The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 66
No.406, August 1849, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 66 No.406, August 1849

Author: Various

Release Date: September 14, 2013 [EBook #43722]

Language: English

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No. CCCCVI. AUGUST, 1849. Vol. LXVI.


Charles Lamb,133
The Caxtons.—Part XV.151
Jonathan in Africa,172
The Green Hand.—A "Short" Yarn.—Part III.183
For the last page of "Our Album,"205
The Insurrection in Baden,206
Lamartine's Revolution of 1848,219
Dies Boreales. No. III. Christopher under Canvass,235



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



[Pg 133]



No. CCCCVI. AUGUST, 1849. Vol. LXVI.


To Charles Lamb shall be allotted—general assent has already assigned it to him, and we have no wish to dispute his claim—a quiet, quaint niche, apart to himself, in some odd nook or corner in the great temple of English literature. It shall be carved from the solid oak, and decorated with Gothic tracery; but where Madonnas and angels ordinarily appear, there shall be all manner of laughing cherubs—one amongst them disguised as a chimney-sweep—with abundance of sly and humorous devices. Some such niches or stalls may occasionally be seen in old cathedrals, sharing the eternity of the structure, and drawing the peculiar regard of the curious and loitering visitor. You are startled to find a merry device, and a wit by no means too reverential, side by side with the ideal forms of Catholic piety. You approach to examine the solemn-looking carving, and find, perhaps, a fox clothed in priestly raiment—teaching, in his own way, divers lessons of morality to the bears and geese. Such venerable and Gothic drollery suspends for a moment, but hardly mars, the serious and sedate feelings which the rest of the structure, and the other sculptured figures of the place, are designed to excite.

Some such peculiar place amongst our literary worthies seems, as we have said, to be assigned by general consent to Charles Lamb, nor are we about to gainsay his right to this position. He has all the genius that could comport with oddity, and all the oddity that could amalgamate with genius. With a range of thought most singularly contracted, considering the times in which he lived, and the men by whom he was surrounded, he has contrived, by a charming subtlety of observation, and a most felicitous humour, to make us in love even with that contractedness itself, which in another would be despised, as evidencing a sluggishness and obtuseness of mind. Perhaps there are few writers who could be named, of these later days, on whose peculiar merits there is so little difference of opinion. As a poet, he was, at all events, inoffensive, and his mediocrity has been pardoned him in favour of that genius he displayed as the humorous and critical essayist. The publication of his letters, too, has materially added to his reputation, and confirmed him as a favourite with all to whom his lambent and playful wit had already made him known and esteemed. We are not aware, therefore, that we have anything to dispute, or essentially to modify, in the verdict passed by popular opinion on this writer. Yet something may remain to be said to assist in appreciating and discriminating his peculiar merits as [Pg 134]a humorist—something to point out where praise is due, and something to draw the limits of that praise. Moreover, his biography, as presented to us by Mr Talfourd, claims some notice; disclosing, as it does, one of the saddest tragedies, and one of the noblest acts of heroism, which ever afflicted and dignified the life of a man of letters. This biography is also written by one who is himself distinguished in the literary world, who was an intimate friend of Lamb, and personally acquainted with those literary characters by whom Lamb had surrounded himself, and who are here grouped around him. Upon the whole, therefore, the Life and Writings of Elia, though a subject which no longer wears the gloss of novelty, still invites and may repay attention.

We hardly know whether to regret it as a disadvantage to us, on the present occasion, that we never enjoyed the slightest acquaintance with Charles Lamb, or indeed with any of those literary friends amongst whom he lived. We never saw this bland humorist; we never heard that half-provoking, half-pleasing stutter, which awakened anticipation whilst it delayed enjoyment, and added zest to the witticism which it threatened to mar, and which it had held back, for a moment, only to project with the happier impetus. We never had before us, in bodily presence, that slight, black-coated figure, and those antique and curiously-gaitered legs, which, we have also been assured, contributed their part to the irresistible effect of his kindly humour. We never even knew those who had seen and talked with him. To us he is a purely historic figure. So, too, of his biographer—which argues ourselves to be sadly unknown—we have no other knowledge than what runs about bruited in the world; even his displays of eloquence, forensic or parliamentary, we have never had an opportunity of hearing; we know him only by his writings, and by that title we have often heard bestowed on him, the amiable author of Ion;—to which amiability we refer, because to this we must attribute, we suppose, a large portion of that too laudatory criticism which, in these volumes, he bestows so lavishly and diffusely. We cannot, therefore, bring to our subject any of those vivid reminiscences, anecdotes, or details which personal acquaintance supplies. But, on the other hand, we have no bias whatever to contend against, whether of a friendly or hostile description, in respect of any of the literary characters whom we may have occasion to speak of. Had they all lived in the reign of good Queen Anne, they could not have been more remote from our personal sympathies or antipathies.

It is probably known to most of our readers that when, shortly after the decease of Charles Lamb, his letters were given to the world with some biographical notices, there were circumstances which imposed silence on certain passages of his life, and which obliged the editor to withhold a certain portion of the letters. That sister, in fact, was still alive whose lamentable history was so intimately blended with the career of Lamb, and an allusion to her unfortunate tragedy would have been cruel in any one, and in an intimate friend utterly impossible. Serjeant Talfourd had no other course than to leave the gap or hiatus in the biography, and cover it up and conceal it as well as might be, from the eyes of such readers as were not better informed from other sources. Upon the decease of that sister, there no longer existed any motive for this silence; and, indeed, shortly after this event, the whole narrative was revealed by a writer in the British Quarterly Review, who had himself waited till then before he permitted himself to disclose it, and by its disclosure do an act of justice to the moral character of Lamb. Mr Talfourd was, therefore, called upon to complete his biographical notice, and also the publication of the letters. This he did in the two volumes entitled Final Memorials, &c.

As a separate and subsidiary publication became inevitable, and as probably the exigencies of the trade required that it should be of a certain bulk and substance, we suppose we must rather commiserate Mr Talfourd than cast any blame upon him for the manifest difficulty he has had to fill these two volumes of Final Memorials. One of them would have been sufficient for all that he had to[Pg 135] communicate, or that it was wise to add. Many of the letters of Lamb here printed are such as he had very properly laid aside, in the first instance, not because they trenched upon too delicate ground, but because they were wholly uninteresting. He had very correctly said, in what, for distinction's sake, we will call The Life—"I have thought it better to omit much of this verbal criticism, which, not very interesting in itself, is unintelligible without a contemporary reference to the poems which are its subject."—(P. 12.) Now we cannot, of course, undertake to say that the letters given us here are precisely those which he speaks of as being wisely rejected on the former occasion, but we know that there was the same good reason for this rejection, for they are occupied with a verbal criticism utterly uninteresting. Surely, what neither illustrates a man's life, nor adds a tittle to his literary reputation, ought not to be allowed to encumber for ever, as with a dead weight, the collected works of an author. The mischief is, that, if materials of this kind are once published, every succeeding editor finds it incumbent on him to reprint them, lest his edition should be thought less perfect than others, and thus there is no getting rid of the useless and burdensome increment. It is otherwise with another portion of these two volumes, the sketches of the contemporaries and friends of Lamb, which Mr Serjeant Talfourd, or any future editor, can either retrench, omit, or enlarge, at his option.

In the next edition that is published of the works of Lamb, we hope the editor may be persuaded altogether to recast his materials. The biography should be kept apart, and not interspersed piecemeal amongst the letters. This is an arrangement, the most provoking and irritating to the reader that could have been devised. Let us have all the biography at once, and then sit down and enjoy the letters of Lamb. Why be incessantly bandied from the one to the other? Few of the letters need any explanation; if they do, the briefest note at the head or at the foot would be sufficient. Not to add, that, if it is wished to refer to any event in the biography, one does not know where to look for it. And, apropos of this matter of reference, it may be just worth mentioning that the present volume is so divided into Parts, and the parts so paged, that any reference to a passage by the number of the page is almost useless. The numbers recommence some half-dozen times in the course of the volume; so that if you are referred to page 50, you may find five of them—you may find page 50 five times over before you come to the right one. For which reason we shall dispense ourselves, in respect to this volume, with our usual punctuality of reference, for the reference must be laboriously minute, and even then will impose a troublesome search. In the mere and humble task of editing, the Serjeant has been by no means fortunate.

Lying about in such confusion as the fractions of the biography do at present, we shall perhaps be rendering a slight service if we bring together from the two different publications the leading events of the life of Lamb.

"Charles Lamb," says the first publication, "was born on the 18th February 1775, in Crown-office Row, in the Inner Temple, where he spent the first seven years of his life." At the age of seven he was presented to the school of Christ's Hospital, and there remained till his fifteenth year. His sweetness of disposition rendered him a general favourite. From one of his schoolfellows we have the following account of him:—"Lamb," says Mr Le Grice, "was an amiable, gentle boy, very sensible, and keenly observing, indulged by his schoolfellows and by his master, on account of his infirmity of speech. His countenance was mild; his complexion clear brown, with an expression which might lead you to think that he was of Jewish descent. His eyes were not each of the same colour—one was hazel, the other had specks of gray in the iris, mingled as we see red spots in the bloodstone. His step was plantigrade, (Mr Le Grice must be a zoologist—Lamb would have smiled to hear himself so scientifically described,) which made his walk slow and peculiar, adding to the staid appearance of his figure. I never heard his name mentioned without the[Pg 136] addition of Charles, although, as there was no other boy of the name of Lamb, the addition was unnecessary; but there was an implied kindness in it, and it was a proof that his gentle manner excited that kindness." Mr Le Grice adds that, in the sketch Lamb gave in his Recollections of Christ's Hospital, he drew a faithful portrait of himself. "While others were all fire and play, he stole along with all the self-concentration of a young monk." He had, in fact, only passed from cloister to cloister, and, during the holidays, it was in the Temple that he found his home and his only place of recreation. This cloistering-in of his mind was the early and constant peculiarity of his life. He would have made an excellent monk; in those good old times, be it understood, when it was thought no great scandal if there was a well-supplied cellarage underneath the cloister.

After quitting Christ's Hospital, he was employed for some time in the South Sea House, but on the 5th April 1792 obtained that appointment in the accountant's office in the East India Company which was his stay and support, in more senses than one, through life.

A little anecdote is here introduced, which strikes us as very characteristic. It reveals the humorist, ready to appreciate and promote a jest even at his own expense, and at the easy sacrifice of his own dignity or self-respect: but it reveals something more and sadder; it seems to betray a broken, melancholy spirit, that was no longer disposed to contend for its claim to respect from others. "In the first year of his clerkship," says Mr Le Grice, "Lamb spent the evening of the 5th November with some of his former schoolfellows, who, being amused with the particularly large and flapping brim of his round hat, pinned it up on the sides in the form of a cocked hat. Lamb made no alteration in it, but walked home in his usual sauntering gait towards the Temple. As he was going down Ludgate Hill, some gay young men, who seemed not to have passed the London Tavern without resting, exclaimed, 'The veritable Guy!—no man of straw!' and with this exclamation they took him up, making a chair with their arms, carried him, seated him on a post in St Paul's Churchyard, and there left him. This story Lamb told so seriously, that the truth of it was never doubted. He wore his three-cornered hat many evenings, and retained the name of Guy ever after. Like Nym, he quietly sympathised in the fun, and seemed to say 'that was the humour of it.'" Some one may suggest that probably Lamb was himself in the same condition, on this 5th of November, as the young men "who had not passed the London Tavern without resting," and that therefore all peculiar significance of the anecdote, as it bears upon his character and disposition, is entirely lost. But Lamb relates the story himself, and afterwards, and when there is no question of sobriety, quietly acquiesces and participates in the absurd joke played upon himself.

At this time his most constant companion was one Jem White, who wrote some imaginary "Letters of John Falstaff." These letters Lamb went about all his life praising, and causing others to praise, but seems never to have found any one to share his admiration. As even Mr Talfourd has not a good word to throw away upon the literary merits of Jem White, we may safely conclude that Lamb's friendship had in this instance quite overruled his critical judgment.

But the associate and friend who really exercised a permanent and formative influence upon his mind, was a man of a very different stamp—Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They had been schoolfellows at Christ's Hospital, and, though no particular intimacy existed at that time, the circumstance formed a foundation for a future friendship. "While Coleridge," writes Mr Talfourd, "remained at the university, they met occasionally on his visits to London; and when he quitted it and came to town, full of mantling hopes and glorious schemes, Lamb became his admiring disciple. The scene of these happy meetings was a little public-house, called the Salutation and Cat, in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, where they used to sup, and remain long after they had 'heard the chimes at midnight.'"

These suppers at the Salutation and[Pg 137] Cat, in Smithfield, seem to carry back the imagination far beyond the period here alluded to; they seem to transport us to the times of Oliver Goldsmith, or to take us across the water into Germany, where poetry and philosophy may still occasionally find refuge in the beer-shop. They were always remembered by Lamb as the brightest spots of his life. "I think I hear you again," he says, writing to Coleridge. "I imagine to myself the little smoky room at the Salutation and Cat, where we sat together through the winter nights, beguiling the cares of life with poetry." And in another place he alludes to "those old suppers at our old inn—when life was fresh and topics exhaustless—and you first kindled in me, if not the power, yet the love of poetry, and beauty, and kindliness." It was in these interviews that the project was started, we believe, of publishing a volume of poems, the joint production of the two friends.

But this pleasing project, and all the poetry of life, was for a time to give place, in the history of Lamb, to a domestic tragedy of the most afflicting nature. It is here that the Final Memorials take up the thread of the biography. It was on the 22d September 1796, that the terrible event took place which cast so perpetual a shade, and reflected also so constant an honour, on the life of Lamb. He was living at this time with his father, mother, and sister, in lodgings in Little Queen Street, Holborn. After being engaged in his taskwork at the India House, he returned in the evening to amuse his father by playing cribbage. The old man had sunk into dotage and the miserable selfishness that so often attends on old age. If his son wished to discontinue for a time the game at cribbage, and turn to some other avocation, or the writing of a letter, he would pettishly exclaim,—"If you don't play cribbage, I don't see the use of your coming home at all." The mother also was an invalid, and Miss Lamb, we are told, was worn down to a state of extreme nervous misery, by attention to needlework by day, and to her mother by night, until the insanity which had been manifested more than once broke out into frenzy. "It appeared," says the account extracted from the Times, (an account of the inquest, in which the names of the parties are suppressed,) "that while the family were preparing for dinner, the young lady seized a case-knife lying on the table, and in a menacing manner pursued a little girl, her apprentice, round the room. On the calls of her infirm mother to forbear, she renounced her first object, and with loud shrieks approached her parent. The child by her cries quickly brought up the landlord of the house, but too late. The dreadful scene presented to him the mother lifeless, pierced to the heart, on a chair, her daughter yet wildly standing over her with the fatal knife, and the old man, her father, weeping by her side, himself bleeding at the forehead from the effects of a severe blow he received from one of the forks she had been madly hurling about the room."

The following is the letter which Lamb wrote to Coleridge shortly after the event. From this it appears that it was he, and not the landlord, who took the knife from the hand of the lunatic.

"My Dearest Friend,—White, or some of my friends, or the public papers, by this time may have informed you of the terrible calamities that have fallen on our family. I will only give you the outlines. My poor, dear, dearest sister, in a fit of insanity, has been the death of her own mother. I was at hand only time enough to snatch the knife out of her grasp. She is at present in a madhouse, from whence I fear she must be removed to an hospital. God has preserved to me my senses. I eat, and drink, and sleep, and have my judgment, I believe, very sound. My poor father was slightly wounded, and I am left to take care of him and my aunt. Mr Norris of the Blue-coat School has been very kind to us, and we have no other friend; but, thank God, I am very calm and composed, and able to do the best that remains to do. Write as religious a letter as possible, but no mention of what is gone and done with. With me 'the former things are passed away,' and I have something more to do than to feel.

"God Almighty have us all in his keeping!—C. Lamb.[Pg 138]

"Mention nothing of poetry; I have destroyed every vestige of past vanities of that kind. Do as you please; but if you publish, publish mine (I give free leave) without name or initial, and never send me a book, I charge you.

"Your own judgment will convince you not to take any notice of this yet to your dear wife. You look after your family—I have my reason and strength left to take care of mine. I charge you, don't think of coming to see me—write. I will not see you if you come. God Almighty love you, and all of us."—C. Lamb.

Miss Lamb was of course placed in an asylum, where, however, she was in a short time restored to reason. And now occurred the act of life-long heroism on the part of the brother. As soon as she was recovered, he petitioned the authorities to resign her to his care; he pledged himself to be her guardian, her provider, her keeper, for all her days to come. He was at that time paying his addresses to a young lady, with what hopes, or with what degree of ardour, we are not informed. But marriage with her, or with any other, was now to be entirely renounced. He devoted his life, and all his love, to his unhappy sister, and to the last he fulfilled the obligation he had taken upon himself without a murmur, and without the least diminution of affection towards the object of it.

We have called it an act of heroism; we applaud it, and rejoice that it stands upon record a complete and accomplished act. There it stands, not only to relieve the character of Lamb from such littleness as it may have contracted from certain habits of intemperance, (of which perhaps more has been said than was necessary;) but it remains there as an enduring memorial, prompting, to all time, to the like acts of self-denying kindness, and unshaken generosity of purpose. But, admiring the act as we do, we must still be permitted to observe, that there was a degree of imprudence in it which fully justified other members of the family in their endeavours to dissuade Lamb from his resolution, and which would have justified the authorities (whoever they were—and about this matter there seems a singular obscurity, and a suspicion is created that even in proceedings of this nature much is done carelessly, informally, uncertainly) in refusing to accede to his request. Miss Lamb had several relapses into temporary derangement; and, although she never committed, as far as we are informed, any acts of violence, this calmness of behaviour, in her seasons of mental aberration, could not have been calculated on. We confess we should have shrunk from the responsibility of advising the generous but perilous course which was adopted with so fortunate a result.

How sad and fearful a charge Lamb had entailed upon himself, let the following extract suffice to show. The subject is too painful to be longer dwelt upon than is necessary. "The constant impendency of this great sorrow saddened to 'the Lambs' even their holidays, as the journey which they both regarded as the relief and charm of the year was frequently followed by a seizure; and, when they ventured to take it, a strait-waistcoat, carefully packed up by Miss Lamb herself, was their constant companion. Sad experience at last induced the abandonment of the annual excursion, and Lamb was contented with walks in and near London during the interval of labour. Miss Lamb experienced, and full well understood, premonitory symptoms of the attack, in restlessness, low fever, and the inability to sleep; and, as gently as possible, prepared her brother for the duty he must soon perform; and thus, unless he could stave off the terrible separation till Sunday, obliged him to ask leave of absence from the office as if for a day's pleasure—a bitter mockery! On one occasion Mr Charles Lloyd met them slowly pacing together a little footpath in Haxton Fields, both weeping bitterly, and found, on joining them, that they were taking their solemn way to the accustomed asylum!"[2]

It seems that a tendency to lunacy was hereditary in the family, and Charles Lamb himself had been for a short period deprived of his reason.

[Pg 139]

On this subject Mr Talfourd makes the following excellent remark:—"The wonder is, that, amidst all the difficulties, the sorrows, and the excitements of his succeeding forty years, the malady never recurred. Perhaps the true cause of this remarkable exemption—an exemption the more remarkable when his afflictions are considered in association with one single frailty—will be found in the sudden claim made on his moral and intellectual nature by a terrible exigency, and by his generous answer to that claim; so that a life of self-sacrifice was rewarded by the preservation of unclouded reason."

We will not weaken so admirable a remark by repeating it in a worse phraseology of our own. We wish the Serjeant always wrote in the same clear, forcible, and unaffected manner. With respect to this seizure which Lamb, in an early part of his life, had experienced, there is a reference in one of his letters too curious to pass unnoticed. Writing to Coleridge, he says—"At some future time I will amuse you with an account, as full as my memory will permit, of the strange turns my frenzy took. I look back upon it at times with a gloomy kind of envy, for, while it lasted, I had many, many hours of pure happiness. Dream not, Coleridge, of having tasted all the grandeur and wildness of fancy till you have gone mad! All now seems to me vapid, or comparatively so."

The residue of Lamb's life is uneventful. The publication of a book—a journey into Cumberland—his final liberation from office, are the chief incidents. These it is not necessary to arrange in chronological order: they can be alluded to as occasion requires. But we will pursue a little further our notice of Mr Talfourd's biographical labours, that we may clear our way as we proceed.

We have seen that Lamb, in the first agony of his grief, rudely threw aside his poetry, and his scheme of publishing conjointly with Coleridge. Poetry and schemes of publication are not, however, so easily dismissed. As his mind subsided into a calmer state, they were naturally resumed. The literary partnership was extended, and Lloyd was admitted to associate his labours in the forthcoming volume. "At length," says Mr Talfourd, "the small volume containing the poems of Coleridge, Lloyd, and Lamb, was published by Mr Cottle at Bristol. It excited little attention." We do not wonder at this, if the lucubrations of Mr Lloyd had any conspicuous place in the volume. How the other two poets—how Coleridge especially, could have consented to this literary partnership, with so singularly inept and absurd a writer, would be past explaining, if it were not for some hint that we receive that Charles Lloyd was the son of a wealthy banker, and might, therefore, be the fittest person to transact that part of the business which occurs between the author and the publisher. Here we have a striking instance of Mr Talfourd's misplaced amiability of criticism. "Lloyd," he says, "wrote pleasing verses, and with great facility—a facility fatal to excellence; but his mind was chiefly remarkable for the fine power of analysis which distinguishes his 'London,' and other of his later compositions. In this power of discriminating and distinguishing—carried to a pitch almost of painfulness—Lloyd has scarcely been equalled; and his poems, though rugged in point of versification, will be found, by those who will read them with the calm attention they require, replete with critical and moral suggestions of the highest value." Very grateful to Mr Serjeant Talfourd will any reader feel who shall be induced, by his recommendation, to peruse, or attempt to peruse, Mr Lloyd's poem of "London!" We were. "Fine power of analysis!" Why, it is one stream of mud—of theologic mud. "Rugged in point of versification!" There is no trace of verse, and the style is an outlandish garb, such as no man has ever seen elsewhere, either in prose or verse. Poor Lloyd was a lunatic patient!—on him no one would be severe; but why should an intelligent Serjeant, unless prompted by a sly malice against all mankind, persuade us to read his execrable stuff? The following is a fair specimen of the drug, and is, indeed, taken as the book opened. We add the two last lines of the preceding stanza, to give all possible help to the elucida[Pg 140]tion of the one we quote. The italics are all Mr Lloyd's:—

"If you affirm grace irresistible,
You must deny all liberty of will.


"But you reply, grace irresistible
Our creed admits not. I am sorry for't.
Enough, or not enough, to bind the free will,
Grace must be. Not enough? The dose falls short.
This is of cause the prime condition still
That it be operative. Yet divines exhort
Us to deem grace sole source of all salvation,
And if we're damned, blame but its application."

But divinity of this kind, it may be said, though well calculated to display "the power of discriminating and distinguishing, carried to a pitch almost of painfulness," is not exactly favourable to flowing verse. Here is a specimen where a lady is the subject, and the verse should be smooth then, if ever.

"I well remember her years, five-and-twenty,
(Ah! now my muse is got into a gallop,)
Longer perhaps! But time sufficient, plenty
Of treasured offices of love to call up.
She was then, as I recollect, quite dainty,
And delicate, and seemed a fair envelope
Of virgin sweetness and angelic goodness;
That fate should treat her with such reckless rudeness!"

The poor man seems to have had not the least appreciation of the power of language, so as to distinguish between the ludicrous and the pathetic. He must have read "Hudibras" with tears, not of laughter, in his eyes, and hence drawn his notion of tenderness of diction as well as harmony of verse. The most surprising thing about Lloyd is, that such a man should have chosen for his literary task to translate—Alfieri! And although he has performed the task very far from well, he has accomplished it in a manner that could not have been anticipated from his original compositions.

After this specimen of Mr Talfourd's laudatory criticism, we need not be astonished at any amount of eulogy he bestows on such names as Hazlitt and others, which really have a certain claim on the respect of all men. And yet, even after this, we felt some slight surprise at hearing Mr Talfourd speak of "the splendid reputation" of Mr Harrison Ainsworth! Would Mr Talfourd have such a reputation, if it were offered him? Would he not rather have remained in complete obscurity than be distinguished by such "splendours" as the authorship of Jack Sheppard would have invested him with? Why should he throw about this indiscriminate praise, and make his good word of no possible value? Splendid reputation! Can trash be anything but trash, because a multitude of the idle and the ignorant, whom it exactly suits, read and admire? By-and-by they grow ashamed of their idol, when they find they have him all to themselves, and that sensible people are smiling at their enthusiasm; they then discard him for some new, untried, and unconvicted favourite. Such is the natural history of these splendid reputations.

The second volume of the "Final Memorials" is in great part occupied with sketches of the literary friends and companions of Lamb. These Mr Talfourd introduces by a somewhat bold parallel between the banquets at the lordly halls of Holland House and the suppers in the dark and elevated chambers in the Inner Temple, whither Lamb had removed. We are by no means scandalised at such a comparison. Wit may flow, and wisdom too, as freely in the garret as in the saloon. To eat off plate, to be served assiduously by liveried attendants, may not give any more real zest to colloquial pleasure, to good hearty talking, than to attack without ceremony "the cold beef flanked with heaps of smoking potatoes, which Becky has just brought in." Nor do we know that claret in the flagon of beautifully cut glass, may be a more potent inspiration of wit than "the foaming pots of porter from the best tap in Fleet Street." We are not at all astonished that such a parallel should be drawn; what surprises us is, that, being in the humour to draw such comparisons, the Sergeant could find only one place in all London which could be brought into this species of contrast, and of rivalry, with Holland House. "Two circles of rare social enjoyment, differing as widely as possible in all external circumstances—but each superior in its kind to all others, were at the same time generously opened to men of letters."[Pg 141] We, who have been admitted to neither, have perhaps no right to an opinion; but, judging by the bill of fare presented to us, we shrewdly suspect there were very many circles where we should have preferred the intellectual repast to that set out in Inner Temple Lane. We doubt not the Serjeant himself has assembled round his own table a society that we should greatly more have coveted the pleasure of joining. We have the name of Godwin, it is true, but Godwin never opened his mouth;—played whist all the evening. Had he not written his book? why should he talk? We have Hazlitt,—but by all accounts he was rarely in a tolerable humour, perpetually raving, with admirable consistency, in praise of republics and Bonaparte. Coleridge was too rarely a visitor to be counted in the list; and certain we are that we should have no delight in hearing Charles Lloyd "reason of fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute," to Leigh Hunt. Some actors are named, of whose conversational powers we know nothing, and presume nothing very extraordinary. Lamb's "burly jovial brother, the Ajax Telamon of clerks," and a Captain Burney, of whom we are elsewhere told that he liked Shakspeare "because he was so much of a gentleman," promise little on the score of intellectual conversation; neither should we be particularly anxious to sit opposite a certain M. B., of whom Lamb said, "M., if dirt were trumps, what hands you would hold!"

After this singular parallel, we are shown round a gallery of portraits. First we have George Dyer, who appears to be the counterpart of our old friend Dominie Sampson. But, indeed, we hold George Dyer to be a sort of myth, a fabulous person, the creation of Charles Lamb's imagination, and imposed as a reality on his friends. Such an absurdity as he is here represented to be could not have been bred, could not have existed, in these times, and in London. If we are to credit the stories told of him, his walking in broad day into the canal at Islington was one of the wisest things he did, or could possibly have done. Lamb tells him, in the strictest confidence, that the "Waverley Novels" are the works of Lord Castlereagh, just returned from the Congress of Sovereigns at Vienna! Off he runs, nor stops till he reaches Maida Hill, where he deposits his news in the ears of Leigh Hunt, who, "as a public man," he thinks ought to be possessed of the great fact. At another time Lamb gravely inquires of him, "Whether it was true, as was commonly reported, that he was to be made a lord?" "Oh dear, no! Mr Lamb," he responds with great earnestness, "I could not think of such a thing: it is not true, I assure you." "I thought not," replies the wit, "and I contradict it wherever I go; but the government will not ask your consent—they may raise you to the peerage without your even knowing it." "I hope not, Mr Lamb; indeed, indeed, I hope not; it would not suit me at all," repeats our modern Dominie, and goes away musing on the possibility of strange honours descending, whether he will or not, upon his brow. It goes to our heart to disturb a good story, but such a man as the George Dyer here represented never could have existed.

We have rather a long account of Godwin, with some remarks not very satisfactory upon his intellectual character. That Mr Godwin was taciturn, that he conversed, when he did talk, upon trivial subjects, and in a small precise manner, and that he was especially fond of sleeping after dinner—all this we can easily understand. Mr Godwin's mental activity was absorbed in his authorship, and he was a very voluminous author. But we cannot so easily understand Mr Talfourd's explanations, nor why these habits should have any peculiar connexion with the intellectual qualities of the author of Caleb Williams, and a host of novels, as well as of the Political Justice, of the Life of Chaucer, and the History of the Commonwealth. Such habits are rather the result of a man's temperament, and the manner of life which circumstances have thrown him into, than of his intellectual powers. Profound metaphysicians have been very vivacious talkers, and light and humorous writers very taciturn men. Mr Talfourd finds that Godwin had no imagination, was all abstract reason, and thus accounts for his[Pg 142] having no desire to address his fellowmen but through the press. The passage is too long to quote, and would be very tedious. We must leave him in quiet possession of his own theory of the matter.

It was new to us, and may be to our readers, to hear that Godwin supported himself "by a shop in Skinner Street, where, under the auspices of 'Mr J. Godwin & Co.,' the prettiest and wisest books for children issued, which old-fashioned parents presented to their children, without suspecting that the graceful lessons of piety and goodness which charmed away the selfishness of infancy, were published, and sometimes revised, and now and then written, by a philosopher whom they would scarcely venture to name!" We admire the good sense which induced him to adhere to so humble an occupation, if he found it needful for his support. But what follows is not quite so admirable. He was a great borrower; or, in the phrase of Mr Talfourd, "he met the exigencies of business with the trusting simplicity which marked his course; he asked his friends for aid without scruple, considering that their means were justly the due of one who toiled in thought for their inward life, and had little time to provide for his own outward existence, and took their excuses when offered without doubt or offence." And then the Serjeant proceeds to relate, in a tone of the most touching simplicity, his own personal experience upon this matter. "The very next day after I had been honoured and delighted by an introduction to him at Lamb's chambers, I was made still more proud and happy by his appearance at my own on such an errand, which my poverty, not my will, rendered abortive. After some pleasant chat on indifferent matters, he carelessly observed that he had a little bill for £150 falling due on the morrow, which he had forgotten till that morning, and desired the loan of the necessary amount for a few weeks. At first, in eager hopes of being able thus to oblige one whom I regarded with admiration akin to awe, I began to consider whether it was possible for me to raise such a sum; but, alas! a moment's reflection sufficed to convince me that the hope was vain, and I was obliged, with much confusion, to assure my distinguished visitor how glad I should have been to serve him, but that I was only just starting as a special pleader, was obliged to write for magazines to help me on, and had not such a sum in the world. 'Oh dear!' said the philosopher, 'I thought you were a young gentleman of fortune—don't mention it, don't mention it—I shall do very well elsewhere!' And then, in the most gracious manner, reverted to our former topics, and sat in my small room for half-an-hour, as if to convince me that my want of fortune made no difference in his esteem." How very gracious! The most shameless borrower coming to raise money from a young gentleman of fortune, to meet "a little bill which he had forgotten till that morning," would hardly, on finding his mistake, have made an abrupt departure. He would have coolly beat a retreat, as the philosopher did. We never hear, by the way, that he returned "to my small room" at any other time, for half-an-hour's chat. But how very interesting it is to see the learned Serjeant, whose briefs have made him acquainted with every trick and turn of commercial craft, retaining this sweet and pristine simplicity!

The Serjeant, however, has a style of narrative which, though on the surface it displays the most good-natured simplicity, slyly insinuates to the more intelligent reader that he sees quite as far as another, and is by no means the dupe of his own amiability. Thus, in his description of Coleridge, (which would be too long a subject to enter into minutely,) he has the following passage, (perhaps the best in the description,) which, while it seems to echo to the full the unstinted applause so common with the admirers of that singular man, gives a quiet intimation to the reader that he was not altogether so blind as some of those admirers. "If his entranced hearers often were unable to perceive the bearings of his argument—too mighty for any grasp but his own—and sometimes reaching beyond his own—they understood 'a beauty in the words, if not the words;' and a wisdom and a piety in the illustrations, even when[Pg 143] unable to connect them with the idea which he desired to illustrate." Mr Talfourd reveals here, we suspect, the true secret of the charm which Coleridge exercised in conversation. His hearers never seemed to have carried away anything distinct or serviceable from his long discourses. They understood "a beauty in the words, if not the words;" they felt a charm like that of listening to music, and, when the voice ceased, there was perhaps as little distinct impression left, as if it had really been a beautiful symphony they had heard.

There is only one more in this gallery of portraits before which we shall pause, and that only for a moment, to present a last specimen of the critical manner of Mr Talfourd. We are sorry the last should not be the best; and yet, as this sketch is a reprint, in an abridged form, of an essay affixed to the Literary Remains of Hazlitt, it may be considered as having received a more than usual share of the author's attention. It is thus that he analyses the mental constitution of one whom he appears to have studied and greatly admired—William Hazlitt. "He had as unquenchable a desire for truth as others have for wealth, or power, or fame: he pursued it with sturdy singleness of purpose, and enunciated it without favour or fear. But besides that love of truth, that sincerity in pursuing it, and that boldness in telling it, he had also a fervent aspiration after the beautiful, a vivid sense of pleasure, and an intense consciousness of his own individual being, which sometimes produced obstacles to the current of speculation, by which it was broken into dazzling eddies, or urged into devious windings. Acute, fervid, vigorous as his mind was, it wanted the one great central power of imagination, which brings all the other faculties into harmonious action, multiplies them into each other, makes truth visible in the forms of beauty, and substitutes intellectual vision for proof. Thus in him truth and beauty held divided empire. In him the spirit was willing but the flesh was strong, and when these contend it is not difficult to anticipate the result; 'for the power of beauty shall sooner transform honesty from what it is into a bawd, than the person of honesty shall transform beauty into its likeness.' This 'sometime paradox' was vividly exemplified in Hazlitt's personal history, his conversation, and his writings."[3]

Are we to gather from this most singular combination of words, that Hazlitt had a grain too much of sensuality in his composition, which diverted him from the search after truth? The expression, "the flesh was strong," and the quotation so curiously introduced from Shakspeare, seem to point this way. And then, again, are we to understand that this too much of sensuality was owing to a want of imagination?—that central power of imagination which is here described in a manner that no system of metaphysics we have studied enables us in the least to comprehend. We know something of Schelling's "intellectual intuition" transcending the ordinary scope of reason. Is this "intellectual vision, which the imagination substitutes for proof," of the same family? But indeed it would be idle insincerity to ask such questions. Sergeant Talfourd knows no more than we do what it means. The simple truth is, that here, as too frequently elsewhere, he aims at a certain subtlety of thought, and falls unfortunately upon no thought whatever—upon mere confusion of thought, which he attempts to hide by a quantity of somewhat faded phrase and rhetorical diction.

If we refer to the original essay itself, we shall not be aiding ourselves or Mr Talfourd. The statement is fuller, and the confusion greater. In one point it relieves us—it relieves us entirely from the necessity of too deeply pondering the philosophic import of any phraseology our critic may adopt, for the phrase is changed merely to please the ear; and what at first has the air of definition proves to be merely a poetic colouring. He thus commences his essay: "As an author, Mr Hazlitt may be contemplated principally in three aspects—as a moral and political reasoner, as an observer of character and manners, and as a critic in literature and paint[Pg 144]ing. It is in the first character only that he should be followed with caution." In the two others he is, of course, to be followed implicitly. Why he was not equally perfect as a moral and political reasoner, Mr Talfourd proceeds to explain. Mr Hazlitt had "a passionate desire for truth," and also "earnest aspirations for the beautiful." Now, continues our critic, "the vivid sense of beauty may, indeed, have fit home in the breast of the searcher after truth, but then he must also be endowed with the highest of all human faculties—the great mediatory and interfusing power of imagination, which presides supreme over the mind, brings all its powers and impulses into harmonious action, and becomes itself the single organ of all. At its touch, truth becomes visible in the shape of beauty; the fairest of material things become the living symbols of airy thought, and the mind apprehends the finest affinities of the world of sense and spirit 'in clear dream and solemn vision.'" This last expression conveys, we presume, all the meaning, or no-meaning, of the phrase afterwards adopted—the "intellectual vision which it substitutes for truth." Both are mere jingle. The rest of the passage is much the same as it stands in the Final Memorials. Somehow or other Mr Hazlitt is proved to have been defective as a reasoner, because he wanted imagination!—and imagination was wanted, not to enlarge his experience of mental phenomena, but to step between his love of truth and his sense of beauty. Did he ever divulge this discovery to his friend Hazlitt?—and how did the metaphysician receive it?

To one so generous towards others, it would be ungracious to use hard words. Indeed, to leave before an intelligent reader these specimens of "fine analysis," and "powers of discriminating and distinguishing," is quite severe enough punishment. We wish we could expunge them, with a host of similar ones, not only from our record, but from the works of the author himself.[4]

It is time that we turn from the biography to the writings of Charles Lamb—to Elia, the gentle humorist. Not that Charles Lamb is exclusively the humorist: far from it. His verse is, at all events, sufficient to demonstrate a poetic sensibility, and his prose writings display a subtlety of analysis and a delicacy of perception which were not always enlisted in the service of mirth, but which were often displayed in some refined criticism, or keen observation upon men and manners. Still it is as a humorist that he has chiefly attracted the attention of the reading public, and obtained his popularity and literary status. But the coarser lineaments of the humorist are not to be found in him. His is a gentle, refined, and refining humour, which never trespasses upon delicacy; which does not excite that common and almost brutal laughter, so easily raised at what are called the comic miseries of life—often no comedy to those who have to endure them. It is a humour which generally attains its end by investing what is lowly with an unexpected interest, not by degrading what is noble by allying it with mean and grotesque circumstance, (the miserable art of parody;) it is a humour, in short, which excites our laughter, not by stifling all reflection, but by awakening the mind to new trains of thought, and prompting to odd but kindly sympathies. It is a humour which a poet might indulge in, which a very nun might smile at, which a Fenelon would at times prepare himself mildly to admonish, but, on seeing from how clear a spirit it emanated, would, relaxing his brows again, let pass unreproved.

There is a great rage at present for the comic; and, to do justice to our own times, we think it may be said that wit was never more abundant—and certainly the pencil was never used with more genuine humour. But we cannot sympathise with, or much admire, that class of writers who seem to make the comic their exclusive study, who peer into everything merely to find matter of jest in it. Everything is no more comic than everything is solemn, in this mingled world of ours. These men, reversing the puritanical extravagance, would [Pg 145]improve every incident into the occasion of a laugh. At length one extreme becomes as tedious as the other. We have, if we may trust to advertisements, for we never saw the production itself, a Comic History of England! and, amongst other editions of the learned commentator, A Comic Blackstone! We shall be threatened some day with a Comic Encyclopædia; or we shall have these comic gentry following the track round the whole world which Mrs Sommerville has lately taken, in her charming book on Physical Geography. They will go hopping and grinning after her, peeping down volcanoes, and punning upon coral reefs, and finding laughter in all things in this circumnavigable globe. Well, let them go grinning from pole to pole, and all along the tropics. We can wish them no worse punishment.

This exclusive cultivation of the comic must sadly depress the organ of veneration, and not at all foster any refined feelings of humanity. To him who is habitually in the mocking vein, it matters little what the subject, or who the sufferer, so that he has his jest. It is marvellous the utter recklessness to human feeling these light laughers attain to. Their seemingly sportive weapon, the "satiric thong" they so gaily use, is in harder hands than could be found anywhere else out of Smithfield. Nor is it quite idle to notice in what a direct barefaced manner these jesters appeal to the coarse untutored malice of our nature. If we were to analyse the jest, we should sometimes find that we had been laughing just as wisely as the little untaught urchin, who cannot hold his sides for "fun," if some infirm old woman, slipping upon the slide he has made, falls down upon the pavement. The jest only lasts while reflection is laid asleep.

In this, as we have already intimated, lies the difference between the crowd of jesters and Charles Lamb. We quit their uproarious laughter for his more quiet and pensive humour with somewhat the same feeling that we leave the noisy, though amusing, highway, for the cool landscape and the soft greensward. We reflect as we smile; the malice of our nature is rather laid to rest than called forth; a kindly and forgiving temper is excited. We rise from his works, if not with any general truth more vividly impressed, yet prepared, by gentle and almost imperceptible touches, to be more social in our companionships, and warmer in our friendships.

Whether from mental indolence, or from that strong partiality he contracted towards familiar things, he lived, for a man of education and intelligence, in a singularly limited circle of thought. In the stirring times of the first French Revolution, we find him abstracting himself from the great drama before him, to bury himself in the gossip of Burnet's History. He writes to Manning—"I am reading Burnet's own Times. Quite the prattle of age, and outlived importance.... Burnet's good old prattle I can bring present to my mind; I can make the Revolution present to me—the French Revolution, by a converse perversity in my nature, I fling as far from me." Science appears never to have interested him, and such topics as political economy may well be supposed to have been quite foreign to his nature. But even as a reader of poetry, his taste, or his partialities in his range of thought, limited him within a narrow circuit. He could make nothing of Goethe's Faust; Shelley was an unknown region to him, and the best of his productions never excited his attention. To Byron he was almost equally indifferent. From these he could turn to study George Withers! and find matter for applause in lines which needed, indeed, the recommendation of age to give them the least interest. His personal friendship for Wordsworth and Coleridge led him here out of that circle of old writers he delighted to dwell amongst; otherwise, we verily believe, he would have deserted them for Daniell and Quarles. But perhaps, to one of his mental constitution, it required a certain concentration to bring his powers into play; and we may owe to this exclusiveness of taste the admirable fragments of criticism he has given us on Shakspeare and the elder dramatists.

In forming our opinion, however, of the tastes and acquirements of Lamb, we must not forget that we are dealing with a humorist, and that his tes[Pg 146]timony against himself cannot be always taken literally. On some occasions we shall find that he amused himself and his friends by a merry vein of self-disparagement; he would delight to exaggerate some deficiency, or perhaps some Cockney taste, in which, perhaps, he differed from others only in his boldness of avowal. He had not, by all accounts, what is called an ear for music; but we are not to put faith in certain witty descriptions he has given of his own obtuseness to all melodious sounds. We find him, in some of his letters, speaking of Braham with all the enthusiasm of a young haunter of operas. "I follow him about," he says, "like a dog." Nothing has given more scandal to some of the gentle admirers of Lamb, than to find him boldly avowing his preference of Fleet Street to the mountains of Cumberland. He claimed no love for the picturesque. Shops, and the throng of men, were not to be deserted for lakes and waterfalls. It was his to live in London, and, as a place to live in, there was no peculiarity of taste in preferring it to Cumberland; but when he really paid his visit to Coleridge at Keswick, he felt the charm fully as much as tourists who are accustomed to dwell, rather too loudly, upon their raptures. The letters he wrote, after this visit, from some of which we will quote, if our space permits us, describe very naturally, unaffectedly, and vividly, the impressions which are produced on a first acquaintance with mountainous scenery.

Indeed we may remark, that no man can properly enter into the character or the writings of a humorist, who is not prepared both to permit and to understand certain little departures from truth. We mean, that playing with the subject where our convictions are not intended to be seriously affected. Those who must see everything as true or false, and immediately approve or reject accordingly, who know nothing of that punctum indifferens on which the humorist, for a moment, takes his stand, had better leave him and his writings entirely alone. "I like a smuggler," says Charles Lamb, in one of his essays. Do you, thereupon, gravely object that a smuggler, living in constant violation of the laws of the land, ought by no means to be an object of partiality with any respectable order-loving gentleman? Or do you nod assent and acquiesce in this approbation of the smuggler? You do neither one nor the other. You smile and read on. You know very well that Lamb has no design upon your serious convictions, has no wish whatever that you should like a smuggler; he merely gives expression to a partiality of his own, unreasonable if you will, but arising from certain elements in the smuggler's character, which just then are uppermost in his mind. A great deal of the art and tact of the humorist lies in bringing out little truths, and making them stand in the foreground, where greater truths usually take up their position. Thus, in one of Lamb's papers, he would prove that a convalescent was in a less enviable condition than a man downright ill. This is done by heightening the effect of a subordinate set of circumstances, and losing sight of facts of greater importance. No error of judgment can really be introduced by this sportive ratiocination, this mock logic, while it perhaps may be the means of disclosing many ingenious and subtle observations, to which, afterwards, you may, if you will, assign their just relative importance.

It would be a work of supererogation, even if space allowed us, to go critically over the whole writings of Lamb—his poems, his essays, and his letters. It is the last alone that we shall venture to pause upon, or from which we may hope to make any extract not already familiar to the reader. His poetry, indeed, cannot claim much critical attention. It is possible, here and there, to find an elegant verse, or a beautiful expression; there is a gentle, amiable, pleasing tone throughout it; but, upon the whole, it is without force, has nothing to recommend it of deep thought or strong passion. His tragedy of John Woodville is a tame imitation of the manner of the old dramatists—of their manner when engaged in their subordinate and preparatory scenes. For there is no attempt at tragic passion. We read the piece asking ourselves when the play is to begin, and while still asking[Pg 147] the question, find ourselves brought to its conclusion. If the poems are read by few, the Essays of Elia have been perused by all. Who is not familiar with what is now a historic fact—the discovery of roast pig in China? This, and many other touches of humour, it would be useless here to repeat. His letters, as being latest published, seem alone to call for any especial observations, and from these we shall cull a few extracts to enliven our own critical labours.

What first strikes a reader, on the perusal of the letters, is their remarkable similarity in style to the essays. Some of them, indeed, were afterwards converted into essays, and that more by adding to them than altering their structure. That style, which at first seems extremely artificial, was, in fact, natural in Lamb. He had formed for himself a manner, chiefly by the study of our classical essayists, and of still older writers, from which it would have been an effort in him to depart. With whatever ease, therefore, or rapidity, he may have written his letters, it was impossible that they should bear the impress of freedom. His style was essentially a lettered style, partaking little of the conversational tone of his own day. They could obtain the case of finished compositions, not of genuine letters. For this, if for no other reason, they can never be brought into comparison with those charming spontaneous effusions of humour which flowed from Cowper, in his letters to his old friend Hill, and his cousin, Lady Hesketh. They are charming productions, however, and the best of his letters will take rank, we think, with the best of his essays, in the public estimation.

We must first quote from a letter to Manning, after his visits to the lakes, to rescue his character in the eyes of the lovers of the picturesque from the imputation of being utterly indifferent to the higher beauties of nature.

"Coleridge received us with all the hospitality in the world. He dwells upon a small hill by the side of Keswick, in a comfortable house, quite enveloped on all sides by a net of mountains: great floundering bears and monsters they seemed, all couchant and asleep. We got in in the evening, travelling in a post-chaise from Penrith, in the midst of a gorgeous sunshine, which transmuted all the mountains into colours, purple, &c., &c. We thought we had got into fairyland. But that went off (and it never came again; while we stayed we had no more fine sunsets), and we entered Coleridge's comfortable study just in the dusk, when the mountains were all dark with clouds on their heads. Such an impression I never received from objects of sight before, nor do I suppose that I can ever again. Glorious creatures, fine old fellows—Skiddaw, &c.—I never shall forget ye, how ye lay about that night like an entrenchment—gone to bed, as it seemed for the night, but promising that ye were to be seen in the morning.... We have clambered up to the top of Skiddaw; and I have waded up the bed of Lodore. In fine, I have satisfied myself that there is such a thing as tourists call romantic, which I very much suspected before; they make such a sputtering about it.... Oh! its fine black head, and the bleak air atop of it, with the prospects of mountains about and about, making you giddy. It was a day that will stand out like a mountain, I am sure, in my life."

Of Mr Manning we are told little or nothing, though he seems to have been one of the very dearest friends of Lamb. His best letters are written to Manning—the drollest, and some of the most affecting. The following was written to dissuade him from some scheme of oriental travel. Manning was, at the time, at Paris:—

"Feb. 19, 1803.

"My Dear Manning,—The general scope of your letter afforded no indications of insanity; but some particular points raised a scruple. For God's sake, don't think any more of 'Independent Tartary.' What are you to do among such Ethiopians? Read Sir John Mandeville's travels to cure you, or come over to England. There is a Tartar-man now exhibiting at Exeter Change. Come and talk with him, and hear what he says first. Indeed, he is no favourable specimen of his countrymen! Some say they are cannibals; and then conceive a Tartar fellow eating my friend, and adding the cool malignity of mustard and vinegar! I am afraid 'tis the reading of Chaucer has misled you; his foolish stories about Cambuscan, and the ring and the horse of brass. Believe me, there are no such things. These are all tales—a horse of brass never flew, and a king's daughter never talked with birds. The Tartars really are a cold, insipid,[Pg 148] smoutchy set. You'll be sadly moped (if you are not eaten) amongst them. Pray try and cure yourself. Shave yourself oftener. Eat no saffron; for saffron eaters contract a terrible Tartar-like yellow. Shave the upper lip. Go about like a European. Read no books of voyages, (they are nothing but lies;) only now and then a romance, to keep the fancy under. Above all, don't go to any sights of wild beasts. That has been your ruin."

And when Manning really departed on his voyage to China, he writes to him in the following mingled strains of humour and of feeling. Being obliged to omit a great deal, it would only be unsightly to mark every instance where a sentence has been dropt. The italics, we must remark, are not ours. If Lamb's, they show how naturally, even in writing to his most intimate friend, he fell into the feelings of the author:—

"May 10, 1806.

"... Be sure, if you see any of those people whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders, that you make a draught of them. It will be very curious. Oh! Manning, I am serious to sinking almost, when I think that all those evenings which you have made so pleasant are gone, perhaps for ever. Four years, you talk of, may be ten—and you may come back and find such alterations! Some circumstance may grow up to you or to me, that may be a bar to the return of any such intimacy. I dare say all this is hum! and that all will come back; but, indeed, we die many deaths before we die, and I am almost sick to think that such a hold I had of you is gone."

"Dec. 5, 1806.

"Manning, your letter dated Hottentots, August the—what was it? came to hand. I can scarce hope that mine will have the same luck. China—Canton—bless us! how it strains the imagination, and makes it ache. It will be a point of conscience to send you none but bran-new news (the latest edition), which will but grow the better, like oranges, for a sea voyage. Oh that you should be so many hemispheres off—if I speak incorrectly you can correct me—why, the simplest death or marriage that takes place here must be important to you as news in the old Bastile."

He then tells him of the acceptance of his farce—Mr H.; which farce, by the way, was produced, and failed, Lamb turning against his own production, and joining the audience in hissing it off the stage. It certainly deserved its fate.

"Now, you'd like to know the subject. The title is, 'Mr H.' No more; how simple, how taking! A great H sprawling over the play-bill, and attracting eyes at every corner. The story is, a coxcomb appearing at Bath, vastly rich—all the ladies dying for him—all bursting to know who he is; but he goes by no other name than Mr H.—a curiosity like that of the dames of Strasburg about the man with the great nose. But I won't tell you any more about it. Yes, I will; but I can't give you any idea how I have done it. I'll just tell you that, after much vehement admiration, when his true name comes out, 'Hogsflesh,' all the women shun him, avoid him, and not one can be found to change her name for him; that's the idea—how flat it is here—but how whimsical in the farce! And only think how hard upon me it is, that the ship is despatched to-morrow, and my triumph cannot be ascertained till the Wednesday after. But all China will ring of it by-and-by. Do you find, in all this stuff I have written, anything like those feelings which one should send my old adventuring friend that is gone to wander among Tartars, and may never come again? I don't; but your going away, and all about you, is a threadbare topic. I have worn it out with thinking. It has come to me when I have been dull with anything, till my sadness has seemed more to have come from it than to have introduced it. I want you, you don't know how much; but if I had you here, in my European garret, we should but talk over such stuff as I have written.

"Good Heavens! what a bit only I've got left! How shall I squeeze all I know into this morsel! Coleridge is come home, and is going to turn lecturer on taste at the Royal Institution. How the paper grows less and less! In less than two minutes I shall cease to talk to you, and you may rave to the great Wall of China.—N.B. Is there such a wall? Is it as big as Old London Wall by Bedlam? Have you met with a friend of mine, named Ball, at Canton? If you are acquainted, remember me kindly to him."

But we should be driven into as hard straits as Lamb, at the close of his epistle, if we, should attempt, in the small space that remains to us, to give any fair idea of the various "humours" and interests, of many kinds, of these letters. We pass at[Pg 149] once to those that illustrate the last important incident of his life, his retirement from office. It is thus he describes his manumission, and the sort of troubled delight it brought with it, to Wordsworth:—

"6th April, 1825.

"Here am I then, after thirty-three years' slavery, sitting in my own room, at eleven o'clock this finest of all April mornings, a freed man, with £441 a-year for the remainder of my life, live I as long as John Dennis, who outlived his annuity and starved at ninety.

"I came home FOR EVER on Tuesday of last week. The incomprehensibleness of my condition overwhelmed me. It was like passing from life into eternity. Every year to be as long as three; i. e., to have three times as much real time—time that is my own in it! I wandered about thinking I was happy, but feeling I was not. But that tumultuousness is passing off, and I begin to understand the nature of the gift."

And to Bernard Barton he writes:

"My spirits are so tumultuary with the novelty of my recent emancipation, that I have scarce steadiness of hand, much more of mind, to compose a letter. I am free, Bernard Barton—free as air!

'The little bird, that wings the sky,
Knows no such liberty.'

I was set free on Tuesday in last week at four o'clock. I came home for ever!

"I have been describing my feelings, as well as I can, to Wordsworth, and care not to repeat. Take it briefly, that for a few days I was painfully oppressed by so mighty a change, but it is becoming daily more natural to me. I went and sat among them all, at my old thirty-three years' desk yester morning; and deuce take me, if I had not yearnings at leaving all my old pen-and-ink fellows, merry sociable lads, at leaving them in the lurch—fag, fag, fag! The comparison of my own superior felicity gave me anything but pleasure.

"B. B., I would not serve another seven years for seven hundred thousand pounds! I have got £440 net for life, with a provision for Mary if she survives me. I will live another fifty years."

But to live without any steady compulsory occupation requires an apprenticeship as much as any other mode of life. An idle man ought to be born and bred to the profession. With Lamb, literature could be nothing but an amusement, and for a mere amusement literature is far too laborious. It cannot, indeed, serve long as an amusement except when it is adopted also as a labour. He was destined, therefore, to make the humiliating discovery, which so many have made before him, that one may have too much time, as well as too little, at one's own disposal. Writing to the same Bernard Barton, a year or two afterwards, he says:—

"What I can do, and over-do, is to walk; but deadly long are the days, these summer all-day days, with but a half-hour's candle-light and no fire-light. I do not write, tell your kind inquisitive Eliza, and can hardly read. 'Tis cold work authorship, without something to puff one into fashion.... I assure you no work is worse than over-work. The mind preys on itself, the most unwholesome food. I bragged, formerly, that I could not have too much time. I have a surfeit; with few years to come, the days are wearisome. But weariness is not eternal. Something will shine out to take the load off that crushes me, which is at present intolerable. I have killed an hour or two in this poor scrawl. Well; I shall write merrier anon. 'Tis the present copy of my countenance I send, and to complain is a little to alleviate."

He had taken a house at Enfield, but the cares of housekeeping were found to be burdensome to Miss Lamb, and they took up their abode as boarders in the house of a neighbour. To this circumstance he alludes in the following extract from a letter to Wordsworth, which is the last we shall make, and with which we shall bid farewell to our subject. It will be found to be not the least remarkable amongst the letters of Lamb, and contains one passage, we think, the boldest piece of extravagance that ever humorist ventured upon with success. It just escapes!—and, indeed, it rather takes away our breath at its boldness than prompts to merriment.

"January 2, 1831.

"And is it a year since we parted from you at the steps of Edmonton stage? There are not now the years that there used to be. The tale of the dwindled age of men, reported of successional mankind, is true of the same man only. We do not live a year in a year now. 'Tis a punctum stans. The seasons pass with indifference. Spring cheers not, nor winter heightens our gloom; autumn hath[Pg 150] foregone its moralities. Let the sullen nothing pass. Suffice it, that after sad spirits, prolonged through many of its months, we have cast our skins; have taken a farewell of the pompous, troublesome trifle, called housekeeping, and are settled down into poor boarders and lodgers at next door, the Baucis and Baucida of dull Enfield. Here we have nothing to do with our victuals but to eat them; with the garden but to see it grow; with the tax-gatherer but to hear him knock; with the maid but to hear her scolded. Scot and lot, butcher, baker, are things unknown to us, save as spectators of the pageant. We are fed we know not how; quieted—confiding ravens. Yet in the self-condemned obliviousness, in the stagnation, some molesting yearnings of life, not quite killed, rise, prompting me that there was a London, and that I was of that old Jerusalem. In dreams I am in Fleet Market, but I wake and cry to sleep again. I die hard, a stubborn Eloisa in this detestable Paraclete. What have I gained by health? Intolerable dulness. What by early hours and moderate meals? A total blank. Oh! let no native Londoner imagine that health, and rest, and innocent occupation, interchange of converse sweet, and recreative study, can make the country anything better than altogether odious and detestable. A garden was the primitive prison, till man, with Promethean felicity and boldness, luckily sinned himself out of it."

Any further summary than what we have already given, of the literary character of Lamb, would be only tedious. He is one who will be generally liked, who with a smaller class will be greatly admired, and who will never excite hostile criticism, unless his injudicious friends shall elevate him to a higher pedestal than is due to him, or than he is manifestly fit to occupy. Such is the cold and calm verdict with which criticism must dismiss him. But those who have thoroughly enjoyed the essays of Elia and the letters of Lamb, will feel a warmer, a more partial affection than Criticism knows well how to express: she becomes somewhat impatient of her own enforced gravity; she would willingly throw away those scales with which, like Justice, we suppose, she is symbolically supplied, and, embracing the man as he is, laugh and be pleased with the rest of the world, without further thought of the matter.

[Pg 151]



"Please, sir, be this note for you?" asked the waiter.

"For me—yes; it is my name."

I did not recognise the handwriting, and yet the note was from one whose writing I had often seen. But formerly the writing was cramped, stiff, perpendicular, (a feigned hand, though I guessed not it was feigned;) now it was hasty, irregular, impatient—scarce a letter formed, scarce a word that seemed finished—and yet strangely legible withal, as the handwriting of a bold man almost always is. I opened the note listlessly, and read—

"I have watched for you all the morning. I saw her go. Well!—I did not throw myself under the hoofs of the horses. I write this in a public-house, not far. Will you follow the bearer, and see once again the outcast whom all the rest of the world will shun?"

Though I did not recognise the hand, there could be no doubt who was the writer.

"The boy wants to know if there's an answer," said the waiter.

I nodded, took up my hat, and left the room. A ragged boy was standing in the yard, and scarcely six words passed between us, before I was following him through a narrow lane that faced the inn, and terminated in a turnstile. Here the boy paused, and, making me a sign to go on, went back his way whistling. I passed the turnstile, and found myself in a green field, with a row of stunted willows hanging over a narrow rill. I looked round, and saw Vivian (as I intend still to call him) half kneeling, and seemingly intent upon some object in the grass.

My eye followed his mechanically. A young unfledged bird, that had left the nest too soon, stood, all still and alone, on the bare short sward—its beak open as for food, its gaze fixed on us with a wistful stare. Methought there was something in the forlorn bird that softened me more to the forlorner youth, of whom it seemed a type.

"Now," said Vivian, speaking half to himself, half to me, "did the bird fall from the nest, or leave the nest at its own wild whim? The parent does not protect it. Mind, I say not it is the parent's fault—perhaps the fault is all with the wanderer. But, look you, though the parent is not here, the foe is!—yonder, see!"

And the young man pointed to a large brindled cat, that, kept back from its prey by our unwelcome neighbourhood, still remained watchful, a few paces off, stirring its tail gently backwards and forwards, and with that stealthy look in its round eyes, dulled by the sun—half fierce, half frightened—which belongs to its tribe, when man comes between the devourer and the victim.

"I do see," said I, "but a passing footstep has saved the bird!"

"Stop!" said Vivian, laying my hand on his own, and with his old bitter smile on his lip—"stop! do you think it mercy to save the bird? What from? and what for? From a natural enemy—from a short pang and a quick death? Fie!—is not that better than slow starvation? or, if you take more heed of it, than the prison-bars of a cage? You cannot restore the nest, you cannot recall the parent. Be wiser in your mercy: leave the bird to its gentlest fate!"

I looked hard on Vivian; the lip had lost the bitter smile. He rose and turned away. I sought to take up the poor bird, but it did not know its friends, and ran from me, chirping piteously—ran towards the very jaws of the grim enemy. I was only just in time to scare away the beast, which sprang up a tree, and glared down through the hanging boughs. Then I followed the bird, and, as I followed, I heard, not knowing, at first whence the sound came, a short, quick, tremulous note. Was it near? was it far?—from the earth? in the sky? Poor parent-bird!—like parent-love, it[Pg 152] seemed now far and now near; now on earth, now in sky!

And at last, quick and sudden, as if born of the space, lo! the little wings hovered over me!

The young bird halted, and I also. "Come," said I, "ye have found each other at last—settle it between you!"

I went back to the outcast.


Pisistratus.—How came you to know we had stayed in the town?

Vivian.—Do you think I could remain where you left me? I wandered out—wandered hither. Passing at dawn through yon streets, I saw the ostlers loitering by the gates of the yard, overheard them talk, and so knew you were all at the inn—all! (He sighed heavily.)

Pisistratus.—Your poor father is very ill! O cousin, how could you fling from you so much love!

Vivian.—Love!—his!—my father's!

Pisistratus.—Do you really not believe, then, that your father loved you?

Vivian.—If I had believed it, I had never left him! All the gold of the Indies had never bribed me to leave my mother!

Pisistratus.—This is indeed a strange misconception of yours. If we can remove it, all may be well yet. Need there now be any secrets between us? (persuasively.) Sit down, and tell me all, cousin.

After some hesitation, Vivian complied; and by the clearing of his brow, and the very tone of his voice, I felt sure that he was no longer seeking to disguise the truth. But, as I afterwards learned the father's tale as well as now the son's, so, instead of repeating Vivian's words, which—not by design, but by the twist of a mind habitually wrong—distorted the facts, I will state what appears to me the real case, as between the parties so unhappily opposed. Reader, pardon me if the recital be tedious. And if thou thinkest that I bear not hard enough on the erring hero of the story, remember that he who recites judges as Austin's son must judge of Roland's.




It was during the war in Spain that a severe wound, and the fever which ensued, detained Roland at the house of a Spanish widow. His hostess had once been rich; but her fortune had been ruined in the general calamities of the country. She had an only daughter, who assisted to nurse and tend the wounded Englishman; and when the time approached for Roland's departure, the frank grief of the young Ramouna betrayed the impression that the guest had made upon her affections. Much of gratitude, and something, it might be, of an exquisite sense of honour, aided, in Roland's breast, the charm naturally produced by the beauty of his young nurse, and the knightly compassion he felt for her ruined fortunes and desolate condition.

In one of those hasty impulses common to a generous nature—and which too often fatally vindicate the rank of Prudence amidst the tutelary Powers of Life—Roland committed the error of marriage with a girl of whose connexions he knew nothing, and of whose nature little more than its warm spontaneous susceptibility. In a few days subsequent to these rash nuptials, Roland rejoined the march of the army; nor was he able to return to Spain till after the crowning victory of Waterloo.

Maimed by the loss of a limb, and with the scars of many a noble wound still fresh, Roland then hastened to a[Pg 153] home the dreams of which had soothed the bed of pain, and now replaced the earlier visions of renown. During his absence a son had been born to him—a son whom he might rear to take the place he had left in his country's service; to renew, in some future fields, a career that had failed the romance of his own antique and chivalrous ambition. As soon as that news had reached him, his care had been to provide an English nurse for the infant—so that, with the first sounds of the mother's endearments, the child might yet hear a voice from the father's land. A female relation of Bolt's had settled in Spain, and was induced to undertake this duty. Natural as this appointment was to a man so devotedly English, it displeased his wild and passionate Ramouna. She had that mother's jealousy, strongest in minds uneducated; she had also that peculiar pride which belongs to her country-people, of every rank and condition; the jealousy and the pride were both wounded by the sight of the English nurse at the child's cradle.

That Roland, on regaining his Spanish hearth, should be disappointed in his expectations of the happiness awaiting him there, was the inevitable condition of such a marriage; since, not the less for his military bluntness, Roland had that refinement of feeling, perhaps over-fastidious, which belongs to all natures essentially poetic; and as the first illusions of love died away, there could have been little indeed congenial to his stately temper in one divided from him by an utter absence of education, and by the strong but nameless distinctions of national views and manners. The disappointment probably, however, went deeper than that which usually attends an ill-assorted union; for, instead of bringing his wife to his old tower, (an expatriation which she would doubtless have resisted to the utmost,) he accepted, maimed as he was, not very long after his return to Spain, the offer of a military post under Ferdinand. The Cavalier doctrines and intense loyalty of Roland attached him, without reflection, to the service of a throne which the English arms had contributed to establish; while the extreme unpopularity of the Constitutional Party in Spain, and the stigma of irreligion fixed to it by the priests, aided to foster Roland's belief that he was supporting a beloved king against the professors of those revolutionary and Jacobinical doctrines, which to him were the very atheism of politics. The experience of a few years in the service of a bigot so contemptible as Ferdinand, whose highest object of patriotism was the restoration of the Inquisition, added another disappointment to those which had already embittered the life of a man who had seen in the grand hero of Cervantes no follies to satirise, but high virtues to imitate. Poor Quixote himself—he came mournfully back to his La Mancha, with no other reward for his knight-errantry than a decoration which he disdained to place beside his simple Waterloo medal, and a grade for which he would have blushed to resign his more modest, but more honourable English dignity.

But, still weaving hopes, the sanguine man returned to his Penates. His child now had grown from infancy into boyhood—the child would pass naturally into his care. Delightful occupation!—At the thought, Home smiled again.

Now, behold the most pernicious circumstance in this ill-omened connexion.

The father of Ramouna had been one of that strange and mysterious race which presents in Spain so many features distinct from the characteristics of its kindred tribes in more civilised lands. The Gitáno, or gipsy of Spain, is not the mere vagrant we see on our commons and roadsides. Retaining, indeed, much of his lawless principles and predatory inclinations, he lives often in towns, exercises various callings, and not unfrequently becomes rich. A wealthy Gitáno had married a Spanish woman;[5] Roland's wife had been the offspring of this marriage. The Gitáno had died while Ramouna was yet extremely young, and her childhood had [Pg 154]been free from the influences of her paternal kindred. But, though her mother, retaining her own religion, had brought up Ramouna in the same faith, pure from the godless creed of the Gitáno—and, at her husband's death, had separated herself wholly from his tribe—still she had lost caste with her own kin and people. And while struggling to regain it, the fortune, which made her sole chance of success in that attempt, was swept away, so that she had remained apart and solitary, and could bring no friends to cheer the solitude of Ramouna during Roland's absence. But, while my uncle was still in the service of Ferdinand, the widow died; and then the only relatives who came round Ramouna were her father's kindred. They had not ventured to claim affinity while her mother lived; and they did so now, by attentions and caresses to her son. This opened to them at once Ramouna's heart and doors. Meanwhile, the English nurse—who, in spite of all that could render her abode odious to her, had, from strong love to her charge, stoutly maintained her post—died, a few weeks after Ramouna's mother, and no healthful influence remained to counteract those baneful ones to which the heir of the honest old Caxtons was subjected. But Roland returned home in a humour to be pleased with all things. Joyously he clasped his wife to his breast, and thought, with self-reproach, that he had forborne too little, and exacted too much—he would be wiser now. Delightedly he acknowledged the beauty, the intelligence, and manly bearing of the boy, who played with his sword-knot, and ran off with his pistols as a prize.

The news of the Englishman's arrival at first kept the lawless kinsfolk from the house; but they were fond of the boy, and the boy of them, and interviews between him and these wild comrades, if stolen, were not less frequent. Gradually Roland's eyes became opened. As, in habitual intercourse, the boy abandoned the reserve which awe and cunning at first imposed, Roland was inexpressibly shocked at the bold principles his son affected, and at his utter incapacity even to comprehend that plain honesty and that frank honour which, to the English soldier, seemed ideas innate and heaven-planted. Soon afterwards, Roland found that a system of plunder was carried on in his household, and tracked it to the connivance of the wife and the agency of the son, for the benefit of lazy bravos and dissolute vagrants. A more patient man than Roland might well have been exasperated—a more wary man confounded, by this discovery. He took the natural step—perhaps insisting on it too summarily—perhaps not allowing enough for the uncultured mind and lively passions of his wife: he ordered her instantly to prepare to accompany him from the place, and to give up all communication with her kindred.

A vehement refusal ensued; but Roland was not a man to give up such a point, and at length a false submission, and a feigned repentance soothed his resentment and obtained his pardon. They moved several miles from the place; but where they moved, there, some at least, and those the worst, of the baleful brood, stealthily followed. Whatever Ramouna's earlier love for Roland had been, it had evidently long ceased in the thorough want of sympathy between them, and in that absence which, if it renews a strong affection, destroys an affection already weakened. But the mother and son adored each other with all the strength of their strong, wild natures. Even under ordinary circumstances, the father's influence over a boy yet in childhood is exerted in vain, if the mother lend herself to baffle it. And in this miserable position, what chance had the blunt, stern, honest Roland (separated from his son during the most ductile years of infancy) against the ascendency of a mother who humoured all the faults, and gratified all the wishes, of her darling?

In his despair, Roland let fall the threat that, if thus thwarted, it would become his duty to withdraw his son from the mother. This threat instantly hardened both hearts against him. The wife represented Roland to the boy as a tyrant, as an enemy—as one who had destroyed all the happiness they had before enjoyed in each other—as one whose severity showed that he hated his own child;[Pg 155] and the boy believed her. In his own house a firm union was formed against Roland, and protected by the cunning which is the force of the weak against the strong.

In spite of all, Roland could never forget the tenderness with which the young nurse had watched over the wounded man, nor the love—genuine for the hour, though not drawn from the feelings which withstand the wear and tear of life—that lips so beautiful had pledged him in the bygone days. These thoughts must have come perpetually between his feelings and his judgment, to embitter still more his position—to harass still more his heart. And if, by the strength of that sense of duty which made the force of his character, he could have strung himself to the fulfilment of the threat, humanity, at all events, compelled him to delay it—his wife promised to be again a mother. Blanche was born. How could he take the infant from the mother's breast, or abandon the daughter to the fatal influences from which only, by so violent an effort, he could free the son?

No wonder, poor Roland! that those deep furrows contracted thy bold front, and thy hair grew gray before its time!

Fortunately, perhaps, for all parties, Roland's wife died while Blanche was still an infant. She was taken ill of a fever—she died delirious, clasping her boy to her breast, and praying the saints to protect him from his cruel father. How often that deathbed haunted the son, and justified his belief that there was no parent's love in the heart which was now his sole shelter from the world, and the "pelting of its pitiless rain." Again I say, poor Roland!—for I know that, in that harsh, unloving disrupture of such solemn ties, thy large generous heart forgot its wrongs; again didst thou see tender eyes bending over the wounded stranger—again hear low murmurs breathe the warm weakness which the women of the south deem it no shame to own. And now did it all end in those ravings of hate, and in that glazing gaze of terror!



Roland removed to France, and fixed his abode in the environs of Paris. He placed Blanche at a convent in the immediate neighbourhood, going to see her daily, and gave himself up to the education of his son. The boy was apt to learn; but to unlearn was here the arduous task—and for that task it would have needed either the passionless experience, the exquisite forbearance of a practised teacher, or the love, and confidence, and yielding heart of a believing pupil. Roland felt that he was not the man to be the teacher, and that his son's heart remained obstinately closed to him. He looked round, and found at the other side of Paris what seemed a suitable preceptor—a young Frenchman of some distinction in letters, more especially in science, with all a Frenchman's eloquence of talk, full of high-sounding sentiments, that pleased the romantic enthusiasm of the Captain; so Roland, with sanguine hopes, confided his son to this man's care. The boy's natural quickness mastered readily all that pleased his taste; he learned to speak and write French with rare felicity and precision. His tenacious memory, and those flexile organs in which the talent for languages is placed, served, with the help of an English master, to revive his earlier knowledge of his father's tongue, and to enable him to speak it with fluent correctness—though there was always in his accent something which had struck me as strange; but, not suspecting it to be foreign, I had thought it a theatrical affectation. He did not go far into science—little farther, perhaps, than a smattering of French mathematics; but he acquired a remarkable facility and promptitude in calculation. He devoured eagerly the light reading thrown in his way, and picked up thence that kind of knowledge which novels and plays afford, for good or[Pg 156] evil, according as the novel or the play elevates the understanding and ennobles the passions, or merely corrupts the fancy, and lowers the standard of human nature. But of all that Roland desired him to be taught, the son remained as ignorant as before. Among the other misfortunes of this ominous marriage, Roland's wife had possessed all the superstitions of a Roman Catholic Spaniard, and with these the boy had unconsciously intermingled doctrines far more dreary, imbibed from the dark paganism of the Gitános.

Roland had sought a Protestant for his son's tutor. The preceptor was nominally a Protestant—a biting derider of all superstitions indeed! He was such a Protestant as some defender of Voltaire's religion says the Great Wit would have been had he lived in a Protestant country. The Frenchman laughed the boy out of his superstitions, to leave behind them the sneering scepticism of the Encyclopédie, without those redeeming ethics on which all sects of philosophy are agreed, but which, unhappily, it requires a philosopher to comprehend.

This preceptor was doubtless not aware of the mischief he was doing; and for the rest, he taught his pupil after his own system—a mild and plausible one, very much like the system we at home are recommended to adopt—"Teach the understanding, all else will follow;" "Learn to read something, and it will all come right;" "Follow the bias of the pupil's mind; thus you develop genius, not thwart it." Mind, Understanding, Genius—fine things! But, to educate the whole man, you must educate something more than these. Not for want of mind, understanding, genius, have Borgias and Neros left their names as monuments of horror to mankind. Where, in all this teaching, was one lesson to warm the heart and guide the soul?

O mother mine! that the boy had stood by thy knee, and heard from thy lips, why life was given us, in what life shall end, and how heaven stands open to us night and day! O father mine! that thou hadst been his preceptor, not in book-learning, but the heart's simple wisdom! Oh! that he had learned from thee, in parables closed with practice, the happiness of self-sacrifice, and how "good deeds should repair the bad!"

It was the misfortune of this boy, with his daring and his beauty, that there was in his exterior and his manner that which attracted indulgent interest, and a sort of compassionate admiration. The Frenchman liked him—believed his story—thought him ill-treated by that hard-visaged English soldier. All English people were so disagreeable, particularly English soldiers; and the Captain once mortally offended the Frenchman, by calling Vilainton un grand homme, and denying, with brutal indignation, that the English had poisoned Napoleon! So, instead of teaching the son to love and revere his father, the Frenchman shrugged his shoulders when the boy broke into some unfilial complaint, and at most said, "Mais, cher enfant, ton père est Anglais—c'est tout dire." Meanwhile, as the child sprang rapidly into precocious youth, he was permitted a liberty in his hours of leisure, of which he availed himself with all the zest of his early habits and adventurous temper. He formed acquaintances among the loose young haunters of cafés, and spendthrifts of that capital—the wits! He became an excellent swordsman and pistol-shot—adroit in all games in which skill helps fortune. He learned betimes to furnish himself with money, by the cards and the billiard-balls.

But, delighted with the easy home he had obtained, he took care to school his features, and smooth his manner, in his father's visits—to make the most of what he had learned of less ignoble knowledge, and, with his characteristic imitativeness, to cite the finest sentiments he had found in his plays and novels. What father is not credulous? Roland believed, and wept tears of joy. And now he thought the time was come to take back the boy—to return with a worthy heir to the old Tower. He thanked and blest the tutor—he took the son. But, under pretence that he had yet some things to master, whether in book knowledge or manly accomplishments, the youth begged his father, at all events, not yet to return to England—to let him attend his tutor daily for some months. Roland[Pg 157] consented, moved from his old quarters, and took a lodging for both in the same suburb as that in which the teacher resided. But soon, when they were under one roof, the boy's habitual tastes, and his repugnance to all paternal authority, were betrayed. To do my unhappy cousin justice, (such as that justice is,) though he had the cunning for a short disguise, he had not the hypocrisy to maintain systematic deceit. He could play a part for a while, from an exulting joy in his own address; but he could not wear a mask with the patience of cold-blooded dissimulation. Why enter into painful details, so easily divined by the intelligent reader? The faults of the son were precisely those to which Roland would be least indulgent. To the ordinary scrapes of high-spirited boyhood, no father, I am sure, would have been more lenient; but to anything that seemed low, petty—that grated on him as gentleman and soldier—there, not for worlds would I have braved the darkness of his frown, and the woe that spoke like scorn in his voice. And when, after all warning and prohibition were in vain, Roland found his son, in the middle of the night, in a resort of gamblers and sharpers, carrying all before him with his cue, in the full flush of triumph, and a great heap of five-franc pieces before him—you may conceive with what wrath the proud, hasty, passionate man, drove out, cane in hand, the obscene associates, flinging after them the son's ill-gotten gains; and with what resentful humiliation the son was compelled to follow the father home. Then Roland took the boy to England, but not to the old Tower; that hearth of his ancestors was still too sacred for the footsteps of the vagrant heir!



And then, vainly grasping at every argument his blunt sense could suggest—then talked Roland much and grandly of the duties men owed—even if they threw off all love to their father—still to their father's name; and then his pride, always so lively, grew irritable and harsh, and seemed, no doubt, to the perverted ears of the son, unlovely and unloving. And that pride, without serving one purpose of good, did yet more mischief; for the youth caught the disease, but in a wrong way. And he said to himself,—

"Ho! then my father is a great man, with all these ancestors and big words! And he has lands and a castle—and yet how miserably we live, and how he stints me! But if he has cause for pride in all these dead men, why, so have I. And are these lodgings, these appurtenances, fit for the 'gentleman' he says I am?"

Even in England, the gipsy blood broke out as before; and the youth found vagrant associates, heaven knows how or where; and strange-looking forms, gaudily shabby, and disreputably smart, were seen lurking in the corner of the street, or peering in at the window, slinking off if they saw Roland—and Roland could not stoop to be a spy. And the son's heart grew harder and harder against his father, and his father's face now never smiled on him. Then bills came in, and duns knocked at the door. Bills and duns to a man who shrunk from the thought of a debt, as an ermine from a spot on its hide! And the son's short answer to remonstrance was,—"Am I not a gentleman?—these are the things gentlemen require." Then perhaps Roland remembered the experiment of his French friend, and left his bureau unlocked, and said, "Ruin me if you will, but no debts. There is money in those drawers—they are unlocked." That trust would for ever have cured of extravagance a youth with a high and delicate sense of honour: the pupil of the Gitános did not understand the trust; he thought it conveyed a natural though ungracious permission to take out what he wanted—and he took! To Roland this seemed a theft, and a theft of the[Pg 158] coarsest kind: but when he so said, the son started indignant, and saw in that which had been so touching an appeal to his honour, but a trap to decoy him into disgrace. In short, neither could understand the other. Roland forbade his son to stir from the house; and the young man the same night let himself out, and stole forth into the wide world, to enjoy or defy it in his own wild way.

It would be tedious to follow him through his various adventures and experiments on fortune, (even if I knew them all, which I do not.) And now, putting altogether aside his right name, which he had voluntarily abandoned, and not embarrassing the reader with the earlier aliases assumed, I shall give to my unfortunate kinsman the name by which I first knew him, and continue to do so, until—heaven grant the time may come!—having first redeemed, he may reclaim, his own. It was in joining a set of strolling players that Vivian became acquainted with Peacock; and that worthy, who had many strings to his bow, soon grew aware of Vivian's extraordinary skill with the cue, and saw therein a better mode of making their joint fortunes than the boards of an itinerant Thespis furnished to either. Vivian listened to him, and it was while their intimacy was most fresh that I met them on the highroad. That chance meeting produced (if I may be allowed to believe his assurance) a strong, and, for the moment, a salutary effect upon Vivian. The comparative innocence and freshness of a boy's mind were new to him; the elastic healthful spirits with which those gifts were accompanied startled him, by the contrast to his own forced gaiety and secret gloom. And this boy was his own cousin!

Coming afterwards to London, he adventured inquiry at the hotel in the Strand at which I had given my address; learned where we were; and, passing one night in the street, saw my uncle at the window—to recognise and to fly from him. Having then some money at his disposal, he broke off abruptly from the set into which he had been thrown. He resolved to return to France—he would try for a more respectable mode of existence. He had not found happiness in that liberty he had won, nor room for the ambition that began to gnaw him, in those pursuits from which his father had vainly warned him. His most reputable friend was his old tutor; he would go to him. He went; but the tutor was now married, and was himself a father, and that made a wonderful alteration in his practical ethics. It was no longer moral to aid the son in rebellion to his father. Vivian evinced his usual sarcastic haughtiness at the reception he met, and was requested civilly to leave the house. Then again he flung himself on his wits at Paris. But there were plenty of wits there sharper than his own. He got into some quarrel with the police—not indeed for any dishonest practices of his own, but from an unwary acquaintance with others less scrupulous, and deemed it prudent to quit France. Thus had I met him again, forlorn and ragged, in the streets of London.

Meanwhile Roland, after the first vain search, had yielded to the indignation and disgust that had long rankled within him. His son had thrown off his authority, because it preserved him from dishonour. His ideas of discipline were stern, and patience had been wellnigh crushed out of his heart. He thought he could bear to resign his son to his fate—to disown him, and to say, "I have no more a son." It was in this mood that he had first visited our house. But when, on that memorable night in which he had narrated to his thrilling listeners the dark tale of a fellow-sufferer's woe and crime—betraying in the tale, to my father's quick sympathy, his own sorrow and passion—it did not need much of his gentler brother's subtle art to learn or guess the whole, nor much of Austin's mild persuasion to convince Roland that he had not yet exhausted all efforts to track the wanderer and reclaim the erring child. Then he had gone to London—then he had sought every spot which the outcast would probably haunt—then had he saved and pinched from his own necessities, to have wherewithal to enter theatres and gaming-houses, and fee the agencies of police; then had he seen the form for which he had[Pg 159] watched and pined, in the street below his window, and cried in a joyous delusion, "He repents!" One day a letter reached my uncle, through his banker's, from the French tutor, (who knew of no other means of tracing Roland but through the house by which his salary had been paid,) informing him of his son's visit. Roland started instantly for Paris. Arriving there, he could only learn of his son through the police, and from them only learn that he had been seen in the company of accomplished swindlers, who were already in the hands of justice; but that the youth himself, whom there was nothing to criminate, had been suffered to quit Paris, and had taken, it was supposed, the road to England. Then at last the poor Captain's stout heart gave way. His son the companion of swindlers!—could he be sure that he was not their accomplice? If not yet, how small the step between companionship and participation! He took the child left him still from the convent, returned to England, and arrived there to be seized with fever and delirium—apparently on the same day (or a day before that on which) the son had dropped shelterless and penniless on the stones of London.



"But," said Vivian, pursuing his tale, "but when you came to my aid, not knowing me—when you relieved me—when from your own lips, for the first time, I heard words that praised me, and for qualities that implied I might yet be 'worth much.'—Ah! (he added mournfully,) I remember the very words—a new light broke upon me—struggling and dim, but light still. The ambition with which I had sought the truckling Frenchman revived, and took worthier and more definite form. I would lift myself above the mire, make a name, rise in life!"

Vivian's head drooped, but he raised it quickly, and laughed—his low mocking laugh. What follows of his tale may be told succinctly. Retaining his bitter feelings towards his father, he resolved to continue his incognito—he gave himself a name likely to mislead conjecture, if I conversed of him to my family, since he knew that Roland was aware that a Colonel Vivian had been afflicted by a runaway son—and, indeed, the talk upon that subject had first put the notion of flight into his own head. He caught at the idea of becoming known to Trevanion; but he saw reasons to forbid his being indebted to me for the introduction—to forbid my knowing where he was: sooner or later, that knowledge could scarcely fail to end in the discovery of his real name. Fortunately, as he deemed, for the plans he began to meditate, we were all leaving London—he should have the stage to himself. And then boldly he resolved upon what he regarded as the master scheme of life—viz., to obtain a small pecuniary independence, and to emancipate himself formally and entirely from his father's control. Aware of poor Roland's chivalrous reverence for his name, firmly persuaded that Roland had no love for the son, but only the dread that the son might disgrace him, he determined to avail himself of his father's prejudices in order to effect his purpose.

He wrote a short letter to Roland, (that letter which had given the poor man so sanguine a joy—that letter after reading which he had said to Blanche, "Pray for me,") stating simply, that he wished to see his father; and naming a tavern in the city for the meeting.

The interview took place. And when Roland, love and forgiveness in his heart—but (who shall blame him?) dignity on his brow, and rebuke in his eye—approached, ready at a word to fling himself on the boy's breast, Vivian, seeing only the outer signs, and interpreting them by his own sentiments—recoiled; folded his arms on his bosom, and said coldly, "Spare me reproach, sir—it is unavailing. I seek you only to propose that you shall save your name, and resign your son."

Then, intent perhaps but to gain[Pg 160] his object, the unhappy youth declared his fixed determination never to live with his father, never to acquiesce in his authority, resolutely to pursue his own career, whatever that career might be, explaining none of the circumstances that appeared most in his disfavour—rather, perhaps, thinking that, the worse his father judged of him, the more chance he had to achieve his purpose. "All I ask of you," he said, "is this: Give me the least you can afford to preserve me from the temptation to rob, or the necessity to starve; and I, in my turn, promise never to molest you in life—never to degrade you in my death; whatever my misdeeds, they will never reflect on yourself, for you shall never recognise the misdoer! The name you prize so highly shall be spared." Sickened and revolted, Roland attempted no argument—there was that in the son's cold manner which shut out hope, and against which his pride rose indignant. A meeker man might have remonstrated, implored, and wept—that was not in Roland's nature. He had but the choice of three evils, to say to his son: "Fool, I command thee to follow me;" or say, "Wretch, since thou wouldst cast me off as a stranger, as a stranger I say to thee—Go, starve or rob, as thou wilt!" or lastly, to bow his proud head, stunned by the blow, and say, "Thou refusest me the obedience of the son, thou demandest to be as the dead to me. I can control thee not from vice, I can guide thee not to virtue. Thou wouldst sell me the name I have inherited stainless, and have as stainless borne. Be it so!—Name thy price!"

And something like this last was the father's choice.

He listened, and was long silent; and then he said slowly, "Pause before you decide."

"I have paused long—my decision is made! this is the last time we meet. I see before me now the way to fortune, fairly, honourably; you can aid me in it only in the way I have said. Reject me now, and the option may never come again to either!"

And then Roland said to himself, "I have spared and saved for this son; what care I for aught else than enough to live without debt, creep into a corner, and await the grave! And the more I can give, why the better chance that he will abjure the vile associate and the desperate course." And so, out of that small income, Roland surrendered to the rebel child more than the half.

Vivian was not aware of his father's fortune—he did not suppose the sum of two hundred pounds a-year was an allowance so disproportioned to Roland's means—yet when it was named, even he was struck by the generosity of one to whom he himself had given the right to say, "I take thee at thy word; 'just enough not to starve!'"

But then that hateful cynicism which, caught from bad men and evil books, he called "knowledge of the world," made him think, "it is not for me, it is only for his name;" and he said aloud, "I accept these terms, sir; here is the address of a solicitor with whom yours can settle them. Farewell for ever."

At those last words Roland started, and stretched out his arms vaguely like a blind man. But Vivian had already thrown open the window, (the room was on the ground floor) and sprang upon the sill. "Farewell," he repeated: "tell the world I am dead."

He leapt into the street, and the father drew in the outstretched arms, smote his heart, and said—"Well, then, my task in the world of man is over! I will back to the old ruin—the wreck to the wrecks—and the sight of tombs I have at least rescued from dishonour shall comfort me for all!"



Vivian's schemes thus prospered. He had an income that permitted him the outward appearances of a gentleman—an independence modest indeed, but independence still. We were all gone from London. One[Pg 161] letter to me, with the postmark of the town near which Colonel Vivian lived, sufficed to confirm my belief in his parentage, and in his return to his friends. He then presented himself to Trevanion as the young man whose pen I had employed in the member's service; and knowing that I had never mentioned his name to Trevanion—for without Vivian's permission I should not, considering his apparent trust in me, have deemed myself authorised to do so—he took that of Gower, which he selected haphazard from an old Court Guide, as having the advantage in common with most names borne by the higher nobility of England, viz., of not being confined, as the ancient names of untitled gentlemen usually are, to the members of a single family. And when, with his usual adaptability and suppleness, he had contrived to lay aside, or smooth over, whatever in his manners would be calculated to displease Trevanion, and had succeeded in exciting the interest which that generous statesman always conceived for ability, he owned candidly, one day, in the presence of Lady Ellinor—for his experience had taught him the comparative ease with which the sympathy of woman is enlisted in anything that appeals to the imagination, or seems out of the ordinary beat of life—that he had reasons for concealing his connexions for the present—that he had cause to believe I suspected what they were, and, from mistaken regard for his welfare, might acquaint his relations with his whereabouts. He therefore begged Trevanion, if the latter had occasion to write to me, not to mention him. This promise Trevanion gave, though reluctantly; for the confidence volunteered to him seemed to exact the promise; but as he detested mystery of all kinds, the avowal might have been fatal to any farther acquaintance; and under auspices so doubtful, there would have been no chance of his obtaining that intimacy in Trevanion's house which he desired to establish, but for an accident which at once opened that house to him almost as a home.

Vivian had always treasured a lock of his mother's hair, cut off on her deathbed; and when he was at his French tutor's, his first pocket-money had been devoted to the purchase of a locket, on which he had caused to be inscribed his own name and his mother's. Through all his wanderings he had worn this relic; and in the direst pangs of want, no hunger had been keen enough to induce him to part with it. Now, one morning the ribbon that suspended the locket gave way, and his eye resting on the names inscribed on the gold, he thought, in his own vague sense of right, imperfect as it was, that his compact with his father obliged him to have the names erased. He took it to a jeweller in Piccadilly for that purpose, and gave the requisite order, not taking notice of a lady in the further part of the shop. The locket was still on the counter after Vivian had left, when the lady coming forward observed it, and saw the names on the surface. She had been struck by the peculiar tone of the voice, which she had heard before; and that very day Mr Gower received a note from Lady Ellinor Trevanion, requesting to see him. Much wondering, he went. Presenting him with the locket, she said smiling, "There is only one gentleman in the world who calls himself De Caxton, unless it be his son. Ah! I see now why you wished to conceal yourself from my friend Pisistratus. But how is this? can you have any difference with your father? Confide in me, or it is my duty to write to him."

Even Vivian's powers of dissimulation abandoned him, thus taken by surprise. He saw no alternative but to trust Lady Ellinor with his secret, and implore her to respect it. And then he spoke bitterly of his father's dislike to him, and his own resolution to prove the injustice of that dislike by the position he would himself establish in the world. At present, his father believed him dead, and perhaps was not ill-pleased to think so. He would not dispel that belief till he could redeem any boyish errors, and force his family to be proud to acknowledge him.

Though Lady Ellinor was slow to believe that Roland could dislike his son, she could yet readily believe that he was harsh and choleric, with a soldier's high notions of discipline; the young man's story moved her, his determina[Pg 162]tion pleased her own high spirit;—always with a touch of romance in her, and always sympathising with each desire of ambition—she entered into Vivian's aspirations with an alacrity that surprised himself. She was charmed with the idea of ministering to the son's fortunes, and ultimately reconciling him to the father,—through her own agency;—it would atone for any fault of which Roland could accuse herself in the old time.

She undertook to impart the secret to Trevanion, for she would have no secrets from him, and to secure his acquiescence in its concealment from all others.

And here I must a little digress from the chronological course of my explanatory narrative, to inform the reader that, when Lady Ellinor had her interview with Roland, she had been repelled by the sternness of his manner from divulging Vivian's secret. But on her first attempt to sound or conciliate him, she had begun with some eulogies on Trevanion's new friend and assistant, Mr Gower, and had awakened Roland's suspicions of that person's identity with his son—suspicions which had given him a terrible interest in our joint deliverance of Miss Trevanion. But so heroically had the poor soldier sought to resist his own fears, that on the way he shrank to put to me the questions that might paralyse the energies which, whatever the answer, were then so much needed. "For," said he to my father, "I felt the blood surging to my temples; and if I had said to Pisistratus, 'Describe this man,' and by his description I had recognised my son, and dreaded lest I might be too late to arrest him from so treacherous a crime, my brain would have given way;—and so I did not dare!"

I return to the thread of my story. From the time that Vivian confided in Lady Ellinor, the way was cleared to his most ambitious hopes; and though his acquisitions were not sufficiently scholastic and various to permit Trevanion to select him as a secretary, yet, short of sleeping at the house, he was little less intimate there than I had been.

Among Vivian's schemes of advancement, that of winning the hand and heart of the great heiress had not been one of the least sanguine. This hope was annulled when, not long after his intimacy at her father's house, she became engaged to young Lord Castleton. But he could not see Miss Trevanion with impunity—(alas! who, with a heart yet free, could be insensible to attractions so winning?) He permitted the love—such love as his wild, half-educated, half-savage nature acknowledged—to creep into his soul—to master it; but he felt no hope, cherished no scheme while the young lord lived. With the death of her betrothed, Fanny was free; then he began to hope—not yet to scheme. Accidentally he encountered Peacock. Partly from the levity that accompanied a false good-nature that was constitutional with him, partly from a vague idea that the man might be useful, Vivian established his quondam associate in the service of Trevanion. Peacock soon gained the secret of Vivian's love for Fanny, and, dazzled by the advantages that a marriage with Miss Trevanion would confer on his patron, and might reflect on himself, and delighted at an occasion to exercise his dramatic accomplishments on the stage of real life, he soon practised the lesson that the theatres had taught him—viz: to make a sub-intrigue between maid and valet serve the schemes and insure the success of the lover. If Vivian had some opportunities to imply his admiration, Miss Trevanion gave him none to plead his cause. But the softness of her nature, and that graceful kindness which surrounded her like an atmosphere, emanating unconsciously from a girl's harmless desire to please, tended to deceive him. His own personal gifts were so rare, and, in his wandering life, the effect they had produced had so increased his reliance on them, that he thought he wanted but the fair opportunity to woo in order to win. In this state of mental intoxication, Trevanion, having provided for his Scotch secretary, took him to Lord N——'s. His hostess was one of those middle-aged ladies of fashion, who like to patronise and bring forward young men, accepting gratitude for condescension, as a homage to beauty. She was struck by[Pg 163] Vivian's exterior, and that 'picturesque' in look and in manner which belonged to him. Naturally garrulous and indiscreet, she was unreserved to a pupil whom she conceived the whim to make 'au fait to society.' Thus she talked to him, among other topics in fashion, of Miss Trevanion, and expressed her belief that the present Lord Castleton had always admired her; but it was only on his accession to the marquisate that he had made up his mind to marry, or, from his knowledge of Lady Ellinor's ambition, thought that the Marquis of Castleton might achieve the prize which would have been refused to Sir Sedley Beaudesert. Then, to corroborate the predictions she hazarded, she repeated, perhaps with exaggeration, some passages from Lord Castleton's replies to her own suggestions on the subject. Vivian's alarm became fatally excited; unregulated passions easily obscured a reason so long perverted, and a conscience so habitually dulled. There is an instinct in all intense affection, (whether it be corrupt or pure,) that usually makes its jealousy prophetic. Thus, from the first, out of all the brilliant idlers round Fanny Trevanion, my jealousy had pre-eminently fastened on Sir Sedley Beaudesert, though, to all seeming, without a cause. From the same instinct, Vivian had conceived the same vague jealousy—a jealousy, in his instance, coupled with a deep dislike to his supposed rival, who had wounded his self-love. For the marquis, though to be haughty or ill-bred was impossible to the blandness of his nature, had never shown to Vivian the genial courtesies he had lavished upon me, and kept politely aloof from his acquaintance—while Vivian's personal vanity had been wounded by that drawing-room effect, which the proverbial winner of all hearts produced without an effort—an effect that threw into the shade the youth, and the beauty (more striking, but infinitely less prepossessing) of the adventurous rival. Thus animosity to Lord Castleton conspired with Vivian's passion for Fanny, to rouse all that was worst by nature and by rearing, in this audacious and turbulent spirit.

His confidant, Peacock, suggested from his stage experience the outlines of a plot, to which Vivian's astuter intellect instantly gave tangibility and colouring. Peacock had already found Miss Trevanion's waiting-woman ripe for any measure that might secure himself as her husband, and a provision for life as a reward. Two or three letters between them settled the preliminary engagements. A friend of the ex-comedian's had lately taken an inn on the North road, and might be relied upon. At that inn it was settled that Vivian should meet Miss Trevanion, whom Peacock, by the aid of the abigail, engaged to lure there. The sole difficulty that then remained would, to most men, have seemed the greatest—viz., the consent of Miss Trevanion to a Scotch marriage. But Vivian hoped all things from his own eloquence, art, and passion; and by an inconsistency, however strange, still not unnatural in the twists of so crooked an intellect, he thought that, by insisting on the intention of her parents to sacrifice her youth to the very man of whose attractions he was most jealous—by the picture of disparity of years, by the caricature of his rival's foibles and frivolities, by the commonplaces of "beauty bartered for ambition," &c., he might enlist her fears of the alternative on the side of the choice urged upon her. The plan proceeded, the time came: Peacock pretended the excuse of a sick relation to leave Trevanion; and Vivian, a day before, on pretence of visiting the picturesque scenes in the neighbourhood, obtained leave of absence. Thus the plot went on to its catastrophe.

"And I need not ask," said I, trying in vain to conceal my indignation, "how Miss Trevanion received your monstrous proposition!"

Vivian's pale cheek grew paler, but he made no reply.

"And if we had not arrived, what would you have done? Oh, dare you look into the gulf of infamy you have escaped!"

"I cannot, and I will not bear this!" exclaimed Vivian, starting up. "I have laid my heart bare before you, and it is ungenerous and unmanly thus to press upon its wounds. You can moralise, you can speak coldly—but I—I loved!"

[Pg 164]

"And do you think," I burst forth—"do you think that I did not love too!—love longer than you have done; better than you have done; gone through sharper struggles, darker days, more sleepless nights than you,—and yet—"

Vivian caught hold of me.

"Hush!" he cried; "is this indeed true! I thought you might have had some faint and fleeting fancy for Miss Trevanion, but that you curbed and conquered it at once. Oh no; it was impossible to have loved really, and to have surrendered all chance as you did!—have left the house, have fled from her presence! No—no, that was not love!"

"It was love! and I pray Heaven to grant that, one day, you may know how little your affection sprang from those feelings which make true love sublime as honour, and meek as is religion! Oh cousin, cousin!—with those rare gifts, what you might have been! what, if you will pass through repentance, and cling to atonement—what, I dare hope, you may yet be! Talk not now of your love; I talk not of mine! Love is a thing gone from the lives of both. Go back to earlier thoughts, to heavier wrongs!—your father—that noble heart which you have so wantonly lacerated, that much-enduring love which you have so little comprehended!"

Then with all the warmth of emotion I hurried on—showed him the true nature of honour and of Roland (for the names were one!)—showed him the watch, the hope, the manly anguish I had witnessed, and wept—I, not his son—to see; showed him the poverty and privation to which the father, even at the last, had condemned himself, so that the son might have no excuse for the sins that Want whispers to the weak. This, and much more, and I suppose with the pathos that belongs to all earnestness, I enforced, sentence after sentence—yielding to no interruption, over-mastering all dissent; driving in the truth, nail after nail, as it were, into the obdurate heart, that I constrained and grappled to. And at last, the dark, bitter, cynical nature gave way, and the young man fell sobbing at my feet, and cried aloud, "Spare me, spare me!—I see it all now! Wretch that I have been!"


On leaving Vivian, I did not presume to promise him Roland's immediate pardon. I did not urge him to attempt to see his father. I felt the time was not come for either pardon or interview. I contented myself with the victory I had already gained. I judged it right that thought, solitude, and suffering should imprint more deeply the lesson, and prepare the way to the steadfast resolution of reform. I left him seated by the stream, and with the promise to inform him at the small hostelry, where he took up his lodging, how Roland struggled through his illness.

On returning to the inn, I was uneasy to see how long a time had elapsed since I had left my uncle. But on coming into his room, to my surprise and relief I found him up and dressed, and with a serene though fatigued expression of countenance. He asked me no questions where I had been—perhaps from sympathy with my feelings in parting with Miss Trevanion—perhaps from conjecture that the indulgence of those feelings had not wholly engrossed my time.

But he said simply, "I think I understood from you that you had sent for Austin—is it so?"

"Yes, sir; but I named * * * * *, as the nearest point to the Tower, for the place of meeting."

"Then let us go hence forthwith—nay, I shall be better for the change. And here, there must be curiosity, conjecture—torture!" said he, locking his hands tightly together. "Order the horses at once!"

I left the room, accordingly; and while they were getting ready the horses, I ran to the place where I had left Vivian. He was still there, in the same attitude, covering his face with his hands, as if to shut out the sun. I told him hastily of Roland's improvement, of our approaching departure, and asked him an address in[Pg 165] London at which I could find him. He gave me as his direction the same lodging at which I had so often visited him. "If there be no vacancy there for me," said he, "I shall leave word where I am to be found. But I would gladly be where I was, before—" He did not finish the sentence. I pressed his hand and left him.


Some days have elapsed; we are in London, my father with us; and Roland has permitted Austin to tell me his tale, and received through Austin all that Vivian's narrative to me suggested, whether in extenuation of the past, or in hope of redemption in the future. And Austin has inexpressibly soothed his brother. And Roland's ordinary roughness has gone, and his looks are meek, and his voice low. But he talks little, and smiles never. He asks me no questions; does not to me name his son, nor recur to the voyage to Australia, nor ask 'why it is put off,' nor interest himself as before in preparations for it—he has no heart for anything.

The voyage is put off till the next vessel sails, and I have seen Vivian twice or thrice, and the result of the interviews has disappointed and depressed me. It seems to me that much of the previous effect I had produced is already obliterated. At the very sight of the great Babel—the evidence of the ease, the luxury, the wealth, the pomp, the strife, the penury, the famine, and the rags, which the focus of civilisation, in the disparities of old societies, inevitably gathers together—the fierce combative disposition seemed to awaken again; the perverted ambition, the hostility to the world; the wrath, the scorn; the war with man, and the rebellious murmur against Heaven. There was still the one redeeming point of repentance for his wrongs to his father—his heart was still softened there; and, attendant on that softness, I hailed a principle more like that of honour than I had yet recognised in Vivian. He cancelled the agreement which had assured him of a provision at the cost of his father's comforts. "At least, there," he said, "I will injure him no more!"

But while, on this point, repentance seemed genuine, it was not so with regard to his conduct towards Miss Trevanion. His gipsy nurture, his loose associates, his extravagant French romances, his theatrical mode of looking upon love intrigues and stage plots, seemed all to rise between his intelligence and the due sense of the fraud and treachery he had practised. He seemed to feel more shame at the exposure than at the guilt; more despair at the failure of success than gratitude at escape from crime. In a word, the nature of a whole life was not to be remodelled at once—at least by an artificer so unskilled as I.

After one of these interviews, I stole into the room where Austin sat with Roland, and, watching a seasonable moment when Roland, shaking off a reverie, opened his Bible, and sat down to it, with each muscle in his face set, as I had seen it before, into iron resolution, I beckoned my father from the room.

Pisistratus.—I have again seen my cousin. I cannot make the way I wish. My dear father, you must see him.

Mr Caxton.—I!—yes, assuredly, if I can be of any service. But will he listen to me?

Pisistratus.—I think so. A young man will often respect in his elder, what he will resent as a presumption in his contemporary.

Mr Caxton.—It maybe so: (then, more thoughtfully,) but you describe this strange boy's mind as a wreck!—in what part of the mouldering timbers can I fix the grappling-hook? Here, it seems that most of the supports on which we can best rely, when we would save another, fail us. Religion, honour, the associations of childhood, the bonds of home, filial obedience—even the intelligence of self-interest, in the philosophical sense of the word. And I, too!—a mere book-man! My dear son!—I despair!

Pisistratus.—No, you do not despair—no, you must succeed; for, if you do not, what is to become of[Pg 166] Uncle Roland? Do you not see his heart is fast breaking?

Mr Caxton.—Get me my hat; I will go. I will save this Ishmael—I will not leave him till he is saved!

Pisistratus (some minutes after, as they are walking towards Vivian's lodgings.)—You ask me what support you are to cling to! A strong and a good one, sir.

Mr Caxton.—Ay, what is that?

Pisistratus.—Affection! There is a nature capable of strong affection at the core of this wild heart! He could love his mother; tears gush to his eyes at her name—he would have starved rather than part with the memorial of that love. It was his belief in his father's indifference or dislike that hardened and embruted him—it is only when he hears how that father loved him, that I now melt his pride and curb his passions. You have affection to deal with!—do you despair now?

My father turned on me those eyes so inexpressibly benign and mild, and replied softly, "No!"

We reached the house; and my father said, as we knocked at the door, "If he is at home, leave me. This is a hard study to which you have set me; I must work at it alone." Vivian was at home, and the door closed on his visitor. My father stayed some hours.

On returning home, to my great surprise I found Trevanion with my uncle. He had found us out—no easy matter, I should think. But a good impulse in Trevanion was not of that feeble kind which turns home at the sight of a difficulty. He had come to London on purpose to see and to thank us.

I did not think there had been so much of delicacy—of what I may call the "beauty of kindness"—in a man whom incessant business had rendered ordinarily blunt and abrupt. I hardly recognised the impatient Trevanion in the soothing, tender, subtle respect that rather implied than spoke gratitude, and sought to insinuate what he owed to the unhappy father, without touching on his wrongs from the son. But of this kindness—which showed how Trevanion's high nature of gentleman raised him aloof from that coarseness of thought which those absorbed wholly in practical affairs often contract—of this kindness, so noble and so touching, Roland seemed scarcely aware. He sat by the embers of the neglected fire, his hands grasping the arms of his elbow-chair, his head drooping on his bosom; and only by a deep hectic flush on his dark cheek could you have seen that he distinguished between an ordinary visitor and the man whose child he had helped to save. This minister of state—this high member of the elect, at whose gift are places, peerages, gold sticks, and ribbons—has nothing at his command for the bruised spirit of the half-pay soldier. Before that poverty, that grief, and that pride, the King's Counsellor was powerless. Only when Trevanion rose to depart, something like a sense of the soothing intention which the visit implied seemed to rouse the repose of the old man, and to break the ice at its surface; for he followed Trevanion to the door, took both his hands, pressed them, then turned away, and resumed his seat. Trevanion beckoned to me, and I followed him down stairs, and into a little parlour which was unoccupied.

After some remarks upon Roland, full of deep and considerate feeling, and one quick, hurried reference to the son—to the effect that his guilty attempt would never be known by the world—Trevanion then addressed himself to me with a warmth and urgency that took me by surprise. "After what has passed," he exclaimed, "I cannot suffer you to leave England thus. Let me not feel with you, as with your uncle, that there is nothing by which I can repay—no, I will not so put it. Stay and serve your country at home: it is my prayer—it is Ellinor's. Out of all at my disposal, it will go hard but what I shall find something to suit you." And then, hurrying on, Trevanion spoke flatteringly of my pretensions, in right of birth and capabilities, to honourable employment, and placed before me a picture of public life—its prizes and distinctions—which, for the moment at least, made my heart beat loud and my breath come quick. But still, even then, I felt (was it an unreasonable pride?) that there was something[Pg 167] that jarred, something that humbled, in the thought of holding all my fortunes as a dependency on the father of the woman I loved, but might not aspire to;—something even of personal degradation in the mere feeling that I was thus to be repaid for a service, and recompensed for a loss. But these were not reasons I could advance; and, indeed, so for the time did Trevanion's generosity and eloquence overpower me, that I could only falter out my thanks, and my promise that I would consider and let him know.

With that promise he was forced to content himself; he told me to direct to him at his favourite country-seat, whither he was going that day, and so left me. I looked round the humble parlour of the mean lodging-house, and Trevanion's words came again before me like a flash of golden light. I stole into the open air, and wandered through the crowded streets, agitated and disturbed.


Several days elapsed—and of each day my father spent a considerable part at Vivian's lodgings. But he maintained a reserve as to his success, begged me not to question him, and to refrain also for the present from visiting my cousin. My uncle guessed or knew his brother's mission; for I observed that, whenever Austin went noiseless away, his eye brightened, and the colour rose in a hectic flush to his cheek. At last my father came to me one morning, his carpet-bag in his hand, and said, "I am going away for a week or two. Keep Roland company till I return."

"Going with him?"

"With him."

"That is a good sign."

"I hope so; that is all I can say now."

The week had not quite passed when I received from my father the letter I am about to place before the reader; and you may judge how earnestly his soul must have been in the task it had volunteered, if you observe how little, comparatively speaking, the letter contains of the subtleties and pedantries (may the last word be pardoned, for it is scarcely a just one) which ordinarily left my father a scholar even in the midst of his emotions. He seemed here to have abandoned his books, to have put the human heart before the eyes of his pupil, and said, "Read, and unlearn!"

To Pisistratus Caxton.

"My Dear Son,—It were needless to tell you all the earlier difficulties I have had to encounter with my charge, nor to repeat all the means which, acting on your suggestion, (a correct one,) I have employed to arouse feelings long dormant and confused, and allay others, long prematurely active, and terribly distinct. The evil was simply this: here was the intelligence of a man in all that is evil—and the ignorance of an infant in all that is good. In matters merely worldly, what wonderful acumen! in the plain principles of right and wrong, what gross and stolid obtuseness! At one time, I am straining all my poor wit to grapple in an encounter on the knottiest mysteries of social life; at another, I am guiding reluctant fingers over the horn-book of the most obvious morals. Here hieroglyphics, and there pot-hooks! But as long as there is affection in a man, why, there is Nature to begin with! To get rid of all the rubbish laid upon her, clear back the way to that Nature, and start afresh—that is one's only chance.

"Well, by degrees I won my way, waiting patiently till the bosom, pleased with the relief, disgorged itself of all 'its perilous stuff,'—not chiding—not even remonstrating, seeming almost to sympathise, till I got him Socratically to disprove himself. When I saw that he no longer feared me—that my company had become a relief to him—I proposed an excursion, and did not tell him whither.

"Avoiding as much as possible the main north road, (for I did not wish, as you may suppose, to set fire to a train of associations that might blow[Pg 168] us up to the dog-star,) and, where that avoidance was not possible, travelling by night, I got him into the neighbourhood of the old Tower. I would not admit him under its roof. But you know the little inn, three miles off the trout stream?—we made our abode there.

"Well, I have taken him into the village, preserving his incognito. I have entered with him into cottages, and turned the talk upon Roland. You know how your uncle is adored; you know what anecdotes of his bold, warm-hearted youth once, and now of his kind and charitable age, would spring up from the garrulous lips of gratitude! I made him see with his own eyes, hear with his own ears, how all who knew Roland loved and honoured him—except his son. Then I took him round the ruins—(still not suffering him to enter the house,) for those ruins are the key to Roland's character—seeing them, one sees the pathos in his poor foible of family pride. There, you distinguish it from the insolent boasts of the prosperous, and feel that it is little more than the pious reverence to the dead—'the tender culture of the tomb.' We sat down on heaps of mouldering stone, and it was there that I explained to him what Roland was in youth, and what he had dreamed that a son would be to him. I showed him the graves of his ancestors, and explained to him why they were sacred in Roland's eyes! I had gained a great way, when he longed to enter the home that should have been his; and I could make him pause of his own accord, and say, 'No, I must first be worthy of it.' Then you would have smiled—sly satirist that you are—to have heard me impressing upon this acute, sharp-witted youth, all that we plain folk understand by the name of HOME—its perfect trust and truth, its simple holiness, its exquisite happiness—being to the world what conscience is to the human mind. And after that, I brought in his sister, whom till then he had scarcely named—for whom he scarcely seemed to care—brought her in to aid the father, and endear the home. 'And you know,' said I, 'that if Roland were to die, it would be a brother's duty to supply his place; to shield her innocence—to protect her name! A good name is something, then. Your father was not so wrong to prize it. You would like yours to be that which your sister would be proud to own!'

"While we were talking, Blanche suddenly came to the spot, and rushed to my arms. She looked on him as a stranger; but I saw his knees tremble. And then she was about to put her hand in his—but I drew her back. Was I cruel? He thought so. But when I dismissed her, I replied to his reproach, 'Your sister is a part of Home. If you think yourself worthy of either, go and claim both; I will not object.'—'She has my mother's eyes,' said he, and walked away. I left him to muse amidst the ruins, while I went in to see your poor mother, and relieve her fears about Roland, and make her understand why I could not yet return home.

"This brief sight of his sister has sunk deep into him. But I now approach what seems to me the great difficulty of the whole. He is fully anxious to redeem his name—to regain his home. So far so well. But he cannot yet see ambition, except with hard, worldly eyes. He still fancies that all he has to do is to get money and power, and some of those empty prizes in the Great Lottery, which we often win more easily by our sins than our virtues. (Here follows a long passage from Seneca, omitted as superfluous.) He does not yet even understand me—or, if he does, he fancies me a mere bookworm indeed, when I imply that he might be poor, and obscure, at the bottom of fortune's wheel, and yet be one we should be proud of! He supposes that, to redeem his name, he has only got to lacker it. Don't think me merely the fond father, when I add my hope that I shall use you to advantage here. I mean to talk to him to-morrow, as we return to London, of you, and of your ambition: you shall hear the result.

"At this moment, (it is past midnight,) I hear his step in the room above me. The window-sash aloft opens—for the third time; would to Heaven he could read the true astrology of the stars! There they are—bright, luminous, benignant. And I seeking to chain this wander[Pg 169]ing comet into the harmonies of heaven! Better task than that of astrologers, and astronomers to boot! Who among them can 'loosen the band of Orion?'—but who amongst us may not be permitted by God to have sway over the action and orbit of the human soul?

"Your ever affectionate father,

A. C."

Two days after the receipt of this letter, came the following; and though I would fain suppress those references to myself which must be ascribed to a father's partiality, yet it is so needful to retain them in connexion with Vivian, that I have no choice but to leave the tender flatteries to the indulgence of the kind.

"My Dear Son,—I was not too sanguine as to the effect that your simple story would produce upon your cousin. Without implying any contrast to his own conduct, I described that scene in which you threw yourself upon our sympathy, in the struggle between love and duty, and asked for our counsel and support; when Roland gave you his blunt advice to tell all to Trevanion; and when, amidst such sorrow as the heart in youth seems scarcely large enough to hold, you caught at truth impulsively, and the truth bore you safe from the shipwreck. I recounted your silent and manly struggles—your resolution not to suffer the egotism of passion to unfit you for the aims and ends of that spiritual probation which we call LIFE. I showed you as you were, still thoughtful for us, interested in our interests—smiling on us, that we might not guess that you wept in secret! Oh, my son—my son! do not think that, in those times, I did not feel and pray for you! And while he was melted by my own emotion, I turned from your love to your ambition. I made him see that you, too, had known the restlessness which belongs to young ardent natures; that you, too, had your dreams of fortune, and aspirations for success. But I painted that ambition in its true colours: it was not the desire of a selfish intellect, to be in yourself a somebody—a something—raised a step or two in the social ladder, for the pleasure of looking down on those at the foot, but the warmer yearning of a generous heart; your ambition was to repair your father's losses—minister to your father's very foible, in his idle desire of fame—supply to your uncle what he had lost in his natural heir—link your success to useful objects, your interests to those of your kind, your reward to the proud and grateful smiles of those you loved. That was thine ambition, O my tender Anachronism! And when, as I closed the sketch, I said, 'Pardon me: you know not what delight a father feels, when, while sending a son away from him into the world, he can speak and think thus of him! But this, you see, is not your kind of ambition. Let us talk of making money, and driving a coach-and-four through this villanous world,'—your cousin sank into a profound reverie, and when he woke from it, it was like the waking of the earth after a night in spring—the bare trees had put forth buds!

"And, some time after, he startled me by a prayer that I would permit him, with his father's consent, to accompany you to Australia. The only answer I have given him as yet, has been in the form of a question: 'Ask yourself if I ought? I cannot wish Pisistratus to be other than he is; and unless you agree with him in all his principles and objects, ought I to incur the risk that you should give him your knowledge of the world, and inoculate him with your ambition?' He was struck, and had the candour to attempt no reply.

"Now, Pisistratus, the doubt I expressed to him is the doubt I feel. For, indeed, it is only by home-truths, not refining arguments, that I can deal with this unscholastic Scythian, who, fresh from the Steppes, comes to puzzle me in the Portico.

"On the one hand, what is to become of him in the Old World? At his age, and with his energies, it would be impossible to cage him with us in the Cumberland ruins; weariness and discontent would undo all we could do. He has no resource in books—and I fear never will have! But to send him forth into one of the overcrowded professions—to place him amidst all those 'disparities of social life,' on the rough stones of[Pg 170] which he is perpetually grinding his heart—turn him adrift amongst all the temptations to which he is most prone—this is a trial which, I fear, will be too sharp for a conversion so incomplete. In the New World, no doubt, his energies would find a safer field; and even the adventurous and desultory habits of his childhood might there be put to healthful account. Those complaints of the disparities of the civilised world, find, I suspect, an easier if a bluffer reply from the political economist than the Stoic philosopher. 'You don't like them, you find it hard to submit to them,' says the political economist; 'but they are the laws of a civilised state, and you can't alter them. Wiser men than you have tried to alter them, and never succeeded, though they turned the earth topsy-turvy! Very well; but the world is wide—go into a state that is not so civilised. The disparities of the Old World vanish amidst the New! Emigration is the reply of Nature to the rebellious cry against Art.' Thus would say the political economist: and, alas, even in your case, my son, I found no reply to the reasonings! I acknowledge, then, that Australia might open the best safety-valve to your cousin's discontent and desires; but I acknowledge also a counter-truth, which is this—'It is not permitted to an honest man to corrupt himself for the sake of others.' That is almost the only maxim of Jean Jacques to which I can cheerfully subscribe! Do you feel quite strong enough to resist all the influences which a companionship of this kind may subject you to—strong enough to bear his burthen as well as your own—strong enough, also—ay, and alert and vigilant enough—to prevent those influences harming the others, whom you have undertaken to guide, and whose lots are confided to you? Pause well, and consider maturely, for this must not depend upon a generous impulse. I think that your cousin would now pass under your charge, with a sincere desire for reform; but between sincere desire and steadfast performance there is a long and dreary interval—even to the best of us. Were it not for Roland, and had I one grain less confidence in you, I could not entertain the thought of laying on your young shoulders so great a responsibility. But every new responsibility to an earliest nature is a new prop to virtue;—and all I now ask of you is—to remember that it is a solemn and serious charge, not to be undertaken without the most deliberate gauge and measure of the strength with which it is to be borne.

"In two days we shall be in London.—Yours, my Anachronism, anxiously and fondly,

A. C."

I was in my own room while I read this letter, and I had just finished it when, as I looked up, I saw Roland standing opposite to me. "It is from Austin," said he; then he paused a moment, and added in a tone that seemed quite humble, "May I see it?—and dare I?" I placed the letter in his hands, and retired a few paces, that he might not think I watched his countenance while he read it. And I was only aware that he had come to the end by a heavy, anxious, but not despondent sigh. Then I turned, and our eyes met, and there was something in Roland's look, inquiring—and as it were imploring. I interpreted it at once.

"Oh, yes, uncle," I said, smiling; "I have reflected, and I have no fear of the result. Before my father wrote, what he now suggests had become my secret wish. As for our other companions, their simple natures would defy all such sophistries as—but he is already half cured of those. Let him come with me, and when he returns he shall be worthy of a place in your heart, beside his sister Blanche. I feel, I promise it—do not fear for me! Such a change will be a talisman to myself. I will shun every error that I might otherwise commit, so that he may have no example to entice him to err."

I know that in youth, and the superstition of first love, we are credulously inclined to believe that love, and the possession of the beloved, are the only happiness. But when my uncle folded me in his arms, and called me the hope of his age, and stay of his house—the music of my father's praise still ringing on my heart—I do affirm that I knew a greater and a[Pg 171] prouder bliss than if Trevanion had placed Fanny's hand in mine, and said, "She is yours."

And now the die was cast—the decision made. It was with no regret that I wrote to Trevanion to decline his offers. Nor was the sacrifice so great—even putting aside the natural pride which had before inclined to it—as it may seem to some; for, restless though I was, I had laboured to constrain myself to other views of life than those which close the vistas of ambition with images of the terrestrial deities—Power and Rank. Had I not been behind the scenes, noted all of joy and of peace that the pursuit of power had cost Trevanion, and seen how little of happiness rank gave even to one of the polished habits and graceful attributes of Lord Castleton? Yet each nature seemed fitted so well—the first for power, the last for rank! It is marvellous with what liberality Providence atones for the partial dispensations of Fortune. Independence, or the vigorous pursuit of it; affection, with its hopes and its rewards; a life only rendered by art more susceptible to nature—in which the physical enjoyments are pure and healthful—in which the moral faculties expand harmoniously with the intellectual—and the heart is at peace with the mind: is this a mean lot for ambition to desire—and is it so far out of human reach? "Know thyself," said the old philosophy. "Improve thyself," saith the new. The great object of the Sojourner in Time is not to waste all his passions and gifts on the things external that he must leave behind—that which he cultivates within is all that he can carry into the Eternal Progress. We are here but as schoolboys, whose life begins where school ends; and the battles we fought with our rivals, and the toys that we shared with our playmates, and the names that we carved, high or low, on the wall, above our desks—will they so much bestead us hereafter? As new facts crowd upon us, can they more than pass through the memory with a smile or a sigh? Look back to thy school days, and answer.


Two weeks, since the date of the preceding chapter, have passed; we have slept our last, for long years to come, on the English soil. It is night; and Vivian has been admitted to an interview with his father. They have been together alone an hour and more, and I and my father will not disturb them. But the clock strikes—the hour is late—the ship sails to-night—we should be on board. And as we two stand below, the door opens in the room above, and a heavy step descends the stairs; the father is leaning on the son's arm. You should see how timidly the son guides the halting step. And now, as the light gleams on their faces, there are tears on Vivian's cheek; but the face of Roland seems calm and happy. Happy! when about to be separated, perhaps for ever, from his son? Yes, happy! because he has found a son for the first time; and is not thinking of years and absence, and the chance of death—but thankful for the Divine mercy, and cherishing celestial hope. If ye wonder why Roland is happy in such an hour, how vainly have I sought to make him breathe, and live, and move before you!

We are on board; our luggage all went first. I had had time, with the help of a carpenter, to knock up cabins for Vivian, Guy Bolding, and myself in the hold. For, thinking we could not too soon lay aside the pretensions of Europe—"de-fine-gentlemanise" ourselves, as Trevanion recommended—we had engaged steerage passage, to the great humouring of our finances. We had, too, the luxury to be by ourselves, and our own Cumberland folks were round us, as our friends and servants both.

We are on board, and have looked our last on those we are to leave, and we stand on deck leaning on each other. We are on board, and the lights, near and far, shine from the vast city; and the stars are on high, bright and clear, as for the first mariners of old. Strange noises, rough voices, and crackling cords, and here and there the sobs of women, mingling with the oaths of men. Now the swing and heave of the vessel—the dreary sense of exile that comes when the ship fairly moves over the waters. And still we stood, and looked, and listened; silent, and leaning on each other.

Night deepened, the city vanished—not a gleam from its myriad lights! The river widened and widened. How cold comes the wind!—is that a gale from the sea? The stars grow faint—the moon has sunk. And now, how desolate look the waters in the comfortless gray of dawn! Then we shivered and looked at each other, and muttered something that was not the thought deepest at our hearts, and crept into our berths—feeling sure it was not for sleep. And sleep came on us soft and kind. The ocean lulled the exiles as on a mother's breast.

[Pg 172]


A new school of novelists is evidently springing up on the western shores of the Atlantic. The pioneers are already in the field—and the main body, we suppose, will shortly follow. The style of these innovators seems a compound imitation of Gulliver, Munchausen, The Arabian Nights, and Robinson Crusoe; the ingredients being mixed in capricious proportions, well stirred, seasoned with Yankee bulls and scraps of sea-slang, and served hot—sometimes plain, at others with a hors d'œuvre of puffs. We know not how such queer ragouts affect the public palate; but we are inclined to prefer dishes of an older fashion. Mr Herman Melville, of New York and the Pacific Ocean, common sailor, first introduced the new-fangled kickshaw. This young gentleman has most completely disappointed us. Two or three years ago, he published two small volumes of sea-faring adventure and island-rambles, of which we thought more highly than of any first appearance of the kind we for a long time had witnessed. In the pages of Maga, where praise is never lightly or lavishly bestowed, we said as much; and were glad to hope that Typee and Omoo were but an earnest of even better things. And, therefore, sadly were we disgusted on perusal of a rubbishing rhapsody, entitled Mardi, and a Voyage Thither. We sat down to it with glee and self-gratulation, and through about half a volume we got on pleasantly enough. The author was afloat; and although we found little that would bear comparison with the fine vein of nautical fun and characteristic delineation which we had enjoyed on board the Little Jule, and afterwards at Tahiti, yet there was interest—strong interest at times; and a scene on board a deserted vessel was particularly exciting,—replete with power of a peculiar and uncommon kind. But this proved a mere flash in the pan—the ascent of the rocket which was soon to fall as a stick. An outlandish young female, one Miss Yillah, makes her first appearance: Taji, the hero and narrator of the yarn, reaches a cluster of fabulous islands, where the jealous queen Hautia opens a floral correspondence with him: where the plumed and turbaned Yoomy sings indifferent doggerel; and Philosopher Babbalanja unceasingly doth prose; and the Begum of Pimminee holds drawing-rooms, which are attended by the Fanfums, and the Diddledees, and the Fiddlefies, and a host of other insular magnates, with names equally elegant, euphonious, and significant. Why, what trash is all this!—mingled, too, with attempts at a Rabelaisian vein, and with strainings at smartness—the style of the whole being affected, pedantic, and wearisome exceedingly. We are reminded, by certain parts of Mardi, of Foote's nonsense about the nameless lady who "went into the garden to [Pg 173]cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie;" and at whose wedding the Joblilies, and the Picninnies, and the Great Panjandrum, danced till the gunpowder ran out at their boot-heels. Foote wrote his absurd paragraph, we believe, to try a friend's memory; Mr Melville has evidently written his unintelligible novel to try the public's patience. Of three things we are certain, namely, that the Panjandrum story is quite as easy to understand as Mardi; that it is much more diverting; and, the chief advantage of all, an infinite deal shorter.

Mardi, which we dismissed from our mind when we closed it with a yawn a day or two after its publication, has been recalled to our memory by another book, also proceeding from America, although published in London; and which, like Mr Melville's romance, blends the real and the possible with the ideal and the fantastic. Kaloolah (Heaven help these Yankee nomenclators) professes to be the autobiography of Jonathan Romer, a young Nantucket sailor, to whose narrative, during his absence in the interior of Africa, one of his countrymen, Dr W. S. Mayo, obligingly acts as editor. Most readers will probably be of opinion that the American M.D. might claim a nearer interest in the literary bantling—the first-born, we apprehend, of his own pen and imagination. But our business is with the book, and not with the author, whose name, whether Romer or Mayo, is as yet unknown to fame, but who need not despair of achieving reputation. Kaloolah combines with certain faults, which may presently be indicated, some very excellent qualities, and has several chapters, whereof any one contains more real good stuff, and ingenuity, and amusement, than the whole of the second and third volumes of Mardi, reduced to a concentrated essence. Besides, it is manifest that the two books must be viewed and judged differently—one as a first, and by no means unpromising attempt; the other, as the backsliding performance of a man who has proved himself capable of far better things.

Before commencing his own story, young Jonathan Romer introduces us to his ancestors, and asserts his right to a life of adventure. "Descended on both sides of the house from some of the earliest settlers of Nantucket, and more or less intimately related to the Coffins, the Folgers, the Macys, and the Starbucks of that adventurous population, it would seem that I had a natural right to a roving disposition, and to a life of peril, privation, and vicissitude. Nearly all the male members of my family, for several generations, have been followers of the sea: some of them in the calm and peaceful employment of the merchant-service; others, and by far the greater number, in the more dangerous pursuit of the ocean monster." After relating some of the feats of his family, and glancing at his own childhood, which gave early indications of the bold and restless spirit that animated him at a mature period, Jonathan presents himself to his readers at the age of eighteen—a stalwart stripling and idle student; the best rider, shot, swimmer, and leaper for many miles around, with little taste for books, and a very decided one for rambling in the woods with rifle and rod. At this time the academy, of which he had for four years been an inmate, is nearly broken up by what is called "a revival of religion;" in other words, a violent fit of fanatical enthusiasm, provoked and fed by Baptist and Methodist preachers. Pupils and teachers alike go mad with fervent zeal, classes are at an end, unceasing prayer is substituted for study, and Jonathan, who ls one of the few unregenerated, walks into the forest, and knocks the head off a partridge with a rifle-ball. The bird is picked up, and the excellence of the aim applauded by an old trapper and hunter, Joe Downs by name, well known along the shores of the Rackett and Grass rivers, in the northern and uninhabited part of the state of New York. Joe is not the wild, semi-Indian trapper of the south and west, whom Sealsfield and Ruxton have so graphically sketched; there is as much difference between the two characters as between a sailor in the coasting trade and a Pacific Ocean beachcomber. There is nothing of the half-horse, half-alligator style about Joe, whose manner is so mild, and his coat so decent, that he has been taken for a country parson. He despises the Redskins, sets no value on their scalps,[Pg 174] and would not shed their blood, except in self-defence. How he had once been thus compelled to do so, he relates to Jonathan in the course of their first conversation.

"It was the way towards Tupper's lake. There had been a light fall of snow, and I was scouting round, when I happened to make a circumbendibus, and came across my own track, and there I saw the marks of an Indian's foot right on my trail. Thinks I, that is kind of queer; the fellow must have been following me; howsomever I'll try him, and make sure; so I made another large circle, and again struck my own track, and there was the tarnal Indian's foot again. Says I, this won't do; I must find out what this customer wants, and how he'll have it. So I stopped short, and soon got sight of him; he knew that I saw him, so he came along up, in the most friendly manner you can think. But I didn't like his looks; he was altogether too darned glad to see me. He had no gun, but he had an almighty long-handled tomahawk, and a lot of skins and real traps. Thinks I, may be, old fellow, your gun has burst, or you've pawned it for rum, and you can't raise skins enough to redeem it, and you want mine, and perhaps you'll get it.

"At last I grew kind of nervous; I knew the fellow would hatchet me if I gave him a chance, and yet I didn't want to shoot him right down just on suspicion. But I thought, if I let him cut my throat first, it would be too late to shoot him afterwards. So I concluded that the best way would be to give him a chance to play his hand; and if so be he'd lead the wrong card, why I should have a right to take the trick. Just then, at the right time, a partridge flew into a clump that stood five or six rods off. So I kind of 'nœuvred round a little. I drew out my ramrod, as if to feel whether the ball in my rifle was well down; but instead of returning it again, I kept it in my hand, and, without letting the vagabond see me, I got out a handful of powder. I then sauntered off to the bush, shot the partridge, and in an instant passed my hand over the muzzle of my rifle, and dropped the powder in. I picked up the bird, and then just took and run my ramrod right down upon the powder. Now, he thought, was his chance before I loaded my gun again. He came towards me with his hatchet in his hand. I saw that he was determined to act wicked, and began to back off; he still came on. I lowered my rifle, and told him to keep away. He raised his tomahawk, gave one yell, and bounded right at me. When he was just about three or four feet from the muzzle, I fired. You never see a fellow jump so. He kicked his heels up in the air, and came down plump on his head, dead as Julius Cæsar. He never winked; the ramrod—a good, hard, tough piece of hickory—had gone clean through him, and stuck out about two feet from his back. Served him right; didn't it?"

The old trapper urges Jonathan to accompany him on an expedition into the woods, promising, as an inducement, to put him "right alongside the biggest catamount he has ever seen," and to let him fight it out, with rifle, hatchet, and knife, without making or meddling in the contest. He also pledges himself to show him a fishpond, "where the youngest infants, of a genteel pickerelto family, weigh at least three pounds." Such inducements are irresistible. Jonathan packs up a brace of blankets and his shooting and fishing fixings, and goes off in the canoe with Joe Downs on a pleasant up-stream cruise, enlivened by a succession of beautiful scenery, and by the varied and original conversation of his companion. On their way they fell in with a party of Indians, amongst them one Blacksnake, a brother of the gentleman whom Joe had spitted on his ramrod. He suspects Joe of having shot his kinsman, and Joe strongly suspects him of having already attempted to revenge his death.

"'I was leaning out of the second story doorway of Jones's shop one day,' said Joe, 'looking across the river, when, whizz, a rifle bullet came and buried itself in the doorpost. I hain't the least doubt that that very identical Blacksnake sent it. Thank God, his aim was not as his will! He's a bad chap. Why, I really believe it was he who murdered my old friend Dan White the trapper. If I only knew it was the fact, I wish I may be stuck, forked end uppermost, in a coon hole, if I wouldn't send a ball through his painted old braincase, this 'ere very identical minute. Darn your skin!' energetically growled Joe, shaking his fist at the distant canoe."

It would have saved Mr Downs some trouble and suffering if he had yielded to the impulse, and expended half-an-ounce of lead upon Blacksnake, who, about a week later, sneaks up, with two companions, to[Pg 175] the trapper's pine-log fire, and shoots the unfortunate Joe, but is shot down himself, the very next moment, by Jonathan Romer, whose double-barrel settles two of the murderers, and then descends with crushing force upon the cranium of the third. Joe not being dead, although very badly wounded, his young companion conveys him to a cave, whose hidden entrance the trapper had revealed to him the previous day, and there tends him till he is able to bear removal. With his committal to the hands of a village surgeon, Mr Romer's backwoods adventures terminate, a source of regret to the reader, since they are more lively and attractive than some subsequent portions of the book, evidently deemed by the author more interesting and important, and therefore dwelt upon at greater length. Indeed it is our opinion that the author of Kaloolah is mistaken, as young authors constantly are, in the real scope and nature of his own abilities, and that he would shine much more in a novel of backwoods life, or nautical adventure, than in the mixed style he has selected for his first attempt, which is a sort of mosaic, distinguished rather for variety and vividness of colour than for harmony and regularity of design.

Jonathan reaches home in time to receive the last adieu of his mother, a worthy but eccentric old lady, who had fitted out her son, on his departure for school, with a winding-sheet, amongst other necessaries, that he might be buried decently should he die far from his friends, and that he might be reminded of his mortality as often as he emptied his trunk. It was a curious conceit, but, as Jonathan observes, she was from Nantucket, and they are all queer people there, and filial affection induced him long to preserve the shroud. Mrs Romer dead, her son applies to the study of surgery, gets himself into trouble by a body-snatching exploit, has to levant to New York, and there, finding he is still in danger from the friends of the disinterred corpse, who have set the police upon his track, ships himself on board the fine fore-topsail schooner, "Lively Anne," bound for the Western Islands, and commanded by Captain Coffin, an old shipmate of his father's. In this smart little craft, he sees some country and more water, until, upon the voyage from the Azores to Malaga, a white squall or a waterspout—which of the two he could never ascertain—capsizes the schooner and dashes him senseless down the hatchway, whence he was just emerging, in alarm at the sudden uproar on deck. On recovering himself, he finds the vessel dismasted, the deck swept of all its fixtures, and the captain and crew missing. Doubtless they had been hurled into the waves by the same terrible force that had shattered the bulwarks and carried away boats, casks, and galley. The horizon was now clear, not a sail was in sight, and Jonathan Romer was alone on a helpless wreck in the middle of the wide ocean. But he was a man of resource and mettle, whom it was hard to discourage or intimidate; and finding the schooner made no water, he righted her as well as he could, and resigned himself to float at the will of the wind until he should meet a rescuing sail. This did not occur for some weeks, during which he floated past Teneriffe in the night, within hail of fishermen, who would not approach him for fear of the quarantine laws. At last, sitting over his solitary dinner, he perceived a ship heading up for the schooner.

"As she came on, I had full time to note all her beautiful proportions. She was small, apparently not above 300 tons, and had a peculiarly trim and clipper-like look. Her bright copper, flashing occasionally in the sunlight, showed that she was in light sailing trim; whilst from the cut of her sails, the symmetrical arrangement of her spars and rigging, and her quarter-boats, I concluded she must be a man-of-war. Passing me about half a mile astern, she stood on for a little distance, then, hoisting the bilious-looking flag of Spain, she tacked and ran for me, backing her main-topsail within twenty yards of my larboard beam. Her quarter-boat was immediately lowered, and half-a-dozen fellows, in red caps and flannel shirts, jumped into it, followed by an officer in a blue velvet jacket, with a strip of gold lace upon his shoulders, and a broad-brimmed straw hat upon his head. I ran below, stuffed all the money that I had in gold—about a thousand dollars—into[Pg 176] my pockets, and got upon deck again just as the boat touched the side."

The precaution was a good one: the saucy Bonito, Pedro Garbez master, was bound from Cuba to the coast of Africa, with a cut-throat crew and an empty slave-deck. Owing to an accident, she had sailed without a surgeon, and Romer was well received and treated so soon as his profession was known. When he discovered the ship's character, he would gladly have left her, but means were wanting, for the Bonito loved not intercourse with passing craft, and touched nowhere until she reached her destination—Cabenda Bay, on the western coast of Africa. There being no slaves at Cabenda, it was resolved to run a few miles up the Congo river.

"We at length reached Loonbee, and anchored off the town, which is the chief market or slave-depot for Embomma. It consists of about a hundred huts of palm-leaves, with two or three block-houses, where the slaves are confined. About two hundred slaves were already collected, and more were on their way down the river, and from different towns in the interior. After presents for the King of Embomma, and for the Mafooka (a sort of chief of the board of slave-trade,) and other officials, had been made, and a deal of brandy drunk, we landed, and in company with several Fukas, or native merchants, and two or three Portuguese, went to take a look at the slaves. Each dealer paraded his gang for inspection, and loudly dilated upon their respective qualities. They were all entirely naked, and of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and all had an air of stolid indifference, varied only in some of them by an expression of surprise and fear at sight of the white men."

In one of these unfortunate groups of dingy humanity, Romer was struck by the appearance of a young girl, whose features widely differed from the usual African stamp, and whose complexion, amongst a white population, would not have been deemed too dark for a brunette. Her gracefully curling hair contrasted with the woolly polls of her companions; her eyes were large and expressive, and her form elegant, but then emaciated by fatigue and ill-treatment. This is Kaloolah. On inquiry of the slave-dealer, a great burly negro, wielding a long thong of plaited buffalo hide, Romer learned that she is of a far distant nation, called the Gerboo Blanda, who dwell in stone houses on an extensive plain. The slave-dealer knows them only by report, and Kaloolah and her brother, who is near at hand, are the first specimens he has seen of this remote tribe. He had bought her two months' journey off, and then she had already come a long distance. And now that he had got them to the coast, he esteems them of small value compared to the full-blooded blacks; for Kaloolah has pined herself away to a shadow, and her brother, Enphadde, is bent upon suicide, and cannot be trusted with unfettered hands; so that for thirty dollars Romer buys them both. The Bonito having been driven out to sea by the approach of a British cruiser, he passes some days on shore with his new purchases; during which time, with a rapidity bordering on the miraculous, he acquires sufficient of their language, and they of his, to carry on a sort of piebald conversation, to learn the history of these pale Africans, and some particulars of their mysterious country.

"The Gerboo Blanda, I found, was a name given to their country by the Jagas, that its true name was Framazugda, and that the people were called Framazugs. That it was situated at a great distance in the interior, in a direction west by north, and that it was surrounded by negro and savage nations, through whom a trade was carried on with people at the north-west and east, none of whom, however, were ever seen at Framazugda, as the trade had to pass through a number of hands. Enphadde represented the country to be of considerable extent, consisting mostly of a lofty plateau or elevated plain, and exceedingly populous, containing numerous large cities, surrounded by high walls, and filled with houses of stone. Several large streams and lakes watered the soil, which, according to his account, was closely cultivated, and produced in abundance the greatest variety of trees, fruits, flowers, and grain. Over this country ruled Selha Shounsé, the father of Enphadde and Kaloolah, as king. It was in going from the capital to one of the royal gardens that their escort was attacked by a party of blacks from the lowlands, the attendants killed or dispersed, and the young prince and princess carried off."

[Pg 177]

Thirty dollars could hardly be deemed a heavy price for the son and daughter of the great Shounsé, and Jonathan was well pleased with his bargain, although it was not yet clear how he should realise a profit; but meanwhile it was something to be the proprietor of their royal highnesses of Framazugda; something too to gaze into Kaloolah's bright black eyes, and listen to her dulcet tones, as she warbled one of her country's ditties about the Fultul, a sweet-scented lily flourishing beside the rivulets of her native mountains. The verses, by the bye, are not to be commended in Mr Romer's version; they perhaps sounded better in the original Framazug, and when issuing from the sweet lips of Kaloolah.

Instead of a week, the Bonito was month absent, having been caught in a calm. Captain Pedro Garbez promised the Virgin Mary the value of a young negro in wax-lights for a capful of wind, but in vain; and he was fain to tear the hair from his head with impatience. Meanwhile Jonathan had caught a fever in the swamps of Congo, and Kaloolah had made his chicken-broth, and tended him tenderly, and restored him to health, although he was still so altered in appearance that Garbez knew him not when he mounted the side of the slaver. All speed was now made to buy and ship a cargo. The account of the latter process is interesting, and, we have no doubt, perfectly authentic; for although the author of Kaloolah has chosen to interlard, and perhaps deteriorate his book by strange stories of imaginary countries, animals, flowers, &c., it is not difficult to distinguish between his fact and his fiction, and to recognise the internal evidence of veracity and personal observation. A short extract may here with propriety be made, for the benefit of anti-slavery philanthropists.

"The first slaves that came on board were taken below the berth-deck, and arranged upon a temporary slave-deck placed over the water-casks, and at a distance of not more than three feet and a half from the deck overhead.... The slaves were arranged in four ranks. When lying down, the heads of the two outer ranks touched the sides of the ship, their feet pointing inboard or athwart the vessel. They, of course, occupied a space fore and aft the ship, of about six feet on either side, or twelve feet of the whole breadth. At the feet of the outside rank came the heads of the inner row. They took up a space of six feet more on either side, or together twelve feet. There was still left a space running up and down the centre of the deck, two or three feet in breadth; along this were stretched single slaves, between the feet of the two inner rows, so that, when all were lying down, almost every square foot of the deck was covered with a mass of human flesh. Not the slightest space was allowed between the individuals of the ranks, but the whole were packed as closely as they could be, each slave having just room enough to stretch himself out flat upon his back, and no more. In this way about two hundred and fifty were crowded upon the slave-deck, and as many more upon the berth-deck. Horrible as this may seem, it was nothing compared to the 'packing' generally practised by slavers. Captain Garbez boasted that he had tried both systems, tight packing and loose packing, thoroughly, and found the latter the best.

"'If you call this loose packing,' I replied, 'have the goodness to explain what you mean by tight packing?'

"'Why, tight packing consists in making a row sit with their legs stretched apart, and then another row is placed between their legs, and so on, until the whole deck is filled. In the one case each slave has as much room as he can cover lying; in the other only as much room as he can occupy sitting. With tight packing this craft ought to stow fifteen hundred.'"

The Bonito was not above three hundred tons. Such are the blessings for which the negroes are indebted to the tender-mercied emancipators who have ruined our West Indian colonies.

"'When it comes to closing the hatches,' (in the event of a gale) said Captain Pedro, 'it is all up with the voyage. You can hardly save enough to pay expenses. They die like leeches in a thunderstorm. I was once in a little schooner with three hundred on board, and we were compelled to lie-to for three days. It was the worst sea I ever saw, and came near swamping us several times. We lost two hundred and fifty slaves in that gale. We couldn't get at the dead ones to throw them overboard very handily, and so those that didn't die from want of air were killed by the rolling and tumbling about of the corpses. Of[Pg 178] the living ones some had their limbs broken, and every one had the flesh of his leg worn to the bone, by the shackle irons.'

"'Good God! and you still pursue the horrible trade?'

"'Certainly; why not? Despite of accidents the trade is profitable, and, for the cruelty of it, no one is to blame except the English. Were it not for them, large and roomy vessels would be employed, and it would be an object to bring the slaves over with every comfort, and in as good condition as possible. Now, every consideration must be sacrificed to the one great object—escape from capture by the British cruisers.'

"I had no wish to reply to the captain's argument. One might as well reply to a defence of blasphemy or murder. Giddy, faint, and sick, I turned with loathing from the fiends in human guise, and sought the more genial companionship of the inmates of my state-room."

These were Kaloolah and Enphadde. To conceal the beauty of the former, perilous amidst the lawless crew of the slaver, Jonathan had marked her face with caustic, producing black spots which had the appearance of disease. This temporary disfigurement secured her from licentious outrage, but not from harsh treatment. Monte, second captain of the Bonito, was an ex-pirate, whose vessel had been destroyed by Yankee cruisers. To spite Romer, whom he detested as an American, he threatened to send Kaloolah and her brother amongst the slaves, and took every opportunity of abusing them. Chapter xxi. passes wholly on board the slaver, and is excellent of its kind. The Bonito is chased by a man-of-war, but escapes. At daybreak, whilst lying in his berth, Romer hears a bustle on deck, followed by shrill cries and plunges in the water. The following is good:—

"I jumped from my berth and stepped out upon deck. A dense fog brooded upon the surface of the ocean, and closely enveloped the ship—standing up on either side, like huge perpendicular walls of granite, and leaving a comparatively clear space—the area of the deck and the height of the main-topmast crosstrees. Inboard, the sight ranged nearly free fore-and-aft the ship, but seaward no eye could penetrate, more than a yard or two, the solid-looking barrier of vapour. A man standing on the taffrail might have seen the catheads the whole length of the deck, whilst at the same time, behind him, the end of the spanker boom, projecting over the water, was lost in the mist. I looked up at the perpendicular walls and the lofty arch overhead with feelings of awe, and, I may add, fear. Cursed, indeed, must be our craft, when the genius of the mist so carefully avoided the pollution of actual contact. His rolling legions were close around us, but vapoury horse and misty foot shrank back affrighted from the horrors of our blood-stained decks."

The phenomenon was doubtless attributable to the hot air generated in the crowded 'tween-decks. The cries and plashings that had startled Jonathan were soon explained. Virulent ophthalmia raged on board, and Monte was drowning the blind, whose value of course departed with their eyesight. A blind slave was "an encumbrance, an unsaleable article, a useless expense. Pitch him overboard! Twenty-five to-day, and a dozen more to-morrow!" But retribution was at hand, threatened, at least, by a British brig-of-war, which appeared when the fog cleared, at about a mile and a half to windward. During the chase, Monte, casually jostled by Kaloolah, struck her to the deck, and a furious scuffle ensued between him and Jonathan, who at last, seeing some of the crew approaching, knife in hand, leaped overboard, dragging his antagonist with him, and followed by Enphadde and Kaloolah. After a deep dive, during which Monte's tenacious grasp was at last relaxed, the intrepid Jonathan regained the surface, where he and his friends and enemy easily supported themselves till picked up by the brig. The swift slaver escaped. Monte was put in irons, Romer and his Framazugdan friends were made much of by Captain Halsey and the officers of her Majesty's brig Flyaway, and landed in the picturesque but pestilent shores of Sierra Leone. Then Kaloolah and her brother propose to seek their way homewards, and Jonathan takes ship for Liverpool. Previously to his departure, there are some love passages between the Yankee and the Princess of Framazugda. These are not particularly successful. Sentiment is not Dr Mayo's forte: he is much happier in scenes of bustle[Pg 179] and adventure—when urging his weary dromedary across boundless tracts of sand, or waging deadly combat with the fierce inmates of African jungles. His book will delight Mr Van Amburgh. There is a duel between a lion and a boa that we make no doubt of seeing dramatised at Astley's, as soon as a serpent can be tamed sufficiently for the performance. That Dr Mayo's lions are of the very first magnitude, the following description shows:—"His body was hardly less in size than that of a dray-horse; his paw as large as the foot of an elephant; while his head!—what can be said of such a head? Concentrate the fury, the power, the capacity, and the disposition for evil of a dozen thunderstorms into a round globe about two feet in diameter, and one would then be able to get an idea of the terrible expression of that head and face, enveloped and set off as it was by the dark framework of bristling mane!" This pleasing quadruped, disturbed in its forest solitude by the advent of Jonathan and the fair Kaloolah, who have wandered, lover-like, to some distance from their bivouac, at once prepares to breakfast upon them. Jonathan had imprudently laid down his gun to pluck wild honeysuckles for his mistress, when the lion, stepping in, cuts him off from his weapon. Suddenly "the light figure of Kaloolah rushed past me: 'Fly, fly, Jon'than!' she wildly exclaimed, as she dashed forward directly towards the lion. Quick as thought, I divined her purpose, and sprang after her, grasping her dress, and pulling her forcibly back, almost from within those formidable jaws. The astonished animal gave several jumps sideways and backwards, and stopped, crouching to the ground, and growling and lashing his sides with renewed fury. It was clearly taken aback by our unexpected charge upon him, but yet was not to be frightened into abandoning his prey. His mouth was made up for us, and there could be no doubt, if his motions were a little slow, that he considered us as good as gorged." Pulling back Kaloolah, and drawing his knife, Romer awaits, with desperate determination, the monster's terrible onslaught, when an unexpected ally arrives to the rescue. "It seemed as if one of the gigantic creepers I have mentioned had suddenly quitted the canopy above, and, endowed with life and a huge pair of widely distended jaws, had darted with the rapidity of lightning upon the crouching beast. There was a tremendous shaking of the treetops, and a confused wrestling and jumping and whirling over and about, amid a cloud of upturned roots and earth and leaves, accompanied with the most terrific roars and groans. As I looked again, vision grew more distinct. An immense body, gleaming with purple, green, and gold, appeared convoluted around the majestic branches overhead, and, stretching down, was turned two or three times around the struggling lion, whose head and neck were almost concealed from sight within the cavity of a pair of jaws still more capacious than his own." A full-grown boa, whose length is estimated by Mr Romer at about a hundred feet, (much less than many he subsequently saw, but still "a very respectable-sized snake,") had dropped a few fathoms of coil from the gigantic tree around which he was twined, and enveloped the lion, who soon was crushed to death in the scaly embrace. Jonathan makes no doubt that the serpent was about to swallow his victim whole, according to the custom of his kind; and it is certainly to be regretted that the entreaties of Kaloolah, combined with the "strong sickly odour" diffused by the boa, prevented his remaining to witness a process of deglutition which, considering the dimensions of the morsel to be swallowed, could not have been otherwise than curious.

Wrecked a second time, Romer again reaches the coast of Africa, in company with an old sailor named Jack Thompson. They fall into the hands of the Bedouins, and suffer much ill treatment, an account of which, and of various adventures and escapes, occupy many chapters, and would have borne a little curtailment. Romer is wandering about with a tribe, upon whom he has passed himself off as an Arab from a distant region, when he is compelled to join in an attack on a caravan. Kaloolah is amongst the prisoners. She has been captured by a party of [Pg 180]slave-hunters, and is on her way to Morocco, where her master hopes her beauty will fetch a good price from the Emperor Muley Abderrahman. In the partition of the spoil, she falls to the share of an old Arab, who is ill satisfied with the acquisition. "He was extremely chagrined at the turn of fortune which threatened to throw into the wrangling elements of his domestic felicity a feminine superfluity—or, as he expressed it, 'another tongue in his tent.'

"'Bismillah!' he exclaimed; 'God is great, but this is a small thing! She is not a man; she is not a black—she cannot work; but won't she eat and talk! They all eat and talk. I take a club sometimes, and knock them down; beat them; break their bones; but they still eat and talk! God's will be done! but it is too much to put such a thing upon me for my share! She is good for nothing: I cannot sell her.'"

The grumbling old Bedouin did sell her, however, to Jonathan, for three or four cotton shirts. Flight now becomes necessary, for Hassan, son of the chief of the tribe, seeks Jonathan's life, and Mrs Ali, the chief's wife, persecutes him with her misplaced affection, and is spiteful to Kaloolah, whom she looks upon as the chief obstacle to its requital. Upon this head our Yankee is rather good: "Respect for the sex," he says, "and a sentiment of gentlemanly delicacy, which the reader will appreciate, prevents me from dwelling upon the story at length. It was wrong, undoubtedly, in Seffora to love any other than her old, rugose-faced, white-bearded husband; but it is not for me to blame her. One thing, however, in her conduct can hardly be excused. True, I might have treated her affection with more tenderness; I might have nursed the gentle flowers of passion, instead of turning away from their fragrance; I might have responded to that 'yearning of the soul for sympathy'—have relieved, with the food of love, 'the mighty hunger of the heart;' but all this, and more that I might have done, but did not do, gave her no right to throw stones at Kaloolah." To avoid the pelting and other disagreeables, the lovers take themselves off in the night-time, mounted on heiries—camels of a peculiar breed and excellence, famed in the desert for endurance and speed. On their road they pick up, in a Moorish village, an Irish renegade; at some salt-works, they find Jack Thompson working as a slave; and soon afterwards their party is increased to five persons, by the addition of Hassan, a runaway negro. With this motley tail, Mr Romer pushes on in the direction of Framazugda. Here the editor very judiciously epitomises six long chapters in as many pages; and, immediately after this compressed portion, there begins what may be strictly termed the fabulous, or almost the supernatural part of the book. Previously to this there have been not a few rather startling incidents, but now the author throws the rein on the neck of his imagination, and scours away into the realms of the extravagant; still striving, however, by circumstantial detail, to give an appearance of probability to his astounding and ingenious inventions. Some of the descriptions of scenery and savage life in the wilderness are vivid and striking, and show power which might be better applied. Of the fabulous animals, the following account of an amiable reptile, peculiar to central Africa, will serve as a sufficient specimen of Yankee natural history:—

"It is an amphibious polypus. If the reader will conceive a large cart-wheel, the hub will represent the body of the animal, and the spokes the long arms, about the size and shape of a full-grown kangaroo's tail, and twenty in number, that project from it. When the animal moves upon land, it stiffens these radii, and rolls over upon the points like a wheel without a felloe. These arms have also the capability of a lateral prehensile contraction in curves, perpendicular to its plane of revolution, and enable the animal to grasp its prey, and draw it into its voracious mouth. It attacks the largest animals, and even man itself; but, if dangerous upon land, it is still more formidable in the water, where it has been known to attack and kill an alligator. This horrible monster is known by the name of the Sempersough or 'snake-star,' and is more dreaded than any other animal of Framazugda, inasmuch as the natives have no way of destroying it, except by catching it when young, in cane traps sunk in the water, and baited with hippopotamus cubs(!) Fortunately it is not[Pg 181] very prolific; and its increase is further prevented by the furious contests that these animals have among themselves. Sometimes twenty or thirty will grasp each other with their long arms, and twist themselves up into a hard and intricate knot. In this situation they remain, hugging and gnawing each other to death; and never relaxing their grasp until their arms are so firmly intertwined that, when life is extinct, and the huge mass floats, they cannot be separated. The natives now draw the ball ashore, cut it up with axes, and make it into a compost for their land." (!!)

Is Dr Mayo addicted to heavy suppers? We can just fancy an unfortunate individual, after a midnight meal on a shield of brawn and a Brobdingnagian crab, which he has omitted to qualify by a subsequent series of stiff tumblers, sinking into an uneasy slumber, and being rolled over by such an incubus as this vivacious waggon-wheel. Doubtless there is a possibility of a man dieting himself into this style of writing, whereof a short specimen may excite a smile, but whose frequent recurrence is necessarily wearisome, and which obviously escapes criticism. But the author of Kaloolah is not contented with brute monstrosities. He chronicles reports that reach his hero's ears, of nations of human monsters, with teeth filed to a sharp point (no uncommon practice amongst certain negro tribes,) with tusks projecting like those of a wild boar, and with pendant lips that continually drop blood. All this is childish enough; but Jack Thompson, who is a dry dog, caps these astounding fictions with a cannibal yarn from the Southern Hemisphere.

"'I've been among the New Zealanders,' quoth Jack, 'and there they use each other for fresh grub, as regular as boiled duff in a man-of-war's mess. They used to eat their fathers and mothers, when they got too old to take care of themselves; but now they've got to be more civilised, and so they only eat rickety children, and slaves, and enemies taken in battle.'

"'A decided instance of the progress of improvement, and march of mind,' said I.

"'Well, I believe that is what the missionaries call it,' replied Jack; 'but it's a bad thing for the old folks. They don't take to the new fashion—they are in favour of the good old custom. I never see'd the thing myself; but Bill Brown, a messmate of mine once, told me that, when he was at the Bay of Islands, he see'd a great many poor old souls going about with tears in their eyes, trying to get somebody to eat them. One of them came off to the ship, and told them that he couldn't find rest in the stomachs of any of his kindred, and wanted to know if the crew wouldn't take him in. The skipper told him he was on monstrous short allowance, but he couldn't accommodate him. The poor old fellow, Bill said, looked as though his heart would break. There were plenty of sharks round the ship, and the skipper advised him to jump overboard; but he couldn't bear the idea of being eaten raw.'"

The great audacity of Dr Mayo's fictions preclude surprise at the boldness of his tropes and similes. The tails of his lions lash the ground "with a sound like the falling of clods upon a coffin;" their roar is like the boom of a thirty-two pounder, shaking the trees, and rattling the boulders in the bed of the river. Of course, allowance must be made for the vein of humorous rhodomontade peculiar to certain American writers, and into which Dr Mayo sometimes unconsciously glides, and, at others, voluntarily indulges. His description of the conjuring tricks of the Framazugdan jugglers comes under the latter head.

"Some of them were truly wonderful, as, for instance, turning a man into a tree bearing fruit, and with monkeys skipping about in the branches; and another case, where the chief juggler apparently swallowed five men, ten boys, and a jackass, threw them all up again, turned himself inside out, blew himself up like a balloon, and, exploding with a loud report, disappeared in a puff of luminous vapour. I could not but admire the skill with which the tricks were performed, although I was too much of a Yankee to be much astonished at anything in the Hey, Presto! line."

A countryman of Mr Jefferson Davis is not expected to feel surprise at anything in the way of sleight of hand, or "double shuffle;" and there was probably nothing more startling to the senses in the evaporation of King Shounsé's conjuror, than in the natural self-extinction of the Mississippian debt. It is only a pity that Jonathan Romer did not carry his[Pg 182] smart fellow-citizen to the country of the Pholdefoos, a class of enthusiasts who devote their lives to a search for the germs of moral, religious, and political truth. Mr Davis would have felt rather out of his element at first, but could not have failed ultimately to have benefited by his sojourn amongst these singular savages.

On coming in sight of her father's capital, Kaloolah is overcome with emotion, and sinks weeping into her brother's arms. "I felt," says Jonathan, "that this was a situation in which even the most sympathising lover would be de trop. There were thronging associations which I could not share, vibrating memories to which my voice was not attuned, bonds of affection which all-powerful love might transcend, and even disrupt, but whose precise nature it could not assume. There are some lovers who are jealous of such things—fellows who like to wholly monopolise a woman, and who are constantly on the watch, seizing and appropriating her every look, thought, and feeling, with somewhat of the same notion of an exclusive right, as that with which they pocket a tooth-pick. I am not of that turn. The female heart is as curiously and as variously stocked as a country dry-goods store. A man may be perhaps allowed to select out, for his own exclusive use, some of the heavier articles, such as sheetings, shirtings, flannels, trace-chains, hobby-horses, and goose-yokes; but that is no reason why the neighbours should be at once cut off from their accustomed supply of small-wares."

We venture to calculate that it takes a full-blooded Yankee to write in this strain, which, reminds us, remotely, it is true, of some of Mr Samuel Slick's eccentric fancies. Dr Mayo has considerable versatility of pen; he dashes at everything, from the ultra-grotesque to the hyper-sentimental, from the wildest fable to the most substantial matter-of-fact; and if not particularly successful in some styles, in others he really makes what schoolboys call "a very good offer." But the taste of the day is by no means for extravaganza travels, after the fashion of Gulliver, but without the brilliant and searching satire that lurks in Lilliput and Laputa. Mr Herman Melville might have known that much; although we have heard say that certain keen critics have caught glimpses in his Mardi of a hidden meaning—one, however, which the most penetrating have hitherto been unable to unravel. We advise Dr Mayo to start afresh, with a better scheme. Instead of torturing his inventive faculties to produce rotatory dragons, wingless birds, (propelled through the air by valves in their heads,) and countries where courtiers, like Auriol in the ring at Franconi's, do public homage by standing on their hands; let him seek his inspiration in real life, as it exists in the wilder regions of the vast continent of which he is a native. A man who has strayed so far, and seen so much, can hardly be at a loss. The slaver's surgeon, the inmate of the Bedouin's tent, the bold explorer of the deadly swamps of Congo, had surely rambled nearer home before a restless fancy lured him to such distant and dangerous latitudes. Or are we too bold in assuming that the wilds and forests of Western America have echoed to the crack of his rifle, and that the West Indian seas have borne the furrow of his vessel's prow? It is in such scenes we would gladly find him, when next he risks himself in print: beneath the shade of the live oak or on the rolling prairie, or where the black flag, with the skeleton emblem, floats from the masthead. He has worked out his crotchet of an imaginary white nation in the heart of Africa, carrying it through with laborious minuteness, and with results hardly equal to the pains bestowed: let him now turn from the ideal to the real, and may our next meeting be on the Spanish main under rover's bunting, or west of the clearings, where the bison roams and the Redskin prowls, and the stragglers from civilisation have but begun to show themselves.

[Pg 183]



The evening after that in which the commander of the Gloucester Indiaman introduced his adventures, nearly the same party met on the poop to hear them continued.

"Well then," began Captain Collins, leaning back against a stanchion of the quarter-rail, with folded arms, legs crossed, and his eyes fixed on the weather-leech of the mizen-topsail to collect his thoughts;—"well then, try to fancy the Seringapatam in chase of the Gloucester; and if I do use a few extra sea-terms, I consider the ladies good enough sailors for them already. At any rate, just throw a glance aloft now and then, and our good old lady will explain herself; to her own sex, she's as good as a dictionary without words!"

The second day out we had the wind more from seaward, which broke up the haze into bales of cloud, and away they went rolling in for the Bay of Biscay; with a longer wave and darker water, and the big old Indiaman surged over it as easily as might be, the blue breeze gushing right into her main-tack through the heave of the following seas, and the tail of the trade-wind flying high above her trucks in shreds and patches. Things got more ship-shape on deck; anchor-flukes brought inboard on the head-rail, and cables stowed away—the very best sign you can have of being clear of the land. The first officer, as they called him, was a good-looking fellow, that thought no small-beer of himself, with his glossy blue jacket and Company's buttons, white trowsers, and a gold thread round his cap: he had it stuck askew to show how his hair was brushed, and changed his boots every time he came on deck. Still he looked like a sailor, if but for the East India brown on his face, and there was no mistake about his knowing how to set a sail, trim yards, or put the ship about; so that the stiff old skipper left a great deal to him, besides trusting in him for a first-rate navigator that had learned headwork at a naval school. The crew were to be seen all mustering before tea-time in the dog-watch, with their feet just seen under the foot mat of the fore-course, like actors behind a playhouse curtain: men that I warrant you had seen every country under heaven amongst them, as private as possible, and ready to enjoy their pots of tea upon the forecastle, as well as their talk.

The old judge evidently fought shy of company, and perhaps meant to have his own mess-table under the poop as long as the voyage lasted: scarcely any of the ladies had apparently got their sea-qualms over yet, and, for all I knew, she might not be on board at all; or, if she were, her father seemed quite Turk enough to keep her boxed up with jalousie-blinds, Calcutta fashion, and give her a walk in the middle watch, with the poop tabooed till morning! The jolly, red-faced indigo-planter was the only one that tried to get up anything like spirit at the table; indeed, he would have scraped acquaintance with me if I had been in a mood for it: all I did was to say 'Yes' and 'No,' and to take wine with him. "Poor fellow!" said he, turning to three or four of the cadets, that stuck by him like pilot-fish to an old shark, "he's thinking of his mother at home, I daresay." The fools thought this was meant as a joke, and began to laugh. "Why, you unfledged griffins you," said the planter, "what d'ye see to nicker at, like so many jackals in a trap? D'ye suppose one thinks the less of a man for having a heart to be sick in, as well as a stomach—eh?" "Oh, don't speak of it, Mr Rollock!" said one. "Come, come, old boy!" said another, with a white mustache on his lip, "'twon't do for you to go the sentimental, you know!" "Capsize my main-spanker, 'tis too funny, though!" put in a fellow who wore a glazed hat on deck, [Pg 184]and put down all the ropes with numbers on paper, as soon as he had done being sick. The planter leant back in his chair, looked at them coolly, and burst out a-laughing. "Catch me ever 'going home' again!" said he. "Of all the absurd occasions for impudence with the egg-shell on its head coming out, hang me if these fifteen thousand miles of infernal sea-water ain't the worst! India for ever!—that's the place to try a man! He's either sobered or gets room to work there; and just wait, my fine fellows, till I see you on the Custom-house Bunda at Bombay, or setting off up country—you're all of you the very food for sircars and coolies! That quiet lad there, now, soft as he looks,—I can tell by his eye he won't be long a griff—He'll do something! I tell you what, as soon as he's tasted a mango-fish, he'll understand the country! Why, sir!" said he again, smacking his lips, "'tis worth the voyage of itself—you begin a new existence, so to speak! I'll be bound all this lot o' water don't contain one single mango-fish! Remember, boys, I promised you all a regular blow-out of mango-fish, and florican with bread sauce, whenever you can get across to Chuckbully Factory!" "Blow good breeze, then; blow away the main jib!" said the nautical young gentleman; "I'll join you, old fellow!" "Not the best way to bring it about, though!" said the indigo-planter, good-naturedly, not knowing but there was such a sail on the ship.

The yellow setting sun was striking over the starboard quarter-boat, and the Bay of Biscay lay broad down to leeward for a view—a couple of large craft, with all studding-sails set before the wind, making for land, far enough off to bring their canvass in a piece, and begin to look blue with the air—one like a milkwoman with pitchers and a hoop; the other like a girl carrying a big bucketful of water, and leaning the opposite way to steady herself. There was one far to north-east, too, no more than a white speck in the gray sky; and the land-cloud went up over it into so many sea-lions' heads, all looking out of their manes. The children clapped their hands and laughed; and the ladies talked about the vessels, and thought they saw land—Spain or the Pyrenees, perhaps. However, it wasn't long before my American friend Snout caught sight of me in the midst of his meditations, as he turned bolt round on his toes to hurry aft again. "The fact is, mister," said he, "I'm riled a little at the 'tarnation pride of you Britishers. There now," said he, pointing at the blaze of the sun to westward, with his chin, "there's a consolation! I calculate the sun's just over Noo-York, which I expect to give you old country folks considerable pain!"

"No doubt!" said I, with a sigh, "one can't help thinking of a banker run off with ever so much English gold!" "You're a sensible chap, you are. It's a right-down asylum for oppressed Europains, that can't be denied." "And Africans too," I put in. "Indy, now," said he, "I reckon there's a sight of dollars made in that country—you don't s'pose I'm goin' out there for nothing? We'll just take it out o' your hands yet, mister. I don't ought to let you into the scheme till I know you better, you see; but I expect to want a sort o' company got up before we land. There's one of your nabobs, now, came into the ship at Possmouth with a whole tail of niggers-dressed-up ----." "And a lady with him, I think?" said I, as coolly as I could.—"I'll somehow open on that chap about British tyranny, I guess, after gettin' a little knowledge out of him. We'd just rise the niggurs, if they had not such a right-down cur'ous my-thullogy—but I tell you now, mister, that's one of the very p'ints I expect to meet. Miss'naries won't do it so slick off in two thousand years, I kinder think, as this indentical specoolation will in ten,—besides payin' like Peruvain mines, which the miss'nary line don't. I'm a regoolar Down-easter, ye see—kinder piercin' into a subject, like our nation in gin'ral—and the whull schim hangs together a little, I calculate, mister?" "So I should think, Mr Snout, indeed," I said. Here the American gave another chuckle, and turned to again on his walk, double quick, till you'd have thought the whole length of the poop shook: when who should I see with the[Pg 185] tail of my eye, but my friend the Kitmagar salaaming to Mr Snout, by the break of the quarterdeck. The Yankee seemed rather taken aback at first, and didn't know what to make of him. "S'laam, sah'b," said the dark servant, with an impudent look, and loud enough for me to hear, as I stepped from aft,—"Judge sahib i-send genteeman salaam—say too much hivvy boot he got—all same as Illimphant! S'pose master not so much loud walk, this side?" "Well!" broke out the American, looking at the Bengalee's flat turban and mustache, as if he were too great a curiosity to be angry with, then, turning on his heel to proceed with his walk, "Now, mister," said he to me, "that's what I call an incalculable impudent black—but he's the first I ever saw with hair on his lip, it's a fact!" "Master not mind?" said the Kitmagar, raising his key next time Mr Snout wheeled round. "Judge sahib burra burra buhadoorkea!—ver' great man!" "D—— niggur!" said Mr Snout, tramping away aft; "there's your British regoolations, I say, young man! niggurs bààing on the quarterdeck, and free-born citizens put off it!" "Bhote khoob, mistree!" squeaked out the native again; "burra judge sahib not i-sleep apter he dine?—veri well—I tell the sahib, passiger mistree moor stamp-i-stamp all the moor I can say!" So off he went to report in the poop-cabin. A little after, up shot a head wrapped in a yellow bandanna, just on the level of the poop-deck, looking through the breast-rail; and the next thing I saw was the great East Indian himself, with a broad-flapped Manilla hat over this top-gear, and a red-flowered dressing-gown, standing beside the binnacle with Captain Williamson. "What the deuce, Captain Williamson!" said the judge, with an angry glance up to the poop, "cannot I close my eyelids after dinner for one instant—in my own private apartments, sir—for this hideous noise! Who the deuce is that person there—eh, eh?" "He's an American gentleman, I believe, Sir Charles," replied the captain. "Believe, sir!" said the judge, "you ought to know every individual, I think, Captain Williamson, whom you admitted into this vessel! I expressly stipulated for quiet, sir—I understood that no suspicious or exceptionable persons should travel in the same conveyance with my suwarry. I'd have taken the whole ship, sir!" "I've no more to do than tell him the regulations aboard, Sir Charles," said the captain, "and the annoyance will cease." "Tell him, indeed!" said the judge, a little more good-humouredly, "why, captain, the man looks like a sea-pirate! You should have taken only such raw griffins as that young lad on the other side. Ho, kitmagar!" "Maharaj?" said the footman, bowing down to the deck. "Slippers lao!" "Jee, khodabund," answered the native, and immediately after he reappeared from the round-house door, with a pair of turned-up yellow slippers. "Take them up with my salaam to that gentleman there," said Sir Charles, in Hindostance, "and ask him to use them." "Hullo!," sung out Mr Snout, on being hove-to by the kitmagar, with one hand on his breast and the other holding the slippers, "this won't do! You'd better not rile me again, you cussed niggur you—out o' my way!" There they went at it along the poop together, Mr Snout striding right forward with his long legs, and the kitmagar hopping backward out of his way, as he tried to make himself understood; till, all at once, the poor fellow lost his balance at the ladder-head, and over he went with a smash fit to have broken his neck, if the captain's broad back hadn't fortunately been there to receive it. The rage of Sir Charles at this was quite beyond joking; nothing else would satisfy him but the unlucky Yankee's being shoved off the poop by main force, and taken below—the one stamping and roaring like an old buffalo, and the other testifying against all "aristocratycal tyranny."

At eight bells, again, I found it a fine breezy night, the two upper mates walking the weather quarterdeck in blue-water style, six steps and a look to windward, then a wheel round, and, now and then, a glance into the binnacle. I went aft and leant over the Seringapatam's lee quarter, looking at the white backwash running aft from her bows, in[Pg 186] green sparks, into the smooth alongside, and the surge coming round her counter to meet it. Everything was set aloft that could draw, even to a starboard main-topmast-stunsail; the high Indiaman being lighter than if homeward-bound, and the breeze strong abeam, she had a good heel-over to port: but she went easily through the water, and it was only at the other side you heard it rattling both ways along the bends. The shadow of her went far to leeward, except where a gleam came on the top of a wave or two between the sails and under their foot. Just below the sheer of the hull aft it was as dark as night, though now and then the light from a port struck on it and went in again; but every time she sank, the bight of her wake from astern swelled up away round the counter, with its black side as smooth as a looking-glass. I kept peering into it, and expecting to see my own face, while all the time I was very naturally thinking of one quite different, and felt uneasy till I should actually see her. "Confound it!" I thought, "were it only a house, one might walk round and round it till he found out the window!" I fancied her bewitching face through the garden door, as clearly as if I saw it in the dark head of the swell; but I'd have given more only to hear that imp of a cockatoo scream once—whereas there was nothing but the water working up into the rudder-case; the pintles creaking, and the tiller-ropes cheeping as they traversed; and the long welter of the sea when the ship eased down, with the surgeon and his friends walking about and laughing up to windward. From that, again, I ran on putting things together, till, in fact, Jacobs's notion of a shipwreck seemed by far the best. No doubt Jacobs and Westwood, with a few others, would be saved, while I didn't even object much to the old nabob himself, for respectability's sake, and to spare crape. But, by Jove, wouldn't one bring him to his bearings soon enough there! Every sailor gets hold of this notion some night-watch or other, leaning over the side, with pretty creatures aboard he can scarce speak to otherwise; and I was coiling it down so fast myself, at the moment, that I had just begun to pitch into the nabob about our all being Adam's sons and daughters, under a knot of green palm-trees, at the door of a wooden house, half thatched with leaves, when I was brought up with a round turn by seeing a light shining through the hazy bull's-eye in the deck where I stood. No doubt the sweet girl I had been thinking of was actually there, and going to bed! I stretched over the quarter, but the heavy mouldings were in the way of seeing more than the green bars of the after window—all turned edgeways to the water, where the gallery hung out like a corner turret from the ship's side. Now and then, however, when she careened a little more than ordinary, and the smooth lee swell went heaping up opposite, I could notice the light through the venetians from the state-room come out upon the dark water in broad bright lines, like the grate across a fire, then disappearing in a ripple, till it was gone again, or somebody's shadow moved inside. It was the only lighted window in the gallery, and I looked every time it came as if I could see in; when at last, you may fancy my satisfaction, as, all of a sudden, one long slow heave-over of the ship showed me the whole bright opening of the port, squared out of her shadow, where it shone upon the glassy round of the swell. 'Twas as plain as from a mirror in a closet,—the lighted gallery window with its frame swung in, a bit of the deck-roof I was standing on, and two female figures at the window—mere dark shapes against the lamp. I almost started back at the notion of their seeing me, but away lengthened the light on the breast of the swell, and it sank slowly down into a black hollow, as the Indiaman eased up to windward. Minute by minute, quite breathless, did I watch for such another chance; but next time she leant over as much, the port had been closed, and all was dark; although those few moments were enough to send the heart into my mouth with sheer delight. The figure I had seen holding with one hand by the portsill, and apparently keeping up her dress with the other, as if she were looking down steadily on the heave of the sea below—it[Pg 187] couldn't be mistaken. The line of her head, neck, and shoulders, came out more certain than if they hadn't been filled up with nothing but a black shadow; it was just Lota Hyde's, as she sat in the ball-room amongst the crowd, I'd have bet the Victory to a bumboat on it: only her hair hung loose on one side, while the girl behind seemed to be dressing the other, for it was turned back, so that I saw clear past her cheek and neck to where the lamp was, and her ear gleamed to the light. For one moment nothing could be plainer, than the glimpse old Davy Jones gave me by one of his tricks; but the old fellow was quite as decorous in his way as a chamberblind, and swallowed his pretty little bit of blab as quickly as if it had been a mermaid caught at her morning toilet. Whenever I found there was to be no more of it for the night, the best thing to calm one's feelings was to light a cigar and walk out the watch; but I took care it should rather be over the nabob's head than his daughter's, and went up to the weather side, where there was nobody else by this time, wishing her the sweetest of dreams, and not doubting I should see her next day.

I daresay I should have walked out the first watch, and the second too, if Westwood hadn't come up beside me before he turned in.

"Why, you look like the officer of the watch, Ned!" said my friend, after taking a glance, round at the night. "Yes—what?—a—a—I don't think so," stammered I, not knowing what he said, or at least the meaning of it, though certainly it was not so deep. "I hope not though, Tom!" said I again, "'tis the very thing I don't want to look like!" "You seem bent on keeping it up, and coming the innocent, at any rate," said he; "I really didn't know you the first time I saw you in the cuddy." "Why, man, you never saw our theatricals in the dear old Iris, on the African station! I was our best female actor of tragedy there, and did Desdemona so well that the black cook who stood for Othello, actually cried. He said, 'Nobody but 'ee dibble umself go forsmudder missee Dasdemoner!'" "I daresay," said Westwood; "but what is the need for it now, even if you could serve as a blind for me?" "My dear fellow!" said I, "not at all—you've kept it up very well so far—just go on." "Keep it up, Ned?" inquired he, "what do you mean? I've done nothing except keep quiet, from mere want of spirits." "So much the better," I said; "I never saw a man look more like a prophet in the wilderness; it doesn't cost you the least trouble—why you'd have done for Hamlet in the Iris, if for nothing else! After all, though, a missionary don't wear blue pilot-cloth trousers, nor tie his neckerchief as you do, Tom. You must bend a white neckcloth to-morrow morning! I'm quite serious, Westwood, I assure you," continued I. "Just think of the suspicious look of two navy men being aboard an Indiaman, nobody knows how! Why, the first frigate we speak, or port we touch at, they'd hand one or both of us over at once—which I, for my part, shouldn't at all like!" "Indeed, Collins," said Tom, turning round, "I really cannot understand why you went out in her! It distresses me to think that here you've got yourself into this scrape on my account! At least you'll put back in the first home-bound ship we——"

"Oh!" exclaimed I, blushing a little in the dark though, both at Westwood's simplicity and my not wishing to tell him my secret yet—"I'm tired of shore—I want to see India again—I'm thinking of going into the army, curse it!" "The army, indeed!" said Westwood, laughing for the first time, "and you midshipman all over. No—no—that won't do! I see your drift, you can't deceive me! You're a true friend, Ned,—to stand by an old schoolmate so!" "No, Tom!" said I; "'tis yourself has too kind a heart, and more of a sailor's, all fair and above-board, than I can manage! I won't humbug you, at any rate—I tell you I've got a scheme of my own, and you'll know more of it soon." Tom whistled; however I went on to tell him, "The long and the short of it is, Westwood, you'll bring both of us by the head if you don't keep up the missionary." "Missionary!" repeated he; "you don't mean to say you and Neville intended all that long toggery you supplied my kit with, for me to sail under missionary[Pg 188] colours? I tell you what, Ned, it's not a character I like to cut jokes upon, much less to sham!" "Jokes!" said I; "there's no joking about it; 'tis serious enough." "Why," said Westwood, "now I know the reason of a person like a clergyman sighting me through his spectacles for half an hour together, these two evenings below! This very afternoon he called me his brother, and began asking me all manner of questions which I could no more answer than the cook's mate." "Clergyman be hanged!" said I, "you must steer clear of him, Tom—take care you don't bowse up your jib too much within hail of him! Mind, I gave your name, both to the head-steward and the skipper, as the Reverend Mr Thomas, going back to Bombay." "The devil you did!" "Why there was nothing else for it, Westwood," I said, "when you were beyond thinking for yourself. All you've got to do with that solemn chap in the spectacles, is just to look as wise as possible, and let him know you belong to the Church. And as for shamming, you needn't sham a bit—taketoit my dear fellow, if that will do you good!" I said this in joke, but Westwood seemed to ponder on it for a minute or two. "Indeed, Collins," said he gravely, "I do think you're right. What do we sailors do, but give up everything in life for a mere schoolboy notion, and keep turning up salt water for years together like the old monks did the ground; only they grew corn and apples for their pains, and we have nothing but ever so many dull watches and wild cruises ashore to remember! How many sailors have turned preachers and missionaries, just because something, by accident as it were, taught them to put to account what you can't help feeling now and then in the very look of the sea? What does it mean in the Scriptures, Ned, about 'seeing the wonders of the Lord in the deep?'" As Westwood said this, both of us stopped on the taffrail, and, somehow or other, a touch of I didn't well know what went through me. I held my breath, with his hand on my arm, just at the sight I had seen a thousand times—the white wake running broad away astern, with a mark in the middle as if it had been torn, on to the green yeast of the waves, then right to their black crests plunging in the dark. It was midnight ahead, and the clouds risen aloft over where I had been looking half all hour before; but the long ragged split to westward was opened up, and a clear glaring glance of the sky, as pale as death, shot through it on the horizon. "I can't be sorry for having gone to sea," said Westwood again; "but isn't it a better thing to leave home and friends, as those men do, for the sake of carrying the gospel to the heathen?" As soon as we wheeled round, with the ship before us, leaning over and mounting to the heave, and her spread of canvass looming out on the dark, my thoughts righted. "Well," said I, "it may be all very well for some—every one to his rope; but, for my part, I think if a man hadn't been made for the sea, he couldn't have built a ship, and where would your missionaries be then? You're older than I am, Westwood, or I'd say you let some of your notions run away with you, like a Yankee ship with her short-handed crew!" "Oh, Ned," said he, "of all places in the world for one's actions coming back on him the sea is the worst, especially when you're an idler, and have nothing to do but count the sails, or listen to the passengers' feet on deck. These two days, now, I've thought more than I ever did in my life. I can't get that man's death out of my head; every time, the sea flashes round me as I come from below, I think of him—it seems to me he is lying yet by the side of the Channel. I can't help having the notion he perhaps fired in the air!" "'Twas a base lie!" said I; "If he weren't there, you wouldn't be here, I call tell you, Westwood." "I don't know how I shall ever drag through this voyage," continued he. "If there were a French gunboat to cut out to-morrow morning, or if we were only to have a calm some day in sight of a Spanish slaver,—'tis nothing but a jogging old Indiaman though! I shall never more see the flag over my head with pride—every prospect I had was in the service!"

Next morning was fine, and promised to be hot; the ship still with a sidewind from near south-west, which 'twas easy to see had slackened since midnight with a pour of rain, the[Pg 189] sails being all wet, and coats hung to dry in the fore-rigging; she was going little more than five or six knots headway. The water was bluer, lifting in long waves, scarce a speck of foam except about the ship; but instead of having broke up with the sun, or sunk below the level, the long white clouds were risen high to leeward, wandering away at the top and facing us steady below out of the sky, a pretty sure sign they had more to do. However, the Indiaman was all alive from stem to stern: decks drying as clean as a table; hens and ducks clucking in the coops at their food; pigs grunting; stewards and cabin-boys going fore and aft, below and above, and the men from aloft coming slowly down for breakfast, with an eye into the galley funnel. Most of the passengers were upon deck, in knots all along the poop-nettings, to look out for Corvo and Flores, the westernmost of the Azores, which we had passed before daybreak.

"I say, Fawd!" said the warlike cadet with the mustache, all of a sudden yawning and stretching himself, as if he'd been struck with the thing himself, "Cussed dull this vessel already, ain't it?" "Blast me, no, you fellow!" said Ford, the nautical man—"that's because you're not interested in the ocean—the sea—as I am! You should study the craft, Bob, my boy! I'll teach you to go aloft. I only wish it would blow harder—not a mere capful of wind, you know, but a tempest!" "By Jove! Fawd," said the other, "how we shall enjoy India—even that breakfast with old Rollock! By the bye, ain't breakfast ready yet?" These two fellows, for my part, I took for a joint-model, just trying to hit a mid-helm betwixt them, else I couldn't have got through it: accordingly they both patronised me. "Haw, Cawlins!" said one, nodding to me. "Is that you, my boy?" said the other; "now you're a fellow never would make a sailor!" "I daresay not," I said, gravely, "if they have all to commence as horse-marines." "Now, such ignorance!" said Ford; "marines don't ride horses, Collins, you fellow!—how d'you think they could be fed at sea—eh?" "Well—now—that didn't occur to me!" said I, in the cadet key. "Fawd, my boy, you—demmee—you know too much—you're quite a sea-cook!" "Oh, now! But I'm afraid, Winterton, I never shall land ashore in India—I am tempted to go into the navy instead." "I say, Mr Ford," put in a fat unlicked cub of a tea-middy, grinning as he listened, "I've put you up to a few rises aboard, but I don't think I told you we've got a dozen or so of donkeys[8] below in the steerage?" "Donkeys!—no?" said the griffin. "Yes," replied the midshipman; "they kick like blazes, though, if they get loose in a gale—why mine, now, would knock a hole through the side in no time—I'll show you them for a glass of grog, Mr Ford." "Done!" and away they went. "That fool, Fawd, you know, Cawlins, makes one sick with his stuff; I declare he chews little bits of tobacco in our room till he vomits as much as before," said Winterton. "I tell you what, Cawlins, you're a sensible man—I'll let you into a secret! What do you think—there's the deucedest pretty girl in the vessel, we've none of us seen except myself; I caught a sight of her this very mawning. She don't visit the cuddy at all; papa's proud, you pusseeve—a nabob in short!" "Oh, dear!" said I. "Yes, I do assure you, quite a bew-ty! What's to be done?—we absolutely must meet her—eh, Cawlins?" Here I mused a bit. "Oh!" said I, looking up again, "shall we send a deputation, do you think?" "Or get up a ball, Cawlins?—Hallo, what's this?" said he, leaning over the breast-rail to look at a stout lady who was lugging a chubby little boy of three or four, half-dressed, up the poop-stair, while her careful husband and a couple of daughters blocked it up above. "See, Tommy, dear!" said she, "look at the land—the nice, land, you know, Tommy." "Come away, my love," said her spouse, "else you won't see it." Tommy, however, hung back manfully. "Tommy don't want wook at yand," sang out he, kicking the deck; "it all such 'mell of a sheep, ma; me wook at 'at man wis gate feel. Fare other feel, man? Oh, fat [Pg 190]a ugwy man!" The honest tar at the wheel pulled up his shirt, and looked terribly cut at this plain remark on his phiz, which certainly wasn't the most beautiful; meanwhile he had the leech of the main to'gallant sail shaking. "Mind your helm, there," sung out the second mate from the capstan. "My good man," said the lady, "will you be so kind as to show us the land?" "Ay, ay, sir," growled he, putting up his weather spokes; "sorry I carn't, ma'am—please not to speak to the man at the wheel." Jacobs was coiling down the ropes on a carronade close by, and stepped forward: "Beg your ladyship's pardon," said he, but if ye'll give me charge o' the youngster till you goes on the poop—why, I've got a babby at home myself." The stout lady handed him over, and Jacobs managed the little chap wonderfully. This was the first time Tommy had been on deck since leaving home, and he couldn't see over the high bulwarks, so he fancied it was a house he was in. "Oh, suts big tees, man!" shouted he, clapping his hands as soon as he noticed the sails and rigging aloft; "suts warge birds in a tees!" "Ay, ay, my little man," answered Jacobs, "that's the wonderfowl tree! Did ye ever hear Jack and the Bean-stalk, Tommy?" "Oh, 'ess, to be soo, man!" said Tommy, scornfully, as if he should think he had. "Well, little un," said Jacobs, "that's it, ye see. It grows up every night afore Jack's door—and them's Jack an' his brothers a-comin' down out on the wonderfowl country aloft, with fruits in their hands." The little fellow was delighted, and for going aloft at once. "Ye must wait a bit, Tommy, my lad, till you're bigger," said Jacobs; "here I'll show you the country, though;" so he lifted the boy up to let him see the bright blue sea lying high away round the sky. In place of crying, as he would have done otherwise, Tommy stared with pleasure, and finished by vowing to get as soon big as possible, Jacobs advising him to eat always as hard as he had been doing hitherto.

This morning the breakfast party was in high spirits: Mr Finch, the chief officer, rigged up to the nines in white trowsers and Company's jacket, laying himself out to please the young ladies, with whom he began to be a regular hero. He was as blustering as a young lion, and as salt-tongued as a Channel pilot to the men; but with the ladies, on the poop or in the cabin, he was always twisting his sea-talk into fine language, like what you see in books, as if the real thing weren't good enough. He rubbed his hands at hearing the mate on deck singing out over the skylight to trim yards, and gave a look along to the captain. "You must understand, ladies," said the mate, "this is what we mariners call the 'ladies' wind!'" "Oh delightful!" "Oh so nice!" "You sailors are so polite!" exclaimed the young ladies—"then does it actually belong to us?" "Why it's a Trade wind, Miss Fortescue!" said Ford the nautical cadet, venturing to put in a word; but the ladies paid no attention to him, and the chief mate gave him a look of contempt. "You see, ladies, the reason is," said the mate, in a flourishing way, "because it's so regular, and as gentle as—as—why it wafts your bark into the region of, you see,—the—" "The 'Doldrums,'" put in the third mate, who was a brinier individual by far, and a true seaman, but wished to pay his compliments too, between his mouthfuls. "At any rate," Finch went on, "it's congenial, I may say, to the feelings of the fair—you need never touch her braces from one day to another. I just wish, Miss Fortescue, you'd allow me the felicity of letting you see how to put the ship about!" "A soldier might put her in stays, miss," said the third mate again, encouragingly, "and out of 'em again; she's a remarkable easy craft, owing to her——" "Confound it! Mr Rickett," said the first mate, turning round to his unlucky inferior, "you're a sight too coarse for talking to ladies. Well the captain didn't hear you!" Rickett looked dumbfounded, not knowing what was wrong; the old ladies frowned; the young ones either blushed or put their handkerchiefs to their mouths, and some took the occasion for walking off.

The weather began to have a different turn already by the time we got up—the clouds banking to lee[Pg 191]ward, the sea dusky under them, and the air-line between rather bluish. Two or three lazy gulls in our wake began to look alive, and show themselves, and a whole black shoal of porpoises went tumbling and rolling across the bows for half an hour, till down they dived of a sudden, head-foremost, one after another in the same spot, like so many sheep through a gap.

My gentleman-mate was to be seen everywhere about the decks, and active enough, I must say: the next minute he was amongst two or three young ladies aft, as polite as a dancing-master, showing them everything in board and out, as if nobody knew it except himself. Here a young girl, one of Master Tommy's sisters, came skipping aft, half in a fright. "Oh, Miss Fortescue!" cried she, "just think!—I peeped over into a nasty black hole there, with a ladder in it, and saw ever so many common sailors hung up in bags from the ceiling. Oh, what do you think, one of them actually kissed his hand to me!" "Only one of the watch below awake, Miss," said the mate; "impertinent swab!—I only wish I knew which it was." "Poor fellows!" said the young ladies; "pray, don't be harsh to them—but what have they been doing?" "Oh, nothing," said he, with a laugh, "but swing in their hammocks since eight bells." "Then are they so lazy as to dislike getting up to such delightful-looking occupations?" "Why, ma'am," said the mate, staring a little, "they've been on deck last night two watches, of four hours each, I must say that for them." "Dear me!" broke out the ladies; and on this the chief officer took occasion to launch out again concerning "the weary vigils," as he called them, "which we mariners have to keep, far distant from land, without a smile from the eyes of the fair to bless us! But, however, the very thought of it gives courage to the sailor's manly heart, to disregard the billows' fearful rage, and reef topsails in the tempest's angry height!" Thought I, "he'd much better do it before." However, the young ladies didn't seem to see that, evidently looking upon the mate as the very pink of seamen; and he actually set a second lower stud-sail, to show them how fast she could walk.

"D'ye know, sir," put in the third mate, coming from forward, "I'm in doubt it's going to be rather a sneezer, sir, if ye look round the larboard stuns'ls." Sure enough, if our fine gentleman had had time, amidst his politeness, just to cast an eye beyond his spread of cloth, he would have noticed the clouds gathered all in a lump to north-eastward, one shooting into another—the breast of them lowering down to the horizon, and getting the same colour as the waves, till it bulked out bodily in the middle. You'd have fancied the belly of it scarce half a mile off from the white yard-arms, and the hollow of it twenty—coming as stealthily as a ghost, that walks without feet after you, its face to yours, and the skirt of its winding-sheet in "kingdom come" all the while. I went up on the poop, and away behind the spanker I could see the sun gleam for one minute right on the eye of stray cloud risen to nor'-west, with two short streaks of red, purple, and yellow together—what is called a "wind-gall;" then it was gone. The American was talking away with jovial old Rollock and Ford, who began to look wise, and think there was mischief brewing in the weather. "Mind your helm there, sirrah!" sung out the mate, walking aft to the wheel, as everything aloft fluttered. "She won't lie her course, sir!" said the man. "All aback for'ud!" hailed the men at work on the bowsprit; and hard at it went all hands, trimming yards over and over again; the wind freshening fast, stunsails flapping, booms bending, and the whole spread of canvass in a cumber, to teach the mate not to be in such a hurry with his infernal merchantman's side-wings next time. The last stunsail he hauled down caught full aback before the wheel could keep her away quick enough; the sheet of it hitched foul at the boom-end, and crack through went the boom itself, with a smash that made the ladies think it a case of shipwreck commencing. The loose scud was flying fast out from behind the top of the clouds, and spreading away overhead, as if it would catch us on the other side; while the clouds themselves broke up[Pg 192] slowly to both hands, and the north-east breeze came sweeping along right into the three topsails, the wind one way and the sea another. As she rounded away steadying before it, you felt the masts shake in her till the topsails blew out full; she gave one sudden bolt up with her stern, like an old jackass striking behind, which capsized three or four passengers in a heap; and next minute she was surging along through the wide heave of the water as gallantly as heart could wish, driving a wave under her bows that swung back under the forechains on both sides, with two boys running up the rigging far aloft on each mast to stow the royals. The next thing I looked at was poor Ford's nautical hat lifting alongside on the top of a wave, as if it were being handed up to him; but no sooner seen, than it was down in the hollow a quarter of a mile off, a couple of white gulls making snatches at it and one another, and hanging over it again with a doubtful sort of a scream. Still the wind was as yet nothing to speak of when once aft; the sea was getting up slowly, and the Indiaman's easy roll over it made every one cheerful, in spite of the shifts they were put to for getting below. When the bell struck for dinner, the sun was pretty clear, away on our starboard bow; the waves to south-westward glittered as they rose; one side of the ship shone bright to the leech of the mainto'gallant-sail, and we left the second mate hauling down the jibs for want of use for them.

The splendid pace she went at was plain, below in the cuddy, to everybody; you felt her shoving the long seas aside with the force of a thousand horses in one, then sweep they came after her, her stern lifted, she rolled round, and made a floating rush ahead. In the middle of it all, something darkened the half-open skylight, where I perceived the Scotch second-mate's twisted nose and red whiskers, as he squinted down with one eye aloft, and disappeared again; after which I heard them clue up to'gallant-sails. Still she was driving through it rather too bodily to let the seas rise under her; you heard the wind hum of the main-topsail, and sing through betwixt it and the main-course, the scud flying over the skysail-mast truck, which I could see from below. The second mate looked in once more, caught the first officer's eye with a glance aloft, and the gallant mate left attending to the ladies to go on deck. Down went the skylight frame, and somebody carefully threw a tarpaulin over it, so that there was only the light from the port-windows, by which a dozen faces turned still whiter.

The moment I shoved my head out of the booby-hatch, I saw it was like to turn out a regular gale from nor'-east. Both courses brailed close-up, and blowing out like rows of big-bladders; the three topsail-yards down on the caps to reef, their canvass swelling and thundering on the stays like so many mad elephants breaking loose; the wild sky ahead of us staring right through in triumph, as it were, and the wind roaring from aft in her bare rigging; while a crowd of men in each top were laying out along the foot-ropes to both yard-arms. Below, they were singing out at the reef-tackles, the idlers tailing on behind from the cook to the cabin-boys, a mate to each gang, and the first officer with his hands to his mouth before the wheel, shouting "Bear a hand!—d'ye hear!—two reefs!" It did one's heart good, and I entered into the spirit of it, almost forgiving Finch his fine puppy lingo, when I saw him take it so coolly, standing like a seaman, and sending his bull's voice right up with the wind into the bellies of the topsails—so I e'en fell-to myself, and dragged with the steward upon the mizen reef-tackle till it was chock up. There we were, running dead before it, the huge waves swelling long and dark after us out of the mist, then the tops of them scattered into spray; the glaring white yards swayed slowly over aloft, each dotted with ten or a dozen sturdy figures, that leant over with the reef-points in their hands, waiting till the men at the earings gave the word; and Jacobs's face, as he looked round to do so—hanging on heaven knows what at one of the ends—was as distinct as possible against the gray scud miles off, and sixty feet above the water. A middy, without his cap, and his hair blowing out, stood holding on in the main-top to quicken them; the first mate waved[Pg 193] his hand for the helmsman to "luff a little." The ship's head was rounding slowly up as she rose on a big blue swell, that caught a wild gleam on it from westward, when I happened to glance towards the wheel. I could scarcely trust my eyes—in fact it had never been less in my mind since coming aboard than at that very point—but outside one of the round-house doors, which was half open, a few feet from the bulwark I leant over—of all moments in the day, there stood Lota Hyde herself at last! Speak of faces!—why, I hadn't even power to turn farther round, and if I was half out of breath before, what with the wind and with pulling my share, I was breathless now—all my notions of her never came up to the look of her face at that instant! She just half stopped, as it were, at sight of the state of things, her hands letting go of the large shawl, and her hair streaming from under a straw hat tied down with a ribbon—her lips parted betwixt dread and bewilderment, and her eyes wandering round till they settled a-gazing straight at the scene ahead, in pure delight. I actually looked away aloft from her again, to catch what it was she seemed to see that could be so beautiful!—the second reef just made fast, men crowding in to run down and hoist away with the rest, till, as they tailed along decks, the three shortened topsails rose faster up against the scud, and their hearty roaring chorus was as loud as the gale. "Keep her away, my lad!" said the mate, with another wave of his hand; the topsails swelled fair before it, and the Indiaman gave a plunge right through the next sea, rising easily to it, heave after heave. The setting sun struck two or three misty spokes of his wheel through a cloud, that made a big wave here and there glitter; the ship's white yards caught some of it, and a row of broad backs, with their feet stretching the foot-rope as they stowed the foresail, shone bright out, red, blue, and striped, upon the hollow of the yellow fore-topsail, in the midst of the gale; while just under the bowsprit you saw her black figure-head, with his white turban, and his hand to his breast, giving a cool salaam now and then to the spray from her bows. At that moment, though, Lota Hyde's eye was the brightest thing I could find—all the blue gone out of the waves was in it. As for her seeing myself, I hadn't had space to think of it yet, when all of a sudden I noticed her glance light for the first time, as it were, on the mate, who was standing all the while with his back to her, on the same plank of the quarterdeck. "Down main-course!" he sung out, putting one hand in his jacket-pocket; "down both tacks—that's it, my men—down with it!"—and out it flapped, slapping fiercely as they dragged it by main force into the bulwark-cleats, till it swelled steady above the main-stay, and the old ship sprang forward faster than before, with a wild wash of the Atlantic past her sides. "Another hand to the wheel, here!" said the first officer. He took a look aloft, leaning to the rise of her bows, then to windward as she rolled; everything looked trim and weatherly, so he stepped to the binnacle, where the lamp was ready lighted, and it just struck me what a smart, good-looking fellow the mate was, with his sun-burnt face; and when he went to work, straight-forward, no notion of showing off. "Confound it, though!" thought I of a sudden, seeing her eyes fixed on him again, and then to seaward. "Mr Macleod," said he to the second mate, "send below the watch, if you please. This breeze is first-rate, though!" When he turned round, he noticed Miss Hyde, started, and took off his cap with a fine bow. "I beg pardon, ma'am," said he, "a trifle of wind we have! I hope, Miss Hyde, it hasn't troubled you in the round-house?" What Miss Hyde might have said I don't know, but her shawl caught a gust out of the spanker, though she was in the lee of the high poop; it blew over her head, and then loose—I sprang forward—but the mate had hold of it, and put it over her again. The young lady smiled politely to the mate, and gave a cold glance of surprise, as I thought, at me. I felt, that moment, I could have knocked the mate down and died happy. "Why, sir," said he, with a cool half sneer, "I fancied none of you gentlemen would have favoured us this capful of wind—plenty of air there is on deck, though." It just flashed through my mind what sort of rig I was in—I[Pg 194] looked over my infernal 'long-shore toggery, and no wonder she didn't recollect me at all! "Curse this confounded folly!" muttered I, and made a dart to run up the poop-steps, where the breeze took me slap aback, just as the judge himself opened the larboard door. "Why, Violet!" exclaimed he, surprised at seeing his daughter, "are you exposing yourself to this disagreeable—I declare a perfect storm!" "But see, papa!" said she, taking hold of his arm, "how changed the sea is!—and the ship!—just look where the sun was!" "Get in—get in, do!" kept on her father; "you can see all that again in some finer place; you should have had a servant with you, at least, Violet." "I shall come out oftener than I thought, papa, I can tell you!" said she, in an arch sort of way, before she disappeared. The mate touched his cap to the judge, who asked where the captain was. "'Gad sir," said the judge crossly, "the floor resembles an earthquake—every piece of furniture swings, sir; 'tis well enough for sleeping, but my family find it impossible to dine. If this oolta-poolta continues in my apartments, I must speak to Captain Williamson about it! He must manage to get into some other part of the sea, where it is less rough," saying which he swayed himself in and shut the door. I still kept thinking and picturing her face—Lota Hyde's—when she noticed the mate. After all, any one that knew tack from bowline might reef topsails in a fair wind; but a girl like that would make more count of a man knowing how to manage wind and sea, than of the Duke on his horse at Waterloo beating Bonaparte; and as for talk, he would jaw away the whole voyage, no doubt, about moonlight and the ocean, and your genteel fancy mariners! "By George, though!" thought I, "if the mate's a better man than me, hang me—it's all right; but burn my wig if I don't go and turn a Hindoo fakeer, with my one arm stuck up in the air till I die! Go it, old lady!" said I, as I glanced over the side before going below for the night, "roll away, only shake something or other to do out of the pace you're going at!"

The next morning, when Westwood and I went on deck, there was still a long sea running after us. However, by noon the sun came sifting through aloft, the breeze got warm, the decks were dry as a bone, and one just saw the large dark-blue swells lift up alongside with a shower of spray, between the seams of the bulwarks. By six o'clock, again, it was got pretty dusk ahead, and I strolled forward right to the heel of the bowsprit, with Westwood, looking down through her head-boards into the heap of white foam that washed up among the woodwork every time she plunged. One knot of the men were sitting with their legs over the break of the top-gallant forecastle, swinging as she rolled—laughing, roaring, and singing as loud as they could bawl, since the wind carried it all forward out of the officers' hearing. I was rather surprised to see and hear that Jacobs's friends, Bill Dykes and Tom, were there: the rogues were taking back their savage to the Andaman Isles again, I suppose. "Well, my lads," said Tom, a regular sample of the man-o'-war's-man: "this is what I calls balling it off! That mate knows how to make her go, any how!" "We'll soon be into tropical regents, I consider!" remarked Bill, who made a point of never using sea-phrases except ashore, when he came out double salt, to make up for his gentility afloat. "Hum," grumbled a big ugly fellow, the same so flattered at the wheel by little Tommy, "I doesn't like your fair winds! I'll tell you what, mates, we'll be havin' it puff more from east'ard ere third watch." "What's the odds, Harry, old ship?" said Tom, "a fair wind still!" "I say, my lads," exclaimed Tom again, looking along toward the poop, "yonder's the ould naboob squinting out of the round-house doors!—what's he after now, I wonder?" On stooping down, accordingly, I could see the judge's face with the binnacle-light shining on it, as he swayed to and fro in the doorway, seemingly in a passion at something or other. "Why," said Bill, "I consider he can't altogether circumstand the shindy as this here roll kicks up inside of his blessed paliss!" "Nabob, does ye call him!" said Harry, sulkily; "I'll tell you what, 'mates, he ben't nothin' but a reg'lar bloody ould[Pg 195] tyrant! T'other mornin' there, I just chances to brush against him as I kiles up a rope, says he 'Fellow!' an' says he to the skipper, 'I'd take it kind,' says he, 'if ye'd horder them commin sailors for to pay more contention alongside o' my legs, Captin Willumsen!' Why, do the old beggar not think as a feller ben't a man as well as hisself, with his commin sailors, an' be blowed to him!" "Well though, Harry, old ship," said Tom, "an't that daurter of his'n a jewel! I say, 'mates, she's all rounded into the head, and a clear run from aft, like a corvette model! My eye, that hair of hers is worth gold; I'd go down on the deck to please her, d'ye see!" "No doubt," says Bill, "she's what I call a exact sparkler!" "Well, I doesn't know," said Harry. "Last vy'ge but one we'd got one aboard, a'most beautifuller—half as high again, an' twice her beam—I'm not sure but she—" "All my eye, messmates!" broke in Tom; "that one were built for stowing, ye see, bo', like yer cargo lumpers. Now, this here young gal minds me o' no other blessed thing but the Nymph corvette's figure-head—and that warn't her match, neither! She don't look down upon a sailor, I can tell ye; there I see her t'other morning-watch a talkin' to Jacobs yonder, as pleasant and cheery as——Hullo, there's the captain comed out o' the naboob's cabin, and speaking with the mate by the compass,—blessed if they an't agoin' to alter her course!"

"Send aft here to the braces!" sung out the first officer to the boatswain. "Blow me, shipmates, that's yeer naboob now, I'll bet a week's grog," growled Harry; "ship's course as fair as a handspike through a grummet; couldn't bring the wind more aft; b—t my eyes, the sea's comin' to be bought and sold!" Whatever it might be for, in came the starboard yard-arms till she lay over a little; down studding and top-gallant sails, as neither of them could stand it except from aft; and off went the old ship rising high athwart the seas, her head sou'-south-east, and one streak of broken yellow light, low down to westward on her lee quarter. It was beginning to blow harder, too, and by eight bells it was "Reef topsails, single reef!" The waves played slap on her weather side, the heavy sprays came showering over her bulwarks forward, and the forecastle planks were far from being so comfortable for a snooze as the night before. As soon as the wheel was relieved, and the other watch below, the "ugly man" and his companions returned. "Mates," said he, solemnly, planting his back against the bitts, "I've sailed this five-and-twenty year before the mast, an' I never yet seed the likes o' that! Take my say for it, we're on a wind now, but afore next mornin' we'll be close-hauled, beating up against it." "Well," said another, "she leaks a deal in the eyes of her below; in that case, Harry, your watch as slings in the fore-peak'll be all afloat by that time." "What day did this here craft sail on, I asks?" said the sailmaker gravely. "Why, a Thursday night, old ship," replied several eagerly. "No," went on the sailmaker; "you counts sea-fashion, shipmates; but till ye're clear o' the pilot, ye know, its land fashion ye ought for to go by. 'Twas a Friday by that 'ere said reckoning, shipmates." "No! so it was though," said the rest—"it don't look well." "Howsomedever I'm not goin' to come for to go and be a croaker," continued the sailmaker in a voice like a ghost's. "Well, luck or no luck, 'mates," grumbled big Harry, "if so be them larboard bowlines is hauled taut by the morning watch, blow me if I don't be upsides with that 'ere bloody ould naboob—that's all."

Next morning, after all, it was easy to feel the ship had really been hauled close on a wind. When we went up, the weather was clearing, though with a strongish gale from eastward, a heavy sea running, on which the Indiaman strained and creaked as she rose, rolling slowly to windward with her three double-reefed topsails strained full, then pitched head into it, as a cloud of foam and spray flew over her weather bow. It was quite early, the decks lately washed down, and the Indian judge walking the weather quarterdeck as grave and comfortable as if it was all right. The captain was with him, and two mates to leeward. "Sail O!" hailed a man on the fore[Pg 196]yard. "Where away?" sung out the mate of the watch. "Broad abeam!" The captain went up to the poop, and I stood on the foremost carronade near the main rigging, where I could just see her now and then white against the blue haze between the hollows of the waves, as the Indiaman lifted. "There she is!" said I, thinking it was Westwood that stopped behind me; it was the judge, however, and as soon as I got down he stepped up, holding on with one hand to a backstay. The ship was rising after a pitch, every bulkhead and timber in her creaking, when all of a sudden I felt by my feet what all sailors feel the same way—she was coming up in the wind too fast to mount with the next wave, and a regular comber it was going to be. I looked to the wheel—there was big Harry himself with a grin on his face, and his eye on Sir Charles, as he coolly gave her half a weather-spoke more, and then whirled it back again to meet her. "For heaven's sake, look out, sir!" exclaimed I. "Why so I do," said the judge, rather good-naturedly. "'Zounds! what's—" You felt the whole ship stop creaking for a moment, as she hung with the last wave—"Hold on!" shouted a mid—she gave a dull quiver from stem to stern, and I fairly pulled the judge close into the bulwark, just as smash, like thunder, came a tremendous green sea over us, three in one, washing down into the lee scuppers. The old gentleman staggered up, dripping like a poodle, and unable to see—one heard the water trickling through the skylights, and stepping away down stairs like a fellow with iron heels; while there was the sailor at the wheel grinding down his spokes in right earnest, looking aloft at the shaking fore-topsail, and the Indiaman seemingly doubtful whether to fall off or broach-to. Up she rose again, however, and drove round with her Turk-head in the air, then dip through the spray as gallantly as ever. "Send that lubber from the wheel, Mr Macleod!" said the captain angrily, when he came down, "he nearly broached the ship to just now!" The "ugly man" put on a double-gloomy face, and grumbled something about her "steering wild;" but the knowing squint he gave Jacobs, who relieved him, was enough to show me he was one of the best helmsmen aboard. As for the judge, he hadn't the least notion it was anything more than a natural mischance, owing to exposing himself. He eyed the bulwark as if he couldn't understand how any wave was able to rise over it, while the captain was apologising, and hoping he wouldn't be the worse. "Eh, young gentleman!" said Sir Charles of a sudden, turning round to me, after a glance from the weather side to the lee one, "now I observe the circumstances, the probability is I should have had myself severely injured on the opposite side there, had it not been for your presence of mind, sir—eh?" Here I made a bow, and looked as modest as I could. "I perceive you are wet, young gentleman," said he again; "you'd better change your dress—eh?" "Thank you, sir!" I said; and as he walked off quite drenched to his cabin, with the captain, I heard him remark it was "wonderfully intelligent in a mere griffin."

However, the wind soon got down to a fine top-gallant breeze; less of a sea on, the clouds sunk in a long gray bank to leeward, and the strange sail plain abeam of us—a large ship steering seemingly more off the wind than the Seringapatam, with top-gallant-sails set—you could just see the heads of her courses, and her black lower-yards, when both of us rose together. Our first officer was all alive at the sight; the reefs were out of our topsails already, and he soon had us ploughing along under ordinary canvass, though still hugging the wind. In a short time the stranger appeared to take the challenge, for he slanted his yards, clapped on royals, and hauled down a stunsail, heading our course, till he was one body of white cloth on the horizon. For a while we seemed to gain on her; but after dinner, there was the other ship's hull up on our lee-bow, rising her white streak out of the water steadily, and just lifting at times on the long blue seas: she was fore-reaching on us, as plain as could be. The mate gave a stamp on the deck, and kept her away a little to set a stunsail. "Why," said I to Westwood, "he'll fall to leeward of himself!" "She's too much by the head,[Pg 197] Collins," said Westwood; "that's it!" "Hasn't he the sense to take the fore-course off her?" said I, "instead of packing more on! Why, that craft weathers on us like a schooner—I wish you and I had the Indiaman for an hour or two, Tom!" It wasn't an hour before we could see the very waves splashing up under her black weather-side, and over her high bows, as she slanted right through it and rose to windward again, standing up to cross our course—a fine frigate-built Indiaman, sharper stemmed than her kind in ordinary, and square in her spread; one yardarm just looking over the other as they ranged aloft, and all signs of a weatherly craft. "That's the Duke o' Bedford!" said a sailor at the braces to his companions, "all oak planks, and not a splinter of teak in her! No chance!" Out flew the British colours from her mizen-peak, and next the Company's striped ensign at her fore-royal-mast head, as a signal to speak. However, the Seringapatam only answered by showing her colours, and held on. All of a sudden the other Indiaman was seen slowly falling off before the wind, as if in scorn at such rude manners, and sure of passing us if she chose. For a moment the red sunset glanced through betwixt all three of her masts, every rope as fine as wire; then the canvass swung broad against it, blood-red from the sun, and she showed us her quarter-gallery, with a glimpse of her stern-windows glittering,—you even made out the crowd of passengers and soldiers on her poop, and a man or two going up her rigging. The sea beyond her lay as blue as blue could be, what with the crimson streak that came zig-zag on both sides of her shadow, and gleamed along the smooth troughs, taking a crest or two to dance on by the way; and what with the rough of it near at hand, where the tops of the dark waves ran hither and thither in broad white flakes, we surging heavily over them.

In a few minutes more the sun was not only down, but the clouds banked up to westward, of a deep purple; and almost at once you saw nothing of the other ship, except when a stray streak somehow or other caught her rising, or her mast-heads came across a pale line in the clouds. The breeze got pleasanter as the night went on, and the Seringapatam rattled away in fine style, careening to it by herself.

Well, you know, nothing could be better for a good understanding and high spirits amongst us than a fast course, fine weather, and entering the tropics. As for the tropics, if you have only a roomy ship and a good run of wind, as we had, in those latitudes everything outside of you seems almost to have double the stuff in it that air and water have in other places; while inside of one, again, one felt twice the life he had before, and everybody else came out newer a good deal than on the parlour rug at home. As the days got each hotter than the last, and the sea bluer and bluer, we began to think better of the heavy old Seringapatam's pace, teak though she was, and her sole good point right before the wind. Every night she lighted her binnacle sooner, till deuce the bit of twilight there was, and the dark sky came down on us like the extinguisher over a candle. However, the looks of things round and aloft made full amends for it, as long as we held the "Trades;" old Neptune shifting his scenes there so quickly, that nobody missed getting weather and air, more than he could help, were it only a sight of how the Indiaman got on, without trouble to any living soul save the man at the wheel, as one long, big, bright wave shoved her to another, and the slower they rose the more business she seemed to do of herself. By the time they had furbished her up at their leisure, the Seringapatam had a queer Eastern style, too, throughout; with her grass mattings and husky coir chafing-gear, the yellow varnish about her, and her three topsails of country-canvass, cut narrow towards the head—bamboo stunsail booms, and spare bits of bamboo always ready for everything; besides the bilious-like gold-coloured patches here and there in the rest of her sails, and the outlandish figure-head, that made you sometimes think there might be twenty thousand of them under the bows, dancing away with her like Juggernaut's travelling pagoda. The decks were lively enough to look at; the men working quietly by twos and threes about the bulwarks all day[Pg 198] long, and pairs of them to be made out at different points aloft, yarning away comfortably together, as the one passed the ball for the other's serving-mallet, with now a glance at the horizon, and now a grin at the passengers below, or a cautious squint at the top of the mate's cap. White awnings triced over poop and quarterdeck, the cover of the waist hammock-netting clean scrubbed, and the big shady main-course half brailed-up, rustling and bulging above the boats and booms amidships; every hatchway and door with a round funnel of a wind-sail swelling into it, and their bellies moving like so many boa-constrictors come down from aloft, and going in to catch cadets. You saw the bright white sky dazzling along under the awning-cheeks, that glared on it like snow; and the open quarterdeck ports let in so many squares of shifting blue light, with a draught of air into the hot carronade muzzles, that seemed to gasp for it with their red tompions stuck out like tongues. The very look of the lifting blue water on the shady side was refreshing, and the brighter the light got, it grew the darker blue. You listened for every cool splash of it on the bends, and every rustle of the canvass aloft; and instead of thinking, as the landsmen did, of green leaves and a lazy nook for shelter, why, to my fancy there's a deuced sigh more satisfaction in good dark blue, with a spray over the cat-head to show you're going, and with somewhat to go for! For want of better, one would have given his ears to jump in head-foremost, and have a first-rate bathe—the very sea itself kept rising up alongside to make an easy dive for one, and sinking into little round troughs again, where the surges would have sprinkled over your head. Now and then a bigger wave than ordinary would go swelling up, and out sprang a whole glittering shower of flying-fish, freckling the dark side with drops, and went flittering over into the next, or skimming the crests out of sight into a hollow. The writers and cadets were in high feather at knowing they were in the same latitude as India, and appeared in all sorts of straw hats, white trousers, and white jackets. Ford had left off talking of going aloft for a while, to flourish about his swimming—when he looked over with the surgeon into the smooth of a hollow, and saw something big and green, like all immense cucumber, floating along within a fathom or two of the ship, deep down in the blue water. While the griffin asked what it was, a little ripple broke above, a wet black horn came right out of it, and two devilish round eyes glared up at us ahead of it, as we leant over the quarter, set wide in a broad black snout, shaped like a gravedigger's shovel; then it sank away into the next wave. Ford shivered, in spite of the heat. "The devil?" inquired one of the writers, coolly, to the surgeon. "Not just him," said the Scotchman; "it's only the first shark!"

The young ladies, in their white dresses, now made you think of angels gliding about: as to the only one I had an eye for, by this time it wasn't of not seeing her often enough I had to complain, as she seemed to delight in nothing else but being somewhere or other upon deck; first one part of the ship, then another, as if to see how different the look-out could be made, or to watch something in the waves or the horizon. Instead of sitting with a needle or a book, like the rest, with the corner of one eye toward the gentlemen, or talking and giggling away at no allowance, she would be noticing a man aloft as if she were there herself, or trying to see past a sail, as if she fancied there was something strange on the other side of it. The rest of the girls appeared shy of her at first, no doubt on account of the Judge's separate quarters and his grandee style; next, they made acquaintance, she speaking and smiling just as if she had known them before; then, again, most of them seemingly got jealous because the cadets squinted after her; while old Rollock said Miss Hyde would be the beauty on Chowringee Course, and the first officer was eternally pointing out things to her, like a showman at a fair. However, she seemed not to mind it at all, either way: those that did talk to her would scarce hear her answer ere they lost her, and there she was, looking quietly down by herself into the ripples alongside;[Pg 199] a minute after, she would be half-playing with little Tommy, and making companions of Tommy's young sisters, to see the sheep, the pigs, and the cow, or feed the poultry. As for the handsome "first officer," when he caught occasion for his politeness, she took it graciously enough, and listened to all he said; till, of a sudden, a smile would break over her face, and she seemed to me to put him off as easy as a duchess—on the score, it might be, of the Judge's looking for her off the poop, or something else of the kind. 'Twas the more curious how much at home she seemed amongst the men at work, when she chanced to go "forward" with Tommy and his sisters, as they skipped hither and thither: the rough, blue-shirted fellows took the quids out of their cheeks as soon as they saw the party coming from aft, and began to smirk, shoving the tar-buckets and ropes aside. One forenoon, an old lady under the poop awning, where she and her daughter were sewing together at a bright strip of needlework, asked me to hold her woollen yarns for her as she balled them off—being the red coat for a sepoy killing a tiger, which her daughter was making in yellow. I couldn't well refuse, seeing that amongst the ladies I was reckoned a mild, quiet young man. Even in these days, I must say I had a good deal of that look, and at home they used always to call me "quiet Ned." My mother, good soul, never would believe I broke windows, killed cats, or fought, and the mystery to her always is why the neighbours had a spite at me; for if I had been a wild boy, she said, or as noisy as little Brown next door, why she wouldn't have objected to my going to sea!—that noisy little Brown, by the bye, is a fat banker. So in I had to stick my thumbs at arms'-length, and stoop down to the old lady, the more with a will since I guessed what they were talking of. "Well though, Kate," continued the old lady, winding away at the thread, "you cannot deny her to be a charming creature, my love?" "Oh, if you mean pretty!" said the girl, "I don't want to deny it—not I, ma'am!—why should I, indeed?" "Pity she's a little light-headed," said her mother in a musing way. "Affected, you mean, mother!" said Miss Fortescue, "and haughty." "Do you know, Kate," replied the old lady, sighing, "I fear she'll soon go in India!" "Go?" said the daughter sharply. "Yes; she won't stand the hot season as I did—these flighty girls never do. Poor thing! she certainly hasn't your stamina now, my love!" Here Miss Fortescue bit her lip, tossed her head, and was saying that wasn't what she cared about, though in fact she looked ready to cry; when just at the moment I saw Lota Hyde herself half above the little gallery stair, gazing straight at me, for the first time, too; a curious kind of half-smile on her face, as I stood with my paws out, the old lady jerking the yarn off my wrists, and I staring right over her big bonnet at the sky astern of the awning, pretending not to listen. All at once my mouth fell, and before she could turn her face away from the funny countenance I no doubt put on, I saw her cheek rosy and her eyes sparkle with laughter, instead of seeming like one to die soon. For my part I couldn't stand it at all, so I just bolted sheer round and made three strides to the poop ladder, as dignified as was possible with ever so many plies of red yarn foul of my wrists, and a big red ball hopping after me when I'd vanished, like a fellow running from a hot shot! I daresay they thought on the poop I'd had a stroke of the sun on my brain; but till next day I kept clear of the passengers, and took to swigging off stiff nor'-westers of grog, as long as Westwood would let me.

Next evening, when the cuddy dinner was scarce over, I went up to the poop, where there was no one to be seen; the sun just setting on our starboard-quarter in a golden blaze that stretched overhead, with flakes of it melting, as 'twere, all over the sky to port, and dropping in it like threads of oil in water; the ship with a light breeze aft, and stunsails packed large upon her, running almost due for the Line. The waves to westward were like liquid light, and the eddies round our counter came glittering out, the whole spread of her mizen and main canvass shining like gold cloth against the fore: then 'twas but the royals and skysails brighter than ever, as the big round sun dipped down with a[Pg 200] red streak or two, and the red waterline, against his hot old face. Every blue surge between had a clear green edge about its crest, the hollows turning themselves inside out from deep purple into bright blue, and outside in again,—and the whole rim of the sea grew out cool and clear away from the ship's taffrail. A pair of sharp-headed dolphins that had kept alongside for the last few minutes, swimming near the surface, turned tail round, the moment I put my nose over the bulwark, and shot off like two streaks of a rainbow after the flying-fish. I was just wondering where Lota Hyde could be, this time, when on a sudden I observed little Tommy poke his curly head out of the booby-hatch, peeping cautiously round; seeing nobody, however, save the man at the wheel, who was looking over his shoulder at the sun, the small rogue made a bolt out of the companion, and scampered aft under the awning to the Judge's starboard door, with nothing on but his nightshirt. There he commenced kicking and shoving with his bare feet and arms, till the door flew open, and over went Tommy on his nose, singing out in fine style. The next thing I heard was a laugh like the sound of a silver bell; and just as the boy's sister ran up in a fright lest he had gone overboard, Violet Hyde came out leading the little chap wrapped in a long shawl that trailed astern of him, herself with a straw bonnet barely thrown upon her head. "Tommy says you put him to bed too soon, Jane!" said she smiling. "Iss!" said Master Thomas, stoutly, "go 'way, Dzane!" "You hadn't bid me good-night—wasn't that it, Tom? But oh! what a sea!" exclaimed she, catching sight of it under the awning. The little fellow wanted to see it too, so the young lady lifted him up in her arms, no small weight I daresay, and they both looked over the bulwark: the whole sky far out of the awning to westward being spotted with orange scales, turning almost scarlet, faster than the dusk from both ends could close in; the clear greenish tint of it above the openings of the canvass, going up into fathomless blue overhead, the horizon purple, and one or two still, black clouds tipped with vermilion against the far sky—while the Indiaman stole along, scarce plashing under her bends. Every now and then you heard a whizz and a flutter, as the flying-fish broke out of a bigger surge, sometimes just missing the ship's side: at last two or three fell over the mizen chains, and pop came one all of a sudden right into the white breast of Miss Hyde's dress inside her scarf, where only the wings kept it from disappearing. She started, Jane screamed, but the little boy coolly pulled it out, commencing to overhaul it in great delight. "Oh fat a funny ickoo bird!" shouted he, "it's fell down out of 'ese t'ees!" looking aloft. "No, no," said Miss Hyde, laughing, as she drew her shoulders together with a shiver, "birds' noses don't drop water! 'Twill die if you don't put it in again, Tommy—'tis a fish!" "A fish!" said he, opening his eyes wider, and smacking his lips, "yes, Tommy eat it for my beckfust!" However the young lady took it out of his hand and dropped it overboard; on which the small ogre went off rather discontented, and kissed her more as a favour than otherwise. It was almost dark already, the water shining up in the ship's wake, and the stars coming out aloft; so I was left wondering at the impudence of flying-fish, and the blessings of being a fat little imp in a frock and trousers, compared with this puzzle of a "traverse," betwixt being a third lieutenant and hailing for a "griffin."

The night following, after a sultry hot day, the wind had varied a good deal, and the ship was running almost close-hauled on a warm south-easterly breeze, with somewhat of a swell in the water. Early in the first watch there was a heavy shower, after which I went on deck, leaving Westwood at his book. The half-moon was just getting down to leeward, clear of a ragged dark cloud, and a long space of faint white light spread away on the horizon, behind the sheets of the sails hauled aft; so that you just saw a sort of a glimmer under them, on the black heave of the swell between. Every time she rolled to leeward on it, a gleam of the moonshine slipped inside the shadow of her high bulwarks, from one wet carronade to another, and went[Pg 201] glistening over the moist decks, and among the boats and booms, that looked like some big brute or other lying stretched out on his paws, till you saw the men's faces on the forecastle as if they were so many mutineers skulking in the dark before they rushed aft: then up she righted again, and all was dark inboard. The awnings were off, and the gruff third mate creaking slowly to and fro in his soaked shoes; the Judge stood talking with the captain before one of the round-house doors; directly after I noticed a young lady's figure in a white dress close by the mizen-rigging, apparently intent on the sea to leeward. "Well, now or never!" thought I, stepping over in the shadow of the main-sheet. I heard her draw a long breath: and then, without turning her head at the sound of my foot, "I wonder if there is anything so strange in India," exclaimed she; "is there now?" "No, by——, no, madam!" said I, starting, and watching as the huge cloud grew darker, with a rusty stain in it, while three or four broad-backed swells, one beyond the other, rose up black against the setting moon, as if they'd plunge right into her. Miss Hyde turned round, with one hand on the bulwark to steady herself, and half looked at me. "I thought—" said she; "where is papa?—I thought my father—" I begged pardon for intruding, but next minute she appeared to have forgotten it, and said, in a musing sort of way, partly to herself, partly to me—"I seem to remember it all—as if I just saw that black wave—and—that monstrous cloud—over again! Oh! really that is the very same top it had then—see!" "Yes," said I, leaning forward, with a notion I had seen it before, though heaven knew when. "Did you ever read about Columbus and Vasco da Gama?" asked she, though directly afterwards her features broke into a laughing smile as she caught sight of mine—at the thought, I suppose, of my ridiculous figure the last time she saw me. "No, never," said I; "but look to windward, ma'am; 'tis coming on a squall again. For heaven's sake, Miss Hyde, go in! We're to have another shower, and that pretty thick. I wonder the mate don't stow the royals." "What do you mean?" said she, turning. "Why are you alarmed, sir? I see nothing particular." The sea was coming over, in a smooth, round-backed swell, out of a dirty, thick jumble of a sky, with a pitchblack line behind—what Ford would have called "wild" by daylight; but the young lady's eye naturally saw no more in it than a dark night. Here the Judge came over from the binnacle, giving me a nod, as much as to say he recollected me. "I am afraid, sir," said I, "if you don't make haste, you'll get wet." "How!" said Sir Charles, "'tis an exceedingly pleasant night, I think, after such a deuced hot day. They don't know how to cool rooms here—this perpetual wood retains heat till midnight, sir! That detestable pitch precludes walking—the sea absolutely glares like tin. Why do you suppose so now—eh, young gentleman?" said he again, turning back, all of a sudden, with his daughter on his arm. "Why—why—why, Sir Charles," said I, hesitating betwixt sham innocence and scarce knowing what reason to give; "why, I just think—that is to say, it's my feeling, you see." "Ah, ah, I do see," replied the Judge, good-humouredly; "but you shouldn't ape the sailor, my good fellow, as I fancy you do a little. I don't particularly admire the class, but they always have grounds for what they say in their profession, frequently even acute. At your aunt's, Lady Somers's, now, Violet, who was naturally so surrounded by naval officers, what I had to object to was, not their want of intelligence, but their forwardness. Eh! eh! who—what is that?" exclaimed he suddenly, looking straight up into the dark, as five or six large drops fell on his face out of it. All at once you heard a long sigh, as it were, in the canvass aloft, a clap like two or three carronades fired off, as all the sails together went in to the masts—then a hum in the air far and near—and whish! rush! came the rain in sheets and bucketfuls off the edge of a cloud over our very heads, plashing and washing about the deck with coils of rope; ship rolling without a breath of wind in her sails; sails flapping out and in; the rain pouring down ten times faster than the scupper-holes would let it out, and smoking gray in[Pg 202] the dark hollow of the swells, that sank under the force of it. The first officer came on deck, roaring in the hubbub to clue up and furl the royals before the wind came again. It got pitch-dark, you couldn't see your hand before you, and we had all lost mark of each other, as the men came shoving in between us. However I knew whereabouts Miss Hyde was, so I felt along the larboard rigging till I found a backstay clasped in her hands, and the soaked sleeve of her muslin dress, while she leant back on a carronade, to keep from being jerked down in the water that washed up over her feet with every roll, full of ropes and a capstan-bar or two. Without saying a word, I took up Lota in my arms, and carried her aft in spite of the roll and confusion, steering for the glimmer of the binnacle, till I got her inside one of their own cabins, where there was a lamp swinging about, and laid her on a sofa. I felt somehow or other, as I went, that the sweet creature hadn't fainted, though all the while as still as death; accordingly I made off again at once to find the Judge, who, no doubt, was calling for his daughter, with a poor chance of being heard. In a minute or two more the rain was over; it was light enough to make out the horizon, as the belt of foam came broadening out of it; the ship gave two or three wild bounds, the wheel jolting and creaking: up swelled the black waves again over one side, the topsails flapped full as the squall rushed roaring into them, and away she rose; then tore into it like a scared horse, shaking her head and throwing the snow-white foam into her forechains. 'Twas as much as three men could do to grind down her wheel, leaning and grinning to it; you saw just the Indiaman herself, scarce so far forward as the booms, and the broad swell mounting with her out of the dark, as she slowly squared yards before it, taking in to'gallant-sails while she did so, with her topsail-yards lowered on the caps. However, the look of it was worse than its force, else the swell wouldn't have risen so fast, as every sailor knew; and by two bells of the mid-watch she was bowling under all, as easy as before, the mate of the watch setting a stunsail.

When I went down, shaking myself like a Newfoundland, Westwood was swinging in his cot with a book turned to the lamp, reading Don Quixote in Spanish. "Bless me, Ned!" said he, "you seem to like it! paying fair and weathering it too!" "Only a little adventure, Westwood!" said I, laughing. "Why, here have I been enjoying better adventures than we seem likely to have," said he, "without stirring a hand, except for the wild swings you gave me from deck. Here's Don Quixote—" "Don Quixote be hanged!" said I: "I'd rather wear ship in a gale, myself, than all the humbug that never happened—out of an infernal play-book. What's the use of thinking you see service, when you don't? After all, you couldn't expect much till we've crossed the Line—nothing like the tropics, or the Cape, for thickening a plot, Tom. Then there's the Mozambique, you know!" "Well, we'll see," said Westwood, lazily, and half asleep.

The whole next day would have been weary enough in itself, as not a single glimpse of the fair Lota could I catch; and the weather, between the little puffs of air and squalls we had, was fit to have melted poor Ford to the bone, but for the rain. However, that day was sufficient, by fits and starts, to bring us up to the Line; and, before crossing it, which we did by six o'clock in one of the black squalls, half of the passengers had been pretty well ducked by Neptune and his gang, besides. Rare fun we had of it for three or four hours on end; the cadets and writers showing fight in a body, the Yankee being regularly keelhauled, tarred, and feathered, though I believe he had crossed the Line twice by land; while the Scotch surgeon was found out, in spite of his caution, never to have been lower than the West Indies—so he got double ration. A word to Jacobs took Westwood Scot-free; but, for my own part, wishing of course to blind the officers, I let the men stick the tar-brush in my mouth the first word I spoke, and was shaved like the mischief, not to speak of plumping afterwards behind the studding-sail curtain into three feet of water, where I absolutely saved Ford from drowning, he being as sick as a dog.

[Pg 203]

Late at night, the breeze held and freshened; and, being Saturday night, the gentlemen in the cuddy kept it uproariously after their troubles, drinking and singing songs, Tom Little's and your sentimental affairs; till, being a bit flushed myself, I was on the point of giving them one of Dibdin's, when I thought better of it, and went on deck instead. The mate was there, however, and his red-whiskered Scotch sub with the twisted snout, leaning on the capstan with their noses together. The night was dark, and the ship made a good noise through the water; so "hang it!" thought I, "somehow or other I'll have out a stave of 'Black-eyed Susan' at the top of my pipe, though overboard I go for it!" There was an old spare topsail-yard slung alongside to larboard, as far as the quarter-boat, and I went up to the poop to get over and sit on it; especially when I found Ford's friend, the fat midshipman, was in the boat itself, "caulking"[9] his watch out, as he did every night in a fresh place. I was no sooner there, again, than I saw a light in the aftermost gallery window, and took it in my head if I sung there, why, in place of being afraid there was some one under her casement, that and the wind and water together would put her to sleep, if she was the worse of last night—in fact I may say I was a little "slewed"[10] at the time. How to get there, though, was the matter, it being rather nice practice to sling over an Indiaman's quarter-gallery, bulging out from her steep counter: accordingly, first I took the end of a coil round the mizen-shrouds, and made a bowline-knot to creep down the stern-mouldings with, and then swing free by help of a guide-line to boot. Just before letting go of the taffrail, another fancy struck me, to hitch the guide-line to the trigger of the life-buoy that hung ready for use; not that I'd the notion of saving myself if I went overboard, but just because of the good joke of a fellow slipping his own life-buoy, and then cruising away with a light at his masthead back to the Line. 'Twas curious—but when I was "two or three cloths in the wind," far from growing stupid, I used always to get a sort of cunning that would have made me try and cheat a purser; so away I lowered myself till the rope was taut, when I slipped easy enough round the counter, below the window. Every time she rolled, out I swung, and in again, till I steadied with my feet, slacking off the other line from one hand. Then I began to give voice like old Boreas himself, with a sort of a notion, at each shove I got, how I was rocking the Indiaman like a big cradle, as Jacobs did his baby. All at once, I felt the rope was giving off the belaying-pin, till I came down with a jolt under the window below; only singing the louder, as it was half open, and I could just look in. With every wash of the waves, the water, a couple of fathoms under my feet, blazed up like fire, and the wake ran boiling out from the black stern by the rudder, like the iron out of a furnace: now and then there came a sulky flare of dumb lightning to leeward, and showed the black swell out of the dark for miles. I fancied I didn't care for the water, but I began to think 'twas rather uncomfortable the notion of sousing into such an infernally flame-looking stream: I was actually in a fright at being boiled, and not able to swim. So I dropped chorus to haul myself up; when of a sudden, by the lamp inside the state-room, I saw Winterton and Ford come reeling in, one after the other, as drunk as lords. Winterton swayed about quietly on his legs for a minute, and then looked gravely at Ford, as if he'd got a dreadful secret to make known. "Ford!" said he. "Ay," said Ford, feeling to haul off his trousers,—"ay—avast you—blub-lub-lubber!" "I say, Ford!" said the cadet again, in a melancholy way, fit to melt a marlinspike, and then fell to cry—Ford all the time pulling off his trousers, with a cigar in his mouth, till he got on a chest, and contrived to flounder into his cot with his coat on. After that he stretched over to put the lamp out, carefully enough; but he let fall his cigar, and one leg [Pg 204]of his nankeen trousers hung out of the cot, just scraping the deck every time he swung. I watched, accordingly, holding on by the sill, till I saw a spark catch in the stuff—and there it was, swinging slowly away in the dark, with a fiery ring creeping round the leg of the trousers, ready to blow into a flame as soon as it had a clear swing. No doubt the fool would come down safe enough himself with his cot; but I knew Winterton kept powder in the cabin sufficient to blow up the deck above, where that sweet girl was sleeping at the moment. "Confound it!" I thought, quite cooled by the sight, "the sooner I get on deck the better!" However, you may fancy my thoughts when I heard men at the taffrail, hauling on the spanker-boom guys, so I held on till they'd go forward again: suddenly the mate's voice sung out to know "what lubber had belayed the slack of a topsail-clueline here?" Down I went with the word, as the rope was thrown off, with just time to save myself by a clutch of the portsill at arm's-length—where, heaven knew, I couldn't keep long. The mate looked over and caught sight of my face, by a flicker of the summer lightning, as I was slipping down: I gave him one curse as loud as I could hail, and let go the moulding—"Man overboard!" shouted he, and the men after him: however I wasn't altogether overboard yet, for I felt the other part of the rope bring me up with a jerk and a swing right under the quarter-boat, where I clung like a cat. How to get on deck again, without being seen, was the question, and anxious enough I was at thought of the burning train inside; when out jumped some one over my head: I heard a splash in the water, and saw a fellow's face go sinking into the bright wake astern, while the boat itself was coming down over me from the davits. I still had the guide-line from the life-buoy round my wrist, and one moment's thought was enough to make me give it a furious tug, when away I sprang clear into the eddies. The first thing I saw at coming up was the ships' lighted stern-windows driving to leeward, then the life-buoy flaring and dipping on a swell, and a bare head, with two hands, sinking a few feet off. I made for him at once, and held him up by the hair as I struck out for the buoy. A couple of minutes after, the men in the boat had hold of us and it; the ship came sheering round to the wind, and we were very shortly aboard again. "Confound it, Simm, what took you overboard, man?" asked the mid in the boat at his dripping messmate, the fat reefer. "Oh, bother!" said he, "if you must know—why, I mistook the quarter-boats; I thought 'twas the other I was in, when you kicked up that shindy! Now I remember, though, there was too much rain in it for comfort!" "Well, youngster," said Tom, the man-o'-war'sman, "this here gentleman saved your life, anyhow!" "Why, mate," whispered Bill, "'tis the wery same greenhorn we puckalowed so to-day! Didn't he jump sharp over, too?" "Pull! for your lives, my lads!" said I, looking up at Ford's window; and the moment we got on deck, below I ran into the state-room, and cut Ford down by the heels, with the tinder hanging from him, and one leg of his trousers half gone. As for the poor reefer, a pretty blowing-up he got; the men swore I had jumped overboard after him, and the mate would have it that, instead of sleeping, he wanted to get into the Judge's cabins; especially when next day Sir Charles was in a rage at his daughter being disturbed by some sailor or other singing outside.

[Pg 205]


At length our pens must find repose!
With verse, or with poetic prose,
Filled is each nook;
And these poor little rhymes must close
Our pleasant book!
Its every page is filled at last!
When on these leaves my eyes I cast,
Dull thoughts to cheer,
How many memories of the past
Seem written here!
Those who behold a river run
Bright glittering in the noonday sun,
See not its source;
And few can know whence has begun
Its giddy course!
And thus the feelings that gave rise
To many a verse that meets their eyes
How few can tell!
Yet for those feelings gone, I prize
And love it well!
Some stanzas were composed to grace
An hour of pleasure,—some to chase
Sad care away;
And some to help on time's slow pace
Which would delay!
In some, we trace affection's tone
To friends then kind,—now colder grown
By force or art:
In some, the shade of hopes, now gone,
Then, next the heart!
Such fancies with each line I weave,
And thus our book I cannot leave
Without a sigh!
Fond recollections make me grieve
To lay it by!
How other hands, perchance, than mine,
A fairer wreath for it might twine,
'Twere vain to tell;
I can but say, in one brief line,
Dear Book, Farewell!

[Pg 206]



Sir,—I chanced to be at Heidelberg at the outbreak of the late revolutionary movement, and remained there, or in the neighbourhood, during its entire duration. It occurs to me that a brief narrative of the leading events of that period of confusion and anarchy, from the pen of one who was not only an eyewitness of all that passed, but who, from long residence in this part of Germany, has a pretty intimate acquaintance with the real condition and feelings of the people, may prove suitable to the pages, and not uninteresting to the readers, of Blackwood's Magazine.

At a public meeting held at Offenburg, in the duchy of Baden, on the 13th of May 1849, and which was attended by many of the most violent members of the German republican party, it was resolved that the constitution voted by the national assembly at Frankfort should be acknowledged; that Brentano and Peter should be charged with the formation of a new ministry; that Struve, and all other political offenders, should be forthwith set at liberty; that the selection of officers for the army should be left to the choice of the privates; and lastly, that the movement in the Palatinate (Rhenish Bavaria) should be fully supported by the government of Baden.

For the information of those who have not closely followed the late course of events in Germany, it may be necessary to mention, that early in the month of May a revolutionary movement, the avowed object of which was to force the King to acknowledge the constitution drawn up by the parliament at Frankfort, had broken out in Rhenish Bavaria. A provisional government had been formed, the public money seized, forced contributions levied, and the entire Palatinate declared independent of Bavaria. The leaders of the insurrection had been joined by a portion of discontented military; and, in an incredibly short space of time, the whole province, with the exception of the fortresses of Germersheim and Landau, had fallen into their hands.

Although the declared motive of the Offenburg assembly was to support this movement, and thus oblige the reigning princes to bow to the decrees of the central parliament, there is little doubt that a long-formed and widely-extended conspiracy existed, the object of which was to proclaim a republic throughout Germany. The meeting in question was attended by upwards of twenty thousand persons, many of whom were soldiers, seduced by promises of increased pay, and of the future right to elect their officers. Money was plentifully distributed; and towards evening the mob, mad with drink and excitement, returned, howling revolutionary songs, to their homes. At the very time this was going on, a mutiny in the garrison of Rastadt had placed that fortress in the power of about four thousand soldiers, many of them raw recruits. This extraordinary event, apparently the result of a drunken quarrel, was shrewdly suspected to be part of a deep-laid scheme for supporting the movement, which was expected to follow the next day's meeting at Offenburg. If such were the hopes of the leaders, they were not disappointed; the train was laid, and wanted but a spark to fire it. The result of the Offenburg meeting was known at Carlsruhe by six o'clock in the evening of the day of its occurrence; and on the same evening, some riotous soldiers having been placed in confinement, their comrades insisted on their release. In vain did the officers, headed by Prince Frederick, (the Grand-duke's second son,) endeavour to appease them; they were grossly insulted, and the prince received a sabre cut on the head. It is thought by many persons that if, at this time, energetic measures had been taken, the whole movement might have been crushed.

But with citizens timid or lukewarm, and soldiers the greater number of whom were in open mutiny, it[Pg 207] is difficult to say where the repressive power was to have been found. Be this as it may, the barracks were demolished, the stores broken open and robbed; and by eleven o'clock that night the ducal family, and as many of the ministers and attendants as could find the means of evasion, were in full flight. With arms supplied by the plunder of the barracks, the mob next attacked the arsenal, which was under the protection of the national guard. A squadron of dragoons who came to assist the latter were fired on by both parties, and the captain, a promising young officer, was killed on the spot. The dragoons, seeing their efforts to support the citizens thus misinterpreted, retired, and left the arsenal to its fate.

Early next morning, a provisional government, headed by Brentano and Fickler, was proclaimed, to which all people were summoned to swear obedience; and, absurdly enough, the very men, soldiers and citizens, who the day before had, with the acquiescence of the duke, taken an oath of allegiance to the empire, now swore to be faithful to the new order of things. The news of the outbreak spread like wildfire. It was received with particular exultation in the towns of Mannheim and Heidelberg; in the latter of which a very republican spirit prevailed, and where, at the first call, the national guard assembled, eager to display their valour—in words. It was not long before their mettle was put to the proof. The Duke, who had taken refuge in the fortress of Germersheim, had been escorted in his flight by about three hundred dragoons, with sixteen pieces of artillery. These brave fellows, who had remained faithful to their sovereign, attempted, after leaving him in safety, to make their way to Frankfort. As every inch of the country they had to traverse was in open revolt, the circumstance was soon known at Heidelberg, where, late in the evening, the tocsin rang, to summon the peasants from the neighbouring villages, and the générale beat through the streets to call the citizens to arms, in order that parties might be sent out to intercept the soldiers. It would be difficult to describe the panic that prevailed in Heidelberg at the first sound of this terrible drum. The most ridiculous and contradictory reports were circulated. That some great danger was at hand, all agreed; and the story generally credited was, that the peasants of the Odenwald were coming down, ten thousand strong, to plunder the town. When the real cause of the disturbance was discovered, it may be doubted whether, to many, the case appeared much mended; for, besides the disinclination a set of peaceable tradesmen might feel to attack a body of dragoons, backed by sixteen pieces of artillery, many of those who were summoned from their beds were secretly opposed to the cause they were called upon to serve. But there was no remedy; and, amidst the tears and shrieks of women, the ringing of bells, and beating of drums, the first detachment marched off. No sooner did they arrive at the supposed scene of action, than, seized with a sudden panic, caused by a row of trees which, in the dark, they mistook for the enemy in battle array, they faced about, and fairly ran for it till they found themselves once more in Heidelberg.

The consequences were more serious to some of the members of a second party, despatched to Ladenburg. In the middle of the night, the sentry posted on the bridge mistook the trotting of some stray donkey for a charge of dragoons, and firing his rifle, without farther deliberation he threw himself over the bridge, breaking a thigh and a couple of ribs in the fall. The others stood their ground; but it is well known that several of the party were laid up next day with nerven feber, (a sort of low typhus,) brought on by the fear and agitation they had undergone.

These facts are merely mentioned to show that, had the government, at the commencement of the outbreak, made the slightest show of firmness, they would not have met with the resistance which they afterwards found.

The dragoons, after dodging about for two days and nights, worn out with fatigue and hunger, at length allowed themselves to be captured near the frontiers of Würtemberg. It seems that the soldiers positively refused to make use of their arms after the Duke's flight, which, indeed, is[Pg 208] the only way of accounting for three hundred mounted dragoons, with sixteen pieces of artillery fully supplied with ammunition, falling into the hands of as many peasants, who would undoubtedly have fled at the first shot fired.

Whilst these events passed, the reins of government at Carlsruhe had been seized by Brentano, Peter, Fickler, and Goegg—the latter a convicted felon. Struve and Blind, condemned to eight years' imprisonment for their rebellion the year before, were released, and, with their friends, took a prominent part in the formation of the new ministry. The war department was given to a Lieutenant Eichfeld, who, by the way, had some time previously quitted the service, on account of a duel in which he displayed the white feather. His first measure was to order the whole body of soldiers, now entirely deprived of their officers, to select others from the ranks. The choice was just what might have been expected; and instances occurred in which recruits of three weeks' standing passed at once to the rank of captain and major. All discipline was soon at an end. The army, consisting of 17,000 men, was placed under the command of Lieutenant Sigel, a young man of twenty-two, whose sole claims to preferment seem to have been, that he was compromised in Struve's abortive attempt at Friburg, and had since contributed a number of articles, violently abusive of the government, to some low revolutionary newspapers. Headquarters were established at Heidelberg, where Sigel, accompanied by Eichfeld, arrived on the 19th of May.

The pecuniary affairs of the insurgents were in the most flourishing condition. Seven millions of florins (about £560,000) were found in the war-chest, besides two and a half millions of paper-money, and large sums belonging to other departments of the ministry. Their stock of arms consisted of seventy thousand muskets, without reckoning those of the national guard and military. Thus equipped and supplied, they would have been able, with a little drill, and if properly commanded, to make a long stand against the regular forces sent against them. By this time, too, the country was fast filling with political refugees of all shades of opinion. Italians, Swiss, Poles, and French were daily pouring in; and the well-known Metternich, of Mayence celebrity, who had not been heard of since his flight from the barricades at Frankfort, again turned up as commander of a free corps. A sketch of his costume will give a pretty fair idea of that adopted by all those who wished to distinguish themselves as ultra-liberals. He wore a white broad-brimmed felt hat, turned up on one side, with a large red feather; a blue kittel or smock-frock; a long cavalry sabre swung from his belt, in which were stuck a pair of ponderous horse pistols; troopers' boots, reaching to the middle of the thigh, were garnished with enormous spurs, and across his breast flamed a crimson scarf, the badge of the red republican.

In order to extend the revolt, and to place Baden in a state of defence before the governments should recover from their panic, the most energetic measures were taken. A decree was issued for arming the whole male population, from eighteen to thirty years of age; and as in many instances the peasantry proved refractory, a tax of fifty florins per day was laid on all recusants, who, when discovered, were taken by force to join the army. Raveaux, Trutschler, Erbe, and Fröbel, the latter that friend of Robert Blum, who so narrowly escaped the cord when his companion was shot,—made their appearance at Carlsruhe. They issued a violent proclamation against the King of Prussia, and, the better to disguise their real object, called on all Germany to arm in defence of the parliament at Frankfort, and the provisional government of Baden. Every artifice, no matter how disreputable, that could serve the cause, was unscrupulously resorted to. It was officially announced that Würtemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt were only waiting a favourable opportunity to join the movement; and to further this object, a public meeting (which it was hoped would bring forth the same fruits at Darmstadt, as that of Offenburg had produced at Carlsruhe) was called by the radicals of the Odenwald. It took place at Laudenbach, a village[Pg 209] situated about three miles within the Hessian frontier, and was attended by upwards of six thousand armed peasants, and by three or four thousand of the Baden free corps. The authorities were, however, on the alert; and after a fruitless summons to the insurgents to quit the territory, the military were called out. Before orders to fire were given, the civil commissary, desirous to avoid effusion of blood, advanced alone towards the crowd, endeavouring to persuade them to retire peaceably. He was barbarously murdered; and the sight of his dead body so incensed the Hessian soldiers, that they rushed forward without waiting for the word of command, and with one volley put the whole mob of insurgents to flight.

The spirit displayed on this occasion probably saved the country from a bloody civil war; for had the revolutionary movement passed the frontiers of Baden, at that moment the flame would doubtless have spread to Würtemberg, and thence not improbably to the whole of Germany, with the exception perhaps of Prussia.

To counteract the very unsatisfactory effect of the meeting at Laudenbach, it was resolved, by a council held at Carlsruhe, that a bold stroke should be struck. The Hessians, hitherto unsupported by other troops, could not command anything like the numerical force of Baden, and Sigel received orders to cross the frontier with all his disposable troops. Four battalions of the line, with about six thousand volunteers, were reviewed at Heidelberg before taking the field. They were indeed a motley crew! The soldiers, who had helped themselves from the stores at Carlsruhe to whatever best suited their fancy, appeared on parade equipped accordingly. Shakos, helmets, caps, greatcoats, frocks, full-dress and undress uniforms, all figured in the same ranks. The so-called officers, in particular, cut a pitiful figure. If the smart uniform and epaulette could have disguised the clownish recruit, who had perhaps figured but a few weeks in the ranks, the license of his conduct would soon have betrayed him; for officers and privates, arm in arm, and excessively drunk, might constantly be seen reeling through the streets. The free corps, unwilling to be outdone by the regulars, indulged in all sorts of theatrical dresses, yellow and red boots being in great favour; whilst one fellow, claiming no lower rank than that of colonel, actually rode about in a blouse and white cotton drawers, with Hessian boots and large gold tassels.

As it was strongly suspected that the soldiers placed little confidence in their new leaders, and the free corps, many of whom were serving against their own wishes, seemed equally unwilling to risk their lives under such commanders as Metternich and Bönin, (a watchmaker from Wiesbaden,) all sorts of artifices were resorted to, to encourage both regulars and irregulars. Their whole force might amount to thirty thousand men; but, by marches and countermarches, similar to those by which, in a theatre, a few dozen of soldiers are made to represent thousands, they so dazzled the eyes of the ignorant, that it was believed their army numbered nearly a hundred thousand men. The cavalry, in particular, which were quartered in Heidelberg, were marched out and in again five times in as many days—at each appearance being hailed as a fresh regiment. Soothsayers and prophets were also consulted, and interpreted divers passages in holy writ as foretelling the defeat of the Prussians, and the success of the "Army of Freedom." But the trick which, no doubt, had the greatest influence on the minds of the poor duped people was a forged declaration, purporting to be one put forth by the Hessian troops, professing their intention of throwing down their arms on the approach of their "German brothers."

On the 28th of May, the insurgents, ten thousand in number, crossed the frontier of Hesse-Darmstadt. The Hessians, with three battalions of infantry, a couple of six-pounders, and a squadron of light cavalry, waited their approach; and having withdrawn their outposts, (a movement interpreted into a flight by the opposite party,) they suddenly opened a severe fire on the advancing columns—driving them back to Weinheim, with a loss of upwards of fifty[Pg 210] killed and wounded. The affair commenced at four o'clock in the afternoon, and by ten at night the whole insurgent force arrived pell-mell at Heidelberg. Officers and dragoons led the van, followed by artillery, infantry, baggage-waggons, and free corps, mingled together in the utmost disorder. They had run from Weinheim, a distance of twelve miles, in three hours—driven by their fears only; for the Hessians, too weak to take advantage of their victory, and content with driving them from their own territory, waited for reinforcements before attempting farther hostilities.

This check was a sad damper to the ardour of the insurgents. It was necessary to find some one on whom to fix the blame; and as the dragoons were known to be unfavourable to the new order of things, the official account of the affair stated that the enemy would have been thoroughly beaten, had the cavalry charged when ordered so to do.

This was the only action fought under Sigel's generalship—as a specimen of which it may be mentioned that the band of the Guards was sent into action at the head of the regiment, and lost five men by the first volley fired. Whatever the reason, Sigel was removed from his functions next day, and Eichfeld, disgusted with such an opening to the campaign, changed his place of minister of war for a colonelcy in the Guards; and, pocketing a month's pay, took himself quietly off, and has never been heard of since.

As it was now evident there could be no hopes of the Hessians joining the movement, the tactics were changed, and the most violent abuse was lavished on them by the organs of the provisional government. The vilest calumnies were resorted to, to exasperate the Baden troops against them, such as that they tortured and massacred their prisoners, &c.

Sigel had succeeded Eichfeld as minister of war; and as it was tolerably clear that they possessed no general fit to lead their army to the field, Meiroslawski was invited to take the command. A large sum of money was sent to him in Paris, and, while waiting his arrival, it was determined to act strictly on the defensive. With this object the whole line of the Neckar, from Mannheim to Eberbach and Mosbach, was strongly fortified; and the regular troops were withdrawn from Rastadt, and concentrated on the Hessian frontier.

At length the Polish adventurer, whose arrival had been so impatiently expected, made his appearance at Heidelberg. Meiroslawski, a native of the grand-duchy of Posen, began his career as a cadet in the Prussian service. In the Polish revolution of 1832 he played an active part, and was deeply implicated in the plot concocted at Cracow in 1846, which brought such dreadful calamities on the unfortunate inhabitants of Gallicia. For the second time he took refuge in France, and only returned to his native country to join the outbreak at Posen in 1848. There he contrived to get himself into a Prussian prison, from which, however, he was after a time released. He next led the ranks of the Sicilian insurgents; and on the submission of the island to the Neapolitan troops, had scarcely time to gain his old asylum, France, before he was called on to aid the revolutionists of Baden. He is a man of about forty years of age, of middle height, slightly built, and, so long as he is on foot, of military carriage and appearance; but seen on horseback, riding like a postilion rather than a soldier, the effect is not so good. His eyes are large and expressive, his nose aquiline, and the lower part of his face covered with a large sandy beard, which descends to the middle of his breast. Sixty of the Duke's horses, left in the stables at Carlsruhe, were sent to mount him and his aides-de-camp. Poles, Swiss, desperadoes of every description, received commissions, and were attached to the staff, the members of which, when assembled, were not unlike a group of masqueraders. Accidents, such as stumbling over their own sabres or their comrades' spurs, were of common occurrence. Sometimes a horse and his rider would be seen rolling over together; for, excepting one gentleman, whose rank I could not learn, but who had figured as rider at an equestrian circus that had attended the fair, none of the party looked as if they had ever mounted a horse before.

[Pg 211]

The first step taken by the government, after Meiroslawski's arrival, was to make a formal treaty of alliance with the provisional government of Rhenish Bavaria, in pursuance of one of whose provisions a plentiful supply of artillery was sent from the fortress of Rastadt, to furnish the army in that part of the country. That the two governments were in constant communication with Ledru Rollin and his friends, is now an authenticated fact, as well as that their chief hopes of success were built on the assistance they expected to receive from Paris. So confidently did they anticipate the overthrow, by the Montagne party, of the present order of things in France, that on the very morning the attempt took place in Paris, placards were posted up in Carlsruhe, Mannheim, and Heidelberg, announcing that the citadel of Strasburg was in the hands of the democrats, who were hastening with a hundred thousand men to the assistance of their friends in Baden.

Until the arrival of Meiroslawski, Brentano had refused to put in execution the rigorous measures urged on him by Struve and his party; but things were now conducted differently. Numbers of persons were cast into prison without any formal accusation. One clergyman in particular, thrown into a miserable dungeon, and kept for weeks in solitary confinement, entirely lost his senses, and, on the arrival of his liberators, the Prussians, had to be taken to a lunatic asylum, where he still remains. The whole country was declared to be under martial law, and notice was given that anybody expressing dissatisfaction with the government would be severely punished. No person whom the malice or ignorance of the mob might choose to consider a spy was safe: many of the principal shops in the towns were closed, the proprietors having sent off or concealed their goods, and fled the country. Persons known to be inimical to the government were punished for their opinions by contributions being levied on their property, or soldiers billeted in their houses. Count Obendorf, who has a chateau in the vicinity of Heidelberg, had no less than seven hundred and twenty men quartered on him at one time. Complaint was unavailing; tyranny and terrorism reigned throughout the land.

In order to give the semblance of legality to their proceedings, the elections for a new chamber commenced. It will readily be imagined that none but the friends of those in power presented themselves as candidates: the deputies were therefore, without exception, the intimates or supporters of Brentano & Co. The first act of the new assembly was to dissolve the Landes-auschuss, or provisional government, as being too numerous a body to act with the required vigour; and a dictatorial triumvirate, composed of Brentano, Peter, and Goegg, was appointed in its stead.

By this time serious dissensions had broken out among the leading members of the democratic party. Brentano had quarrelled with Struve, who was resolved on nothing less than the proclamation of the red republic. Finding his friends at Carlsruhe opposed to this attempt, he called a public meeting at Mannheim. Here again his efforts were unsuccessful, the soldiers especially being opposed to his doctrines. As the Würtemberg deputies had always figured among the most violent of the left, or republican party, at Frankfort, and late events had given rise to the idea that the people of that country were disposed to support the movement in Baden, Fickler was sent to Stuttgart, with a considerable sum of money to corrupt the soldiers; and in full expectation of the success of his mission, billets were made out for three thousand men, who, it was stated, were to arrive in the evening at Heidelberg. Disappointment ensued. The Würtembergers, satisfied with having forced from their king a promise to accept the constitution in support of which the Badeners professed to be fighting, were not inclined to bring further trouble and confusion into their country, and Fickler was thrown into prison. This untoward event, had the Baden revolution lasted much longer, was to have produced a terrible war between the two countries. The Würtemberg minister, however, laughed at the insurgent government's absurd and impotent threats, and Fickler still remains in confinement.

[Pg 212]

The first week after Meiroslawski's arrival was taken up with preparations for opening the campaign on a grand scale. Upwards of fifty thousand men were collected on the Hessian frontiers, from which side it was expected that the enemy would make their attack. At the same time, the Hessians having been reinforced by troops from Mecklenburg, Nassau, Hesse-Cassel, and Prussia, prepared to take the field in earnest. Whilst the first division of the army, under the command of the Prince of Prussia and General Hirschfeld, entered the Palatinate between Kreutznach and Saarbrucken, and advanced to the relief of Germersheim and Landau; Meiroslawski was held in check by continual feints, made along the whole line of the Neckar. On the 15th of June, a battalion of Mecklenburgers, with a squadron of Hessian light cavalry, and a couple of guns, advanced from Weinheim as far as Ladenburg. The village was taken at the point of the bayonet; but, ignorant of the immense force of the insurgents, or perhaps from undervaluing their courage, the troops allowed themselves to be almost surrounded by the enemy. With great difficulty they succeeded in regaining their old position; while the major who commanded the party, and ten privates, were left in the hands of the rebels. The loss on both sides was considerable, but was in some degree compensated to the Imperial troops, by two companies of the Baden Guards passing over to them. This slight success was boasted of by Meiroslawski as a splendid victory, in the following bulletin:—

"Headquarters, Heidelberg,
16th June 1849.

"Our operations against the advancing enemy have been crowned with success. Yesterday, our brave army was simultaneously attacked on all sides.

"In Rhenish Bavaria the Prussians were driven back with great loss. At Ladenburg, Colonel Sigel engaged the enemy, who had advanced in front; while a column, under the command of the valiant Oborski, attacked them in rear. The enemy was defeated on all points, and driven back in the greatest confusion.

"It is only to be regretted that want of cavalry prevented our following and completely annihilating them.

"Many prisoners were made, and their loss in arms, ammunition, and baggage, all of which fell into our hands, was considerable.

"Inhabitants of Heidelberg, fear nothing for the future. Continue to provide the intrepid army under my command with necessaries for continuing the campaign so gloriously commenced, and I will answer for the result. Strict obedience to my orders is all I require from you, to prevent the enemy from overrunning the country.

"In commemoration of the victory of yesterday, so gloriously obtained, the town of Heidelberg will be illuminated. The lights will be left burning till daybreak, and the beer-houses will remain open the whole night.

"(Signed) Louis Meiroslawski,
General-in-Chief of the Army."

This bombastic effusion was followed by several others equally false and ridiculous. The Prussians had advanced as far as Ludwigshafen, opposite Mannheim, without encountering any serious resistance. The insurgent army in the Pfalz, numbering about twelve thousand men, under the command of the Polish General Sznayda, had abandoned their intrenchments almost without striking a blow, and, with the provisional government, fled to Knielingen, from whence they crossed the Rhine into Baden. The only serious impediment encountered by the Prussians was at Ludwigshafen, which suffered immense damage from the heavy and constant bombardment kept up from batteries erected at the opposite town of Mannheim. The railway station was burned to the ground, and the value of property destroyed in the store-houses alone has been calculated at two millions of florins, (£170,000.) On the 17th, Landau and Germersheim were relieved; and the Prince of Prussia, with his whole force concentrated before the latter fortress, prepared to cross the Rhine under the protection of its guns.

Having thus fully accomplished the first part of his arduous undertaking, by re-establishing order in the Pfalz, the Prince of Prussia prepared to effect a junction with the second and third divisions of the army, under the command of General Von Gröben, and Peucker, the former of whom had again advanced to Ladenburg, on the right bank of the Neckar. Meiroslawski, in the mean time, remained totally inactive from the 15th to the 20th inst.[Pg 213] Upwards of fifty thousand men had been reviewed by him in Heidelberg and its vicinity; besides this, the twelve thousand Bavarian insurgents, under the command of Sznayda, were in the neighbourhood of Bruchsal; and with such a force, anything like a determined resistance would have compelled the Prussians to purchase victory by a heavy loss. Whatever may be his reputation for talent, Meiroslawski showed but little skill as a general during his short command in Baden. Instead of opposing the crossing of the Rhine by the Prussians, which, with so large a force, and fifty-four pieces of well-served artillery, he might easily have done, the Prince of Prussia, with a division of fifteen thousand men, was allowed to obtain a secure footing in his rear, almost unopposed.

From this moment the position of the insurgents became critical in the extreme. The line of the Neckar was occupied on the right bank by the second and third divisions of the army, comprising upwards of thirty thousand men. Although hitherto held in check by the strong intrenchments that had been thrown up, they might still advance in front; whilst the high road to Rastadt was effectually cut off by the Prince of Prussia, whose headquarters were now at Phillipsburg.

The Rhine had been crossed by the Prussians on the 20th, and on the evening of that day Meiroslawski, for the first time, showed a disposition to move from his comfortable quarters at the Prince Carl hotel in Heidelberg. Collecting all his force, (with the exception of three or four thousand men, who were left in the intrenchments before Ladenburg and on the line of the Neckar,) he left Heidelberg "to drive the Prussians," as he announced, "into the Rhine," and effect a junction with Sznayda's corps in the neighbourhood of Carlsruhe. The plan was a bold one; but Meiroslawski ought to have known better than to attempt its execution with the undisciplined force he commanded. He, however, appears to have entertained no doubt of the result; for the commissariat, baggage, and even the military chest were sent forward, he himself following in a carriage and four.

Early on the morning of the 21st the action commenced, and Meiroslawski found to his cost that six thousand well-disciplined Prussians were more than a match for his whole army. At ten o'clock on the same morning a proclamation was issued at Heidelberg by Struve, stating "that the Prussians were beaten on all points, that their retreat to the Rhine was cut off, and that ten thousand prisoners would be sent to Heidelberg in the evening. The loss on the side of the "Army of Freedom" was eight slightly hurt, and two severely wounded—no killed!"

In spite of the obvious absurdity of this proclamation, most of the townspeople believed it; and it was not till two o'clock in the afternoon that their eyes were opened to the deception practised on them, by the arrival of between thirty and forty cart-loads of wounded insurgents. Before nightfall, upwards of three hundred suffering wretches filled the hospitals. Crowds of fugitives flocked into the town, and every appearance of discipline was at an end. It seems that, on the approach of the enemy, the Prussian advanced guard, composed of one battalion only, retired till they drew the insurgents into the very centre of their line, which lay concealed in the neighbourhood of Wagheusel. This movement was interpreted into a flight by Meiroslawski; a halt was called; and whilst he was refreshing himself at a roadside inn, and his troops were in imagination swallowing dozens of Prussians with every fresh glass of beer, they suddenly found themselves almost surrounded by the royal forces. At the very first volley fired by the Prussians, many of the Baden heroes threw down their arms, and took to their heels; the artillery and baggage waggons, which were most unaccountably in advance, faced about, and drove through the ranks at full speed, overthrowing and crushing whole companies of insurgents. The panic soon became general: dragoons, infantry, baggage-waggons, and artillery, got mingled together in the most inextricable confusion, and those who could, fled to the woods for safety. The approach of night prevented the Prince of Prussia from following up his victory, but he established his headquarters at Langenbruken, within nine miles of the town.

[Pg 214]

Whilst the hopes of the insurgents received a deathblow in this quarter, General Peucker had pushed with his division through the Odenwald, and, after some insignificant skirmishing at Hirschhorn, crossed the Neckar in the vicinity of Zwingenberg, with the intention of advancing on Sinsheim, and cutting off the retreat of the rebels in that direction. Von Gröben, who, on account of the bridges at Ladenburg, Mannheim, and Heidelberg, being undermined, was unwilling to cross the Neckar, sent a small reconnoitring party over the hills, and, to the great consternation of the inhabitants, the Prussians suddenly made their appearance on the heights above the village of Neuenheim, thus commanding the town of Heidelberg. Four hundred of the foreign legion immediately sallied over the bridge, and, posting themselves in some houses on that side of the river, kept up a desperate firing, though the enemy were too far above their heads for their bullets to take effect. The Prussians for some time looked on with indifference, but, before retiring, they gave the insurgents a taste of what their newly-invented[11] zund-nadel muskets could accomplish. Out of four shots fired, at a distance of full fifteen hundred yards, two took effect; the one killing an insurgent on the bridge, and the other wounding one of the free corps in the town.

To return to Meiroslawski's army. After those who had been fortunate enough to reach Heidelberg had taken a few hours' rest and refreshment, the entire mass moved off in the direction of Sinsheim, their only hope of escape being to pass that town before the arrival of General Peucker's division. Thousands had thrown away their arms and fled; and most of the soldiers, anxious to escape another collision with the Prussians, threw off their uniforms and concealed themselves in the woods. One-half of the rebels were disbanded, or had been taken prisoners; and Meiroslawski, with the remnant, made all speed to quit the town. Every horse in the neighbourhood was put into requisition to aid them in their flight, and the whole gang of civil authorities, headed by Struve and his wife in a carriage, (well filled with plunder,) followed the great body of fugitives. The intrenchments at Ladenburg, &c., were abandoned, and by 7 o'clock on the evening of the 22d, the town of Heidelberg was once more left to the peaceable possession of its terrified inhabitants. The foreign legion, composed of Poles, Italians, Swiss, French—in short, the refuse of all nations—were the last to leave; nor did they do so, till they had helped themselves to whatever they could conveniently carry off: indeed, the near vicinity of the Prussians alone prevented the complete plunder of the town. During the night, the better disposed citizens removed the powder that undermined the bridge, and a deputation was sent to inform General von Gröben that he could advance without impediment. At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 23d, to the great joy of every respectable inhabitant of Heidelberg, he made his entry into the town. Mannheim had also been taken possession of without firing a shot, and the communication between the first and second divisions of the royal army was now open.

After leaving Heidelberg, Meiroslawski succeeded in once more uniting about fifteen thousand of the fugitives under his banner. General Peucker's attempt to intercept him at Sinsheim had failed, the insurgent general having reached it two hours before him. Taking to the hills, he got out in rear of the Prince of Prussia's division, and joined his force to that of Sznayda, which was before Carlsruhe. Robbery [Pg 215]and plunder marked the entire line of march. Wine and provisions that could not be carried off, were wantonly destroyed, and the inhabitants of the villages traversed by this undisciplined horde, will long have reason to remember the passage of the self-styled "Army of Freedom."

At Upsdal, Durlach, and Bruchsal, the rebels made a more energetic resistance than they had yet done; and it was not without a hard struggle, and great loss on both sides, that the Prince of Prussia, at the head of the three divisions off his army, (now united, and numbering upwards of forty thousand men,) entered Carlsruhe on the 25th of June. On the approach of the Prussians, the provisional government, the members of the chamber, and the civil authorities of every description, having emptied the treasury, and carried off all the public money on which they could lay their hands, made their escape to join the remains of the Rump parliament, who, since they had been kicked out of Würtemberg, had established themselves at Freiburg.

After a rest of two days in the capital of Baden, the Prussian army was again put in motion to attack the insurgents, now strongly intrenched along the valley of the Murg, the narrowest part of the duchy. Owing to the numerous and well-served artillery of the insurgents, it was not without severe fighting, and great sacrifice of life, that they were driven from their positions. Another disorderly flight succeeded; and by the 30th of the month, the Prussians were in quiet possession of Baden-Baden, Oos, Offenburg, and Kebl, besides having completely surrounded Rastadt, and cut off every hope of retreat from that fortress. The remainder of Meiroslawski's force was entirely dispersed, the greater number being captured, or escaping in small parties into France or Switzerland. A few hundreds only remained in Freiburg, under the command of Sigel. Meiroslawski took refuge in Basle, having held the command of the Baden forces exactly three weeks; and Brentano, after having remained just long enough to be abused and threatened by his own party, made his escape with most of the other revolutionary leaders into Switzerland, from which he issued the following justification of his conduct. As the document contains a tolerably faithful sketch of the revolution, with the opinion of one who may certainly be considered as an unprejudiced judge, we give it in full:—

"To the People of Baden.

"Fellow-citizens! Before leaving the town of Freiburg and the duchy of Baden, on the night of the 28th June, I informed the president of the constitutional assembly that it was my intention to justify my conduct towards the people of Baden, but not towards an assembly that had treated me with outrage. If I did not do this at the time I left the country for which I have acted all through with a clear conscience, and from which I was driven by a tyrannical and selfish party, it was because I wished to see what this party would say against the absent. To-day I have seen their accusation, and no longer delay my defence, in order that you may judge whether I have merited the title of traitor; or whether the people's cause—the cause of freedom, for which your sons, your brothers, have bled—can prosper in the hands of men who only seek to hide personal cowardice by barbarity, mental incapacity by lies, and low selfishness by hypocrisy.

"Fellow-citizens! Since the month of February I have strained every nerve in the cause of freedom. Since the month of February, I have sacrificed my own affairs to the defence of persecuted republicans. I have willingly stood up for all who claimed my assistance; and let any say if I have been reimbursed one kreutzer of the hundreds I have expended. Fellow-citizens! I am loath to call to mind the sacrifices I have made; but a handful of men are shameless enough to call me traitor; a handful of men, partly those in whose defence I disinterestedly strained every nerve, would have me brought to 'well-deserved punishment:' these men, whose sole merit consists in tending to bring discredit on freedom's cause, through their incapacity, barbarity, and terrorism; and whose unheard-of extravagance has brought us to the brink of ruin.

"I did not return home after Fickler's trial. The exertion I had used in his defence had injured my health, and I went for medical advice to Baden-Baden. On the 14th of May, I was fetched from my bed; but, in spite of bodily weakness, I was unwilling to remain behind. I wished to see the cause of freedom free from all dirty machinations, I wished to prevent the[Pg 216] holy cause from falling into disrepute through disgraceful traffic; I wished to keep order, and to protect life and property. For some time I was enabled to effect this: I endeavoured to prevent injustice of all kinds, and in every place, and whenever I was called on; I strove to protect the innocent against force, and to prove that even the complete overthrow of the government could be accomplished without allowing anarchy to reign in its stead.

"Fellow-citizens! However my conduct as a revolutionist may be judged, I have a clear conscience. Not a deed of injustice can be laid to my door: not a kreutzer of your money have I allowed to be squandered, not a heller has gone into my pocket! But this I must say, you will be astonished, if ever you see the accounts, to find how your money has been wasted, and how few there were who sacrificed anything to the holy cause of the people, and how many took care to be well paid out of the national coffers for every service rendered.

"No sooner had the revolution broken out than hundreds of adventurers swarmed into the land, with boasts of having suffered in freedom's cause: they claimed their reward in hard cash from your coffers. There was no crossing the streets of Carlsruhe for the crowds of uniformed, sabre-carrying clerks; and whilst this herd of idlers revelled on your money, your half-famished sons were exposing their breasts to the bullets of the enemy in freedom's cause. But whoever set himself to oppose this order of things was proclaimed to be a mean and narrow-minded citizen; whoever showed a disinclination to persecute his political adversary à la Windischgratz, was a réactionnaire or a traitor.

"At the head of this party was Struve, the man whose part I took before the tribunal at Freiburg—not as a legal adviser, but as a friend; the man whose absurd plan for giving the ministers salaries of six thousand florins; of sending ambassadors to Rome and Venice, and agents to St. Petersburg and Hungary, I overruled; the man whose endeavour to give every situation to which a good salary was attached to foreign adventurers, was effectually opposed by me. This man, despised for his personal cowardice, whose dismissal from the provisional government was demanded by the entire army—this man, instead of supporting and strengthening the government as he promised, tried, because his ambitious views found no encouragement, and with the assistance of foreign adventurers, to overthrow me; and when I showed him the force that was drawn up ready to oppose him, he took refuge in base lies, and had not even sufficient courage to go home, till I, whom he had just tried to overthrow, protected him with my own body to his house.

"The people had chosen between us, for at the elections he had been first thrown out, and he only obtained three thousand votes as a substitute, whilst I had been elected by seven thousand voices.

"I had placed all my hopes in the Constitutional Assembly. I thought that men elected by the free choice of the people would duly support my honest endeavours. I was mistaken. An assembly, the majority of whose members were mere ranters, totally incapable of fulfilling the task imposed on them, and who sought to conceal their ignorance by proposing revolutionary measures—which were carried one day, to be revoked as impracticable the next—was the result of the election. That I should prove a thorn in the sides of such men was clear; and as it was not in their power to get rid of me, they sought to make me a powerless tool, by creating a three-headed dictatorship, with the evident intention of making use of my name, whilst holding me in check by the other two dictators. Although such a situation might be undignified, still, from love of the cause, I determined to accept it. I scarcely ever saw my colleagues in Carlsruhe, as they found it more agreeable to run after the army. No reports from the seat of war ever reached me; and yet the assembly demanded from me, as being the only one present, accounts of what I had received no report of. All responsibility was thrown on my shoulders. If the minister of war neglected to supply the army with arms or ammunition, the fault was mine; if the minister of finance wanted money, I was to blame; and if the army was beaten, my want of energy was the cause of it!

"Thus was I abandoned at Carlsruhe in the last most dangerous days, and left with a set of deputies who, for the most part, had not even sufficient courage to sleep in the capital. My co-dictators found it more convenient to play the easier part of mock heroes with the army. Thousands can bear witness that I shrunk from no work, however trivial; but I can prove to most of these pot-valiant heroes, that they put off the most urgent motions as 'not pressing,' whilst they clung to others that were of no importance, merely because they carried them out of all danger at the national expense.

"In Offenburg we were joined by the newly-elected member Gustavus Struve, who immediately demanded my dismissal[Pg 217] from the government. On being told that this was impossible, he next wished me to be taken from the dictatorship, and to be given one of the minister's places. He talked of the want of energy displayed by the government, called it little better than treason, and tried to learn from my friends what plans I intended to adopt. He demanded that the fugitives from the Pfalz should be placed in office, though, God knows, we owed them nothing. Indignant at such conduct, I took no part in the secret council held at Freiburg, although I informed several of the deputies of my intention to resign, unless I received full satisfaction for the machinations of Struve.

"The first public meeting of the assembly took place on the evening of the 28th June, when Struve brought forward the following motion:—

"'That every effort at negotiation with the enemy be considered and punished as high treason.' Considering what had before taken place, I could not do less than oppose the motion, which I did on the grounds that, as such negotiations could only proceed from the government, the motion was tantamount to a vote of want of confidence. In spite of this declaration on my part, the motion was carried by twenty-eight against fifteen votes, and the contest between Struve and Brentano was decided in favour of the former. Although some few of the deputies declared their vote not to imply want of confidence, the assembly did not, in that capacity, express such an opinion. If they did, I call on them to produce the notes of such a resolution having been carried; and if they fail to do so, I brand them with the name of infamous liars. After this, I did what all honourable men would have done—I resigned. Who, I ask, was to prevent my doing so; and why am I to be branded with the name of traitor? I laugh those fools to scorn who imagine they could prevent freedom of action in a man who, having been shamefully ill-used, chose to withdraw from public life.

"I do not fear inquiry, and demand from the national assembly that the result of their investigation be made public, as it can only terminate in victory for me and destruction to my adversaries. Why did this same assembly keep secret the fact that, on the 28th of June, they decided to send me a deputation the next morning, in order to beg I would remain in power—I the traitor, I who was to be brought to 'well-merited punishment!' It was easy to foresee the personal danger I was exposed to if I refused, and I therefore preferred seeking quiet and repose in Switzerland, to enjoying the rags of freedom emitted under Struve's dictatorship in Baden.

"I am to be called to account! My acts are open to the world. No money ever came under my superintendence—this was taken care of by men who had been employed in the department for years. My salary as head of the government was three florins per day, and I have paid all travelling expenses out of my own pocket. But if those are to be called to account who had charge of the public money, and became my enemies because I would not have it squandered, then, people of Baden! you will open your eyes with astonishment; then, brave combatants, you will learn that, whilst you fasted, others feasted!

"The people of Baden will not be thankful for a 'Struve government,' but they will have to support it; and over the grave of freedom, over the graves of their children, will they learn to know those who were their friends and those who only sought for self-aggrandisement and tyranny!

"And when the time comes that the people are in want of me again, my ear will not be deaf to the call! But I will never serve a government of tyrants, who can only keep in power by adopting measures that we have learned to despise, as worthy of a Windischgratz or a Wrangel!

"Fellow-citizens! I have not entered into details. I have only drawn a general sketch, which it will require time to fill up. Accused of treason by the princes, accused of treason by the deputies of Freiburg, I leave you to decide whether I have merited the title.

"Feuerthalen bei Schaffhausen,
1 July, 1849.

"Louis Brentano."

At this time of writing, Rastadt still remains in possession of two or three thousand insurgents; but, almost without provisions, and deprived of all hopes of assistance, the fortress may be daily expected to surrender. Such is the termination of an insurrection of seven weeks' duration, which is calculated to have cost the country thirty millions of florins and four thousand lives. There is no denying that, at one time, it assumed a most formidable aspect; and had the people of Würtemberg given it the support its leaders confidently expected from them, it might, aided by the discontent that undoubtedly prevails in many other parts of Germany, long have baffled the efforts of Prussia to[Pg 218] put it down. Yet there are few persons, even among those who witnessed the outbreak from its commencement, who can tell what was the object of its promoters, unless plunder and personal aggrandisement be assigned as their incentives. Their professed motive was to support the union of Germany in one empire; but, as the Grand-duke of Baden had already taken the oath to obey and defend the constitution framed at Frankfort, there was not the slightest pretext for upsetting his government. It is certain that the republicans played a most active part in the affair—their intention no doubt being, as soon as they found themselves victorious under the banner of the empire, to hoist a democratic flag of their own. Many who were not inclined to go so far, joined them upon doubts of the fair intentions of the Germanic princes towards their subjects. Some were perhaps glad of any sort of change, other turbulent spirits were anxious for a row, but, from first to last, none seem to have had any clearly defined object, or anything to offer in extenuation of such waste of blood and treasure. The next striking circumstance is the evident incapacity of the chiefs, civil and military. Throughout the affair, we do not see one proof of superior talent, or a single act of daring courage. The only useful reflection it affords is one that is perhaps worthy the attention of the rulers of Germany. Last year, Struve's attempt to revolutionise the country was principally supported by ignorant peasants, mad students, and a few ultra-liberals and republicans, and it was in great measure put down by the soldiers of Baden. This year, a great proportion of the citizens in the principal towns were openly in favour of the movement, and nearly the whole Baden army joined the revolt.

Heidelberg, 15th July 1849.

[Pg 219]


So completely was the ordinary framework of European society broken up in France by the Revolution of 1789, that the leaders of every great political movement, since that time, have sprung from an entirely different class of society from what they were before that event. The old territorial noblesse no longer appear as the leaders in action, or the rulers of thought. The time has gone by when an Admiral de Coligny, or a Henry of Béarn, stood forth as the chiefs of the Reformed movement; a Duc d'Orleans no longer heads the defection of the nobles from the throne, or a Mirabeau rouse a resistance to the mandates of the sovereign. Not only the powers of the sword, not only the political lead of the people, but the direction of their thoughts, has passed from the old nobility. The confiscation of their property has destroyed their consequence, the dispersion of their families ruined their influence. Neither collectively nor individually can they now lead the people. The revolution of 1830, begun by Thiers and the writers in the National newspaper, was carried out by Lafitte the great banker. That of 1848, springing from the columns of the Réforme and the Démocratie Pacifique, soon fell under the lead of M. Marrast the journalist, and M. Lamartine the romancer and poet. And now the latter of these authors has come forth, not only as the leader but as the historian of the movement. Like Cæsar, he appears as the annalist of his own exploits: like him, he no doubt flatters himself he can say, "I came, I saw, I conquered."

The reason is, that mankind cannot exist even for a day but under the lead of a few. Self-government is the dream of the enthusiast, the vision of the inexperienced: oligarchy is the history of man. In vain are institutions popularised, nobles destroyed, masses elevated, education diffused, self-government established: all that will not alter the character of man; it will not qualify the multitude for self-direction; it will not obviate that first of necessities to mankind—the necessity of being governed. What is the first act of every assembly of men associated together for any purpose, social, political, or charitable? To nominate a committee by whom their common affairs are to be regulated. What is the first act of that committee? To nominate a sub-committee of two or three, in whom the direction of affairs is practically to be vested. Begin, if you please, with universal suffrage: call six millions of electors to the poll, as in France at this time, or four millions, as in America—the sway of two or three, ultimately of one, is not the less inevitable. Not only does the huge mass ultimately fall under the direction of one or two leading characters, but from the very first it is swayed by their impulsion. The millions repeat the thoughts of two or three journals, they elaborate the ideas of two or three men. What is the origin of the whole free-trade principles which have totally altered the policy, and probably shortened the existence, of the British empire? The ideas of Adam Smith, nurtured in the solitude of Kirkaldy. Would you learn what are the opinions generally prevalent in the urban circles in England, in whom political power is practically vested, on Wednesday or Thursday? Read the leading articles of the Times on Monday or Tuesday. The more men are educated, the more that instruction is diffused, the more widely that journals are read, the more vehement the political excitement that prevails, the more is the sway of this oligarchy established, for the greater is the aptitude of the general mind to receive the impulse communicated to it by the leaders of thought. The nation, in such circumstances, becomes a vast electric-machine, which vibrates with the slightest movement of the central battery.

Lamartine, as an author, can never be mentioned without the highest respect. The impress of genius is to be seen in all his works: nature has marked him for one of the leaders of thought. A mind naturally ardent and enthusiastic, has been nurtured[Pg 220] by travel, enriched by reflection, chastened by suffering. His descriptive powers are of the very highest order. We have already done justice, and not more than justice, to the extreme beauty of his descriptions of Oriental scenery.[12] They are the finest in the French, second to none in the English language. His mind is essentially poetical. Many of his effusions in verse are touching and beautiful, though they do not possess the exquisite grace and delicate expression of Beranger. But his prose is poetry itself: so deeply is his mind imbued with poetical images—so sensitive is his taste to the grand and the beautiful—so enthusiastic is his admiration of the elevated, whether in nature or art, that he cannot treat even an ordinary subject without tinging it with the colours of romance.

From this peculiar texture of Lamartine's mind arises both the excellences and defects of his historical compositions. He has all the romantic and poetical, but few of the intellectual qualities of an historian. Eminently dramatic in his description of event, powerful in the delineation of character, elevated in feeling, generous in sentiment, lofty in speculation—he is yet destitute of the sober judgment and rational views which are the only solid foundation for either general utility or durable fame in historical composition. He has the conceptions of genius and the fire of poetry in his narrative, but little good sense, and still less of practical acquaintance with mankind. That is his great defect, and it is a defect so serious that it will probably, in the end, deprive his historical works of the place in general estimation to which, from the beauty of their composition and the rich veins of romance with which they abound, they are justly entitled. These imaginative qualities are invaluable additions to the sterling qualities of truth, judgment, and trust-worthiness; but they can never supply their place. They are the colouring of history; they give infinite grace to its composition; they deck it out with all the charms of light and shade: but they can never make up for the want of accurate drawing from nature, and a faithful delineation of objects as they really exist in the world around us. Nay, an undue preponderance of the imaginative qualities in an historian, if not accompanied by a scrupulous regard to truth, tends rather to lessen the weight due to his narrative, by inspiring a constant dread that he is either passing off imaginary scenes for real events, or colouring reality so highly that it is little better than fiction. This is more especially the case with a writer such as Lamartine, whose thoughts are so vivid and style so poetical, that, even when he is describing events in themselves perfectly true, his narrative is so embellished that it assumes the character of romance, and is distrusted from a suspicion that it is a mere creation of the imagination.

In addition to this, there is a capital deficiency in Lamartine's historical works, for which no qualities of style or power of composition, how brilliant soever, can compensate; and which, if not supplied in some future editions, will go far to deprive them of all credit or authority with future times. This is the entire want of all authorities or references, either at the bottom, of the page or at the end of the work. In the eight volumes of the History of the Girondists, and the four on the Revolution of 1848, now before us, we do not recollect ever having met with a single reference or footnote containing a quotation from any state paper, speech, or official document. It is impossible to overestimate the magnitude of this defect; and it is astonishing how so able and well-informed a writer as Lamartine should have fallen into it. Does he suppose that the world are to take everything he says off his hand, without reference or examination; or imagine that the brilliant and attractive graces of his style do not increase the necessity for such authorities, from the constant suspicion they beget that they have been drawn from the store of his imagination, not the archives of history? No brilliancy of description, no richness of colouring, no amount of dramatic power, can make up for a want of the one thing needful—trust [Pg 221]in the TRUTH of the narrative. Observe children: every one knows how passionately fond they are of having stories told them, and how much they prefer them to any of the ordinary pastimes suited to their years. How often, however, do you hear them say, But is it all true? It is by making them believe that fiction is the narrative of real event that the principal interest is communicated to the story. Where the annals of event are coloured as Lamartine knows how to colour them, they become more attractive than any romance. The great success of his History of the Girondists, and of Macaulay's History of England, is a sufficient proof of this. But still the question will recur to men and women, as well as children—"But is it all true?" And truth in his hands wears so much the air of romance, that he would do well, by all possible adjuncts, to convey the impression that it is in every respect founded in reality.

There is no work which has been published in France, of late years, which has met with anything like the success which his History of the Girondists has had. We have heard that fifty thousand copies of it were sold in the first year. Beyond all doubt, it had a material effect in producing the Revolution of 1848, and precipitating Louis Philippe from the throne. It was thus popular, from the same cause which attracts boys to narratives of shipwrecks, or crowds to representations of woe on the theatre—deep interest in tragic events. He represented the heroes of the first great convulsion in such attractive colours, that men, and still more women, were not only fascinated by the narrative and deeply interested in the characters, but inspired by a desire to plunge into similar scenes of excitement themselves—just as boys become sailors from reading terrific tales of shipwreck, or soldiers, from stories of perils in the deadly breach. In his hands, vice equally with virtue, weakness with resolution, became attractive. He communicated the deepest interest to Robespierre himself, who is the real hero of his story, as Satan is of the Paradise Lost. He drew no veil over the weakness, the irresolution, the personal ambition of the Girondists, so fatal in their consequences to the cause of freedom in France, and through it to that of liberty over the whole world; but he contrived to make them interesting notwithstanding their faults—nay, in consequence of those very faults. He borrowed from romance, where it has been long understood and successfully practised, especially in France, the dangerous secret of making characters of imperfect goodness the real heroes of his tale. He knew that none of the leading characters at Paris were Sir Charles Grandisons; and he knew that, if they had been so, their adventures would have excited, comparatively speaking, very little interest. But he knew that many of them were political Lovelaces; and he knew well that it is by such characters that in public, equally as private life, the weakness of the world is fascinated, and their feelings enchained. And it is in the deep interest which his genius has communicated to really worthless characters, and the brilliant colours in which he has clothed the most sinister and selfish enterprises, that the real danger of his work consists, and the secret of the terrible consequences with which its publication was followed is to be found.

In truth, however, the real cause of those terrible consequences lies deeper, and a fault of a more fundamental kind than any glossing over the frailties of historical characters has at once rendered his work so popular and its consequences so tremendous. Rely upon it, truth and reason, all-powerful and even victorious in the end, are never a match for sophistry and passion in the outset. When you hear of a philosophical historical work going through half-a-dozen editions in six months, or selling fifty thousand copies in a year, you may be sure that there is a large intermixture of error, misrepresentation, and one-sidedness in its composition. The cause is, that truth and reason are in general distasteful in the outset to the human mind; and it is by slow degrees, and the force of experience alone, that their ascendency is established. What attracts, in the first instance, in thought, independent of the charms of eloquence and the graces[Pg 222] of composition—which of course are indispensable to great success—is coincidence with the tendency and aspirations of general thought. But so prone to error and delusion is the human mind, from its inherent character and original texture, that it is a hundred to one that general thought at any one time, especially if it is one of considerable excitement or vehement feeling, is founded in error. And thus it often happens, that the works which have the most unbounded success at their first publication, and for a considerable time after, are precisely those which contain the largest portion of error, and are likely, when reduced into practice, to have the most fatal effects upon the best interests of the species. Witness the works of Rousseau and Voltaire in France, to whose influence the first revolution is mainly to be ascribed; those of Lamartine, Victor Hugo, and Eugene Sue, who have been chiefly instrumental in bringing about the still more widespread convulsions of our times.

The fundamental principle of Lamartine's political philosophy, and which we regard as his grand error, and the cause at once of his success in the outset and his failure in the end, is the principle of the general innocence and perfectibility of human nature. It is this principle, so directly repugnant to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, that it may be regarded as literally speaking the "banner-cry of hell," which is at the bottom of the whole revolutionary maxims; and it is so flattering to the hopes, and agreeable to the weakness of human nature, that it can scarcely ever fail, when brought forward with earnestness and enforced by eloquence, to captivate the great majority of mankind. Rousseau proclaimed it in the loudest terms in all his works; it was the great secret of his success. According to him, man was born innocent, and with dispositions only to virtue: all his vices arose from the absurdity of the teachers who tortured his youth, all his sufferings from the tyranny of the rulers who oppressed his manhood. Lamartine, taught by the crimes, persuaded by the sufferings of the first Revolution, has modified this principle without abandoning its main doctrines, and thus succeeded in rendering it more practically dangerous, because less repugnant to the common sense and general experience of mankind. His principle is, that démagogie is always selfish and dangerous; démocratie always safe and elevating. The ascendency of a few ambitious or worthless leaders precipitates the masses, when they first rise against their oppressors, into acts of violence, which throw a stain upon the cause of freedom, and often retard for a season its advance. But that advance is inevitable: it is only suspended for a time by the reaction against bloodshed; and in the progressive elevation of the millions of mankind to general intelligence, and the direction of affairs, he sees the practical development of the doctrines of the gospel, and the only secure foundation for general felicity. He is no friend to the extreme doctrines of the Socialists and Communists, and is a stanch supporter of the rights of property—and the most important of all rights, those of marriage and family. But he sees in the sway of the multitude the only real basis of general happiness, and the only security against the inroads of selfishness; and he regards the advances towards this grand consummation as being certain and irresistible as the advance of the tide upon the sand, or the progress from night to morning. In this way he hopes to reconcile the grand doctrine of human perfectibility with the universal failure of all attempts at its practical establishment; and continues to dream of the irresistible and blessed march of democracy, while recounting alike the weakness of the Girondists, and the crimes of the Jacobins—the woful result of the Revolution of 1789—and the still more rapid and signal failure of that which convulsed the world sixty years afterwards.

The simple answer to all these absurdities and errors, productive of such disastrous consequences when reduced into practice, is this—"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."—"There is none that doeth good, no, not one." It is from this universal and inevitable tendency to wickedness, that the practical impossibility of establishing democratic institutions, without utter ruin to the best interests of society,[Pg 223] arises. You seek in vain to escape from the consequences of this universal corruption, by committing power to a multitude of individuals, or extinguishing the government of a few in the sway of numbers. The multitude are themselves as bad by nature as the few, and, for the discharge of the political duties with which they are intrusted, incomparably worse; for, in their case, numbers annihilate responsibility without conferring wisdom, and the contagion of common opinions inflames passion without strengthening reason. In the government of a few, capacity is generally looked for, because it is felt to be beneficial by the depositaries of power; but in that of numbers it is as commonly rejected, because it excites general jealousy, without the prospect of individual benefit. Democratic communities are ruined, no one knows how, or by whom. It is impossible to find any one who is responsible for whatever is done. The ostensible leaders are driven forward by an unseen power, which they are incapable alike of regulating or withstanding: the real leaders—the directors of thought—are unseen and irresponsible. If disasters occur, they ascribe them to the incapacity of the statesmen at the head of affairs: they relieve themselves of responsibility, by alleging, with truth, the irresistible influence of an unknown power. No one is trained to the duties of statesmanship, because no one knows who is to be a statesman. Ignorance, presumption, and ambition, generally mount to the head of affairs: the wheel of fortune, or the favour of a multitude incapable of judging of the subject, determines everything. The only effectual security against spoliation by the rulers of men, the dread of being spoliated themselves, is lost when these rulers are men who are not worth spoliating. Durable interest in the fortunes of the community is no longer felt, when durable tenure of power is known to be impossible. The only motive which remains is, that of making the most of a tenure of power which is universally known to be as short-lived as it is precarious; and prolonging it as long as possible, by bending, in every instance, to the passions or fantasies of the multitude, nominally vested with supreme power, really entirely guided by a few insolvent and ambitious demagogues—

"Ces petits souverains qu'il fait pour un année,
Voyant d'un temps si court leur puissance bornée,
Des plus heureux desseins font avorter le fruit,
De peur de le laiser à celui qui le suit;
Comme ils ont peu de part aux biens dont ils ordonnent,
Dans le champs du public largement ils moissonnent;
Assurés que chacun leur pardonne aisément,
Espérant à son tour un pareil traitement;
Le pire des états, c'est l'état populaire."[13]

Lamartine, regarding the march of democracy as universal and inevitable, is noways disconcerted by the uniform failure of all attempts in old communities to establish it, or the dreadful catastrophes to which they have invariably led. These are merely the breaking of the waves of the advancing tide; but the rise of the flood is not the less progressive and inevitable. He would do well to consider, however, whether there is not a limit to human suffering; whether successive generations will consent to immolate themselves and their children for no other motive than that of advancing an abstract principle, or vindicating privileges for the people fatal to their best interests; and whether resisted attempts, and failures at the establishment of republican institutions, will not, in the end, lead to a lasting apathy and despair in the public mind. Certain it is, that this was the fate of popular institutions in Greece, in Rome, and modern Italy: all of which fell under the yoke of servitude, from a settled conviction, founded on experience, that anything was preferable to the tempests of anarchy. Symptoms, and those too of the most unequivocal kind, may be observed of a similar disposition in the great majority, at least of the rural population, both in France and England. The election of Prince Louis Napoleon by four millions out of six millions of electors, [Pg 224]in the former country—the quiet despair with which measures of the most ruinous kind to general industry are submitted to in the latter, are so many proofs of this disposition. The bayonets of Changarnier, the devastating measures of free trade and a restricted currency, are submitted to in both countries, because anything is better than shaking the foundations of government.

In treating of the causes which have led to the revolution of 1848, Lamartine imputes a great deal too much, in our estimation, to individual men or shades of opinion, and too little to general causes, and the ruinous effects of the first great convulsion. He ascribes it to the personal unpopularity of M. Guizot, the selfish and corrupt system of government which the king had established, and the discontent at the national risks incurred by France for the interests only of the Orleans dynasty, in the Montpensier alliance. This tendency arises partly from the constitution of Lamartine's mind, which is poetical and dramatic rather than philosophical; and partly from the disinclination felt by all intelligent liberal writers to ascribe the failure of their measures to their natural and inevitable effects, rather than the errors or crimes of individual men. In this respect, doubtless, he is more consistent and intelligible than M. Thiers, who, in his History of the French Revolution, ascribes the whole calamities which occurred to the inevitable march of events in such convulsions—forgetting that he could not in any other way so severely condemn his own principles, and that it is little for the interest of men to embrace a cause which, in that view, necessarily and inevitably leads to ruin. Lamartine, in running into the opposite extreme, and ascribing everything to the misconduct and errors of individual men, is more consistent, because he saves the principle. But he is not the less in error. The general discontent to which he ascribes so much, the universal selfishness and corruption which he justly considers as so alarming, were themselves the result of previous events: they were the effects, not the causes, of political change. And without disputing the influence, to a certain extent, of the individual men to whose agency he ascribes everything, it may safely be affirmed that there are four causes of paramount importance which concurred in bringing about the late French revolution; and which will for a very long period, perhaps for ever, prevent the establishment of anything like real freedom in that country.

The first of these is the universal disruption of all the old bonds of society, which took place in the first Revolution, and the general fretting against all restraint, human or divine, which arose from the ruin of religion and confusion of morals which then took place. These evils have only been partially remedied by the re-establishment of the Christian faith over the whole realm, and the sway which it has undoubtedly acquired in the rural districts. The active and energetic inhabitants of the great towns still continue influenced by the Revolutionary passions, the strongest of which is the thirst for present enjoyment, and the impatience of any restraint, whether from the influence of conscience or the authority of law. This distinctly appears from the licentious style of the novels which have now for a quarter of a century issued from the press of Paris, and which is in general such that, though very frequently read in England, it is very seldom, especially by women, that this reading is admitted. The drama, that mirror of the public mind, is another indication of the general prevalence of the same licentious feeling: it is for the most part such, that few even of the least tight-laced English ladies can sit out the representation. The irreligion, or rather general oblivion of religion, which commonly prevails in the towns, is a part, though doubtless a most important part, of this universal disposition: Christianity is abjured or forgotten, not because it is disbelieved, but because it is disagreeable. Men do not give themselves the trouble to inquire whether it is true or false; they simply give it the go-by, and pass quietly on the other side, because it imposes a restraint, to them insupportable, on their passions. Dispositions of this sort are the true feeders of revolution, because they generate at once its convulsions in like manner, as passions which re[Pg 225]quire gratification, poverty which demands food, and activity which pines for employment. Foreign war or domestic convulsion are the only alternatives which, in such a state of society, remain to government. Napoleon tried the first, and he brought the Cossacks to Paris; Louis Philippe strove to become the Napoleon of peace, but he succeeded only in being the pioneer of revolution.

The great and durable interests of society, which the indulgence of such passions inevitably ruins, are the barrier which, in ordinary circumstances, is opposed to these disorders; and it is this influence which has so long prevented any serious outbreak of anarchy in Great Britain. But the immense extent of the confiscation of landed property during the first Revolution, and the total ruin of commercial and movable wealth, from the events of the maritime war, and the effects of the enormous issue of assignats, has prevented the construction of this barrier in anything like sufficient strength to withstand the forces which pressed against it. Nine-tenths of the realised wealth of the country was destroyed during the convulsion; what remained was for the most part concentrated in the hands of a few bankers and moneyed men, who aimed at cheapening everything, and depressing industry, in order to augment the value of their metallic riches. The influence of the natural leaders of the producing class, the great proprietors of land, was at an end, for they were almost all destroyed. The six millions of separate landed proprietors, who had come in their place, had scarcely any influence in the state; for the great majority of them were too poor to pay 200 francs a-year (£8) direct taxes—the necessary condition towards an admission into the electoral body—and as individuals they were in too humble circumstances to have any influence in the state. The returns of the "Impôt foncière," or land-tax, showed that above four millions of this immense body had properties varying from £2 to £10 a-year each—not more than is enjoyed by an Irish bogtrotter. In these circumstances, not only was the steadying influence of property in general unfelt in the state, but the property which did make itself felt was of a disturbing rather than a pacifying tendency; for it was that of bankers and money-lenders, whose interests, being those of consumers, not producers, went to support measures calculated to depress industry rather than elevate it, and thereby augment rather than diminish the distress which, from these causes, soon came to press so severely upon the urban population.

These causes were the necessary results of the dreadful waste of property, and ruin of industry, which had taken place during the first Revolution. The multitude of little proprietors with which France was overspread, could furnish nothing to the metropolis but an endless succession of robust hands to compete with its industry, and starving mouths to share its resources. What could the six millions of French landowners, the majority of them at the plough, afford to lay aside for the luxuries of Paris? Nothing. You might as well expect the West-End shopkeepers of London to be sustained by the starving western Highlanders of Scotland, or the famished crowds of Irish cottars. The natural flow of the wealth of the land to the capital of the kingdom, which invariably sets in when agricultural property is unequally distributed, and a considerable part of it is vested in the hands of territorial magnates, was at once stopped when it became divided among a multitude of persons, not one of whom could afford to travel ten miles from home, or to buy anything but a rustic dress and a blouse to cover it. At least sixty millions sterling, out of the eighty millions which constitute the net territorial produce of France, was turned aside from Paris, and spent entirely in the purchase of the coarsest manufactures or rude subsistence in the provinces. The metropolis came to depend mainly on the expenditure of foreigners, or of the civil and military employés of government. This woful defalcation in its resources occurred at a time, too, when the influx of needy adventurers from the country was daily increasing, from the impossibility of earning a livelihood, amidst the desperate competition of its squalid landowners, and the decline of agriculture, which necessarily resulted from their inability to[Pg 226] adopt any of its improvements. Thus the condition of the working classes in Paris went on getting constantly worse, during the whole reign of Louis Philippe; and it was only in consequence of the vast influx of foreigners, which the maintenance of peace and the attractions of the court occasioned, that they were not reduced many years before to the despair and misery which at once occasioned and followed the last revolution.

Amidst a population excited to discontent by these causes, another circumstance has operated with peculiar force, which we do not recollect to have seen hitherto noticed in disquisitions on this subject—this is the prodigious number of natural children and foundlings at Paris. It is well known that ever since the close of the first Revolution the number of illegitimate births in Paris has borne a very great proportion to the legitimate; they are generally as 10,000 to 18,000 or 19,000. For a long time past, every third child seen in the streets of Paris has been a bastard. Hitherto this important feature of society has been considered with reference to the state of morality in regard to the relation of the sexes which it indicates; but attend to its social and political effects. These bastards do not always remain children; they grow up to be men and women. The foundlings of Paris, already sufficiently numerous, are swelled by a vast concourse of a similar class over all France, who flock, when they have the means of transport, to the capital as the common sewer of the commonwealth. There are at present about 1,050,000 souls in the French metropolis. Suppose that a third of these are natural children, there are then 350,000 persons, most of them foundlings of illegitimate birth, in that capital. Taking a fourth of them as capable of bearing arms, we have 85,000 bastards constantly ready to fight in Paris.

Consider only the inevitable results of such a state of things in an old and luxurious metropolis, teeming with indigence, abounding with temptation, overflowing with stimulants to the passions. The enfant trouvé of Paris, when grown up, becomes a gamin de Paris, just as naturally and inevitably as a chrysalis becomes a butterfly. He has obtained enough of instruction to enable him to imbibe temptation, and not enough to enable him to combat it. He has in general received the rudiments of education: he can read the novels of Victor Hugo, Eugene Sue, and George Sand; he can study daily the Réforme or National, or Démocratie Pacifique. He looks upon political strife as a game at hazard, in which the winning party obtain wealth and honour, mistresses, fortunes, and enjoyments. As to religion, he has never heard of it, except as a curious relic of the olden time, sometimes very effective on the opera stage; as to industry, he knows not what it is; as to self-control, he regards it as downright folly where self-indulgence is practicable. The most powerful restraints on the passions of men—parents, children, property—are to him unknown. He knows not to whom he owes his birth; his offspring are as strange to him as his parents, for they, like him, are consigned to the Foundling Hospital: he has nothing in the world he can call his own, except a pair of stout arms to aid in the formation of barricades, and a dauntless heart ready at any moment to accept the hazard of death or pleasure. Hanging midway, as it were, between the past and the future, he has inherited nothing from the former but its vices, he will transmit nothing to the latter but its passions. Whoever considers the inevitable results of eighty or ninety thousand men in the prime of life actuated by these dispositions, associating with an equal number of women of the same class, affected by the same misfortune in their birth, and influenced by the same passions, constantly existing in a state of indigence and destitution in the heart of Paris, will have no difficulty in accounting for the extraordinary difficulty which, for the last half century, has been experienced in governing France, and will probably despair of ever succeeding in it but by force of arms.

We hear nothing of these facts from Lamartine, whose mind is essentially dramatic, and who represents revolutions, as he evidently considers them,[Pg 227] as the work of individual men, working upon the inevitable march of society towards extreme republican institutions. He gives us no statistics; he never refers to general causes, except the universal progress towards democracy, which he regards as irresistible. Least of all is he alive to the ruinous effects of the first great disruption of the bonds of society which naturally followed the Revolution of 1789, or disposed to regard the subsequent convulsions, as what they really are—the inevitable result and just punishment of the enormous sins of the Revolution. And—mark-worthy circumstance!—these consequences are the obvious result of the great crimes committed in its course; the confiscation of property which it occasioned, the overthrow of religion and morals with which it was attended. They have fallen with peculiar severity upon Paris, the centre of the revolutionary faction, and the focus from which all its iniquities emanated, and where the blood of its noblest victims was shed. And if revolutions such as we have witnessed or read of in that country are indeed inevitable, and part of the mysterious system of Providence in the regulation of human affairs, we can regard them as nothing but a realisation of that general tendency to evil which is so clearly foretold in prophecy, and indications of the advent of those disastrous times which are to be closed by the second coming of the Messiah.

We have all heard of the mingled treachery and irresolution—treachery in the national guard, irresolution in the royal family—which brought about the revolution which Lamartine has so eloquently described. It is evident, even from his account—which, it may be supposed, is not unduly hostile to the popular side—that it was the bar-sinister in its birth which proved fatal, in the decisive moment, to the Throne of the Barricades; and that the revolution might with ease have been suppressed, if any other power had been called to combat it but that which owed its existence to a similar convulsion.

"The King was lost in thought, while the tocsin was sounding, on the means by which it might yet be possible to calm the people, and restrain the revolution, in which he persisted in seeing nothing but a riot. The abdication of his external-political system, personified in M. Guizot, M. Duchatel, and the majority of the Chambers entirely devoted to his interests, appeared to him to amount to more than the renunciation of his crown; it was the abandonment of his thoughts, of his wisdom, of the prestige of his infallibility in the eyes of Europe, of his family, of his people. To yield a throne to adverse fortune, is little to a great mind. To yield his renown and authority to triumphant adverse opinion and implacable history, is the most painful effort which can be required of a man, for it at once destroys and humbles him. But the King was not one of those hardy characters who enjoy, with sang-froid, the destruction of a people for the gratification of their pride. He had read much of history, acted much in troubled times, reflected much. He could not conceal from himself, that a dynasty which should reconquer Paris by means of grape-shot and bombs would be for ever besieged by the horror of the people. His field of battle had always been opinion. It was on it that he wished to act; he hoped to regain it by timely concessions. Only, like a prudent economist, he higgled with opinion like a Jewish pawnbroker, in the hopes of purchasing it at the smallest possible sacrifice of his system and dignity. He flattered himself he had several steps of popularity to descend before quitting the throne."—(Vol. i., p. 102.)

The immediate cause of the overthrow of the throne, it is well known, was the fatal order which the delusion of M. Thiers, when called to the ministry, extorted from the weakness of the King, to stop firing—to cease resistance—to succumb to the assailants. Marshal Bugeaud was perfectly firm; the troops were steady; ample military force was at their command; everything promised decisive success to vigorous operations. Marshal Bugeaud's plan was of the simplest but most efficacious kind.

"Marshal Bugeaud, with his military instinct, matured by experience and the habit of handling troops, knew that immobility is the ruin of the morale of soldiers. He changed in a moment the plan of operations submitted to him. He instantly called around him the officers commanding corps. The one was Tiburie Sebastiani, brother of the marshal of the same name, a calm and faithful officer; the other, General Bedeau, whose name, made illustrious by his exploits in Africa, car[Pg 228]ried respect with it, to his companions in arms in Paris. He ordered them to form two columns of 3500 men each, and to advance into the centre of Paris—the one by the streets which traverse it from the Boulevards to the Hôtel de Ville, the other by streets which cross it from the quays. Each of the columns had artillery, and their instructions were to carry, in their advance, all the barricades, to destroy these fortresses of the insurrection, to cannonade the masses, and concentrate their columns on the Hôtel de Ville, the decisive point of the day. General Lamoricière was to command a reserve of 9000 men, stationed around the palace."—(Vol. i., pp. 136, 137.)

The despair of the troops when compelled to retire before a tumultuous mob—to confess defeat in their own capital, and in the face of Europe, is thus described:—

"At daybreak the two columns of troops set out on their march; their progress was, every ten minutes, reported by staff-officers in disguise. They experienced no serious resistance on their way to the Hôtel de Ville; the crowd opened as they advanced, with cries of 'Vive la Réforme!' they trampled under foot, without firing a shot, the beginnings of the barricades. Nevertheless, the uncertainty of what was passing in the Tuileries paralysed the arms in the hands of the soldiers. The Marshal, at length constrained by the reiterated orders of the King, sent orders to his lieutenants to make the troops fall back. Marshal Bedeau, upon this, made his battalions retire. Some soldiers threw their muskets on the ground, as a sign of despair or fraternisation. Their return across Paris had the appearance of a defection, or of the advanced guard of the revolution marching on the Tuileries. The troops, already vanquished by these orders, took up their position, untouched but powerless, on the Place de la Concorde, in the Champs Elysées, in the Rue de Rivoli. The French troops, when disgraced, are no longer an army. They felt in their hearts the bitterness of that retreat; they feel it still."—(Vol. i., p. 139.)

But it was soon found that these disgraceful concessions to mob violence would avail nothing; that M. Thiers and M. Odillon Barrot were alike unequal to stemming the torrent which they had put in motion; and that the King, as a reward for his humane order to the troops not to fire upon the people, was to be called on to abdicate! In the disgraceful scene of pusillanimity and weakness which ensued, we regret to say the princes of the royal family, and especially the Duke de Montpensier, evinced as much cowardice as the princesses did courage;—exemplifying thus again what Napoleon said of the Bourbons in 1815, that there was only one man in the family, and that man was a woman. The decisive moment is thus described with dramatic power, but, we have no doubt, historic truth, by M. Lamartine:—

"M. Girardin, in a few brief and sad words, which abridged minutes and cut short objections, said to the King with mournful respect, that changes of ministry were no longer in season; that the moment was sweeping away the throne with the councils, and that there was but one word suitable to the urgency of the occasion, and that word was 'abdication.'

"The King was in one of those moments when truths strike without offending. Nevertheless, he let fall, upon hearing these words, from his hands the pen with which he was arranging the names of the new ministry. He was desirous of discussing the question. M. Girardin, pitiless as evidence, pressing as time, would not even admit of discussion. 'Sire!' said he, 'the abdication of the king, or the abdication of the monarchy—there is the alternative. Circumstances will not admit even of a minute to find a third issue from the straits in which we are placed.' While he thus spoke, M. Girardin placed before the King the draft of a proclamation which he had prepared and he wished to have printed. That proclamation, concise as a fact, consisted only of four lines, calculated to attract the eyes of the people.

The abdication of the King.

The regency of the Duchess of Orleans.

The dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies.

A general amnesty.

"The King hesitated. The Duke de Montpensier his son, carried away, doubtless, by the energetic expression in the physiognomy, gesticulations, and words of M. Girardin, pressed his father with more vehemence than rank, age, and misfortunes should have permitted to the respect of a son. The pen was presented, and the crown torn from the monarch by an impatience which could not wait for his full and free conviction. The rudeness of fortune towards the King was forgotten in the precipitance of the council. On the other hand, blood was beginning to flow, the throne was gliding away. The lives[Pg 229] even of the King and his family might be endangered. Everything can be explained by the solicitude and the tenderness of the councillors. History should ever take the version which least humiliates and bruises least the human heart."—(Vol. i., p. 127.)

Observe the poetic justice of this consummation. The member of his family, who at the decisive moment failed in his duty, and compelled his infirm and gray-haired father to abdicate, was the Duc de Montpensier—the very prince for whose elevation he had perilled the English alliance, violated his plighted word, endangered the peace of Europe! The heir-presumptive of the crown of Spain was the first to shake the crown of France from his father's head! Vanquished by his personal fears, unworthy of his high rank and higher prospects, a disgrace to his country, he evinced, what is rare in France in any station, not merely moral, but physical pusillanimity. To this end have the intrigues of the Orleans family, from Egalité downwards, ultimately tended. They have not only lost the crown, to win which they forgot their allegiance and violated their oaths, but they have lost it with dishonour and disgrace: they are not only exiles, but they are despised exiles. Such have been the fruits of the Orleans intrigues to gain the crown of France.

As a bright contrast to this woful exhibition, we gladly translate M. Lamartine's account of the memorable scene in the chambers, where the Duchess of Orleans nobly contended with an infuriated and bloodthirsty rabble for the crown, now devolved to her son by his grandfather's abdication. Had such spirited devotion been found in her husband's family, they might have transmitted the honours they had won in the Orleans dynasty.

"The great door opposite the tribune, on a level with the most elevated benches in the hall, opened; a woman appeared dressed in mourning: it was the Duchess of Orleans. Her veil, half raised on her hat, allowed her countenance to be seen, bearing the marks of an emotion and sadness which heightened the interest of youth and beauty. Her pale cheeks bore the traces of the tears of the widow, the anxieties of the mother. No man could look on those features without emotion. At their aspect, all resentment against the monarchy fled from the mind. The blue eyes of the princess wandered over the scene, with which she had been a moment dazzled, as if to implore aid by her looks. Her slender but elegant form bowed at the applause which saluted her. A slight colour—the dawn of hope amidst ruin—of joy amidst sorrow—suffused her cheeks. A smile of gratitude beamed through her tears. She felt herself surrounded by friends. With one hand she held the young king, who stumbled on the steps, with the other the young Duke of Chartres: infants to whom the catastrophe which destroyed them was a subject of amusement. They were both clothed in short black dresses. A white shirt-collar was turned over their dresses, as in the portraits by Vandyke of the children of Charles I.

"The Duke of Nemours walked beside the princess, faithful to the memory of his brother in his nephews; a protector who would ere long stand in need of protection himself. The figure of that prince, ennobled by misfortune, breathed the courageous but modest satisfaction of a duty discharged at the hazard of his life. Some generals in uniform, and officers of the national guard, followed her steps. She bowed with timid grace to the assembly, and sat down motionless at the foot of the tribune, an innocent accused person before a tribunal without appeal, which was about to judge the cause of royalty. At that moment, that cause was gained in the eyes and hearts of all."—(Vol i. p. 177.)

But it was all in vain. The mob on the outside broke into the assembly. The national guard, as usual, failed at the decisive moment, and royalty was lost.

"An unwonted noise was heard at the door on the left of the tribune. Unknown persons, national guards with arms in their hands, common people in their working-dresses, break open the doors, overthrow the officers who surround the tribune, invade the assembly, and, with loud cries, demand the Duke of Nemours. Some deputies rose from their seats to make a rampart with their bodies around the princess. M. Mauguin calmly urged them to retire. General Oudinot addressed them with martial indignation. Finding words unavailing, he hastily traversed the crowd to demand the support of the national guard. He represented to them the inviolability of the assembly, and the respect due to a princess and a woman insulted amidst French bayonets.[Pg 230] The national guards heard him, feigned to be indignant, but slowly took up their arms, and ended by doing nothing."—(Vol. i. p. 180.)

In justice to Lamartine also, we must give an abstract of his animated and eloquent account of the most honourable event in his life, and one which should cover a multitude of sins—the moment when he singly contended with the maddened rabble who had triumphed over the throne, and, by the mere force of moral courage and eloquent expression, defeated the Red Republicans, who were desirous to hoist the drapeau rouge, the well-known signal of bloodshed and devastation:—

"In this moment of popular frenzy, Lamartine succeeded in calming the people by a sort of patriotic hymn on their victory—so sudden, so complete, so unlooked-for even by the most ardent friends of liberty. He called God to witness the admirable humanity and religious moderation which the people had hitherto shown alike in the combat and their triumph. He placed prominently forward that sublime instinct which, the evening before, had thrown them, when still armed, but already disciplined and obedient, into the arms of a few men who had submitted themselves to calumny, exhaustion, and death, for the safety of all. 'That,' said Lamartine, 'was what the sun beheld yesterday, and what would he shine upon to-day? He would behold a people the more furious that there was no longer any enemies to combat; distrusting the men whom but yesterday it had intrusted with the lead,—constraining them in their liberty, insulting them in their dignity, disavowing their authority, substituting a revolution of vengeance and punishment for one of unanimity and fraternity, and commanding the government to hoist, in token of concord, the standard of a combat to the death between the citizens of the same country! That red flag, which was sometimes raised as the standard against our enemies when blood was flowing, should be furled after the combat, in token of reconciliation and peace. I would rather see the black flag which they hoist sometimes in a besieged town as a symbol of death, to designate to the bombs the edifices consecrated to humanity, and which even the balls of the enemy respect. Do you wish, then, that the symbol of your republic should be more menacing and more sinister than the colours of a besieged city?' 'No no!' cried some of the crowd, 'Lamartine is right: let us not keep that standard, the symbol of terror, for our citizens.' 'Yes, yes!' cried others, 'it is ours—it is that of the people—it is that with which we have conquered. Why should we not keep, after the conflict, the colours which we have stained with our blood?'—'Citizens!' said Lamartine, after having exhausted every argument calculated to affect the imagination of the people, 'you may do violence to the government: you may command it to change the colours of the nation and the colours of France. If you are so ill advised and so obstinate in error as to impose on it a republic of party and flag of terror, the government is as decided as myself to die rather than dishonour itself by obeying you: for myself, my hand shall never sign that decree: I will resist even to the death that symbol of blood; and you should repudiate it as well as I; for the red flag which you bring us has never gone beyond the Champ de Mars, dragged red in the blood of the people in '91 and '93; but the tricolor flag has made the tour of the world, with the name, the glory, and the liberty of our country.' At these words, Lamartine, interrupted by the unanimous cries of enthusiasm, fell from the chair which served for his tribune, into the arms stretched out on all sides to receive him. The cause of the new republic was triumphant over the bloody recollections which they wished to substitute for it. The hideous crowd which filled the hall retired, amidst cries of 'Vive Lamartine!—Vive le Drapeau Tricolor!'

"The danger, however, was not over. The crowd which had been carried away by his words was met by another crowd which had not hitherto been able to penetrate into the hall, and which was more vehement in words and gesticulations. Menacing expressions, ardent vociferations, cries of suffocation, threatening gestures, discharges of firearms on the stair, tatters of a red flag waved by naked arms above the sea of heads, rendered this one of the most frightful scenes of the Revolution. 'Down with Lamartine! Death to Lamartine! no Temporising,—the Decree, the Decree, or the Government of Traitors to the lamp-post!' exclaimed the assailants. These cries neither caused Lamartine to hesitate, to retire, nor to turn pale. At the sight of him the fury of the assailants, instead of being appeased, increased tenfold. Muskets were directed at his head, the nearest brandished bayonets in his face, and a savage group of twenty, with brutal drunken visages, charged forward with their heads down, as if to break through with an enormous battering-ram the circle which[Pg 231] surrounded him. The foremost appeared bereft of reason. Naked sabres reached the head of the orator, whose hand was slightly wounded. The critical moment had arrived; nothing was yet decided. Hazard determined which should prevail. Lamartine expected momentarily to be thrown down and trampled under foot. At that instant one of the populace sprang from the crowd, a ball discharged from below grazed his face and stained it with blood; while it still flowed, he stretched out his arms to Lamartine—'Let me see him, let me touch him,' cried he, 'let me kiss his hand! Listen to him, oh, my citizens! follow his councils: you shall strike me before touching him. I will die a thousand times to preserve that good citizen for my country.' With these words he precipitated himself into his arms, and held him convulsively embraced. The people were moved at this scene; and a hundred voices again exclaimed 'Vive le Gouvernement Provisoire!—Vive Lamartine!'"—(Vol. i. pp. 393, 402.)

We purposely close our account of Lamartine's personal career with this splendid passage in his life. His subsequent conduct, it is well known, has ill accorded with this beginning. His popularity in Paris fell as rapidly as it had risen; and on occasion of the terrible revolt of June 1848, he retired from the government, with all his colleagues, from acknowledged inability to meet the crisis which had arisen. We have heard different accounts of the real causes of his mysterious alliance with his former opponent, and the head of the Red Republicans, M. Ledru Rollin, to which this fall was owing. Some of these stories are little to his credit. We forbear to mention them, lest we should unwittingly disseminate falsehood in regard to a man of undoubted genius and great acquirements. Perhaps, in some future "Confidences," he may be able to explain much which undoubtedly at present stands in need of explanation. We gladly leave this dubious subject, to give a place to his dramatic account of the dreadful conflict in June, in the streets of Paris, which is the more entitled to credit, as he was an eyewitness of several of its most terrible scenes:—

"Assemblages of eight or ten thousand persons were already formed on the Place of the Pantheon to attack the Luxembourg. M. Arago harangued them and persuaded them to disperse; but it was only to meet again in the quarters adjoining the Seine, in the Faubourg St Antoine, and on the Boulevards. At the sight of them the faubourgs turned out—the streets were filled—the Ateliers Nationaux turned out their hordes—the populace, excited by some chief, began to raise barricades. These chiefs were, for the most part, brigadiers of the national workshops, the pillars of sedition and of the clubs, irritated at the disbanding of their corps, the wages of which, passing through their hands, had been applied, it is said, to paying the Revolution. From the barriers of Charenton, Fontainebleau, and Menilmontant, to the heart of Paris, the entire capital was in the hands of a few thousand men. The rappel called to their standards 200,000 National Guards, ten times sufficient to overthrow those assemblages of the seditious, and to destroy their fortifications. But it must be said, to the disgrace of that day, and for the instruction of posterity, that the National Guard at that decisive moment did not answer in a body to the appeal of the government. Their tardiness, their disinclination, their inertness, left the streets in some quarters open to sedition. They looked on with calm eyes on the erection of thousands of barricades, which they had afterwards to reconquer with torrents of blood. Soon the government quitted the Luxembourg and took refuge in the National Assembly, where, at the headquarters of General Cavaignac, was established the supreme council of the nation.

"Government had reckoned on the support of the National Guard; but the incessant beating of the rappel failed in bringing it forth to its standards. In several quarters they were imprisoned by the insurgents. In fine, be it tardiness, or be it fatality, the army was far from responding in a body to the imminence and universality of the peril. Its numerical weakness aggravated the danger. General Lamoricière, invincible, though soon besieged by 200,000 men, occupied the whole extent from the Rue du Temple to the Madeleine, from the Rue de Clichy to the Louvre—constantly on horseback, ever foremost in fire, he had two horses shot under him—his countenance black with powder, his forehead running down with sweat, his voice hoarse with giving the word of command, but his eye serene and calm as a soldier in his native element, he restored spirit to his men, confidence to the National Guards. His reports to government breathed the intrepidity of his soul, but he made no concealment of the imminence of the danger, and the insufficiency of the troops at his disposal. He painted the immense multitude of the assailants and the vast[Pg 232] network of barricades which stretched between the Bastile and the Chateau d'Eau, between the barriers and the Boulevard. Incessantly he implored reinforcements, which the government as continually summoned to its support by the telegraph, and officers specially despatched. At length the National Guards of the neighbourhood of Paris began to arrive, and, ranging themselves round the Assembly, furnished an example to those of the capital. Then, and not till then, confidence began to be felt in the midst of the chances of the combat."—(Vol. ii., pp. 480-481.)

It was a most fortunate event for the cause of order, and, with it, of real freedom throughout the world, that this great revolt was so completely suppressed, though at the cost of a greater number of lives, particularly in general officers, than fell in many a bloody battle, by the efforts of General Cavaignac and his brave companions in arms. It is said that their measures, at first, were not skilfully taken—that they lost time, and occasioned unnecessary bloodshed at the outset, by neglecting to attack the barricades when they began to be formed; and certainly the easy and bloodless suppression of the late revolt against the government of Prince Louis Napoleon, by General Changarnier, seems to favour this opinion. It must be recollected, however, that the revolt of May 1849 occurred when the memory of the popular overthrow of June 1848 was still fresh in the minds of the people; and it is not easy to overestimate the effect of that decisive defeat in paralysing revolt on the one side, and adding nerve to resistance on the other. It is evident that Louis Napoleon is not a Duc de Montpensier—he will not surrender his authority without a fight. But supposing that there was some tardiness in adopting decisive measures on occasion of the June revolt, that only makes the lesson more complete, by demonstrating the inability of the bravest and most determined populace to contend with a regular military force, when the troops are steady to their duty, and bravely led by their chiefs. The subsequent suppression of the revolts in Prague, Vienna, Madrid, and Rome, have confirmed the same important truth. Henceforth, it is evident, the horrors of revolution may always be averted, when government is firm, and the military are faithful.

And these horrors are in truth such, that it becomes evidently the first of political and social duties for the rulers of men to justify the eminence of their rank by their courage, and the troops to vindicate the trust reposed in them by their fidelity. Passing by the woful exposé of the almost hopeless state of the French finances, with a deficit of above Twelve Millions sterling, despite an addition of forty-five per cent to the direct taxes, made by Prince Louis Napoleon to the National Assembly, we rest on the following curious and important details taken from the Times of July 12, in regard to the effect of the revolution of 1848 upon the comforts and condition of the labouring classes in France:—

"It appears it is the middle class of tradesmen that are now most suffering from the effects of revolution. The funds on which this class had been living, in the hope that better days would soon arrive, and which amongst some of the small tradesmen formed their capital, have become exhausted. Those who had no money had, at all events, some credit; but both money and credit are now gone. The result is, that even in this period of comparative tranquillity more shops are closed than in the days of turbulence.

"The following statement of the fluctuations of the revenues of the city of Paris, occasioned also by revolution, and which goes back to 1826, is taken from the Débats:—

"'The returns of the produce of indirect impost is the unfailing testimony to the progress or decrease of public tranquillity. We proved this truth yesterday in publishing, on the authority of a well-informed journal, the comparative state of the receipts of the Paris octroi for the first six months of the years 1847, 1848, and 1849. It is still further proved by valuable documents which we have at this moment before us. Thus, the produce of the octroi was, in 1847, 34,511,389 francs; and in 1848, only 26,519,627 francs, showing a difference of 7,991,762 francs. This decrease is enormous, in relation to the immense necessities created by the political and social crisis, the works undertaken by the city, and the previous expenses it had to provide for. We could analyse the different chapters of this municipal revenue, which affords life to so many branches of Parisian industry; but it is useless to inquire, for each of these chapters, the particular causes of diminution. With the great event of 1848 before us, all details disappear. One sole[Pg 233] cause has produced a decrease in the receipts, and that is the revolution of February; which, at first menacing society itself by the voice of democratic orators and the pens of demagogue writers, frightened away capital and annihilated industry of all kinds. In order to be able to judge of the influence of great political events on the receipts of the Paris octroi, it will be sufficient to recur to the years which preceded and followed the revolution of 1830:—

In 1826 the produce was31,057,000
In 1827 (the first shock in consequence of the progress of the opposition in the country, and the dissolution of the national guard)29,215,000
In 1828 (fall of the Villèle ministry—continuation of the political movement notwithstanding the Montignac ministry)28,927,000
In 1829 (ministry of the 8th August—presentiments of a struggle between the crown and country)27,695,000
In 1830 (July Revolution)26,240,000
In 1831 (incessant agitation—repeated outbreaks)24,035,000
In 1832 (continuation of revolutionary movement—events of the 5th and 6th June)22,798,000
In 1833 (progressive establishment of tranquillity)26,667,000
In 1834 (the situation becomes better, with the exception of the events of the 13th and 14th April, which, however, were brief)27,458,000
From 1835 to 1838 (calm—cabinet of 15th April—the produce in the latter year)31,518,000
In 1839 (Parliamentary coalition, 12th May)30,654,000
In 1840 (fears of war—rupture of the English Alliance, &c.)29,906,000
From 1841 to 1845 (calm—progressive increase in the latter year)34,165,000
In 1846 (notwithstanding the dearness of food, the receipts were)33,990,000
In 1847 (commercial crisis, &c.)33,033,000
In 1848 (revolution of February)26,519,000

"The following from La Patrie gives a good idea of the effects of an unquiet state of society:—

"'Revolutions cost dear. They, in the first place, augment the public expenses and diminish the general resources. Occasionally they yield something, but before gathering in the profits the bill must be paid. M. Audiganne, chef de bureau at the department of commerce and agriculture, has published a curious work on the industrial crisis brought on by the revolution of February. M. Audiganne has examined all branches of manufactures, and has shown that the crisis affected every one. In the Nord, at Lisle, cotton-spinning, which occupied thirty-four considerable establishments, employing a capital of 7,000,000f. or 8,000,000f.; and tulle making, employing 195 looms, were obliged to reduce their production one-half. At Turcoing and Roubaix, where cloth and carpet manufactories occupied 12,000 workmen, the produce went down two-thirds, and 8000 men were thrown out of work. In the Pas-de-Calais the fabrication of lace and cambrics was obliged to stop before a fall of twenty-five per cent. The linen factory of Capecure, founded in 1836, and which employed 1800 men, was in vain aided by the Municipal Council of Boulogne and the local banks; it at last succumbed to the crisis. In the department of the Somme, 142,000 workmen, who were employed in the woollen, cotton, stocking, and velvet manufactories, were reduced to idleness. In the arrondissement of Abbeville, where the business, known by the name of 'lockwork' of Picardy, yielded an annual produce of 4,000,000f., the orders stopped completely, and the unfortunate workmen were obliged to go and beg their bread in the environs. At Rouen, where the cotton trade gave an annual produce of more than 250,000,000f., there were the same disasters; yet the common goods continued to find purchasers, owing to their low price. At Caen, the lace manufacture, which in 1847 employed upwards of 50,000 persons, or one-eighth of the population of Calvados, was totally paralysed. At St Quentin, tulle embroidery, which gave a living to 1500 women, received just as severe a blow as in March and April, 1848; almost all the workshops were obliged to close. In the east the loss was not less considerable. Rheims was obliged to close its woollen-thread factories during the months of March, April, and May, 1848. The communal workshop absorbed in some weeks an extraordinary loan of 430,000f. Fortunately, an order for 1,500,000f. of merinos, from New York, allowed the interrupted factories to reopen, and spared the town fresh sacrifices. The revolutionary tempest penetrated into Alsace and there swept away two-thirds of the production. Muhlhausen stopped for several months the greater number of its looms, and diminished one-half the length of labour in the workshops, which remained open. Lyons also felt all the horrors of the crisis. In the same way as muslin and lace, silk found its consumption stopped. For several months the unfortunate Lyons' workmen had for sole subsistence the produce of the colours and scarfs ordered by the Provisional Government. At St Etienne and St[Pg 234] Chamond, the principal points of our ribbon and velvet manufacture, and where 85,000 workmen were employed, the production went down two-thirds. At Paris M. Audiganne estimates the loss in what is called Paris goods at nine-tenths of the production. The loss on other articles, he considers, on the contrary, to have been only two-thirds on the sale, and a little more than one-half on the amount of the produce. We only touch in these remarks on the most striking points of the calculation; the total loss, according to M. Audiganne, amounts, for the workmen alone, to upwards of 300,000,000f.'"

Such have been the consequences to the people of listening to the voice of their demagogues, who impelled them into the revolution of 1848—to the national guards, of hanging back at the decisive moment, and forgetting their oaths in the intoxication of popular enthusiasm.

And if any one supposes that these effects were only temporary, and that lasting freedom is to be won for France by these sacrifices, we recommend him to consider the present state of France, a year and a half after the revolution of 1848, as painted by one of its ablest supporters, M. Louis Blanc.


"While Paris is in a state of siege, and when most of the journals which represent our opinions are by violence condemned to silence, we believe it to be a duty owing to our party to convey to it, if possible, the public expression of our sentiments.

"It is with profound astonishment that we see the organs of the counter-revolution triumph over the events of the 13th of June.

"Where there has been no contest, how can there have been a victory?

"What is then proved by the 13th of June?

"That under the pressure of 100,000 soldiers, Paris is not free in her movements? We have known this more than enough.

"Now, as it has always been, the question is, if by crowding Paris with soldiers and with cannon, by stifling with violent hands the liberty of the press, by suppressing individual freedom, by invading private domiciles, by substituting the reign of Terror for that of Reason, by unceasingly repressing furious despair—that which there is wanting a capacity to prevent, the end will be attained of reanimating confidence, or re-establishing credit, of diminishing taxes, of correcting the vices of the administration, of chasing away the spectre of the deficit, of developing industry, of cutting short the disasters attendant upon unlimited competition, of suppressing those revolts which have their source in the deep recesses of human feeling, of tranquillising resentments, of calming all hearts? The state of siege of 1848 has engendered that of 1849. The question is, if the amiable perspective of Paris in a state of siege every eight or ten months will restore to commerce its elastic movements, to the industrious their markets, and to the middle classes their repose."—L. Blanc.

It is frequently asked what is to be the end of all these changes, and under what form of government are the people of France ultimately to settle? Difficult as it is to predict anything with certainty of a people with whom nothing seems to be fixed but the disposition to change, we have no hesitation in stating our opinion that the future government of France will be what that of imperial Rome was, an Elective Military Despotism. In fact, with the exception of the fifteen years of the Restoration, when a free constitutional monarchy was imposed on its inhabitants by the bayonets of the Allies, it has ever since the Revolution of 1789 been nothing else. The Orleans dynasty has, to all appearance, expired with a disgrace even greater than that which attended its birth: the Bourbons can scarcely expect, in a country so deeply imbued with the love of change, to re-establish their hereditary throne. Popular passion and national vanity call for that favourite object in democratic societies—a rotation of governors: popular violence and general suffering will never fail to re-establish, after a brief period of anarchy, the empire of the sword. The successive election of military despots seems the only popular compromise between revolutionary passion and the social necessities of mankind; and as a similar compromise took place, after eighty years of bloodshed and confusion, in the Roman commonwealth, so, after a similar period of suffering, it will probably be repeated, from the influence of the same cause, in the French nation.

[Pg 235]

Dies Boreales.

No. III.


SceneGutta Percha.

TimeEarly Evening.





Gentlemen, are you all seated?


Why into such strange vagaries fall as you would dance, Longfellow! Seize his skirts, Seward. Buller, cling to his knees. Billy, the boat-hook—he will be—he is—overboard.


Not at all. Gutta Percha is somewhat crank—and I am steadying her, sir.


What is that round your waist?


My Air-girdle.


I insist upon you dropping it, Longman. It makes you reckless. I did not think you were such a selfish character.


Alas! in this world, how are our noblest intentions misunderstood! I put it on, sir, that, in case of a capsize, I might more buoyantly bear you ashore.


Forgive me, my friend. But—be seated. Our craft is but indifferently well adapted for the gallopade. Be seated, I beseech you! Or, if you will stand, do plant both feet—do not—do not alternate so—and above all, do not, I implore you—show off on one, as if you were composing and reciting verses.—There, down you are—and if there be not a hole in her bottom, Gutta Percha is safe against all the hidden rocks in Loch Awe.


Let me take the stroke oar.


For sake of the ancient houses of the Sewards and the Bullers, sit where you are. We are already in four fathom water.


The Lines?


Nea, nea—Mister Talboys. Nane shall steer Perch when He's afloat but t' auld commodore.

[Pg 236]


Shove off, lads.


Are we on earth or in heaven?


On t' watter.




The Heavens are high—and they are deep. Fear would rise up from that Profound, if fear there could be in the perfectly Beautiful!


Perhaps there is—though it wants a name.


We know there is no danger—and therefore we should feel no fear. But we cannot wholly disencumber ourselves of the emotions that ordinarily great depth inspires—and verily I hold with Seward, while thus we hang over the sky-abyss below with suspended oars.


The Ideal rests on the Real—Imagination on Memory—and the Visionary, at its utmost, still retains relations with Truth.


Pray you to look at our Encampment. Nothing visionary there—


Which Encampment?


On the hill-side—up yonder—at Cladich.


You should have said so at first. I thought you meant that other down—


When I speak to you, I mean the bona fide flesh and blood Talboys, sitting by the side of the bona fide flesh and blood Christopher North, in Gutta Percha, and not that somewhat absurd, and, I trust, ideal personage, standing on his head in the water, or it may be the air, some fathoms below her keel—like a pearl-diver.


Put up your hands—so—my dear Mr North, and frame the picture.


And Maculloch not here! Why the hills behind Cladich, that people call tame, make a background that no art might meliorate. Cultivation climbs the green slopes, and overlays the green hill-ridges, while higher up all is rough, brown, heathery, rocky—and behind that undulating line, for the first time in my life, I see the peaks of mountains. From afar they are looking at the Tents. And far off as they are, the power of that Sycamore Grove connects them with our Encampment.


Are you sure, sir, they are not clouds?


If clouds, so much the better. If mountains, they deserve to be clouds; and if clouds, they deserve to be mountains.


The long broad shadow of the Grove tames the white of the Tents—tones it—reduces it into harmony with the surrounding colour—into keeping with the brown huts of the villagers, clustering on bank and brae on both sides of the hollow river.


The cozey Inn itself from its position is picturesque.


The Swiss Giantess looks imposing—


So does the Van. But Deeside is the Pandemonium—

[Pg 237]


Well translated by Paterson in his Notes on Milton, "All-Devil's-Hall."


Hush. And how lovely the foreground! Sloping upland—with single trees standing one by one, at distances wide enough to allow to each its own little grassy domain—with its circle of bracken or broom—or its own golden gorse grove—divided by the sylvan course of the hidden river itself, visible only when it glimpses into the Loch—Here, friends, we seem to see the united occupations of pastoral, agricultural—and—


Pardon me, sir, I have a proposition to make.


You might have waited a moment till—


Not a moment. We all Four see the background—and the middle-ground and the foreground—and all the ground round and about—and all the islands and their shadows—and all the mountains and theirs—and, towering high above all, that Cruachan of yours, who, I firmly believe, is behind us—though 'twould twist my neck now to get a vizzy of him. No use then in describing all that lies within the visible horizon—there it is—let us enjoy it and be thankful—and let us talk this evening of whatever may happen to come into our respective heads—and I beg leave to add, sir, with all reverence, let's have fair play—let no single man—young or old—take more than his own lawful share—




And let the subject of angling be tabooed—and all its endless botheration about baskets and rods, and reels and tackle—salmon, sea-trout, yellow-fin, perch, pike, and the Ferox—and no drivel about Deer and Eagles—


Sir? What's the meaning of all this—Seward, say—tell, Talboys.


And let each man on opening his mouth be timed—and let it be two-minute time—and let me be time-keeper—but, in consideration of your years and habits, and presidency, let time to you, sir, be extended to two minutes and thirty seconds—and let us all talk time about—and let no man seek to nullify the law by talking at railway rate—and let no man who waives his right of turn, however often, think to make up for the loss by claiming quarter of an hour afterwards—and that, too, perhaps at the smartest of the soiree—and let there be no contradiction, either round, flat, or angular—and let no man speak about what he understands—that is, has long studied and made himself master of—for that would be giving him an unfair—I had almost said—would be taking a mean advantage—and let no man—


Why, the mutiny at the Nore was nothing to this!


Lord High Admiral though you be, sir, you must obey the laws of the service—


I see how it is.


How is it?


But it will soon wear off—that's the saving virtue of Champagne.


Champagne indeed! Small Beer, smaller than the smallest size. You have not the heart, sir, to give Champagne.


We had better put about, gentlemen, and go ashore.

[Pg 238]


My ever-honoured, long-revered sir! I have got intoxicated on our Teetotal debauchery. The fumes of the water have gone to my head—and I need but a few drops of brandy to set me all right. Billy—the flask. There—I am as sober as a Judge.


Ay, 'tis thus, Buller, you wise wag, that you would let the "old man garrulous" into the secret of his own tendencies—too often unconscious he of the powers that have set so many asleep. I accept the law—but let it—do let it be three-minute time.


Five—ten—twenty—"with thee conversing I forget all time."


Strike medium—Ten.


My dear sir, for a moment let me have that Spy-glass.


I must lay it down—for a Bevy of Fair Women are on the Mount—and are brought so near that I hear them laughing—especially the Prima Donna, whose Glass is in dangerous proximity with my nose.


Fling her a kiss, sir.


There—and how prettily she returns it!


Happy old man! Go where you will—


Ulysses and the Syrens. Had he my air-girdle, he would swim ashore.


"Oh, mihi præteritos referat si Jupiter annos!"


The words are regretful—but there is no regret in the voice that syllables them—it is clear as a bell, and as gladsome.


Talking of kissing, I hear one of the most melodious songs that ever flowed from lady's lip—

"The current that with gentle motion glides,
Thou knowest, being stopped, impatiently doth rage;
But when his fair course is not hindered,
He makes sweet music with th' enamelled stones,
Giving a gentle kiss to every sedge
He overtaketh in his pilgrimage;
And so by many winding nooks he strays
With willing sport to the wild ocean."

Is it not perfect?


It is. Music—Painting, and Poetry—


Sculpture and architecture.


Buller, you're a blockhead. Dear Mr Alison, in his charming Essays on Taste, finds a little fault in what seems to me a great beauty in this, one of the sweetest passages in Shakspeare.


Sweetest. That's a miss-mollyish word.


Ass. One of the sweetest passages in Shakspeare. He finds fault with the Current kissing the Sedges. "The pleasing personification which we attribute to a brook is founded upon the faint belief of voluntary motion, and is immediately checked when the Poet descends to any minute or particular resemblance."

[Pg 239]




The word, to my ear, does sound strangely; and though his expression, "faint belief," is a true and a fine one, yet here the doctrine does not apply. Nay, here we have a true notion inconsiderately misapplied. Without doubt Poets of more wit than sensibility do follow on a similitude beyond the suggestion of the contemplated subject. But the rippling of water against a sedge suggests a kiss—is, I believe, a kiss—liquid, soft, loving, lipped.




Buller, you are a fellow of fine taste. Compare the whole catalogue of metaphorical kisses—admitted and claimable—and you will find this one of the most natural of them all. Pilgrimage, in Shakspeare's day, had dropt, in the speech of our Poets, from its early religious propriety, of seeking a holy place under a vow, into a roving of the region. See his "Passionate Pilgrim." If Shakspeare found the word so far generalised, then "wanderer through the woods," or plains, or through anything else, is the suggestion of the beholding. The river is more, indeed; being, like the pilgrim, on his way to a term, and an obliged way—"the wild ocean."


The "faint belief of voluntary motion"—Mr Alison's fine phrase—is one, and possibly the grounding incentive to impersonating the "current" here; but other elements enter in; liquidity—transparency—which suggest a spiritual nature, and Beauty which moves Love.


Ay, and the Poets of that age, in the fresher alacrity of their fancy, had a justification of comparisons, which do not occur as promptly to us, nor, when presented to us, delight so much as they would, were our fancy as alive as theirs. You might suspect a priori Ovid, Cowley, and Dryden, as likely to be led by indulgence of their ingenuity into passionless similitudes—and you may misdoubt even that Shakspeare was in danger of being so run away with. But let us have clear and unequivocal instances. This one assuredly is not of the number. It is exquisite.


Mr Alison, I presume to think, sir, should either have quoted the whole speech, or kept the whole in view, when animadverting on those two lines about the kissing Pilgrim. Julia, a Lady of Verona, beloved by Proteus, is only half-done—and now she comes—to herself.

"Then let me go, and hinder not my course;
I'll be as patient as a gentle stream,
And make a pastime of each weary step,
Till the last step have brought me to my love;
And there I'll rest, as, after much turmoil,
A blessed soul doth in Elysium."

The language of Shakspeare's Ladies is not the language we hear in real life. I wish it were. Real life would then be delightful indeed. Julia is privileged to be poetical far beyond the usage of the very best circles—far beyond that of any mortal creatures. For the God Shakspeare has made her and all her kin poetical—and if you object to any of the lines, you must object to them all. Eminently beautiful, sir, they are; and their beauty lies in the passionate, imaginative spirit that pervades the whole, and sustains the Similitude throughout, without a moment's flagging of the fancy, without a moment's departure from the truthfulness of the heart.


Talboys, I thank you—you are at the root.


A wonderful thing—altogether—is Impersonation.

[Pg 240]


It is indeed. If we would know the magnitude of the dominion which the disposition constraining us to impersonate has exercised over the human mind, we should have to go back unto those ages of the world when it exerted itself, uncontrolled by philosophy, and in obedience to religious impulses—when Impersonations of Natural Objects and Powers, of Moral Powers and of Notions entertained by the Understanding, filled the Temples of the Nations with visible Deities, and were worshipped with altars and incense, hymns and sacrifices.


Was ever before such disquisition begotten by—an imaginary kiss among the Sedges!


Hold your tongue, Buller. But if you would see how hard this dominion is to eradicate, look to the most civilised and enlightened times, when severe Truth has to the utmost cleansed the Understanding of illusion—and observe how tenaciously these imaginary Beings, endowed with imaginary life, hold their place in our Sculpture, Painting, and Poetry, and Eloquence—nay, in our common and quiet speech.


It is all full of them. The most prosaic of prosers uses poetical language without knowing it—and Poets without knowing to what extent and degree.


Ay, Seward, and were we to expatiate in the walks of the profounder emotions, we should sometimes be startled by the sudden apparitions of boldly impersonated Thoughts, upon occasions that did not seem to promise them—where you might have thought that interests of overwhelming moment would have effectually banished the play of imagination.


Shakspeare is justified, then—and the Lady Julia spoke like a Lady in Love with all nature—and with Proteus.


A most beautiful day is this indeed—but it is a Puzzler.

"The Swan on still St Mary's Lake
Floats double, Swan and Shadow;"

But here all the islands float double—and all the castles and abbeys—and all the hills and mountains—and all the clouds and boats and men,—double, did I say—triple—quadruple,—we are here, and there, and everywhere, and nowhere, all at the same moment. Inishail, I have you—no—Gutta Percha slides over you, and you have no material existence. Very well.


Is there no house on Inishail?


Not one—but the house appointed for all living. A Burial-place. I see it—but not one of you—for it is little noticeable, and seldom used—on an average, one funeral in the year. Forty years ago I stepped into a small snuff-shop in the Saltmarket, Glasgow, to replenish my shell—and found my friend was from Lochawe-side. I asked him if he often revisited his native shore, and he answered—seldom, and had not for a long time—but that though his lot did not allow him to live there, he hoped to be buried in Inishail. We struck up a friendship—his snuff was good, and so was his whisky, for it was unexcised. A few years ago, trolling for Feroces, I met a boat with a coffin, and in it the body of the old tobacconist.


"The Churchyard among the Mountains," in Wordsworth's Excursion, is alone sufficient for his immortality on earth.


It is. So for Gray's is his Elegy. But some hundred and forty lines in[Pg 241] all—no more—yet how comprehensive—how complete! "In a Country Churchyard!" Every generation there buries the whole hamlet—which is much the same as burying the whole world—or a whole world.


"The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep!"

All Peasants—diers and mourners! Utmost simplicity of all belonging to life—utmost simplicity of all belonging to death. Therefore, universally affecting.


Then the—Grayishness.


The what, sir?


The Grayishness. The exquisite scholarship, and the high artifice of the words and music—yet all in perfect adaptation to the scene and its essential character. Is there not in that union and communion of the solemn-profound, and the delicate-exquisite, something Cathedral-like? Which has the awe and infinitude of Deity and Eternity, and the prostrations and aspirations of adoration for its basis—expressed in the general structure and forms; and all this meeting and blent into the minute and fine elaboration of the ornaments? Like the odours that steal and creep on the soft, moist, evening air, whilst the dim hush of the Universal Temple dilates and elates. The least and the greatest in one. Why not? Is not that spiritual—angelical—divine! The least is not too exiguous for apprehension—the amplest exceeds not comprehension—and their united power is felt when not understood. I speak, Seward, of that which might be suggested for a primary fault in the Elegy—the contrast of the most artful, scholarly style, and the simple, rude, lowly, homely matter. But you shall see that every fancy seizes, and every memory holds especially those verses and wordings which bring out this contrast—that richest line—

"The breezy call of incense-breathing morn!"

is felt to be soon followed well by that simplest—

"No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed"——

where—I take "lowly" to imply low in earth—humbly turfed or flowered—and of the lowly.


And so, sir, the pomp of a Cathedral is described, though a village Church alone is in presence. So Milton, Cromwell, and other great powers are set in array—that which these were not, against that which those were.


Yet hear Dr Thomas Brown—an acute metaphysician—but an obtuse critic—and no Poet at all. "The two images in this stanza ('Full many a gem,' &c.,) certainly produce very different degrees of poetical delight. That which is borrowed from the rose blooming in solitude pleases in a very high degree, both as it contains a just and beautiful similitude, and still more as the similitude is one of the most likely to have arisen in such a situation. But the simile in the two first lines of the stanza, though it may perhaps philosophically be as just, has no other charm, and strikes us immediately as not the natural suggestion of such a moment and such a scene. To a person moralising amid a simple Churchyard, there is perhaps no object that would not sooner have occurred than this piece of minute jewellery—'a gem of purest ray serene, in the unfathomed caves of ocean.'"


A person moralising! He forgot that person was Thomas Gray. And he never knew what you have told us now.


Why, my dear Seward, the Gem is the recognised most intense expression, from the natural world, of worth—inestimable priceless price—dependent on[Pg 242] rarity and beauty. The Flower is a like intense expression, from the same world, of the power to call forth love. The first image is felt by every reader to be high, and exalting its object; the second to be tender, and openly pathetic. Of course it moves more, and of course it comes last. The Poet has just before spoken of Milton and Cromwell—of bards and kings—and history with all her wealth. Is the transition violent from these objects to Gems? He is moved by, but he is not bound to, the scene and time. His own thoughts emancipate. Brown seems utterly to have forgotten that the Poet himself is the Dramatic person of the Monologue. Shall he be restricted from using the richness and splendour of his own thoughts? That one stanza sums up the two or three preceding—and is perfectly attuned to the reigning mood, temper, or pathos.


Thank you, gentlemen. The Doctor is done brown.


"The paths of glory lead but to the grave!"

Methinks I could read you a homily on that Text.


To-morrow, sir, if you please. To-morrow is Sunday—and you may read it to us as we glide to Divine Service at Dalmally—two of us to the Established, and two of us to the Free Kirk.


Be it so. But you will not be displeased with me for quoting now, from heart-memory, a single sentence on the great line, from Beattie, and from Adam Fergusson. "It presents to the imagination a wide plain, where several roads appear, crowded with glittering multitudes, and issuing from different quarters, but drawing nearer and nearer as they advance, till they terminate in the dark and narrow house, where all their glories enter in succession, and disappear for ever."


Thank you, sir. That is Beattie?


It is. Fergusson's memorable words are—"If from this we are disposed to collect any inference adverse to the pursuits of glory, it may be asked whither do the paths of ignominy lead? If to the grave also, then our choice of a life remains to be made on the grounds of its intrinsic value, without regard to an end which is common to every station of life we can lead, whether illustrious or obscure."


Very fine. Who says it? Fergusson—who was he?


The best of you Englishers are intolerably ignorant about Scotland. Do you know the Reverend John Mitford?


I do—and have for him the greatest respect.


So have I. He is one of our best Editors—as Pickering is one of our best Publishers of the Poets. But I am somewhat doubtful of the truthfulness of his remarks on the opening of the Elegy, in the Appendix to his excellent Life of Gray. "The Curfew 'toll' is not the appropriate word—it was not a slow bell tolling for the dead."


True enough, not for the dead—but Gray then felt as if it were for the dying—and chose to say so—the parting day. Was it quick and "merry as a marriage-bell?" I can't think it—nor did Milton, "swinging slow with sullen roar." Gray was Il Penseroso. Prospero calls it the "solemn curfew." Toll is right.


But, says my friend Mitford, "there is another error, a confusion of time.[Pg 243] The curfew tolls, and the ploughman returns from work. Now the ploughman returns two or three hours before the curfew rings; and 'the glimmering landscape' has 'long ceased to fade' before the curfew. The 'parting day' is also incorrect; the day had long finished. But if the word Curfew is taken simply for 'the Evening Bell,' then also is the time incorrect—and a knell is not tolled for the parting, but for the parted—'and leaves the world to darkness and to me.' 'Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight.' Here the incidents, instead of being progressive, fall back, and make the picture confused and inharmonious; especially as it appears soon after that it was not dark. For 'the moping owl does to the moon complain.'"


Pardon me, sir, I cannot venture to answer all that—but if Mitford be right, Gray must be very wrong indeed. Let me see—give us it over again—sentence by sentence—


No—no—no. Once is enough—and enough is as good as a feast.




Since you have a great respect for Mr Mitford, sir, so have I. But hitherto I have been a stranger to his merits.


The best of you Scottishers are intolerably ignorant about England.


In the first place, Mr North, when does the Curfew toll, or ring?—for hang me if I remember—or rather ever knew. And in the second place, when does the Evening Bell give tongue?—for hang me if I am much better informed as to his motions. Yet I should know something of the family of the Bells. Say—eight o'clock. Well. It is summer-time, I suppose; for you cannot believe that so dainty a person in health and habits, as the Poet Gray, would write an Elegy in a Country churchyard in winter, and well on towards night. True, that is a way of speaking; he did not write it with his crow-quill, in his neat hand, on his neat vellum, on the only horizontal tomb-stone. But in the Churchyard he assumes to sit—probably under a Plane-tree, for sake of the congenial Gloom. Season of the year ascertained—Summer—time of Curfew—eight—then I can find no fault with the Ploughman. He comes in well—either as an image or a man. He must have been an honest, hard-working fellow, and worth the highest wages going between the years 1745 and 1750. At what hour do ploughmen leave the stilts in Cambridgeshire? We must not say at six. Different hours in different counties, Buller.


Go on—all's right, Talboys.


It is not too much to believe that Hodge did not grudge, occasionally, a half-hour over, to a good master. Then he had to stable his horses—Star and Smiler—rub them down—bed them—fill rack and manger—water them—make sure their noses were in the oats—lock the stable before the nags were stolen—and then, and not till then,

"The Ploughman homewards plods his weary way."

For he does not sleep on the Farm—he has a wife and small family—that is, a large family of smallish children—in the Hamlet, at least two miles off—and he does not walk for a wager of a flitch of bacon and barrel of beer—but for his accustomed rasher and a jug—and such endearments as will restore his weariness up to the proper pitch for a sound night's sleep. God bless him!


Shorn of your beams, Mr North, eclipsed.


The ploughman, then, does not return "two or three hours before the cur[Pg 244]few rings." Nor has "the glimmering landscape long ceased to fade before the curfew." Nor is "the parting day incorrect." Nor "has the day long finished." Nor, when it may have finished, or may finish, can any man in the hamlet, during all that gradual subsiding of light and sound, take upon him to give any opinion at all.


My boy, Talboys.


"And leave the world to darkness and to me." Ay—into his hut goes the ploughman, and leaves the world and me to darkness—which is coming—but not yet come—the Poet knows it is coming—near at hand its coming glooms; and Darkness shows her divinity as she is preparing to mount her throne.


Nothing can be better.


"'Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight.' Here the incident, instead of being progressive, falls back, and makes the picture confused and inharmonious." Confused and inharmonious! By no manner of means. Nothing of the sort. There is no retrogression—the day has been unwilling to die—cannot believe she is dying—and cannot think 'tis for her the curfew is tolling; but the Poet feels it is even so; the glimmering and the fading, beautiful as they are, are sure symptoms—she is dying into Evening, and Evening will soon be the dying into Night; but to the Poet's eye how beautiful the transmutations! Nor knows he that the Moon has arisen, till, at the voice of the nightbird, he looks up the ivied church-tower, and there she is, whether full, waning, or crescent, there are not data for the Astronomer to declare.


My friend Mr Mitford says of the line, "No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed"—That "here the epithet lowly, as applied to bed, occasions an ambiguity, as to whether the Poet means the bed on which they sleep, or the grave in which they are laid;" and he adds, "there can be no greater fault in composition than a doubtful meaning."


There cannot be a more touching beauty. Lowly applies to both. From their lowly bed in their lowly dwellings among the quick, those joyous sounds used to awaken them; from their lowly bed in their lowly dwellings among the dead, those joyous sounds will awaken them never more: but a sound will awaken them when He comes to judge both the quick and the dead; and for them there is Christian hope—from

"Many a holy text around them strewed
That teach the rustic moralist to die."


"Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe hath broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!"

This stanza—says Mr Mitford—"is made up of various pieces inlaid. 'Stubborn glebe' is from Gay; 'drive afield' from Milton; 'sturdy stroke' from Spenser. Such is too much the system of Gray's composition, and therefore such the cause of his imperfections. Purity of language, accuracy of thought, and even similarity of rhyme, all give way to the introduction of certain poetical expressions; in fact, the beautiful jewel, when brought, does not fit into the new setting, or socket. Such is the difference between the flower stuck into the ground and those that grow from it." Talboys?


Why not—Buller?


I give way to the gentleman.

[Pg 245]


Not for worlds would I take the word out of any man's mouth.


Gray took "stubborn glebe" from Gay. Why from Gay? It has been familiar in men's mouths from the introduction of agriculture into this Island. May not a Saxon gentleman say "drive their teams afield" without charge of theft from Milton, who said "drove afield." Who first said "Gee-ho, Dobbin?" Was Spenser the first—the only man before Milton—who used "sturdy stroke?" and has nobody used it since Gray?


You could give a "sturdy stroke" yourself, Talboys. What's your weight?


Gray's style is sometimes too composite—you yourself, sir, would not deny it is so—but Mr Mitford's instances here are absurd, and the charge founded on them false. Gray seldom, if ever—say never, "sacrifices purity of language, and accuracy of thought," for the sake of introducing certain poetical expressions. "All give way" is a gross exaggeration. The beautiful words of the brethren, with which his loving memory was stored, came up in the hour of imagination, and took their place among the words as beautiful of his own congenial inspirations; the flowers he transplanted from poetry "languished not, grew dim, nor died;" for he had taken them up gently by the roots, and with some of the old mould adhering to their tendrils, and, true florist as he was, had prepared for them a richest soil in his own garden, which he held from nature, and which the sun and the dew of nature nourished, and will nourish for ever.


That face is not pleasant, sir. Nothing so disfigures a face as envy. Old Poets at last grow ugly all—but you, sir, are a Philosopher—and on your benign countenance 'twas but a passing cloud. There—you are as beautiful as ever—how comely in critical old age! Any farther fault to find with our friend Mitford?


"On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires,
Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires."

"'Pious drops' is from Ovid—piæ lachrymæ; 'closing eye' is from Pope—'voice of nature' from the Anthologia, and the last line from Chaucer—'Yet on our ashes cold is fire yreken.' From so many quarries are the stones brought to form this elaborate Mosaic pavement." I say, for "piæ lachrymæ" all honour to Ovid—for "pious drops" all honour to Gray. "Closing eye" is not from Pope's Elegy; "voice of nature" is not from the Anthologia, but from Nature herself; Chaucer's line may have suggested Gray's, but the reader of Chaucer knows that Gray's has a tender and profound meaning which is not in Chaucer's at all—and he knows, too, that Mr Mitford is not a reader of Chaucer—for were he, he could not have written "ashes" for "ashen." There were no quarries—there is no Mosaic. Mosaic pavement! Worse, if possible—more ostentatiously pedantic—even than stuck in flowers, jewels, settings, and sockets.


The Stanza is sacred to sorrow.


"From this Stanza," quoth Mitford, "the style of the composition drops into a lower key; the language is plainer, and is not in harmony with the splendid and elaborate diction of the former part." This objection is disposed of by what I said some minutes ago——


Half an hour ago—on Grayishness.

[Pg 246]


And I have only this farther to say, gentlemen, that though the language is plainer—yet it is solemn; nor is it unpoetical—for the hoary-headed swain was moved as he spake; the style, if it drop into a lower key, is accordant with that higher key on which the music was pitched that has not yet left our hearing. An Elegy is not an Ode—the close should be mournful as the opening—with loftier strain between—and it is so; and whatever we might have to say of the Epitaph—its final lines are "awful"—as every man must have felt them to be—whether thought on in our own lonely night-room—in the Churchyard of Grantchester, where it is said Gray mused the Elegy—or by that Burial-ground in Inishail—or here afloat in the joyous sunshine for an hour privileged to be happy in a world of grief.


Let's change the subject, sir. May I ask what author you have in your other hand?


Alison on Taste.


You don't say so! I thought you quoted from memory.


So I did; but I have dog-eared a page or two.


I see no books lying about in the Pavilion—only Newspapers—and Magazines—and Reviews—and trash of that kind——


Without which, you, my good fellow, could not live a week.


The Spirit of the Age! The Age should be ashamed of herself for living from hand to mouth on Periodical Literature. The old Lady should indeed, sir. If the Pensive Public conceits herself to be the Thinking World—


Let us help to make her so. I have a decent little Library of some three hundred select volumes in the Van—my Plate-chest—and a few dozens of choice wines for my friends—of Champagne, which you, Buller, call small beer——


I retracted and apologised. Is that the key of the Van at your watch-chain?


It is. So many hundred people about the Encampment—sometimes among them suspicious strangers in paletots in search of the picturesque, and perhaps the pecuniary—that it is well to intrust the key to my own body-guard. It does not weigh an ounce. And that lock is not to be picked by the ghost of Huffey White.


But of the volume in hand, sir?


"In that fine passage in the Second Book of the Georgics," says Mr Alison, "in which Virgil celebrates the praises of his native country, after these fine lines—

'Hic ver assiduum, atque alienis mensibus æstas;
Bis gravidæ pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbos.
At rabidæ tigres absunt, et sæva leonum
Semina: nec miseros fallunt aconita legentes:
Nec rapit immensos orbes per humum, neque tanto
Squameus in spiram tractu se colligit anguis.'

There is no reader whose enthusiasm is not checked by the cold and prosaic line which follows,—

'Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem.'

[Pg 247]

The tameness and vulgarity of the transition dissipates at once the emotion we had shared with the Poet, and reduces him, in our opinion, to the level of a mere describer."


Cold and prosaic line! Tameness and vulgarity! I am struck mute.


I have no doubt that Mr Alison distressed himself with "Adde." It is a word from a merchant's counting-house, reckoning up his gains. And so much the better. Virgil is making out the balance-sheet of Italy—he is inventorying her wealth. Mr Alison would have every word away from reality. Not so the Poet. Every now and then, they—the Poets—amuse themselves with dipping their pencils into the real, the common, the everyday, the homely. By so doing they arrest belief, which above everything they desire to hold fast. I should not wonder if you might catch Spenser at it, even. Shakspeare is full of it. There is nothing else prosaic in the passage; and if Virgil had had the bad taste to say "Ecce" instead of "Adde," I suppose no fault would have been found.


But what can Mr Alison mean by the charge of tameness and vulgarity?


I have told you, sir.


You have not, sir.


I have, sir.


Yes—yes—yes. "Adde" is vulgar! I cannot think so.


The Cities of Italy, and the "operum labor," always have been and are an admiration. The words "Egregias urbes" suggest the general stateliness and wealth—"operumque laborem," the particular buildings—Temples, Basilicas, Theatres, and Great Works of the lower Utility. A summary and most vivid expression of a land possessed by intelligent, civilised, active, spirited, vigorous, tasteful inhabitants—also an eminent adorning of the land.


Lucretius says, that in spring the Cities are in flower—or on flower—or a flower—with children. And Lucan, at the beginning of the Pharsalia, describes the Ancient or Greek Cities desolate. They were fond and proud of their "tot egregiæ urbes" as the Modern Italians are—and with good reason.


How judiciously the Critics stop short of the lines that would overthrow their criterion always! The present case is an extraordinary example. Had Mr Alison looked to the lines immediately following, he would not have objected to that One. For

"Tot congesta manu præruptis oppida saxis,
Fluminaque antiquos subter labentia muros"

is very beautiful—brings the whole under the domain of Poetry, by singular Picturesqueness, and by gathering the whole past history of Italy up—fetching it in with a word—antiquos.


I can form no conjecture as to the meaning of Mr Alison's objections. He quotes a few fine lines from the "Praise of Italy," and then one line which he calls prosaic, and would have us to hold up our hands in wonder at the lame and impotent conclusion—at the sudden transformation of Virgil the poet into Virgil the most prosaic of Prosers. You have said enough already, sir, to prove that he is in error even on his own showing;—but how can this fragmentary—this piecemeal mode of quotation—so common among critics of the lower school, and so unworthy of those of the higher—have found favour[Pg 248] with Mr Alison, one of the most candid and most enlightened of men? Some accidental prejudice from mere carelessness—but, once formed, retained in spite of the fine and true Taste which, unfettered, would have felt the fallacy, and vindicated his admired Virgil.


The "Laudes"—to which the Poet is brought by the preceding bold, sweeping, winged, and poetical strain about the indigenous vines of Italy—have two-fold root—Trees and the glory of Lands. Virgil kindles on the double suggestion—the trees of Italy compared to the trees of other regions. They are the trees of primary human service and gladness—Oil and Wine. For see at once the deep, sound natural ground in human wants—the bounty of Nature—of Mother Earth—"whatever Earth, all-bearing Mother, yields"—to her human children. That is the gate of entrance; but not prosaically—but two gate-posts of a most poetical mythus-fed husbandman. For we have Jason's fire-mouthed Bulls ploughing, and Cadmus-sown teeth of the dragon springing up in armed men. Then comes, instead, mild, benign, Man-loving Italy—"gravidæ fruges"—the heavy-eared corn—or rather big-teeming—the juice of Bacchus—the Olives, and the "broad herds of Cattle." Note—ye Virgilians—the Corn of Book First—the Oil and Wine of Book Second—and the Cattle of Book Third—for the sustaining Thought—the organic life of his Work moves in his heart.


And the Fourth—Bees—honey—and honey-makers are like Milkers—in a way small Milch-cows.


They are. Once a-foot—or a-wing—he hurries and rushes along, all through the "Laudes." The majestic victim-Bull of the Clitumnus—the incipient Spring—the double Summer—the absence of all envenomed and deadly broods—tigers—lions—aconite—serpents. This is Nature's Favour. Then Man's Works—cities and forts—(rock-fortresses)—the great lakes of Northern Italy—showing Man again in their vast edifications. Then Nature in veins of metals precious or useful—then Nature in her production of Man—the Marsi—the Sabellian youth—the Ligurian inured to labour—and the Volscian darters—then single mighty shapes and powers of Man—Romans—the Decii, the Marii, the Camilli,

"Scipiadas duros bello, et te, maxime Cæsar."

The King of Men—the Lord of the Earth—the pacificator of the distracted Empire—which, to a Roman, is as much as to say the World. Then—hail Saturnian Land! Mother of Corn! Saturnian, because golden Saturn had reigned there—Mother, I suppose the rather because in his time corn sprung unsown—sine semine—She gave it from out of her own loving and cherishing bosom. To Thee, Italy, sing I my Ascræan or Hesiodic song. The Works and Days—the Greek Georgics are his avowed prototype—rude prototype to magnificence—like the Arab of the Desert transplanted to rear his empire of dazzling and picturesque civilisation in the Pyrenean Peninsula.


Take breath, sir. Virgil said well—

"Adde tot egregias urbes operumque laborem."


Allow me one other word. Virgil—in the vivid lines quoted with admiration by Mr Alison—lauds his beloved Italy for the absence of wild beasts and serpents—and he magnifies the whole race of serpents by his picture of One—the Serpent King—yet with subjects all equal in size to himself in our imagination. The Serpent is in the Poetry, but he is not in Italy. Is this a false artifice of composition—a vain ornament? Oh, no! He describes the Saturnian Land—the mother of corn and of men—bounteous, benign, golden, maternal Italy. The negation has the plenitude of life, which the fabulous absence of noxious reptiles has for the sacred Island of Ierne.

[Pg 249]




Suddenly he sees another vision—not of what is absent but present; and then comes the line arraigned and condemned—followed by lines as great—

"Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem,
Tot congesta manu præruptis oppida saxis,
Fluminaque antiquos subter labentia muros."

The first line grasps in one handful all the mighty, fair, wealthy Cities of Italy—the second all the rock-cresting Forts of Italy—from the Alpine head to the sea-washed foot of the Peninsula. The collective One Thought of the Human Might and Glory of Italy—as it appears on the countenance of the Land—or visible in its utmost concentration in the girdled Towns and Cities of Men.


"Adde" then is right, Seward. On that North and you are at one.


Yes, it is right, and any other word would be wrong. Adde! Note the sharpness, Buller, of the significance—the vivacity of the short open sound. Fling it out—ring it out—sing it out. Look at the very repetition of the powerful "TOT"—"tot egregias"—"tot congesta"—witnessing by one of the first and commonest rules in the grammar of rhetoric—whether Virgil speaks in prose or in fire.


In fire.


Mr Alison then goes on to say, "that the effect of the following nervous and beautiful lines, in the conclusion of the same Book, is nearly destroyed by a similar defect. After these lines,

"Hanc olim veteres vitam coluêre Sabini,
Hanc Remus et Frater; sic fortis Etruria crevit,
Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma;"

We little expect the following spiritless conclusion:—

"Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces."


Oh! why does Mr Alison call that line spiritless?


He gives no reason—assured by his own dissatisfaction, that he has but to quote it, and leave it in its own naked impotence.


I hope you do not think it spiritless, sir.


I think it contains the concentrated essence of spirit and of power. Let any one think of Rome, piled up in greatness, and grandeur, and glory—and a Wall round about—and in a moment his imagination is filled. What sort of a Wall? A garden wall to keep out orchard thieves—or a modern wall of a French or Italian town to keep out wine and meat, that they may come in at the gate and pay toll? I trow not. But a Wall against the World armed and assailing! Remember that Virgil saw Rome—and that his hearers did—and that in his eyes and theirs she was Empress of the inhabited Earth. She held and called herself such—it was written in her face and on her forehead. The visible, tangible splendour and magnificence meant this, or they meant nothing. The stone and lime said this—and Virgil's line says it, sedately and in plain, simple phrase, which yet is a Climax.


As the dreaded Semiramis was flesh and blood—corporeal—made of the four elements—yet her soul and her empiry spake out of her—so spake they from the Face of Rome.

[Pg 250]


Ay, Seward—put these two things together—the Aspect that speaks Domination of the World, and the Wall that girds her with strength impregnable—and what more could you possibly demand from her Great Poet?


Arx is a Citadel—we may say an Acropolis. Athens had one Arx—so had Corinth. One Arx is enough to one Queenly City. But this Queen, within her one Wall, has enclosed Seven Arces—as if she were Seven Queens.


Well said, Seward. The Seven Hills appeared—and to this day do—to characterise the Supremacy of Rome. The Seven-Hilled City! You seem to have said everything—the Seven Hills are as a seven-pillared Throne—and all that is in one line—given by Virgil. Delete it—no not for a thousand gold crowns.


Not for the Pigot Diamond—not for the Sea of Light.


Imagine Romulus tracing the circuit on which the walls were to rise of his little Rome—the walls ominously lustrated with a brother's blood. War after war humbles neighbouring town after town, till the seas that bathe, and the mountains that guard Italy, enclose the confederated Republic. It is a step—a beginning. East and West, North and South, flies the Eagle, dipping its beak in the blood of battle-fields. Where it swoops, there fanning away the pride, and fame, and freedom of nations, with the wafture of its wings. Kingdoms and Empires that were, are no more than Provinces; till the haughty Roman, stretching out the fact to the limits of his ambitious desires, can with some plausibility deceive himself, and call the edges of the Earth the boundaries of his unmeasured Dominion.


"O Italy! Italy! would Thou wert stronger or less beautiful!"—was the mournful apostrophe of an Italian Poet, who saw, in the latter ages, his refined but enervated countrymen trampled under the foot of a more martial people from far beyond the Alps.


Good Manners giving a vital energy and efficacy to good Laws—in these few words, gentlemen, may be comprised the needful constituents of National Happiness and Prosperity—the foremost conditions.


Ay—ay—sir. For good Laws without good Manners are an empty breath—whilst good Manners ask the protecting and preserving succour of good Laws. But the good Manners are of the first necessity, for they naturally produce the good Laws.


What does history show, Talboys, but nations risen up to flourish in wealth, power, and greatness, that with corrupted and luxurious manners have again sunk from their pre-eminence; whilst another purer and simpler people has in turn grown mighty, and taken their room in the world's eye—some hardy, simple, frugal race, perhaps, whom the seeming disfavour of nature constrains to assiduous labour, and who maintain in the lap of their mountains their independence and their pure and happy homes.


The Luxury—the invading Goth and Hun—the dismembering—and new States uprisen upon the ruins of the World's fallen Empire. There is one line in Collins' Ode to Freedom—Mr North—which I doubt if I understand.




"No, Freedom, no—I will not tell
How Rome before thy weeping face
Pushed by a wild and artless race
[Pg 251] From off its wide, ambitious base,
With heaviest sound a giant-statue fell—
What time the northern Sons of Spoil awoke,
And all the blended work of strength and grace,
With many a rude repeated stroke,
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke."




"How Rome before thy weeping face."


Freedom wept at Rome's overthrow—though she had long been Freedom's enemy—and though her destroyers were Freedom's children—and "Spoil's Sons"—for how could Freedom look unmoved at the wreck "of all that blended work of strength and grace"—though raised by slaves at the beck of Tyrants? It was not always so.


Let me, Apollo-like, my dear sir, pinch your ear, and admonish you to return to the point from which, in discursive gyrations, you and Seward have been——


Like an Eagle giving an Eaglet lessons how to fly——


You promised solemnly, sir, not to mention Eagles this evening.


I did not, sir.


But, then, Seward is no Eaglet—he is, and long has been, a full-fledged bird, and can fly as well's yourself, sir.


There you're right. But then, making a discursive gyration round a point is not leaving it—and there you're wrong. Silly folk—not you, Buller, for you are a strong-minded, strong-bodied man—say "keep to the point"—knowing that if you quit it one inch, you will from their range of vision disappear—and then they comfort themselves by charging you with having melted among the clouds.


I was afraid, my dear sir, that having got your Eaglet on your back—or your Eaglet having got old Aquila on his—you would sail away with him—or he with you—"to prey in distant isles."


You promised solemnly, sir, not to mention Eagles this evening.


I did not, sir. But don't let us quarrel.


What does Virgil mean, sir, by "Rerum," in the line which Mr Alison thinks should have concluded the strain—

"Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma."


"Rerum"—what does he mean by "Rerum?" Let me perpend. Why, Seward, the legitimate meaning of Res here is a State—a Commonwealth. "The fairest of Powers—then—of Polities—of States."


Is that all the word means here?


Why, methinks we must explain. Observe, then, Seward, that Rome is the Town, as England the Island. Thus "England has become the fairest among the Kingdoms of the Earth." This is equivalent, good English; and the only satisfactory and literal translation of the Latin verse. But here, the[Pg 252] Physical and the Political are identified,—that is, England. England is the name at once of the Island—of so much earth limited out on the surface of the terraqueous globe—and of what besides? Of the Inhabitants? Yes; but of the Inhabitants (as the King never dies) perpetuated from generation to generation. Moreover, of this immortal inhabitation, further made one by blood and speech, laws, manners, and everything that makes a people. In short, England, properly the name of the land, is intended to be, at the same time, the name of the Nation.

"England, with all thy faults, I love Thee still."

There Cowper speaks to both at once—the faults are of the men only—moral—for he does not mean fogs, and March east winds, and fever and agues. I love thee—is to the green fields and the white cliffs, as well as to all that still survives of the English heart and thought and character. And this absorption, sir, and compenetration of the two ideas—land into people, people into land—the exposition of which might, in good hands, be made beautiful—is a fruitful germ of Patriotism—an infinite blending of the spiritual and the corporeal. To Virgil, Rome the City was also Rome the Romans; and, therefore, sir, those Houses and Palaces, and that Wall, were to him, as those green fields, and hills, and streams, and towns, and those cliffs are to Us. The girdled-in compendium of the Heaven's Favour and the Earth's Glory and Power.

"Scilicet et Rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma,
Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces."

Do you all comprehend and adopt my explanation, gentlemen?


I do.




I ask myself whether Virgil's "Rerum Pulcherrima" may not mean "Fairest of Things"—of Creatures—of earthly existences? To a young English reader, probably that is the first impression. It was, I think, mine. But fairest of earthly States and Seats of State is so much more idiomatic and to the purpose, that I conceive it—indubitable.


You all remember what Horatio sayeth to the soldiers in Hamlet, on the coming and going of the Ghost.

'In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
Stars shone with trains of fire, dews of blood fell;
Disasters veiled the sun, and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to Doomsday with eclipse.'

What does Horatio mean by high and palmy state? That Rome was in a flourishing condition?


That, I believe, sir, is the common impression. Hitherto it has been mine.


Let it be erased henceforth and for ever.


It is erased—I erase it.


Read henceforth and for ever high and palmy State. Write henceforth and for ever State with a towering Capital. Res! "Most high and palmy State" is precisely and literally "Rerum Pulcherrima."


At your bidding—you cannot err.

[Pg 253]


I err not unfrequently—but not now, nor I believe this evening. Horatio, the Scholar, speaks to the two Danish Soldiers. They have brought him to be of their watch because he is a Scholar—and they are none. This relation of distinction is indeed the ground and life of the Scene.

"Therefore I have entreated him, along
With us to watch the minutes of the night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it."


"Thou art a Scholar—speak to it, Horatio."


You know, Talboys, that Scholars were actual Conjurors, in the mediæval belief, which has tales enow about Scholars in that capacity. Horatio comes, then, possessed with an especial Power; he knows how to deal with Ghosts—he could lay one, if need were. He is not merely a man of superior and cultivated intellect, whom intellectual inferiors engage to assist them in an emergency above their grasp—but he is the very man for the work.


Have not the Commentators said as much, sir?


Perhaps—probably—who? If they have in plenitude, I say it again—because I once did not know it—or think of it—and I suppose that a great many persons die believing that the Two resort in the way of general dependence merely on Horatio.


I believed, but I shall not die believing so.


Therefore, the scholarship of Horatio, and the non-scholarship of Bernardo and Marcellus, strikes into the life, soul, essence, ground, foundation, fabric, and organisation of this First Ghost Scene—sustain and build the whole Play.




Eh? Yes. But to the point in hand. The Ghost has come and gone; and the Scholar addresses his Mates the two Non-Scholars. And show me the living Scholar who could speak as Horatio spake. Touching the matter that is in all their minds oppressively, he will transport their minds a flight suddenly off a thousand years, and a thousand miles or leagues—their untutored minds into the Region of History. He will take them to Rome—"a little ere"—and, therefore, before naming Rome, he lifts and he directs their imagination—"In the most high and palmy State." There had been Four Great Empires of the World—and he will by these few words evoke in their minds the Image of the last and greatest. And now observe with what decision, as well as with what majesty, the nomination ensues—of Rome.


I feel it, sir.


Try, Talboys, to render "State" by any other word, and you will be put to it. You may analogise. It is for the Republic and City, what Realm or Kingdom is to us—at once Place and indwelling Power. "State"—properly Republic—here specifically and pointedly means Reigning City. The Ghosts walked in the City—not in the Republic.


I think I have you, sir—am not sure.


You have me—you are sure. Now suppose that, instead of the solemn, ceremonious, and stately robes in which Horatio attires the Glorious Rome, he had said simply, "in Rome," or "at Rome," where then his ψυχαγωγια—his[Pg 254] leading of their spirits? Where his own scholar-enthusiasm, and love, and joy, and wonder? All gone! And where, Talboys, are they who, by here understanding "state" for "condition"—which every man alive does—


Every man alive?


Yes, you did—confess you did. Where are they, I ask, who thus oblige Horatio to introduce his nomination of Rome—thus nakedly—and prosaically? Every hackneyer of this phrase—state—as every man alive hackneys it—is a nine-fold Murderer. He murders the Phrase—he murders the Speech—he murders Horatio—he murders the Ghost—he murders the Scene—he murders the Play—he murders Rome—he murders Shakspeare—and he murders Me.


I am innocent.


Why, suppose Horatio to mean—"in the most glorious and victorious condition of Rome, on the Eve of Cæsar's death, the graves stood tenantless"—You ask—Where? See where you have got. A story told with two determinations of Time, and none of Place! Is that the way that Shakspeare, the intelligent and intelligible, recites a fact? No. But my explanation shows the Congruity or Parallelism. "In the most high and palmy State,"—that is, City of Rome—ceremonious determination of Place—"a little ere the mightiest Julius fell,"—ceremonious determination of Time.


But is not the use of State, sir, for City, bold and singular?


It is. For Verse has her own Speech—though Wordsworth denies it in his Preface—and proves it by his Poetry, like his brethren Shakspeare and Milton. The language of Verse is rapid—abrept and abrupt. Horatio wants the notion of Republic; because properly the Republic is high and palmy, and not the wood, stone, and marble. So he manages an expeditious word that shall include both, and strike you at once. The word of a Poet strikes like a flash of lightning—it penetrates—it does not stay to be scanned—"probed, vexed, and criticised,"—it illuminates and is gone. But you must have eyes—and suffer nobody to shut them. I ask, then—Can any lawful, well-behaved Citizen, having weighed all this, and reviewed all these things, again violate the Poesy of the Avonian Swan, and his own muse-enlightened intelligence, by lending hand or tongue to the convicted and condemned Vulgarism?


Now, then, and not till now, we Three know the full power of the lines—

"Scilicet et Rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma,
Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces."


Another word anent Virgil. Mr Alison says—"There is a still more surprising instance of this fault in one of the most pathetic passages of the whole Poem, in the description of the disease among the cattle, which concludes the Third Georgic. The passage is as follows:—

"Ecce autem duro fumans sub vomere Taurus
Concidit, et mixtum spumis vomit ore cruorem
Extremosque ciet gemitus; it tristis arator,
Mœrentem abjungens fraternâ morte juvencum,
Atque opere in medio defixa relinquit aratra."

The unhappy image in the second line is less calculated to excite compassion than disgust, and is singularly ill-suited to the tone of tenderness and delicacy which the Poet has everywhere else so successfully maintained, in describing the progress of the loathsome disease." The line here objected to is the life of the description—and instead of offence, it is the clenching of the pathos.[Pg 255] First of all, it is that which the Poet always will have and the Critics wont—the Necessitated—the Thing itself—the Matter in hand. It shapes—features—characterises that particular Murrain. Leave it out—'the one Ox drops dead in the furrow, and the Ploughman detaches the other.' It's a great pity, and very surprising—but that is NO PLAGUE. Suddenly he falls, and blood and foam gush mixed with his expiring breath. That is a plague. It has terror—affright—sensible horror—life vitiated, poisoned in its fountains. Vomit—a settled word, and one of the foremost, of the reversed, unnatural vital function. Besides, it is the true and proper word. Besides, it is vivid and picturesque, being the word of the Mouth. Effundit (which they would prefer)—(I do not mean it would stand in the verse) is general—might be from the ears. Vomit in itself says mouth. The poor mouth! whose function is to breathe, and to eat grass, and to caress—the visible organ of life—of vivification—and now of mortification. Taken from the dominion of the holy powers, and given up to the dark and nameless destroyer. "Vomit ore cruorem!" The verse moans and groans for him—it may have in it a death-rattle. How much more helpless and hopeless the real picture makes Arator's distress! Now, "it tristis" comes with effect.


Yes, Virgil, as in duty bound to do, faced the Cattle Plague in all its horrors. Had he not, he would have been false to Pales, the Goddess of Shepherds—to Apollo, who fed the herds of Admetus. So did his Master, Lucretius—whom he emulated—equalled, but not surpassed, in execution of the dismal but inevitable work. The whole land groaned under the visitation—nor was it confined to Cattle—it seemed as if the brute creation were about to perish. But his tender heart, near the close, singled out, from the thousands, one yoke of Steers—in two lines and a half told the death of one—in two lines and a half told the sadness of its owner—and in as many lines more told, too, of the survivor sinking, because his brother "was not"—and in as many more a lament for the cruel sufferings of the harmless creature—lines which, Scaliger says, he would rather have written than have been honoured by the Lydian or the Persian king.


Perhaps you have said enough, Seward. It might have been better, perhaps, to have recited the whole passage.


Here is a sentence or two about Homer.


Then you are off. Oh! sir—why not for an hour imitate that Moon and those Stars? How silently they shine! But what care you for the heavenly luminaries? In the majestic beauty of the nocturnal heavens vain man will not hold his peace.


Is that the murmur of the far-off sea?


It is—the tide, may be, is on its return—is at "Connal's raging Ferry"—from Loch Etive—yet this is not its hour—'tis but the mysterious voice of Night.




By moonlight and starlight, and to the voice of Night, I read these words from Mr Alison—"In the speech of Agamemnon to Idomeneus, in the Fourth Book of the Iliad, a circumstance is introduced altogether inconsistent both with the dignity of the speech, and the Majesty of Epic Poetry:—

'Divine Idomeneus! what thanks we owe
To worth like thine, what praise shall we bestow!
To Thee the foremost honours are decreed,
First in the fight, and every graceful deed.
[Pg 256] For this, in banquets, when the generous bowls
Restore our blood, and raise the warriors' souls,
Though all the rest with stated rules be bound,
Unmixed, unmeasured, are thy goblets crowned.'"


That is Pope. Do you remember Homer himself, sir?


I do.

Ιδομενεὑ, φερι μἑν σε θιω Δαναὡν ταχυφωλων,
ἡμἑν ἑνἱ πτολἑμω ἡδ' ἁλλοἱω ἑφι ἑργω,
ηδ' ἑν δαἱθ', ὁτε φερ τε γεροὑσιον αἱθοπα οἱνον
'Αργεἱων οἱ ἁριστοι ἑνἱ κρηθηρσι κἑρωνται.
εἱπερ γἁρ τ' ἁλλοι γε καρηκομὁωντες 'Αχαιοἱ
δαιτῥον φινωσιν, σὁν δἑ πλεἱον δἑπας αἱεἱ
ἑστηχ', ὡσπερ ἑμοἱ, πιἑειν, ὁτε θυμὁς ἁνὡγοι.
ἁλλ' ὁρσευ φολεμὁνδ', οἱος φαρος εὑχεο εἱναι.P/
I believe you will find that in general men praise more truly, that is
justly, deservedly, than they condemn. They praise from an impulse of love—that
is, from a capacity. Nature protects love more than hate. Their condemnation
is often mere incapacity—want of insight. Mr Alison had elegance
of apprehension—truth of taste—a fine sense of the beautiful—a sense of the
sublime. His instances for praise are always well—often newly chosen, from
an attraction felt in his own genial and noble breast. The true chord struck
then. But he was somewhat too dainty-schooled—school-nursed, and school-born.
A judge and critic of Poetry should have been caught wild, and tamed;
he should carry about him to the last some relish of the wood and the
wilderness, as if he were ever in some danger of breaking away, and relapsing
to them. He should know Poetry as a great power of the Universe—a sun—of
which the Song—whosesoever—only catches and fixes a few rays. How
different in thought was Epos to him and to Homer! Homer paints Manners—archaic,
simple manners. Everybody feels—everybody says this—Mr
Alison must have known it—and could have said it as well as the best—
But the best often forget it. They seem to hold to this knowledge better
now, Mr North; and they do not make Homer answerable as a Poet, for the
facts of which he is the Historian—Why not rather accept than criticise?
I am sorry, Seward, for the Achæan Chiefs who had to drink δαιτρον—that is
all. I had hoped that they helped themselves.
Perhaps, sir, the Stint was a custom of only the οινον γερουσιον—a ceremonious
Bowl—and if so, undoubtedly with religious institution. The Feast is not
honorary—only the Bowl: for anything that appears, Agamemnon, feasting his
Princes, might say, "Now, for the Bowl of Honour"—and Idomeneus alone
drinks. Or let the whole Feast be honorific, and the Bowl the sealing, and
crowning, and characterising solemnity. Now, the distinction of the Stint, and
the Full Bowl, selected for a signal of different honouring, has to me no
longer anything irksome. It is no longer a grudged and scanted cheer—but
lawful Assignment of Place.
The moment you take it for Ceremonial, sir, you don't know what profound
meaning may, or may not be in it. The phrase is very remarkable.
When the "Best of the Argives" mix in the Bowl "the honorific dark-glowing
wine," or the dark-glowing wine of honour—when ὁτε—quite a specific and
peculiar occasion, and confined to the wine—you would almost think that the
Chiefs themselves are the wine-mixers, and not the usual ministrants—which
would perhaps express the descent of an antique use from a time and manners
of still greater simplicity than those which Homer describes. Or take it
[Pg 257] merely, that in great solemnities, high persons do the functions proper to
Servants. This we do know, that usually a servant, the Ταμιευς, or the
οινοχοος, does mix the Bowl. By the way, Talboys, I think you will be not a
little amused with old Chapman's translation of the passage.
A fiery old Chap was George.
It runs thus—
"O Idomen, I ever loved thyself past all the Greeks,
In war, or any work of peace, at table, everywhere;
For when the best of Greeks, besides, mix ever at our cheer
My good old ardent wine with small, and our inferior mates
Drink ever that mixt wine measured too, thou drink'st without those rates
Our old wine neat; and ever more thy bowl stands like to mine;
To drink still when and what thou wilt; then rouse that heart of thine;
And whatsoever heretofore thou hast assumed to be,
This day be greater."


Well done, Old Buck! This fervour and particularity are admirable. But, methinks, if I caught the words rightly, that George mistakes the meaning of γερουσων—honorary; he has γερων γεροντος, an old man, singing in his ears; but old for wine would be quite a different word.


And he makes Agamemnon commend Idomeneus for drinking generously and honestly, whilst the others are afraid of their cups—as Claudius, King of Denmark, might praise one of his strong-headed courtiers, and laugh at Polonius. Agamemnon does not say that Idomeneus' goblet was not mixed—was neat—rather we use to think that wine was always mixed—but whether "with small," as old Chapman says, or with water, I don't know—but I fancied water! But perhaps, Seward, the investigation of a Grecian Feast in heroic time, and in Attic, becomes an exigency. Chapman is at least determined—and wisely—to show that he is not afraid of the matter—that he saw nothing in it "altogether inconsistent with the dignity of the speech and the majesty of Epic Poetry."


Dignity! Majesty! They stand, sir, in the whole together—in the Manners taken collectively by themselves throughout the entire Iliad—and then taken as a part of the total delineation. Apply our modern notions of dignity and majesty to the Homeric Poetry, and we shall get a shock in every other page.


The Homeric, heroic manners! Heyne has a Treatise or Excursus—as you know—on the ἁυταρκεια—I think he calls it—of the Homeric Heroes—their waiting on themselves, or their self-sufficiency—where I think that he collects the picture.


I am ashamed to say I do not know it.


No matter. You see how this connects with the scheme of the Poem—in which, prevalent or conspicuous by the amplitude of the space which it occupies, is the individual prowess of heroes in field—conspicuous, too, by its moment in action. This is another and loftier mode of the ἁυταρκεια. The human bosom is a seat or fountain of power. Power goes forth, emanates in all directions, high and low, right and left. The Man is a terrestrial God. He takes counsel with his own heart, and he acts. "He conversed with his own magnanimous spirit"—or as Milton says of Abdiel meeting Satan—"And thus his own undaunted heart explored."


Yes, Mr North, the Man is as a terrestrial God; but—with continual recognition by the Poet and his heroes—as under the celestial Gods. And I apprehend, sir, that this two-fold way of representing man, in himself and[Pg 258] towards them, is that which first separates the Homeric from and above all other Poetry, is its proper element of grandeur, in which we never bathe without coming out aggrandised.


Seward, you instruct me by——


Oh, no, sir! You instruct me——


We instruct each other. For this the heroes are all Demigods—that is, the son of a God, or Goddess, or the Descendant at a few Generations. Sarpedon is the Son of Jupiter, and his death by Patroclus is perhaps the passage of the whole Iliad that most specially and energetically, and most profoundly and pathetically, makes the Gods intimate to the life and being of men—presents the conduct of divinity and humanity with condescension there, and for elevation here. I do not mean that there is not more pomp of glorification about Achilles, for whom Jupiter comes from Olympus to Ida, and Vulcan forges arms—whose Mother-Goddess is Messenger to and from Jupiter, and into whose lips, when he is faint with toil and want of nourishment—abstaining in his passion of sorrow and vengeance—Minerva, descending, instils Nectar. But I doubt if there be anything so touching—under this relation—and so intimately aggrandising as that other whole place—the hesitation of Jupiter whether he shall violate Fate, in order to save his own flesh and blood from its decreed stroke—the consolatory device of Juno (in remonstrating and dissuading) that he shall send Apollo to call Death and Sleep—a God-Messenger to God-Ministers—to bear the dead body from the battle-field to his own land and kin for due obsequies. And, lastly, those drops of blood which fall from the sky to the earth, as if the heart-tears of the Sire of all the worlds and their inhabitants.


You are always great, sir, on Homer. But, pray, have you any intention of returning to the ἁυταρκεια?


Ha! Buller—do you speak? I have not wandered from it. But since you seem to think I have, think of Patroclus lighting a fire under a tripod with his own hands, to boil meat for Achilles' guests—of Achilles himself helping to lay the ransomed body of Hector on the car that was to take it away. This last is honorific and pathetic. Ministrations of all degrees for themselves, in their own affairs, characterise them all. From the least of these to Achilles fighting the River-God—which is an excess—all holds together—is of one meaning—and here, as everywhere, the least, and the familiar, and most homely, attests, vouches, makes evident, probable, and facile to credence, the highest, most uncouth, remote, and difficult otherwise of acceptation. Pitching the speculation lower, plenitude of the most robust, ardent, vigorous life overflows the Iliad—up from the animal to the divine—from the beautiful tall poplar by the river-side, which the wheelwright or wainwright fells. Eating, drinking, sleeping, thrusting through with spears, and hacking the live flesh off the bone—all go together and help one another—and make the "Majesty and Dignity"—or what not—of the Homeric Epos. But I see, Buller, that you are timing me—and I am ashamed to confess that I have exceeded the assigned limit. Gentlemen, I ask all your pardons.


Timing you—my dear sir! Look—'tis only my snuff-box—your own gift—with your own haunted Head on the lid—inspired work of Laurence Macdonald.


Give it me—why there—there—by your own unhappy awkwardness—it has gone—gone—to the bottom of the deepest part of the Loch!


I don't care. It was my chronometer! The Box is safe.


And so is the Chronometer. Here it is—I was laughing at you—in my sleeve.

[Pg 259]


Another Herman Boaz!—Bless my eyes, there is Kilchurn! It must be—there is no other such huge Castle, surely, at the head of the Loch—and no other such mountains—


You promised solemnly, sir, not to say a single word about Loch Awe or its appurtenance, this Evening—so did every mother's son of us at your order—and t'was well—for we have seen them and felt them all—at times not the less profoundly—as the visionary pomp keeps all the while gliding slowly by—perpetual accompaniment of our discourse, not uninspired, perhaps, by the beauty or the grandeur, as our imagination was among the ideal creations of genius—with the far-off in place and in time—with generations and empires

"When dark oblivion swallows cities up,
And mighty States, characterless, are grated
To dusty nothing!"


In the declining light I wonder your eyes can see to read print.


My eyes are at a loss with Small Pica—but veritable Pica I can master, yet, after sunset. Indeed, I am sharpest-sighted by twilight, like a cat or an owl.


Have you any more annotations on Alison?


Many. The flaws are few. I verily believe these are all. To elucidate his Truths—in Taste and in Morals—would require from us Four a far longer Dialogue. Alison's Essays should be reprinted in one Pocket Volume—wisdom and Goodness are in that family hereditary—the editing would be a Work of Love—and in Bohn's Standard Library they would confer benefit on thousands who now know but their name.


My dear sir, last time we voyaged the Loch, you said a few words—perhaps you may remember it—about those philosophers—Alison—the "Man of Taste," as Thomas Campbell loved to call him—assuredly is not of the number—who have insisted on the natural Beauty of Virtue, and natural Deformity of Vice, and have appeared to place our capacity of distinguishing Right from Wrong chiefly, if not solely, on the sense of this Beauty and of this Deformity—


I remember saying, my dear Seward, that they have drawn their views too much from the consideration of the state of these feelings in men who had been long exercised in the pure speculative contemplation of moral Goodness and Truth, as well as in the calmness and purity of a tranquil, virtuous life. Was it so?


It was.


In such minds, when all the calm faculties of the soul are wedded in happy union to the image of Virtue, there is, I have no doubt, that habitual feeling for which the term Beauty furnishes a natural and just expression. But I apprehend that this is not the true expression of that serious and solemn feeling which accompanies the understanding of the qualities of Moral Action in the minds of the generality of men. They who in the midst of their own unhappy perversions, are visited with knowledge of those immutable distinctions, and they who in the ordinary struggles and trials incident to our condition, maintain their conduct in unison with their strongly grounded principles and better aspirations, would seldom, I apprehend, employ this language for the description of feelings which can hardly be separated, from the ideas of an awful responsibility involving the happiness and misery of the accountable subjects of a moral order of Government.

[Pg 260]


You think, sir, that to assign this perception of Beauty and Deformity, as the groundwork of our Moral Nature, is to rest on too slight a foundation that part of man's constitution which is first in importance to his welfare?


Assuredly, my dear friend, I do. Nay, I do not fear to say that the Emotion, which may properly be termed a Feeling of Beauty in Virtue, takes place at those times when the deepest affection of our souls towards Good and Evil acts less strongly, and when the Emotion we feel is derived more from Imagination—and—


And may I venture to suggest, sir, that as Imagination, which is so strong a principle in our minds, will take its temper from any prevalent feelings, and even from any fixed and permanent habits of mind, so our Feeling of Beauty and Deformity shall be different to different men, either according to the predominant strength of natural principles, or according to their course of life?


Even so. And therefore this general disposition of Imagination to receive its character will apply, no doubt, where the prevailing feelings and habits are of a Moral cast; and hence in minds engaged in calm intellectual speculation, and maintaining their own moral nature rather in innocence and simplicity of life than in the midst of difficult and trying situations and in conflict with passions, there can be no doubt that the Imagination will give itself up to this general Moral Cast of Mind, and feel Beauty and Deformity vividly and uniformly in the contemplation of the moral quality of actions and moral states of character.


But your words imply—do they not, sir? that such is the temper of their calmer minds, and not the emotion which is known when, from any great act of Virtue or Crime, which comes suddenly upon them, their Moral Spirit rises up in its native strength, to declare its own Affection and its own Judgment?


Just so. Besides, my excellent friend, if you consider well the feeling which takes possession of us, on contemplating some splendid act of heroic and self-devoting Virtue, we shall find that the sort of enthusiastic transport which may kindle towards him who has performed it, is not properly a moral transport at all; but it is a burst of love and admiration. Take out, then, from any such emotion, what Imagination, and Love, and Sympathy have supplied, and leave only what the Moral Spirit recognises of Moral Will in the act, and you will find that much of that dazzling and splendid Beauty which produced the transport of loving admiration is removed.


And if so, sir, then must it be very important that we should not deceive ourselves, and rely upon the warmth of emotion we may feel towards generous and heroic actions as evidence of the force of the Moral Principle in our own breasts, which requires to be ascertained by a very different test—


Ay, Seward; and it is important also, that we should learn to acknowledge and to respect, in those who, without the capacity of such vivid feelings, are yet conscientiously faithful to the known Moral Law, the merit and dignity of their Moral Obedience. We must allow to Virtue, my dearest Seward, all that is her due—her countenance beautiful in its sweet serenity—her voice gentle and mild—her demeanour graceful—and a simple majesty in the flowing folds of her stainless raiment. So may we picture her to our imagination, and to our hearts. But we must beware of making such abstractions fantastic and visionary, lest we come at last to think of emotions of Virtue and Taste as one and the same—a fatal error indeed—and that would rob human life of much of its melancholy grandeur. The beauty of Virtue is but the smile on her celestial countenance—and may be admired—loved—by those who hold but little com[Pg 261]munion with her inner heart—and it may be overlooked by those who pay to her the most devout worship.


Methinks, sir, that the moral emotion with which we regard actions greatly right or greatly wrong, is no transport; it is an earnest, solemn feeling of a mind knowing there is no peace for living souls, except in their Moral Obedience, and therefore receiving a deep and grateful assurance of the peace of one soul more, in witnessing its adherence to its virtue; and the pain which is suffered from crime is much more allied to sorrow, in contemplating the wilful departure of a spirit from its only possible Good, than to those feelings of repugnance and hate which characterise the temper of our common human emotion towards crimes offering violence and outrage to humanity.


I believe that, though darkness lies round and about us seeking to solve such questions, a feeling of deep satisfaction in witnessing the adherence to Moral Rectitude, and of deep pain in witnessing the departure from it, are the necessary results of a moral sensibility; but taken in their elementary simplicity, they have, I think, a character distinct from those many other emotions which will necessarily blend with them, in the heart of one human being looking upon the actions of another—"because that we have all one human heart."


Who can doubt that Religion infuses power and exaltation into the Arts? The bare History teaches this. In Greece Poetry sang of Gods, and of Heroes, in whose transactions Gods moved. Sculpture moulded Forms which were attempted expressions of Divine Attributes. Architecture constructed Temples. De facto the Grecian Arts rose out of Religion. And were not the same Arts, of revived Italy, religious?


They all require for their foundation and support a great pervading sympathy—some Feeling that holds a whole national breast. This is needed to munificently defraying the Costlier Arts—no base consideration at bottom. For it is a life-bond of this life, that is freely dropped, when men freely and generously contribute their means to the honour of Religion. There is a sentiment in opening your purse.


Yes, Buller—without that sentiment, no man can love noble Art. The true, deep, grand support of Genius is the confidence of universal sympathy. Homer sings because Greece listens. Phidias pours out his soul over marble, gold, and ivory, because he knows that at Olympia united Greece will wonder and will worship. Think how Poet is dumb and Sculptor lame, who foreknows that what he would sing, what he would carve, will neither be felt nor understood.


The Religion of a people furnishes the sympathy which both pays and applauds.


And Religion affords to the Artist in Words or Forms the highest Norms of Thought—sublime, beautiful, solemn—withal the sense of Aspiration—possibly of Inspiration.


And it guards Philosophy—and preserves it, by spiritual influence, from degradation worse than death. The mind is first excited into activity through the impressions made by external objects on the senses. The French metaphysicians—pretending to follow Locke—proceeded to discover in the mind a mere compound of Sensations, and of Ideas drawn from Sensations. Sensations, and Ideas that were the Relics of Sensations—nothing more.


And thus, sir, by degrees, the Mind appeared to them to be nothing else than a product of the Body—say rather a state of the Body.

[Pg 262]


A self-degradation, my friend, which to the utmost removes the mind from God. And this Creed was welcome to those to whom the belief in Him was irksome. That which we see and touch became to such Philosophers the whole of Reality. Deity—the Relation of the Creation to the Creator—the hope of a Futurity beyond the grave—vanished from the Belief of Materialists living in, and by, and to—Sensation.


And with what a horrid sympathy was the creed welcomed!


Ay, Seward, I who lived nearer the time—perhaps better than you can—know the evil. Not in the schools alone, or in the solitude of philosophical thought, the doctrine of an arid speculation circulated, like a thin and unwholesome blood, through the veins of polite literature; not in the schools alone, but in the gorgeous and gay saloons, where the highly-born, the courtly, and the wealthy, winged the lazy hours with light or dissolute pleasures—there the Philosophy which fettered the soul in the pleasing bands of the Senses, which plucked it back from a feared immortality, which opened a gulf of infinite separation between it and its Maker, was cordially entertained—there it pointed the jest and the jibe. Scepticism a study—the zeal of Unbelief! Principles of false thought appeared suddenly and widely as principles of false passion and of false action. Doubts, difficulties, guesses, fine spinnings of the perverse brain, seized upon the temper of the times—became the springs of public and popular movements—engines of political change. The Venerations of Time were changed into Abominations. A Will strong to overthrow—hostile to Order—anarchical—"intended siege and defiance to Heaven." The irreligious Philosophy of the calmer time now bore its fruits. The Century had prepared the explosion that signalised its close—Impiety was the name of the Giant whom these throes of the convulsed earth had borne into the day, and down together went Throne and Altar—But where are we?


At the river mouth.


What! at home.


See the Tent-Lights—hear the Tent-Music.


Your arm, Talboys—till I disembark. Up to the Mount I shall then climb, unassisted but by the Crutch.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.

[1] The Works of Charles Lamb.

Final Memorials of Charles Lamb. By Thomas Noon Talfourd.

[2] Final Memorials, vol. ii., p. 212.

[3] Vol. ii., p. 157.

[4] The author of Ion ought not to be held in remembrance for any of these prosaic blunders he may have committed.

[5] A Spaniard very rarely indeed marries a Gitána or female gipsy. But occasionally (observes Mr Borrow) a wealthy Gitáno marries a Spanish female.

[6] Kaloolah, or Journeyinqs to the Djébel Kumri: an Autobiography of Jonathan Romer. Edited by W. S. Mayo, M.D. London: 1849.

[7] See No. CCCCI., March 1849.

[8] Sea slang for sailors' chests.

[9] Sleeping on deck.

[10] Anglicè—not sober.

[11] The advantages of this new invention (of which the Prussians have now 50,000 in use) are the increased rapidity of loading, extent of range, and precision of aim. A thoroughly drilled soldier can fire from eight to ten rounds in a minute, whilst with a common percussion gun three times is considered good practice. Neither ramrod nor cap is required; the cartridge, which is placed in the gun by opening the breech, contains a fulminating powder, which is pierced by the simple action of pulling the trigger; and the charge of powder being ignited in front, instead of from behind, (as in the common musket,) the entire force of powder is exploded at once. The barrels are rifled, and spitz or pointed bullets are used.

[12] See Blackwood's Magazine, vol. lvi., p. 657.

[13] Corneille, Cinna, Act ii., scene 1.

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical and spelling errors were corrected.

Provided anchor for unanchored footnote on pp. 133 and 172.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol.
66 No.406, August 1849, by Various


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