The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60,
No. 372, October 1846, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 372, October 1846

Author: Various

Release Date: June 27, 2011 [EBook #36530]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the originally erratic spelling, punctuation and typesetting conventions have been retained. Accents in foreign language poetry are inconsistent in the original, and have not been standardized. Hyphenated or nonhyphenated and accented or unaccented versions of same words retained as in original when occurring evenly, or consistently by individual author or speaker. Otherwise changed to most frequent use.


Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands,389
Letters and Impressions from Paris,411
Visit to the Vladika of Montenegro,428
Elinor Travis. Chapter the Last,444
Letters on English Hexameters. Letter III.,477
The Dance. From Schiller,480
A New Sentimental Journey,481
Poems. By Elizabeth Barrett Barrett,488
The Conde's Daughter,496


To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.






This year we have been a defaulter on the Moors. Not that our eye has become more dim, our aim less sure, or our understanding weaker than of yore; but we are no longer subject to the same keen and burning impulses which used periodically to beset us towards the beginning of our departed Augusts, inflaming our destructive organs, and driving us to the heather, as the stag is said to be driven by instinct to the shores of the sea. Somehow or other, we now take things much more coolly. We no longer haunt the shop of Dickson—that most excellent and unassuming of gunmakers—for weeks before the shooting-season, discussing the comparative excellences of cartridge and plain shot, or refitting our battered apparatus with the last ingenuities of Sykes. Our talk is not of pointers or of setters; neither do we think it incumbent upon us to perambulate Princes Street in a shooting-jacket, or with the dissonance of hobnailed shoes. We can even look upon the northern steamers, surcharged with all manner of ammunition, crammed from stem to stern with Cockney tourists and sportsmen, carriages and cars, hampers, havresacks, and hair trunks, steering their way from our noble frith towards the Highlands, without the slightest wish to become one of that gay and gallant crew. Incredible as it may appear, we actually wrote an article upon the twelfth of August last; nor was the calm, even tenor of our thoughts for a moment interrupted by the imaginary whirr of the gor-cock. For the life of us, we cannot recollect what sort of a day it was. To be sure, we were early up and at work—that is, as early as we ever are, somewhere about ten: we wrote on steadily until dinner-time, with no more intermission than was necessary for the discussion of a couple of glasses of Madeira. After a slight and salubrious meal, we again tackled to the foolscap, and by nine o'clock dismissed the printer's devil to his den with a quarter of a ream of manuscript. We then strolled up to our club, where, for the first time, we were reminded of the nature of the anniversary, by the savour of roasted grouse. So, with a kind of melancholy sigh for the impairment of our blunted energies, we sat down to supper, and leisurely explored the pungent pepper about the backbone of the bird of the mountain.

But empty streets, hot sun, and dust like that of the Sahara, are combined nuisances too formidable for the most tranquil or indolent nature. It is not good for any one to be the last man left in town. You become an object of suspicion to the porters—that is, the more superannuated portion of them, for the rest are all gone to carry bags upon the moors—who, [390] seeing you continue from day to day sidling along the deserted streets, begin to entertain strange doubts as to the real probity of your character, or, at all events, as to your absolute sanity. If you are a lawyer, and remain in town throughout August and September, your own conscience will tell you at once that you are nothing short of an arrant sneak. Are there not ten other months in the year throughout which you may cobble condescendences, without emulating the endurance of Chibert, and confining yourself in an oven, to the manifest endangerment of your liver, for the few paltry guineas which may occasionally come tumbling in? Will any agent of sense consider you a better counsel, or a more estimable plodder, because you affect an exaggerated passion for Morrison's Decisions, and refuse to be divorced even for a week from your dalliance with Shaw and Dunlop? Is that unfortunate Lord Ordinary on the Bills to be harassed day and night, deprived of his morning drive, and deranged in his digestive organs, on account of your unhallowed lust for fees? Is your unhappy clerk, whose wife and children have long since been dismissed to cheap bathing-quarters on the coast of Fife, where at this moment they are bobbing up and down among the tangled rocks, skirling as the waves come in, or hunting for diminutive crabs and cavies in the sea-worn pools—is that most oppressed and martyred of all mankind to be kept, by your relentless fiat, or rather wicked obstinacy, from participating in the same sanatory amusements with Bill, and Harry, and Phemie, and the rest of his curly-headed weans? Think you that the complaints of Mrs Screever will not be heard and registered against you in heaven, as, mateless and disconsolate, she cheapens haddocks in the market, or plucks sea-pinks along the cliffs of hoary Anstruther or of Crail? Shame upon you! Recollect, for the sake of others, if not for your own, that you call yourself a gentleman and a Christian. Shut up your house from top to bottom—fee the policeman to watch it—wafer a ticket on the window, directing all parcels to be sent to the grocer with whom you have deposited the key—give poor Girzy a holiday to visit her friends at Carnwath—and be off yourself, as fast as you can, wherever your impulses may lead you, either to the Highlands with rod and gun, or, if you are no sportsman, to Largs, or Ardrossan, or Dunoon, pleasant places all, where you may saunter along the shore undisturbed from morn until dewy eve, hire a boat at a shilling the hour, and purvey your own whitings; or haply, if you are in good luck, take a prominent part in the proceedings of a regatta, and make nautical speeches after dinner to the intense amusement of your audience.

But you say you are a physician. Well, then, cannot you leave your patients to die in peace? It is six months since you were called in to attend that old lady, who has a large jointure and a predisposition to jaundice. You have visited her regularly once a day—sometimes twice—prescribed for her a whole pharmacopeia of drugs—blistered her, bled her, leeched her—curtailed her of wholesome diet, forbidden cordial waters, and denounced the needful cinnamon. Dare you lay your hand on your heart and say that you think her better? Not you. Why not, then, give the poor old woman, who is not only harmless, but an excellent subscriber to several Tract societies, one chance more of a slightly protracted existence? Restore to her her natural food and adventitious comforts. Send her away to Cheltenham or Harrowgate, or some such other vale of Avoca, where, at all events, she may get fresh air, clean lodgings, and lots of mineral water. So shall you escape the pangs of an awakened conscience, and your deathbed be haunted by the thoughts of at least one homicide the less.

What we say to one we say to all. Stockbroker! you are a good fellow in the main, and you never meant to ruin your clients. It was not your fault that they went so largely into Glenmutchkins, and made such unfortunate attempts to bear the Biggleswade Junction. But why should you continue to tempt the poor devils at this flat season of the year, and with a glutted market, into any further purchases of scrip? You know very well, that until November, at the earliest, there is not the most distant[391] prospect of a rise, and you have already pocketed, believe us, a remarkably handsome commission. Do not be in too great a hurry to kill the goose with the golden eggs. A rest for a month or so will make them all the keener for speculation afterwards, and nurse their appetite for premiums. We foresee a stirring winter, if you will but take things quietly in the interim. Assemble your brethren together—shut up the Exchange by common consent during the dog-days—convert your lists into wadding, and let Mammon have a momentary respite.—Writer to the Signet! is it fair to be penning letters, each of which costs your employer three and fourpence, when they are certain to remain unanswered? Do not do it. This is capital time for taking infeftments, and those instruments of sasine may well suffice to plump out the interior of a game-bag. No better witnesses in the world than a shepherd and an illicit distiller; and sweet will be your crowning caulker as you take instruments of earth and stone, peat and divot, and the like, in the hands of Angus and Donald, by the side of the spring, far up in the solitary mountain. Therefore, again we say, be off as speedily as you can to the moors, and leave the Deserted City to sun and dust, and the vigilance of a perspiring Town Council.

Example, they say, is better than precept—we might demur to the doctrine, but we are not in a disputatious humour. For we too are bound, though late, to the land of grouse—indeed we have already accomplished the greater part of our journey, and are writing this article in a pleasant burgh of the west, separated only by an arm of the sea, across which the bright-sailed yachts are skimming, from a long range of heathery hills, whereon we hope, if it pleases fortune, to do some execution on the morrow. Our three pointers, Orleans, Tours, and Bordeaux—so named after the speculation that enabled us to purchase them—are basking in the sun on the little green beneath our window; whilst Scrip, our terrier and constant companion, is perched upon the sill, barking with all his might at a peripatetic miscreant of a minstrel, who for the last half hour has been grinding Gentle Zitella to shreds in his barrel organ. We have tried in vain to move him with coppers dexterously shied so as to hit him if possible on the head, but the nuisance will not abate. We must follow the example of the Covenanters, and put an end to him at the expenditure of a silver shot. "There, our good fellow, is a shilling for you—have the kindness to move on a few doors further; there are some sick folks in this house. At the end of the row you will find a family remarkably addicted to music—the house with the green blinds—you understand us? Thank you!" And in a few moments we hear his infernal instrument, now not unpleasantly remote, doling out the popular air of the Glasgow Chappie, for the edification of the intolerable Gorbalier who poisoned our passage down the Clyde by constituting himself our Cicerone, and explaining the method by which one might discriminate the Railway boats from those of the Castle Company, by the peculiar ochreing of their funnels.

Did we intend to remain here much longer, we should be compelled in self-defence to clear the neighbourhood. This is not so impracticable as at first sight may appear. We have made acquaintance with a very pleasant fellow of a Bauldy—quite a genius in his way—who has a natural talent for the French horn. To him an old key-bugle would be an inestimable treasure, and we doubt not that with a few instructions he would become such a proficient as to serenade the suburb day and night. Nor would our conscience reproach us for having made one human creature supremely happy, even at the cost of the emigration of a few dozen others. But fortunately we have no need to recur to any such experiment. To-morrow we shall enact the part of Macgregor with our foot upon our native heather; and for one evening, wherever the locality, we could not find a more apt or pleasant companion than Mr Charles St John, whose sporting journals are at last published in the Home and Colonial Library.

We make this preliminary statement the more readily, because for divers reasons we had hardly expected to find the work so truly excellent[392] of its kind; and had there been any shortcomings, assuredly we should have been foul of St John. In the first place, we entertained, and do still entertain, the opinion that very few English sportsmen are capable of writing a work which shall treat not only of the Wild Sports, but of the Natural History of the Highlands. They belong to a migratory class, and seldom exchange the comforts of their clubs for the inconveniences of northern rustication, at least before the month of June. Now and then, indeed, you may meet with some of them, whose passion for angling amounts to a mania, by the side of the Tweed or the Shin, long before the mavis has hatched her young. But these are usually elderly grey-coated men, whose whole faculties are bent upon hackles—the patriarchs of a far nobler school than that of Walton—magnificent throwers of the fly—salmonicides of the first water—yet in our humble estimation not very conversant with any other subject under heaven. Their sporting error—rather let us call it misfortune—is that they do not generalise. By the middle of September their occupation for the year is over. Shortly afterwards they assemble, like swallows about to leave our shores, on the banks of the Tweed, which river is permitted by the mercy of the British Parliament to remain open for a short time longer. There they angle on, kill their penultimate and ultimate fish; and finally, at the approach of winter, retreat to warmer quarters, and recapitulate the campaigns of the summer over port of the most generous vintage. These are clearly not the men to indite the Wild Sports and Natural History of the North.

The other section of English sportsmen come later and depart a little earlier. They are the renters of moors, crack sportsmen in every sense of the word, who resort to Ross-shire as regularly as they afterwards emigrate to Melton. Now, as to their slaughtering powers, we entertain not the shadow of a doubt. Steady shots and deadly are they from their youth upwards—trained, it may be, upon level ground, but still unerring in their aim. If not so wiry-sinewed, and sound of wind as the Caledonian, their pluck is undeniable, and their perseverance praiseworthy in the extreme. Show them the birds, and they will bring them to bag—give them a fair chance at a red-deer, and the odds are that next minute he shall be rolling in blood upon the heather. But this, let it be observed, is after all a mere matter of tooling. To be a good shot is only one branch of the finished sportsman's accomplishment, and it enters not at all into the conformation of the naturalist. We would not give a brace of widgeons for the best description ever written of a week's sport in the Highlands, or indeed any where else, provided it contained nothing more than an account of the killed and wounded, some facetious anecdotes regarding the lives of the gillies, and a narrative of the manner in which the author encountered and overcame a hart. Even the adventures of a night in a still will hardly make the book go down. We want an eye accustomed to look to other things beyond the sight of a gun-barrel—we want to know more about the quarry than the mere fact that it was flushed, fired at, and killed. Death can come but once to the black-cock as to the warrior, but are their lives to be accounted as nothing? Ponto we allow to be a beautiful brute—a little too thin-skinned, perhaps, for the moors, and apt, in case of mist, to lapse into a state of ague—yet, notwithstanding, punctual at his points, and cheap at twenty guineas of the current money of the realm. Howbeit we care not for his biography. To us it is matter of the smallest moment from what breed he is descended, by whose gamekeeper he was broken, neither are we covetous as to statistics of the number of his brothers and sisters uterine. It is of course gratifying to know that our southern acquaintance approves of the sport he has met with in a particular district; and that on the twelfth, not only the bags but the ponies were exuberantly loaded with a superfluity of fud and feather. Such intelligence would have been listened to most benignly had it been accompanied by a box of game duly addressed to us at Ambrose's—as it is, we accept the fact without any spasm of extraordinary pleasure.[393]

There are, we allow, some sporting tours from which we have derived both profit and gratification; but the locality of these is usually remote and unexplored. We like to hear of salmon-fishing in the Naamsen, and of forty and fifty pounders captured in its brimful rapids—of bear-skalls in Sweden, buffalo-hunting in the prairies, or the chase of the majestic lion in Caffreland or Morocco. Such narratives have the charm of novelty; and if, now and then, they border a little upon the marvellous or miraculous, we do our best to summon up faith sufficient to bolt them all. We by no means objected to Monsieur Violet's account of the estampades in California, or of the snapping turtles in the cane-brakes of the Red River. He was, at all events, graphic in his descriptions; and the zoology to which he introduced us, if not genuine, was of a gigantic and original kind. In fact, no sort of voyage or travel is readable unless it be strewn thickly with incident and adventure, and these of a startling character. Nobody cares now-a-days about meteorological observations, or dates, or distances, or names of places; we have been tired with these things from the days of Dampier downwards. Nor need any navigator hope to draw the public attention to his facts unless he possesses besides a deal of the talent of the novelist. If incident does not lie in his path, he must go out of his way to seek it—if even then it should not appear, there is an absolute necessity for inventing it. What a book of travels in Central Africa could we not write, if any one would be kind enough to furnish us with a mere outline of the route, and the authentic soundings of the Niger!

Scotland, however, is tolerably well known to the educated people of the sister country, and her productions have ceased to be a marvel. Grouse are common as howtowdies in the London market; and even red-deer venison, if asked for, may be had for a price. There is no great mystery in the staple commodity of our sports. Something, it is true, may still be said with effect regarding deer-stalking—a branch of the art venatory which few have the opportunity to study, and of those few a small fraction only can attain to a high degree. Grouse are to be found on every hill, black-game in almost every correi; few are the woods, at the present day, unhaunted by the roe; but the red-deer—the stag of ten—he of the branches and the tines—is, in most parts of the country save in the great forests, a casual and a wandering visitor; and many a summer's day you may clamber over cairn and crag, inspect every scaur and glen, and sweep the horizon around with your telescope, without discovering the waving of an antler, or the impress of a transitory footprint. But this subject is soon exhausted. Scrope has done ample justice to it, and left but a small field untrodden to any literary successor. The Penny Magazine, if we mistake not, disposed several years ago of otter-hunting, and the chase of the fox as practised in the rocky regions; and finally, Colquhoun—he of the Moor and the Loch—with more practical knowledge and acute observation than any of his predecessors, reduced Highland sporting to a science, and became the Encyclopedist of the feræ naturæ of the hills. With these authorities already before us, it was not unnatural that we should have entertained doubts as to the capabilities of any new writer, not native nor to the custom born.

Neither did the puff preliminary, which heralded the appearance of this volume, prepossess us strongly in its favour. What mattered it to the sensible reader whether or no "the attention of the public has already been called to this journal by the Quarterly Review of December 1845?" The book was not published, had not an existence, until seven or eight months after that article—a reasonably indifferent one, by the way—was penned; and yet we are asked to take that sort of pre-Adamite notice as a verdict in its favour! Now, we object altogether to this species of side-winded commendation, this reviewing, or noticing, or extracting from manuscripts before publication, more especially in the pages of a great and influential Review. It is always injudicious, because it looks like the work of a coterie. In the present case it was doubly unwise, because this volume really required no adventitious[394] aid whatever, and certainly no artifice, to recommend it to the public favour.

Whilst, however, we consider it our duty to say thus much, let it not be supposed that we are detracting from the merits of the extracts contained in that article of the Quarterly. On the contrary, they impressed us at the time with a high idea of the graphic power of the writer, and presented an agreeable contrast to the general prolixity of the paper. It is even possible that we are inclined to underrate the efforts of the critic on account of his having forestalled us by printing The Muckle Hart of Benmore—a chapter which we should otherwise have certainly enshrined within the columns of Maga.—At all events it is now full time that we should address ourselves more seriously to the contents of the volume.

Mr St John, we are delighted to observe, is not a sportsman belonging to either class which we have above attempted to describe. He is not the man whose exploits will be selected to swell the lists of slaughtered game in the pages of the provincial newspapers; for he has the eye and the heart of a naturalist, and, as he tells us himself, after a pleasant description of the wild animals which he has succeeded in domesticating—"though naturally all men are carnivorous, and, therefore, animals of prey, and inclined by nature to hunt and destroy other creatures, and, although I share in this our natural instinct to a great extent, I have far more pleasure in seeing these different animals enjoying themselves about me, and in observing their different habits, than I have in hunting down and destroying them."

Most devoutly do we wish that there were many more sportsmen of the same stamp! For ourselves, we confess to an organ of destructiveness not of the minimum degree. We never pass a pool, and hear the sullen plunge of the salmon, without a bitter imprecation upon our evil destiny if we chance to have forgotten our rod; and a covey rising around us, when unarmed, is a plea for suicide. But this feeling, as Mr St John very properly expresses it, is mere natural instinct—part of our original Adam, which it is utterly impossible to subdue. But give us rod or gun. Let us rise and strike some three or four fresh-run fish, at intervals of half-an-hour—let us play, land, and deposit them on the bank, in all the glory of their glittering scales, and it is a hundred to one if we shall be tempted to try another cast, although the cruives are open, the water in rarest trim, and several hours must elapse ere the advent of the cock-a-leekie. In like manner, we prefer a moor where the game is sparse and wild, to one from which the birds are rising at every twenty yards; nor care we ever to slaughter more than may suffice for our own wants and those of our immediate friends. And why should we? There is something not only despicable, but, in our opinion, absolutely brutal, in the accounts which we sometimes read of wholesale massacres committed on the moors, in sheer wanton lust for blood. Fancy a great hulking Saxon, attended by some half-dozen gamekeepers, with a larger retinue of gillies, sallying forth at early morning upon ground where the grouse are lying as thick and tame as chickens in a poultry-yard—loosing four or five dogs at a time, each of which has found his bird or his covey before he has been freed two minutes from the couples—marching up in succession to each stationary quadruped—kicking up the unfortunate pouts, scarce half-grown, from the heather before his feet—banging right and left into the middle of them, and—for the butcher shoots well—bringing down one, and sometimes two, at each discharge. The red-whiskered keeper behind him, who narrowly escaped transportation, a few years ago, for a bloody and ferocious assault, hands him another gun, ready-loaded; and so on he goes, for hour after hour, depopulating God's creatures, of every species, without mercy, until his shoulder is blue with the recoil, and his brow black as Cain's, with the stain of the powder left, as he wipes away the sweat with his stiff and discoloured hand. At evening, the pyramid is counted, and lo, there are two hundred brace!

Is this sporting, or is it murder? Not the first certainly, unless the term can be appropriately applied to[395] the hideous work of the shambles. Indeed, between knocking down stots or grouse in this wholesale manner, we can see very little distinction; except that, in the one case, there is more exertion of the muscles, and in the other a clearer atmosphere to nerve the operator to his task. Murder is a strong term, so we shall not venture to apply it; but cruelty is a word which we may use without compunction; and from that charge, at least, it is impossible for the glutton of the moors to go free.

Great humanity and utter absence of wantonness in the prosecution of his sport, is a most pleasing characteristic of Mr St John. He well understands the meaning of Wordsworth's noble maxim,—

"Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels;"

and can act upon it without cant, without cruelty, and, above all, without hypocrisy. And truly, when we consider where he has been located for the last few years, in a district which offers a greater variety of game to the sportsman than any other in Great Britain, his moderation becomes matter of legitimate praise. Here is his own description of the locality wherein he has pitched his tent:—

"I have lived for several years in the northern counties of Scotland, and during the last four or five in the province of Moray, a part of the country peculiarly adapted for collecting facts in Natural History, and for becoming intimate with the habits of many of our British wild birds and quadrupeds. Having been in the habit of keeping an irregular kind of journal, and of making notes of any incidents which have fallen under my observation connected with the zoology of the country, I have now endeavoured, by dint of cutting and pruning those rough sketches, to put them into a shape calculated to amuse, and perhaps, in some slight degree, to instruct some of my fellow-lovers of Nature. From my earliest childhood I have been more addicted to the investigation of the habits and manners of every kind of living animal than to any more useful avocation, and have in consequence made myself tolerably well acquainted with the domestic economy of most of our British feræ naturæ, from the field-mouse and wheatear, which I stalked and trapped in the plains and downs of Wiltshire during my boyhood, to the red-deer and eagle, whose territory I have invaded in later years on the mountains of Scotland. My present abode in Morayshire is surrounded by as great a variety of beautiful scenery as can be found in any district in Britain; and no part of the country can produce a greater variety of objects of interest either to the naturalist or to the lover of the picturesque. The rapid and glorious Findhorn, the very perfection of a Highland river, here passes through one of the most fertile plains in Scotland, or indeed in the world; and though a few miles higher up it rages through the wildest and most rugged rocks, and through the romantic and shaded glens of the forests of Darnaway and Altyre, the stream, as if exhausted, empties itself peaceably and quietly into the Bay of Findhorn—a salt-water loch of some four or five miles in length, entirely shut out by different points of land from the storms which are so frequent in the Moray Frith, of which it forms a kind of creek. At low-water this bay becomes an extent of wet sand, with the river Findhorn and one or two smaller streams winding through it, till they meet in the deeper part of the basin near the town of Findhorn, where there is always a considerable depth of water, and a harbour for shipping.

"From its sheltered situation and the quantity of food left on the sands at low-water, the Bay of Findhorn is always a great resort of wild-fowl of all kinds, from the swan to the teal, and also of innumerable waders of every species; while occasionally a seal ventures into the mouth of the river in pursuit of salmon. The bay is separated from the main water of the Frith by that most extraordinary and peculiar range of country called the Sandhills of Moray—a long, low range of hills formed of the purest sand, with scarcely any herbage, excepting here and there patches of bent or broom, which are inhabited by hares, rabbits, and foxes. At the extreme point of this range is a farm of forty or fifty acres of arable land, where the tenant endeavours to grow a scanty crop of grain and turnips, in spite of the rabbits and the drifting sands. From the inland side of the bay stretch the fertile plains of Moray, extending from the Findhorn to near Elgin in a continuous flat of the[396] richest soil, and comprising districts of the very best partridge-shooting that can be found in Scotland, while the streams and swamps that intersect it afford a constant supply of wild-fowl. As we advance inland we are sheltered by the wide-extending woods of Altyre, abounding with roe and game; and beyond these woods again is a very extensive range of a most excellent grouse-shooting country, reaching for many miles over a succession of moderately-sized hills which reach as far as the Spey.

"On the west of the Findhorn is a country beautifully dotted with woods, principally of oak and birch, and intersected by a dark, winding burn, full of fine trout, and the constant haunt of the otter. Between this part of the country and the sea-coast is a continuation of the Sandhills, interspersed with lakes, swamps, and tracts of fir-wood and heather. On the whole, I do not know so varied or interesting a district in Great Britain, or one so well adapted to the amusement and instruction of a naturalist or sportsman. In the space of a morning's walk you may be either in the most fertile or the most barren spot of the country. In my own garden every kind of wall-fruit ripens to perfection, and yet at the distance of only two hours' walk you may either be in the midst of heather and grouse, or in the sandy deserts beyond the bay, where one wonders how even the rabbits can find their living.

"I hope that my readers will be indulgent enough to make allowances for the unfinished style of these sketches, and the copious use of the first person singular, which I have found it impossible to avoid whilst describing the adventures which I have met with in this wild country, either when toiling up the rocky heights of our most lofty mountains, or cruising in a boat along the shores, where rocks and caves give a chance of finding sea-fowl and otters; at one time wandering over the desert sand-hills of Moray, where, on windy days, the light particles of drifting sand, driven like snow along the surface of the ground, are perpetually changing the outline and appearance of the district; at another, among the swamps, in pursuit of wild-ducks, or attacking fish in the rivers, or the grouse on the heather.

"For a naturalist, whether he be a scientific dissector and preserver of birds, or simply a lover and observer of the habits and customs of the different feræ naturæ, large and small, this district is a very desirable location, as there are very few birds or quadrupeds to be found in any part of Great Britain who do not visit us during the course of the year, or, at any rate, are to be met with in a few hours' drive. The bays and rivers attract all the migratory water-fowl, while the hills, woods, and corn-lands afford shelter and food to all the native wild birds and beasts. The vicinity, too, of the coast to the wild western countries of Europe is the cause of our being often visited by birds which are not strictly natives, nor regular visitors, but are driven by continued east winds from the fastnesses of the Swedish and Norwegian forests and mountains.

"To the collector of stuffed birds this county affords a greater variety of specimens than any other district in the kingdom; whilst the excellence of the climate and the variety of scenery make it inferior to none as a residence for the unoccupied person or the sportsman.

"Having thus described that part of the globe which at present is my resting-place, I may as well add a few lines to enable my reader to become acquainted with myself, and that part of my belongings which will come into question in my descriptions of sporting, &c. To begin with myself, I am one of the unproductive class of the genus homo, who, having passed a few years amidst the active turmoil of cities, and in places where people do most delight to congregate, have at last settled down to live a busy kind of idle life. Communing much with the wild birds and beasts of our country, a hardy constitution and much leisure have enabled me to visit them in their own haunts, and to follow my sporting propensities without fear of the penalties which are apt to follow a careless exposure of one's-self to cold and heat, at all hours of night and day. Though by habit and repute a being strongly endowed with the organ of destructiveness, I take equal delight in collecting round me all living animals, and watching their habits and instincts; my abode is, in short, a miniature menagerie. My dogs learn to respect the persons of domesticated wild animals of all kinds, and my pointers live in amity with tame partridges and pheasants; my retrievers lounge about amidst my wild-fowl, and my terriers and beagles strike up friendship with[397] the animals of different kinds, whose capture they have assisted in, and with whose relatives they are ready to wage war to the death. A common and well-kept truce exists with one and all. My boys, who are of the most bird-nesting age (eight and nine years old), instead of disturbing the numberless birds who breed in the garden and shrubberies, in full confidence of protection and immunity from all danger of gun or snare, strike up an acquaintance with every family of chaffinches or blackbirds who breed in the place, visiting every nest, and watching over the eggs and young with a most parental care."

Why, this is the very Eden of a sportsman! Flesh, fowl, and fish of every description in abundance, and such endless variety, that no month of the year can pass over without affording its quota of fair and legitimate recreation. But to a man of Mr St John's accomplishment and observant habits, the mere prey is a matter of far less moment than the insight which such a locality affords, into the habits and instincts of the creatures which either permanently inhabit or casually visit our shores. His journal is far more than a sportsman's book. It contains shrewd and minute observations on the whole of our northern fauna—the results of many a lonely but happy day spent in the woods, the glens, the sand-tracts, by river and on sea. His range is wider than that which has been taken either by White of Selborne, or by Waterton; and we are certain that he will hold it to be no mean compliment when we say, that in our unbiased opinion, he is not surpassed by either of them in fidelity, and in point of picturesqueness of description, is even the superior of both. The truth is, that Mr St John would have made a first-rate trapper. We should not have the slightest objections to lose ourselves in his company for several weeks in the prairies of North America; being satisfied that we should return with a better cargo of beaver-skins and peltry than ever fell to the lot of two adventurers in the service of the Company of Hudson's Bay.

It is totally impossible to follow our author through any thing like his range of subjects, extending from the hart to the seal and otter, from the eagle and wild swan to the ouzel. One or two specimens we shall give, in order that you, our dear and sporting reader, may judge whether these encomiums of ours are exaggerated or misplaced. We are, so say our enemies, but little given to laudation, and far too ready when occasion offers, and sometimes when it does not, to clutch hastily at the knout. You, who know us better, and whom indeed we have partially trained up in the wicked ways of criticism, must long ago have been aware, that if we err at all, it is upon the safer side. But be that as it may, you will not, we are sure, refuse to join with us in admiring the beauty of the following description;—it is of the heronry on the Findhorn—a river of peculiar beauty, even in this land of lake, of mountain, and of flood.

"I observe that the herons in the heronry on the Findhorn are now busily employed in sitting on their eggs—the heron being one of the first birds to commence breeding in this country. A more curious and interesting sight than the Findhorn heronry I do not know: from the top of the high rocks on the east side of the river you look down into every nest—the herons breeding on the opposite side of the river, which is here very narrow. The cliffs and rocks are studded with splendid pines and larch, and fringed with all the more lowly but not less beautiful underwood which abounds in this country. Conspicuous amongst these are the bird-cherry and mountain-ash, the holly, and the wild rose; while the golden blossoms of furze and broom enliven every crevice and corner in the rock. Opposite to you is a wood of larch and oak, on the latter of which trees are crowded a vast number of the nests of the heron. The foliage and small branches of the oaks that they breed on seem entirely destroyed, leaving nothing but the naked arms and branches of the trees on which the nests are placed. The same nests, slightly repaired, are used year after year. Looking down at them from the high banks of the Altyre side of the river, you can see directly into their nests, and can become acquainted with the whole of their domestic economy. You can plainly see the green eggs, and also the young herons, who fearlessly, and conscious of the security they are left in, are constantly passing backwards and forwards, and alighting on the topmost branches of[398] the larch or oak trees; whilst the still younger birds sit bolt upright in the nest, snapping their beaks together with a curious sound. Occasionally a grave-looking heron is seen balancing himself by some incomprehensible feat of gymnastics on the very topmost twig of a larch-tree, where he swings about in an unsteady manner, quite unbecoming so sage-looking a bird. Occasionally a thievish jackdaw dashes out from the cliffs opposite the heronry, and flies straight into some unguarded nest, seizes one of the large green eggs, and flies back to his own side of the river, the rightful owner of the eggs pursuing the active little robber with loud cries and the most awkward attempts at catching him.

"The heron is a noble and picturesque-looking bird, as she sails quietly through the air with outstretched wings and slow flight; but nothing is more ridiculous and undignified than her appearance as she vainly chases the jackdaw or hooded crow who is carrying off her egg, and darting rapidly round the angles and corners of the rocks. Now and then every heron raises its head and looks on the alert as the peregrine falcon, with rapid and direct flight, passes their crowded dominion; but intent on his own nest, built on the rock some little way further on, the hawk takes no notice of his long-legged neighbours, who soon settle down again into their attitudes of rest. The kestrel-hawk frequents the same part of the river, and lives in amity with the wood-pigeons that breed in every cluster of ivy which clings to the rocks. Even that bold and fearless enemy of all the pigeon race, the sparrowhawk, frequently has her nest within a few yards of the wood-pigeon; and you see these birds (at all other seasons such deadly enemies) passing each other in their way to and fro from their respective nests in perfect peace and amity. It has seemed to me that the sparrowhawk and wood-pigeon during the breeding season frequently enter into a mutual compact against the crows and jackdaws, who are constantly on the look-out for the eggs of all other birds. The hawk appears to depend on the vigilance of the wood-pigeon to warn him of the approach of these marauders; and then the brave little warrior sallies out, and is not satisfied till he has driven the crow to a safe distance from the nests of himself and his more peaceable ally. At least in no other way can I account for these two birds so very frequently breeding not only in the same range of rock, but within two or three yards of each other."

Now for the wild swan. You will observe that it is now well on in October, and that the weather is peculiarly cold. There is snow already lying on the tops of the nearer hills—the further mountains have assumed a coat of white, which, with additions, will last them until the beginning of next summer; and those long black streaks which rise upwards, and appear to us at this distance so narrow, are, in reality, the great ravines in which two months ago we were cautiously stalking the deer. The bay is now crowded with every kind of aquatic fowl. Day after day strange visitants have been arriving from the north; and at nightfall, you may hear them quacking and screaming and gabbling for many miles along the shore. Every moonlight night the woodcock and snipe are dropping into the thickets, panting and exhausted by their flight from rugged Norway, a voyage during which they can find no resting-place for the sole of their foot. In stormy weather the light-houses are beset with flocks of birds, who, their reckoning lost, are attracted by the blaze of the beacon, dash wildly towards it, as to some place of refuge, and perish from the violence of the shock. As yet, however, all is calm; and lo, in the moonlight, a great flight of birds stooping down towards the bay!—noiselessly at first, but presently, as they begin to sweep lower, trumpeting and calling to each other; and then, with a mighty rustling of their pinions, and a dash as of a vessel launched into the waters, the white wild-swans settle down into the centre of the glittering bay! To your tents, ye sportsmen! for ball and cartridge; and now circumvent them if you can.

"My old garde-chasse insisted on my starting early this morning, nolens volens, to certain lochs six or seven miles off, in order, as he termed it, to take our 'satisfaction' of the swans. I must say that it was a matter of very small satisfaction to me, the tramping off in a sleety, rainy morning, through a most forlorn and hopeless-looking country, for the chance, and that a bad one, of killing a wild swan or two. However, after a weary walk, we arrived at these[399] desolate-looking lochs: they consist of three pieces of water, the largest about three miles in length and one in width; the other two, which communicate with the largest, are much smaller and narrower, indeed scarcely two gunshots in width; for miles around them, the country is flat, and intersected with a mixture of swamp and sandy hillocks. In one direction the sea is only half a mile from the lochs, and in calm winter weather the wild-fowl pass the daytime on the salt water, coming inland in the evenings to feed. As soon as we were within sight of the lochs we saw the swans on one of the smaller pieces of water, some standing high and dry on the grassy islands, trimming their feathers after their long journey, and others feeding on the grass and weeds at the bottom of the loch, which in some parts was shallow enough to allow of their pulling up the plants which they feed on as they swam about; while numbers of wild-ducks of different kinds, particularly widgeons, swarmed round them and often snatched the pieces of grass from the swans as soon as they had brought them to the surface, to the great annoyance of the noble birds, who endeavoured in vain to drive away these more active little depredators, who seemed determined to profit by their labours. Our next step was to drive the swans away from the loch they were on; it seemed a curious way of getting a shot, but as the old man seemed confident of the success of his plan, I very submissively acted according to his orders. As soon as we moved them, they all made straight for the sea. 'This won't do,' was my remark, 'Yes, it will, though; they'll no stop there long to-day with this great wind, but will all be back before the clock chaps two.' 'Faith, I should like to see any building that could contain a clock, and where we might take shelter,' was my inward cogitation. The old man, however, having delivered this prophecy, set to work making a small ambuscade by the edge of the loch which the birds had just left, and pointed it out to me as my place of refuge from one o'clock to the hour when the birds would arrive.

"In the mean time we moved about in order to keep ourselves warm, as a more wintry day never disgraced the month of October. In less than half an hour we heard the signal cries of the swans, and soon saw them in a long undulating line fly over the low sand-hills which divided the sea from the largest loch, where they alighted. My commander for the time being, then explained to me, that the water in this loch was every where too deep for the swans to reach the bottom even with their long necks, in order to pull up the weeds on which they fed, and that at their feeding-time, that is about two o'clock, they would, without doubt, fly over to the smaller lochs, and probably to the same one from which we had originally disturbed them. I was accordingly placed in my ambuscade, leaving the keeper at some distance, to help me as opportunity offered—a cold comfortless time of it we (i. e. my retriever and myself) had. About two o'clock, however, I heard the swans rise from the upper loch, and in a few moments they all passed high over my head, and after taking a short survey of our loch (luckily without seeing me), they alighted at the end of it furthest from the place where I was ensconced, and quite out of shot, and they seemed more inclined to move away from me than come towards me. It was very curious to watch these wild birds as they swam about, quite unconscious of danger, and looking like so many domestic fowls. Now came the able generalship of my keeper, who seeing that they were inclined to feed at the other end of the loch, began to drive them towards me, at the same time taking great care not to alarm them enough to make them take flight. This he did by appearing at a long distance off, and moving about without approaching the birds, but as if he was pulling grass or engaged in some other piece of labour. When the birds first saw him, they all collected in a cluster, and giving a general low cry of alarm, appeared ready to take flight; this was the ticklish moment, but soon, outwitted by his manœuvres, they dispersed again, and busied themselves in feeding. I observed that frequently all their heads were under the water at once, excepting one—but invariably one bird kept his head and neck perfectly erect, and carefully watched on every side to prevent their being taken by surprise; when he wanted to feed, he touched any passer-by, who immediately relieved him in his guard, and he in his turn called on some other swan to take his place as sentinel.

"After watching some little time, and closely watching the birds in all their[400] graceful movements, sometimes having a swan within half a shot of me, but never getting two or three together, I thought of some of my assistant's instruction which he had given me en route in the morning, and I imitated, as well as I could, the bark of a dog: immediately all the swans collected in a body, and looked round to see where the sound came from. I was not above forty yards from them, so, gently raising myself on my elbow, I pulled the trigger, aiming at a forest of necks. To my dismay, the gun did not go off, the wet or something else having spoilt the cap. The birds were slow in rising, so without pulling the other trigger, I put on another cap, and standing up, fired right and left at two of the largest swans as they rose from the loch. The cartridge told well on one, who fell dead into the water; the other flew off after the rest of the flock, but presently turned back, and after making two or three graceful sweeps over the body of his companion, fell headlong, perfectly dead, almost upon her body. The rest of the birds, after flying a short distance away, also returned, and flew for a minute or two in a confused flock over the two dead swans, uttering their bugle-like and harmonious cries; but finding that they were not joined by their companions, presently fell into their usual single rank, and went undulating off towards the sea, where I heard them for a long time trumpeting and calling.

"Handsome as he is, the wild swan is certainly not so graceful on the water as a tame one. He has not the same proud and elegant arch of the neck, nor does he put up his wings while swimming, like two snow-white sails. On the land a wild swan when winged makes such good way, that if he gets much start it requires good running, to overtake him."

Confound that Regatta! What on earth had we to do on board that yacht, racing against the Meteor, unconquered winger of the western seas? Two days ago we could have sworn that no possible temptation could divorce us from our unfinished article; and yet here we are with unsullied pen, under imminent danger of bartering our reputation and plighted faith to Ebony, for some undescribable nautical evolutions, a sack race, and the skeleton of a ball! After all, it must be confessed that we never spent two more pleasant days. Bright eyes, grouse-pie, and the joyousness of happy youth, were all combined together; and if, with a fair breeze and a sunny sky, there can be fun in a smack or a steamer, how is it possible with such company to be dull on board of the prettiest craft that ever cleaved her way, like a wild swan, up the windings of a Highland loch? But we must make up for lost time. As we live, there are Donald and Ian with the boat at the rocks! and we now remember with a shudder that we trysted them for this morning to convey us across to the Moors! Here is a pretty business! Let us see—the month is rapidly on the wane—we have hardly, in sporting phrase, broken the back of this the leading article. Shall we give up the moors, and celebrate this day as another Eve of St John? There is a light mist lying on the opposite hill, but in an hour or two it will be drawn up like a curtain by the sunbeams, and then every bush of heather will be sparkling with dewdrops, far brighter than a carcanet of diamonds. What a fine elasticity and freshness there is in the morning air! A hundred to one the grouse will sit like stones. Donald, my man, are there many birds on the hill? Plenty, did you say, and a fair sprinkling of black-cock? This breeze will carry us over in fifty minutes—will it? That settles the question. Off with your caulker, and take down the dogs to the boat. We shall be with you in the snapping of a copper-cap.

This article, if finished at all, must be written with the keelavine pen on the backs of old letters—whereof, thank heaven! we have scores unanswered—by fits and snatches, as we repose from our labours on the greensward; so we shall even take up our gun, and trust for inspiration to the noble scenery around us. Is every thing in? Well, then, push off, and for a time let us get rid of care.

What sort of fishing have they had at the salmon-nets, Ian? Very bad, for they're sair fashed wi' the sealghs. In that case it may be advisable to drop a ball into our dexter barrel, in case one of these oleaginous depredators should show his head above[401] water. We have not had a tussle with a phoca since, some ten years ago, we surprised one basking on the sands of the bay of Cromarty. No, Donald, we did not kill him. We and a dear friend, now in New Zealand, who was with us, were armed with no better weapon than our fishing-rods, and the sealgh, after standing two or three thumps with tolerable philosophy, fairly turned upon us, and exhibited such tusks that we were glad to let him make his way without further molestation to the water. The seal is indeed a greedy fellow, and ten times worse than his fresh-water cousin the otter, who, it seems, is considered by the poor people in the north country as rather a benefactor than otherwise. The latter is a dainty epicure—a gourmand who despises to take more than one steak from the sappy shoulder of the salmon; and he has usually the benevolence to leave the fish, little the worse for his company, on some scarp or ledge of rock, where it can be picked up and converted into savoury kipper. He is, moreover, a sly and timid creature, without the impudence of the seal, who will think nothing of swimming into the nets, and actually taking out the salmon before the eyes of the fishermen. Strong must be the twine that would hold an entangled seal. An aquatic Samson, he snaps the meshes like thread, and laughs at the discomfiture of the tacksman, who is dancing like a demoniac on the shore; and no wonder, for nets are expensive, and the rent in that one is wide enough to admit a bullock.

Mr St John—a capital sportsman, Donald—has had many an adventure with the seals; and I shall read you what he says about them, in a clever little book which he has published—What the deuce! We surely have not been ass enough to forget the volume! No—here it is at the bottom of our pocket, concealed and covered by the powder-flask:—

"Sometimes at high-water, and when the river is swollen, a seal comes in pursuit of salmon into the Findhorn, notwithstanding the smallness of the stream and its rapidity. I was one day, in November, looking for wild-ducks near the river, when I was called to by a man who was at work near the water, and who told me that some 'muckle beast' was playing most extraordinary tricks in the river. He could not tell me what beast it was, but only that it was something 'no that canny.' After waiting a short time, the riddle was solved by the appearance of a good-sized seal, into whose head I instantly sent a cartridge, having no balls with me. The seal immediately plunged and splashed about in the water at a most furious rate, and then began swimming round and round in a circle, upon which I gave him the other barrel, also loaded with one of Eley's cartridges, which quite settled the business, and he floated rapidly away down the stream. I sent my retriever after him, but the dog, being very young and not come to his full strength, was baffled by the weight of the animal and the strength of the current, and could not land him; indeed, he was very near getting drowned himself, in consequence of his attempts to bring in the seal, who was still struggling. I called the dog away, and the seal immediately sank. The next day I found him dead on the shore of the bay, with (as the man who skinned him expressed himself) 'twenty-three pellets of large hail in his craig.'

"Another day, in the month of July, when shooting rabbits on the sand-hills, a messenger came from the fishermen at the stake-nets, asking me to come in that direction, as the 'muckle sealgh' was swimming about, waiting for the fish to be caught in the nets, in order to commence his devastation.

"I accordingly went to them, and having taken my observations of the locality and the most feasible points of attack, I got the men to row me out to the end of the stake-net, where there was a kind of platform of netting, on which I stretched myself, with a bullet in one barrel and a cartridge in the other. I then directed the men to row the boat away, as if they had left the nets. They had scarcely gone three hundred yards from the place when I saw the seal, who had been floating, apparently unconcerned, at some distance, swim quietly and fearlessly up to the net. I had made a kind of breastwork of old netting before me, which quite concealed me on the side from which he came. He approached the net, and began examining it leisurely and carefully to see if any fish were in it; sometimes he was under and sometimes above the water. I was much struck by his activity while underneath, where I could most plainly see him, particularly as he twice dived almost below my station, and the water was clear and smooth as glass.[402]

"I could not get a good shot at him for some time; at last, however, he put up his head at about fifteen or twenty yards' distance from me; and while he was intent on watching the boat, which was hovering about waiting to see the result of my plan of attack, I fired at him, sending the ball through his brain. He instantly sank without a struggle, and a perfect torrent of blood came up, making the water red for some feet round the spot where he lay stretched out at the bottom. The men immediately rowed up, and taking me into the boat, we managed to bring him up with a boat-hook to the surface of the water, and then, as he was too heavy to lift into the boat (his weight being 378 lbs.) we put a rope round his flippers, and towed him ashore. A seal of this size is worth some money, as, independently of the value of his skin, the blubber (which lies under the skin, like that of a whale) produces a large quantity of excellent oil. This seal had been for several years the dread of the fishermen at the stake-nets, and the head man at the place was profuse in his thanks for the destruction of a beast upon whom he had expended a most amazing quantity of lead. He assured me that L.100 would not repay the damage the animal had done. Scarcely any two seals are exactly of the same colour or marked quite alike; and seals, frequenting a particular part of the coast, become easily known and distinguished from each other."

But what is Scrip youffing at from the bow? A seal? No, it is a shoal of porpoises. There they go with their great black fins above the water in pursuit of the herring, which ought to be very plenty on this coast. Yonder, where the gulls are screaming and diving, with here and there a solan goose and a cormorant in the midst of the flock, must be a patch of the smaller fry. The water is absolutely boiling as the quick-eyed creatures dart down upon their prey; and though, on an ordinary day, you will hardly see a single seagull in this part of the loch, for the shores are neither steep nor rocky, yet there they are in myriads, attracted to the spot by that unerring and inexplicable instinct which seems to guide all wild animals to their booty, and that from distances where neither sight nor scent could possibly avail them. This peculiarity has not escaped the observant eye of our author.

"How curiously quick is the instinct of birds in finding out their food. Where peas or other favourite grain is sown, wood pigeons and tame pigeons immediately congregate. It is not easy to ascertain from whence the former come, but the house pigeons have often been known to arrive in numbers on a new sown field the very morning after the grain is laid down, although no pigeon-house, from which they could come, exists within several miles of the place.

"Put down a handful or two of unthrashed oat-straw in almost any situation near the sea-coast, where there are wild-ducks, and they are sure to find it out the first or second night after it has been left there.

"There are many almost incredible stories of the acuteness of the raven's instinct in guiding it to the dead carcass of any large animal, or even in leading it to the neighbourhood on the near approach of death. I myself have known several instances of the raven finding out dead bodies of animals in a very short space of time. One instance struck me very much. I had wounded a stag on a Wednesday. The following Friday, I was crossing the hills at some distance from the place, but in the direction towards which the deer had gone. Two ravens passed me, flying in a steady straight course. Soon again two more flew by, and two others followed, all coming from different directions, but making direct for the same point. ''Deed, sir,' said the Highlander with me, 'the corbies have just found the staig; he will be lying dead about the head of the muckle burn.' By tracing the course of the birds, we found that the man's conjecture was correct, as the deer was lying within a mile of us, and the ravens were making for its carcass. The animal had evidently only died the day before, but the birds had already made their breakfast upon him, and were now on their way to their evening meal. Though occasionally we had seen a pair of ravens soaring high overhead in that district, we never saw more than that number; but now there were some six or seven pairs already collected, where from we knew not. When a whale, or other large fish, is driven ashore on the coast of any of the northern islands, the ravens collect in amazing numbers, almost immediately coming from all directions and from all distances, led by the unerring instinct which tells them that a feast is to be found in a particular spot."

We should not wonder if the ancient augurs, who, no doubt, were consummate scoundrels, had an inkling of this extraordinary fact. If so, it[403] would have been obviously easy, at the simple expenditure of a few pounds of bullock's liver, to get up any kind of ornithological vaticination. A dead ram, dexterously hidden from the sight of the spectators behind the Aventine, would speedily have brought birds enough to have justified any amount of warlike expeditions to the Peloponesus; while a defunct goat to the left of the Esquiline, would collect sooties by scores, and forebode the death of Cæsar. We own that formerly we ourselves were not altogether exempt from superstitious notions touching the mission of magpies; but henceforward we shall cease to consider them, even when they appear by threes, as bound up in some mysterious manner with our destiny, and shall rather attribute their apparition to the unexpected deposit of an egg.

But here we are at the shore, and not a mile from the margin of the moor. Ian, our fine fellow, look after the dogs; and now tell us, Donald, as we walk along, whether there are many poachers in this neighbourhood besides yourself? Atweel no, forbye muckle Sandy, that whiles taks a shot at a time.—We thought so. In these quiet braes there can be little systematic poaching. Now and then, to be sure, a hare is killed on a moonlight night among the cabbages behind the shieling; or a blackcock, too conspicuous of a misty morning on a corn-stook, pays the penalty of his depredations with his life. But these little acts of delinquency are of no earthly moment; and hard must be the heart of the proprietor who, for such petty doings, would have recourse to the vengeance of the law. But were you ever in Lochaber, Donald?—Oo ay, and Badenoch too.—And are you aware that in those districts where the deer are plenty, there exist, at the present day, gangs of organised poachers—fellows who follow no other calling—true Sons of the Mist, who prey upon the red-deer of the mountain without troubling the herds of the Sassenach; and who, though perfectly well known by head-mark to keeper and constable, are still permitted with impunity to continue their depredations from year to year?—I never heard tell of it.

No more have we. Notwithstanding Mr St John's usual accuracy and great means of information, he has given, in the fifth chapter of his book, an account of the Highland poachers which we cannot admit to be correct. In every thinly-populated country, where there is abundance of game, poaching must take place to a considerable extent, and indeed it is impossible to prevent it. You never can convince the people, that the statutory sin is a moral one; or that, in taking for their own sustenance that which avowedly belongs to no one, they are acting in opposition to a just or a salutary law. The question of whence the game is taken, is a subtilty too nice for their comprehension. They see the stag running wild among the mountains, to-day on one laird's land, and away to-morrow to another's, bearing with him, as it were, his own transference of property; and they very naturally conclude that they have an abstract right to attempt his capture, if they can. The shepherd, who has thousands of acres under his sole superintendence, and whose dwelling is situated far away on the hills, at the head, perhaps, of some lonely stream, where no strange foot ever penetrates, is very often, it must be confessed, a bit of a poacher. Small blame to him. He has a gun—for the eagle, and the fox, and the raven, must be kept from the lambs; and if, when prowling about with his weapon, in search of vermin, he should chance to put up, as he is sure to do, a covey of grouse, and recollecting at the moment that there is nothing in the house beyond a peas-bannock and a diseased potato, should let fly, and bring down a gor-cock, who will venture to assert that, under such circumstances, he would hesitate to do the same? For every grouse so slaughtered, the shepherd frees the country from a brace of vermin more dangerous than fifty human poachers; for every day in the year they breakfast, dine, and sup exclusively upon game.

Let the shepherd, then, take his pittance from the midst of your plenty unmolested, if he does no worse. Why should his hut be searched by some big brute of a Yorkshire keeper, for fud or feather, when you know[404] that, in all essentials, the man is as honest as steel—nay, that even in this matter of game, he is attentive to your interests, watches the young broods, protects the nests, and will tell you, when you come up the glen, where the finest coveys are to be found? It is, however, quite another thing if you detect him beginning to drive a contraband trade. Home consumption may be winked at—foreign exportation is most decidedly an unpardonable offence. The moment you find that he has entered into a league with the poulterer or the coachman, give warning to the offending Melibœus, and let him seek a livelihood elsewhere. He is no longer safe. His instinct is depraved. He has ceased to be a creature of impulse, and has become the slave of a corrupted traffic. He is a noxious member of the Anti-game-law League.

This sort of poaching we believe to be common enough in Scotland, and there is also another kind more formidable, which, a few years ago, was rather extensively practised. Parties of four or five strong, able-bodied rascals, principally inmates of some of the smaller burghs in the north, used to make their way to another district of country, taking care, of course, that it was far enough from home to render any chance of identification almost a nullity, and would there begin to shoot, in absolute defiance of the keepers. Their method was not to diverge, but to traverse the country as nearly as possible in a straight line; so that very often they had left the lands of the most extensive proprietors even before the alarm was given. These men neither courted nor shunned a scuffle. They were confident in their strength of numbers, but never abused it; nor, so far as we recollect, have any fatal results attended this illegal practice. Be that as it may, the misdemeanour is a very serious one, and the perpetrators of it, if discovered, would be subjected to a severe punishment.

But Mr St John asserts the existence of a different class of poachers, whose exploits, if real, are a deep reproach to the vigilance of our respected friends the Sheriffs of Inverness, Ross, and Moray, as also to the Substitutes and their Fiscals. According to the accounts which have reached him, and which he seems implicitly to believe, there are, at this moment, gangs of caterans existing among the mountains, who follow no other occupation whatever than that of poaching. This they do not even affect to disguise. They make a good income by the sale of game, and by breaking dogs—they take the crown of the causeway in the country towns, where they are perfectly well known, and where the men give them "plenty of walking-room." On such occasions, they are accompanied with a couple of magnificent stag-hounds, and in this guise they venture undauntedly beneath the very nose of "ta Phuscal!" The Highland poacher, says Mr St John, "is a bold fearless fellow, shooting openly by daylight, taking his sport in the same manner as the laird, or the Sassenach who rents the ground." That is to say, this outlaw, who has a sheiling or a bothy on the laird's ground—for a man cannot live in the Highlands without a roof to shelter him—shoots as openly on these grounds as the laird himself, or the party who has rented them for the season! If this be the case, the breed of Highland proprietors—ay, and of Highland keepers—must have degenerated sadly during the last few years. The idea that any such character would be permitted by even the tamest Dumbiedykes to continue a permanent resident upon his lands, is perfectly preposterous. Game is not considered as a matter of such slight import in any part of the Highlands; neither is the arm of the law so weak, that it does not interfere with most rapid and salutary effect. No professed poacher, we aver, dare shoot openly upon the lands of the laird by whose tenure or sufferance he maintains a roof above his head; and it would be a libel upon those high-minded gentlemen to suppose, that they knowingly gave countenance to any such character, on the tacit understanding that their property should be spared while that of their neighbours was invaded. In less than a week after the information was given, the ruffian would be without any covering to his head, save that which would be afforded[405] him by the arches of the Inverness or Fort-William jail.

Long tracts of country there are, comparatively unvisited—for example, the district around Lochs Ericht and Lydoch, and the deserts towards the head of the Spey. Yet, even there, the poacher is a marked man. The necessity of finding a market for the produce of his spoil, lays him open immediately to observation. If he chooses to burrow with the badger, he may be said to have deserted his trade. He cannot by any possibility, let him do what he will, elude the vigilance of the keeper; and, if known, he is within the clutches of the law without the necessity of immediate apprehension.

The truth of the matter is, that the poachers have no longer to deal directly with the lairds. The number of moors which are rented to Englishmen is now very great; and it is principally from these that the depredators reap their harvest. Accordingly, no pains are spared to impress the Sassenach with an exaggerated idea of the lawlessness of the Gael, in every thing relating to the game-laws and the statutes of the excise. The right of the people to poach is asserted as a kind of indefeasible servitude which the law winks at, because it cannot control; and we fear that, in some cases, the keepers, who care nothing for the new-comers, indirectly lend themselves to the delusion. The Englishman, on arriving at the moor which he has rented, is informed that he must either compromise with the poachers, or submit to the loss of his game—a kind of treaty which, we believe, is pretty often made in the manner related by Mr St John.

"Some proprietors, or lessees of shooting-grounds, make a kind of half compromise with the poachers, by allowing them to kill grouse as long as they do not touch the deer; others, who are grouse-shooters, let them kill the deer to save their birds. I have known an instance where a prosecution was stopped by the aggrieved party being quietly made to understand, that if it was carried on, a score of lads from the hills would shoot over his ground for the rest of the season."

Utterly devoid of pluck must the said aggrieved party have been! Had he carried on the prosecution firmly, and given notice to the authorities of the audacious and impudent threat, with the names of the parties who conveyed it, not a trigger would have been drawn upon his ground, or a head of game destroyed. If the lessees of shooting-grounds are idiots enough to enter into any such compromise, they will of course find abundance of poachers to take advantage of it. Every shepherd on the property will take regularly to the hill; for by such an arrangement the market is virtually thrown open, and absolute impunity is promised. But we venture to say that there is not one instance on record where a Highland proprietor, of Scottish birth and breeding, has condescended to make any such terms—indeed, we should like to see the ruffian who would venture openly to propose them.

As to Mr St John's assertion, that "in Edinburgh there are numbers of men who work as porters, &c., during the winter, and poach in the Highlands during the autumn," we can assure him that he is labouring under a total delusion. A more respectable set of men in their way than the Edinburgh chairmen, is not to be found on the face of the civilised globe. Not a man of those excellent creatures, who periodically play at drafts at the corners of Hanover and Castle Street, ever went out in an illicit manner to the moors: nor shall we except from this vindication our old acquaintances at the Tron. Their worst vices are a strong predilection for snuff and whisky; otherwise they are nearly faultless, and they run beautifully in harness between the springy shafts of a sedan. If they ever set foot upon the heather, it is in the capacity of gillies, for which service they receive excellent wages, and capital hands they are for looking after the comforts of the dogs. Does Mr St John mean to insinuate that the twin stalwart tylers of the lodge Canongate Kilwinning—whose fine features are so similar that it is almost impossible to distinguish them—go out systematically in autumn to the Highlands for the purpose of[406] poaching? Why, to our own knowledge, they are both most praiseworthy fathers of families, exemplary husbands, well to do in the world, and, were they to die to-morrow, there would not be a drop of black-cock's blood upon their souls. Like testimony could we bear in favour of a hundred others, whom you might trust with untold gold, not to speak of a wilderness of hares; but to any one who knows them, it is unnecessary to plead further in the cause of the caddies.

We fear, therefore, that in this particular of Highland poaching, Mr St John has been slightly humbugged; and we cannot help thinking, that in this work of mystification, his prime favourite and hero, Mr Ronald, has had no inconsiderable share. As to the feats of this handsome desperado, as related by himself, we accept them with a mental reservation. Notwithstanding the acknowledged fact that the Grants existed simultaneously with the sons of Anak, we doubt extremely whether any one individual of that clan, or of any other, could, more especially when in bed, and fatigued with a long day's exertion, overcome five sturdy assailants. If so, the fellow would make money by hiring a caravan, and exhibiting himself as a peripatetic Hercules: or, if such an exhibition should be deemed derogatory to a poaching outlaw, he might enter the pugilistic or wrestling ring, with the certainty of walking the course. The man who, without taking the trouble to rise out of bed, could put two big hulking Highlanders under him, breaking the ribs of one of them, and keeping them down with one knee, and who in that posture could successfully foil the attack of other three, is an ugly customer, and we venture to say that his match is not to be found within the four seas of Great Britain. The story of his tearing down the rafter, bestowing breakfast upon his opponents, and afterwards pitching the keeper deliberately into the burn, is so eminently apocryphal, that we cannot help wondering at Mr St John for honouring it with a place in his pages.

Did you ever see a badger, Scrip? That, we suspect, is the vestibule of one of them at which you are snuffing and scraping; but you have no chance of getting at him, for there he is lying deep beneath the rock; and, to say the truth, game as you are, we would rather keep you intact from the perils of his powerful jaw. He is, we agree with Mr St John, an ancient and respectable quadruped, by far too much maligned in this wicked age; and—were it for no other reason than the inimitable adaptation of his hair for shaving-brushes—we should sincerely regret his extinction in the British isles. We like the chivalry with which our author undertakes the defence of any libelled and persecuted animal, and in no instance is he more happy than in his oration in favour of the injured badger. Like Harry Bertram, he is not ashamed "of caring about a brock."

"Notwithstanding the persecutions and indignities that he is unjustly doomed to suffer, I maintain that he is far more respectable in his habits than we generally consider him to be. 'Dirty as a badger,' 'stinking as a badger,' are two sayings often repeated, but quite inapplicable to him. As far as we can learn of the domestic economy of this animal when in a state of nature, he is remarkable for his cleanliness—his extensive burrows are always kept perfectly clean, and free from all offensive smell; no filth is ever found about his abode; every thing likely to offend his olfactory nerves is carefully removed. I, once, in the north of Scotland, fell in with a perfect colony of badgers; they had taken up their abode in an unfrequented range of wooded rocks, and appeared to have been little interrupted in their possession of them. The footpaths to and from their numerous holes were beaten quite hard; and what is remarkable and worthy of note, they had different small pits dug at a certain distance from their abodes, which were evidently used as receptacles for all offensive filth; every other part of their colony was perfectly clean. A solitary badger's hole, which I once had dug out, during the winter season, presented a curious picture of his domestic and military arrangements—a hard and long job it was for two men to achieve, the passage here and there turned in a sharp angle round some projecting corners of rock, which he evidently makes use of when attacked, as points of defence, making a stand at any of these angles, where a dog could not scratch to enlarge the aperture, and fighting from behind[407] his stone buttress. After tracing out a long winding passage, the workmen came to two branches in the hole, each leading to good-sized chambers: in one of these was stored a considerable quantity of dried grass, rolled up into balls as large as a man's fist, and evidently intended for food; in the other chamber there was a bed of soft dry grass and leaves—the sole inhabitant was a peculiarly large old dog-badger. Besides coarse grasses, their food consists of various roots; amongst others, I have frequently found about their hole the bulb of the common wild blue hyacinth. Fruit of all kinds and esculent vegetables form his repast, and I fear that he must plead guilty to devouring any small animal that may come in his way, alive or dead; though not being adapted for the chase, or even for any very skilful strategy of war, I do not suppose that he can do much in catching an unwounded bird or beast. Eggs are his delight, and a partridge's nest with seventeen or eighteen eggs must afford him a fine meal, particularly if he can surprise and kill the hen-bird also; snails and worms which he finds above ground during his nocturnal rambles, are likewise included in his bill of fare. I was one summer evening walking home from fishing in Loch Ness, and having occasion to fasten up some part of my tackle, and also expecting to meet my keeper, I sat down on the shore of the loch. I remained some time, enjoying the lovely prospect: the perfectly clear and unruffled loch lay before me, reflecting the northern shore in its quiet water. The opposite banks consisted, in some parts, of bright greensward, sloping to the water's edge, and studded with some of the most beautiful birch-trees in Scotland; several of the trees spreading out like the oak, and with their ragged and ancient-looking bark resembling the cork-tree of Spain—others drooping and weeping over the edge of the water in the most lady-like and elegant manner. Parts of the loch were edged in by old lichen-covered rocks; while farther on a magnificent scaur of red stone rose perpendicularly from the water's edge to a very great height. So clearly was every object on the opposite shore reflected in the lake below, that it was difficult, nay impossible, to distinguish where the water ended and the land commenced—the shadow from the reality. The sun was already set, but its rays still illuminated the sky. It is said that from the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step;—and I was just then startled from my reverie by a kind of grunt close to me, and the apparition of a small waddling grey animal, who was busily employed in hunting about the grass and stones at the edge of the loch; presently another, and another, appeared in a little grassy glade which ran down to the water's edge, till at last I saw seven of them busily at work within a few yards of me, all coming from one direction. It at first struck me that they were some farmer's pigs taking a distant ramble, but I shortly saw that they were badgers, come from their fastnesses rather earlier than usual, tempted by the quiet evening, and by a heavy summer shower that was just over, and which had brought out an infinity of large black snails and worms, on which the badgers were feeding with good appetite. As I was dressed in grey and sitting on a grey rock, they did not see me, but waddled about, sometimes close to me; only now and then as they crossed my track they showed a slight uneasiness, smelling the ground, and grunting gently. Presently a very large one, which I took to be the mother of the rest, stood motionless for a moment listening with great attention, and then giving a loud grunt, which seemed perfectly understood by the others, she scuttled away, followed by the whole lot. I was soon joined by my attendant, whose approach they had heard long before my less acute ears gave me warning of his coming. In trapping other vermin in these woods, we constantly caught badgers—sometimes several were found in the traps; I always regretted this, as my keeper was most unwilling to spare their lives, and I fancy seldom did so. His arguments were tolerably cogent, I must confess. When I tried to persuade him that they were quite harmless, he answered me by asking—'Then why, sir, have they got such teeth, if they don't live, like a dog or fox, on flesh?—and why do they get caught so often in traps baited with rabbits?' I could not but admit that they had most carnivorous-looking teeth, and well adapted to act on the offensive as well as defensive, or to crunch the bones of any young hare, rabbit, or pheasant that came in their way."

But now we have reached the moors, and for the next few hours we shall follow out the Wild Sports for ourselves. Ian, let loose the dogs.

Oh, pleasant—pleasant and cool are the waters of the mountain well! It is now past noonday, and we shall call a halt for a while. Donald, let us see what is in that bag. Twelve brace and a half of grouse, three blackcock, a leash of snipes, two ditto[408] of golden plovers, three hares, and the mallard that we raised from the rushes. Quite enough, we think, for any rational sportsman's recreation, howbeit we have a few hours yet before us. Somewhere, we think, in the other bag, there should be a cold fowl, or some such kickshaw, with, if we mistake not, a vision of beef, and a certain pewter flask.—Thank you. Now, let us all down by the side of the spring, and to luncheon with what appetite we may.

Are there any deer on these hills, Ian? But seldom. Occasionally a straggler may come over from one of the upper forests, but there are too many sheep about; and the deer, though they will herd sometimes with black cattle, have a rooted antipathy to the others. No sight is finer than that of a stag surrounded by his hinds; but it is late in the year that the spectacle becomes most imposing, and we would have given something to have been present with Mr St John on the following occasion:—

"The red deer had just commenced what is called by the Highlanders roaring, i. e. uttering their loud cries of defiance to rival stags, and of warning to their rival mistresses.

"There had been seen, and reported to me, a particularly large and fine antlered stag, whose branching honours I wished to transfer from the mountain side to the walls of my own hall. Donald and myself accordingly, one fine morning, early in October, started before daybreak for a distant part of the mountain, where we expected to find him; and we resolved to pass the night at a shepherd's house far up in the hills, if we found that our chase led us too far from home to return the same evening.

"Long was our walk that day before we saw horn or hoof; many a likely burn and corrie did we search in vain. The shepherds had been scouring the hills the day before for their sheep, to divide those which were to winter in the low ground from those which were to remain on the hills. However, the day was fine and frosty, and we were in the midst of some of the most magnificent scenery in Scotland; so that I, at least, was not much distressed at our want of luck. Poor Donald, who had not the same enjoyment in the beauty of the scene, unless it were enlivened by a herd of deer here and there, began to grumble and lament our hard fate; particularly as towards evening wild masses of cloud began to sweep up the glens and along the sides of the mountain, and every now and then a storm of cold rain and sleet added to the discomfort of our position. There was, however, something so very desolate and wild in the scene and the day, that, wrapt in my plaid, I stalked slowly on, enjoying the whole thing as much as if the elements had been in better temper, and the Goddess of Hunting propitious.

"We came in the afternoon to a rocky burn, along the course of which was our line of march. To the left rose an interminable-looking mountain, over the sides of which was scattered a wilderness of grey rock and stone, sometimes forming immense precipices, and in other places degenerating into large tracts of loose and water-worn grey shingle, apparently collected and heaped together by the winter floods. Great masses of rock were scattered about, resting on their angles, and looking as if the wind, which was blowing a perfect gale, would hurl them down on us.

"Amongst all this dreary waste of rock and stone, there were large patches of bright green pasture, and rushes on the level spots, formed by the damming up of the springs and mountain streams.

"Stretching away to our right was a great expanse of brown heather and swampy ground, dotted with innumerable pools of black-looking water. The horizon on every side was shut out by the approaching masses of rain and drift. The clouds closed round us, and the rain began to fall in straight hard torrents; at the same time, however, completely allaying the wind.

"'Well, well,' said Donald, 'I just dinna ken what to do.' Even I began to think that we might as well have remained at home; but, putting the best face on the matter, we got under a projecting bank of the burn, and took out our provision of oatcake and cold grouse, and having demolished that, and made a considerable vacuum in the whisky flask, I lit my cigar, and meditated on the vanity of human pursuits in general, and of deer-stalking in particular, while dreamy visions of balls, operas, and the last pair of blue eyes that I had sworn everlasting allegiance to, passed before me.

"Donald was employed in the more useful employment of bobbing for burn trout with a line and hook he had produced out of his bonnet—that wonderful blue bonnet, which, like the bag in the fairy tale, contains any thing and every thing which is required at a moment's notice. His bait was the worms which in a somewhat sulky mood he kicked[409] out of their damp homes about the edge of the burn. Presently the ring-ousel began to whistle on the hill-side, and the cock-grouse to crow in the valley below us. Roused by these omens of better weather, I looked out from our shelter and saw the face of the sun struggling to show itself through the masses of cloud, while the rain fell in larger but more scattered drops. In a quarter of an hour the clouds were rapidly disappearing, and the face of the hill as quickly opening to our view. We remained under shelter a few minutes longer, when suddenly, as if by magic, or like the lifting of the curtain at a theatre, the whole hill was perfectly clear from clouds, and looked more bright and splendidly beautiful than any thing I had ever seen. No symptoms were left of the rain, excepting the drops on the heather, which shone like diamonds in the evening sun. The masses of rock came out in every degree of light and shade, from dazzling white to the darkest purple, streaked here and there with the overpourings of the swollen rills and springs, which danced and leapt from rock to rock, and from crag to crag, looking like streams of silver.

"'How beautiful!' was both my inward and outward exclamation. 'Deed it's not just so dour as it was,' said Donald; 'but, the Lord guide us! look at yon,' he continued, fixing his eye on a distant slope, at the same time slowly winding up his line and pouching his trout, of which he had caught a goodly number. 'Tak your perspective, sir, and look there,' he added, pointing with his chin. I accordingly took my perspective, as he always called my pocket-telescope, and saw a long line of deer winding from amongst the broken granite in single file down towards us. They kept advancing one after the other, and had a most singular appearance as their line followed the undulations of the ground. They came slowly on, to the number of more than sixty (all hinds, not a horn amongst them), till they arrived at a piece of table-land four or five hundred yards from us, when they spread about to feed, occasionally shaking off the raindrops from their hides, much in the same manner as a dog does on coming out of the water.

"'They are no that canny,' said Donald. 'Nous verrons,' said I. 'What's your wull?' was his answer; 'I'm no understanding Latin, though my wife has a cousin who is a placed minister.' 'Why, Donald, I meant to say that we shall soon see whether they are canny or not: a rifle-ball is a sure remedy for all witchcraft.' Certainly there was something rather startling in the way they all suddenly appeared as it were from the bowels of the mountain, and the deliberate, unconcerned manner in which they set to work feeding like so many tame cattle.

"We had but a short distance to stalk. I kept the course of a small stream which led through the middle of the herd; Donald followed me with my gun. We crept up till we reckoned that we must be within an easy shot, and then, looking most cautiously through the crevices and cuts in the bank, I saw that we were in the very centre of the herd: many of the deer were within twenty or thirty yards, and all feeding quietly and unconscious of any danger. Amongst the nearest to me was a remarkably large hind, which we had before observed as being the leader and biggest of the herd, I made a sign to Donald that I would shoot her, and left him to take what he liked of the flock after I fired.

"Taking a deliberate and cool aim at her shoulder, I pulled the trigger; but, alas! the wet had got between the cap and nipple-end. All that followed was a harmless snap: the deer heard it, and, starting from their food, rushed together in a confused heap, as if to give Donald a fair chance at the entire flock, a kind of shot he rather rejoiced in. Before I could get a dry cap on my gun, snap, snap, went both his barrels; and when I looked up, it was but to see the whole herd quietly trotting up the hill, out of shot, but apparently not very much frightened, as they had not seen us, or found out exactly where the sound came from. 'We are just twa fules, begging your honour's pardon, and only fit to weave hose by the ingle,' said Donald. I could not contradict him. The mischief was done; so we had nothing for it but to wipe out our guns as well as we could, and proceed on our wandering. We followed the probable line of the deers' march, and before night saw them in a distant valley feeding again quite unconcernedly.

"'Hark! what is that?' said I, as a hollow roar like an angry bull was heard not far from us. 'Kep down, kep down,' said Donald, suiting the action to the word, and pressing me down with his hand; 'it's just a big staig.' All the hinds looked up, and, following the direction of their heads, we saw an immense hart coming over the brow of the hill three hundred yards from us. He might easily have seen us, but seemed too intent on the hinds to think of any thing else. On the height of the hill he halted,[410] and, stretching out his neck and lowering his head, bellowed again. He then rushed down the hill like a mad beast: when half-way down he was answered from a distance by another stag. He instantly halted, and, looking in that direction, roared repeatedly, while we could see in the evening air, which had become cold and frosty, his breath coming out of his nostrils like smoke. Presently he was answered by another and another stag, and the whole distance seemed alive with them. A more unearthly noise I never heard, as it echoed and re-echoed through the rocky glens that surrounded us.

"The setting sun threw a strong light on the first comer, casting a kind of yellow glare on his horns and head, while his body was in deep shade, giving him a most singular appearance, particularly when combined with his hoarse and strange bellowing. As the evening closed in, their cries became almost incessant, while here and there we heard the clash of horns as two rival stags met and fought a few rounds together. None, however, seemed inclined to try their strength with the large hart who had first appeared. The last time we saw him, in the gloom of the evening, he was rolling in a small pool of water, with several of the hinds standing quietly round him; while the smaller stags kept passing to and fro near the hinds, but afraid to approach too close to their watchful rival, who was always ready to jump up and dash at any of them who ventured within a certain distance of his seraglio. 'Donald,' I whispered, 'I would not have lost this sight for a hundred pounds.' 'Deed no, its grand,' said he. 'In all my travels on the hill I never saw the like.' Indeed it is very seldom that chances combine to enable a deer-stalker to quietly look on at such a strange meeting of deer as we had witnessed that evening. But night was coming on, and though the moon was clear and full, we did not like to start off for the shepherd's house, through the swamps and swollen burns among which we should have had to pass; nor did we forget that our road would be through the valley where all this congregation of deer were. So after consulting, we turned off to leeward to bivouac amongst the rocks at the back of the hill, at a sufficient distance from the deer not to disturb them by our necessary occupation of cooking the trout, which our evening meal was to consist of. Having hunted out some of the driest of the fir-roots which were in abundance near us, we soon made a bright fire out of view of the deer, and, after eating some fish, and drying our clothes pretty well, we found a snug corner in the rocks, where, wrapped up in our plaids and covered with heather, we arranged ourselves to sleep.

"Several times during the night I got up and listened to the wild bellowing of the deer: sometimes it sounded close to us, and at other times far away. To an unaccustomed ear it might easily have passed for the roaring of a host of much more dangerous wild beasts, so loud and hollow did it sound. I awoke in the morning cold and stiff, but soon put my blood into circulation by running two or three times up and down a steep bit of the hill. As for Donald, he shook himself, took a pinch of snuff, and was all right. The sun was not yet above the horizon, though the tops of the mountains to the west were already brightly gilt by its rays, and the grouse-cocks were answering each other in every direction."

A graphic and most true description! The same gathering of the deer, but on a far larger scale, may be seen in the glens near the centre of Sutherland, hard by the banks of Loch Naver. Many hundreds of them congregate there together at the bleak season of their love; and the bellowing of the stags may be heard miles off among the solitude of the mountain. Nor is it altogether safe at that time to cross their path. The hart—a dangerous brute whenever brought to bay—then appears to lose all trace of his customary timidity, and will advance against the intruder, be he who he may, with levelled antler and stamping hoof, as becomes the acknowledged leader, bashaw, and champion of the herd. Also among the Coolin hills, perhaps the wildest of all our Highland scenery, where the dark rain-clouds of the Atlantic stretch from peak to peak of the jagged heights—where the ghostlike silence strikes you with unwonted awe, and the echo of your own footfall rings startlingly on the ear from the metallic cliffs of Hyperstein.

What is it, Ian? As we live, Orleans is pointing in yon correi, and Bordeaux backing him like a Trojan. Soho, Tours! Now for it. Black game, we rather think. Well roaded, dogs! Bang! An old cock. Ian, you may pick him up.



The gay metropolis of France has not lacked chroniclers, whether indigenous or foreign. And no wonder. The subject is inexhaustible, the mine can never be worn out. Paris is a huge kaleidoscope, in which the slightest movement of the hand of time produces fantastic changes and still recurring novelties. Central in position, it is the rendezvous of Europe. London is respected for its size, wealth, and commerce, and as the capital of the great empire on which the sun never sets; Paris is loved for its pleasures and pastimes, its amusements and dissipations. The one is the money-getter's Eldorado, the other the pleasure-seeker's paradise. The former is viewed with wonder and admiration; for size it is a province, for population a kingdom. But Paris, the modern Babel, with its boulevards and palaces, its five-and-twenty theatres, its gaudy restaurants and glittering coffee-houses, its light and cheerful aspect, so different from the soot-grimed walls of the English capital, is the land of promise to truant gentlemen and erratic ladies, whether from the Don or the Danube, the Rhine or the Wolga, from the frozen steppes of the chilly north, or the orange groves of the sunny south. A library has been written to exhibit its physiognomy; thousands of pens have laboured to depict the peculiarities of its population, floating and stationary.

Amongst those who have most recently attempted the task, Mr Karl Gutzkow, a dramatist of some fame in his own land, holds a respectable place. He has recorded in print the results of two visits to Paris, paid in 1842 and in the present year. The self-imposed labour has been creditably performed; much truth and sharpness of observation are manifest in his pages, although here and there a triviality forces a smile, a far-fetched idea or a bizarre opinion causes a start. Mr Gutzkow partakes a fault common to many of his countrymen—a tendency to extremes, an aptness either to trifle or to soar, now playing on the ground with the children, then floating in the clouds with mystical familiars, or on a winged hobbyhorse. Desultory in style, he neglects the classification of his subject. Abruptly passing from the grave to the light, from the solid to the frothy, he breaks off a profound disquisition or philosophical argument to chatter about the new vaudeville, and glides from a scandalous anecdote of an actress into the policy of Louis Philippe. His frequent and capricious transitions are not disagreeable, and help one pleasantly enough through the book, but a methodical arrangement would be more favourable to the reader's memory. As it is, we lay down the volume with a perfect jumble in our brains, made up of the sayings, doings, qualities, and characteristics of actors, authors, statesmen, communists, journalists, and of the various other classes concerning whom Mr Gutzkow discourses, introducing them just as they occur to him, or as he happened to meet with them, and in some instances returning three or four times to the same individual. The first part of the book, which is the most lengthy and important, is in the form of letters, and was perhaps actually written to friends in Germany. This would account for its desultoriness and medley of matter. The second portion, written during or subsequently to a recent visit to Paris, serves as an appendix, and as a rectification of what came before. The author troubles himself little about places; he went to see Parisians rather than to gaze at Paris, to study men rather than to admire monuments, and has the good sense to avoid prattling about things that have been described and discussed by more common-place writers than himself. Well provided with introductions, he made the acquaintance of numerous notabilities, both political and literary, and of them he [412] gives abundant details: an eager play-goer, his theatrical criticisms are bold, minute, and often exceedingly happy; an observant man, his remarks on the social condition of Paris and of France are both acute and interesting. Let us follow him page by page through his fifth letter or chapter, the first that relates to Paris. Those that precede contain an account of his journey from Hanover. On his entrance into France, he encounters various petty disagreeables, in the shape of ill-hung vehicles, sulky conductors, bad dinners, extravagant prices, and attempts at extortion, which stir up his bile, accustomed as he is to the moderate charges, smiling waiters, and snug although slow eilwagens of his own country. But he has resolved neither to grumble at trifles nor to judge hastily. A visit to France, and especially to Paris, has long been his darling project. His greatest fear is to be disappointed—imagination, especially that of a German, is so apt to outrun reality.

"Every sou upon which I read 'Republique Française,' every portrait of the unhappy Louis upon the coarse copper money, makes such impression on me, that I no longer think of any thing but the historical ground under my feet; and consoled for my trifling grievances, upon a fine spring morning I enter the great Babel through the Barrière St Denis.

"I am in France, in Paris. I must reflect, in order to ascertain what was my first thought. As a boy, I hated France and loved Paris. My thoughts clung fast to Germany's fall and Germany's greatness; my feelings, my fancy, ranged through the French capital, of which I had early heard much from my father, who had twice marched thither as a Prussian soldier and conqueror." Then come sundry reflections on the July revolution, and its effect on Europe. "These are chains of thought which hereafter will occupy us much. I must now think for a while of the France that I brought with me, because the one I have found is likely to lead me astray. Louis Philippe, Guizot, the armed peace, the peace at all price, the chamber of peers, the attempts on the king's life, the deputies, the épiciers, the great men and the little intrigues, art and science, Véry, Vefour, Musard—I am really puzzled not to forget something of what I previously knew. A hackney-coach horse, lying dead upon the boulevard, preoccupies me more than yonder hôtel des Capucins, where Guizot gives his dinners. A wood-pavement at the end of the Rue Richelieu sets me a-thinking more than the bulletin of to-day's Débats. They pave Paris with wood to deprive revolutions of building materials. Barricades are not to be made out of blocks. Better that those who cannot hear should be run over than that those who cannot see should risk to fall from their high estate."

Considering that, when this was written, all the wood-pavement in Paris might have been covered with a Turkey carpet, and that up to this day its superficies has very little increased, Mr Gutzkow's discovery has much the appearance of a mare's nest. A better antidote to the stone within Paris is to be found in the stone around it. The fortifications will match the barricades. But it would be unfair to criticise too severely the crude impressions of a novice, suddenly set down amidst the turmoil, bustle, tumult, and fever of the French capital. From the pavements we pass to the promenaders.

"Pity that black should this year be the fashion for ladies' dresses. The mourning garments clash with the freshness of spring. The heavens are blue, the sun shines, the trees already burst into leaf, the fountains round the obelisk throw their countless diamonds into the air. The exhibition of pictures has just opened. Shall I go thither, and exchange this violet-scented atmosphere for the odour of the varnish? In Paris the exhibition comes with the violets—in Berlin with the asters. I prefer the autumn show at Berlin to the spring exhibition in Paris; also intrinsically, with respect to art. Our German painters have more poetry. With us painting is lyric—here all is, or strives to be, dramatic. Every picture seems to thrust itself forward and demand applause. I see great effects, but little feeling. Religion is represented by a few gigantic altar-pieces. They are the offerings of a devotion which only thinks of the saints because new churches require[413] new pictures. New churches consist of stone, wood, gold, silver, an organ, an altar-piece. These pictures of saints belong to the ministry of public works; it is easy to see that they have been done to order. Besides them, the gallery is full of Oriental scenes, family pictures and portraits. The first are to inspire enthusiasm for Algiers, the second illustrate the happiness of wedded life, the last are matrimonial advertisements in oil colour. In the family groups, children and little dogs are most prominent; of the male portraits the beard is the principal part. It is useless to look for men here; one sees nothing but hair. Everybody wears a beard à la mode du moyen âge—flâneurs, coachmen, marquises, artisans. On all sides one is surrounded with Vandyke and Rubens heads, poetical beards and hair, contrasting strangely with prosaic eyes, pallid lips, and the graceless costumes of the nineteenth century."

After some more very negative praise of French art, Mr Gutzkow gets sick of turpentine and confinement, and rushes out of the Louvre into the sunshine and the Champs Elysées, where the sight of the throng of dashing equipages, gay cavaliers, and pretty amazons, instead of causing him to throw up his hat and bless his stars for having conducted him into such ways of pleasantness, renders him melancholy and metaphysical. He is moralising on the Parisian ladies, when a cloud of dust and the clatter of cavalry give a new turn to his reflections. "Here," he exclaims, "comes an example of earthly happiness. Louis Philippe, King of the French, surrounded by a half squadron of his body-guard; a narrow and scarcely perceptible window in his deep six-horse carriage; a King, flying by, resting not, leaning back in his coach, not venturing to look out, breathing with difficulty under the shirt of mail which, according to popular belief, he ever wears beneath his clothes. But of this more hereafter." Quite enough as it is, Mr Gutzkow; and you are right, being in so gloomy a mood, to run off to the Theatre Français, and try to dissipate your vapours by seeing Rachel in Chimène. An unfavourable criticism of that actress, retracted at a later period, closes the chapter. Chimène is one of Rachel's worst parts, and her critic was not in his best humour. He found her cold, and deficient in voice. Subsequently, in Joan of Arc, she fully redeemed herself in his opinion, although he had seen the best German actresses in Schiller's tragedy of that name, with which the work of Soumet ill bears comparison. Here, he acknowledges, she raised herself to an artistical elevation to which no German actress of the present day can hope to attain.

The next actress of whom Mr Gutzkow records his judgment, is the queen of the vaudeville, the faded but still fascinating Dejazet. From the classic hall of the "Français" to the agreeable little den of iniquity at the other end of the Palais Royal, the distance was not great, but the transition was very violent. It was passing from a funeral to an orgie, thus to leave Phèdre for Frétillon, Rachel for Dejazet. "She performed in a little piece called the Fille de Dominique, in which she represents the daughter of a deceased royal comedian of the days of Molière. She comes to Paris to get admitted into the troop to which her father belonged. She is to give proofs of her talents, and has already done so before any one suspects it. She has been to Baron, the comedian, and presented herself alternately as a peasant girl, a fantastical lady, and as a young drummer of the Royal Guard. She is seen by the audience in all these parts. Her first word, her first step, convinced me of the great fidelity of her acting. She is no queen, no fairy, or great dame out of Scribe's comedies, but the peasant girl, the grisette, the heroine of the vaudeville. All about her is arch, droll, true. Her gestures are extraordinarily correct and steady; and in spite of her harsh counter-tenor, and of an organ in which many a wild night and champagne debauch may be traced, she sings her couplets with clearness of intonation, grace of execution, and not unfrequently with most touching effect. I am at a loss fully to explain and define her very peculiar style of acting."

Mr Gutzkow thought that the French public had become careless of[414] Dejazet, even when he first saw her, now four years ago. We believe he is mistaken, and that she is as much appreciated as ever, in spite of her five and forty years, soon to be converted into fifty. Although haggard from vigils and dissipation, neither on the stage nor off it does she look her age. The good heart and joyous disposition that have endeared her to her comrades of the buskin, have in some degree neutralized the effects of her excesses. On his second visit to Paris, our author finds her grown exceedingly old, and depreciates as much as he before praised her—calls her a rouged corpse, and makes all manner of uncivil and unsavoury comments and comparisons. He goes so far as to style her acting in 1846, languid, feeble, and insipid. Qui trop dit, ne dit rien, and this is palpable exaggeration. We perceive scarcely any difference in Dejazet now and five years ago. Her singing voice may be a little less sure, her eyes a trifle hollower—she may need rather more paint to conceal the inroads of time on her piquante and spirituelle physiognomy, but she preserves the same spirit and vivacity, verve and vigour. Her appearance this spring at the Variétés theatre, in the vaudeville of Gentil Bernard, was a triumph of talent over time; and crowded houses, attracted not by the excellence of the piece, but by the perfection of the acting, proved that Dejazet is still, which she long has been, the pet of the Parisians. She is an extraordinary actress—so true to nature, possessed of such perfect judgment, and grace of gesticulation. Not a movement of her hand, a turn of her head, an inflexion of her voice, but has its signification and produces its effect. Her performance in the picturesque and bustling second act of Gentil Bernard is faultless. The frequenters of St James's theatre have this summer had an opportunity of appreciating it. At Paris she was better supported. Lafont makes a very fair La Tulipe, but not so good a one as Hoffmann. The inferior parts, also, were far better filled on the Boulevard des Italiens, than in King Street, St James's, where the whole weight of the protracted and not very interesting vaudeville rested upon the shoulders of Dejazet.

The success of Rachel has roused the ambition and raised the reputation of the daughters of Israel, who are now quite in vogue at the Paris theatres. Mesdemoiselles Rebecca and Worms, at the "Français," are both Jewesses; at the minor theatre of the "Folies Dramatiques," Judith delights a motley audience by her able enactment of the grisette. Instances have been known of very Christian young ladies feigning themselves of the faith of Moses, in hope that the fraud might facilitate their admission to the Thespian arena.

A severe judgment is passed by Mr Gutzkow upon the present state of musical art and representations in the French capital. The opera, he affirms, and not without reason, is on its last legs, sustained only by the ballet, by the beauty of the scenery and costumes. Duprez has had his day, Madame Stolz is among the middlings, Barroilhet alone may be reckoned a first-rate singer. Our author saw the Elísir d'Amore given by a company which he says would hardly be listened to in a German provincial town. Madame Stolz was then absent on a starring expedition. The ballet of Paquita was some compensation for the poorness of the singing. "At the 'Italiens' I heard the Barber of Seville, with Lablache, Ronconi, Tagliafico, Mario, and Persiani. This opera is considered the triumph of the Italian company; but I confess that the magnificence of the theatre, the high charge for admission, the Ohs! and Ahs! of the English women in the boxes, just arrived from London, and who had never before heard good music, were all insufficient to blind me with respect to the merits of the performance. I look upon the Italian opera at Paris as a mystification on the very largest scale, a thorough classic-Italian swindle. That a German company, composed of our best opera singers, would be infinitely superior to this Italian one, appears to me to admit of no dispute; but even at an ordinary theatre in Germany or Italy, one hears as good singing, perhaps with the exception of Lablache in Bartolo—and even he is cold and careless, devoid of freshness, and always seems to say to the audience, 'You stupid people, take that for your twelve francs a-seat!' The quackery of this theatre becomes the[415] more intelligible when we reflect that, in all Paris, there is no other where a single note of Italian opera music can be heard, the Italians having the monopoly of the sweet melodies of their native country. The Grand Opera, and the Opera Comique, deal in French music only; and the pleasure obtainable in any small German town possessing a theatre, that, namely, of hearing Norma, the Somnambula, and other similar operas, is nowhere to be procured except by paying extravagant prices to these half-dozen Italians." This statement is not quite correct. The Opera Comique, it is true, gives nothing but French music, and poor enough it is. In this particular, the Parisians are not difficult to satisfy. A good libretto, smart scenery, a hard-handed claque, a few skilful reclames, and laudatory paragraphs in the newspapers, will create an enthusiasm even for the insipid music of Monsieur Halévy, and sustain the Mousquetaires de la Reine, or similar mawkish compositions, through a whole season. But at the Académie Royale, good operas are to be heard, although the singing be deficient. Meyerbeer, Rossini, and Donizetti are not the names of Frenchmen; and the operas of these and other foreign composers are constantly given in the Rue Lepelletier.

"Several German opera companies have visited Paris; have begun well, and finished badly. And here our most brilliant singers would meet the same fate, because they would be allowed to sing nothing but German music; and German operas are not listened to in Paris. But if it were possible, with only a moderately good German company, to give Norma, the Barber, Robert the Devil, the Huguenots, and Mozart's operas, (omitting the dialogue,) that company, supported by a good orchestra, and performing in a decent theatre, would carry all before them, and return to Germany laden with fame and gold. But that is the difficulty. In France every one must stick to a speciality. From the German they will hear nothing but German music, and the representation of other operas is positively forbidden him."

Without going the lengths that Mr Gutzkow does, or by any means coinciding in his sweeping censure of the artists who now furnish forth the Italian theatres of London and Paris, we doubt whether it is not fashion, as much as the excellence of the music, that draws the élite of French and English society to the Haymarket and the Salle Ventadour, and whether a German company of equal intrinsic merit would receive adequate patronage and encouragement in either capital, supposing even that they were allowed their choice of operas, and had the benefit of a handsome theatre and an able management. Certainly they would not get the enormous salaries which, in combination with the greediness of managers, and the manœuvres of ticket-sellers, render the enjoyment of a good opera, in London at least, a luxury attainable but by an exceedingly limited class.

Although the prices of admission to most of the Paris theatres are moderate, they are occasionally raised by illegitimate stratagems. This is especially the case when a new piece is performed from which much is expected, or concerning which, by puffery or for other reasons, the public curiosity has been greatly excited. On such occasions, the first few representations are sometimes rendered doubly and even trebly productive. The prices cannot be raised at the theatre itself without express permission from the authorities, and as this is seldom granted, another plan is resorted to. The box-office is transferred de facto from the corridor of the theatre to the open street. Whoever applies for tickets is told that there is not one left to any part of the house. Nothing then remains but to have recourse to the ticket-brokers, who carry on their disreputable commerce in the streets or at the wine-shops. In the Rue Montmartre, within a few doors of the Boulevard, there is a marchand de vin, whose establishment is a grand rendezvous of these gentry. They are the agents of the managers of the theatres. The latter sell all the tickets to themselves a fortnight beforehand, inscribing on the coupons the names of imaginary buyers, and then distribute them amongst the brokers, who sell them in front of the theatre to eager theatrical amateurs, as a great favour, and as the last obtainable tickets, at two or three times the regulation price. The theatre pockets the profits, minus[416] a brokerage. In this manner a first representation at the large theatre of the Porte St Martin may be made to yield ten thousand francs. When a theatre is out of vogue, and filling poorly, the same system is adopted; but in the contrary sense. The marchands de billets are provided with tickets which they sell at less than the established price.

When De Balzac's drama, Les Expédients de Quinola, was brought out at the "Odeon," he compounded to receive the proceeds of the first three nights, in lieu of a share of each representation whilst the piece should run. The play had been greatly talked of, the steam had been got up in every way, and the public was in a fever. It is customary enough in Paris for dramatic authors, in order at once to get paid for their labours, to barter their droits d'auteur for the entire profits of the first representations. Scribe does it at the Français. When the tickets are sold at the usual prices, this financial arrangement is regular enough, and concerns nobody but author and manager. But that would not satisfy Balzac, who is notorious for his avarice. He set the brokers to work, and drove the prices up to the highest possible point, fifteen francs for a stall, instead of five, a hundred francs for a box and so forth. "Under such circumstances," says Mr Gutzkow, "it cannot be wondered if people forgot Eugenie Grandet and the Père Goriot, and hissed his play. To-day, nearly a hundred criticisms of Quinola have appeared. It is my belief, that, instead of reading them, Balzac is counting his five-franc pieces." The drama fell from want of merit as well as from the indignation excited by the author's greed. Although Balzac's books are read and admired—some of them at least—personally he is most unpopular. He is accused, and not without reason, of arrogance and avarice. His assumption and conceit are evident in his works. He has sacrificed his fame to love of gold; for one good book he has produced two that are trash; by speculating on his reputation, he has undermined and nearly destroyed it. Moreover, he has committed the enormous blunder of affecting to despise the press, which consequently shows him no mercy. For a fortnight after the appearance of Quinola—which, although defective as a dramatic composition, was not without its merits—the unlucky play served as a daily laughing-stock and whipping-post to the battalion of Parisian critics. Janin led the way; a host of minor wasps followed in his wake, and threw themselves with deafening hum and sharp sting against the devoted head of M. de Balzac. He bore their aggravating assaults with great apparent indifference, consoled for want of friends by well-lined pockets.

At the "Ambigu Comique," Mr Gutzkow attended a performance of the Mousquetaires, a melo-drama founded on Dumas's romance of Vingt Ans Après. Its success was prodigious; it was performed the whole of last winter and spring, upwards of one hundred and fifty nights, always to crowded houses. The novel was dramatised by Dumas himself, with the assistance of one of his literary subordinates, M. Auguste Maquet. One or two of the actors at the "Ambigu" are to form part of the troop at M. Dumas's new theatre, now erecting, and which will open, it is said, this autumn. It is built by a company, and Dumas has engaged to write for it a certain number of plays yearly. The Duke of Montpensier gives it his name.

It will be the twenty-third theatre in Paris. Mr Gutzkow lifts up his hands and eyes in astonishment and admiration. "And this is granted," he says, "to that same Alexander Dumas, who, two years ago, publicly declared, that the stage and modern literature, in France especially, suffer from the indifference of the king!" He proceeds to compare this good-humoured facility with the scanty amount of encouragement given to theatricals in Prussia, with which he appears as moderately satisfied as with various other matters in the Fatherland. In Berlin, he says, although another theatre is sadly wanted, there is little chance of its being conceded either to a dramatic author or to any one else. But to follow him in his complaints, would lead us from Paris.

It is somewhat strange that Mr Gutzkow, himself a dramatist, and who tells us that his chief object in[417] visiting Paris was to see the remarkable men of France, did not make the acquaintance of M. Dumas. We infer, at least, that he did not, for the above passing reference is all that his book contains touching the distinguished author of Angèle and Antony, of Monte Christo and the Mousquetaires. To numerous other littérateurs, of greater and less merit, he sought and obtained introductions, and of them gives minute and interesting details. In Germany, as in England, Dumas is better known and more popular than any other French novelist; but, independently of that circumstance, as a brother dramatist, we wonder Mr Gutzkow neglected him. Perhaps, since he blames Balzac for overproduction, and speaks with aversion to the system of bookmaking, he eschewed the society of Dumas for a similar reason. Balzac is believed, at any rate, to write his books himself, although they suffer from haste; but Dumas has been openly and repeatedly accused of having his books written for him, and of maintaining a regular establishment of literary aide-de-camps, perpetually busied in the fabrication of tale, novel, and romance, whose productions he copies and signs, and then gives to the world as his own. His immense fertility has been the origin of this charge, which may be false, although appearances are really in favour of its truth. It seems physically impossible that one man should accomplish the mere pen and ink work of M. Dumas's literary labours; and even if, like Napoleon, he had the faculty of dictating to two or three different secretaries at once, it would scarcely account for the number of volumes he annually puts forth. From a clever but violent pamphlet, published in Paris in the spring of 1845, under the title of Fabrique de Romans; Maison Alexander Dumas & Cie. we extract the following statement, which, it cannot be denied, is plausible enough:—

"It is difficult to assign limits to the fecundity of writer, and to fix the number of lines that he shall write in a given time. Romance-writing especially, that frivolous style, has a right to travel post, and to scatter its volumes in profusion by the wayside. Nevertheless, time must be taken to consider a subject, to arrange a plan, to connect the threads of a plot, to organize the different parts of a work; otherwise one proceeds blindfold, and finishes by getting into a blind alley, or by meeting insurmountable obstacles. Allowing for these needful preparations, supposing that an author takes no more repose than is absolutely necessary, eats in haste, sleeps little, is constantly inspired; in this hypothesis, the most skilful writer will produce perhaps fifteen volumes a-year—fifteen volumes, do you hear, Monsieur Dumas? And, even in this case, he will assuredly not write for fame; we defy him to chasten and correct his style, or to find a moment to look over his proofs. Ask those who work unassisted; ask our most fertile romance-writers, George Sand, Balzac, Eugène Sue, Frédéric Soulié; they will all tell you, that it is impossible to reach the limit we have fixed; that they have never attained it.

"You, M. Dumas, have published thirty-six volumes in the course of the year 1844; and for the year 1845, you announce twice as many.

"Well, we make the following simple calculation:—The most expert copyist, writing twelve hours a-day, hardly achieves 3900 letters in an hour, which gives, per diem, 46,800 letters, or sixty ordinary pages of a romance. At that rate he can copy five octavo volumes a month, and sixty in a year, but he must not rest an hour or lose a second. You, Monsieur Dumas, are a penman of first-rate ability. From the 1st of January to the 31st of December you work regularly twelve hours a-day, you sleep little, you eat in haste, you deprive yourself of all amusements, you hardly travel at all, you are never seen out of your house: consequently, if we suppose that your dramatic compositions, the bringing out of your plays, your correspondence with newspapers and theatres, importunate visitors, a few casual articles—as, for example, your letters in the Democratie Pacifique; (a series of five letters containing a fierce attack on the Théatre Français, and on its administrator M. Buloz)—supposing, we say, that all these various occupations monopolize only one half of your time, we understand that you may have copied thirty volumes in the course of the year 1844—but only thirty![418] the six others must have been the result of your son's labours. Now, if you are going to publish twice as much this year as you did during the last one, how will you manage? You must either give up sleeping, and work the twenty-four hours through, or you must teach your manufacturers to imitate your hand-writing. There is no other plan possible. To deliver your manuscripts to the printers as they are delivered to you, would be to furnish proofs against yourself."

The author of this pamphlet is himself a novelist, and allowance must be made for his jealousy of a successful rival. But there are grounds for his attack. M. Dumas is known to work hard: literary labour has become a habit and necessity of his life; but he is not the man to chain himself to the oar and renounce all the pleasures of society and of Paris, even to swell his annual budget to the enormous sum which it is reported, and which he has indeed acknowledged it, to reach. We have seen works published under his name, whose perusal convinced us that he had had little or nothing to do with their composition or execution. The internal evidence of others was equally conclusive in fixing their bona fide authorship upon their reputed author. Au reste, Dumas troubles himself very little about his assailants, but pursues the even tenor of his way, careless of calumniators. The most important point for him is, that his pen, or at least his name, should preserve its popularity; and this it certainly does, notwithstanding that his enemies have more than once raised a cry that "le Dumas baisse sur la place." On the contrary, the article, whether genuine or counterfeit, was never more in demand, both with publishers and consumers. In Paris, as Mr Gutzkow says, every thing is a speciality; it requires half a dozen different shops to sell the merchandise that in England would be united in one. One establishment deals in lucifer-matches and nothing else; chips and brimstone form its whole stock in trade: it is the spécialité des allumettes chimiques. Yonder we find a spacious magasin appropriated to glove-clasps; here is another where clysopompes are the sole commodity. We were aware of this peculiarity of French shopkeeping, but were certainly not prepared to behold, as we did on our last visit to Paris, a shop opened upon the Place de la Bourse, exclusively for the sale of Monsieur Dumas's productions. This, we apprehend, is the ne plus ultra of literary fertility and popularity. "Le Dumas" has become a commercial spécialité. The bookseller who wishes to have upon his shelves all the productions of the author of the Corricolo, must no longer think of appropriating any part of his space to the writings of others; or if he persists in doing so, he had better take three or four shops, knock down the partitions, and establish a magasin monstre, like those of which ambitious linendrapers have of late years set the fashion in the Chaussée d'Antin and Rue Montmartre. Curiosity prompted us to enter the Dumas shop and procure a list of its contents. The number of volumes would have stocked a circulating library. We were gratified to find—for we have always taken a strong interest in Alexander Dumas, some of whose bettermost books we have honoured with a notice in Maga—that several of his works were out of print. On the other hand, five or six new romances, from two to four volumes each, were, we were informed by the obliging Dumas-merchant, on the eve of appearing. It was a small instalment of the illustrious author's annual contribution to the fund of French belles lettres.

In the Galerie des Contemporains Illustres, by M. de Lomenie, we find the following remarks concerning M. Dumas:—

"He has written masses of romances, feuilletons by the hundred. In the year 1840 alone, he published twenty-two volumes. He has even written with one hand the history that he turned over with the other, and heaven knows what an historian M. Dumas is! He has published Impressions de Voyages, containing every thing, drama, elegy, eclogue, idyl, politics, gastronomy, statistics, geography, history, wit—every thing excepting truth. Never did writer more intrepidly hoax his readers, never were readers more indulgent to an author's gasconades. Nevertheless, M. Dumas has abused to such an extent the credulity of the public,[419] that the latter begin to be upon their guard against the discoveries of the traveller."

The public, we apprehend, take M. Dumas's narratives of travels at their just value, find them entertaining, but rely very slightly on their authenticity. It has been pretty confidently affirmed and generally believed, that many of his excursions were performed by the fireside; that rambles in distant lands are accomplished by M. Dumas with his feet on his chenets in the Chaussée d'Antin, or in his country retirement at St Germains. Nor does he, when taxed with being a stay-at-home traveller, repel the charge with much violence of indignation. At the recent trial at Rouen of a sprig of French journalism, a certain Monsieur de Beauvallon, (truly the noble particle was worthily bestowed,) the accused was stated to be extraordinarily skilful with the pistol; and in support of the assertion, a passage was quoted from a book written by himself, in which he stated, that in order to intimidate a bandit, he had knocked a small bird off a tree with a single ball. The prisoner declared that this wonderful shot was to be placed to the credit of his invention, and not to his marksmanship. "I introduced the circumstance," said he, "in hopes of amusing the reader, and not because it really happened. M. Dumas, who has also written his travelling impressions, knows that such license is sometimes taken." Whereupon Alexander, who was present in court, did most heartily and admissively laugh.

Apropos of that trial—and although it leads us away from Mr Gutzkow, who makes but a brief reference to the orgies, revived from the days of the Regency, which the evidence given upon it disclosed—M. Dumas certainly burst upon us on that occasion in an entirely new character. We had already inferred from some of his books, from the knowing gusto with which he describes a duel, and from his intimacy with Grisier, the Parisian Angelo, to whom he often alludes, that he was cunning of fence and perilous with the pistol. But we were not aware that he was looked up to as a duelling dictionary, or prepared to find him treated by a whole court of justice—judge, counsellors, jury, and the rest—as an oracle in all that pertains to custom of cartel. We had reason to be ashamed of our ignorance; of having remained till the spring of the year 1846 unacquainted with the fact that in France proficiency with the pen and skill with the sword march pari passu. Upon this principle, and as one of the greatest of penmen, M. Dumas is also the prime authority amongst duellists. With our Gallic neighbours, it appears, a man must not dream of writing himself down literary, unless he can fight as well as scribble. To us peaceable votaries of letters, whose pistol practice would scarcely enable us to hit a haystack across a poultry-yard, and whose entire knowledge of swordsmanship is derived from witnessing an occasional set-to at the minors between one sailor and five villains, (sailor invariably victorious,) there was something quite startling in the new lights that dawned upon us as to the state of hot water and pugnacity in which our brethren beyond the Channel habitually live. When Hannibal Caracci was challenged by a brother of the brush, whose works he had criticised, he replied that he fought only with his pencil. The answer was a sensible one; and we should have thought authors' squabbles might best be settled with the goosequill. Such, it would seem, from recent revelations, is not the opinion on the other side of Dover Straits; in France, the aspirant to literary fame divides his time between the study and the shooting gallery, the folio and the foil. There, duels are plenty as blackberries; and the editor of a daily paper wings his friend in the morning, and writes a premier Paris in the afternoon, with equal satisfaction and placidity. Not one of the men of letters who gave their evidence upon the notable trial now referred to, but had had his two, three, or half-dozen duels, or, at any rate, had fait ses preuves, as the slang phrase goes, in one poor little encounter. All had their cases of Devismes' pistols ready for an emergency; all were skilled in the rapier, and talked in Bobadil vein of the "affairs" they had had and witnessed. And greatest amongst them all, most versed in the customs of combat, stood M. Dumas, quoting the code, (in France there is a published code of duelling,) laying down the law, figuring as an umpire,[420] fixing points of honour and of the duello, as, at a tourney of old, a veteran knight.

Mr Gutzkow is not far wrong in qualifying the champagne orgies of the Parisian actresses and newspaper scribes, as a resuscitation of the mœurs de Régence. It appears that these gentlemen journalists live in a state of polished immorality and easy profligacy, not unworthy the days of Philip of Orleans, whom M. Dumas, be it said en passant, has represented in one of his books as the most amiable, excellent, and kind-hearted of men, instead of as the base, cold-blooded, and reckless debauchee which he notoriously was. In France, to a greater extent than in England, the success of an actress or dancer depends upon the manner in which the press notices her performances. Theatrical criticisms are a more important feature in French than in English newspapers, are more carefully done, and better paid.

"As an artist," said Mademoiselle Lola Montes, the Spanish bailerina, who formerly attracted crowds to the Porte St Martin theatre—less, however, by the grace of her dancing, than by the brevity of her attire—"I sought the society of journalists."

Miss Lola is not the only lady of her cloth making her chief society of the men on whose suffrage her reputation, as an actress, depends. In Paris, people are apt to pin their faith on their newspaper, and, finding that the plan saves a deal of thought, trouble, and investigation, they see with the eyes and hear with the ears of the editor, go to the theatres which he tells them are amusing, and read the books that he puffs. Actresses, especially second-rate ones, thus find themselves in the dependence of a few coteries of journalists, whom they spare no pains to conciliate. We shall not enter into the details of the subject, but the result of the system seems to be a sort of socialist republic of critics and actresses, having for its object a reckless dissipation, and for its ultimate argument the duelling pistol. "In Paris," says Mr Gutzkow, "the critics are often dilettanti, who seek by their pen to procure admission into the boudoirs of the pretty actresses. The theatrical critic is a petit maître, the analysis of a performance a declaration of love." And favours are bartered for feuilletons. It does not appear, however, that these Helens of the foot-lamps often lead to serious rivalries between the Greeks and Trojans of the press. A pungent leading article, or a keen opposition of interests, is far more likely to produce duels than the smiles or caprices even of a Liévenne or an Alice Ozy. In these days of extinct chivalry, to fight for a woman is voted perruque and old style; but to fight for one's pocket is correct, and in strict conformity with the commercial spirit of the age. A's newspaper, being ably directed, rises in circulation and enriches its proprietors. Journalist B, whose subscribers fall off, orders a sub-editor to pick a quarrel with A and shoot him. The thing is done; the paper of defunct A is injured by the loss of its manager, and that of surviving B improves. The object is attained. "The history of the Procès Beauvallon," we quote from Mr Gutzkow, "so interesting as a development of the modern Mysteries of Paris, arose apparently from a rivalry about women, but in reality was to be attributed to one between newspapers. It is tragical to reflect, that for the Presse Emile de Girardin shot Carrel, and that now the manager of the same paper is in his turn shot by a new rival, on account of the Globe or the Epoque. We are reminded of the poet's words: Das ist der Fluch der bösen That!"

It will be remembered that De Girardin, the founder of the Presse, killed Armand Carrel, the clever editor of the National, in a duel. The Presse was started at forty francs a-year, at a time when the general price of newspapers was eighty francs. The experiment was bold, but it fully succeeded. The thing was done well and thoroughly; the paper was in all respects equal to its contemporaries; in talent it was superior to most of them, surpassed by none. De Girardin and his associates made a fortune, the majority of the other papers were compelled to drop their prices, some of the inferior ones were ruined. The innovation and its results made the bold projector a host of enemies, and he would have found no difficulty in the world in getting shot, had he chosen to meet a tithe of those who[421] were anxious to fire at him. But after his duel with Carrel he declined all encounters of the kind, and fought his battles in the columns of the Presse instead of in the Bois de Boulogne. Had he not adopted this course he would long ago have fallen, probably by the hand of a member of the democratic party, who all vowed vengeance against him for the death of their idol. As it is, he has had innumerable insults and mortifications to endure, but he has retaliated and borne up against them with immense energy and spirit. On one occasion he was assaulted at the opera, and received a blow, when seated beside his wife, a lady of great beauty and talent. The aggressor was condemned to three years' imprisonment. The Presse being a conservative paper, and a strenuous supporter of the Orleans dynasty, the opposition and radical organs of course loudly denounced the injustice and severity of the sentence. De Girardin was once challenged by the editors of the National en masse. His reply was an article in his next day's paper, proving that the previous character and conduct of his challengers was such as to render it impossible for a man of honour to meet any one of them. Mr Gutzkow made the acquaintance of Girardin. "At the sight of the slender delicate hand which slew the steadfast and talented editor of the National, I was seized with an emotion, the expression of which might have sounded somewhat too German. Girardin himself affected me; his daily struggles, his daily contests before the tribunals, his daily letters to the National, his uneasy unsatisfied ambition, his unpopularity. One may have shot a man in a duel, but in order to remember the act with tranquillity, the deceased should have been the challenger. One may have received a blow in the opera house, and yet not deem it necessary, having already had one fatal encounter, to engage in a second, but it is hard that the giver of the blow must pass three years in prison. Such events would drive a German to emigration and the back-woods; they impel the Frenchman further forward into the busy crowd. Bitterness, melancholy, nervous excitement, and morbid agitation, are unmistakeably written upon Girardin's countenance."

Himself a clever critic, Mr Gutzkow was anxious to make the acquaintance of a king of the craft, the well-known Jules Janin, the feuilletonist of the Debats. "Janin has lived for many years close to the Luxembourg palace, on a fourth floor. His habitation is by no means brilliant, but it is comfortably arranged; and when he married, shortly before I saw him, he would not leave it. Le Critique marié, as they here call him, lives in the Rue Vaugirard, rather near to the sky, but enjoying an extensive view over the gardens, basins, statues, swans, nurses and children, of the Luxembourg. 'I have bought a chateau for my wife,' said he, coming down a staircase which leads from his sitting-room to his study. 'I am married, have been married six months, am happy, too happy—Pst, Adèle, Adèle!'

"Adèle, a pretty young Parisian, came tripping down stairs and joined us at breakfast. Janin is better-looking than his caricature at Aubert's. Active, notwithstanding his embonpoint, he is seldom many minutes quiet. Now stroking his jeune France beard, then caressing Adèle, or running to look out of the window, he only remains at table to write and to eat. He showed me his apartment, his arrangements, his books, even his bed-chamber. 'I still live in my old nest,' said he, 'but I will buy my angel—we have been married six months, and are very happy—I will buy my angel a little chateau. I earn a great deal of money with very bad things. If I were to write good things, I should get no money for them.'

"It is impossible to write down mere prattle. Janin, like many authors, finds intercourse with men a relief from intercourse with books. The cleverest people willingly talk nonsense; but Janin talked, on the contrary, a great deal of sense, only in a broken unconnected way, running after Adèle, threatening to throw her out of the window, or rambling about the room with the stem of a little tree in his hand. 'Do you see,' said he, 'I like you Germans because they like me—(this by way of parenthesis)—do you see, I have brought up my[422] wife for myself; she has read nothing but my writings, and has grown tall whilst I have grown fat. She is a good wife, without pretensions, sometimes coquettish, a darling wife. It is not my first love, but my first marriage. You have been to see George Sand? We do not smoke, neither I nor my wife, so that we have no genius. Pas vrai, Adèle?'

"Adèle played her part admirably in this matrimonial idyl. 'She does not love me for my reputation,' said her husband, 'but for my heart. I am a bad author, but a good fellow. Let's talk about the theatre.'

"We did so. We spoke of Rachel, and of Janin's depreciation of that actress, whom he had previously supported. 'It's all over with her,' said he; 'she has left off study, she revels the night through, she drinks grog, smokes tobacco, and intrigues by wholesale. She gives soirées, where people appear in their shirt-sleeves. Since she has come of age, it's all up with her. She has become dissipated. Shocking—is it not, Adèle?'

"'One has seen instances of genius developing itself with dissipation.'

"'They might stand her on her head, but would get nothing more out of her,' replied Janin. 'Luckily the French theatre rests on a better foundation than the tottering feet of Mamsell Rachel.—Do you know Lewald? Has he translated me well?'

"'You have fewer translators than imitators.'

"'Can my style be imitated in German?'

"'Why not? I will give you an instance.'

"Janin was called away to receive a visitor, and was absent a considerable time. He had some contract or bargain to settle. I took out my tablets, drank my cup of tea, and wrote in Janin's style the following criticism upon a performance at the Circus which then had a great run."

Having previously, it may be presumed, noted down the suggestive and curious dialogue of which we have given an abbreviation. We have our doubts as to the propriety, or rather we have no doubts as to the impropriety and indelicacy, of thus repeating in print the familiar conversations, and detailing the most private domestic habits of individuals, merely on the ground of their talents or position having rendered them objects of curiosity to the mob. Literary notoriety does not make a man public property, or justify his visitors in dragging him before the multitude as he is in his hours of relaxation, and of mental and corporeal dishabille. Mr Gutzkow is unscrupulous in this respect. Possessing either an excellent memory, or considerable skill in clandestine stenography, he carefully sets down the sayings of all who are imprudent enough to gossip with him, and important enough for their gossip to be interesting. Surely he ought to have informed Messrs Thiers, Janin, and various others, who kindly and hospitably entertained him, that he was come amongst them to take notes, and eke to print them. Forewarned, they would perhaps have been less confiding and communicative. The last four years have produced many instances of this species of indiscretion. Two prominent ones at this moment recur to us—a prying, conceited American, and a clever but impertinent German prinzlein. The latter, we have been informed, was on one occasion called to a severe account for his tattling propensities. With respect to Jules Janin, we are sure that Mr Gutzkow's revelations concerning his household economy, his pretty wife, his morning pastimes and breakfast-table causeries, will not in the slightest degree disturb his peace of mind, spoil his appetite, or diminish his embonpoint. The good-humoured and clever critic is proof against such trifles. Nay, as regards initiating the public into his private affairs and most minute actions, he himself has long since set the example. The readers of the witty and playful feuilletons signed J. J., will not have forgotten one that appeared on the occasion of M. Janin's marriage, having for its subject the courtship and wedding of that gentleman. The commencement made us smile; the continuation rendered us uneasy; and as we drew near the close, we became positively alarmed—not knowing how far the writer was going to take us, and feeling somewhat pained for Madame Janin, who might be less willing than her insouciant husband that such very copious details of her[423] commencement of matrimony should be supplied as pasture to the populace in the columns of a widely-circulated newspaper. Janin got a smart lashing from some of his rival feuilletonists for his indecent and egotistical puerility. Doubtless he cared little for the infliction. Habituated to such flagellations, his epidermis has grown tough, and he well knows how to retaliate them. He has few friends. Those who have felt his lash hate him; those whom he has spared envy him. As a professed critic, he finds it easier and more piquant to censure than to praise; and scarcely a French author, from the highest to the lowest, but has at one time or other experienced his pitiless dissection and cutting persiflage. His feuilletons were once, and still occasionally are, distinguished and prized for their graceful naïveté and playful elegance of style. His correctness of appreciation, his adherence to the sound rules of criticism, his thorough competency to judge on all the infinite variety of subjects that he takes up, have not always been so obvious. And of late years, his principal charm, his style, has suffered from inattention, perhaps also from weariness; chiefly, no doubt, from his having fallen into that commercial money-getting vein which is the bane of the literature of the day. Still, now and then, one meets with a feuilleton in his old and better style, delightfully graceful, and pungent and witty, concealing want of depth by brilliancy of surface. He is a journalist, and a journalist only; he aspires to no more; books he has not written, none at least worth the naming—two or three indifferent novels, early defunct. His feuilletons are especially popular in Germany—more so, perhaps, than in France. His arch and sparkling paragraphs contrast agreeably with the heavy solidity of German critics of the belles lettres. By the bye, we must not forget Gutzkow's attempt at an imitation of M. Janin's style. He was interrupted before he had completed it, but favours us with the fragment. It is a notice of the exploits of a Pyrenean dog then acting at Paris. Its author had not time to read it to Janin, who went out to walk with his wife. "I kept my paper to myself, exchanged another joke or two with my whimsical host, and departed. I have written a theatrical article, than which Janin could not write one more childish. What German newspaper will give me twenty thousand francs a-year for articles of this kind?" One, only, whose proprietor and editor have taken leave of their senses. The article à la Janin is childish and frivolous enough; but childishness and frivolity would have availed the Frenchman little had he not united with them wit and grace. His German copyist has not been equally successful in operating that union. But to attempt in German an imitation of Janin's style, so entirely French as it is, and only to be achieved in that language, appears to us nearly as rational as to try to manufacture a dancing-pump out of elephant hide.

We grieve to hear the bad accounts of Mademoiselle Rachel's private propensities and public prospects given by Janin, or, at least, by Mr Gutzkow, who in another place enters into further details of the fair tragedian's irregularities. It is difficult to imagine Chimène smoking a cigar, Phèdre sitting over a punch-bowl, the Maid of Orleans intriguing with a journalist, even though it be admitted that the lords of the feuilleton are also tyrants of the stage, and toss about their foulards with a tolerable certainty of their being gratefully and submissively picked up. We will hope, however, either that Janin was pleased to mystify Gutzkow, thinking it perhaps very allowable to pass a joke on the curious German who had ferreted him out in his quatrième, or that Gutzkow has fathered upon Janin the floating reports and calumnious inuendos of the theatrical coffee-houses.

Mr Gutzkow went to see George Sand. This was his great ambition, his burning desire. He is an enthusiastic admirer of her works and of her genius. It is to be inferred from what he tells us, that he did not find it easy to obtain an introduction. Madame Dudevant lives retired, and likes not to be trotted out for the entertainment of the curious. She is particularly distrustful of tourists. They have sketched her in grotesque outline, respecting neither her mysteries nor her confidence. But Mr[424] Gutzkow was resolved to see the outside of her house, pending the time that he might obtain access to its interior. So away he went to the Rue Pigale, No. 16, chattered with the portress, peeped into the garden, gazed at the windows which George Sand, "when exhausted with mental labour, is wont to open to cool her bosom in the fresh air." Considering that this was in the month of March, some time had probably elapsed since the lady had done any thing so imprudent. From a chapter of Lelia or Mauprat to an equinoctial breeze! There is a catarrh in the mere notion of the transition. However, Mr Gutzkow viewed the matter with a poet's eye—the window, we mean to say—and after gazing his fill, departed, musing as he went. A fortnight later he was admitted to see the jewel whose casket he had contemplated with so much veneration. "I have been to see George Sand. She wrote to me: 'You will find me at home any evening. If, however, I am engaged with a lawyer or compelled to go out, you must not impute it to want of courtesy. I am entangled in a lawsuit in which you will see a trait of our French usages, for which my patriotism must needs blush. I plead against my publisher, who wants to constrain me to write a romance according to his pleasure—that is to say, advocating his principles. Life passes away in the saddest necessities, and is only preserved by anxieties and sacrifices. You will find a woman of forty years old, who has employed her whole life not in pleasing by her amiability, but in offending by her candour. If I displease your eyes, I shall, at any rate, preserve in your heart the place that you have conceded me. I owe it to the love of truth, a passion whose existence you have distinguished and felt in my literary attempts.'

"I went to see her in the evening. In a small room, scarce ten feet square, she sat sewing by the fire, her daughter opposite to her. The little apartment was sparingly lighted by a lamp with a dark shade. There was no more light than sufficed to illumine the work with which mother and daughter were busied. On a divan in one corner, and in dark shadow, sat two men, who, according to French custom, were not introduced to me. They kept silence, which increased the solemn, anxious tension of the moment. A gentle breathing, an oppressive heat, a great tightness about the heart. The flame of the lamp flickered dimly, in the chimney the charcoal glowed away into white shimmering ashes, a ghostlike ticking was the only sound heard. The ticking was in my waistcoat pocket. It was my watch, not my heart." How intensely German is all this overwrought emotion about nothing! Fortunately a chair was at hand, into which the impressionable dramatist dropped himself. His first speech was a blunder, for it sounded like a preparation.

"'Pardon my imperfect French. I have read your works too often, and Scribe's comedies too seldom. From you one learns the mute language of poetry, from Scribe the language of conversation.'"

To which compliment Aurora Dudevant merely replied: "'How do you like Paris?'

"'I find it as I had expected.—A lawsuit like yours is a novelty. How does it proceed?'

"A bitter smile for sole reply.

"'What is understood in France by contrainte par corps?'


"'Surely they will not throw a woman into prison to compel her to write a romance. What does your publisher mean by his principles?'

"'Those which differ from mine. He finds me too democratic.'

"And mechanics do not buy romances, thought I. 'Does the Revue Indépendante make good progress?'

"'Very considerable, for a young periodical.'"

And so on for a couple of pages. But George Sand was on her guard, and stuck to generalities. She would not allow her visitor to draw her out, as he would gladly have done. She had been already too much gossiped about and calumniated in print. She had an intuitive perception of the approaching danger. She nosed the intended book. Nevertheless, and although reserved, she was very amiable; talked about the drama—when Mr Gutzkow, remembering her unsuccessful play of Cosima, tried to change the subject—inquired after[425] Bettina, spoke respectfully of Germany—of which, however, she does not profess to know any thing—and even smoked a cigar.

"George Sand laid aside her work, arranged the fire, and lighted one of those innocent cigars which contain more paper than tobacco, more coquetry than emancipation. I was now able, for the first time, to obtain a good view of her features. She is like her portraits, but less stout and round than they make her. She has a look of Bettina. Since that time she has grown larger.

"'Who translates me in Germany?'

"'Fanny Tarnow, who styles her translations bearbeitungen.'

"'Probably she omits the so-called immoral passages.'

"She spoke this with great irony. I did not answer, but glanced at her daughter, who cast down her eyes. The pause that ensued was of a second, but it expressed the feelings of an age."

Although Mr Gutzkow's visits to Paris were each but of a few weeks' duration, and notwithstanding that he had much to do, many persons to call upon and things to see, he now and then felt himself upon the brink of ennui. This especially in the evenings, which, he says, would be insupportable without the theatres. To foreigners they certainly would be so, and to many Parisians. The theatre, the coffee-house, the reading-room, the unvarying and at last wearisome lounge on the boulevards, compose the resources of the stranger in Paris. Access to domestic circles he finds extremely difficult, rarely obtainable. Many imagine, on this account, that in Paris there is no such thing as domestic life, that the quiet evenings with books, music, and conversation, the fireside coteries so delightful in England and Germany, are unknown in the French metropolis. If not unknown, they are, at any rate, much rarer. "The stranger complains especially," says Mr Gutzkow, "that his letters of introduction carry him little further than the antechamber. He misses nothing so much as the opportunity of passing his evenings in familiar intercourse with some family who should admit him to their intimacy." This want is most perceptible at the season when Mr Gutzkow was at Paris, March and April, treacherous and rainy months, comprising Lent, during which Paris is comparatively dull, and when many persons, either from religious scruples or from weariness of winter and carnival gaieties, refuse parties, and cease to give their weekly or fortnightly soirées, often more agreeable as an habitual resort than balls and entertainments of greater pretensions. Mr Gutzkow complains bitterly of the bad weather. The climate of Paris is certainly the reverse of good. The heat oppressively great in summer, rain intolerably abundant for seven or eight months of the twelve. If London has its fogs, Paris has its deluge, and its consequences, oceans of mud, which, in the narrow streets of the French capital, are especially obnoxious. The Boulevards and the Rues de Rivoli and De la Paix are really the only places where one is tolerably secure from the splashing of coach and scavenger.

"A rainy day," writes Mr Gutzkow, on the 22nd March; "the sky grey, the Seine muddy, the streets filthy and slippery. You take refuge in the passages, and in the Palais Royal. Appointments are made in the passages and reading-rooms. Dinner at the Bœuf à la Mode, at the Grand Vatel or Restaurant Anglais, reserving Véry, Véfour, the Rocher de Cancale, for a brighter day and more cheerful mood."

"Paris is too large in bad weather, and too small in fine. Really, when the sun shines, Paris is very small. The fashionable part of the Boulevards, the Rue Vivienne, the Rue Richelieu, the Palais Royal, in all that region you are soon so much at home that your face is known to every shopkeeper. Always the same impressions. In the daytime often insipid; more cheerful at night, when the gas-lights gleam. The art of false appearances is here brought to the greatest perfection. The commonest shops are so arranged as to deceive the eye. Mirrors reflect the wares, and give the establishment an artificial extension, by lamplight a fantastical grandeur. You try the different restaurants, dining sometimes here, sometimes there, and gradually becoming initiated in the mysteries of the carte; for[426] the most part avoiding all complicated preparations, and confining yourself to the dishes au naturel, as the surest means of not eating cat for calf. In the Palais Royal the shops are very dear, only the dinners on the first floor are cheap, and ennui is to be had gratis. Since so many handsome passages have been opened through the streets, the Palais Royal has lost its vogue. Some say that its decline began with its morality. The Cabinets particuliers, formerly of such evil repute, are now the smoking rooms of the coffeehouses. The Galerie d'Orleans is still the most frequented part of the Palais Royal. Here the loungers pull out their watches every five minutes; they all wait either for a friend or for dinner-time. Meanwhile they saunter to and fro, and admire the skill of their tailors in the range of mirrors on either side of the gallery.

"I followed the boulevards, the other day, from the Madeleine to the Column of July—a distance which it took me almost two hours to accomplish. From the Portes St Denis and St Martin, the boulevards lose their metropolitan aspect. They become more countrified and homely. The magnificence of the shops and coffeehouses diminishes and at last disappears. The luxurious gives way to the useful, the comfortable to the needy. At the Château d'Eau, where the boulevard turns off at a right angle, four or five theatres stand together. Here is the road to the Père la Chaise. Here fell the victims of Fieschi's infernal machine. From one of these little houses the murderous discharge was made. From which, I will not ask. Perhaps no one could tell me. Paris has forgotten her revolutions.

"Further on, the Goddess of Liberty flashes on us from the summit of the July Column. Why in that dancer-like attitude? It may show the artist's skill, but it is undignified, and seems to challenge the stormwind which once already blew down Freedom's Goddess from the Pantheon. Upon the column are engraved the names of the heroes of July.

"What stood formerly upon this spot? Upon yonder little house I read, 'Tavern of the Bastile.' This, then, was the birthplace of French freedom, of the freedom of the world. Upon this site, now bare, stood the fortress-prison, whose gloomy interior beheld for centuries the crimes of tyrants, the violence of despotism, whereof nought but dark rumours transpired to the world without. On the 14th July 1789, came the dawn. The Bastile was destroyed, and not one stone of it remained upon another. It is awfully impressive to contemplate this place, now so naked and empty, once so gloomily shadowed.

"We enter the suburb of the workmen, the faubourg St Antoine, the former ally and reliance of the Jacobins. Here things have a ruder and more strongly marked aspect. It is a sort of Frankfurt Sachsenhausen. By the Rue St Antoine we again reach the interior of the city, its most industrious and busy quarter. I love these working-day wanderings in the regions of labour. I prefer them to all the Sunday promenades upon the broad pavements of luxury. True that each of these intricate and dirty streets has its own particular and often nauseous odour. Here are the soapboilers, yonder a slaughter-house, here again, in the Rue des Lombards, the atmosphere is laden with the scent of spices and drugs. In the cellars, men, with shirt-sleeves rolled up, crush brimstone and pepper and a hundred other things in huge iron mortars; a noise and smell which reminds me of the treacle-grinders on the Rialto at Venice. And here, also, in these narrow alleys and dingy lanes, historical associations linger. Yonder is the battered chapel of St Méry, where, eight years ago, four hundred republicans, intrenched in the cloisters, strove against the whole armed might of Paris, and were overcome only by artillery. To-day the French Opposition takes things more easily. Its demonstrations are dinners, as in Germany. The popping of champagne corks causes no bloodshed. Written speeches, an article in a newspaper, a toast to the maintenance of order, another against tentatives insensées;—it will be long before such an opposition attains its end."

Mr Gutzkow, who does not conceal his ultra-liberal opinions, seems almost to regret the revolutionary days, and to pity Paris for the tranquillity which a firm and judicious government has at length succeeded in establishing[427] within its walls. Had a republican outbreak taken place during his abode in the French capital, one might have expected to find him raising impromptu battalions from the eighty thousand Germans and Alsatians, who form an important item of the Parisian population. His doctrines will hardly gain him much favour with the powers that be in his own country. But for that he evidently cares little. He is one of the progress; Young Germany reckons in him a stanch and devoted partisan. With his democratic tendencies, and in Paris, where monuments of revolutions abound, and where a thousand names and places recall the struggles between the people and their rulers, it is not wonderful that his enthusiasm occasionally boils over, and that he vents or hints opinions which maturer reflection would perhaps induce him to repudiate.

A visit to Michel Chevalier suggests a comparison between the different modes of attaining to public honours and ministerial office in France and in Germany. "Most delightful to me was the acquaintance of Chevalier. Delightful and afflicting. Afflicting when I contrasted the treatment of talent in Germany with that which it meets in France. Michel Chevalier, the accomplished writer who knows how to handle so well and agreeably the dry topics of national economy, of railways and public works, ten years ago was a St Simonian. When the association of Menilmontant was prosecuted by the French government, he was condemned to a year's imprisonment. But those who persecuted him for his principles, prized him for his talents. Instead of letting him undergo his punishment, as would have been the case in Germany, they gave him money and sent him to North America, commissioned to make observations upon that country. Chevalier published, in the Journal des Debats, his able letters from the United States, returned to France, became professor at the University, and, a year ago, was made counsellor of state." In opposition to this example, Mr Gutzkow traces the progress of the German candidate for his office; pipes, beer, and dogs at the university, plucked in his examination, a place in an administration, counsellor, knight of several orders, vice-president of a province, president of a province, minister.

Although there are in Paris more Germans than foreigners of any other nation, little is seen and heard of them. They do not hang together, and form a society of their own, as do the English, and even the Spaniards and Italians. They may be classed under the heads of political refugees, artisans, men of science and letters, merchants and bankers. Few of them are of sufficient rank and importance to represent their nation with dignity, or sufficiently wealthy to make themselves talked of for their lavish expenditure and magnificent establishments. They have not, like the English, colonized and appropriated to themselves one of the best quarters of Paris. Mr Gutzkow complains of the scanty kindness and attention shown to his countrymen by the richer class of German residents. "I was in a drawing-room," he says, "whose owner was indebted for his fortune to a marriage with a German lady. Yet the Germans there present were neglected both by host and hostess. The German artist or scholar must not reckon on a Schickler or a Rothschild to introduce him into the higher circles of Parisian life. These rich bankers are of the same breed as the German waiters in Switzerland and Alsace, who, even when waiting upon Germans, pretend to understand only French. Music is the German's best passport to French society. You may be a great scientific genius, and find no admission at the renowned soirées of the Countess Merlin. Do but offer to take a part in one of the musical choruses, to strengthen the bass or the tenor, and you are welcome without name or fame, and even without varnished boots."

We have been diffuse upon the lighter texts afforded us by Mr Gutzkow's work, and must abstain from touching upon its graver portions. They will repay perusal. A vein of satire, sometimes verging on bitterness, is here and there perceptible in his pages. It forms no unpleasant seasoning to a very palatable book.



The people of the old Illyricum have shown a marvellous consistency of character through all the changes that have affected the other nations of the Roman empire. They exist now as they did of old, a hardy race of borderers, not quite civilised, and not quite barbarous—Christian in fact, and Turkish to a great extent in appearance. Living on the borders of the two empires, they exhibit the national characteristics of each in transitu towards the other. Of all civilised Europe, it is perhaps here only that the practice of carrying arms universally and commonly prevails—a custom which we have very old historical authority for considering as the characteristic mark of unsettled, predatory, and barbarous manners—an opinion which will be abundantly confirmed by a glance at the neighbouring Albanians. Any thing original is possessed of one element of interest, especially when it has been so sturdily preserved; and sturdy, indeed, have the Illyrians been. In spite of the polished condition of the empire of which they form a constituent part, and of the constant steamers up and down the Adriatic promoting intercourse with the world, they remain much as they used to be, and so do they seem likely to remain indefinitely.

Perhaps the secret of their stability may be, that visitors pass all around them, but seldom come among them. People visit the coast to look at Spalatro for Diocletian's sake, at Pola for its magnificent amphitheatre, and for the memory of Constantine's unhappy son, and perhaps at Ragusa. But this is pretty well all they could do conveniently, which is the same thing as to say, it is all that nineteen travellers out of twenty would do. In those places where visits are paid by prescription, the traveller would find, as is likely, nothing of distinct nationality. Such places are like well-frequented inns, where any body and every body is at home, and where every body influences the manners for the time being—there will be found cafés, carriages, and ciceroni.

But the case is far different in the more abstruse parts of this region—in those districts of which some have subsided into the domain of the Turks, some remain independent, and a narrow strip only is reserved—the wreck of the old Empire. All are defaulters in the march of civilisation. But the independent Montenegrini retain in full force the odour of barbaric romance. They occupy a small territory, not noticed in many maps, shut in by the Turks on all sides, except where, for a narrow space, they border on Austria. But they pay no sort of subjection to either of these mighty powers. With Austria they maintain friendly intelligence on the footing of the proudest sovereignty, and an unqualified assertion of the right of nations. With the Turks their relations are of a ruder and more interesting kind.

The Montenegrini alone of Europe follow the political model of modern Rome. Their political head is their ecclesiastical superior. The regal and episcopal offices, conjointly held, are hereditary in collateral succession, since the reigning prince is bound to celibacy. In the consecration of their bishops, they pay no regard to canonical age, and the authorities of the Greek church seem to bend to the peculiar exigencies of the case. The reigning Vladika was consecrated at the age of eighteen. His power is, in fact, supreme, though formally qualified by the assessorship of a senate, who, though entitled to advise, would outstep their bounds did they attempt to direct. Indeed, legal authority among such a clan of barbarians can only subsist by despotism. Where every hand is armed, and violent death a familiar object, the power that rules must be enabled to act immediately and without appeal. To graduate authority among them, except in the case of military command,[429] exercised by immediate delegation from the chief, would be to render it contemptible.

And such a bishop as now occupies this throne has not been seen since the martial days of the fighting Pope Julius. The old stories of prelates clad in armour, and fighting at the head of their troops, astonish us, but are regarded as altogether antiquated. Yet among those hills is exhibited a scene that may realise the wildest descriptions of romance or history. That the people are a people of warriors, is not so surprising when we consider their locality, their ancestry, and the circumstances of their life. If they were merely marauders, we should be no more struck with the singularity of their state than we are with the vagabondism of the Albanians. A wild country, a wandering population, and distance from executive restraints, may, in any case, bring natural ferocity to a harvest of violence and rapine. But the Montenegrini disclaim the name of robbers and the practice of evil. They consider themselves to be engaged in a warfare, not only justifiable, but meritorious, and over bloodshed they cast the veil of religious zeal.

It seems to be a fact that their violence is for the Turks only. So far as we could gain intelligence, they do not molest Christians; and experience enables us to speak with pleasure of our own hospitable reception. But against the Turks their hatred is intense, their valour and rage unquenchable. It is not to be supposed that any Turk would be so foolish as to attempt the passage of their territory, except under express assurance of safe conduct; but should one do so, he would find ineffectual the strongest escort with which the Sultan could furnish him. The savage nature of the district must prevent the combined action of regular troops, or of any troops unacquainted with the localities; and from behind the crags an unseen enemy would wither the ranks of the invader. Indeed, it would appear that the passage is not safe for a Turk even under the assurance of a truce. A tragical accident was the subject of conversation at the time of our visit. A body of the enemy had been surprised and cut off, notwithstanding the subsistence of a truce. Ignorance on the part of the assaulters was the ready plea; and a message had been dispatched to make such reparation as could be found in apologies and restitution of effects. But the thing looked ill. A truce must soon become notorious throughout so confined a region, and among a people of whom, if not every one engaged personally in the field, every one had his heart and soul there. It is to be feared that the obligations of good faith are qualified in the case of a Mahomedan; and however we may lament, we can hardly view with astonishment so natural a consequence of their bloody education. "Hates any man the thing he would not kill?"—and hatred to the Turks is the dawning idea of the Montenegrino child, and the master-passion of the dying warrior.

With certain saving clauses, we may compare the position of the Montenegrini to that of the old knights of Malta. Rhodes and Malta are hardly more isolated, and are more accessible than this mountain region. If there be a wide difference between the gentle blood and European dignities of the knights, and the rude estate of the mountaineers, there is between them a brotherhood of courage, inflexibility, and devoted opposition to Mahomet. Each company may stand forth as having discharged a like office, distinguished by the characteristic differences of the two branches of the church. The knights, noble, polished, and temporally influential, defended the weak point of Western Christendom—the sea; the Montenegrini, unpolished, ignorant, of little worldly account, but great zeal, have done their part for Eastern Christendom, in opposing the continental power of the Turks. The unpolished nature of their life and actions has been in the spirit of the church to which they belong. They have been rude but steady, and stand alone in their strength. They have resisted not only the power of Mahomedanism on the one side, but have also refrained from amalgamation with the western Christians, remaining firm in that allegiance to the sec of Constantinople,[430] which the Sclavonians derived from their first missionaries.[3]

There is one point of superiority in the case of these barbarians as compared with that of the military knights. They have never been conquered, never driven from their fastnesses. The knights defended Rhodes with valour such as never has been surpassed; and to this day the recollection moves the apathetic spirit of the Turks; and the monstrous burying-grounds in the suburbs are witnesses of the slaughter of the assailants. Yet Rhodes was evacuated, and the Order obliged to seek another settlement. But the Montenegrini have never been conquered. They have withstood the whole power of the mightiest sultans, in whose territories they have been as an ever-present nest of hornets, always ready to sally forth, losing no opportunity of destruction. These Osmanlis, who so lately were the proudest of nations, have been themselves baffled and defied by a handful of Christians. Their enthusiasm, their numbers, their artillery, their commanding possession of the lake of Scutari, all have failed to bring under their power a handful of some hundred and fifty thousand men. The cross, once planted in this rugged soil, has taken effectual root, and continues still to flash confusion on the followers of Islam. It is the symbol of our faith that is carried before the mountaineers when they go forth to battle; and it still inspirits them, as it did those legions of the faithful who first learned to reverence its virtue.

We must not carry things too far. It would be absurd to claim for these people the general merit of devotion; to suppose that as a general rule they are actuated by the love of religion. Alas! they are undoubtedly very ignorant of the religion for which they fight. Yet, so far as knowledge serves them, they are religious; where error is the consequence of ignorance, we may grieve, but should be slow to condemn. Some are probably led to heroism by liberal devotion to the person of the Bishop; some because they have been nursed in the idea that Turks are their natural enemies, whom to destroy is a work of merit. But, nevertheless, they exhibit the spectacle of a people who, proceeding on a principle of religion, however that principle be obscured, have instituted, and long have maintained, a crusade against the religious fanatics who once made Europe tremble. Their spirit at least contains the commendable elements of constancy, simplicity, and heroism.

It was my fortune to pay a visit to this extraordinary people under favourable circumstances. Visits to them are very rare. Sometimes a stray soldier's yacht, from Corfu, finds its way to Cattaro; but generally only in its course up the Adriatic. These military visitants are commonly more intent on woodcocks than the picturesque, and game does not particularly enrich these regions. For very many years there has been an account of only one English visiting-party besides ourselves. We were led thither by the happy favour of circumstance. Our party was numerous, and certainly must have been the most distinguished that the Vladika has had the opportunity of entertaining. It consisted of the captain and several officers of an English man-of-war, reinforced by the accession of a couple of volunteers from the officers of the Austrian garrison of Cattaro.

We were all glad to have the opportunity of satisfying our eyes on the subject of the marvellous tales whose confused rumour had reached us. We were not young travellers, and it was not a little that would astonish us—but we felt that if the reality in this case were at all like the report, we might all afford to be astonished. It was a singular thing that so little should be known about these people almost in their neighbourhood—for Corfu is not two hundred miles distant. But perhaps the reason may be, that they are not to be seen beyond their own confined region, and are easily confounded with the irregular tribes of Albanians.

The wonders of our visit opened [431] upon us before reaching the land of romance—a wonder of beauty in the nature of the entrance to Cattaro. The Bocca di Cattaro is of the same kind as, and not much inferior to, the Bosphorus. The man who has seen neither the one nor the other of these fairy streams must be content to rest without the idea. The nearest things to them, probably, would be found in the passages of the Eastern Archipelago. The entrance from the sea is by a narrow mouth, which seems to be nothing but a small indentation of the coast, till you are pretty well arrived at the inner extremity. You then pass into another canal, whose tortuous course shuts out the sight of the sea, and puts you in the most landlocked position in which it is possible to see a ship of war. High hills rise on either side, beautifully planted, and verdant to the waters edge. Villages are not wanting to complete the effect; and here and there single houses peep out beautiful in isolation. Another turn brings into view a point of divergence in the stream, where, on a little island, stands a simple devout-looking chapel. It looks as though intended to call forth the pious gratitude of the returning sailor, and help him to the expression of his thanks. The whole length of the channel is something more than twenty miles—and all of the same beautiful description—not seen at once, but opening gradually as the successive bends of the stream are passed. The wind failed us, and for a considerable distance we had to track ship, which we were easily able to do, as there is plenty of water close to the very edge. At the bottom of all lies Cattaro—occupying a narrow level, with the sea before, and the frowning mountains behind.

Our arrival set the little place quite in a commotion. Indeed, this was but the second time that a ship of war had carried our flag up these waters—the other visitant was, I believe, from the squadron of Sir W. Hoste. The whole place turned out to see us, and the harbour was covered with boat-loads of the nobility and gentry. They were like all Austrians that I have met, exceedingly kind, and well-disposed to the English name. We soon made acquaintances, and exchanged invitations. Their musical souls were charmed with the performances of our really fine band, and we were equally charmed with their pleasing hospitality. The couple of days occupied in the interchange of agreeable civilities were useful in the promotion of our scheme. From our friends we learned the prescriptions of Montenegrino etiquette. An unannounced visit, in general cases, is by them regarded as neither friendly nor courteous: an evidence of habitual caution that we should expect among a people against whom open violence is ineffectual, and only treachery dangerous. Our friends provided a messenger, and we awaited his return amidst the amenities of Cattaro. These combined so much good taste with good will, that it was difficult to credit the stories of barbarism subsisting within a short day's journey: stories that here, in the immediate neighbourhood of the scene of action, became more vivid in character.

The appearance of the country was in keeping with tales of romance. Almost immediately behind the town rises the mountain district, very abruptly, and affording at first view an appearance of inaccessibility. It is not till the eye has become somewhat habituated to the search that one perceives a means of ascent. A narrow road of marvellous construction has been cut up the almost perpendicular mountain. But the word road would give a wrong idea of its nature. It is rather a giant staircase, and like a staircase it appears from the anchorage. The lines are so many, and contain such small angles, that when considered with the height of the work, they may aptly be compared to the steps of a ladder. It is of recent construction, and how the people used to manage before this means of communication existed, it is difficult to say. Probably this difficulty of intercourse has mainly tended to the preservation of barbarism. Now, the route is open to horses, sure-footed and carefully ridden. The highlanders occasionally resort to the town for traffic in the coarse commodities of their manufacture. On these occasions they have to leave their arms in a guard-house without the gates, as indeed have all people entering the[432] town; and a pretty collection is to be seen in these depots, of the murderous long guns of which the Albanians make such good use.

It was on the evening of the second day that we first saw an accredited representative of the tribe. A party of us had strolled out towards the foot of the mountain, and in the repose of its shadows were speculating on the probable adventures of the morrow. A convenient bridge over a mountain stream afforded a seat, whence we looked wistfully up to the heights. The contrast between the neatness of the suburb, the hum of the town, the noisy activity of the peasantry, and the black desolation of the mountain, engaged our admiration. This desolation was presently relieved by the emerging into view of a descending group. One figure was on horseback, with several footmen attending his steps. The dress of the cavalier would have served to distinguish him as of consequence, without the distinction of position. His dress affected a style of barbaric magnificence that disdained the notion of regularity. The original idea perhaps was Hungarian, to which was added, according to the fancy of the wearer, whatever went to make up the magnificent. His appearance was very much, but not exactly, that of a Turk—not the modernised Turk in frock-coat and trousers, but him of the old school, who despises, or only partially adopts, sumptuary reform. This splendid individual was attended by several "gillies," who were genuine specimens of the tribe. They are almost, without exception, (an observation of after experience,) of enormous stature, swarthy, and thin. Their dark locks give an air of wildness to their face. Their long limbs afford token of the personal activity induced and rendered necessary by the circumstances of their life. Their garments are scanty, and such as very slightly impede motion. The whole party were abundantly armed, and a brave man might confess them to be formidable. We naturally stared at these gentry, who, at length on level ground, approached rapidly. It is not every thing uncommon that deserves a stare, and we were accustomed to strangeness. But we had not met any thing so striking as the wild figures of these barbarians, thrown into relief by the appropriate background of the mountain. The horseman reciprocated our stare, as was fit, on the unusual meeting with the British uniform. Presently he pulled up his animal, and, dismounting, invited our approach. The recognition was soon complete. He introduced himself as the aide-de-camp of his highness the Vladika of the Montenegrini, who received with pleasure our communication, and invited our visit. The party had been sent down as guides and honourable escort into his territory; and a led horse that they brought for the special convenience of the captain, completed the assurance of the gracious hospitality of the prince. Now this was a very propitious beginning of the enterprise. We had hit upon a time when a short truce allowed him to do the honours of his establishment. One might go, perhaps, fifty times that way without a similar advantage. You would hear, probably, that he was out fighting on one of the frontiers, or laying an ambuscade, or perhaps that he had been shot the day before. The least likely thing of all for you to hear would be, as we did, that he was at home, would be happy to see you, and begged the pleasure of your company to dinner. We became at once great friends with our new acquaintance, and carried him off to dine on board. He proved not to be one of the indigenous, a fact we might have inferred from his comparatively diminutive stature and fair complexion. He was a Hungarian who had taken service under the Vladika. As it is not probable that this paper will ever find its way into those remote fastnesses, it may be permitted to say, that he exhibited in his person one of the evils inseparable from the independent sovereign existence of uncivilised borderers on civilisation. In such a position they afford an ever-present refuge to civilised malefactors. Any person of Cattaro who offends against the laws of Austria, has before him a secure refuge, if he can manage to obtain half-an-hour's start of the police. The pes claudus of human retribution must halt at the foot of the mountain, whence the fugitive may insult justice.

Of this evil we saw further instances[433] besides that presented in the person of our visitor. By his own account, he was a sort of Captain Dalgetty, who had seen service as a mercenary under many masters, and had finally come to dedicate his sword to the interests of the Vladika. The account of some of the Austrian officers deprived him of even the little respectability attached to such a character as this. The gallantry of martial excellence was in him tarnished by the imputation of tampering with the military chest; so that it was either indignant virtue, (for which they did not give him credit,) or conscious guilt, that had driven him to devote his laurels to the cause of an obscure tribe. Such moral blemishes are not likely to cloud the reception of a fugitive to this court: first, because rumour would hardly travel so far; and next, because the arts of civilisation, and especially military excellence, are such valuable accessions to the weal of Montenegro, that their presence almost precludes the consideration of qualifying defects. Our Hungarian acquaintance was, however, notwithstanding his supposed delinquencies, and barbarous residence, a polite and courteous person. We learned from him much concerning the people we were about to visit. It was a sad picture of violence that he drew. Blood and rapine were the prominent features. War was not an accidental evil—a sharp remedy for violent disorder—but a habitual state. The end and object of their institutions was the destruction of the Turks; scarcely coloured in his narrative with the palliation of religious zeal. Indeed, it required every allowance for circumstances to avoid the idea of downright brigandage. But great, certainly, are the allowances to be made. We must consider the many years during which the little band has been exposed to the wrath of the Turks, when that wrath was more efficient than it is at present. Their present bitterness of feeling must be ascribed to long years of struggle, to many seasons of cruelty, and to the constant stream of desperate enthusiasm. Their war has become necessarily one of extinction; and probably there are few or none of the people to whom a slaughtered father or brother has not bequeathed a debt of revenge. These personal feelings are aggravated by the sense that they exist in the midst of a people who want but the opportunity to extinguish their name and their religion; and this feeling is maintained by bloody feats on every available occasion.

The conversation of our informant was all in illustration of this state of things. Such a horse he rode when going to battle—such a sabre he wore, and such pistols. The Vladika took such a post, and executed such or such manœuvres. At last we ventured to enquire—"But is this sort of thing always going on? have you never peace by any accident?" "Oh yes!" replied he, "we have peace sometimes—for two or three days." He varied his narrative with occasional accounts of service he had seen in Spain; showing us that he, at any rate, was not scrupulous in what cause he shed blood, provided it was for a "consideration."

But we were now approaching the moment when our own eyes were to be our informants. The evening was given to an entertainment by the Austrian officers, of whom two, as already mentioned, volunteered to join our expedition, and the next morning assigned to the start. The sun beamed cheerfully after several days' rain. In this spot, shut in on all sides, except seawards, by highlands, the rains are very frequent. It cleared up during our visit, but, with the exception of two days, rained pretty constantly during the week of our stay at Cattaro. On the morning of our start, however, all was bright, and any defence against the rain was voted superfluous. Our trysting-place was on board, and true to their time our friends appeared. They amused us much by their astonishment at the preparation we were making for the expedition, of which a prominent particular was the laying in of a good store of provant, as a contingent security against deficiencies by the road. Our breakfast was proceeding in the usual heavy style of nautical housekeeping, when the scene was revealed to our allies. These gentlemen, who are in the habit of considering a pipe and a cup of coffee as a very satisfactory morning meal, could not restrain their[434] exclamations at the sight of the beef and mutton with which we were engaged. The A. D. C. was anxious to explain that it was no region of famine into which we were going. We were to dine with the Vladika, and, moreover, care had been taken to provide a repast at a station midway on the journey. "En route, en route," cried the impatient warrior, "we shall breakfast at twelve o'clock; what's the use of all this set-out now?" But whatever form of argument it might require to cry back his warlike self and myrmidons from the Albanian cohorts, it proved no less difficult a task to check us in this our onslaught. We assured him with our mouths full, that we considered a meal at mid-day to be lunch; and that this our breakfast was without prejudice to the honour we should do to his hospitable provision by the way. The Austrians relented under the force of our arguments and example, and, turning to, ate like men; while the inexorable A. D. C. gazed impatiently, almost pityingly, on the scene, as though in scorn, that men wearing arms should so delight to use knives and forks. But at last we were mounted, and started with the rabble of the town at our heels, and a wilder rabble performing the part of military escort. There is no such thing as riding in Cattaro, because the town is paved with stones smooth as glass, on which it requires care even to walk. This is so very singular a feature of this town that it deserves remark. The horses have to be taken without the town, and must, in their course thither, either avoid the streets altogether, or be carefully led. On leaving the town the ascent begins almost immediately, and most abruptly. The very singular road, which has been cut with immense labour, is the work of the present Emperor. There was no other spot which we could perceive to afford the possibility of ascent, without the use of hands as well as legs, and by the road it was no easy matter. At the commencement almost of the ascent, and just outside the town, we passed the last stronghold of Austria in this direction. It is a fort in a commanding position, but dismantled, and allowed to fall into decay. This is the last building of any pretension, or of brick, that you see till well into the Montenegrini territory. We could not ascertain the exact line of demarcation between the dominions of the Emperor of Austria and him of the mountains; but probably the stoppage of the road may serve to mark the point. The barbarians would neither be able to execute, nor likely to desire, such a highway into their region, whose safety consists in its inaccessibility. It is no other than a difficult ascent, even so far as the road extends, which, though of considerable length on account of its winding course, reaches no further than up the face of the first hill.

It was when abreast of this ruined fort that our guides took a formal farewell of the city. A general discharge of musketry expressed their salutation; which, in this favourite haunt of echo, made a formidable din. They do this not only in compliment to those they leave, but as a customary and necessary precaution to those they approach. We soon turned a point which shut out the valley, and were in the wilderness with our wild scouts. Encumbered with their long and heavy guns, they easily kept pace with the horses, as well on occasional levels as during the ascent. We were much struck with their vigorous activity, which seemed to surpass that of the animals; and subsequently had occasion to observe that even children are capable of supporting the toil of this difficult and rapid march. The two foreigners in nation, but brothers in adventure, whom we had adopted into our fellowship, proved to be agreeable companions. One was an Italian, volatile and frivolous; the other a grave German, clever and solidly informed; he had been a professor in one of their military colleges. The Italian was up to all sorts of fun, and ready to joke at the expense of us all. His companion afforded some mirth by his disastrous experience on horseback. The continual ascent which we had to pursue during the early stages of our journey, had aided the motion of his horse's shoulder in rejecting to the stern-quarters his saddle, till at length the poor man was almost holding on by the tail.[435] The figure that he cut in this position, dressed in full military costume, (your Austrian travels in panoply,) was finely ridiculous, and was enjoyed by the assistants, civilised and barbarous.

The country over which we were passing was of an extraordinary character, when considered as the nurse of some hundred and fifty thousand sons. It well deserves the name of bleak; for any thing more stepmother-like, in the list of inhabited countries, it would be difficult to find. In the earlier stages, we were content to think that we were but at the beginning, and should come down to the cultivated region. That cultivation there must be here, we knew; because the people have to depend on themselves for supplies, and have very little money for extra provision. But we passed on, and still saw nothing but rugged and barren rocks—a country from which the very goats might turn in disgust. We presently observed certain appearances, which, but for the general utter want of verdure, we should scarcely have noticed. Here and there, the disposition of the rocks leaves at corners of the road, or perhaps on shelves above its level, irregular patches of more generous soil, but scantily disposed, and of difficult access. These are improved by indefatigable industry into corn-plots. When we consider with how much trouble the soil must be conveyed to these places, the seed bestowed, and the crop gathered, we feel that land must be indeed scanty with these barbarians, who can take so much trouble for the improvement of so little. It may be supposed that their resources are not entirely in lands of this description. But, excepting one plain, we did not pass, in our day's journey, what might fairly be called arable land, till we arrived at Zettinié, the capital. Like many uncivilised tribes, they behave with much ungentleness to their women. They are not worse in this respect than the Albanians, or perhaps than the Greeks in the remote parts of Peloponnesus; but still they appear to lay an undue burden on the fair sex. Much of the out-door and agricultural work seems to be done by the women; perhaps all may be—since the constant occupations of war, which demand the attention of their husbands, induce a contempt for domestic labour. I would hope, for the honour of the Montenegrini, that the labours of their weaker assistants are confined to the plain; the detached and rocky plots must demand patience from even robust men. The women—I speak by a short anticipation—are a patient, strong, and laborious race. As a consequence, they are hard-featured, and harsh in bony developments. Like the men, they are tall and active, though perhaps ungainly in gesture. Unlike the men, they have sacrificed the useful to the ornamental in their dress. Of this a grand feature is a belt, composed of many folds of leather, and, of course, quite inflexible. This awkward trapping is perhaps a foot broad. This ornament must, in spite of custom, be very inconvenient to the wearer, as well by its weight as by its inflexibility. It is, however, thickly embellished with bright-coloured stones, rudely set in brass; thus we find the Montenegrini women obeying the same instinct that leads the dames of civilisation to suffer that they may shine. This belt is the obvious distinction in dress between the two sexes; and when it is hidden by the long rug, or scarf, which is common to both men and women, there remains between them no striking difference of costume. This rug is to the Montenegrino what the capote is to the Greek and Albanian, his companion in all weathers—his shelter against the storm, and his bed at night. The manufactures here are of course rude; and, in this instance, their ingenuity has not ascended to the device of sleeves. The article is bona fide a rug, much like one of our horse-rugs, but very long and very comfortable, enveloping, on occasion, nearly the whole person. It is ornamented by a long and knotted fringe, and depends from the shoulders of the natives not without graceful effect. This light habiliment constitutes the mountaineers' house and home, rendering him careless of weather by day, and independent of shelter by night. Be it observed as a note of personal experience, that as a defence against[436] weather, this scarf is really excellent, and will resist rain to an indefinite extent.

As we proceeded on our road, we learned fully to comprehend the secret of their long independence. The country is of such a nature that it may be pronounced positively impregnable. Our thoughts fell back to the recollection of Affghanistan, and we felt that we had an illustration of the difficulties of that warfare. The passage is throughout a continual defile. The road, after the first hour or so, relents somewhat of its abruptness. But it pursues a course shut in on both sides by rocks, that assert the power of annihilating passengers. The rocks are inaccessible except to those familiar with the passages, perhaps except to the aborigines, who combine the knowledge with the necessary activity. Behind these barriers, the natives in security might sweep the defile, from the numerous gulleys that branch from it in all directions. It is difficult to imagine what conduct and valour could do against a deadly and unseen enemy. It is not only here and there that the road assumes this dangerous character; it is such throughout, with scarcely the occasional exception of some hundred yards, till it opens into the valley of Zettinié. One of our Austrian friends was of opinion that their regiment of Tyrolean chasseurs would be able to overrun and subdue the territory. If such an achievement be possible, those, of course, would be the men for the work. But it would be an unequal struggle that mere activity would have to maintain against activity and local knowledge. During our course, we kept close order; two of us did attempt an episode, but were soon warned of the expediency of keeping with the rest. A couple of minutes put us out of sight of our friends, which we did not regain till after some little suspense. Fogs here seem ever ready to descend; and one which at precisely the most awkward moment enveloped us, obscured all around beyond the range of a few feet. For our comfort, we knew that the people would be expecting visitors to their prince, and thus be less suspicious of strangers, if haply they should fall in with us.

Some three hours after our start, we perceived symptoms of excitement amongst the foremost of our band, and hastened to the eminence from which they were gesticulating. At our feet was disclosed a plain, not level nor extensive, but a plain by comparison. It bore rude signs of habitation, the first we had met. There was a single log-hut, much of the same kind as the inland Turkish guard-houses, only without the luxury of a divan. Around this were several people eagerly looking out for our approach. They had good notice of our coming; for as we rose into sight, our party gave a salute of small arms. This was returned by their brethren below, and the whole community (not an alarming number) hastened to tender us the offices of hospitality. Our horses were quickly cared for, seats of one kind or other were provided, and we sat down beneath the shade of the open forest, to partake of their bounty.

The valley was a shade less wild than the country we had passed, but still a melancholy place for human abode. It must be regarded as merely a sort of outpost—not professing the extent of civilisation attained by the capital; but, with every allowance, it was a sorry place. It did certainly afford some verdure; but probably they do not consider the situation sufficiently central for secure pasturage. That their sheep are excellent we can bear witness, for the repast provided consisted in that grand Albanian dish—the sheep roasted whole. Surely there can be nothing superior to this dish in civilised cookery. Common fragmentary presentations of the same animal are scarcely to be considered of the same kin—so different are the juices, the flavour, and generally, thanks to their skill, the degree of tenderness. It happens conveniently, that the proper mode of treating this dish is without knives, forks, or plates. It was therefore of little moment that our retreat afforded not these luxuries; we were strictly observant of propriety, when with our fingers we rent asunder the morsels, and devoured. The wine that assisted on this occasion was quite comparable to the ordinary country wines to be met, though it[437] must be far from abundant. We saw here some of the children. Poor things, theirs is a strange childhood! Edged tools are familiar to their cradles. Sharp anguish, sudden changes, violent alarms, compose the discipline of their infancy. I saw one of them hurt by one of the horses having trodden on his foot, and, as he was without shoes, he must have suffered cruelly. A woman was comforting, and doubtless tenderly sympathised with him; but the expression of feeling was suppressed—she spoke as by stealth, without looking at him, and he listened in the same mood, withholding even looks of gratitude, as he did cries of pain. He was young enough, had he been a Frank, to have cried without disgrace, but his lesson was learnt. Suffering, he knew, was a thing too common to warrant particular complaint, or to require particular compassion. Expressed lamentation is the privilege of those who are accustomed to condolence. The husband, the son, the friend, bewail themselves—the lonely slave suffers in silence. Tears, even the bitterest of them, have their source in the spring of joy; when this spring is dried up, when all is joyless, man ceases to weep.

While we partook of this entertainment, the natives were preparing a grand demonstration in honour of our arrival. They had made noise enough, in all conscience, with their muskets, but small arms would not satisfy them, now that we were on their territory. They were preparing a salute from great guns—and such guns! They were made of wood, closely hooped together. Of these they had four, well crammed with combustibles. We had not the least idea that they would go off without being burst into fragments, and would have given something to dissuade our zealous friends from the experiment. But it was in vain that we hinted our fears—gently, of course, in deference to their self-esteem. A bold individual kept coaxing the touch-hole with a bit of burning charcoal—so long without effect that we began to hope the thing would prove a failure. Most people will acknowledge it to be a nervous thing to stand by, expecting an explosion that threatens, but will not come off. If it be so with a sound gun, what must it have been with such artillery as was here? Nothing less than serious injury to the life or limbs of the operator seemed to impend. To mend matters, our Italian friend, smitten with sudden zeal, usurped the office of bombardier; and it is perhaps well that he did for he had the common sense to keep as much out of the way as he could, under the circumstances. He kept well on one side, and made a very long arm, then dropped the fiery particle right into the touch-hole, and off went the concern, kicking right over, but neither bursting nor wounding our friend. It required minute inspection to satisfy ourselves that the guns had survived the effort, and their construction partly explained the wonder—the vents are nearly as wide-mouthed as the muzzles.

The interest of our day increased rapidly during the latter part of our journey. We were fairly enclosed in the country, drawing near the capital, and felt that every step was bringing us nearer the redoubted presence of the Vladika. The A. D. C. was curiously questioned touching the ceremonies of our reception, and uttered many speculations as to the mode in which the great man would present himself to us—whether with his tail on, or more unceremoniously. All that we heard, raised increased curiosity about the person of this martial bishop—one so very boldly distinguished from his fraternity. The Greek bishops are so singularly reverend in appearance, with flowing black robes, and venerable beards, supporting their grave progress with a staff, and seldom unattended by two or three deacons, that it became difficult to imagine one of their body charging at the head of warriors, or adorned with the profane trappings of a soldier. We kept a bright look-out as we rode on, our cavalcade being now attended by a fresh levy from our last halting-place. The country through which we passed was of somewhat mitigated severity, but still bare, and occasionally dangerous. There was a hamlet, in our course, of pretension superior to the first, as behoved—seeing that it was much nearer the metropolis, and security. Here was a picturesque church, a well, and[438] a wide-spreading tree—the last a notable object in this district, where even brushwood becomes respectable.

The road at length became decidedly and sustainedly better. The rocks began to assume positions in the distance, and trotting became possible. We learned that we were drawing near the end of our journey, and our anxious glances ahead followed the direction of the A. D. C. At last the cry arose—"Vladika is coming," and in high excitement we pressed forward to the meeting. A body of horsemen were approaching at a rapid pace, and in a cloud of dust; and no sooner were we distinctly in sight than they set spurs to their horses, and quickly galloped near enough to be individually scanned. We could do no less than manifest an equal impatience for the meeting. This, to some of us, poor riders at the best, which sailors are privileged to be, and just at that time rather the worse for wear, was no light undertaking. In some of our cases it is to be feared that the mists of personal apprehension dimmed this our first view of the Vladika. The confusion incidental to the meeting of two such bodies of horse, was aggravated by the zeal of the wretched barbarians, who poured forth volley after volley of musketry. They spurred and kicked their horses, which, seeing that they had probably all at one time or an other been stolen from tip-top Turks, like noble brutes as they were, showed pluck, and kicked in return. Happily our animals were peaceful—more frightened by the noise than excited by the race, and much tired with their morning's work. Had they behaved as did those of our new friends, the narrator of this account would hardly have been in a condition to say much of the country, for he would probably have been run away with right through Montenegro, and have pulled up somewhere about Herzogovinia.

The confusion had not prevented our being struck with the one figure in the group, that we knew must be the Vladika. He was distinguished by position and by dress, but more decidedly by nature. His gigantic proportions would have humbled the largest horse-guard in our three regiments; and when he dismounted we agreed that he must be upwards of seven feet in stockings. This was our judgment, subsequently and deliberately. Captain —— was of stature exceeding six feet, and standing close alongside of Monseigneur reached about up to his shoulders. His frame seems enormously strong and well proportioned, except that his hand is perhaps too small for the laws of a just symmetry. This, by the by, we afterwards perceived to be a cherished vanity with the Vladika, who constantly wears gloves, even in the house. His appearance bore not the least trace of the clerical; his very moustache had a military, instead of an ecclesiastical air; and though he wore something of a beard, it was entirely cheated of episcopal honours. It was merely an exaggeration of the imperial. His garments were splendid, and of the world, partly Turkish, and partly ad libitum. The ordinary fez adorned his head, and his trousers were Turkish. The other particulars were very splendid, but I suppose hardly to be classed among the recognised fashions of any country. One might imagine that a huge person, and enormous strength, when fortified with supreme power among a wild tribe, would produce savageness of manner. But the Vladika is decidedly one of nature's gentlemen. His manners are such as men generally acquire only by long custom of the best society. His voice had the blandest tones, and the reception that he gave us might have beseemed the most graceful of princes. He was attended more immediately by a youth some eighteen years of age, his destined successor, and by another whom we learned to be his cousin. The rest of the group were well dressed and armed, and, indeed, a respectable troop. The Vladika himself bore no arms.

We did not waste much time in ceremony, though during the short interval of colloquy we must have afforded a fine subject had an artist been leisurely observant. All dismounted and formed about the two chiefs of our respective parties, and made mutual recognisances. The confusion was considerable, and the continual noise of guns gave our poor beasts, who were not proof to fire, no quiet. The men,[439] who were now about us in numbers sufficient to afford a fair sample of the stock, were most of them, at a guess, upwards of six feet high—some considerably so; and a wild set they seemed, though they looked kindly upon us. We were formally presented by our captain to the prince, and received the welcome of his smiles. His polite attention had provided a fresh and fiery charger for our chief, and the two headed the cavalcade, which in order dashed forward to the royal city. It was a grand progress that we made through a line of the people, who turned out to watch and honour our entry. The discharge of muskets was sustained almost uninterruptedly throughout the line. It was not long before the city of Zettinié opened to our view, situated in an extensive valley, quite amphitheatrical in character. As we turned the corner of the defile leading into the valley, a salute was opened from a tower near the palace, which mounts some respectable guns. We rode at a great pace into the town, and dashed into the inclosure that surrounds the palace, amidst a grand flourish of three or four trumpets reserved for the climax.

To a bad rider like myself it was the occupation of the first few minutes to assure myself that I had passed unscathed through such a scene of kicking and plunging; one's first sensation was that of security in treading once more the solid earth. When I looked up I saw the Vladika in separate conference with the A. D. C., and then he passed into the building. His hospitable will was signified to us by this functionary. The captain was invited to sojourn in the palace; we, whose rank did not qualify for such a distinction, were to be bestowed in two locandas; and all were bidden to dinner in the evening. Meanwhile the localities were open to our investigation.

One of the first curiosities was the locanda itself; curious as existing in such a place, and expected by us to be something quite out of the general way of such establishments. We proceeded to inspect our quarters, and to our astonishment found two houses of a most satisfactory kind. The rooms were neat, and perfectly clean, far superior in this respect to many inns of much higher pretensions. An honourable particular (almost exception) in their favour, is, that the beds contain no vermin. This virtue will be appreciated by any one who has travelled in Greece. The hostesses were not of the aborigines, they were importations from Cattaro. One was a widow, tearful under the recent stroke; the other was a talkative woman, delighted with the visit of civilised strangers. The fare to be obtained at these places is exceedingly good, and the solids are relieved by champagne, no less—and excellent champagne too. We were much surprised at the discovery of these places, so distinct from the popular rudeness, and puzzled to conceive who were the guests to support the establishments. Besides these two we did not observe any cafés or wine-shops, so probably they flourish the rather that their custom, such as it is, is subject but to one division. The good-will of the landladies was not the least admirable part of their economy. Though our numbers might have alarmed them, they with the best grace made up beds for us on the floor, and supplied us with such helps to the toilette as occurred.

We soon were scattered over the place, each to collect some contribution to the general fund of observation. But one object, conspicuous, and portentous of horrid barbarism, attracted us all at first. It was the round white tower from which the salute had been fired at our entrance. A solitary hillock rises in the plain, on the top of which, clearly defined, stands this tower. We had heard something of a custom among the Montenegrini of cutting off, and exposing the heads of vanquished enemies; but the story was one of so many coloured with blood, that it made no distinct impression. As we had ridden into the plain, this tower had attracted our observation, and we had perceived its walls to be garnished with some things that, in the distance, looked like large drum-sticks—that is to say, we saw poles each with some thing round at its end. These things we were told were human heads, and our eyes were now to behold the fact. And we did,[440] indeed, look upon this spectacle, such as Europe, except in these wilds, would abhor. There were heads of all ages, and of all dates, and of many expressions; but from all streamed the single lock that marks the follower of Mahomet. Some were entire in feature, and looked even placid—others were advanced in decomposition. Of some only fragments remained, the exterior bones having fallen away, and left only a few teeth grinning through impaled jaws. The ground beneath was strewed with fragments of humanity, and the air was tainted with the breath of decomposition. It was truly a savage sight, unworthy of Christians; and, doubtless, such an exhibition tends to maintain the thirst of blood in which it originated. This hillock is a good point of view for the survey of the place. It looks immediately upon the palace, and over it upon the town. Near it stand the church and monastery; and that monastery affords the only specimen of a priest in priest's garments that I saw here. The palace is really a commodious, well-built house, of considerable extent. Its site occupies three sides of a parallelogram, and it is completely enclosed by a wall, furnished at the four angles of its square with towers. The part of this inclosure that is towards the front of the palace is kept clear, as a sort of parade. In its centre are some dismounted guns of small calibre. On the opposite side of the building are the royal kitchen gardens; neither large nor well-looking. The interior of the building is superior to its outside pretence. The rooms into which we were more immediately introduced, may be supposed to be kept as show-rooms. At any rate they were worthy of such appliance—lofty, well built, and highly picturesque in their appointments. But I went also into some of the more remote parts of the building, the room, for instance, of the A. D. C., and that was equally unexceptionable. It is to be presumed that they gave our captain one of their best bedrooms—and it might have been a best bedroom in London or Paris. Indeed, in so civilized fashion was the place furnished, that it heightened, by contrast, the horrors of the scene outside. Barren rocks, savage caverns, naked barbarian, should have been associated with the spectacle on the white tower. It was caricaturing refinement to practise it in such a neighbourhood; the transition was too abrupt from the urbanities within to the bloody spectacle that met you if you put your head out of the window.

The City of Zettinié—it has a double title to the name, from its bishop and its prince—consists of little more than two rows of houses, not disposed in a street, but angularly. Besides these there are a few scattered buildings. The palace, the monastery, and church, are at the upper end of the plain. The valley is level to a considerable extent, and not without cultivation. It has no artificial fortification, being abundantly protected by nature. The hills that shut in the valley terminate somewhat abruptly, and impart an air of seclusion. The houses are far more comfortable than might be expected. The occupations of the people, so nearly entirely warlike, are not among the higher branches of domestic economy. What industry they exhibit at home is only by favour of occasional leisure, and at intervals. Yet they are not without their manufactures, rude though they be. Specimens were exhibited to us of their doings in the way of coarse cloth. They manufacture the cloth of which their large scarfs or rugs are made, and fashion the same stuff into large bags for provisions; a useful article to those who are so constantly on the march. We also procured one of the large girdles worn by their women, to astonish therewith the eyes of ladies, as, indeed, they might well astonish any body. They brought to us, also, some of the elaborately wrought pipe-bowls peculiar to them. They are ornamented with fine studs of brass, in a manner really ingenious; and so highly esteemed that a single bowl costs more than a couple of beautiful Turkish sticks elsewhere. These articles are the sum of our experience in their manufactures.

The monastery and church are of considerable antiquity, and contrast pleasingly with the general fierceness. It cannot be said that the priests generally exhibit much of the reverential in their appearance.[441] They follow the example of their warlike chief, being mostly clad in gay colours, and armed to the teeth. But in the monastery we found one reverend in aspect. He kindly exhibited to us the treasures of the sanctuary. They may claim at least one mark of primitive institution, which is poverty. Their shrine displays no show of silver and gold, yet it is not without valued treasure. A precious relic exists in the defunct body of the late Vladika, to which they seem to attach the full measure of credence prescribed in such cases. He is exhibited in his robes, and preserves a marvellously lifelike appearance. According to their account, he has conferred signal benefit on them since his departure, and well merited his canonisation. His claims ought to be unusual, since, in his instance, the salutary rule which requires the lapse of a considerable interval between death and canonisation, that the frailties of the man may be forgotten in the memory of the saint, has been superseded. The part of the monastery which we inspected, little more than the gallery however, was kept quite clean—an obvious departure from the mode of Oriental monasteries generally, than which few things can be more piggish.

The Vladika pays great attention to education, both for his people and himself. It is much to his praise that he has acquired the ready use of the French language, which he speaks fluently and well. He entertains masters in different subjects, with whom he daily studies. His tutor in Italian is a runaway Austrian, whose previous bad character does not prevent his honourable entertainment. For his people he has a school well attended, and taught by an intelligent master. It was not easy to proceed to actual examination when we had no common language; but it was pleasing to find here a school, and apparent studiousness. They not only read books, but print them; and a specimen of their typography was among the memorials of our visit that we carried away with us; unhappily we could not guess at its subject. The Vladika is a great reader, though his books must be procured with difficulty. He reads, too, the ubiquitous Galignani, and thus keeps himself au fait to the doings of the world. We were astonished at the extent and particularity of his information, when dinner afforded opportunity for small talk. This was the grand occasion to which we looked forward as opportune to personal conclusions; his conversation and his cuisine would both afford indicia of his social grade.

But when this time arrived, it found us under considerable self-reproach. We had found our host to be a much more polished person than we had expected. In this calculation we had perhaps, only vindicated our John Bullism, which assigns to semi-barbarism all the world beyond the sound of Bow Bells, and of which feeling, be it observed, the exhibition so often renders John Bull ridiculous. The Austrian officers had come in proper uniform; the English had brought with them only undress coats, without epaulettes or swords, thinking such measure of ceremony would be quite satisfactory. We now found that the intelligence of the Vladika, and the usage of his reception, demanded a more observant respect. But this same intelligence accepted, and even suggested, our excuses, and, in spite of deficiencies we were welcomed with gracious smiles. The strange mixture of the respectable with the disrespectable, was, however, maintained in our eyes to the last. The messenger sent to summon us to the banquet could hardly be esteemed worthy of so honourable an office. "See that man," said the grave Austrian to me, "he is a scamp of the first water—a deserter from my regiment, a man of education, and an officer reduced for misconduct to the ranks—one who, for numerous acts of misbehaviour and dishonesty, was repeatedly punished. He at last deserted, fled over the border, and now beards me to my face." He nevertheless proved a good herald, and led us to an excellent and most welcome dinner.

The table was perfectly well spread, somewhat in the modern style, which eschews the exhibition of dishes, and presents fruits and flowers. Some lighter provision was there, in the shape of plates of sliced sausages and so forth, but the dishes of resistance were in reserve. There was an unexceptionable array of plate, and crockery, and neatness. The dining-room[442] was worthy of the occasion. It is a large and lofty apartment, containing little more furniture than a few convenient couches and chairs. The walls are profusely ornamented with arms of various kinds, hung round tastefully, so that it has the air of a tent or guard-room. There is a small apartment leading into it, which contains a really valuable and curious collection of arms, trophies of victory, and associated with strange legends. It contains many guns, with beautifully inlaid stocks, and several rare and valuable swords of the most costly kind, such as you might seek in vain in the Bezenstein of Constantinople. Among others was one assumed to be the sword of Scanderbeg: strange if the sword, once so fatal to the Turks in political rebellion, should be pursuing its work no less truculently now in religious strife! Our host was seated, waiting our arrival, having adapted his dress to the civilities of life, by rejecting his hussar pelisse, and assuming another vest: he still retained his kid gloves. The waiters were a most formidable group, and such as could hardly have been expected to condescend to a servile office. They were chosen from among his body guard, and were conspicuous for their stature. They wore, even in this hour of security and presumed relaxation, their weighty cuirasses, formed of steel plates that shone brilliantly. Their presence must secure the Vladika against the treachery to which the banquets of the great have been sometimes exposed.

One little trait of the ecclesiastic peeped out in the disposition of the table, which showed that our host had not quite lost the esprit du corps: a clergyman who was of our party, and who had been introduced as a churchman, was placed in the second place of honour after our captain. The party generally arranged themselves at will, and throughout the affair, though there was all due observance, we were not oppressed with ceremony. The dinner went off like most dinners, and our host did the honours with unexceptionable grace. The cookery was in the Turkish style, both as to composition and quantity—and we all voted his wines very good. Champagne flowed abundantly, and unexpectedly. The Vladika talked in a gentle manner of the most ungentle subject. War was the subject on which he descanted with pleasure and judgment, and on which those who sat near him endeavoured to draw him out. But he also proved himself conversant with several subjects, and inquisitive on European affairs. His hostility to the Turks was obviously a matter of deep reality—his hatred was evident in the description which he gave of them as bad, wicked men, who observed no faith, and with whom terms were impossible. The Albanians especially were marked by his animadversions. Our clergyman nearly produced an explosion by an ill-timed remark. As he listened open-mouthed to the right reverend lecturer on war, he was betrayed into an expression of his sense of the incongruity. The brow of the Bishop was for a moment darkened, and his lip curled in contempt, of which, perhaps, the social blunder was not undeserving. "And would not you fight," said he, "if you were attacked by pirates?" The wrath of such a man was to be deprecated. It would have been awkward to see the head of our companion decorating the fatal white tower, and a nod to one of the martial waiters would have done the business. We changed the subject, and asked what was the Montenegro flag? "The cross," said he, "as befits; what else should Christians carry against infidels?" We ventured to inquire whether he, on occasion, wore the robes, and executed the office of bishop, as we had seen a portrait of him in the episcopal robes. "Very seldom," he told us: "and that only of necessity." He excused the practice of exposing the heads on the tower by the plea of necessity. It was necessary for the people, who were accustomed to the spectacle, and whose zeal demanded and was enlivened by the visible incentive. He gave us the account of a visit paid to him by the only lady who has penetrated thus far. He was at the time in the field, engaged in active operations against the enemy, and the lady, for the sake of an interview, ventured even within range of the Turkish battery. He expressed his astonishment that a lady should venture into such a scene, and asked[443] her what could have induced her so to peril her life. "Curiosity," said the lady: "I am an Englishwoman;" and this fact of her nationality seems quite to have satisfied him. She farther won his admiration by partaking of lunch coolly, under only partial shelter from the surrounding danger.

The most picturesque part of our day's experience was the evening assembly. Between the lights we sallied forth, headed by the chief, to look about us. For our amusement he made the people exhibit their prowess in jumping, which was something marvellous. The wonder was enhanced by the comparison of Frank activity which our Italian friend insisted on affording. But Bacchus, who inspirited to the attempt, could not invigorate to the execution; and the good-natured barbarians were amused at the puny effort which set off their own achievements. After showing us the neighbouring lands, the Vladika conducted us back to the palace, where we were promised the spectacle of a Montenegro soirée. It seems that custom has established a public reception of evenings, and that any person may at this time attend without invitation. The whole thing put one in mind of Donald Bean Lean's cavern, or rather, perhaps, of Ali Baba. The picturesque ornaments of the walls waxed romantic in the lamp-light; and costumes of many sorts were moving about, or grouped in the chamber. We were invited to play at different games that were going on, but preferred to remain quiet in corners, where we enjoyed pipes and coffee, and observed the group. Among the servants was a Greek, for whom it might have been supposed that his own country would have been sufficiently lawless. The body-guard who, during dinner, had acted as servants, were now gentlemen; and very splendid gentlemen they made. The universal passion of gaming is not without a place here; it occupied the greater part of the company. The Vladika sat smoking, overlooking the noisy group, and talking with our captain. There were some who did not lay aside their arms even in this hour and place—one big fellow was pointed out to me who would not stir from one room to another unarmed; so ever present to his fancy was the idea of the Turks.

Our host throughout the evening maintained the character of a hospitable and dignified entertainer; comporting himself with that due admixture of conscious dignity and affability, which seems necessary to the courtesy of princes. He occasionally addressed himself to one or other of us, and always seemed to answer with pleasure the questions that we ventured to put to him. It was with reluctance that we took our leave. The night passed comfortably at our several locandas, and not one of us had to speak in the morning of those wretched vermin that plague the Mediterranean. A capital breakfast put us in condition for an early start, and the hospitable spirit of the Vladika was manifested in the refusal of the landladies to produce any bill. With difficulty we managed to press on them a present. The Vladika, attended by his former suite, accompanied our departure, which was honoured with the ceremonies that had marked our entrance. He did not leave us till arrived at the spot where the day before we had met him.

As we halted here, and dismounted for a moment, the Vladika took from an attendant a specimen of their guns, with inlaid stocks, and with graceful action presented it to the captain as a memorial of his visit.

The whole party remounted. The Vladika waved to us his parting salute. "Farewell, gentlemen; remember Montenegro!"



A Tale in Three Chapters.

Chapter the Last.

I resolved to seek Rupert Sinclair no more, and I kept my word with cruel fidelity. But what could I do? Had I not seen him with my own eyes—had I not passed within a few feet of him, and beheld him, to my indignation and bitter regret, avoiding his house, sneaking basely from it, and retreating into the next street, because that house contained his wife and her paramour? Yes—paramour! I disbelieved the world no longer. There could be no doubt of the fact. True, it was incomprehensible—as incomprehensible as terrible! Rupert Sinclair, pure, sensitive, high-minded, and incorrupt, was incapable of any act branded by dishonour, and yet no amount of dishonour could be greater than that attached to the conduct which I had heard of and then witnessed. So it was—a frightful anomaly! a hideous discrepancy! Such as we hear of from time to time, and are found within the experience of every man, unhinging his belief, giving the lie to virtue, staggering the fixed notions of the confiding young, and confirming the dark conclusions of cold and incredulous age.

I hated London. The very air impure with the weight of the wickedness which I knew it to contain; and I resolved to quit the scene without delay. As for the mansion in Grosvenor Square, and its aristocratic inhabitants, I had never visited then with my own free will, or for my own profit and advantage: I forsook them without a sigh. For Rupert's sake I had submitted to insult from the overbearing lackeys of Railton House, and suffered the arrogance of the proud and imbecile lord himself. Much more I could have borne gladly and cheerfully to have secured his happiness, and to have felt that he was still as pure as I had known him in his youth.

To say that my suspicions were confirmed by public rumour, is to say nothing. The visits of Lord Minden were soon spoken of with a sneer and a grin by every one who could derive the smallest satisfaction from the follies and misfortunes of one who had borne himself too loftily in his prosperity to be spared in the hour of his trial. The fact, promulgated, spread like wildfire. The once fashionable and envied abode became deserted. There was a blot upon the door, which, like the plague-cross, scared even the most reckless and the boldest. The ambitious father lost sight of his ambition in the degradation that threatened his high name; and the half-conscientious, half-worldly mother forgot the instincts of her nature in the tingling consciousness of what the world would say. Rupert was left alone with the wife of his choice, the woman for whom he had sacrificed all—fortune, station, reputation—and for whom he was yet ready to lay down his life. Cruel fascination! fearful sorcery!

London was no place for such a man. Urged as much by the battling emotions of his own mind as by the intreaties of his wife, he determined to leave it for ever. And in truth the time had arrived. Inextricably involved, he could no longer remain with safety within reach of the strong arm of the law. His debts stared him in the face at every turn; creditors were clamorous and threatening; the horrible fact had been conveyed from the lips of serving-men to the ears of hungry tradesmen, who saw in the announcement nothing but peril to the accounts which they had been so anxious to run up, and now were equally sedulous in keeping down. It had always been known that Rupert Sinclair was not a rich man; it soon was understood that he was also a forsaken one. One morning three disreputable ill-looking characters were seen walking before the house of Mr Sinclair. When they first approached it, there was a sort of distant respect in their air very foreign to their looks[445] and dress, which might indeed have been the result of their mysterious occupation, and no real respect at all. As they proceeded in their promenade, became familiar with the place, and attracted observation, their confidence increased, their respect retreated, and their natural hideous vulgarity shone forth. They whistled, laughed, made merry with the gentleman out of livery next door, and established a confidential communication with the housemaid over the way. Shortly one separated from the rest—turned into the mews at the corner of the street, and immediately returned with a bench that he had borrowed at a public-house. His companions hailed him with a cheer—the bench was placed before the door of Sinclair's house; the worthies sat and smoked, sang ribald songs, and uttered filthy jokes. A crowd collected, and the tale was told. Rupert had fled the country; the followers of a sheriff's officer had barricadoed his once splendid home, and, Cerberus-like, were guarding the entrance into wretchedness and gloom.

Heaven knows! there was little feeling in Lord Railton. Some, as I have already intimated, still existed in the bosom of his wife, whom providence had made mother to save her from an all-engrossing selfishness; but to do the old lord justice, he was shaken to the heart by the accumulated misfortunes of his child—not that he regarded those misfortunes in any other light than as bringing discredit on himself, and blasting the good name which it had been the boast of his life to uphold and keep clear of all attaint. But this bastard sympathy was sufficient to unman and crush him. He avoided the society of men, and disconnected himself from all public business. Twenty years seemed added to his life when he walked abroad with his head turned towards the earth, as though it were ashamed to confront the public gaze; the furrows of eighty winters were suddenly ploughed into a cheek that no harsh instrument had ever before impaired or visited. In his maturity he was called upon to pay the penalty of a life spent in royal and luxurious ease. He had borne no burden in his youth. It came upon him like an avalanche in the hour of his decline. It is not the strong mind that gives way in the fiery contest of life; the weakest vessel has the least resistance. About six months after Rupert had quitted England, slight eccentricities in the conduct of Lord Railton attracted the notice of his lordship's medical attendant, who communicated his suspicions to Lady Railton, and frightened her beyond all expression with hints at lunacy. Change of air and scene were recommended—a visit to Paris—to the German baths—any where away from England and the scene of trouble. The unhappy Lady Railton made her preparations in a day. Before any body had time to suspect the cause of the removal, the family was off, and the house in Grosvenor Square shut up.

They travelled to Wiesbaden, two servants only accompanied them, and a physician who had charge of his lordship, and towards whom her ladyship was far less patronising and condescending than she had been to the tutor of her son. If misfortune had not elevated her character, it had somewhat chastened her spirit, and taught her the dependency of man upon his fellow man, in spite of the flimsy barriers set up by vanity and pride. Lord Railton was already an altered man when he reached the capital of Nassau. The separation from every object that could give him pain had at once dispelled the clouds that pressed upon his mind; and the cheerful excitement of the journey given vigour and elasticity to his spirit. He enjoyed life again; and his faculties, mental and physical, were restored to him uninjured. Lady Railton would have wept with joy had she been another woman. As it was, she rejoiced amazingly.

The first day in Wiesbaden was an eventful one. Dinner was ordered, and his lordship was dressing, whilst Lady Railton amused herself in the charming gardens of the hotel at which they stopped. Another visitor was there—a lady younger than herself, but far more beautiful, and apparently of equal rank. One look proclaimed the stranger for a countrywoman, a second was sufficient for an introduction.

"This is a lovely spot," said Lady[446] Railton, whose generally silent tongue was easily betrayed into activity on this auspicious morning.

"Do you think so?" answered the stranger, laughing as she spoke; "you are a new comer, and the loveliness of the spot is not yet darkened by the ugliness of the creatures who thrive upon it. Wait awhile."

"You have been here some time?" continued Lady Railton, inquiringly.

"Ja wohl!" replied the other, mimicking the accent of the German.

"And the loveliness has disappeared?"

"Ja wohl!" repeated the other with a shrug.

"You speak their language, I perceive?" said Lady Railton.

"I can say 'Ja wohl,' 'Brod,' and 'Guten morgen'—not another syllable. I was entrapped into those; but not another step will I advance. I take my stand at 'Guten morgen.'"

Lady Railton smiled.

"'Tis not a sweet language, I believe," she continued.

"As sweet as the people, believe me, who are the uncleanest race in Christendom. You will say so when you have passed three months at Wiesbaden."

"I have no hope of so prolonged a stay—rather, you would have me say 'no fear.'"

"Oh! pray remain and judge for yourself. Begin with his Highness the Duke, who dines every day with his subjects at the table-d'hôte of this hotel, and end with that extraordinary domestic animal, half little boy half old man, who fidgets like a gnome about him at the table. Enter into what they call the gaieties of this horrid place—eat their food—drink their wine—look at the gambling—talk to their greasy aristocracy—listen to their growl—contemplate the universal dirt, and form your own conclusions."

"I presume you are about to quit this happy valley!"

The lovely stranger shook her head.

"Ah no! Fate and—worse than fate!—a self-willed husband!"

"I perceive. He likes Germany, and you"——

"Submit!" said the other, finishing the sentence with the gentlest sigh of resignation.

"You have amusements here?"

"Oh, a mine of them! We are the fiercest gamesters in the world; we eat like giants; we smoke like furnaces, and dance like bears."

The ladies had reached the open window of the saal that led into the garden. They stopped. The dinner of one was about to be served up; the husband of the other was waiting to accompany her to the public gardens. They bowed and parted. A concert was held at the hotel that evening. The chief singers of the opera at Berlin, passing through the town, had signified their benign intention to enlighten the worthy denizens of Nassau, on the subject of "high art" in music. The applications for admission were immense. The chief seats were reserved by mine host, "as in private duty bound," for the visitors at his hotel; and the chiefest, as politeness and interest dictated, for the rich and titled foreigners: every Englishman being rich and noble in a continental inn.

The young physician recommended his lordship by all means to visit the concert. He had recommended nothing but enjoyment since they quitted London. His lordship's case was one, he said, requiring amusement; he might have added that his own case was another—requiring, further, a noble lord to pay for it. Lord Railton obeyed his medical adviser always when he suggested nothing disagreeable. Lady Railton was not sorry to have a view of German life, and to meet again her gay and fascinating beauty of the morning.

The hall was crowded; and at an early hour of the evening the lovely stranger was established in the seat reserved for her amidst "the favoured guests." Her husband was with her, a tall pale man, troubled with grief or sickness, very young, very handsome, but the converse of his wife, who looked as blooming as a summer's morn, as brilliant and as happy. Not the faintest shadow of a smile swept across his pallid face. Laughter beamed eternally from her eyes, and was enthroned in dimples on her cheek. He was silent and reserved, always communing with himself, and utterly regardless of the doings of the world about him. She had eyes,[447] ears, tongue, thought, feeling, sympathy only for the busy multitude, and seemed to care to commune with herself as little—as with her husband. A movement in the neighbourhood announced the arrival of fresh comers. Lord Railton appeared somewhat flustered and agitated by suddenly finding himself in a great company, and all the more nervous from a suspicion that he was regarded as insane by every one he passed: then came the young physician, as if from a bandbox, with a white cravat, white gloves, white waistcoat, white face, and a black suit of clothes, supporting his lordship, smiling upon him obsequiously, and giving him professional encouragement and approval: and lastly stalked her ladyship herself with the airs and graces of a fashionable duchess, fresh as imported, and looking down upon mankind with touching superciliousness and most amiable contempt. She caught sight of her friend of the morning on her passage, and they exchanged bland looks of recognition.

The youthful husband had taken no notice of the fresh arrival. Absorbed by his peculiar cares, whatever they might be, he sat perfectly still, unmoved by the preparations of the actors and the busy hum of the spectators. His head was bent towards the earth, to which he seemed fast travelling, and which, to all appearances, would prove a happier home for him than that he found upon its surface. Two or three songs had been given with wonderful effect. Every one had been encored, and bouquets had already been thrown to the prima donna of the Berlin opera. Never had Wiesbaden known such delight. Mine host, who stood at the entrance of the saal, perspiring with mingled pride and agitation, contemplated the scene with a joy that knew no bounds. He was very happy. Like Sir Giles Overreach, he was "joy all over." The young physician had just put an eye-glass to an eye that had some difficulty in screwing it on, with the intention of killing a young and pretty vocalist with one irresistible glance, when he felt his arm clenched by his patient with a passionate vigour that not only seriously damaged his intentions with respect to the young singer, but fairly threw him from his equilibrium. He turned round, and saw the unhappy nobleman, as he believed, in an epileptic fit. His eyes were fixed—his lip trembling—his whole frame quivering. His hand still grasped the arm of the physician, and grasped it the firmer the more the practitioner struggled for release. There was a shudder, a cry—the old man fell—and would have dropped to the floor had he not been caught by the expert and much alarmed physician. A scene ensued. The singer stopped, the audience rose—the fainting man was raised and carried out. The noise had attracted the notice of one who needed an extraordinary provocation to rouse him from his accustomed lethargy. As the invalid passed him, the husband of the merry beauty cast one glance towards his deathlike countenance. It was enough. No, not enough. Another directed to the unhappy lady who followed the stricken lord, was far more terrible, more poignant and acute. It sent a thousand daggers to his heart, every one wounding, hacking, killing. He sunk upon his seat, and covered his streaming eyes with wan and bloodless hands.

"Rupert!" said Elinor, whispering in his ear, "you are ill—let us go."

"Elinor, it's he, it's he!" he stammered in the same voice.


"My father!"

"And that lady?"

"My mother!"

"Good heaven! Lady Railton!"

"I have killed him," continued Rupert. "I have killed him!"

Before the confusion consequent upon the removal of Lord Railton had subsided, Elinor, with presence of mind, rose from her seat, and implored her husband to do the like. He obeyed, hardly knowing what he did, and followed her instinctively. Like a woman possessed, she ran from the scene, and did not stop until she reached her own apartments. Rupert kept at her side, not daring to look up. When he arrived at his room, he was not aware that he had passed his parents in his progress—that the eyes of his wife and his mother had again encountered,[448] and that the sternest scowl of the latter had been met by the most indignant scorn of the former. To this pass had arrived the pleasant acquaintance established three hours before in the hotel garden.

Whilst Elinor Sinclair slept that melancholy night, Rupert watched at his father's door. He believed him to be mortally ill, and he accused himself in his sorrow of the fearful crime of parricide. He had made frequent inquiries, and to all one answer had been returned. The noble lord was still unconscious: her ladyship could not be seen. It was not until the dawn of morning that a more favourable bulletin was issued, and his lordship pronounced once more sensible and out of danger. Rupert withdrew—not to rest, but to write a few hurried lines to his mother—begging one interview, and conjuring her to concede it, even if she afterwards resolved to see him no more. The interview was granted.

It led to no good result. Another opportunity for reconciliation and peace came only to be rejected. It availed little that Providence provided the elements of happiness, whilst obstinacy and wilful pride refused to combine them for any useful end. Lady Railton loved her son with the fondness of a mother. Life, too, had charms for so worldly a soul as hers; yet the son could be sacrificed, and life itself parted with, ere the lofty spirit bend, and vindictive hatred give place to meek and gentle mercy. The meeting was very painful. Lady Railton wept bitter tears as she beheld the wreck that stood before her—the care-worn remains of a form that was once so fair to look at—so grateful to admire; but she stood inflexible. She might have asked every thing of her son which he might honourably part with, and still her desires have fallen short of the sacrifices he was prepared to offer for the misery he had caused. She had but ONE request to make—it was the condition of her pardon—but it was also the test of his integrity and manhood.

He must part with the woman he had made his wife!

The evening of the day found Rupert Sinclair and his wife on the road from Wiesbaden, and his parents still sojourners at the hotel.

Rupert had not told Elinor of the sum that had been asked for the forgiveness of a mother he loved—the friendship of a father at whose bed-side nature and duty summoned him with appeals so difficult to resist. He would not grieve her joyous spirit by the sad announcement. He had paid the price of affection, not cheerfully—not triumphantly—but with a breaking and a tortured heart. He knew the treasure to be costly: he would have secured it had it been twice as dear. They arrived at Frankfort.

"And whither now?" asked Elinor, almost as soon as they alighted.

"Here for the present, dearest," answered Rupert. "To-morrow whither you will."

"Thank heaven for a safe deliverance from the Duke of Nassau!" exclaimed the wife. "Well, Rupert, say no more that I am mistress of your actions. I have begged for months to be released from that dungeon, but ineffectually. This morning a syllable from the lips of another has moved you to do what was refused to my long prayers."

Rupert answered not.

"To-morrow, then, to Paris?" coaxingly inquired the wife.

A shadow passed across the countenance of the husband.

"Wherefore to Paris?" he answered. "The world is wide enough. Choose an abiding-place and a home any where but in Paris."

"And why not there?" said Elinor, with vexation. "Any where but where I wish. It is always so—it has always been so."

"No, Elinor," said Rupert calmly—"not always. You do us both injustice."

"I have no pleasure," she continued, "amongst these dull and addle-headed people—who smoke and eat themselves into a heaviness that's insupportable. But Paris is too gay for your grave spirit, Rupert; and to sacrifice your comfort to my happiness would be more than I have any right to hope for or to ask."

Sinclair answered not again. Reproach had never yet escaped his lips:[449] it was not suffered to pass now. How little knew the wife of the sacrifices which had already been wrung from that fond and faithful bosom: and which it was still disposed to make, could it but have secured the happiness of one or both!

Is it necessary to add, that within a week the restless and wandering pair found themselves in the giddy capital of France! Sinclair, as in every thing, gave way before the well-directed and irresistible attacks of one whose wishes, on ordinary occasions, he was too eager to forestall. His strong objections to a residence in Paris were as nothing against the opposition of the wife resolved to gain her point and vanquish. Paris was odious to him on many grounds. It was paradise to a woman created for pleasure—alive and herself only when absorbed in the mad pursuit of pleasure. Sinclair regarded a sojourn in Paris as fatal to the repose which he yearned to secure: his wife looked upon it as a guarantee for the joyous excitement which her temperament rendered essential to existence. General Travis was in Paris; so was the Earl of Minden; so were many other stanch allies and friends of the lady, who had so suddenly found herself deprived of friends and supporters in the very height of her dominion and triumph. Sinclair had no desire to meet with any of these firm adherents; but, on the contrary, much reason to avoid them. He made one ineffectual struggle, and as usual—submitted to direction.

If the lady had passed intoxicating days in London, she led madder ones in France. Again she became the heroine and queen of a brilliant circle, the admired of all admirers, the mistress of a hundred willing and too obedient slaves. Nothing could surpass the witchery of her power: nothing exceed the art by which she raised herself to a proud eminence, and secured her footing. The arch smile, the clever volubility, the melting eye, the lovely cheek, the incomparable form, all united to claim and to compel the admiration which few were slow to render. Elinor had been slighted in England: she revenged herself in France. She had been deserted—forsaken by her own: she was the more intent upon the glowing praise and worship of the stranger. Crowds flocked around her, confessing her supremacy: and whilst women envied and men admired, Rupert Sinclair shrunk from publicity with a heart that was near to breaking—and a soul oppressed beyond the power of relief.

A gleam of sunshine stole upon Rupert Sinclair in the midst of his gloom and disappointment. Elinor gave promise of becoming a mother. He had prayed for this event; for he looked to it as the only means of restoring to him affections estranged and openly transferred to an unfeeling world. The volatile and inconsiderate spirit, which no expostulation or entreaties of his might tame, would surely be subdued by the new and tender ties so powerful always in riveting woman's heart to duty. His own character altered as the hour approached which must confer upon him a new delight as well as an additional anxiety. He became a more cheerful and a happier man: his brow relaxed; his face no longer bore upon it the expression of a settled sorrow and an abiding disappointment. He walked more erect, less shy, grew more active, less contemplative and reserved. Months passed away, quickly, if not altogether happily, and Elinor Sinclair gave birth to a daughter.

Rupert had not judged correctly. However pleasing may be the sacred influence of a child upon the disposition and conduct of a mother in the majority of instances, it was entirely wanting here. Love of distinction, of conquest, of admiration, had left no room in the bosom of Elinor Sinclair for the love of offspring, which Rupert fondly hoped would save his partner from utter worldliness, and himself from final wretchedness. To receive the child from heaven, and to make it over for its earliest nourishment and care to strange cold hands, were almost one and the same act. The pains of nature were not assuaged by the mother's rejoicings: the pride of the father found no response in the heart of his partner. The bitter trial of the season past—returning strength vouchsafed—and the presence of the stranger was almost forgotten in the[450] brilliancy of the scene to which the mother returned with a whettened appetite and a keener relish.

Far different the father! The fountain of love which welled in his devoted breast met with no check as it poured forth freely and generously towards the innocent and lovely stranger, that had come like a promise and a hope to his heart. Here he might feast his eyes without a pang: here bestow the full warmth of his affection, without the fear of repulse or the torture of doubt. His home became a temple—one small but darling room an altar—his daughter, a divinity. He eschewed the glittering assemblies in which his wife still dazzled most, and grew into a hermit at the cradle of his child. It was a fond and passionate love that he indulged there—one that absorbed and sustained his being—that gave him energy when his soul was spent, and administered consolation in the bitterest hour of his sad loneliness—the bitterest he had known as yet.

I have said that Lord Minden was in Paris when Sinclair and his wife arrived there. The visits of this nobleman to the house of Rupert in London, and the strange conduct of Rupert himself in connexion with those visits, had helped largely to drive the unfortunate pair from their native country. Still those visits were renewed in the French capital, and the conduct of Sinclair lost none of its singularity. The Parisians were not so scandalized as their neighbours across the water by the marked attentions of his lordship to this unrivalled beauty. Nobody could be blind to the conduct of Lord Minden, yet nobody seemed distressed or felt morally injured by the constant contemplation of it. If the husband thought proper to approve, it was surely no man's business to be vexed or angry. Mr Sinclair was a good easy gentleman, evidently vain of his wife's attractions, and of his lordship's great appreciation of them. His wife was worshipped, and the fool was flattered. But was this all? Did he simply look on, or was he basely conniving at his own dishonour? In England public opinion had decided in favour of the latter supposition; and public feeling, outraged by such flagrant wickedness, had thrust the culprits, as they deserved, from the soil which had given them birth, and which they shamefully polluted.

Nearly two years had elapsed, and the exiles were still in the fascinating city to which the ill-fated Elinor had carried her too easily-led husband. The time had passed swiftly enough. Elinor had but one occupation—the pursuits of pleasure. Sinclair had only one—the care of his daughter. He had bestowed a mother's tenderness upon the neglected offspring, and watched its young existence with a jealous anxiety that knew no rest—and not in vain. The budding creature had learned to know its patient nurse, and to love him better than all its little world. She could walk, and prattle in her way, and her throne was upon her father's lap. She could pronounce his name; she loved to speak it;—she could distinguish his eager footstep; she loved to hear it. Rupert was born for this. To love and to be loved with the truth, simplicity, and power of childhood, was the exigency of his being and the condition of his happiness. Both were satisfied—yet he was not happy.

It was a winter's evening. For a wonder, Elinor was at home: She had not been well during the day, and had declared her intention of spending the evening with her child and husband—rare indulgence! The sacrifice had cost her something, for she was out of spirits and ill at ease in her new character. Her husband sat lovingly at her side—his arm about her waist—his gleeful eye resting upon the lovely child that played and clung about his feet.

[And this man was a party to his own dishonour! a common pandar! the seller of yonder wife's virtue, the destroyer of yonder child's whole life of peace! Reader, believe it not!—against conviction, against the world, believe it not!]

"To-morrow, Elinor," said Sinclair musingly, "is your birthday. Had you forgotten it?"

Elinor turned pale. Why, I know not.

"Yes," she answered hurriedly, "I had. It is my birthday."

"We must pass the day together: we will go into the country. Little Alice shall be of the party, and shall[451] be taught to drink her mamma's health. Won't you, Alice?"

The child heard its name spoken by familiar lips, and laughed.

"Will Lord Minden, dear, be back? He shall accompany us."

"He will not," said Elinor, trembling with illness.

"More's the pity," replied Rupert. "Alice will hardly be happy for a day without Lord Minden. She has cried for him once or twice already. But you are ill, dearest. Go to rest."

"Not yet," said Elinor, "I shall be better soon. Come, Alice, to mamma."

It was an unwonted summons, and the child stared. She had seldom been invited to her mother's arms; and the visits, when made, were generally of short duration. There seemed some heart in Elinor to-night. Rupert observed it. He caught the child up quickly, placed her in her mother's lap, and kissed them both.

In the act, a tear—a mingled drop of bitterness and joy—started to his eye and lingered there.

Strange contrast! His face suddenly beamed with new-born delight: hers was as pale as death.

"Is she not lovely, Elinor?" asked Rupert, looking on them both with pride.

"Very!" was the laconic and scarce audible answer; and the child was put aside again.

"Elinor," said Sinclair, with unusual animation, "rest assured this precious gift of Heaven is sent to us for good; our days of trouble are numbered. Peace and true enjoyment are promised in that brow."

A slight involuntary shudder thrilled the frame of the wife, as she disengaged herself from her husband's embrace. She rose to retire.

"I will go to my pillow," she said. "You are right. I need rest. Good-night!"

Her words were hurried. There was a wildness about her eye that denoted malady of the mind rather than of body. Rupert detained her.

"You shall have advice, dearest," said he. "I will go myself"——

"No, no, no," she exclaimed, interrupting him; "I beseech you. Suffer me to retire. In the morning you will be glad that you have spared yourself the trouble. I am not worthy of it; good-night!"

"Not worthy, Elinor!"

"Not ill enough, I mean. Rupert, good-night."

Sinclair folded his wife in his arms, and spoke a few words of comfort and encouragement. Had he been a quick observer, he would have marked how, almost involuntarily, she recoiled from his embrace, and avoided his endearments.

She lingered for a moment at the door.

"Shall Alice go with you?" inquired the husband.

"No. I will send for her; let her wait with you. Good-night, Alice!"

"Nay; why good-night? You will see her again."

"Yes," answered Elinor, still lingering. The child looked towards her mother with surprise. Elinor caught her eye, and suddenly advanced to her. She took the bewildered child in her arms, and kissed it passionately. The next moment she had quitted the apartment.

New feelings, of joy as much as of sorrow, possessed the soul of Rupert Sinclair as he sat with his little darling, reflecting upon the singular conduct of the dear one who had quitted them. It found an easy solution in his ardent and forgiving breast. That which he had a thousand times prophesied, had eventually come to pass. The mother had been checked in her giddy career, when the wife had proved herself unequal to the sacrifice. In the mental suffering of his partner, Rupert saw only sorrow for the past, bitter repentance, and a blest promise of amendment. He would not interfere with her sacred grief; but, from his heart, he thanked God for the mercy that had been vouchsafed him, and acknowledged the justice of the trials through which he had hitherto passed. And there he sat and dreamed. Visions ascended and descended. He saw himself away from the vice and dissipation of the city into which he had been dragged. A quiet cottage in the heart of England was his chosen dwelling-place; a happy smiling mother, happy only in her domestic paradise, beamed upon him; and[452] a lovely child, lovelier as she grew to girlhood, sat at his side, even as the infant stood whilst he dreamed on; an aged pair were present, the most contented of the group, looking upon the picture with a calm and grateful satisfaction.

For a full hour he sat lost in his reverie; his glowing heart relieved only by his swelling tears.

The child grew impatient to depart. Why had Elinor not sent for her?

He summoned a servant, and bade her take the little Alice to her mother's room. Thither she was carried—to the room, not to the mother.

The mother had quitted the room, the house, the husband—for ever!

A broken-hearted man quitted Paris at midnight. The damning intelligence had been conveyed to him by one who was cognisant of the whole affair, who had helped to his disgrace, but whose bribe had not been sufficient to secure fidelity. Elinor Sinclair had eloped with the Earl of Minden. Flattered by his lordship's attention, dazzled by his amazing wealth, impatient of the limits which her own poverty placed to her extravagance, dissatisfied with the mild tenor of her husband's life, she had finally broken the link which at any time had so loosely united her to the man, not of her heart or her choice, but of her ambition.

She had fled without remorse, without a pang, worthy of the name. Who shall describe the astonishment of the aggrieved Rupert?—his disappointment, his torture! He was thunderstruck, stunned; but his resolution was quickly formed. The pair had started southwards. Sinclair resolved to follow them. For the first time in his life he was visited with a desire for vengeance, and he burned till it was gratified. Blood only could wash away the stain his honour had received, the injury his soul had suffered—and it should be shed. He grew mad with the idea. He who had never injured mortal man, who was all tenderness and meekness, long-suffering, and patient as woman, suddenly became, in the depth and by the power of his affliction, vindictive and thirsty for his brother's life. Within two hours from the period of the accursed discovery, all his preparations were made, and he was on the track. He had called upon a friend; explained to him his wrong; and secured him for a companion and adviser in the pursuit. He took into his temporary service the creature who had been in the pay of his lordship, and promised him as large a sum as he could ask for one week's faithful duty. He paid one hasty, miserable visit to the bed-side of his innocent and sleeping child—kissed her and kissed her in his agony—and departed like a tiger to his work.

The fugitives had mistaken the character of Sinclair. They believed that he would adopt no steps either to recover his wife or to punish her seducer, and their measures were taken accordingly. They proceeded leisurely for a few hours, and stopped at the small hotel of a humble market town. Rupert arrived here at an early hour of the morning. His guide, who had quitted his seat on the carriage to look for a relay, learned from the hostler that a carriage had arrived shortly before, containing an English nobleman and his lady, who, he believed, were then in the hotel. Further inquiries, and a sight of the nobleman's carriage, convinced him that the object of the chase was gained. He came with sparkling eyes to acquaint his master with his good success, and rubbed his hands as he announced the fact that sickened Rupert to the heart. Rupert heard, and started from the spot, as though a cannonball had hurled him thence.

"Fortescue," he said, addressing his friend, "we must not quit this spot until he has rendered satisfaction. Hoary villain as he is, he shall not have an hour's grace."

"What would you do?"

"Abide here till morning; watch every door; intercept his passage, and take my vengeance."

"You shall have it, but it must be on principles approved and understood. We are no assassins, let him be what he may. Go you to rest. Before he is awake, I will be stirring. He shall give me an interview ere he dispatches his breakfast; and rely upon me for seeing ample justice done to every party."

Fortescue, who was an Englishman done into French, coolly motioned to[453] Sinclair to enter the hotel. The latter retreated from it with loathing.

"No, Fortescue," continued Sinclair, "I sleep not to-night. Here I take my dismal watch—here will I await the fiend. He must not escape me. I can trust you, if any man; but I will trust no man to-night but one."

"As you please, Sinclair," answered the other. "Your honour is in my keeping, and, trust me, it shall not suffer. I will be up betimes, and looking to your interest. Where shall we meet?"

"Here. I shall not budge an inch."

"Good night, then, or rather morning. The day is already breaking. But I shall turn in, if it be but for an hour. I must keep my head clear for the early work."

And saying these words, the worthy Fortescue sought shelter and repose in the hotel.

Rupert counted the heavy moments with a crushed and bleeding spirit, as he paced the few yards of earth to which he had confined his wretched watch. He was alone. It was a bitter morning—cold and sad as his own being. He could not take his eyes from the polluted dwelling; he could not gaze upon it and not weep tears of agony. "Heaven!" he cried, as he walked on, "what have I done, what committed, that I should suffer the torment thou hast inflicted upon me for so many years! Why hast thou chosen me for a victim and a sacrifice! Have I deserved it? Am I so guilty that I should be so punished?" He would have given all that he possessed in the world to be released from the horrid task he had imposed upon himself; yet, for all that the world could give, he would not trust another with that important guard. Oh! it was the excruciating pang of perdition that he was conscious of, as he stood and gazed, until his swelling heart had wellnigh burst, upon the house of shame. He had brought pistols with him—he had taken care of that; at least, he had given them to Fortescue, and enjoined him not to lose sight of them. Were they in safety? He would go and see. He ran from his post, and entered the stable-yard of the hotel. There were two carriages—his own and the Earl of Minden's. His pistol-case was safe—so were the pistols within. A devilish instinct prompted him to look into the carriage of the lord, that stood beside his own; why he should do it he could not tell. He had no business there. It was but feeding the fire that already inflamed him to madness. Yet he opened it. His wife's cloak was there, and a handkerchief, which had evidently been dropped in the owner's anxiety to alight. Her initials were marked upon the handkerchief with the hair of the unhappy man, who forgot her guilt, his tremendous loss, his indignation and revenge, in the recollection of one bright distant scene which that pale token suddenly recalled. The battling emotions of his mind overpowered and exhausted him. He sobbed aloud, dropped on his knees, and pressed the handkerchief to his aching brain.

It could not last. Madness—frenzy—the hottest frenzy of the lost lunatic possessed him, and he grasped a pistol. The muzzle was towards his cheek—his trembling finger was upon the trigger—when a shrill cry, imaginary or real, caused the victim to withhold his purpose—to look about him and to listen. It was nothing—yet very much! The voice had sounded to the father's ear like that of an infant; and the picture which it summoned to his bewildered eye recalled him to reason—started him to a sense of duty, and saved him from self-murder.

There was an impulse to force an entrance to the hotel, and to drag the sinful woman from the embrace of her paramour; but it was checked as soon as formed. He asked not to look upon her face again; in his hot anger he had vowed never to confront her whilst life was still permitted him, but to avoid her like a plague-curse or a fiend. He asked only for revenge upon the monster that had wronged him—the false friend—the matchless liar—the tremendous hypocrite. Nothing should come between him and that complete revenge. There was connected with Lord Minden's crime, all the deformity that attaches to every such offence; but, over and above, there was a rankling injury never to be forgotten or forgiven.[454] What that was he knew, he felt as his pale lip grew white with shame and indignation, and a sense of past folly, suddenly, but fearfully awakened. A thousand recollections burst upon his brain as he persevered in his long and feverish watch. Now mysterious looks and nods were easily interpreted. Now the neglect of the world, the unkind word, the inexplicable and solemn hints were unraveled as by magic. "Fool, dolt, mad-man!" he exclaimed, striking his forehead, and running like one possessed along the silent road. "A child would have been wiser, an infant would have known better,—ass—idiot—simple, natural, fool!"

The fault of a life was corrected in a moment, but at an incalculable cost, and with the acquisition of a far greater fault. Rupert Sinclair could be no longer the credulous and unsuspecting victim of a subtile and self-interested world. His affliction had armed him with a shield against the assaults of the cunning; but it had also, unfortunately, given him a sword against the approaches of the generous and good. Heretofore he had suspected none. Now he trusted as few. Satan himself might have played upon him in the days of his youth. An angel of light would be repelled if he ventured to give comfort to the bruised soul broken down in its prime.

The guard as well as the sleeping friend were doomed to disappointment. Lord Minden and Elinor were not in the hotel. Shortly after their arrival, his lordship had determined to proceed on his journey, and with a lighter carriage than that which had brought the pair from Paris. He privately hired a vehicle of the landlord, and left his own under the care of a servant whose slumbers were so carefully guarded by the devoted Sinclair. Great was the disappointment of Fortescue, unbounded the rage of Rupert, when they discovered their mistake, and reflected upon the precious hours that had been so wofully mis-spent. But their courage did not slacken, nor the eagerness—of one at least—abate. The direction of the fugitives obtained, as far as it was possible to obtain it, and they were again on the pursuit.

At the close of the second day, fortune turned against the guilty. When upon the high-road, but at a considerable distance from any town, the rickety chariot gave way. Rupert caught sight of it, and beckoned his postilion to stop. He did so. A boor was in charge of the vehicle, the luckless owners of which had, according to his intelligence, been compelled to walk to a small roadside public-house at the distance of a league. The party was described. A grey-headed foreigner and a beautiful young woman—a foreigner also. Rupert leaped into his carriage, and bade the postilion drive on with all his might. The inn was quickly reached. The runaways were there.

Fortescue's task was very easy. He saw lord Minden, and explained his errand. Lord Minden, honourable man, was ready to afford Mr Sinclair all the satisfaction a gentleman could demand, at any time or place.

"No time like the present, my lord," said Fortescue; "no place more opportune. Mr Sinclair is ready at this moment, and we have yet an hour's daylight."

"I have no weapons—no friend."

"We will furnish your lordship with both, if you will favour us with your confidence. Pistols are in Mr Sinclair's carriage. I am at your lordship's service and command: at such a time as this, forms may easily be dispensed with."

"Be it so. I will attend you."

"In half an hour; and in the fallow ground, the skirts of which your lordship can just discover from this window. We shall not keep you waiting."

"I place myself in your hands, Mr Fortescue. I will meet Mr Sinclair. I owe it to my order, and myself, to give him the fullest satisfaction."

The fullest! mockery of mockeries!

The husband and the seducer met. Not a syllable was exchanged. Lord Minden slightly raised his hat as he entered the ground; but Rupert did not return the salute. His cheek was blanched, his lips bloodless and pressed close together; there was wildness in his eye, but, in other respects, he stood calm and self-possessed, as a statue might stand.

Fortescue loaded the pistols. Rupert[455] fired, not steadily, but determinedly—and missed.

Lord Minden fired, and Rupert fell. Fortescue ran to him.

The ball had struck him in the arm, and shattered it.

The nobleman maintained his position, whilst Fortescue, as well as he was able, stanched the flowing wound, and tied up the arm. Fortunately the mutual second had been a surgeon in the army, and knowing the duty he was summoned to, had provided necessary implements. He left his patient for one instant on the earth, and hastened to his lordship.

"Mr. Sinclair," he said, hurriedly, "must be conveyed to yonder house. Your lordship, I need not say, must quit it. That roof cannot shelter you, him, and——no matter. Your carriage has broken down. Ours is at your service. Take it, and leave it at the next post-town. Yours shall be sent on. There is no time to say more. Yonder men shall help me to carry Mr Sinclair to the inn. When we have reached it, let your lordship be a league away from it."

Fortescue ran once more to his friend. Two or three peasants, who were entering the field at the moment, were called to aid. The wounded man was raised, and, on the arms of all, carried fainting from the spot.

Elinor and her companion fled from the inn, wherefore one of them knew not. The luggage of Sinclair had been hastily removed from the carriage, and deposited in the house, but not with necessary speed. As the ill-fated woman was whirled from the door, her eye caught the small and melancholy procession leisurely advancing. One inquiring gaze, which even the assiduity of Lord Minden could not intercept, made known to her the presence, and convinced her of the fact. She screamed,—but proceeded with her paramour, whilst her husband was cared for by his friend.

A surgeon was sent for from the nearest town, who, arriving late at night, deemed it expedient to amputate the patient's arm without delay. The operation was performed without immediately removing the fears which, after a first examination, the surgeon had entertained for the life of the wounded man. The injury inflicted upon an excited system threw the sufferer into a fever, in which he lay for days without relief or hope. The cloud, however, passed away, after much suffering during the flitting hours of consciousness and reason. The afflicted man was finally hurled upon life's shore again, prostrate, exhausted, spent. His first scarce-audible accents had reference to his daughter.

"My child!" he whispered imploringly, to a sister of charity ministering at his side.

"Will be with you shortly," replied the devoted daughter of heaven, who had been with the sufferer for many days.

Rupert shook his head.

"Be calm," continued the religious nurse; "recover strength; enable yourself to undergo the sorrow of an interview, and you shall see her. She is well provided for: she is happy—she is here!"

"Here!" faintly ejaculated Rupert, and looking languidly about him.

"Yes, and very near you. In a day or two she shall come and comfort you."

The benevolent woman spoke the truth. When she had first been summoned to the bed-side of the wounded man, she diligently inquired into the circumstances of the case, and learned as much as was necessary of his sad history from the faithful Fortescue. It was her suggestion that the child should forthwith be removed from Paris, and brought under the same roof with her father. She knew, with a woman's instinct,—little as she had mixed with the world,—how powerful a restorative would be the prattle of that innocent voice, when the moment should arrive to employ it without risk.

Rupert acknowledged the merciful consideration. He put forth his thin emaciated hand, and moved his lips as though he would express his thanks. He could not, but he wept.

The nurse held up her finger for mild remonstrance and reproof. It was not wanting. The heart was elevated by the grateful flow. He slumbered more peacefully for that outpouring of his grateful soul.

The child was promised, as soon as[456] leave could be obtained from the medical authorities to bring her to her father's presence. If he should continue to improve for two days, he knew his reward. If he suffered anxiety of mind and the thought of his calamity to retard his progress, he was told his punishment. He became a child himself, in his eagerness to render himself worthy of the precious recompense. He did not once refer to what had happened. Fortescue sat hour after hour at his side, and he heard no syllable of reproach against the woman who had wronged him—no further threat of vengeance against the villain who had destroyed her.

The looked-for morning came. Rupert was sitting up, and the sister of charity entered his humble apartment with the child in her hand. Why should that holy woman weep at human love and natural attachments? What sympathy had she with the vain expressions of delight and woe—with paternal griefs and filial joys? The lip that had been fortified by recent prayer, trembled with human emotion;—the soul that had expatiated in the passionless realms to which its allegiance was due, acknowledged a power from which it is perilous for the holiest to revolt. Nature had a moment of triumph in the sick-chamber of a broken-hearted man. It was brief as it was sacred. Let me not attempt to describe or disturb it!

The religious and benevolent sister was an admirable nurse, but she was not to be named in the same day with Alice. She learned her father's little ways with the quickness of childhood, and ministered to them with the alacrity and skill of a woman. She knew when he should take his drinks—she was not happy unless permitted to convey them from the hands of the good sister to those of the patient. She was the sweetest messenger and ambassadrix in the world: so exact in her messages—so brisk on her errands! She had the vivacity of ten companions, and the humour of a whole book of wit. She asked a hundred questions on as many topics, and said the oddest things in life. When Sinclair would weep, one passing observation from her made him laugh aloud. When his oppressed spirit inclined him to dulness, her lighter heart would lead him, against his will, to the paths of pleasantness and peace!

Was it Providence or chance that sealed upon her lips the name of one who must no longer be remembered in her father's house? Singularly enough, during the sojourn of Rupert Sinclair and his daughter in the roadside inn, neither had spoken to the other of the wickedness that had departed from them; and less singular was it, perhaps, that the acutest pang that visited the breast of Elinor was that which accompanied the abiding thought, that Rupert was ever busy referring to the mother's crime, and teaching the infant lip to mutter curses on her name.

In the vicinity of the inn was a forest of some extent. Hither, as Sinclair gathered strength, did he daily proceed with his little companion, enjoying her lively conversation, and participating in her gambols. He was never without her. He could not be happy if she were away: he watched her with painful, though loving jealousy. She was as unhappy if deprived of his society. The religious sister provided a governess to attend upon her, but the governess had not the skill to attach her to her person. At the earliest hour of the morning, she awoke her father with a kiss: at the last hour of the night, a kiss from his easily recognised lips sealed her half-conscious half-dreaming slumbers. Alice was very happy. She could not guess why her father should not be very happy too, and always so.

For one moment let us follow the wretched Elinor, and trace her in her flight. Whilst her own accusing conscience takes from her pillow the softness of its down, and the vision of her husband, as she last saw him, haunts her at every turn like a ghost—striking terror even to her thoughtless heart, and bestowing a curse upon her life which she had neither foreseen nor thought of, let us do her justice. Vice itself is not all hideousness. The immortal soul cannot be all pollution. Defaced and smirched it may be—cruelly misused and blotted over by the sin and passion of mortality; but it will, and must, proclaim its origin in[457] the depths of degradation. There have been glimpses of the heavenly gift when it has been buried deep, deep in the earth—beams of its light in the murkiest and blackest day! Elinor was guilty—lost here beyond the power of redemption—she was selfish and unworthy; yet not wholly selfish—not utterly unworthy. I am not her apologist—I appear not here to plead her cause. Heaven knows, my sympathy is far away—yet I will do her justice. I will be her faithful chronicler.

Upon the fourth day of her elopement she had reached Lyons. Here, against the wish of the Earl of Minden, she expressed a determination to remain for at least a day: she desired to see the city—moreover, she had friends—one of whom she was anxious to communicate with, and might never see again. Who he was she did not say, nor did his lordship learn, before they quitted the city on the following day. The reader shall be informed.

It was on the afternoon of the day of their arrival in Lyons that Elinor paid her visit to the friend in question. He resided in a narrow street leading from the river-side into the densest and most populous thoroughfares of that extensive manufacturing town: the house was a humble one, and tolerably quiet. The door was open, and she entered. She ascended a tolerably-wide stone staircase, and stopped before a door that led into an apartment on the fourth floor. She knocked softly: her application was not recognised—but she heard a voice with which she was familiar.

"Cuss him imperence!" it said; "him neber satisfied. I broke my heart, sar, in your service, and d—n him—no gratitude."

"Don't you turn against me, too," answered a feeble voice, like that of a sick man. "I shall be well again soon, and we will push on, and meet them at Marseilles."

"Push on! I don't understand 'push on,' when fellow's not got half-penny in the pocket. Stuck to you like a trump all my life; it's not the ting to bring respectable character into dis 'ere difficulty."

"Give me something to drink."

"What you like, old genl'man?" was the answer. "Course you call for what you please—you got sich lots of money. You have any kind of water you think proper—from ditch water up to pump."

"You are sure there were no letters for me at the post?" inquired the feeble voice.

"Come, stop dat, if you please. That joke's damned stale and aggravating. Whenever I ask you for money, you send me to the post. What de devil postman see in my face to give me money?"

Elinor knocked again and again; still unanswered, she opened the door. In the apartment which she entered, she perceived, grinning out of the window, with his broad arms stretched under his black face, the nigger of our early acquaintance—the old servant of her father's house—the gentleman who had represented the yahoo upon the evening of my introduction to the general—the fascinating Augustus. Behind him, on a couch that was drawn close to the wall, and surmounted by a dingy drapery, lay—her father—a shadow of his former self—miserably attired, and very ill, as it would seem, mentally and bodily. Both the yahoo and the general started upon her entrance, for which they were evidently wholly unprepared.

"Elinor!" said the general, "you have received my letter?"

"I have," was the reply—scarcely heard—with such deep emotion was it spoken!

"And you cannot help me?" he asked again, with a distracted air.

"I can," she answered—"I will—it is here—all you ask—take it—repair to my mother—save her—yourself."

She presented him with a paper as she spoke. He opened it eagerly, and his eye glittered again as he perused it.

"Did you get it easily, child?" he said.

"No—with difficulty—great difficulty," she answered wildly. "But there it is. It will relieve you from your present trouble, and pay your passage."

"Augustus—we will start to-night," said the general anxiously, "we will not lose a moment."

"Father," said Elinor, with agitation,[458] "I must be gone. Give my love to my mother. I have sent all that I could procure for her comfort and happiness. I tell you, father, it was not obtained without some sacrifice. Spend it not rashly—every coin will have its value. I may not be able to send you more. Tell her not to curse me when she hears my name mentioned as it will be mentioned, but to forgive and forget me."

The old man was reading the bank-bill whilst his daughter spoke, and had eyes and ears for nothing else.

"We shall never forget you, dear child," he said, almost mechanically.

He folded the bill carefully, put it into his pocket, buttoned that as carefully, and looked up. The daughter had departed.

Rupert Sinclair recovered from the wound he had received, and from the subsequent operation; but strength came not as quickly as it had been promised, or as he could wish. He removed, after many months, from the inn, and commenced his journey homewards. To be released from the tie which still gave his name to her who had proved herself so utterly unworthy of it, was his first business; his second, to provide instruction and maternal care for the young creature committed to his love. He travelled by short and easy stages, and arrived at length in London. He was subdued and calm. All thoughts of revenge had taken leave of his mind; he desired only to forget the past, and to live for the future. He had witnessed and suffered the evil effects of a false education. He was resolved that his child should be more mercifully dealt with. He had but one task to accomplish in life. He would fulfil it to the letter.

Sinclair waited upon his legal adviser as soon as he reached the metropolis. That functionary heard his client's statement with a lugubrious countenance, and sighed profoundly, as though he were very sorry that the affair had happened.

"These are cases, sir," said he, "that make the prosecution of a noble profession a painful and ungrateful labour. Surgeons, however, must not be afraid to handle the knife. What we must do, it is better to do cheerfully. Don't you think so?"

Sinclair nodded assent.

"And now your witnesses, Mr Sinclair. We must look them up. The chief, I presume, are abroad."

"Many are, necessarily," answered Rupert. "There is one gentleman however, in England, with whom I am anxious that you should put yourself in immediate communication. When I went abroad, he was at Oxford, residing in the college, of which he is a fellow. He is my oldest friend. He is well acquainted with my early history, and is aware of all the circumstances of my marriage. He may be of great service to us both: you, he may save much trouble—me, infinite pain."

"Just so," said the lawyer. "And his name?"

"Walter Wilson, Esq. of —— College, Oxford."

"I will fish him up to-day," said the legal man. "We shall have an easy case. There will be no defence, I presume?"

"Hardly!" answered Sinclair.

"Judgment by default! You will get heavy damages, Mr Sinclair. Lord Minden is as rich as Crœsus; and the case is very aggravated. Violation of friendship—a bosom-friend—one whom you had admitted to your confidence and hearth. We must have these points prominently put. I shall retain Mr Thessaly. That man, sir, was born for these aggravated cases."

"You will write to Mr Wilson?" said Sinclair, mournfully.

"This very day. Don't be unhappy, Mr Sinclair—you have a capital case, and will get a handsome verdict."

"When you have heard from Mr Wilson, let me know. I wish to arrange an interview with him, and have not the heart to write myself. Tell him I am in town—that I must see him."

"I will do it. Can I offer you a glass of wine, Mr Sinclair, or any refreshment? You look pale and languid."

"None, I thank you!"

"And the little lady in the parlour?"

"I am obliged to you—nothing. I must go to her—I have kept her waiting. Good-morning, sir."[459]

Sinclair joined his daughter, and proceeded with her to his hotel. She was still his constant companion. He did not move without her. His anxiety to have the child always at his side bordered on insanity. Whether he quitted his home for amusement or business, she must accompany him, and clasp the only hand that he had now to offer her. He dreaded to be alone, and no voice soothed him but that of the little chatterer. How fond he was of it—of her—who shall say! or how necessary to his existence the treasure he had snatched from ruin in the hour of universal wreck!

Before visiting his lawyer, Sinclair had dispatched a private communication to his old serving-man, John Humphreys, who, upon the breaking up of Rupert's establishment, had returned to the service of Lord Railton, his ancient master. That trusty servant was already at the hotel when Sinclair reached it.

"You have spoken to nobody of my being here, Humphreys," said Rupert, when he saw him.

"To nobody, your honour."

"Then follow me!"

When they had come to Sinclair's private room, he continued—

"My father, Humphreys—Tell me quickly how he is."

"Oh, a world better, sir."

"Thank God! And my mother?"

"Breaking, sir. This last affair"—

"They are in town?"

"Yes, your honour—you will call upon them, won't you? It will do her ladyship's heart good to see you again—though, saving your honour's presence, you looks more like a spectre than a human being."

"No, Humphreys, I cannot see them. They must not even know that I am now in London. I would have avoided this interview, could I have quitted England again without some information respecting them. I shall be detained here for a few days—it may be for weeks—but I return again to the Continent, never again to leave it."

"Do you think them foreign doctors understand your case, sir?"

"My case!"

"Yes, sir—you are not well, I am sure. You want feeding and building up—English beef and beer. Them foreigners are killing you."

Rupert smiled.

"You'll excuse me, sir, but laughing isn't a good sign, when a man has reason to cry."

Rupert shuddered.

"I beg your pardon, sir—I didn't mean that," continued the honest fellow. "I did not refer to your feelings. I meant your health, sir. Live well, sir; eat good English fare, and take the bilious pills when you are out of sorts."

John Humphreys was dismissed with many thanks for his sympathy and advice, and with strict injunctions to maintain silence respecting Rupert's movements. Had Sinclair learned that his parents were ill, or needful of his presence, he would have gone to them at once. They were well—why should he molest them, or bring fresh anguish to their declining years?

I received the communication of Sinclair's lawyer, and answered it respectfully, refusing the interview that was asked. As I have already intimated, I had avoided his house and himself from the very moment that I had obtained what seemed ocular demonstration of guilt, which that of his friend and patron, the Earl of Minden himself, could not surpass. Whilst reports of that guilt came to me through the medium of servants, however trustworthy, and strangers, however disinterested, I had resisted them as cruel inventions and palpable slanders. With the attestation of my own eyes, I should have been an idiot had I come to any but one conclusion, how degrading soever that might be to my friend, or contradictory to all my past experience or preconceived hopes. Nothing, I solemnly vowed, should induce me to speak again to the man, branded with infamy so glaring, brought by his own folly and vice so low. I had heard, in common with the rest of the world, of the elopement, and possibly with less surprise than the majority of my fellow-men. If I wondered at all at the affair, it was simply as to how much Rupert had been paid for his consent, and as to the value he had fixed upon his reputation and good name. I received the application of[460] the lawyer, and declined to accede to it.

As I sat reading in my room, upon the second morning after I had dispatched my answer to Mr Cribbs, of Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, I was roused by a knock at the inner door. I requested my visitor to walk in. He did so.—Rupert Sinclair, and his child, stood before me!

I was fearfully shocked. He looked, indeed, more like a ghost than a living man. Fifty years of pain and anxiety seemed written on a brow that had not numbered thirty summers. His eye was sunk, his cheek was very wan and pallid. There was no expression in his countenance; he stood perfectly passionless and calm. The little girl was a lovely creature. A sickening sensation passed through me as I mentally compared her lineaments with those of the joyous creature whom I had met in Bath, and then referred to those of the poor father, so altered, so wofully and so wonderfully changed! She clung to that father with a fondness that seemed to speak of his desertion, and of his reliance upon her for all his little happiness. I was taken by surprise; I knew not what to do; the memory of past years rushed back upon me. I saw him helpless and forsaken. I could not bid him from my door; I could not speak an unkind word.

I placed a chair before the man, whose strength seemed scarce sufficient to support its little burden.

"Sinclair," I exclaimed, "you are ill!"

"I am!" he answered. "Very ill; worse than I had feared. They tell me I must leave the country, and seek milder air. I shall do so shortly; for her sake, not my own."

The little Alice put her delicate and alabaster hand about her parent's face, and patted it to express her gratitude or warm affection. My heart bled in spite of me.

"You refused to meet me, Wilson," said Sinclair quietly.

I blushed to think that I had done so; for I forgot every thing in the recollection of past intimacy, and in the consciousness of what I now beheld. I made no answer.

"You refused to meet me," he repeated. "You did me injustice. I know your thoughts, your cruel and unkind suspicions. I have come to remove them. Walter, you have cursed my name; you shall live to pity my memory."

"Rupert," I stammered, "whatever I may have thought or done, I assert that I have not willingly done you injustice. I have"——

I looked at the child, unwilling to say more in that innocent and holy presence.

Sinclair understood me. He asked permission for her to retire into an adjoining room. I told him that there was no one there to keep her company. He answered, that it did not matter; she was used to be alone, and to wait hours for her parent when business separated them in a stranger's house. "They made it up at home," he added, "and she was happier so than in the society of her governess."

"Is it not so, Alice?" he asked, kissing her as he led her from the apartment.

She answered with a kiss as warm as his, and a smile brighter than any he could give.

"Wilson," began Sinclair, as soon as he returned to me, "you know my history. The whole world knows it, and enjoys it. I have come to England to disannul our marriage. That over, I must save this life if possible: the doctors tell me I am smitten—that I shall droop and die. The mild air of Italy alone can save me. Oh, I wish to live for that young creature's sake! I cannot yet afford to die."

"Things are not so bad, I trust."

He shook his head, and proceeded.

"You, Wilson, must further my views. I have acquainted my solicitor with our former intimacy, and of the part which you took in this unfortunate business. You may accelerate the affair by your co-operation and aid. You must not deny it! Three months to me now are worth ten times as many years. I need peace of mind—repose. I would seek them in the grave, and gladly, but for her. I must find them in a land that will waft health to me, and give me strength for coming duties. You[461] must stand by me now, if ever; you must not leave me, Wilson, till we have reached the opposite shore, and are safely landed."

"What can I do!"

"Much! The solicitor says, every thing. Your evidence is of the utmost consequence. Your assistance cannot be dispensed with. See him, and he will tell you more. We cannot depart until the marriage is dissolved. Should I die, she must have no claim upon that tender innocent!"

"Rupert," I exclaimed, "shall I speak plainly to you?"

"Ay," he answered, growing erect, and looking me full in the face, "as a man!"

"You demand of me," I continued, "a simple impossibility! I can do nothing for you. I can give you no help, no counsel. Ask your own once-faithful conscience, that once stern and honest monitor, how I, of all men, can befriend you? I may speak only to destroy you and your cause together. Seek a better ally—a less shackled adviser. Is it not publicly known?—do I not know it? Rupert, you have told me to speak plainly, and I will, I must. I say, do I not know that you yourself pandered to her profligacy? Did I not, with these eyes, which, would to Heaven, had been blind ere they had seen that miserable day—did I not, with these eyes, behold you walking before your door, whilst Lord Minden was closeted with your wife? Did you not turn back when you discovered he was there? Did I not see you turn back? Answer me, Rupert. Did I?—did I?"

"You did," he answered, with perfect equanimity.

"And," I continued, "acknowledging this horror, you ask me to advance your cause, and to speak on your behalf!"

"I do," he said, with a majestic calmness that confounded and abashed me—so prophetic was it of an approaching justification, so thoroughly indicative of truth and innocence.

"I do," he repeated, looking at me steadily, and speaking with more emotion as he proceeded. "Listen to me, Walter. I am a dying man! Say what they will, the seeds of an incurable disease are sown within me. Do what I may, my hours are numbered, and life is nearly spanned. I speak to you as a dying man. You saw that child! She is friendless, motherless, and will be shortly fatherless. I am about to consign her to Heaven and its mercy. I cannot utter falsehood upon the verge of eternity, leaving that dear pledge behind me. Upon my sacred honour, I speak the truth. Listen to it, and believe, as you would believe a messenger accredited from the skies. I have been a fool, an idiot, weaker than the creature whom the law deprives of self-control, and places in the custody of guards and keepers; but my honour is as spotless as you yourself could wish it. You knew of my difficulties: something you knew also of my introduction to the Earl of Minden—an aged villain—yes aged and old enough to disarm suspicion, if no stronger reason existed to destroy it; but there was a stronger. I marvelled at the extraordinary interest evinced for a stranger by this powerful and wealthy nobleman; but wonder ceased with explanation—and explanation from whom? from one whom I trusted as myself—from my wife, whom I loved better than myself. It is nothing that I look back with sickening wonder now. I was her devoted husband then, and I believed her. I would have believed her had she drawn upon my credulity a thousand times more largely. What devil put the lie into her soul I know not, but early in the friendship of this lord, she confided to me the fact that General Travis was not her father; she had been consigned to him, she said, at an early age, but her actual parent was who?—the brother of this same Lord Minden. It was a plausible tale coming from her lips. I did not stay to doubt it. Other lies were necessary to maintain the great falsehood; but the fabric which they raised was well-proportioned and consistent in its parts. Why did I not enter my home when Lord Minden was closeted with my wife? You will remember that we speak of a time when there was daily discussion concerning my promotion. 'Her uncle,' she said again and again, 'would do nothing for me if I were present. He was a singular and obstinate man, and would make our fortune in his own way.[462] He was angry with me for running off with his niece—whom, though illegitimate, he had destined for greater honour than even an alliance with Lord Railton's heir; he was further hurt at Lord Railton's treatment of Elinor, and the proud neglect of my mother; the conduct of my parents had inspired him with a dislike for their son, and although for Elinor's sake he would advance our interests, yet he would not consult me, or meet me in the matter. If I were present, her uncle would say nothing—do nothing. This was reiterated day after day. From fountains that are pure, we look not for unclean waters. Trusting her with my whole heart and soul, I should have committed violence to my nature had I doubted her. It was impossible: with the plausibility of Satan, she had the loveliness of angels! Now I see the artifice and fraud—now I feel the degradation—now the horrible position in which I stood is too frightfully apparent! But what avails it all! God forgive me for my blindness! He knows my innocence!"

The injured and unhappy husband stopped from sheer exhaustion. Shame overspread my face; bitter reproaches filled my heart. I had done him cruel wrong. I rose from my seat, and embraced him. I fell upon my knees, and asked his forgiveness.

"Walter," he said, with overflowing eyes; "you do not think me guilty?"

"Punish me not, Rupert," I answered, "by asking me the question. The sorceress was a subtle one. I knew her to be so."

"Name her not, friend," proceeded Sinclair; "I have already forgiven her. I seek to forget her. Life is hateful to me, yet I must live if possible for my darling Alice. You will return to town with me, will you not, and hasten on this business?"

"I will not leave you, Rupert," I replied, "till I have seen you safely through it, and on the seas. We will lose no time. Let us go to London this very day."

No time was lost. We set out in the course of a few hours, and the next day were closeted with Mr Cribbs. Letters produced by Sinclair corroborated all that he had said touching the cheat that had been played upon him. Astounded as I had been by his explanation, it would have argued more for my wisdom, to say nothing of my friendship, had I suspected at the outset some artifice of the kind, and shown more eagerness to investigate the matter, than to conclude the hitherto unspotted Sinclair so pre-eminently base. The fault of his nature was credulity. Did I not know that he trusted all men with the simplicity of childhood, and believed in the goodness of all things with the faith and fervour of piety itself? Had I no proofs of the wilyness of the woman's heart, and of the witchery of her tongue? A moment's reflection would have enabled me to be just. It was not the smallest triumph of the artful Elinor that her scheme robbed me of that reflection, and threw me, and all the world besides, completely off the scent.

Mr Cribbs was the very man to carry on this interesting case. He lost not a moment. He had been concerned, as he acknowledged, in more actions of the kind than could be satisfactory to himself, or complimentary to the virtue of his country, and he knew the salient points of a case by a kind of moral instinct. His witnesses were marshaled—his plan was drawn out; every thing promised complete success, and the day of trial rapidly approached.

That day of trial, however, Rupert was not to see. The great anxiety which he suffered in the preparation of his unhappy cause—the affliction he had already undergone, preying upon a shattered frame, proved too great an obstacle to the slow appliances of healing nature. He sank gradually beneath the weight of his great sorrows. About a month previously to the coming off of the suit which he had brought against the Earl of Minden, conscious of growing still weaker and weaker, he resolved to have a consultation of his physicians, and to obtain from them their honest opinion of his condition. That consultation was held. The opinion was most unfavourable. Rupert heard it without a sigh, and prepared for his great change.

He spent the day upon which his doom was pronounced—alone. The[463] following day found him at an early hour at the family mansion in Grosvenor Square,—not alone,—for his little Alice was with him. He knocked at the door,—the well-known porter opened it, and started at the melancholy man he saw. Sorrow and sickness claim respect, and they found it here. The porter knew not whether he should please his master by admitting the visitors, but he did not think of turning them away. They passed on. His name was announced to his mother. She came to him at once.

"Rupert!" cried Lady Railton, looking at him with astonishment.

"Mother," he answered placidly, "I have brought you my child—the innocent and unoffending. She will be an orphan soon—as you may guess. You will protect and be a mother to her?"

The proudest of women was sufficiently humbled. The prodigal was received with a tenderness that came too late—a welcome that had nothing of rejoicing. He was forgiven, but his pardon availed him nothing. He was watched and attended with affectionate care, when watching and attention could not add an hour to his life, or one consolation to his bruised spirit. The trial came on, a verdict was pronounced in favour of the plaintiff. The knot that had been violently tied was violently broken asunder. Upon the evening preceding that day, Rupert Sinclair had finished with the earth. He died, with his little darling kneeling at his side. He died, breathing her name.

Years have passed since that hour. I have seen much since I followed my poor friend to his last resting-place. It has been my lot to behold a proud and haughty woman instructed by misfortune, and elevated by human grief. Lady Railton repaired the folly of a life by her conduct towards the child committed to her charge. She did her duty to the lovely Alice; she fulfilled her obligations to her father.—I have seen vice terribly punished. A few months ago, I stood at a pauper's grave. It was the grave of Elinor Travis. Deserted by Lord Minden, she descended in the scale of vice,—for years she lived in obscurity,—she was buried at the public charge. The family of General Travis has long since been extinct. The money with which his daughter supplied him in Lyons enabled him to compound with a merchant, whose name he had forged, and to leave Europe for ever.

The little Alice is a matron now, but lovely in the meridian of her virtuous life, as in her earlier morn. She is the mother of a happy family—herself its brightest ornament.



Let not the unsophisticated reader be alarmed at the somewhat barbarous and unintelligible word that heads this article. Let him not be deterred by a name from the investigation of facts, nor hindered by the repulsive magic of harshly-sounding syllables from rambling with us through the pages of an amusing and clever book. Hochelaga is neither a heathen god nor a Mohawk chief, an Indian cacique nor a Scandinavian idol, but simply the ancient and little known name of a well-known and interesting country. Under it is designated a vast and flourishing territory, a bright jewel in England's crown, a land whose daily increasing population, if only partially of British origin, yet is ruled by British laws, and enjoys the blessings of British institutions. On the continent of North America, over whose southern and central portions the banner of republicanism exultingly floats, a district yet remains where monarchical government and conservative principles are upheld and respected. By nature it is far from being the most favoured region of that New World which Columbus first discovered and Spaniards and English first colonized. It has neither the mineral wealth of Mexico nor the luxuriant fertility of the Southern States. Within its limits no cotton fields wave or sugar-canes rustle; the tobacco plant displays not its broad and valuable leaf; the crimson cochineal and the purple indigo are alike unknown; no mines of silver and gold freight galleons for the Eastern world. Its produce is industriously wrung from stubborn fields and a rigid climate—not generously, almost spontaneously, yielded by a glowing temperature and teeming soil. The corn and timber which it exchanges for European manufactures and luxuries, are results of the white man's hard and honest labour, not of the blood and sweat and ill-requited toil of flagellated negroes and oppressed Indians. From the Lakes and the St Lawrence to Labrador and the Bay of Hudson this country extends. Its name is Canada.

Mr Eliot Warburton, a gentleman favourably known to the English public, as author of a pleasant book of travel in the East, has given the sanction and benefit of his editorship to a narrative of rambles and observations in the Western hemisphere. We put little faith in editorships; favour and affection have induced many able men to endorse indifferent books; and we took up Hochelaga with all due disposition to be difficult, and to resist an imposition, had such been practised. Even the tender and touching compliments exchanged between author and editor in their respective prefaces, did not mollify us, or dispose us to look leniently upon a poor production. We are happy to say that we were speedily disarmed by the contents of the volumes; that we threw aside the critical cat-o'-nine-tails, whose deserved and well-applied lashes have made many a literary sinner to writhe, and prepared for the more grateful task of commending the agreeable pages of an intelligent and unprejudiced traveller. Since the latter chooses to be anonymous, we have no right to dispel his incognito, or to seek so to do. Concerning him, therefore, we will merely state what may be gathered from his book; that he is plump, elderly, good-tempered, and kind-hearted, and, we suspect, an ex-militaire.

Before opening the campaign in Canada, let us, for a moment, step ashore in what our author styles the fishiest of modern capitals, St John's, Newfoundland. Here codfish are the one thing universal; acres of sheds roofed with cod, laid out to dry, boats fishing for cod, ships loading with it, fields manured with it, and, best of all, fortunes made by it. The accomplishments of the daughter, the education of the son, the finery of the mother, the comforts of the father, [465] all are paid for with this profitable fish. The population subsist upon it; figuratively, not literally. For, although the sea is alive with cod, the earth covered with it, and the air impregnated with its odour, it is carefully banished from the dinner table, and "an observation made on its absence from that apparently appropriate position, excited as much astonishment as if I had made a remark to a Northumberland squire that he had not a head-dish of Newcastle coals." But the abundance which renders it unpalatable to the Newfoundlanders, procures them more acceptable viands, and all the luxuries of life. The climate ungenial, the soil barren, crops are difficult to obtain, and rarely ripen; even potatoes and vegetables are but scantily compelled from the niggard earth; fish, the sole produce, is the grand article of barter. In exchange for his lenten ration of bacallao, the Spaniard sends his fruits and Xeres, the Portuguese his racy port, the Italian his Florence oil and Naples maccaroni. Every where, but especially in those "countries of the Catholic persuasion" where the fasts of the Romish church are most strictly observed, Newfoundland finds customers for its cod and suppliers of its wants.

Excepting in the case of a boundary question to settle, or a patriot revolt to quell, Canada obtains in England a smaller share than it deserves of the public thoughts. It does not appeal to the imagination by those attractive elements of interest which so frequently rivet attention on others of our colonies. India is brought into dazzling relief by its Oriental magnificence and glitter, and by its feats of arms; the West Indies have wealth and an important central position; our possessions towards the South pole excite curiosity by their distance and comparative novelty. But Canada, pacific and respectable, plain and unpretending, to many suggests no other idea than that of a bleak and thinly-peopled region, with little to recommend it, even in the way of picturesque scenery or natural beauty. Those who have hitherto entertained such an opinion may feel surprised at the following description of Quebec.

"Take mountain and plain, sinuous river and broad tranquil waters, stately ship and tiny boat, gentle hill and shady valley, bold headland and rich fruitful fields, frowning battlement and cheerful villa, glittering dome and rural spire, flowery garden and sombre forest—group them all into the choicest picture of ideal beauty your fancy can create—arch it over with a cloudless sky—light it up with a radiant sun, and, lest the sheen should be too dazzling, hang a veil of lighted haze over all, to soften the lines and perfect the repose; you will then have seen Quebec on this September morning."

The internal arrangements of the chief port and second town of Canada do not correspond with its external appearance and charming environs. The public buildings are ugly; the unsymmetrical streets twist and turn in every possible direction—are narrow and of quaint aspect, composed of houses irregularly placed and built. The suburbs, chiefly peopled by French Canadians, are of wood, with exception of the churches, hospitals, and convents. The population of the city, which now amounts to forty thousand souls, has increased fifteen thousand during the last fifteen years. The people are as motley as their dwellings; in all things there is a curious mixture of French and English. "You see over a corner house, 'Cul de Sac Street;' on a sign-board, 'Ignace Bougainville, chemist and druggist.' In the shops, with English money you pay a Frenchman for English goods; the piano at the evening party of Mrs What's-her-name makes Dutch concert with the music of Madame Chose's soirée in the next house. Sad to say, the two races do not blend; they are like oil and water—the English the oil, being the richer and at the top." The difference of descent tells its tale; the restless, grumbling Anglo-Saxon pushes his way upwards, energetic and indefatigable; the easy-going, contented French-Canadian, remains where he is, or rather sinks than rises. The latter has many good qualities; he is honest, sober, hardy, kind, and courteous. Brave and loyal, he willingly takes the field in defence of the established government and of British rights. The most brilliant exploit of[466] the last American war is recorded of three hundred French Canadians under M. de Salaberry, who, by their resolute maintenance of a well-selected position, compelled General Hampton, with a park of artillery and a body of troops twenty times as numerous as themselves, to evacuate Lower Canada. Simple, credulous, and easily worked upon, it was at the incitation of a few knaves and adventurers that a portion of the French population were brought to share in the rebellion of 1837. There is little danger of another such outbreak, even though colonial demagogues should again agitate, French republicans again rave about British tyranny towards their oppressed brethren, and though the refuse and rabble of the States should once more assemble upon the frontier to aid and abet an insurrection. The abortive result of the last revolt, the little sympathy it found amongst the masses of the population, the judicious and conciliatory measures of recent governors, have combined to win over the disaffected, and to convince them that it is for their true interest to continue under the mild rule of Great Britain. An excellent feeling has been shown by all parties during our late difficult relations with the United States. "The Americans are altogether mistaken," said the leader of the Upper Canada reformers, "if they suppose that political differences in Canada arise from any sympathy with them or their institutions; we have our differences, but we are perfectly able to settle them ourselves, and will not suffer their interference."

"My countrymen," said one of the most influential French Canadians, during a discussion on the militia bill, "would be the first to rush to the frontier, and joyfully oppose their breasts to the foe; the last shot fired on this continent in defence of the British crown will be by the hand of a French Canadian. By habits, feeling, and religion, we are monarchists and conservatives."

When such sentiments are expressed by the heads of the opposition, there is little fear for Canada, and ambitious democrats must be content to push southwards. In a northerly direction it would be absurd for them to expect either to propagate their principles or extend their territory. They believe that in the event of a war with England, twenty or thirty thousand militia would speedily overrun and conquer Canada. In a clear and comprehensive statement of Canada's means of defence, the author of Hochelaga shows the folly of this belief, which assuredly can only be seriously entertained by men overweeningly presumptuous or utterly oblivious of the events of thirty years ago. When, in 1812, we came to loggerheads with our Yankee cousins, and they walked into Canada, expecting, as they now would, to walk over it, they soon found that they were to take very little by their motion. The whole number of British troops then in the colony was under two thousand four hundred men. Upper Canada was comparatively a wilderness, occupied by a few scattered labourers, difficult to organise into militia, and including no class out of which officers could be made. Yet, even with this slender opposition, how did the invaders fare? Where were the glorious results so confidently anticipated? Let the defeat at Chrystler's farm, the rout and heavy loss at Queenstown, the surrender of General Hall with his whole army and the territory of Michigan, reply to the question. And to-day how do matters stand? "Within the last twenty years, several entire Scottish clans, under their chiefs—M'Nabs, Glengarys, and others, worthy of their warlike ancestors—have migrated hither. Hardy and faithful men from the stern hills of Ulster, and fiery but kind-hearted peasants from the south of Ireland, with sturdy honest yeomen from Yorkshire and Cumberland, have fixed their homes in the Canadian forests. These immigrants, without losing their love and reverence for the crown and laws of their native country, have become attached to their adopted land, where their stake is now fixed, and are ready to defend their properties and their government against foreign invasion or domestic treason." The militia, composed in great part of the excellent materials just enumerated, is of the nominal strength of 140,000 men. Of these a fourth might take the field, without their absence seriously impeding the commerce and[467] industry of the country. The Canadian arsenals are well supplied, and nearly eight thousand regular troops occupy the various garrisons. Quebec, with its strong fortifications and imposing citadel, may bid defiance to any force that could be brought against it from the States; important works have been erected upon the island of Montreal; Kingston and its adjacent forts would require a large army and corresponding naval force to subdue it; Toronto would give the invaders some trouble. Defensive works exist along the frontier of Lower Canada. In no way has the security of the colonies been neglected, or the possibility of a war overlooked. But there is yet one measure whose adoption the author of Hochelaga strongly urges, whose utility is obvious, and which we trust in due time to see carried out. This is the construction of a railroad, connecting the whole of British America; commencing at Halifax and extending, by Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, and Toronto, to Amherstburg and the far west. The essential portion of the line is that from Halifax to Quebec, by which, when the St Lawrence is closed by ice, troops might be forwarded in a couple of days to the latter city. In the spring of 1847, we are told, the canals will be completed which are to open the great lakes to our fleets. For summer time that may suffice. But the five months' winter must not be overlooked. And apart from the military view of the case, the benefit of such a railway would be enormous. "It will strengthen the intimacy between this splendid colony and the seat of government: the emigrant from home, and the produce from the west, will then pass through British waters and over British territories only, without enriching the coffers of a foreign state. The Americans, with their great mercantile astuteness, are making every effort to divert the trade of Canada into their channels, and to make us in every way dependent on them for our communications. The drawback bill, by which the custom-duties on foreign goods are refunded on their passing into our provinces, has already been attended with great success in obtaining for them a portion of our carrying trade, especially during the winter, when our great highway of the St Lawrence is closed."

The estimated cost of the railway, as far as Quebec, is three millions sterling—a sum far too large to be raised by private means in the colony. The advantages would be manifold, and a vast impulse would be given to the prosperity of Canada. The Canadians are anxious to see the scheme carried out, but they look to this country for aid. As one means of repaying the expenses of construction, it has been proposed that tracts of land along the line of road should be granted to the company: the railway once completed, these would speedily become of great value. The engineering difficulties are stated to be very slight.

This proposed railway brings us back to Quebec, whence we have been decoyed sooner than we intended, by the discussion of Canada's military defences. We sincerely wish that these may never be needed; that no clouds may again overshadow our relations with the States, and that, should such arise, they may promptly and amicably be dissipated. In disputes and discussions with the great American republic, this country has ever shown itself yielding; far too much so, if such pliancy encourages to further encroachment. But if we are at last met in a good spirit, if our forbearance and facility are read aright, it will be some compensation to Great Britain for having more than once ceded what she might justly have maintained. We shall not at present enter into the subject, or investigate how far certain English governments have been justified in relinquishing to American clamour, and for the sake of peace, tracts of territory which it would have been more dignified to retain, even by the strong hand. Insignificant though these concessions may individually have appeared, their sum is important. Were evidence of that fact wanting, we should find it in the book before us.

"Extensive though may be this splendid province of Canada, it is yet very different indeed from what it originally was. In the fourteenth year of the reign of George the Third, the boundaries of the province of Quebec, as it was then called, were defined by an act of the Imperial Parliament.[468] By that act it included a great extent of what is now New England, and the whole of the country between the state of Pennsylvania, the river Ohio and the Mississipi, north to the Hudson's Bay territory, where now a great portion of the rich and flourishing Western States add their strength to the neighbouring republic. By gradual encroachments on the one hand, and concessions on the other, by the misconstruction of treaties and division of boundaries, have these vast and valuable tracts of country been separated from the British empire."

England has the reputation of holding her own with a firm and tenacious grasp; and by foreign rivals it is imputed to her as a crime that she is greedy and aggressive, more apt to take with both hands, than to give up with either. If such be really the general character of her policy, in North America she has strangely relaxed it. None, it is true, not even our kinsmen beyond the Atlantic, highly as they estimate their own weight and prowess, will suspect this country of giving way from other motives than a wish to remain on amicable terms with a relative and a customer. But such considerations must not be allowed undue influence. It would be unworthy the British character to fly to arms for a pique or a bauble; it would be still more degrading to submit patiently to a systematic series of encroachments. Unquestionably, had France stood towards America in the same position that we do, with respect to Canada, and if America had pursued with France the same course that she has done with us, there would long since have been broken heads between Frenchmen and Yankees; probably at this very moment the tricolor and the stars and stripes would have been buffeting each other by sea and land. We do not set up France as an example to this country in that particular. We are less sensitive than our Gallic neighbours, and do not care to injure or peril substantial interests by excessive punctiliousness. But there is a point at which forbearance must cease. Governments have patched up disputes, and made concessions, through fear of complicating their difficulties, and of incurring blame for plunging the country into a war. The country has looked on, if not approvingly, at least passively; and, the critical moment past, has borne no malice, and let bygones be bygones. But if war became necessary, the people of England would, whilst deploring that necessity, enter upon it cheerfully, and feel confident of its result. There must be no more boundary questions trumped up, no more attempts to chip pieces off our frontier; or, strong as the desire is to keep friends with Brother Jonathan, something serious will ensue. Meanwhile, and in case of accidents, it is proper and prudent to keep our bayonets bright, and to put bolts and bars upon the gates of Canada.

In Quebec, our Hochelagian friend seems greatly to have enjoyed himself. Judging from his account, it must be a pleasant place and eligible residence. Such quadrilling and polkaing, and riding and sleighing—picnics in the summer to the Chaudière falls and other beautiful places, fishing-parties to Lake Beaufort in the fine Canadian autumn, snow-shoing in the winter, fun and merriment at all seasons. In the Terpsichorean divertisements above cited, our author—being, as already observed, obese and elderly—took no share, but looked on good-humouredly, and slily noted the love-passages between the handsome English captains and pretty Canadian girls. The latter are most attractive. Brought out young, and mixing largely in society, they are not very deeply read, but are exceedingly loveable, and possess an indescribable charm of manner. Owing probably to the extremes of heat and cold in Canada, beauty is there less durable than in the mother country. Early matured, it speedily fades. The fair Canadians make good use of the interval, and find it abundantly long to play havoc with the hearts of the other sex. The English officers are particularly susceptible to their fascinations, and many marry in Canada; as do also a large proportion of the English merchants who go over there. The style of dress of these seductive damsels is simple, but tasteful. In winter, of course,[469] they are furred to the eyes, as a protection from the piercing cold, which rivals that of Siberia. Muffed and gauntleted, well packed in bear and buffalo skins, they are driven about in sledges by their male friends, who wear huge fur caps, flapped over the ears, enormous blanket or buffalo coats, jack-boots, moose-skin moccasins, and other contrivances equally inelegant and comfortable. The extreme dryness of the air renders the cold much more endurable than might be supposed. The sun shines brightly, the atmosphere is crisp and exhilarating; there is rarely much wind. Under these circumstances, the thermometer may go down, as it frequently does, to thirty or forty degrees below zero, without any serious inconvenience or suffering being felt. When a gale comes during the cold season, the effect is very different. Our author tells us of a certain Sunday, "when the thermometer was at thirty degrees below zero, and a high wind blew at the same time. The effect, in many respects, was not unlike that of intense heat; the sky was very red about the setting sun, and deep blue elsewhere; the earth and river were covered with a thin haze, and the tin cross and spires, and the new snow, shone with almost unnatural brightness; dogs went mad from the cold and want of water; metal exposed to the air blistered the hand, as if it had come out of a fire; no one went out of doors but from necessity, and those who did, hurried along with their fur-gloved hands over their faces, as if to guard against an atmosphere infected with the plague; for as the icy wind touched the skin, it scorched it like a blaze. But such a day as this occurs only once in many years."

There is tolerable fishing and shooting around Quebec; trout in abundance, salmon within five-and-twenty miles, snipe and woodcock, hare and partridge. Angling, however, is rendered almost as unpleasant an operation for the fisher as for the fish, by the mosquitoes, which abound in the summer months, and are extremely troublesome in country places, though they do not venture into towns. To get good shooting it is necessary to go a considerable distance. But the grand object of the Canadian chase is the enormous moose-deer, which grows to the height of seven feet and upwards, and is sometimes fierce and dangerous. In the month of February, our author and a military friend started on a moose-hunting expedition, which lasted six days, and ended in the slaughter of two fine specimens. They were guided by four Indians, belonging to a remnant of the Huron tribe, settled at the village of Sorette, near Quebec; a degenerate race, mostly with a cross of the French Canadian in their blood, idle, dirty, covetous, and especially drunken. There are other domesticated Indians in Canada who bear a higher character. During the insurrection, a party of rebels having approached the Indian village of Caughrawaga, the warriors of the tribe hastily armed themselves, and sallied forth to attack them. Taken by surprise, the insurgents were made prisoners, bound with their own sashes, and conveyed to Montreal jail. The victors were of the once powerful and ferocious tribe of the Six Nations. Their chief told the English general commanding, that, if necessary, he would bring him, within four-and-twenty hours, the scalps of every inhabitant of the neighbourhood. None of the Red men's prisoners had been injured.

The moose-hunting guides were of a very different stamp to the brave, loyal, and humane Indians of Caughrawaga. They were most disgusting and sensual ruffians, eating themselves torpid, and constantly manœuvring to get at the brandy bottle. As guides, they proved tolerably efficient. The account of the snow houses they constructed for the night, and of their proceedings in the "bush," is highly interesting. Large fires were lighted in the sleeping cabins, but they neither melted the snow nor kept out the intense cold. "About midnight I awoke, fancying that some strong hand was grasping my shoulders: it was the cold. The fire blazed away brightly, so close to our feet that it singed our robes and blankets; but at our heads diluted spirits froze into a solid mass." Another curious example is given of the violence of Canadian cold. A couple of houses were burned, and "the flames raged[470] with fury in the still air, but did not melt the hard thick snow on the roof till it fell into the burning ruins. The water froze in the engines; hot water was then obtained, and as the stream hissed off the fiery rafters, the particles fell frozen into the flames below." A sharp climate this! but in spite of it and of various inconveniences and hardships, the hunters reached the ravagé or moose-yard, bagged their brace of deer, and returned to Quebec, satisfied with their expedition, still better pleased at having it over, and fully convinced that once of that sort of thing is enough for a lifetime.

From Quebec to Montreal, up the St Lawrence, in glorious midsummer weather, our traveller takes us, in a great American river-steamer, like a house upon the water, with a sort of upper story built upon deck, and a promenade upon its roof, gliding past green slopes and smiling woodlands, neat country-houses and white cottages, and fertile fields, in which the habitans, as the French Canadian peasants are called, are seen at work, enlivening their toil by their national song of La Claire Fontaine, and by other pleasant old ditties, first sung, centuries ago, on the flowery banks of the sunny Loire. Truly there is something delightful and affecting in the simple, harmless, contented life of these French Canadians, in their clinging to old customs—their very costume is that of the first settlers—and to old superstitions, in their unaffected piety and gentle courtesy. They do not "progress," they are not "go-a-head;" of education they have little; they are neither "smart" nor "spry;" but they are virtuous and happy. Knowing nothing of the world beyond La belle Canada, they have no desires beyond a tranquil life of labour in their modest farms and peaceful homesteads.

Montreal is a handsome bustling town, with a prosperous trade and metropolitan aspect, and combines the energy and enterprise of an American city with the solidity of an English one. In size, beauty, and population, it has made astonishing strides within the last few years. It owes much to the removal thither of the seat of government, more still to a first-rate commercial position and to the energy of its inhabitants. Its broad and convenient stone wharf is nearly a mile in length; its public buildings are large and numerous, more so than is necessary for its present population of fifty thousand persons, and evidently built in anticipation of a great and speedy increase. The most important in size, and the largest in the New World, is the French cathedral, within which, we are told, ten thousand persons can at one time kneel. The people of Montreal are less sociable than those of Quebec; the entertainments are more showy but less agreeable. Party feeling runs high; the elections are frequently attended with much excitement and bitterness; occasional collisions take place between the English, Irish, and French races. Employment is abundant, luxury considerable, plenty every where.

It was during his journey from Montreal to Kingston, performed principally in steam-boats, that the author of Hochelaga first had the felicity of setting foot on the soil of the States. Happening to mention that he had never before enjoyed that honour, a taciturn, sallow-looking gentleman on board the steamer, who wore a broad-brimmed white hat, smoked perpetually, but never spoke, waited till he saw him fairly on shore, and then removed the cigar from his mouth and broke silence. "'I reckon, stranger,' was his observation, 'you have it to say now that you have been in a free country.' It was afterwards discovered that this enthusiast for 'free' countries was a planter from Alabama, and that, to the pleasures of his tour, he united the business of inquiring for runaway slaves." On this occasion, however, the singular advantage of treading republican ground was luxuriated in by our traveller but for a very brief time. He had disembarked only to stretch his legs, and returning on board, proceeded to Lake Ontario and to Kingston—an uncomfortable-looking place, with wide dreary streets, at the sides of which the grass grows. Nevertheless, it has some trade and an increasing population—the latter rather Yankeefied, from the proximity to, and constant intercourse[471] with, the States. They "guess" a few, and occasionally speak through the nose more than is altogether becoming in British subjects and loyal Canadians, both of which, however, they unquestionably are. Kingston is a favourite residence with retired officers of the English army and navy. The necessaries of life are very cheap; shooting and fishing good; and for those who love boating, the inland ocean of Ontario spreads its broad blue waters, enlivened by a host of steam and sailing vessels, fed by numerous streams, and supplying the dwellers on its banks with fish of varied species and peculiar excellence. The majority of emigrants from the mother country settle in the lake districts, where labour is well remunerated and farmers' profits are good. But the five-and-twenty thousand who annually arrive, are as a drop of water in the ocean; they are imperceptible in that vast extent of country. Here and there, it is true, one finds a tolerably well-peopled district. This is the case in the vicinity of the Bay of Quinté, a narrow arm of Lake Ontario, eighty miles in length, and in many places not more than one broad. "On its shores the forests are rapidly giving way to thriving settlements, some of them in situations of very great beauty."

To be in Canada without visiting Niagara, would be equivalent to going to Rome without entering St Peter's. As in duty bound, our traveller betook himself to the Falls; and he distinguishes himself from many of those who have preceded him thither by describing naturally and unaffectedly their aspect, and the impression they made upon him. The "everlasting fine water privilege," as the Americans call this prodigious cataract, did not at first strike him with awe; but the longer he gazed and listened, the greater did his admiration and astonishment become. Seated upon the turf, near Table Rock, whence the best view is obtained, he stared long and eagerly at the great wonder, until he was dragged away to inspect the various accessories and smaller marvels which hungry cicerrones insist upon showing, and confiding tourists think it incumbent upon them to visit. Cockneyism and bad taste have found their way even to Niagara. On both the English and the American side, museum and camera-obscura, garden, wooden monument, and watch-tower abound; and boys wander about, distributing Mosaic puffs of pagodas and belvideres, whence the finest possible views are to be obtained. Niagara, according to these disinterested gentry and their poetical announcements, must be seen from all sides; from above and from below, sideways and even from behind. The traveller is rowed to the foot of the Falls, or as near to it as possible, getting not a little wet in the operation; he is then seduced to the top of the pagoda, twenty-five cents being charged for the accommodation; then hurried off to Iris island, where the Indians, in days long gone by, had their burying-ground; and, finally, having been inducted into an oil-cloth surtout, and a pair of hard, dirty shoes, he is compelled to shuffle along a shingly path cut out of the cliff, within the curve described by the falling water—thus obtaining a posterior view of the cataract. Chilled with cold, soaked and blinded by the spray, deafened with the noise, sliding over numerous eels, which wind themselves, like wreathing snakes, round his ankles and into his shoes, he undergoes this last infliction; and is then let loose to wander where he listeth, free from the monotonous vulgarity of guides and the wearisome babble of visitors, and having acquired the conviction that he might as well have saved himself all this plague and trouble, for that, "as there is but one perfect view for a painting, so there is but one for Niagara. See it from Table Rock: gaze thence upon it for hours, days if you like, and then go home. As for the Rapids, Cave of the Winds, Burning Springs, &c., &c., you might as well enter into an examination of the gilt figures on the picture frame, as waste your time on them."

With the first volume of Hochelaga, the author concludes his Canadian experiences, and rambles into the States—beyond a doubt the most ticklish territory a literary tourist can venture upon. Of the very many books that have been written concerning America, not one did we ever[472] hear of that was fortunate enough to find approval in the eyes of Americans. And we are entirely at a loss to conjecture what sort of notice of them and their country would prove satisfactory to these very difficult gentry. None, we apprehend, that fell short of unqualified praise; none that did not depreciate all other nations to their greater glorification, and set America and her institutions on that pinnacle of perfection which her self-satisfied sons persuade themselves they have attained. To please their pampered palates, praise must be unlimited; no hints of positive deficiency, or even of possible improvement, must chill the glowing eulogium. Censure, even conditional commendation, they cannot stomach. Admit that they are brave and hospitable, energetic and industrious, intelligent and patriotic; it will advance you little in their good graces, unless you also aver that they are neither braggarts nor jealous; that, as a nation, they are honest and honourable; as individuals, models of polished demeanour and gentlemanly urbanity. Nay, when you have done all that, the chances are that some red-hot planter from the southern States calls upon you to drink Success to slavery, and the Abolitionists to the tar-barrel! The author of Hochelaga is aware of this weak point of the American character: he likes the Americans; considers them a wonderful people; praises them more than we ever heard them praised, save by themselves; and yet, because he cannot shut his eyes to their obvious failings, he feels that he is ruined in their good opinion. On his way to Saratoga, he fell in with a Georgian gentleman and lady, pleasant people, who begged him frankly to remark upon any thing in the country and its customs which appeared to him unusual or strange. He did so, and his criticisms were taken in good part till he chanced upon slavery. This was the sore point. Luckily there was a heavy swell upon the lake, and the Georgian became sea-sick, which closed the discussion as it began to get stormy. With other Americans on board the steamer, our traveller sought opportunities of discoursing. He found them courteous and intelligent; with a good deal of superficial information, derived chiefly from newspaper reading; partial to the English, as individuals—but not as a nation; prone to judge of English institutions and manners from isolated and exceptional examples; to reason "on the state of the poor from the Andover workhouse: on the aristocracy, from the late Lord Hertford; on morality, from Dr Lardner." Every where he met with kindness and hospitality; but, on the other hand, he was not unfrequently disgusted by coarseness of manners, and compelled to smile at the utter want of tact which is an American characteristic, and which inherent defect education, travel, good-humour, and kind-heartedness, are insufficient to eradicate or neutralise in the natives of the Union. "A friend, in giving me hints of what was best worth seeing in the Capitol at Washington, said, 'there are some very fine pictures. Oh, I beg pardon; I mean that there is a splendid view from the top of the building.' I knew perfectly well that those paintings, which his good-nature rebuked him for having incautiously mentioned, represented the surrender of Burgoyne, and other similar scenes—in reality about as heart-rending to me as a sketch of the battle of Hexham would be. To this day, I admire my friend's kind intentions more than his tact in carrying them out."

The expectoration, chewing, and other nastinesses indulged in by many classes of Americans, and which have proved such fruitful themes for the facetiousness of book-writers, are very slightly referred to by the author of Hochelaga, who probably thinks that enough has already been said on such sickening subjects. He attributes some of these peculiarities to a sort of general determination to alter and improve on English customs. In driving, the Americans keep the right side of the road instead of the left; in eating, they reverse the uses of the knife and fork; perhaps it is the same spirit of opposition that prompts them to bolt their food dog-fashion and with railroad rapidity, instead of imitating the cleanly decorum with which Englishmen discuss their meals. Talking of knives—in most of the country inns[473] they are broad, round, and blunt at the point, in order that they may be used as spoons, and even thrust half-way down the throats of tobacco-chewing republicans, who do not hesitate to cut the butter, and help themselves to salt, with the same weapon that has just been withdrawn from the innermost recesses of their mouth, almost of their gullet. In America, people seem to be for ever in a hurry; every thing is done "on the rush," and as if it were merely the preliminary to something else much more important, to which it is essential to get as speedily as possible. At Boston our traveller was put into a six-bedded room, the only empty one in the hotel. Three of the beds were engaged by Americans. "I as fortunate to awaken just as the American gentlemen came in; for it gave me an opportunity of seeing a dispatch in going to rest rivalling that in the dinner department. From the time the door opened, there appeared to be nothing but a hop-step-and-jump into bed, and then a snore of the profoundest repose. Early in the morning, when these gentlemen awoke from their balmy slumbers, there was another hop-step-and-jump out of bed, and we saw no more of them." We are happy to learn, however, that a great change has of late years been wrought in the coarser and more offensive points of American manners and habits—chiefly, we are assured, by the satirical works of English writers. Much yet remains to be done, as is admitted in the book before us, where it is certain that as good a case as possible, consistent with truth, has been made out for the Americans. "Even now I defy any one to exaggerate the horrors of chewing, and its odious consequences; the shameless selfishness which seizes on a dish, and appropriates the best part of its contents, if the plate cannot contain the whole; and the sullen silence at meal times." The class to which this passage refers is a very numerous one, and far from the lowest in the country—as regards position and circumstances, that is to say. Its members are met with in every steam-boat and railway carriage, at boarding-houses and public dinner tables. They have dollars in plenty, wear expensive clothes, and live on the fat of the land; but their manners are infinitely worse than those of any class with which a traveller in England can possibly be brought in contact. Most of them, doubtless, have risen from very inferior walks of life. Their circumstances have improved, themselves have remained stationary, chiefly from the want of an established standard of refinement to strain up to. It would be as absurd as illiberal to assert that there are no well-bred, gentlemanly men in the States; but it is quite certain that they are the few, the exceptions, insufficient in number to constitute a class. Elegance and republicanism are sworn foes; the latter condemns what the first depends upon. An aristocracy, an army, an established church, mould, by their influence and example, the manners of the masses. The Americans decline purchasing polish at such a price. The day will come when they shall discover their error, and cease to believe that the rule of the many constitutes the perfection of liberty and happiness. At present, although they eagerly snatch at the few titles current in their country, and generals and honourables are every where in exceeding abundance, the only real eminence amongst them is money. Its eager and unremitting pursuit leaves little time for the cultivation of those tastes which refine and improve both mind and manners. Nevertheless, as above mentioned, there is an improvement in the latter item; and certain gross inelegancies, which passed unnoticed half a score years ago, now draw down public censure upon their perpetrators. "A Trollope! a Trollope!" was the cry upon a certain evening at the Baltimore theatre, when one of the sovereign people fixed his feet upon the rail of the seat before him, and stared at the performance through his upraised legs. However they may sneer at "benighted Britishers," and affect to pity and look down upon their oppressed and unhappy condition, the Americans secretly entertain a mighty deference for this country and the opinion of its people. The English press is looked upon with profound respect; a leading article in the Times is read as an oracle, and carries weight even when it exasperates.[474] And with all his assumed superiority, the American is never displeased, but the contrary, at being mistaken for an Englishman. The stinging missiles fired from this side of the Atlantic at Pennsylvanian repudiators had no small share in bringing about the recent tardy payment of interest. The satire of Sydney Smith spoke more loudly to American ears than did the voices of conscience and common honesty.

The old Hibernian boast, revived and embalmed by Moore in a melody, that a fair and virtuous maiden, decked with gems both rich and rare, might travel through Ireland unprotected and unmolested, may now be made by America. So, at least, the author of Hochelaga instructs us, avouching his belief that a lady of any age and unlimited attractions may travel through the whole Union without a single annoyance, but aided, on the contrary, by the most attentive and unobtrusive civility. And many American ladies do so travel; their own propriety of behaviour, and the chivalry of their countrymen, for sole protectors. The best seat in coach and at table, the best of every thing, indeed, is invariably given up to them. This practical courtesy to the sex is certainly an excellent point in the American character. A humorous exemplification is given of it in Hochelaga. An Englishman at the New York theatre, having engaged, paid for, and established himself in a snug front corner of a box, thought himself justified in retaining it, even when summoned by an American to yield it to a lady. A discussion ensued. The pit inquired its cause; the lady's companion stepped forward and said, "There is an Englishman here who will not give up his place to a lady." Whereupon the indignant pit swarmed up into the box, gently seized the offender, and carried him out of the theatre, neither regarding nor retaliating his kicks, blows, and curses, set him carefully down upon the steps, handed him his hat, his opera-glass, and the price of his ticket, and shut the door in his face. "The shade of the departed Judge Lynch," concludes the narrator of the anecdote, "must have rejoiced at such an angelic administration of his law!"

On his route from New York to Boston, the Yankee capital, our author made sundry observations on his fellow travellers by railway and steam-boat. They were very numerous, and the fares were incredibly low. There was also a prodigious quantity of luggage, notwithstanding that many American gentlemen travel light, with their linen and brushes in their great-coat pocket. Others, on the contrary, have an addiction to very large portmanteaus of thin strong wood, bound with iron, nailed with brass, initialed, double-locked and complicated, and possessing altogether a peculiarly cautious and knowing look, which would stamp them as American though they were encountered in Cabul or Algeria. Round the walls of the reading-room at the Boston hotel were hung maps of the States, the blue of the American territory thrusting itself up into the red of the English to the furthest line of the different disputed points. "At the top they were ornamented by some appropriate national design, such as the American eagle carrying the globe in its talons, with one claw stuck well into Texas, and another reaching nearly to Mexico."

A remarkably clean city is Boston, quite Dutch in its propriety, spotless in its purity; smoking in the streets is there prohibited, and chewing has fewer proselytes than in most parts of the States. It is one of the most ancient of American towns, having been founded within ten years after the landing of the first New England settlers. The anniversary of the day when

"A band of exiles moor'd their bark
On the wild New England shore,"

the 21st December 1620, is still celebrated at Plymouth, the earliest settlement of the pilgrim fathers. Thousands flock from Boston to assist at the ceremony. On the last anniversary, the author of Hochelaga was present. The proceedings of the day commenced with divine service, performed by Unitarian and Baptist ministers. This over, a marshal of the ceremonies proclaimed that the congregation were to form in procession and march to the place where the "Plymouth Rock" had been, there "to heave a sigh." The "heaving" having been accomplished with all due decorum and[475] melancholy—barring that a few unprincipled individuals in the tail of the procession, fearing to be late for dinner, shirked the sighing and took a short cut to the hotel—the banquet, not the least important part of the day's business, commenced. The president sat in a chair which came over with the pilgrims in their ship, the Mayflower. Beside each plate were placed a few grains of dried maize—a memento of the first gift of the friendly natives to the exiles. The dinner went off with much order. A large proportion of the persons present were members of temperance societies, and drank no wine. The grand treat of the evening, at least to an Englishman, was the speechifying. The following resumé is given to us as containing the pith and substance of the majority of the speeches, which were all prepared for the occasion, and, of course, contained much the same thing. The orators usually commenced with "English persecution, continued with,—landing in the howling wilderness—icebound waters—pestilence—starvation—so on to foreign tyranny—successful resistance—chainless eagles—stars and stripes—glorious independence;—then; unheard of progress—wonderful industry—stronghold of Christianity—chosen people—refuge of liberty;—again; insults of haughty Albion—blazes of triumph—queen of the seas deposed for ever—Columbia's banner of victory floating over every thing—fire and smoke—thunder and lightning—mighty republic—boundless empire. When they came to the 'innumerable millions' they were to be a few years hence, they generally sat down greatly exhausted." Mr Everett, the late American minister in London, was present at this dinner, and replied with ability, eloquence, and good feeling, to a speech in which the president had made a neatly turned and friendly reference to Great Britain.

We prefer the American volume of Hochelaga to the Canadian one, although both are highly interesting. But, as he proceeds, the author gains in vivacity and boldness. There is a deal of anecdote and lively sketching in his account of the States; there are also some novel opinions and sound reasoning. The chapter on the prospects of America affords themes for much curious speculation concerning the probable partition of the great republic. The discussion of the subject is, perhaps, a little premature; although our author affirms his belief that many now living will not die till they have seen monarchy introduced into the stronghold of republicanism, and a king governing the slave states of North America. He recognises, in the United States, the germs of three distinct nations, the North, the West, and the South. Slavery and foreign warfare, especially the former, are to be the apples of discord, the wedges to split the now compact mass. The men of the North, enlightened and industrious, commercial and manufacturing, are strenuous advocates of peace. They have shown that they do not fear war; they it was who chiefly fought the great fight of American independence; but peace is essential to their prosperity, and they will not lightly forego its advantages. This will sooner or later form the basis of differences between them and the Western States, whose turbulent sons, rapid in their increase, adventurous and restless, ever pushing forward, like some rolling tide, deeper and deeper into the wilderness, and ever seeking to infringe on neighbours' boundaries, covet the rich woods of Canada, the temperate shores of Oregon, the fertile plains of California. They have dispossessed, almost exterminated, the aborigines; the wild beasts of the forest have yielded and fled before them, the forest itself has made way for their towns and plantations. Growing in numbers and power with a rapidity unparalleled in the world's history, expansion and invasion are to them a second nature, a devouring instinct. This unrestrained impulse will sooner or later urge them to aggressions and produce a war. This they do not fear or object to; little injury can be done to them; but the Northern States, to whose trade war is ruin, will not be passively dragged into a conflict on account of the encroaching propensities of their western brethren. These differences of interests will lead to disputes, ill blood, and finally to separation.

Between South and North, the probabilities[476] of a serious, and no very distant rupture, are strong and manifest. "Slavery" and "Abolition" will be the battle-cries of the respective parties. It may almost be said that the fight has already begun, at least on one side. An avowed abolitionist dare not venture into the South. There are laws for his chastisement, and should those be deemed too lenient, there are plenty of lawless hands outstretched to string him to a tree. A deputy from South Carolina openly declared in the House of Representatives at Washington, that if they caught an abolitionist in their State, they would hang him without judge or jury. A respectable Philadelphian and ardent abolitionist confessed to us, a short time ago, not without some appearance of shame at the state of things implied by the admission, that it would be as much as his life was worth to venture into certain slave-holding states. Hitherto the pro-slavery men have had the best of it; the majority of presidents of the Union have been chosen from their candidates, they have succeeded in annexing Texas, and latterly they have struck up an alliance with the West, which holds the balance between the South and the North, although, at the rate it advances, it is likely soon to outweigh them both. But this alliance is rotten, and cannot endure; the Western men are no partizans of slavery. Meantime, the abolitionists are active; they daily become more weary of having the finger of scorn pointed at them, on account of a practice which they neither benefit by nor approve. Their influence and numbers daily increase; in a few years they will be powerfully in the ascendant, they will possess a majority in the legislative chambers, and vote the extinction of slavery. To this, it is greatly to be feared, the fiery Southerns will not submit without an armed struggle. "Then," says the author of Hochelaga, "who can tell the horrors that will ensue? The blacks, urged by external promptings to rise for liberty, the furious courage and energy of the whites trampling them down, the assistance of the free states to the oppressed, will drive the oppressors to desperation: their quick perception will tell them that their loose republican organization cannot conduct a defence against such odds; and the first popular military leader who has the glory of a success, will become dictator. This, I firmly believe, will be the end of the pure democracy."

May such sinister predictions never be realised! Of the instability of American institutions, we entertain no doubt; and equally persuaded are we, that so vast a country, the interests of whose inhabitants are in many respects so conflicting, cannot remain permanently united under one government. But we would fain believe, that a severance may be accomplished peaceably, and without bloodshed; that the soil which has been converted from a wilderness to a garden by Anglo-Saxon industry and enterprise, may never be ensanguined by civil strife, or desolated by the dissensions and animosities of her sons.



Letter III.

Dear Mr Editor,—I hope you will be of opinion that I have, in my two preceding letters, proved the hexameter to be a good, genuine English verse, fitted to please the unlearned as well as the learned ear; and hitherto prevented from having fair play among our readers of poetry, mainly by the classical affectations of our hexameter writers—by their trying to make a distinction of long and short syllables, according to Latin rules of quantity; and by their hankering after spondees, which the common ear rejects as inconsistent with our native versification. If the attempt had been made to familiarise English ears with hexameters free from these disadvantages, it might have succeeded as completely as it has done in German. And the chance of popular success would have been much better if the measure had been used in a long poem of a religious character; for religious poetry, as you know very well, finds a much larger body of admirers than any other kind, and fastens upon the minds of common readers with a much deeper hold. Religious feeling supplies the deficiency of poetical susceptibility, and imparts to the poem a splendour and solemnity which elevates it out of the world of prose. I do not think it can be doubted that Klopstock's Messiah did a great deal to give the hexameters a firm hold on the German popular ear; and I am persuaded that if Pollok's Course of Time had been written in hexameters, its popularity would have been little less than it is, and the hexameter would have been by this time in a great degree familiarised in our language. Perhaps it may be worth while to give a passage of the Messiah, that your readers may judge whether a hexameter version of the whole would not have been likely to succeed in this country, at the time when the prose translator was so generally read and admired. The version is by William Taylor of Norwich.

The scene is the covenant made between the two first persons of the Trinity on Mount Moriah. The effect is thus described:—

"While spake the eternals,
Thrill'd through nature an awful earthquake. Souls that had never
Known the dawning of thought, now started, and felt for the first time.
Shudders and trembling of heart assail'd each seraph; his bright orb
Hush'd as the earth when tempests are nigh, before him was pausing.
But in the souls of future Christians vibrated transports,
Sweet pretastes of immortal existence. Foolish against God,
Aught to have plann'd or done, and alone yet alive to despondence,
Fell from thrones in the fiery abyss the spirits of evil,
Rocks broke loose from the smouldering caverns, and fell on the falling:
Howlings of woe, far-thundering crashes, resounded through hell's vaults."

It seems to me that such verses as these might very well have satisfied the English admirers of Klopstock.

You will observe, however, that we have, in the passage which I have quoted, several examples of those forced trochees which I mentioned in my first letter, as one of the great blemishes of English hexameters; namely, these—first tĭme; bright ŏrb; agaīnst Gŏd; hēll's văults. And these produce their usual effect of making the verse in some degree unnatural and un-English.

It is, however, true, that in this respect the German hexametrist has a considerable advantage over the English. Many of the words which are naturally thrown to the end of a verse by the sense, are monosyllables in English, while the corresponding German word is a trochaic dissyllable, which takes its place in the verse smoothly and familiarly. In consequence of this[478] difference in the two languages, the Englishman is often compelled to lengthen his monosyllables by various artifices. Thus, in Herman and Dorothea

"Und er wandte sich schnell; de sah sie ihm Thränen im auge."
"And he turned him quick; then saw she tears in his eyelids."

In order that I may not be misunderstood, however, I must say that I by no means intend to proscribe such final trochees as I have spoken of, composed of two monosyllables, but only to recommend a sparing and considerate use of them. They occur in Goethe, though not abundantly. Thus in Herman and Dorothea, we have three together:—

"Und es brannten die strassen bis zum markt, und das Haus war,
Meines Vaters hierneben verzchrt und diesar zugleich mit,
Wenig flüchtehen wir. Ich safs, die traurige Nacht durch."

None of these trochees, however, are so spondaic as the English ones which I formerly quoted, consisting of a monosyllable-adjective with a monosyllable-substantive—"the weight of his right hand;" or two substantives, as "the heat of a love's fire."

Yet even these endings are admissible occasionally. Every one assents to Harris's recognition of a natural and perfect hexameter in that verse of the Psalms—

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?"

The fact is, that though the English hexameter, well constructed, is acknowledged by an English ear, as completely as any other dactylic or anapæstic measure, it always recalls, in the mind of a classical scholar, the recollection of Greek and Latin hexameters; and this association makes him willing to accept some rhythmical peculiarities which the classical forms and rules seem to justify. The peculiarities are felt as an allusion to Homer and Virgil, and give to the verse a kind of learned grace, which may or may not be pedantic, according to the judgment with which it is introduced. Undoubtedly, if the hexameter ever come to be as familiar in English as it is in German poetry, our best hexametrists will, like theirs, learn to convey, along with the pleasure which belongs to a flowing and familiar native measure, that which arises from agreeable recollections of the rhythms of the great epics of antiquity.

And, I add further, that the recollection of classical hexameters which will thus, in the minds of scholars, always accompany the flow of English hexameters, makes any addition to, or subtraction from, the six standard feet of the verse altogether intolerable. And hence I earnestly protest—and I hope you, Mr Editor, agree with me—against the license claimed by Southey, of using any foot of two or three syllables at the beginning of a line, to avoid the exotic and forced character, which, he says, the verse would assume if every line were to begin with a long syllable. No, no, my dear sir; this will never do. If we are to have hexameters at all, every line must begin with a long syllable. It is true, that this is sometimes difficult to attain. It is a condition which forbids us to begin a line with The, or It, or many other familiar beginnings of sentences. But it is a condition which must be adhered to; and if any one finds it too difficult, he must write something else, and leave hexameters alone. Southey, though he has claimed the license of violating this rule, has not written many of such licentious lines. I suppose the following are intended to be of this description:—

"That nōt for lawless devices, nor goaded by desperate fortunes."
"Upōn all seas and shores, wheresoever her rights were offended."
"His rēverend form repose; heavenward his face was directed."

The two former lines might easily be corrected by leaving out the first syllable. The other is a very bad line, even if the licence be allowed.[479]

For the same reason it must be considered a very bad fault to have supernumerary syllables, or syllables which would be supernumerary if not cut down by a harsh elision. A final dactyl, requiring an elision to make it fit its place, appears to me very odious. Southey has such:—

"wins in the chamber
What he lost in the field, in fancy conquers the conqueror."
"Still it deceiveth the weak, inflameth the rash and the desperate."
"Rich in Italy's works and the masterly labours of Belgium."

And no less does the ear repudiate all other violent elisions. I find several in the other translation of the Iliad referred to in your notice of N. N. T.'s. And I am sure Mr Shadwell will excuse my pointing out one or two of them, and will accept in a friendly spirit criticisms which arise from a fellow feeling with him in the love of English hexameters. These occur in his First Iliad.

"Wheth'r it's for vow not duly perform'd or for altar neglected."
"Hand on his sword half drawn from its sheath, on a sudd'n from Olympus."
"Fail to regard in his envy the daught'r of the sea-dwelling ancient."

Such crushing of words is intolerable. Our hexameters, to be generally acceptable, must flow on smoothly, with the natural pronunciation of the words; at least this is necessary till the national ear is more familiar with the movement than it is at present.

I believe I have still some remarks upon hexameters in store, if your patience and your pages suffice for them: but for the present I wish to say a word or two on another subject closely connected with this; I mean pentameters. The alternate hexameter and pentameter are, for most purposes, a more agreeable measure than the hexameter by itself. The constant double ending is tiresome, as constant double rhymes would be. Southey says, in his angry way, speaking of his hexameters—"the double ending may be censured as double rhymes used to be; but that objection belongs to the duncery." This is a very absurd mode of disposing of one objection, mentioned by him among many others equally formal and minute, which others he pretends to discuss calmly and patiently. The objection is of real weight. Though you might tolerate a double ending here and there in an epic, I am sure, Mr Editor, you would stop your critical ears at the incessant jingle of an epic in which every couplet had a double rhyme. On the other hand, an alternation of double and single endings is felt as an agreeable form of rhythm and rhyme. We have some good examples of it in English; the Germans have more: and the French manifest the same feeling in their peremptory rule for the alternation of masculine and feminine rhymes. And there is another feature which recommends the pentameter combined with the hexameter. This combination carries into effect, on a large scale, a principle which prevails, I believe, in all the finer forms of verse. The principle which I mean is this;—that the metrical structure of the verse must be distinct and pure at the end of each verse, though liberties and substitutions may be allowed at the beginning. Thus, as you know, Mr Editor, the iambics of the Greek tragedians admit certain feet in the early part of the line which they do not allow in the later portions. And in the same manner the hexameter, a dactylic measure, must have the last two feet regular, while the four preceding feet may each be either trissyllabic or dissyllabic. Now, this principle of pure rhythm at the end of each strain, is peculiarly impressed upon the hexameter-pentameter distich. The end of the pentameter, rigorously consisting of two dactyls and a syllable, closes the couplet in such a manner that the metrical structure is never ambiguous; while the remainder of the couplet has liberty and variety, still kept in order by the end of the hexameter; and the double ending of the strain is avoided. I do not know whether you, Mr Editor, will agree with me in this speculation as to the source of the beauty which belongs to the hexameter-pentameter measure: but there can be no doubt that it has always had a great charm wherever dactylic measures have been cultivated. Schiller and Göethe have delighted in it no less than Tyrtæus and Ovid:[480] and I should conceive that this measure might find favour in English ears, even more fully than the mere hexameter.

But, in order that there may be any hope of this, it is very requisite that the course of the verse should be natural and unforced. This is more requisite even than in the hexameter; for, in the pentameter, the verse, if it be at variance with the natural accent, subverts it more completely, and makes the utterance more absurd. But it does not appear to be very difficult to attain to this point. In the model distich quoted by Coleridge—

"In the hexameter rises the fountain's silvery column,
In the pentameter still falling in melody back;"

the pentameter is a better verse than the hexameter. Surry's pentameters often flow well, in spite of his false scheme of accentuation.

"With strong foes on land, on sea, with contrary tempests,
Still do I cross this wretch, whatso he taketh in hand."

I will here terminate my criticisms for the present, but I will offer you, along with them, a specimen of hexameter and pentameter. It is a translation from Schiller, and could not fail to win some favour to the measure, if I could catch any considerable share of the charm of the original, both in versification, language, and thought. Such as the verses are, however, I shall utter them in your critical ear—and am, dear Mr Editor, your obedient,

M. L.


See with floating tread the bright pair whirl in a wave-like
Swing, and the wingèd foot scarce gives a touch to the floor.
Say, is it shadows that flit unclogg'd by the load of the body?
Say, is it elves that weave fairy-wings under the moon?
So rolls the curling smoke through air on the breath of the zephyr;
So sways the light canoe borne on the silvery lake.
—Bounds the well-taught foot on the sweet-flowing wave of the measure;
Whispering musical strains buoy up the aëry forms.
Now, as if in its rush it would break the chain of the dancers,
Dives an adventurous pair into the thick of the throng.
Quick before them a pathway is formed, and closes behind them;
As by a magical hand, open'd and shut is the way.
Now it is lost to the eye; into wild confusion resolvèd—
Lo! that revolving world loses its orderly frame.
No! from the mass there it gaily emerges and glides from the tangle;
Order resumes her sway, only with alterèd charm.
Vanishing still, it still reappears, the revolving creation,
And, deep-working, a law governs the aspects of change.
Say, how is it that forms ever passing are ever restorèd?
How still fixity stays, even where motion most reigns?
How each, master and free, by his own heart shaping his pathway,
Finds in the hurrying maze simply the path that he seeks?
This thou would'st know? 'Tis the might divine of harmony's empire;
She in the social dance governs the motions of each.
She, like the Goddess[5] Severe, with the golden bridle of order,
Tames and guides at her will wild and tumultuous strength.
And around thee in vain the word its harmonies utters
If thy heart be not swept on in the stream of the strain,
—Not by the measure of life which beats through all beings around thee,
—Not by the whirl of the dance, which through the vacant abyss
Launches the blazing suns in the spacious sweeps of their orbits.
Order rules in thy sports: so let it rule in thy acts.
M. L.



At Moulins.

"I don't think so," said the lady; and, pulling up the window of the calèche, she sank back on her seat: the postilion gave another crack with his whip, another sacre to his beasts, and they rolled on towards Moulins.

It's an insolent unfeeling world this: when any one is rich enough to ride in a calèche, the poorer man, who can only go in a cabriolet, is despised. Not but that a cabriolet is a good vehicle of its sort: I know of few more comfortable. And then, again, for mine, why I have a kind of affection for it. 'Tis an honest unpretending vehicle: it has served me all the way from Calais, and I will not discard it. What though Maurice wanted to persuade me at Paris that I had better take a britska, as more fashionable? I resisted the temptation; there was virtue in that very deed—'tis so rare that one resists; and I am still here in my cabriolet: and when I leave thee, honest cab, may I——

"A l'Hôtel de l'Europe?" asked the driver; "'tis an excellent house, and if Monsieur intends remaining there, he will find une table merveilleuse."

Why to the Hotel de l'Europe? said I to myself. I hate these cosmopolitic terms. Am I not in France—gay, delightful France—partaking of the kindness and civility of the country? "A l'Hotel de France!" was my reply.

The driver hereupon pulled up his horses short;—it was no difficult task: the poor beasts had come far: there had been no horses at Villeneuve, and we had come on all the way from St Imbert, six weary leagues. "Connais pas," said the man: "Monsieur is mistaken; besides, madame is so obliging. If there were an Hotel de France, it would be another affair: add to this, that the voiture which has just passed us is going to the hotel."

"Enough—I will go there too;" and, so saying, we got through the Barrière of Moulins.

Now, I know not how it is, but, despite of the fellow's honest air, I had a misgiving that he intended to cheat me. He was leading me to some exorbitant monster of the road, where the unsuspecting traveller would be flayed alive: he was his accomplice—his jackall; I was to be the victim. Had he argued for an hour about the excellence of mine host's table, I had been proof: my Franco-mania and my wish to be independent had certainly taken me to some other hotel. But he said something about the voiture: it was going there. What was that to me? I hate people in great carriages when I am not in them myself. But then, the lady! I had seen nothing but her face, and for an instant. She said "she did not think so." Think what? Mais ses yeux!

Reader, bear with me a while. There is a fascination in serpents, and there is one far more deadly—who has not felt it?—in woman's eyes. Such a face! such features, and such expression! She might have been five-and-twenty—nay, more: girlhood was past with her: that quiet look of self-possession which makes woman bear man's gaze, showed that she knew the pains, perhaps the joys, of wedded life. And yet the fire of youthful imagination was not yet extinct: the spirit of poetry had not yet left her: there was hope, and gaiety, and love in that bright black eye: and there was beauty, witching beauty, in every lineament of her face. Her voice was of the softest—there was music in its tone: and her hand told of other symmetry that could not but be in exquisite harmony. "She did not think so:" why should she have taken the trouble to look out of the carriage window at me as she said these words? Was I known to her—or fancied to be so? As she did not think so, I was determined to know why. "We will go to the Hotel de l'Europe, if you press it;" and away the cabriolet joggled over the roughly paved street.

Moulins is any thing but one of the[482] most remarkable towns in France: it is large, and yet it is not important: as a centre of communication, nothing: little trade: few manufactures: the houses are low, rather than high; the streets wide, rather than narrow: you can breathe in Moulins, though you may be stifled in Rouen. It is the quiet chef lieu of the Allier, and was once the capital of the Bourbonnais. An air of departing elegance, and even of stateliness, still lingers over it: the streets have the houses of the ancienne noblesse still lining their sides: high walls; that is to say, with a handsome gateway in the middle, and the corps-de-logis just peering above. Retired in their own dignity, and shunning the vulgar world, the old masters of the province here congregated in former days for the winter months; Moulins was then a gay and stirring town; piquet and Boston kept many an old lady and complaisant marquis alive through the long nights of winter; there was a sociable circle formed in many a saloon; the harpsichord was sounded, the minuet was danced, and the petit souper discussed. The president of the court, or the knight of Malta, or M. l'Abbé, came in; or perhaps a gallant gentleman of the regiment of Bourbon or Auvergne joined the circle; and conversation assumed that style of piquant brilliancy tempered with exquisite politeness which existed nowhere but in ancient France, and shall never be met with again. Sad was the day when the Revolution broke over Moulins! all the ancient properties of the country destroyed; blood flowing on many a scaffold; the deserving and the good thrust aside or trampled under foot; the unprincipled and the base pushed into places of power abused, and wealth ill-gotten but worse spent. That bad time has passed away, and Moulins has settled down, like an aged invalid of shattered constitution, the ghost of what it was, into a dull country-town. Yet it is not without its redeeming qualities of literary and even scientific excellence; somewhat of the ancient spirit of disinterested gaiety still remains behind; and it is a place where the traveller may well sojourn for many days.

In the court-yard of the hotel was standing the voiture, which had come in some twenty minutes before us. The femme-de-chambre was carrying up the last package: the postilion had got out of his boots, and had placed them to lean against the wall. The good lady of the house came out to welcome me, and the garçon was ready at the step. It's very true; the freshness, if not the sincerity, of an inn welcome, makes one of the amenities of life: it compensates for the wearisomeness of the road: it is something to look forward to at the end of a fatiguing day; and, what is best, you can have just as much or as little of it as you like. There is no keeping on of your buckram when once you are seated in your inn,—no stiffening up for dinner when you had infinitely rather be quite at your ease. What you want you ask for, without saying, "by your leave," or, "if you please;" and what you ask for, if you are a reasonable man, you get. Let no traveller go to a friend's house if he wants to be comfortable. Let him keep to an inn: he is there, pro tempore, at home.

"I shall stop here to-night, Madame."

"As Monsieur pleases: and to-morrow—?"

"I will resume my route to Clermont."

"Monsieur is going to the baths of Mont Dor, no doubt?"

"Just so."

"Then, sir, you will have excellent company, and you have done well to come here; Monsieur le Marquis is going on thither to-morrow: and if Monsieur would be so obliging,—but I will run up and ask him and Madame, the sweetest lady in the world,—they will be glad to have you at dinner with them: you are all going to Mont Dor. You will be enchanted: excuse me, I will be back in an instant."

How curious, thought I, that without any doings of my own, I should just be thrown into the way of the person whom my curiosity—my impertinent, or silly curiosity, which you will—prompted me with the desire to meet. The superciliousness of the voiture vanished from my recollection, and my national frigidity was doomed to be thawed into civility, if not into amiableness.[483]

"The Marquis de Mirepoix would be glad of the honour of Monsieur's company at dinner, if he would be so obliging as to excuse ceremony, and the refinements of the toilette." What a charming message! Surely there is an innate grace in this people, notwithstanding their twenty years of blood and revolution, that can never be worn out! Why, they did not even know my name; and on the simple suggestion of the hostess, they consent to sit with me at table! Truly this is the land of politeness, and of kind accommodation: the land of ready access to the stranger, where the ties of his home, withered, or violently snapped asunder, are replaced by the engaging attractions of unostentatious and well-judged civility; and where he is induced to leave his warmest inclinations, if not his heart. Never give up this distinguishing attribute, France, thou land of the brave and the gay! it shall compensate for much of thy waywardness: it shall take off the rough edge of thy egotism: it shall disarm thy ambition: it shall make thee the friend of all the world.

"Il m'a payé trois francs la poste, te dis-je: c'est un gros milord: que sais-je!"

"Diantre! for a cabriolet! Why, they only gave me the tariff and a miserable piece of ten sous as my pour-boire, for a heavy calèche! When I fetched them from the château this morning, I knew how it would be—Monsieur le Marquis is so miserly, so exigeant!"

"I would not be his wife for any thing," said the fille-de-chambre, as she came tripping down stairs, and passed between the two postilions; "an old curmudgeon, to go on in that way with such a wife. Voyez-vous, Pierre, elle est si belle, si douce! c'est une ange! She wants to know who the young Englishman is; qu'en sais-tu, Jean-Marie?"

"He gave us three francs a post; that's all I know."

"Then we have two angels in the house instead of one."

I hate to be long at my toilette at any time; but to delay much in such a matter while travelling is folly. Yet, how shall one get over the interminable plains of France, and pass through those ever succeeding simooms of dust which beset the high-roads of the "fair country," without contracting a certain dinginess of look that makes one intolerable? Fellow-traveller, never take much luggage with thee, if thou hast thy senses rightly awakened; leave those real "impediments" of locomotion behind; take with thee two suits at the most; adapt them to the climate and the land thou intendest to traverse; and, remember, never cease to dress like a gentleman. Take with thee plenty of white cravattes and white waistcoats; they will always make thee look clean when thy ablutions are performed, despite of whatever else may be thy habiliments; carry with thee some varnished boots; encourage the laundresses to the utmost of thy power, and thou wilt always be a suitably dressed man. By the time I had done my toilette there was a tap at the door, and in another minute I was in the salle-à-manger.

The Marquis made me a profound salutation, which I endeavoured to return as well as a stiff Englishman, with a poker up his back, extending right through the spinal column into his head, could be supposed to do. To the Lady I was conscious of stooping infinitely lower; and I even flattered myself that the empressement which I wished to put into my reverence was not unperceived by her. The little fluttering oscillation of the head and form, with which a French lady acknowledges a civility, came forth on her part with exquisite grace. Her husband might be fifty: he was a tall, harsh-looking man; a gentleman certainly, but still not one of the right kind; there was a sort of roué expression about his eyes that inspired distrust, if not repulsion; his features seemed little accustomed to a smile; the tone of his voice was dissonant, and he spoke sharply and quickly. But his wife—his gentle, angelic wife—was the type of what a woman should be. She surpassed not in height that best standard of female proportion, which we give, gentle reader, at some five feet and two inches. She was most delicately formed: her face, of the broad rather than the long oval shape, tapered down to a most exquisitely formed chin; while the arch expression[484] of her mouth and eyes, tempered as it was with an indefinable expression of true feminine softness, gave animation and vivid intelligence to the whole. Who can define the tones of a woman's voice? and that woman one of the most refined and high-bred of her sex? There was a richness and smoothness, and yet such an exquisite softness in it, as entranced the hearer, and could keep him listening to its flow of music for hours together. I am persuaded of it, and the more I think of it the more vividly does it recur to my mind. 'Twas only a single glance—that first glance as I moved upwards from bowing towards a hand which I could willingly have kissed. There was the tale of a whole life conveyed in it; there was the narration of much inward suffering—of thwarted hopes, of disappointed desires—of a longing for deliverance from a weight of oppression—of a praying for a friend and an avenger. And yet there was the timidity of the woman, the observance of conventional forms, the respect of herself, the dread of her master, all tending to keep down the indication of those feelings. And again there came the still-enduring hope of amendment or of remedy. All was in that glance. I felt it in a moment; and the fascination—that mysterious communication of sentiment which runs through the soul as the electric current of its vitality—was completed.

How is it that one instant of time should work those effects in the human mind which are so lasting in their results! Ye unseen powers, spirits or angels, that preside over our actions, and guide us to or from harm, is it that ye communicate some portion of your own ethereal essence to our duller substance at such moments, and give us perceptive faculties which otherwise we never had enjoyed? Or is it that the soul has some secret way of imparting its feelings to another without the intervention of material things, otherwise than to let the immortal spark flash from one being to the other? And oh, ye sceptics, ye dull leaden-hearted mortals! doubt not of the language of the eyes—that common theme of mawkish lovers—but though common, not the less true and certain. Interrogate the looks of a young child—remember even the all-expressive yet mute eyes of a faithful dog; and give me the bright eloquent glance of woman in the pride and bloom of life—'tis sweeter than all sounds, more universal than all languages.

"I am afraid, Monsieur le Marquis, that I shall be interfering with your arrangements?"

"Ah, mon Dieu! you give us great pleasure. Madame and myself had just been regretting that we should have to pass the evening in this miserable hole of a town. 'Pas de spectacle; c'est embêtant à ne pas en finir.'"

"And Monsieur is likely to be with us to-morrow, mon ami; for my femme-de-chambre tells me that he is going to Mont Dor. Do you know, Monsieur, that just as we were coming into Moulins, we remarked your odd-looking cabriolet de poste. My husband detests them; on the contrary, I like those carriages, for they tell me of happy—I mean to say, of former times. He wanted to wager with me that it was some old-fashioned sulky fellow that had got into it; but, as we passed, I looked out at the window, satisfied myself of the contrary, and told him so. Will you be pleased to take that chair by my side, and as we go on with our dinner we can talk about Mont Dor."


As it had been arranged that I should take an hour's start with my cabriolet, and bespeak horses for my companions as I went on, I set off for Clermont early.

As you advance through the Bourbonnais, towards the south, the country warms upon you: warms in its sunny climate, and in the glowing colours of its landscape. Not but that France is smiling enough, even in the north: Witness Normandy, that chosen land of green meadow, rich glebe, stately forests, and winding[485] streams: nor that even in Champagne, where the eye stretches over endless plains, towards the Germanic frontier, there are not rich valleys, and deep woodlands, and sunny glades. Do not quarrel with the chalky ground of the Champenois—remember its wine—think of the imprisoned spirit of the land, that quintessence of all that is French—give it due vent; 'twill reward you for your pains. Oh! certes, France is a gay and a pleasing land. My fastidious and gloomy countrymen may say what they please, and may talk of the beauties of England till they are hoarse again; but there is not less natural beauty in Gaul than in Britain. Take all the broad tracts from London to York, or from Paris to Lyons, France has nothing to dread from the comparison. But, in the Bourbonnais, flat and open as it is, the scene begins to change. The sun shines more genially, more constantly; he shines in good earnest; and your rheumatic pains, if you have any still creeping about your bones, ooze out at every pore, and bid you a long adieu. That grey, cold haze of the north, which dims the horizon in the distant prospect, here becomes warmed into a purpler, pinker tint, borrowed from the Italian side of the Alps: the perpetual brown of the northern soil here puts on an orange tinge: above, the sky is more blue; and around, the passing breeze woos you more lovingly. Come hither, poor, trembling invalid! throw off those blankets and those swathing bandages; trust yourself to the sun, to the land, to the waters of the Bourbonnais; and renovated health, lighter spirits, pleasant days and happy nights, shall be your reward.

How can it be, that in a country where nature is so genially disposed towards the vegetable and the mineral kingdoms of her wide empire, she should have played the niggard so churlishly when she peopled it with human beings? The men of the Bourbonnais are short and ordinary of appearance, remarkable more for the absence than for the presence of physical advantages, and the women are the ugliest in France!—mean and uninviting in person, and repulsive in dress! They are only to be surpassed in this unenviable distinction by those of Auvergne. Taking the two populations together, or rather considering them as one, which no doubt they originally were, they are at the bottom of the physiological scale of this country. Some think them to be the descendants of an ancient tribe that never lost their footing in this centre of the land, when the Gauls drove out their Iberian predecessors. They certainly are not Gauls, nor are they Celts; still less are they Romans or Germans. Are they then autochthonous, like the Athenians? or are they merely the offscourings, the rejected of other populations? Decide about it, ye that are learned in the ethnographic distinctions of our race—but heaven defend us from the Bourbonnaises!

See how those distant peaks rise serenely over the southern horizon!—is it that we have turned towards Helvetia?—for there is snow on the tops of some, and many are there towering in solitary majesty. No, they are the goal of our pilgrimage; they are the ridges of the Monts Dor—the Puys and the extinct volcanoes of ancient France. Look at the Puy de Dôme, that grand and towering peak: what is our friend Ben Nevis to this his Gallic brother, who out-tops him by a thousand feet! And again, look at Mont Dor behind, that hoary giant, as much loftier than the Puy de Dôme as this is than the monarch of the Scottish Highlands! We are coming to the land of real mountains now. Why, that long and comparatively low table-land of granite, from whence they all protrude, and on which they sit as a conclave of gods, is itself higher than the most of the hills of our father-land. These hills, if we have to mount them, shall sorely try the thews of horse and man.

There is something soothing, and yet cheering, in the southern sky, which tells upon the spirits, and consoles the weary heart. Just where the yellow streaks of this low white horizon tell of the intensity of the god of day, come the blue serrated ridges of those mountains across the sight. If I could fly, I would away to those realms of light and warmth—far, far away in the southern clime, where the wants of the body should[486] be few, and where the vigour of life should be great. The glorious south is, like the joyous time of youth, full of hope and promise: all is sunny and bright: there, flowers bloom and birds sing merrily. Turn we our backs to the cold gloomy north, to the wet windy west, to the dry parching east—on to the south!

But what a magnificent plain is this we are entering upon: it is of immense extent. Those distant hills are at least fifty miles from us; and across it, from Auvergne to Le Forez, cannot be less than twenty; and, in the midst, what a gorgeous show of harvests, and gardens, and walnut groves, and all the luxuriance of the continental Flora. This is the Limagne, the garden of France—the choicest spot of the whole country for varied fertility and inexhaustible productiveness. Ages back—let musty geologists tell us how long ago—'twas a lake, larger than the Lake of Geneva. The volcanic eruptions of the mountains on the west broke down its barriers, and let its waters flow. Now the Allier divides it; and the astonished cultivator digs into virgin strata of fertile loams, the lowest depths of which have never yet been revealed. Corn fields here are not the wide and open inclosures such as we know them in the north and west, where every thing is removed that can hinder a stray sunbeam from shining on the grain: here they are thickly studded with trees—majestic, wide-spread, fruit-laden, walnut-trees; where the corn waves luxuriantly beneath its thickest shade, and closes thickly round its stem. Bread from the grain below, and oil from the kernel above; wine from the hills all around, and honied fruits from many a well-stocked garden; such are the abundant and easily reared produce of this land of promise. A Caledonian farmer, put down suddenly in the Limagne, would think himself in fairy regions; so kindly do all things come in it, so pure and excellent of their sort—in such variety, in such never-failing succession. Purple mountains, red plains, dark green woods, and a sky of pure azure—such is the combination of colours that meets the eye on first coming into Auvergne.

And yet man thrives not much in it; he remains a stunted half-civilized animal—with his black shaggy locks, his brown jacket, red sash, and enormous round beaver; ox-goad in hand, and knife ready to his grip, his appearance accords but ill with the luxuriant beauty of the scene in which he dwells. His diminutive but hardy companion—she who shares his toils in the fields, and serves as his equal if not his better half—is well suited to his purpose, and resembles him in her looks. Here, she can climb the mountain-side as nimbly as her master; here, she can drive the cattle to their far-distant pastures with courage and skill; here, she mounts the hot little mountain-steed, not in female fashion, but with a true masculine stride; laborious and long-enduring, simple, honest, and easily contented; but withal easily provoked, and hard to be appeased without blood; such is the Auvergnat, and his wife.

Riom seemed a picturesque town when we drove through it; but our eyes could not bear to be diverted from the magnificent scenery that kept rising upon us from the south. We had now approached closely to the foot of the mountain-ranges, and their lofty summits were high above us in mid-air. On the right, the Puy de Dôme, cut in half by a line of motionless clouds, reared itself into the blue sky like some gigantic balloon, so round was its summit—so isolated. The granite plateau which constituted its base, was broken into deep and well-wooded ravines; while at intervals there ran out into the Limagne, for many a league, some extended promontory of land, capped all along by a flood of crystallized basalt, which once had flowed in liquid fire from the crater in the ridge. Here and there rose from the plain a small conical hill, crowned with a black mass of basaltic columns, and there again topped with an antique-looking little town or fortress, stationed there, perhaps, from the days of Cæsar. In front stood Gergovia, where Roman and Gallic blood once flowed at the bidding of that great master of war, freely as a mountain torrent; now only a black plain, where the plough is stopped in each furrow by bricks and broken pots, and rusted arms,—tokens[487] of the site of the ancient city.

On turning short round a steeply sloping hill, crowned with a goodly château, and clad on its sides with vines and all kinds of fruit-trees, we saw a deep vale running up into the mountains towards the west, and Clermont covering an eminence in the very midst. What a picturesque outline! How closely the houses stand together—how agreeably do they mix with the trees of the promenades; and how boldly the cathedral comes out from amongst them all! It is a lofty and richly-decorated pile of the fourteenth century; and tells of the labours and the wealth of a foreign land. Anglo-Norman skill and gold are said to have formed it; but however this may be, we know that it witnessed the presence of our gallant Black Prince, and that it once depended on Aquitaine, not on France. Yet what fancy can have possessed its builder to have constructed it of black stone? Why not have sought out the pure white lime-rocks of the flat country, or the grey granite of the hills? This is the deep lava of the neighbouring volcanic quarry; here basalt, and pumice, and cinder, and scoriæ, are pressed into the service of the architect; and there stands a proof of the goodness of the material—hard, sharp, and sonorous, as when the hammer first clinked against its edge five centuries ago.

"Entrons, Monsieur," said the fair Marquise, as I stood with her on the esplanade before the Cathedral—the Marquis had gone to see the commandant. "Entrez donc, 'tis the work of one of your compatriots; and here, though a heretic, you may consider yourself on English ground."

Now, positively, I had never thought a bit about Catholic or Protestant ever since I had quitted my own shores. All I knew was, that I was in a country that gave the same evidences of being Christian as the one that I had left; and that, however frivolous and profligate might be the appearance of its capital, in the rural districts, at least, the people were honest and devout. I was not come to quarrel, nor to find fault with millions of men for thinking differently from—but perhaps acting better than—myself. So we entered.

The old keeper of the benitier bowed his head, and extended his brush; the Marquise touched its extremity, crossed herself, and fell on her knees.

Thou fell spirit of pride, prejudice, ignorance, and mauvaise honte! why didst thou beset me at that moment, and keep me, like a stiff-backed puritan, erect in the house of God? Why, on entering within its sacred limits, did I not acknowledge my own unworthiness to come in, and reverence the sanctity of the place? No; there I stood, half-astonished, half-abashed while the Marquise continued on her knees and made her silent orisons. 'Tis an admirable and a touching custom: there is poetry and religion in the very idea. Cross not that threshold with unholy feet; or if thou dost, confess that unholiness, and beg forgiveness for the transgression ere thou advancest within the walls. I acknowledge that I felt ashamed of myself; yet I knew not what to do. One of the priests passed by: he looked first at the lady and next at me; then humbly bowing towards the altar, went out of the church. My embarrassment increased; but the Marquise arose. "It is good to pray here," she said, in a tone the mildness and sincerity of which made the reproach more cutting. "Let us go forward now."

"I will amend my manners," thought I; "'tis not well to be unconcerned in such things, and when so little makes all the difference."

"Is Monsieur fond of pictures? Look at that painting of the Baptist, how vigorously the figure is drawn! And see what an exquisite Virgin! Or turn your eyes to that southern window, and remark the flood of gorgeous light falling from it on the pillar by its side!"

I was thinking of any thing but the Virgin, or the window, or the light; I was thinking of my companion—so fair, and so devout. Had she not called me a heretic? Had she not already put me to the blush for my lack of veneration? Strange linking of ideas! "Thou art worthy to be an angel hereafter," said I to myself, "as[488] truly thou resemblest what we call angels here."

We were once more at the western door; Madame crossed herself again; we went out.

"Pour l'amour de Dieu, mon bon monsieur!" "Que le ciel vous soit ouvert!" whined out half-a-dozen old crones with extended hands; their shrivelled fingers seeking to pluck at any thing they could get.

Now I had paid away my last sous to the garçon d'écurie at the Poste: so I told them pettishly that I had not a liard to give. A coin tinkled on the ground; it had fallen from the hand of the Marquise; and as I stooped to reach it for her, I saw that it was gold.

"Let them have it, poor things. I thought it was silver; but it has touched holy ground, and 'tis now their own."

I turned round, thrust my purse into the lap of the nearest, and with a light heart led the lady back to the hotel.


A Woman's Shortcomings.

She has laughed as softly as if she sighed;
She has counted six and over,
Of a purse well filled, and a heart well tried—
Oh, each a worthy lover!
They "give her time;" for her soul must slip
Where the world has set the grooving:
She will lie to none with her fair red lip—
But love seeks truer loving.
She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,
As her thoughts were beyond her recalling;
With a glance for one, and a glance for some,
From her eyelids rising and falling!
—Speaks common words with a blushful air;
—Hears bold words, unreproving:
But her silence says—what she never will swear—
And love seeks better loving.
Go, lady! lean to the night-guitar,
And drop a smile to the bringer;
Then smile as sweetly, when he is far,
At the voice of an in-door singer!
Bask tenderly beneath tender eyes;
Glance lightly, on their removing;
And join new vows to old perjuries—
But dare not call it loving!
Unless you can think, when the song is done,
No other is soft in the rhythm;
Unless you can feel, when left by One,
That all men beside go with him;[489]
Unless you can know, when unpraised by his breath,
That your beauty itself wants proving;
Unless you can swear—"For life, for death!"—
Oh, fear to call it loving!
Unless you can muse, in a crowd all day,
On the absent face that fixed you;
Unless you can love, as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
Through behoving and unbehoving;
Unless you can die when the dream is past—
Oh, never call it loving!

A Man's Requirements.

Love me, sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing,—
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.
Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.
Love me with thine azure eyes,
Made for earnest granting!
Taking colour from the skies,
Can heaven's truth be wanting?
Love me with their lids, that fall
Snow-like at first meeting!
Love me with thine heart, that all
The neighbours then see beating.
Love me with thine hand stretched out
Love me with thy loitering foot,—
Hearing one behind it.
Love me with thy voice, that turns
Sudden faint above me!
Love me with thy blush that burns
When I murmur 'Love me!'
Love me with thy thinking soul—
Break it to love-sighing;[490]
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living—dying.
Love me in thy gorgeous airs,
When the world has crowned thee!
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
With the angels round thee.
Love me pure, as musers do,
Up the woodlands shady!
Love me gaily, fast, and true,
As a winsome lady.
Through all hopes that keep us brave,
Further off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,—
And for something higher.
Thus, if thou wilt prove me, dear,
Woman's love no fable,
I will love thee—half-a-year—
As a man is able.

Maude's Spinning.

He listened at the porch that day
To hear the wheel go on, and on,
And then it stopped—ran back away—
While through the door he brought the sun.
But now my spinning is all done.
He sate beside me, with an oath
That love ne'er ended, once begun;
I smiled—believing for us both,
What was the truth for only one.
And now my spinning is all done.
My mother cursed me that I heard
A young man's wooing as I spun.
Thanks, cruel mother, for that word,
For I have, since, a harder known!
And now my spinning is all done.
I thought—O God!—my first-born's cry
Both voices to my ear would drown!
I listened in mine agony——
It was the silence made me groan!
And now my spinning is all done.[491]
Bury me 'twixt my mother's grave,
Who cursed me on her death-bed lone,
And my dead baby's—(God it save!)
Who, not to bless me, would not moan.
And now my spinning is all done.
A stone upon my heart and head,
But no name written on the stone!
Sweet neighbours! whisper low instead,
"This sinner was a loving one—
And now her spinning is all done."
And let the door ajar remain,
In case that he should pass anon;
And leave the wheel out very plain,
That he, when passing in the sun,
May see the spinning is all done.

A Dead Rose.

O rose! who dares to name thee?
No longer roseate now, nor soft, nor sweet;
But barren, and hard, and dry, as stubble-wheat,
Kept seven years in a drawer—thy titles shame thee.
The breeze that used to blow thee
Between the hedge-thorns, and take away
An odour up the lane to last all day,—
If breathing now,—unsweetened would forego thee.
The sun that used to light thee,
And mix his glory in thy gorgeous urn,
Till beam appeared to bloom, and flower to burn,—
If shining now,—with not a hue would dight thee.
The dew that used to wet thee,
And, white first, grow incarnadined, because
It lay upon thee where the crimson was,—
If dropping now,—would darken where it met thee.
The fly that lit upon thee,
To stretch the tendrils of its tiny feet,
Along the leaf's pure edges after heat,—
If lighting now,—would coldly overrun thee.
The bee that once did suck thee,
And build thy perfumed ambers up his hive,
And swoon in thee for joy, till scarce alive,—
If passing now,—would blindly overlook thee.[492]
The heart doth recognise thee,
Alone, alone! The heart doth smell thee sweet,
Doth view thee fair, doth judge thee most complete—
Though seeing now those changes that disguise thee.
Yes and the heart doth owe thee
More love, dead rose! than to such roses bold
As Julia wears at dances, smiling cold!——
Lie still upon this heart—which breaks below thee!

Change on Change.

Three months ago, the stream did flow,
The lilies bloomed along the edge;
And we were lingering to and fro,—
Where none will track thee in this snow,
Along the stream, beside the hedge.
Ah! sweet, be free to come and go;
For if I do not hear thy foot,
The frozen river is as mute,—
The flowers have dried down to the root;
And why, since these be changed since May,
Shouldst thou change less than they?
And slow, slow as the winter snow,
The tears have drifted to mine eyes;
And my two cheeks, three months ago,
Set blushing at thy praises so,
Put paleness on for a disguise.
Ah! sweet, be free to praise and go;
For if my face is turned to pale,
It was thine oath that first did fail,—
It was thy love proved false and frail!
And why, since these be changed, I trow,
Should I change less than thou?

A Reed.

I am no trumpet, but a reed!
No flattering breath shall from me lead
A silver sound, a hollow sound!
I will not ring, for priest or king,
One blast that, in re-echoing,
Would leave a bondsman faster bound.
I am no trumpet, but a reed,—
A broken reed, the wind indeed
Left flat upon a dismal shore!
Yet if a little maid, or child,
Should sigh within it, earnest-mild,
This reed will answer evermore.[493]
I am no trumpet, but a reed!
Go, tell the fishers, as they spread
Their nets along the river's edge,—
I will not tear their nets at all,
Nor pierce their hands—if they should fall:
Then let them leave me in the sedge.

Hector in the Garden.

Nine years old! First years of any
Seem the best of all that come!—
Yet when I was nine, I said
Unlike things!—I thought, instead,
That the Greeks used just as many
In besieging Ilium.
Nine green years had scarcely brought me
To my childhood's haunted spring,—
I had life, like flowers and bees,
In betwixt the country trees,
And the sun, the pleasure, taught me
Which he teacheth every thing.
If the rain fell, there was sorrow;—
Little head leant on the pane,—
Little finger tracing down it
The long trailing drops upon it,—
And the "Rain, rain, come to-morrow,"
Said for charm against the rain.
And the charm was right Canidian,
Though you meet it with a jeer!
If I said it long enough,
Then the rain hummed dimly off;
And the thrush, with his pure Lydian,
Was the loudest sound to hear.
And the sun and I together
Went a-rushing out of doors!
We, our tender spirits, drew
Over hill and dale in view,
Glimmering hither, glimmering thither,
In the footsteps of the showers.
Underneath the chestnuts dripping,
Through the grasses wet and fair,
Straight I sought my garden-ground,
With the laurel on the mound;
And the pear-tree oversweeping
A side-shadow of green air.[494]
While hard by, there lay supinely
A huge giant, wrought of spade!
Arms and legs were stretched at length,
In a passive giant strength,—
And the meadow turf, cut finely,
Round them laid and interlaid.
Call him Hector, son of Priam!
Such his title and degree.
With my rake I smoothed his brow,
And his cheeks I weeded through:
But a rhymer such as I am
Scarce can sing his dignity.
Eyes of gentianella's azure,
Staring, winking at the skies;
Nose of gillyflowers and box;
Scented grasses, put for locks—
Which a little breeze, at pleasure,
Set a-waving round his eyes.
Brazen helm of daffodillies,
With a glitter for the light;
Purple violets, for the mouth,
Breathing perfumes west and south;
And a sword of flashing lilies,
Holden ready for the fight.
And a breastplate, made of daisies,
Closely fitting, leaf by leaf;
Periwinkles interlaced
Drawn for belt about the waist;
While the brown bees, humming praises,
Shot their arrows round the chief.
And who knows, (I sometimes wondered,)
If the disembodied soul
Of old Hector, once of Troy,
Might not take a dreary joy
Here to enter—if it thundered,
Rolling up the thunder-roll?
Rolling this way, from Troy-ruin,
To this body rude and rife,
He might enter and take rest
'Neath the daisies of the breast—
They, with tender roots, renewing
His heroic heart to life.
Who could know? I sometimes started
At a motion or a sound;[495]
Did his mouth speak—naming Troy,
With an οτοτοτοτοι?
Did the pulse of the Strong-hearted
Make the daisies tremble round?
It was hard to answer, often!
But the birds sang in the tree—
But the little birds sang bold,
In the pear-tree green and old;
And my terror seemed to soften,
Through the courage of their glee.
Oh, the birds, the trees, the ruddy
And white blossoms, sleek with rain!
Oh, my garden, rich with pansies!
Oh, my childhood's bright romances!
All revive, like Hector's body,
And I see them stir again!
And despite life's changes—chances,
And despite the deathbell's toll,
They press on me in full seeming!—
Help, some angel! stay this dreaming!
As the birds sang in the branches,
Sing God's patience through my soul!
That no dreamer, no neglecter,
Of the present's work unsped,
I may wake up and be doing,
Life's heroic ends pursuing,
Though my past is dead as Hector,
And though Hector is twice dead.



"I should think we cannot be very far from our destination by this time."

"Why, were one to put faith in my appetite, we must have been at least a good four or five hours en route already; and if our Rosinantes are not able to get over a misère of thirty or forty miles without making as many grimaces about it as they do now, they are not the animals I took them for."

"Come, come—abuse your own as much as you please, but this much I will say for my Nero, though he has occasionally deposited me on the roadside, he is not apt to sleep upon the way at least. Nay, so sure am I of him, that I would wager you ten Napoleons that we are not more than four or five miles from the chateau at this moment."

"Pas si bête, mon cher. I am not fool enough to put my precious Naps in jeopardy, just when I am so deucedly in want of them, too. But a truce to this nonsense. Do you know, Ernest, seriously speaking, I am beginning to think we are great fools for our pains, running our heads into a perilous adventure, with the almost certainty of a severe reprimand from the general, which, I think, even your filial protestations will scarcely save you from, if ever we return alive; and merely to see, what, I dare say, after all, will turn out to be only a pretty face."

"What!—already faint-hearted!—A miracle of beauty such as Darville described is well worth periling one's neck to gaze upon. Besides, is not that our vocation?—and as for reprimands, if you got one as often as I do, you would soon find out that those things are nothing when one is used to them."

"A miracle!—ah, bah! It was the romance of the scene, and the artful grace of the costume, which fascinated his eyes."

"No, no! be just. Recollect that it was not Darville alone, but Delavigne; and even that connoisseur in female beauty, Monbreton himself, difficult as he is, declared that she was perfect. She must be a wonder, indeed, when he could find no fault with her."

"Be it so. I warn you beforehand that I am fully prepared to be disappointed. However, as we are so far embarked in the affair, I suppose we must accomplish it."

"Most assuredly, unless you wish to be the laughing-stock of the whole regiment for the next month; for notwithstanding Darville's boasted powers of discretion, half the subalterns, no doubt, are in possession of the secret of our escapade by this time."

"Well, then, Ernest, as we are launched on this wise expedition, let me sermonise a small portion of prudence into that most giddy brain of yours. Remember that, after all, if those ruthless Spaniards were to discover the trick we are playing them, they would probably make us pay rather too dearly for the frolic. In short, Ernest, I am very much afraid that your étourderie will let the light rather too soon into the thick skulls of those magnificent hidalgos."

"Preach away—I listen in all humility."

"Ernest, Ernest, I give you up; you are incorrigible!" rejoined the other, turning away to hide the laugh which the irresistibly comic expression his friend threw into his countenance had excited.

And who were the speakers of this short dialogue? Two dashing, spirited-looking young men, who, at the close of it, reined in their steeds, in the dilemma of not knowing where to direct them. Theirs was, indeed, a wild-goose chase. Their Chateau en Espagne seemed invisible, as such chateaux usually are; and where it might be found, who was there to tell?—Not one. The scene was a desert—not even a bird animated it; and just before them branched out three roads from the one they had hitherto confidently pursued.

After a moment's silence, the cavaliers both burst into a gay laugh.

"Here's a puzzle, Alphonse!" said the one. "Which of the three roads do you opine?"[497]

"The left, by all means," replied the other; "I generally find it leads me right."

"But if it shouldn't now?"

"Why, then, it only leads us wrong."

"But I don't choose to go wrong."

"And what have you been doing ever since you set out?"

"True; but as we are far enough now from that point, we must e'en make the best of the bad."

"Well, why don't you?"

"Why, if one only knew which was the best."

At this moment the tinkling of a mule's bells, mingled with the song of the muleteer, came on the air.

"Hist! here comes counsel," exclaimed the young man whom the other named Ernest. "Holla, señor hidalgo! do you know the castle of the Conde di Miranda?"


"Where is it?"

"Where it was."


"That's as one finds it."

"And how shall we find it?"

"By reaching it."

"Come, come, hidalgo mio."

"I'm no hidalgo," said the man roughly.

"But you ought to be. I've seen many less deserving of it," resumed the traveller.

"I dare say," retorted the muleteer.

"If you'll conduct us within view of the castle you shall be rewarded."

"As I should well deserve."

"Ah, your deserts may be greater than our purse."

But the man moved on.

"Halte-là, friend! I like your company so well that I must have it a little longer." And the officer pulled out a pistol. "Will you, or will you not, guide us to the castle of the Conde?"

"I will," gruffly replied the man, with a look which showed that he was sorry to be forced to choose the second alternative.

"Can we trust this fellow?" said the younger officer to the elder.

"No—but we can ourselves; and keep a sharp look-out."

"Besides, I shall give him a hint. Hidalgo mio——" he began.

"Señor Franzese," interrupted the muleteer.

"What puts that into your head, hidalgo? Franzese,—why, Don Felix y Cortos, y Sargas, y Nos, y Tierras, y, y,—don't you know an Englishman when you see him?"

"Yes," muttered the Spaniard—"Yes, and a Frenchman, too."

"No, you don't, for here's the proof. Why, what are we, but English officers, carrying despatches to your Conde from our General?"

The muleteer looked doubtingly.

"Why, do you suppose Frenchmen would trust themselves amongst such a set of"—

"Patriots." Exclaimed the other stranger, hastily.

"All I say;" observed the man drily, "is, that if you are friends of the Conde, he will treat you as you deserve. If enemies, the same. So, backward."

"Onward, you mean."

"Ay, for me; but not for you, señores, you have left the castle a mile to the left."

"I guessed right, you see," said Alphonse, "when I guessed left."

The muleteer passed on, and the horsemen followed.

"I say, hidalgo mio," called out Ernest, "what sort of a don is this same Conde?"

"As how?" inquired the muleteer.

"Is he rich?"






"Has he a wife?"


"Has he children?"


"No!" exclaimed the cavalier with surprise. "No child!"

"You said children, señor."

"He has a child, then?"


"A son?"


"A daughter?"


"Why, yes and no seems all you have got to say."

"It seems to answer all you have got to ask, señor."[498]

"Is the Doña very handsome?" interrupted Alphonse, impatiently.

"Yes and no, according to taste," replied the muleteer.

"He laughs at us," whispered Ernest in French. The conversation with the muleteer had been, thus far, carried on in Spanish—which Ernest spoke fairly enough. But the observation he thoughtlessly uttered in French seemed to excite the peasant's attention.

"Do you speak English?" asked Ernest.

"Yes," was the reply, in English. "Do you?"

"Me English? ab course. Speak well English," replied Ernest, in the true Gallic-idiom. Then relapsing into the more familiar tongue, he added, "But in Spain I speak Spanish."

By this time the trio had arrived within view of a large castellated building, whose ancient towers, glowing in the last rays of the setting sun, rose majestically from the midst of groves of dark cypress and myrtle which surrounded it.

The muleteer stopped. "There, señores," he said, "stands the castle of the Conde. Half-a-mile further on lies the town of R——, to which, señores," he added, with a sarcastic smile, "you can proceed, should you not find it convenient to remain at the Castello. And now, I presume, as I have guided you so far right, you will suffer me to resume my own direction."

"Yes, as there seems no possibility of making any more mistakes on our way, you are free," replied the gravest of the two. "But stop one moment yet, amigo," and he pointed to a cross-road which, a little further on, diverged from the camino real, "where does that lead to?"

"Amigo!" muttered the man between his teeth, "say enemigo rather!"

"An answer to my question, villano," said the young Frenchman, haughtily—while his hand instinctively groped for the hilt of his sword.

"To R——," replied the man, as he turned silently and sullenly to retrace his steps.

"Holla, there!" Ernest called out; "you have forgotten your money;" and he held out a purse, but the man was gone. "Va donc, et que le diable t'emporte, brutal!" added Ernest de Lucenay; taking good care, however, this time, that the ebullition of his feelings was not loud enough to reach the ears of the retreating peasant. "Confound it! I would rather follow the track of a tiger through the pathless depth of an Indian jungle alone, than be led by such a savage cicerone."

"Never mind the fellow; we have more than enough to think of in our own affairs," exclaimed his friend, impatiently. "Let us stop here a moment and consult, before we proceed any further. One thing is evident, at all events, that we must contrive to disguise ourselves better if we wish to pass for any thing but Frenchmen. With my knowledge of the English language, and acquaintance with their manners and habits, trifling as it is, I am perfectly certain of imposing on the Spaniards, without any difficulty; but you will as certainly cause a blow up, unless you manage to alter your whole style and appearance. I daresay you have forgotten all my instructions already."

"Bah! Alphonse. Let me alone for puzzling the dons; I'll be as complete a Goddam in five minutes as any stick you ever saw, I warrant you."

"Nothing can appear more perfectly un-English than you do at present. That éveillé look of yours is the very devil;" and Alphonse shook his head, despondingly.

"Incredulous animal! just hold Nero for five minutes, and you shall have ocular demonstration of my powers of acting. Parbleu! you shall see that I can be solemn and awkward enough to frighten half the petites maîtresses of Paris into the vapours." And, so saying, De Lucenay sprang from his saddle, and consigning the bridle into his friend's hands, ran towards a little brook, which trickled through the grass at a short distance from the roadside; but not before he had made his friend promise to abstain from casting any profane glances on his toilet till it was accomplished.

Wisely resolving to avoid temptation, Alphonse turned away, when, to his surprise, he perceived the muleteer halting on a rising ground at a[499] little distance. "By Jove! that insolent dog has been watching us. Scoundrel, will you move on?" he exclaimed in French, raising his voice angrily, when, suddenly recollecting himself, he terminated the unfinished phrase by "Sigue tu camin! Picaro! Bribon!" while he shook his pistol menacingly at the man's head—a threat which did not seem to intimidate him much, for, though he resumed his journey, his rich sonorous voice burst triumphantly forth into one of the patriotic songs; and long after he had disappeared from their eyes, the usual ritournelle, "Viva Fernando! Muera Napoleon!" rang upon the air.

This short interval had more than sufficed for De Lucenay's mysterious operations. And before his friend was tired of fuming and sacreing against Spain and Spaniards, Ernest tapped him on the shoulder, and for once both the young officer's anger and habitual gravity vanished in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. "By Jupiter! it is incredible," he gasped forth, as soon as returning breath would allow him to speak: while Ernest stood silently enjoying his surprise.

"Well, what think you? It will do, will it not? Are you still in fear of a fiasco?"

"Nay! My only fear now is, that the pupil will eclipse the master, and that the more shining light of your talents will cast mine utterly into the shade. By heavens! the transformation is inimitable. Your own father would not know you."

"He would not be the only one in such an unhappy case, then."

Nothing certainly could have been more absurd than the complete metamorphosis which, in those few moments, De Lucenay had contrived to make in his appearance. With the aid of a little fresh water from the rivulet, he had managed to reduce the rich curly locks of his chesnut hair to an almost Quaker flatness; the shirt collar, which had been turned down, was now drawn up to his cheek-bones, and with his hat placed perpendicularly on the crown of his head, one arm crossed under the tails of his coat, and the other balancing his whip, its handle resting on his lips, the corners of which were drawn puritanically down, and his half-closed eyes staring vacantly on the points of his boots, he stood the living picture of an automaton.

"Well, would you not swear that I was a regular boule-dog Anglais?" exclaimed Earnest, stalking up and down for his friend's inspection, while he rounded his shoulders, and carried his chin in the air, in order to increase the resemblance.

"Excellent!—only not so much laisser aller; a little more stiff—more drawn up! That will do—oh, it's perfect!" And again Alphonse burst into a peal of laughter, in which De Lucenay, notwithstanding his newly-assumed gravity, could not refrain from joining.

"Let me see,—That coat fits a great deal too well, too close. We must rip out some of the wadding, just to let it make a few wrinkles; it ought to hang quite loosely, in order to be in character."

"Gently, mon cher!" interposed De Lucenay, as his friend drew out a pen-knife. "To satisfy you, I have injured the sit of my cravat, I have hidden the classic contour of my neck, I have destroyed the Antinöus-like effect of my coiffure—those curls which were the despair of all my rivals in conquest—I have consented to look like a wretch impaled, and thus renounce all the bonnes fortunes that awaited me during the next four-and-twenty hours; and now you venture to propose, with the coolest audacity, that I should crown all these sacrifices by utterly destroying the symmetry of my figure. No, no, mon cher! that is too much; cut yourself up as you please, but spare your friend."

"Vive Dieu!" laughed Alphonse. "It is lucky that you have absorbed such an unreasonable proportion of vanity that you have left none for me. To spare the acuteness of your feelings, I will be the victim. Here goes!" And, so saying, he ripped up the lining of his coat, and scattered a few handfuls of wadding to the winds. "Will that do?"

"Oh, capitally! I would rather you wore it than me; it has as many wrinkles as St Marceau's forehead."

"Forward, then, et vogue la galère!" exclaimed Alphonse, as De[500] Lucenay vaulted into his saddle, and the cavaliers spurred on their horses to a rapid canter.

"Apropos!" exclaimed De Lucenay, as they approached the castle; "we ought to lay our plans, and make a proper arrangement beforehand, like honest, sociable brothers-in-arms; it would never do to stand in each other's light, and mar our mutual hopes of success by cutting each others' throats for the sake of the bella."

"Oh, as for me, you are welcome to all my interest in the Doña's heart beforehand; for I never felt less disposed to fall in love than I do at present."

"You are delightful in theory, caro mio; but as your practice might be somewhat different, suppose we make a little compact, upon fair terms, viz., that the choice is to depend on the señora herself; that whoever she distinguishes, the other is to relinquish his claims at once, and thenceforth devote all his energies to the assistance of his friend. We cannot both carry her off, you know; so it is just as well to settle all these little particulars in good time."

"Oh! as you please. I am quite willing to sign and seal any compact that will set your mind at rest; though, for my part, I declare off beforehand."

"Well, then, it is a done thing; give me your hand on it. Parole d'honneur!" said De Lucenay, stretching out his.

"Parole d'honneur," returned his friend, with a smile.

"But to return to the elopement"—

"Gad! How you fly on! There will be two words to that part of the story, I suspect. Doña Inez will probably not be quite so easily charmed as our dear little grisettes; and she must be consulted, I suppose; unless, indeed, you intend to carry the fort by storm; the current of your love nay not flow as smoothly as you expect."

"Oh, as for that, leave it to me. Spanish women have too good a taste, and we Frenchmen are too irresistible to leave me any fears on that score; besides, she must be devilishly difficult if neither of us suit her. You are dark, and I fair—you are pensive, and I gay—you poetic, and I witty. The deuce is in it, if she does not fall in love with either one or other!

"Add to which, the private reservation, no doubt, that if she has one atom of discernment, it is a certain volage, giddy, young aide-de-camp that she will select."

"Why, if I had but fair play; but as my tongue will not be allowed to shine, I must leave the captivation part to my yeux doux. Who knows, though?"——

"Oh, vanitas vanitatum!" exclaimed Alphonse, with a laugh.

"I might say the same of a certain rebellious aristocrat, who lays claim to the euphonious patronymic of La Tour d'Auvergne, with a pedigree that dates from the Flood, and a string of musty ancestors who might put the patriarchs to the blush; but I am more generous;" and De Lucenay began carelessly to hum a few bars of La Carmagnole.

"Softly!" said his more prudent friend. "We are drawing near the chateau, and you might as well wear a cockade tricolor as let them hear that."

It was an antique, half-Gothic, half-Saracenic looking edifice, which they now approached. A range of light arcades, whose delicate columns, wreathed round with the most graceful foliage, seemed almost too slight to sustain the massive structure which rose above them, surrounded the pian terreno. Long tiers of pointed windows, mingled with exquisite fretwork, and one colossal balcony, with a rich crimson awning, completed the façade. Beneath the portico, numbers of servants and retainers were lounging about, enjoying the fresco. Some, stretched out at full length on the marble benches that lined the open arcades, were fast asleep; others, seated à la Turque upon the ground, were busily engaged in a noisy game of cards. But the largest group of all had collected round a handsome Moorish-looking Andalusian, who, leaning against the wall, was lazily rasping the chords of a guitar that was slung over his shoulder, while he sang one of those charming little Tiranas, to which he improvised the usual nonsense words as he proceeded; anon[501] the deep mellow voices of his auditory would mingle with the "Ay de mi chaira mia! Luz de mi alma!" &c. of the ritournelle, and then again the soft deep tones of the Andalusian rang alone upon the air.

As no one seemed to heed their approach, the two young men stood for a few moments in silence, listening delightedly to the music, which now melted into the softer strain of a Seguidilla, now brightened into the more brilliant measure of a Bolero. Suddenly, in the midst of it, the singer broke off, and springing on his feet as if inspired, he dashed his hands across the strings. Like an electric shock, the well-known chords of the Tragala aroused his hearers—every one crowded round the singer. The players threw down their cards, the loungers stood immovable, even the sleepers started into life; and all chorusing in enthusiastically, a burst of melody arose of which no one unacquainted with the rich and thrilling harmony peculiar to Spanish voices, can form an idea.

"Ernest," said La Tour d'Auvergne in a whisper, "we shall never conquer such a people: Napoleon himself cannot do it."

"Perhaps," replied his friend in the same tone. "They are desperately national; it will be tough work, at all events. But, come on; as the song is finished, we have some chance of making ourselves heard now." And De Lucenay spurred his horse up to the entrance. At their repeated calls for attendance, two or three servants hastened out of the vestibule and held their horses as they dismounted. They became infinitely more attentive, however, on hearing that the strangers were English officers, the bearers of dispatches to their master; and a dark Figaro-looking laquey, in whose lively roguish countenance the Frenchmen would have had no difficulty in recognising a Biscayan, even without the aid of his national and picturesque costume, offered to usher them into the presence of the Conde.

Their guide led the way through the long and lofty vestibule, which opened on a superb marble colonnade that encircled the patio or court, in the centre of which two antique and richly-sculptured fountains were casting up their glittering jets-d'eau in the proscribed form of fleurs-de-lis, to be received again in two wide porphyry basins. Traversing the patio, they ascended a fine marble staircase, from the first flight of which branched off several suites of apartments. Taking the one to the right, the young men had full leisure to observe the splendour that surrounded them, as they slowly followed their conductor from one long line of magnificent rooms into another. Notwithstanding many modern alterations, the character of the whole building was too evidently Eastern to admit a doubt as to its Moorish origin. Every where the most precious marbles, agates, and lapis-lazuli, oriental jasper, porphyry of every variety, dazzled the eye. In the centre of many of the rooms there played a small fountain; in others there were four, one in each angle. Large divans of the richest crimson and violet brocades lined the walls, while ample curtains of the same served in lieu of doors. But what particularly struck the friends was the brilliant beauty of the arabesques that covered the ceilings, and the exquisite chiselling of the cornices, and the framework of the windows.

"The palace is beautiful, is it not?" said the Biscayan, as he perceived the admiring glances they cast around them. "It ought to be, for it was one of the summer dwellings of il rey Moro; and those ereticos malditos cared but little what treasures they lavished on their pleasures. It came into my master's possession as a descendant of the Cid, to whom it was given as a guerdon for his services."

"What a numerous progeny that famous hero must have had! He was a wonderful man!" exclaimed De Lucenay, with extreme gravity.

"Si, señor—un hombre maravilloso en verdad," replied the Spaniard, whom, notwithstanding his natural acuteness, the seriousness of De Lucenay's manner and countenance had prevented from discovering the irony of his words. "But now señores," he continued, as they reached a golden tissue-draped door, "we are arrived. The next room is the comedor, where the family are at supper."

"Then, perhaps, we had better[502] wait a while. We would not wish to disturb them."

"Oh, by no means! The Conde would be furious if you were kept waiting an instant. The English are great favourites of his. Besides, they must have finished by this time." And raising the curtain, they entered an immense frescoed hall, which was divided in the centre by a sort of transparent partition of white marble, some fourteen or fifteen feet in height, so delicately pierced and chiseled, that it resembled lace-work much more than stone. A pointed doorway, supported by twisted columns, as elaborately carved and ornamented as the rest, opened into the upper part of the hall, which was elevated a step higher. In the centre of this, a table was superbly laid out with a service of massive gold; while the fumes of the viands was entirely overpowered by the heavy perfume of the colossal bouquets of flowers which stood in sculptured silver and gold vases on the plateau. Around the table were seated about twenty persons, amongst whom the usual sprinkling of sacerdotes was not wanting. A stern, but noble-looking man sat at the upper end of the table, and seemed to do the honours to the rest of the company.

The Conde—for it was he—rose immediately on receiving the message which the young officers had sent in; while they waited its answer in the oriel window, being unwilling to break in so unceremoniously upon a party which seemed so much larger, and more formal, than any they had been prepared to meet. Their host received them most courteously as they presented their credentials—namely, a letter from the English general, Wilson, who commanded the forces stationed at the city of S——, about sixty miles distant from the chateau. As the Conde ran his glance over its contents,—in which the general informed him that within three or four days he would reach R——, when he intended to avail himself of the Conde's often proffered hospitality, till when he recommended his two aides-de-camp to his kindness,—the politeness of their welcome changed to the most friendly cordiality.

"Señores," he said, "I am most grateful to his excellency for the favour he has conferred on me, in choosing my house during his stay here. I feel proud and happy to shelter beneath my roof any of our valued and brave allies.—But you must have had a hard day's ride of it, I should think."

"Why, yes, it was a tolerable morning's work," replied De Lucenay, who felt none of Alphonse's embarrassment.

"Pablo, place seats for their excellencies," said the Conde to one of the domestics who stood around; while he motioned to the soi-disant Englishmen to enter the supper-room, in which the clatter of tongues and plates had sensibly diminished, ever since the commencement of the mysterious conference which had been taking place beyond its precincts. "You must be greatly in want of some refreshment, for the wretched posadas on the road cannot have offered you any thing eatable."

"They were not very tempting, certainly; however, we are pretty well used to them by this time," replied De Lucenay. "But, Señor Conde, really we are scarcely presentable in such a company," he added, as he looked down on his dust-covered boots and dress.

"What matter? You must not be so ceremonious with us; you cannot be expected to come off a journey as if you had just emerged from a lady's boudoir," answered the Conde with a smile. "Besides, these are only a few intimate friends who have assembled to celebrate my daughter's fête-day." And, so saying, he led them up to the table, and presented them to the circle as Lord Beauclerc and Sir Edward Trevor, aides-de-camp to General Wilson. "And now," he added, "I must introduce you to the lady of the castle; my daughter, Doña Inez;" and turning to a slight elegant-looking girl, who might have been about sixteen or seventeen, he said—"Mi queridita, these gentlemen have brought me the welcome news that our friend the English general will be here in three or four days at the latest; the corps will be quartered in the neighbourhood, but the general and his aides-de-camp will reside with us.[503] Therefore, as they are likely to remain some time, we must all do our utmost to render their stay amongst us as agreeable to them as possible."

"I shall be most happy to contribute to it as far as it is in my slight power," replied Doña Inez in a low sweet voice, while she raised her large lustrous eyes to those of Alphonse, which for the last five minutes had been gazing as if transfixed upon her beautiful countenance.

Starting as if from a dream, he stammered out, "Señorita, I——I——," when fortunately De Lucenay came to his assistance, with one of those little well-turned flattering speeches for which French tact is so unrivalled; and as the company politely made room for them, they seated themselves beside her.

"Don Fernando," said the Conde to a haughty, grave-looking man, who sat next to De Lucenay, while he resumed his place at the head of the table, "you and Inez, I trust, will take care of our new friends. Pobrecitos, they must be half famished by their day's expedition, and this late hour."

But the recommendation was superfluous; every one vied with his neighbour in attending to the two strangers, who, on their part, were much more intent on contemplating the fair mistress of the mansion, than on doing honour to the profusion of friandises that were piled before them.

Doña Inez was indeed beautiful, beyond the usual measure of female loveliness: imagination could not enhance, nor description give an idea of the charm that fascinated all those who gazed upon her: features cast in the most classic mould—a complexion that looked as if no southern sun had ever smiled on it. But the eyes!—the large, dark, liquid orbs, whose glance would now seem almost dazzling in its excessive brightness, and now melted into all the softness of Oriental languor, as the long, gloomy Circassian lashes drooped over them! As Alphonse looked upon her, he could have almost fancied himself transported to Mohammed's paradise, and taken the Spanish maiden for a houri; but that there was a soul in those magnificent eyes—a nobleness in the white and lofty brow—a dignity in the calm and pensive calmness, which spoke of higher and better things.

But if her appearance enchanted him, her manners were not less winning; unembarrassed and unaffected, her graceful and natural ease in a few moments contrived to make them feel as much at home as another would have done in as many hours. Much to the young Frenchmen's regret, however, they were not long allowed to enjoy their aparté in quiet; for a thin sallow-looking priest, whom Doña Inez had already designated to them as the Padre Confessor, interrupted them in a few minutes, and the conversation became general.

"It is a great satisfaction to us all to see you here, señores," he said. "First, as it procures us the pleasure of becoming personally acquainted with our good friends and allies the English; and, secondly, as a guarantee that we are not likely to have our sight polluted by any of those sacrilegious demons the French, while you are amongst us."

"Gracias a Dios!" energetically rejoined the cappellan—a fat, rosy, good-humoured looking old man, the very antipodes of his grim confrère. "The saints preserve me from ever setting eyes on them again! You must know, señores, that some six weeks ago I had gone to collect some small sums due to the convent, and was returning quietly home with a lay brother, when I had the misfortune to fall in with a troop of those sons of Belial, whom I thought at least a hundred miles off. Would you believe it, señores! without any respect for my religious habit, the impious dogs laid violent hands on me; laughed in my face when I told them I was almoner to the holy community of Sancta Maria de los Dolores; and vowing that they were sure that my frock was well lined, actually forced me to strip to the skin, in order to despoil me of the treasure of the Church! Luckily, however the Holy Virgin had inspired me to hide it in the mule's saddle-girths, and so, the zechins escaped their greedy fangs. But I had enough of the fright; it laid me up for a week. Misericordia! what a set of cut-throat, hideous-looking ruffians! I thought I[504] should never come alive out of their hands!"

"Jesus!" exclaimed a handsome bronzed-looking Castilian, whom De Lucenay had heard addressed as Doña Encarnacion de Almoceres; "are they really so wicked and so frightful?"

"Without doubt; true demons incarnate," replied the veracious priest.

"Come, come, reverendissimo padre; you are too hard upon the poor devils: I have seen a good-looking fellow amongst them, now and then."

"Bondad sua, señor, I'll be sworn there is not one fit to tie the latchet of your shoe in the whole army."

"Yet how strange, then," recommenced Doña Encarnacion, "the infatuation they excite! I am told that it is inconceivable the numbers of young girls, from sixteen and upwards, who have abandoned their homes and families to follow these brigands. Their want of mature years and understanding," she continued, with a significant glance at Doña Inez—her indignation having been gradually aroused as she perceived the admiration lavished on her by the strangers, and the indifference with which they viewed her riper charms,—"may be one reason; but if the French are so unattractive, such madness is inexplicable."

"Arts, unholy arts all!" cried the Confessor. "Their damnable practices are the cause of it. They rob the damsels of their senses, with their infernal potions and elixirs. The wretches are in league with the devil."

"Assuredly," replied Don Fernando, gravely, "you must be right. No woman in her senses would condescend to look at those insignificant triflers, while a single caballero of the true old type is to be found on Spanish soil;" and he drew himself still more stiffly up.

"The Holy Virgin defend me from their snares!" fervently ejaculated a thin wrinkled old woman, who until then might easily have been mistaken for a mummy, casting her eye up to heaven, and crossing herself with the utmost devotion.

A suppressed laugh spread its contagious influence all round the table.

"Doña Estefania, have no fear; you possess an infallible preservative," exclaimed the cappellan.

"And what may that be?" responded the antiquated fair, somewhat sharply.

"Your piety and virtue, señora," rejoined the merry cappellano, with a roguish smile, which was not lost on the rest of the company, though it evidently escaped the obtuser perceptions of Doña Estefania; for drawing her mantilla gracefully around her, and composing her parched visage into a look of modesty, she answered in a softened tone, while she waved her abanico timidly before her face, "Ah, Padre Anselmo! you are too partial; you flatter me!"

This was too much for the risible faculties of the audience; even the grim Don Fernando's imperturbable mustache relaxed into a smile; while to avert the burst of laughter which seemed on the point of exploding on all sides, Doña Inez interrupted——

"But, señora, I should hope there is much falsehood and exaggeration in the reports you allude to. I trust there are few, if any, Spanish maidens capable of so forgetting what is due to themselves and to their country."

"Nevertheless, the contrary is the case," replied Doña Encarnacion, with asperity.

"Oh! no no—it cannot be! I will not believe it; it is calumnious—it is impossible! What being, with one drop of Spanish blood within their veins, would be so debased as to follow the invaders of their country, the destroyers, the despoilers of their own land?" Doña Inez, led away by her own enthusiasm, coloured deeply, while Doña Encarnacion seemed on the point of making an angry retort, when the count gave the signal to rise. The rest followed his example, and the Conde led the young Frenchmen to a window, where he conversed a little with them, asked many questions about the forces, about the general who was to be their inmate, &c.—to all which De Lucenay's ready wit and inimitable sang froid furnished him with suitable and unhesitating replies. The Conde then concluded with the information, that as there was to be rather a larger tertulia than usual that evening, perhaps they would wish to make some alteration[505] in their dress before the company arrived.

The officers gladly availed themselves of the permission, and followed the maggior-domo up a massive flight of stairs, into a handsome suite of three or four rooms, assigned entirely to their use. After having promenaded them through the whole extent of their new domicile, the maggior-domo retired, leaving them to the attendance of their former guide, Pedro, who was deputed to serve them in the capacity of valet-de-chambre.

The young men were astonished at the magnificence of all that met their eyes: walls covered with the finest tapestry; ewers and goblets of chased and solid silver; even to the quilts and canopies of the bed, stiff with gold embroidery. But they were too much absorbed by the charms of the Conde's daughter, and too anxious to return to the centre of attraction, to waste much time in admiring the splendour of their quarters.

"How beautiful Doña Inez is!" said De Lucenay, as, in spite of all prudential considerations, he tried to force his glossy locks to resume a less sober fashion. "She must have many admirers, I should think?"

"By the dozen," answered the Spaniard. "She is the pearl of Andalusia; there is not a noble caballero in the whole province that would not sell his soul to obtain a smile from her."

"And who are the favoured ones at present?"

"Oh, she favours none; she is too proud to cast a look on any of them: yet there are four hidalgos on the ranks at present, not one of whom the haughtiest lady in Spain need disdain. Don Alvar de Mendoce, especially, is a cavalier whose birth and wealth would entitle him to any thing short of royalty; not to speak of the handsomest face, the finest figure, and the sweetest voice for a serenade, of any within his most Catholic Majesty's dominions."

"And is it possible that the Doña can be obdurate to such irresistible attractions?"

Pedro shrugged his shoulders. "Why, she has not absolutely refused him, for the Conde favours his suit; but she vows she will not grant him a thought till he has won his spurs, and proved his patriotism, by sending at least a dozen of those French dogs to their father Satanasso."

"A capital way to rid one's-self of a bore!" exclaimed De Lucenay, while he cast a last glance at the glass. "So you are ready, milor," he added, turning to his friend, who, notwithstanding his indifference, had spent quite as much time in adonising himself. And, Pedro preceding them, the young men gaily descended the stairs.

On entering the salon, they found several groups already assembled. Doña Inez was standing speaking to two or three ladies; while several cavaliers hovered round them, apparently delighted at every word that fell from her lips. She disengaged herself from her circle, however, on perceiving them, and gradually approached the window to which they had retreated.

"What a lovely evening!" she exclaimed, stepping out upon the balcony, on which the moon shone full, casting a flood of soft mellow light on the sculptured façade of the old castle, tipping its forest of tapering pinnacles and the towering summits of the dark cypresses with silver. "You do not see such starlit skies in England, I believe?"

"I have enjoyed many a delightful night in my own country, señora, and in others, but such a night as this, never—not even in Spain!" answered Alphonse, fixing his expressive eyes on her with a meaning not to be mistaken.

"What a pity it is that we cannot import a few of these soft moonlights to our own chilly clime, for the benefit of all lovers, past, present, and future!" said De Lucenay gaily. "It is so much pleasanter to make love in a serenade, with the shadow of some kind projecting buttress to hide one's blushes, a pathetic sonnet to express one's feelings infinitely more eloquently than one can in prose, moonlight and a guitar to cast a shade of romance over the whole, and a moat or river in view to terrify the lady into reason, if necessary—instead of making a formal declaration in the broad daylight, looking rather more bête than one has ever looked before, with the uncharitable sun giving a deeper glow to one's[506] already crimson countenance. Or, worse still, if one is compelled to torture one's-self for an hour or two over unlucky billet-doux, destined to divert the lady and all her confidants for the next six months. Oh! evviva, the Spanish mode—nothing like it, to my taste, in the world!"

"Misericordia!" exclaimed Doña Inez with a laugh, "you are quite eloquent on the subject, señor. But I should hope, for their sakes, that your delineation of lovers in England is not a very faithful one."

"To the life, on my honour."

"Probably they do not devote quite as much time to it as our caballeros, who are quite adepts in the science."

"Don Alvar de Mendoce, for example," muttered Alphonse, between his teeth.

"What! where?" cried the young girl, in an agitated tone; "who mentioned Don Alvar? Did you? But no—impossible!" she added hurriedly.

"I?" exclaimed Alphonse, with an air of surprise—"I did not speak. But, pardon, señora! is not the cavalier you have just named, your brother?"

"No, señor—I have no brother: that caballero, he is only a——a friend of my father's," she answered confusedly.

"Oh! excuse me," said Alphonse, with the most innocent air imaginable; "I thought you had."

There was a moment's pause, and Doña Inez returned into the saloon, which was now beginning rapidly to fill.

"I am afraid I must leave you, señores; the dancing is about to commence," she said, "and I must go and speak to some young friends of mine who have just come in. But first let me induce you to select some partners."

"I did not know it was customary to dance at tertulias," observed Ernest.

"Not in general, but to-night it is augmented into a little ball, in honour of its being my dia de cumpleaños. But come, look round the room, and choose for yourselves. Whom shall I take you up to?"

"May I not have the pleasure of dancing with Doña Inez herself?" said De Lucenay.

"Ah no! I would not inflict so triste a partner on you: I must find you a more lively companion." And as if to prevent the compliment that was hovering on Ernest's lips, she hurried on, while she pointed out a group that was seated near the door. "There! what do you think of Doña Juana de Zayas? the liveliest, prettiest, and most remorseless coquette of all Andalusia; for whose bright eyes more hearts and heads have been broken than I could enumerate, or you would have patience to listen to."

"What! that sparkling-looking brunette, who flutters her abanico with such inimitable grace?"

"The same."

"Oh! present me by all means."

"And you, señor," said Doña Inez, returning with more interest to Alphonse, who had stood silently leaning against a column, while she walked his friend across the room, and seated him beside Doña Juana, "will you be satisfied with Doña Mercedes, who is almost as much admired as her sister; or shall we look further?"

"But you, so formed to shine—to eclipse all others—do you never dance, señorita?"

"Seldom or ever," she replied sadly. "I have no spirit for enjoyment now!"

"But wherefore? Can there be a cloud to dim the happiness of one so bright—so beautiful?" he answered, lowering his voice almost to a whisper.

"Alas!" she said, touched by the tone of interest with which he had spoken,—"is there not cause enough for sadness in the misfortunes of my beloved country; each day, each hour producing some fresh calamity? Who can be gay when we see our native land ravaged, our friends driven from their homes; when we know not how soon we may be banished from our own?"

"Deeply—sincerely do I sympathise with, and honour your feelings; but yet, for once, banish care, and let us enjoy the present hour like the rest."

"Indeed, I should prove a bad[507] danseuse; it is so long since I have danced, that I am afraid I have almost forgotten how."

"But as I fear nothing except ill success, let me entreat."

"No, no—I will provide you with a better partner."

"Nay, if Doña Inez will not favour me, I renounce dancing, not only for to-night, but for ever."

"Oh! well then, to save you from such a melancholy sacrifice, I suppose I must consent," replied Doña Inez with a laugh: and as the music now gave the signal to commence, she accepted his proffered arm; and in a few moments she was whirling round the circle as swiftly as the gayest of the throng. The first turn of the waltz sufficed to convince Alphonse that his fears on one score, at least, were groundless; for he had never met with a lighter or more admirable valseuse—a pleasure that none but a good waltzer can appreciate, and which, notwithstanding all her other attractions, was not lost upon the young Frenchman; and before the termination of the waltz, he had decided that Doña Inez was assuredly the most fascinating, as she was undoubtedly the most beautiful, being he had ever beheld.

"Santa Virgen!" exclaimed De Lucenay's lively partner, after a moment's silence, which both had very profitably employed; he, in admiring her pretty countenance, and she in watching the somewhat earnest conversation that was kept up between the French officer and Doña Inez, as they reposed themselves on a divan after the fatigues of the waltz. "It seems to me that our proud Inesilla and your friend are very well satisfied with each other. I wonder if Don Alvar would be as well pleased, if he saw them. Grandios! there he is, I declare!"

Instinctively De Lucenay's eyes followed the direction of hers, and lighted on a tall striking-looking cavalier, whose handsome features were contracted into a dark frown, while he stood silently observing the couple, the pre-occupation of whom had evidently hitherto prevented their perceiving him. "Do, per caridad! go and tell your friend to be a little more on his guard, or we shall certainly have a duel: Don Alvar is the first swordsman in Spain, jealous as a tiger, and he makes it a rule to cripple, or kill, every rival who attempts to approach Doña Inez. Your friend is such a good waltzer, that I should really be sorry to see him disabled, at least till I am tired of dancing with him."

"Your frankness is adorable."

"Why, to be sure,—of what use are you men except as partners? unless, indeed, you are making love to us; and then, I admit, you are of a little more value for the time being."

"The portrait is flattering."

"Assuredly; you are only too fortunate in being permitted to worship us."

"In the present instance, believe me, I fully appreciate the happiness."

"Bravo, bravissimo! I see you were made for me; I hate people who take as much time to fall in love as if they were blind."

"I always reflect with my eyes."

"Ah! that is the true way; but come," rattled on the merry Juanita, "go and give your friend a hint, and I will employ the interim in smoothing the ruffled plumes of an admirer of mine, who has been scowling at me this last half hour, and whose flame is rather too fresh to put an extinguisher on just yet."

"A rival!" exclaimed Ernest in a tragic tone; "he or I must cease to exist."

"Oh! don't be so valiant," cried Doña Juana, leaning back in a violent fit of laughter. "You would have to extinguish twenty of them at that rate."

"Twenty is a large number," said Ernest reflectingly.

"Yes, yes—be wise in time," said the pretty coquette, still laughing. "If you are patient and submissive, you have always the chance of rising to the first rank, you know. I am not very exacting, and provided a caballero devotes himself wholly to my service, enlivens me when I am dull, sympathises with me when I am sad, obeys my commands as religiously as he would his confessor's, anticipates my every wish, and bears with every caprice, is never gloomy or jealous,[508] and is, moreover, unconscious of the existence of any other woman in the world beside, I am satisfied."

"Is that all? Upon my word your demands are moderate."

"Yes, but as our pious friend Doña Estefania says, perfection is not of this world, and so I content myself with a little," replied the animated girl, imitating the look of mock humility, shrouding herself in her mantilla, and wielding her abanico with the identical air and grace which had so completely upset the gravity of the supper-table an hour before. "And then, consider," she continued, as suddenly resuming her own vivacity, "how much more glorious it will be to out-strip a host of competitors, than quietly to take possession of a heart which no one takes the trouble of disputing with you."

"Your logic is positively unanswerable," laughed De Lucenay.

"Ah, per piedad! Spare my ignorance the infliction of such hard words, and be off."

"But——" murmured the reluctant Ernest.

"Obedience, you know!" and Juanita held up her finger authoritatively.

Never had Ernest executed a lady's behests with a worse grace, nor was his alacrity increased by perceiving that, ere he had even had time to cross the room, his place was already occupied, as much apparently to the satisfaction of his substitute, as to that of the faithless fair one herself. But Alphonse and his partner had disappeared, and De Lucenay went towards the balcony, to which he suspected they had retreated; but there was no one there, and De Lucenay stood for a few moments in the embrasure of the window, irresolute whether he should seek out his friend or not, while he amused himself contemplating the animated coup-d'œil of the saloon. The dark-eyed Spanish belles, with their basquinas and lace mantillas, their flexible figures, and their miniature feet so exquisitely chaussées; the handsome caballeros, with their dark profiles and black mustaches, their sombre costume, brilliantly relieved by the gold tissue divans, and varied arabesques of the glittering saloon, they looked like the noble pictures of Velasquez or Murillo just stepped out of their frames. As Ernest was re-entering the saloon, the voices of a group of ladies, from whom he was concealed by the crimson drapery of the curtains, caught his attention.

"Ah! Mariguita mia," said one, "how glad I am to meet you here! Que gusto! It is a century since I saw you last."

"Queridita mia," responded a masculine tone, very little in harmony with the soft words it uttered; "in these terrible times one dare not venture a mile beyond the town: As for me, the mere barking of a dog puts me all in a flutter, and sends me flying to the window. You know the news, I suppose; Doña Isabel de Peñaflor has quarrelled with her cortejo, and he has flown off in a rage to her cousin Blanca."

"Misericordia que lastima, they were such a handsome couple! But it cannot last; they will make it up again, certainly."

"Oh no!" interposed another; "her husband Don Antonio has done all he could to reconcile them, but in vain—he told me so himself."

"Well, I am sure I don't wonder at it; she is such a shrew there is no bearing her."

"No matter," resumed the first speaker, "the example is scandalous, and should not be suffered. Ah! it is all the fault of that artificious Blanca: I knew she would contrive to get him at last."

"Aproposito, what do you think of the two new stars?"

"Oh, charming! delightful!" exclaimed a voice, whose light silvery tone doubly enhanced the value of its praise to the attentive listener in the back-ground. "Only I fear they will not profit us much; for if my eyes deceive me not, both are already captured."

"No doubt, child," said a voice which had not yet spoken; "good looks and good dancing are quite enough to constitute your standard of perfection."

"At all events," interrupted another, "they are very unlike Englishmen. Do you know," she continued, lowering her voice to a whisper, "that Don Alvar swears they are nothing else than a pair of French spies; and[509] as he speaks English very well, he means to try them by and by."

The intelligence was pleasant! and Ernest seized the first instant when he could slip out unobserved, to go in search of his friend. After looking for him in vain amidst the dancing and chattering crowd, he wandered into an adjoining gallery, whose dark length was left to the light of the moon, in whose rays the gloomy portraits that covered the walls looked almost spectrally solemn. The gallery terminated in a terrace, which was decorated with colossal marble vases and stunted orange-trees, whose blossoms embalmed the air with their fragrance. As Ernest approached, the sound of whispered words caught his ear. He stood still an instant, hidden by the porphyry columns of the portico.

"Indeed, indeed, I must return; do not detain me; it is not right; I shall be missed; I cannot listen to you," murmured the low voice of Doña Inez.

"One moment more. Inez, I love, I adore you! Oh, do not turn from me thus—the present instant alone is ours; to-morrow, to-night, this hour perhaps, I may be forced to leave you; give me but hope, one smile, one word, and I will live upon that hope—live for the future—live for you alone, beloved one! till we compel fate to reunite us, or die. But you will not say that word; you care not for me—you love another!" said Alphonse bitterly. "Would that I had never seen you! you are cold, heartless! or you could not reject thus a love so ardent, so devoted, as that I fling at your feet."

"But why this impetuosity—this unreasonable haste? If you love me, there is time to-morrow, hereafter; but this is madness. I love no one—I hate Don Alvar; but your love is folly, insanity. Three hours ago you had never seen me, and now you swear my indifference will kill you. Oh! señor, señor! I am but a simple girl—I am but just seventeen; yet I know that were it even true that you love me, a love so sudden in its birth must perish as rapidly."

"It is not true! you know—you feel that it is not true—you do not think what you say! There is a love which, like the lightning, scorches the tree which it strikes, and blasts it for ever; but you reason—you do not love—fool that I am!"

"Oh! let me go—do not clasp my hand so—you are cruel!" and Inez burst into tears.

"Forgive me—oh, forgive me, best beloved! luz de mi alma!"

A sound of approaching footsteps on the marble below startled them, and Inez darted away like a frightened fawn, and flew down the gallery.

"Well, stoical philosopher!" exclaimed Ernest, as his friend emerged from behind the orange-trees; "for so indifferent and frozen a personage, I think you get on pretty fast. Ca ira! I begin to have hopes of you. So you have lost that frozen heart of yours at last, and after such boasting, too! But that is always the way with you braggadocios. I thought it would end so, you were so wondrously valiant."

"But who ever dreamed of seeing any thing so superhumanly beautiful as that young girl? Nothing terrestrial could have conquered me; but my stoicism was defenceless against an angel."

"Bravo! your pride has extricated itself from the dilemma admirably. I must admit that there is some excuse for you; the pearl of Andalusia is undoubtedly ravissante. But your pieces of still life never suit me. I have the bad taste to prefer the laughing black-eyed Juanita de Zayas to all the Oriental languor, drooping lashes, and sentimental monosyllables of your divinity."

"Oh, sacrilege! the very comparison is profanation!" exclaimed Alphonse, raising his hands and eyes to heaven.

"Hold hard, mon cher. I cannot stand that!" responded Ernest energetically.

"Then, in heaven's name, do not put such a noble creature as Doña Inez on a level with a mere little trifling coquette."

"Oh! she is every inch as bad. I watched her narrowly, and would stake my life on it she is only the more dangerous for being the less open. Smooth water, you know——however, you have made a tolerable day's work of it."

"Either the best or the worst of[510] my life, Ernest!" said his friend passionately.

"What! is it come to that?—so hot upon it! But while we are standing trifling here, we ought to be discussing something much more important." And here De Lucenay repeated the conversation he had overheard. "In short, I fear we are fairly done for," he added, in conclusion. "I hope you are able to bear the brunt of the battle, for my vocabulary will scarcely carry me through ten words."

"Oh, as for me, I shall do very well; it must be the devil's own luck if he speaks English better than I do," said Alphonse; "and as for you, you must shelter yourself under English morgue and reserve."

"Confound him!" muttered De Lucenay: "jealousy is the very deuce for sharpening the wits. But no matter, courage!"—And so saying, the friends sauntered back into the circle.

They had not been long there when the Conde came up and introduced his friend Don Alvar, who, as they had expected, addressed them in very good English; to which Alphonse replied with a fluency which would have delighted his friend less, had he been able to appreciate the mistakes which embellished almost every sentence. To him Don Alvar often turned; but as every attempt to engage him in the conversation was met by a resolute monosyllable, he at last confined himself to Alphonse, much to De Lucenay's relief. His manners, however, were cautious and agreeable; and as, after a quarter of an hour, he concluded by hoping that erelong they should be better acquainted, and left them apparently quite unsuspicious, the young men persuaded themselves that they had outwitted their malicious inquisitor. Their gay spirits thus relieved from the cloud that had momentarily over-shadowed them, the remainder of the evening was to them one of unmingled enjoyment. In the society of the beautiful Doña Inez, and her sparkling friend, hours flew by like minutes; and when the last lingering groups dispersed, and the reluctant Juanita rose to depart, the friends could not be convinced of the lateness of the hour.

"Well, Alphonse! so you are fairly caught at last!" said De Lucenay, as, after dismissing Pedro half-an-hour later, he stretched himself full length on the luxurious divan of the immense bedroom, which, for the sake of companionship, they had determined on sharing between them. "After all, it is too absurd that you, who have withstood all the artillery of Paris, and escaped all the cross-fire of the two Castiles, should come and be hooked at last in this remote corner of the earth, by the inexperienced black eyes of an innocent of sixteen."

"Good heavens! do cease that stupid style of persiflage. I am in no humour for jesting."

"Well, defend me from the love that makes people cross! My bonnes fortunes always put me in a good humour."

"Will you never learn to be serious? That absurd manner of talking is very ill-timed."

Ernest was on the point of retorting very angrily, when the sound of a guitar struck upon their ears; and, with one accord, the friends stole silently and noiselessly to the balcony—but not before Ernest, with the tact of experience, had hidden the light behind the marble pillars of the alcove. By this manœuvre, themselves in shade, they could, unperceived, observe all that passed in the apartment opposite to them, from which the sound proceeded; for the windows were thrown wide open, and an antique bronze lamp, suspended from the ceiling, diffused sufficient light over the whole extent of the room to enable them to distinguish almost every thing within its precincts. The profusion of flowers, trifles, and musical instruments, that were dispersed around in graceful confusion, would alone have betrayed a woman's sanctum sanctorum, even had not the presiding genius of the shrine been the first and most prominent object that met their eyes. Doña Inez—for it was she—had drawn her seat to the verge of the balcony; and, her guitar resting on her knee, she hurried over a brilliant prelude with a masterly hand; and in a pure, rich voice, but evidently tremulous with emotion, sang a little plaintive seguidilla[511] with exquisite taste and feeling. The two young men listened in hushed and breathless attention; but the song was short as it was sweet—in a moment it had ceased; and the young girl, stepping out upon the balcony, leaned over the balustrade, and looked anxiously around, as if her brilliant eyes sought to penetrate the very depths of night.

"Well, Alphonse," said De Lucenay, "let me congratulate you. This serenade is for you; but I presume you will no longer deny the coquettery of your innamorata?"

"Hush, hush!" exclaimed his friend hastily, as Doña Inez resumed her seat: "be sure there is some better motive for it."

The music now recommenced, but it was the same air again.

"This is strange!" muttered Ernest: "her repertoire seems limited. Does she know nothing else, I wonder?"

"Silence!" replied the other. "Did you mark the words?" exclaimed Alphonse hurriedly, as the music concluded. "Descuidado caballero, este lecho es vuestra tumba, &c."

"No, indeed; I was much better employed in watching the fair syren herself. Foi de dragon! she is charming. I have half a mind to dispute her with you."

"She has something to communicate!" exclaimed Alphonse, in an agitated voice; "we are in danger." And, running rapidly into the room, he replaced the light on the table, so that they were full in view.

His conjecture was right; for no sooner did the light discover to her those whom she was looking for, than, uttering a fervent "gracias a Dios!" she clasped her hands together, and rushed into the apartment, from which she almost instantaneously returned with a small envelope, which she flung with such precision that it fell almost in the centre of the room, with a sharp metallic sound. It was the work of an instant to tear open the packet, take out the key which it contained, and decypher the following words:—

"Señores,—Strange, and I trust unjust suspicions have arisen concerning you. It is whispered that you are not what you appear: that secret and traitorous designs have led you amongst us. To-morrow's dawn will bring the proof to light. But, should you have any thing to fear, fly instantly—not a moment must be lost. Descend by the small staircase; the inclosed is a passe-partout to open the gate, outside which Pedro will wait you with your horses, and guide you on your way, till you no longer require him. Alas! I betray my beloved parent's confidence, to save you from a certain and ignominious death. Be generous, then, and bury all that you have seen and heard within these walls in oblivion, or eternal remorse and misery must be mine.—Inez."

"Generous, noble-minded girl!" enthusiastically exclaimed Alphonse, as he paced the room with agitated steps. "Scarcely do I regret this hour of peril, since it has taught me to know thee!"

"For heaven's sake, Alphonse, no heroics now!" cried De Lucenay, who, not being in love, estimated the value of time much more rationally than his friend. "Scribble off an answer—explain that we are not spies—while I prepare for our departure. Be quick!—five minutes are enough for me."

Alphonse followed his friend's advice, and, in an incredibly short space of time, penned off a tolerably long epistle, explaining the boyish frolic into which they had been led by getting possession of the dispatches of an imprisoned English aide-de-camp, and the reports of her beauty; filled up with protestations of eternal gratitude and remembrance, and renewing all the vows and declarations of the evening—the precipitancy of which he excused by the unfortunate circumstances under which he was placed, and the impossibility of bidding her adieu, without convincing her of the sentiments which filled his heart then and for ever. The letter concluded by intreating her carefully to preserve the signet-ring which it contained; and that should she at any future time be in any danger or distress, she had only to present or send it, and there was nothing, within their power, himself or his friends would not do for her. Having signed their real names and titles, and dispatched[512] the billet-doux in the same manner as its predecessor, the young men waited till they had the satisfaction of seeing Doña Inez open it; and then, waving their handkerchiefs in sign of adieu, Alphonse, with a swelling heart, followed his friend down stairs. All happened as the young girl had promised, and in a few moments they were in the open air and in freedom.

"Señores," said Pedro, as they mounted their horses, "the Señorita thinks you had better not return to your quarters, for Don Alvar is such a devil when his jealous blood is up, that he might pursue you with a troop of assassins, and murder you on the road. She desired me to conduct you to S——, whence you may easily take the cross-roads in any direction you please."

"The Señorita is a pearl of prudence and discretion: do whatever she desired you," said Alphonse.

Pedro made no answer; but seemingly as much impressed with the necessity of speed as the young men themselves, put the spurs to his horse; and in a moment they were crossing the country at a speed which bid fair to distance any pursuers who were not gifted with wings as well as feet; nor did they slacken rein till the dawn of day showed them, to their great joy, that they were beyond the reach of pursuit, and in a part of the country with which they were sufficiently well acquainted to enable them to dispense with the services of Pedro—a discovery which they lost no time in taking advantage of, by dismissing the thenceforth inconvenient guide, with such substantial marks of their gratitude as more than compensated him for the loss of his night's rest. A few more hours saw them safely returned to the French camp, without having suffered any greater penalty for the indulgence of their curiosity, than a night's hard riding, to the no small discomfiture of the friendly circle of frères d'armes, whose prophecies of evil on the subject had been, if not loud, deep and numerous.

It was on a somewhat chilly evening, towards the beginning of winter, that Alphonse was writing a letter in his tent; while De Lucenay, who, when there were no ladies in question, could never be very long absent from his Pylades, was pacing up and down, savouring the ineffable delights of a long chibouque, when the orderly suddenly entered, and laid a letter on the table, saying that the bearer waited the answer. Desiring him to attend his orders outside, Alphonse broke open the envelope.

"What the devil have you got there, Alphonse?" exclaimed De Lucenay, stopping in the midst of his perambulations, as he perceived the agitated countenance and tremulous eagerness with which his friend perused the contents of the letter. "It must be a powerful stimulant indeed, which can make you look so much more like yourself than you have done for these last five months. You have not been so much excited since that mysterious blank letter you received, with its twin sprigs of forget-me-not and myrtle. I began to fear I should have that unlucky expedition of ours on my conscience for the rest of my days. You have never been the same being since."

"There—judge for yourself!" exclaimed Alphonse, flinging him the note after he had hurriedly pressed it to his lips, and rushed out of the tent.

It was with scarcely less surprise and emotion that De Lucenay glanced over the following lines:—

"If honour and gratitude have any claims upon your hearts, now is the moment to redeem the pledge they gave. Danger and misfortune have fallen upon us, and I claim the promise that, unasked, you made; the holy Virgin grant that it may be as fresh in your memory as it is in mine. I await your answer.—Inez." The signet was inclosed. Scarcely had De Lucenay read its contents when his friend re-entered, leading in a trembling sister of charity, beneath whose projecting hood Ernest had no difficulty in recognising the beautiful features of Doña Inez di Miranda.

"This is indeed an unlooked-for happiness!" passionately exclaimed Alphonse, while he placed the agitated and almost fainting girl on a seat. "Since that memorable night of mingled joy and despair, I thought not that such rapture awaited me again on earth."

"Oh, talk not of joy, of happiness!"[513] imploringly exclaimed the young girl. "I have come to you on a mission of life or death. My father—my dear, my beloved father—is a prisoner, and condemned to be shot. Oh, save him! save him!" she cried wildly, falling on her knees.—"If you have hearts, if you are human—save him! and God will reward you for it; and I shall live but to bless your names every hour of my existence." Exhausted by her emotion, she would have fallen on the ground, had not Alphonse caught her and raised her in his arms.

"Calm yourself, calm yourself, sweet child!" he whispered soothingly: "our lives, our blood is at your service; there is nothing on earth which my friend and I would not do for you."

A declaration which De Lucenay confirmed with an energetic oath.

Somewhat tranquillized by this assurance, she at last recovered sufficiently to explain that her father was at the head of a guerilla band which had been captured, having fallen into an ambuscade, where they left more than half their number dead on the field. Some peasants had brought the news to the chateau, with the additional information that they were all to be shot within two days.

"In my despair," continued the young girl, "I thought of you; and ordering the fleetest horses in the stables to be saddled, set off with two servants, determined to throw myself on your pity; and if that should fail me, to fling myself on the mercy of heaven, and lastly to die with him, if I could not rescue him. But you will save him! will you not?" she sobbed with clasped hands—and a look so beseeching, so sorrowful, that the tears rushed involuntarily into their eyes.

"Save him! oh yes, at all costs, at all hazards! were it at the risk of our heads! But where is he? where was he taken? where conveyed to?"

"They were taken to the quarters of the general-in-chief in command, and it was he himself who signed their condemnation."

"My father!" said De Lucenay, in a tone of surprise.

"Ernest!" exclaimed his friend, "they must be those prisoners who were brought in this morning while we were out foraging."

"No doubt, no doubt, you are right," replied De Lucenay, his countenance lighting up with pleasure. "Oh, then, all is well! I will go instantly to my father; tell him we owe our lives to you—and that will be quite sufficient. Have no fear—he is saved!"

"He is saved! He is saved!" shrieked Doña Inez. "Oh, may heaven bless you for those words!" and with a sigh—a gasp—she fell senseless on the ground.

"Poor girl!" said De Lucenay, pityingly, "she has suffered indeed. Alphonse, I leave you to resuscitate her, while I hurry off to the General. There is not a moment to be lost. As soon as the grand affair is settled, I will make my father send for her. She will be better taken care of there; and besides, you know, it would not be convenable for her to remain here; and we must be generous as well as honourable."

"Oh, certainly—certainly! It is well you think for me; for I am so confused that I remember nothing," exclaimed Alphonse, as De Lucenay hurried away.

It was not quite so easy a task, however, as he had imagined, to bring the young girl to life again. The terror and distress she had undergone had done their worst; and the necessity for exertion past, the overstrung nerves gave way beneath the unwonted tension. One fainting-fit succeeded to another; till at last Alphonse began to be seriously alarmed. Fortunately, however, joy does not kill; and after a short while, Doña Inez was sufficiently recovered to listen with a little more attention to the protestations, vows, and oaths, which, for the last half hour, the young Frenchman had been very uselessly wasting on her insensible ears.

"And so, then, you did remember me, it seems!" said Doña Inez, after a moment's silence—while she rested her head on one hand, and abandoned the other to the passionate kisses of her lover.

"Remember you! What a word![514] When I can cease to remember that the sun shines, that I exist—then, perhaps, I may forget you; but not till then. Not an hour of my life, but I thought of you; at night I dreamed of you, in the day I dreamed of you; amidst the confusion of the bivouac, in the excitement of battle, in the thunder of the artillery, amidst the dead and the dying, your image rose before me. I had but one thought;—should I fall—how to convey to you the knowledge that I had died loving you,—that that sprig of forget-me-not, that lock of dark hair, so often bedewed by my kisses, had rested on my heart to the last moment that it beat!" And Alphonse drew out a medallion.

Doña Inez snatched it out of his hand, and covered it with kisses. "Blessed be the holy Virgin! I have not prayed to her in vain. I, too, have thought of you, Alphonse; I, too, have dreamed of you by day, and lain awake by night to dream of you again. How have I supplicated all the saints in heaven to preserve you, to watch over you! For I, too, love you, Alphonse; deeply—passionately—devotedly—as a Spaniard loves—once, and for ever!"

"Mes amis, I regret to part you," said De Lucenay, who re-entered the tent a few moments after; "but the Conde is pardoned—all is right, and you will meet to-morrow; so let that console you!"

"Oh, you were destined to be my good angels!" cried Doña Inez enthusiastically, as she drew the white hood over her head, and left the tent with the two friends.

Less enviable were the Conde's feelings, when at noon, on the following morning, an order from the General summoned him to his tent, to receive, as he supposed, sentence of death. Great, therefore, was his surprise, when he was ushered into the presence of three officers, in two of whom he instantly recognised his former suspicious guests; while the third, a tall dignified-looking man, advanced towards him, and in the most courteous manner announced to him his free pardon.

As the Conde poured forth his thanks, the General interrupted him by saying, that however happy he was at having in his power to remit his sentence, it was not to him that the merit was due.

"To whom, then?" exclaimed the Conde in a tone of surprise.

"To one most near and dear to you," replied the General.

"Who? who?"

"You shall see." And the General made a sign to Ernest, who slipped out of the room, and in a few moments returned leading in Doña Inez.

"And it is to thee, then, my own Inesilla, my darling, my beloved child," passionately cried the Conde as she rushed into his arms, and hid her face upon his breast, "that I owe my life!" To describe the joy, the intense and tumultuous delight of that moment, were beyond the power of words. Even the stern, inflexible commander turned to hide an emotion he would have blushed to betray.

After waiting till the first ebullition of their joy had subsided, General de Lucenay walked up to the Conde, and shaking him cordially by the hand, congratulated him on possessing a daughter whose courage and filial devotion were even more worthy of admiration, more rare, than her far-famed beauty; "and which," he added, "even I, who have been in all countries, have never seen surpassed."

"Though not my own child, she has indeed been a blessing and a treasure to me," said the Conde; "every year of her life has she repaid to me, a thousand-fold, the love and affection which I have lavished on her; and now"——

"Not your child!" exclaimed De Lucenay and Alphonse in a breath.

"No, not my child," replied the Conde. "The story is a long one, but with my generous preservers I can have no secrets. Just seventeen years ago, I was returning from a visit, by the banks of the Guadiana, with only two attendants, when I heard a faint cry from amongst the rushes on the water's edge; dismounting from our horses, we forced our way through the briars to the spot whence the sound proceeded. To our[515] great surprise, we discovered there a little infant, which had evidently been carried down the stream, and its dress having got entangled amongst the thorns had prevented its being swept further on. Our providential arrival saved its life; for it was drawing towards the close of evening, and the little creature, already half dead with cold and exposure, must inevitably have perished in the course of the night. In one word, we carried it to my chateau, where it grew up to be the beautiful girl you see—the sole comfort and happiness of my life."

"But her parents, did you never discover any thing about them—who or what they were—the motive of so strange an abandonment?" exclaimed General de Lucenay in an agitated voice. "Was there no clue by which to trace them?"

"No, I made all inquiries, but in vain. Besides, it was many miles from any habitation that we found her. I sent the following day, and made many inquiries in the neighbourhood; but no one could give us any information on the subject; so, after an interval of months, I gave the point up as hopeless. One thing only is certain, that they were not inferiors; the fineness of her dress, and a little relic encased in gold and precious stones, that she wore round her neck, were sufficient proofs of that."

"This is, indeed, most singular!" cried the General. "And do you recollect the precise date of this occurrence?"

"Recollect a day which for many years I have been in the habit of celebrating as the brightest of my life! Assuredly—it was the fourteenth of May—and well do I remember it."

"The fourteenth of May! it must be, it is, my long-lost, my long-mourned daughter!" cried the General.

"Your daughter!" exclaimed all around in the greatest astonishment.

"Yes, my daughter," repeated the General. "You shall hear all: but first—the relic, the relic! where is it? let me see it. That would be the convincing proof indeed."

"It is easy to satisfy you," replied Inez, "for it never leaves me;" and, taking a small chain, she handed him a little filigree gold case that she wore in her bosom.

"The same! the same! these are my wife's initials on it. This is indeed a wonderful dispensation of Providence, to find a daughter after having so long mourned her as lost; and to find her all my heart could have wished, more than my most ambitious prayers could have asked! Oh, this is too much happiness! Alas!" he continued in a tone of deep feeling, while he drew the astonished and stupefied girl towards him, and, parting the dark locks on her brow, imprinted a paternal kiss upon her forehead, "Would that my poor Dolores had lived to see this hour! how would it have repaid the years of sorrow and mourning your loss occasioned her?"

"But how! what is this; it is most extraordinary?" exclaimed the Conde, who had waited in speechless surprise the dénoûment of this unexpected scene.

The General explained. His wife had been a Spanish lady of high birth. Returning to France from a visit to her relations, they had stopped to change horses at a little posada on the banks of the Guadiana; their little daughter, a child of eight months old, had sprung out of its nurse's arms into the river. Every effort to recover the child was fruitless; it sank and disappeared. They returned to France, and, after a few years, his wife died. "You may judge, then, of my feelings on hearing your story, Señor Conde," concluded the General; "the name of the river and the date first roused my suspicions, which the result has so fully confirmed."

"My child, my child! and must I then lose thee!" cried the Count, clasping the young girl in his arms in an agony of grief.

"Never!" passionately exclaimed Inez. "Tuya à la vida a la muerta!"

"Not so, Señor Conde; the man who has treated her so nobly has the best right to her," said the General. "I will never take her from you; an occasional visit is all I shall ask."

"But if you will not take her, I know who would, most willingly," said Ernest, stepping forward. "But first, my little sister, let me congratulate[516] you upon dropping from the clouds upon such a good-natured, good-for-nothing, excellent fellow of a brother, as myself. And now, gentlemen, I have a boon to ask—where there is so much joy, why not make all happy at once? There is an unfortunate friend of mine who, to my certain knowledge, has been all but expiring for that fair damsel these last five months; and if for once our sweet Inez would dismiss all feminine disguise, and confess the truth, I suspect she would plead guilty to the same sin. Come, come, I will spare you," he added, as the rich blood mantled over Doña Inez's cheek—"that tell-tale blush is a sufficient answer. Then, why not make them happy?" he added, more seriously; "the Marquis de La Tour d'Auvergne, the heir of an ancient line, and a noble fortune, is in every respect a suitable alliance for either the Conde de Miranda, or General De Lucenay. Besides which, he is a very presentable young fellow, as you see, not to speak of the trifle of their being overhead and ears in love with each other already."

"What say you, my child?—Bah! is it indeed so?" exclaimed the Conde, as Inez stood motionless, her dark eyes fixed on the ground, and the flush growing deeper and deeper on her cheek every minute—while Alphonse, springing forward, declared that he would not think such happiness too dearly purchased with his life.

"No, no—no dying, if you please. A ghostly mate would be no very pleasant bridegroom for a young lady. What say you, General? shall we consent?"

"With all my heart."

"Hurrah! Vive la joie!" cried Ernest, tossing his cap into the air.

"Oh, this is too much bliss!" murmured Inez almost inaudibly.

"No, dearest! may you be as happy through life as you have rendered me," said the Count, folding her in his arms.

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


[1] Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands. From the Journals of Charles St John, Esq. Murray. London: 1846.

[2] Briefe aus Paris, 1842. Pariser Eindrücke, 1846. Von Karl Gutzkow. Frankfurt am Main, 1846.

[3] Methodius and Cyril, who were sent missionaries to the Sclavonians in the ninth century.

[4] Hochelaga; or, England in the New World. Edited by Eliot Warburton, Esq. Two Volumes. London: 1846.

[5] Nemesis.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume
60, No. 372, October 1846, by Various


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