The Project Gutenberg eBook of International Weekly Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science - Volume 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850

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Title: International Weekly Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science - Volume 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850

Author: Various

Release date: August 21, 2004 [eBook #13241]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Cornell University, Joshua Hutchinson, William Flis, and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


Of Literature, Art, and Science.

Vol. I. NEW YORK, JULY 29, 1850. No. 5.

[pg 129]


The history of smuggling in all countries abounds in curiosities of which but few ever reach the eye of the public, the parties generally preferring to keep their adventures to themselves. There often exist, however, along frontier lines the traditions of thrilling exploits or amusing tricks, recounted by old smugglers from the recollections of their own youthful days or the narratives of their predecessors. Perhaps no frontier is so rich in these tales as that between Spain and France, where the mountainous recesses of the Pyrenees offer secure retreats to the half-robber who drives the contraband trade, as well as safe routes for the transportation of his merchandise. On the line between the Russian Empire and Germany the trade is greater in amount than elsewhere, but is devoid of the romantic features which it possesses in other countries. There, owing to the universal corruption of the servants of the Russian government, the smuggler and the custom-house officer are on the best terms with each Other and often are partners in business. We find in a late number of the Deutsche Reform, a journal of Berlin, an interesting illustration of the extent and manner in which these frauds on the Russian revenue are carried on, and translate it for the International:

"The great annual tea-burning has just taken place at Suwalki: 25,000 pounds were destroyed at it. This curious proceeding is thus explained. Of all contraband articles that on the exclusion of which the most weight is laid, is the tea which is brought in from Prussia. In no country is the consumption of tea so great as in Poland and Russia. That smuggled in from Prussia, being imported from China by ship, can be sold ten times cheaper than the so-called caravan-tea, which is brought directly overland by Russian merchants. This overland trade is one of the chief branches of Russian commerce, and suffers serious injury from the introduction of the smuggled article. Accordingly the government pays in cash, the extraordinary premium of fifty cents per pound for all that is seized, a reward which is the more attractive to the officers on the frontiers for the reason that it is paid down and without any discount. Formerly the confiscated tea was sold at public auction on the condition that the buyer should carry it over the frontier; Russian officers were appointed to take charge of it and deliver it in some Prussian frontier town in order to be sure of its being carried out of the country. The consequence was that the tea was regularly carried back again into Poland the following night, most frequently by the Russian officers themselves. In order to apply a radical cure to this evil, destruction by fire was decreed as the fate of all tea that should be seized thereafter. Thus it is that from 20,000 to 40,000 pounds are yearly destroyed in the chief city of the province. About this the official story is, that it is tea smuggled from Prussia, while the truth is that it is usually nothing but brown paper or damaged tea that is consumed by the fire. In the first place the Russian officials are too rational to burn up good tea, when by chance a real confiscation of that article has taken place; in such a case the gentlemen take the tea, and put upon the burning pile an equal weight of brown paper or rags done up to resemble genuine packages. In the second place, it is mostly damaged or useless tea that is seized. The premium for seizures being so high, the custom-house officers themselves cause Polish Jews to buy up quantities of worthless stuff and bring it over the lines for the express purpose of being seized. The time and place for smuggling it are agreed upon. The officer lies in wait with a third person whom he takes with him. The Jew comes with the goods, is hailed by the officer and takes to flight. The officer pursues the fugitive, but cannot reach him, and fires his musket after him. Hereupon the Jew drops the package which the officer takes and carries to the office, where he gets his reward. The witness whom he has with him—by accident of course—testifies to the zeal of his exertions, fruitless though they were, for the seizure of the unknown smuggler. The smuggler afterward receives from the officer the stipulated portion of the reward. This trick is constantly practiced along the frontier, and to meet the demand the Prussian dealers keep stocks of good-for-nothing tea, which they sell generally at five silver groschen (12-1/2 cents) a pound."

[pg 130]


Although a large portion, perhaps more than half, of these volumes has been given to the world in previous publications, yet the work carries this recommendation with it, that it presents in an accessible and consecutive form a great deal of that felicitous portrait-painting, hit off in a few words, that pleasant anecdote, and cheerful wisdom, which lie scattered about in books not now readily to be met with, and which will be new and acceptable to the reading generation which has sprung up within the last half-score years. Mr. Hunt almost disarms criticism by the candid avowal that this performance was commenced under circumstances which committed him to its execution, and he tells us that it would have been abandoned at almost every step, had these circumstances allowed. We are not sorry that circumstances did not allow of its being abandoned, for the autobiography, altogether apart from its stores of pleasant readable matter, is pervaded throughout by a beautiful tone of charity and reconcilement which does honor to the writer's heart, and proves that the discipline of life has exercised on him its most chastening and benign influence:—

For he has learned

To look on Nature, not as in the hour

Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes

The still, sad, music of Humanity,

Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power

To chasten and subdue.

The reader will find numerous striking exemplifications of this spirit as he goes along with our author. From the serene heights of old age, "the gray-haired boy whose heart can never grow old," ever and anon regrets and rebukes some egotism or assumption, or petty irritation of bygone years, and confesses that he can now cheerfully accept the fortunes, good and bad, which have occurred to him, "with the disposition to believe them the best that could have happened, whether for the correction of what was wrong in him, or the improvement of what was right."

The concluding chapters contain a brief account of Mr. Hunt's occupations during the last twenty-five years; his residence successively at Highgate, Hampstead, Chelsea, and Kensington, and of his literary labors while living at these places. Many interesting topics are touched upon—among which we point to his remarks on the difficulties experienced by him in meeting the literary requirements of the day, and the peculiar demands of editors; his opinion of Mr. Carlyle; the present condition of the stage, the absurd pretensions of actors, and the delusions attempted respecting the "legitimate" drama; the question of the laureateship, and his own qualifications for holding that office; his habits of reading; and finally an avowal of his religious opinions. We miss some account of Mr. Hazlitt. Surely we had a better right to expect at the hands of Hunt a sketch of that remarkable writer, than of Coleridge, of whom he saw comparatively little. We also expected to find some allusion to the "Round Table," a series of essays which appeared in the Examiner, about 1815, written chiefly by Hazlitt, but amongst which are about a dozen by Hunt himself, some of them perhaps the best things he has written: we need only allude to "A Day by the Fire," a paper eminently characteristic of the author, and we doubt not fully appreciated by those who know his writings. Hunt regrets having re-cast the "Story of Rimini," and tells us that a new edition of the poem is meditated, in which, while retaining the improvement in the versification, he proposes to restore the narrative to its first course.

We take leave of the work, with a few more characteristic passages.

A GLIMPSE OF PITT AND FOX.—Some years later, I saw Mr. Pitt in a blue coat, buckskin breeches and boots, and a round hat, with powder and pigtail. He was thin and gaunt, with his hat off his forehead, and his nose in the air. Much about the same time I saw his friend, the first Lord Liverpool, a respectable looking old gentleman, in a brown wig. Later still, I saw Mr. Fox, fat and jovial, though he was then declining. He, who had been a "bean" in his youth, then looked something quaker-like as to dress, with plain colored clothes, a broad round hat, white waistcoat, and, if I am not mistaken, white stockings. He was standing in Parliament street, just where the street commences as you leave Whitehall; and was making two young gentlemen laugh heartily at something which he seemed to be relating.

COOKE'S EDITION OF THE BRITISH POETS.—In those times, Cooke's edition of the British Poets came up. I had got an odd volume of Spenser; and I fell passionately in love with Collins and Gray. How I loved those little sixpenny numbers, containing whole poets! I doated on their size; I doated on their type, on their ornaments, on their wrappers containing lists of other poets, and on the engraving from Kirk. I bought them over and over again, and used to get up select sets, which disappeared like buttered crumpets; for I could resist neither giving them away nor possessing them. When the master tormented me, when I used to hate and loathe the sight of Homer, and Demosthenes, and Cicero, I would comfort myself with thinking of the sixpence in my pocket, with which I should go out to Paternoster Row, when school was over, and buy another number of an English poet.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS: "SANDFORD AND MERTON."—The children's books in those days were Hogarth's pictures taken in their most literal acceptation. Every good boy was to ride in his coach, and be a lord mayor; and every bad boy was to be hung, or eaten by lions. The gingerbread was gilt, and the books were gilt like the gingerbread: a "take in" the more gross, inasmuch as nothing could be plainer or less dazzling than the books of the same boys when they grew a little older. There was a lingering old ballad or so in favor of the gallanter apprentices who tore out lions' hearts and astonished gazing sultans; and in antiquarian corners, Percy's "Reliques" were preparing a nobler age, both in poetry and prose. But the first counteraction came, as it [pg 131] ought, in the shape of a new book for children. The pool of mercenary and time-serving ethics was first blown over by the fresh country breeze of Mr. Day's "Sandford and Merton," a production that I well remember, and shall ever be grateful for. It came in aid of my mother's perplexities, between delicacy and hardihood, between courage and conscientiousness. It assisted the cheerfulness I inherited from my father; showed me that circumstances were not to check a healthy gaiety, or the most masculine self-respect; and helped to supply me with the resolution of standing by a principle, not merely as a point of lowly or lofty sacrifice, but as a matter of common sense and duty, and a simple coöperation with the elements natural warfare.

CHRIST'S HOSPITAL.—Perhaps there is not foundation in the country so truly English, taking that word to mean what Englishmen wish it to mean:—something solid, unpretending, of good character, and free to all. More boys are to be found in it, who issue from a greater variety of ranks, than in any other school in the kingdom and as it is the most various, so it is the largest, of all the free schools. Nobility do not go there except as boarders. Now and then a boy of a noble family may be met with, and he is reckoned an interloper, and against the charter; but the sons of poor gentry and London citizens abound; and with them, an equal share is given to the sons of tradesmen of the very humblest description, not omitting servants. I would not take my oath, but I have a strong recollection that in my time there were two boys, one of whom went up into the drawing-room to his father, the master of the house; and the other, down into the kitchen to his father, the coachman. One thing, however, I know to be certain, and it is the noblest of all; namely, that the boys themselves (at least it was so in my time) had no sort of feeling of the difference of one another's ranks out of doors. The cleverest boy was the noblest, let his father be who he might.

AN INTENSE YOUTHFUL FRIENDSHIP.—If I had reaped no other benefit from Christ Hospital, the school would be ever dear to me from the recollection of the friendships I formed in it, and of the first heavenly taste it gave me of that most spiritual of the affections. I use the word "heavenly" advisedly; and I call friendship the most spiritual of the affections, because even one's kindred, in partaking of our flesh and blood, become, in a manner, mixed up with our entire being. Not that I would disparage any other form of affection, worshiping, as I do, all forms of it, love in particular, which, in its highest state, is friendship and something more. But if ever I tasted a disembodied transport on earth, it was in those friendships which I entertained at school, before I dreamt of any maturer feeling. I shall never forget the impression it first made on me. I loved my friend for his gentleness, his candor, his truth, his good repute, his freedom even from my own livelier manner, his calm and reasonable kindness. It was not any particular talent that attracted me to him or anything striking whatsoever. I should say in one word, it was his goodness. I doubt whether he ever had a conception of a tithe of the regard and respect I entertained for him; and I smile to think of the perplexity (though he never showed it) which he probably felt sometimes at my enthusiastic expressions; for I thought him a kind of angel. It is no exaggeration to say, that, take away the unspiritual part of it—the genius and the knowledge—and there is no height of conceit indulged in by the most romantic character in Shakspeare, which surpassed what I felt toward the merits I ascribed to him, and the delight which I took in his society. With the other boys I played antics, and rioted in fantastic jests; but in his society, or whenever I thought of him, I fell into a kind of Sabbath state of bliss; and I am sure I could have died for him.

ANECDOTE OF MATHEWS.—One morning, after stopping all night at this pleasant house, I was getting up to breakfast, when I heard the noise of a little boy having his face washed. Our host was a merry bachelor, and to the rosiness of a priest might, for aught I knew, have added the paternity; but I had never heard of it, and still less expected to find a child in his house. More obvious and obstreperous proofs, however, of the existence of a boy with a dirty face, could not have been met with. You heard the child crying and objecting; then the woman remonstrating; then the cries of the child snubbed and swallowed up in the hard towel; and at intervals out came his voice bubbling and deploring, and was again swallowed up. At breakfast, the child being pitied, I ventured to speak about it, and was laughing and sympathizing in perfect good faith, when Mathews came in, and I found that the little urchin was he.

SHELLEY'S GENEROSITY.—As an instance of Shelley's extraordinary generosity, a friend of his, a man of letters, enjoyed from him at that period a pension of a hundred a year, though he had but a thousand of his own; and he continued to enjoy it till fortune rendered it superfluous. But the princeliness of his disposition was seen most in his behavior to another friend, the writer of this memoir, who is proud to relate that, with money raised with an effort, Shelley once made him a present of fourteen hundred pounds, to extricate him from debt. I was not extricated, for I had not yet learned to be careful; but the shame of not being so, after such generosity, and the pain which my friend afterward underwent when I was in trouble and he was helpless, were the first causes of my thinking of money matters to any purpose. His last sixpence was ever at my service, had I chosen to share it. In a poetical epistle written some years after, and published in the volume of "Posthumous Poems," Shelley, in alluding to his friend's circumstances, which for the second time were then straitened, only made an affectionate lamentation that he himself was poor; never once hinting that he had himself drained his purse for his friend.

MRS. JORDAN.—Mrs. Jordan was inimitable in exemplifying the consequences of too much restraint in ill-educated country girls, in romps, in hoydens, and in wards on whom the mercenary have designs. She wore a bib and tucker, and pinafore, with a bouncing propriety, fit to make the boldest spectator alarmed at the idea of bringing such a household responsibility on his shoulders. To see her when thus attired, shed blubbering tears for some disappointment, and eat all the while a great thick slice of bread and butter, weeping, and moaning, and munching, and eyeing at very bite the part she meant to bite next, was a lesson against will and appetite worth a hundred sermons, and no one could produce such an impression in favor of amiableness as she did, when she acted in gentle, generous, and confiding character. The way in which she would take a friend by the cheek and kiss her, or make up a quarrel with a lover, or coax a guardian into good humor, or sing (without accompaniment) the song of, "Since then [pg 132] I'm doom'd," or "In the dead of the night," trusting, as she had a right to do, and as the house wished her to do, to the sole effect of her sweet, mellow, and loving voice—the reader will pardon me, but tears of pleasure and regret come into my eyes at the recollection, as if she personified whatsoever was happy at that period of life, and which has gone like herself. The very sound of the familiar word 'bud' from her lips (the abbreviation of husband,) as she packed it closer, as it were, in the utterance, and pouted it up with fondness in the man's face, taking him at the same time by the chin, was a whole concentrated world of the power of loving.

RESIDENCE AT CHELSEA.—REMOTENESS IN NEARNESS.—From the noise and dust of the New Road, my family removed to a corner in Chelsea where the air of the neighboring river was so refreshing, and the quiet of the "no-thoroughfare" so full of repose, that, although our fortunes were at their worst, and my health almost of a piece with them, I felt for some weeks as if I could sit still for ever, embalmed in the silence. I got to like the very cries in the street for making me the more aware of it for the contrast. I fancied they were unlike the cries in other quarters of the suburbs, and that they retained something of the old quaintness and melodiousness which procured them the reputation of having been composed by Purcell and others. Nor is this unlikely, when it is considered how fond those masters were of sporting with their art, and setting the most trivial words to music in their glees and catches. The primitive cries of cowslips, primroses, and hot cross buns, seemed never to have quitted this sequestered region. They were like daisies in a bit of surviving field. There was an old seller of fish in particular, whose cry of "Shrimps as large as prawns," was such a regular, long-drawn, and truly pleasing melody, that in spite of his hoarse, and I am afraid, drunken voice, I used to wish for it of an evening, and hail it when it came. It lasted for some years, then faded, and went out; I suppose, with the poor old weather-beaten fellow's existence. This sense of quiet and repose may have been increased by an early association of Chelsea with something out of the pale; nay, remote. It may seem strange to hear a man who has crossed the Alps talk of one suburb as being remote from another. But the sense of distance is not in space only; it is in difference and discontinuance. A little back-room in a street in London is further removed from the noise, than a front room in a country town. In childhood, the farthest local point which I reached anywhere, provided it was quiet, always seemed to me a sort of end of the world; and I remembered particularly feeling this, the only time when I had previously visited Chelsea, which was at that period of life.... I know not whether the corner I speak of remains as quiet as it was. I am afraid not; for steamboats have carried vicissitude into Chelsea, and Belgravia threatens it with her mighty advent. But to complete my sense of repose and distance, the house was of that old-fashioned sort which I have always loved best, familiar to the eyes of my parents, and associated with childhood. It had seats in the windows, a small third room on the first floor, of which I made a sanctum, into which no perturbation was to enter, except to calm itself with religious and cheerful thoughts (a room thus appropriated in a house appears to me an excellent thing;) and there were a few lime-trees in front, which in their due season diffused a fragrance.


The great poet of affairs, philosophy, and sentiment, before leaving the scenes of his triumphs and misfortunes for his present visit to the East, confided to the proprietors of Le Constitutionel a new chapter of his romanticized memoirs to be published in the feuilleton of that journal, under the name of "Genevieve." This work, which promises to surpass in attractive interest anything Lamartine has given to the public in many years, will be translated as rapidly as the advanced sheets of it are received here, by Mr. Fayette Robinson, whose thorough apprehension and enjoyment of the nicest delicacies of the French language, and free and manly style of English, qualify him to do the fullest justice to such an author and subject. His version of "Genevieve" will be issued, upon its completion, by the publishers of The International. We give a specimen of its quality in the following characteristic description, of Marseilles, premising that the work is dedicated to "Mlle. Reine-Garde, seamstress, and formerly a servant, at Aix, in Provence."

"Before I commence with the history of Genevieve, this series of stories and dialogues used by country people, it is necessary to define the spirit which animated their composition and to tell why they were written. I must also tell why I dedicate this first story to Mlle. Reine-Garde, seamstress and servant at Aix in Provence. This is the reason.

"I had passed a portion of the summer of 1846 at that Smyrna of France, called Marseilles, that city, the commercial activity of which has become the chief ladder of national enterprise, and the general rendezvous, of those steam caravans of the West, our railroads; a city the Attic taste of which justifies it in assuming to itself all the intellectual cultivation, like the Asiatic Smyrna, inherent in the memory of great poets. I lived outside of the city, the heat of which was too great for an invalid, in one of those villas formerly called bastides, so contrived as to enable the occupants during the calmness of a summer evening—and no people in the world love nature so well—to watch the white sails and look on the motion of the southern breeze. Never did any other people imbibe more of the spirit of poetry than does that of Marseilles. So much does climate do for it.

"The garden of the little villa in which I dwelt opened by a gateway to the sandy shore of the sea. Between it and the water was a long avenue of plane trees, behind the mountain of Notre Dame de la Garde, and almost touching the little lily-bordered stream which surrounded the beautiful park and villa of the Borelli. We heard at our windows every motion of the sea as it tossed on its couch and pillow of sand, and when the garden gate was opened, the sea foam reached almost the wall of the house, and seemed to withdraw so gradually as if to [pg 133] deceive and laugh at any hand which would seek to bedew itself with its moisture. I thus passed hour after hour seated on a huge stone beneath a fig-tree, looking on that mingling of light and motion which we call the Sea. From time to time the sail of a fisherman's boat, or the smoke which hung like drapery above the pipe of a steamer, rose above the chord of the arc which formed the gulf, and afforded a relief to the monotony of the horizon.

"On working days, this vista was almost a desert, but when Sunday came, it was made lively by groups of sailors, rich and idle citizens, and whole families of mercantile men who came to bathe or rest themselves, there enjoying the luxury both of the shade and of the sea. The mingled murmur of the voices both of men, women and children, enchanted with sunlight and with repose, united with the babbling of the waves which seemed to fall on the shore light and elastic as sheets of steel. Many boats either by sails or oars, were wafted around the extremity of Cape Notre-Dame de la Garde, with its heavy grove of shadowy pines; as they crossed the gulf, they touched the very margin of the water, to be able to reach the opposite bank. Even the palpitations of the sail were audible, the cadence of the oars, conversation, song, the laughter of the merry flower and orange-girls of Marseilles, those true daughters of the gulf, so passionately fond of the wave, and devoted to the luxury of wild sports with their native element were heard.

"With the exception of the patriarchal family of the Rostand, that great house of ship-owners, which linked Smyrna, Athens, Syria and Egypt to France by their various enterprises, and to whom I had been indebted for all the pleasures of my first voyage to the East; with the exception of M. Miege, the general agent of all our maritime diplomacy in the Mediterranean, with the exception of Joseph Autran, that oriental poet who refuses to quit his native region because he prefers his natural elements to glory, I knew but few persons at Marseilles. I wished to make no acquaintances and sought isolation and leisure, leisure and study. I wrote the history of one revolution, without a suspicion that the spirit of another convulsion looked over my shoulder, hurrying me from the half finished page, to participate not with the pen, but manually, in another of the great Dramas of France.

"Marseilles is however hospitable as its sea, its port, and its climate. A beautiful nature there expands the heart. Where heaven smiles man also is tempted to be mirthful. Scarcely had I fixed myself in the faubourg, when the men of letters, of politics,—the merchants who had proposed great objects to themselves, and who entertained extended views; the youth, in the ears of whom yet dwelt the echoes of my old poems; the men who lived by the labor of their own hands, many of whom however write, study, sing, and make verses, come to my retreat, bringing with them, however, that delicate reserve which is the modesty and grace of hospitality. I received pleasure without any annoyances from this hospitality and attention. I devoted my mornings to study, my days to solitude and to the sea, my evenings to a small number of unknown friends, who came from the city to speak to me of travels, literature, and commerce.

"Commerce at Marseilles is not a matter of paltry traffic, or trifling parsimony and retrenchments of capital. Marseilles looks on all questions of commerce as a dilation and expansion of French capital, and of the raw material exported and imported from Europe and Asia. Commerce at Marseilles is a lucrative diplomacy, at the same time, both local and national. Patriotism animates its enterprises, honor floats with its flag, and policy presides over every departure. Their commerce is one eternal battle, waged on the ocean at their own peril and risk, with those rivals who contend with France for Asia and Africa, and for the purpose of extending the French name and fame over the opposite continents which touch on the Mediterranean.

"One Sunday, after a long excursion on the sea with Madame Lamartine, we were told that a woman, modest and timid in her deportment, had come in the diligence from Aix to Marseilles, and for four or five hours had been waiting for us in a little orange grove next between the villa and the garden. I suffered my wife to go into the house, and passed myself into the orange grove to receive the stranger. I had no acquaintance with any one at Aix, and was utterly ignorant of the motive which could have induced my visitor to wait so long and so patiently for me.

"When I went into the orange grove, I saw a woman still youthful, of about thirty-six or forty years of age. She wore a working-dress which betokened little ease and less luxury, a robe of striped Indienne, discolored and faded; a cotton handkerchief on her neck, her black hair neatly braided, but like her shoes, somewhat soiled by the dust of the road. Her features were fine and graceful, with that mild and docile Asiatic expression, which renders any muscular tension impossible, and gives utterance only to inspiring and attractive candor. Her mouth was possibly a line too large, and her brow was unwrinkled as that of a child. The lower part of her face was very full, and was joined by full undulations, altogether feminine however in their character, to a throat which was large and somewhat distended at the middle, like that of the old Greek statues. Her glance had the expression of the moonlight of her country rather than of its sun. It was the expression of timidity mingled with confidence in the indulgence of another, emanating from a forgetfulness of her own nature. In fine, it was the image of good-feeling, impressed as well on her air as on her [pg 134] heart, and which seem confident that others are like her. It was evident that this woman, who was yet so agreeable, must in her youth have been most attractive. She yet had what the people (the language of which is so expressive) call the seed of beauty, that prestige, that ray, that star, that essence, that indescribable something, which attracts, charms, and enslaves us. When she saw me, her embarrassment and blushes enabled me to contemplate her calmly and to feel myself at once at ease with her. I begged her to sit down at once on an orange-box over which was thrown a Syrian mat, and to encourage her sat down in front of her. Her blushes continued to increase, and she passed her dimpled but rather large hand more than once over her eyes. She did not know how to begin nor what to say. I sought to give her confidence, and by one or two questions assisted her in opening the conversation she seemed both to wish for and to fear."

[This girl is Reine-Garde, a peasant woman, attracted by a passionate love of his poetry to visit Lamartine. She unfolds to him much that is exquisitely reproduced in Genevieve. The romance bids fair to be one of the most interesting this author has yet produced.]

"Madame ——," said I to her. She blushed yet more.

"I have no husband, Monsieur. I am an unmarried woman."

"Ah! Mlle, will you be pleased to tell me why you have come so far, and why you waited so long to speak with me? Can I be useful to you in any manner? Have you any letter to give me from any one in your neighborhood?"

"Ah, Monsieur, I have no letter, I have nothing to ask of you, and the last thing in the world that I should have done, would have been to get a letter from any of the gentlemen in my neighborhood to you. I would not even have suffered them to know that I came to Marseilles to see you. They would have thought me a vain creature, who sought to magnify her importance by visiting people who are so famous. Ah, that would never do!"

"What then do you wish to say?"

"Nothing, Monsieur."

"How can that be? You should not for nothing have wasted two days in coming from Aix to Marseilles, and should not have waited for me here until sunset, when to-morrow you must return home."

"It is, however, true, Monsieur. I know you will think me very foolish, but ... I have nothing to tell you, and not for a fortune would I consent that people at Aix should know whither I am gone."

"Something however induced you to come—you are not one of those triflers who go hither and thither without a motive. I think you are intellectual and intelligent. Reflect. What induced you to take a place in the diligence and come to see me? Eh!"

"Well, sir," said she, passing her hands over her cheeks as if to wipe away all blushes and embarrassment, and at the same time pushing her long black curls, moist as they were with perspiration, beyond her ears, "I had an idea which permitted me neither to sleep by day nor night; I said to myself, Reine, you must be satisfied. You must say nothing to any one. You must shut up your shop on Saturday night as you are in the habit of doing. You must take a place in the night diligence and go on Sunday to Marseilles. You will go to see that gentleman, and on Monday morning you can again be at work. All will then be over and for once in your life you will have been satisfied without your neighbors having once fancied for a moment that you have passed the limits of the street in which you live."

"Why, however, did you wish so much to see me? How did you even know that I was here?"

"Thus, Monsieur: a person came to Aix who was very kind to me, for I am the dressmaker of his daughters, having previously been a servant in his mother's country-house. The family has always been kind and attentive, because in Provence, the nobles do not despise the peasants. Ah! it is far otherwise—some are lofty and others humble, but their hearts are all alike. Monsieur and the young ladies knew how I loved to read, and that I am unable to buy books and newspapers. They sometimes lent books to me, when they saw anything which they fancied would interest me, such as fashion plates, engravings of ladies' bonnets, interesting stories, like that of Reboul, the baker of Nimes, Jasmin, the hairdresser of Agen, or Monsieur, the history of your own life. They know, Monsieur, that above all things I love poetry, especially that which brings tears into the eyes."

"Ah, I know," said I with a smile, "you are poetical as the winds which sigh amid your olive-groves, or the dews which drip from your fig trees."

"No, Monsieur, I am only a mantua-maker—a poor seamstress in ... street, in Aix, the name of which I am almost ashamed to tell you. I am no finer lady than was my mother. Once I was servant and nurse in the house of M.... Ah! they were good people and treated me always as if I belonged to the family. I too thought I did. My health however, obliged me to leave them and establish myself as a mantua-maker, in one room, with no companion but a goldfinch. That, however, is not the question you asked me,—why I have come hither? I will tell you."

Truth is altogether ineffably, holily beautiful. Beauty has always truth in it, but seldom unadulterated.

The poet's soul should be like the ocean, able to carry navies, yet yielding to the touch of a finger.

[pg 135]

Original Poetry



From the pale, broken ruins of the heart,

The soul's bright wing, uplifted silently,

Sweeps thro' the steadfast depths of the mind's heaven,

Like the fixed splendor of the morning star—

Nearer and nearer to the wasteless flame

That in the centres of the universe

Burns through the o'erlapping centuries of time.

And shall it stagger midway on its path,

And sink its radiance low as the dull dust,

For the death-flutter of a fledgling hope?

Or, with the headlong phrensy of a fiend,

Front the keen arrows of Love's sunken sun,

For that, with nearer vision it discerns

What in the distance like ripe roses seemed

Crimsoning with odorous beauty the gray rocks

Are the red lights of wreckers!

Just as well

The obstinate traveler might in pride oppose

His puny shoulder to the icy slip

Of the blind avalanche, and hope for life;

Or Beauty press her forehead in the grave,

And think to rise as from the bridal bed.

But let the soul resolve its course shall be

Onward and upward, and the walls of pain

May build themselves about it as they will,

Yet leave it all-sufficient to itself.

How like the very truth a lie may seem!—

Led by that bright curse, Genius, some have gone

On the broad wake of visions wonderful

And seemed, to the dull mortals far below,

Unraveling the web of fate, at will.

And leaning on their own creative power,

As on the confident arm of buoyant Love.

But from the climbing of their wildering way

Many have faltered, fallen,—some have died,

Still wooing from across the lapse of years

The faded splendour of a morning dream,

And feeding sorrow with remembered smiles.

Love, that pale passion-flower of the heart,

Nursed into bloom and beauty by a breath,

With the resplendence of its broken light,

Even on the outposts of mortality,

Dims the still watchfires of the waiting soul.

O, tender-visaged Pity, stoop from heaven,

And from the much-loved bosom of the past

Draw back the nestling hand of Memory,

Though it be quivering and pale with pain;

And with the dead dust of departed Hope

Choke up and wither into barrenness

The sweetest fountain of the human heart,

And stay its channels everlastingly

From the endeavor of the loftier soul.

Nay, 'twere a task outbalancing thy power,

Nor can the almost-omnipotence of mind

Away from aching bind the bleeding heart,

Or keep at will its mighty sorrow down.

And, were the white flames of the world below

Binding my forehead with undying pain,

The lily crowns of heaven I would put back,

If thou wert there, lost light of my young dream!—

Hope, opening with the faint flowers of the wood,

Bloomed crimson with the summer's heavy kiss,

But autumn's dim feet left it in the dust,

And like tired reapers my lorn thoughts went down

To the gloom-harvest of a hopeless love,

For past all thought I loved thee: Listening close

From the soft hour when twilight's rosy hedge

Sprang from the fires of sunset, till deep night

Swept with her cloud of stars the face of heaven,

For the quick music, from the pavement rung

Where beat the impatient hoof-strokes of the steed,

Whose mane of silver, like a wave of light,

Bathed the caressing hand I pined to clasp!

It is as if a song-lark, towering high

In pride of place, should stoop her sun-bathed wing,

Low as the poor hum of the grasshopper.

I scorn thee not, old man; no haunting ghost

Born of the darkness of thy perjury

Crosses the white tent of my dreaming now

But for myself, that I should so have loved!—

The sweet folds of that blessed charity,

Pure as the cold veins of Pentelicus,

Were all too narrow now to hide away

One burning spot of shame—the wretched price

Of proving traitor to the wondrous star

That with a cloud of splendor wraps my way.

And yet, from the bright wine-cup of my life,

The rosy vintage, bubbling to the brim,

Thou With a passionate lip didst drain away

And to God's sweet gift—human sympathy—

Making my bosom dumb as the dark grave,

Didst leave me drifting on the waste of life,

A fruitless pillar of the desert dust;

For, from the ashes of a ruined hope

There springs no life but an unwearied woe

That feeding upon sunken lip and cheek

Pushes its victims from mortality.

Vainly the light rain of the summer time

Waters the dead limbs of the blasted oak.

Love is the worker of all miracles;

And if within some cold and sunless cave

Thou hadst lain lost and dying, prompted not

My feet had struck that pathway, and I could,

With the neglected sunshine of my hair,

Have clasped thee from the hungry jaws of Death,

And on my heart, as on a wave of light

Have lulled thee to the beauty of soft dreams.

Weak, weak imagination! be dissolved

Like a chance snowflake in a sea of fire.

Let the poor-spirited children of Despair

Hang on the sepulchre of buried Hope

The fadeless garlands of undying song.

Though such gift turned on its pearly hinge

Sweet Mercy's gate, I would not so debase me.

Shut out from heaven, I, by the arch-fiend's wing,

As by a star, would move, and radiantly

Go down to sleep in Fame's bright arms the while

Hard by, her handmaids, the still centuries

Lilies and sunshine braided for my brow.

Angel of Darkness, give, O give me hate

For the blind weakness of my passionate love!

And if thou knowest sweet pity, stretch thy wing,

Spotted with sin and seamed with veins of fire,

Between the gate of heaven and my life's prayer.

For loving, thou didst leave me; and, for that

The lowly straw-roof of a peasant's shed

Sheltered my cradle slumbers, and that Morn,

Clasping about my neck her dewy arms,

Drew to the mountains my unfashioned youth,

Where sunbeams built bright arches, and the wind

Winnowed the roses down about my feet

And as their drift of leaves my bosom was,

Till the cursed hour, when pride was pillowed there,

Crimsoned its beauty with the fires of hell.

God hide from me the time when first I knew

Thy shame to call a low-born maiden, Bride!

Methinks I could have lifted my pale hands

Though bandaged back with grave-clothes, in that hour

To cover my hot forehead from thy kiss.

For the heart strengthens when its food is truth,

And o'er the passion-shaken bosom, trail

And burn the lightnings of its love-lit fires

Like a bright banner streaming on the storm.

The day was almost over; on the hills

The parting light was flitting like a ghost,

And like a trembling lover eve's sweet star,

In the dim leafy reach of the thick woods,

Stood gazing in the blue eyes of the night.

But not the beauty of the place nor hour

Moved my wild heart with tempests of such bliss

As shake the bosom of a god, new-winged,

When first in his blue pathway up the skies

He feels the embrace of immortality.

A little moment, and the world was changed—

Truth, like a planet striking through the dark,

Shone cold and clear, and I was what I am,

Listening along the wilderness of life

For faint echoes of lost melody.

The moonlight gather'd itself back from me

And slanted its pale pinions to the dust.

The drowsy gust, bedded in luscious blooms,

Startled, as 'twere at the death-throes of peace,

Down through the darkness moaningly fled off.

O mournful Past! how thou dost cling and cling—

Like a forsaken maiden to false hope—

To the tired bosom of the living hour,

Which, from thy weak embrace, the future time

Jocundly beckons with a roseate hand.

And, round about me honeyed memories drift

From the fair eminences of young hope,

Like flowers blown down the hills of Paradise,

By some soft wave of golden harmony,

Until the glorious smile of summers gone

Lights the dull offing of the sea of Death.

And though no friend nor brother ever made

My soul the burden of one prayer to Heaven,

I dread to go alone into the grave,

And fold my cold arms emptily away

From the bright shadow of such loveliness.

Can the dull mist where swart October hides

His wrinkled front and tawny cheek, wind-shorn,

[pg 136]

Be sprinkled with the orange fire that binds

Away from her soft lap o'erbrimmed with flowers,

The dew-wet tresses of the virgin May?

Or can the heart just sunken from the day

Feed on the beauty of the noontide smile?—

O it is well life's fair things fade so soon,

Else we could never take our clinging hands

From Beauty's nestling bosom—never put

The red wine of love's kisses sternly back,

And feel the dull dust sitting on our lips

Until the very grass grew over us.

O it is well! else for this beautiful life

Our overtempted hearts would sell away

The shining coronals of Paradise.

In the gray branches of the oaks, starlit,

I hear the heavy murmurs of the winds,

Like the low plains of evil witches, held

By drear enchantments from their demon loves.

Another night-time, and I shall have found

A refuge from their mournful prophecies.

Come, dear one, from my forehead smooth away

Those long and heavy tresses, still as bright

As when they lay 'neath the caressing hand

That unto death betrayed me. Nay, 'tis well!

I pray you do not weep; or soon or late,

Were this sad doom unsaid, their light had filled

The empty bosom of the waiting grave.

There, now I think I have no further need—

For unto all at last there comes a time

When no sweet care can do us any good!

Not in my life that I remember of,

Could my neglect have injured any one,

And if I have by my officious love,

Thrown harmful shadows in the way of some,

Be piteous to my natural weakness, friends:

I never shall offend you any more!

And now, most melancholy messenger,

Touch my eyes gently with Sleep's heavy dew.

I have no wish to struggle from thy arms,

Nor is there any hand would hold me back.

To die, is but the common heritage;

But to unloose the clasp that to the heart

Folds the dear dream of love, is terrible—

To see the wildering visions fade away,

As the bright petals of the young June rose

Shook by some sudden tempest. On the grave

Light from the open sepulchre is laid,

And Faith leans yearningly away to heaven,

But life hath glooms wherein no light may come!

The night methinks is dismal, yet I see

Over yon hill one bright and steady star

Divide the darkness with its fiery wedge,

And sprinkle glory on the lap of earth.

Even so, above the still homes of the dead

The benedictions of the living lie.

Gatherers of waifs of beauty are we here,

Building up homes of love for alien hearts

That hate us for our trouble. When we see

The tempest hiding from us the sun's face,

About our naked souls we build a wall

Of unsubstantial shadows, and sit down

Hugging false peace upon the edge of doom.

From the voluptuous lap of time that is,

Like a sick child from a kind nurse's arms,

We lean away, and long for the far off.

And when our feet through weariness and toll

Have gained the heights that showed so brightly well,

Our blind and dizzied vision sees too late

The cool broad shadows trailing at the base.

And then our wasted arms let slip the flowers,

And our pained bosoms wrinkle from the fair

And smooth proportions of our primal years,

And so our sun goes down, and wistful death

Withdraws love's last delusion from our hearts,

And mates us with the darkness. Well, 'tis well!



But yester e'en the city's streets I trod

And breathed laboriously the fervid air;

Panting and weary both with toil and care,

I sighed for cooling breeze and verdant sod.

This morn I rose from slumbers calm and deep,

And through the casement of a rural inn,

I saw the river with its margins green,

All placid and delicious as my sleep.

Like pencilled lines upon a tinted sheet

The city's spires rose distant on the sky;

Nor sound familiar to the crowded street

Assailed my ear, nor busy scene mine eye;

I saw the hills, the meadows and the river—

I heard cool waters plash and green leaves quiver.


These sights and sounds refreshed me more than wine;

My pulses bounded with a reckless play,

My heart exalted like the rising day.

Now—did my lips exclaim—is pleasure mine;

A sweet delight shall fold me in its thrall;

To day, at least, I'll feel the bliss of life;

Like uncaged bird,—each limb with freedom rife—

I'll sip a thousand sweets—enjoy them all!

The will thus earnest could not be denied;

I beckoned Pleasure and she gladly came:

O'er hill and vale I roamed at her dear side—

And made the sweet air vocal with her name:

She all the way of weariness beguiled,

And I was happy as a very child!

July, 1850.


Original Correspondence.



BARCELONA, May 27, 1850.

My dear friend—I have been exceedingly pleased with what I have seen and experienced during the time I have already spent in this handsome and agreeable city. At present I have no traveling companion, and have moreover only encountered one of my countrymen (with the exception of the consuls) since my departure from Madrid, in January last. Besides, I seldom hear the United States mentioned, never see any papers, associate almost altogether with Spaniards, and converse chiefly in their language.

The American Consul here (who is by the way a Spaniard) has been very attentive and kind to me. We have taken several walks together, in which he has pointed out to me the most notable edifices of Barcelona. Among these is the magnificent theater called El Siceo, which is one of the grandest in the world. It is certainly the most splendid of the kind I have ever seen. It was built by subscription, at an expense of about half a million of dollars, and is capable of containing nearly six thousand persons. To my regret it is now closed. There is another very fine theater here called El Principal, which is open every evening. Last night I went to see the amusing opera of Don Pasquale, by Donizetti, which was quite laudably performed. In fact I go most every night, as I have nothing else to do, and have an excellent seat at my disposal, with which the consul has been so kind as to favor me. The appearance and manners of the audience are more interesting to me than those of the stage-actors. Besides, I like to accustom my ear to the Spanish, which I now speak with considerable fluency and correctness. I have devoted much study to this and the French language since I have been in Spain, and am now making some progress in the Italian, through the Spanish. I am convinced that no man can properly understand a people without knowing something of their language, which is in a great degree the index of their character. Moreover it is an indispensable condition to comfortable travel.

Among the distinguished characters in town is the famous Governor Tacon, who so [pg 137] admirably conducted the affairs of state in the island of Cuba some years since. He is staying with a particular friend of the consul, who is an immensely wealthy man and lives in the most princely style. I visited the house a few days since, before the arrival of the governor, and was delighted with the splendid taste displayed in the fresco of the ceiling, the stucco of the walls, and indeed with every article of furniture with which the rooms were supplied. On the parterre, or lower roof, was a little gem of a garden, with raised beds, blooming with beautiful plants and flowers, while in the middle was a fountain and on each side a miniature arbor of grapes. Really, nothing could be more charming and luxurious. It was like peeping into the bygone days of fairydom.

Barcelona is one of the best places in Spain for one to be during the observance of remarkable festivals. The celebration of Corpus Christi, which commences on the 30th, is said to be conducted here on a most magnificent scale. Of this I can form some conception from the brilliant procession which I witnessed yesterday afternoon, it being Trinity Sunday. The procession was preceded by two men on mules, over whose necks were strung a pair of tambours, (a kind of drum,) upon which the men were vigorously beating. Then came a priest, bearing a large and elaborately worked cross; after him came the body of the procession in regular order, consisting of young priests in white gowns, chanting as they marched; citizens in black, with white waistcoats and without hats; little girls representing the angels, in snowy gauze dresses with flowers, garlands, and a light azure scarf flowing from their heads; numerous bands of music, some of them playing solemn airs, others quick-steps and polkas; a fine display of infantry, and after all a noble body of cavalry, on fine horses, in striking uniform, each of them carrying a spear-topped banner in their hands. The general appearance of this procession, (each member of which, with the exception of the soldiers, carried a lighted candle or torch in his hand,) marching through one of the superb but narrow streets, while from almost every balcony was suspended a gay "trede," (a scarf-like awning,) either of blue, or crimson, or yellow, the balconies themselves being crowded with clusters of bright-eyed girls,—constituted one of the most brilliant and attractive spectacles that I ever witnessed. Yet they tell me that the procession of Corpus Christi will be infinitely more splendid and elaborate.

I am living here very comfortably. My rooms are pleasant and overlook the charming Rambla. My mornings are generally spent in reading and studying Spanish. At four o'clock my Irish friend and myself proceed to the fine restaurant where we are accustomed to dine: here we meet an intelligent Spanish gentleman, who completes our party, and as he does not speak English, all conversation is conducted at the table in the Spanish language. Dinner being over, we next visit a palverine cafe, where we meet a number of Spanish acquaintances, with whom we take coffee and a cigar. We all sally out together, and walk for an hour or two, either in the environs of the city, or along their mural terrace, overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean, closing our promenade at length upon the crowded and animated Rambla. After the theater, a stroll in the moonlight upon this magnificent promenade, and as the clock strikes the hour of midnight we retire, and bathe in the waters of oblivion till morn. My days in Spain are drawing near their end. I am ready to leave, though I shall cast many a lingering thought, many a fond recollection behind; and in future years, I shall sadly recall these hours, which, I fear, can never be recalled. But away with the enervating reflections of grief! Read nothing in the past but lessons for the future. When you think of its pleasures, think also of the cares they produced and the anxieties they cost you. Behold, they are ended, and forever. Have you reaped from them a moral, or have you been poisoned with their sting? Have you not discovered that pleasure is a phantom, which vanishes in proportion to the eagerness with which it is pursued? that by itself it fatigues without satisfying—that it knows no limits or bounds to gratify the restless and unfettered soul—that it is a feeble soil, which, without the sweat of labor and the tears of sorrow, produces nothing but the weeds of sin and the thorny briars of remorse? Have you learned all this, and are you not a wiser and a better man? Let all who have traveled for pleasure answer the question to themselves.

Truly your friend,


The Rev Henry Giles, in a lecture on "Manliness," thus designates the four great characteristics which have distinguished mankind. "The Hebrew was mighty by the power of Faith—the Greek by Knowledge and Art—the Roman by Arms—but the might of the Modern Man is placed in Work. This is shown by the peculiar pride of each. The pride of the Hebrew was in Religion—the pride of the Greek was in Wisdom—the pride of the Roman was in Power—the pride of the Modern Man is placed in Wealth."

Carlyle and Emerson.—They are not finished writers, but great quarries of thought and imagery. Of the two, Emerson is much the finer spirit. He has not the radiant range of imagination or any of the rough power of Carlyle, but his placid, piercing insight irradiates the depth of truth further and clearer than do the strained glances of the latter. A higher mental altitude than Carlyle has mounted, by most strenuous effort, Emerson has serenely assumed.

[pg 138]

Authors and Books.

The Literature of Supernaturalism was never more in request than since the Seeresses of Rochester commenced their levees at Barnum's Hotel. The journals have been filled with jesting and speculation upon the subject,—mountebank tricksters and shrewd professors have plied their keenest wits to discover the processes of the rappings—and Mrs. Fish and the Foxes in spite of them all preserve their secret, or at least are as successful as ever in persuading themselves and others that they are admitted to communications with the spiritual world. For ourselves, while we can suggest no explanation of these phenomena, and while in every attempted explanation of them which we have seen, we detect some such difficulty or absurdity as makes necessary its rejection, we certainly could never for a moment be tempted to a suspicion that there is anything supernatural in the matter. Such an idea is simply ridiculous, and will be tolerated only by the ignorant, the feeble-minded, or the insane. Still, the "knockings" are sufficiently mysterious, and if unexposed, sufficiently fruitful of evil, to be legitimate subjects of investigation, and he who under such circumstances is so careful of his dignity as to disregard the subject altogether, is as much mistaken as the gravest buffoon of the circus. We reviewed a week or two ago "The Phantom World," just republished by Mr. Hart; the Appletons have recently printed an original work which we believe has considerable merit, entitled "Credulity and Superstition;" and Mr. Redfield has in press and nearly ready, an edition of "The Night Side of Nature," by Miss Crowe, author of "Susan Hopley." This we believe is the cleverest performance upon ghosts and ghost-seers that has appeared in English since the days of Richard Glanvill; and with the others, it will be of service in checking the progress of the pitiable superstition which has been readily accepted by a large class of people, so peculiarly constituted that they could not help rejecting the Christian religion for its "unreasonableness and incredibility!"

"Some Honest Opinions upon Authors, Books, and other subjects," is the title of a new volume by the late Edgar A. Poe, which Mr. Redfield will publish during the Fall. It will embrace besides several of the author's most elaborate æsthetical essays, those caustic personalities and criticisms from his pen which, during several years, attracted so much attention in our literary world. Among his subjects are Bryant, Cooper, Pauldings, Hawthorne, Willis, Longfellow, Verplanck, Bush, Anthon, Hoffman, Cornelius Mathews, Henry B. Hirst, Mrs. Oakes Smith, Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Lewis, Margaret Fuller, Miss Sedgwick, and many more of this country, beside Macaulay, Bulwer, Dickens, Horne, Miss Barrett, and some dozen others of England.

Mr. Dudley Bean occupies the first two sheets of the last Knickerbocker with a very erudite and picturesque description of the attack upon Ticonderoga by the grand army under Lords Amherst and Howe, in "the old French War." Mr. Bean is an accomplished merchant, of literary abilities and a taste for antiquarian research, and he is probably better informed than any other person living upon the history and topography of all the country for many miles about Lake George, which is the most classical region of the United States. He has treated the chief points of this history in many interesting papers which he has within a few years contributed to the journals, and we have promise of a couple of octavos, embracing the whole subject, from his pen, at an early day. We know of nothing in the literature of our local and particular history that is more pleasing than the specimens of his quality in this way which have fallen under our notice.

Mr. William Young, the thoroughly accomplished editor of the Albion, is to be our creditor in the coming autumn for two hundred songs of Beranger, in English, with the pictorial illustrations which graced the splendid edition of the great lyrist's works recently issued in Paris. Mr. Young may be said to be as familiar with the niceties of the French language as the eloquent and forcible editorials of the Albion show him to be with those of his vernacular; and he has studied Beranger with such a genial love and diligence, that he would probably be one of his best editors, even in Paris. In literal truth and elaborate finish, we think his volume will show him to be a capital, a nearly faultless, translator. But Beranger is a very difficult author to turn into English, and we believe all who have hitherto essayed this labor have found his spirit too evanescent for their art. The learned and brilliant "Father Prout" has been in some respects the most successful of them all; but his versions are not to be compared with Mr. Young's for adherence either to the bard's own meaning or music. In pouring out the Frenchman's champagne, the latter somehow suffers the sparkle and bead to escape, while the former cheats us by making his stale liquor foam with London soda. We shall be impatient for Mr. Young's book, which will be published by Putnam, in a style of unusual beauty.

Dr. Achilli, whose history, so full of various and romantic vicissitudes, has become familiar in consequence of his imprisonments in the Roman Inquisition, is now in London, at the head of a congregation of Protestant Italians. He has intimated to Dr. Baird his intention to visit this country within a few months. He resided here many years ago.

Shirley, by the author of Jane Eyre, has been translated into French, and is appearing as the feuilleton of the National, newspaper. [pg 139] Mr. LIVERMORE, one of our most learned bibliopoles, has a very interesting article upon Public Libraries, in the last North American Review. He notices in detail several generally inaccessible reports on the libraries of Europe and this country; after referring to the number and extent of libraries here and elsewhere, and showing that in this respect we rank far below most of the countries of Europe, though second to none in general intelligence and the means of common education, he urges the institution of a large national library, and sees in the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution a prospect that the subject is likely to receive speedy and efficient attention.

PROFESSOR JOHNSON, author of the well-known work on Agricultural Chemistry, has been delivering lectures upon the results of his recent tour in the British Provinces and the United States, in one of which he observed, "In New Brunswick, New England, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York, the growth of wheat has almost ceased; and it is now gradually receding farther and farther westward. Now, when I tell you this, you will see that it will not be very long before America is unable supply us with wheat in any large quantity. If we could bring Indian corn into general use, we might get plenty of it; but I do not think that the United States need be any bug bear to you." Prof. J. was in New York last March.

CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN, with Miss Hayes, the translator of George Sand's best works, was at the last dates on a visit to the popular poetess of the milliner and chambermaid classes, Eliza Cook, who was very ill. Miss Cushman is really quite as good a poet as Miss Cook, though by no means so fluent a versifier. She will return to the United States in a few weeks to fulfill some professional engagements.

Rev. Mr. MOUNTFORD, an English Unitarian clergyman, who recently came to this country, and who is known in literature and religion as the author of the two very clever works, "Martyria" and "Euthanasia," has become minister of a congregation at Gloucester, in Massachusetts.

BENJAMIN PERLEY POORE, author of "The Life and Times of Louis Philippe," &c., invited the corps of Massachusetts Volunteers, commanded by him in the Mexican campaign, to celebrate the anniversary of their return, at his pleasant residence on Indian Hill Farm, in West Newbury, last Friday.

Rev. WARREN BURTON, a graceful writer and popular preacher among the Unitarians, has resigned the pastoral office in Worcester to give his undivided attention to the advocacy of certain theories he has formed for the moral education of the young.

RICHARD S. MCCULLOCH, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Princeton College, and some time since melter and refiner of the United States Mint, has addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, in which he states that he has discovered a new, quick, and economical method of refining argentiferous and other gold bullion, whereby the work may be done in one-half the present time, and a large saving effected in interest upon the amount refined.

THE LATE SIR JOSEPH BANKS lies buried in Heston Church. There is neither inscription, nor monument, nor memorial window to mark the place of his sepulture; even his hatchment has been removed from its place. Surely, as President of the Royal Society, a member of so many foreign institutions, as well as a man who had traveled so much, he should have been thought worthy of some slight mark of respect.

ELIHU BURRITT is presented with the Prince of Wales in one of the designs for medals to be distributed on the occasion of the great Industrial Exhibition in London; and the Athenæum properly suggests that such an obtrusion of the "learned Blacksmith" (who has really scarce any learning at all) is "little better than a burlesque."

HORACE MANN, President of the late National Convention of the friends of education, had issued an address inviting all friendly to the object, whether connected with and interested in common-schools, academies, or colleges, to meet in convention at Philadelphia on the fourth day of August next.

LIEUT. MAURY says that the new planet, Parthenope, discovered by M. Gasparis, of Naples, has been observed at Washington, by Mr. J. Ferguson. It resembles a star of the tenth magnitude. This is the eleventh in the family of asteroids, and the seventh within the last five years.

GEORGE WILKINS KENDALL is now in New York, having visited New Orleans since his return from Paris. His History of the Mexican War, illustrated by some of the cleverest artists of France, will soon be published here and in London.

Mrs. FANNY KEMBLE has left this country for England, on account of the sudden illness of her father, Charles Kemble, of whose low state of health we have been apprised by almost every arrival for a year.

M. BALZAC's recent marriage, at his rather advanced period of life, finds him, for the first time, an invalid, and serious fears are now entertained for him, by friends and physicians.

ORESTES A. BROWNSON has received the degree of LL.D. from the R.C. College, Fordham.

[pg 140]

Recent Deaths.

SARGENT S. PRENTISS, one of the most distinguished popular orators of the age, died at Natchez, Mississippi, on the 3d inst. He was a native of Maine, and after being admitted to the bar he emigrated to the Southwest, where his great natural genius, with his energy and perseverance, soon gained for him a well-deserved reputation as one of the most successful advocates at the bar, and as one of the most brilliant and effective speakers in all that part of the country, where "stumping" is the almost universal practice among political aspirants.

He was once elected to the House of Representatives from his adopted State, and was excluded from his seat by the casting vote of James K. Polk, at that time Speaker of the House. The facts in regard to the affair, according to the Tribune, are substantially as follows: In 1837, the President, Mr. Van Buren, called an Extra Session of Congress to assemble in September of that year. The laws of Mississippi required that the election for Congressmen for that State for the twenty-fifth Congress should be held in November, and in order that the State should be represented in the Extra Session, the Governor ordered an election to be held in July for the choice of two Congressmen "to fill the vacancy until superseded by the members to be elected at the next regular election, on the first Monday, and the day following, in November next." The election was held under the authority of the Governor's proclamation, and the Democratic candidates, Claiborne and Gholson, were elected by default. They took their seats in the House, in which there was a decided Democratic majority, and immediately applied themselves to the task of inducing the House to declare that they had been duly elected not only for the Extra Session, but for the full term of two fears following. Of course they accomplished their object. The November Election arrived and the Whigs nominated Prentiss and Word. The Democrats brought out Claiborne and Gholson again, and the result was that the Whig candidates were chosen by a triumphant majority. They received their certificates of election from the proper authority and presented themselves at the regular session of Congress in December, and found their seats occupied by the brace of Democrats whom the people of Mississippi had elected to stay at home, and after a most severe and memorable contest, the new members presented themselves for admission at the bar of the House, which decided readily that Claiborne and Gholson were not entitled to their places, but instead of admitting Prentiss and Word, by Mr. Polk's casting vote declared the seats vacant, and referred the whole subject back to the people. During the discussion of the question Mr. Prentiss made a speech which will be remembered and admired as long as genius and true manly eloquence are appreciated. Another election was held in the following month of March, and Prentiss and Word were again returned, and this time they were admitted to their seats. The remaining session of the twenty-fifth Congress, Prentiss served with distinguished ability. We believe this closed his career as a statesman. He recently removed to New Orleans, where he continued the practice of the law, standing always at the head of his profession.

THE LATE HON. NATHANIEL SILSBEE, according to the Salem, Mass. Gazette, of the 16th inst., began his career soon after the breaking out of the French revolution, and the general warfare in which all Europe became embroiled. At this favorable point of time, Mr. S. having finished his term of service at one of our best private schools of instruction, under the Rev. Dr. Cutler, of Hamilton, and having abandoned the collegiate course for which he had been prepared, and been initiated into the forms of business and knowledge of the counting-room, he engaged in the employ of one of our most enterprising merchants, Hasket Derby, Esq., the leader of the vanguard of India adventures. At the age of 18, he embarked on the sea of fortune as clerk of a merchant vessel. On his next voyage he took the command of a vessel, and before he arrived at the age of 21, he sailed for the East Indies in a vessel, which, at this day, would scarcely be deemed suitable for a coasting craft, uncoppered, without the improved nautical instruments and science which now universally prevail, trusting only to his dead reckoning, his eyes, and his head, not one on board having attained to the age of his majority. He served successively as representative in our State Legislature, as member of Congress for six years, as State Senator, over which body he presided, and as Senator in Congress, for nine years, with honor to himself, and satisfaction to his constituents. In all commercial questions which presented themselves to the consideration of Congress, while a member of both houses, no man's opinion was more sought for and more justly respected.

SEVERAL FAMOUS FRENCHMEN have left the world within a few weeks. Quatremere de Quincy, who was in the first rank of archæology and æsthetics, died at the age of ninety-five; Count Mollien, the famous financier—often a minister—at eighty-seven; Baron Meneval, so long the private, confidential, all-trusted private secretary of Napoleon, between seventy and eighty; Count Berenger, one of the Emperor's Councillors and Peers, conspicuous for the independence of his spirit, as well as administrative qualifications, was four-score and upward. The obsequies of these personages were grand ceremonials. President Napoleon sent his carriages and orderly officers to honor the [pg 141] remains of the old servants of his uncle. This class might be thought to have found an elixir of life, in their devotion to the Emperor or his memory. A few of them survive, like Marshal Soult, wonders of comfortable longevity.


To the man of science, the philanthropist and the Christian, it will prove a stirring incident that a work on Geography has just been issued by a native Chinese, embracing the history and condition of other nations. Here is a stroke, such as has never yet been dealt against the ignorance and prejudice which has erected such a wall of exclusiveness around three hundred millions of people. A Lieutenant Governor is the author, and, by a commendatory preface, it is pressed upon the notice of his countrymen by a Governor General—both of these men high in office in the Chinese Government.

In reference to his map of the world, the writer remarks: "We knew in respect to a Northern frozen ocean, but in respect to a Southern frozen ocean we had not heard. So that, when Western men produced maps having a frozen ocean at the extreme South, we supposed that they had made a mistake in not understanding the Chinese language, and had placed that in the South which should have been placed only in the North. But on inquiring of an American, one Abeel, (the Missionary,) he said this doctrine was verily true, and should not be doubted."

It is a fact full of interest that the chronology adopted in this work is that usually received by European writers. The more prominent facts of sacred history subsequent to the Deluge, are either alluded to, or stated at length, much as they occur in the Scriptures.

It is interesting to us, too, that this work presents to the Chinese a more definite and discriminating view of the different religions of the world, than has yet appeared in the Chinese language.

Speaking of different countries of India under European sway, where Buddhism or Paganism and Protestantism exist together, the author does not hesitate to say that the latter is gradually overcoming the former, "whose light is becoming more and more dim." This is a very remarkable concession, when we consider that the individual who makes it is probably a Buddhist himself, and represents the religion of China as Buddhism.

It is a remarkable fact, that this work contains a more extensive and correct account of the history and institution of Christian nations than has ever been published before by any heathen writer in any age of the world.

This remarkable work will introduce the "Celestials" to such an acquaintance with "the outside barbarians" as cannot fail to give them new ideas, remove something at least of the insane prejudice against, and contempt of, all other nations, which has so long prevailed. We regard it as a very important agency in preparing the way for that Christianity which the friends of the perishing are seeking to introduce into that benighted empire. A book by a native Chinaman, himself high in office, and recommended by a still higher officer of the government, the author still himself a Pagan, yet reasoning upon the great facts of the Bible, and opening the hitherto unknown civilized and Christian world to his countrymen—such a book cannot but become an important pioneer in the work of pouring the light of truth upon that dark land.—Boston Traveler.

[From Sartain's Magazine, for August.]




To what bright world afar dost thou belong

Thou whose pure soul seemed not of mortal birth?

From what fair realm of flowers, and love, and song,

Cam'st thou a star-beam to our shadowed earth?

What hadst thou done, sweet spirit! in that sphere,

That thou wert banished here?

Here, where our blossoms early fade and die,

Where autumn frosts despoil our loveliest bowers;

Where song goes up to heaven, an anguished cry

From wounded hearts, like perfume from crushed flowers;

Where Love despairing waits, and weeps in vain

His Psyche to regain.

Thou cam'st not unattended on thy way;

Spirits of beauty, grace, and joy, and love

Were with thee, ever bearing each some ray

Of the far home that thou hadst left above,

And ever at thy side, upon our sight

Gleamed forth their wings of light.

We heard their voices in the gushing song

That rose like incense from thy burning heart;

We saw the footsteps of the shining throng

Glancing upon thy pathway high, apart,

When in thy radiance thou didst walk the earth,

Thou child of glorious birth.

But the way lengthened, and the song grew sad,

Breathing such tones as find no echo here;

Aspiring, soaring, but no longer glad,

Its mournful music fell upon the ear;

'Twas the home-sickness of a soul that sighs

For its own native skies.

Then he that to earth's children comes at last,

The angel-messenger, white-robed and pale,

Upon thy soul his sweet oblivion cast,

And bore thee gently through the shadowy vale,—

The fleeting years of thy brief exile o'er,—

Home to the blissful shore.

MR. HEALEY is in Paris, engaged busily on his Webster and Hayne picture, of which at the time of its projection, so much was said. The canvas is some twenty feet by fourteen, and all the heads will be portraits. It will be valuable, and must command a ready sale. Will Massachusetts buy it for her State House, or South Carolina for her Capitol? It would be a splendid ornament for Fanueil Hall, and not be misplaced on the walls of the Charleston Court House.

MANUEL GODOY, the famous "Prince of Peace," it is mentioned in recent foreign journals, has left Paris for Spain. The Government at Madrid has restored a considerable part of his large confiscated estates, and he probably has returned to enjoy a golden setting sun. He must be at least eighty years of age.

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MONS. LIBRI, a well known savant, member of the Institute, and a professor of the College of France, has been charged, in Paris, with having committed extensive thefts of valuable MSS. and broken in the public libraries. He has persisted in proclaiming his innocence, and is warmly defended by certain papers. An indictment was found, he did not appear; he was tried, in his absence, for contumacy. He was found guilty of the most extensive depredations in this way. Abstracting the most valuable books, effacing identifying marks, sending them out of the country to be rebound, and then selling them at costly rates. He was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years at hard labor.

SKETCH OF A STREET CHARACTER OF CAIRO.—The Caireen donkey-boy is quite a character, and mine in particular was a perfect original. He was small and square of frame, his rich brown face relieved by the whitewash of teeth and the most brilliant black eyes, and his face beamed with a merry, yet roguish expression, like that of the Spanish, or rather Moorish, boy, in Murillo's well known masterpiece, with whom he was probably of cognate blood. Living in the streets from infancy, and familiar with the chances of out-door life, and with every description of character; waiting at the door of a mosque or a cafe, or crouching in a corner of a bazaar, he had acquired a thorough acquaintance with Caireen life; and his intellect, and, I fear, his vices, had become somewhat prematurely developed. But the finishing touch to his education was undoubtedly given by the European travelers whom he had served, and of whom he had, with the imitativeness of his age, picked up a variety of little accomplishments, particularly the oaths of different languages. His audacity had thus become consummate, and I have heard him send his fellows to —— as coolly, and in as good English, as any prototype of our own metropolis. His mussulman prejudices sat very loosely upon him, and in the midst of religious observances he grew up indifferent and prayerless. With this inevitable laxity of faith and morals, contracted by his early vagabondage, he at least acquired an emancipation from prejudice, and displayed a craving after miscellaneous information, to which his European masters were often tasked to contribute. Thrown almost in childhood upon their resources, the energy and perseverance of these boys is remarkable. My little lad had, for instance, been up the country with some English travelers, in whose service he had saved four or five hundred piastres, (four or five pounds), with which he bought the animal which I bestrode, on whose sprightliness and good qualities he was never tired of expatiating, and with the proceeds of whose labor he supported his mother and himself. He had but one habitual subject of discontent, the heavy tax imposed upon his donkey by Mehemet Ali, upon whom he invoked the curse of God; a curse, it is to be feared, uttered, not loud but deep, by all classes save the employés of government. His wind and endurance were surprising. He would trot after his donkey by the hour together, urging and prodding along with a pointed stick, as readily in the burning sandy environs, and under the noonday sun, as in the cool and shady alleys of the crowded capital; running, dodging, striking, and shouting with all the strength of his lungs, through the midst of its labyrinthine obstructions.—The Nile Boat.

MENDELSSOHN'S SKILL AS A CONDUCTOR.—In the spring of 1835. Mendelssohn was invited to come to Cologne, in order to direct the festival. Here we met again, and thanks to his kindness, I had the pleasure of being present at one of the general rehearsals, where he conducted Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. It would be a matter of difficulty to decide in which quality Mendelssohn excelled the most—whether as composer, pianist, organist, or conductor of the orchestra. Nobody ever knew better how to communicate, as if by an electric fluid, his own conceptions of a work, to a large body of performers. It was highly interesting on this occasion to contemplate the anxious attention manifested by a body of more than five hundred singers and performers, watching every glance of Mendelssohn's eye, and following, like obedient spirits, the magic wand of this musical Prospero. The admirable allegretto in B flat, of Beethoven's Symphony, not going at first to his liking, he remarked, smilingly, that he knew every one of the gentlemen engaged was capable of performing and even composing a scherzo of his own; but that just now he wanted to hear Beethoven's, which he thought had some merit. It was cheerfully repeated. "Beautiful! charming!" cried Mendelssohn, "but still too loud in two or three instances. Let us take it again, from the middle." "No, no," was the general reply of the band; "the whole movement over again for our own satisfaction;" and then they played it with the utmost delicacy and finish, Mendelssohn laying aside his baton, and listening with evident delight to the more perfect execution. "What would I have given," exclaimed he, "if Beethoven could have heard his own composition so well understood and so magnificently performed!" By thus giving alternately praise and blame, as required, spurring the slow, checking the too ardent, he obtained orchestral effects seldom equaled in our days. Need I add, that he was able to detect at once, even among a phalanx of performers, the slightest error, either of note or accent.—Life of Mendelssohn.

There is a mutual hate between the virtuous and the vicious, the spiritual and the sensual: but the pure abhor understandingly, knowing the nature of their antagonists, while the vile nurse an ignorant malignity, pained with an unacknowledged ache of envy.

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Superstition In France.—The Courrier de la Meuse says: "Witchcraft is still an object of belief in our provinces. On Sunday last, in a village belonging to the arrondissement of Verdun, the keeper of the parish bull forgot to lay before the poor animal at the usual hour its accustomed allowance of provender. The bull, impatient at the delay, made a variety of efforts to regain his liberty, and at last succeeded. The first use he made of his freedom was to demolish a rabbit-hutch which was in the stable. The keeper's wife, hearing a noise, ran to the place, and as soon as she saw the bull treading mercilessly upon the rabbits with his large hoofs, seized a cudgel and showered down a volley of blows on the crupper of the devastator. But not being accustomed to this rough treatment, the bull grew angry, and fell upon his neighbors the oxen, and what with horns and hoofs, turned the stable into a scene of terror and confusion. The woman began to cry for help. Her cries were heard, and with some trouble the bull was ousted from the stable, and forthwith began to butt at everything in his path. The mayor and the adjoint of the commune were attracted to the scene of this riot, and on witnessing the animal's violence, declared, after a short deliberation, that the bull was a sorcerer, or at any rate that he was possessed with a devil, and that he ought to be conducted to the presbytery in order to be exorcised. The authorities were accordingly obeyed, and the bull was dragged or driven into the presence of the curate, who was requested to subject him to the formalities prescribed in the ritual. The good priest found no little difficulty in escaping the pressing solicitations of his parishioners. At last, however, he succeeded; but though the bull escaped exorcism, he could not elude the shambles. Condemned to death by the mayor as a sorcerer, his sentence was immediately executed."

The Libraries At Cambridge.—There are now belonging to the various libraries connected with the University, about 86,000 volumes beside pamphlets, maps and prints. The Public Library contains over 57,000 volumes. The Law Library, 13,000; Divinity School, 3000; Medical School, 1,200; Society Libraries for the Students, 10,000. There have been added during the past year 1,751 volumes, and 2,219 pamphlets.

The Birmingham Mercury thinks some of Lord Brougham's late proceedings may be accounted for in part by natural vexation at Cottenham being made an earl. "Cottenham is several years younger than Brougham, and was his successor in the chancellorship, and yet he gets an earldom, while Brougham, who was known all over the world before Cottenham was ever heard of out of the Equity Courts, still remains and is likely to remain a simple baron."

Romantic History of two English Lovers.—In the reign of Edward III., Robert Machim, an accomplished gentleman, of the second degree of nobility, loved and was beloved by the beautiful Anna d'Arfet, the daughter of a noble of the first class. By virtue of a royal warrant Machim was incarcerated for his presumption; and, on his release, endured the bitter mortification of learning that Anna had been forcibly married to a noble, who carried her to his castle, near Bristol. A friend of Machim's had the address to introduce himself to the family, and became the groom of broken-hearted Anna, who was thus persuaded and enabled to escape on board a vessel with her lover, with the view of ending her days with him in France. In their hurry and alarm they embarked without the pilot, and the season of the year being the most unfavorable, were soon at the mercy of a dreadful storm. The desired port was missed during the night, and the vessel driven out to sea. After twelve days of suffering they discovered faint traces of land in the horizon, and succeeded in making the spot still called Machico. The exhausted Anna was conveyed on shore, and Machim had spent three days in exploring in the neighborhood with his friends, when the vessel, which they had left in charge of the mariners, broke from her moorings in a storm and was wrecked on the coast of Morocco, where the crew were made slaves. Anna became dumb with sorrow, and expired three days after. Machim survived her but five days, enjoining his companions to bury him in the same grave, under the venerable cedar, where they had a few days before erected a cross in acknowledgment of their happy deliverance. An inscription, composed by Machim, was carved on the cross, with the request that the next Christian who might chance to visit the spot would erect a church there. Having performed this last sad duty, the survivors fitted out the boat, which they had drawn ashore on their landing, and putting to sea in the hope of reaching some part of Europe, were also driven on the coast of Morocco, and rejoined their companions, but in slavery. Zargo, during an expedition of discovery to the coast of Africa, took a Spanish vessel with redeemed captives, amongst whom was an experienced pilot, named Morales, who entered into the service of Zargo, and gave him an account of the adventures of Machim, as communicated to him by the English captives, and of the landmarks and situations of the newly-discovered island.—Madeira, by Dr. Mason.

Centenary Performances in commemoration of the death-day of John Sebastian Bach—the 28th of July—are this week to be held at Leipsic, (where an assemblage of two thousand executants is to be convened for the display of some of the masters greatest works,) at Berlin, at Magdeburg, at Hamburg, and at other towns in North Germany.

[pg 144]

[From the Leader.]

Poets In Parliament.

The prominence which the "winged words" of Victor Hugo have recently given him in the Assembly has called forth sarcastic insinuations and bitter diatribes from all the Conservative journals. There seems to be an intensity of exasperation, arising from the ancient prejudice against poets. A poet treating of politics! Let him keep to rhymes, and leave the serious business of life to us practical men, sober-minded men—men not led away by our imaginations—men not moved to absurdities by sentiment—solid, sensible, moderate men! Let him play with capricious hand on the chords which are resonant to his will; but let him not mistake his frivolous accomplishment for the power to play upon the world's great harp, drawing from its grander chords the large responses of more solemn themes. Let him "strike the light guitar" as long as women will listen, or fools applaud. But politics is another sphere; into that he can only pass to make himself ridiculous.

Thus reason the profound. Thus saith the good practical man, who, because his mind is a congeries of commonplaces, piques himself on not being led away by his imagination. The owl prides himself on the incontestable fact that he is not an eagle.

To us the matter has another aspect. The appearance of Poets and men of Sentiment in the world of Politics is a good symptom; for at a time like the present, when positive doctrine can scarcely be said to exist in embryo, and assuredly not in any maturity, the presence of Imagination and Sentiment—prophets who endow the present with some of the riches borrowed from the future—is needed to give grandeur and generosity to political action, and to prevent men from entirely sinking into the slough of egotism and routine. Salt is not meat, but we need the salt to preserve meat from corruption. Lamartine and Victor Hugo may not be profound statesmen; but they have at least this one indispensable quality of statesmanship; they look beyond the hour, and beyond the circle, they care more for the nation than for "measures;" they have high aspirations and wide sympathies. Lamartine in power committed many errors, but he also did great things, moved thereto by his "Imagination." He abolished capital punishment; and he freed the slaves; had the whole Provisional Government been formed of such men it would have been well for it and for France.

We are as distinctly aware of the unfitness of a poet for politics, as any of those can be who rail at Hugo and Lamartine. Images, we know, are not convictions; aspirations will not do the work; grand speeches will not solve the problems. The poet is a "phrasemaker"; true; but show us the man in these days who is more than a phrasemaker! Where is he who has positive ideas beyond the small circle of his speciality? In rejecting the guidance of the Poet to whom shall we apply? To the Priest? He mumbles the litany of an ancient time which falls on unbelieving ears. To the Lawyer? He is a metaphysician with precedents for data. To the Litterateur? He is a phrasemaker by profession. To the Politician? He cannot rise above the conception of a "bill." One and all are copious in phrases, empty of positive ideas as drums. The initial laws of social science are still to be discovered and accepted, yet we sneer at phrasemakers! Carlyle, who never sweeps out of the circle of sentiment—whose eloquence is always indignation—who thinks with his heart, has no words too scornful for phrasemakers and poets; forgetting that he, and we, and they, are all little more than phrasemakers waiting for a doctrine!

There is something in the air of late which has called forth the poets and made them politicians. Formerly they were content to leave these troubled waters undisturbed, but finding that others now are as ignorant as themselves, they have come forth to give at least the benefit of their sentiment to the party they espouse. In no department can phrasemaking prosper where positive ideas have once been attained. Metaphors are powerless in astronomy; epithets are useless as alembics; images, be they never so beautiful, will fail to convince the physiologist. Language may adorn, it cannot create science. But as soon as we pass from the sciences to social science, (or politics,) we find that here the absence of positive ideas gives the phrasemaker the same power of convincing, as in the early days of physical science was possessed by metaphysicians and poets. Here the phrasemaker is king; as the one-eyed is king in the empire of the blind. Phrasemaker for phrasemaker, we prefer the poet to the politician; Victor Hugo to Léon Faucher; Lamartine to Odilon Barrot; Lamennais to Baroche.

Kossuth, Mazzini, Lamartine, the three heroes of 1848, were all, though with enormous differences in their relative values and positions, men belonging to the race of poets—men in whom the heart thought—men who were moved by great impulses and lofty aspirations—men who were "carried away by their imagination"—men who were "dreamers," but whose dreams were of the stuff of which our life is made.

The fine immortal spirit of inspiration that is ever living in human affairs, is unseen and incredible till its power becomes apparent through the long past; as the invisible but indelible blue of the atmosphere is not seen except we look through extended space.

The distinction between the sensual, frivolous many, and the few spiritual and earnest, may be stated thus—the first vaguely guess the others to be fools, they know that the former are fools.

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[From the New Monthly Magazine.]

Frank Hamilton; Or, The Confessions Of An Only Son.

By W.H. Maxwell, Esq.

Chapter I.

"Malvolio. 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune."—Twelfth Night.

"Bassanio. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,

How much I have disabled my state.

By something showing a more swelling port

Than my faint means would grant continuance."—Merchant of Venice.

I am by birth an Irishman, and descended from an ancient family. I lay no claim to any connection with Brian Boru, or Malichi, of the crown of gold, a gentleman who, notwithstanding the poetical authority of Tom Moore, we have some reason to believe during his long and illustrious reign was never master of a crown sterling. My ancestor was Colonel Hamilton, as stout a Cromwellian as ever led a squadron of Noll's Ironsides to a charge. If my education was not of the first order, it was for no lack of instructors. My father, a half-pay dragoon, had me on the pig-skin before my legs were long enough to reach the saddle-skirt; the keeper, in proper time, taught me to shoot: a retired gentleman, olim, of the Welsh fusileers, with a single leg and sixty pounds per annum, paid quarterly by Greenwood and Cox, indoctrinated me in the mystery of tying a fly, and casting the same correctly. The curate—the least successful of the lot, poor man—did his best to communicate Greek and Latin, and my cousin Constance gave me my first lessons in the art of love. All were able professors in their way, but cousin Constance was infinitely the most agreeable.

I am by accident an only son. My mother, in two years after she had sworn obedience at the altar, presented her liege lord with a couple of pledges of connubial love, and the gender of both was masculine. Twelve years elapsed and no addition was made to the Hamiltons; when lo! upon a fine spring morning a little Benjamin was ushered into existence, and I was the God-send. My father never could be persuaded that there was a gentlemanly profession in the world but one, and that was the trade of arms. My brothers, as they grew up, entirely coincided with him in opinion, and both would be soldiers. William died sword in hand, crowning the great breach at Rodrigo; and Henry, after demolishing three or four cuirassiers of the Imperial Guards, found his last resting-place on "red Waterloo." When they were named, my father's eyes would kindle, and my mother's be suffused with tears. He played a fictitious part, enacted the Roman, and would persuade you that he exulted in their deaths; but my mother played the true one, the woman's.

It was an autumnal evening, just when you smell the first indication of winter in a rarefied atmosphere, and see it in the clear curling of the smoke, as its woolly flakes rise from the cottage chimney and gradually are lost in the clear blue sky. Although not a cold evening, a log fire was extremely welcome. My father, Heaven rest him! had a slight touch in the toe of what finished him afterward in the stomach, namely, gout.

"James," said my lady mother, "it is time we came to some decision regarding what we have been talking of for the last twelve months. Frank will be eighteen next Wednesday."

"Faith! it is time, my dear Mary; the premises are true, but the difficulty is to come at the conclusion."

"You know, my love, that only for your pension and half-pay, from the tremendous depreciation in agricultural property since the peace, we should be obliged to lay down the old carriage, as you had to part with the harriers the year after Waterloo."

That to my father was a heavy hit. "It was a devil of a sacrifice, Mary,"—and he sighed, "to give up the sweetest pack that ever man rode to; one, that for a mile's run you could have covered with a blanket—heigh-ho! God's will be done;" and after that pious adjuration, my father turned down his tumbler No. 3, to the bottom. The memory of the lost harriers was always a painful recollection, and brought its silent evidence that the fortunes of the Hamiltons were not what they were a hundred years ago.

"With all my care," continued my mother, "and, as you know, I economize to the best of my judgement, and after all is done that can be done, our income barely will defray the outlay of our household."

"Or, as we used to say when I was dragooning thirty years ago, 'the tongue will scarcely meet the buckle,'" responded the colonel.

"I have been thinking," said my mother timidly, "that Frank might go to the bar."

"I would rather that he went direct to the devil," roared the commander, who hated lawyers, and whose great toe had at the moment undergone a disagreeable visitation.

"Do not lose temper, dear James," and she laid down her knitting to replace the hassock he had kicked away under the painful irritation of a disease that a stoic could not stand with patience, and, as they would say in Ireland, would fully justify a Quaker if "he kicked his mother."

"Curse the bar!" but he acknowledged his lady wife's kind offices by tapping her gently on the cheek. "When I was a boy, Mary, a lawyer and a gentleman were identified. Like the army—and, thank God! that is still intact, none but a man of decent pretensions claimed a gown, no more than a linen-draper's apprentice now would aspire to an epaulet. Is there a low fellow who has saved a few hundreds by retailing whisky by the noggin, who will not have his son 'Mister Counsellor O'Whack,' or 'Mister Barrister O'Finnigan'? No, no, if you must have Frank bred to a local profession, make him an apothecary; a twenty pound note will [pg 146] find drawers, drugs, and bottles. Occasionally he may be useful; pound honestly at his mortar, salve a broken head, carry the country news about, and lie down at night with a tolerably quiet conscience. He may have hastened a patient to his account by a trifling over-dose; but he has not hurried men into villainous litigation, that will eventuate in their ruin. His worst offense against the community shall be a mistaking of toothache for tic-douloureux, and lumbago for gout—oh, d——n the gout!"—for at that portion of his speech the poor colonel had sustained an awful twinge.

"Well," continued the dame, "would you feel inclined to let him enter the University, and take orders?"

"Become a churchman?" and away, with a furious kick, again went the hassock. "You should say, in simple English, make him a curate for the term of natural life. The church in Ireland, Mary, is like the bar, it once was tenanted by gentlemen who had birth, worth, piety, learning, or all united to recommend him to promotion. Now it is an arena where impure influence tilts against unblushing hypocrisy. The race is between some shuffling old lawyer, or a canting saint. One has reached the woolsack by political thimble-rigging, which means starting patriot, and turning, when the price is offered, a ministerial hack. He forks a drunken dean, his son, into a Father-in-Godship with all the trifling temporalities attendant on the same. Well, the other fellow is a 'regular go-a-head,' denounces popery, calculates the millennium, alarms thereby elderly women of both sexes, edifies old maids, who retire to their closets in the evening with the Bible in one hand, and a brandy-bottle in the other; and what he likes best, spiritualizes with the younger ones."

"Stop, dear James." The emphasis on the word spiritualize had alarmed my mother, who, to tell the truth, had a slight touch of the prevailing malady, and, but for the counteracting influence of the commander, might have been deluded into saintship by degrees.

The great toe was, however, again awfully invaded, and my father's spiritual state of mind not all improved by the second twinge, which was a heavy one.

"Why, d——n it—"

"Don't curse, dear James."

"Curse! I will; for if you had the gout, you would swear like a trooper."

"Indeed I would not."

"Ah, Mary," replied my father, "between twinges, if you knew the comfort of a curse or two—it relieves one so."

"That, indeed, James, must be but a sorry consolation, as Mr. Cantwell said—"

"Oh! d——n Cantwell," roared my father, "a fellow that will tell you that there is but one path to heaven, and that he has discovered it. Pish! Mary, the grand route is open as the mail-coach road, and Papist and Protestant, Quaker and Anabaptist, may jog along at even pace. I'm not altogether sure about Jews and Methodists. One bearded vagabond at Portsmouth charged me, when I was going to the Peninsula, ten shillings a pound for exchanging bank notes for specie, and every guinea the circumcised scoundrel gave was a light one. He'll fry—or has fried already—and my poor bewildered old aunt, under the skillful management of the Methodist preachers, who for a dozen years in their rambles, had made her house an inn, left the three thousand five per cents, which I expected, to blow the gospel-trumpet, either in California or the Cape—for, God knows, I never particularly inquired in which country the trumpeter was to sound 'boot and saddle,' after I had ascertained that the doting fool had made a legal testament quite sufficient for the purposes of the holy knaves who humbugged her. Cantwell is one of the same crew, a specious hypocrite. I would attend to the fellow no more than to that red-headed rector—every priest is a rector now—who often held my horse at his father's forge, when T happened to throw a shoe hunting,—and would half break his back bowing, if I handed him now and then a sixpence. Would I believe the dictum of that low-born dog, when he told me that in head-quarters"—and my father elevated his hand toward heaven—"they cared this pinch of snuff, whether upon a Friday I ate a rasher or red-herring?"

Two episodes interrupted the polemical disquisition. In character none could be more different—the one eventuated in a clean knock down—the other decided indirectly my future fortunes—and, in the next chapter, both shall be detailed.

Chapter II.

"Antonio. Thou knowest that all my fortunes are at sea;

Nor have I money or commodity,

To raise a present sum."—Merchant of Venice.

The Boheeil Kistanaugh, called in plain English, the kitchen boy, had entered, not like Caliban, "bearing a log," but with a basket full. He deposited the supply, and was directed by the commander to replenish the fire. I believe that Petereeine's allegiance to my father originated in fear rather than affection. He dreaded

"the deep damnation of his 'Bah!'"

but what was a still more formidable consideration, was a black-thorn stick which the colonel had carried since he gave up the sword; it was a beauty, upon which every fellow that came for law, in or out of custody, lavished his admiration—a clean crop, with three inches of an iron ferule on the extremity. My father was, "good easy man," a true Milesian philosopher—his arguments were those impressive ones, called ad hominem, and after he had grassed his man, he explained the reason at his leisure.

Petereeine (little Peter), as he was called, to distinguish him from another of that apostolic [pg 147] name—who was six feet two—approached the colonel in his best state of health with much alarm; but, when a fit of the gout was on—when a foot swathed in flannel, or slippered and rested on a hassock, announced the anthritic visitation, Petereeine would hold strong doubts whether, had the choice been allowed, he should not have preferred entering one of Van Amburgh's dens, to facing the commander in the dining-room.

Petereeine was nervous—he had overheard his master blowing to the skies the Reverend George Cantwell, and the red-headed rector, Paul Macrony. If a parson and a priest were so treated, what chance had he? and great was his trepidation, accordingly, when he entered the state chamber, as in duty bound.

"Why the devil did you not answer the bell? You knew well enough, you incorrible scoundrel! that I wanted you."

Now my father's opening address was not calculated to restore Petereeine's mental serenity—and to add to his uneasiness, he also caught sight of that infernal implement, the black-thorn, which, in treacherous repose, was resting at my father's elbow.

"On with some wood, you vagabond."

The order was obeyed—and Petereeine conveyed a couple of billets safely from the basket to the grate. The next essay, however, was a failure—the third log fell—and if the fall were not great, as it dropped on the fender, it certainly was very noisy. The accident was harmless—for, according to honest admeasurement, it evaded my father's foot by a full yard—but, under nervous alarm, he swore, and, as troopers will swear, that it had descended direct upon his afflicted member, and, consequently that he was ruined for life. This was a subsequent explanation—while the unhappy youth was extended on the hearth-rug, protesting innocence, and also declaring that his jaw-bone was fractured. The fall of the billet and the boy were things simultaneous—and while my mother, in great alarm, inculcated patience under suffering, and hinted at resignation, my father, in return, swore awfully, that no man with a toe of treble its natural dimensions, and scarlet as a soldiers jacket, had ever possessed either of those Christian articles. My mother quoted the case of Job—and my father begged to inquire if there was any authority to prove that Job ever had the gout? In the mean time, the kitchen-boy had gathered himself up and departed—and as he left the presence with his hand pressed upon his cheek, loud were his lamentations. Constance and I—nobody enjoyed the ridiculous more than she did—laughed heartily, while the colonel resented this want of sympathy, by calling us a brace of fools, and expressing his settled conviction, that were he, the commander, hanged, we, the delinquents, would giggle at the foot of the gallows.

Such was the state of affairs, when the entrance of the chief butler harbingered other occurrences, and much more serious than Petereeine's damaged jaw. Mick Kalligan had been in the "heavies" with my father, and at Salamanca, had ridden the opening charge, side by side, with him, greatly to the detriment of divers Frenchmen, and much to the satisfaction of his present master. In executing this achievement, Mick had been a considerable sufferer—his ribs having been invaded by a red lancer of the guard—while a chausseur-à-cheval had inserted a lasting token of his affection across his right cheek, extremely honorable, but by no means ornamental.

Mick laid a couple of newspapers, and as many letters, on the table—but before we proceed to open either, we will favor the reader with another peep into our family history.

Manifold are the ruinous phantasies which lead unhappy mortals to pandemonium. This one has a fancy for the turf, another patronizes the last imported choryphée. The turf is generally a settler—the stage is also a safe road to a safe settlement, and between a race-horse and a danseuse, we would not give a sixpence for choice. Now, as far as horse-flesh went, my grandfather was innocent; a pirouette or pas seul, barring an Irish jig, he never witnessed in his life—but he had discovered as good a method for settling a private gentleman. He had an inveterate fancy for electioneering. The man who would reform state abuses, deserves well of his country; there is a great deal of patriotism in Ireland; in fact, it is, like linen, a staple article generally, but still the best pay-master is safe to win; and hence, my poor grandfather generally lost the race.

My father looked very suspiciously at the letters—one had his own armorial bearings displayed in red wax—and the formal direction was at a glance detected to be that of his aunt Catharine—Catharine's missives were never agreeable—she had a rent charge on the property for a couple of thousands; and, like Moses and Son, her system was "quick returns," and the interest was consequently expected to the day. For a few seconds my father hesitated, but he manfully broke the seal—muttering, audibly, "What can the old rattle-trap write about? Her interest-money is not due for another fortnight." He threw his eyes hastily over the contents—his color heightened—and my aunt Catharine's epistle was flung, and most unceremoniously, upon the ground—the hope that accompanied the act, being the reverse of a benediction.

"Is there anything wrong, dear James?" inquired my mother, in her usual quiet and timid tone.

"Wrong!" thundered my father; "Frank will read this spiritual production to you. Every line breathes a deep anxiety on old Kitty's part for my soul's welfare, earthly considerations being non-important. Read, Frank, and if you will not devoutly wish that the doting fool was at the dev—"

"Stop, my dear James."

[pg 148]

"Well-read, Frank, and say, when you hear the contents, whether you would be particularly sorry to learn that the old lady had, as sailors say, her hands well greased, and a fast hold upon the moon? Read, d——n it, man! there's no trouble in deciphering my aunt Catharine's penmanship. Hers is not what Tony Lumpkin complained of—a cursed cramp hand; all clear and unmistakable—the t's accurately stroked across, and the i's dotted to a nicety. Go on—read, man, read."

I obeyed the order, and thus ran the missive, my honored father adding a running commentary at every important passage; shall place them in italics—


"Oh, —— her affection!"

"'If, by a merciful dispensation, I shall be permitted to have a few spiritual minded friends to-morrow, at four o'clock, at dinner—'"

"Temps militaire—they won't fail you, my old girl."

"'I shall then have reached an age to which few arrive—look to the psalm—namely, to eighty—'"

"She's eighty-three—"

"'I have, under the mercy of Providence, and the ministry of a chosen vessel, the Reverend Carter Kettlewell, and also a worshiping Christian learned in the law, namely, Mr. Selby Sly, put my earthly house in order. Would that spiritual preparation could he as easily accomplished; but yet I feel well convinced that mine is a state of grace, and Mr. Kettlewell gives me a comfortable assurance that in me the old man if crucified—'"

"Did you ever listen to such rascally cant?"

"'I have given instructions to Mr. Sly to make my will, and Mr. Kettlewell has kindly consented to be the trustee and executor—"

"Now comes the villainy, no doubt"

"'I have devised—may the offering be graciously received!—all that I shall die possessed of to make an addition to support those devoted soldiers—not, dear nephew, soldiers in your carnal meaning of the word—but the ministers of the gospel, who labor in New Zealand. These inestimable men, whose courage is almost supernatural, and who—'"

"Pish—what an old twaddler!"

"'Although annually eaten by converted cannibals, still press forward at the trumpet-call—"'

"I wonder what sort of a grill old Kate would make? cursed tough, I fancy."

"'I have added my mite to a fund already established to send assistance there—'"

"Ay, to Christianize, and, in return, be carbonadoed. I wish I had charge of the gridiron I would broil one or two of the new recruits."

"'I have called in, under Mr. Sly's advice the mortgage granted to the late Sir George O'Gorman, by my ever-to-be-lamented husband, and the other portions of my property being in state securities, are reclaimable at once. My object in writing this letter is to convey to my dear nephew my heartfelt prayers for his spiritual amendment, and also to intimate that the 2000l.—a rent-charge on he Kilnavaggart property—with the running quarter's interest, shall be paid at La Touche's to the order of Messrs. Kettlewell and Sly. As the blindness of the New Zealanders is deplorable, and as Mr. Kettlewell has already enlisted some gallant champions who will blow the gospel-trumpet, although they were to be served up to supper the same evening, I wish the object to be carried out at once—'"

"Beautiful!" said my poor father with a groan; "where the devil could the money be raised? You won't realize now for a bullock what, in war-time, you would get for a calf. Go on with the old harridan's epistle."

"'Having now got rid of fleshly considerations—I mean money ones—let me, my dear James, offer a word in season. Remember that it comes from an attached relation, who holds your worldly affairs as nothing—'"

"I can't dispute that," said my father with a smothered groan.

"'But would turn your attention to the more important considerations of our being. I would not lean too heavily upon the bruised reed, but your early life was anything but evangelical—'"

Constance laughed; she could not, wild girl, avoid it.

"'We must all give an account of our stewardship,' vide St. Luke, chap. xvi.—'"

"Stop—Shakspeare's right; when the devil quotes Scripture—but, go on—let's have the whole dose."

"'When can you pay the money in? And, oh! in you, my dear nephew, may grace yet fructify, and may you be brought, even at the eleventh hour, to a slow conviction that all on this earth is vanity and vexation of spirit—drums, colors, scarlet and fine linen, hounds running after hares, women whirling round, as they tell me they do, in that invention of the evil one called a waltz, all these are but delusions of the enemy, and designed to lead sinners to destruction. I transcribe a verse from a most affecting hymn, composed by that gifted man—'"

"Oh, d——n the hymn!" roared my father; "on with you, Frank, and my benison light on the composer of it! Don't stop to favor us with his name, and pass over the filthy doggerel!"

I proceeded under orders accordingly.

"'Remember, James, you are now sixty-one; repent, and, even in the eleventh hour, you may be plucked like a brand from the fire. Avoid swearing, mortify the flesh—that is, don't take a third tumbler after dinner—'"

My father could not stand it longer. "Oh, may Cromwell's curse light upon her! I wonder how many glasses of brandy-and-water she swallows at evening exercise, as she calls it, over a chapter of Timothy?"

"'I would not recall the past, but for the purpose of wholesome admonition. The year [pg 149] before you married, and gave up the godless life of soldiering, can you forget that I found you, at one in the morning in Bridget Donovan's room? Your reason was, that you had got the colic; if you had, why not come to my chamber, where you knew there was laudanum and lavender?

Poor Constance could not stand the fresh allegation; and, while my mother looked very grave, we laughed, as Scrub says, "consumedly." My father muttered something about "cursed nonsense!" but I am inclined to think that aunt Catharine's colic charge was not without some foundation.

"'I have now, James, discharged my duty: may my humble attempts to arouse you to a sense of the danger of standing on the brink of the pit of perdition be blessed! Pay the principal and interest over to La Touche. Mr. Selby Sly hinted that a foreclosure of the mortgage might expedite matters; and, by saving a term or two in getting in the money, two or three hundred New Zealanders would—and oh, James! how gratifying would be the reflection!—be saved from the wrath to come.

"'This morning, on looking over your marriage settlement, Mr. Sly is of opinion that, if Mrs. Hamilton will renounce certain rights he can raise the money at once, and that too only at legal interest, say six per cent.—'"

Often had I witnessed a paternal explosion; but, when it was hinted that the marital rights of my poor mother were to be sacrificed, his fury amounted almost to madness.

"Damnation!" he exclaimed; "confusion light upon the letter and the letter-writer! You!—do you an act to invalidate your settlement! I would see first every canting vagabond in——" and he named a disagreeable locality. "Never, Mary! pitch that paper away: I dread that at the end of it the old lunatic will inflict her benediction. Frank, pack your traps—you must catch the mail to-night; you'll be in town by eight o'clock to-morrow morning. Be at Sly's office at nine. D——n the gout!—I should have done the job myself. Beat the scoundrel as nearly to death as you think you can conscientiously go without committing absolute murder: next, pay a morning visit to Kettlewell, and, if you leave him in a condition to mount the pulpit for a month, I'll never acknowledge you. Break that other seal; Probably, the contents may prove as agreeable as old Kitty's."

There were times and moods when, in Byron's language, it was judicious to reply "Psha! to hear is to obey," and this was such a period. I broke the black wax, and the epistle proved to be from the very gentleman whom I was to be dispatched per mail to qualify next morning for surgical assistance.

"Out with it!" roared my father, as I unclosed the foldings of the paper; "What is the signature? I remember that my uncle Hector always looked at the name attached to a letter when he unclosed the post-bag; and if the handwriting looked like an attorney's he flung it, without reading a line, into the fire."

"This letter, sir, is subscribed 'Selby Sly.'"

"Don't burn it, Frank, read. Well, there is one comfort that Selby Sly shall have to-morrow evening a collection of aching ribs, if the Hamiltons are not degenerated: read, man," and, as usual, there was a running comment on the text.

"'Dublin,—March, 1818.

"'Colonel Hamilton,—Sir,

"'It is my melancholy duty to inform you—'"

"That you have foreclosed the mortgage. Frank, if you don't break a bone or two, I'll never acknowledge you again."

"'That my honored and valued client and patroness, Mrs. Catharine O'Gorman, suddenly departed this life at half-past six o'clock, P.M., yesterday evening, when drinking a glass of sherry, and holding sweet and spiritual converse with the Reverend Carter Kettlewell.'"

"It's all up, no doubt: the canting scoundrels have secured her—or, as blackguard gamblers say, have 'made all' safe?"

"'She has died intestate, although a deed, that would have immortalized her memory, was engrossed, and ready for signature. Within an hour after she went to receive her reward—'"

My father gave a loud hurrah! "Blessed be Heaven that the rout came before the old fool completed the New Zealand business!"

"'As heir-at-law, you are in direct remainder, and the will, not being executed, is merely wastepaper: but, from the draft, the intentions of your inestimable aunt can clearly be discovered. Although not binding in law, let me say there is such a thing as Christian equity that should guide you. The New Zealand bequest, involving a direct application of 10,000l. to meet the annual expenditure of gospel-soldiers—there being a constant drain upon these sacred harbingers of peace, from the native fancy of preferring a deviled missionary to a stewed kangaroo—that portion of the intended testament I would not press upon you. But the intentional behests of 500l. to the Rev. Carter Kettlewell, the same sum to myself, and an annuity to Miss Grace Lightbody of 50l. a year, though not recoverable in law, under these circumstances should be faithfully confirmed.

"'It may be gratifying to acquaint you with some particulars of the last moments of your dear relative, and one of the most devout, nay, I may use the term safely, evangelical elderly gentlewomen for whom I have had the honor to transact business.'"

"Stop, Frank. Pass over the detail. It might be too affecting."

"'I await your directions for the funeral. My lamented friend and client had erected a catacomb in the Siloam Chapel, and in the [pg 150] minister's vault, and she frequently expressed a decided wish that her dust might repose with faithful servants, who, in season and out of season, fearlessly grappled with the man of sin, who is arrayed in black, and the woman who sitteth on the seven hills, dressed in scarlet.'"

"Hang the canting vagabond—why not call people by their proper titles; name Old Nick at once, and the lady whose soubriquet is unmentionable, but who, report says, has a town residence in Babylon."

Constance and I laughed; my mother, as usual, looking demure and dignified. Another twinge of the gout altogether demolished the commander's temper.

"Stop that scoundrel's jargon. Run your eye over the remainder, and tell me what the fellow's driving at."

I obeyed the order.

"Simply, sir, Mr. Sly desires to know whether you have any objection to old Kitty taking peaceable possession of her catacomb in the Dublin gospel-shop which she patronized, or would you prefer that she were 'pickled and sent home,' as Sir Lucius says."

"Heaven forbid that I should interfere with her expressed wishes," said my father. "I suppose there's 'snug lying' in Siloam; and there's one thing certain, that the company who occupy the premises are quite unobjectionable. Kitty will be safer there. Lord! if the gentleman in black, or the red lady of the seven hills attempted a felonious entry on her bivouac, what a row the saintly inmates would kick up! It would be a regular 'guard, turn out!' And what chance would scarlatina and old clooty have? No, no, she'll be snug there in her sentry-box. What a blessed escape from ruin! Mary, dear, make me another tumbler, and d——n the gout!"—he had a sharp twinge. "I'll drink 'here's luck!' Frank, go pack your kit, and instead of demolishing Selby Sly, see Kitty decently sodded. Your mother, Constance, and myself will rumble after you to town by easy stages. I wonder how aunt Catherine will cut up. If she has left as much cash behind as she has lavished good advice in her parting epistle, by—" and my father did ejaculate a regular rasper—"I'll re-purchase the harriers, as I have got a whisper that poor Dick was cleaned out the last meeting at the Curragh, and the pack is in the market."


"I have tremor cordis on me."—Winter's Tale.

It is a queer world after all; manifold are its ups and downs, and life is but a medley of fair promise, excited hope, and bitter disappointment.

Never did a family party start for the metropolis with gayer hearts, or on a more agreeable mission. Our honored relative (authoritate the Methodist Magazine) had "shuffled off" in the best marching order imaginable. Before the rout had arrived, her house had been perfectly arranged, but her will, "wo [**Unreadable] day," was afterward found to be too informal. It was hinted that the mission to Timbuctoo, although not legally binding on the next of kin, should be considered a sacred injunction and first lien on the estates. In a religious light, according to the Reverend Mr. Sharpington, formalities were unnecessary; but my father observed, sotto voce, in reply, and in the plain vernacular of the day, what in modern times would have been more figuratively expressed, namely, "Did not the gospel-trumpeters wish they might get it!" The kennel, whose door for two years had not been opened, was again unlocked; whitewashing and reparations were extensively ordered; a prudent envoy was dispatched to re-purchase the pack, which, rebut egenis, had been laid down, and the colonel, in his "mind's eye," and oblivious of cloth shoes, once more was up to his knees in leather,2 and taking everything in the shape of fence and brook, just as the Lord pleased to dispose them.

A cellar census was next decided on, and by a stout exertion, and at the same time with a heavy heart, my father hobbled down the stone steps and entered an underground repertorium, which once he took much pride in visiting. Alas! its glory had departed; the empty bins were richly fringed with cobwebbed tapestries, and silently admitted a non-occupancy by bottles for past years. The colonel sighed. He remembered his grandfather's parting benediction. Almost in infancy, malignant fever within one brief week had deprived him of both parents, and a chasm in direct succession was thus created. A summons from school was unexpectedly received, and although the young heir and the courier borrowed liberally from the night, it was past cock-crow when they reached their destination.

The old gentleman was "in articulo," or as sailors would say, he was already "hove short," and ready to trip his anchor.

"Up stairs, master Frank," exclaimed the old butler to my father, "the general will be in heaven in half an hour, glory to the Virgin!"

I shall never forget my fathers description of the parting scene. Propped by half a dozen pillows, the old man gasped hard for breath, but the appearance of his grandson appeared to rouse the dormant functions of both mind and body; and although there were considerable breaks between each sentence, he thus delivered his valedictory advice. Often has the departure of Commodore Trunnion been recalled to memory by the demise of my honored relative.

"Frank," said the old fox-hunter to my father, "the summons is come, as we used to say when I was a dragoon, to 'boot and saddle.' I told the doctor a month ago that my [pg 151] wind was touched, but he would have it that I was only a whistler."

He paused for breath.

"The best horse that ever bore pig-skin on his back, won't stand too many calls—ugh! ugh! ugh!"

Another pause.

"I bless God that my conscience is tolerably clean. Widow or orphan I never wronged intentionally, and the heaviest item booked against me overhead is Dick Sommer's death. Well, he threw a decanter, as was proved upon the trial to the satisfaction of judge and jury; and you know, after that, nothing but the daisy3 would do. I leave you four honest weight carriers, and as sweet a pack as ever ran into a red rascal without a check. Don't be extravagant in my wake."

Another interruption in the parting address.

"A fat heifer, half a dozen sheep, and the puncheon of Rasserea that's in the cellar untouched, should do the thing genteelly. It's only a couple of nights you know, as you'll sod me the third morning. Considering that I stood two contests for the county, an action for false imprisonment by a gauger, never had a lock on the hall door, kept ten horses at rack and manger, and lived like a gentleman. To the £5,000 for which my poor father dipped the estate I have only after all added £10,000 more, which, as Attorney Rowland said, showed that I was a capital manager. Well, you can pay both off easily."

Another fit of coughing distressed my grandfather sorely.

"Go to the waters—any place in England will answer. If you will stand tallow or tobacco, you can in a month or two wipe old scores off the slate. Sir Roderick O'Boyl, when he was so hard pushed as to be driven over the bridge of Athlone in a coffin to avoid the coroner,4 didn't he, and in less than a twelvemonth too, bring over a sugar-baker's daughter, pay off encumbrances, and live and die like a gentleman as he was every inch? I have not much to leave you but some advice, Frank dear, and after I slip my girths remember what I say. When you're likely to get into trouble, always take the bull by the horns, and when you're in for a stoup, never mix liquors or sit with your back to the fire. If you're obliged to go out, be sure to fight across the ridges, and if you can manage it, with the sun at your back. Ugh! ugh! ugh!"

"In crossing a country, choose the—"

Another coughing fit, and a long hiatus in valedictory instructions succeeded, but the old man, as they say in hunting, got second wind, and thus proceeded—

"Never fence a ditch when a gate is open—avoid late hours and attorneys—and the less you have to say to doctors, all the better—ugh! ugh! ugh! When it's your misfortune to be in company with an old maid—I mean a reputed one—ugh! ugh! always be on the muzzle—for in her next issue of scandal she'll be sure to quote you as her authority. If a saint comes in your way, button your breeches-pocket, and look now and then at your watch-chain. I'm brought nearly to a fix, for bad bellows won't stand long speeches."

Here the ripple in his speech, which disturbed Commodore Trunnion so much, sorely afflicted my worthy grandfather. He muttered something that a snaffle was the safest bit a sinner could place faith in—assumed the mantle of prophecy—foretold, as it would appear, troublous times to be in rapid advent—and inculcated that faith should be placed in heaven, and powder kept very dry.

He strove to rally and reiterate his counsels for my father's guidance, but strength was wanting. The story of a life was told—he swayed on one side from the supporting pillows—and in a minute more the struggle was over. Well, peace to his ashes! We'll leave him in the family vault, and start with a party for the metropolis, who, in the demise of our honored kinswoman, had sustained a heavy loss, but notwithstanding, endured the visitation with Christian fortitude and marvelous resignation.

Place au dames. My lady-mother had been a beauty in her day, and for a dozen years after her marriage, had seen her name proudly and periodically recorded by George Faukiner, in the thing he called a journal, which, in size, paper, and typography, might emulate a necrologic affair cried loudly through the streets of London, "i' the afternoon" of a hanging Monday, containing much important information, whether the defunct felon had made his last breakfast simply from tea and toast, or whether Mr. Sheriff —— had kindly added mutton-chops to the déjeûner, while his amiable lady furnished new-laid eggs from the family corn-chandler. But to return to my mother.

Ten years had passed, and her name had not been hallooed from groom to groom on a birth-day night, while the pearl neck-lace, a bridal present, and emeralds, an heir-loom from her mother, remained in strict abeyance. Now and again their cases were unclosed, and a sigh accompanied the inspection—for sad were their reminiscences. Olim—her name was chronicled on Patrick's night, by every Castle reporter. They made, it is to be lamented, as Irish reporters will make, sad mistakes at times. The once poor injured lady had been attired in canary-colored lute-string, and an ostrich plume remarkable for its enormity while she, the libeled one, had been becomingly arrayed in blue bombazine, and of any plumage imported from Araby the blest, was altogether innocent.

A general family movement was decided [pg 152] on. My aunt's demise required, my father's presence in the metropolis. My mother's wardrobe demanded an extensive addition,—for, sooth to say, her costume had become, as far as fashion went, rather antediluvian. Constance announced that a back-tooth called for professional interference. May heaven forgive her if she fibbed!—for a dental display of purer ivory never slily solicited a lover's kiss, than what her joyous laugh exhibited. My poor mother entered a protest against the "spes ultima gregis," meaning myself, being left at home in times so perilous, and when all who could effect it were hurrying into garrisoned towns, and abandoning, for crowded lodgings, homes whose superior comforts were abated by their insecurity. The order for a general movement was consequently issued, and on the 22d of June we commenced our journey to the capital.

With all the precision of a commissary-general, my father had regulated the itinerary. Here, we were to breakfast, there, dine, and this hostelrie was to be honored with our sojourn during the night-season. Man wills, fate decrees, and in our case the old saw was realized.

It will be necessary to remark that a conspiracy that had been hatching for several years, from unforeseen circumstances had now been prematurely exploded. My father, with more hardiesse than discretion, declined following the general example of abandoning his home for the comparative safety afforded by town and city. Coming events threw their shadow before, and too unequivocally to be mistaken, but still he sported deaf adder. In confidential communication with Dublin Castle, all known there touching the intended movements of the disaffected was not concealed from him. He was, unfortunately, the reverse of an alarmist—proud of his popularity—read his letters—drew his inferences—and came to prompt conclusions. Through his lawyer, a house ready-furnished in Leeson-street was secured. His plate and portable valuables were forwarded to Dublin, and reached their destination safely. Had our hearts been where the treasure was, we should, as in prudence bound, have personally accompanied the silver spoons—but the owner, like many an abler commander, played the waiting game too long. A day sooner would have saved some trouble—but my father had carried habits of absolute action into all the occurrences of daily life. Indecision is, in character, a sad failure, but his weak point ran directly in an opposite direction. He thought, weighed matters hastily, decided in five minutes, and that decision once made, coute qui coute, must be carried out to the very letter. He felt all the annoyance of leaving the old roof-tree and its household gods—conflicting statements from the executive—false information from local traitors—an assurance from the priest that no immediate danger might be expected—these, united to a yearning after home, rendered his operations rather Fabian. The storm burst, however, while he still hesitated, or rather, the burning of the mail-coaches and the insurrection were things simultaneous—and my father afterward discovered that he, like many a wiser man, had waited a day too long.

Whether the colonel might have dallied still longer is mere conjecture, when a letter marked "haste" was delivered by an orderly dragoon, and in half an hour the "leathern conveniency" was rumbling down the avenue.

The journey of the Wronghead family to London—if I recollect the pleasant comedy that details it correctly—was effected without the occurrence of any casualty beyond some dyspeptic consequences to the cook from over-eating. Would that our migration to the metropolis had been as fortunately accomplished!

We started early; and on reaching the town where we were to breakfast and exchange our own for post-horses, found the place in feverish excitement. A hundred anxious inquirers were collected in the market-place. Three hours beyond the usual time of the mail-delivery had elapsed,—wild rumors were spread abroad,—a general rising in Leinster was announced,—and the non-arrival of the post had an ominous appearance, and increased the alarm.

We hurried over the morning meal,—the horses were being put to,—the ladies already in the carriage,—when a dragoon rode in at speed, and the worst apprehensions we had entertained were more than realized by this fresh arrival. The mail-coach had been plundered and burned, while everywhere, north, east, and west, as it was stated, the rebels were in open insurrection,—all communication with Dublin was cut off,—and any attempt to reach the metropolis would have been only an act of madness.

Another express from the south came in. Matters there were even worse. The rebels had risen en masse and committed fearful devastation. The extent of danger in attempting to reach the capital, or return to his mansion, were thus painfully balanced; and my father considering that, as sailors say, the choice rested between the devil and the deep sea, decided on remaining where he was, as the best policy under all circumstances.

The incompetency of the Irish engineering staff, and a defective commissariat, at that time was most deplorable; and although the town of —— was notoriously disaffected, the barrack chosen, temporarily, to accommodate the garrison—a company of militia—was a thatched building, two stories high, and perfectly commanded by houses in front and rear. The captain in charge of the detachment knew nothing of his trade, and had been hoisted to a commission in return for the use of a few freeholders. The Irish read character quickly. They saw at a glance the marked imbecility of the devoted man; [pg 153] and by an imposition, from which any but an idiot would have recoiled, trapped the silly victim and, worse still, sacrificed those who had been unhappily intrusted to his direction.

That the express had ridden hard was evident from the distressed condition of his horse; and the intelligence he brought deranged my father's plans entirely. Any attempt either to proceed or to return, as it appeared, would be hazardous alike; and nothing remained but to halt where he was, until more certain information touching the rebel operations should enable him to decide which would be the safest course of action to pursue. He did not communicate the extent of his apprehensions to the family,—affected an air of indifference he did not feel,—introduced himself to the commanding officer on parade, and returned to the inn in full assurance that, in conferring a commission on a man so utterly ignorant of the trade he had been thrust into as Captain —- appeared to be, "the King's press had been abused most damnably."

The Colonel had a singular quality,—that of personal remembrance; and even at the distance of years he would recall a man to memory, even had the former acquaintance been but casual. Passing through the inn yard, his quick eye detected in the ostler a quondam stable-boy. To avoid the consequences attendant on a fair riot which had ended, "ut mos est," in homicide, the ex-groom had fled the country, and, as it was reported and believed, sought an asylum in the "land of the free" beyond the Atlantic, which, privileged like the Cave of Abdullum, conveniently flings her stripes and stars over all that are in debt and all that are in danger. Little did the fugitive groom desire now to recall "lang syne," and renew a former acquaintance. But my father was otherwise determined; and stepping carelessly up, he tapped his old domestic on the shoulder, and at once addressed him by name.

The ostler turned deadly pale, but in a moment the Colonel dispelled his alarm.

"You have nothing to apprehend from me, Pat. He who struck the blow, which was generally laid to your charge, confessed when dying that he was the guilty man, and that you were innocent of all blame beyond mixing in the affray."

Down popped the suspected culprit on his knees, and in a low but earnest voice he returned thanks to heaven.

"I understood you had gone to America, or I would have endeavored in some way to have apprised you, that a murderer by report, you were but a rioter in reality."

"I did go there. Colonel, but I could not rest. I knew that I was innocent: but who would believe my oath? I might have done well enough there; but I don't know why, the ould country was always at my heart, and I used to cry when I thought of the mornings that I whipped in the hounds, and the nights that I danced merrily in the servants' hall, when piper or fiddler came,—and none left the house without meat, drink, and money, and a blessing on the hand that gave it."

"What brought you here, so close to your former home, and so likely to be recognized?"

"To see if I couldn't clear myself, and get ye'r honor to take me back. Mark that dark man! He's owner of this horse. Go to the bottom of the garden, and I'll be with you when he returns to the house again."

My father walked carelessly away, unclosed the garden gate, and left the dark stranger with his former whipper-in. Throwing himself on a bench in a rude summer-house, he began to think over the threatening aspect of affairs, and devise, if he could, some plan to deliver his family from the danger, which on every side it became too evident was alarmingly impending.

He was speedily rejoined by his old domestic.

"Marked ye that dark man well?"

"Yes; and a devilish suspicious-looking gentleman he is."

"His looks do not belie him. No matter whatever may occur through it, you must quit the town directly. Call for post-horses, and as mine is the first turn, I'll be postillion. Don't show fear or suspicion—and leave the rest to me. Beware of the landlord—he's a colonel of the rebels, and a bloodier-minded villain is not unhanged. Hasten in—every moment is worth gold—and when the call comes, the horses will be to the carriage in the cracking of a whip, Don't notice me, good or bad."

He spoke, hopped over the garden hedge to reach the back of the stables unperceived, while I proceeded along the gate; it was opened by the host in person. He started; but, with assumed indifference, observed, "What sad news the dragoon has brought!"

"I don't believe the half of it. These things are always exaggerated. Landlord, I'll push on a stage or two, and the worst that can happen is to return, should the route prove dangerous. I know that here I have a safe shelter to fall back upon."

"Safe!" exclaimed the innkeeper. "All the rabble in the country would not venture within miles of where ye are; and, notwithstanding bad reports, there's not a loyaler barony in the county. Faith! Colonel, although it may look very like seeking custom, I would advise you to keep your present quarters. You know the old saying, 'Men may go farther and fare worse.' I had a lamb killed when I heard of the rising, and specially for your honor's dinner. Just look into the barn as ye pass. Upon my conscience! it's a curiosity!"

He turned back with me; but before we reached the place, the dark stranger I had seen before beckoned from a back window.

"Ha! an old and worthy customer wants me."

[pg 154]

Placing his crooked finger in his mouth. he gave a loud and piercing whistle. The quondam whipper appeared at a stable-door with a horse-brush in his hand.

"Pat, show his honor that born beauty I killed for him this morning."

"Coming, Mr. Scully—I beg ye'r honor's pardon—but ye know that business must be minded," he said, and hurried off.

No man assumes the semblance of indifference, and masks his feelings more readily than an Irishman, and Pat Loftus was no exception to his countrymen. When summoned by the host's whistle, he came to the door lilting a planxty merrily,—but when he re-entered the stable, the melody ceased, and his countenance became serious.

"I hid behind the straw, yonder, Colonel, and overheard every syllable that passed, and under the canopy bigger villains are not than the two who are together now. There's no time for talking—all's ready," and he pointed to the harnessed post-horses, "Go in, keep an eye open, and close mouth—order the carriage round—all is packed—and when we're clear of the town I'll tell you more."

When my father's determination was made known, feelingly did the host indicate the danger of the attempt, and to his friendly remonstrances against wayfaring, Mr. Scully raised a warning voice. But my father was decisive—Pat Loftus trotted to the door—some light luggage was placed in the carriage, and three brace of pistols deposited in its pockets. A meaning look was interchanged between the innkeeper and his fellow-guest.

"Colonel," said the former, "I hope you will not need the tools. If you do, the fault will be all your own."

"If required," returned my father, "I'll use them to the best advantage."

The villains interchanged a smile.

"Pat," said the host to the postillion, "you know the safest road—do what I bid ye—and keep his honor out of trouble if ye can."

"Go on," shouted my father—the whip cracked smartly, and off rolled the carriage.

For half a mile we proceeded at a smart pace, until at the junction of the three roads, Loftus took the one which the finger-post indicated was not the Dublin one. My father called out to stop, but the postillion hurried on, until high hedges, and a row of ash-trees at both sides, shut in the view. He pulled up suddenly.

"Am I not an undutiful servant to disobey the orders of so good a master as Mr. Dogherty? First, I have not taken the road he recommended—and, secondly, instead of driving this flint into a horse's frog, I have carried it in my pocket," and he jerked the stone away.

"Look to your pistols, Colonel. In good old times your arms, I suspect, would have been found in better order."

The weapons were examined, and every pan had been saturated with water. "Never mind, I'll clean them well at night: it's not the first time. But, see the dust yonder! I dare not turn back, and I am half afraid to go on. Ha—glory to the Virgin! dragoons, ay, and, as I see now, they are escorting Lord Arlington's coach. Have we not the luck of thousands?"

He cracked his whip, and at the junction of a cross-road fell in with and joined the travelers. My father was well known to his lordship, who expressed much pleasure that the journey to the capital should be made in company.

Protected by relays of cavalry, we reached the city in safety, not, however, without one or two hair-breadth escapes from molestation. Everything around told that the insurrection had broken out: church-bells rang, dropping shots now and then were heard, and houses, not very distant, were wrapped in flames. Safely, however, we passed through manifold alarms, and at dusk entered the fortified barrier erected on one of the canal bridges, which was jealously guarded by a company of Highlanders and two six-pounders. Brief shall be a summary of what followed. While the tempest of rebellion raged, we remained safely in the capital. Constance and I were over head and ears in love; but another passion struggled with me for mastery. Youth is always pugnacious; like Norval,

"I had heard of battles, and had longed

To follow to the field some warlike"

colonel of militia, and importuned my father to obtain a commission, and, like Laertes, "wrung a slow consent." The application was made; and, soon after breakfast, the butler announced that my presence was wanted in the drawing-room. I repaired thither, and there found my father, his fair dame, and my cousin Constance.

"Well, Frank, I have kept my promise, and, in a day or two, I shall have a captain's commission for you. Before, however, I place myself under an obligation to Lord Carhampton, let me propose an alternative for your selection."

I shook my head. "And what may that be, sir?"

"A wife."

"A wife!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, that is the plain offer. You shall have, however, a free liberty of election: read that letter."

I threw my eye over it hastily. It was from the Lord Lieutenant's secretary, to say that his excellency felt pleasure in placing a company in the —— militia, at Colonel Hamilton's disposal. "There is the road to fame open as a turnpike trust. Come hither, Constance, and here is the alternative." She looked at me archly, I caught her to my heart, and kissed her red lips.


"Well, Frank."

"You may write a polite letter to the Castle, and decline the commission."

[pg 155]

Half a century has passed, but ninety-eight is still, by oral communications, well known to the Irish peasant; and would that its horrors carried with them salutary reminiscences! But to my own story.

Instead of fattening beeves, planting trees, clapping vagabonds "i' th' stocks," and doing all and everything that appertaineth to a country gentleman, and also, the queen's poor esquire, I might have, until the downfall of Napoleon, and the reduction of the militia, events cotemporaneous, smelt powder on the Phoenix Park on field days, and like Hudibras, of pleasant memory, at the head of a charge of foot, "rode forth a coloneling." In place, however, of meddling with cold iron, I yielded to "metal more attractive," and in three months became a Benedict, and in some dozen more a papa.

In the mean time, rebellion was bloodily put down, and on my lady's recovery, my father, whose yearning for a return to the old roof-tree was irresistible, prepared for our departure from the metropolis.

Curiously enough, we passed through Prosperous, exactly on the anniversary of the day when we had so providentially effected an invasion from certain destruction. Were aught required to elicit gratitude for a fortunate escape, two objects, and both visible from the inn windows, would have been sufficient. One was a mass of blackened ruins—the scathed walls of the barrack, in which the wretched garrison had been so barbarously done to death: the other a human head impaled upon a spike on the gable of the building. That blanched skull had rested on the shoulders of our traitor host, and we, doomed to "midnight murder," were mercifully destined to witness a repulsive, but just evidence, that Providence interposes often between the villain and the victim.

I am certain that in my physical construction, were an analysis practicable, small would be the amount of heroic proportions which the most astute operator would detect. I may confess the truth, and say, that in "lang syne," any transient ebullition of military ardor vanished at a glance from Constance's black eye. The stream of time swept on, and those that were, united their dust with those that had been. In a short time my letter of readiness may be expected; and I shall, in nature's course, after the last march, as Byron says, ere long

"Take my rest."

And will the succession end with me? Tell it not to Malthes, nor whisper it to Harriet Martineau. There is no prospect of advertising for the next of kin, i.e. if five strapping boys and a couple of the fair sex may be considered a sufficient security.

No money is better spent than what is laid out for domestic satisfaction. A man is pleased that his wife is dressed as well as other people, and the wife is pleased that she is so well dressed.—Dr. Johnson.




Ivan soon found himself received into the best society of the place. All were glad to welcome the adventurous trader from Yakoutsk; and when he intimated that his boxes of treasure, his brandy and tea, and rum and tobacco, were to be laid out in the hire of dogs and sledges, he found ample applicants, though, from the very first, all refused to accompany his party as guardians of the dogs. Sakalar, however, who had expected this, was nothing daunted, but, bidding Ivan amuse himself as best he could, undertook all the preparations. But Ivan found as much pleasure in teaching what little he knew to Kolina as in frequenting the fashionable circles of Kolimsk. Still, he could not reject the numerous polite invitations to evening parties and dances which poured upon him. I have said evening parties, for though there was no day, yet still the division of the hours was regularly kept, and parties began at five P.M., to end at ten. There was singing and dancing, and gossip and tea, of which each individual would consume ten or twelve large cups; in fact, despite the primitive state of the inhabitants, and the vicinity to the Polar Sea, these assemblies very much resembled in style those of Paris and London. The costumes, the saloons, and the hours, were different, while the manners were less refined, but the facts were the same.

When the carnival came round, Ivan, who was a little vexed at the exclusion of Kolina from the fashionable Russian society, took care to let her have the usual amusement of sliding down a mountain of ice, which she did to her great satisfaction. But he took care also at all times to devote to her his days, while Sakalar wandered about from yourte to yourte in search of hints and information for the next winter's journey. He also hired the requisite nartas, or sledges, and the thirty-nine dogs which were to draw them, thirteen to each. The he bargained for a large stock of frozen and dry fish for the dogs, and other provisions for themselves. But what mostly puzzled the people were his assiduous efforts to get a man to go with them who would harness twenty dogs to an extra sledge. To the astonishment of everybody, three young men at last volunteered, and three extra sledges were then procured.

The summer soon came round, and then Ivan and his friends started out at once with the hunters, and did their utmost to be useful. As the natives of Kolimsk went during the chase a long distance toward Cape Sviatoi, the spot where the adventurers were to quit the land and venture on the Frozen Sea, they took care, at the furthest extremity of their hunting trip, to leave a deposit of provisions. They erected a small platform, which they covered with drift wood, and on this they placed the dried fish. Above were [pg 156] laid heavy stones, and every precaution used to ward off the isatis and the glutton. Ivan during the summer added much to his stock of hunting knowledge.

At length the winter came round once more, and the hour arrived so long desired. The sledges were ready—six in number, and loaded as heavily as they could bear. But for so many dogs, and for so many days, it was quite certain they must economize most strictly; while it was equally certain, if no bears fell in their way on the journey, that they must starve, if they did not perish otherwise on the terrible Frozen Sea. Each narta, loaded with eight hundredweight of provisions and its driver, was drawn by six pair of dogs and a leader. They took no wood, trusting implicitly to Providence for this most essential article. They purposed following the shores of the Frozen Sea to Cape Sviatoi, because on the edge of the sea they hoped to find, as usual, plenty of wood, floated to the shore during the brief period when the ice was broken and the vast ocean in part free. One of the sledges was less loaded than the rest with provisions, because it bore a tent, an iron plate for fire on the ice, a lamp, and the few cooking utensils of the party.

Early one morning in the month of November—the long night still lasting—the six sledges took their departure. The adventurers had every day exercised themselves with the dogs for some hours, and were pretty proficient. Sakalar drove the first team, Kolina the second, and Ivan the third. The Kolimak men came afterward. They took their way along the snow toward the mouth of the Tchouktcha river. The first day's journey brought them to the extreme limits of vegetation, after which they entered on a vast and interminable plain of snow, along which the nartas moved rapidly. But the second day. in the afternoon, a storm came on. The snow fell in clouds, the wind blew with a bitterness of cold as searching to the form of man as the hot blast of the desert, and the dogs appeared inclined to halt. But Sakalar kept on his way toward a hillock in the distance, where the guides spoke of a hut of refuge. But before a dozen yards could be crossed, the sledge of Kolina was overturned, and a halt became necessary.

Ivan was the first to raise his fair companion from the ground; and then with much difficulty—their hands, despite all the clothes, being half-frozen—they again put the nartas in condition to proceed. Sakalar had not stopped, but was seen in the distance unharnessing his sledge, and then poking about in a huge heap of snow. He was searching for the hut, which had been completely buried in the drift. In a few minutes the whole six were at work, despite the blast, while the dogs were scratching holes for themselves in the soft snow, within which they soon lay snug, their noses only out of the hole, while over this the sagacious brutes put the tip of their long bushy tails.

At the end of an hour well employed, the hut was freed inside from snow, and a fire of stunted bushes with a few logs lit in the middle. Here the whole party cowered, almost choked with the thick smoke, which, however, was less painful than the blast from the icy sea. The smoke escaped with difficulty, because the roof was still covered with firm snow, and the door was merely a hole to crawl through. At last, however, they got the fire to the state of red embers, and succeeded in obtaining a plentiful supply of tea and food: after which their limbs being less stiff, they fed the dogs.

While they were attending to the dogs, the storm abated, and was followed by a magnificent aurora borealis. It rose in the north, a sort of semi-arch of light; and then across the heavens, in almost every direction, darted columns of a luminous character. The light was as bright as that of the moon in its full. There were jets of lurid red light in some places, which disappeared and came again; while there being a dead calm after the storm, the adventurers heard a kind of rustling sound in the distance, faint and almost imperceptible, and yet believed to be the rush of the air in the sphere of the phenomenon. A few minutes more and all had disappeared.

After a hearty meal, the wanderers launched into the usual topics of conversation in those regions. Sakalar was not a boaster, but the young men from Nijnei-Kolimsk were possessed of the usual characteristics of hunters and fishermen. They told with considerable vigor and effect long stories of their adventures, most exaggerated—and when not impossible, most improbable—of bears killed in hand to hand combat, of hundreds of deer slain in the crossing of a river, and of multitudinous heaps of fish drawn in one cast of a seine: and then, wrapped in their thick clothes and every one's feet to the fire, the whole party soon slept. Ivan and Kolina, however, held whispered converse together for a little while, but fatigue soon overcame even them.

The next day they advanced still farther toward the pole, and on the evening of the third camped within a few yards of the great Frozen Sea. There it lay before them, scarcely distinguishable from the land. As they looked upon it from a lofty eminence, it was hard to believe that that was a sea before them. There was snow on the sea and snow on the land: there were mountains on both, and huge drifts, and here and there vast polinas—a space of soft, watery ice, which resembled the lakes of Siberia. All was bitter, cold, sterile, bleak, and chilling to the eye, which vainly sought a relief. The prospect of a journey over this desolate plain, intersected in every direction by ridges of mountain icebergs, full of crevices, with soft salt ice here and there, was dolorous indeed; and yet the heart of Ivan quaked not. He had now what he sought in view; he knew there was land beyond, and riches, and fame.

[pg 157]

A rude tent, with snow piled round the edge to keep it firm, was erected. It needed to be strongly pitched, for in these regions the blast is more quick and sudden than in any place perhaps in the known world, pouring down along the fields of ice with terrible force direct from the unknown caverns of the northern pole. Within the tent, which was of double reindeer-skin, a fire was lit; while behind a huge rock, and under cover of the sledges, lay the dogs. As usual, after a hearty meal, and hot tea—drunk perfectly scalding—the party retired to rest. About midnight all were awoke by a sense of oppression and stifling heat. Sakalar rose, and by the light of the remaining embers scrambled to the door. It was choked up by snow. The hunter immediately began to shovel it from the narrow hole through which they entered or left the hut, and then groped his way out. The snow was falling so thick and fast that the traveling yourte was completely buried, and the wind being—directly opposite to the door, the snow had drifted round and concealed the aperture.

The dogs now began to howl fearfully. This was too serious a warning to be disdained. They smelt the savage bear of the icy seas, which in turn had been attracted to them by its sense of smelling. Scarcely had the sagacious animals given tongue, when Sakalar, through the thick-falling snow and amid the gloom, saw a dull heavy mass rolling directly toward the tent. He leveled his gun, and fired, after which he seized a heavy steel wood-axe, and stood ready. The animal had at first halted, but next minute he came on growling furiously. Ivan and Kolina now both fired, when the animal turned and ran. But the dogs were now round him, and Sakalar behind them. One tremendous blow of his axe finished the huge beast, and there he lay in the snow. The dogs then abandoned him, refusing to eat fresh bear's meat, though, when frozen, they gladly enough accept it.

The party again sought rest, after lighting an oil-lamp with a thick wick, which, in default of the fire, diffused a tolerable amount of warmth in a small place occupied by six people. But they did not sleep; for though one of the bears was killed, the second of the almost invariable couple was probably near, and the idea of such vicinity was anything but agreeable. These huge quadrupeds have been often known to enter a hut and stifle all its inhabitants. The night was therefore far from refreshing, and at an earlier hour than usual all were on foot. Every morning the same routine was followed: hot tea, without sugar or milk, was swallowed to warm the body; then a meal, which took the place of dinner, was cooked and devoured; then the dogs were fed, and then the sledges, which had been inclined on one side, were placed horizontally. This was always done to water their keel, to use a nautical phrase; for this water freezing they glided along all the faster. A portion of the now hard-frozen bear was given to the dogs, and the rest placed on the sledges, after the skin had been secured toward making a new covering at night.

This day's journey was half on the land, half on the sea, according as the path served. It was generally very rough, and the sledges made but slow way. The dogs, too, had coverings put on their feet, and on every other delicate place, which made them less agile. In ordinary cases, on a smooth surface, it is not very difficult to guide a team of dogs, when the leader is a first-rate animal. But this is an essential point, otherwise it is impossible to get along. Every time the dogs hit on the track of a bear, or fox, or other animal, their hunting instincts are developed: away they dart like mad, leaving the line of march, and in spite of all the efforts of the driver, begin the chase. But if the front dog be well trained, he dashes on on one side, in a totally opposite direction, smelling and barking as if he had a new track. If his artifice succeeds, the whole team dart away after him, and speedily losing the scent, proceed on their journey.

Sakalar, who still kept ahead of the party, when making a wide circuit out at sea about midday, at the foot of a steep hill of rather rough ice, found his dogs suddenly increasing their speed, but in the right direction. To this he had no objection, though it was very doubtful what was beyond. However, the dogs darted ahead with terrific rapidity, until they reached the summit of the hill. The ice was here very rough and salt, which impeded the advance of the sledge: but off are the dogs, down a very steep descent, furiously tugging at the sledge-halter, till away they fly like lightning. The harness had broken off, and Sakalar remained alone on the crest of the hill. He leaped off the nartas, and stood looking at it with the air of a man stunned. The journey seemed checked violently. Next instant, his gun in hand, he followed the dogs right down the hill, dashing away too like a madman, in his long hunting-skates. But the dogs were out of sight, and Sakalar soon found himself opposed by a huge wall of ice. He looked back; he was wholly out of view of his companions. To reconnoiter, he ascended the wall as best he could, and then looked down into a sort of circular hollow of some extent, where the ice was smooth and even watery.

He was about to turn away, when his sharp eye detected something moving, and all his love of the chase was at once aroused. He recognized the snow-cave of a huge bear. It was a kind of cavern, caused by the falling together of two pieces of ice, with double issue. Both apertures the bear had succeeded in stopping up, after breaking a hole in the thin ice of the sheltered polina, or sheet of soft ice. Here the cunning animal lay in wait. How long he had been lying it was impossible to say, but almost as Sakalar [pg 158] crouched down to watch, a seal came to the surface, and lay against the den of its enemy to breathe. A heavy paw was passed through the hole, and the sea-cow was killed in an instant. A naturalist would have admired the wit of the ponderous bear, and passed on; but the Siberian hunter knows no such thought, and as the animal issued forth to seize his prey, a heavy ball, launched with unerring aim, laid him low.

Sakalar now turned away in search of his companions, whose aid was required to secure a most useful addition to their store of food; and as he did so, he heard a distant and plaintive howl. He hastened in the direction, and in a quarter of an hour came to the mouth of a narrow gut between two icebergs. The stick of the harness had caught in the fissure, and checked the dogs, who were barking with rage. Sakalar caught the bridle, which had been jerked out of his hand, and turned the dogs round. The animals followed his guidance, and he succeeded, after some difficulty, in bringing them to where lay his game. He then fastened the bear and seal, both dead and frozen even in this short time, and joined his companions.

For several days the same kind of difficulties had to be overcome, and then they reached the sayba, where the provisions had been placed in the summer. It was a large rude box, erected on piles, and the whole stock was found safe. As there was plenty of wood in this place they halted to rest the dogs and re-pack the sledges. The tent was pitched, and they all thought of repose. They were now about wholly to quit the land, and to venture in a north-westerly direction on the Frozen Sea.


Despite the fire made on the iron plate in the middle of the tent, our adventurers found the cold at this point of their journey most poignant. It was about Christmas; but the exact time of year had little to do with the matter. The wind was northerly, and keen: and they often at night had to rise and promote circulation by a good run on the snow. But early on the third day all was ready for a start. The sun was seen that morning on the edge of the horizon for a short while, and promised soon to give them days. Before them were a line of icebergs, seemingly an impenetrable wall; but it was necessary to brave them. The dogs, refreshed by two days of rest, started vigorously, and a plain hill of ice being selected, they succeeded in reaching its summit. Then before them lay a vast and seemingly interminable plain. Along this the sledges ran with great speed; and that day they advanced nearly thirty miles from the land, and camped on the sea in a valley of ice.

It was a singular spot. Vast sugar-loaf hills of ice, as old perhaps as the world, threw their lofty cones to the skies, on all sides, while they rested doubtless on the bottom of the ocean. Every fantastic form was there; there seemed in the distance cities and palaces as white as chalk; pillars and reversed cones, pyramids and mounds of every shape, valleys and lakes; and under the influence of the optical delusions of the locality, green fields and meadows, and tossing seas. Here the whole party rested soundly, and pushed on hard the next day in search of land.

Several tracks of foxes and bears were now seen, but no animals were discovered. The route, however, was changed. Every now and then newly-formed fields of ice were met, which a little while back had been floating. Lumps stuck up in every direction, and made the path difficult. Then they reached a vast polinas, where the humid state of the surface told that it was thin, and of recent formation. A stick thrust into it went through. But the adventurers took the only course left them. The dogs were placed abreast, and then, at a signal, were launched upon the dangerous surface. They flew rather than ran. It was necessary, for as they went, the ice cracked in every direction, but always under the weight of the nartas, which were off before they could be caught by the bubbling waters. As soon as the solid ice was again reached, the party halted, deep gratitude to Heaven in their hearts, and camped for the night.

But the weather had changed. What is called here the warm wind had blown all day, and at night a hurricane came on. As the adventurers sat smoking after supper, the ice beneath their feet trembled, shook, and then fearful reports bursting on their ears, told them that the sea was cracking in every direction. They had camped on an elevated iceberg of vast dimensions, and were for the moment safe. But around them they heard the rush of waters. The vast Frozen Sea was in one of its moments of fury. In the deeper seas to the north it never freezes firmly—in fact there is always an open sea, with floating bergs. When a hurricane blows, these clear spaces become terribly agitated. Their tossing waves and mountains of ice act on the solid plains, and break them up at times. This was evidently the case now. About midnight our travelers, whose anguish of mind was terrible, felt the great iceberg afloat. Its oscillations were fearful. Sakalar alone preserved his coolness. The men of Nijnei Kolimsk raved and tore their hair, crying that they had been brought willfully to destruction; Kolina kneeled, crossed herself, and prayed; while Ivan deeply reproached himself as the cause of so many human beings encountering such awful peril. The rockings of their icy raft were terrible. It was impelled hither and thither by even huger masses. Now it remained on its first level, then its surface presented an angle of nearly forty-five degrees, and it seemed about to turn bottom up. All recommended themselves to God, and awaited their fate. Suddenly they were rocked more violently [pg 159] than ever, and were all thrown down by the shock. Then all was still.

The hurricane lulled, the wind shifted. snow began to fall, and the prodigious plain of loose ice again lay quiescent. The bitter frost soon cemented its parts once more, and the danger was over. The men of Nijnei Kolimsk now insisted on an instant return; but Sakalar was firm, and, though their halt had given them little rest, started as the sun was seen above the horizon. The road was fearfully bad. All was rough, disjointed, and almost impassable. But the sledges had good whalebone keels, and were made with great care to resist such difficulties. The dogs were kept moving all day, but when night came they had made but little progress. But they rested in peace. Nature was calm, and morning found them still asleep. But Sakalar was indefatigable, and as soon as he had boiled a potful of snow, made tea, and awoke his people.

They were now about to enter a labyrinth of toroses or icebergs. There was no plain ground within sight; but no impediment could be attended to. Bears made these their habitual resorts, while the wolf skulked every night round the camp, waiting their scanty leavings. Every eye was stretched in search of game. But the road itself required intense care, to prevent the sledges overturning. Toward the afternoon they entered a narrow valley of ice full of drifted snow, into which the dogs sank, and could scarcely move. At this instant two enormous white bears presented themselves. The dogs sprang forward; but the ground was too heavy for them. The hunters, however, were ready. The bears marched boldly on as if savage from long fasting. No time was to be lost. Sakalar and Ivan singled out each his animal. Their heavy ounce balls struck both. The opponent of Sakalar turned and fled, but that of Ivan advanced furiously toward him. Ivan stood his ground, axe in hand, and struck the animal a terrible blow on the muzzle. But as he did so, he stumbled, and the bear was upon him. Kolina shrieked; Sakalar was away after his prize; but the Kolimsk men rushed in. Two fired: the third struck the animal with a spear. The bear abandoned Ivan, and faced his new antagonists. The contest was now unequal, and before half an hour was over, the stock of provisions was again augmented, as well as the means of warmth. They had very little wood, and what they had was used sparingly. Once or twice a tree, fixed in the ice, gave them additional fuel; but they were obliged chiefly to count on oil. A small fire was made at night to cook by; but it was allowed to go out, the tent was carefully closed, and the caloric of six people, with a huge lamp with three wicks, served for the rest of the night.

About the sixth day they struck land. It was a small island, in a bay of which they found plenty of drift wood. Sakalar was delighted. He was on the right track. A joyous halt took place, a splendid fire was made, and the whole party indulged themselves in a glass of rum—a liquor very rarely touched, from its known tendency to increase rather than diminish cold. A hole was next broken in the ice, and an attempt made to catch some seals. Only one, however, rewarded their efforts; but this, with a supply of wood, filled the empty space made in the sledges by the daily consumption of the dogs. But the island was soon found to be infested with bears: no fewer than five, with eleven foxes, were killed, and then huge fires had to be kept up at night to drive their survivors away.

Their provender thus notably increased, the party started in high spirits; but though they were advancing toward the pole, they were also advancing toward the Deep Sea, and the ice presented innumerable dangers. Deep fissures, lakes, chasms, mountains, all lay in their way; and no game presented itself to their anxious search. Day after day they pushed on—here making long circuits, there driven back, and losing sometimes in one day all they had made in the previous twelve hours. Some fissures were crossed on bridges of ice, which took hours to make, while every hour the cold seemed more intense. The sun was now visible for hours, and, as usual in these parts, the cold was more severe since his arrival.

At last, after more than twenty days of terrible fatigue, there was seen looming in the distance what was no doubt the promised land. The sledges were hurried forward—for they were drawing toward the end of their provisions—and the whole party was at length collected on the summit of a lofty mountain of ice. Before them were the hills of New Siberia; to their right a prodigious open sea: and at their feet, as far as the eye could reach, a narrow channel of rapid water, through which huge lumps of ice rushed so furiously, as to have no time to cement into a solid mass.

The adventurers stood aghast. But Sakalar led the way to the very brink of the channel, and moved quietly along its course until he found what he was in search of. This a sheet or floe of ice, large enough to bear the whole party, and yet almost detached from the general field. The sledges were put upon it, and then, by breaking with their axes the narrow tongue which held it, it swayed away into the tempestuous sea. It almost turned round as it started. The sledges and dogs were placed in the middle, while the five men stood at the very edge to guide it as far as possible with their hunting spears.

In a few minutes it was impelled along by the rapid current, but received every now and then a check when it came in contact with heavier and deeper masses. The Kolimsk men stood transfixed with terror as they saw themselves borne out toward that vast deep sea which eternally tosses and rages round [pg 160] the Arctic Pole: but Sakalar, in a peremptory tone, bade them use their spears. They pushed away heartily; and their strange raft, though not always keeping its equilibrium, was edged away both across and down the stream. At last it began to move more slowly, and Sakalar found himself under the shelter of a huge iceberg, and then impelled up stream by a backwater current. In a few minutes the much wished-for shore was reached.

The route was rude and rugged as they approached the land; but all saw before them the end of their labors for the winter, and every one proceeded vigorously. The dogs seemed to smell the land, or at all events some tracks of game, for they hurried on with spirit. About an hour before the usual time of camping they were under a vast precipice, turning which, they found themselves in a deep and sheltered valley, with a river at the bottom, frozen between its lofty banks, and covered by deep snow.

"The ivory mine!" said Sakalar in a low tone to Ivan, who thanked him by an expressive look.


"In the Russian peasant lies the embryo of the Russian chivalric spirit, the origin of our nation's grandeur."

"Cunning fellows they are, the vagabonds," remarked Vassily Ivanovitsch.

"Yes, cunning, and thereby clever; quick in imitation, quick in appropriating what is new or useful—ready prepared for civilization. Try to teach a laborer in foreign countries anything out of the way of his daily occupation, and he will still cling to his plow: with us, only give the word, and the peasant becomes musician, painter, mechanic, steward, anything you like."

"Well, that's true," remarked Vassily Ivanovitsch.

"And besides," continued Ivan Vassilievitsch, "in what country can you find such a strongly-marked and instinctive notion of his duties, such readiness to assist his fellow-creatures, such cheerfulness, such benignity, so much gentleness and strength combined."

"A splendid fellow the Russian peasant—a splendid fellow indeed;" interrupted Vassily Ivanovitsch.

"And, nevertheless, we disdain him, we look at him with contempt; nay, more, instead of making any effort to cultivate his mind, we try to spoil it by every possible means."

"How so?"

"By the loathsome establishment we have—our household serfs. Our house serf is the first step toward the tchinovnik. He goes without a beard and wears a coat of a western cut; he is an idler, a debauchee, a drunkard, a thief, and yet he assumes airs of consequence before the peasant, whom he disdains, and from whose labor he draws his own subsistence and his poll-tax. After some time more or less, according to circumstances, the household serf becomes a clerk; he gets his liberty and a place as writer in some district court; as a writer in the government's service he disdains, in addition to the peasant, his late comrades in the household; he learns to cavil in business, and begins to take email bribes in poultry, eggs, corn, &c.; he studies roguery systematically, and goes one step lower; he becomes a secretary and a genuine tchinovnik. Then his sphere is enlarged; he gets a new existence: he disdains the peasant, the house serf, the clerk, and the writer, because, he says, they are all uncivilized people. His wants are now greater, and you cannot bribe him except with bank notes. Does he not take wine now at his meals? Does he not patronize a little pharo? Is he not obliged to present his lady with a costly cap or a silk gown? He fills up his place, and without the least remorse—like a tradesman behind his counter—he sells his influence as if it were merchandise. It happens now and then that he is caught. 'Served him right,' say his comrades then; 'take bribes, but take them prudently, so as not to be caught.'"

"But they are not all as you describe them," remarked Vassily Ivanovitsch.

"Certainly not. Exceptions, however, do not alter the rule."

"And yet the officers in the government service with us are for the most part elected by the nobility and gentry."

"That is just where the great evil lies," continued Ivan Vassilievitsch. "What in other countries is an object of public competition, is with us left to ourselves. What right have we to complain against our government, who has left it in our discretion to elect officers to regulate our internal affairs? Is it not our own fault that, instead of paying due attention to a subject of so much importance, we make game of it? We have in every province many a civilized man, who backed by the laws, could give a salutary direction to public affairs; but they all fly the elections like a plague, leaving them in the hands of intriguing schemers. The most wealthy land-owners lounge on the Nevsky-perspective, or travel abroad, and but seldom visit their estates. For them elections are—a caricature: they amuse themselves over the bald head of the sheriff or the thick belly of the president of the court of assizes, and they forget that to them is intrusted not only their own actual welfare and that of their peasantry, but their entire future destiny. Yes, thus it is! Had we not taken such a mischievous course, were we not so unpardonably thoughtless, how grand would have been the vocation of the Russian noble, to lead the whole nation forward on the path of genuine civilization! I repeat again, it is our own fault. Instead of being useful to their country, what has become of the Russian nobility?"

"They have ruined themselves," emphatically interrupted Vassily Ivanovitsch.—The Tarantas: or Impressions of Young Russia.

Footnote 1: (return)

The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt. Two volumes. Harper & Brothers. 1850.

Footnote 2: (return)

An Irish term for wearing jockey-boots.

Footnote 3: (return)

An Irish gentleman shot in a duel in lang syne, was poetically described as having been left "quivering on a daisy."

Footnote 4: (return)

In Ireland this functionary's operations are not confined to the dead, but extend very disagreeably to the living.