and had enough to do. In those days, the poor fellow was strong and lusty, had no fear and no care; in these, he was weak and tottering; had been pulled and harassed a thousand ways; and was left, as he said, like an old dry kex—i.e. a hemlock or cow-parsnip stalk, hollow and dry, to be knocked down and trodden into the dust some day.

Yes, sure enough, those past days were much better days than these days were to him. No comparison. But Mr. John Basford, our old wanderer, was taking a more cheerful view of things, and telling the nearly worn-out laborer, that when the night came there followed morning, and that the next would be a heavenly morning, shining on hills of glory, on waters of life, on cities of the blest, where no sun rose, and no sun set; and where every joyful creature of joyful youth, who had been dear to him, and true to him and God, would again meet him, and make times such as should cause songs of praise to spring out of his heart, just as flowers spring out of a vernal tree in the rekindled warmth of the sun.

The old laborer leaned reverently on his spade as the worthy man talked to him. His gray locks, uncovered at his labor by any hat, were tossed in the autumn wind. His dim eye was fixed on the distant sky, that rolled its dark masses of clouds on the gale, and the deep wrinkles of his pale and feeble temples seemed to grow deeper at the thoughts passing within him. He was listening as to a sermon, which brought together his youth and his age; his past and his future; and there were verified on that spot words which Jesus Christ spoke nearly two thousand years ago—“Wherever two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

He was in the midst of the two only. There was a temple there in those open fields, sanctified by two pious hearts, which no ringing of bells, no sound of solemn organ, nor voice of congregated prayers, nor any preacher but the ever-present and invisible One, who there and then fulfilled His promise and was gracious, could have made more holy.

Our old friend again turned to set forward; he shook the old laborer kindly by the hand, and there was a gaze of astonishment in the old man’s face—the stranger had not only cheered him by his words, but left something to cheer him when he was gone.

The Friend now went on with a more determined step. He skirted the memorable park of Bradgate, famous for the abode of Lady Jane Grey, and the visit of her schoolmaster, Roger Ascham. He went on into a region of woods and hills. At some seven or eight miles from Leicester, he drew near a solitary farm-house, within the ancient limits of the forest of Charnwood. It was certainly a lonely place amid the woodlands and the wild autumn fields. Evening was fast dropping down; and as the shade of night fell on the scene, the wind tossed more rushingly the boughs of the thick trees, and roared down the rocky valley. John Basford went up to the farm-house, however, as if that was the object of his journey, and a woman opening it at his knock, he soon disappeared within.

Now our old friend was a perfect stranger here; had never been here before; had no acquaintance nor actual business with the inhabitants, though any one watching his progress hither would have been quite satisfied that he was not wandering without an object. But he merely stated that he was somewhat fatigued with his walk from the town, and requested leave to rest awhile. In such a place, such a request is readily, and even gladly granted[Pg 474].

There was a cheerful fire burning on a bright, clean hearth. The kettle was singing on the hob for tea, and the contrast of the in-door comfort was sensibly heightened by the wild gloom without. The farmer’s wife, who had admitted the stranger, soon went out, and called her husband from the fold-yard. He was a plain, hearty sort of man; gave our friend a hearty shake of the hand, sate down, and began to converse. A little time seemed to establish a friendly interest between the stranger and the farmer and his wife. John Basford asked whether they would allow him to smoke a pipe, which was not only readily accorded, but the farmer joined him. They smoked and talked alternately of the country and the town, Leicester being the farmer’s market, and as familiar to him as his own neighborhood. He soon came to know, too, who his guest was, and expressed much pleasure in the visit. Tea was carried into the parlor, and thither they all adjourned, for now the farming men were coming into the kitchen, where they sate for the evening.

Tea over, the two gentlemen again had a pipe, and the conversation wandered over a multitude of things and people known to both.

But the night was come down pitch dark, wild, and windy, and old John Basford had to return to Leicester.

“To Leicester!” exclaimed at once man and wife; “to Leicester!” No such thing. He must stay where he was—where could he be better?

John Basford confessed that that was true; he had great pleasure in conversing with them; but then, was it not an unwarrantable liberty to come to a stranger’s house, and make thus free?

“Not in the least,” the farmer replied; “the freer the better!”

The matter thus was settled, and the evening wore on; but in the course of the evening, the guest, whose simple manner, strong sense, and deeply pious feeling, had made a most favorable impression on his entertainers, hinted that he had heard some strange rumors regarding this house, and that, in truth, had been the cause which had attracted him thither. He had heard, in fact, that a particular chamber in this house was haunted; and he had for a long time felt a growing desire to pass a night in it. He now begged this favor might be granted him.

As he had opened this subject, an evident cloud, and something of an unpleasant surprise, had fallen on the countenances of both man and wife. It deepened as he proceeded; the farmer had withdrawn his pipe from his mouth, and laid it on the table; and the woman had risen, and looked uneasily at their guest. The moment that he uttered the wish to sleep in the haunted room, both exclaimed in the same instant against it.

“No, never!” they exclaimed; “never, on any consideration! They had made a firm resolve on that point, which nothing would induce them to break through.”

The guest expressed himself disappointed, but did not press the matter further at the moment. He contented himself with turning the conversation quietly upon this subject, and after a while found the farmer and his wife confirm to him every thing that he had heard. Once more then, and as incidentally, he expressed his regret that he could not gratify the curiosity which had brought him so far; and, before the time for retiring arrived, again ventured to express how much what he had now heard had increased his previous desire to pass a night in that room. He did not profess to believe himself invulnerable to fears of such a kind, but was curious to convince himself of the actual existence of spiritual agency of this character.

The farmer and his wife steadily refused. They declared that others who had come with the same wish, and had been allowed to gratify it, had suffered such terrors as had made their after-lives miserable. The last of these guests was a clergyman, who received such a fright that he sprang from his bed at midnight, had descended, gone into the stable, and saddling his horse, had ridden away at full speed. Those things had caused them to refuse, and that firmly, any fresh experiment of the kind.

The spirit visitation was described to be generally this: At midnight, the stranger sleeping in that room would hear the latch of the door raised, and would in the dark perceive a light step enter, and, as with a stealthy tread, cross the room, and approach the foot of the bed. The curtains would be agitated, and something would be perceived mounted on the bed, and proceeding up it, just upon the body of the person in it. The supernatural visitant would then stretch itself full length on the person of the agitated guest, and the next moment he would feel an oppression at his chest, as of a nightmare, and something extremely cold would touch his face.

At this crisis, the terrified guest would usually utter a fearful shriek, and often go into a swoon. The whole family would be roused from their beds by the alarm; but on no occasion had any traces of the cause of terror been found, though the house, on such occasions, had been diligently and thoroughly searched. The annoying visit was described as being by no means uniform. Sometimes it would not take place for a very long time, so that they would begin to hope that there would be no more of it; but it would, when least expected, occur again. Few people of late years, however, had ventured to sleep in that room, and never since the aforementioned clergyman was so terribly alarmed, about two years ago, had it once been occupied.

“Then,” said John Basford, “it is probable that the annoyance is done with forever. If the troublesome visitant was still occasionally present it would, no doubt, take care to manifest itself in some mode or place. It was necessary to test the matter to see whether this particular room was still subject to so strange a phenomenon.”

This seemed to have an effect on the farmer[Pg 475] and his wife. The old man urged his suit all the more earnestly, and, after further show of extreme reluctance on the part of his entertainers, finally prevailed.

The consent once being given, the farmer’s wife retired to make the necessary arrangements. Our friend heard sundry goings to and fro; but at length it was announced to him that all was ready; the farmer and his wife both repeating that they would be much better pleased if Mr. Basford would be pleased to sleep in some other room. The old man, however, remained firm to his purpose; he was shown to his chamber, and the maid who led the way stood at some distance from the denoted door, and pointing to it, bade him good night, and hurried away.

Mr. Basford found himself alone in the haunted room, he looked round and discovered nothing that should make it differ from any other good and comfortable chamber, or that should give to some invisible agent so singular a propensity to disturb any innocent mortal that nocturnated in it. Whether he felt any nervous terrors, we know not; but as he was come to see all that would or could occur there, he kept himself most vigilantly awake. He lay down in a very good feather bed, extinguished his light, and waited in patience. Time and tide, as they will wait for no man, went on. All sounds of life ceased in the house; nothing could be heard but the rushing wind without, and the bark of the yard-dog occasionally amid the laughing blast. Midnight came, and found John Basford wide-awake and watchfully expectant. Nothing stirred, but he lay still on the watch. At length—was it so? Did he hear a rustling movement, as it were, near his door, or was it his excited fancy? He raised his head from his pillow, and listened intensely. Hush! there is something!—no!—it was his contagious mind ready to hear and see—what? There was an actual sound of the latch! He could hear it raised! He could not be mistaken. There was a sound as if his door was cautiously opened. List! it was true. There were soft, stealthy footsteps on the carpet; they came directly toward the bed; they paused at its foot; the curtains were agitated; there were steps on the bed; something crept—did not the heart and the very flesh of the rash old man now creep too?—and upon him sank a palpable form, palpable from its pressure, for the night was dark as an oven. There was a heavy weight on his chest, and in the same instant something almost icy cold touched his face.

With a sudden, convulsive action, the old man suddenly flung up his arms, clutched at the terrible object which thus oppressed him, and shouted with a loud cry,

“I have got him! I have got him!”

There was a sound as of a deep growl, a vehement struggle, but John Basford held fast his hold, and felt that he had something within it huge, shaggy, and powerful. Once more he raised his voice loud enough to have roused the whole house; but it seemed no voice of terror, but one of triumph and satisfaction. In the next instant, the farmer rushed into the room with a light in his hand, and revealed to John Basford that he held in his arms the struggling form of a huge Newfoundland dog!

“Let him go, sir, in God’s name!” exclaimed the farmer, on whose brow drops of real anguish stood, and glistened in the light of the candle. “Down stairs, Cæsar!” and the dog, released from the hold of the Quaker, departed as if much ashamed.

In the same instant, the farmer and his wife, who now also came in dressed, and evidently never having been to bed, were on their knees by the bedside.

“You know it all, sir,” said the farmer; “you see through it. You were too deep and strong-minded to be imposed on. We were, therefore, afraid of this when you asked to sleep in this room. Promise us now, that while we live you will never reveal what you know?”

They then related to him, that this house and chamber had never been haunted by any other than this dog, which had been trained to play the part. That, for generations, their family had lived on this farm; but some years ago, their landlord having suddenly raised their rent to an amount that they felt they could not give, they were compelled to think of quitting the farm. This was to them an insuperable source of grief. It was the place that all their lives and memories were bound up with. They were extremely cast down. Suddenly it occurred to them to give an ill name to the house. They hit on this scheme, and, having practiced it well, did not long want an opportunity of trying it. It had succeeded beyond their expectations. The fears of their guests were found to be of a force which completely blinded them to any discovery of the truth. There had been occasions where they thought some clumsy accident must have stripped away the delusion; but no! there seemed a thick vail of blindness, a fascination of terror cast over the strongest minds, which nothing could pierce through. Case after case occurred; and the house and farm acquired such a character, that no money or consideration of any kind would have induced a fresh tenant to live there. The old tenants continued at their old rent; and the comfortable ghost stretched himself every night in a capacious kennel, without any need of disturbing his slumbers by calls to disturb those of the guests of the haunted chamber.

Having made this revelation, the farmer and his wife again implored their guest to preserve their secret.

He hesitated.

“Nay,” said he, “I think it would not be right to do that. That would be to make myself a party to a public deception. It would be a kind of fraud on the world and the landlord. It would serve to keep up those superstitious terrors which should be as speedily as possible dissipated.”

The farmer was in agony. He rose and[Pg 476] strode to and fro in the room. His countenance grew red and wrathful. He cast dark glances at his guest, whom his wife continued to implore, and who sate silent, and, as it were, lost in reflection.

“And do you think it a right thing, sir,” said the farmer, “thus to force yourself into a stranger’s house and family, and, in spite of the strongest wishes expressed to the contrary, into his very chambers, and that only to do him a mischief? Is that your religion, sir? I thought you had something better in you than that. Am I now to think your mildness and piety were only so much hypocrisy put on to ruin me?”

“Nay, friend, I don’t want to ruin thee,” said the Quaker.

“But ruin me you will, though, if you publish this discovery. Out I must turn, and be the laughing-stock of the whole country to boot. Now, if that is what you mean, say so, and I shall know what sort of a man you are. Let me know at once whether you are an honest man or a cockatrice?”

“My friend,” said the Quaker, “canst thou call thyself an honest man, in practicing this deception for all these years, and depriving thy landlord of the rent he would otherwise have got from another? And dost thou think it would be honest in me to assist in the continuance of this fraud?”

“I rob the landlord of nothing,” replied the farmer. “I pay a good, fair rent; but I don’t want to quit the old spot. And if you had not thrust yourself into this affair, you would have had nothing to lay on your conscience concerning it. I must, let me tell you, look on it as a piece of unwarrantable impertinence to come thus to my house and be kindly treated only to turn Judas against me.”

The word Judas seemed to hit the Friend a great blow.

“A Judas!”

“Yes—a Judas! a real Judas!” exclaimed the wife. “Who could have thought it!”

“Nay, nay,” said the old man. “I am no Judas. It is true, I forced myself into it; and if you pay the landlord an honest rent, why, I don’t know that it is any business of mine—at least while you live.”

“That is all we want,” replied the farmer, his countenance changing, and again flinging himself by his wife on his knees by the bed. “Promise us never to reveal it while we live, and we shall be quite satisfied. We have no children, and when we go, those may come to th’ old spot who will.”

“Promise me never to practice this trick again,” said John Basford.

“We promise faithfully,” rejoined both farmer and wife.

“Then I promise too,” said the Friend, “that not a whisper of what has passed here shall pass my lips during your lifetime.”

With warmest expressions of thanks, the farmer and his wife withdrew; and John Basford, having cleared the chamber of its mystery, lay down and passed one of the sweetest nights he ever enjoyed.

The farmer and his wife lived a good many years after this, but they both died before Mr. Basford; and after their death, he related to his friends the facts which are here detailed. He, too, has passed, years ago, to his longer night in the grave, and to the clearing up of greater mysteries than that of—the Haunted House of Charnwood Forest.

[From Fraser’s Magazine.]


Ledru rollin is now in his forty-fourth or forty-fifth year, having been born in 1806 or 1807. He is the grandson of the famous Prestidigateur, or Conjurer Comus, who, about four or five-and-forty years ago, was in the acme of his fame. During the Consulate, and a considerable portion of the Empire, Comus traveled from one department of France to the other, and is even known to have extended his journeys beyond the Rhine and the Moselle on one side, and beyond the Rhône and Garonne on the other. Of all the conjurors of his day he was the most famous and the most successful, always, of course, excepting that Corsican conjuror who ruled for so many years the destinies of France. From those who have seen that famous trickster, we have learned that the Charleses, the Alexandres, even the Robert-Houdins, were children compared with the magical wonder-worker of the past generation. The fame of Comus was enormous, and his gains proportionate; and when he had shuffled off this mortal coil it was found he had left to his descendants a very ample—indeed, for France a very large fortune. Of the descendants in a right line, his grandson, Ledru Rollin, was his favorite, and to him the old man left the bulk of his fortune, which, during the minority of Ledru Rollin, grew to a sum amounting to nearly, if not fully, £4000 per annum of our money.

The scholastic education of the young man who was to inherit this considerable fortune, was nearly completed during the reign of Louis XVIII., and shortly after Charles X. ascended the throne il commençait à faire sur droit, as they phrase it in the pays Latin. Neither during the reign of Louis XVIII., nor indeed now, unless in the exact and physical sciences, does Paris afford a very solid and substantial education. Though the Roman poets and historians are tolerably well studied and taught, yet little attention is paid to Greek literature. The physical and exact sciences are unquestionably admirably taught at the Polytechnique and other schools; but neither at the College of St. Barbe, nor of Henry IV., can a pupil be so well grounded in the rudiments and humanities as in our grammar and public schools. A studious, painstaking, and docile youth, will, no doubt, learn a great deal, no matter where he has been placed in pupilage; but we have heard from a contem[Pg 477]porary of M. Rollin, that he was not particularly distinguished either for his industry or his docility in early life. The earliest days of the reign of Charles X. saw M. Ledru Rollin an étudiant en droit in Paris. Though the schools of law had been re-established during the Consulate pretty much after the fashion in which they existed in the time of Louis XIV., yet the application of the alumni was fitful and desultory, and perhaps there were no two classes in France, at the commencement of 1825, who were more imbued with the Voltarian philosophy, and the doctrines and principles of Rosseau, than the élèves of the schools of law and medicine.

Under a king so skeptical and voluptuous, so much of a philosophe and pyrrhonéste, as Louis XVIII., such tendencies were likely to spread themselves through all ranks of society—to permeate from the very highest to the very lowest classes; and not all the lately acquired asceticism of the monarch, his successor, nor all the efforts of the Jesuits, could restrain or control the tendencies of the étudiants en droit. What the law students were antecedently and subsequent to 1825, we know from the Physiologic de l’Homme de Loi; and it is not to be supposed that M. Ledru Rollin, with more ample pecuniary means at command, very much differed from his fellows. After undergoing a three years’ course of study, M. Rollin obtained a diploma as a licencié en droit, and commenced his career as stagiare somewhere about the end of 1826, or the beginning of 1827. Toward the close of 1829, or in the first months of 1830, he was, we believe, placed on the roll of advocates: so that he was called to the bar, or, as they say in France, received an advocate, in his twenty-second or twenty-third year.

The first years of an advocate, even in France, are generally passed in as enforced an idleness as in England. Clients come not to consult the greenhorn of the last term; nor does any avoué among our neighbors, any more than any attorney among ourselves, fancy that an old head is to be found on young shoulders. The years 1830 and 1831 were not marked by any oratorical effort of the author of the Decline of England; nor was it till 1832 that, being then one of the youngest of the bar of Paris, he prepared and signed an opinion against the placing of Paris in a state of siege consequent on the insurrections of June. Two years after he prepared a memoir, or factum, on the affair of the Rue Transonian, and defended Dupoty, accused of complicité morale, a monstrous doctrine, invented by the Attorney-general Hebert. From 1834 to 1841 he appeared as counsel in nearly all the cases of émeute or conspiracy where the individuals prosecuted were Republicans or quasi-Republicans. Meanwhile, he had become the proprietor and rédacteur en chief of the Réforme newspaper, a political journal of an ultra-liberal—indeed, of a republican-complexion, which was then called of extreme opinions, as he had previously been editor of a legal newspaper called Journal du Palais. La Réforme had been originally conducted by Godefroy Cavaignac, the brother of the general, who continued editor till the period of the fatal illness which preceded his death. The defense of Dupoty, tried and sentenced under the ministry of Thiers to five years’ imprisonment, as a regicide, because a letter was found open in the letter-box of the paper of which he was editor, addressed to him by a man said to be implicated in the conspiracy of Quenisset, naturally brought M. Rollin into contact with many of the writers in La Réforme; and these persons, among others Guinard Arago, Etienne Arago, and Flocon, induced him to embark some portion of his fortune in the paper. From one step he was led on to another, and ultimately became one of the chief, indeed, is not the chief proprietor. The speculation was far from successful in a pecuniary sense; but M. Rollin, in furtherance of his opinions, continued for some years to disburse considerable sums in the support of the journal. By this he no doubt increased his popularity and his credit with the republican party, but it can not be denied that he very materially injured his private fortune. In the earlier portion of his career M. Rollin was, it is known, not indisposed to seek a seat in the chamber under the auspicies of M. Barrot, but subsequently to his connection with the Réforme, he had himself become thoroughly known to the extreme party in the departments, and on the death of Garnier Pagès the elder, was elected in 1841 for Le Mans, in the department of La Sarthe.

In addressing the electors after his return, M. Rollin delivered a speech much more republican than monarchical. For this he was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, but the sentence was appealed against and annulled on a technical ground, and the honorable member was ultimately acquitted by the Cour d’Assizes of Angers.

The parliamentary début of M. Rollin took place in 1842. His first speech was delivered on the subject of the secret-service money. The elocution was easy and flowing, the manner oratorical, the style somewhat turgid and bombastic. But in the course of the session M. Rollin improved, and his discourse on the modification of the criminal law, on other legal subjects, and on railways, were more sober specimens of style. In 1843 and 1844 M. Rollin frequently spoke; but though his speeches were a good deal talked of outside the walls of the chamber, they produced little effect within it. Nevertheless, it was plain to every candid observer that he possessed many of the requisites of the orator—a good voice, a copious flow of words, considerable energy and enthusiasm, a sanguine temperament and jovial and generous disposition. In the sessions of 1845-46, M. Rollin took a still more prominent part. His purse, his house in the Rue Tournon, his counsels and advice, were all placed at the service of the men of the movement, and by the beginning of 1847 he seemed to be acknowl[Pg 478]edged by the extreme party as its most conspicuous and popular member. Such, indeed, was his position when the electoral reform banquets, on a large scale, began to take place in the autumn of 1847. These banquets, promoted and forwarded by the principal members of the opposition to serve the cause of electoral reform, were looked on by M. Rollin and his friends in another light. While Odillon Barrot, Duvergier d’Hauranne, and others, sought by means of them to produce an enlarged constituency, the member for Sarthe looked not merely to functional, but to organic reform—not merely to an enlargement of the constituency, but to a change in the form of the government. The desire of Barrot was à la vérité, à la sincerité des institutions conquises en Julliet 1830; whereas the desire of Rollin was, à l’amélioration des classes laborieuses: the one was willing to go on with the dynasty of Louis Philippe and the Constitution of July improved by diffusion and extension of the franchise, the other looked to a democratic and social republic. The result is now known. It is not here our purpose to go over the events of the Revolution of February, 1848, but we may be permitted to observe, that the combinations by which that event was effected were ramified and extensive, and were long silently and secretly in motion.

The personal history of Ledru Rollin, since February, 1848, is well known and patent to all the world. He was the ame damnée of the Provisional Government—the man whose extreme opinions, intemperate circulars, and vehement patronage of persons professing the political creed of Robespierre—indisposed all moderate men to rally around the new system. It was in covering Ledru Rollin with the shield of his popularity that Lamartine lost his own, and that he ceased to be the political idol of a people of whom he must ever be regarded as one of the literary glories and illustrations. On the dissolution of the Provisional Government, Ledru Rollin constituted himself one of the leaders of the movement party. In ready powers of speech and in popularity no man stood higher; but he did not possess the power of restraining his followers or of holding them in hand, and the result was, that instead of being their leader he became their instrument. Fond of applause, ambitious of distinction, timid by nature, destitute of pluck, and of that rarer virtue moral courage, Ledru Rollin, to avoid the imputation of faint-heartedness, put himself in the foreground, but the measures of his followers being ill-taken, the plot in which he was mixed up egregiously failed, and he is now in consequence an exile in England.

[From Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal.]


It was a dead calm—not a breath of air—the sails flapped idly against the masts; the helm had lost its power, and the ship turned her head how and where she liked. The heat was intense, so much so, that the chief mate had told the boatswain to keep the watch out of the sun; but the watch below found it too warm to sleep, and were tormented with thirst, which they could not gratify till the water was served out. They had drunk all the previous day’s allowance; and now that their scuttle but was dry, there was nothing left for them but endurance. Some of the seamen had congregated on the top-gallant forecastle, where they gazed on the clear blue water with longing eyes.

“How cool and clear it looks,” said a tall, powerful young seaman; “I don’t think there are many sharks about: what do you say for a bath, lads?”

“That for the sharks!” burst almost simultaneously from the parched lips of the group: “we’ll have a jolly good bath when the second mate goes in to dinner.” In about half an hour the dinner-bell rang. The boatswain took charge of the deck; some twenty sailors were now stripped, except a pair of light duck trowsers; among the rest was a tall, powerful, coast-of-Africa nigger of the name of Leigh: they used to joke him, and call him Sambo.

“You no swim to-day, Ned?” said he, addressing me. “Feared of shark, heh? Shark nebber bite me. Suppose I meet shark in water, I swim after him—him run like debbel.” I was tempted, and, like the rest, was soon ready. In quick succession we jumped off the spritsail yard, the black leading. We had scarcely been in the water five minutes, when some voice in-board cried out, “A shark! a shark!” In an instant every one of the swimmers came tumbling up the ship’s sides, half mad with fright, the gallant black among the rest. It was a false alarm. We felt angry with ourselves for being frightened, angry with those who had frightened us, and furious with those who had laughed at us. In another moment we were all again in the water, the black and myself swimming some distance from the ship. For two successive voyages there had been a sort of rivalry between us: each fancied that he was the best swimmer, and we were now testing our speed.

“Well done, Ned!” cried some of the sailors from the forecastle. “Go it, Sambo!” cried some others. We were both straining our utmost, excited by the cheers of our respective partisans. Suddenly the voice of the boatswain was heard shouting, “A shark! a shark! Come back for God’s sake!”

“Lay aft, and lower the cutter down,” then came faintly on our ear. The race instantly ceased. As yet, we only half believed what we heard, our recent fright being still fresh in our memories.

“Swim, for God’s sake!” cried the captain, who was now on deck; “he has not yet seen you. The boat, if possible, will get between you and him. Strike out, lads, for God’s sake!” My heart stood still: I felt weaker than a child as I gazed with horror at the dorsal fin of a large shark on the starboard quarter. Though in the water, the perspiration dropped from me[Pg 479] like rain: the black was striking out like mad for the ship.

“Swim, Ned—swim!” cried several voices; “they never take black when they can get white.”

I did swim, and that desperately: the water foamed past me. I soon breasted the black, but could not head him. We both strained every nerve to be first, for we each fancied the last man would be taken. Yet we scarcely seemed to move: the ship appeared as far as ever from us. We were both powerful swimmers, and both of us swam in the French way called la brasse, or hand over hand, in English. There was something the matter with the boat’s falls, and they could not lower her.

“He sees you now!” was shouted; “he is after you!” Oh the agony of that moment! I thought of every thing at the same instant, at least so it seemed to me then. Scenes long forgotten rushed through my brain with the rapidity of lightning, yet in the midst of this I was striking out madly for the ship. Each moment I fancied I could feel the pilot-fish touching me, and I almost screamed with agony. We were now not ten yards from the ship: fifty ropes were thrown to us; but, as if by mutual instinct, we swam for the same.

“Hurra! they are saved!—they are alongside!” was shouted by the eager crew. We both grasped the rope at the same time: a slight struggle ensued: I had the highest hold. Regardless of every thing but my own safety, I placed my feet on the black’s shoulders, scrambled up the side, and fell exhausted on the deck. The negro followed roaring with pain, for the shark had taken away part of his heel. Since then, I have never bathed at sea; nor, I believe, has Sambo been ever heard again to assert that he would swim after a shark if he met one in the water.

[From Howitt’s Country Year-Book.]


By the wayside, not far from the town of Mansfield—on a high and heathy ground, which gives a far-off view of the minster of Lincoln—you may behold a little clump of trees, encircled by a wall. That is called Thompson’s Grave. But who is this Thompson; and why lies he so far from his fellows? In ground unconsecrated; in the desert, or on the verge of it—for cultivation now approaches it? The poor man and his wants spread themselves, and corn and potatoes crowd upon Thompson’s grave. But who is this Thompson; and why lies he here?

In the town of Mansfield there was a poor boy, and this poor boy became employed in a hosier’s warehouse. From the warehouse his assiduity and probity sent him to the counting-house; from the counting-house, abroad. He traveled to carry stockings to the Asiatic and the people of the south. He sailed up the rivers of Persia, and saw the tulips growing wild on their banks, with many a lily and flower of our proudest gardens. He traveled in Spain and Portugal, and was in Lisbon when the great earthquake shook his house over his head. He fled. The streets reeled; the houses fell; church towers dashed down in thunder across his path. There were flying crowds, shrieks, and dust, and darkness. But he fled on. The farther, the more misery. Crowds filled the fields when he reached them—naked, half-naked, terrified, starving, and looking in vain for a refuge. He fled across the hills, and gazed. The whole huge city rocked and staggered below. There were clouds of dust, columns of flame, the thunder of down-crashing buildings, the wild cries of men. He suffered amid ten thousand suffering outcasts.

At length, the tumult ceased; the earth became stable. With other ruined and curious men he climbed over the heaps of desolation in quest of what once was his home, and the depository of his property. His servant was nowhere to be seen: Thompson felt that he must certainly have been killed. After many days’ quest, and many uncertainties, he found the spot where his house had stood; it was a heap of rubbish. His servant and merchandise lay beneath it. He had money enough, or credit enough, to set to work men to clear away some of the fallen materials, and to explore whether any amount of property were recoverable. What’s that sound? A subterranean, or subruinan, voice? The workmen stop, and are ready to fly with fear. Thompson exhorts them, and they work on. But again that voice! No human creature can be living there. The laborers again turn to fly. They are a poor, ignorant, and superstitious crew; but Thompson’s commands, and Thompson’s gold, arrest them. They work on, and out walks Thompson’s living servant, still in the body, though a body not much more substantial than a ghost All cry, “How have you managed to live?”

“I fled to the cellar. I have sipped the wine; but now I want bread, meat, every thing!” and the living skeleton walked staggeringly on, and looked voraciously for shops and loaves, and saw only brickbats and ruins.

Thompson recovered his goods, and retreated as soon as possible to his native land. Here, in his native town, the memory of the earthquake still haunted him. He used almost daily to hasten out of the place, and up the forest hill, where he imagined that he saw Lisbon reeling, tottering, churches falling, and men flying. But he saw only the red tiles of some thousand peaceful houses, and the twirling of a dozen windmill sails. Here he chose his burial-ground; walled it, and planted it, and left special directions for his burial. The grave should be deep, and the spades of resurrection-men disappointed by repeated layers of straw, not easy to dig through. In the church-yard of Mansfield, meantime, he found the grave of his parents, and honored it with an inclosure of iron palisades.[Pg 480]

He died. How? Not in travel; not in sailing over the ocean, nor up tulip-margined rivers of Persia or Arabia Felix; nor yet in an earthquake—but in the dream of one. One night he was heard crying in a voice of horror, “There! there!—fly! fly!—the town shakes! the house falls! Ha! the earth opens!—away!” Then the voice ceased; but in the morning it was found that he had rolled out of bed, lodged between the bedstead and the wall, and there, like a sandbag wedged in a windy crevice, he was—dead!

There is, therefore, a dead Thompson in Sherwood Forest, where no clergyman laid him, and yet he sleeps; and there is also a living Thompson.

In the village of Edwinstowe, on the very verge of the beautiful old Birkland, there stands a painter’s house. In his little parlor you find books, and water-color-paintings on the walls, which show that the painter has read and looked about him in the world. And yet he is but a house-painter, who owes his establishment here to his love of nature rather than to his love of art. In the neighboring Dukery, some one of the wealthy wanted a piece of oak-painting done; but he was dissatisfied with the style in which painters now paint oak; a style very splendid, but as much resembling genuine oak as a frying-pan resembles the moon. Christopher Thompson determined to try his hand; and for this purpose he did not put himself to school to some great master of the art, who had copied the copy of a hundred consecutive copies of a piece of oak, till the thing produced was very fine, but like no wood that ever grew or ever will grow. Christopher Thompson went to nature. He got a piece of well-figured, real oak, well planed and polished, and copied it precisely. When the different specimens of the different painters were presented to the aforesaid party, he found only one specimen at all like oak, and that was Thompson’s. The whole crowd of master house-painters were exasperated and amazed. Such a fellow preferred to them! No; they were wrong; it was nature that was preferred.

Christopher Thompson was a self-taught painter. He had been tossed about the world in a variety of characters—errand-boy, brickmakers’ boy, potter, shipwright, sailor, sawyer, strolling player; and here he finally settled down as painter, and, having achieved a trade, he turned author, and wrote his life. That life—The Autobiography of an Artisan—is one of the best written and most interesting books of its class that we ever read. It is full of the difficulties of a poor man’s life, and of the resolute spirit that conquers them. It is, moreover, full of a desire to enlighten, elevate, and in every way better the condition of his fellow-men. Christopher Thompson is not satisfied to have made his own way; he is anxious to pave the way for the whole struggling population. He is a zealous politician, and advocate of the Odd Fellow system, as calculated to link men together and give them power, while it gives them a stimulus to social improvement. He has labored to diffuse a love of reading, and to establish mechanics’ libraries in neglected and obscure places.

Behold the Thompson of Edwinstowe. Time, in eight-and-forty years, has whitened his hair, though it has left the color of health on his cheek, and the fire of intelligence in his eye. With a well-built frame and figure, and a comely countenance, there is a buoyancy of step, an energy of manner about him, that agree with what he has written of his life and aspirations. Such are the men that England is now, ever and anon, in every nook and corner of the island, producing. She produces them because they are needed. They are the awakeners who are to stir up the sluggish to what the time demands of them.

The two Thompsons of Sherwood are types of their ages. He of the grave—lies solitary and apart from his race. He lived to earn money—his thought was for himself—and there he sleeps, alone in his glory—such as it is. He was no worse, nay, he was better than many of his contemporaries. He had no lack of benevolence; but trade and the spirit of his age, cold and unsympathetic, absorbed him. He was content to lie alone in the desert, amid the heath “that knows not when good cometh,” and where the lonely raven perches on the blasted tree.

The living Thompson is, too, the man of his age: for it is an age of awakening enterprise, of wider views, of stronger sympathies. He lives and works, not for himself alone. His motto is Progress; and while the forest whispers to him of the past, books and his own heart commune with him of the future. Such men belong to both. When the present becomes the past, their work will survive them; and their tomb will not be a desert, but the grateful memories of improved men. May they spring up in every hamlet, and carry knowledge and refinement to every cottage fireside!

[From Five Years’ Hunting Adventures in South Africa.]


The night of the 19th was to me rather a memorable one, as being the first on which I had the satisfaction of hearing the deep-toned thunder of the lion’s roar. Although there was no one near to inform me by what beast the haughty and impressive sounds which echoed through the wilderness were produced, I had little difficulty in divining. There was no mistake about it; and on hearing it I at once knew, as well as if accustomed to the sound from my infancy; that the appalling roar which was uttered within half a mile of me was no other than that of the mighty and terrible king of beasts. Although the dignified and truly monarchical appearance of the lion has long rendered him famous among his fellow quadrupeds, and his appearance and[Pg 481] habits have oftener been described by abler pens than mine, nevertheless I consider that a few remarks, resulting from my own personal experience, formed by a tolerable long acquaintance with him, both by day and by night, may not prove uninteresting to the reader. There is something so noble and imposing in the presence of the lion, when seen walking with dignified self-possession, free and undaunted, on his native soil, that no description can convey an adequate idea of his striking appearance. The lion is exquisitely formed by nature for the predatory habits which he is destined to pursue. Combining in comparatively small compass the qualities of power and agility, he is enabled, by means of the tremendous machinery with which nature has gifted him, easily to overcome and destroy almost every beast of the forest, however superior to him in weight and stature.

Though considerably under four feet in height, he has little difficulty in dashing to the ground and overcoming the lofty and apparently powerful giraffe, whose head towers above the trees of the forest, and whose skin is nearly an inch in thickness. The lion is the constant attendant of the vast herds of buffaloes which frequent the interminable forests of the interior; and a full-grown one, so long as his teeth are unbroken, generally proves a match for an old bull buffalo, which in size and strength greatly surpasses the most powerful breed of English cattle: the lion also preys on all the larger varieties of the antelopes, and on both varieties of the gnoo. The zebra, which is met with in large herds throughout the interior, is also a favorite object of his pursuit.

Lions do not refuse, as has been asserted, to feast upon the venison that they have not killed themselves. I have repeatedly discovered lions of all ages which had taken possession of, and were feasting upon, the carcasses of various game quadrupeds which had fallen before my rifle. The lion is very generally diffused throughout the secluded parts of Southern Africa. He is, however, nowhere met with in great abundance, it being very rare to find more than three, or even two, families of lions frequenting the same district and drinking at the same fountain. When a greater number were met with, I remarked that it was owing to long-protracted droughts, which, by drying nearly all the fountains, had compelled the game of various districts to crowd the remaining springs, and the lions, according to their custom, followed in the wake. It is a common thing to come upon a full-grown lion and lioness associating with three or four large young ones nearly full-grown; at other times, full-grown males will be found associating and hunting together in a happy state of friendship: two, three, and four full-grown male lions may thus be discovered consorting together.

The male lion is adorned with a long, rank, shaggy mane, which in some instances, almost sweeps the ground. The color of these manes varies, some being very dark, and others of a golden yellow. This appearance has given rise to a prevailing opinion among the boers that there are two distinct varieties of lions, which they distinguish by the respective names of “Schwart fore life” and “Chiel fore life:” this idea, however, is erroneous. The color of the lion’s mane is generally influenced by his age. He attains his mane in the third year of his existence. I have remarked that at first it is of a yellowish color; in the prime of life it is blackest, and when he has numbered many years, but still is in the full enjoyment of his power, it assumes a yellowish-gray, pepper-and-salt sort of color. These old fellows are cunning and dangerous, and most to be dreaded. The females are utterly destitute of a mane, being covered with a short, thick, glossy coat of tawny hair. The manes and coats of lions frequenting open-lying districts utterly destitute of trees, such as the borders of the great Kalahari desert, are more rank and handsome than those inhabiting forest districts.

One of the most striking things connected with the lion is his voice, which is extremely grand and peculiarly striking. It consists at times of a low, deep moaning, repeated five or six times, ending in faintly audible sighs; at other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, solemn roars, repeated five or six times in quick succession, each increasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in five or six low, muffled sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. At times, and not unfrequently, a troop may be heard roaring in concert, one assuming the lead, and two, three, or four more regularly taking up their parts, like persons singing a catch. Like our Scottish stags at the rutting season, they roar loudest in cold, frosty nights; but on no occasions are their voices to be heard in such perfection, or so intensely powerful, as when two or three strange troops of lions approach a fountain to drink at the same time. When this occurs, every member of each troop sounds a bold roar of defiance at the opposite parties; and when one roars, all roar together, and each seems to vie with his comrades in the intensity and power of his voice.

The power and grandeur of these nocturnal forest concerts is inconceivably striking and pleasing to the hunter’s ear. The effect, I may remark, is greatly enhanced when the hearer happens to be situated in the depths of the forest, at the dead hour of midnight, unaccompanied by any attendant, and ensconced within twenty yards of the fountain which the surrounding troops of lions are approaching. Such has been my situation many scores of times; and though I am allowed to have a tolerable good taste for music, I consider the catches with which I was then regaled as the sweetest and most natural I ever heard.

As a general rule, lions roar during the night; their sighing moans commencing as the shades of evening envelop the forest, and continuing at intervals throughout the night. In distant and secluded regions, however, I have constantly heard them roaring loudly as late as nine and ten o’clock on a bright sunny morning. In hazy[Pg 482] and rainy weather they are to be heard at every hour in the day, but their roar is subdued. It often happens that when two strange male lions meet at a fountain, a terrific combat ensues, which not unfrequently ends in the death of one of them. The habits of the lion are strictly nocturnal; during the day he lies concealed beneath the shade of some low, bushy tree or wide-spreading bush, either in the level forest or on the mountain side. He is also partial to lofty reeds, or fields of long, rank, yellow grass, such as occur in low-lying vleys. From these haunts he sallies forth when the sun goes down, and commences his nightly prowl. When he is successful in his beat and has secured his prey, he does not roar much that night, only uttering occasionally a few low moans; that is, provided no intruders approach him, otherwise the case would be very different.

Lions are ever most active, daring, and presuming in dark and stormy nights, and consequently, on such occasions, the traveler ought more particularly to be on his guard. I remarked a fact connected with the lions’ hour of drinking peculiar to themselves: they seemed unwilling to visit the fountains with good moonlight. Thus, when the moon rose early, the lions deferred their hour of watering until late in the morning; and when the moon rose late, they drank at a very early hour in the night. By this acute system many a grisly lion saved his bacon, and is now luxuriating in the forests of South Africa, which had otherwise fallen by the barrels of my “Westley Richards.” Owing to the tawny color of the coat with which nature has robed him, he is perfectly invisible in the dark; and although I have often heard them loudly lapping the water under my very nose, not twenty yards from me. I could not possibly make out so much as the outline of their forms. When a thirsty lion comes to water, he stretches out his massive arms, lies down on his breast to drink, and makes a loud lapping noise in drinking not to be mistaken. He continues lapping up the water for a long while, and four or five times during the proceeding he pauses for half a minute as if to take breath. One thing conspicuous about them is their eyes, which, in a dark night, glow like two balls of fire. The female is more fierce and active than the male, as a general rule. Lionesses which have never had young are much more dangerous than those which have. At no time is the lion so much to be dreaded as when his partner has got small young ones. At that season he knows no fear, and, in the coolest and most intrepid manner, he will face a thousand men. A remarkable instance of this kind came under my own observation, which confirmed the reports I had before heard from the natives. One day, when out elephant-hunting in the territory of the “Baseleka,” accompanied by two hundred and fifty men, I was astonished suddenly to behold a majestic lion slowly and steadily advancing toward us with a dignified step and undaunted bearing, the most noble and imposing that can be conceived. Lashing his tail from side to side, and growling haughtily, his terribly expressive eye resolutely fixed upon us, and displaying a show of ivory well calculated to inspire terror among the timid “Bechuanas,” he approached. A headlong flight of the two hundred and fifty men was the immediate result; and, in the confusion of the moment, four couples of my dogs, which they had been leading, were allowed to escape in their couples. These instantly faced the lion, who, finding that by his bold bearing he had succeeded in putting his enemies to flight, now became solicitous for the safety of his little family, with which the lioness was retreating in the background. Facing about, he followed after them with a haughty and independent step, growling fiercely at the dogs which trotted along on either side of him. Three troops of elephants having been discovered a few minutes previous to this, upon which I was marching for the attack, I, with the most heartfelt reluctance, reserved my fire. On running down the hill side to endeavor to recall my dogs, I observed, for the first time, the retreating lioness with four cubs. About twenty minutes afterward two noble elephants repaid my forbearance.

Among Indian Nimrods, a certain class of royal tigers is dignified with the appellation of “man-eaters.” These are tigers which, having once tasted human flesh, show a predilection for the same, and such characters are very naturally famed and dreaded among the natives. Elderly gentlemen of similar tastes and habits are occasionally met with among the lions in the interior of South Africa, and the danger of such neighbors may be easily imagined. I account for lions first acquiring this taste in the following manner: the Bechuana tribes of the far interior do not bury their dead, but unceremoniously carry them forth, and leave them lying exposed in the forest or on the plain, a prey to the lion and hyæna, or the jackal and vulture; and I can readily imagine that a lion, having thus once tasted human flesh, would have little hesitation, when opportunity presented itself, of springing upon and carrying off the unwary traveler or “Bechuana” inhabiting his country. Be this as it may, man-eaters occur; and on my fourth hunting expedition, a horrible tragedy was acted one dark night in my little lonely camp by one of these formidable characters, which deprived me, in the far wilderness, of my most valuable servant. In winding up these few observations on the lion, which I trust will not have been tiresome to the reader, I may remark that lion-hunting, under any circumstances, is decidedly a dangerous pursuit. It may nevertheless be followed, to a certain extent, with comparative safety by those who have naturally a turn for that sort of thing. A recklessness of death, perfect coolness and self-possession, an acquaintance with the disposition and manners of lions, and a tolerable knowledge of the use of the rifle, are indispensable to him who would shine in the overpoweringly exciting pastime of hunting this justly-celebrated king of beasts.[Pg 483]

[From Dickens’s Household Words.]



There is an old yew tree which stands by the wall in a dark quiet corner of the church-yard.

And a child was at play beneath its wide-spreading branches, one fine day in the early spring. He had his lap full of flowers, which the fields and lanes had supplied him with, and he was humming a tune to himself as he wove them into garlands.

And a little girl at play among the tombstones crept near to listen; but the boy was so intent upon his garland, that he did not hear the gentle footsteps as they trod softly over the fresh green grass. When his work was finished, and all the flowers that were in his lap were woven together in one long wreath, he started, up to measure its length upon the ground, and then he saw the little girl, as she stood with her eyes fixed upon him. He did not move or speak, but thought to himself that she looked very beautiful as she stood there with her flaxen ringlets hanging down upon her neck. The little girl was so startled by his sudden movement, that she let fall all the flowers she had collected in her apron, and ran away as fast as she could. But the boy was older and taller than she, and soon caught her, and coaxed her to come back and play with him, and help him to make more garlands; and from that time they saw each other nearly every day, and became great friends.

Twenty years passed away. Again, he was seated beneath the old yew tree in the church-yard.

It was summer now; bright, beautiful summer, with the birds singing, and the flowers covering the ground, and scenting the air with their perfume.

But he was not alone now, nor did the little girl steal near on tiptoe, fearful of being heard. She was seated by his side, and his arm was round her, and she looked up into his face, and smiled as she whispered: “The first evening of our lives we were ever together was passed here: we will spend the first evening of our wedded life in the same quiet, happy place.” And he drew her closer to him as she spoke.

The summer is gone; and the autumn; and twenty more summers and autumns have passed away since that evening, in the old church-yard.

A young man, on a bright moonlight night, comes reeling through the little white gate, and stumbling over the graves. He shouts and he sings, and is presently followed by others like unto himself, or worse. So, they all laugh at the dark solemn head of the yew tree, and throw stones up at the place where the moon has silvered the boughs.

Those same boughs are again silvered by the moon, and they droop over his mother’s grave. There is a little stone which bears this inscription:


But the silence of the church-yard is now broken by a voice—not of the youth—nor a voice of laughter and ribaldry.

“My son! dost thou see this grave? and dost thou read the record in anguish, whereof may come repentance?”

“Of what should I repent?” answers the son; “and why should my young ambition for fame relax in its strength because my mother was old and weak?”

“Is this indeed our son?” says the father, bending in agony over the grave of his beloved.

“I can well believe I am not;” exclaimeth the youth. “It is well that you have brought me here to say so. Our natures are unlike; our courses must be opposite. Your way lieth here—mine yonder!”

So the son left the father kneeling by the grave.

Again a few years are passed. It is winter, with a roaring wind and a thick gray fog. The graves in the church-yard are covered with snow, and there are great icicles in the church-porch. The wind now carries a swathe of snow along the tops of the graves, as though the “sheeted dead” were at some melancholy play; and hark! the icicles fall with a crash and jingle, like a solemn mockery of the echo of the unseemly mirth of one who is now coming to his final rest.

There are two graves near the old yew tree; and the grass has overgrown them. A third is close by; and the dark earth at each side has just been thrown up. The bearers come; with a heavy pace they move along; the coffin heaveth up and down, as they step over the intervening graves.

Grief and old age had seized upon the father, and worn out his life; and premature decay soon seized upon the son, and gnawed away his vain ambition, and his useless strength, till he prayed to be borne, not the way yonder that was most opposite to his father and his mother, but even the same way they had gone—the way which leads to the Old Church-yard Tree.



The English peasant is generally reckoned a very simple, monotonous animal; and most people, when they have called him a clown, or a country-hob, think they have described him. If you see a picture of him, he is a long, silly-looking fellow, in a straw hat, a white slop, and a pair of ankle-boots, with a bill in his hand—just as the London artist sees him in the juxta-metropolitan districts; and that is the English peasant. They who have gone farther into England, however, than Surrey, Kent, or Middlesex, have seen the English peasant in some[Pg 484] different costume, under a good many different aspects; and they who will take the trouble to recollect what they have heard of him, will find him a rather multifarious creature. He is, in truth, a very Protean personage. What is he, in fact? A day-laborer, a woodman, a plowman, a wagoner, a collier, a worker in railroad and canal making, a gamekeeper, a poacher, an incendiary, a charcoal-burner, a keeper of village ale-houses, and Tom-and-Jerrys; a tramp, a pauper, pacing sullenly in the court-yard of a parish-union, or working in his frieze jacket on some parish-farm; a boatman, a road-side stone-breaker, a quarryman, a journeyman bricklayer, or his clerk; a shepherd, a drover, a rat-catcher, a mole-catcher, and a hundred other things; in any one of which, he is as different from the sheepish, straw-hatted, and ankle-booted, bill-holding fellow of the print-shop windows, as a cockney is from a Newcastle keelman.

In the matter of costume only, every different district presents him in a different shape. In the counties round London, eastward and westward, through Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, etc., he is the white-slopped man of the London prints, with a longish, rosy-cheeked face, and a stupid, quiet manner. In Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and in that direction, he sports his olive-green slop, and his wide-awake, larking hat, bit-o’-blood, or whatever else the hatters call those round-crowned, turned-up-brimmed felts of eighteen-pence or two shillings cost, which have of late years so wonderfully taken the fancy of the country-chaps. In the Midland counties, especially Leicestershire, Derby, Nottingham, Warwick, and Staffordshire, he dons a blue-slop, called the Newark frock, which is finely gathered in a square piece of puckerment on the back and breast, on the shoulders and at the wrists; is adorned also, in those parts, with flourishes of white thread, and as invariably has a little white heart stitched in at the bottom of the slit at the neck. A man would not think himself a man, if he had not one of those slops, which are the first things that he sees at a market or a fair, hung aloft at the end of the slop-vender’s stall, on a crossed pole, and waving about like a scarecrow in the wind.

Under this he generally wears a coarse blue jacket, a red or yellow shag waistcoat, stout blue worsted stockings, tall laced ankle-boots, and corduroy breeches or trowsers. A red handkerchief round his neck is his delight, with two good long ends dangling in front. In many other parts of the country, he wears no slop at all, but a corduroy or fustian jacket, with capacious pockets, and buttons of giant size.

That is his every-day, work-a-day style; but see him on a Sunday, or a holiday—see him turn out to church, wake, or fair—there’s a beau for you! If he has not his best slop on, which has never yet been defiled by touch of labor, he is conspicuous in his blue, brown, or olive-green coat, and waistcoat of glaring color—scarlet, or blue, or green striped—but it must be showy; and a pair of trowsers, generally blue, with a width nearly as ample as a sailor’s, and not only guiltless of the foppery of being strapped down, but if he find the road rather dirty, or the grass dewy, they are turned up three or four inches at the bottom, so as to show the lining. On those days, he has a hat of modern shape, that has very lately cost him four-and-sixpence; and if he fancy himself rather handsome, or stands well with the women, he cocks it a little on one side, and wears it with a knowing air. He wears the collar of his coarse shirt up on a holiday, and his flaming handkerchief round his neck puts forth dangling ends of an extra length, like streamers. The most troublesome business of a full-dress day is to know what to do with his hands. He is dreadfully at a loss where to put them. On other days, they have plenty of occupation with their familiar implements, but to-day they are miserably sensible of a vacuum; and, except he be very old, he wears no gloves. They are sometimes diving into his trowser-pockets, sometimes into his waistcoat-pocket, and at others into his coat-pockets behind, turning his laps out like a couple of tails.

The great remedy for this inconvenience is a stick, or a switch; and in the corner of his cottage, between the clock-case and the wall, you commonly see a stick of a description that indicates its owner. It is an ash-plant, with a face cut on its knob; or a thick hazel, which a woodbine has grown tightly round, and raised on it a spiral, serpentine swelling; or it is a switch, that is famous for cutting off the heads of thistles, docks, and nettles, as he goes along.

The women, in their paraphernalia, generally bear a nearer resemblance to their sisters of the town; the village dressmaker undertaking to put them into the very newest fashion which has reached that part of the country; and truly, were it not for the genuine country manner in which their clothes are thrown on, they might pass very well, too, at the market.

But the old men and old women, they are of the ancient world, truly. There they go, tottering and stooping along to church! It is now their longest journey. The old man leans heavily on his stout stick. His thin white hair covers his shoulders; his coat, with large steel buttons, and square-cut collar, has an antique air; his breeches are of leather, and worn bright with age, standing up at the knees, like the lids of tankards; and his loose shoes have large steel buckles. By his side, comes on his old dame, with her little, old-fashioned black bonnet; her gown, of a large flowery pattern, pulled up through the pocket-hole, showing a well-quilted petticoat, black stockings, high-heeled shoes, and large buckles also. She has on a black mode cloak, edged with old-fashioned lace, carefully darned; or if winter, her warm red cloak, with a narrow edging of fur down the front. You see, in fancy, the oaken chest in which that drapery has been kept for the last half century; and you wonder who is to wear it next. Not their children—for the fashions of this world are[Pg 485] changed; they must be cut down into primitive raiment for the grandchildren.

But who says the English peasant is dull and unvaried in his character? To be sure, he has not the wild wit, the voluble tongue, the reckless fondness for laughing, dancing, carousing, and shillalying of the Irish peasant; nor the grave, plodding habits and intelligence of the Scotch one. He may be said, in his own phraseology, to be “betwixt and between.” He has wit enough when it is wanted; he can be merry enough when there is occasion; he is ready for a row when his blood is well up; and he will take to his book, if you will give him a schoolmaster. What is he, indeed, but the rough block of English character? Hew him out of the quarry of ignorance; dig him out of the slough of everlasting labor; chisel him, and polish him; and he will come out whatever you please. What is the stuff of which your armies have been chiefly made, but this English peasant? Who won your Cressys, your Agincourts, your Quebecs, your Indies, East and West, and your Waterloos, but the English peasant, trimmed and trained into the game-cock of war? How many of them have been carried off to man your fleets, to win your Camperdowns and Trafalgars? and when they came ashore again, were no longer the simple, slouching Simons of the village; but jolly tars, with rolling gait, quid in mouth, glazed hats, with crowns of one inch high, and brims of five wide, and with as much glib slang, and glib money to treat the girls with, as any Jack of them all.

Cowper has drawn a capital picture of the ease and perfection with which the clownish chrysalis may be metamorphosed into the scarlet moth of war. Catch the animal young, and you may turn him into any shape you please. He will learn to wear silk stockings, scarlet plush breeches, collarless coats, with silver buttons; and swing open a gate with a grace, or stand behind my lady’s carriage with his wand, as smoothly impudent as any of the tribe. He will clerk it with a pen behind his ear; or mount a pulpit, as Stephen Duck, the thresher, did, if you will only give him the chance. The fault is not in him, it is in fortune. He has rich fallows in his soul, if any body thought them worth turning. But keep him down, and don’t press him too hard; feed him pretty well, and give him plenty of work; and, like one of his companions, the cart-horse, he will drudge on till the day of his death.

So in the north of England, where they give him a cottage and his food, and keep no more of his species than will just do the work, letting all the rest march off to the Tyne collieries; he is a very patient creature; and if they did not show him books, would not wince at all. So in the fens of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdon, and on many a fat and clayey level of England, where there are no resident gentry, and but here and there a farm-house, you may meet, the English peasant in his most sluggish and benumbed condition. He is then a long-legged, staring creature, considerably “lower than the angels,” who, if you ask him a question, gapes like an Indian frog, which, when its mouth is open, has its head half off; and neither understands your language, nor, if he did, could grasp your ideas. He is there a walking lump, a thing with members, but very little membership with the intellectual world; but with a soul as stagnant as one of his own dykes. All that has been wanted in him has been cultivated, and is there—good sturdy limbs, to plow and sow, reap and mow, and feed bullocks; and even in those operations, his sinews have been half-superseded by machinery. There never was any need of his mind; and, therefore, it never has been minded.

This is the English peasant, where there is nobody to breathe a soul into the clod. But what is he where there are thousands of the wealthy and the wise? What is he round London—the great, the noble, and the enlightened? Pretty much the same, and from pretty much the same causes. Few trouble themselves about him. He feels that he is a mere serf, among the great and free; a mere machine in the hands of the mighty, who use him as such. He sees the sunshine of grandeur, but he does not feel its warmth. He hears that the great folks are wise; but all he knows is, that their wisdom does not trouble itself about his ignorance. He asks, with “The Farmer’s Boy,”

Whence comes this change, ungracious, irksome, cold?
Whence this new grandeur that mine eyes behold?—
The widening distance that I daily see?
Has wealth done this? Then wealth’s a foe to me!
Foe to my rights, that leaves a powerful few
The paths of emulation to pursue.

Beneath the overwhelming sense of his position, that he belongs to a neglected, despised caste, he is, in the locality alluded to, truly a dull fellow. That the peasant there is not an ass or a sheep, you only know by his standing on end. You hear no strains of country drollery, and no characters of curious or eccentric humor; all is dull, plodding, and lumpish.

But go forth, my masters, to a greater distance from the luminous capital of England; get away into the Midland and more Northern counties, where the pride of greatness is not so palpably before the poor man’s eyes—where the peasantry and villagers are numerous enough to keep one another in countenance; and there you shall find the English peasant a “happier and a wiser man.” Sunday-schools, and village day-schools, give him at least the ability to read the Bible. There, the peasant feels that he is a man; he speaks in a broad dialect, indeed, but he is “a fellow of infinite jest.” Hear him in the hay-field, in the corn-field, at the harvest-supper, or by the village ale-house fire, if he be not very refined, he is, nevertheless, a very independent fellow. Look at the man indeed! None of your long, lanky fellows, with a sleepy visage; but a sturdy, square-built chap, propped on a pair of legs, that have self-will, and the spirit of Hampden in them, as plain as the ribs[Pg 486] of the gray-worsted stockings that cover them. What thews, what sinews, what a pair of calves! why, they more resemble a couple of full-grown bulls! See to his salutation, as he passes any of his neighbors—hear it. Does he touch his hat, and bow his head, and look down, as the great man goes by in his carriage? No! he leaves that to the cowed bumpkin of the south. He looks his rich-neighbor full in the face, with a fearless, but respectful gaze, and bolts from his manly breast a hearty, “Good day to ye, sir!” To his other neighbor, his equal in worldly matters, he extends his broad hand, and gives him a shake that is felt to the bottom of the heart. “Well, and how are you, John?—and how’s Molly, and all the little ankle-biters?—and how goes the pig on, and the garden—eh?”

Let me hear the dialogue of those two brave fellows; there is the soul of England’s brightest days in it. I am sick of slavish poverty on the one hand, and callous pride on the other. I yearn for the sound of language breathed from the lungs of humble independence, and the cordial, earnest greetings of poor, but warm-hearted men, as I long for the breeze of the mountains and the sea. Oh! I doubt much if this

Bold peasantry, a country’s pride,

is lowered in its tone, both of heart-wholeness, boldness, and affection, by the harsh times and harsh measures that have passed over every district, even the most favored; or why all these emigrations, and why all these parish-unions? What, then, is not the English peasant what he was? If I went among them where I used to go, should I not find the same merry groups seated among the sheaves, or under the hedgerows, full of laughter, and full of droll anecdotes of all the country round? Should I not hear of the farmer who never wrote but one letter in his life, and that was to a gentleman forty miles off; who, on opening it, and not being able to puzzle out more than the name and address of his correspondent, mounted his horse in his vexation, and rode all the way to ask the farmer to read the letter himself; and he could not do it—could not read his own writing? Should I not hear Jonathan Moore, the stout old mower, rallied on his address to the bull, when it pursued him till he escaped into a tree? How Jonathan, sitting across a branch, looked down with the utmost contempt on the bull, and endeavored to convince him that he was a bully and a coward? “My! what a vaporing coward art thou! Where’s the fairness, where’s the equalness of the match? I tell thee, my heart’s good enough; but what’s my strength to thine?”

Should I not once more hear the hundred-times-told story of Jockey Dawes, and the man who sold him his horse? Should I not hear these, and scores of such anecdotes, that show the simple life of the district, and yet have more hearty merriment in them than much finer stories in much finer places? Hard times and hard measures may have, quenched some of the ancient hilarity of the English peasant, and struck a silence into lungs that were wont to “crow like chanticleer;” yet I will not believe but that, in many a sweet and picturesque district, on many a brown moor-land, in many a far-off glen and dale of our wilder and more primitive districts, where the peasantry are almost the sole inhabitants—whether shepherds, laborers, hewers of wood, or drawers of waters—

The ancient spirit is not dead,

that homely and loving groups gather round evening fires, beneath low and smoky rafters, and feel that they have labor and care enough, as their fathers had, but that they have the pride of homes, hearts, and sympathies still.

Let England take care that these are the portion of the English peasant, and he will never cease to show himself the noblest peasant on the face of the earth. Is he not that, in his patience with penury with him, and old age, and the union before him? Is he not that, when his landlord has given him his sympathy? When he has given him an ALLOTMENT—who so grateful, so industrious, so provident, so contented, and so respectable?

The English peasant has in his nature all the elements of the English character. Give him ease, and who so readily pleased; wrong him, and who so desperate in his rage?

In his younger days, before the care of a family weighs on him, he is a clumsy, but a very light-hearted creature. To see a number of young country fellows get into play together, always reminds one of a quantity of heavy cart-horses turned into a field on a Sunday. They gallop, and kick, and scream. There is no malice, but a dreadful jeopardy of bruises and broken ribs. Their play is truly called horse-play; it is all slaps and bangs, tripping-up, tumbles, and laughter. But to see the young peasant in his glory, you should see him hastening to the Michaelmas-fair, statute, bull-roasting, or mop. He has served his year; he has money in his pocket, his sweetheart on his arm, or he is sure to meet her at the fair. Whether he goes again to his old place or a new one, he will have a week’s holiday. Thus, on old Michaelmas-day, he and all his fellows, all the country over, are let loose, and are on the way to the fair. The houses are empty of them—the highways are full of them; there they go, lads and lasses, streaming along, all in their finery, and with a world of laughter and loud talk. See, here they come, flocking into the market-town! And there, what preparations for them! shows, strolling theatres, stalls of all kinds—bearing clothes of all kinds, knives, combs, queen-cakes, and gingerbread, and a hundred inventions to lure those hard-earned wages out of his fob. And he does not mean to be stingy to-day; he will treat his lass, and buy her a new gown into the bargain. See, how they go rolling on together! He holds up his elbow sharply by his side; she thrusts her arm through his, [Pg 487]up to the elbow, and away they go—a walking miracle that they can walk together at all. As to keeping step, that is out of the question; but, besides this, they wag and roll about in such a way, that, keeping their arms tightly linked, it is amazing that they don’t pull off one or the other; but they don’t. They shall see the shows, and stand all in a crowd before them, with open eyes and open mouths, wondering at the beauty of the dancing-women, and their gowns all over spangles, and at all the wit and grimaces, and somersets of harlequin and clown. They have had a merry dinner and a dance, like a dance of elephants and hippopotami; and then—

To-morrow to fresh fields and pastures new.

And these are the men that become sullen and desperate—that become poachers and incendiaries. How and why! It is not plenty and kind words that make them so? What, then? What makes the wolves herd together, and descend from the Alps and the Pyrenees? What makes them desperate and voracious, blind with fury, and reveling with vengeance? Hunger and hardship!

When the English peasant is gay, at ease, well-fed and clothed, what cares he how many pheasants are in a wood, or ricks in a farmer’s yard? When he has a dozen backs to clothe, and a dozen mouths to feed, and nothing to put on the one, and little to put into the other—then that which seemed a mere playful puppy, suddenly starts up a snarling, red-eyed monster! How sullen he grows! With what equal indifference he shoots down pheasants or game-keepers. How the man who so recently held up his head and laughed aloud, now sneaks, a villainous fiend, with the dark lantern and the match, to his neighbor’s rick! Monster! Can this be the English peasant? ’Tis the same!—’tis the very man! But what has made him so? What has thus demonized, thus infuriated, thus converted him into a walking pestilence? Villain as he is, is he alone to blame?—or is there another?

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


[Continued from Page 340.]


a scrape and its consequences.

When I reached the quarters of the état major, I found the great court-yard of the “hotel” crowded with soldiers of every rank and arm of the service. Some were newly-joined recruits waiting for the orders to be forwarded to their respective regiments. Some were invalids just issued from the hospital, some were sick and wounded on their way homeward. There were sergeants with billet rolls, and returns, and court-martial sentences. Adjutants with regimental documents, hastening hither and thither. Mounted orderlies, too, continually came and went; all was bustle, movement, and confusion. Officers in staff uniforms called out the orders from the different windows, and dispatches were sent off here and there with hot haste. The building was the ancient palace of the dukes of Lorraine, and a splendid fountain of white marble in the centre of the “Cour,” still showed the proud armorial bearings of that princely house. Around the sculptured base of this now were seated groups of soldiers; their war-worn looks and piled arms contrasting strangely enough with the great porcelain vases of flowering plants that still decorated the rich “plateau.” Chakos, helmets, and great coats were hung upon the orange trees. The heavy boots of the cuirassier, the white leather apron of the “sapeur,” were drying along the marble benches of the terrace. The richly traceried veining of gilt iron-work, which separated the court from the garden, was actually covered with belts, swords, bayonets, and horse gear, in every stage and process of cleaning. Within the garden itself, however, all was silent and still. Two sentries, who paced backward and forward beneath the “grille,” showing that the spot was to be respected by those whose careless gestures and reckless air betrayed how little influence the mere “genius of the place” would exercise over them.

To me, the interest of every thing was increasing; and whether I lingered to listen to the raw remarks of the new recruit, in wonder at all he saw, or stopped to hear the campaigning stories of the old soldiers of the army, I never wearied. Few, if any, knew whither they were going; perhaps to the north to join the army of Sambre; perhaps to the east, to the force upon the Rhine. It might be that they were destined for Italy: none cared! Meanwhile, at every moment, detachments moved off, and their places were filled by fresh arrivals—all dusty and way-worn from the march. Some had scarcely time to eat a hurried morsel, when they were called on to “fall in,” and again the word “forward” was given. Such of the infantry as appeared too weary for the march were sent on in great charrettes drawn by six or eight horses, and capable of carrying forty men in each; and of these, there seemed to be no end. No sooner was one detachment away, than another succeeded. Whatever their destination, one thing seemed evident, the urgency that called them was beyond the common. For a while I forgot all about myself in the greater interest of the scene; but then came the thought, that I, too, should have my share in this onward movement, and now I set out to seek for my young friend, the “Sous-Lieutenant.” I had not asked his name, but his regiment I knew to be the 22d Chasseurs à Cheval. The uniform was light green, and easily enough to be recognized; yet nowhere was it to be seen. There were cuirassiers, and hussars, heavy dragoons, and carabiniers in abundance—every thing, in short, but what I sought.[Pg 488]

At last I asked of an old quartermaster where the 22d were quartered, and heard, to my utter dismay, that they had marched that morning at eight o’clock. There were two more squadrons expected to arrive at noon, but the orders were that they were to proceed without further halt.

“And whither to?” asked I.

“To Treves, on the Moselle,” said he, and turned away as if he would not be questioned further. It was true that my young friend could not have been much of a patron, yet the loss of him was deeply felt by me. He was to have introduced me to his colonel, who probably might have obtained the leave I desired at once; and now I knew no one, not one even to advise me how to act. I sat down upon a bench to think, but could resolve on nothing; the very sight of that busy scene had now become a reproach to me. There were the veterans of a hundred battles hastening forward again to the field; there were the young soldiers just flushed with recent victory; even the peasant boys were “eager for the fray;” but I alone was to have no part in the coming glory. The enthusiasm of all around only served to increase and deepen my depression. There was not one there, from the old and war-worn veteran of the ranks to the merest boy, with whom I would not gladly have exchanged fortunes. Some hours passed over in these gloomy reveries, and when I looked up from the stupor my own thoughts had thrown over me, “the Cour” was almost empty. A few sick soldiers waiting for their billets of leave, a few recruits not yet named to any corps, and a stray orderly or two standing beside his horse, were all that remained.

I arose to go away, but in my pre-occupation of mind, instead of turning toward the street, I passed beneath a large arch-way into another court of the building, somewhat smaller, but much richer in decoration and ornament than the outer one. After spending some time admiring the quaint devices and grim heads which peeped out from all the architraves and friezes, my eye was caught by a low, arched door-way, in the middle of which was a small railed window, like the grille of a convent. I approached, and perceived that it led into a garden, by a long, narrow walk of clipped yew, dense and upright as a wall. The trimly-raked gravel, and the smooth surface of the hedge, showed the care bestowed on the grounds to be a wide contrast to the neglect exhibited in the mansion itself; a narrow border of hyacinths and carnations ran along either side of the walk, the gorgeous blossoms appearing in strong relief against the back-ground of dark foliage.

The door, as I leaned against it, gently yielded to the pressure of my arm, and almost without knowing it, I found myself standing within the precincts of the garden. My first impulse, of course, was to retire and close the door again, but somehow, I never knew exactly why, I could not resist the desire to see a little more of a scene so tempting. There was no mark of footsteps on the gravel, and I thought it likely the garden was empty. On I went, therefore, at first with cautious and uncertain steps; at last, with more confidence, for as I issued from the hedge-walk, and reached an open space beyond, the solitude seemed unbroken. Fruit trees, loaded with their produce, stood in a closely shaven lawn, through which a small stream meandered, its banks planted with daffodills and water-lilies. Some pheasants moved about through the grass, but without alarm at my presence; while a young fawn boldly came over to me, and although in seeming disappointment at not finding an old friend, continued to walk beside me as I went.

The grounds appeared of great extent; paths led off in every direction; and while, in some places, I could perceive the glittering roof and sides of a conservatory, in others, the humble culture of a vegetable garden was to be seen. There was a wondrous fascination in the calm and tranquil solitude around; and coming, as it did, so immediately after the busy bustle of the “soldiering,” I soon not only forgot that I was an intruder there, but suffered myself to wander “fancy free,” following out the thoughts each object suggested. I believe at that moment, if the choice were given me, I would rather have been the “Adam of that Eden” than the proudest of those generals that ever led a column to victory! Fortunately, or unfortunately—it would not be easy to decide which—the alternative was not open to me. It was while I was still musing, I found myself at the foot of a little eminence, on which stood a tower, whose height and position showed it had been built for the view it afforded over a vast tract of country. Even from where I stood, at its base, I could see over miles and miles of a great plain, with the main roads leading toward the north and eastward. This spot was also the boundary of the grounds, and a portion of the old boulevard of the town formed the defense against the open country beyond. It was a deep ditch, with sides of sloping sward, cropped neatly, and kept in trimmest order; but, from its depth and width, forming a fence of a formidable kind. I was peering cautiously down into the abyss, when I heard a voice so close to my ear, that I started with surprise. I listened, and perceived that the speaker was directly above me; and leaning over the battlements at the top of the tower.

“You’re quite right, cried he, as he adjusted a telescope to his eye, and directed his view toward the plain. He has gone wrong! He has taken the Strasbourg road, instead of the northern one.”

An exclamation of anger followed these words; and now I saw the telescope passed to another hand, and to my astonishment, that of a lady.

“Was there ever stupidity like that? He saw the map like the others, and yet—Parbleu! it’s too bad!”

I could perceive that a female voice made some rejoinder, but not distinguish the words; when the man again spoke:

[Pg 489]

“No, no; it’s all a blunder of that old major; and here am I without an orderly to send after him. Diable! it is provoking.”

“Isn’t that one of your people at the foot of the tower?” said the lady, as she pointed to where I stood, praying for the earth to open, and close over me; for as he moved his head to look down, I saw the epaulets of a staff officer.

“Halloa!” cried he, “are you on duty?”

“No, sir; I was—”

Not waiting for me to finish an explanation, he went on,

“Follow that division of cavalry that has taken the Strasbourg road, and tell Major Roquelard that he has gone wrong; he should have turned off to the left at the suburbs. Lose no time, but away at once. You are mounted, of course?”

“No, sir, my horse is at quarters; but I can—”

“No, no; it will be too late,” he broke in again. “Take my troop horse, and be off. You’ll find him in the stable, to your left.”

Then turning to the lady I heard him say—

“It may save Roquelard from an arrest.”

I did not wait for more, but hurried off in the direction he had pointed. A short gravel walk brought me in front of a low building, in the cottage style, but which, decorated with emblems of the chase, I guessed to be the stable. Not a groom was to be seen; but the door being unlatched, I entered freely. Four large and handsome horses were feeding at the racks, their glossy coats and long silky manes showing the care bestowed upon them. Which is the trooper? thought I, as I surveyed them all with keen and scrutinizing eye. All my skill in such matters was unable to decide the point; they seemed all alike valuable and handsome—in equally high condition, and exhibiting equal marks of careful treatment. Two were stamped on the haunches with the letters “R.F.;” and these, of course, were cavalry horses. One was a powerful black horse, whose strong quarters and deep chest bespoke great action, while the backward glances of his eye indicated the temper of a “tartar.” Making choice of him without an instant’s hesitation, I threw on the saddle, adjusted the stirrups to my own length, buckled the bridle, and led him forth. In all my “school experience” I had never seen an animal that pleased me so much; his well-arched neck and slightly-dipped back showed that an Arab cross had mingled with the stronger qualities of the Norman horse. I sprung to my saddle with delight; to be astride such a beast was to kindle up all the enthusiasm of my nature, and as I grasped the reins, and urged him forward, I was half wild with excitement.

Apparently the animal was accustomed to more gentle treatment, for he gave a loud snort, such as a surprised or frightened horse will give, and then bounded forward once or twice, as if to dismount me. This failing, he reared up perfectly straight, pawing madly, and threatening even to fall backward. I saw that I had, indeed, selected a wicked one; for in every bound and spring, in every curvet and leap, the object was clearly to unseat the rider. At one instant he would crouch, as if to lie down, and then bound up several feet in the air, with a toss up of his haunches that almost sent me over the head. At another he would spring from side to side, writhing and twisting like a fish, till the saddle seemed actually slipping away from his lithe body. Not only did I resist all these attacks, but vigorously continued to punish with whip and spur the entire time—a proceeding, I could easily see, he was not prepared for. At last, actually maddened with his inability to throw me, and enraged by my continuing to spur him, he broke away, and dashing headlong forward, rushed into the very thickest of the grove. Fortunately for me, the trees were either shrubs or of stunted growth, so that I had only to keep my saddle to escape danger; but suddenly emerging from this, he gained the open sward, and as if his passion became more furious as he indulged it, he threw up his head, and struck out in full gallop. I had but time to see that he was heading for the great fosse of the boulevard, when we were already on its brink. A shout, and a cry of I know not what, came from the tower; but I heard nothing more. Mad as the maddened animal himself, perhaps at that moment just as indifferent to life, I dashed the spurs into his flanks, and over we went, lighting on the green sward as easily as a seagull on a wave. To all seeming, the terrible leap had somewhat sobered him; but on me it had produced the very opposite effect. I felt that I had gained the mastery, and resolved to use it. With unrelenting punishment, then, I rode him forward, taking the country as it lay straight before me. The few fences which divided the great fields were too insignificant to be called leaps, and he took them in the “sling” of his stretching gallop. He was now subdued, yielding to every turn of my wrist, and obeying every motive of my will like an instinct. It may read like a petty victory; but he who has ever experienced the triumph over an enraged and powerful horse, well knows that few sensations are more pleasurably exciting. High as is the excitement of being borne along in full speed, leaving village and spire, glen and river, bridge and mill behind you—now careering up the mountain side, with the fresh breeze upon your brow; now diving into the dark forest, startling the hare from her cover, and sending the wild deer scampering before you—it is still increased by the sense of a victory, by feeling that the mastery is with you, and that each bound of the noble beast beneath you has its impulse in your own heart.

Although the cavalry squadrons I was dispatched to overtake had quitted Nancy four hours before, I came up with them in less than an hour, and inquiring for the officer in command, rode up to the head of the division. He was a thin, gaunt-looking, stern-featured man[Pg 490] who listened to my message without changing a muscle.

“Who sent you with this order?” said he.

“A general officer, sir, whose name I don’t know; but who told me to take his own horse and follow you.”

“Did he tell you to kill the animal, sir,” said he, pointing to the heaving flanks and shaking tail of the exhausted beast.

“He bolted with me at first, major, and having cleared the ditch of the Boulevard, rode away with me.”

“Why it’s Colonel Mahon’s Arab, ‘Aleppo,’” said another officer; “what could have persuaded him to mount an orderly on a best worth ten thousand francs?”

I thought I’d have fainted, as I heard these words; the whole consequences of my act revealed themselves before me, and I saw arrest, trial, sentence, imprisonment, and heaven knew what afterward, like a panorama rolling out to my view.

“Tell the colonel, sir,” said the major, “that I have taken the north road, intending to cross over at Beaumont; that the artillery trains have cut up the Metz road so deeply that cavalry can not travel; tell him that I thank him much for his politeness in forwarding this dispatch to me; and tell him, that I regret the rules of active service should prevent my sending back an escort to place yourself under arrest, for the manner in which you have ridden—you hear, sir?”

I touched my cap in salute.

“Are you certain, sir, that you have my answer correctly?”

“I am, sir.”

“Repeat it, then.”

I mentioned the reply, word for word, as he spoke it.

“No, sir,” said he, as I concluded; “I said for unsoldierlike and cruel treatment to your horse.”

One of his officers whispered something in his ear, and he quietly added—

“I find that I had not used these words, but I ought to have done so; give the message, therefore, as you heard it at first.”

“Mahon will shoot him, to a certainty,” muttered one of the captains.

“I’d not blame him,” joined another; “that horse saved his life at Quiberon, when he fell in with a patrol; and look at him now!”

The major made a sign for me to retire, and I turned and set out toward Nancy, with the feelings of a convict on the way to his fate.

If I did not feel that these brief records of an humble career were “upon honor,” and that the only useful lesson a life so unimportant can teach is, the conflict between opposing influences, I might possibly be disposed to blink the avowal, that, as I rode along toward Nancy, a very great doubt occurred to me as to whether I ought not to desert! It is a very ignoble expression; but it must out. There were not in the French service any of those ignominious punishments which, once undergone, a man is dishonored forever, and no more admissible to rank with men of character than if convicted of actual crime; but there were marks of degradation, almost as severe, then in vogue, and which men dreaded with a fear nearly as acute—such, for instance, as being ordered for service at the Bagne de Brest, in Toulon—the arduous duty of guarding the galley slaves, and which was scarcely a degree above the condition of the condemned themselves. Than such a fate as this, I would willingly have preferred death. It was, then, this thought that suggested desertion; but I soon rejected the unworthy temptation, and held on my way toward Nancy.

Aleppo, if at first wearied by the severe burst, soon rallied, while he showed no traces of his fiery temper, and exhibited few of fatigue; and as I walked along at his side, washing his mouth and nostrils at each fountain I passed, and slackening his saddle-girths, to give him freedom, long before we arrived at the suburbs he had regained all his looks, and much of his spirit.

At last we entered Nancy about nightfall, and, with a failing heart, I found myself at the gate of the Ducal palace. The sentries suffered me to pass unmolested, and entering, I took my way through the court-yard, toward the small gate of the garden, which, as I had left it, was unlatched.

It was strange enough, the nearer I drew toward the eventful moment of my fate, the more resolute and composed my heart became. It is possible, thought I, that in a fit of passion he will send a ball through me, as the officer said. Be it so—the matter is the sooner ended. If, however, he will condescend to listen to my explanation, I may be able to assert my innocence, at least so far as intention went. With this comforting conclusion, I descended at the stable door. Two dragoons in undress were smoking, as they lay at full length upon a bench, and speedily arose as I came up.

“Tell the colonel he’s come, Jacques,” said one, in a loud voice, and the other retired; while the speaker, turning toward me, took the bridle from my hand, and led the animal in, without vouchsafing a word to me.

“An active beast that,” said I, affecting the easiest and coolest indifference. The soldier gave me a look of undisguised amazement, and I continued,

“He has had a bad hand on him, I should say—some one too flurried and too fidgety to give confidence to a hot-tempered horse.”

Another stare was all the reply.

“In a little time, and with a little patience, I’d make him as gentle as a lamb.”

“I am afraid you’ll not have the opportunity,” replied he, significantly; “but the colonel, I see, is waiting for you, and you can discuss the matter together.”

The other dragoon had just then returned, and made me a sign to follow him. A few paces brought us to the door of a small pavilion,[Pg 491] at which a sentry stood, and having motioned to me to pass in, my guide left me. An orderly sergeant at the same instant appeared, and beckoning to me to advance, he drew aside a curtain, and pushing me forward, let the heavy folds close behind me; and now I found myself in a richly-furnished chamber, at the farther end of which an officer was at supper with a young and handsome woman. The profusion of wax lights on the table—the glitter of plate, and glass, and porcelain—the richness of the lady’s dress, which seemed like the costume of a ball—were all objects distracting enough, but they could not turn me from the thought of my own condition; and I stood still and motionless, while the officer, a man of about fifty, with dark and stern features, deliberately scanned me from head to foot. Not a word did he speak, not a gesture did he make, but sat, with his black eyes actually piercing me. I would have given any thing for some outbreak of anger, some burst of passion, that would have put an end to this horrible suspense, but none came; and there he remained several minutes, as if contemplating something too new and strange for utterance. “This must have an end,” thought I—“here goes;” and so, with my hand in salute, I drew myself full up, and said,

“I carried your orders, sir, and received for answer that Major Roquelard had taken the north road advisedly, as that by Beaumont was cut up by the artillery trains; that he would cross over to the Metz Chaussée as soon as possible; that he thanked you for the kindness of your warning, and regretted that the rules of active service precluded his dispatching an escort of arrest along with me, for the manner in which I had ridden with the order.”

“Any thing more?” asked the colonel, in a voice that sounded thick and guttural with passion.

“Nothing more, sir.”

“No further remark or observation?”

“None, sir—at least from the major.”

“What then—from any other?”

“A captain, sir, whose name I do not know, did say something.”

“What was it?”

“I forget the precise words, sir, but their purport was, that Colonel Mahon would certainly shoot me when I got back.”

“And you replied?”

“I don’t believe I made any reply at the time, sir.”

“But you thought, sir—what were your thoughts?”

“I thought it very like what I’d have done myself in a like case, although certain to be sorry for it afterward.”

Whether the emotion had been one for some time previous restrained, or that my last words had provoked it suddenly, I can not tell, but the lady here burst out into a fit of laughter, but which was as suddenly checked by some sharp observation of the colonel, whose stern features grew sterner and darker every moment.

“There we differ, sir,” said he, “for I should not.” At the same instant he pushed his plate away, to make room on the table for a small portfolio, opening which he prepared to write.

“You will bring this paper,” continued he, “to the ‘Prevot Marshal.’ To-morrow morning you shall be tried by a regimental court-martial, and as your sentence may probably be the galleys and hard labor—”

“I’ll save them the trouble,” said I, quietly drawing my sword; but scarcely was it clear of the scabbard when a shriek broke from the lady, who possibly knew not the object of my act; at the same instant the colonel bounded across the chamber, and striking me a severe blow upon the arm, dashed the weapon from my hand to the ground.

“You want the ‘fusillade’—is that what you want?” cried he, as, in a towering fit of passion, he dragged me forward to the light. I was now standing close to the table; the lady raised her eyes toward me, and at once broke out into a burst of laughter; such hearty, merry laughter, that, even with the fear of death before me, I could almost have joined in it.

“What is it—what do you mean, Laure?” cried the colonel angrily.

“Don’t you see it?” said she, still holding her kerchief to her face—“can’t you perceive it yourself? He has only one mustache!”

I turned hastily toward the mirror beside me, and there was the fatal fact revealed—one gallant curl disported proudly over the left cheek, while the other was left bare.

“Is the fellow mad—a mountebank?” said the colonel, whose anger was now at its white heat.

“Neither, sir,” said I, tearing off my remaining mustache, in shame and passion together. “Among my other misfortunes I have that of being young; and what’s worse, I was ashamed of it; but I begin to see my error, and know that a man may be old without gaining either in dignity or temper.”

With a stroke of his closed fist upon the table, the colonel made every glass and decanter spring from their places, while he uttered an oath that was only current in the days of that army. “This is beyond belief,” cried he. “Come, gredin, you have at least had one piece of good fortune: you’ve fallen precisely into the hands of one who can deal with you. Your regiment?”

“The Ninth Hussars.”

“Your name.”


“Tiernay; that’s not a French name?”

“Not originally; we were Irish once.”

“Irish!” said he, in a different tone from what he had hitherto used. “Any relative of a certain Comte Maurice de Tiernay, who once served in the Royal Guard?”

“His son, sir.”

[Pg 492]

“What—his son! Art certain of this, lad? You remember your mother’s name, then; what was it?”

“I never knew which was my mother,” said I. “Mademoiselle de la Lasterie, or—”

He did not suffer me to finish, but throwing his arms around my neck, pressed me to his bosom.

“You are little Maurice, then,” said he, “the son of my old and valued comrade! Only think of it, Laure—I was that boy’s godfather.”

Here was a sudden change in my fortunes; nor was it without a great effort that I could credit the reality of it, as I saw myself seated between the colonel and his fair companion, both of whom overwhelmed me with attention. It turned out that Colonel Mahon had been a fellow-guardsman with my father, for whom he had ever preserved the warmest attachment. One of the few survivors of the “Garde du Corps,” he had taken service with the republic, and was already reputed as one of the most distinguished cavalry officers.

“Strange enough, Maurice,” said he to me, “there was something in your look and manner, as you spoke to me there, that recalled your poor father to my memory; and, without knowing or suspecting why, I suffered you to bandy words with me, while at another moment I would have ordered you to be ironed and sent to prison.”

Of my mother, of whom I wished much to learn something, he would not speak, but adroitly changed the conversation to the subject of my own adventures, and these he made me recount from the beginning. If the lady enjoyed all the absurdities of my checkered fortune with a keen sense of the ridiculous, the colonel apparently could trace in them but so many resemblances to my father’s character, and constantly broke out into exclamations of “How like him!” “Just what he would have done himself!” “His own very words!” and so on.

It was only in a pause of the conversation, as the clock on the mantle-piece struck eleven, that I was aware of the lateness of the hour, and remembered that I should be on the punishment-roll the next morning, for absence from quarters.

“Never fret about that, Maurice, I’ll return your name as on a special service; and to have the benefit of truth on our side, you shall be named one of my orderlies, with the grade of corporal.”

“Why not make him a sous-lieutenant?” said the lady, in a half whisper. “I’m sure he is better worth his epaulets than any I have seen on your staff.”

“Nay, nay,” muttered the colonel, “the rules of the service forbid it. He’ll win his spurs time enough, or I’m much mistaken.”

While I thanked my new and kind patron for his goodness, I could not help saying that my heart was eagerly set upon the prospect of actual service; and that, proud as I should be of his protection, I would rather merit it by my conduct, than owe my advancement to favor.

“Which simply means that you are tired of Nancy, and riding drill, and want to see how men comport themselves where the manœuvres are not arranged beforehand. Well, so far you are right, boy. I shall, in all likelihood, be stationed here for three or four months, during which you may have advanced a stage or so toward those epaulets my fair friend desires to see upon your shoulders. You shall, therefore, be sent forward to your own corps. I’ll write to the colonel to confirm the rank of corporal: the regiment is at present on the Moselle, and, if I mistake not, will soon be actively employed. Come to me to-morrow, before noon, and be prepared to march with the first detachments that are sent forward.”

A cordial shake of the hand followed these words; and the lady having also vouchsafed me an equal token of her good-will, I took my leave, the happiest fellow that ever betook himself to quarters after hours, and as indifferent to the penalties annexed to the breach of discipline as if the whole code of martial law were a mere fable.


an aristocratic republican.

If the worthy reader would wish to fancy the happiest of all youthful beings, let him imagine what I must have been, as, mounted upon Aleppo, a present from my godfather, with a purse of six shining Louis in my pocket, and a letter to my colonel, I set forth for Metz. I had breakfasted with Colonel Mahon, who, amid much good advice for my future guidance, gave me, half slyly, to understand that the days of Jacobinism had almost run their course, and that a reactionary movement had already set in. The republic, he added, was as strong, perhaps stronger than ever, but that men had grown weary of mob tyranny, and were, day by day, reverting to the old loyalty, in respect for whatever pretended to culture, good breeding, and superior intelligence. “As in a shipwreck, the crew instinctively turn for counsel and direction to the officers, you will see that France will, notwithstanding all the libertinism of our age, place her confidence in the men who have been the tried and worthy servants of former governments. So far, then, from suffering on account of your gentle blood, Maurice, the time is not distant when it will do you good service, and when every association that links you with family and fortune will be deemed an additional guarantee of your good conduct. I mention these things,” continued he, [Pg 493]“because your colonel is what they call a ‘Grosbleu,’ that is, a coarse-minded, inveterate republican, detesting aristocracy and all that belongs to it. Take care, therefore, to give him no just cause for discontent, but be just as steady in maintaining your position as the descendant of a noble house, who has not forgotten what were once the privileges of his rank. Write to me frequently and freely, and I’ll take care that you want for nothing, so far as my small means go, to sustain whatever grade you occupy. Your own conduct shall decide whether I ever desire to have any other inheritor than the son of my oldest friend in the world.”

Such were his last words to me, as I set forth, in company with a large party, consisting, for the most part, of under officers and employées attached to the medical staff of the army. It was a very joyous and merry fraternity, and, consisting of ingredients drawn from different pursuits and arms of the service, infinitely amusing from contrast of character and habits. My chief associate among them was a young sous-lieutenant of dragoons, whose age, scarcely much above my own, joined to a joyous, reckless temperament, soon pointed him out as the character to suit me: his name was Eugene Santron. In appearance he was slightly formed, and somewhat under-sized, but with handsome features, their animation rendered sparkling by two of the wickedest black eyes that ever glistened and glittered in a human head. I soon saw that, under the mask of affected fraternity and equality, he nourished the most profound contempt for the greater number of associates, who, in truth, were, however “braves gens,” the very roughest and least-polished specimens of the polite nation. In all his intercourse with them, Eugene affected the easiest tone of camaraderé and equality, never assuming in the slightest, nor making any pretensions to the least superiority on the score of position or acquirements, but on the whole consoling himself, as it were, by “playing them off,” in their several eccentricities, and rendering every trait of their vulgarity and ignorance tributary to his own amusement. Partly from seeing that he made me an exception to this practice, and partly from his perceiving the amusement it afforded me, we drew closer toward each other, and before many days elapsed, had become sworn friends.

There is probably no feature of character so very attractive to a young man as frankness. The most artful of all flatteries is that which addresses itself by candor, and seems at once to select, as it were, by intuition, the object most suited fur a confidence. Santron carried me by a coup de main of this kind, as taking my arm one evening, as I was strolling along the banks of the Moselle, he said,

“My dear Maurice, it’s very easy to see that the society of our excellent friends yonder is just as distasteful to you as to me. One can not always be satisfied laughing at their solecisms in breeding and propriety. One grows weary at last of ridiculing their thousand absurdities; and then there comes the terrible retribution in the reflection of what the devil brought me into such company? a question that, however easily answered, grows more and more intolerable the oftener it is asked. To be sure, in my case there was little choice in the matter, for I was not in any way the arbiter of my own fortune. I saw myself converted from a royal page to a printer’s devil by a kind old fellow, who saved my life by smearing my face with ink, and covering my scarlet uniform with a filthy blouse; and since that day I have taken the hint, and often found the lesson a good one—the dirtier the safer!

“We were of the old nobility of France, but as the name of our family was the cause of its extinction, I took care to change it. I see you don’t clearly comprehend me, and so I’ll explain myself better. My father lived unmolested during the earlier days of the revolution, and might so have continued to the end, if a detachment of the Garde Republicaine had not been dispatched to our neighborhood of Sarre Louis, where it was supposed some lurking regard for royalty yet lingered. These fellows neither knew nor cared for the ancient noblesse of the country, and one evening a patrol of them stopped my father as he was taking his evening walk along the ramparts. He would scarcely deign to notice the insolent ‘Qui va la!’ of the sentry, a summons he at least thought superfluous in a town which had known his ancestry for eight or nine generations. At the repetition of the cry, accompanied by something that sounded ominous, in the sharp click of a gun-lock, he replied, haughtily, ‘Je suis le Marquis de Saint-Trone.’

“‘There are no more marquises in France!’ was the savage answer.

“My father smiled contemptuously, and briefly said, ‘Saint-Trone.’

“‘We have no saints either,’ cried another.

“‘Be it so, my friend,’ said he, with mingled pity and disgust. ‘I suppose some designation may at least be left to me, and that I may call myself Trone.’

“‘We are done with thrones long ago,’ shouted they in chorus, ‘and we’ll finish you also.’

“Ay, and they kept their word, too. They shot him that same evening, on very little other charge than his own name! If I have retained the old sound of my name, I have given it a more plebeian spelling, which is, perhaps, just as much of an alteration as any man need submit to for a period that will pass away so soon.”

“How so, Eugene? you fancy the republic will not endure in France. What, then, can replace it?”

“Any thing, every thing; for the future all is possible. We have annihilated legitimacy, it is true, just as the Indians destroy a forest, by burning the trees, but the roots remain, and if the soil is incapable of sending up the giant stems as before, it is equally unable to furnish a new and different culture. Monarchy is just as firmly rooted in a Frenchman’s heart, but he will have neither patience for its tedious growth, nor can he submit to restore what has cost him so dearly to destroy. The consequences will, therefore, be a long and continued struggle between parties, each imposing upon the nation the form of government that pleases it in turn. Meanwhile, you and I, and others like us, must serve whatever is uppermost—the cleverest fellow he who sees the coming change, and prepares to take advantage of it.”

“Then are you a royalist?” asked I.

[Pg 494]

“A royalist! what! stand by a monarch who deserted his aristocracy, and forgot his own order; defend a throne that he had reduced to the condition of a fauteuil de Bourgeois?”

“You are then for the republic?”

“For what robbed me of my inheritance—what degraded me from my rank, and reduced me to a state below that of my own vassals! Is this a cause to uphold?”

“You are satisfied with military glory, perhaps,” said I, scarcely knowing what form of faith to attribute to him.

“In an army where my superiors are the very dregs of the people; where the canaille have the command, and the chivalry of France is represented by a sans-culotte!”

“The cause of the Church—”

A burst of ribald laughter cut me short, and laying his hand on my shoulder, he looked me full in the face, while, with a struggle to recover his gravity he said,

“I hope, my dear Maurice, you are not serious, and that you do not mean this for earnest! Why, my dear boy, don’t you talk of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Delphic Oracle, of Alchemy, Astrology—of any thing, in short, of which the world, having amused itself, has, at length, grown weary? Can’t you see that the Church has passed away, and these good priests have gone the same road as their predecessors. Is any acuteness wanting to show that there is an end of this superstition that has enthralled men’s minds for a couple of thousand years? No, no, their game is up, and forever. These pious men, who despised this world, and yet had no other hold upon the minds of others than by the very craft and subtlety that world taught them. These heavenly souls, whose whole machinations revolved about earthly objects and the successes of this groveling planet! Fight for them! No, parbleu; we owe them but little love or affection. Their whole aim in life has been to disgust one with whatever is enjoyable, and the best boon they have conferred upon humanity, that bright thought, of locking up the softest eyes and fairest cheeks of France in cloisters and nunneries! I can forgive our glorious revolution much of its wrong when I think of the Prêtre; not but that they could have knocked down the Church without suffering the ruins to crush the chateau!”

Such, in brief, were the opinions my companion held, and of which I was accustomed to hear specimens every day; at first, with displeasure and repugnance; later on, with more of toleration; and, at last, with a sense of amusement at the singularity of the notions, or the dexterity with which he defended them. The poison of his doctrines was the more insidious, because, mingled with a certain dash of good nature, and a reckless, careless easiness of disposition, always attractive to very young men. His reputation for courage, of which he had given signal proofs, elevated him in my esteem; and, ere long, all my misgivings about him, in regard of certain blemishes, gave way before my admiration of his heroic bearing, and a readiness to confront peril, wherever to be found.

I had made him the confidant of my own history, of which I told him every thing, save the passages which related to the Père Michel. These I either entirely glossed over, or touched so lightly as to render unimportant: a dread of ridicule restraining me from any mention of those earlier scenes of my life, which were alone of all those I should have avowed with pride. Perhaps it was from mere accident—perhaps some secret shame to conceal my forlorn and destitute condition may have had its share in the motive; but, for some cause or other, I gave him to understand that my acquaintance with Colonel Mahon had dated back to a much earlier period than a few days before, and, the impression once made, a sense of false shame led me to support it.

“Mahon can be a good friend to you,” said Eugene; “he stands well with all parties. The Convention trust him, the sansculottes are afraid of him, and the few men of family whom the guillotine has left look up to him as one of their stanchest adherents. Depend upon it, therefore, your promotion is safe enough, even if there were not a field open for every man who seeks the path to eminence. The great point, however, is to get service with the army of Italy. These campaigns here are as barren and profitless as the soil they are fought over; but, in the south, Maurice, in the land of dark eyes and tresses, under the blue skies, or beneath the trelliced vines, there are rewards of victory more glorious than a grateful country, as they call it, ever bestowed. Never forget, my boy, that you or I have no Cause! It is to us a matter of indifference what party triumphs, or who is uppermost. The government may change to-morrow, and the day after, and so on for a month long, and yet we remain just as we were. Monarchy, Commonwealth, Democracy—what you will—may rule the hour, but the sous-lieutenant is but the servant who changes his master. Now, in revenge for all this, we have one compensation, which is, to ‘live for the day.’ To make the most of that brief hour of sunshine granted us, and to taste of every pleasure, to mingle in every dissipation, and enjoy every excitement that we can. This is my philosophy, Maurice, and just try it.”

Such was the companion with whom chance threw me in contact, and I grieve to think how rapidly his influence gained the mastery over me.


“the passage of the rhine.”

I parted from my friend Eugene at Treves, where he remained in garrison, while I was sent forward to Coblentz to join my regiment, at that time forming part of Ney’s division.

Were I to adhere in my narrative to the broad current of great events, I should here have to speak of that grand scheme of tactics by which[Pg 495] Kleber, advancing from the Lower Rhine, engaged the attention of the Austrian Grand Duke, in order to give time and opportunity for Hoche’s passage of the river at Strasbourg, and the commencement of that campaign which had for its object the subjugation of Germany. I have not, however, the pretension to chronicle those passages which history has forever made memorable, even were my own share in them of a more distinguished character. The insignificance of my station must, therefore, be my apology if I turn from the description of great and eventful incidents to the humble narrative of my own career.

Whatever the contents of Colonel Mahon’s letter, they did not plead very favorably for me with Colonel Hacque, my new commanding officer; neither, to all seeming, did my own appearance weigh any thing in my favor. Raising his eyes at intervals from the letter to stare at me, he uttered some broken phrases of discontent and displeasure; at last he said—“What’s the object of this letter, sir; to what end have you presented it to me?”

“As I am ignorant of its contents, mon colonel,” said I calmly, “I can scarcely answer the question.”

“Well, sir, it informs me that you are the son of a certain Count Tiernay; who has long since paid the price of his nobility; and that being a special protégé of the writer, he takes occasion to present you to me; now I ask again, with what object?”

“I presume, sir, to obtain for me the honor which I now enjoy—to become personally known to you.”

“I know every soldier under my command, sir,” said he, rebukingly, “as you will soon learn if you remain in my regiment. I have no need of recommendatory letters on that score. As to your grade of corporal, it is not confirmed; time enough when your services shall have shown that you deserve promotion. Parbleu, sir, you’ll have to show other claims than your ci-devant countship.”

“Colonel Mahon gave me a horse, sir, may I be permitted to retain him as a regimental mount?” asked I, timidly.

“We want horses—what is he like?”

“Three quarters Arab, and splendid in action, sir.”

“Then of course, unfit for service and field manœuvres. Send him to the Etat Major. The Republic will find a fitting mount for you; you may retire.”

And I did retire, with a heart almost bursting between anger and disappointment. What a future did this opening present to me! What a realization this of all my flattering hopes!

This sudden reverse of fortune, for it was nothing less, did not render me more disposed to make the best of my new condition, nor see in the most pleasing light the rough and rude fraternity among which I was thrown. The Ninth Hussars were reputed to be an excellent service-corps, but, off duty, contained some of the worst ingredients of the army. Play, and its consequence dueling, filled up every hour not devoted to regimental duty; and low as the tone of manners and morals stood in the service generally, “Hacques Tapageurs,” as they were called, enjoyed the unflattering distinction of being the leaders. Self-respect was a quality utterly unknown among them—none felt ashamed at the disgrace of punishment—and as all knew that, at the approach of the enemy, prison doors would open, and handcuffs fall off, they affected to think the Salle de Police was a pleasant alternative to the fatigue and worry of duty. These habits not only stripped soldiering of all its chivalry, but robbed freedom itself of all its nobility. These men saw nothing but licentiousness in their newly-won liberty. Their “Equality” was the permission to bring every thing down to a base and unworthy standard; their “Fraternity,” the appropriation of what belonged to one richer than themselves.

It would give me little pleasure to recount, and the reader, in all likelihood, as little to hear, the details of my life among such associates. They are the passages of my history most painful to recall, and least worthy of being remembered; nor can I even yet write without shame the confession, how rapidly their habits became my own. Eugene’s teachings had prepared me, in a manner, for their lessons. His skepticism extending to every thing and every one, had made me distrustful of all friendship, and suspicious of whatever appeared a kindness. Vulgar association, and daily intimacy with coarsely-minded men, soon finished what he had begun; and in less time than it took me to break my troop-horse to regimental drill, I had been myself “broke in” to every vice and abandoned habit of my companions.

It was not in my nature to do things by halves; and thus I became, and in a brief space too, the most inveterate Tapageur of the whole regiment. There was not a wild prank or plot in which I was not foremost, not a breach of the discipline unaccompanied by my name or presence, and more than half the time of our march to meet the enemy, I passed in double irons under the guard of the Provost-marshal.

It was at this pleasant stage of my education that our brigade arrived in Strasbourg, as part of the corps d’armée under the command of General Moreau.

He had just succeeded to the command on the dismissal of Pichegru, and found the army not only dispirited by the defeats of the past campaign, but in a state of rudest indiscipline and disorganization. If left to himself, he would have trusted much to time and circumstances for the reform of abuses that had been the growth of many months long. But Regnier, the second in command, was made of “different stuff;” he was a harsh and stern disciplinarian, who rarely forgave a first, never a second offense, and who deeming the Salle de Police as an incumbrance to an army on service, which, besides, required a guard of picked men, that[Pg 496] might be better employed elsewhere, usually gave the preference to the shorter sentence of “four spaces and a fusillade.” Nor was he particular in the classification of those crimes he thus expiated: from the most trivial excess to the wildest scheme of insubordination, all came under the one category. More than once, as we drew near to Strasbourg, I heard the project of a mutiny discussed, day after day. Some one or other would denounce the “scelerat Regnier,” and proclaim his readiness to be the executioner; but the closer we drew to head-quarters, the more hushed and subdued became these mutterings, till at last they ceased altogether; and a dark and forboding dread succeeded to all our late boastings and denunciations.

This at first surprised and then utterly disgusted me with my companions. Brave as they were before the enemy, had they no courage for their own countrymen? Was all their valor the offspring of security, or could they only be rebellious when the penalty had no terrors for them? Alas! I was very young, and did not then know that men are never strong against the right, and that a bad cause is always a weak one.

It was about the middle of June when we reached Strasbourg, where now about forty thousand troops were assembled. I shall not readily forget the mingled astonishment and disappointment our appearance excited as the regiment entered the town. The Tapageurs, so celebrated for all their terrible excesses and insubordination, were seen to be a fine corps of soldier-like fellows, their horses in high condition, their equipments and arms in the very best order. Neither did our conduct at all tally with the reputation that preceded us. All was orderly and regular in the several billets; the parade was particularly observed; not a man late at the night muster. What was the cause of this sudden and remarkable change? Some said we were marching against the enemy; but the real explanation lay in a few words of a general order read to us by our colonel the day before we entered the city:

“The 9th Hussars have obtained the unworthy reputation of being an ill-disciplined and ill-conducted regiment, relying upon their soldier-like qualities in face of the enemy to cover the disgrace of-their misconduct in quarters. This is a mistake that must be corrected. All Frenchmen are brave; none can arrogate to themselves any prerogative of valor. If any wish to establish such a belief, a campaign can always attest it. If any profess to think so without such proof, and acting in conformity with this impression, disobey their orders or infringe regimental discipline, I will have them shot.


This was, at least, a very straight-forward and intelligible announcement, and as such my comrades generally acknowledged it. I, however regarded it as a piece of monstrous and intolerable tyranny, and sought to make converts to my opinion by declaiming about the rights of Frenchmen, the liberty of free discussion, the glorious privilege of equality, and so on; but these arguments sounded faint in presence of the drum-head; and while some slunk away from the circle around me, others significantly hinted that they would accept no part of the danger my doctrines might originate.

However I might have respected my comrades, had they been always the well-disciplined body I now saw them, I confess, that this sudden conversion from fear, was in nowise to my taste, and rashly confounded their dread of punishment with a base and ignoble fear of death. “And these are the men,” thought I, “who talk of their charging home through the dense squares of Austria—who have hunted the leopard into the sea! and have carried the flag of France over the high Alps!”

A bold rebel, whatever may be the cause against which he revolts, will always be sure of a certain ascendency. Men are prone to attribute power to pretension, and he who stands foremost in the breach will at least win the suffrages of those whose cause he assumes to defend. In this way if happened that exactly as my comrades fell in my esteem, I was elevated in theirs; and while I took a very depreciating estimate of their courage, they conceived a very exalted opinion of mine.

It was altogether inexplicable to see these men, many of them the bronzed veterans of a dozen campaigns—the wounded and distinguished soldiers in many a hard-fought field, yielding up their opinions and sacrificing their convictions to a raw and untried stripling, who had never yet seen an enemy.

With a certain fluency of speech I possessed also a readiness at picking up information, and arraying the scattered fragments of news into a certain consistence, which greatly imposed upon my comrades. A quick eye for manœuvres, and a shrewd habit of combining in my own mind the various facts that came before me, made me appear to them a perfect authority on military matters, of which I talked, I shame to say, with all the confidence and presumption of an accomplished general. A few lucky guesses, and a few half hints, accidentally confirmed, completed all that was wanting; and what says “Le Jeune Maurice,” was the inevitable question that followed each piece of flying gossip, or every rumor that rose of a projected movement.

I have seen a good deal of the world since that time, and I am bound to confess, that not a few of the great reputations I have witnessed, have stood upon grounds very similar, and not a whit more stable than my own. A bold face, a ready tongue, a promptness to support, with my right hand, whatever my lips were pledged to, and, above all, good luck, made me the king of my company; and although that sovereignty only extended to half a squadron of hussars, it was a whole universe to me.[Pg 497]

So stood matters when, on the 23d of June, orders came for the whole corps d’armée to hold itself in readiness for a forward movement. Rations for two days were distributed, and ammunition given out, as if for an attack of some duration. Meanwhile, to obviate any suspicion of our intentions, the gates of Strasbourg, on the eastern side, were closed—all egress in that direction forbidden—and couriers and estafettes sent off toward the north, as if to provide for the march of our force in that direction. The arrival of various orderly dragoons during the previous night, and on that morning early, told of a great attack in force on Manheim, about sixty miles lower down the Rhine, and the cannonade of which some avowed that they could hear at that distance. The rumor, therefore, seemed confirmed, that we were ordered to move to the north, to support this assault.

The secret dispatch of a few dismounted dragoons and some rifle-men to the banks of the Rhine, however, did not strike me as according with this view, and particularly as I saw that, although all were equipped, and in readiness to move, the order to march was not given, a delay very unlikely to be incurred, if we were destined to act as the reserve of the force already engaged.

Directly opposite to us, on the right bank of the river, and separated from it by a low flat, of about two miles in extent, stood the fortress of Kehl, at that time garrisoned by a strong Austrian force; the banks of the river, and the wooded islands in the stream, which communicated with the right by bridges, or fordable passes, being also held by the enemy in force.

These we had often seen, by the aid of telescopes, from the towers and spires of Strasbourg; and now I remarked that the general and his staff seemed more than usually intent on observing their movements. This fact, coupled with the not less significant one, that no preparations for a defense of Strasbourg were in progress, convinced me that, instead of moving down the Rhine to the attack on Manheim, the plan of our general was, to cross the river where we were, and make a dash at the fortress of Kehl. I was soon to receive the confirmation of my suspicion, as the orders came for two squadrons of the ninth to proceed, dismounted, to the bank of the Rhine, and, under shelter of the willows, to conceal themselves there. Taking possession of the various skiffs and fishing boats along the bank, we were distributed in small parties, to one of which, consisting of eight men under the orders of a corporal, I belonged.

About an hour’s march brought us to the river side, in a little clump of alder willows, where, moored to a stake, lay a fishing boat with two short oars in her. Lying down beneath the shade, for the afternoon was hot and sultry, some of us smoked, some chatted, and a few dozed away the hours that somehow seemed unusually slow in passing.

There was a certain dogged sullenness about my companions, which proceeded from their belief, that we and all who remained at Strasbourg, were merely left to occupy the enemy’s attention, while greater operations were to be carried on elsewhere.

“You see what it is to be a condemned corps,” muttered one; “it’s little matter what befalls the old ninth, even should they be cut to pieces.”

“They didn’t think so at Enghein,” said another, “when we rode down the Austrian cuirassiers.”

“Plain enough,” cried a third, “we are to have skirmishers’ duty here, without skirmishers’ fortune in having a force to fall back upon.”

“Eh! Maurice, is not this very like what you predicted for us?” broke in a fourth ironically.

“I’m of the same mind still,” rejoined I, coolly, “the general is not thinking of a retreat; he has no intention of deserting a well-garrisoned, well-provisioned fortress. Let the attack on Manheim have what success it may, Strasbourg will be held still. I overheard Colonel Guyon remark, that the waters of the Rhine have fallen three feet since the drought set in, and Regnier replied, ‘that we must lose no time, for there will come rain and floods ere long.’ Now what could that mean, but the intention to cross over yonder?”

“Cross the Rhine in face of the fort of Kehl!” broke in the corporal.

“The French army have done bolder things before now!” was my reply, and whatever the opinion of my comrades, the flattery ranged them on my side. Perhaps the corporal felt it beneath his dignity to discuss tactics with an inferior, or perhaps he felt unable to refute the specious pretensions I advanced; in any case he turned away, and either slept, or affected sleep, while I strenuously labored to convince my companions that my surmise was correct.

I repeated all my former arguments about the decrease in the Rhine, showing that the river was scarcely two-thirds of its habitual breadth, that the nights were now dark, and well suited for a surprise, that the columns which issued from the town took their departure with a pomp and parade far more likely to attract the enemy’s attention than escape his notice, and were, therefore, the more likely to be destined for some secret expedition, of which all this display was but the blind. These, and similar facts, I grouped together with a certain ingenuity, which, if it failed to convince, at least silenced my opponents. And now the brief twilight, if so short a struggle between day and darkness deserved the name, passed off, and night suddenly closed around us—a night black and starless, for a heavy mass of lowering cloud seemed to unite with the dense vapor that arose from the river, and the low-lying grounds alongside of it. The air was hot and sultry, too, like the precursor of a thunder-storm, and the rush of the stream as it washed among the willows sounded preternaturally loud in the stillness.[Pg 498]

A hazy, indistinct flame, the watch-fire of the enemy, on the island of Eslar, was the only object visible in the murky darkness. After a while, however, we could detect another fire on a smaller island, a short distance higher up the stream. This, at first dim and uncertain, blazed up after a while, and at length we descried the dark shadows of men as they stood around it.

It was but the day before that I had been looking on a map of the Rhine, and remarked to myself that this small island, little more than a mere rook in the stream, was so situated as to command the bridge between Eslar and the German bank, and I could not help wondering that the Austrians had never taken the precaution to strengthen it, or at least place a gun there, to enfilade the bridge. Now, to my extreme astonishment, I saw it occupied by the soldiery, who, doubtless, were artillery, as in such a position small arms would prove of slight efficiency. As I reflected over this, wondering within myself if any intimation of our movements could have reached the enemy, I heard along the ground on which I was lying the peculiar tremulous, dull sound communicated by a large body of men marching. The measured tramp could not be mistaken, and as I listened I could perceive that a force was moving toward the river from different quarters. The rumbling roll of heavy guns and the clattering noise of cavalry were also easily distinguished, and awaking one of my comrades I called his attention to the sounds.

“Parbleu!” said he, “thou’rt right; they’re going to make a dash at the fortress, and there will be hot work ere morning. What say you now, corporal, has Maurice hit it off this time?”

“That’s as it may be,” growled the other, sulkily; “guessing is easy work ever for such as thee! but if he be so clever, let him tell us why are we stationed along the river’s bank in small detachments. We have had no orders to observe the enemy, nor to report upon any thing that might go forward; nor do I see with what object we were to secure the fishing boats; troops could never be conveyed across the Rhine in skin’s like these!”

“I think that this order was given to prevent any of the fishermen giving information to the enemy in case of a sudden attack,” replied I.

“Mayhap thou wert at the council of war when the plan was decided on,” said he, contemptuously. “For a fellow that never saw the smoke of an enemy’s gun thou hast a rare audacity in talking of war!”

“Yonder is the best answer to your taunt,” said I, as in a little bend of the stream beside us, two boats were seen to pull under the shelter of the tall alders, from which the clank of arms could be plainly heard; and now another larger launch swept past, the dark shadows of a dense crowd of men showing above the gunwale.

“They are embarking, they are certainly embarking,” now ran from mouth to mouth. As the troops arrived at the river’s bank they were speedily “told off” in separate divisions of which some were to lead the attack, others to follow, and a third portion to remain as a reserve in the event of a repulse.

The leading boat was manned entirely by volunteers, and I could hear from where I lay the names called aloud as the men stepped out from the ranks. I could hear that the first point of attack was the island of Eslar. So far there was a confirmation of my own guessing, and I did not hesitate to assume the full credit of my skill from my comrades. In truth, they willingly conceded all or even more than I asked for. Not a stir was heard, not a sight seen, not a movement made of which I was not expected to tell the cause and the import; and knowing that to sustain my influence there was nothing for it but to affect a thorough acquaintance with every thing, I answered all their questions boldly and unhesitatingly. I need scarcely observe that the corporal in comparison sunk into down-right insignificance. He had already shown himself a false guide, and none asked his opinion further, and I became the ruling genius of the hour. The embarkation now went briskly forward, several light field guns were placed in the boats, and two or three large rafts, capable of containing two companies each, were prepared to be towed across by boats.

Exactly as the heavy hammer of the cathedral struck one, the first boat emerged from the willows, and darting rapidly forward, headed for the middle of the stream; another and another in quick succession followed, and speedily were lost to us in the gloom; and now, two four-oared skiffs stood out together, having a raft, with two guns, in tow; by some mischance, however, they got entangled in a side current, and the raft swerving to one side, swept past the boats, carrying them down the stream along with it. Our attention was not suffered to dwell on this mishap, for at the same moment the flash and rattle of fire-arms told us the battle had begun. Two or three isolated shots were first heard, and then a sharp platoon fire, accompanied by a wild cheer, that we well knew came from our own fellows. One deep mellow boom of a large gun resounded amid the crash, and a slight streak of flame, higher up the stream, showed that the shot came from the small island I have already spoken of.

“Listen, lads,” said I, “that came from the ‘Fels Insel.’ If they are firing grape yonder, our poor fellows in the boats will suffer sorely from it. By Jove there is a crash!”

As I was speaking a rattling noise like the sound of clattering timber was heard, and with it a sharp, shrill cry of agony, and all was hushed.

“Let’s at them, boys; they can’t be much above our own number. The island is a mere rock,” cried I to my comrades.

“Who commands this party?” said the corporal, “you or I?”

[Pg 499]

“You, if you lead us against the enemy,” said I; “but I’ll take it if my comrades will follow me. There goes another shot, lads—yes or no—now is the time to speak.”

“We’re ready,” cried three, springing forward, with one impulse.

At the instant I jumped into the skiff, the others took their places, and then came a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, and a seventh, leaving the corporal alone on the bank.

“Come along, corporal,” cried I, “we’ll win your epaulets for you;” but he turned away without a word; and not waiting further, I pushed out the skiff, and sent her skimming down the stream.

“Pull steady, boys, and silently,” said I; “we must gain the middle of the current, and then drop down the river without the least noise. Once beneath the trees, we’ll give them a volley, and then the bayonet. Remember, lads, no flinching; it’s as well to die here as be shot by old Regnier to-morrow.”

The conflict on the Eslar island was now, to all seeming, at its height. The roll of musketry was incessant, and sheets of flame, from time to time, streaked the darkness above the river.

“Stronger and together, boys—once more—there it is—we are in the current, now; in with you, men, and look to your carbines—see that the priming is safe; every shot soon will be worth a fusilade. Lie still now, and wait for the word to fire.”

The spreading foliage of the nut-trees was rustling over our heads as I spoke, and the sharp skiff, borne on the current, glided smoothly on till her bow struck the rock. With high-beating hearts we clambered up the little cliff; and as we reached the top, beheld immediately beneath us, in a slight dip of the ground, several figures around a gun, which they were busy in adjusting. I looked right and left to see that my little party were all assembled, and without waiting for more, gave the order—fire!

We were within pistol range, and the discharge was a deadly one. The terror, however, was not less complete; for all who escaped death fled from the spot, and dashing through the brushwood, made for the shallow part of the stream, between the island and the right bank.

Our prize was a brass eight pounder, and an ample supply of ammunition. The gun was pointed toward the middle of the stream, where the current being strongest, the boats would necessarily be delayed; and in all likelihood some of our gallant comrades had already experienced its fatal fire. To wheel it right about, and point it on the Eslar bridge, was the work of a couple of minutes; and while three of our little party kept up a steady fire on the retreating enemy, the others loaded the gun and prepared to fire.

Our distance from the Eslar island and bridge, as well as I could judge from the darkness, might be about two hundred and fifty yards; and as we had the advantage of a slight elevation of ground, our position was admirable.

“Wait patiently, lads,” said I, restraining, with difficulty, the burning ardor of my men. “Wait patiently, till the retreat has commenced over the bridge. The work is too hot to last much longer on the island: to fire upon them there, would be to risk our own men as much as the enemy. See what long flashes of flame break forth among the brushwood: and listen to the cheering now. That was a French cheer! and there goes another! Look! look, the bridge is darkening already! That was a bugle-call, and they are in full retreat. Now, lads—now!”

As I spoke; the gun exploded, and the instant after we heard the crashing rattle of the timber, as the shot struck the bridge, and splintered the wood-work in all directions.

“The range is perfect, lads,” cried I. “Load and fire with all speed.”

Another shot, followed by a terrific scream from the bridge, told how the work was doing. Oh! the savage exultation, the fiendish joy of my heart, as I drank in that cry of agony, and called upon my men to load faster.

Six shots were poured in with tremendous precision and effect, and the seventh tore away one of the main supports of the bridge, and down went the densely crowded column into the Rhine; at the same instant, the guns of our launches opened a destructive fire upon the banks, which soon were swept clean of the enemy.

High up on the stream, and for nearly a mile below also, we could see the boats of our army pulling in for shore; the crossing of the Rhine had been effected, and we now prepared to follow.

To be continued.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


Of all the wonderful discoveries which modern science has given birth to, there is perhaps not one which has been applied to useful purposes on a scale so unexpectedly contracted as that by which we are enabled to penetrate into the immense ocean of air with which our globe is surrounded, and to examine the physical phenomena which are manifested in its upper strata. One would have supposed that the moment the power was conferred upon us to leave the surface of the earth, and rise above the clouds into the superior regions, a thousand eager inquirers would present themselves as agents in researches in a region so completely untrodden, if such a term may here be permitted.

Nevertheless, this great invention of aerial navigation has remained almost barren. If we except the celebrated aerial voyage of Gay-Lussac in 1804, the balloon, with its wonderful powers, has been allowed to degenerate into a mere theatrical exhibition, exciting the vacant and unreflecting wonder of the multitude. Instead of being an instrument of philosophical[Pg 500] research, it has become a mere expedient for profit in the hands of charlatans, so much so, that, on the occasion to which we are now about to advert, the persons who engaged in the project incurred failure, and risked their lives, from their aversion to avail themselves of the experience of those who had made aerostation a mere spectacle for profit. They thought that to touch pitch they must be defiled, and preferred danger and the risk of failure to such association.

It is now about two months since M. Barral, a chemist of some distinction at Paris, and M. Bixio, a member of the Legislative Assembly (whose name will be remembered in connection with the bloody insurrection of June, 1848, when, bravely and humanely discharging his duty in attempting to turn his guilty fellow-citizens from their course, he nearly shared the fate of the Archbishop, and was severely wounded), resolved upon making a grand experiment with a view to observe and record the meteorological phenomena of the strata of the atmosphere, at a greater height and with more precision than had hitherto been accomplished. But from the motives which we have explained, the project was kept secret, and it was resolved that the experiment should be made at an hour of the morning, and under circumstances, which would prevent it from degenerating into an exhibition. MM. Arago and Regnault undertook to supply the aerial voyagers with a programme of the proposed performance, and instruments suited to the projected observations. M. Arago prepared the programme, in which was stated clearly what observations were to be made at every stage of the ascentional movement.

It was intended that the balloon should be so managed as to come to rest at certain altitudes, when barometric, thermometric, hygrometric, polariscopic, and other observations, were to be taken and noted; the balloon after each series of observations to make a new ascent.

The precious instruments by which these observations were to be made were prepared, and in some cases actually fabricated and graduated, by the hands of M. Regnault himself.

To provide the balloon and its appendages, recourse was had to some of those persons who have followed the fabrication of balloons as a sort of trade, for the purposes of exhibition.

In this part of their enterprise the voyagers were not so fortunate, as we shall presently see, and still less so in having taken the resolution to ascend alone, unaccompanied by a practiced æronaut. It is probable that if they had selected a person, such as Mr. Green, for example, who had already made frequent ascents for the mere purpose of exhibition, and who had become familiar with the practical management of the machine, a much more favorable result would have ensued. As it was, the two voyagers ascended for the first time, and placed themselves in a position like that of a natural philosopher, who, without previous practice, should undertake to drive a locomotive, with its train on a railway at fifty miles an hour, rejecting the humble but indispensable aid of an experienced engine-driver.

The necessary preparations having been made, and the programme and the instruments prepared, it was resolved to make the ascent from the garden behind the Observatory at Paris, a plateau of some elevation, and free from buildings and other obstacles, at day-break of Saturday, the 29th June. At midnight the balloon was brought to the spot, but the inflation was not completed until nearly 10 o’clock, A.M.

It has since been proved that the balloon was old and worn, and that it ought not to have been supplied for such an occasion.

It was obviously patched, and it is now known that two seamstresses were employed during the preceding day in mending it, and some stitching even was found necessary after it had arrived at the Observatory.

The net-work which included and supported the car was new, and not originally made with a view to the balloon it inclosed, the consequences of which will be presently seen.

The night, between Friday and Saturday, was one of continual rain, and the balloon and its netting became thoroughly saturated with moisture. By the time the inflation had been completed, it became evident that the net-work was too small; but in the anxiety to carry into effect the project, the consequences of this were most unaccountably overlooked. We say unaccountably, because it is extremely difficult to conceive how experimental philosophers and practiced observers, like MM. Arago and Regnault, to say nothing of numerous subordinate scientific agents who were present, did not anticipate what must have ensued in the upper regions of the air. Nevertheless, such was the fact.

On the morning of Saturday, the instruments being duly deposited in the car, the two enterprising voyagers placed themselves in it, and the balloon, which previously had been held down by the strength of twenty men, was liberated, and left to plunge into the ocean of air, at twenty-seven minutes after ten o’clock.

The weather, as we have already stated, was unfavorable, the sky being charged with clouds. As it was the purpose of this project to examine much higher regions of the atmosphere than those which it had been customary for aeronautic exhibitors to rise to, the arrangements of ballast and inflation which were adopted, were such as to cause the ascent to be infinitely more rapid than in the case of public exhibitions; in short, the balloon darted upward with the speed of an arrow, and in two minutes from the moment it was liberated, that is to say, at twenty-nine minutes past ten, plunged into the clouds, and was withdrawn from the anxious view of the distinguished persons assembled in the garden of the Observatory.

While passing through this dense cloud, the[Pg 501] voyagers carefully observed the barometer, and knew by the rapid fall of the mercury that they were ascending with a great velocity. Fifteen minutes elapsed before they emerged from the cloud; when they did so, however, a glorious spectacle presented itself. The balloon, emerging from the superior surface of the cloud, rose under a splendid canopy of azure, and shone with the rays of a brilliant sun. The cloud which they had just passed, was soon seen several thousand feet below them. From the observations taken with the barometer and thermometer, it was afterward found that the thickness of the cloud through which they had passed, was 9800 feet—a little less than two miles. On emerging from the cloud, our observers examined the barometer, and found that the mercury had fallen to the height of 18 inches; the thermometer showed a temperature of 45° Fahr. The height of the balloon above the level of the sea was then 14,200 feet. At the moment of emerging from the cloud, M. Barral made polariscopic observation, which established a fact foreseen by M. Arago, that the light reflected from the surface of the clouds, was unpolarized light.

The continued and somewhat considerable fall of the barometer informed the observers that their ascent still continued to be rapid. The rain which had previously fallen, and which wetted the balloon, and saturated the cordage forming the net-work, had now ceased, or, to speak more correctly, the balloon had passed above the region in which the rain prevailed. The strong action of the sun, and almost complete dryness of the air in which the vast machine now floated, caused the evaporation of the moisture which enveloped it. The cordage and the balloon becoming dry, and thus relieved of a certain weight of liquid, was affected as though a quantity of ballast had been thrown out, and it darted upward with increased velocity.

It was within one minute of eleven, when the observers finding the barometer cease the upward motion, and finding that the machine oscillated round a position of equilibrium by noticing the bearing of the sun, they found the epoch favorable for another series of observations. The barometer there indicated that the balloon had attained the enormous height of 19,700 feet. The moisture which had invested the thermometer had frozen upon it, and obstructed, for the moment, observations with it. It was while M. Barral was occupied in wiping the icicles from it, that, turning his eye upward, he beheld what would have been sufficient to have made the stoutest heart quail with fear.

To explain the catastrophe which at this moment, and at nearly 20,000 feet above the surface of the earth, and about a mile above the highest strata of the clouds, menaced the voyagers, we must recur to what we have already stated in reference to the balloon and the net-work. As it was intended to ascend to an unusual altitude, it was of course known, that in consequence of the highly rarefied state of the atmosphere, and its very much diminished pressure, the gas contained in the balloon would have a great tendency to distend, and, consequently, space must be allowed for the play of this effect. The balloon, therefore, at starting, was not nearly filled with gas, and yet, as we have explained it, very nearly filled the net-work which inclosed it. Is it not strange that some among the scientific men present did not foresee, that when it would ascend into a highly rarefied atmosphere, it would necessarily distend itself to such a magnitude, that the netting would be utterly insufficient to contain it? Such effect, so strangely unforeseen, now disclosed itself practically realized to the astonished and terrified eyes of M. Barral.

The balloon, in fact, had so swelled as not only completely to fill the netting which covered it, but to force its way, in a frightful manner, through the hoop under it, from which the car, and the voyagers were suspended.

In short, the inflated silk protruding downward through the hoop, now nearly touched the heads of the voyagers. In this emergency the remedy was sufficiently obvious.

The valve must be opened, and the balloon breathed, so as to relieve it from the over-inflation. Now, it is well known, that the valve in this machine is placed in a sort of sleeve, of a length more or less considerable, connected with the lower part of the balloon, through which sleeve the string-of the valve passes. M. Barral, on looking for this sleeve, found that it had disappeared. Further search showed that the balloon being awkwardly and improperly placed in the inclosing net-work, the valve-sleeve, instead of hanging clear of the hoop, had been gathered up in the net-work above the hoop; so that, to reach it, it would have been necessary to have forced a passage between the inflated silk and the hoop.

Now, here it must be observed, that such an incident could never have happened to the most commonly-practiced balloon exhibitor, whose first measure, before leaving the ground, would be to secure access to, and the play of the valve. This, however, was, in the present case, fatally overlooked. It was, in fine, now quite apparent, that either of two effects must speedily ensue—viz.: either the car and the voyagers would be buried in the inflated silk which was descending upon them, and thus they would he suffocated, or that the force of distention must burst the balloon. If a rupture were to take place in that part immediately over the car, then the voyagers would be suffocated by an atmosphere of hydrogen; if it should take place at a superior part, then the balloon, rapidly discharged of its gas, would be precipitated to the earth, and the destruction of its occupants rendered inevitable.

Under these circumstances the voyagers did not lose their presence of mind, but calmly considered their situation, and promptly decided upon the course to be adopted. M. Barral[Pg 502] climbed up the side of the car, and the net-work suspending it, and forced his way through the hoop, so as to catch hold of the valve-sleeve. In this operation, however, he was obliged to exercise a force which produced a rent in a part of the silk below the hoop, and immediately over the car. In a moment the hydrogen gas issued with terrible force from the balloon, and the voyagers found themselves involved in an atmosphere of it.

Respiration became impossible, and they were nearly suffocated. A glance at the barometer, however, showed them that they were falling to the ground with the most fearful rapidity.

During a few moments they experienced all the anguish attending asphyxia. From this situation, however, they were relieved more speedily than they could then have imagined possible; but the cause which relieved them soon became evident, and inspired them with fresh terrors.

M. Barral, from the indications of the barometer, knew that they were being precipitated to the surface of the earth with a velocity so prodigious, that the passage of the balloon through the atmosphere dispelled the mass of hydrogen with which they had been surrounded.

It was, nevertheless, evident that the small rent which had been produced in the lower part of the balloon, by the abortive attempt to obtain access to the valve, could not have been the cause of a fall so rapid.

M. Barral, accordingly, proceeded to examine the external surface of the balloon, as far as it was visible from the car, and, to his astonishment and terror, he discovered that a rupture had taken place, and that a rent was made, about five feet in length, along the equator of the machine, through which, of course, the gas was now escaping in immense quantities. Here was the cause of the frightful precipitation of the descent, and a source of imminent danger in the fall.

M. Barral promptly decided on the course to be taken.

It was resolved to check the descent by the discharge of the ballast, and every other article of weight. But this process, to be effectual, required to be conducted with considerable coolness and skill. They were some thousand feet above the clouds. If the ballast were dismissed too soon, the balloon must again acquire a perilous velocity before it would reach the earth. If, on the other hand, its descent were not moderated in time, its fall might become so precipitate as to be ungovernable. Nine or ten sand-bags being, therefore, reserved for the last and critical moment, all the rest of the ballast was discharged. The fall being still frightfully rapid, the voyagers cast out, as they descended through the cloud already mentioned, every article of weight which they had, among which were the blankets and woolen clothing which they had brought to cover them in the upper regions of the atmosphere, their shoes, several bottles of wine, all, in fine, save and except the philosophical instruments. These they regarded as the soldier does his flag, not to be surrendered save with life. M. Bixio, when about to throw over a trifling apparatus, called an aspirator, composed of copper, and filled with water, was forbidden by M. Barral, and obeyed the injunction.

They soon emerged from the lower stratum of the cloud, through which they had fallen in less than two minutes, having taken fifteen minutes to ascend through it. The earth was now in sight, and they were dropping upon it like a stone. Every weighty article had been dismissed, except the nine sand-bags, which had been designedly reserved to break the shock on arriving at the surface. They observed that they were directly over some vine-grounds near Lagny, in the department of the Seine and Marne, and could distinctly see a number of laborers engaged in their ordinary toil, who regarded with unmeasured astonishment the enormous object about to drop upon them. It was only when they arrived at a few hundred feet from the surface that the nine bags of sand were dropped by M. Barral, and by this manœuvre the lives of the voyagers were probably saved. The balloon reached the ground, and the car struck among the vines. Happily the wind was gentle; but gentle as it was it was sufficient, acting upon the enormous surface of the balloon, to drag the car along the ground, as if it were drawn by fiery and ungovernable horses. Now arrived a moment of difficulty and danger, which also had been foreseen and provided for by M. Barral. If either of the voyagers had singly leaped from the car, the balloon, lightened of so much weight, would dart up again into the air. Neither voyager would consent, then, to purchase his own safety at the risk of the other. M. Barral, therefore, threw his body half down from the car, laying hold of the vine-stakes, as he was dragged along, and directing M. Bixio to hold fast to his feet. In this way the two voyagers, by their united bodies, formed a sort of anchor, the arms of M. Barral playing the part of the fluke, and the body of M. Bixio that of the cable.

In this way M. Barral was dragged over a portion of the vineyard rapidly, without any other injury than a scratch or contusion of the face, produced by one of the vine-stakes.

The laborers just referred to meanwhile collected, and pursued the balloon, and finally succeeded in securing it, and in liberating the voyagers, whom they afterward thanked for the bottles of excellent wine which, as they supposed, had fallen from the heavens, and which, wonderful to relate, had not been broken from the fall, although, as has been stated, they had been discharged above the clouds. The astonishment and perplexity of the rustics can be imagined on seeing these bottles drop in the vineyard.

This fact also shows how perpendicularly the balloon must have dropped, since the bottles[Pg 503] dismissed from such a height, fell in the same field where, in a minute afterward, the balloon also dropped.

The entire descent from the altitude of twenty thousand feet was effected in seven minutes, being at the average rate of fifty feet per second.

In fine, we have to report that these adventurous partisans of science, nothing discouraged by the catastrophe which has occurred have resolved to renew the experiment under, as may he hoped, less inauspicious circumstances; and we trust that on the next occasion they will not disdain to avail themselves of the co-operation and presence of some one of those persons, who having hitherto practiced aerial navigation for the mere purposes of amusement, will, doubtless, be too happy to invest one at least of their labors with a more useful and more noble character.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


The night of a bitter winter day had come; frost, and hail, and snow carried a sense of new desolation to the cold hearths of the moneyless, while the wealthy only drew the closer to their bright fires, and experienced stronger feelings of comfort.

In a small back apartment of a mean house, in one of the poorest quarters of Edinburgh, a young man sat with a pen in his fingers, endeavoring to write, though the blue tint of his nails showed that the blood was almost frozen in his hands. There was no fire in the room; the old iron grate was rusty and damp, as if a fire had not blazed in it for years; the hail dashed against the fractured panes of the window; the young man was poorly and scantily dressed, and he was very thin, and bilious to all appearance; his sallow, yellow face and hollow eyes told of disease, misery, and the absence of hope.

His hand shook with cold, as, by the light of the meanest and cheapest of candles, he slowly traced line after line, with the vain thought of making money by his writings. In his boyish days he had entered the ranks of literature, with the hopes of fame to lead him on, but disappointment after disappointment, and miserable circumstances of poverty and suffering had been his fate: now the vision of fame had become dim in his sick soul—he was writing with the hope of gaining money, any trifle, by his pen.

Of all the ways of acquiring money to which the millions bend their best energies, that of literature is the most forlorn. The artificers of necessaries and luxuries, for the animal existence, have the world as their customers; but those who labor for the mind have but a limited few, and therefore the supply of mental work is infinitely greater than the demand, and thousands of the unknown and struggling, even though possessed of much genius, must sink before the famous few who monopolize the literary market, and so the young writer is overlooked. He may be starving, but his manuscripts will be returned to him; the emoluments of literature are flowing in other channels; he is one added to the thousands too many in the writing world; his efforts may bring him misery and madness, but not money.

The door of the room opened, and a woman entered; and advancing near the little table on which the young man was writing, she fixed her eyes on him with a look in which anger, and the extreme wretchedness which merges on insanity, were mingled. She seemed nearly fifty; her features had some remaining traces of former regularity and beauty, but her whole countenance now was a volume filled with the most squalid suffering and evil passions; her cheeks and eyes were hollow, as if she had reached the extreme of old age; she was emaciated to a woeful degree; her dress was poor dirty, and tattered, and worn without any attempt at proper arrangement.

“Writing! writing! writing! Thank God, Andrew Carson, the pen will soon drop from your fingers with starvation.”

The woman said this in a half-screaming, but weak and broken-down voice.

“Mother, let me have some peace,” said the young writer, turning his face away, so that he might not see her red glaring eyes fixed on him.

“Ay, Andrew Carson, I say thank God that the force of hunger will soon now make you drop that cursed writing. Thank God, if there is the God that my father used to talk about in the long nights in the bonnie highland glen, where it’s like a dream of lang syne that I ever lived.”

She pressed her hands on her breast, as if some recollections of an overpowering nature were in her soul.

“The last rag in your trunk has gone to the pawn; you have neither shirt, nor coat, nor covering now, except what you’ve on. Write—write—if you can, without eating; to-morrow you’ll have neither meat nor drink here, nor aught now to get money on.”

“Mother, I am in daily expectation of receiving something for my writing now; the post this evening may bring me some good news.”

He said this with hesitation, and there was little of hope in the expression of his face.

“Good news! good news about your writing! that’s the good news ’ill never come; never, you good-for-nothing scribbler!”

She screamed forth the last words in a voice of frenzy. Her tone was a mixture of Scotch and Irish accents. She had resided for some years of her earlier life in Ireland.

As the young writer looked at her and listened to her, the pen shook in his hand.

[Pg 504]

“Go out, and work, and make money. Ay, the working people can live on the best, while you, with that pen in your fingers, are starving yourself and me.”

“Mother, I am not strong enough for labor, and my tastes are strongly, very strongly, for literature.”

“Not strong enough! you’re twenty past. It’s twenty long years since the cursed night I brought you into the world.” The young writer gazed keenly on his mother, for he was afraid she was under the influence of intoxication, as was too often the case; but he did not know how she could have obtained money, as he knew there was not a farthing in the house. The woman seemed to divine the meaning of his looks—

“I’m not drunk, don’t think it,” she cried; “it’s the hunger and the sorrow that’s in my head.”

“Well, mother, perhaps this evening’s post may have some good intelligence.”

“What did the morning’s post bring? There, there—don’t I see it—them’s the bonnie hopes of yours.”

She pointed to the table, where lay a couple of returned manuscripts. Andrew glanced toward the parcel, and made a strong effort to suppress the deep sigh which heaved his breast.

“Ay, there it is—there’s a bundle of that stuff ye spend your nights and days writing; taking the flesh off your bones, and making that face of yours so black and yellow; it’s your father’s face, too—ay—well it’s like him now, indeed—the ruffian. I wish I had never seen him, nor you, nor this world.”

“My father,” said Andrew, and a feeling of interest overspread his bloodless face. “You have told me little of him. Why do you speak of him so harshly?”

“Go and work, and make money, I say. I tell you I must get money; right or wrong, I must get it; there’s no living longer, and enduring what I’ve endured. I dream of being rich; I waken every morning from visions where my hands are filled with money; that wakening turns my head, when I know and see there is not a halfpenny in the house, and when I see you, my son, sitting there, working like a fool with pen and brain, but without the power to earn a penny for me. Go out and work with your hands, I say again, and let me get money—do any thing, if it brings money. There is the old woman over the way, who has a working son; his mother may bless God that he is a shoemaker and not a poet; she is the happy woman, so cozily covered with warm flannel and stuff this weary weather, and her mutton, and her tea, and her money jingling in her pocket forever; that’s what a working son can do—a shoemaker can do that.”

At this some noise in the kitchen called Mrs. Carson away, to the great relief of Andrew. He rose, and closed the door gently after her. He seated himself again, and took up his pen, but his head fell listlessly on his hand; he felt as if his mother’s words were yet echoing in his ears. From his earliest infancy he had regarded her with fear and wonder, more than love.

Mrs. Carson was the daughter of a Scotch Presbyterian clergyman, who was suspected by his brethren in the ministry of entertaining peculiar views of religion on some points, and also of being at intervals rather unsound in his mind. He bestowed, however, a superior education on his only daughter, and instructed her carefully himself until his death, which occurred when she was not more than fourteen. As her father left her little if any support, she was under the necessity of going to reside with relations in Ireland, who moved in a rather humble rank. Of her subsequent history little was known to Andrew; she always maintained silence regarding his father, and seemed angry when he ventured to question her. Andrew was born in Ireland, and resided there until about his eighth year, when his mother returned to Scotland.

It was from his mother Andrew had gained all the little education that had been bestowed on him. That education was most capriciously imparted, and in its extent only went the length of teaching him to read partially; for whatever further advances he had made he was indebted to his own self-culture. At times his mother would make some efforts to impress on him the advantages of education: she would talk of poetry, and repeat specimens of the poets which her memory had retained from the period of her girlhood in her father’s house; but oftenest the language of bitterness, violence, and execration was on her lips. With the never-ceasing complaints of want—want of position, want of friends, but, most of all, want of money—sounding in his ears, Andrew grew up a poet. The unsettled and aimless mind of his mother, shadowed as it was with perpetual blackness, prevented her from calmly and wisely striving to place her son in some position by which he could have aided in supporting himself and her. As a child, Andrew was shy and solitary, caring little for the society of children of his own years, and taking refuge from the never-ceasing violence of his mother’s temper in the privacy of his own poor bedroom, with some old book which he had contrived to borrow, or with his pen, for he was a writer of verses from an early age.

Andrew was small-sized, sickly, emaciated, and feeble in frame; his mind had much of the hereditary weakness visible in his mother; his imagination and his passions were strong, and easily excited to such a pitch as to overwhelm for the moment his reason. With a little-exercised and somewhat defective judgment; with no knowledge of the world; with few books; with a want of that tact possessed by some intellects, of knowing and turning to account the tendencies of the age in literature, it was hardly to be expected that Andrew would soon succeed as a poet, though his imagination was powerful, and there was pathos and even occasional sublimity in his poetry. For five long years he had been toiling and striving without any success whatever in his vocation, in the way of realizing either fame or emolument.[Pg 505]

Now, as he sat with his eyes fixed on the two returned manuscripts on his table, his torturing memory passed in review before him the many times his hopes had been equally lost. He was only twenty years of age, yet he had endured so many disappointments! He shook and trembled with a convulsive agony as he recalled poem after poem, odes, sonnets, epics, dramas—he had tried every thing; he had built so many glorious expectations on each as, night after night, shivering with cold and faint with sickness, he had persisted in gathering from his mind, and arranging laboriously, the brightest and most powerful of his poetical fancies, and hoped, and was often almost sure, they would spread broadly, and be felt deeply in the world. But there they had all returned to him—there they lay, unknown, unheard of—they were only so much waste paper.

As each manuscript had found its way back to him, he had received every one with an increasing bitterness and despair, which gradually wrought his brain almost to a state of mental malady. By constitution he was nervous and melancholy: the utmost of the world’s success would hardly have made him happy; he had no internal strength to cope with disappointment—no sanguine hopes pointing to a brighter future: he was overwhelmed with present failures. One moment he doubted sorely the power of his own genius: and the thought was like death to him, for without fame—without raising himself a name and a position above the common masses—he felt he could not live. Again, he would lay the whole blame on the undiscerning publishers to whom his poetry had been sent; he would anathematize them all with the fierce bitterness of a soul which was, alas! unsubdued in many respects by the softening and humbling influences of the religion of Christ. He had not the calm reflection which might have told him that, young, uneducated, utterly unlearned in the world and in books as he was, his writings must of necessity have a kind of inferiority to the works of those possessed of more advantages. He had no deep, sober principles or thoughts; his thoughts were feelings which bore him on their whirlwind course to the depths of agony, and to the brink of the grave, for his health was evidently seriously impaired by the indulgence of long-continued emotions of misery.

He took up one of the rejected manuscripts in his hand: it was a legendary poem, modeled something after the style of Byron, though the young author would have violently denied the resemblance. He thought of the pains he had bestowed on it—of the amount of thought and dreams—the sick, languid headaches, the pained breast, the weary mind it had so often occasioned him; then he saw the marks of tears on it—the gush of tears which had come as if to extinguish the fire of madness which had kindled in his brain. When he saw that manuscript returned to him, the marks of the tears were there staining the outside page. He looked fixedly on that manuscript, and his thin face became darker, and more expressive of all that is hopeless in human sorrow; the bright light of success shone as if so far away from him now—away at an endless distance, which neither his strength of body or mind could ever carry him over.

At that moment the sharp, rapid knock of the postman sounded in his ears. His heart leaped up, and then suddenly sank with suffocating fear, for the dark mood of despair was on him—could it be another returned manuscript? He had only one now in the hands of a publisher; the one on which he had expended all his powers—the one to which he had trusted most: it was a tragedy. He had dreamed the preceding night that it had been accepted; he had dreamed it had brought him showers of gold; he had been for a moment happy beyond the bounds of human happiness, though he had awoke with a sense of horror on his mind, he knew not why. The publisher to whom he had sent his tragedy was to present it to the manager of one of the London theatres. Had it been taken, performed, successful?—a dream of glory, as if heaven had opened on him, bewildered his senses.

The door was rudely pushed open; his mother entered, and flung the manuscript of the returned tragedy on the table.

“There—there’s another of them!” she cried, rage choked her voice for a moment.

Andrew was stunned. Despair seemed to have frozen him all at once into a statue. He mechanically took up the packet, and, opening it, he read the cold, polite, brief note, which told of the rejection of his play both by theatres and publishers.

“Idiot—fool—scribbling fool!”

The unfortunate poet’s mother sank into a chair, as if unable to support the force of her anger.

“Fool!—scribbling madman! will ye never give over?”

Andrew made no answer; but every one of his mother’s furious words sank into his brain, adding to the force of his unutterable misery.

“Will ye go now, and take to some other trade, will ye?—will ye, I say?”

Andrew’s lips moved for a moment, but no sound came from them.

“Will ye go out, and make money, I say, at some sensible work? Make money for me, will you? I’ll force you out to make money at some work by which there’s money to be made; not the like of that idiot writing of yours, curse it. Answer me, and tell me you’ll go out and work for money now?”

She seized his arm, and shook it violently; but still he made no response.

[Pg 506]

“You will not speak. Listen, then—listen to me, I say; I’ll tell it all now; you’ll hear what you never heard before. I did not tell you before, because I pitied you—because I thought you would work for me, and earn money; but you will not promise it. Now, then, listen. You are the very child of money—brought into existence by the influence of money; you would never have been in being had it not been for money. I always told you I was married to your father; I told you a falsehood—he bound me to him by the ties of money only.”

A violent shudder passed over Andrew’s frame at this intelligence, but still he said nothing.

“You shall hear it all—I shall tell you particularly the whole story. It was not for nothing you were always afraid of being called a bastard. It’s an ugly word, but it belongs to you—ay, ay, ye always trembled at that word, since ye were able to go and play among the children in the street. They called ye that seven years ago—ten years ago, when we came here first, and you used to come crying to me, for you could not bear it, you said. I denied it then—I told you I was married to your father; I told you a lie: I told you that, because I thought you would grow up and work for me, and get me money. You won’t do it; you will only write—write all day and all night, too, though I’ve begged you to quit it. You have me here starving. What signifies the beggarly annuity your father left to me, and you, his child? It’s all spent long before it comes, and here we are with nothing, not a crust, in the house, and it’s two months till next paying time.

“Listen—I’ll tell you the whole story of your birth; maybe that will put you from writing for a while, if you have the spirit you used to have when they told you what you were.”

She shook his arm again, without receiving any answer; his head had fallen on his hands, and he remained fixed in one position. His mother’s eyes glared on him with a look in which madness was visible, together with a tigress-like expression of ferocity which rarely appears on the face of a mother, or of any human being, where insanity does not exist. When she spoke, however, her words were collected, and her manner was impressive and even dignified; the look of maniac anger gradually wore away from her face, and in every sentence she uttered there were proofs that something of power had naturally existed in her fallen and clouded mind.

“Want of money was the earliest thing I remember to feel,” she said, as she seated herself, with something more of composure in her manner. “There was never any money in my father’s house. I wondered at first where it could all go; I watched and reflected, and used all means of finding out the mystery. At last I knew it—my father drank; in the privacy of his room, when no eye was on him, he drank, drank. He paid strict enough attention to my education. I read with him much; he had stores of books. I read the Bible with him, too; often he spent long evenings expounding it to me. But I saw the hollowness of it all—he hardly believed himself; he doubted—doubted all, while he would fain have made me a believer. I saw it well: I heard him rave of it in a fever into which drink had thrown him. All was dark to him, he said, when he was near dying; but he had taught his child to believe; he had done his best to make her believe. He did not know my heart; I was his own child; I longed for sensual things; my heart burned with a wish for money, but it all went for drink. Had I but been able then to procure food and clothes as others of my rank did, the burning wish for money that consumed my heart then and now might never have been kindled, and I might have been rich as those often become who have never wished for riches. Yes, the eagerness of my wishes has always driven money far away from me; that cursed gold and silver, it flows on them who have never worshiped it—never longed for it till their brain turned; and it will not come to such as me, whose whole life has been a desire for it. Well, my father died, and I was left without a penny; all the furniture went to pay the spirit-merchant. I went to Ireland; I lived with relations who were poor and ignorant: I heard the cry of want of money there too. A father and mother and seven children, and me, the penniless orphan: we all wanted money—all cried for it. At last my cry was answered in a black way; I saw the sight of money at last; a purse heaped, overflowing with money, was put into my hands. My brain got giddy at the sight; sin and virtue became all one to me at the sight. Gold, gold! my father would hardly ever give me one poor shilling; the people with whom I lived hardly ever had a shilling among them. I became the mistress of a rich man—a married man; his wife and children were living there before my eyes—a profligate man; his sins were the talk of the countryside. I hated him; he was old, deformed, revolting; but he chained me to him by money. Then I enjoyed money for a while; I kept that purse in my hand; I laid it down so as my eyes would rest on it perpetually. I dressed; I squandered sum after sum; the rich man who kept me had many other expenses: his money became scantier; we quarreled; another offered me more money—I went to him.”

A deep groan shook the whole frame of the unfortunate young poet at this statement—a groan which in its intensity might have separated soul and body.

“Let me go—let me go!” he cried, raising himself for a moment, and then sinking back again in his chair in a passive state.

His mother seemed a little softened by his agitation, though she made no comment on it, but continued her narrative as if no interruption had taken place.

[Pg 507]

“Money took me to a new master; he was richer than the first; he bound my heart to him by the profusion of his money. He was old and withered, but his gold and silver reflected so brightly on his face, I came to think him handsome; he was your father; you were born; after your birth I think I even loved him. I urged him to marry me; he listened; he even promised—yes, marriage and money—money—they were almost in my very grasp. I was sure—sure—when he went to England to arrange some business, he said; he wrote fondly for a while; I lived in an elysium; money and an honorable marriage were my own. I had not one doubt; but he ceased to write to me—all at once he ceased; had it been a gradual drawing off, my brain would not have reeled as it did. At last, when fear and anxiety had almost thrown me into a fever, a letter came. It announced in a few words that your father was married to a young, virtuous, and wealthy lady; he had settled a small annuity on me for life, and never wished to see or hear from me again. A violent illness seized me then; it was a kind of burning fever. All things around me seemed to dazzle, and assume the form of gold and silver; I struggled and writhed to grasp the illusion; they were forced to tie my hands—to bind me down in my bed. I recovered at last, but I had grown all at once old, withered, stricken in mind and body by that sickness. For a long time—for years—I lived as if in a lingering dream; I had no keen perceptions of life; my wishes had little energy; my thoughts were confused and wandering; even the love of money and the want of money failed to stir me into any kind of action. I have something of the same kind of feeling still,” she said, raising her hand to her head. “The burning fever into which I was thrown when your father’s love vanished from me, is often here even yet, though its duration is brief; but it is sufficient to make me incapable of any exertion by which I could make money. I have trusted to you; I have hoped that you might be the means of raising me from my poverty; I have long hoped to see the gold and silver of your earning. I did not say much at first, when I saw you turning a poet; I had heard that poetry was the sure high-road to poverty, but I said little then. I was hardly able to judge and know rightly what you should do when you commenced writing in your boyhood; but my head is a little cooler now; the scorching fire of the money your father tempted me with, and then withdrew, is quenched a little by years. Now at last I see that you are wasting your time and health with that pen; you have not made one shilling—one single sixpence for me, yet, with that pen of yours; your health is going fast; I see the color of the grave on your thin cheeks. Now I command you to throw away your pen, and make money for me at any trade, no matter how low or mean.”

As she spoke, there was a look approaching to dignity in her wasted face, and her tones were clear and commanding—the vulgar Irishism and Scoticism of dialect which, on common occasions, disfigured her conversation, had disappeared, and it was evident that her intellect had at one period been cultivated, and superior to the ordinary class of minds.

Andrew rose without saying one syllable in answer to his mother’s communication; he threw his manuscripts and the sheets which he had written into a desk; he locked it with a nervous, trembling hand, and then turned to leave the room. His face was of the most ghastly paleness; his eyes were calm and fixed; he seemed sick at heart by the disclosure he had heard; his lips trembled and shook with agitation.

“Where are you going, Andrew? It’s a bitter night.”

“Mother, it is good enough for me—for a—”

He could not speak the hated word which rose to his lips; he had an early horror of that word; he had dreaded that his was a dishonorable birth: even in his boyish days he had feared it; his mother had often asserted to the contrary, but now she had dispelled the belief in which he had rested.

He opened the door hastily, and passed out into the storm, which was rushing against the windows.

A feeling of pity for him—a feeling of a mother’s affection and solicitude, was stirred in Mrs. Carson’s soul, as she listened to his departing footsteps, and then went and seated herself beside the embers of a dying fire in the kitchen; it was a small, cold, miserably-furnished kitchen; the desolation of the severe season met no counterbalancing power there; no cheering appearances of food, or fire, or any comforts were there. But the complaining spirit which cried and sighed perpetually was for once silent within Mrs. Carson’s mind; something—perhaps the death-like aspect of her son, or a voice from her long stifled conscience—was telling her how ill she had fulfilled the duties of a mother. She felt remorse for the reproaches she had heaped on him before he had gone out in the storm.

She waited to hear his knock at the door; she longed for his returning steps; she felt that she would receive him with more of kindness than she had for a length of time displayed to him; she kept picturing to herself perpetually his thin face and emaciated figure, and a fear of his early death seized on her for the first time; she had been so engrossed by her own selfish wants, that she had scarcely remarked the failing health of her son. She started with horror at the probabilities which her naturally powerful fancy suggested. She resolved to call in medical aid immediately, for she was sure now that Andrew’s constitution was sinking fast. But how would she pay for medical aid? she had not one farthing to procure advice. At this thought the yearning, burning desire for money which had so long made a part of her existence came back with full force; she sat revolving scheme after scheme, plan after plan, of how she could procure it. Hours passed away, but still she sat alone, silently cowering over the cinders of the fire.

At length she started up, fully awake, to a sense of wonder and dread at Andrew’s long absence. She heard the sound of distant clocks striking twelve. It was unusual for Andrew to be out so late, for he had uniformly kept himself aloof from evil companions. The high poetical spirit within him, a spirit which utterly[Pg 508] engrossed him, had kept him from the haunts of vice. His mother went to the door, and opening it, gazed on the narrow, mean street. The storm had passed away; the street was white with hail and snow; the moon shone clearly down between the tall but dilapidated houses of which the street or lane was composed; various riotous-looking people were passing by; and from a neighboring house the brisk strains of a violin came, together with the sound of voices and laughter. The house had a bad repute in the neighborhood, but Mrs. Carson never for an instant suspected her son was there. She looked anxiously along the street, and at every passing form she gazed earnestly, but none resembled her son.

For a long time she stood waiting and watching for the appearance of Andrew, but he did not come. At last, sinking with cold and weariness, and with a host of phantom fears rising up in her bewildered brain, and almost dragging her mind down into the gulf of utter madness, on the brink of which she had so long been, Mrs. Carson returned to the kitchen. As she looked on the last ember dying out on the hearth, a feeling of frenzy shook her frame. Andrew would soon return, shivering with cold, and she had no fire to warm him—no money to purchase fire. She thought of the wealthy—of their bright fires—and bitter envy and longing for riches gnawed her very heart and life. A broken deal chair was in a corner of the kitchen; she seized it, and after some efforts succeeded in wrenching off a piece, which she placed on the dying ember, and busied herself for some time in fanning; then she gathered every remaining fragment of coals from the recess at one side of the fire-place, in which they were usually kept, and with the pains and patience which poverty so sorely teaches, she employed herself in making some appearance of a fire. Had she been in her usual mood, she would have sat anathematizing her son for his absence at such an hour; but now every moment, as she sat awaiting his return, her heart became more kindly disposed toward him, and an uneasy feeling of remorse for her past life was each instant gaining strength amidst the variety of strange spectral thoughts and fancies which flitted through her diseased mind. At some moments she fancied she saw her father seated opposite to her on the hearth, and heard him reading from the Bible, as he did so often in her girlish days: then again he was away in the privacy of his own room, and she was watching him through a crevice of the door, and she saw him open the cabinet he kept there, and take out liquor, ardent spirits, and he drank long and deep draughts, until gradually he sank down on his bed in the silent, moveless state of intoxication which had so long imposed on her, for she had once believed that her father was subject to fits of a peculiar kind. She groaned and shuddered as this vision was impressed on her; she saw the spirit of evil which had destroyed her father attaching itself next to her own fate, and leading her into the depths of guilt, and she trembled for her son. Had he now fallen in sin? was some evil action detaining him to such an hour? He was naturally inclined to good, she knew—strangely good and pure had his life been, considering he was her child, and reared so carelessly as she had reared him; but now he had been urged to despair by her endless cry for money, and, perhaps, he was at that very instant engaged in some robbery, by which he would be able to bring money to his mother.

So completely enslaved had her mind become to a lust for money, that the thought of his gaining wealth by any means was for some time delightful to her; she looked on their great poverty, and she felt, in her darkened judgment, that they had something of a right to take forcibly a portion of the superabundant money of the rich. Her eyes glared with eagerness for the sight of her son returning with money, even though that money was stolen; the habitual mood of her mind prevailed rapidly over the impressions of returning goodness and affection which for a brief period had awoke within her.

In the midst of the return of her overwhelming desire for money, Andrew’s knock came to the door. The eager inquiry whether he had brought any money with him was bursting from her lips the moment she opened the door and beheld him, but she was cheeked by the sight of two strangers who accompanied him. Andrew bade the men follow him, and walked rapidly to the kitchen; the tones of his voice were so changed and hollow that his mother hardly recognized him to be her son.

He requested the men to be seated, telling them that when the noise on the street would be quiet and the people dispersed they would get that for which they had come. At that moment a drunken broil on the street had drawn some watchmen to the neighborhood.

He bade his mother follow him, and proceeded hastily to his own room. By the aid of a match he lighted the miserable candle by which, some hours previously, he had been writing.

“Mother, here is money—gold—here—your hand.” He pressed some gold coins into her hand. “Gold! ay, gold, gold, indeed!” gasped his mother, the intensity of her joy repressing for the instant all extravagant demonstrations of it.

“Go, go away to the kitchen; in about five or ten minutes let the men come here, and they will get what I have sold them.”

“Money! money at last; gold—gold!” cried his mother, altogether unconscious of what her son was saving, and only awake to the blessed sense of having at last obtained money.

“Away, I say; go to the kitchen. I have no time to lose.”

“Money! blessings, blessings on you and God—money!” She seemed still in ignorance of Andrew’s request that she would withdraw.

“Away, I say, I must be alone; away to the kitchen, and leave me alone; but let the men come here in a few minutes and take what they have purchased.”

He spoke with a strange energy. She obeyed[Pg 509] him at last, and left the room: she remembered afterward that his face was like that of a dead man when he addressed her.

She returned to the kitchen. The two men were seated where she had left them, and were conversing together: their strong Irish accent told at once their country. Mrs. Carson paid no attention to them; she neither spoke to them nor looked at them; she held tightly clasped in her hand the few gold coins her son had given her; she walked about like one half distracted, addressing audible thanksgiving to God one instant, and the next felicitating herself in an insane manner on having at last obtained some money. The two men commented on her strange manners, and agreed that she was mad, stating their opinions aloud to each other, but she did not hear them.

The noise and quarreling on the street continued for some time, and the men manifested no impatience while it lasted. All became quiet after a time; the desertion and silence of night seemed at last to have settled down on the street. The two men then manifested a strong wish to finish the business on which they had come.

“I say, whereabouts is it—where’s the snatch, my good woman?” said one of the men, addressing Mrs. Carson.

She looked on him and his companion with amazement mingled with something of fear, for the aspects of both were expressive of low ruffianism.

“She’s mad, don’t you see,” said the one who had not addressed her.

The other cursed deeply, saying that as they had given part payment, they would get their errand, or their money back again.

At this, a gleam of recollection crossed Mrs. Carson’s mind, and she informed them that her son had mentioned about something they had purchased, which was in his room. She thought at the instant, that perhaps he had disposed of one of his manuscripts at last, though she wondered at the appearance of the purchasers of such an article.

“That’s it,” cried the men; “show us the way to the room fast; it’s all quiet now.”

Anxious to get rid of the men, Mrs. Carson proceeded hastily to her son’s room, followed closely by the men. The first object she saw, on opening the door, was Andrew, leaning on his desk; the little desk stood on the table, and Andrew’s head and breast were lying on it, as if he was asleep. There was something in his fixed attitude which struck an unpleasant feeling to his mother’s heart.

“Andrew!” she said; “Andrew, the men are here.”

All was silent. No murmur of sleep or life came from Andrew. His mother ran to his side, and grasped his arm: there was no sound, no motion. She raised his head with one hand, while at the same time she glanced at an open letter, on which a few lines were scrawled in a large, hurried hand. Every word and letter seemed to dilate before her eyes, as in a brief instant of time she read the following:

“Mother, I have taken poison. I have sold my body to a doctor for dissection; the money I gave you is part of the price. You have upbraided me for never making money: I have sold all I possess—my body—and given you money. You have told me of the stain on my birth; I can not live and write after that; all the poetical fame in this world would not wash away such a stain. Your bitter words, my bitter fate, I can bear no longer; I go to the other world; God will pardon me. Yes, yes, from the bright moon and stars this night, there came down a voice, saying, God would take me up to happiness amid his own bright worlds. Give my body to the men who are waiting for it, and so let every trace of Andrew Carson vanish from your earth.”

With a lightning rapidity Mrs. Carson scanned each word; and not until she had read it all, did a scream of prolonged and utter agony, such as is rarely heard even in this world of grief burst from her lips; and with a gesture of frenzied violence she flung the money she had kept closely grasped in her hand at the men. One of them stooped to gather it up, and the other ran toward Andrew, and raised his inanimate body a little from its recumbent position. He was quite dead, however; a bottle, marked “Prussic Acid,” was in his hand. The two men, having recovered the money, hurried away, telling Mrs. Carson they would send immediate medical aid, to see if any thing could be done for the unfortunate young man. Mrs. Carson did not hear them; a frenzied paroxysm seized her, and she lay on the floor screaming in the wild tones of madness, and utterly incapable of any exertion. She saw the money she had received with such rapture carried away from before her eyes, but she felt nothing: money had become terrible to her at last.

Her cries attracted a watchman from the street. A doctor was soon on the spot; but Andrew Carson was no more connected with flesh, and blood, and human life; he was away beyond recall, in the spirit-world.

An inquest was held on the body, and a verdict of temporary insanity returned, as is usual in such cases of suicide. The young poet was buried, and soon forgotten.

Mrs. Carson lingered for some weeks; her disease assumed something of the form of violent brain-fever; in her ravings she fancied perpetually that she was immersed in streams of fluid burning gold and silver. They were forcing her to drink draughts of that scorching gold, she would cry; all was burning gold and silver: all drink, all food, all air, and light, and space around her. At the very last she recovered her senses partially, and calling, with a feeble but calm voice, on her only beloved child, Andrew, she died.[Pg 510]

Neander in the Lecture Room. [Neander in the Lecture Room.]


Germany has just lost one of her greatest Protestant theologians, Augustus Neander. He was born at Göttingen, Jan. 16, 1789, and died at Berlin, July 13, 1850, in his sixty-second year. He was of Jewish descent, as his strongly-marked features sufficiently evidence; but at the age of seventeen he embraced the Christian religion, to the defense of which his labors, and to the exemplification of which his life, were thenceforth devoted. Having studied theology at Halle, under Schleiermacher, he was appointed private lecturer at Heidelberg in 1811, and in the following year the first Professor of Theology at the Royal University of Berlin, which post he held to the time of his death, a period of thirty-eight years. Deservedly high as is his reputation abroad, it is still higher in his own country, where he was known not only as an author, but as a teacher, a preacher, and a man. The following is a list of his published works: The Emperor Julian and his Times, 1812; Bernard and his Times, 1813; Genetical Development of the Principal Gnostic Systems, 1818; Chrysostom and the Church in his Times, 1820 and 1832; Memorabilia from the History of Christianity and the Christian Life, 1822 and 1845-46; A Collection of Miscellanies, chiefly exegetical and historical, 1829; A Collection of Miscellanies, chiefly biographical, 1840; The Principle of the Reformation, or, Staupitz and Luther, 1840; History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church, 4th ed., 1847; The Life of Jesus Christ in its Historical Connection and Historical Development, 4th ed., 1845; General History of the Christian Religion and Church, 1842-47. Neander is best known to readers of English by the last two works, both of which have been made accessible to them by American scholars.

The Life of Christ was undertaken to counteract the impression made by STRAUSS’S “Life of Christ,” in which the attempt was made to apply the mythical theory to the entire structure of evangelical history. According to Strauss,[Pg 511] the sum of the historical truth contained in the narratives of the evangelists is, that Jesus lived and taught in Judea, where he gathered disciples who believed that he was the Messiah. According to their preconceived notions, the life of the Messiah, and the period in which he lived, were to be illustrated by signs and wonders. Messianic legends existed ready-made, in the hopes and expectations of the people, only needing to be transferred to the person and character of Jesus. The appearance of this work produced a great sensation in Germany. It was believed by many that the book should be prohibited; and the Prussian government was inclined to this measure. Neander, however, advised that the book should rather be met by argument. His Life of Christ which was thus occasioned, wears, in consequence, a somewhat polemical aspect. It has taken the rank of a standard authority, both in German and in English, into which it has been admirably translated by Professors M’CLINTOCK and BLUMENTHAL.

The great work of Neander’s life, and of which his various writings in the departments of Ecclesiastical History, Biography, Patristics, and Dogmatics are subsidiary, is the General History of the Christian Religion and Church. The first part of this, containing the history of the first three centuries, was published in 1825, and, improved and enlarged, in 1842—43. The second part, which brings the history down to the close of the sixth century, appeared originally in 1828, and in a second edition in 1846—47. These two parts, comprising four volumes of the German edition, are well known to English readers through the excellent version of Professor TORREY. This is a history of the inner development of Christian doctrines and opinions rather than of the external progress of the Church, and in connection with GIESELER’S Text-Book, furnishes by far the best apparatus for the study of ecclesiastical history now extant.

A correspondent of the Boston Traveler, writing under date of Berlin, July 22, gives the following graphic sketch of the personal characteristics of Neander:

“NEANDER is no more! He who for thirty-eight years has defeated the attacks upon the church from the side of rationalism and philosophy—who, through all the controversies among theologians in Germany, has remained true to the faith of his adoption, the pure and holy religion of Jesus Christ—Neander, the philosopher, the scholar—better, the great and good man—has been taken from the world.

“He was never married, but lived with his maiden sister. Often have I seen the two walking arm in arm upon the streets and in the parks of the city. Neander’s habit of abstraction and short-sightedness rendered it necessary for him to have some one to guide the way whenever he left his study for a walk or to go to his lecture room. Generally, a student walked with him to the University, and just before it was time for his lecture to close, his sister could be seen walking up and down on the opposite side of the street, waiting to accompany him home.

“Many anecdotes are related of him illustrative of his absence of mind, such as his appearing in the lecture room half dressed—if left alone, always going to his old residence, after he had removed to another part of the city—walking in the gutter, &c., &c. In the lecture room, his manner was in the highest degree peculiar. He put his left arm over the desk, clasping the book in his hand, and after bringing his face close to the corner of his desk, effectually concealed it by holding his notes close to his nose.

“In one hand was always a quill, which, during the lecture, he kept constantly twirling about and crushing. He pushed the desk forward upon two legs, swinging it back and forth, and every few minutes would plunge forward almost spasmodically, throwing one foot back in a way leading you to expect that he would the next moment precipitate himself headlong down upon the desks of the students. Twirling his pen, occasional spitting, jerking his foot backward, taken with his dress, gave him a most eccentric appearance in the lecture room. Meeting him upon the street, with his sister, you never would have suspected that such a strange looking being could be Neander. He formerly had two sisters, but a few years ago the favorite one died. It was a trying affliction, and for a short interval he was quite overcome, but suddenly he dried his tears, calmly declared his firm faith and reliance in the wise purpose of God in taking her to himself, and resumed his lectures immediately as if nothing had over taken him to disturb his serenity.

“Neander’s charity was unbounded. Poor students were not only presented with tickets to his lectures, but were also often provided by him with money and clothing. Not a farthing of the money received for his lectures ever went to supply his own wants; it was all given away for benevolent purposes. The income from his writings was bestowed upon the Missionary, Bible, and other societies, and upon hospitals. Thoughts of himself never seemed to have obtruded upon his mind. He would sometimes give away to a poor student all the money he had about him at the moment the request was made of him, even his new coat, retaining the old one for himself. You have known this great man in your country more on account of his learning, from his books, than in any other way; but here, where he has lived, one finds that his private character, his piety, his charity, have distinguished him above all others.

“It would be difficult to decide whether the influence of his example has not been as great as that of his writings upon the thousands of young men who have been his pupils. Protestants, Catholics, nearly all the leading preachers throughout Germany, have attended his lectures, and all have been more or less guided by him. While philosophy has been for years[Pg 512] attempting to usurp the place of religion, Neander has been the chief instrument in combating it, and in keeping the true faith constantly before the students.

“He was better acquainted with Church History and the writings of the Fathers than any one of his time. It has been the custom upon the recurrence of his birth-day, for the students to present to him a rare edition of one of the Fathers, and thus he has come to have one of the most complete sets of their writings to be found in any library. Turning from his great literary attainments, from all considerations suggested by his profound learning, it is pleasant to contemplate the pure Christian character of the man. Although born a Jew, his whole life seemed to be a sermon upon the text, ‘That disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord!’ Neander’s life resembled more ‘that disciple’s’ than any other. He was the loving John, the new Church Father of our times.

“His sickness was only of a few days’ duration. On Monday he held his lecture as usual. The next day he was seized with a species of cholera. A day or two of pain was followed by a lucid interval, when the physicians were encouraged to hope for his recovery. During this interval he dictated a page in his Church History, and then said to his sister—‘I am weary—let us go home.’ He had no time to die. He needed no further preparation; his whole life had been the best preparation, and up to the last moment we see him active in his master’s service. The disease returned with redoubled force; a day or two more of suffering, and on Sunday, less than a week from the day of attack, he was dead.

“On the 17th of July I attended the funeral services. The procession of students was formed at the university, and marched to his dwelling. In the meantime, in the house, the theological students, the professors from Berlin, and from the University of Halle, the clergy, relatives, high officers of government, etc., were assembled to hear the funeral discourse. Professor Strauss, for forty-five years an intimate friend of Neander, delivered a sermon. During the exercises, the body, not yet placed in the coffin, was covered with wreaths and flowers, and surrounded with burning candles.

“The procession was of great length, was formed at 10 A.M. and moved through Unter den Linden as far as Frederick-street, and then the whole length of Frederick-street as far as the Elizabeth-street Cemetery. The whole distance, nearly two miles, the sides of the streets, doors and windows of the houses were filled with an immense concourse of people who had come to look upon the solemn scene. The hearse was surrounded with students, some of them from Halle, carrying lighted candles, and in advance was borne the Bible and Greek Testament which had ever been used by the deceased.

“At the grave, a choir of young men sang appropriate music, and a student from Halle made an affecting address. It was a solemn sight to see the tears gushing from the eyes of those who had been the pupils and friends of Neander. Many were deeply moved, and well might they join with the world in mourning for one who had done more than any one to keep pure the religion of Christ here in Germany.

“After the benediction was pronounced, every one present, according to the beautiful custom here, went to the grave and threw into it a handful of dirt, thus assisting at the burial. Slowly, and in scattered groups the crowd dispersed to their various homes.

“How insignificant all the metaphysical controversies of the age, the vain teachings of man, appeared to us as we stood at the grave-side of Neander. His was a far higher and holier faith, from which, like the Evangelist, he never wavered. In his life, in his death, the belief to which he had been converted, his watchword remained unchanged: ‘It is the Lord!’ His body has been consigned to the grave, but the sunset glory of his example still illumines our sky, and will forever light us onward to the path he trod.”




There are a multitude of places in this wide world, that we never heard of since the day of creation, and that never would become known to a soul beyond their own ten miles of circumference, except to those universal discoverers, the tax-gatherers, were it not that some sparks of genius may suddenly kindle there, and carry their fame through all countries and all generations. This has been the case many times, and will be the case again. We are now destined to hear the sound of names that our fathers never dreamed of; and there are other spots, now basking in God’s blessed sunshine, of which the world knows and cares nothing, that shall, to our children, become places of worship, and pilgrimage. Something of this sort of glory was cast upon the little town of Rapps, in Bohemia, by the hero whose name stands conspicuously in this article, and whose pleasant adventures I flatter myself that I am destined to diffuse still further. HANS NADELTREIBER was the son of Mr. Strauss Nadeltreiber, who had, as well as his ancestors before him, for six generations, practiced, in the same little place, that most gentlemanly of all professions, a tailor—seeing that it was before all others, and was used and sanctioned by our father Adam.

Now Hans, from boyhood up, was a remarkable person. His father had known his share of troubles, and having two sons, both older than Hans, naturally looked in his old age to reap some comfort and assistance from their united labors. But the two elder sons successively had fled from the shop-board. One had gone for a soldier, and was shot; the other had learned[Pg 513] the craft of a weaver, but being too fond of his pot, had broken his neck by falling into a quarry, as he went home one night from a carousal. Hans was left the sole staff for the old man to lean upon; and truly a worthy son he proved himself. He was as gentle as a dove, and as tender as a lamb. A cross word from his father, when he had made a cross stitch, would almost break his heart; but half a word of kindness revived him again—and he seldom went long without it; for the old man, though rendered rather testy and crabbed in his temper, by his many troubles and disappointments, was naturally of a loving, compassionate disposition, and, moreover, regarded Hans as the apple of his eye.

Hans was of a remarkably light, slender, active make, full of life and mettle. This moment he was on the board, stitching away with as much velocity as if he were working for a funeral or a wedding, at an hour’s notice; the next, he was dispatching his dinner at the same rate; and the third beheld him running, leaping, and playing, among his companions, as blithe as a young kid. If he had a fault, it was being too fond of his fiddle. This was his everlasting delight. One would have thought that his elbow had labor enough, with jerking his needle some thirty thousand times a day; but it was in him a sort of universal joint—it never seemed to know what weariness was. His fiddle stood always on the board in a corner by him, and no sooner had he ceased to brandish his needle, than he began to brandish his fiddlestick. If ever he could be said to be lazy, it was when his father was gone out to measure, or try on; and his fiddle being too strong a temptation for him, he would seize upon it, and labor at it with all his might, till he spied his father turning his next corner homeward. Nevertheless, with this trifling exception, he was a pattern of filial duty; and now the time was come that his father must die—his mother was dead long before; and he was left alone in the world with his riddle. The whole house, board, trade—what there was of it—all was his. When he came to take stock, and make an inventory—in his head—of what he was worth, it was by no means such as to endanger his entrance into heaven at the proper time. Naturally enough, he thought of the Scripture simile of the rich man, and the camel getting through the eye of a needle; but it did not frighten him. His father never had much beforehand, when he had the whole place to himself; and now, behold! another knight of the steel-bar had come from—nobody knew where—a place often talked of, yet still a terra incognita; had taken a great house opposite, hoisted a tremendous sign, and threatened to carry away every shred of Hans’s business.

In the depth of his trouble, he took to his fiddle, from his fiddle to his bed, and in his bed he had a dream—I thought we had done with these dreams!—in which he was assured, that could he once save the sum of fifty dollars, it would be the seed of a fortune; that he should flourish far beyond the scale of old Strauss; should drive his antagonist, in utter despair, from the ground; and should, in short, arrive eventually at no less a dignity than—Bürgermeister of Rapps!

Hans was, as I believe I have said, soon set up with the smallest spice of encouragement. He was, moreover, as light and nimble as a grasshopper, and, in his whole appearance, much such an animal, could it be made to stand on end. His dream, therefore, was enough. He vowed a vow of unconquerable might, and to it he went. Springing upon his board, he hummed a tune gayly:

There came the Hippopotamus,
A sort of river-bottom-horse,
Sneezing, snorting, blowing water
From his nostrils, and around him
Grazing up the grass—confound him!
Every mouthful a huge slaughter!
Beetle, grasshopper, and May-fly,
From his muzzle must away fly,
Or he swallowed them by legions,
His huge foot, it was a pillar;
When he drank, it was a swiller!
Soon a desert were those regions.
But the grasshoppers so gallant
Called to arms each nimble callant,
With their wings, and stings, and nippers,
Bee, and wasp, and hornet, awful;
Gave the villain such a jawful,
That he slipped away in slippers!

“Ha! ha!—slipped down into the mud that he emerged from!” cried Hans, and, seizing his fiddle, dashed off the Hippopotamus in a style that did him a world of good, and makes us wish that we had the musical notes of it. Then he fell to, and day and night he wrought. Work came; it was done. He wanted little—a crust of bread and a merry tune were enough for him. His money grew; the sum was nearly accomplished, when, returning one evening from carrying out some work—behold! his door was open! Behold! the lid of his pot where he deposited his treasure was off! The money was gone!

This was a terrible blow. Hans raised a vast commotion. He did not even fail to insinuate that it might be the interloper opposite—the Hippopotamus. Who so likely as he, who had his eye continually on Hans’s door? But no matter—the thief was clear off; and the only comfort he got from his neighbors, was being rated for his stinginess. “Ay,” said they, [Pg 514]“this comes of living like a curmudgeon, in a great house by yourself, working your eyes out to hoard up money. What must a young man like you do with scraping up pots full of money, like a miser? It is a shame!—it is a sin!—it is a judgment! Nothing better could come of it. At all events, you might afford to have a light burning in the house. People are ever likely to rob you. They see a house as dark as an oven; they see nobody in it; they go in and steal; nobody can see them come out—and that is just it. But were there a light burning, they would always think there was somebody in. At all events, you might have a light.”

“There is something in that,” said Hans. He was not at all unreasonable: so he determined to have a light in future: and he fell to work again.

Bad as his luck had been, he resolved not to be cast down: he was as diligent and as thrifty as ever; and he resolved, when he became Bürgermeister of Rapps, to be especially severe on sneaking thieves, who crept into houses that were left to the care of Providence and the municipal authorities. A light was everlastingly burning in his window; and the people, as they passed in the morning, said, “This man must have a good business that requires him to be up thus early;” and they who passed in the evening, said, “This man must be making a fortune, for he is busy early and late.” At length Hans leaped down from his board with the work that was to complete his sum, a second time; went; returned, with the future Bürgermeister growing rapidly upon him; when, as he turned the corner of the street—men and mercies!—what a spectacle! His house was in a full burst of flame, illuminating, with a ruddy glow, half the town, and all the faces of the inhabitants, who were collected to witness the catastrophe. Money, fiddle, shop-board—all were consumed! and when poor Hans danced and capered, in the very ecstasy of his distraction—“Ay,” said his neighbors, “this comes of leaving a light in an empty house. It was just the thing to happen. Why don’t you get somebody to take care of things in your absence?”

Hans stood corrected; for, as I have said, he was soon touched to the quick, and though in his anger he did think it rather unkind that they, who advised the light, now prophesied after the event; when that was a little abated, he thought there was reason in what they now said. So, bating not a jot of his determination to save, and to be Bürgermeister of Rapps, he took the very next house, which luckily happened to be at liberty, and he got a journeyman. For a long time, his case appeared hard and hopeless. He had to pay three hundred per cent, for the piece of a table, two stools, and a couple of hags of hay, which he had procured of a Jew, and which, with an odd pot, and a wooden spoon or two, constituted all his furniture. Then, he had two mouths to feed instead of one wages to pay; and not much more work done than he could manage himself. But still—he had dreamed; and dreams, if they are genuine, fulfill themselves. The money grew—slowly, very slowly, but still it grew; and Hans pitched upon a secure place, as he thought, to conceal it in. Alas! poor Hans! He had often in his heart grumbled at the slowness of his Handwerks-Bursch, or journeyman; but the fellow’s eyes had been quick enough, and he proved himself a hand-work’s fellow to some purpose, by clearing out Hans’s hiding-place, and becoming a journeyman in earnest. The fellow was gone one morning; no great loss—but then the money was gone with him, which was a terrible loss.

This was more than Hans could bear. He was perfectly cast down, disheartened, and inconsolable. At first, he thought of running after the fellow; and, as he knew the scamp could not go far without a passport, and as Hans had gone the round of the country himself, in the three years of his Wandel-Jahre, as required by the worshipful guild of tailors, he did not doubt but that he should some day pounce upon the scoundrel. But then, in the mean time, who was to keep his trade together? There was the Hippopotamus watching opposite! No! it would not do! and his neighbor, coming in to condole with him, said—“Cheer up, man! there is nothing amiss yet. What signify a few dollars? You will soon get plenty more, with those nimble fingers of yours. You want only somebody to help you to keep them. You must get a wife! Journeymen were thieves from the first generation. You must get married!”

“Get married!” thought Hans. He was struck all on a heap at the very mention of it “Get married! What! fine clothes to go a-wooing in, and fine presents to go a-wooing with; and parson’s fees, and clerk’s fees; and wedding-dinner, and dancing, and drinking; and then, doctor’s fees, and nurse’s fees, and children without end! That is ruin!” thought Hans—“without end!” The fifty dollars and the Bürgermeistership—they might wait till doomsday.

“Well, that is good!” thought Hans, as he took a little more breath. “They first counseled me to get a light—then went house and all in a bonfire; next, I must get a journeyman—then went the money; and now they would have me bring more plagues upon me than Moses brought upon Egypt. Nay, nay!” thought Hans; “you’ll not catch me there, neither.”

Hans all this time was seated upon his shop-board, stitching, at an amazing rate, upon a garment which the rascally Wagner should have finished to order at six o’clock that morning, instead of decamping with his money; and, ever and anon, so far forgetting his loss in what appeared to him the ludicrousness of this advice, as freely to laugh out. All that day, the idea continued to run in his head; the next, it had lost much of its freshness; the third, it appeared not so odd as awful; the fourth, he began to ask himself whether it might be quite so momentous as his imagination had painted it; the fifth, he really thought it was not so bad neither; the sixth, it had so worked round in his head, that it had fairly got on the other side, and appeared clearly to have its advantages—children did not come scampering into the world all at once, like a flock of lambs into a meadow—a wife might help to gather, as well as spend—might possibly bring something of her own—ay! a new idea!—would be a perpetual watch and storekeeper in his absence—might speak a word of comfort, in trouble when even his[Pg 515] fiddle was dumb; on the seventh—he was off! Whither?

Why, it so happened that in his “wander-years,” Hans had played his fiddle at many a dance—a very dangerous position; for his chin resting on “the merry bit of wood,” as the ancient Friend termed that instrument, and his head leaned on one side, he had had plenty of opportunity to watch the movements of plenty of fair maids in the dance, as well as occasionally to whirl them round in the everlasting waltz himself. Accordingly, Hans had left his heart many times, for a week or ten days or so, behind him, in many a town and dorf of Bohemia and Germany; but it always came after him and overtook him again, except on one occasion. Among the damsels of the Böhmer-Wald who had danced to the sound of his fiddle, there was a certain substantial bergman’s or master-miner’s daughter, who, having got into his head in some odd association with his fiddle, was continually coming up as he played his old airs, and could not be got out again, especially as he fancied that the comely and simple-hearted creature had a lurking fondness for both his music and himself.

Away he went: and he was right. The damsel made no objection to his overtures. Tall, stout, fresh, pleasant growth of the open air and the hills, as she was, she never dreamed of despising the little skipping tailor of Rapps, though he was shorter by the head than herself. She had heard his music, and evidently had danced after it. The fiddler and fiddle together filled up her ambition. But the old people!—they were in perfect hysterics of wrath and indignation. Their daughter!—with the exception of one brother, now absent on a visit to his uncle in Hungary, a great gold-miner in the Carpathian mountains, the sole remnant of an old, substantial house, which had fed their flocks and their herds on the hills for three generations, and now drew wealth from the heart of these hills themselves! It was death! poison! pestilence! The girl must be mad; the hop-o’-my-thumb scoundrel must carry witch-powder!

Nevertheless, as Hans and the damsel were agreed, every thing else—threats, denunciations, sarcasms, cuttings-off with a shilling, and loss of a ponderous dowry—all went for nothing. They were married, as some thousands were before them in just the like circumstances. But if the Bohemian maid was not mad, it must be confessed that Hans was rather so. He was monstrously exasperated at the contempt heaped by the heavy bergman on the future Bürgermeister of Rapps, and determined to show a little spirit. As his fiddle entered into all his schemes, he resolved to have music at his wedding; and no sooner did he and his bride issue from the church, than out broke the harmony which he had provided. The fiddle played merrily, “You’ll repent, repent, repent; you’ll repent, repent, repent;” and the bassoon answered, in surly tones, “And soon! and soon!” “I hope, my dear,” said the bride, “You don’t mean the words for us.” “No, love,” explained Hans, gallantly; “I don’t say ‘we,’ but ‘you’—that is, certain haughty people on these hills that shall be nameless.” Then the music played till they reached the inn where they dined, and then set off in a handsome hired carriage for Rapps.

It is true, that there was little happiness in this affair to any one. The old people were full of anger, curses, and threats of total disownment. Hans’s pride was pricked, and perforated, till he was as sore as if he had been tattooed with his own needle; and his wife was completely drowned in sorrow at such a parting with her parents, and with no little sense of remorse for her disobedience. Nevertheless, they reached home; things began gradually to assume a more composed aspect. Hans loved his wife; she loved him; he was industrious, she was careful; and they trusted, in time, to bring her parents round, when they should see that they were doing well in the world.

Again the saving scheme began to haunt Hans; but he had one luckless notion, which was destined to cost him no little vexation. With the stock of the shop, he had inherited from his father a stock of old maxims, which, unluckily, had not got burnt in the fire with the rest of the patrimonial heritage. Among these was one, that a woman can not keep a secret. Acting on this creed, Hans not only never told his wife of the project of becoming Bürgermeister of Rapps, but he did not even give her reason to suppose that he laid up a shilling; and that she might not happen to stumble upon his money, he took care to carry it always about him. It was his delight, when he got into a quiet corner, or as he came along a retired lane, from his errands, to take it out and count it; and calculate when it would amount to this and that sum, and when the full sum would be really his own. Now, it happened one day, that having been a good deal absorbed in these speculations, he had loitered a precious piece of time away; and suddenly coming to himself, he set off, as was his wont, on a kind of easy trot, in which, his small, light form thrown forward, his pale, gray-eyed, earnest-looking visage thrown up toward the sky, and his long blue coat flying in a stream behind him, he cut one of the most extraordinary figures in the world; and checking his pace as he entered the town, he involuntarily clapped his hand on his pocket, and behold! his money was gone! It had slipped away through a hole it had worn. In the wildness and bitterness of his loss, he turned back, heartily cursing the spinner and the weaver of that most detestable piece of buckram that composed his breeches-pocket, for having put it together so villainously that it broke down with the carriage of a few dollars, halfpence, thimbles, balls of wax and thread, and a few other sundries, after the trifling wear of seven years, nine months, and nineteen days.

He was peering, step by step, after his lost treasure, when up came his wife, running like[Pg 516] one wild, and telling him that he must come that instant; for the Ritter of Flachenflaps had brought in new liveries for all his servants, and threatened if he did not see Hans in five minutes, he would carry the work over to the other side of the street. There was a perplexity! The money was not to be found, and if it were found in the presence of his wife, he would regard it as no better than lost. He was therefore obliged to excuse his conduct, being caught in the act of poring after something, to tell, if not a lie, at least the very smallest part of the truth, and say that he had lost his thimble. The money was not found, and to make bad worse, he was in danger of losing a good job, and all the Ritter’s work forever, as a consequence.

Away he ran, therefore, groaning inwardly, at full speed, and, arriving out of breath, saw the Ritter’s carriage drawn up at his opponent’s door. Wormwood upon wormwood! His money was lost; his best customer was lost, and thrown into the jaws of the detested Hippopotamus. There he beheld him and his man in a prime bustle from day to day, while his own house was deserted. All people went where the Ritter went, of course. The Hippopotamus was now grazing and browsing through Hans’s richest meadows with a vengeance. He was flourishing out of all bounds. He had got a horse to ride out on and take orders, and to all appearance was likely to become Bürgermeister ten years before Hans had got ten dollars of his own.

It was too much for even his sanguine temperament; he sank down to the very depths of despair; his fiddle had lost its music; he could not abide to hear it; he sate moody and disconsolate, with a beard an inch long. His wife for some time hoped it would go off; but, seeing it come to this, she began to console and advise, to rouse his courage and his spirits. She told him it was that horse which gave the advantage to his neighbor. While he went trudging on foot, wearying himself, and wasting his time, people came, grew weary, and would not wait. She offered, therefore, to borrow her neighbor’s ass for him; and advised him to ride out daily a little way. It would look as though he had business in the country. It would look as if his time was precious; it would look well, and do his health good into the bargain. Hans liked her counsel; it sounded well—nay, exceedingly discreet. He always thought her a gem of a woman, but he never imagined her half so able. What a pity a woman could not be trusted with a secret! Were it not for that, she would be a helpmate past all reckoning.

The ass, however, was got: out rode Hans; looked amazingly hurried; and, being half-crazed with care, people thought he was half-crazed with stress of business. Work came in; things went flowingly on again; Hans blessed his stars; and as he grasped his cash, he every day stitched it into the crown of his cap, taking paper-money for the purpose. No more pots, no more hiding-holes, no more breeches-pockets for him; he put it under the guardianship of his own strong thread and dexterous needle; and all went on exceedingly well.

Accidents will, however, occur, if men will not trust their wives; and especially if they will not avoid awkward habits. Now, Hans had a strange habit of sticking his needles on his breeches-knees as he sat at work; and sometimes he would have half-a-dozen on each knee for half-a-dozen days. His wife often told him to take them out when he came down from his board, and often took them out herself; but it was of no use. He was just in this case one day as he rode out to take measure of a gentleman, about five miles off. The ass, to his thinking, was in a remarkably brisk mood. Off it went, without whip or spur, at a good active trot, and, not satisfied with trotting, soon fairly proceeded to a gallop. Hans was full of wonder at the beast. Commonly it tired his arm worse with thrashing it during his hour’s ride, than the exercise of his goose and sleeve-board did for a whole day; but now he was fain to pull it in. It was to no purpose; faster than ever it dashed on, prancing, running sideways, wincing, and beginning to show a most ugly temper. What, in the name of all Balaams, could possess the animal, he could not for his life conceive! The only chance of safety appeared to lie in clinging with both arms and legs to it, like a boa-constrictor to its victim, when, shy!—away it flew, as if it were driven by a legion of devils. In another moment, it stopped; down went its head, up went its infernal heels; and Hans found himself some ten yards off, in the middle of a pool. He escaped drowning, but the cap was gone; he had been foolish enough to stitch some dollars, in hard cash, recently received, into it along with his paper, and they sunk it, past recovery! He came home, dripping like a drowned mouse, with a most deplorable tale; but with no more knowledge of the cause of his disaster than the man in the moon, till he tore his fingers on the needles, in abstracting his wet clothes.

Fortune now seemed to have said, as plainly as she could speak, “Hans, confide in your wife. You see all your schemes without her fail. Open your heart to her—deal fairly, generously, and you will reap the merits of it.” It was all in vain—he had not yet come to his senses. Obstinate as a mule—he determined to try once more. But good-by to the ass! The only thing he resolved to mount was his shop board—that bore him well, and brought him continued good, could he only continue to keep it.

His wife, I said, came from the mountains; she, therefore, liked the sight of trees. Now, in Hans’s back-yard there was neither tree nor turf, so she got some tubs, and in them she planted a variety of fir-trees, which made a pleasant appearance, and gave a help to her imagination of the noble firs of her native scenes. In one of these tubs, Hans conceived the singular design of depositing his future treasure. “Nobody, will meddle with them,” he thought, so[Pg 517] accordingly, from week to week, he concealed in one of them his acquisitions. It had gone on a long time. He had been out one day, collecting some of his debts—he had succeeded beyond his hopes, and came back exulting. The sum was saved; and, in the gladness of his heart, he bought his wife a new gown. He bounded into the house with the lightness of seventeen. His wife was not there—he looked into the back-yard. Saints and angels! what is that? He beheld his wife busy with the tubs. The trees were uprooted, and laid on the ground, and every particle of soil was thrown out of the tubs. In the delirium of consternation, he flew to ask what she had been doing.

“Oh! the trees, poor things, did not flourish; they looked sickly and pining; she determined to give them some soil more suitable to their natures; she had thrown the earth into the river, at the bottom of the yard.”

“And you have thrown into the river,” exclaimed Hans, frantically, “the hoarding of three years; the money which had cost me many a weary day—many an anxious night. The money which would have made our fortunes—in short, that would have made me Bürgermeister of Rapps.” Completely thrown off his guard, he betrayed his secret.

“Good gracious!” cried his wife, exceedingly alarmed; “why did you not tell me of it?”

“Ay, that is the question!” said he. And it was a question; for, spite of himself, it had occurred to his mind some dozens of times, and now it came so overwhelmingly, that even when he thought he treated it with contempt, it had fixed itself upon his better reason, and never left him till it had worked a most fortunate revolution. He said to himself, “Had I told my wife of it at the first, it could not possibly have happened worse; and it is very likely it would have happened better. For the future, then, be it so.”

Thereupon, he unfolded to her the whole history and mystery of his troubles, and his hopes. Now, Mrs. Hans Nadeltreiber had great cause to feel herself offended, most grievously offended; but she was not at all of a touchy temperament. She was a sweet, tender, patient, loving creature, who desired her husband’s honor and prosperity beyond any thing; so she sate down, and in the most mild, yet acute and able manner, laid down to him a plan of operations, and promised him such aids and succors, that, struck at once with shame, contrition, and admiration, he sprung up, clasped her to his heart, called her the very gem of womanhood, and skipped two or three times across the floor, like a man gone out of his senses. The truth is, however, he was but just come into them.

From this day, a new life was begun in Hans’s house. There he sat at his work; there sat his wife by his side; aiding and contriving with a woman’s wit, a woman’s love, and a woman’s adroitness. She was worth ten journeymen. Work never came in faster; never gave such satisfaction; never brought in so much money; nor, besides this, was there ever such harmony in the house, nor had they ever held such delectable discourse together. There was nothing to conceal. Hans’s thoughts flowed like a great stream; and when they grew a little wild and visionary, as they were apt to do, his wife smoothened and reduced them to sobriety, with such a delicate touch, that, so far from feeling offended, he was delighted beyond expression with her prudence. The fifty dollars were raised in almost no time; and, as if prognostic of its becoming the seed of a fortune, it came in most opportunely for purchasing a lot of cloth, which more than trebled its cost, and gave infinite satisfaction to his customers. Hans saw that the tide was rapidly rising with him, and his wife urged him to push on with it; to take a larger house; to get more hands; and to cut such a figure as should at once eclipse his rival. The thing was done; but as their capital was still found scanty enough for such an undertaking, Mrs. Nadeltreiber resolved to try what she could do to increase it.

I should have informed the reader, had not the current of Hans’s disasters ran too strong for me, that his wife’s parents were dead, and had died without giving her any token of reconciliation—a circumstance which, although it cut her to the heart, did not quite cast her down, feeling that she had done nothing but what a parent might forgive, being all of us creatures alike liable to error, demanding alike some little indulgence for our weaknesses and our fancies. Her brother was now sole representative of the family; and knowing the generosity of his nature, she determined to pay him a visit, although, for the first time since her marriage, in a condition very unfit for traveling. She went. Her brother received her with all his early affection. In his house was born her first child; and so much did she and her bantling win upon his heart, that when the time came that she must return, nothing would serve but he would take her himself. She had been so loud in Hans’s praise, that he determined to go and shake him by the hand. It would have done any one good to have seen this worthy mountaineer setting forth, seated in his neat, green-painted wicker wagon; his sister by his side, and the child snugly-bedded in his own corn-hopper at their feet. Thus did they go statelily, with his great black horse drawing them. It would have been equally pleasant to see him set down his charge at the door of Hans’s house, and behold with wonder that merry mannikin, all smiles and gesticulation, come forth to receive them. The contrast between Hans and his brother-in-law was truly amusing. He, a shadow-like homunculus, so light and dry, that any wind threatened to blow him before it; the bergman, with a countenance like the rising sun, the stature of a giant, and limbs like an elephant. Hans watched, with considerable anxiety, the experiment of his kinsman seating himself in a chair. The chair, however, stood firm; and the good man surveyed Hans, in return, with a curious and crit[Pg 518]ical air, as if doubtful whether he must not hold him in contempt for the want of that solid matter of which he himself had too much. Hans’s good qualities, however, got the better of him. “The man’s a man, though,” said he to himself, very philosophically, “and as he is good to my sister, he shall know of it.” Hans delighted him every evening, by the powers of his violin; and the bergman, excessively fond of music, like most of his countrymen, declared that he might perform in the emperor’s orchestra, and find nobody there to beat him. When he took his leave, therefore, he seized one of Hans’s hands with a cordial gripe that was felt through every limb, and into the other he put a bag of one thousand rix dollars, saying, “My sister ought not to have come dowerless into a good husband’s house. This is properly her own: take it, and much good may it do you.”

Our story need not be prolonged. The new tailor soon fled before the star of Hans’s ascendency. A very few years saw him installed into the office of Bürgermeister, the highest of earthly honors in his eyes; and if he had one trouble left, it was only in the reflection that he might have attained his wishes years before had he understood the heart of a good woman. The worshipful Herr Bürgermeister, and Frau Bürgermeisterin of Rapps, often visited their colossal brother of the Böhmerwald, and were thought to reflect no discredit on the old bergman family.

[From Dickens’s “Household Words.”]


That was a pleasant place where I was born, though ’twas only a thatched cabin by the side of a mountain stream, where the country was so lonely, that in summer time the wild ducks used to bring their young ones to feed on the bog, within a hundred yards of our door; and you could not stoop over the bank to raise a pitcher full of water, without frightening a shoal of beautiful speckled trout. Well, ’tis long ago since my brother Richard, that’s now grown a fine, clever man, God bless him! and myself, used to set off together up the mountain to pick bunches of the cotton plant and the bog myrtle, and to look for birds’ and wild bees’ nests. ’Tis long ago—and though I’m happy and well off now, living in the big house as own maid to the young ladies, who, on account of my being foster-sister to poor darling Miss Ellen, that died of decline, treat me more like their equal than their servant, and give me the means to improve myself; still, at times, especially when James Sweeney, a dacent boy of the neighbors, and myself are taking a walk together through the fields in the cool and quiet of a summer’s evening, I can’t help thinking of the times that are passed, and talking about them to James with a sort of peaceful sadness, more happy, maybe, than if we ware laughing aloud.

Every evening, before I say my prayers, I read a chapter in the Bible that Miss Ellen gave me; and last night I felt my tears dropping forever so long over one verse, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” The words made me think of them that are gone—of my father, and his wife that was a true, fond mother to me; and above all, of my little sister Mary, the clureen bawn[F] that nestled in her bosom.

I was a wild slip of a girl, ten years of age, and my brother Richard about two years older, when my father brought home his second wife. She was the daughter of a farmer up at Lackabawn, and was reared with care and dacency; but her father held his ground at a rack-rent, and the middleman that was between him and the head landlord did not pay his own rent, so the place was ejected, and the farmer collected every penny he had, and set off with his family to America. My father had a liking for the youngest daughter, and well become him to have it, for a sweeter creature never drew the breath of life; but while her father passed for a strong[G] farmer, he was timorous-like about asking her to share his little cabin; however, when he found how matters stood, he didn’t lose much time in finding out that she was willing to be his wife, and a mother to his boy and girl. That she was, a patient loving one. Oh! it often sticks me like a knife, when I think how many times I fretted her with my foolishness and my idle ways, and how ’twas a long time before I’d call her “mother.” Often, when my father would be going to chastise Richard and myself for our provoking doings, especially the day that we took half-a-dozen eggs from under the hatching hen, to play “Blind Tom” with them, she’d interfere for us, and say, “Tim, aleagh, don’t touch them this time; sure ’tis only arch they are: they’ll get more sense in time.” And then, after he was gone out, she’d advise us for our good so pleasantly, that a thundercloud itself couldn’t look black at her. She did wonders, too, about the house and garden. They were both dirty and neglected enough when she first came over them; for I was too young and foolish, and my father too busy with his out-door work, and the old woman that lived with us in service too feeble and too blind to keep the place either clean or decent; but my mother got the floor raised, and the green pool in front drained, and a parcel of roses and honey-suckles planted there instead. The neighbors’ wives used to say, ’twas all pride and upsetting folly, to keep the kitchen-floor swept clean, and to put the potatoes on a dish, instead of emptying them out of the pot into the middle of the table; and, besides, ’twas a cruel, unnatural thing, they said, to take away the pool from the ducks, that they were always used to paddle in so handy. But my [Pg 519]mother was always too busy and too happy to heed what they said; and, besides, she was always so ready to do a kind turn for any of them, that, out of poor shame, they had at last to leave off abusing her “fine English ways.”

West of our house there was a straggling, stony piece of ground, where, within the memory of man nothing ever grew but nettles, docks, and thistles. One Monday, when Richard and myself came in from school, my mother told us to set about weeding it, and to bring in some basketfuls of good clay from the banks of the river; she said that if we worked well at it until Saturday, she’d bring me a new frock, and Dick a jacket, from the next market-town; and encouraged by this, we set to work with right good will, and didn’t leave off till supper time. The next day we did the same; and by degrees, when we saw the heap of weeds and stones that we got out, growing big, and the ground looking nice and smooth and red and rich, we got quite anxious about it ourselves, and we built a nice little fence round it to keep out the pigs. When it was manured, my mother planted cabbages, parsnips, and onions in it; and, to be sure, she got a fine crop out of it, enough to make us many a nice supper of vegetables stewed with pepper, and a small taste of bacon or a red herring. Besides, she sold in the market as much as bought a Sunday coat for my father, a gown for herself, a fine pair of shoes for Dick, and as pretty a shawl for myself, as e’er a colleen in the country could show at mass. Through means of my father’s industry and my mother’s good management, we were, with the blessing of God, as snug and comfortable a poor family as any in Munster. We paid but a small rent, and we had always plenty of potatoes to eat, good clothes to wear, and cleanliness and decency in and about our little cabin.

Five years passed on in this way, and at last little Mary was born. She was a delicate fairy thing, with that look, even from the first, in her blue eyes, which is seldom seen, except where the shadow of the grave darkens the cradle. She was fond of her father, and of Richard, and of myself, and would laugh and crow when she saw us, but the love in the core of her heart was for her mother. No matter how tired, or sleepy, or cross the baby might be, one word from her would set the bright eyes dancing, and the little rosy month smiling, and the tiny limbs quivering, as if walking or running couldn’t content her, but she must fly to her mother’s arms. And how that mother doted on the very ground she trod! I often thought that the Queen in her state carriage, with her son, God bless him! alongside of her, dressed out in gold and jewels, was not one bit happier than my mother, when she sat under the shade of the mountain ash, near the door, in the hush of the summer’s evening, singing and cronauning her only one to sleep in her arms. In the month of October, 1845, Mary was four years old. That was the bitter time, when first the food of the earth was turned to poison; when the gardens that used to be so bright and sweet, covered with the purple and white potato blossoms, became in one night black and offensive, as if fire had come down from heaven to burn them up. ’Twas a heart-breaking thing to see the laboring men, the crathurs! that had only the one half-acre to feed their little families, going out, after work, in the evenings to dig their suppers from under the black stalks. Spadeful after spadeful would be turned up, and a long piece of a ridge dug through, before they’d get a small kish full of such withered crohauneens,[H] as other years would be hardly counted fit for the pigs.

It was some time before the distress reached us, for there was a trifle of money in the savings’ bank, that held us in meal, while the neighbors were next door to starvation. As long as my father and mother had it, they shared it freely with them that were worse off than themselves; but at last the little penny of money was all spent, the price of flour was raised; and, to make matters worse, the farmer that my father worked for, at a poor eight-pence a day, was forced to send him and three more of his laborers away, as he couldn’t afford to pay them even that any longer. Oh! ’twas a sorrowful night when my father brought home the news. I remember, as well as if I saw it yesterday, the desolate look in his face when he sat down by the ashes of the turf fire that had just baked a yellow meal cake for his supper. My mother was at the opposite side, giving little Mary a drink of sour milk out of her little wooden piggin, and the child didn’t like it, being delicate and always used to sweet milk, so she said:

“Mammy, won’t you give me some of the nice milk instead of that?”

“I haven’t it asthore, nor can’t get it,” said her mother, “so don’t ye fret.”

Not a word more out of the little one’s mouth, only she turned her little cheek in toward her mother, and staid quite quiet, as if she was hearkening to what was going on.

“Judy,” said my father, “God is good, and sure ’tis only in Him we must put our trust; for in the wide world I can see nothing but starvation before us.”

“God is good, Tim,” replied my mother; “He won’t forsake us.”

Just then Richard came in with a more joyful face than I had seen on him for many a day.

“Good news!” says he, “good news, father! there’s work for us both on the Droumcarra road. The government works are to begin there to-morrow; you’ll get eight-pence a day, and I’ll get six-pence.”

If you saw our delight when we heard this, you’d think ’twas the free present of a thousand pounds that came to us, falling through the roof, instead of an offer of small wages for hard work.

To be sure the potatoes were gone, and the yellow meal was dear and dry and chippy—it [Pg 520]hadn’t the nature about it that a hot potato has for a poor man; but still ’twas a great thing to have the prospect of getting enough of even that same, and not to be obliged to follow the rest of the country into the poor-house, which was crowded to that degree that the crathurs there—God help them!—hadn’t room even to die quietly in their beds, but were crowded together on the floor like so many dogs in a kennel. The next morning my father and Richard were off before daybreak, for they had a long way to walk to Droumcarra, and they should be there in time to begin work. They took an Indian meal cake with them to eat for their dinner, and poor dry food it was, with only a draught of cold water to wash it down. Still my father, who was knowledgeable about such things, always said it was mighty wholesome when it was well cooked; but some of the poor people took a great objection against it on account of the yellow color, which they thought came from having sulphur mixed with it—and they said, Indeed it was putting a great affront on the decent Irish to mix up their food as if ’twas for mangy dogs. Glad enough, poor creatures, they were to get it afterward, when sea-weed and nettles, and the very grass by the roadside, was all that many of them had to put into their mouths.

When my father and brother came home in the evening, faint and tired from the two long walks and the day’s work, my mother would always try to have something for them to eat with their porridge—a bit of butter, or a bowl of thick milk, or maybe a few eggs. She always gave me plenty as far as it would go; but ’twas little she took herself. She would often go entirely without a meal, and then she’d slip down to the huckster’s, and buy a little white bun for Mary; and I’m sure it used to do her more good to see the child eat it, than if she had got a meat-dinner for herself. No matter how hungry the poor little thing might be, she’d always break off a bit to put into her mother’s mouth, and she would not be satisfied until she saw her swallow it; then the child would take a drink of cold water out of her little tin porringer, as contented as if it was new milk.

As the winter advanced, the weather became wet and bitterly cold, and the poor men working on the roads began to suffer dreadfully from being all day in wet clothes, and, what was worse, not having any change to put on when they went home at night without a dry thread about them. Fever soon got among them, and my father took it. My mother brought the doctor to see him, and by selling all our decent clothes, she got for him whatever was wanting, but all to no use: ’twas the will of the Lord to take him to himself, and he died after a few days’ illness.

It would be hard to tell the sorrow that his widow and orphans felt, when they saw the fresh sods planted on his grave. It was not grief altogether like the grand stately grief of the quality, although maybe the same sharp knife is sticking into the same sore bosom inside in both; but the outside differs in rich and poor. I saw the mistress a week after Miss Ellen died. She was in her drawing-room with the blinds pulled down, sitting in a low chair, with her elbow on the small work-table, and her cheek resting on her hand—not a speck of any thing white about her but the cambric handkerchief, and the face that was paler than the marble chimney-piece.

When she saw me (for the butler, being busy, sent me in with the luncheon-tray), she covered her eyes with her handkerchief, and began to cry, but quietly, as if she did not want it to be noticed. As I was going out, I just heard her say to Miss Alice in a choking voice:

“Keep Sally here always; our poor darling was fond of her.” And as I closed the door, I heard her give one deep sob. The next time I saw her, she was quite composed; only for the white cheek and the black dress, you would not know that the burning feel of a child’s last kiss had ever touched her lips.

My father’s wife mourned for him after another fashion. She could not sit quiet, she must work hard to keep the life in them to whom he gave it; and it was only in the evenings when she sat down before the fire with Mary in her arms, that she used to sob and rock herself to and fro, and sing a low, wailing keen for the father of the little one, whose innocent tears were always ready to fall when she saw her mother cry. About this time my mother got an offer from some of the hucksters in the neighborhood, who knew her honesty, to go three times a week to the next market-town, ten miles off, with their little money, and bring them back supplies of bread, groceries, soap, and candles. This she used to do, walking the twenty miles—ten of them with a heavy load on her back—for the sake of earning enough to keep us alive. ’Twas very seldom that Richard could get a stroke of work to do: the boy wasn’t strong in himself, for he had the sickness too; though he recovered from it, and always did his best to earn an honest penny wherever he could. I often wanted my mother to let me go in her stead and bring back the load; but she never would hear of it, and kept me at home to mind the house and little Mary. My poor pet lamb! ’twas little minding she wanted. She would go after breakfast and sit at the door, and stop there all day, watching for her mother, and never heeding the neighbors’ children that used to come wanting her to play. Through the live-long hours she would never stir, but just keep her eyes fixed on the lonesome boreen;[I] and when the shadow of the mountain-ash grew long, and she caught a glimpse of her mother ever so far off, coming toward home, the joy that would flush on the small, patient face, was brighter than the sunbeam on the river. And faint and weary as the poor woman used to be, before ever she sat down, she’d have Mary nestling in her bosom. No matter how little [Pg 521]she might have eaten herself that day, she would always bring home a little white bun for Mary; and the child, that had tasted nothing since morning, would eat it so happily, and then fall quietly asleep in her mother’s arms.

At the end of some months I got the sickness myself, but not so heavily as Richard did before. Any way, he and my mother tended me well through it. They sold almost every little stick of furniture that was left, to buy me drink and medicine. By degrees I recovered, and the first evening I was able to sit up, I noticed a strange, wild brightness in my mother’s eyes, and a hot flush on her thin cheeks—she had taken the fever.

Before she lay down on the wisp of straw that served her for a bed, she brought little Mary over to me: “Take her, Sally,” she said—and between every word she gave the child a kiss—“take her; she’s safer with you than she’d be with me, for you’re over the sickness, and ’tisn’t long any way, I’ll be with you, my jewel,” she said, as she gave the little creature one long close hug, and put her into my arms.

’Twould take long to tell all about her sickness—how Richard and I, as good right we had, tended her night and day; and how, when every farthing and farthing’s worth we had in the world was gone, the mistress herself came down from the big house, the very day after the family returned home from France, and brought wine, food, medicine, linen, and every thing we could want.

Shortly after the kind lady was gone, my mother took the change for death; her senses came back, she grew quite strong-like, and sat up straight in the bed.

“Bring me the child, Sally, aleagh,” she said. And when I carried little Mary over to her, she looked into the tiny face, as if she was reading it like a book.

“You won’t be long away from me, my own one,” she said, while her tears fell down upon the child like summer-rain.

“Mother,” said I, as well as I could speak for crying, “sure you Know I’ll do my best to tend her.”

“I know you will, acushla; you were always a true and dutiful daughter to me and to him that’s gone; but, Sally, there’s that in my weeny one that won’t let her thrive without the mother’s hand over her, and the mother’s heart for hers to lean against. And now—” It was all she could say: she just clasped the little child to her bosom, fell back on my arm, and in a few moments all was over. At first, Richard and I could not believe that she was dead; and it was very long before the orphan would loose her hold of the stiffening fingers; but when the neighbors came in to prepare for the wake, we contrived to flatter her away.

Days passed on; the child was very quiet; she used to go as usual to sit at the door, and watch, hour after hour, along the road that her mother always took coming home from market, waiting for her that could never come again. When the sun was near setting, her gaze used to be more fixed and eager; but when the darkness came on, her blue eyes used to droop like the flowers that shut up their leaves, and she would come in quietly without saying a word, and allow me to undress her and put her to bed.

It troubled us and the young ladies greatly that she would not eat. It was almost impossible to get her to taste a morsel; indeed the only thing she would let inside her lips was a bit of a little white bun, like those her poor mother used to bring her. There was nothing left untried to please her. I carried her up to the big house, thinking the change might do her good, and the ladies petted her, and talked to her, and gave her heaps of toys and cakes, and pretty frocks and coats; but she hardly noticed them, and was restless and uneasy until she got back to her own low, sunny door-step.

Every day she grew paler and thinner, and her bright eyes had a sad, fond look in them, so like her mother’s. One evening she sat at the door later than usual.

“Come in, alannah,” I said to her. “Won’t you come in for your own Sally?”

She never stirred. I went over to her; she was quite still, with her little hands crossed on her lap, and her head drooping on her chest. I touched her—she was cold. I gave a loud scream, and Richard came running; he stopped and looked, and then burst out crying like an infant. Our little sister was dead!

Well, my Mary, the sorrow was bitter, but it was short. You’re gone home to Him that comforts as a mother comforteth. Agra machree, your eyes are as blue, and your hair as golden, and your voice as sweet, as they were when you watched by the cabin-door; but your cheeks are not pale, acushla, nor your little hands thin, and the shade of sorrow has passed away from your forehead like a rain-cloud from the summer sky. She that loved you so on earth, has clasped you forever to her bosom in heaven; and God himself has wiped away all tears from your eyes, and placed you both and our own dear father, far beyond the touch of sorrow or the fear of death.


[F] White dove.

[G] Rich.

[H] Small potatoes.

[I] By-road.


The proof of the truth of the following statement, taken from the Courrier de l’Europe, rests not only upon the known veracity of the narrator, but upon the fact that the whole occurrence is registered in the judicial records of the criminal trials of the province of Languedoc. We give it as we heard it from the lips of the dreamer, as nearly as possible in his own words.

As the junior partner in a commercial house at Lyons, I had been traveling some time on the business of the firm, when, one evening in the month of June, I arrived at a town in Languedoc where I had never before been. I put up at a[Pg 522] quiet inn in the suburbs, and, being very much fatigued, ordered dinner at once; and went to bed almost immediately after, determined to begin very early in the morning my visits to the different merchants.

I was no sooner in bed than I fell into a deep sleep, and had a dream that made the strongest impression upon me.

I thought that I had arrived at the same town, but in the middle of the day, instead of the evening, as was really the case; that I had stopped at the very same inn, and gone out immediately, as an unoccupied stranger would do, to see whatever was worthy of observation in the place. I walked down the main street, into another street, crossing it at right angles, and apparently leading into the country. I had not gone very far, when I came to a church, the Gothic portico of which I stopped to examine. When I had satisfied my curiosity, I advanced to a by-path which branched off from the main street. Obeying an impulse which I could neither account for nor control, I struck into the path, though it was winding, rugged, and unfrequented, and presently reached a miserable cottage, in front of which was a garden covered with weeds. I had no difficulty in getting into the garden, for the hedge had several gaps in it, wide enough to admit four carts abreast. I approached an old well, which stood solitary and gloomy in a distant corner; and looking down into it, I beheld distinctly, without any possibility of mistake, a corpse which had been stabbed in several places. I counted the deep wounds and the wide gashes whence the blood was flowing.

I would have cried out, but my tongue clove to the roof of my mouth. At this moment I awoke, with my hair on end, trembling in every limb, and cold drops of perspiration bedewing my forehead—awoke to find myself comfortably in bed, my trunk standing beside me, birds warbling cheerfully around my window; while a young, clear voice was singing a provincial air in the next room, and the morning sun was shining brightly through the curtains.

I sprung from my bed, dressed myself, and, as it was yet very early, I thought I would seek an appetite for breakfast by a morning stroll. I accordingly entered the main street, and went along. The farther I walked, the stranger became the confused recollection of the objects that presented themselves to my view. “It is very strange,” I thought; “I have never been here before; and I could swear that I have seen this house, and the next, and that other on the left.” On I went, till I came to the corner of a street, crossing the one down which I had come. For the first time, I remembered my dream, but put away the thought as too absurd; still, at every step, some fresh point of resemblance struck me. “Am I still dreaming!” I exclaimed, not without a momentary thrill through my whole frame. “Is the agreement to be perfect to the very end?” Before long, I reached the church, with the same architectural features that had attracted my notice in the dream; and then the high-road, along which I pursued my way, coming at length to the same by-path that had presented itself to my imagination a few hours before. There was no possibility of doubt or mistake. Every tree, every turn, was familiar to me. I was not at all of a superstitious turn, and was wholly engrossed in the practical details of commercial business. My mind had never dwelt upon the hallucinations, the presentiments, that science either denies, or is unable to explain; but I must confess, that I now felt myself spell-bound, as by some enchantment; and, with Pascal’s words on my lips, “A continued dream would be equal to reality,” I hurried forward, no longer doubting that the next moment would bring me to the cottage; and this really was the case. In all its outward circumstances, it corresponded to what I had seen in my dream. Who, then, could wonder that I determined to ascertain whether the coincidence would hold good in every other point? I entered the garden, and went direct to the spot on which I had seen the well; but here the resemblance failed—well, there was none. I looked in every direction; examined the whole garden, went round the cottage, which appeared to be inhabited, although no person was visible; but nowhere could I find any vestige of a well.

I made no attempt to enter the cottage, but hastened back to the hotel, in a state of agitation difficult to describe. I could not make up my mind to pass unnoticed such extraordinary coincidences; but how was any clew to be obtained to the terrible mystery?

I went to the landlord, and after chatting with him for some time on different subjects, I came to the point, and asked him directly to whom the cottage belonged that was on a by-road which I described to him.

“I wonder, sir,” said he, “what made you take such particular notice of such a wretched little hovel. It is inhabited by an old man with his wife, who have the character of being very morose and unsociable. They rarely leave the house—see nobody, and nobody goes to see them; but they are quiet enough, and I never heard any thing against them beyond this. Of late, their very existence seems to have been forgotten; and I believe, sir, that you are the first who, for years, has turned his steps to the deserted spot.”

These details, far from satisfying my curiosity, did but provoke it the more. Breakfast was served, but I could not touch it; and I felt that if I presented myself to the merchants in such a state of excitement, they would think me mad; and, indeed, I felt very much excited. I paced up and down the room, looked out at the window, trying to fix my attention on some external object, but in vain. I endeavored to interest myself in a quarrel between two men in the street; but the garden and the cottage preoccupied my mind; and, at last, snatching my hat, I cried, “I will go, come what may.”

I repaired to the nearest magistrate, told him[Pg 523] the object of my visit, and related the whole circumstance briefly and clearly. I saw directly that he was much impressed by my statement.

“It is, indeed, very strange,” said he, “and after what has happened, I do not think I am at liberty to leave the matter without further inquiry. Important business will prevent my accompanying you in a search, but I will place two of the police at your command. Go once more to the hovel, see its inhabitants, and search every part of it. You may, perhaps, make some important discovery.”

I suffered but a very few moments to elapse before I was on my way, accompanied by the two officers, and we soon reached the cottage. We knocked, and after waiting for some time, an old man opened the door. He received us somewhat uncivilly, but showed no mark of suspicion, nor, indeed, of any other emotion, when we told him we wished to search the house.

“Very well, gentlemen; as fast, and as soon as you please,” he replied.

“Have you a well here?” I inquired.

“No, sir; we are obliged to go for water to a spring at a considerable distance.”

We searched the house, which I did, I confess, with a kind of feverish excitement, expecting every moment to bring some fatal secret to light. Meantime, the man gazed upon us with an impenetrable vacancy of look, and we at last left the cottage without seeing any thing that could confirm my suspicions. I resolved to inspect the garden once more; and a number of idlers having been by this time collected, drawn to the spot by the sight of a stranger with two armed men engaged in searching the premises, I made inquiries of some of them whether they knew any thing about a well in that place. I could get no information at first, but at length an old woman came slowly forward, leaning on a crutch.

“A well!” cried she; “is it the well you are looking after? That has been gone these thirty years. I remember, as if it were only yesterday, many a time, when I was a young girl, how I used to amuse myself by throwing stones into it, and hearing the splash they used to make in the water.”

“And could you tell where that well used to be?” I asked, almost breathless with excitement.

“As near as I can remember, on the very spot on which your honor is standing,” said the old woman.

“I could have sworn it!” thought I, springing from the place as if I had trod upon a scorpion.

Need I say, that we set to work to dig up the ground. At about eighteen inches deep, we came to a layer of bricks, which, being broken up, gave to view some boards, which were easily removed; after which we beheld the mouth of the well.

“I was quite sure it was here,” said the woman. “What a fool the old fellow was to stop it up, and then have so far to go for water!”

A sounding-line, furnished with hooks, was let down into the well; the crowd pressing around us, and breathlessly bending over the dark and fetid hole, the secrets of which seemed hidden in impenetrable obscurity. This was repeated several times without any result. At length, penetrating below the mud, the hooks caught an old chest, upon the top of which had been thrown a great many large stones; and after much effort and time, we succeeded in raising it to daylight. The sides and lid were decayed and rotten; it needed no locksmith to open it; and we found within, what I was certain we should find, and which paralyzed with horror all the spectators, who had not my pre-convictions—we found the remains of a human body.

The police-officers who had accompanied me now rushed into the house, and secured the person of the old man. As to his wife, no one could at first tell what had become of her. After some search, however, she was found hidden behind a bundle of fagots.

By this time, nearly the whole town had gathered around the spot; and now that this horrible fact had come to light, every body had some crime to tell, which had been laid to the charge of the old couple. The people who predict after an event, are numerous.

The old couple were brought before the proper authorities, and privately and separately examined. The old man persisted in his denial, most pertinaciously; but his wife at length confessed, that, in concert with her husband, she had once—a very long time ago—murdered a peddler, whom they had met one night on the high-road, and who had been incautious enough to tell them of a considerable sum of money which he had about him, and whom, in consequence, they induced to pass the night at their house. They had taken advantage of the heavy sleep induced by fatigue, to strangle him; his body had been put into the chest, the chest thrown into the well, and the well stopped up.

The peddler being from another country, his disappearance had occasioned no inquiry; there was no witness of the crime; and as its traces had been carefully concealed from every eye, the two criminals had good reason to believe themselves secure from detection. They had not, however, been able to silence the voice of conscience; they fled from the sight of their fellow-men; they trembled at the slightest noise, and silence thrilled them with terror. They had often formed a determination to leave the scene of their crime—to fly to some distant land; but still some undefinable fascination kept them near the remains of their victim.

Terrified by the deposition of his wife, and unable to resist the overwhelming proofs against him, the man at length made a similar confession; and six weeks after, the unhappy criminals died on the scaffold, in accordance with the sentence of the Parliament of Toulouse. They died penitent.[Pg 524]

The well was once more shut up, and the cottage leveled to the ground. It was not, however, until fifty years had in some measure deadened the memory of the terrible transaction, that the ground was cultivated. It is now a fine field of corn.

Such was the dream and its result.

I never had the courage to revisit the town where I had been an actor in such a tragedy.

[From the Dublin University Magazine.]


Do you ask how I’d amuse me
When the long bright summer comes,
And welcome leisure woos me
To shun life’s crowded homes;
To shun the sultry city,
Whose dense, oppressive air
Might make one weep with pity
For those who must be there?

I’ll tell you then—I would not
To foreign countries roam,
As though my fancy could not
Find occupance at home;
Nor to home-haunts of fashion
Would I, least of all, repair,
For guilt, and pride, and passion,
Have summer-quarters there.
Far, far from watering-places
Of note and name I’d keep,
For there would vapid faces
Still throng me in my sleep;
Then contact with the foolish,
The arrogant, the vain,
The meaningless—the mulish,
Would sicken heart and brain.
No—I’d seek some shore of ocean
Where nothing comes to mar
The ever-fresh commotion
Of sea and land at war;
Save the gentle evening only
As it steals along the deep,
So spirit-like and lonely,
To still the waves to sleep.
There long hours I’d spend in viewing
The elemental strife,
My soul the while subduing
With the littleness of life;
Of life, with all its paltry plans,
Its conflicts and its cares—
The feebleness of all that’s man’s—
The might that’s God’s and theirs!
And when eve came I’d listen
To the stilling of that war,
Till o’er my head should glisten
The first pure silver star;
Then, wandering homeward slowly,
I’d learn my heart the tune
Which the dreaming billows lowly,
Were murmuring to the moon!

[From Dickens’s Household Words.]


The Wilkinsons were having a small party, it consisted of themselves and Uncle Bagges, at which the younger members of the family, home for the holidays, had been just admitted to assist after dinner. Uncle Bagges was a gentleman from whom his affectionate relatives cherished expectations of a testamentary nature. Hence the greatest attention was paid by them to the wishes of Mr. Bagges, as well as to every observation which he might be pleased to make.

“Eh! what? you sir,” said Mr. Bagges, facetiously addressing himself to his eldest nephew, Harry—“Eh! what? I am glad to hear, sir, that you are doing well at school. Now—eh! now, are you clever enough to tell me where was Moses when he put the candle out?”

“That depends, uncle,” answered the young gentleman, “on whether he had lighted the candle to see with at night, or by daylight to seal a letter.”

“Eh! very good, now! ’Pon my word, very good,” exclaimed Uncle Bagges. “You must be Lord Chancellor, sir—Lord Chancellor, one of these days.”

“And now, uncle,” asked Harry, who was a favorite with the old gentleman, “can you tell me what you do when you put a candle out?”

“Clap an extinguisher on it, you young rogue, to be sure.”

“Oh! but I mean, you cut off its supply of oxygen,” said Master Harry.

“Cut off its ox’s—eh? what? I shall cut off your nose, you young dog, one of these fine days.”

“He means something he heard at the Royal Institution,” observed Mrs. Wilkinson. “He reads a great deal about chemistry, and he attended Professor Faraday’s lectures there on the chemical history of a candle, and has been full of it ever since.”

“Now, you sir,” said Uncle Bagges, “come you here to me, and tell me what you have to say about this chemical, eh? or comical; which? this comical chemical history of a candle.”

“He’ll bore you, Bagges,” said Mrs. Wilkinson. “Harry, don’t be troublesome to your uncle.”

“Troublesome! Oh, not at all. He amuses me. I like to hear him. So let him teach his old uncle the comicality and chemicality of a farthing rushlight.”

“A wax candle will be nicer and cleaner, uncle, and answer the same purpose. There’s one on the mantle-shelf. Let me light it.”

“Take care you don’t burn your fingers, or set any thing on fire,” said Mrs. Wilkinson.

“Now, uncle,” commenced Harry, having drawn his chair to the side of Mr. Bagges, “we have got our candle burning. What do you see?”

“Let me put on my spectacles,” answered the uncle.

[Pg 525]

“Look down on the top of the candle around the wick. See, it is a little cup full of melted wax. The heat of the flame has melted the wax just round the wick. The cold air keeps the outside of it hard, so as to make the rim of it. The melted wax in the little cup goes up through the wick to be burnt, just as oil does in the wick of a lamp. What do you think makes it go up, uncle?”

“Why—why, the flame draws it up, doesn’t it?”

“Not exactly, uncle. It goes up through little tiny passages in the cotton wick, because very, very small channels, or pipes, or pores, have the power in themselves of sucking up liquids. What they do it by is called cap—something.”

“Capillary attraction, Harry,” suggested Mr. Wilkinson.

“Yes, that’s it; just as a sponge sucks up water, or a bit of lump-sugar the little drop of tea or coffee left in the bottom of a cup. But I mustn’t say much more about this, or else you will tell me I am doing something very much like teaching my grandmother to—you know what.”

“Your grandmother, eh, young sharpshins?”

“No—I mean my uncle. Now, I’ll blow the candle out, like Moses; not to be in the dark, though, but to see into what it is. Look at the smoke rising from the wick. I’ll hold a bit of lighted paper in the smoke, so as not to touch the wick. But see, for all that, the candle lights again. So this shows that the melted wax sucked up through the wick is turned into vapor; and the vapor burns. The heat of the burning vapor keeps on melting more wax, and that is sucked up too within the flame, and turned into vapor, and burnt, and so on till the wax is all used up, and the candle is gone. So the flame, uncle, you see is the last of the candle, and the candle seems to go through the flame into nothing—although it doesn’t, but goes into several things, and isn’t it curious, as Professor Faraday said, that the candle should look so splendid and glorious in going away.”

“How well he remembers, doesn’t he?” observed Mrs. Wilkinson.

“I dare say,” proceeded Harry, “that the flame of the candle looks flat to you; but if we were to put a lamp glass over it, so as to shelter it from the draught, you would see it is round, round sideways, and running up to a peak. It is drawn up by the hot air; you know that hot air always rises, and that is the way smoke is taken up the chimney. What should you think was in the middle of the flame?”

“I should say, fire,” replied Uncle Bagges.

“Oh, no! The flame is hollow. The bright flame we see is something no thicker than a thin peel, or skin; and it doesn’t touch the wick. Inside of it is the vapor I told you of just now. If you put one end of a bent pipe into the middle of the flame, and let the other end of the pipe dip into a bottle, the vapor or gas from the candle will mix with the air there; and if you set fire to the mixture of gas from the candle and air in the bottle, it would go off with a bang.”

“I wish you’d do that, Harry,” said Master Tom, the younger brother of the juvenile lecturer.

“I want the proper things,” answered Harry. “Well, uncle, the flame of the candle is a little shining case, with gas in the inside of it, and air on the outside, so that the case of flame is between the air and the gas. The gas keeps going into the flame to burn, and when the candle burns properly, none of it ever passes out through the flame; and none of the air ever gets in through the flame to the gas. The greatest heat of the candle is in this skin, or peel, or case of flame.”

“Case of flame!” repeated Mr. Bagges. “Live and learn. I should have thought a candle flame was as thick as my poor old noddle.”

“I can show you the contrary,” said Harry. “I take this piece of white paper, look, and hold it a second or two down upon the candle flame, keeping the flame very steady. Now I’ll rub off the black of the smoke, and—there—you find that the paper is scorched in the shape of a ring; but inside the ring it is only dirtied, and not singed at all.”

“Seeing is believing,” remarked the uncle.

“But,” proceeded Harry, “there is more in the candle flame than the gas that comes out of the candle. You know a candle won’t burn without air. There must be always air around the gas, and touching it like to make it burn. If a candle hasn’t got enough air, it goes out, or burns badly, so that some of the vapor inside of the flame comes out through it in the form of smoke, and this is the reason of a candle smoking. So now you know why a great clumsy dip smokes more than a neat wax candle; it is because the thick wick of the dip makes too much fuel in proportion to the air that can get to it.”

“Dear me! Well, I suppose there is a reason for every thing,” exclaimed the young philosopher’s mamma.

“What should you say, now,” continued Harry, “if I told you that the smoke that comes out of a candle is the very thing that makes a candle light? Yes; a candle shines by consuming its own smoke. The smoke of a candle is a cloud of small dust, and the little grains of the dust are bits of charcoal, or carbon, as chemists call it. They are made in the flame, and burned in the flame, and, while burning, make the flame bright. They are burned the moment they are made; but the flame goes on making more of them as fast as it burns them; and that is how it keeps bright. The place they are made in, is in the case of flame itself, where the strongest heat is. The great heat separates them from the gas which comes from the melted wax, and, as soon as they touch the air on the outside of the thin case of flame, they burn.”

[Pg 526]

“Can you tell how it is that the little bits of carbon cause the brightness of the flame?” asked Mr. Wilkinson.

“Because they are pieces of solid matter,” answered Harry. “To make a flame shine, there must always be some solid—or at least liquid—matter in it.”

“Very good,” said Mr. Bagges—“solid stuff necessary to brightness.”

“Some gases and other things,” resumed Harry, “that burn with a flame you can hardly see, burn splendidly when something solid is put into them. Oxygen and hydrogen—tell me if I use too hard words, uncle—oxygen and hydrogen gases, if mixed together and blown through a pipe, burn with plenty of heat but with very little light. But if their flame is blown upon a piece of quick-lime, it gets so bright as to be quite dazzling. Make the smoke of oil of turpentine pass through the same flame, and it gives the flame a beautiful brightness directly.”

“I wonder,” observed Uncle Bagges, “what has made you such a bright youth.”

“Taking after uncle, perhaps,” retorted his nephew. “Don’t put my candle and me out. Well, carbon or charcoal is what causes the brightness of all lamps, and candles, and other common lights; so, of course, there is carbon in what they are all made of.”

“So carbon is smoke, eh? and light is owing to your carbon. Giving light out of smoke, eh? as they say in the classics,” observed Mr. Bagges.

“But what becomes of the candle,” pursued Harry, “as it burns away? where does it go?”

“Nowhere,” said his mamma, “I should think. It burns to nothing.”

“Oh, dear, no!” said Harry, “every thing—every body goes somewhere.”

“Eh!—rather an important consideration that,” Mr. Bagges moralized.

“You can see it goes into smoke, which makes soot, for one thing,” pursued Harry. “There are other things it goes into, not to be seen by only looking, but you can get to see them by taking the right means—just put your hand over the candle, uncle.”

“Thank you, young gentleman, I had rather be excused.”

“Not close enough down to burn you, uncle; higher up. There—you feel a stream of hot air; so something seems to rise from the candle. Suppose you were to put a very long, slender gas-burner over the flame, and let the flame burn just within the end of it, as if it were a chimney, some of the hot steam would go up and come out at the top, but a sort of dew would be left behind in the glass chimney, if the chimney was cold enough when you put it on. There are ways of collecting this sort of dew, and when it is collected it turns out to be really water. I am not joking, uncle. Water is one of the things which the candle turns into in burning—water, coming out of fire. A jet of oil gives above a pint of water in burning. In some lighthouses they burn, Professor Faraday says, up to two gallons of oil in a night, and if the windows are cold, the steam from the oil clouds the inside of the windows, and, in frosty weather, freezes into ice.”

“Water out of a candle, eh?” exclaimed Mr. Bagges. “As hard to get, I should have thought, as blood out of a post. Where does it come from?”

“Part from the wax, and part from the air, and yet not a drop of it comes either from the air or the wax. What do you make of that, uncle?”

“Eh? Oh! I’m no hand at riddles. Give it up.”

“No riddle at all, uncle. The part that comes from the wax isn’t water, and the part that comes from the air isn’t water, but when put together they become water. Water is a mixture of two things, then. This can be shown. Put some iron wire or turnings into a gun-barrel open at both ends. Heat the middle of the barrel red-hot in a little furnace. Keep the heat up, and send the steam of boiling water through the red-hot gun-barrel. What will come out at the other end of the barrel won’t be steam; it will be gas, which doesn’t turn to water again when it gets cold, and which burns if you put a light to it. Take the turnings out of the gun-barrel, and you will find them changed to rust, and heavier than when they were put in. Part of the water is the gas that comes out of the barrel, the other part is what mixes with the iron turnings, and changes them to rust, and makes them heavier. You can fill a bladder with the gas that comes out of the gun-barrel, or you can pass bubbles of it up into a jar of water turned upside down in a trough, and, as I said, you can make this part of the water burn.”

“Eh?” cried Mr. Bagges. “Upon my word. One of these days, we shall have you setting the Thames on fire.”

“Nothing more easy,” said Harry, [Pg 527]“than to burn part of the Thames, or any other water; I mean the gas that I have just told you about, which is called hydrogen. In burning, hydrogen produces water again, like the flame of the candle. Indeed, hydrogen is that part of the water, formed by a candle burning, that comes from the wax. All things that have hydrogen in them produce water in burning, and the more there is in them, the more they produce. When pure hydrogen burns, nothing comes from it but water, no smoke or soot at all. If you were to burn one ounce of it, the water you would get would be just nine ounces. There are many ways of making hydrogen, besides out of steam by the hot gun-barrel. I could show it you in a moment by pouring a little sulphuric acid mixed with water into a bottle upon a few zinc or steel filings, and putting a cork in the bottle with a little pipe through it, and setting fire to the gas that would come from the mouth of the pipe. We should find the flame very hot, but having scarcely any brightness. I should like you to see the curious qualities of hydrogen, particularly how light it is, so as to carry things up in the air; and I wish I had a small balloon to fill with it and make go up to the ceiling, or a bag-pipe full of it to blow soap-bubbles with, and show how much faster they rise than common ones, blown with the breath.”

“So do I,” interposed Master Tom.

“And so,” resumed Harry, “hydrogen, you know, uncle, is part of water, and just one-ninth part.”

“As hydrogen is to water, so is a tailor to an ordinary individual, eh?” Mr. Bagges remarked.

“Well, now, then, uncle, if hydrogen is the tailor’s part of the water, what are the other eight parts? The iron-turnings used to make hydrogen in the gun-barrel, and rusted, take just those eight parts from the water in the shape of steam, and are so much the heavier. Burn iron turnings in the air, and they make the same rust, and gain just the same in weight. So the other eight parts must be found in the air for one thing, and in the rusted iron turnings for another, and they must also be in the water; and now the question is, how to get at them?”

“Out of the water? Fish for them, I should say,” suggested Mr. Bagges.

“Why, so we can,” said Harry. “Only instead of hooks and lines, we must use wires—two wires, one from one end, the other from the other, of a galvanic battery. Put the points of these wires into water, a little distance apart, and they instantly take the water to pieces. If they are of copper, or a metal that will rust easily, one of them begins to rust, and air-bubbles come up from the other. These bubbles are hydrogen. The other part of the water mixes with the end of the wire and makes rust. But if the wires are of gold, or a metal that does not rust easily, air-bubbles rise from the ends of both wires. Collect the bubbles from both wires in a tube, and fire them, and they turn to water again; and this water is exactly the same weight as the quantity that has been changed into the two gases. Now, then, uncle, what should you think water was composed of?”

“Eh? well—I suppose of those very identical two gases, young gentleman.”

“Right, uncle. Recollect that the gas from one of the wires was hydrogen, the one-ninth of water. What should you guess the gas from the other wire to be?”

“Stop—eh?—wait a bit—eh—oh!—why, the other eight-ninths, to be sure.”

“Good again, uncle. Now this gas that is eight-ninths of water is the gas called oxygen that I mentioned just now. This is a very curious gas. It won’t burn in air at all itself, like gas from a lamp, but it has a wonderful power of making things burn that are lighted and put into it. If you fill a jar with it—”

“How do you manage that?” Mr. Bagges inquired.

“You fill the jar with water,” answered Harry, “and you stand it upside down in a vessel full of water too. Then you let bubbles of the gas up into the jar, and they turn out the water and take its place. Put a stopper in the neck of the jar, or hold a glass plate against the mouth of it, and you can take it out of the water, and so have bottled oxygen. A lighted candle put into a jar of oxygen blazes up directly and is consumed before you can say ‘Jack Robinson.’ Charcoal burns away in it as fast, with beautiful bright sparks—phosphorus with a light that dazzles you to look at—and a piece of iron or steel just made red-hot at the end first, is burnt in oxygen quicker than a stick would be in common air. The experiment of burning things in oxygen beats any fire-works.”

“Oh, how jolly!” exclaimed Tom.

“Now we see, uncle,” Harry continued, “that water is hydrogen and oxygen united together, that water is got wherever hydrogen is burnt in common air, that a candle won’t burn without air, and that when a candle burns there is hydrogen in it burning, and forming water. Now, then, where does the hydrogen of the candle get the oxygen from, to turn into water with it?”

“From the air, eh?”

“Just so. I can’t stop to tell you of the other things which there is oxygen in, and the many beautiful and amusing ways of getting it. But as there is oxygen in the air, and as oxygen makes things burn at such a rate, perhaps you wonder why air does not make things burn as fast as oxygen. The reason is, that there is something else in the air that mixes with the oxygen and weakens it.”

“Makes a sort of gaseous grog of it, eh?” said Mr. Bagges. “But how is that proved?”

“Why, there is a gas, called nitrous gas, which, if you mix it with oxygen, takes all the oxygen into itself, and the mixture of the nitrous gas and oxygen, if you put water with it, goes into the water. Mix nitrous gas and air together in a jar over water, and the nitrous gas takes away the oxygen, and then the water sucks up the mixed oxygen and nitrous gas, and that part of the air which weakens the oxygen is left behind. Burning phosphorus in confined air will also take all the oxygen from it, and there are other ways of doing the same thing. The portion of air left behind is called nitrogen. You wouldn’t know it from common air by the look; it has no color, taste, nor smell, and it won’t burn. But things won’t burn in it either; and any thing on fire put into it goes out directly. It isn’t fit to breathe; and a mouse, or any animal, shut up in it dies. It isn’t poisonous, though; creatures only die in it for want of oxygen. We breathe it with oxygen, and then it does no harm, but good; for if we breathe pure oxygen, we should breathe away so violently, that we should soon breathe our life out. In the same way, if the air were nothing but oxygen, a candle would not last above a minute.”

“What a tallow-chandler’s bill we should have!” remarked Mrs. Wilkinson.

[Pg 528]

“‘If a house were on fire in oxygen,’ as Professor Faraday said, ‘every iron bar, or rafter, or pillar, every nail and iron tool, and the fire-place itself; all the zinc and copper roofs, and leaden coverings, and gutters, and; pipes, would consume and burn, increasing the combustion.’”

“That would be, indeed, burning ‘like a house on fire,’” observed Mr. Bagges.

“‘Think,’” said Harry, continuing his quotation, “‘of the Houses of Parliament, or a steam-engine manufactory. Think of an iron-proof chest—no proof against oxygen. Think of a locomotive and its train—every engine, every carriage, and even every rail would be set on fire and burnt up.’ So now, uncle, I think you see what the use of nitrogen is, and especially how it prevents a candle from burning out too fast.”

“Eh?” said Mr. Bagges. “Well, I will say I do think we are under considerable obligations to nitrogen.”

“I have explained to you, uncle,” pursued Harry, “how a candle, in burning, turns into water. But it turns into something else besides that; there is a stream of hot air going up from it that won’t condense into dew; some of that is the nitrogen of the air which the candle has taken all the oxygen from. But there is more in it than nitrogen. Hold a long glass tube over a candle, so that the stream of hot air from it may go up through the tube. Hold a jar over the end of the tube to collect some of the stream of hot air. Put some lime-water, which looks quite clear, into the jar; stop the jar, and shake it up. The lime-water, which was quite clear before, turns milky. Then there is something made by the burning of the candle that changes the color of the lime-water. That is a gas, too, and you can collect it, and examine it. It is to be got from several things, and is a part of all chalk, marble, and the shells of eggs or of shell-fish. The easiest way to make it is by pouring muriatic or sulphuric acid on chalk or marble. The marble or chalk begins to hiss or bubble, and you can collect the bubbles in the same way that you can oxygen. The gas made by the candle in burning, and which also is got out of the chalk and marble, is called carbonic acid. It puts out a light in a moment; it kills any animal that breathes it, and it is really poisonous to breathe, because it destroys life even when mixed with a pretty large quantity of common air. The bubbles made by beer when it ferments, are carbonic acid, so is the air that fizzes out of soda-water—and it is good to swallow though it is deadly to breathe. It is got from chalk by burning the chalk as well as by putting acid to it, and burning the carbonic acid out of chalk makes the chalk lime. This is why people are killed sometimes by getting in the way of the wind that blows from lime-kilns.”

“Of which it is advisable carefully to keep to the windward,” Mr. Wilkinson observed.

“The most curious thing about carbonic acid gas,” proceeded Harry, “is its weight. Although it is only a sort of air, it is so heavy that you can pour it from one vessel into another. You may dip a cup of it and pour it down upon a candle, and it will put the candle out, which would astonish an ignorant person; because carbonic acid gas is as invisible as the air, and the candle seems to be put out by nothing. A soap-bubble of common air floats on it like wood on water. Its weight is what makes it collect in brewers’ vats; and also in wells, where it is produced naturally; and owing to its collecting in such places it causes the deaths we so often hear about of those who go down into them without proper care. It is found in many springs of water, more or less; and a great deal of it comes out of the earth in some places. Carbonic acid gas is what stupefies the dogs in the Grotto del Cane. Well, but how is carbonic acid gas made by the candle?”

“I hope with your candle you’ll throw some light upon the subject,” said Uncle Bagges.

“I hope so,” answered Harry. “Recollect it is the burning of the smoke, or soot, or carbon of the candle that makes the candle-flame bright. Also that the candle won’t burn without air. Likewise that it will not burn in nitrogen, or air that has been deprived of oxygen. So the carbon of the candle mingles with oxygen, in burning, to make carbonic acid gas, just as the hydrogen does to form water. Carbonic acid gas, then, is carbon or charcoal dissolved in oxygen. Here is black soot getting invisible and changing into air; and this seems strange, uncle, doesn’t it?”

“Ahem! Strange, if true,” answered Mr. Bagges. “Eh? well! I suppose it’s all right.”

“Quite so, uncle. Burn carbon or charcoal either in the air or in oxygen, and it is sure always to make carbonic acid, and nothing else, if it is dry. No dew or mist gathers in a cold glass jar if you burn dry charcoal in it. The charcoal goes entirely into carbonic acid gas, and leaves nothing behind but ashes, which are only earthy stuff that was in the charcoal, but not part of the charcoal itself. And now, shall I tell you something about carbon?”

“With all my heart,” assented Mr. Bagges.

“I said that there was carbon or charcoal in all common lights—so there is in every common kind of fuel. If you heat coal or wood away from the air, some gas comes away, and leaves behind coke from coal, and charcoal from wood; both carbon, though not pure. Heat carbon as much as you will in a close vessel, and it does not change in the least; but let the air get to it, and then it burns and flies off in carbonic acid gas. This makes carbon so convenient for fuel. But it is ornamental as well as useful, uncle The diamond is nothing else than carbon.”

“The diamond, eh? You mean the black diamond.”

“No; the diamond, really and truly. The diamond is only carbon in the shape of a crystal.”

[Pg 529]

“Eh? and can’t some of your clever chemists crystallize a little bit of carbon, and make a Koh-i-noor?”

“Ah, uncle, perhaps we shall, some day. In the mean time, I suppose, we must be content with making carbon so brilliant as it is in the flame of a candle. Well; now you see that a candle-flame is vapor burning, and the vapor, in burning, turns into water and carbonic acid gas. The oxygen of both the carbonic acid gas and the water comes from the air, and the hydrogen and carbon together are the vapor. They are distilled out of the melted wax by the heat. But, you know, carbon alone can’t be distilled by any heat. It can be distilled, though, when it is joined with hydrogen, as it is in the wax, and then the mixed hydrogen and carbon rise in gas of the same kind as the gas in the streets, and that also is distilled by heat from coal. So a candle is a little gas manufactory in itself, that burns the gas as fast as it makes it.”

“Haven’t you pretty nearly come to your candle’s end?” said Mr. Wilkinson.

“Nearly. I only want to tell uncle, that the burning of a candle is almost exactly like our breathing. Breathing is consuming oxygen, only not so fast as burning. In breathing we throw out water in vapor and carbonic acid from our lungs, and take oxygen in. Oxygen is as necessary to support the life of the body, as it is to keep up the flame of a candle.”

“So,” said Mr. Bagges, “man is a candle, eh? and Shakspeare knew that, I suppose (as he did most things), when he wrote

“‘Out, out, brief candle!’

“Well, well; we old ones are moulds, and you young squires are dips and rushlights, eh? Any more to tell us about the candle?”

“I could tell you a great deal more about oxygen, and hydrogen, and carbon, and water, and breathing, that Professor Faraday said, if I had time; but you should go and hear him yourself, uncle.”

“Eh? well! I think I will. Some of us seniors may learn something from a juvenile lecture, at any rate, if given by a Faraday. And now, my boy, I will tell you what,” added Mr. Bagges, “I am very glad to find you so fond of study and science: and you deserve to be encouraged: and so I’ll give you a what-d’ye-call-it? a Galvanic Battery on your next birth-day; and so much for your teaching your old uncle the chemistry of a candle.”




In the latter years of the last century, two youths, Ferdinand von Hallberg, and Edward von Wensleben were receiving their education in the military academy of Marienvheim. Among their schoolfellows they were called Orestes and Pylades, or Damon and Pythias, on account of their tender friendship, which constantly recalled to their schoolfellows’ minds the history of these ancient worthies. Both were sons of officers, who had long served the state with honor, both were destined for their father’s profession, both accomplished and endowed by nature with no mean talents. But fortune had not been so impartial in the distribution of her favors—Hallberg’s father lived on a small pension, by means of which he defrayed the expenses of his son’s schooling at the cost of the government; while Wensleben’s parents willingly paid the handsomest salary in order to insure to their only child the best education which the establishment afforded. This disparity in circumstances at first produced a species of proud reserve, amounting to coldness, in Ferdinand’s deportment, which yielded by degrees to the cordial affection that Edward manifested toward him on every occasion. Two years older than Edward, of a thoughtful and almost melancholy turn of mind, Ferdinand soon gained a considerable influence over his weaker friend, who clung to him with almost girlish dependence.

Their companionship had now lasted with satisfaction and happiness to both, for several years, and the youths had formed for themselves the most delightful plans—how they were never to separate, how they were to enter the service in the same regiment, and if a war broke out, how they were to fight side by side and conquer, or die together. But destiny, or rather Providence, whose plans are usually opposed to the designs of mortals, had ordained otherwise for the friends than they anticipated.

Earlier than was expected, Hallberg’s father found an opportunity to have his son appointed to an infantry regiment, and he was ordered immediately to join the staff in a small provincial town, in an out-of-the-way mountainous district. This announcement fell like a thunder-bolt on the two friends; but Ferdinand considered himself by far the more unhappy, since it was ordained that he should be the one to sever the happy bond that bound them, and to inflict a deep wound on his loved companion. His schoolfellows vainly endeavored to console him by calling his attention to his new commission, and the preference which had been shown him above so many others. He only thought of the approaching separation; he only saw his friend’s grief, and passed the few remaining days that were allowed him at the academy by Edward’s side, who husbanded every moment of his Ferdinand’s society with jealous care, and could not bear to lose sight of him for an instant. In one of their most melancholy hours, excited by sorrow and youthful enthusiasm, they bound themselves by a mysterious vow, namely, that the one whom God should think fit to call first from this world should bind himself (if conformable to the Divine will) to give some sign of his remembrance and affection to the survivor.

The place where this vow was made was a solitary spot in the garden, by a monument of gray marble, overshadowed by dark firs, which the former director of the institution had caused to be erected to the memory of his son, whose premature death was recorded on the stone.[Pg 530]

Here the friends met at night, and by the fitful light of the moon they pledged themselves to the rash and fanciful contract, and confirmed and consecrated it the next morning, by a religious ceremony. After this they were able to look the approaching separation in the face more manfully, and Edward strove hard to quell the melancholy feeling which had lately arisen in his mind on account of the constant foreboding that Ferdinand expressed of his own early death. “No,” thought Edward, “his pensive turn of mind and his wild imagination cause him to reproach himself without a cause for my sorrow and his own departure. Oh, no, Ferdinand will not die early—he will not die before me. Providence will not leave me alone in the world.”

The lonely Edward strove hard to console himself, for after Ferdinand’s departure, the house, the world itself, seemed a desert; and absorbed by his own memories, he now recalled to mind many a dark speech which had fallen from his absent friend, particularly in the latter days of their intercourse, and which betokened but too plainly a presentiment of early death. But time and youth exercised, even over these sorrows, their irresistible influence. Edward’s spirits gradually recovered their tone; and as the traveler always has the advantage over the one who remains behind, in respect of new objects to occupy his mind, so was Ferdinand even sooner calmed and cheered, and by degrees he became engrossed by his new duties, and new acquaintances, not to the exclusion, indeed, of his friend’s memory, but greatly to the alleviation of his own sorrow. It was natural, in such circumstances, that the young officer should console himself sooner than poor Edward. The country in which Hallberg found himself was wild and mountainous, but possessed all the charms and peculiarities of “far off” districts—simple, hospitable manners, old-fashioned customs, many tales and legends which arise from the credulity of the mountaineers, who invariably lean toward the marvelous, and love to people the wild solitudes with invisible beings.

Ferdinand had soon, without seeking for it, made acquaintance with several respectable families in the town; and, as it generally happens in such cases, he had become quite domesticated in the best country houses in the neighborhood; and the well-mannered, handsome, and agreeable youth was welcomed every where. The simple, patriarchal life in these old mansions and castles—the cordiality of the people, the wild, picturesque scenery, nay, the very legends themselves were entirely to Hallberg’s taste. He adapted himself easily to his new mode of life, but his heart remained tranquil. This could not last. Before half a year had passed, the battalion to which he belonged was ordered to another station, and he had to part with many friends. The first letter which he wrote after this change, bore the impression of impatience at the breaking up of a happy time. Edward found this natural enough; but he was surprised in the following letters to detect signs of a disturbed and desultory state of mind, wholly foreign to his friend’s nature. The riddle was soon solved. Ferdinand’s heart was touched for the first time, and, perhaps, because the impression had been made late, it was all the deeper. Unfavorable circumstances opposed themselves to his hopes: the young lady was of an ancient family, rich, and betrothed since her childhood to a relation, who was expected shortly to arrive in order to claim her promised hand. Notwithstanding this engagement, Ferdinand and the young girl had become sincerely attached to each other, and had both resolved to dare every thing with the hope of being united. They pledged their troth in secret; the darkest mystery enveloped not only their plans, but their affections; and as secrecy was necessary to the advancement of their projects. Ferdinand entreated his friend to forgive him if he did not intrust his whole secret to a sheet of paper that had at least sixty miles to travel, and which must pass through so many hands. It was impossible from his letter to guess the name of the person or the place in question. “You know that I love,” he wrote, “therefore you know that the object of my secret passion is worthy of any sacrifice; for you know your friend too well to believe him capable of any blind infatuation, and this must suffice for the present. No one must suspect what we are to each other; no one here or round the neighborhood must have the slightest clew to our plans. An awful personage will soon make his appearance among us. His violent temper, his inveterate obstinacy (according to all that one hears, of him), are well calculated to confirm in her a well-founded aversion. But family arrangements and legal contracts exist, the fulfillment of which the opposing party are bent on enforcing. The struggle will be hard, perhaps unsuccessful; notwithstanding, I will strain every nerve. Should I fall, you must console yourself, my dear Edward, with the thought, that it will be no misfortune to your friend to be deprived of an existence rendered miserable by the failure of his dearest hopes, and separation from his dearest friend. Then may all the happiness which heaven has denied me be vouchsafed to you and her, so that my spirit may look down contentedly from the realms of light, and bless and protect you both.”

Such was the usual tenor of the letters which Edward received during that period. His heart was full of anxiety—he read danger and distress in the mysterious communications of Ferdinand; and every argument that affection and good sense could suggest aid he make use of, in his replies, to turn his friend from this path of peril which threatened to end in a deep abyss. He tried persuasion, and urged him to desist for the sake of their long-tried affection. But when did passion ever listen to the expostulations of friendship?

Ferdinand only saw one aim in life—the possession of the beloved one. All else faded[Pg 531] from before his eyes, and even his correspondence slackened; for his time, was much taken up in secret excursions, arrangements of all kinds, and communications with all manner of persons; in fact every action of his present life tended to the furtherance of his plan.

All of a sudden his letters ceased. Many posts passed without a sign of life. Edward was a prey to the greatest anxiety; he thought his friend had staked and lost. He imagined an elopement, a clandestine marriage, a duel with a rival, and all these casualties were the more painful to conjecture, since his entire ignorance of the real state of things gave his fancy full range to conjure up all sorts of misfortunes. At length, after many more posts had come in without a line to pacify Edward’s fears, without a word in reply to his earnest entreaties for some news, he determined on taking a step which he had meditated before, and only relinquished out of consideration for his friend’s wishes. He wrote to the officer commanding the regiment, and made inquiries respecting the health and abode of Lieutenant von Hallberg, whose friends in the capital had remained for nearly two months without news of him, he who had hitherto proved a regular and frequent correspondent.

Another fortnight dragged heavily on, and at length the announcement came in an official form. Lieutenant von Hallberg had been invited to the castle of a nobleman whom he was in the custom of visiting, in order to be present at the wedding of a lady; that he was indisposed at the time, that he grew worse, and on the third morning had been found dead in his bed, having expired during the night from an attack of apoplexy.

Edward could not finish the letter, it fell from his trembling hand. To see his worst fears realized so suddenly, overwhelmed him at first. His youth withstood the bodily illness which would have assailed a weaker constitution, and perhaps mitigated the anguish of his grief. He was not dangerously, ill, but they feared many days for his reason; and it required all the kind solicitude of the director of the college, combined with the most skillful medical aid, to stem the torrent of his sorrow, and to turn it gradually into a calmer channel, until by degrees the mourner recovered both health and reason. His youthful spirits, however, had received a blow from which they never rebounded, and one thought lay heavy on his mind which he was unwilling to share with any other person, and which, on that account, grew more and more painful. It was the memory of that holy promise which had been mutually contracted, that the survivor was to receive some token of his friend’s remembrance of him after death. Now two months had already passed since Ferdinand’s earthly career had been arrested, his spirit was free, why no sign? In the moment of death Edward had had no intimation, no message from the passing spirit, and this apparent neglect, so to speak, was another deep wound in Edward’s breast. Do the affections cease with life? Was it contrary to the will of the Almighty that the mourner should taste this consolation? Did individuality lose itself in death and with it memory? Or did one stroke destroy spirit and body? These anxious doubts, which have before now agitated many who reflect on such subjects, exercised their power over Edward’s mind with an intensity that none can imagine save one whose position is in any degree similar.

Time gradually deadened the intensity of his affliction. The violent paroxysms of grief subsided into a deep but calm regret; it was as if a mist had spread itself over every object which presented itself before him, robbing them indeed of half their charms, yet leaving them visible, and in their real relation to himself. During this mental change, the autumn arrived, and with it the long-expected commission. It did not indeed occasion the joy which it might have done in former days, when it would have led to a meeting with Ferdinand, or at all events to a better chance of meeting, but it released him from the thralldom of college, and it opened to him a welcome sphere of activity. Now it so happened that his appointment led him accidentally into the very neighborhood where Ferdinand had formerly resided, only with this difference, that Edward’s squadron was quartered in the lowlands, about a short day’s journey from the town and woodland environs in question.

He proceeded to his quarters, and found an agreeable occupation in the exercise of his new duties.

He had no wish to make acquaintances, yet he did not refuse the invitations that were pressed upon him, lest he should be accused of eccentricity and rudeness; and so he found himself soon entangled in all sorts of engagements with the neighboring gentry and nobility. If these so-called gayeties gave him no particular pleasure, at least for the time they diverted his thoughts; and, with this view, he accepted an invitation (for the new year and carnival were near at hand) to a great shooting-match which was to be held in the mountains—a spot which it was possible to reach in one day with favorable weather and the roads in a good state. The day was appointed, the air tolerably clear; a mild frost had made the roads safe and even, and Edward had every expectation of being able to reach Blumenberg in his sledge before night, as on the following morning the match was to take place. But as soon as he got near the mountains, where the sun retires so early to rest, snow-clouds drove from all quarters, a cutting wind came roaring through the ravines, and a heavy fall of snow began. Twice the driver lost his way, and daylight was gone before he had well recovered it; darkness came on sooner than in other places, walled in as they were by dark mountains, with dark clouds above their heads. It was out of the question to dream of reaching Blumenberg that night; but in this hospitable land, where every house-[Pg 532]holder welcomes the passing traveler, Edward was under no anxiety as to shelter. He only wished, before the night quite set in, to reach some country house or castle; and now that the storm had abated in some degree, that the heavens were a little clearer, and that a few stars peeped out, a large valley opened before them, whose bold outline Edward could distinguish, even in the uncertain light. The well-defined roofs of a neat village were perceptible, and behind these, half-way up the mountain that crowned the plain, Edward thought he could discern a large building which glimmered with more than one light. The road led straight into the village. Edward stopped and inquired.

That building was, indeed, a castle; the village belonged to it, and both were the property of the Baron Friedenberg. “Friedenberg!” repeated Edward: the name sounded familiar to him, yet he could not call to mind when and where he had heard it. He inquired if the family were at home, hired a guide, and arrived at length, by a rugged path which wound itself round steep rocks, to the summit of them, and finally to the castle, which was perched there like an eagle’s nest. The tinkling of the bells on Edward’s sledge attracted the attention of the inmates; the door was opened with prompt hospitality—servants appeared with torches; Edward was assisted to emerge from under the frozen apron of his carriage, out of his heavy pelisse, stiff with hoar frost, and up a comfortable staircase into a long saloon of simple construction, where a genial warmth appeared to welcome him from a spacious stove in the corner. The servants here placed two large burning candles in massive silver sconces, and went out to announce the stranger.

The fitting-up of the room, or rather saloon, was perfectly simple. Family portraits, in heavy frames, hung round the walls, diversified by some maps. Magnificent stags’ horns were arranged between; and the taste of the master of the house was easily detected in the hunting-knives, powder-flasks, carbines, smoking-bags, and sportsmen’s pouches, which were arranged, not without taste, as trophies of the chase. The ceiling was supported by large beams, dingy with smoke and age; and on the sides of the room were long benches, covered and padded with dark cloth, and studded with large brass nails; while round the dinner-table were placed several arm-chairs, also of an ancient date. All bore the aspect of the “good old times,” of a simple patriarchal life with affluence. Edward felt as if there were a kind welcome in the inanimate objects which surrounded him, when the inner door opened, and the master of the house entered, preceded by a servant, and welcomed his guest with courteous cordiality.

Some apologies which Edward offered on account of his intrusion, were silenced in a moment.

“Come, now, lieutenant,” said the baron, “I must introduce you to my family. You are no such a stranger to us, as you fancy.”

With these words he took Edward by the arm, and, lighted by the servant, they passed through several lofty rooms, which were very handsomely furnished, although in an old-fashioned style, with faded Flemish carpets, large chandeliers, and high-backed chairs: everything in keeping with what the youth had already seen in the castle. Here were the ladies of the house. At the other end of the room, by the side of an immense stove, ornamented with a large shield of the family arms, richly emblazoned, and crowned by a gigantic Turk, in a most comfortable attitude of repose sat the lady of the house, an elderly matron of tolerable circumference, in a gown of dark red satin, with a black mantle, and a snow-white lace cap. She appeared to be playing cards with the chaplain, who sat opposite to her at the table, and the Baron Friedenberg to have made the third hand at ombre, till he was called away to welcome his guest. On the other side of the room were two young ladies, an elder person, who might be a governess, and a couple of children, very much engrossed by a game at loto.

As Edward entered, the ladies rose to greet him; a chair was placed for him near the mistress of the house, and very soon a cup of chocolate and a bottle of tokay were served on a rich silver salver, to restore the traveler after the cold and discomfort of his drive; in fact it was easy for him to feel that these “far-away” people were by no means displeased at his arrival. An agreeable conversation soon began among all parties. His travels, the shooting match, the neighborhood, agriculture, all afforded subjects, and in a quarter of an hour Edward felt as if he had long been domesticated with these simple but truly well informed people.

Two hours flew swiftly by, and then a bell sounded for supper; the servants returned with lights, announced that the supper was on the table, and lighted the company into the dining-room—the same into which Edward had first been ushered. Here, in the background, some other characters appeared on the scene—the agent, a couple of subalterns, and the physician. The guests ranged themselves round the table. Edward’s place was between the baron and his wife. The chaplain said a short grace, when the baroness, with an uneasy look, glanced at her husband over Edward’s shoulder, and said, in a low whisper,

“My love, we are thirteen—that will never do.”

The baron smiled, beckoned to the youngest of the clerks, and whispered to him. The youth bowed, and withdrew. The servant took the cover away, and served his supper in the next room.

“My wife,” said Friedenberg, [Pg 533]“is superstitious, as all mountaineers are. She thinks it unlucky to dine thirteen. It certainly has happened twice (whether from chance or not who can tell?) that we have had to mourn the death of an acquaintance who had, a short time before, made the thirteenth at our table.”

“This idea is not confined to the mountains. I know many people in the capital who think with the baroness,” said Edward. “Although in a town such ideas, which belong more especially to the olden time, are more likely to be lost in the whirl and bustle which usually silences every thing that is not essentially matter of fact.”

“Ah, yes, lieutenant,” replied the baroness, smiling good-humoredly, “we keep up old customs better in the mountains. You see that by our furniture. People in the capital would call this sadly old-fashioned.”

“That which is really good and beautiful can never appear out of date,” rejoined Edward, courteously; “and here, if I mistake not, presides a spirit that is ever striving after both. I must confess, baron, that when I first entered your house, it was this very aspect of the olden time that enchanted me beyond measure.”

“That is always the effect which simplicity has on every unspoiled mind,” answered Friedenberg; “but townspeople have seldom a taste for such things.”

“I was partly educated on my father’s estate,” said Edward, “which was situated in the Highlands; and it appeared to me as if, when I entered your house, I were visiting a neighbor of my father’s, for the general aspect is quite the same here as with us.”

“Yes,” said the chaplain, “mountainous districts have all a family likeness: the same necessities, the same struggles with nature, the same seclusion, all produce the same way of life among mountaineers.”

“On that account the prejudice against the number thirteen was especially familiar to me,” replied Edward. “We also dislike it; and we retain a consideration for many supernatural, or at least inexplicable things, which I have met with again in this neighborhood.”

“Yes, here, almost more than any where else,” continued the chaplain. “I think we excel all other mountaineers in the number and variety of our legends and ghost stories. I assure you that there is not a cave, or a church, or, above all, a castle, for miles round about, of which we could not relate something supernatural.”

The baroness, who perceived the turn which the conversation was likely to take, thought it better to send the children to bed; and when they were gone, the priest continued, “Even here, in this castle—”

“Here!” inquired Edward, “in this very castle?”

“Yes, yes, lieutenant!” interposed the baron, “this house has the reputation of being haunted; and the most extraordinary thing is, that the matter can not be denied by the skeptical, or accounted for by the reasonable.”

“And yet,” said Edward, “the castle looks so cheerful, so habitable.”

“Yes, this part which we live in,” answered the baron; “but it consists of only a few apartments sufficient for my family and these gentlemen; the other portion of the building is half in ruins, and dates from the period when men established themselves on the mountains for greater safety.”

“There are some who maintain,” said the physician, “that a part of the walls of the eastern tower itself are of Roman origin; but that would surely be difficult to prove.”

“But, gentlemen,” observed the baroness, “you are losing yourselves in learned descriptions as to the erection of the castle, and our guest is kept in ignorance of what he is anxious to hear.”

“Indeed, madam,” replied the chaplain, “this is not entirely foreign to the subject, since in the most ancient part of the building lies the chamber in question.”

“Where apparitions have been seen?” inquired Edward, eagerly.

“Not exactly,” replied the baroness; “there is nothing fearful to be seen.”

“Come, let us tell him at once,” interrupted the baron. “The fact is, that every guest who sleeps for the first time in this room (and it has fallen to the lot of many, in turn, to do so), is visited by some important, significant dream or vision, or whatever I ought to call it, in which some future event is prefigured to him, or some past mystery cleared up, which he had vainly striven to comprehend before.”

“Then,” interposed Edward, “it must be something like what is known in the Highlands under the name of second sight, a privilege, as some consider it, which several persons and several families enjoy.”

“Just so,” said the physician, “the cases are very similar; yet the most mysterious part of this affair is, that it does not appear to originate with the individual, or his organization, or his sympathy with beings of the invisible world; no, the individual has nothing to say to it—the locality does it all. Every one who sleeps in that room has his mysterious dream, and the result proves its truth.”

“At least in most instances,” continued the baron, “when we have had an opportunity of hearing the cases confirmed. I remember once in particular. You may recollect, lieutenant, that when you first came in I had the honor of telling you, you were not quite a stranger to me.”

“Certainly, baron; and I have been wishing for a long time to ask an explanation of these words.”

“We have often heard your name mentioned by a particular friend of yours—one who could never, pronounce it without emotion.”

“Ah!” cried Edward, who now saw clearly why the baron’s name had sounded familiar to him also; “ah! you speak of my friend Hallberg; truly do you say, we were indeed dear to each other.”

“Were!” echoed the baron, in a faltering[Pg 534] tone, as he observed the sudden change in Edward’s voice and countenance; “can the blooming, vigorous youth be—”

“Dead!” exclaimed Edward; and the baron deeply regretted that he had touched so tender a chord, as he saw the young officer’s eyes fill with tears, and a dark cloud pass over his animated features.

“Forgive me,” he continued, while he leaned forward and pressed his companion’s hand; “I grieve that a thoughtless word should have awakened such deep sorrow. I had no idea of his death; we all loved the handsome young man, and by his description of you were already much interested in you before we had ever seen you.”

The conversation now turned entirely on Hallberg. Edward related the particulars of his death. Every one present had something to say in his praise; and although this sudden allusion to his dearest friend had agitated Edward in no slight degree, yet it was a consolation to him to listen to the tribute these worthy people paid to the memory of Ferdinand, and to see how genuine was their regret at the tidings of his early death. The time passed swiftly away in conversation of much interest, and the whole, company were surprised to hear ten o’clock strike; an unusually late hour for this quiet, regular family. The chaplain read prayers, in which Edward devoutly joined, and then he kissed the matron’s hand, and felt almost as if he were in his father’s house. The baron offered to show his guest to his room, and the servant preceded them with lights. The way led past the staircase, and then on one side into a long gallery, which communicated with another wing of the castle.

The high-vaulted ceilings, the curious carving on the ponderous doorways, the pointed gothic windows, through many broken panes of which a sharp night wind whistled, proved to Edward that he was in the old part of the castle, and that the famous chamber could not be far off.

“Would it be impossible for me to be quartered there,” he began, rather timidly; “I should like it of all things.”

“Really!” inquired the baron, rather surprised; “have not our ghost stories alarmed you?”

“On the contrary,” was the reply, “they have excited the most earnest wish—”

“Then, if that be the case,” said the baron, “we will return. The room was already prepared for you, being the most comfortable and the best in the whole wing; only I fancied, after our conversation—”

“Oh, certainly not,” exclaimed Edward; “I could only long for such dreams.”

During this discourse they had arrived at the door of the famous room. They went in. They found themselves in a lofty and spacious apartment, so large that the two candles which the servant carried, only, shed a glimmering twilight over it, which did not penetrate to the furthest corner. A high-canopied bed, hung with costly but old-fashioned damask, of a dark green, in which were swelling pillows of snowy whiteness, tied with green bows, and a silk coverlet of the same color, looked very inviting to the tired traveler. Sofa and chairs of faded needlework, a carved oak commode and table, a looking-glass in heavy framework, a prie-dieu and crucifix above it, constituted the furniture of the room, where, above all things, cleanliness and comfort preponderated, while a good deal of silver plate was spread out on the toilet-table.

Edward looked round. “A beautiful room!” he said. “Answer me one question, baron, if you please. Did he ever sleep here?”

“Certainly,” replied Friedenberg; “it was his usual room when he was here, and he had a most curious dream in that bed, which, as he assured us, made a great impression on him.”

“And what was it?” inquired Edward, eagerly.

“He never told us, for, as you well know, he was reserved by nature; but we gathered from some words that he let slip, that an early and sudden death was foretold. Alas! your narrative has confirmed the truth of the prediction.”

“Wonderful! He always had a similar foreboding, and many a time has he grieved me by alluding to it,” said Edward; “yet it never made him gloomy or discontented. He went on his way firmly and calmly, and looked forward with joy, I might almost say, to another life.”

“He was a superior man,” answered the baron, “whose memory will ever be dear to us. But now I will detain you no longer. Good-night. Here is the bell,” he showed him the cord in between the curtains; “and your servant sleeps in the next room.”

“Oh, you are too careful of me,” said Edward, smiling; “I am used to sleep by myself.”

“Still,” replied the baron, “every precaution should be taken. Now, once more, good night.”

He shook him by the hand, and, followed by the servant, left the room.

Thus Edward found himself alone in the large, mysterious-looking, haunted room, where his deceased friend had so often reposed—where he also was expected to see a vision. The awe which the place itself inspired, combined with the sad and yet tender recollection of the departed Ferdinand, produced a state of mental excitement which was not favorable to his night’s rest. He had already undressed with the aid of his servant (whom he had then dismissed), and had been in bed some time, having extinguished the candles. No sleep visited his eyelids; and the thought recurred which had so often troubled him, why he had never received the promised token from Ferdinand, whether his friend’s spirit were among the blest—whether his silence (so to speak) proceeded from unwillingness or incapacity to communicate with the living. A mingled train of reflections agitated his mind: his brain grew[Pg 535] heated; his pulse beat faster and faster. The castle clock tolled eleven—half past eleven. He counted the strokes; and at that moment the moon rose above the dark margin of the rocks which surrounded the castle, and shed her full light into Edward’s room. Every object stood out in relief from the darkness. Edward gazed, and thought, and speculated. It seemed to him as if something moved in the furthest corner of the room. The movement was evident—it assumed a form—the form of a man, which appeared to advance, or rather to float forward. Here Edward lost all sense of surrounding objects, and he found himself once more sitting at the foot of the monument, in the garden of the academy, where he had contracted the bond with his friend. As formerly, the moon streamed through the dark branches of the fir-trees, and shed its cold, pale light on the cold, white marble of the monument. Then the floating form which had appeared in the room of the castle became clearer, more substantial, more earthly-looking; it issued from behind the tombstone, and stood in the full moonlight. It was Ferdinand, in the uniform of his regiment, earnest and pale, but with a kind smile on his features.

“Ferdinand, Ferdinand!” cried Edward, overcome by joy and surprise, and he strove to embrace the well-loved form, but it waved him aside with a melancholy look.

“Ah! you are dead,” continued the speaker; “and why then do I see you just as you looked when living?”

“Edward,” answered the apparition, in a voice that sounded as if it came from afar, “I am dead, but my spirit has no peace.”

“You are not with the blest?” cried Edward, in a voice of terror.

“God is merciful,” it replied; “but we are frail and sinful creatures; inquire no more, but pray for me.”

“With all my heart,” cried Edward, in a tone of anguish, while he gazed with affection on the familiar features; “but speak, what can I do for thee?”

“An unholy tie still binds me to earth. I have sinned. I was cut off in the midst of my sinful projects. This ring burns.” He slipped a small gold ring from his left hand. “Only when every token of this unholy compact is destroyed, and when I recover the ring which I exchanged for this, only then can my spirit be at rest. Oh, Edward, dear Edward, bring me back my ring!”

“With joy—but where, where am I to seek it?”

“Emily Varnier will give it thee herself; our engagement was contrary to holy duties, to prior engagements, to earlier vows. God denied his blessing to the guilty project, and my course was arrested in a fearful manner. Pray for me, Edward, and bring back the ring, my ring,” continued the voice, in a mournful tone of appeal.

Then the features of the deceased smiled sadly but tenderly; then all appeared to float once more before Edward’s eyes—the form was lost in mist, the monument, the fir grove, the moonlight, disappeared: a long, gloomy, breathless pause followed. Edward lay, half sleeping, half benumbed, in a confused manner; portions of the dream returned to him—some images, some sounds—above all, the petition for the restitution of the ring. But an indescribable power bound his limbs, closed his eyelids, and silenced his voice; mental consciousness alone was left him, yet his mind was a prey to terror.

At length these painful sensations subsided—his nerves became more braced, his breath came more freely, a pleasing languor crept over his limbs, and he fell into a peaceful sleep. When he awoke it was already broad daylight; his sleep toward the end of the night had been quiet and refreshing. He felt strong and well, but as soon as the recollection of his dream returned, a deep melancholy took possession of him, and he felt the traces of tears which grief had wrung from him on his eyelashes. But what had the vision been? A mere dream engendered by the conversation of the evening, and his affection for Hallberg’s memory, or was it at length the fulfillment of the compact?

There, out of that dark corner, had the form risen up, and moved toward him. But might it not have been some effect of light and shade produced by the moonbeams, and the dark branches of a large tree close to the window, when agitated by the high wind? Perhaps he had seen this, and then fallen asleep, and all combined had woven itself into a dream. But the name of Emily Varnier! Edward did not remember ever to have heard it; certainly it had never been mentioned in Ferdinand’s letters. Could it be the name of his love, of the object of that ardent and unfortunate passion? Could the vision be one of truth? He was meditating, lost in thought, when there was a knock at his door, and the servant entered. Edward rose hastily, and sprang out of bed. As he did so, he heard something fall with a ringing sound; the servant stooped and picked up a gold ring, plain gold, like a wedding-ring. Edward shuddered; he snatched it from the servant’s hand, and the color forsook his cheeks as he read the two words “Emily Varnier” engraved inside the hoop. He stood there like one thunderstruck, as pale as a corpse, with the proof in his hand that he had not merely dreamed, but had actually spoken with the spirit of his friend. A servant of the household came in to ask whether the lieutenant wished to breakfast in his room, or down stairs with the family. Edward would willingly have remained alone with the thoughts that pressed heavily on him, but a secret dread lest his absence should be remarked, and considered as a proof of fear, after all that had passed on the subject of the haunted room, determined him to accept the last proposal. He dressed hastily, and arranged his hair carefully, but the paleness of his face[Pg 536] and the traces of tears in his eyes, were not to be concealed, and he entered the saloon, where the family were already assembled at the breakfast-table, with the chaplain and the doctor.

The baron rose to greet him; one glance at the young officer’s face was sufficient; he pressed his hand in silence, and led him to a place by the side of the baroness. An animated discussion now began concerning the weather, which was completely changed; a strong south wind had risen in the night, so there was now a thaw. The snow was all melted—the torrents were flowing once more, and the roads impassable.

“How can you possibly reach Blumenberg, to-day?” the baron inquired of his guest.

“That will be well nigh impossible,” said the doctor. “I am just come from a patient at the next village, and I was nearly an hour performing the same distance in a carriage that is usually traversed on foot in a quarter of an hour.”

Edward had not given a thought this morning to the shooting-match. Now that it had occurred to him to remember it, he felt little regret at being detained from a scene of noisy festivity which, far from being desirable, appeared to him actually distasteful in his present frame of mind. Yet he was troubled, by the thought of intruding too long on the hospitality of his new friends; and he said, in a hesitating manner,

“Yes! but I must try how far—-”

“That you shall not do,” interrupted the baron. “The road is always bad, and in a thaw it is really dangerous. It would go against my conscience to allow you to risk it. Remain with us; we have no shooting-match or ball to offer you, but—”

“I shall not certainly regret either,” cried Edward, eagerly.

“Well, then, remain with us, lieutenant,” said the matron, lying her hand on his arm, with a kind, maternal gesture. “You are heartily welcome; and the longer you stay with us, the better shall we be pleased.”

The youth bowed, and raised the lady’s hand to his lips, and said,

“If you will allow me—if you feel certain that I am not intruding—I will accept, your kind offer with joy. I never care much for a ball, at any time, and to-day in particular—” he stopped short, and then added, “In such bad weather as this, the small amusement—”

“Would be dearly bought,” interposed the baron. “Come, I am delighted you will remain with us.”

He shook Edward warmly by the hand.

“You know you are with old friends.”

“And, besides,” said the doctor, with disinterested solicitude, “it would be imprudent, for M. de Wensleben does not look very well. Had you a good night, sir?”

“Very good,” replied Edward.

“Without much dreaming?” continued the other, pertinaciously

“Dreaming! oh, nothing wonderful,” answered the officer.

“Hem!” said the doctor, shaking his head, portentously. “No one yet—”

“Were I to relate my dream,” replied Edward, “you would understand it no more than I did. Confused images—”

The baroness, who saw the youth’s unwillingness to enlarge upon the subject, here observed,

“That some of the visions had been of no great importance—those which she had heard related, at least.”

The chaplain led the conversation from dreams themselves, to their origin, on which subject he and the doctor could not agree; and Edward and his visions were left in peace at last. But when every one had departed, each to his daily occupation, Edward followed the baron into his library.

“I answered in that manner,” he said, “to get rid of the doctor and his questioning. To you I will confess the truth. Your room has exercised its mysterious influence over me.”

“Indeed!” said the baron, eagerly.

“I have seen and spoken with my Ferdinand, for the first time since his death. I will trust to your kindness—your sympathy—not to require of me a description of this exciting vision. But I have a question to put to you.”

“Which I will answer in all candor, if it be possible.”

“Do you know the name of Emily Varnier?”

“Varnier!—certainly not.”

“Is there no one in this neighborhood who bears that name?”

“No one; it sounds like a foreign name.”

“In the bed in which I slept I found this ring,” said Edward, while he produced it; and the apparition of my friend pronounced that name.

“Wonderful! As I tell you, I know no one so called—this is the first time I ever heard the name. But it is entirely unaccountable to me, how the ring should have come into that bed. You see, M. von Wensleben, what I told you is true. There is something very peculiar about that room; the moment you entered, I saw that the spell had been working on you also, but I did not wish to forestall or force your confidence.”

“I felt the delicacy, as I do now the kindness, of your intentions. Those who are as sad as I am can alone tell the value of tenderness and sympathy.”

Edward remained this day and the following at the castle, and felt quite at home with its worthy inmates. He slept twice in the haunted room. He went away, and came back often; was always welcomed cordially, and always quartered in the same apartment. But, in spite of all this, he had no clew, he had no means of lifting the vail of mystery which hung round the fate of Ferdinand Hallberg and of Emily Varnier.[Pg 537]


Several weeks passed away. Edward spared no pains to discover some trace of the lady in question, but all in vain. No one in the neighborhood knew the family; and he had already determined, as soon as the spring began, to ask for leave of absence, and to travel through the country where Ferdinand had formed his unfortunate attachment, when a circumstance occurred which coincided strangely with his wishes. His commanding officer gave him a commission to purchase some horses, which, to his great consolation, led him exactly into that part of the country where Ferdinand had been quartered. It was a market-town of some importance. He was to remain there some time, which suited his plans exactly; and he made use of every leisure hour to cultivate the acquaintance of the officers, to inquire into Ferdinand’s connections and acquaintance, to trace the mysterious name if possible, and thus fulfill a sacred duty. For to him it appeared a sacred duty to execute the commission of his departed friend—to get possession of the ring, and to be the means, as he hoped, of giving rest to the troubled spirit of Ferdinand.

Already, on the evening of the second day, he was sitting in the coffee-room with burghers of the place and officers of different regiments. A newly-arrived cornet was inquiring whether the neighborhood were a pleasant one, of an infantry officer, one of Hallberg’s corps. “For,” said he, “I come from charming quarters.”

“There is not much to boast of,” replied the captain. “There is no good fellowship, no harmony among the people.”

“I will tell you why that is,” cried an animated lieutenant; “that is because there is no house as a point of reunion, where one is sure to find and make acquaintances, and to be amused, and where each individual ascertains his own merits by the effect they produce on society at large.”

“Yes, we have had nothing of that kind since the Varniers left us,” said the captain.

“Varniers!” cried Edward, with an eagerness he could ill conceal. “The name sounds foreign.”

“They were not Germans—they were emigrants from the Netherlands, who had left their country on account of political troubles,” replied the captain.

“Ah, that was a charming house,” cried the lieutenant, “cultivation, refinement, a sufficient competency, the whole style of the establishment free from ostentation, yet most comfortable; and Emily—Emily was the soul of the whole house.”

“Emily Varnier!” echoed Edward, while his heart beat fast and loud.

“Yes, yes! that was the name of the prettiest, most graceful, most amiable girl in the world,” said the lieutenant.

“You seem bewitched by the fair Emily,” observed the cornet.

“I think you would have been too, had you known her;” rejoined the lieutenant; “she was the jewel of the whole society. Since she went away there is no bearing their stupid balls and assemblies.”

“But you must not forget,” the captain resumed once more, “when you attribute every thing to the charms of the fair girl, that not only she but the whole family has disappeared, and we have lost that house which formed, as you say, so charming a point of reunion in our neighborhood.”

“Yes, yes; exactly so,” said an old gentleman, a civilian, who had been silent hitherto; “the Varniers’ house is a great loss in the country, where such losses are not so easily replaced as in a large town. First, the father died, then came the cousin and carried the daughter away.”

“And did this cousin marry the young lady?” inquired Edward, in a tone tremulous with agitation.

“Certainly,” answered the old gentleman; “it was a very great match for her; he bought land to the value of half a million about here.”

“And he was an agreeable, handsome man, we must all allow,” remarked the captain.

“But she would never have married him,” exclaimed the lieutenant, “if poor Hallberg had not died.”

Edward was breathless, but he did not speak a word.

“She would have been compelled to do so in any case,” said the old man; “the father had destined them for each other from infancy, and people say he made his daughter take a vow as he lay on his death-bed.”

“That sounds terrible,” said Edward; “and does not speak much for the good feeling of the cousin.”

“She could not have fulfilled her father’s wish,” interposed the lieutenant; “her heart was bound up in Hallberg, and Hallberg’s in her. Few people, perhaps, knew this, for the lovers were prudent and discreet; I, however, knew it all.”

“And why was she not allowed to follow the inclination of her heart?” asked Edward.

“Because her father had promised her,” replied the captain: “you used just now the word terrible; it is a fitting expression, according to my version of the matter. It appears that one of the branches of the house of Varnier had committed an act of injustice toward another, and Emily’s father considered it a point of conscience to make reparation. Only through the marriage of his daughter with a member of the ill-used branch could that act be obliterated and made up for, and, therefore, he pressed the matter sorely.”

“Yes, and the headlong passion which Emily inspired her cousin with abetted his designs.”

“Then her cousin loved Emily?” inquired Edward.

“Oh, to desperation,” was the reply; [Pg 538]“He was a rival to her shadow, who followed her not more closely than he did. He was jealous of the rose that she placed on her bosom.”

“Then poor Emily is not likely to have a calm life with such a man,” said Edward.

“Come,” interposed the old gentleman, with an authoritative tone, “I think you, gentlemen, go a little too far. I know D’Effernay; he is an honest, talented man, very rich, indeed, and generous; he anticipates his wife in every wish. She has the most brilliant house in the neighborhood, and lives like a princess.”

“And trembles,” insisted the lieutenant, “when she hears her husband’s footstep. What good can riches be to her? She would have been happier with Hallberg.”

“I do not know,” rejoined the captain, “why you always looked upon that attachment as something so decided. It never appeared so to me; and you yourself say that D’Effernay is very jealous, which I believe him to be, for he is a man of strong passions; and this very circumstance causes me to doubt the rest of your story. Jealousy has sharp eyes, and D’Effernay would have discovered a rival in Hallberg, and not proved himself the friend he always was to our poor comrade.”

“That does not follow at all,” rejoined the lieutenant, “it only proves that the lovers were very cautious. So far, however, I agree with you. I believe that if D’Effernay had suspected any thing of the kind he would have murdered Hallberg.”

A shudder passed through Edward’s veins.

“Murdered!” he repeated in a hollow voice; “do you not judge too harshly of this man when you hint the possibility of such a thing?”

“That does he, indeed,” said the old man; “these gentlemen are all angry with D’Effernay, because he has carried off the prettiest girl in the country. But I am told he does not intend remaining where he now lives. He wishes to sell his estates.”

“Really,” inquired the captain, “and where is he going?”

“I have no idea,” replied the other; “but he is selling every thing off. One manor is already disposed of, and there have been people already in negotiation for the place where he resides.”

The conversation now turned on the value of D’Effernay’s property, and of land in general, &c.

Edward had gained materials enough for reflection; he rose soon, took leave of the company, and gave himself up, in the solitude of his own room, to the torrent of thought and feeling which that night’s conversation had let loose. So, then, it was true; Emily Varnier was no fabulous being! Hallberg had loved her, his love had been returned, but a cruel destiny had separated them. How wonderfully did all he had heard explain the dream at the Castle, and how completely did that supply what had remained doubtful, or had been omitted in the officer’s narrative. Emily Varnier, doubtless, possessed that ring, to gain possession of which now seemed his bounden duty. He resolved not to delay its fulfillment a moment, however difficult it might prove, and he only reflected on the best manner in which he should perform the task allotted to him. The sale of the property appeared to him a favorable opening. The fame of his father’s wealth made it probable that the son might wish to be a purchaser of a fine estate, like the one in question. He spoke openly of such a project, made inquiries of the old gentleman, and the captain, who seemed to him to know most about the matter; and as his duties permitted a trip for a week or so, he started immediately, and arrived on the second day at the place of his destination. He stopped in the public house in the village to inquire if the estate lay near, and whether visitors were allowed to see the house and grounds. Mine host, who doubtless had had his directions, sent a messenger immediately to the Castle, who returned before long, accompanied by a chasseur, in a splendid livery, who invited the stranger to the Castle in the name of M. D’Effernay.

This was exactly what Edward wished, and expected. Escorted by the chasseur he soon arrived at the Castle, and was shown up a spacious staircase into a modern, almost, one might say, a magnificently-furnished room, where the master of the house received him. It was evening, toward the end of winter, the shades of twilight had already fallen, and Edward found himself suddenly in a room quite illuminated with wax candles. D’Effernay stood in the middle of the saloon, a tall, thin young man. A proud bearing seemed to bespeak a consciousness of his own merit, or at least of his position. His features were finely formed, but the traces of stormy passion, or of internal discontent, had lined them prematurely.

In figure he was very slender, and the deep sunken eye, the gloomy frown which was fixed between his brows, and the thin lips, had no very prepossessing expression, and yet there was something imposing in the whole appearance of the man.

Edward thanked him civilly for his invitation, spoke of his idea of being a purchaser as a motive for his visit, and gave his own, and his father’s name. D’Effernay seemed pleased with all he said. He had known Edward’s family in the metropolis; he regretted that the late hour would render it impossible for them to visit the property to-day, and concluded by pressing the lieutenant to pass the night at the Castle. On the morrow they would proceed to business, and now he would have the pleasure of presenting his wife to the visitor. Edward’s heart beat violently—at length then he would see her! Had he loved her himself he could not have gone to meet her with more agitation. D’Effernay led his guest through many rooms, which were all as well furnished, and as brilliantly lighted, as the first he had entered. At length he opened the door of a small boudoir, where there was no light, save that which the faint, gray twilight imparted through the windows.[Pg 539]

The simple arrangement of this little room, with dark green walls, only relieved by some engravings and coats of arms, formed a pleasing contrast to Edward’s eyes, after the glaring splendor of the other apartments. From behind a piano-forte, at which she had been seated in a recess, rose a tall, slender female form, in a white dress of extreme simplicity.

“My love,” said D’Effernay, “I bring you a welcome guest, Lieutenant Wensleben, who is willing to purchase the estate.”

Emily courtesied; the friendly twilight concealed the shudder that passed over her whole frame, as she heard the familiar name which aroused so many recollections.

She bade the stranger welcome, in a low, sweet voice, whose tremulous accents were not unobserved by Edward; and while the husband made some further observation, he had leisure to remark, as well as the fading light would allow, the fair outline of her oval face, the modest grace of her movements, her pretty nymph-like figure—in fact, all those charms which seemed familiar to him through the impassioned descriptions of his friend.

“But what can this fancy be, to sit in the dark?” asked D’Effernay, in no mild tone; “you know that is a thing I can not bear:” and with these words, and without waiting his wife’s answer, he rang the bell over her sofa, and ordered lights.

While these were placed on the table, the company sat down by the fire, and conversation commenced. By the full light Edward could perceive all Emily’s real beauty—her pale, but lovely face, the sad expression of her large blue eyes, so often concealed by their dark lashes, and then raised, with a look full of feeling, a sad, pensive, intellectual expression; and he admired the simplicity of her dress, and of every object that surrounded her: all appeared to him to bespeak a superior mind.

They had not sat long, before D’Effernay was called away. One of his people had something important, something urgent to communicate to him, which admitted of no delay. A look of fierce anger almost distorted his features; in an instant his thin lips moved rapidly, and Edward thought he muttered some curses between his teeth. He left the room, but in so doing, he cast a glance of mistrust and ill-temper on the handsome stranger with whom he was compelled to leave his wife alone. Edward observed it all. All that he had seen to-day—all that he had heard from his comrades of the man’s passionate and suspicious disposition, convinced him that his stay here would not be long, and that, perhaps, a second opportunity of speaking alone with Emily might not offer itself.

He determined, therefore, to profit by the present moment: and no sooner had D’Effernay left the room, than he began to tell Emily she was not so complete a stranger to him as it might seem; that long before he had had the pleasure of seeing her—even before he had heard her name—she was known to him, so to speak, in spirit.

Madame D’Effernay was moved. She was silent for a time, and gazed fixedly on the ground; then she looked up; the mist of unshed tears dimmed her blue eyes, and her bosom heaved with the sigh she could not suppress.

“To me also the name of Wensleben is familiar. There is a link between our souls. Your friend has often spoken of you to me.”

But she could say no more; tears checked her speech.

Edward’s eyes were glistening also, and the two companions were silent; at length he began once more:

“My dear lady,” he said, “my time is short, and I have a solemn message to deliver to you. Will you allow me to do so now?”

“To me?” she asked, in a tone of astonishment.

“From my departed friend,” answered Edward, emphatically.

“From Ferdinand? and that now—after—” she shrunk back, as if in terror.

“Now that he is no longer with us, do you mean? I found the message in his papers, which have been intrusted to me only lately, since I have been in the neighborhood. Among them was a token which I was to restore to you.” He produced the ring. Emily seized it wildly, and trembled as she looked upon it.

“It is indeed my ring,” she said at length, “the same which I gave him when we plighted our troth in secret. You are acquainted with every thing, I perceive; I shall therefore risk nothing if I speak openly.” She wept, and pressed the ring to her lips.

“I see that my friend’s memory is dear to you,” continued Edward. “You will forgive the prayer I am about to make to you; my visit to you concerns his ring.”

“How—what is it you wish?” cried Emily, terrified.

“It was his wish,” replied Edward. “He evinced an earnest desire to have this pledge of an unfortunate and unfulfilled engagement restored.”

“How is that possible? You did not speak with him before his death; and this happened so suddenly after, that, to give you the commission—”

“There was no time for it! that is true,” answered Edward, with an inward, shudder, although outwardly he was calm. “Perhaps this wish was awakened immediately before his death. I found it, as I told you, expressed in those papers.”

“Incomprehensible!” she exclaimed. “Only a short time before his death, we cherished—deceitful, indeed, they proved, but, oh, what blessed hopes!—we reckoned on casualties, on what might possibly occur to assist us. Neither of us could endure to dwell on the idea of separation; and yet—yet since—Oh, my God!” she cried, overcome by sorrow, and she hid her face between her hands.[Pg 540] Edward was lost in confused thought. For a time both again were silent; at length Emily started up—

“Forgive me, M. de Wensleben. What you have related to me, what you have asked of me, has produced so much excitement, so much agitation, that it is necessary that I should be alone for a few moments, to recover my composure.”

“I am gone,” cried Edward, springing from his chair.

“No! no!” she replied, “you are my guest; remain here. I have a household duty which calls me away.” She laid a stress on these words.

She leant forward, and with a sad, sweet smile, she gave her hand to the friend of her lost Ferdinand, pressing his gently, and disappeared through the inner door.

Edward stood stunned, bewildered; then he paced the room with hasty steps, threw himself on the sofa, and took up one of the books that lay on the table, rather to have something in his hand, than to read. It proved to be Young’s “Night Thoughts.” He looked through it, and was attracted by many passages, which seemed, in his present frame of mind, fraught with peculiar meaning; yet his thoughts wandered constantly from the page to his dead friend. The candles, unheeded both by Emily and him, burned on with long wicks, giving little light in the silent room, over which the red glare from the hearth shed a lurid glow. Hurried footsteps sounded in the ante-room; the door was thrown open. Edward looked up, and saw D’Effernay staring at him, and round the room, in an angry, restless manner.

Edward could not but think there was something almost unearthly in those dark looks and that towering form.

“Where is my wife?” was D’Effernay’s first question.

“She is gone to fulfill some household duty,” replied the other.

“And leaves you here alone in this miserable darkness? Most extraordinary!—indeed, most unaccountable!” and, as he spoke, he approached the table and snuffed the candles, with a movement of impatience.

“She left me here with old friends,” said Edward, with a forced smile. “I have been reading.”

“What, in the dark?” inquired D’Effernay, with a look of distrust. “It was so dark when I came in, that you could not possibly have distinguished a letter.”

“I read for some time, and then I fell into a train of thought, which is usually the result of reading Young’s “Night Thoughts.””

“Young! I can not bear that author. He is so gloomy.”

“But you are fortunately so happy, that the lamentations of the lonely mourner can find no echo in your breast.”

“You think so!” said D’Effernay, in a churlish tone, and he pressed his lips together tightly, as Emily came into the room: he went to meet her.

“You have been a long time away,” was his observation, as he looked into her eyes, where the trace of tears might easily be detected. “I found our guest alone.”

“M. de Wensleben was good enough to excuse me,” she replied, “and then I thought you would be back immediately.”

They sat down to the table; coffee was brought, and the past appeared to be forgotten.

The conversation at first was broken by constant pauses. Edward saw that Emily did all she could to play the hostess agreeably, and to pacify her husband’s ill humor.

In this attempt the young man assisted her, and at last they were successful. D’Effernay became more cheerful; the conversation more animated; and Edward found that his host could be a very agreeable member of society when he pleased, combining a good deal of information with great natural powers. The evening passed away more pleasantly than it promised at one time; and after an excellent and well-served supper, the young officer was shown into a comfortable room, fitted up with every modern luxury; and weary in mind and body, he soon fell asleep. He dreamed of all that had occupied his waking thoughts—of his friend, and his friend’s history.

But in that species of confusion which often characterizes dreams, he fancied that he was Ferdinand, or at least, his own individuality seemed mixed up with that of Hallberg. He felt that he was ill. He lay in an unknown room, and by his bedside stood a small table, covered with glasses and phials, containing medicine, as is usual in a sick room.

The door opened, and D’Effernay came in, in his dressing-gown, as if he had just left his bed: and now in Edward’s mind dreams and realities were mingled together, and he thought that D’Effernay came, perhaps, to speak with him on the occurrences of the preceding day. But no! he approached the table on which the medicines stood, looked at the watch, took up one of the phials and a cup, measured the draught, drop by drop, then he turned and looked round him stealthily, and then he drew from his breast a pale blue, coiling serpent, which he threw into the cup, and held it to the patient’s lips, who drank, and instantly felt, a numbness creep over his frame which ended in death. Edward fancied that he was dead; he saw the coffin brought, but the terror lest he should be buried alive, made him start up with a sudden effort, and he opened his eyes.

The dream had passed away; he sat in his bed safe and well; but it was long ere he could in any degree recover his composure, or get rid of the impression which the frightful apparition had made on him. They brought his breakfast, with a message from the master of the house to inquire whether he would like to visit the park, farms, &c. He dressed quickly, and descended to the court, where he found his[Pg 541] host in a riding-dress, by the side of two fine horses, already saddled. D’Effernay greeted the young man courteously; but Edward felt an inward repugnance as he looked on that gloomy though handsome countenance, now lighted up by the beams of the morning sun, yet recalling vividly the dark visions of the night. D’Effernay was full of attentions to his new friend. They started on their ride, in spite of some threatening clouds, and began the inspection of meadows, shrubberies, farms, &c., &c. After a couple of hours, which were consumed in this manner, it began to rain a few drops, and at last burst out into a heavy shower. It was soon impossible even to ride through the woods for the torrents that were pouring down, and so they returned to the castle.

Edward retired to his room to change his dress, and to write some letters, he said, but more particularly to avoid Emily, in order not to excite her husband’s jealousy. As the bell rang for dinner he saw her again, and found to his surprise that the captain, whom he had first seen in the coffee-room, and who had given him so much information, was one of the party. He was much pleased, for they had taken a mutual fancy to each other. The captain was not at quarters the day Edward had left them, but as soon as he heard where his friend had gone, he put horses to his carriage and followed him, for he said he also should like to see these famous estates. D’Effernay seemed in high good humor to-day, Emily far more silent than yesterday, and taking little part in the conversation of the men, which turned on political economy. After coffee she found an opportunity to give Edward (unobserved) a little packet. The look with which she did so, told plainly what it contained, and the young man hurried to his room as soon as he fancied he could do so without remark or comment. The continued rain precluded all idea of leaving the house any more that day. He unfolded the packet; there were a couple of sheets, written closely in a woman’s fair hand, and something wrapped carefully in a paper, which he knew to be the ring. It was the fellow to that which he had given the day before to Emily, only Ferdinand’s name was engraved inside instead of hers. Such were the contents of the papers:

[Pg 542]

“Secrecy would be misplaced with the friend of the dead. Therefore will I speak to you of things which I have never uttered to a human being until now. Jules D’Effernay is nearly related to me. We knew each other in the Netherlands, where our estates joined. The boy loved me already with a love that amounted to passion; this love was my father’s greatest joy, for there was an old and crying injustice which the ancestors of D’Effernay had suffered from ours, that could alone, he thought, be made up by the marriage of the only children of the two branches. So we were destined for each other almost from our cradles; and I was content it should be so, for Jules’s handsome face and decided preference for me were agreeable to me, although I felt no great affection for him. We were separated: Jules traveled in France, England, and America, and made money as a merchant, which profession he had taken up suddenly. My father, who had a place under government, left his country in consequence of political troubles, and came into this part of the world, where some distant relations of my mother’s lived. He liked the neighborhood; he bought land; we lived very happily; I was quite contented in Jules’s absence; I had no yearning of the heart toward him, yet I thought kindly of him, and troubled myself little about my future. Then—then I learned to know your friend. Oh, then! I felt, when I looked upon him, when I listened to him, when we conversed together, I felt, I acknowledged, that there might be happiness on earth of which I had hitherto never dreamed. Then I loved for the first time, ardently, passionately, and was beloved in return. Acquainted with the family engagements; he did not dare openly to proclaim his love, and I knew I ought not to foster the feeling; but, alas! how seldom does passion listen to the voice of reason and of duty. Your friend and I met in secret; in secret we plighted our troth, and exchanged those rings, and hoped and believed that by showing a bold front to our destiny we should subdue it to our will. The commencement was sinful, it has met with a dire retribution. Jules’s letters announced his speedy return. He had sold every thing in his own country, had given up all his mercantile affairs, through which he had greatly increased an already considerable fortune, and now he was about to join us, or rather me, without whom he could not live. This appeared to me like the demand for payment of a heavy debt. This debt I owed to Jules, who loved me with all his heart, who was in possession of my father’s promised word and mine also. Yet I could not give up your friend. In a state of distraction I told him all; we meditated flight. Yes, I was so far guilty, and I make the confession in hopes that some portion of my errors may be expiated by repentance. My father, who had long been in a declining state, suddenly grew worse, and this delayed and hindered the fulfillment of our designs. Jules arrived. During the five years he had been away he was much changed in appearance, and that advantageously. I was struck when I first saw him, but it was also easy to detect in those handsome features and manly bearing, a spirit of restlessness and violence which had already shown itself in him as a boy, and which passing years, with their bitter experience and strong passions, had greatly developed. The hope that we had cherished of D’Effernay’s possible indifference to me, of the change which time might have wrought in his attachment, now seemed idle and absurd. His love was indeed impassioned. He embraced me in a manner that made me shrink from him, and altogether his deportment toward me was a strange contrast to the gentle, tender, refined affection of our dear friend. I trembled whenever Jules entered the room, and all that I had prepared to say to him, all the plans which I had revolved in my mind respecting him, vanished in an instant before the power of his presence, and the almost imperative manner in which he claimed my hand. My father’s illness increased; he was now in a very precarious state, hopeless indeed. Jules rivaled me in filial attentions to him, that I can never cease to thank him for; but this illness made my situation more and more critical, and it accelerated the fulfillment of the contract. I was to renew my promise to him by the death-bed of my father. Alas, alas! I fell senseless to the ground when this announcement was made to me. Jules began to suspect. Already my cold, embarrassed manner toward him since his return had struck him as strange. He began to suspect, I repeat, and the effect that this suspicion had on him, it would be impossible to describe to you. Even now, after so long a time, now that I am accustomed to his ways, and more reconciled to my fate by the side of a noble, though somewhat impetuous man, it makes me tremble to think of those paroxysms, which the idea that I did not love him called forth. They were fearful; he nearly sank under them. During two days his life was in danger. At last the storm passed, my father died; Jules watched over me with the tenderness of a brother, the solicitude of a parent; for that indeed I shall ever be grateful. His suspicion once awakened, he gazed round with penetrating looks to discover the cause of my altered feelings. But your friend never came to our house; we met in an unfrequented spot, and my father’s illness had interrupted these interviews. Altogether I can not tell if Jules discovered any thing. A fearful circumstance rendered all our precautions useless, and cut the knot of our secret connection, to loose which voluntarily I felt I had no power. A wedding-feast, at a neighboring castle, assembled all the nobility and gentry, and officers quartered near, together; my deep mourning was an excuse for my absence. Jules, though he usually was happiest by my side, could not resist the invitation, and your friend resolved to go, although he was unwell; he feared to raise suspicion by remaining away, when I was left at home. With great difficulty he contrived the first day to make one at a splendid hunt, the second day he could not leave his bed. A physician, who was in the house, pronounced his complaint to be violent fever, and Jules, whose room joined that of the sick man, offered him every little service and kindness which compassion and good feeling prompted; and I can not but praise him all the more for it, as who can tell, perhaps, his suspicion might have taken the right direction? On the morning of the second day—but let me glance quickly at the terrible time, the memory of which can never pass from my mind—a fit of apoplexy most unexpectedly, but gently, ended the noblest life, and separated us forever! Now you know all. I inclose the ring. I can not write more. Farewell!”

The conclusion of the letter made a deep impression on Edward. His dream rose up before his remembrance, the slight indisposition, the sudden death, the fearful nurse-tender, all arranged themselves in order before his mind, and an awful whole rose out of all these reflections, a terrible suspicion which he tried to throw off. But he could not do so, and when he met the captain and D’Effernay in the evening, and the latter challenged his visitors to a game of billiards, Edward glanced from time to time at his host in a scrutinizing manner, and could not but feel that the restless discontent which was visible in his countenance, and the unsteady glare of his eyes, which shunned the fixed look of others, only fitted too well into the shape of the dark thoughts which were crossing his own mind. Late in the evening, after supper, they played whist in Emily’s boudoir. On the morrow, if the weather permitted, they were to conclude their inspection of the surrounding property, and the next day they were to visit the iron foundries, which, although distant from the castle several miles, formed a very important item in the rent-roll of the estates. The company separated for the night. Edward fell asleep; and the same dream, with the same circumstances, recurred, only with the full consciousness that the sick man was Ferdinand. Edward felt overpowered, a species of horror took possession of his mind, as he found himself now in regular Communication with the beings of the invisible world.

The weather favored D’Effernay’s projects. The whole day was passed in the open air. Emily only appeared at meals, and in the evening when they played at cards. Both she and Edward avoided, as if by mutual consent, every word, every look that could awaken the slightest suspicion, or jealous feeling in D’Effernay’s mind. She thanked him in her heart for this forbearance, but her thoughts were in another world; she took little heed of what passed around her. Her husband was in an excelled temper; he played the part of host to perfection and when the two officers were established comfortably by the fire, in the captain’s room, smoking together, they could not but do justice to his courteous manners.

“He appears to be a man of general information,” remarked Edward.

“He has traveled a great deal, and read a great deal, as I told you when we first met; he is a remarkable man, but one of uncontrolled passions, and desperately jealous.”

“Yet he appears very attentive to his wife.”

“Undoubtedly he is wildly in love with her; yet he makes her unhappy, and himself too.”

“He certainly does not appear happy, there is so much restlessness.”

[Pg 543]

“He can never bear to remain in one place for any length of time together. He is now going to sell the property he only bought last year. There is an instability about him; every thing palls on him.”

“That is the complaint of many who are rich and well to do in the world.”

“Yes; only not in the same degree. I assure you it has often struck me that man must have a bad conscience.”

“What an idea!” rejoined Edward, with a forced laugh, for the captain’s remark struck him forcibly. “He seems a man of honor.”

“Oh, one may be a man of honor, as it is called, and yet have something quite bad enough to reproach yourself with. But I know nothing about it, and would not breathe such a thing except to you. His wife, too, looks so pale and so oppressed.”

“But, perhaps, that is her natural complexion and expression.”

“Oh, no! no! the year before D’Effernay came from Paris, she was as fresh as a rose. Many people declare that your poor friend loved her. The affair was wrapped in mystery, and I never believed the report, for Hallberg was a steady man, and the whole country knew that Emily had been engaged a long time.”

“Hallberg never mentioned the name in his letters,” answered Edward, with less candor than usual.

“I thought not. Besides D’Effernay was very much attached to him, and mourned his death.”


“I assure you the morning that Hallberg was found dead in his bed so unexpectedly, D’Effernay was like one beside himself.”

“Very extraordinary. But as we are on the subject, tell me, I pray you, all the circumstances of my poor Ferdinand’s illness, and awfully sudden death.”

“I can tell you all about it, as well as any one, for I was one of the guests at that melancholy wedding. Your friend, and I, and many others were invited. Hallberg had some idea of not going; he was unwell, with violent headache and giddiness. But we persuaded him, and he consented to go with us. The first day he felt tolerably well. We hunted in the open field; we were all on horseback, the day hot. Hallberg felt worse. The second day he had a great deal of fever; he could not stay up. The physician (for fortunately there was one in the company) ordered rest, cooling medicine, neither of which seemed to do him good. The rest of the men dispersed, to amuse themselves in various ways. Only D’Effernay remained at home; he was never very fond of large societies, and we voted that he was discontented and out of humor because his betrothed bride was not with him. His room was next to the sick man’s, to whom he gave all possible care and attention, for poor Hallberg, besides being ill, was in despair at giving so much trouble in a strange house. D’Effernay tried to calm him on this point; he nursed him, amused him with conversation, mixed his medicines, and, in fact, showed more kindness and tenderness, than any of us would have given him credit for. Before I went to bed I visited Hallberg, and found him much better, and more cheerful; the doctor had promised that he should leave his bed next day. So I left him and retired with the rest of the world, rather late, and very tired, to rest. The next morning I was awoke by the fatal tidings. I did not wait to dress, I ran to his room, it was full of people.”

“And how, how was the death first discovered?” inquired Edward, in breathless eagerness.

“The servant, who came in to attend on him, thought he was asleep, for he lay in his usual position, his head upon his hand. He went away and waited for some time; but hours passed, and he thought he ought to wake his master to give him his medicine. Then the awful discovery was made. He must have died peacefully, for his countenance was so calm, his limbs undisturbed. A fit of apoplexy had terminated his life, but in the most tranquil manner.”

“Incomprehensible,” said Edward, with a deep sigh. “Did they take no measures to restore animation?”

“Certainly; all that could be done was done, bleeding, fomentation, friction; the physician superintended, but there was no hope, it was all too late. He must have been dead some hours, for he was already cold and stiff. If there had been a spark of life in him he would have been saved. It was all over; I had lost my good lieutenant, and the regiment one of its finest officers.”

He was silent, and appeared lost in thought. Edward, for his part, felt overwhelmed by terrible suspicions and sad memories. After a long pause he recovered himself: “and where was D’Effernay?” he inquired.

“D’Effernay,” answered the captain, rather surprised at the question; “oh! he was not in the castle when we made the dreadful discovery: he had gone out for an early walk, and when he came back late, not before noon, he learned the truth, and was like one out of his senses. It seemed so awful to him, because he had been so much, the very day before, with poor Hallberg.”

“Ay,” answered Edward, whose suspicions were being more and more confirmed every moment. “And did he see the corpse? did he go into the chamber of death?”

“No,” replied the captain; “he assured us it was out of his power to do so; he could not bear the sight; and I believe it. People with such uncontrolled feelings as this D’Effernay, are incapable of performing those duties which others think it necessary and incumbent on them to fulfill.”

“And where was Hallberg buried?”

“Not far from the Castle where the mournful event took place. To-morrow, if we go to the iron foundry, we shall be near the spot.”

“I am glad of it,” cried Edward, eagerly, while a host of projects rose up in his mind. [Pg 544]“But now, captain, I will not trespass any longer on your kindness. It is late, and we must be up betimes to-morrow. How far have we to go?”

“Not less than four leagues, certainly. D’Effernay has arranged that we shall drive there, and see it all at our leisure: then we shall return in the evening. Good night, Wensleben.”

They separated: Edward hurried to his room; his heart overflowed. Sorrow on the one hand, horror and even hatred on the other, agitated him by turns. It was long before he could sleep. For the third time the vision haunted him; but now it was clearer than before; now he saw plainly the features of him who lay in bed, and of him who stood beside the bed—they were those of Hallberg and of D’Effernay.

This third apparition, the exact counterpart of the two former (only more vivid), all that he had gathered from conversations on the subject, and the contents of Emily’s letter, left scarcely the shadow of a doubt remaining as to how his friend had left the world.

D’Effernay’s jealous and passionate nature seemed to allow of the possibility of such a crime, and it could scarcely be wondered at, if Edward regarded him with a feeling akin to hatred. Indeed the desire of visiting Hallberg’s grave, in order to place the ring in the coffin, could alone reconcile Wensleben to the idea of remaining any longer beneath the roof of a man whom he now considered the murderer of his friend. His mind was a prey to conflicting doubts: detestation for the culprit, and grief for the victim, pointed out one line of conduct, while the difficulty of proving D’Effernay’s guilt, and still more, pity and consideration for Emily, determined him at length to let the matter rest, and to leave the murderer, if such he really were, to the retribution which his own conscience and the justice of God would award him. He would seek his friend’s grave, and then he would separate from D’Effernay, and never see him more. In the midst of these reflections the servant came to tell him, that the carriage was ready. A shudder passed over his frame as D’Effernay greeted him; but he commanded himself, and they started on their expedition.

Edward spoke but little, and that only when it was necessary, and the conversation was kept up by his two companions; he had made every inquiry, before he set out, respecting the place of his friend’s interment, the exact situation of the tomb, the name of the village, and its distance from the main road. On their way home, he requested that D’Effernay would give orders to the coachman to make a round of a mile or two, as far as the village of ——, with whose rector he was particularly desirous to speak. A momentary cloud gathered on D’Effernay’s brow, yet it seemed no more than his usual expression of vexation at any delay or hinderance; and he was so anxious to propitiate his rich visitor, who appeared likely to take the estate off his hands, that he complied with all possible courtesy. The coachman was directed to turn down a by-road, and a very bad one it was. The captain stood up in the carriage and pointed out the village to him, at some distance off; it lay in a deep ravine at the foot of the mountains.

They arrived in the course of time, and inquired for the clergyman’s house, which, as well as the church, was situated on rising ground. The three companions alighted from the carriage, which they left at the bottom of the hill, and walked up together in the direction of the rectory. Edward knocked at the door and was admitted, while the two others sat on a bench outside. He had promised to return speedily, but to D’Effernay’s restless spirit, one quarter of an hour appeared interminable.

He turned to the captain and said, in a tone of impatience, “M. de Wensleben must have a great deal of business with the rector: we have been here an immense time, and he does not seem inclined to make his appearance.”

“Oh, I dare say he will come soon. The matter can not detain him long.”

“What on earth can he have to do here?”

“Perhaps you would call it a mere fancy—the enthusiasm of youth.”

“It has a name, I suppose?”

“Certainly, but—”

“Is it sufficiently important, think you, to make us run the risk of being benighted on such roads as these?”

“Why, it is quite early in the day.”

“But we have more than two leagues to go. Why will you not speak? there can not be any great mystery.”

“Well, perhaps not a mystery exactly, but just one of those subjects on which we are usually reserved with others.”

“So! so!” rejoined D’Effernay, with a little sneer. “Some love affair; some girl or another who pursues him, that he wants to get rid of.”

“Nothing of the kind, I can assure you,” replied the captain, drily. “It could scarcely be more innocent. He wishes, in fact, to visit his friend’s grave.”

The listener’s expression was one of scorn and anger. “It is worth the trouble, certainly,” he exclaimed, with a mocking laugh. “A charming sentimental pilgrimage, truly; and pray who is this beloved friend, over whose resting-place he must shed a tear, and plant a forget-me-not? He told me he had never been in the neighborhood before.”

“No more he had; neither did he know where poor Hallberg was buried until I told him.”

“Hallberg!” echoed the other in a tone that startled the captain, and caused him to turn and look fixedly in the speaker’s face. It was deadly pale, and the captain observed the effort which D’Effernay made to recover his composure.

“Hallberg!” he repeated again, in a calmer tone, “and was Wensleben a friend of his?”

[Pg 545]

“His bosom friend from childhood. They were brought up together at the academy. Hallberg left it a year earlier than his friend.”

“Indeed!” said D’Effernay, scowling as he spoke, and working himself up into a passion. “And this lieutenant came here on this account, then, and the purchase of the estates was a mere excuse?”

“I beg your pardon,” observed the captain, in a decided tone of voice; “I have already told you that it was I who informed him of the place where his friend lies buried.”

“That may be, but it was owing to his friendship, to the wish to learn something further of his fate, that we are indebted for the visit of this romantic knight-errant.”

“That does not appear likely,” replied the captain, who thought it better to avert, if possible, the rising storm of his companion’s fury. “Why should he seek for news of Hallberg here, when he comes from the place where he was quartered for a long time, and where all his comrades now are.”

“Well, I don’t know,” cried D’Effernay, whose passion increased every moment. “Perhaps you have heard what was once gossiped about the neighborhood, that Hallberg was an admirer of my wife before she married.”

“Oh yes, I have heard that report, but never believed it. Hallberg was a prudent, steady man, and every one knew that Mademoiselle Varnier’s hand had been promised for some time.”

“Yes! yes! but you do not know to what lengths passion and avarice may lead: for Emily was rich. We must not forget that, when we discuss the matter; an elopement with the rich heiress would have been a fine thing for a poor, beggarly lieutenant.”

“Shame! shame! M. D’Effernay. How can you slander the character of that upright young man? If Hallberg were so unhappy as to love Mademoiselle Varnier—”

“That he did! you may believe me so far. I had reason to know it, and I did know it.”

“We had better change the conversation altogether, as it has taken so unpleasant a turn. Hallberg is dead; his errors, be they what they may, lie buried with him. His name stands high with all who knew him. Even you, M. D’Effernay—you were his friend.”

“I his friend? I hated him; I loathed him!” D’Effernay could not proceed; he foamed at the mouth with rage.

“Compose yourself!” said the captain, rising as he spoke, “you look and speak like a madman.”

“A madman! Who says I am mad? Now I see it all—- the connection of the whole—the shameful conspiracy.”

“Your conduct is perfectly incomprehensible to me,” answered the captain, with perfect coolness. “Did you not attend Hallberg in his last illness, and give him his medicines with your own hand?”

“I!” stammered D’Effernay. “No! no! no!” he cried, while the captain’s growing suspicions increased every moment, on account of the perturbation which his companion displayed. “I never gave his medicines; whoever says that is a liar.”

“I say it!” exclaimed the officer, in a loud tone, for his patience was exhausted. “I say it, because I know that it was so, and I will maintain that fact against any one at any time. If you choose to contradict the evidence of my senses, it is you who are a liar!”

“Ha! you shall give me satisfaction for this insult. Depend upon it, I am not one to be trifled with, as you shall find. You shall retract your words.”

“Never! I am ready to defend every word I have uttered here on this spot, at this moment, if you please. You have your pistols in the carriage, you know.”

D’Effernay cast a look of hatred on the speaker, and then dashing down the little hill, to the surprise of the servants, he dragged the pistols from the sword-case, and was by the captain’s side in a moment. But the loud voices of the disputants had attracted Edward to the spot, and there he stood on D’Effernay’s return; and by his side a venerable old man, who carried a large bunch of keys in his hand.

“In heaven’s name, what has happened?” cried Wensleben.

“What are you about to do?” interposed the rector, in a tone of authority, though his countenance was expressive of horror. “Are you going to commit murder on this sacred spot, close to the precincts of the church?”

“Murder! who speaks of murder?” cried D’Effernay. “Who can prove it?” and as he spoke, the captain turned a fierce, penetrating look upon him, beneath which he quailed.

“But, I repeat the question,” Edward began once more, “what does all this mean? I left you a short time ago in friendly conversation. I come back and find you both armed—both violently agitated—and M. D’Effernay, at least, speaking incoherently. What do you mean by ‘proving it?’—to what do you allude?” At this moment, before any answer could be made, a man came out of the house with a pick-ax and shovel on his shoulder, and advancing toward the rector, said respectfully, “I am quite ready, sir, if you have the key of the church-yard.”

It was now the captain’s turn to look anxious: “What are you going to do, you surely don’t intend—?” but, as he spoke, the rector interrupted him.

“This gentleman is very desirous to see the place where his friend lies buried.”

“But these preparations, what do they mean?”

“I will tell you,” said Edward, in a voice and tone that betrayed the deepest emotion, “I have a holy duty to perform. I must cause the coffin to be opened.”

“How, what?” screamed D’Effernay, once again. “Never—I will never permit such a thing.”

“But, sir,” the old man spoke, in a tone of calm decision, contrasting wonderfully with the violence of him whom he addressed, [Pg 546]“you have no possible right to interfere. If this gentleman wishes it, and I accede to the proposition, no one can prevent us from doing as we would.”

“I tell you I will not suffer it,” continued D’Effernay, with the same frightful agitation. “Stir at your peril,” he cried, turning sharply round upon the grave-digger, and holding a pistol to his head; but the captain pulled his arm away, to the relief of the frightened peasant.

“M. D’Effernay,” he said, “your conduct for the last half-hour has been most unaccountable—most unreasonable.”

“Come, come,” interposed Edward, “let us say no more on the subject; but let us be going,” he addressed the rector; “we will not detain these gentlemen much longer.”

He made a step toward the church-yard, but D’Effernay clutched his arm, and, with an impious oath, “you shall not stir,” he said; “that grave shall not be opened.”

Edward shook him off, with a look of silent hatred, for now indeed all his doubts were confirmed.

D’Effernay saw that Wensleben was resolved, and a deadly pallor spread itself over his features, and a shudder passed visibly over his frame.

“You are going!” he cried, with every gesture and appearance of insanity. “Go, then;” ... and he pointed the muzzle of the pistol to his mouth, and before any one could prevent him, he drew the trigger, and fell back a corpse. The spectators were motionless with surprise and horror; the captain was the first to recover himself in some degree. He bent over the body with the faint hope of detecting some sign of life. The old man turned pale and dizzy with a sense of terror, and he looked as if he would have swooned, had not Edward led him gently into his house, while the two others busied themselves with vain attempts to restore life. The spirit of D’Effernay had gone to its last account!

It was, indeed, an awful moment. Death in its worst shape was before them, and a terrible duty still remained to be performed.

Edward’s cheek was blanched; his eye had a fixed look, yet he moved and spoke with a species of mechanical action, which had something almost ghastly in it. Causing the body to be removed into the house, he bade the captain summon the servants of the deceased and then motioning with his hand to the awe-struck sexton, he proceeded with him to the church-yard. A few clods of earth alone were removed ere the captain stood by his friend’s side.

Here we must pause. Perhaps it were better altogether to emulate the silence that was maintained then and afterward by the two comrades. But the sexton could not be bribed to entire secrecy, and it was a story he loved to tell, with details we gladly omit, of how Wensleben solemnly performed his task—of how no doubt could any longer exist as to the cause of Hallberg’s death. Those who love the horrible must draw on their own imaginations to supply what we resolutely withhold.

Edward, we believe, never alluded to D’Effernay’s death, and all the awful circumstances attending it, but twice—once, when, with every necessary detail, he and the captain gave their evidence to the legal authorities; and once, with as few details as possible, when he had an interview with the widow of the murderer, the beloved of the victim. The particulars of this interview he never divulged, for he considered Emily’s grief too sacred to be exposed to the prying eyes of the curious and the unfeeling. She left the neighborhood immediately, leaving her worldly affairs in Wensleben’s hands, who soon disposed of the property for her. She returned to her native country, with the resolution of spending the greater part of her wealth in relieving the distresses of others, wisely seeking, in the exercise of piety and benevolence, the only possible alleviation of her own deep and many-sided griefs. For Edward, he was soon pronounced to have recovered entirely, from the shock of these terrible events. Of a courageous and energetic disposition, he pursued the duties of his profession with a firm step, and hid his mighty sorrow deep in the recesses of his heart. To the superficial observer, tears, groans, and lamentations are the only proofs of sorrow; and when they subside, the sorrow is said to have passed away also. Thus the captive, immured within the walls of his prison-house, is as one dead to the outward world, though the jailer be a daily witness to the vitality of affliction.


This is a voice that speaks to us across a gulf of nearly fifty years. A few months ago Wordsworth was taken from us at the ripe age of fourscore, yet here we have him addressing the public, as for the first time, with all the fervor, the unworn freshness, the hopeful confidence of thirty. We are carried back to the period when Coleridge, Byron, Scott, Rogers, and Moore were in their youthful prime. We live again in the stirring days when the poets who divided public attention and interest with the Fabian struggle in Portugal and Spain, with the wild and terrible events of the Russian campaign, with the uprising of the Teutonic nations, and the overthrow of Napoleon, were in a manner but commencing their cycle of songs. This is to renew, to antedate, the youth of a majority of the living generation. But only those whose memory still carries them so far back, can feel within them any reflex of that eager excitement, with which the news of battles fought and won, or mail-coach copies of some new work of Scott, or Byron, or the Edinburgh Review, were looked for and received in those already old days.[Pg 547]

We need not remind the readers of the Excursion, that when Wordsworth was enabled, by the generous enthusiasm of Raisley Calvert, to retire with a slender independence to his native mountains, there to devote himself exclusively to his art, his first step was to review and record in verse, the origin and progress of his own powers, as far as he was acquainted with them. This was at once an exercise in versification, and a test of the kind of poetry for which he was by temperament fitted. The result was a determination to compose a philosophical poem, containing views of man, of nature, and of society. This ambitious conception has been doomed to share the fate of so many other colossal undertakings. Of the three parts of his Recluse, thus planned, only the second (the Excursion, published in 1814) has been completed. Of the other two there exists only the first book of the first, and the plan of the third. The Recluse will remain in fragmentary greatness, a poetical Cathedral of Cologne.

Matters standing thus, it has not been without a melancholy sense of the uncertainty of human projects, and of the contrast between the sanguine enterprise and its silent evaporation (so often the “history of an individual mind”), that we have perused this Prelude which no completed strain was destined to follow. Yet in the poem itself there is nothing to inspire depression. It is animated throughout with the hopeful confidence in the poet’s own powers, so natural to the time of life at which it was composed; it evinces a power and soar of imagination unsurpassed in any of his writings; and its images and incidents have a freshness and distinctness which they not seldom lost, when they came to be elaborated, as many of them were, in his minor poems of a later date.

The Prelude, as the title page indicates, is a poetical autobiography, commencing with the earliest reminiscences of the author, and continued to the time at which it was composed. We are told that it was begun in 1799 and completed in 1805. It consists of fourteen books. Two are devoted to the infancy and schooltime of the poet; four to the period of his University life; two to a brief residence in London, immediately subsequent to his leaving Cambridge, and a retrospect of the progress his mind had then made; and three to a residence in France, chiefly in the Loire, but partly in Paris, during the stormy period of Louis the Sixteenth’s flight and capture, and the fierce contest between the Girondins and Robespierre. Five books are then occupied with an analysis of the internal struggle occasioned by the contradictory influences of rural and secluded nature in boyhood, and of society when the young man first mingles with the world. The surcease of the strife is recorded in the fourteenth book, entitled “Conclusion.”

The poem is addressed to Coleridge; and, apart from its poetical merits, is interesting as at once a counterpart and supplement to that author’s philosophical and beautiful criticism of the Lyrical Ballads in his Biographia Literaria. It completes the explanation, there given, of the peculiar constitution of Wordsworth’s mind, and of his poetical theory. It confirms and justifies our opinion that that theory was essentially partial and erroneous; but at the same time, it establishes the fact that Wordsworth was a true and a great poet in despite of his theory.

The great defect of Wordsworth, in our judgment, was want of sympathy with, and knowledge of men. From his birth till his entry at college, he lived in a region where he met with none whose minds might awaken his sympathies, and where life was altogether uneventful. On the other hand, that region abounded with the inert, striking, and most impressive objects of natural scenery. The elementary grandeur and beauty of external nature came thus to fill up his mind to the exclusion of human interests. To such a result his individual constitution powerfully contributed. The sensuous element was singularly deficient in his nature. He never seems to have passed through that erotic period out of which some poets have never emerged. A soaring, speculative imagination, and an impetuous, resistless self-will, were his distinguishing characteristics. From first to last he concentrated himself within himself; brooding over his own fancies and imaginations to the comparative disregard of the incidents and impressions which suggested them; and was little susceptible of ideas originating in other minds. We behold the result. He lives alone in a world of mountains, streams, and atmospheric phenomena, dealing with moral abstractions, and rarely encountered by even shadowy spectres of beings outwardly resembling himself. There is measureless grandeur and power in his moral speculations. There is intense reality in his pictures of external nature. But though his human characters are presented with great skill of metaphysical analysis, they have rarely life or animation. He is always the prominent, often the exclusive, object of his own song.

Upon a mind so constituted, with its psychological peculiarities so cherished and confirmed, the fortunes and fates of others, and the stirring events of his time, made vivid but very transient impressions. The conversation and writings of contemporaries trained among books, and with the faculty of speech more fully developed than that of thought, seemed colorless and empty to one with whom natural objects and grandeurs were always present in such overpowering force. Excluded by his social position from taking an active part in the public events of the day, and repelled by the emptiness of the then fashionable literature, he turned to private and humble life as possessing at least a reality. But he thus withheld himself from the contemplation of those great mental excitements which only great public struggles can awaken. He contracted a habit of exaggerating the importance of every-day incidents and emotions. He ac[Pg 548]customed himself to see in men and in social relations only what he was predetermined to see there, and to impute to them a value and importance derived mainly from his own self-will. Even his natural good taste contributed to confirm him in his error. The two prevailing schools of literature in England, at that time, were the trashy and mouthing writers who adopted the sounding language of Johnson and Darwin, unenlivened by the vigorous thought of either; and the “dead-sea apes” of that inflated, sentimental, revolutionary style which Diderot had unconsciously originated, and Kotzebue carried beyond the verge of caricature. The right feeling and manly thought of Wordsworth were disgusted by these shallow word-mongers, and he flew to the other extreme. Under the influences—repulsive and attractive—we have thus attempted to indicate, he adopted the theory that as much of grandeur and profound emotion was to be found in mere domestic incidents and feelings, as on the more conspicuous stage of public life; and that a bald and naked simplicity of language was the perfection of style. Singularly enough, he was confirmed in these notions by the very writer of the day whose own natural genius, more than any of his contemporaries, impelled, him to riot in great, wild, supernatural conceptions; and to give utterance to them in gorgeous language. Coleridge was perhaps the only contemporary from whom Wordsworth ever took an opinion; and that he did so from him, is mainly attributable to the fact that Coleridge did little more than reproduce to him his own notions, sometimes rectified by a subtler logic, but always rendered more attractive by new and dazzling illustrations.

Fortunately it is out of the power of the most perverse theory to spoil the true poet. The poems of Wordsworth must continue to charm and elevate mankind, in defiance of his crotchets, just as Luther, Henri Quatre, and other living impersonations of poetry do, despite all quaint peculiarities of the attire, the customs, or the opinions of their respective ages, with which they were embued. The spirit of truth and poetry redeems, ennobles, hallows, every external form in which it may be lodged. We may “pshaw” and “pooh” at Harry Gill and the Idiot Boy; but the deep and tremulous tenderness of sentiment, the strong-winged flight of fancy, the excelling and unvarying purity, which pervade all the writings of Wordsworth, and the exquisite melody of his lyrical poems, must ever continue to attract and purify the mind. The very excesses into which his one-sided theory betrayed him, acted as a useful counter-agent to the prevailing bad taste of his time.

The Prelude may take a permanent place as one of the most perfect of Wordsworth’s compositions. It has much of the fearless felicity of youth; and its imagery has the sharp and vivid outline of ideas fresh from the brain. The subject—the development of his own great powers—raises him above that willful dallying with trivialities which repels us in some of his other works. And there is real vitality in the theme, both from our anxiety to know the course of such a mind, and from the effect of an absorbing interest in himself excluding that languor which sometimes seized him in his efforts to impart or attribute interest to themes possessing little or none in themselves. Its mere narrative, though often very homely, and dealing in too many words, is often characterized also by elevated imagination, and always by eloquence. The bustle of London life, the prosaic uncouthness of its exterior, the earnest heart that beats beneath it, the details even of its commonest amusements, from Bartholomew Fair to Sadler’s Wells, are portrayed with simple force and delicate discrimination; and for the most part skillfully contrasted with the rural life of the poet’s native home. There are some truthful and powerful sketches of French character and life, in the early revolutionary era. But above all, as might have been anticipated, Wordsworth’s heart revels in the elementary beauty and grandeur of his mountain theme; while his own simple history is traced with minute fidelity and is full of unflagging interest.—London Examiner.


[J] The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind; an Autobiographical Poem. By William Wordsworth. London. Moxon. New York, Appleton & Co.

[From the North British Review.]


It is a common complaint that the publishers make large fortunes and leave the authors to starve—that they are, in fact, a kind of moral vampire, sucking the best blood of genius, and destroying others to support themselves. A great deal of very unhealthy, one-sided cant has been written upon this subject. Doubtless, there is much to be said on both sides. That publishers look at a manuscript very much as a corn-dealer looks at sample of wheat, with an eye to its selling qualities, is not to be denied. If books are not written only to be sold, they are printed only to be sold. Publishers must pay their printers and their paper-merchants; and they can not compel the public to purchase their printed paper. When benevolent printers shall be found eager to print gratuitously works of unsalable genius, and benevolent paper-merchants to supply paper for the same, publishers may afford to think less of a manuscript as an article of sale—may reject with less freedom unlikely manuscripts, and haggle less savagely about the price of likely ones. An obvious common-place this, and said a thousand times before, but not yet recognized by the world of writers at large. Publishing is a trade, and, like all other trades, undertaken with the one object of making money by it. The profits are not ordinarily large; they are, indeed, very uncertain—so uncertain that a large proportion of those who embark in the publishing business some time or other find their way into the Gazette. When a publishing firm is ruined by printing unsalable books, authors seldom or never have[Pg 549] any sympathy with a member of it. They have, on the other hand, an idea that he is justly punished for his offenses; and so perhaps he is, but not in the sense understood by the majority of those who contemplate his downfall as a retributive dispensation. The fact is, that reckless publishing is more injurious to the literary profession than any thing in the world beside. The cautious publisher is the author’s best friend. If a house publish at their own risk a number of works which they can not sell, they must either go into the Gazette at last, or make large sums of money by works which they can sell. When a publisher loses money by a work, an injury is inflicted upon the literary profession. The more money he can make by publishing, the more he can afford to pay for authorship. It is often said that the authors of successful works are inadequately rewarded in proportion to their success; that publishers make their thousands, while authors only make their hundreds. But it is forgotten that the profits of the one successful work are often only a set-off to the losses incurred by the publication of half a dozen unsuccessful ones. If a publisher purchase a manuscript for £500, and the work prove to be a “palpable hit” worth £5000, it may seem hard that the publisher does not share his gains more equitably with the author. With regard to this it is to be said, in the first place, that he very frequently does. There is hardly a publisher in London, however “grasping” he may be, who has not, time after time, paid to authors sums of money not “in the bond.” But if the fact were not as we have stated it, we can hardly admit that publishers are under any kind of obligation to exceed the strict terms of their contracts. If a publisher gives £500 for a copyright, expecting to sweep the same amount into his own coffers, but instead of making that sum, loses it by the speculation, he does not ask the author to refund—nor does the author offer to do it. The money is in all probability spent long before the result of the venture is ascertained; and the author would be greatly surprised and greatly indignant, if it were hinted to him, even in the most delicate way, that the publisher having lost money by his book, would be obliged to him if he would make good a portion of the deficit by sending a check upon his bankers.

We repeat, then, that a publisher who loses money by one man’s books, must make it by another’s, or go into the Gazette. There are publishers who trade entirely upon this principle, which, indeed, is a kind of literary gambling. They publish a dozen works, we will suppose, of which six produce an absolute loss; four just cover-their expenses; and the other two realize a profit. The publisher, especially if he be his own printer, may find this answer in the end; it may at least just keep him out of the Bankruptcy Court, and supply his family with bread. But the system can not be a really advantageous one either to publishers or authors. To the latter, indeed, it is destruction. No inconsiderable portion of the books published every year entail a heavy loss on author or publisher, or on both—and the amount of this loss may be set down, in most instances, as so much taken from the gross profits of the literary profession. If Mr. Bungay lose a hundred pounds by the poems of the Hon. Percy Popjoy, he has a hundred pounds less to give to Mr. Arthur Pendennis for his novel. Instead of protesting against the over-caution of publishers, literary men, if they really knew their own interests, would protest against their want of caution. Authors have a direct interest in the prosperity of publishers. The misfortune of authorship is not that publishers make so much money, but that they make so little. If Paternoster Row were wealthier than it is, there would be better cheer in Grub-street.

It is very true that publishers, like other men, make mistakes; and that sometimes a really good and salable work is rejected. Many instances of this might readily be adduced—instances of works, whose value has been subsequently proved by extensive popularity, having been rejected by one or more experienced member of the publishing craft. But their judgment is on the whole remarkably correct. They determine with surprising accuracy the market value of the greater number of works that are offered to them. It is not supposed that in the majority of cases, the publisher himself decides the question upon the strength of his own judgment. He has his minister, or ministers of state, to decide these knotty questions for him. A great deal has been written at different times, about the baneful influence of this middleman, or “reader”—but we can see no more justice in the complaint than if it were raised against the system which places a middleman or minister between the sovereign and his people. To complain of the incapacity of the publisher himself, and to object to his obtaining the critical services of a more competent party, were clearly an inconsistency and an injustice. If the publisher himself be not capable of deciding upon the literary merits or salable properties of the works laid before him, the best thing that he can do is to secure the assistance of some one who is. Hence the office of the “reader.” It is well known that in some large publishing houses there is a resident “reader” attached to the establishment; others are believed to lay the manuscripts offered to them for publication before some critic of established reputation out-of-doors; while more than one eminent publisher might be named who has trusted solely to his own judgment, and rarely found that judgment at fault. In either of these cases there is no reason to assume the incompetency of the judge. Besides, as we have said, the question to be solved by the publisher or reader, is not a purely literary question. It is mainly indeed a commercial question; and the merits of the work are often freely acknowledged while the venture is politely declined.

Much more might be said of the relations between publishers and authors, but we are[Pg 550] compelled to economize our space. The truth, indeed, as regards the latter, is simply this: It is not so much that authors do not know how to make money, as that they do not know how to spend it. The same income that enables a clergyman, a lawyer, a medical practitioner, a government functionary, or any other member of the middle classes earning his livelihood by professional labor, to support himself and his family in comfort and respectability, will seldom keep a literary man out of debt and difficulty—seldom provide him with a comfortable well-ordered home, creditable to himself and his profession. It is ten to one that he lives untidily; that every thing about him is in confusion, that the amenities of domestic life are absent from his establishment; that he is altogether in a state of elaborate and costly disorder, such as we are bound to say is the characteristic of no other kind of professional life. He seldom has a settled home—a fixed position. He appears to be constantly on the move. He seldom lives, for any length of time, in the same place; and is rarely at home when you call upon him. It would be instructive to obtain a return of the number of professional writers who retain pews in church, and are to be found there with their families on Sundays. There is something altogether fitful, irregular, spasmodic in their way of life. And so it is with their expenditure. They do not live like other men, and they do not spend like other men. At one time, you would think, from their lavish style of living, that they were worth three thousand a year; and at another, from the privations that they undergo, and the difficulty they find in meeting small claims upon them, that they were not worth fifty. There is generally, indeed, large expenditure abroad, and painful stinting at home. The “res angusta domi” is almost always there; but away from his home, your literary man is often a prince and a millionaire. Or, if he be a man of domestic habits, if he spends little on tavern suppers, little on wine, little on cab hire, the probability is, that he is still impulsive and improvident, still little capable of self-denial; that he will buy a costly picture when his house-rent is unpaid; that he will give his wife a guitar when she wants a gown; and buy his children a rocking-horse when they are without stockings. His house and family are altogether in an inelegant state of elegant disorder; and with really a comfortable income, if properly managed, he is eternally in debt.

Now all this may appear very strange, but it is not wholly unaccountable. In the first place, it may be assumed, as we have already hinted, that no small proportion of those who adopt literature as a profession have enlisted in the army of authors because they have lacked the necessary amount of patience and perseverance—the systematic orderly habits—the industry and the self-denial by which alone it is possible to attain success in other paths of professional life. With talent enough to succeed in any, they have not had sufficient method to succeed in any. They have been trained perhaps for the bar, but wanted assiduity to master the dry details of the law, and patience to sustain them throughout a long round of briefless circuits. They have devoted themselves to the study of physic, and recoiled from or broken down under examination; or wanted the hopeful sanguine temperament which enables a man to content himself with small beginnings, and to make his way by a gradually widening circle to a large round of remunerative practice. They have been intended for the Church, and drawn back in dismay at the thought of its restraints and responsibilities; or have entered the army, and have forsaken with impatience and disgust the slow road to superior command.

In any case, it may be assumed that the original profession has been deserted for that of authorship, mainly because the aspirant has been wanting in those orderly methodical habits, and that patience and submissiveness of temperament which secure success in those departments of professional labor which are only to be overcome by progressive degrees. In a word, it may be often said of the man of letters, that he is not wanting in order because he is an author, but he is an author because he is wanting in order. He is capable of occasional paroxysms of industry; his spasms of energy are often great and triumphant. Where results are to be obtained per saltum he is equal to any thing and is not easily to be frightened back. He has courage enough to carry a fortress by assault, but he has not system enough to make his way by regular approaches. He is weary of the work before he has traced out the first parallel. In this very history of the rise of professional authorship, we may often see the causes of its fall. The calamities of authors are often assignable to the very circumstances that made them authors. Wherefore is it that in many cases authors are disorderly and improvident? simply because it is their nature to be so—because in any other path of life they would be equally disorderly and improvident. The want of system is not to be attributed to their profession. The evil which we deplore arises in the first instance only from an inability to master an inherent defect.

But it must be admitted that there are many predisposing circumstances in the environments of literary life—that many of the causes which aggravate, if they do not originate the malady, are incidental to the profession itself. The absolute requirements of literary labor not unfrequently compel an irregular distribution of time and with it irregular social and moral habits. It would be cruel to impute that as a fault to the literary laborer which is in reality his misfortune. We who lay our work once every quarter before the public, and they who once a year, or less frequently, present themselves with their comely octavo volumes of fiction or biography—history or science—to the reading world, may dine at home every day with their children, ring the bell at ten o’clock for family prayers, rise early[Pg 551] and retire early every day, and with but few deviations throughout the year, regularly toil through, with more or less of the afflatus upon them, their apportioned hours of literary labor; but a large proportion of the literary practitioners of the age are connected, in some capacity or other, with the newspaper press; they are the slaves of time, not its masters; and must bend themselves to circumstances, however repugnant to the will. Late hours are unfortunately a condition of press life. The sub-editors, the summary writers, the reporters; the musical and theatrical critics, and many of the leading-article writers are compelled to keep late hours. Their work is not done till past—in many cases till long past—midnight; and it can not be done at home. It is a very unhappy condition of literary life that it so often compels night-work. Night-work of this kind seems to demand a resource to stimulants; and the exigencies of time and place compel a man to betake himself to the most convenient tavern. Much that we read in the morning papers, wondering at the rapidity with which important intelligence or interesting criticism is laid before us, is written, after midnight, at some contiguous tavern, or in the close atmosphere of a reporter’s room, which compels a subsequent resort to some house of nocturnal entertainment. If, weary with work and rejoicing in the thought of its accomplishment, the literary laborer, in the society perhaps of two or three of his brethren, betakes himself to a convenient supper house, and there spends on a single meal, what would keep himself and his family in comfort throughout the next day, perhaps it is hardly just to judge him too severely; at all events, it is right that we should regard the suffering, and weigh the temptation. What to us, in many cases, “seems vice may be but woe.” It is hard to keep to this night-work and to live an orderly life. If a man from choice, not from necessity, turns night into day, and day into night (we have known literary men who have willfully done so), we have very little pity for him. The shattered nerves—the disorderly home—the neglected business—the accounts unkept and the bills unpaid, which are the necessary results of nights of excitement and days of languor, are then to be regarded as the consequences not of the misfortunes, but the faults of the sufferer. It is a wretched way of life any how.

Literary men are sad spendthrifts, not only of their money, but of themselves. At an age when other men are in the possession of vigorous faculties of mind and strength of body, they are often used-up, enfeebled, and only capable of effort under the influence of strong stimulants. If a man has the distribution of his own time—if his literary avocations are of that nature that they can be followed at home—if they demand only continuous effort, there is no reason why the waste of vital energy should be greater in his case than in that of the follower of any other learned profession. A man soon discovers to what extent he can safely and profitably tax his powers. To do well in the world he must economize himself no less than his money. Rest is often a good investment. A writer at one time is competent to do twice as much and twice as well as at another; and if his leisure be well employed, the few hours of labor will be more productive than the many, at the time; and the faculty of labor will remain with him twice as long. Rest and recreation, fresh air and bodily exercise, are essential to an author, and he will do well never to neglect them. But there are professional writers who can not regulate their hours of labor, and whose condition of life it is to toil at irregular times and in an irregular manner. It is difficult, we know, for them to abstain from using themselves up prematurely. Repeated paroxysms of fever wear down the strongest frames; and many a literary man is compelled to live a life of fever, between excitement and exhaustion of the mind. We would counsel all public writers to think well of the best means of economizing themselves—the best means of spending their time off duty. Rest and recreation, properly applied, will do much to counteract the destroying influences of spasmodic labor at unseasonable hours, and to ward off premature decay. But if they apply excitement of one kind to repair the ravages of excitement of another kind, they must be content to live a life of nervous irritability, and to grow old before their time.


William and Charles Grant were the sons of a farmer in Inverness-shire, whom a sudden flood stript of every thing, even to the very soil which he tilled. The farmer and his son William made their way southward, until they arrived in the neighborhood of Bury, in Lancashire, and there found employment in a print work, in which William served his apprenticeship. It is said that, when they reached the spot near which they ultimately settled, and arrived at the crown of the hill near Walmesley, they were in doubt as to what course was best next to be pursued. The surrounding country lay disclosed before them, the river Irwell making its circuitous way through the valley. What was to be done to induce their decision as to the route they were to take to their future home? A stick was put up, and where it fell, in that direction would they betake themselves. And thus their decision was made, and they betook themselves toward the village of Ramsbotham, not far distant. In this place, these men pitched their tent, and in the course of many long years of industry, enterprise, and benevolence, they accumulated nearly a million sterling of money; earning, meanwhile, the good-will of thousands, the gratitude of many, and the respect of all who knew them. They afterward erected, on the top of the hill overlooking Walmesley, a lofty tower, in commemoration of the fortunate choice they had made, and not improbably as a kind of public thank-offering for the[Pg 552] signal prosperity they had reaped. Cotton mills, and print works, were built by them of great extent, employing an immense number of hands; and they erected churches, founded schools, and gave a new life to the district. Their well-directed diligence made the valley teem with industry, activity, health, joy, and opulence; they never forgot the class from which they themselves had sprung, that of working-men, whose hands had mainly contributed to their aggrandizement, and, therefore, they spared no expense in the moral, intellectual, and physical interests of their work-people.

A brief anecdote or two will serve to show what manner of men these Grants were, and that Dickens, in his Brothers Cheeryble, has been guilty of no exaggeration. Many years ago, a warehouseman published an exceedingly scurrilous pamphlet against the firm of Grant Brothers, holding up the elder partner to ridicule as “Billy Button.” William was informed by some “kind friend,” of the existence and nature of the pamphlet, and his observation was, that the man would live to repent of its publication. “Oh!” said the libeler, when informed of this remark, “he thinks that some time or other I shall be in his debt, but I will take good care of that.” It happens, however, that the man in business does not always know who shall be his creditor. It turned out that the libeler shortly became bankrupt, and the brothers held an acceptance of his, which had been indorsed by the drawer who had also become bankrupt. The wantonly libeled men had now an opportunity of revenging themselves upon the libeler, for he could not obtain his certificate without their signature, and without that he could not again commence business. But it seemed to the bankrupt to be a hopeless case to expect that, they would give their signature—they whom he had so wantonly held up to public ridicule. The claims of a wife and children, however, at last forced him to make the application. He presented himself at the counting-house door, and found that “Billy Button” was in. He entered, and William Grant, who was alone, rather sternly bid him, “shut the door, sir!” The libeler trembled before the libeled. He told his tale, and produced his certificate, which was instantly clutched by the injured merchant. “You wrote a pamphlet against us once,” exclaimed Mr. Grant. The supplicant expected to see his parchment thrown into the fire; instead of which, Mr. Grant took a pen, and writing something on the document, handed it back to the supplicant, who expected to find written upon it “rogue, scoundrel, libeler,” instead of which, there was written only the signature of the firm, completing the bankrupt’s certificate. “We make it a rule,” said Mr. Grant, “never to refuse signing the certificate of an honest tradesman, and we have never heard that you were any thing else.” The tears started into the poor man’s eyes. “Ah!” continued Mr. Grant, “my saying was true, I said you would live to repent writing that pamphlet, I did not mean it as a threat, I only meant that some day you would know us better, and repent that you had tried to injure us; I see you repent it now.” “I do, I do,” said the grateful man, “I do, indeed, bitterly repent it.” “Well, well, my dear fellow, you know us now. How do you get on? What are you going to do?” The poor man stated that he had friends who could assist him when his certificate was obtained. “But how are you off in the mean time?” and the answer was that, having given up every farthing to his creditors, he had been compelled to stint his family of even the common necessaries of life, that he might be enabled to pay the cost of his certificate. “My dear fellow, this will never do, your wife and family must not suffer; be kind enough to take this ten-pound note to your wife from me—there, there, my dear fellow—nay, don’t cry—it will all be well with you yet; keep up your spirits, set to work like a man, and you will raise your head among us yet.” The overpowered man endeavored in vain to express his thanks—the swelling in his throat forbade words; he put his hand to his face, and went out of the door crying like a child.

In company with a gentleman who had written and lectured much on the advantages of early religious, moral, and intellectual training, Mr Grant asked—“Well, how do you go on in establishing schools for infants?” The reply was, “Very encouragingly indeed; wherever I have gone, I have succeeded either in inducing good people to establish them, or in procuring better support to those that are already established. But I must give over my labors, for, what with printing bills, coach-fare, and other expenses, every lecture I deliver in any neighboring town, costs me a sovereign, and I can not afford to ride my hobby such a rate.” He said, “You must not give over your labors; God has blessed them with success; He has blessed you with talents, and me with wealth, if you give your time, I ought to give my money. You must oblige me by taking this twenty-pound note, and spending it in promoting the education of the poor.” The twenty-pound note was taken, and so spent; and probably a thousand children are now enjoying the benefit of the impulse that was thus given to a mode of instruction as delightful as it was useful.

Mr. Grant was waited on by two gentlemen, who were raising a subscription for the widow of a respectable, man, who, some years before his death, had been unfortunate in business. “We lost £200 by him,” said Mr. Grant; “and how do you expect I should subscribe, for his widow?” “Because,” answered one of them, “what you have lost by the husband does not alter the widow’s claim on your benevolence.” “Neither it shall,” said he, “here are five pounds, and if you can not make up the sum you want for her, come to me, and I’ll give you more.”

Many other anecdotes, equally characteristic of the kind nature of William Grant, could be[Pg 553] added. For fifteen years did he and his brother Charles ride into Manchester on market days, seated side-by-side, looking of all things like a pair of brothers, happy in themselves, and in each other. William died a few years ago, and was followed to the grave by many blessings. The firm still survives, and supports its former character. Long may the merchant princes of England continue to furnish such beautiful specimens of humanity as the now famous Brothers Cheeryble!—Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal.

[From the North British Review.]


Lord lyndhurst once said, at a public dinner, with reference to the numberless marvels of the press, that it might seem a very easy thing to write a leading article, but that he would recommend any one with strong convictions on that point, only to try. We confidently appeal to the experience of all the conductors of the leading journals of Great Britain, from the quarterly reviews to the daily journals, convinced that they will all tell the same unvarying tale of the utter incompetency of thousands of very clever people to write articles, review books, &c. They will all have the same experiences to relate of the marvelous failures of men of genius and learning—the crude cumbrous state in which they have sent their so-called articles for publication—the labor it has taken to mould their fine thoughts and valuable erudition into comely shape—the utter impossibility of doing it at all. As Mr. Carlyle has written of the needle-women of England, it is the saddest thing of all, that there should be sempstresses few or none, but “botchers” in such abundance, capable only of “a distracted puckering and botching—not sewing—only a fallacious hope of it—a fond imagination of the mind;” so of literary labor is it the saddest thing of all, that there should be so many botchers in the world, and so few skilled article-writers—so little article-writing, and so much “distracted puckering and botching.” There may be nothing in this article-writing, when once we know how to do it, as there is nothing in balancing a ladder on one’s chin, or jumping through a hoop, or swallowing a sword. All we say is, if people think it easy, let them try, and abide by the result. The amateur articles of very clever people are generally what an amateur effort at coat-making would be. It may seem a very easy thing to make a coat; but very expert craftsmen—craftsmen that can produce more difficult and elaborate pieces of workmanship, fail utterly when they come to a coat. The only reason why they can not make a coat is, that they are not tailors. Now there are many very able and learned men, who can compass greater efforts of human intellect than the production of a newspaper article, but who can not write a newspaper at all, because they we not newspaper-writers, or criticise a book with decent effect, because they are not critics. Article-writing comes “by art not chance.” The efforts of chance writers, if they be men of genius and learning, are things to break one’s heart over.

It is not enough to think and to know. It requires the faculty of utterance, and a peculiar kind of utterance. Certain things are to be said in a certain manner; and your amateur article-writer is sure to say them in any manner but the right. Perhaps of all styles of writing there is none in which excellency is so rarely attained as that of newspaper-writing. A readable leading article may not be a work of the loftiest order, or demand for its execution the highest attributes of genius; but, whatever it may be, the power of accomplishing it with success is not shared by “thousands of clever fellows.” Thousands of clever fellows, fortified by Mr. Thackeray’s opinion, may think that they could write the articles which they read in the morning journals; but let them take pen and paper and try.

We think it only fair that professional authors should have the credit of being able to do what other people can not. They do not claim to themselves a monoply of talent. They do not think themselves capable of conducting a case in a court of law, as cleverly as a queen’s counsel, or of getting a sick man through the typhus fever as skillfully as a practiced physician. But it is hard that they should not receive credit for being able to write better articles than either the one or the other; or, perhaps it is more to the purpose to say, than the briefless lawyers and patientless medical students who are glad to earn a guinea by their pens. Men are not born article-writers any more than they are born doctors of law, or doctors of physic; as the ludicrous failures, which are every day thrown into the rubbish-baskets of all our newspaper offices, demonstrate past all contradiction. Incompetency is manifested in a variety of ways, but an irrepressible tendency to fine writing is associated with the greater number of them. Give a clever young medical student a book about aural or dental surgery to review, and the chances are ten to one that the criticism will be little else than a high-flown grandiloquent treatise on the wonders of the creation. A regular “literary hack” will do the thing much better.

If there be any set of men—we can not call it a class, for it is drawn from all classes—who might be supposed to possess’ a certain capacity for periodical writing, it is the fraternity of members of Parliament. They are in the habit of selecting given subjects for consideration—of collecting facts and illustrations—of arranging arguments—and of expressing themselves after a manner. They are for the most part men of education, of a practical turn of mind, well acquainted with passing events, and, in many instances, in possession just of that kind of available talent which is invaluable to periodical writers. But very few of them can write an article, either for a newspaper or a review, without inflicting immense trouble upon the[Pg 554] editor. Sometimes the matter it contains will be worth the pains bestowed upon it; but it very often happens that it is not. It is one thing to make a speech—another to write an article. But the speech often, no less than the article, requires editorial supervision. The reporter is the speaker’s editor, and a very efficient one too. In a large number of cases, the speaker owes more to the reporter than he would willingly acknowledge. The speech as spoken would often be unreadable, but that the reporter finishes the unfinished sentences, and supplies meanings which are rather suggested than expressed. It would be easy to name members who are capable of writing admirable articles; but many of them owe their position in the House to some antecedent connection with the press, or have become, in some manner regularly “connected with the press;” and have acquired, by long practice, the capacity of article-writing. But take any half-dozen members indiscriminately out of the House, and set them down to write articles on any subject which they may have just heard debated, and see how grotesque will be their efforts? They may be very “clever fellows,” but that they can write articles as well as men whose profession it is to write them, we take upon ourselves emphatically to deny.


Although of a gloomy temperament, and from the earliest age evincing those characteristics of pride and shyness which rendered him unsocial, and therefore unpopular in general society, this nobleman, in the private walks of life, was amiable, and peculiarly disinterested. While in India, his correspondence with those of his own family, evinced in a remarkable degree those right and kindly feelings which could hardly have been expected from Clive, considering the frowardness of early life and the inflexible sternness of more advanced age. When the foundation of his fortune was laid. Lord Clive evinced a praiseworthy recollection of the friends of his early days. He bestowed an annuity of £800 on his parents, while to other relations and friends he was proportionately liberal. He was a devotedly attached husband, as his letters to Lady Clive bear testimony. Her maiden name was Maskelyne, sister to the eminent mathematician, so called, who long held the post of astronomer royal. This marriage, which took place in 1752, with the circumstances attending it, are somewhat singular, and worth recording: Clive, who was at that period just twenty-seven, had formed a previous friendship with one of the lady’s brothers, like himself a resident at Madras. The brother and sister, it appears, kept up an affectionate and constant correspondence—that is, as constant an interchange of epistolary communication as could be accomplished nearly a century ago, when the distance between Great Britain and the East appeared so much more formidable, and the facilities of postal conveyance so comparatively tardy. The epistles of the lady, through the partiality of her brother, were frequently shown to Clive, and they bespoke her to be what from all accounts she was—a woman of very superior understanding, and of much amiability of character. Clive was charmed with her letters, for in those days, be it remembered, the fair sex were not so familiarized to the pen as at the present period. At that time, to indite a really good epistle as to penmanship and diction, was a formidable task, and what few ladies, comparatively speaking, could attain to. The accomplished sister of Dr. Maskelyne was one of the few exceptions, and so strongly did her epistolary powers attract the interest, and gain for her the affections of Clive, that it ended by his offering to marry the young lady, if she could be induced to visit her brother at Madras. The latter, through whom the suggestion was to be made, hesitated, and seemed inclined to discourage the proposition; but Clive in this instance evinced that determination of purpose which was so strong a feature in his character. He could urge, too, with more confidence a measure on which so much of his happiness depended—for he was now no longer the poor neglected boy, sent out to seek his fortune, but one who had already acquired a fame which promised future greatness. In short, he would take no refusal; and then was the brother of Miss Maskelyne forced to own, that highly as his sister was endowed with every mental qualification, nature had been singularly unfavorable to her—personal attractions she had none. The future hero of Plassy was not, however, to be deterred—but he made this compromise: If the lady could be prevailed upon to visit India, and that neither party, on a personal acquaintance, felt disposed for a nearer connection, the sum of £5000 was to be presented to her. With this understanding all scruples were overcome. Miss Maskelyne went out to India, and immediately after became the wife of Clive, who, already prejudiced in her favor, is said to have expressed himself surprised that she should ever have been represented to him as plain. So much for the influence of mind and manner over mere personal endowments. With the sad end of this distinguished general every reader is familiar. His lady survived the event by many years, and lived to a benevolent and venerable old age.

[From The Ladies’ Companion.]


We derive the following curious passage of life one hundred years since, from the second Series of Mr. Burke’s “Anecdotes of the Aristocracy:”

Lady Cathcart was one of the four daughters of Mr. Malyn, of Southwark and Battersea, in Surrey. She married four times, but never had any issue. Her first husband was James Fleet, Esq., of the City of London, Lord of the Manor[Pg 555] of Tewing; her second, Captain Sabine, younger brother of General Joseph Sabine, of Quinohall; her third, Charles, eighth Lord Cathcart, of the kingdom of Scotland, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in the West Indies; and her fourth,[K] Hugh Macguire, an officer in the Hungarian service, for whom she bought a lieutenant-colonel’s commission in the British army, and whom she also survived. She was not encouraged, however, by his treatment, to verify the resolution, which she inscribed as a posy on her wedding-ring:

“If I survive,
I will have five.”

Her avowed motives for these several engagements were, for the first, obedience to her parents; for the second, money; for the third, title; and for the fourth, submission to the fact that “the devil owed her a grudge, and would punish her for her sins.” In the last union she met with her match. The Hibernian fortune-hunter wanted only her money. Soon after their marriage, she discovered her grievous mistake, and became alarmed lest the colonel, who was desperately in love, not with the widow, but with the “widow’s jointured land,” designed to carry her off, and to get absolute power over all her property; to prepare for the worst, her ladyship plaited some of her jewels in her hair, and quilted others in her petticoat. Meanwhile the mistress of the colonel so far insinuated herself into his wife’s confidence that she learned where her will was deposited; and Macguire getting sight of it, insisted on an alteration in his favor, under a threat of instant death. Lady Cathcart’s apprehensions of the loss of her personal freedom proved to be not without foundation; one morning, when she and her husband went out from Tewing to take an airing, she proposed, after a time, to return, but he desired to go a little further. The coachman drove on; she remonstrated, “they should not be back by dinner-time.” “Be not the least uneasy on that account,” rejoined Macguire; “we do not dine to-day at Tewing, but at Chester, whither we are journeying.” Vain were all the lady’s efforts and expostulations. Her sudden disappearance excited the alarm of her friends, and an attorney was sent in pursuit, with a writ of habeas corpus or ne exeat regno. He overtook the travelers at an inn at Chester, and succeeding in obtaining an interview with the husband, demanded a sight of Lady Cathcart. The colonel, skilled in expedients, and aware that his wife’s person was unknown, assured the attorney that he should see her ladyship immediately, and he would find that she was going to Ireland with her own free consent. Thereupon Macguire persuaded a woman, whom he had properly tutored, to personate his wife. The attorney asked the supposed captive, if she accompanied Colonel Macguire to Ireland of her own good-will? “Perfectly so,” said the woman. Astonished at such an answer, he begged pardon, made a low bow, and set out again for London. Macguire thought that possibly Mr. Attorney might recover his senses, find how he had been deceived, and yet stop his progress; and in order to make all safe, he sent two or three fellows after him, with directions to plunder him of all he had, particularly of his papers. They faithfully executed their commission; and when the colonel had the writ in his possession, he knew that he was safe. He then took my lady over to Ireland, and kept her there, a prisoner, locked up in his own house at Tempo, in Fermanagh, for many years; during which period he was visited by the neighboring gentry, and it was his regular custom at dinner to send his compliments to Lady Cathcart, informing her that the company had the honor to drink her ladyship’s health, and begging to know whether there was any thing at table that she would like to eat? The answer was always—“Lady Cathcart’s compliments, and she has every thing she wants.” An instance of honesty in a poor Irishwoman deserves to be recorded. Lady Cathcart had some remarkably fine diamonds, which she had concealed from her husband, and which she was anxious to get out of the house, lest he should discover them. She had neither servant nor friend to whom she could intrust them, but she had observed a beggar who used to come to the house, she spoke to her from the window of the room in which she was confined; the woman promised to do what she desired, and Lady Cathcart threw a parcel, containing the jewels, to her.

The poor woman carried them to the person to whom they were directed; and several years afterward, when Lady Cathcart recovered her liberty, she received her diamonds safely. At Colonel Macguire’s death, which occurred in 1764, her ladyship was released. When she was first informed of the fact, she imagined that the news could not be true, and that it was told only with an intention of deceiving her. At the time of her deliverance she had scarcely clothes sufficient to cover her; she wore a red wig, looked scared, and her understanding seemed stupefied: she said that she scarcely knew one human creature from another: her imprisonment had lasted nearly twenty years. The moment she regained her freedom she hastened to England, to her house at Tewing, but the tenant, a Mr. Joseph Steele, refusing to render up possession, Lady Cathcart had to bring an action of ejectment, attended the assizes in person, and gained the cause. At Tewing she continued to reside for the remainder of her life. The only subsequent notice we find of her is, that, at the age of eighty, she took part in the gayeties of the Welwyn Assembly, and danced with the spirit of a girl. She did not die until 1789, when she was in her ninety-eighth year.

In the mansion-house of Tempo, now the property of Sir John Emerson Tennent, the room is still shown in which Lady Cathcart was imprisoned.[Pg 556]


[K] Lady Cathcart’s marriage to Macguire took place 18th May, 1745.



Sidney smith’s account of the origin of the Edinburgh Review is well known. The following statement was written by Lord Jeffrey, at the request of Robert Chambers, in November, 1846, and is now first made public: “I can not say exactly where the project of the Edinburgh Review was first talked of among the projectors. But the first serious consultations about it—and which led to our application to a publisher—were held in a small house, where I then lived, in Buccleugh-place (I forget the number). They were attended by S. Smith, F. Horner, Dr. Thomas Brown, Lord Murray, and some of them also by Lord Webb Seymour, Dr. John Thomson, and Thomas Thomson. The first three numbers were given to the publisher—he taking the risk and defraying the charges. There was then no individual editor, but as many of us as could be got to attend used to meet in a dingy room of Willson’s printing office, in Craig’s Close, where the proofs of our own articles were read over and remarked upon, and attempts made also to sit in judgment on the few manuscripts which were then offered by strangers. But we had seldom patience to go through with this; and it was soon found necessary to have a responsible editor, and the office was pressed upon me. About the same time Constable was told that he must allow ten guineas a sheet to the contributors, to which he at once assented; and not long after, the minimum was raised to sixteen guineas, at which it remained during my reign. Two-thirds of the articles were paid much higher—averaging, I should think, from twenty to twenty-five guineas a sheet on the whole number. I had, I might say, an unlimited discretion in this respect, and must do the publishers the justice to say that they never made the slightest objection. Indeed, as we all knew that they had (for a long time at least) a very great profit, they probably felt that they were at our mercy. Smith was by far the most timid of the confederacy, and believed that, unless our incognito was strictly maintained, we could not go on a day; and this was his object for making us hold our dark divans at Willson’s office, to which he insisted on our repairing singly, and by back approaches or different lanes! He also had so strong an impression of Brougham’s indiscretion and rashness, that he would not let him be a member of our association, though wished for by all the rest. He was admitted, however, after the third number, and did more work for us than any body. Brown took offense at some alterations Smith had made in a trifling article of his in the second number, and left us thus early; publishing at the same time in a magazine the fact of his secession—a step which we all deeply regretted, and thought scarcely justified by the provocation. Nothing of the kind occurred ever after.”

Constable soon remunerated the editor with a liberality corresponding to that with which contributors were treated. From 1803 to 1809 Jeffrey received 200 guineas for editing each number. For the ensuing three years, the account-books are missing; but from 1813 to 1826 he is credited £700 for editing each number.

The “Economist” closes an article upon the late Sir Robert Peel with the following just and eloquent summation:

“Sir Robert was a scholar, and a liberal and discerning patron of the arts. Though not social, he was a man of literary interests and of elegant and cultivated taste. Possessed of immense wealth, with every source and avenue of enjoyment at his command, it is no slight merit in him that he preferred to such refined enjoyment the laborious service of his country. He was no holiday or dillettanti statesman. His industry was prodigious, and he seemed actually to love work. His toil in the memorable six months of 1835 was something absolutely prodigious; in 1842 and 1843 scarcely less so. His work was always done in a masterly and business-like style, which testified to the conscientious diligence he had bestowed upon it. His measures rarely had to be altered or modified in their passage through the House. In manners he was always decorous—never over-bearing or insulting, and if ever led by the heat of contest into any harsh or unbecoming expression, was always prompt to apologize or retract. By his unblemished private character, by his unrivaled administrative ability, by his vast public services, his unvarying moderation, he had impressed not only England but the world at large with a respect and confidence such as few attain. After many fluctuations of repute, he had at length reached an eminence on which he stood—independent of office, independent of party—one of the acknowledged potentates of Europe; face to face, in the evening of life, with his work and his reward—his work, to aid the progress of those principles on which, after much toil, many sacrifices, and long groping toward the light, he had at length laid a firm grasp; his guerdon, to watch their triumph. Nobler occupation man could not aspire to; sublimer power no ambition need desire; greater earthly reward, God, out of all the riches of his boundless treasury has not to bestow.”

Numerous projects for monuments to the deceased statesman have been broached. In reference to these, and to the poverty of thought,[Pg 557] and waste of means, which in the present age builds for all time with materials so perishable as statues, a correspondent of the Athenæum suggests, as a more intelligent memorial, the foundation of a national university for the education of the sons of the middle classes. Ours, he says, are not the days for copying the forms of ancient Rome as interpreters of feelings and inspirations which the Romans never knew. While the statues which they reared are dispersed, and the columns they erected are crumbling to decay, their thoughts, as embodied in their literature, are with us yet, testifying forever of the great spirits which perished from among them, but left, in this sure and abiding form, the legacy of their minds.

The effect upon civilization of the Ownership of the Land being in the hands of a few, or of the many, has been earnestly discussed by writers on political and social economy. Two books have recently been published in England, which have an important bearing upon this subject. One is by Samuel Laing, Esq. the well known traveler, and the other by Joseph Kay, Esq. of Cambridge. Both these writers testify that in the continental countries which they have examined—more especially in Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland—they have found a state of society which does fulfill in a very eminent degree all the conditions of a most advanced civilization. They have found in those countries education, wealth, comfort, and self-respect; and they have found that the whole body of the people in those countries participate in the enjoyment of these great blessings to an extent which very far exceeds the participation in them of the great mass of the population of England. These two travelers perfectly agree in the declaration that during the last-thirty or forty years the inequality of social condition among men—the deterioration toward two great classes of very rich and very poor—has made very little progress in the continental states with which they are familiar. They affirm that a class of absolute paupers in any degree formidable from its numbers has yet to be created in those states. They represent in the most emphatic language the immense superiority in education, manners, conduct, and the supply of the ordinary wants of a civilized being, of the German, Swiss, Dutch, Belgian and French peasantry over the peasantry and poorer classes not only of Ireland, but also of England and Scotland. This is the general and the most decided result with reference to the vital question of the condition and prospects of the peasantry and poorer classes, neither Mr. Laing nor Mr. Kay have any doubt whatever that the advantage rests in the most marked manner with the continental states which they have examined over Great Britain. According to Mr. Laing and Mr. Kay, the cause of this most important difference is—the distribution of the ownership of land. On the continent, the people own and cultivate the land. In the British islands the land is held in large masses by a few persons; the class practically employed in agriculture are either tenants or laborers, who do not act under the stimulus of a personal interest in the soil they cultivate.

A self-taught artist named Carter has recently died at Coggshall, Essex, where he had for many years resided. He was originally a farm laborer, and by accident lost the power of every part of his body but the head and neck. By the force of perseverance and an active mind, however, he acquired the power of drawing and painting, by holding the pencil between his lips and teeth, when placed there by the kind offices of an affectionate sister. In this manner he had not only whiled away the greater part of fourteen years of almost utter physical helplessness, but has actually produced works which have met with high commendation. His groups and compositions are said to have been “most delicately worked and highly finished.” The poor fellow had contemplated the preparation of some grand work for the International Exhibition, but the little of physical life remaining in him was lately extinguished by a new accident.

Conversation of Literary Men.—Literary men talk less than they did. They seldom “lay out” much for conversation. The conversational, like the epistolary age, is past; and we have come upon the age of periodical literature. People neither put their best thoughts and their available knowledge into their letters, nor keep them for evening conversation. The literary men of 1850 have a keener eye to the value of their stock-in-trade, and keep it well garnered up, for conversion, as opportunity offers, into the current coin of the realm. There is some periodical vehicle, nowadays, for the reception of every possible kind of literary ware. The literary man converses now through the medium of the Press, and turns every thing into copyright at once. He can not afford to drop his ideas by the way-side; he must keep them to himself, until the printing-press has made them inalienably his own. If a happy historical or literary illustration occurs to him, it will do for a review article; if some un-hackneyed view of a great political question presents itself to him, it may be worked into his next leader; if some trifling adventure has occurred to him, or he has picked up a novel anecdote in the course of his travels, it may be reproduced in a page of magazine matter, or a column of a cheap weekly serial. Even puns are not to be distributed gratis. There is a property in a double-entente, which its parent will not willingly forego. The smallest jokelet is a marketable commodity. The dinner-table is sacrificed to Punch. There is too much competition in these days, too many hungry candidates for the crumbs that fall from the thinker’s table, not to make him chary of his offerings. In these days, every scrap of knowledge—every happy thought—every felicitous turn of expression, is of some value to a literary[Pg 558] man; the forms of periodical literature are so many and so varied. He can seldom afford to give any thing away; and there is no reason why he should. It is not so easy a thing to turn one’s ideas into bread, that a literary man need be at no pains to preserve his property in them. We do not find that artists give away their sketches, or that professional singers perform promiscuously at private parties. Perhaps, in these days of much publishing, professional authors are wise in keeping the best of themselves for their books and articles. We have known professional writers talk criticism; but we have generally found it to be the very reverse of what they have published.

Rewards of Literature.—Literature has been treated with much ingratitude, even by those who owe most to it. If we do not quite say with Goldsmith, that it supports many dull fellows in opulence, we may assert, with undeniable truth, that it supports, or ought to support, many clever ones in comfort and respectability. If it does not it is less the fault of the profession than the professors themselves. There are many men now in London, Edinburgh, and other parts of the country, earning from £1000 to £300 per annum by their literary labors, and some, with very little effort, earning considerably more. It is no part of our plan in the present article to mix up modern instances with our wise saws, else might we easily name writers who, for contributions to the periodical press, for serial installments of popular tales, and other literary commodities, demanding no very laborious efforts of intellectual industry, have received from flourishing newspaper proprietors and speculative booksellers, sums of money which it would be difficult to earn with equal facility in any other learned profession. An appointment on the editorial staff of a leading daily paper is in itself a small fortune to a man. The excellence of the articles is, for the most part, in proportion to the sum paid for them; and a successful morning journal will generally find it good policy to pay its contributors in such a manner as to secure the entire produce of their minds, or, at all events, to get the best fruits that they are capable of yielding. If a man can earn a comfortable independence by writing three or four leading articles a week, there is no need that he should have his pen ever in his hand, that he should be continually toiling at other and less profitable work. But if he is to keep himself ever fresh and ever vigorous for one master he must be paid for it. There are instances of public writers who had shown evident signs of exhaustion when employed on one paper—who had appeared, indeed, to have written themselves out so thoroughly, that the proprietors were fain to dispense with their future services—transferring those services to another paper, under more encouraging circumstances of renumeration, and, as though endued with new life, striking out articles fresh, vigorous, and brilliant. They gave themselves to the one paper; they had only given a part of themselves to the other.

Schamyl, the Prophet of the Caucasus, through whose inspiriting leadership the Caucasians have maintained a successful struggle against the gigantic power of Russia for many years, is described by a recent writer as a man of middle stature; he has light hair, gray eyes, shaded by bushy and well-arched eyebrows; a nose finely moulded, and a small mouth. His features are distinguished from those of his race by a peculiar fairness of complexion and delicacy of skin: the elegant form of his hands and feet is not less remarkable. The apparent stiffness of his arms, when he walks, is a sign of his stern and impenetrable character His address is thoroughly noble and dignified. Of himself he is completely master; and he exerts a tacit supremacy over all who approach him. An immovable, stony calmness, which never forsakes him, even in moments of the utmost danger, broods over his countenance. He passes a sentence of death with the same composure with which he distributes “the sabre of honor” to his bravest Murids, after a bloody encounter. With traitors or criminals whom he has resolved to destroy he will converse without betraying the least sign of anger or vengeance. He regards himself as a mere instrument in the hands of a higher Being; and holds, according to the Sufi doctrine, that all his thoughts and determinations are immediate inspirations from God. The flow of his speech is as animating and irresistible as his outward appearance is awful and commanding. “He shoots flames from his eyes and scatters flowers from his lips,” said Bersek Bey, who sheltered him for some days after the fall of Achulgo, when Schamyl dwelt for some time among the princes of the Djighetes and Ubiches, for the purpose of inciting the tribes on the Black Sea to rise against the Russians. Schamyl is now fifty years old, but still full of vigor and strength; it is however said, that he has for some years past suffered from an obstinate disease of the eyes, which is constantly growing worse. He fills the intervals of leisure which his public charges allow him, in reading the Koran, fasting, and prayer. Of late years he has but seldom, and then only on critical occasions, taken a personal share in warlike encounters. In spite of his almost supernatural activity, Schamyl is excessively severe and temperate in his habits. A few hours of sleep are enough for him; at times he will watch for the whole night, without showing the least trace of fatigue on the following day. He eats little, and water is his only beverage. According to Mohammedan custom, he keeps several wives. In 1844 he had three, of which his favorite (Pearl of the Harem, as she was called) was an Armenian, of exquisite beauty.

A Frankfort journal states that the colossal statue of Bavaria, by Schwanthaler, which is to[Pg 559] be placed on the hill of Seudling, surpasses in its gigantic proportions all the works of the moderns. It will have to be removed in pieces from the foundry where it is cast to its place of destination, and each piece will require sixteen horses to draw it. The great toes are each half a mètre in length. In the head two persons could dance a polka very conveniently, while the nose might lodge the musician. The thickness of the robe, which forms a rich drapery descending to the ankles, is about six inches, and its circumference at the bottom about two hundred mètres. The Crown of Victory which the figure holds in her hands weighs one hundred quintals (a quintal is a hundred weight).

Wordsworth’s prose writings are not numerous; and with the exception of the well-known prefaces to his minor poems, they are little known. A paper or two in Coleridge’s Friend, and a political tract occasioned by the convention of Cintra, form important and valuable contributions to the prose literature of the country. We would especially call attention to the introductory part of the third volume of the Friend, as containing a very beautiful development of Mr. Wordsworth’s opinions on the moral worth and intellectual character of the age in which it was his destiny to live. The political tract is very scarce; but we may safely affirm, that it contains some of the finest writing in the English language. Many of its passages can be paralleled only by the majestic periods of Milton’s prose, or perhaps by the vehement and impassioned eloquence of Demosthenes. Its tone is one of sustained elevation, and in sententious moral and political wisdom it will bear a comparison with the greatest productions of Burke. We trust that this pamphlet will be republished. A collection and separate publication of all Mr. Wordsworth’s prose writings would form a valuable addition to English literature.

Mr. Wordsworth’s conversation was eminently rich, various, and instructive. Attached to his mountain home, and loving solitude as the nurse of his genius, he was no recluse, but keenly enjoyed the pleasures of social intercourse. He had seen much of the world, and lived on terms of intimate friendship with some of the most illustrious characters of his day. His reading was extensive, but select; indeed, his mind could assimilate only the greater productions of intellect. To criticism he was habitually indifferent; and when solicited for his opinions, he was generally as reserved in his praise as he was gentle in his censures. For some of his contemporaries he avowed the highest respect; but Coleridge was the object of his deepest affection as a friend, and of his veneration as a philosopher. Of the men who acted important parts in the political drama of the last century, the homage of his highest admiration was given to Burke, who, after Shakspeare and Bacon, he thought the greatest being that Nature had ever created in the human form.

The last few years of Mr. Wordsworth’s life were saddened by affliction. They who were admitted to the privilege of occasional intercourse with the illustrious poet in his later days will long dwell with deep and affectionate interest upon his earnest conversation while he wandered through the shaded walks of the grounds which he loved so well, and ever and anon paused to look down upon the gleaming lake as its silver radiance was reflected through the trees which embosomed his mountain home. Long will the accents of that “old man eloquent” linger in their recollection, and their minds retain the impression of that pensive and benevolent countenance. The generation of those who have gazed upon his features will pass away and be forgotten. The marble, like the features which it enshrines, will crumble into dust. Ut vultus hominum ita simulacra vultus imbecilla ac mortalia sunt, forma mentis æterna; the attributes of his mighty intellect are stamped for ever upon his works which will be transmitted to future ages as a portion of their most precious inheritance.

No man is more enshrined in the heart of the French people than the poet Beranger. A few weeks since he went one evening with one of his nephews to the Clos des Lilas, a garden in the students’ quarter devoted to dancing in the open air, intending to look for a few minutes upon a scene he had not visited since his youth, and then withdraw. But he found it impossible to remain unknown and unobserved. The announcement of his presence ran through the garden in a moment. The dances stopped, the music ceased, and the crowd thronged toward the point where the still genial and lovely old man was standing. At once there rose from all lips the cry of Vive Beranger! which was quickly followed by that of Vive la Republique. The poet, whose diffidence is excessive, could not answer a word, but only smiled and blushed his thanks at this enthusiastic reception. The acclamations continuing, an agent of the police invited him to withdraw, lest his presence might occasion disorder. The illustrious song-writer at once obeyed; by a singular coincidence the door through which he went out opened upon the place where Marshal Ney was shot.

The Paris Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres is constantly sending forth the most valuable contributions, to the history of the middle ages especially. It is now completing the publication of the sixth volume of the Charters, Diplomas, and other documents relating to French history. This volume, which was prepared by M. Pardessus, includes the period from the beginning of 1220 to the end of 1270, and comprehends the reign of St. Louis. The seventh volume, coming down some fifty years later, is also nearly ready for the printer. Its editor is M. Laboulaye. The first volume of the Oriental Historians of the Crusaders, translated into French, is now going through the press, and the second is in course[Pg 560] of preparation. The greater part of the first volume of the Greek Historians of the same chivalrous wars is also printed, and the work is going rapidly forward. The Academy is also preparing a collection of Occidental History on the same subject. When these three collections are published, all the documents of any value relating to the Crusades will be easily accessible, whether for the use of the historian or the romancer. The Academy is also now engaged in getting out the twenty-first volume of the History of the Gauls and of France, and the nineteenth of the Literary History of France, which brings the annals of French letters down to the thirteenth century. It is also publishing the sixteenth volume of its own Memoirs, which contains the history of the Academy for the last four years, and the work of Freret on Geography, besides several other works of less interest. From all this some idea may be formed of the labors and usefulness of the institution.

In speaking of the advantage of education to Mechanics, Robert Hall says that it has a tendency to exalt the character, and, in some measure, to correct and subdue the taste for gross sensuality. It enables the possessor to beguile his leisure moments (and every man has such) in an innocent, at least, if not in a useful manner. The poor man who can read, and who possesses a taste for reading, can find entertainment at home, without being tempted to repair to the public-house for that purpose. His mind can find employment where his body is at rest. There is in the mind of such a man an intellectual spring, urging him to the pursuit of mental good; and if the minds of his family are also a little cultivated, conversation becomes the more interesting, and the sphere of domestic enjoyment enlarged. The calm satisfaction which books afford puts him into a disposition to relish more exquisitely the tranquil delight of conjugal and parental affection; and as he will be more respectable in the eyes of his family than he who can teach them nothing, he will be naturally induced to cultivate whatever may preserve, and to shun whatever would impair that respect.

For producing steel pens the best Dennemora—Swedish iron—or hoop iron is selected. It is worked into sheets or slips about three feet long, and four or five inches broad, the thickness varying with the desired stiffness and flexibility of the pen for which it is intended. By a stamping press pieces of the required size are cut out. The point intended for the nib is introduced into a gauged hole, and by a machine pressed into a semi-cylindrical shape. In the same machine it is pierced with the required slit or slits. This being effected, the pens are cleaned by mutual attrition in tin cylinders, and tempered, as in the case of the steel plate, by being brought to the required color by heat. Some idea of the extent of this manufacture will be formed from the statement, that nearly 150 tons of steel are employed annually for this purpose, producing upward of 250,000,000 pens.

Philosophers abroad are working diligently at many interesting branches of physical science: magneto and muscular electricity, dia-magnetism, vegetable and animal physiology: Matteucci in Italy, Bois-Reymond, Weber, Reichenbach, and Dove in Germany. The two maps of isothermal lines for every month in the year, lately published by the last-mentioned savant, are remarkable and most valuable proofs of scientific insight and research. If they are to be depended on, there is but one pole of cold, situate in Northern America; that supposed to exist in the Asiatic continent disappears when the monthly means are taken. These maps will be highly useful to the meteorologist, and indeed to students of natural philosophy generally, and will suggest other and more-extended results.

A communication from M. Trémaux, an Abyssinian traveler, has been presented to the French Academy by M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire: it gives an account of the sudden difference which occurs in the races of men and animals near Fa Zoglo, in the vicinity of the Blue Nile. The shores of this stream are inhabited by a race of Caucasian origin, whose sheep have woolly coats; but at a few miles’ distance, in the mountains of Zaby and Akaro, negro tribes are found whose sheep are hairy. According to M. Trévaux, ‘the differences and changes are due to two causes: the one, that vegetable nature, having changed in aspect and production, attracts and supports certain species, while others no longer appear, or the individuals are fewer. As for the second cause, it is the more surprising, since it produces opposite effects on the same point: where man has no longer silken, but woolly hair, there the sheep ceases to be covered with wool.’ M. St. Hilaire remarked on these facts, that the degree of domestication of animals is proportional to the degree of civilization of those who possess them. Among savage people dogs are nearly all alike, and not far removed from the wolf or jackal; while among civilized races there is an almost endless variety—the greater part far removed from the primitive type. Are we to infer from this that negroes will cease to be negroes by dint of civilization—that wool will give place to hair, and vice versâ? If so, a wide field is opened for experiment and observation.[Pg 561]


The action of Congress during the past month has been of more than usual interest. The Senate has finally disposed of the Compromise Bill, which has absorbed its discussions for nearly the whole of the session, and has taken definite action upon all the subjects which that bill embraced. On the 30th of July, the bill being before the Senate, a resolution offered by Senator Bradbury, of Maine, was pending, authorizing the appointment of Commissioners by the United States and Texas, for the adjustment of the boundary line between Texas and New Mexico. To this Mr. Dawson, of Ga., offered an amendment, providing that until the boundary should have been agreed to, no territorial government should go into operation east of the Rio Grande, nor should any state government be established to include that territory. This amendment was adopted, ayes 30, noes 28. Mr. Bradbury’s resolution, thus amended, was then adopted by the same vote. On the 31st the bill came up for final action. Mr. Norris moved to strike out the clause restricting the Legislature of New Mexico from establishing or prohibiting slavery. This was carried, 32 to 20. Mr. Pearce, of Maryland, then moved to strike out all relating to New Mexico, which was carried by a vote of 33 to 22. He then moved to re-insert it, omitting the amendment of Messrs. Bradbury and Dawson—his object being by this roundabout process (which was the only way in which it could be reached), to reverse the vote adopting that amendment. His motion was very warmly and strongly resisted, and various amendments offered to it were voted down. The motion itself was then put and lost, ayes 25, nays 28. This left nothing in the bill except the provision for admitting California and that establishing a territorial government for Utah. Mr. Walker, of Wisconsin, then moved to strike out all except that part relating to California. This was lost, ayes 22, nays 33. Mr. Atchison, of Missouri, moved to strike out all relating to California. This motion was first lost by a tie vote, but a reconsideration was moved by Mr. Winthrop and carried, and then the motion prevailed, ayes 34, nays 25. The Bill thus contained nothing but the sections relating to Utah, and in that shape it was passed, ayes 32, nays 18. Thus the Compromise bill, reported early in the session, and earnestly debated from that time forward, was decisively rejected. On the very next day, the 1st of August, the bill for the admission of California was made the special order by a vote of 34 to 23. Mr. Foote, of Miss., offered an amendment that California should not exercise her jurisdiction over territory south of 35° 30′. Mr. Clay in an earnest and eloquent speech, after regretting the fate of the Compromise Bill, said he wished it to be distinctly understood that if any state or states, or any portion of the people, should array themselves in arms against the Union, he was for testing the strength of the government, to ascertain whether it had the ability to maintain itself. He avowed the most unwavering attachment to the Union, and declared his purpose to raise both his voice and his arm in support of the Union and the Constitution. He had been in favor of passing the several measures together: he was now in favor of passing them separately: but whether passed or not, he was in favor of putting down any and all resistance to the federal authority. After some debate, Mr. Foote’s amendment was negatived, yeas 23, nays 33. On the 6th of August Mr. Turney, of Tennessee, offered an amendment, dividing California into two territories, which may hereafter form state constitutions. This was rejected, ayes 29, nays 32. Mr. Yulee offered an amendment, establishing a provisional government, which he advocated in a speech extending through three days: on the 10th it was rejected by a vote of 12 to 35 An amendment offered by Mr. Foote, erecting the part of California south of 36° 30′ into a distinct territory, was rejected by a vote of 13 to 30. On the 12th the bill was ordered to be engrossed, yeas 33, nays 19; and on the 13th, after a brief but warm debate, in the course of which Senators Berrien and Clemens denounced the bill as fraught with mischief and peril to the Union, and Mr. Houston ridiculed the apprehensions thus expressed, the bill was finally passed, yeas 34, nays 18, as follows:

Yeas—Messrs. Baldwin, Bell, Benton, Bradbury, Bright, Cass, Chase, Cooper, Davis, of Massachusetts, Dickinson, Dodge, of Wisconsin, Dodge, of Iowa, Douglas, Ewing, Felch, Green, Hale, Hamlin, Houston, Jones, Miller, Norris, Phelps, Seward, Shields, Smith, Spruance, Sturgeon, Underwood, Upham, Wales, Walker, Whitcomb, and Winthrop—34.

Nays.—Messrs. Atchison, Barnwell, Berrien, Butler, Clemens, Davis, of Mississippi, Dawson, Foote, Hunter, King, Mason, Morton, Pratt, Rusk, Sebastian, Soulé, Turney, and Yulee—18.

The next day a Protest against the admission of California, signed by Senators Mason and Hunter, of Virginia, Butler and Barnwell, of South Carolina, Turney, of Tennessee, Soulé, of Louisiana, Davis, of Mississippi, Atchison, of Missouri, and Morton and Yulee, of Florida, was presented, and a request made that it might be entered on the Journal. This, however, the Senate refused. Thus was completed the action of the Senate on the admission of California.

On the 5th of August Mr. Pearce, of Md., introduced a bill, making proposals to Texas[Pg 562] for the settlement of her western and northern boundaries. It proposes that the boundary on the north shall commence at the point where the meridian of 100° west longitude intersects the parallel of 36° 30′ north latitude, and shall run due west to the meridian of 103° west longitude: thence it shall run due south to the 32d degree north latitude, thence on the said parallel to the Rio del Norte, and thence with the channel of said river to the Gulf of Mexico. For relinquishing all claims to the United States government for territory beyond the line thus defined, the bill proposes to pay Texas ten millions of dollars. The bill was debated for several successive days, and on the 9th was ordered to be engrossed, yeas 27, nays 24, and received its final passage on the same day, yeas 30, nays 20, as follows:

Yeas.—Messrs. Badger, Bell, Berrien, Bradbury, Bright, Cass, Clarke, Clemens, Cooper, Davis, of Massachusetts, Dawson, Dickinson, Dodge, of Iowa, Douglas, Felch, Foote, Greene, Houston, King, Norris, Pearce, Phelps, Rusk, Shields, Smith, Spruance, Sturgeon, Wales, Whitcomb, and Winthrop—30.

Nays.—Messrs. Atchison, Baldwin, Barnwell, Benton, Butler, Chase, Davis, of Mississippi, Dodge, of Wisconsin, Ewing, Hale, Hunter, Mason, Morton, Seward, Soulé, Turney, Underwood, Upham, Walker, and Yulee—20.

Thus was completed the action of the Senate on the second of the great questions which have enlisted so much of public attention during the past few months.—On the 14th the bill providing a territorial government for New Mexico was taken up. Mr. Chase moved to amend it by inserting a clause prohibiting the existence of slavery within its limits, which was rejected, ayes 20, nays 25. The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, which it had, and was finally passed.

In the House of Representatives, no business of importance has been transacted. The Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation Bill has been discussed, and efforts have been made to change the existing rules of the House so as to facilitate public business; but nothing important has been done.—On the 6th of August President Fillmore sent to the House a Message, transmitting a letter he had received from Governor Bell, of Texas, announcing that he had sent a commissioner to extend the laws of Texas over that part of New Mexico which she claims, and that he had been resisted by the inhabitants and the United States military authorities. The President says in his Message that he deems it his duty to execute the laws of the United States, and that Congress has given him full power to put down any resistance that may be organized against them. Texas as a state has no authority or power beyond her own limits; and if she attempts to prevent the execution of any law of the United States, in any state or territory beyond her jurisdiction, the President is bound by his oath to resist such attempts by all the power which the Constitution has placed at his command. The question is then considered whether there is any law in New Mexico, resistance to which would call for the interposition of the Executive authority. The President regards New Mexico as a territory of the United States, with the same boundaries which it had before the war with Mexico, and while in possession of that country. By the treaty of peace the boundary line between the two countries is defined, and perfect security and protection in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and in the free exercise of their religion, is guaranteed to those Mexicans who may choose to reside on the American side of that line. This treaty is part of the law of the land, and as such must be maintained until superseded or displaced by other legal provisions; and if it be obstructed, the case is regarded as one which comes within the provisions of law, and which obliges the President to enforce these provisions. “Neither the Constitution or the laws,” says Mr. Fillmore, “nor my duty or my oath of office, leave me any alternative, or any choice, in my mode of action.” The Executive has no power or authority to determine the true line of boundary, but it is his duty, in maintaining the laws, to have regard to the actual state of things as it existed at the date of the treaty—all must be now regarded as New Mexico which was possessed and occupied as New Mexico by citizens of Mexico at the date of the treaty, until a definite line of boundary shall be established by competent authority. Having thus indicated the course which he should pursue, the President expresses his earnest desire that the question of boundary should be settled by Congress, with the assent of the government of Texas. He deprecates delay, and objects to the appointment of commissioners. He expresses the opinion that an indemnity may very properly be offered to Texas, and says that no event would be hailed with more satisfaction by the people than the amicable adjustment of questions of difficulty which have now for a long time agitated the country, and occupied, to the exclusion of other subjects, the time and attention of Congress. Accompanying the Message was a letter from Mr. Webster, Secretary of State, in reply to that of Governor Bell. Mr. Webster vindicates the action of the military authorities in New Mexico, saying that they had been instructed to aid and advance any attempt of the inhabitants to form a state government, and that in all they did they acted as agents of the inhabitants rather than officers of the government. An outline is given of the history of the acquisition of New Mexico, and it is clearly shown that every thing thus far has been done in strict accordance with the stipulations of the treaty, and with the position and principles of the late President Polk. The military government existed in New Mexico as a matter of necessity, and must remain until superseded by some other form. The President approves entirely of the measures taken by Colonel Munroe, while he takes no part, and expresses no opinion touching the boundary claimed by Texas. These documents were ordered to be printed and were referred to committees.[Pg 563]

Mr. Pearce of Maryland, and Mr. Bates of Missouri, who were invited by President Fillmore to become members of his cabinet, both declined. Hon. T. M. T. Mckennan of Pennsylvania, has been appointed Secretary of the Interior, and Hon. Chas. M. Conrad of Louisiana, Secretary of War, in their places. Both have accepted.—It is stated that Hon. D. D. Barnard of New-York, has been nominated as Minister to Prussia. Mr. B. is one of the ablest writers and most accomplished scholars in the country.—A regular line of stages has just been established to run monthly between Independence, Missouri, and Santa-Fé, in New Mexico. Each coach is to carry eight persons, and to be made water tight, so as to be used as a boat in crossing streams. This will prove to be an important step toward the settlement of the great western region of our Union.—An active canvass has been going on in Virginia for the election of members of a convention to revise the state constitution. The questions at issue grow mainly out of a contest between the eastern and western sections of the state for supremacy. The west has been gaining upon the east in population very rapidly during the last fifteen or twenty years. The east claims a representation based upon property, by which it hopes to maintain its supremacy, while the west insists that population alone should be made the basis of political representation. The contest is carried on with a great deal of warmth and earnestness.—Elections of considerable interest have taken place during the month in several of the states. In Missouri, where five members of Congress were chosen, three of them, Messrs. Porter, Darby, and Miller, are known to be Whigs. In the other two districts the result has not been ascertained. The change which this result indicates, is attributed to the course taken by Senator Benton, in refusing to obey the instructions of the state legislature, and in denouncing them as connected with the scheme of disunion, which he charged upon certain southern politicians. This led to a division in his own party, which enabled the Whigs to elect a part, at least, of the Congressional delegation.—In North Carolina an election for governor, has resulted in the choice of Col. Reid, Democrat, by 3000 majority. In the state senate the Democrats have four, and in the house they have 10 majority. This enables them to choose a democratic U.S. Senator in place of Mr. Mangum, the present Whig incumbent.—In Indiana the election has given the Democrats control of the legislature and of the state convention for the revision of the constitution.—The authorities of Buffalo some weeks since, hearing that Lord Elgin, Governor of Canada, was about to visit their city, prepared for him a public reception. Circumstances prevented the fulfillment of the purpose, but the courtesy of the people of Buffalo was communicated by Lord Elgin to his government at home, and acknowledged by Earl Grey in a letter to our Department of State. In further acknowledgement the Legislature of Canada, and the Corporation of Toronto, invited the authorities of Buffalo to pay them a visit, which was done on the 8th of August, when they were welcomed by a very brilliant reception. This interchange of courtesies is peculiarly creditable to both parties, and highly gratifying to both countries.—The Legislature of Wisconsin has enacted a law making it a penal offence for any owner or lessee of land to allow the Canada thistle to go to seed upon it.—The Board of Visitors appointed by the Government to attend the annual examination at West Point, have made their report, giving a detailed account of their observations, and concluding by expressing the opinion, that the Military Academy is one of the most useful and highly creditable in our country; that it has been mainly instrumental in forming the high character which our army now sustains before the civilized world, and that it is entitled to the confidence and fostering care of the Government.—Hon. Henry Clay has been spending the August weeks at Newport, R.I. He has received essential benefit from the sea-bathing and the relief from public care which his temporary residence there affords.—Commodore Jacob Jones, of the United States Navy, died at his residence in Philadelphia, on the 3d ult. He was in the 83d year of his age, and stood nearly at the head of the list of post captains, Commodores Barron and Stewart only preceding him. He was a native of Delaware, and one of the number who, in the war of 1812, contributed to establish the naval renown of our country. For the gallant manner in which, while in command of the brig Wasp, he captured the British brig Frolic, of superior force, he was voted a sword by each of the States of Delaware, Massachusetts, and New-York. He was, until recently, the Governor of the Naval Asylum, near Philadelphia.—The city authorities of Boston, acting under the advice of the Consulting Physicians, have decided to abandon all quarantine regulations, as neither useful nor effectual in preventing the introduction of epidemic diseases.—Professor Forshey, in an essay just published, proves by the result of observations kept up through a great number of years, that the channel of the Mississippi river is deepening, and consequently the levee system will not necessarily elevate the bed of the river, as has been feared. On the contrary, he thinks confining the river within a narrow channel will give it additional velocity, ant serve to scrape out the bottom; while opening artificial outlets, by diminishing the current, will cause the rapid deposition of sediment, and thus produce evil to be guarded against.—A project has been broached for completing the line of railroads from Boston to Halifax, and then to have the Atlantic steamers run between that port and Galway, the most westerly port of Ireland. In this way it is thought that the passage from Liverpool to New York may be considerably shortened.[Pg 564]

In Scientific matters some interesting and important experiments have been made by Prof. Page of the Smithsonian Institute, on the subject of Electro-Magnetism as a motive power, the results of which have recently been announced by him in public lectures. He states that there can be no further doubt as to the application of this power as a substitute for steam. He exhibited experiments in which a bar of iron weighing one hundred and sixty pounds was made to spring up ten inches through the air, and says that he can as readily move a bar weighing a hundred tons through a space of a hundred feet. He expects to be able to apply it to forge hammers, pile drivers, &c., and to engines with a stroke of six, ten, or twenty feet. He exhibited also an engine of between four and five horse power, worked by a battery contained in a space of three cubic feet. It was a reciprocating engine of two feet stroke, the engine and battery weighing about one ton, and driving a circular saw ten inches in diameter, sawing boards an inch and a quarter thick, making eighty strokes a minute. The professor says that the cost of the power is less than steam under most conditions, though not so low as the cheapest steam engines. The consumption of three pounds of zinc per day produces one horse power. The larger his engines the greater the economy. Some practical difficulties remain to be overcome in the application of the power to practical purposes on a larger scale: but little doubt seems to be entertained that such an application is feasible. The result is one of very great importance to science, as well as to the arts of practical life.—We made a statement in our July number of the pretensions of Mr. Henry M. Paine, of Worcester, Mass., to having discovered a new method of procuring hydrogen from water, and rendering it capable of giving a brilliant light, with great case and at a barely nominal expense, by passing it through cold spirits of turpentine. His claims have been very generally discredited, and were supposed to have been completely exploded by the examinations of several scientific gentlemen of Boston and New York. Mr. George Mathiot, an electro-metallurgist attached to the United States Coast Survey, and a gentleman of scientific habits and attainments, has published in the Scientific American, a statement that he has succeeded in a kindred attempt. He produced a very brilliant light, nearly equal to the Drummond, by passing hydrogen through turpentine: and in thus passing the gas from thirty-three ounces of zinc through it, the quantity of turpentine was not perceptibly diminished. “In this case,” he says, “the hydrogen could not have been changed into carburetted hydrogen, for coal gas contains from four to five times as much carbon as hydrogen, and pure carburetted hydrogen has six times as much carbon as hydrogen; and, as 33 ounces of zinc, by solution, liberate one ounce, or twelve cubic feet of hydrogen, therefore, from four to six ounces of turpentine should have been used up, supposing it to be all carbon; but turpentine is composed of twenty atoms of carbon to fifteen atoms of hydrogen, and, consequently, only one-seventh of its carbon can be taken up by the hydrogen; or, in other words, forty-two ounces of turpentine will be required to carburet one ounce of hydrogen.” He tried the experiment afterward, placing the whole apparatus in a cold bath to prevent evaporation, and again by heating the turpentine to 120 degrees—but in both cases with the same result. He used the same turpentine and had a brilliant light for nearly three hours, and yet the quantity was not perceptibly diminished. Mr. Mathiot claims that his experiments prove conclusively that hydrogen can be used for illumination, but at what comparative rate of expense he does not state.—The American Scientific Association commenced its annual session at New Haven on the 19th of August. This is an association formed for the advancement of science and embraces within its members nearly all the leading scientific men of the United States. Prof. Bache presides. The proceedings of these conventions, made up of papers on scientific subjects read by distinguished gentlemen, are published in a volume, and form a valuable contribution to American scientific literature.—Intelligence has been received, by way of England, and also, direct, from two of the American vessels sent out in search of Sir John Franklin. The brig Advance arrived at Whalefish Island, on the West Coast of Greenland, on the 24th of June, and the Rescue arrived two days after. Two of the British steamers and two of the ships had also arrived. All on board were well, and in good spirits for prosecuting the expedition. Enormous icebergs were, seen by the American vessels on the voyage, some of them rising 150 or 200 feet above the water. A letter from an officer of the Rescue says they expected to go to a place called Uppermarik, about two hundred miles from Whalefish Island, thence to Melville Bay, and across Lancaster Sound to Cape Walker, and from that point they would try to go to Melville Island and as much farther as possible. They intended to winter at Melville Island, but that would depend upon circumstances.

The Literary Intelligence of the month presents no feature of special interest. The first volume of a series of Reminiscences of Congress, made up mainly of a biography of Daniel Webster, has just been issued from the press of Messrs. Baker and Scribner. It is by Charles W. March, Esq., a young man of fine talents, and of unusual advantages for the preparation of such a work. His style is eminently graphic and classical, and the book is one which merits attention.—The same publishers will also publish a volume of sketches by Ik. Marvel, the well-known pseudonym of Mr. D. G. Mitchell, whose “Fresh Gleanings,” and “Battle Summer,” have already made him very favorably known to the literary community.—Prof.[Pg 565] Torrey, of the University of Vermont, has prepared for the press the fourth volume of his translation of Neander’s Church History, which will be issued soon. It is understood that, at the time of his death, the great German scholar was engaged upon the fifth volume of his history, which is therefore left unfinished.—The Appletons announce a Life of John Randolph, by Hon. A. H. Garland, which can not fail to be an attractive and interesting work. They are also to publish the magnificently-illustrated book on the war between the United States and Mexico, upon which Geo. W. Kendall has been engaged for a year or two., It is to embrace splendid pictorial drawings of all the principal conflicts, taken on the spot, by Carl Nebel, a German artist of distinction, with a description of each battle by Mr. Kendall. It will be issued in one volume, folio, beautifully colored.

The past month has been distinguished by the annual commencements of the academic year in most of the colleges of the country. At these anniversary occasions, the candidates for honors make public exhibition of their ability; the literary societies attached to the colleges hold their celebrations: and addresses and poems are delivered by literary gentlemen previously invited to perform that duty. The number of colleges in the country, and the fact that the most distinguished scholars in the country are generally selected for the office, gives to these occasions a peculiar and decided interest; and the addresses then and thus pronounced, being published, form no inconsiderable or unworthy portion of the literature of the age. The commencement at Yale College was celebrated at New Haven, on the 15th ult. The recurrence of the third semi-centennial anniversary of the foundation of the college, in 1700, led to additional exercises of great interest, under the supervision of the alumni of the college, of whom over 3000 are still living, and about 1000 of whom were present. President Woolsey delivered a very interesting historical discourse, sketching the origin, progress, and results of the institution, and claiming for it a steady and successful effort to meet the requirements of the country and the age. The discourse, when published, will form a valuable contribution to the historical literature of the country. The alumni, at their dinner, which followed the address, listened to some eloquent and interesting speeches from ex-President Day and Prof. Silliman, touching the history of Yale College; from Prof. Felton, concerning Harvard; from Leonard Bacon, D.D., in reference to the clergy educated at Yale; from Edward Bates, of Missouri, concerning the West and the Union; from Prof. Brown, of Dartmouth; from Daniel Lord, of New York, upon the Bench and the Bar; and from Dr. Stevens, upon the Medical Profession, as connected with Yale College; and from other gentlemen of distinction and ability, upon various topics. John W. Andrews, Esq., of Columbus, O., delivered the oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society; his subject was the Progress of the World during the last half century. Oliver Wendell Holmes, of Cambridge, delivered the poem, which was one of his most admirable productions—a blending of the most exquisite descriptive and sentimental poetry with the finest humor, the keenest wit, and the most effective sarcasm. Pierpont, the well-known poet, also read an admirable satirical and humorous poem at the dinner: The number of graduates at Yale this year was seventy-eight.—The commencement of the University of Vermont occurred on the 7th. Rev. Henry Wilkes, of Montreal, delivered an address before the Society for Religious Inquiry, upon the Relations of the Age to Theology. H. J. Raymond, of New-York, addressed the Associate Alumni on the Duties of American Scholars, with special reference to certain aspects of American Society; and Rev. Mr. Washburn, of Newburyport, Mass., delivered an address before the Literary Societies, on the Developments and Influences of the Spiritual Philosophy The number of graduates was fifteen—considerably less than usual.—Union College at Schenectady, N.Y., celebrated its commencement on the 24th of July. Rev. Dr. S. H. Cox, of Brooklyn, delivered the address. The number of graduates was eighty.—At Dartmouth, commencement occurred on the 25th of July. Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, addressed the alumni on the Perpetuity of Literary Influence; David Paul Brown, Esq., of Philadelphia, the Literary Societies, on Character, its Force and Results; and Rev. Albert Barnes, of the same city, addressed the Theological Society on the Theology of the Unknown. The number of graduates was forty-six.—On the 24th of July, the regular commencement-day, Hon. Theo. Frelinghuysen was inaugurated as President of Rutgers College, N.J. His address was one of great ability and eloquence, enforcing the importance of academic education to the age and the country. The number of graduates was twenty-four.—Amherst College celebrated its commencement on the 8th The number of graduates was twenty-four Rev. Dr. Cox addressed the Society of Inquiry on the importance of having history studied as a science in our colleges. A. B. Street, Esq., of Albany, delivered a poem, and Mr. E. P. Whipple, of Boston, an admirable and eloquent oration on the characteristics and tendencies of American genius. He repeated the oration at the Wesleyan University, at Middletown, Conn.; where a brilliant oration by Prof. D. D. Whedon, and a poem by Mr. W. H. C. Hosmer, were delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society. An able and learned address was delivered before the Alumni by Rev. J. Cummings. The number of graduates was nineteen.—Some important changes are to be made in the organization of Brown University, in accordance with the principles and views recently set forth by President Wayland, in a published pamphlet. Greater prominence is to be given[Pg 566] to the study of the natural sciences as applied to the arts of practical life, and the study of the ancient languages is to be made optional with students. The sum of $108,000 has been raised by subscriptions in aid of the institution. Rev. Asahel Kendrick, of Madison University, has been elected Professor of Greek; William A. Norton, of Delaware College, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Civil Engineering; and John A. Porter, of the Lawrence Scientific School, Professor of Chemistry applied to the Arts.—Rev. Dr. Tefft, of Cincinnati, has been elected President of the Genesee College just established at Lima, N.Y. The sum of $100,000 has been raised for its support.

From California our intelligence is to the 15th of July, received by the Philadelphia steamer, which brought gold to the value of over a million of dollars. The accounts from the gold mines are unusually good. The high water at most of the old mines prevented active operations; but many new deposits had been discovered, especially upon the head waters of Feather river, and between that and Sacramento river. Gold has also been discovered at the upper end of Carson river valley, near and at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada. A lump of quartz mixed with gold, weighing thirty pounds, and containing twenty-three pounds of pure gold, has been found between the North and Middle Forks of the Yuba river. At Nevada and the Gold Run, where the deposits were supposed to have been exhausted, further explorations have shown it in very great abundance, at a depth, sometimes, of forty feet below the surface. The hills and ravines in the neighborhood are said to be very rich in gold.—A very alarming state of things exists in the southern mines, owing, in a great degree, to the disaffection created by the tax levied upon foreign miners. Murders and other crimes of the most outrageous character are of constant occurrence, and in the immediate vicinity of Sonora, it is stated that more than twenty murders had been committed within a fortnight. Guerrilla parties, composed mainly of Mexican robbers, were in the mountains, creating great alarm, and rendering life and property in their vicinity wholly insecure. Fresh Indian troubles had also broken out on the Tuolumne: three Americans had been shot.—The Odd Fellows have erected a grand edifice at San Francisco for the accommodation of their order.—The Fourth of July was celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout California.—It is stated that a line of steamers is to be run from San Francisco direct to Canton. Whether the enterprise be undertaken at once or not, it cannot, in the natural course of events, be delayed many years. The settlement of California will lead, directly or indirectly, to a constant commercial intercourse with China, and will exert a more decided influence upon the trade and civilization of eastern Asia, than any other event of the present century. California can not long continue dependent upon the Atlantic coast, still less upon the countries of Europe, for the teas, silks, spices, &c., which her population will require. She is ten thousand miles nearer to their native soil than either England, France, or the United States, and will, of course, procure them for herself rather than through their agency.

From Oregon we have intelligence to the first of July. Governor Lane has resigned his post as governor of the territory, and was about starting on a gold-hunting expedition. It is said that one of the richest gold mines on the Pacific coast has been discovered in the Spokan country, some 400 miles above Astoria, on the Columbia river. Parties were on their way to examine it. Extensive discoveries of gold, we may say here, are reported to have been made in Venezuela, on a branch of the river Orinoco. The papers of that country are full of exultation over this discovery, from which they anticipate means to pay the English debt within a single year.

From Mexico our dates are to the 16th of July. The ravages of the Indians in the Northern districts still continue. In Chihuahua they have become so extensive that a body of three hundred men was to be sent to suppress them. The State of Durango has also been almost overrun by them. In Sonora several severe conflicts have taken place in which the troops were victorious. The cholera has almost ceased.

In England, no event has excited more interest than the claim of his seat in the House of Commons by Baron Rothschild. At his request, a meeting of the electors of the city of London was held July 25th, to confer on the course proper to be pursued. The meeting concluded by resolving that Baron R. ought to claim his seat, which he accordingly did on the 26th of July. He asked to be sworn on the Old Testament, against which Sir Robert Inglis protested. The question was debated for several days, and was finally postponed until the next session.—The proceedings of Parliament, during the month, have not been of special interest. The House of Commons passed the resolutions approving of the foreign policy of the ministry, and especially its conduct in regard to the claims on the government of Greece, by a vote of ayes 310, nays 264, showing a ministerial majority of 46. The selection of a site for the great Industrial Exhibition of next year has elicited a good deal of discussion. Hyde Park has been fixed upon as the site against the very earnest remonstrances of many who live in its vicinity; and the building committee have accepted an offer made by Mr. Paxton, to erect a building chiefly of iron and glass. It is to be of wood-work to the height of eighteen feet, and arrangements have been made to provide complete ventilation, and to secure a moderate temperature. It is to be made in Birmingham, and the entire cost is stated at about[Pg 567] a million of dollars. There will be on the ground-floor alone seven miles of tables. There will be 1,200,000 square feet of glass, 24 miles of one description of gutter, and 218 miles of “sash-bar;” and in the construction 4500 tons of iron will be expended. The wooden floor will be arranged with “divisions,” so as to allow the dust to fall through.—An attempt was made to secure a vote in the House of Commons in favor of repealing the malt-tax, on the ground that it pressed too heavily upon the agricultural interest; but it failed, 247 voting against it and 123 in its favor.—An effort was made to extend still further the principles of the reform bill, by making the franchise of counties in England and Wales the same as it is in boroughs, giving the right of voting to all occupiers of tenements of the annual value of £10. The motion was warmly advocated by several members, but opposed by Lord John Russel, partly on the ground that it was brought forward at a wrong time, and partly because he thought the changes contemplated inconsistent with the maintenance of the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons, which were fundamental parts of the British Constitution. The motion was lost by 159 to 100.—A motion to inquire into the working of the existing regulation concerning Sunday labor in the Post-offices was carried 195 to 112.—A motion made by Lord John Russell to erect a monument in Westminster Abbey, to the memory of Sir Robert Peel was carried by acclamation.—The sum of £12,000 per annum was voted to the present Duke of Cambridge, and £3000 to the Princess Mary of Cambridge—being grandchildren of the late King George III.—not without strenuous opposition from members, who thought the sums unnecessarily large.

A petition was recently presented in the House of Lords, purporting to be signed by 18,000 rate payers, against the bill for the Liverpool Corporation Water-works. In consequence of suspicions that were entertained, the document was referred to a select committee and it was found on investigation that many of the names had been affixed by clerks, and the paper then wet to make it appear that it had been carried round from place to place in the rain. Evidence was taken showing that this had been a very common practice of agents employed by the parties interested to get up signatures to petitions. The Committee in the House of Lords had expressed themselves very strongly as to the necessity of some law for preventing such abuses in future.—The criminal tables for the year 1849 have been laid before Parliament. Of the persons committed for trial during the year, 6786 were acquitted, and 21,001 convicted. Of these convicted one in 318 was sentenced to death, and one in 8 to transportation. There has been no execution since 1841 except for murder: of 19 persons convicted during the past year of this offense 15 were executed, five of whom were females.—The Royal Agricultural Society held its annual meeting July 18th at Exeter. Mr. Lawrence the American Minister at London, and Mr. Rives the Minister at Paris were both present and made eloquent speeches, upon the agricultural state of England.—The boiler of the steamer Red Rover at Bristol exploded July 22d, killing six persons and severely injuring many others.—An explosion took place in the coal-pits belonging to Mr. Sneden, near Airdrie on the 23d, by which nineteen persons were instantly killed. Only one man in the mine escaped; he saved his life by throwing himself upon the ground the moment he heard the explosion. The men were not provided with Davy safety-lamps.—At a meeting of the Royal Humane Society a new invention of Lieutenant Halkett, of the Navy, was introduced. It is a boat-cloak which may be worn, like a common cloak on the shoulders, and may be inflated in three or four minutes by a bellows and will then sustain six or eight persons—forming a kind of boat which it is almost impossible to overturn. A trial was to be made of its efficacy.—Sir Thomas Wilde has been made Lord Chancellor and raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Truro of Bowes, in the County of Middlesex.—Sir Robert Peel, Bart., has been returned to Parliament for the borough of Tamworth made vacant by the death of his father. It is stated that Sir Robert’s last injunction was that his children should not receive titles or pensions for any supposed services their father might have rendered. This is in keeping with the severe simplicity of his character and negatives conclusively the representations of those who have charged his advocacy of measures designed to aid the poor, to interested motives of selfish or family ambition. A subscription has been set on foot for a testimonial to his memory to be called “the Working-man’s Monument.”

The foreign Literary Intelligence of the month is unusually meagre. The only work of great interest that has been published is Wordsworth’s posthumous Poem, The Prelude, of which a somewhat extended notice will be found on a preceding page. It has already been republished in this country, where it will find a wide circle of sympathizing readers. The Household Narrative, in summing up the literary news, says that another note-worthy poem of the month, also a posthumous publication though written some years ago, is a dramatic piece attributed to Mr. Beddoes, and partaking largely of his well-known eccentricity and genius, called Death’s Jest-Book or the Fool’s Tragedy. A republication of Mr. Cottle’s twenty-four books of Alfred, though the old pleasant butt and “jest-book” of his ancient friend Charles Lamb, is said hardly to deserve even so many words of mention. Nor is there much novelty in A Selection from the Poems and Dramatic Works of Theodore Korner, though the translation is a new one, and by the clever translator of the Nibelungen. To this brief catalogue of works of fancy is added the mention of two somewhat clever tales in one volume, with the title of [Pg 568]Hearts in Mortmain and Cornelia, intended to illustrate the working of particular phases of mental emotion; and another by Mrs. Trollope, called Petticoat Government.——In the department of history there is nothing more important than a somewhat small volume with the very large title of the Correspondence of the Emperor Charles V. and his Embassadors at the Courts of England and France; which turns out to be a limited selection from letters existing in the archives at Vienna, but not uninteresting to English readers, from the fact of their incidental illustrations of the history of Henry VIII., and the close of Wolsey’s career. Two books of less pretension have contributed new facts to the history of the late civil war in Hungary; the first from the Austrian point of view by an Eye-witness, and the second from the Hungarian by Max Schlesinger. Mr. Baillie Cochrane has also contributed his mite to the elucidation of recent revolutions in a volume called Young Italy, which is chiefly remarkable for its praise of Lord Brougham, its defense of the Pope, its exaggerated scene-painting of the murder of Rossi, its abuse of the Roman Republic, and its devotion of half a line to the mention of Mazzini.

Better worthy of brief record are the few miscellaneous publications, which comprise an excellent new translation of Rochefoucauld’s Maxims, with a better account of the author, and more intelligent notes, than exist in any previous edition; most curious and interesting Memorials of the Empire of Japan in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, which Mr. Rundell of the East India House has issued under the superintendence of the Hakluyt Society, and which illustrate English relations with those Japanese; an intelligent and striking summary of the Antiquities of Richborough, Reculver, and Lynne, written by Mr. Roach Smith and illustrated by Mr. Fairholt, which exhibits the results of recent discoveries of many remarkable Roman antiquities in Kent; and a brief, unassuming narrative of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Expedition to the Shores of the Arctic Sea in 1846 and 1847, by the commander of the expedition, Mr. John Rae.

Ballooning in France and England seems to have become a temporary mania. The ascent of Messrs. Barral and Bixio, of which a detailed and very interesting account will be found in a preceding page, has encouraged imitators in various styles. One M. Poitevin made an ascent in Paris seated on a horse, which was attached to the balloon in place of the car. The London Athenæum invokes the aid of the police to prevent such needless cruelty to animals, and to exercise proper supervision over the madmen who undertake such fool-hardy feats.——A plaster mask said to have been taken from the face of Shakspeare, and bearing the date 1616 on its back, has been brought to London from Mayence, which is said to have been procured from an ecclesiastical personage of high rank at Cologne. It excites considerable attention among virtuosos.——The English, undeterred by the indignation which has been poured out upon Lord Elgin by Byron and others for rifling Athens of its antiquities for display at home, are practicing the same desecration in regard to the treasures discovered in Nineveh by Mr. Layard. It is announced that the Great Bull and upwards of 100 tons of sculpture excavated by him, may be expected in England in September for the British Museum. The French Government are also making extensive collections of Assyrian works of art.——Among those who perished by the loss of the British steamer Orion was Dr. John Burns, Professor of Surgery in the University of Glasgow, and a man of considerable eminence in his profession. He was the author of several works upon various medical subjects and had also written upon literary and theological topics. Dr. Gray, Professor of Oriental languages in the same university has also deceased within the month.——A new filtering apparatus, intended to render sea-water drinkable, has recently been brought to the notice of the Paris Academy.——A letter in the London Athenæum from the Nile complains bitterly of the constant devastation of the remains of ancient temples, &c., caused by the rapacious economy of the government. The writer states that immense sculptured and painted blocks have been taken from the temple of Karnac, for the construction of a sugar factory; a fine ancient tomb has also entirely disappeared under this process. Very earnest complaints are also made of the Prussian traveler Dr. Lepsius, for carrying away relies of antiquity, and for destroying others. The writer urges that if this process is continued Egypt will lose far more by the cessation of English travel than she can gain in the value of material used.——Rev. W. Kirby, distinguished as one of the first entomologists of the age, died at his residence in Suffolk, July 4th, at the advanced age of 91. He has left behind him several works of great ability and reputation on his favorite science.——It is stated that the late Sir Robert Peel left his papers to Lord Mahon and Mr. Edward Cardwell M.P.——Among the deaths of the month we find that of an amiable man and accomplished writer, Mr. B. Simmons, whose name will be recollected as that of a frequent contributor of lyrical poems of a high order to Blackwood’s Magazine, and to several of the Annuals. Mr. Simmons, who held a situation in the Excise office, died July 19th.——Guizot, the eminent historian, on the marriage of his two daughters recently to descendants of the illustrious Hollander De Witt, was unable to give them any thing as marriage portions. Notwithstanding the eminent positions he has filled for so much of his life—positions which most men would have made the means of acquiring enormous wealth, Guizot is still poor. This fact alone furnishes at once evidence and illustration of his sterling integrity.——A new History of Spain, by St. Hilaire, is in course of publication in Paris. He has been engaged upon it for a number of years, and it is said to [Pg 569]be a work of great ability and learning.——Leverrier, the French astronomer, has published a strong appeal in favor of throwing the electric telegraph open to the public in France, as it has been in the United States. At present it is guarded by the government as a close monopoly. His paper contains a good deal of interesting matter in regard to this greatest of modern inventions.——Meinhold, the author of the “Amber Witch,” has lately been fined and imprisoned for slandering a brother clergyman. This is the second instance in which he has been convicted of this offense.——M. Guizot has addressed a long letter to each of the five classes of the Institute of France, to declare that he can not accept the candidateship offered him for a seat in the Superior Council of Public Instruction.——Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton is to be a candidate for the House of Commons, with Colonel Sibthorpe, for Lincoln. He has a new play forthcoming for the Princess’s Theater.——Miss Strickland has in preparation a series of volumes on the Queens of Scotland, as a companion to her interesting and successful work on the Queens of England.——Sir Francis Knowles has recently taken out a patent for producing iron in an improved form. In blast-furnaces, as at present constructed, the ore, the flux, and combustibles, are mixed together; and the liberated gases of the fuel injure the quality of the iron, and cause great waste, in the shape of slag. By the new process the ore is to be kept separate from the sulphureous fuel in a compartment contrived for the purpose, in the centre of the furnace, where it will be in contact with peat only; and in this way the waste will be avoided, and a quality of metal will be produced fully equal to the best Swedish. The invention is likely to be one of considerable importance.——Professor Johnston, the distinguished English agriculturist, who visited this country last year, and lectured in several of the principal cities, at a late farmers’ meeting in Berwickshire, gave a general account of the state of agriculture in America, as it fell under his personal observation. He represented it in the Northern States as about what it was in Scotland eighty or ninety years ago. The land in all New England he said had been exhausted by bad farming, and even in the Western States the tendency of things was to the same result. He thought it would not be long before America would be utterly unable to export wheat to England in any large quantity.

Affairs in France are still unsettled. The Government goes steadily forward in the enactment of laws restraining the Press, forbidding free discussion among the people, diminishing popular rights and preparing the way, by all the means in their power, for another revolution. The most explicit provisions of the Constitution have been set aside and the government of the Republic is really more despotic than was that of Louis Philippe at any time during his reign. A warm debate occurred in the Assembly on the bill for restricting the liberty of the press. It commenced on the 8th of July and gave occasion to a violent scene. M. Rouher, the Minister of Justice, spoke of the Revolution of February as a “disastrous catastrophe,” which elicited loud demands from the opposition that he should be called to order. The President refused to call him to order and M. Girardin threatened to resign saying, that he would not sit in an assembly where such language was permitted. He did not resign, however, but his friends contented themselves with handing in a protest the next day which the President refused to receive. The debate then proceeded and an amendment was passed, 313 to 281, declaring that all leading articles in journals should be signed by the writers. On the 15th an amendment was adopted that papers publishing a feuilleton should pay an additional tax of one centime beyond the ordinary stamp duty. On the 16th the bill was finally passed by a vote of 390 to 265.

From Portugal we learn that Mr. Clay, having failed to secure from the Portuguese government a compliance with the demands he was instructed to make, asked for his passports and withdrew. The difficulty engages the attention of the Portuguese Minister at Washington, and the Department of State, and it is supposed that it will be amicably settled. No details of the negotiations in progress have been made public, but it is understood that no doubt exists as to the result.

In Germany the event of the month which excites most interest in this country, is the death of Neander. Our preceding pages contain a notice of his life, writings, and character, which renders any further mention here unnecessary.——At Berlin the Academy of Sciences has been holding a sitting, according to its statutes, in honor of the memory of Leibnitz. In the course of the oration delivered on the occasion it was stated that, the 4th of August next being the 50th anniversary of the admission of Alexander von Humboldt as a member of the Academy, it has been resolved, in celebration of the event, to place a marble bust of the “Nestor of Science” in the lecture-room of the Society.

From Spain there is nothing of importance. The Queen, Isabella, gave birth to an heir, on the 13th of July, but it lived scarcely an hour, so that the Duchess of Montpensier is still heir presumptive to the throne. The Count of Montemolin has married a sister of the king of Naples, and the Spanish minister, taking offense, has left that court.

From Denmark there is intelligence of new hostilities. The Schleswig-Holstein difficulty, which was supposed to have been settled, has broken out afresh. The negotiations which had been in progress between the five great powers, were broken off by Prussia, she declaring that neither Austria nor Prussia could ever[Pg 570] assent to considering the provinces in question as parts of the Danish monarchy. The failure to agree upon satisfactory terms, led both parties to prepare for renewed hostilities, and a severe engagement took place on the 25th of July, between the Danes and the Holsteiners, in which the latter were defeated. The field of action was Idstedt, a small village on the Flensburg road. The Danish army amounted to about 45,000 men, commanded by General Von Krogh; the army of the Holsteiners to 28,000 only, commanded at the centre by General Willisen, a Prussian volunteer; at the right by Colonel Von der Horst, also a Prussian, and at the left by Colonel Von der Taun, a Bavarian officer, of chivalrous courage and great impetuosity. The battle commenced at three o’clock in the morning with an attack of the Danes on both wings of the enemy. They were very warmly received, and after the battle had lasted two or three hours, they made an assault upon the centre, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery at the same time. They were so strongly repulsed, however, that they were compelled to retreat. An attack of their whole force, concentrated upon the centre and right wing of the Holsteiners was more successful, and by bringing up a reserve, after ten or twelve hours hard fighting, they compelled the Holstein centre to give way, and by two o’clock the army was in full retreat, but in good order. The Danes appear to have been either too fatigued or too indolent to follow up their advantage. The members of the Holstein government, who were in Schleswig, fled immediately to Kiel, on hearing the battle was lost; all the officials also left the town; the post-office was shut, the doors locked, and all business suspended. The battle was more sanguinary than that fought under the walls of Frederica on the 6th of July last year. The loss on both sides has been estimated at about 7000 men in killed, wounded, and missing—of which the Holstein party say the greater share has fallen upon the Danes. Another engagement is said to have taken place on the 1st of August near Mohede, in which the Danes were defeated, with but slight loss on either side. The interference of the great powers is anticipated.

From India and the East there is little news of interest. A terrible accident occurred at Benares on the 1st of May. A fleet of thirty boats, containing ordnance stores, was destroyed by the explosion of 3000 barrels of gunpowder with which they were freighted. Four hundred and twenty persons were killed on the spot, about 800 more were wounded, and a number of houses were leveled with the ground. The cause of the disaster remained unexplained, as not a human being was left alive who could tell the tale.——The city of Canton has been visited with a severe fever which has been very destructive, though it had spared the European factories.——The great Oriental diamond, seized by the British as part of the spoils of the Sikh war, was presented to the Queen on the 3d of July, having arrived from India a few days before. It was discovered in the mines of Golconda three hundred years ago, and first belonged to the Mogul emperor, the father of the great Aurungzebee. Its shape and size are like those of the pointed end of a hen’s egg; and its value is estimated at two millions of pounds sterling.——News has been received of an insurrection against the Dutch government in the district of Bantam. The insurgents attacked the town of Anjear, in the Straits of Sunda, but, after burning the houses, were driven back to their fastnesses by the military.


In Memoriam. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields. 12mo. pp. 216.

The impressive beauty of these touching lyrics proceeds, in a great degree, from the “sad sincerity” which so evidently inspired their composition. In memory of a youthful friend, who was distinguished for his rare early promise, his ripe and manifold accomplishments, and a strange, magnetic affinity with the genius of the author, these exquisite poems are the gushing expression of a heart touched and softened, but not enervated by deep sorrow. The poet takes a pensive delight in gathering up every memorial of the brother of his affections; his fancy teems with all sweet and beautiful images to show the tenderness of his grief; every object in external nature recalls the lost treasure; until, after reveling in the luxury of woe, he regains a serene tranquillity, with the lapse of many years. With the exquisite pathos that pervades this volume, there is no indulgence in weak and morbid sentiment. It is free from the preternatural gloom which so often makes elegiac poetry an abomination to every healthy intellect. The tearful bard does not allow himself to be drowned in sorrow, but draws from its pure and bitter fountains the sources of noble inspiration and earnest resolve. No one can read these natural records of a spirit, wounded but not crushed, without fresh admiration of the rich poetical resources, the firm, masculine intellect, and the unbounded wealth of feeling, which have placed Tennyson in such a lofty position among the living poets of England.

Harper and Brothers have recently published The History of Darius, by Jacob Abbott, The English Language in its Elements and Forms, by William C. Fowler, Julia Howard, a Romance, by Mrs. Martin Bell, [Pg 571]Five Years of a Hunter’s Life in the Interior of South Africa, by R. G. Cumming, Health, Disease, and Remedy, by George Moore, and Latter Day Pamphlets, No. viii., by Thomas Carlyle.

The History of Darius is one of Mr. Abbott’s popular historical series, written in the style of easy and graceful idiomatic English (though not always free from inaccuracies), which give a pleasant flavor to all the productions of the author. In a neat preface, with which the volume is introduced, Mr. Abbott explains the reasons for the mildness and reserve with which he speaks of the errors, and often the crimes of the persons whose history he describes. He justifies this course, both on the ground of its intrinsic propriety, and of the authority of Scripture, which, as he justly observes, relates the narratives of crime “in a calm, simple, impartial, and forbearing spirit, which leads us to condemn, the sins, but not to feel a pharisaical resentment and wrath against the sinner.” The present volume sets forth the leading facts in the life of Darius the Great with remarkable clearness and condensation, and can scarcely be too highly commended, both for the use of juvenile readers, and of those who wish to become acquainted with the subject, but who have not the leisure to pursue a more extended course of historical study.

Professor Fowler’s work on the English Language is a profound treatise on the Philosophy of Grammar, the fruit of laborious and patient research for many years, and an addition of unmistakable value to our abundant philological treasures. It treats of the English Language in its elements and forms, giving a copious history of its origin and development, and ascending to the original principles on which its construction is founded. The work is divided into eight parts, each of which presents a different aspect of the subject, yet all of them, in their mutual correlation, and logical dependence, are intended to form a complete and symmetrical system. We are acquainted with no work on this subject which is better adapted for a text-book in collegiate instruction, for which purpose it is especially designed by the author. At the same time it will prove an invaluable aid to more advanced students of the niceties of our language, and may even be of service to the most practiced writers, by showing them the raw material, in its primitive state, out of which they cunningly weave together their most finished and beautiful fabrics.

Julia Howard is the reprint of an Irish story of exciting interest, which, by its powerful delineation of passion, its bright daguerreotypes of character, and the wild intensity of its plot, must become a favorite with the lovers of high-wrought fiction.

We have given a taste of Cumming’s Five Years of a Hunter’s Life in the last number of The New Monthly Magazine, from which it will be seen that the writer is a fierce, blood-thirsty Nimrod, whose highest ideal is found in the destruction of wild-beasts, and who relates his adventures with the same eagerness of passion which led him to expatriate himself from the charms of English society in the tangled depths of the African forest. Every page is redolent of gunpowder, and you almost hear the growl of the victim as he falls before the unerring shot of this mighty hunter.

Dr. Moore’s book on Health, Disease, and Remedy is a plain, practical, common-sense treatise on hygiene, without confinement in the harness of any of the modern opathies. His alert and cheerful spirit will prevent the increase of hypochondria by the perusal of his volume, and his directions are so clear and definite, that they can be easily comprehended even by the most nervous invalid. Its purpose can not be more happily described than in the words of the author. “It is neither a popular compendium of physiology, hand-book of physic, an art of healing made easy, a medical guide-book, a domestic medicine, a digest of odd scraps on digestion, nor a dry reduction of a better book, but rather a running comment on a few prominent truths in medical science, viewed according to the writer’s own experience. The object has been to assist the unprofessional reader to form a sober estimate of Physic, and enable him to second the physician’s efforts to promote health.” Dr. Moore’s habits of thought and expression are singularly direct, and he never leaves you at a loss for his meaning.

We can not say so much for Carlyle, whose eighth number of Latter-Day Tracts, on Jesuitism, brings that flaming and fantastic series to a close, with little detriment, we presume, to the public.

Phillips, Sampson, and Co. have published a critique on Carlyle, by Elizur Wright, the pungent editor of the Boston Chronotype, entitled Perforations of the “Latter-Day Pamphlets, by one of the Eighteen Million Bores,” in which he makes some effective hits, reducing the strongest positions of his opponent to impalpable powder.

The Odd Fellows’ Offering for 1851, published by Edward Walker, is the ninth volume of this beautiful annual, and is issued with the earliest of its competitors for public favor. As a representative of the literary character of the Order, it is highly creditable to the Institution. Seven of the eleven illustrations are from original paintings by native artists. The frontispiece, representing the Marriage of Washington, appeals forcibly to the national sentiment, and is an appropriate embellishment for a work dedicated to a large and increasing fraternity, whose principles are in admirable harmony with those of our free institutions.

Haw-Ho-Noo, or, Records of a Tourist, by Charles Lanman, published by Lippincott, Grambo and Co., under an inappropriate title, presents many lively and agreeable descriptions of adventures in various journeys in different parts of the United States. The author has a keen sense of the beauties of nature, is always at home in the forest or at the side of the mountain stream, and tells all sorts of stories about trout, salmon, beavers, maple-sugar, rat[Pg 572]tle-snakes, and barbecues, with a heart-felt unction that is quite contagious. As a writer of simple narrative, his imagination sometimes outstrips his discretion, but every one who reads his book will admit that he is not often surpassed for the fresh and racy character of his anecdotes.

The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt, published by Harper and Brothers, as our readers may judge from the specimens given in a former number of this Magazine, is one of the most charming works that have lately been issued from the English press. Leigh Hunt so easily falls into the egotistic and ridiculous, that it is a matter of wonder how he has escaped from them to so great a degree in the present volumes. His vanity seems to have been essentially softened by the experience of life, the asperities of his nature greatly worn away, and his mind brought under the influence of a kindly and genial humor. With his rare mental agility, his susceptibility to many-sided impressions, and his catholic sympathy with almost every phase of character and intellect, he could not fail to have treasured up a rich store of reminiscences, and his personal connection with the most-celebrated literary men of his day, gives them a spirit and flavor, which could not have been obtained by the mere records of his individual biography. The work abounds with piquant anecdotes of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Keats, Lamb, Hazlitt, and Moore—gives a detailed exposition of Hunt’s connection with the Examiner, and his imprisonment for libel—his residence in Italy—his return to England—and his various literary projects—and describes with the most childlike frankness the present state of his opinions and feelings on the manifold questions which have given a direction to his intellectual activity through life. Whatever impressions it may leave as to the character of the author, there can be but one opinion as to the fascination of his easy, sprightly, gossiping style, and the interest which attaches to the literary circles, whose folding-doors he not ungracefully throws open.

The United States Railroad Guide and Steam-boat Journal, by Holbrook and Company, is one of the best manuals for the use of travelers now issued by the monthly press, containing a great variety of valuable information, in a neat and portable form.

Hints to Young Men on the True Relation of the Sexes, by John Ware, M.D., is a brief treatise, prepared by a distinguished scientific man of Boston, in which an important subject is treated with delicacy, good sense, and an earnest spirit. It is published by Tappan, Whittimore, and Mason, Boston.

Among the publications of the last month by Lippincott, Grambo, and Company, is the Iris, an elegant illuminated souvenir, edited by Professor John S. Hart, and comprising literary contributions from distinguished American authors, several of whom, we notice, are from the younger class of writers, who have already won a proud and enviable fame by the admirable productions of their pens. In addition to the well-written preface by the Editor, we observe original articles by Stoddard, Boker, Caroline May, Alice Carey, Phebe Carey, Rev. Charles T. Brooks, Mary Spenser Pease, Edith May, Eliza A. Starr, Kate Campbell, and others, most of which are superior specimens of the lighter form of periodical literature. The volume is embellished with exquisite beauty, containing four brilliantly illuminated pages, and eight line engravings, executed in the highest style of London art. We are pleased to welcome so beautiful a work from the spirited and intelligent house by which it is issued, as a promise that it will sustain the well-earned reputation of the old establishment of Grigg, Elliot, and Co., of which it is the successor. The head of that firm, Mr. John Grigg, we may take this occasion to remark, presents as striking a history as can be furnished by the records of bookselling in this country. Commencing life without the aid of any external facilities, and obtaining the highest eminence in his profession, by a long career of industry, enterprise, and ability, he has retired from active business with an ample fortune, and the universal esteem of a large circle of friends. We trust that his future years may be as happy, as his busy life has been exemplary and prosperous.

George P. Putnam has published The Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, by Washington Irving, forming the fourteenth volume of the beautiful revised edition of Irving’s collected works. Since the first publication of this romantic prose-poem, the fictitious dress, in which the inventive fancy of the author had arrayed the story, had been made the subject of somewhat stringent criticism; Fray Antonio Agapida had been found to belong to a Spanish branch of the family of Diedrich Knickerbocker; and doubts were thus cast over the credibility of the whole veracious chronicle. Mr. Irving extricates himself from the dilemma with his usual graceful ingenuity. In a characteristic note to this edition, he explains the circumstances in which the history had its origin, and shows conclusively that whatever dimness may be thrown over the identity of the worthy Fray Antonio, the work itself was constructed from authentic documents, and is faithful in all its essential points to historical fact. While occupied at Madrid in writing the life of Columbus, Mr. Irving was strongly impressed with the rich materials presented by the war of Granada, for a composition which should blend the interest of romance with the fidelity of history. Alive as he always is to picturesque effect, he was struck with the contrast presented by the combatants of Oriental and European creeds, costumes, and manners; with the hairbrained enterprises, chivalric adventures, and wild forays through mountain regions; and with the moss-trooping assaults on cliff-built castles and cragged fortresses, which succeeded each other with dazzling brilliancy and variety. Fortunately in the well-stored libraries of Madrid, he had ac[Pg 573]cess to copious and authentic chronicles, often in manuscript, written at the time by eye-witnesses, and in some instances, by persons who had been actually engaged in the scenes described. At a subsequent period, after completing the Life of Columbus, he made an extensive tour in Andalusia, visiting the ruins of the Moorish towns, fortresses, and castles, and the wild mountain passes, which had been the principal theatre of the war, and passing some time in the stately old palace of the Alhambra, the once favorite abode of the Moorish monarchs. With this preparation, he finished the manuscript of which he had already drawn up the general outline, adopting the fiction of a Spanish monk as the chronicler of the history. By this innocent stratagem, Mr. Irving intended to personify in Fray Antonio the monkish zealots who made themselves busy in the campaigns, marring the chivalry of the camp by the bigotry of the cloister, and exulting in every act of intolerance toward the Moors.

This ingenious explanation will give a fresh interest to the present edition. The costume of the garrulous Agapida is still retained, although the narrative is reduced more strictly within historical bounds, and is enriched with new facts that have been recently brought to light by the erudite researches of Alcántara and other diligent explorers of this romantic field. With excellent taste, the publisher has issued this volume in a style of typographical elegance not unworthy the magnificent paragraphs of the golden-mouthed author.

The Life and Times of General John Lamb, by Isaac Q. Leake, published at Albany by J. Munsell, is an important contribution to the history of the Revolution, compiled from original documents, many of which possess great interest.

Progress in the Northwest is the title of the Annual Discourse delivered before the Historical Society of Ohio, by the President, William D. Gallagher, and published by H. W. Derby and Co., Cincinnati. It gives a rapid description of the progress of cultivation and improvement in the Northwestern portion of the United States, showing the giant steps which have been taken, especially, within the last twenty years, on that broad and fertile domain. The conditions of future advancement are also discussed in the spirit of philosophical analysis, and with occasional touches of genuine eloquence.

Edward Everett’s Oration at the Celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill, published by Redding and Co., Boston, describes some of the leading incidents in that opening scene of the American Revolution, and is distinguished for the rhetorical felicity, the picturesque beauty of expression, and the patriotic enthusiasm which have given a wide celebrity to the anniversary performances of the author. Its flowing melody of style, combined with the impressive tones and graceful manner of the speaker, enables us to imagine the effect which is said to have been produced by its delivery. The ability exhibited in Mr. Everett’s expressive and luminous narrative, if devoted to an elaborate historical composition, would leave him with but few rivals in this department of literature.

Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University, by Timothy Walker, published by James Munroe and Co., Boston, is a temperate discussion of the Reform Spirit of the day, abounding in salutary cautions and judicious discriminations. The style of the Oration savors more of the man of affairs than of the practical writer, and its good sense and moderate tone must have commended it to the cultivated audience before which it was delivered.

The Poem on the American Legend, by Bayard Taylor, pronounced on the same occasion, and published by John Bartlett, Cambridge, is a graceful portraiture of the elements of romance and poetry in the traditions of our country, and contains passages of uncommon energy of versification, expressing a high order of moral and patriotic sentiment. His allusion to the special legends of different localities are very felicitous in their tone, and the tribute to the character of the lamented President is a fine instance of the condensation and forcible brevity which Mr. Taylor commands with eminent success.

A useful and seasonable work, entitled Europe, Past and Present, by Francis H. Ungewitter, LL.D., has been issued by G. P. Putnam, which will be found to contain a mass of information, carefully arranged and digested, of great service to the student of European Geography and History. The author, who is a native German, has published several extensive geographical works in his own country, which have given him the reputation of a sound and accurate scholar in that department of research. He appears to have made a faithful and discriminating use of the abundant materials at his command, and has produced a work which can not fail to do him credit in his adopted land.

The Architecture of Country Houses, by A. J. Downing, published by D. Appleton and Co., is from the pen of a writer whose former productions entitle him to the rank of a standard authority on the attractive subject of the present volume. Mr. Downing has certainly some uncommon qualifications for the successful accomplishment of his task, which requires no less practical experience and knowledge than a sound and cultivated taste. He is familiar with the best publications of previous authors; his pursuits, have led him to a thorough appreciation of the wants and capabilities of country life; he has been trained by the constant influence of rural scenes; and with an eye keenly susceptible to the effect of proportion and form, he brings the refinements of true culture and the suggestions of a vigilant common-sense to the improvement of Rural Architecture, which he wishes to see in harmony with the grand and beautiful scenery of this country. His remarks in the commencement of the volume, with regard to the general significance of architecture are worthy of profound attention. A due ob[Pg 574]servance of the principles, which he eloquently sets forth, would rescue the fine localities for which nature has done so much from the monstrosities in wood and brick with which they are so often deformed. His discussion of the materials and modes of construction are of great practical value. With the abundance of designs which he presents, for every style of rural building, and the careful estimates of the expense, no one who proposes to erect a house in the country can fail to derive great advantage from consulting his well-written and interesting pages.

Tallis, Willoughby, & Co. are publishing as serials the Adventures of Don Quixote, translated by Jarvis, and the Complete Works of Shakspeare, edited by James Orchard Halliwell. The Don Quixote is a cheap edition, embellished with wood cuts by Tony Johannot. The Shakspeare is illustrated with steel engravings by Rogers, Heath, Finden, and Walker, from designs by Henry Warren, Edward Corbould, and other English artists who are favorably known to the public. It is intended that this edition shall contain all the writings ascribed to the immortal dramatist, without distinction, including not only the Poems and well-authenticated Plays, but also the Plays of doubtful origin, or of which Shakspeare is supposed to have been only in part the author.

Herrman J. Meyer, a German publisher in this city, is issuing an edition of Meyer’s Universum, a splendid pictorial work, which is to appear in monthly parts, each containing four engravings on steel, and twelve of them making an annual volume with forty-eight plates. They consist of the most celebrated views of natural scenery, and of rare works of art, selected from prominent objects of interest in every part of the globe. The first number contains an engraving of Bunker Hill Monument, the Ecole Nationale at Paris, Rousseau’s Hermitage at Montmorency, and the Royal Palace at Munich, besides a well-executed vignette on the title-page and cover. The letter-press descriptions by the author are retained in the original language, which, in a professed American edition, is an injudicious arrangement, serving to limit the circulation of the work, in a great degree, to Germans, and to those familiar with the German language.

Mrs. Crowe’s Night Side of Nature, published by J. S. Redfield, is another contribution to the literature of Ghosts and Ghost-Seers, which, like the furniture and costume of the middle ages, seems to be coming into fashion with many curious amateurs of novelties. The reviving taste for this kind of speculation is a singular feature of the age, showing the prevalence of a dissatisfied and restless skepticism, rather than an enlightened and robust faith in spiritual realities. Mrs. Crowe is a decided, though gentle advocate of the preternatural character of the marvelous phenomena, of which probably every country and age presents a more or less extended record. She has collected a large mass of incidents, which have been supposed to bear upon the subject, many of which were communicated to her on personal authority, and were first brought to the notice of the public in her volume. She has pursued her researches, with incredible industry, into the traditions of various nations, making free use of the copious erudition of the Germans in this department, and arranging the facts or legends she has obtained with a certain degree of historical criticism, that gives a value to her work as an illustration of national beliefs, without reference to its character as a hortus siccus of weird and marvelous stories. In point of style, her volume is unexceptionable; its spirit is modest and reverent; it can not be justly accused of superstition, though it betrays a womanly instinct for the supernatural: and without being imbued with any love of dogmas, breathes an unmistakable atmosphere of purity and religious trust. The study of this subject can not be recommended to the weak-minded and timorous, but an omnivorous digestion may find a wholesome exercise of its capacity in Mrs. Crowe’s tough revelations.

A volume of Discourses, entitled Christian Thoughts on Life, by Henry Giles, has been published by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, Boston, consisting of a series of elaborate essays, intended to gather into a compact form some fragments of moral experience, and to give a certain record and order to the author’s desultory studies of man’s interior life. Among the subjects of which it treats are The Worth of Life, the Continuity of Life, the Discipline of Life, Weariness of Life, and Mystery in Religion and in Life. The views presented by Mr. Giles are evidently the fruit of profound personal reflection; they glow with the vitality of experience; and in their tender and pleading eloquence will doubtless commend themselves to many human sympathies. Mr. Giles has been hitherto most favorably known to the public in this country, as a brilliant rhetorician, and an original and piquant literary critic; in the present volume, he displays a rare mastery of ethical analysis and deduction.

W. Phillips & Co., Cincinnati, have issued an octavo volume of nearly seven hundred pages, composed of Lectures on the American Eclectic System of Surgery, by Benjamin L. Hill, M.D., with over one hundred illustrative engravings. It is based on the principles of the medical system of which the author is a distinguished practitioner.

The National Temperance Offering, edited by S. F. Cary, and published by R. Vandien, is got up in an expensive style, and is intended as a gift-book worthy the patronage of the advocates of the Temperance Reform. In addition to a variety of contributions both in prose and poetry from several able writers, it contains biographical sketches of some distinguished Temperance men, accompanied with their portraits, among whom we notice Rev. Dr. Beecher, Horace Greeley, John H. Hawkins, T. P. Hunt, and others.[Pg 575]

Fashions for Early Autumn.

FIG. 1.—PROMENADE DRESS. FIG. 2.—COSTUME FOR A YOUNG LADY. Fig. 1.—Promenade Dress.           Fig. 2.—Costume for a Young Lady.

Fig 1. A Promenade Dress of a beautiful lavender taffetas, the front of the skirt trimmed with folds of the same, confined at regular distances with seven flutes of lavender gauze ribbon, put on the reverse of the folds; a double fluted frilling, rather narrow, encircles the opening of the body, which is made high at the back, and closed in the front with a fluting of ribbon similar to that on the skirt; demi-long sleeves, cut up in a kind of wave at the back, so as to show the under full sleeve of spotted white muslin. Chemisette of fulled muslin, confined with bands of needlework. Scarf of white China crape, beautifully embroidered, and finished with a deep, white, silk fringe. Drawn capote of pink crape, adorned in the interior with half-wreaths of green myrtle.

Fig. 2. Costume For A Young Lady.—A dress of white barège trimmed with three deep vandyked flounces put on close to each other; high body, formed of worked inlet, finished with a stand-up row round the throat; the sleeves descend as low as the elbow, where they are finished with two deep frillings, vandyked similar to the flounces. Half-long gloves of straw-colored kid, surmounted with a bracelet of black velvet. Drawn capote of white crape, adorned with clusters of the rose de mott both in the interior and exterior. Pardessus of pink glacé silk, trimmed with three frillings of the same, edged with a narrow silk fringe, which also forms a heading to the same; over each hip is a trimming en tablier formed of the fringe; short sleeves, trimmed with one fulling edged with fringe; these sleeves are of the same piece as the cape, not cut separate; the trimming over the top of the arms being similar to that under, and formed also of fringe; this pardessus is perfectly round in its form, and only closes just upon the front of the waist.

Morning Caps which are slightly ornamented, vary more in the way in which they are trimmed, than in the positive form; some being trimmed with chicorées, wreaths of gauze ribbon, or knobs of ribbon edged with a festooned open-work encircling a simple round of tulle, or what is perhaps prettier, a cluster of lace. A pretty form, differing a little from the monotonous round, is composed of a round forming a star, the points being cut off; these points are brought close together,[Pg 576] and are encircled with a narrow bavolet, the front part being formed so as to descend just below the ears, approaching somewhat to the appearance of the front of a capote. A pretty style of morning cap are those made of India muslin, à petit papillon, flat, edged with a choice Mechlin lace, and having three ricochets and a bunch of fancy ribbon placed upon each side, from which depend the brides or strings. Others are extremely pretty, made of the appliqué lace, rich Mechlin, or needlework, and are sometimes ornamented with flowers, giving a lightness to their appearance.

MORNING CAPS. Morning Caps.

Fig. 4. Morning Costume.—Dress and pardessus of printed cambric muslin, the pattern consisting of wreaths and bouquets of flowers. Jupon of plain, white cambric muslin, edged with a border of rich open needlework. The sleeves of the pardessus are gathered up in front of the arm. The white under-sleeves, which do not descend to the wrists, are finished by two rows of vandyked needlework. A small needlework collar. Lace cap of the round form, placed very backward on the head, and trimmed with full coques of pink and green ribbon at each ear.

FIG. 4—MORNING COSTUME. Fig. 4—Morning Costume.


The table of contents has been added. Minor errors in punctuation have been corrected without note.

The following typographical errors have been corrected:

Page  Corrected TextOriginal had
435   fine view of the Firth of ForthFrith
439   when the curtains of the eveningcurttains
456   so I couldn’t sleep comfortablecould’nt
465   splendid creature on which he is mountedspendid
486   ancient hilarity of the English peasanpeasaat
496   I shall not readily forget,readi-
497   “They didn’t think so at Enghein.”did’nt
507   Andrew to be out so lateto to
522   I was no sooner in bedwas was
524   Were murmuring to the moon!to to
532   heavy frames, hung round the wallsroung
549   he is justly punished for his offensespunnished
549   publisher gives ₤500gives gives
565   Progress of the Worldof of
566   be very rich in goldbe be
567   published is Wordsworth’s posthumousWordswort’s

The following words with questionable spellings have been retained: auspicies, dacent, dacency, Elizabethean, vleys. Variant spellings of dillettanti and dilettanti have been retained. Inconsistent hyphenation is as per the original.

The following errors which can not be corrected were noted:

On page 520, it appears that one or more lines may be missing from the original here:

“sulphur mixed with it—and they said,
Indeed it was putting a great affront on the”

On page 560, in the paragraph starting “A communication from M. Trémaux...” the protagonist is later referred to as M. Trévaux.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume
1, No. 4, September, 1850, by Various


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