The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844

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Title: The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844

Author: Various

Editor: Lewis Gaylord Clark

Release date: January 25, 2007 [eBook #20444]
Most recently updated: March 15, 2007

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier and the Online
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Vol. XXIII. March, 1844. No. 3.



This question has often been asked but seldom answered satisfactorily. Newspaper editors and correspondents have frequently attempted a practical elucidation of the mystery, by quoting from their own brains the rarest piece of absurdity which they could imagine, and entitling it ‘Transcendentalism.’ One good hit of this kind may be well enough, by way of satire upon the fogginess of certain writers who deem themselves, and are deemed by the multitude, transcendental par excellence. Coleridge however thought that to parody stupidity by way of ridiculing it, only proves the parodist more stupid than the original blockhead. Still, one such attempt may be tolerated; but when imitators of the parodist arise and fill almost every newspaper in the country with similar witticisms, such efforts become ‘flat and unprofitable;’ for nothing is easier than to put words together in a form which conveys no meaning to the reader. It is a cheap kind of wit, asinine rather than attic, and can be exercised as well by those who know nothing of the subject as by those best acquainted with it. Indeed, it is greatly to be doubted whether one in a hundred of these witty persons know any thing of the matter; for if they possess sense enough to make them worthy of being ranked among reasonable men, it could be proved to them in five minutes that they are themselves transcendentalists, as all thinking men find themselves compelled to be, whether they know themselves by that name or not.

‘Poh!’ said a friend, looking over my shoulder; ‘you can’t prove me a transcendentalist; I defy you to do it; I despise the name.’

Why so? Let us know what it is that you despise. Is it the sound of the word? Is it not sufficiently euphonious? Does it not strike your ear as smoothly as Puseyite, or Presbyterian?

‘Nonsense!’ said he; ‘you don’t suppose I am to be misled by the sound of a word; it is the meaning to which I object. I despise transcendentalism; therefore I do not wish to be called transcendentalist.’

206Very well; but we shall never ‘get ahead’ unless you define transcendentalism according to your understanding of the word.

‘That request is easily made, but not easily complied with. Have you Carlyle or Emerson at hand?’

Here I took down a volume of each, and read various sentences and paragraphs therefrom. These passages are full of transcendental ideas; do you object to them?

‘No,’ said my friend; ‘for aught I can perceive, they might have been uttered by any one who was not a transcendentalist. Let me see the books.’

After turning over the leaves a long while, he selected and read aloud a passage from Carlyle, one of his very worst; abrupt, nervous, jerking, and at the same time windy, long-drawn-out, and parenthetical; a period filling a whole page.

‘There,’ said he, stopping to take breath, ‘if that is not enough to disgust one with transcendentalism, then I know nothing of the matter.’

A very sensible conclusion. Bless your soul, that is Carlyle-ism, not transcendentalism. You said but now that you were not to be misled by the sound of a word; and yet you are condemning a principle on account of the bad style of a writer who is supposed to be governed by it. Is that right? Would you condemn Christianity because of the weaknesses and sins of one of its professors?

‘Of course not,’ replied he; ‘I wish to be fair. I cannot express my idea of the meaning of transcendentalism without tedious circumlocution, and I begin to despair of proving my position by quotations. It is not on any particular passage that I rest my case. You have read this work, and will understand me when I say that it is to its general intent and spirit that I object, and not merely to the author’s style.’

I think I comprehend you. You disregard the mere form in which the author expresses his thoughts; you go beyond and behind that, and judge him by the thoughts themselves; not by one or by two, but by the sum and substance of the whole. You strip off the husk to arrive at the kernel, and judge of the goodness of the crop by the latter, not the former.

‘Just so,’ said he; ‘that’s my meaning precisely. I always strive to follow that rule in every thing. ‘Appearances,’ you know, ‘are deceitful.’’

That is to say, you go beyond or transcend appearances and circumstances, and divine the true meaning, the substance, the spirit of that on which you are about to decide. That is practical transcendentalism, and you are a transcendentalist.

‘I wish you would suggest another name for it,’ said my friend, as he went out of the door; ‘I detest the sound of that word.’

I wish we could, said I, but he was out of hearing; I wish we could, for it is an abominably long word to write.

‘I wish we could,’ mutters the printer, ‘for it is an awfully long word to print.’

‘I wish we could,’ is the sober second thought of all; for people will always condemn transcendentalism until it is called by another name. Such is the force of prejudice.

207‘I have been thinking over our conversation of yesterday,’ said my friend next morning, on entering my room.

‘Oh, you have been writing it down, have you? Let me see it.’ After looking over the sketch, he remarked:

‘You seem to have me fast enough, but after all I believe you conquered merely by playing upon a word, and in proving me to be a transcendentalist you only proved me to be a reasonable being; one capable of perceiving, remembering, combining, comparing and deducing; one who, amid the apparent contradictions with which we are surrounded, strives to reconcile appearances and discover principles; and from the outward and visible learn the inward and spiritual; in fine, arrive at truth. Now every reasonable man claims to be all that I have avowed myself to be. If this is to be a transcendentalist, then I am one. When I read that I must hate my father and mother before I can be a disciple of Jesus, I do not understand that passage literally; I call to mind other precepts of Christ; I remember the peculiarities of eastern style; I compare these facts together, and deduce therefrom a very different principle from that apparently embodied in the passage quoted. When I see the Isle of Shoals doubled, and the duplicates reversed in the air above the old familiar rocks, I do not, as I stand on Rye-beach, observing the interesting phenomenon, believe there are two sets of islands there; but recalling facts which I have learned, and philosophical truths which I have acquired and verified, I attribute the appearance to its true cause, refraction of light. When in passing from room to room in the dark, with my arms outspread, I run my nose against the edge of a door, I do not therefrom conclude that my nose is longer than my arms! When I see a man stumble in the street, I do not at once set him down as a drunkard, not considering that to be sufficient evidence, although some of our Washingtonian friends do; but I compare that fact with the state of the streets, and what I know of his previous life, and judge accordingly.’

Well, said I, you are an excellent transcendentalist; one after my own heart, in morals, philosophy and religion. To be a transcendentalist is after all to be only a sensible, unprejudiced man, open to conviction at all times, and spiritually-minded. I can well understand that, when you condemn transcendentalism, you object not to the principle, but to the practice, in the superlative degree, of that principle. Transcendentalism is but an abstract mode of considering morals, philosophy, religion; an application of the principles of abstract science to these subjects. All metaphysicians are transcendentalists, and every one is transcendental so far as he is metaphysical. There are as many different modifications of the one as of the other, and probably no two transcendentalists ever thought alike; their creed is not yet written. You certainly do not condemn spiritualism, but ultra spiritualism you seem to abhor.

‘Precisely so. I did not yesterday give you the meaning which I attached to transcendentalism; in truth, practically you meant one thing by that term, and I another, though I now see that in principle they are the same. The spiritualism which I like, looks through nature and revelation up to God; that which I abhor, condescends hardly to make 208use of nature at all, but demands direct converse with God, and declares that it enjoys it too; a sort of continual and immediate revelation. Itself is its own authority. The ultra-spiritualist contains within himself the fulness of the Godhead. He allows of nothing external, unless it be brother spirits like himself. He has abolished nature, and to the uninitiated seems to have abolished God himself, although I am charitable enough to believe that he has full faith in God, after his own fashion. He claims to be inspired; to be equal to Jesus; nay superior; for one of them lately said: ‘Greater is the container than the contained, therefore I am greater than God, for I contain God!’ The ultra-spiritualist believes only by and through and in his own inward light. Let him take care, as Carlyle says, that his own contemptible tar-link does not, by being held too near his eyes, extinguish to him the sun of the universe. Now the true spiritualist makes use not only of his own moral and religious instincts, but all that can be gathered by the senses from external nature, and all that can be acquired by untiring consultation with the sages who have gone before him; and from these materials in the alembic of his mind, with such power as God has given him, he distils truth.’

Truth! Ah, that is the very point in question. ‘What is truth?’ has been the ardent inquiry of every honest mind from the days of Adam to the present time, and the sneering demand of many an unbeliever. Eve sought it when she tasted the forbidden fruit. But since then, thank God! no prohibition has been uttered against the search after truth, and mankind have improved their liberty with great industry for six thousand years; and what is the result? Is truth discovered? How much? and how much of falsehood is mixed up with what is known to be true? These questions are constantly suggesting themselves to thinkers, and to answer them is the labor of their lives. Let them have free scope, ultra-spiritualists and all. Even these latter go through the same operation which you have just claimed to be peculiar to the true spiritualist. All do, whether they will or not, make use of observation, learning, and the inward light. Some arrive at one result, and some at another, because the elements differ in each. If any two could be found whose external observations, learning, intellect and inward light or instincts were precisely equal in volume and proportion, can it be doubted that these two would arrive at precisely similar results? But they are not equal; and so one comes to believe in external authority, and the other refers every thing to a standard which he thinks he finds within himself. The latter is deemed by the public to be a representative of pure transcendentalism, and he is condemned accordingly as self-sufficient.

And privately, between you and me, my good friend, I cannot help thinking it rather ungrateful in him, after becoming so deeply indebted to his senses, to books, and the Bible for his spiritual education, to turn round and despise these means of advancement, and declare that they are mere non-essential circumstances, and that a man may reach the same end by studying himself in himself. It is as if a man should use a ladder to reach a lofty crag, and then kick it over contemptuously, and aver that he could just as well have flown up, and ask the crowd 209below to break up that miserable ladder and try their wings. Doubtless they have wings, if they only knew it. But seriously, I am not inclined to join in the hue-and-cry against even the ultra-transcendentalist. He has truth mixed up with what I esteem objectionable, and some truth to which others have not attained; and as I deem the eclectic the only true mode of philosophy, I am willing to take truth where I can find it, whether in China or Boston, in Confucius or Emerson, Kant or Cousin, the Bible or the Koran; and though I have more reverence for one of these sources than all others, it is only because I think I find there the greatest amount of truth, sanctioned by the highest authority. To put the belief in the Bible on any other ground, is to base it on educational prejudice and superstition; on which principle the Koran should be as binding on the Mahometan as the Bible on us. Do we not all finally resort to ourselves in order to decide a difficult question in morals or religion? and is not the decision more or less correct accordingly as we refer it to the better or to the baser portion of our nature?

‘Most certainly! I have often said I would not and could not believe in the Bible, if it commanded us to worship Sin and leave our passions unbridled.’

Well said! And in so saying, you acknowledge yourself to be governed by the same principle which actuates the ultra-transcendentalist; the moral sense or instinct, similar to the ‘inward light’ of the Friends. After all, I apprehend the true point in which men differ is, whether this moral sense is really an instinct, or whether it is evolved and put in operation by education. How much is due to nature? is the true question. But to solve it, is important only theoretically, for practically we all act alike; we cannot, if we would, separate the educational from the natural moral sense; we cannot uneducate it, and then judge by it, freed from all circumstantial bias. But whether more or less indebted either to nature or education, it is to this moral and religious sense that the ultra-transcendentalist refers every question, and passes judgment according to its verdict. It is sometimes rather vaguely called the ‘Pure Reason;’ but that is only a term, hardly a ‘mouthful of articulate wind.’

‘You and I shall agree very well together, I see,’ replied my friend. ‘If we dispute at all, it will be foolishly about the meaning of a word. All the world have been doing that ever since the confusion of tongues at Babel. That great event prophetically shadowed forth the future; for now, as then, the confusion and disputation is greatest when we are striving most earnestly to reach heaven by our earth-built contrivances. We may draw a lesson therefrom; not to be too aspiring for our means; for our inevitable failure only makes us the more ridiculous, the higher the position we seem to have attained.’

Very true; but we should never arrive at the height of wisdom, which consists in knowing our own ignorance and weakness, unless we made full trial of our powers. The fall of which you speak should give us a modesty not to be otherwise obtained, and make us very careful how we ridicule others, seeing how open to it we ourselves are. Every man may build his tower of Babel, and if he make a right use of his failure, may in the end be nearer heaven than if he had never made the 210attempt. Ridicule is no argument, and should only be used by way of a jeu d’esprit, and never on solemn subjects. It is very hard, I know, for one who has mirthfulness strongly developed, to restrain himself on all occasions; and what is solemn to one may not be so to another; hence we should be very charitable to all; alike to the bigots, the dreamers, and the laughers; to the builders of theoretic Babel-towers, and the grovellers on the low earth.

‘There is one kind of transcendentalism,’ replied my friend, ‘which you have not noticed particularly, which consists in believing in nothing except the spiritual existence of the unbeliever himself, and hardly that. It believes not in the external world at all.’

If you are on that ground, I have done. To talk of that, would be wasting our time on nothing; or ‘our eternity,’ for with that sect time is altogether a delusion. It may be true, but the believer, even in the act of declaring his faith, must practically prove himself persuaded of the falsity of his doctrine.

‘You wanted a short name for transcendentalism; if a long one will make this modification of it more odious, let us call it Incomprehensibilityosityivityalityationmentnessism.’

My friend said this with a face nearly as long as the word, made a low bow, and departed. I took my pen and reduced our conversation to writing. I hope by this time the reader has a very lucid answer to give to the question, What is Transcendentalism? It will be a miracle if he can see one inch farther into the fog-bank than before. I should like to take back the boast made in the beginning of this paper, that I could prove in five minutes any reasonable man a transcendentalist. My friend disconcerted my plan of battle, by taking command of the enemy’s forces, instead of allowing me to marshal them on paper to suit myself; and so a mere friendly joust ensued, instead of the utter demolition of my adversary, which I had intended.

And this little circumstance has led me to think, what a miserable business controversialists would make of it, if each had his opponent looking over his shoulder, pointing out flaws in his arguments, suggesting untimely truths, and putting every possible impediment in the path of his logic; and if, moreover, he were obliged to mend every flaw, prove every such truth a falsehood, and remove every impediment before he could advance a step. Were such the case, how much less would there be of fine-spun theory and specious argument; how much more of practical truth! Always supposing the logical combatants did not lose their patience and resort to material means and knock-down arguments; of which, judging by the spirit sometimes manifested in theological controversies, there would really seem to be some danger. Oh! it is a very easy thing to sit in one’s study and demolish an opponent, who after all is generally no opponent at all, but only a man of straw, dressed up for the occasion with a few purposely-tattered shreds of the adversary’s cast-off garments.

Note by the ‘Friend.’—The foregoing is a correct sketch of our conversations, especially as the reporter has, like his congressional brother, 211corrected most of the bad grammar, and left out some of the vulgarisms and colloquialisms, and given me the better side of the argument in the last conversation; it is very correct. But it seems to me that the question put at the commencement is as far from being solved as ever. It is as difficult to be answered as the question, What is Christianity? to which every sect will return a different reply, and each prove all the others wrong.

Portsmouth, (N. H.)J. K. Jr.




I’ve read in legends old of men

Who hung up fruits and flowers

Before the altar-shrines of those

They called Superior Powers:

It was, I think, a blessed thought

That things so pure and sweet

Should be esteemed an offering

For gods and angels meet.


I imitate that charming rite

In this our sober day,

And, when I worship, strew sweet flowers

Along my angel’s way:

And, if my heart’s fond prayer be heard,

The offering I renew;

For flowers like books have leaves that speak,

And thoughts of every hue.


They are Love’s paper, pictured o’er

With gentle hopes and fears;

Their blushes are the smiles of Love,

And their soft dew his tears!

Ah! more than poet’s pen can write

Or poet’s tongue reveal

Is hidden by their folded buds

And by their rosy seal.


Mute letters! yet how eloquent!

Expressive silence dwells

In every blossom Heaven creates,

Like sound in ocean shells.

Press to my flowers thy lips, beloved,

And then thy heart will see

Inscribed upon their leaves the words

I dare not breathe to thee!




It is not my purpose in the following narrative to point out all the evils arising from the modern practice of relieving the wants of the poor and destitute which prevails in this country and in England, where the arm of the law compels that pittance which should be the voluntary donation of benevolence; one consequence of which system is, that the poor claim support as a debt due from society at large, and feel no gratitude toward any of the individuals paying the tax. The payer of the tax, on the other hand, feeling that he can claim no merit for surrendering that which is wrung from him by force, and expecting no thanks for the act, and knowing that in many cases it operates as a bounty on idleness, hates the ungrateful burthen thus imposed upon him, and strives to reduce it to the least possible amount. In this way the ties which should bind together the poor and the rich are sundered. The benevolence of the patron and the gratitude of the dependent, which formerly existed, is changed to dislike and suspicion on the one part, and envy and ingratitude on the other.

Doubtless one design of Providence in suffering want and misery to exist in the world, is that the benevolent virtues should be kept in exercise. He who was benevolence itself, seemed thus to think, when he said: ‘The poor ye have always with you.’ But man in his selfishness virtually says: ‘The poor we will not have with us; we will put them out of our sight.’ For in many towns in New-England, and probably in other States, it is customary to contract with some individual for their support; or, in other words, to sell them by auction, to him who will support them by the year, for the least sum per head. To illustrate some of the results of this system, the following incidents are related from memory, having been witnessed by me in my native place (an interior town in New-England) at an age when the feelings are most susceptible. And so deep was the impression then made on my mind, that I am enabled to vouch for the accuracy of the details.

A meeting for the purpose of disposing of the poor of the town for the ensuing year was held at the house of the person who had kept them the previous year, (and where these unfortunates still were) as well because it was supposed he would again bid for them, as that those who wished to become competitors might ascertain their number and condition. It was in the afternoon of a day in November, one of those dark and dreary days so common to the season and climate, adding gloom to the surrounding objects, in themselves sufficiently cheerless. The house was situated on an obscure road in a remote part of the town, surrounded by level and sandy fields; and the monotony of the prospect only broken by scattered clumps of dwarf-pine and shrub-oak; a few stunted apple-trees, the remains of an orchard which the barren soil had refused to nourish; some half ruinous out-houses, and a meagre 213kitchen garden enclosed with a common rough fence, completed the picture without.

Still more depressing was the scene within. The paupers were collected in the same room with their more fortunate townsmen, that the bidders might be enabled to view more closely their condition, and estimate the probable expense of supporting them through the year. Many considerations entered as items into this sordid calculation; such as the very lowest amount of the very coarsest food which would suffice, (not to keep them in comfort, but to sustain their miserable existence for the next three hundred and sixty-five days, and yet screen the provider from the odium of having starved his victims,) the value of the clothes they then wore, and thus the future expense of their clothing; and other such considerations, which I will not farther disgust the reader by enumerating.

They were about twenty in number, and not greatly distinguished from the ordinary poor of a country town in New-England; unless by there being present three idiot daughters of one poor man, whose low and narrow foreheads, sunken temples, fixed but dead and unmeaning eyes, half opened and formless mouths, indicating even to childhood the absence of that intellectual light, which in those who possess it shines through the features. Insanity also was there, that most dreadful infliction of Providence; the purpose of which lies hidden in the darkness which surrounds His throne. Its unhappy subject was with them, but not of them. His eyes were fixed upon the scene, but the uncertain fire which illumined his features was caused by thoughts which had no connection with the passing scene.

Vice, too, had its representatives; for in a community where wealth is nearly the only source of distinction, and where Mammon is consequently worshipped as the true god, the destiny of the unfortunate and of the vicious is nearly the same. And the ‘poor-house’ was used, as in other towns in New-England, as a house of correction, and at this time contained several professors of vice of each sex. Alas! of that sex which when corrupt is more dangerous than the other in a like condition, as the most rich and grateful things are in their decay the most noxious!

The remaining number consisted of the aged and childless widow, the infirm and friendless old man, the sick, the deformed, and the cripple; the virtuous poor, in forced and loathed contact with vice and infamy. Those of society who in life’s voyage had been stranded on the bleak and barren coast of charity, and who were now waiting for death to float them into the ocean of eternity. While this scene was passing at the alms-house, another connected with it, and fitted to excite still deeper feelings, was acting in another part of the town.

A person who was that year one of the select-men,1 and a deacon in the church, was delegated by his colleagues to bring to the alms-house the ‘lone woman’ who forms the chief subject of our homely story. The widow Selden (a brief history of whom it will be necessary to 214give) had received an education suited rather to the respectability and former wealth of her family, than to its subsequent reduced condition, became in early life the wife of a merchant of our village, a man of good character and fair prospects, to whom she was much attached. Traders in New-England where wealth is so eagerly sought, are, especially in country towns, men of much consideration, as engaged in a money-making business. Mrs. Selden, therefore, independently of her personal merits, was not likely to be neglected. Her company was sought by the best society of our place, and she exchanged visits on equal terms even with the families of the clergyman and the village lawyer.

A few years of quiet enjoyment passed, happily varied by the accession of a fair and delicate little girl, who might be seen at their cheerful meals seated in her high chair, the common object of their care and attention; and not only affording in her fragile little person the strongest bond of union, but the never-tiring subject of conversation. Sad indeed was the change in this once happy family, when the widow and orphan sat alone at the cheerless board. Death had entered and taken from them the sun of their little world. The bereaved wife might have sunk under this calamity, had not maternal solicitude been mixed with grief. With that admirable fortitude and submission to duty so common to those of her sex in similar circumstances, she at once devoted herself with increased solicitude to the remaining object of her care and affection.

For a time but little change was visible in the family arrangements, for though a sensitive she was a spirited woman. Her garden, which had been the pride and delight of her husband, still flourished in perfect neatness. After the usual time of decent seclusion, she again interchanged visits with her friends and neighbors, and continued to maintain the stand in the village society which had always been conceded to her. But this state of things did not long continue, for alas! the gathering as well as the protecting hand was removed. Her more aristocratic acquaintances now began to remark that her table showed less of plenty and variety than formerly, and that her dress, though perfectly neat, was less new and fashionable than they expected in their associates; for no where is the distinction between the rich and poor more rigidly enforced than in country villages. Most offensively marked is this distinction in the house of God, where if any where this side the grave ought the rich and the poor to meet on a level, before Him who regards not the outward estate of his creatures. But modern Christians have contrived to evade the rebuke of the apostle by the cunning device of introducing the noisy auctioneer, and under a show of fairness and equality, ‘the man in goodly apparel and having a gold ring’ is assigned the highest seat; and albeit a skeptic, by the weight of his purse crowds the humble worshippers to the wall and into the corners of their Father’s house.

It was observed that the lone woman declined competition for those seats so eagerly sought by the more wealthy, and selected those of a humbler character, and eventually retired to the ‘widow’s pew,’ a pew set apart, in country churches, for the gratuitous accommodation of 215those in that unhappy condition. Sincerely religious, the Christian widow still waited upon God in the house of prayer, but felt the whole sting of poverty when slowly and humbly wending her way to her obscure corner, her faded and well-worn dress was brushed by the new and rich garments of her former equals as they swept past her to their high seats. The neat and handsome dwelling with its trim garden was at length resigned for one which barely sheltered the mother and child from the weather, and was totally devoid of the cheap luxury of fruit and flowers which had enriched and beautified their former home.

Time wore on, and Want with its train of sordid attendants visited their dwelling. Her former associates, one after another declined her society as an equal. Occasionally calling, they were eloquent in excuses for their neglect; for when did the prosperous lack an excuse for neglecting the unfortunate? Counsel and advice were lavished upon her; for I have observed that advice is the only thing that the rich impart freely to the poor. Religion too was the frequent subject of their conversation; for how can benevolence be shown more strongly than by a concern for the well-being of the soul, which is to exist forever, in comparison with which, the transient wants of the body are as nothing? Accordingly, the poor widow, after her scanty meal, and over her dim and cheerless hearth, was exhorted by her fur-clad and well-fed friends, to disregard the evils of this fleeting life, and receive with resignation the chastenings of Providence; for we all needed correction, being by nature utterly sinful and depraved. And after some vague and indefinite offers of assistance, the good women would take their leave. A way of discharging duty discovered by modern philanthropists; and when accompanied by the Societies’ tract, seldom fails to convince the unfortunate object of charity that to Heaven alone should they look for assistance and sympathy.

This lady, as we have intimated, possessed a large share of that generous spirit so common in her sex, which enabled her to sustain herself amid the evils which oppressed her. And nobly did the mother strive to shield from want and ignorance the little orphan, now her only care. Her own education enabled her in some measure to supply the place of teachers, which she was unable to employ. And never was maternal care better rewarded than by the improvement of the gentle being under her charge. But in this blessed employment the poor mother was interrupted. While health continued, she had been enabled by the most unremitted exertion to prevent the approach of absolute want, slight indeed as were her earnings. (The modern improvements in machinery having destroyed domestic manufacture, properly so called, and left but little for the female to earn who is not attending its motions in the noisy factory.) But illness had intervened, and diminished even that small resource; and it was apparent to all that the want of suitable food assisted in blanching still more the fair face of the poor child. Maternal love had conquered the honest pride of the poor mother so far as to constrain her to accept the slight and uncertain donations of her neighbors. But this assistance, scanty as it was, could not continue. The tax-paying husbands of the benevolent ladies who furnished it, complained that the poor-rates were heavy, and that they had already helped to pay for a 216house of refuge for the poor and the destitute, could not, in addition to this, support them out of it.

She was told it was her duty to place her daughter in some family to be brought up as a servant. In vain did she assert her ability to maintain herself and child when health should return. Her advisers could little sympathize with her feelings, and reproached her with pride. And she was now harassed with the fear that her delicate and cultivated little girl would be torn from her, and made a factory slave or household drudge; for such power had the laws given to the rulers of the town. But this fear, miserable as it was, was now overpowered by another. The suggestion had reached the ear of the unhappy woman that she and her child would be conveyed to the house of the town’s poor, the place we have attempted to describe. God grant that no fair reader of this homely but too true story should ever feel the misery which this fear inflicted on the mind of this friendless mother! Oh, that true Charity had been present in the person of her best representative on earth, a sensible, affectionate and liberal-minded woman, to minister to the wants, to soothe the mind of her unhappy sister-woman, and cheer her exertions for self-support! None such appeared, and the heart of the poor woman sank within her. Her exertions were paralyzed; for struggle as she might to avoid it, the alms-house, with its debased and debasing society, was ever before her eyes as her ultimate destiny. It was in vain that she endeavored to prepare her mind for this result. She could endure any degree of privation, but not degradation and infamy.

Time wore on, without any renewed hints of interference, and she began to hope that she was forgotten. Delusive hope! It was felt as a disgrace that she should suffer, when the law had provided a remedy, and they had paid for it. And it was therefore decreed by the magnates of the town that she must be removed, and the day had arrived (with which we commenced our narrative,) on which the paupers were to be disposed of for the coming year. Deacon S—— was the person deputed by his colleagues, as we have mentioned, to convey Mrs. Selden and her daughter to the alms-house.

However prepared we may suppose ourselves to meet misfortune, the moment of its arrival takes us by surprise. We will not attempt to picture the utter desolation of mind and the despair which filled her heart, when this man arrived at her door, to convey herself, and oh! far worse, her innocent and intelligent child, to that scene of vice and debasement. Although her dislike to the measure was known, yet from her quiet and reserved manners, little opposition was anticipated. The evils of life had accumulated upon her in a regular gradation, and she had been enabled to bear their weight, up to this point, with outward composure; looking forward to, but yet hoping this last cup of bitterness would never be presented; or if presented, that some means might be found to avert it. But the dreadful crisis had arrived. Had the whole board of authority been present, I should be glad to believe, for the honor of humanity, that they would have been moved to relent, as they would not have been able to shift the responsibility from one to the other, as is the wont of such bodies when the members act separately.

When the poor woman had so far recovered from the first shock as to 217be enabled to articulate, she pleaded her ability to maintain herself without assistance, and her choice rather to starve than be removed. She appealed to him as the father of a daughter, and painted the ruin which would fall upon her own, exposed to the corruption and example of the place to which he was taking her. She appealed to him as a Christian, and reminded him that they had sat together before the sacred desk, and partaken of the symbols of the body and blood of the Son of Him who was in a peculiar manner the father of the widow and orphan. But her auditor was destitute of the imagination which enables the possessor to enter into the feelings of another; and these affecting appeals fell dead upon his worldly and unsympathizing nature. The man even extended his hand to urge her forward to the conveyance provided! At that moment, when all hope was dead within her, and the worst that could happen in her opinion had arrived, a change came over the unhappy woman. She suffered herself unresistingly to be led forward to her doom. The fine chords of the mind and heart, lately so intensely strung, had parted; her countenance relaxed, and her features settled down into a dead, unmeaning apathy; never again, during the short remainder of her life, to be animated by one gleam of the feelings which had so lately illumined but to destroy.

My kind, my indulgent mother! Her generous heart needed not the eloquence of my youthful feelings to induce her to rescue the poor orphan, and to cherish her as her own child. And never was kindness more richly——

I had proceeded thus far in writing this narrative, when I discovered that I was overlooked; and a gentle voice over my shoulder said: ‘You should not praise your own wife; it is the same as if you should praise yourself!’

E. B.


Hygeia! most blest of the powers

That tenant the mansions divine,

May I pass in thy presence the hours

That remain, ere in death I recline!

Dwell with me, benevolent charm!

Without the attendance of health

Not the smiles of affection can warm,

And dull are the splendors of wealth.

The pageant of empire is stale

That lifts men like gods o’er their race,

And the heart’s thrilling impulses fail

When Love beckons on to the chase.

Whate’er in itself joy can give,

Or that springs from sweet respite of pain,

That mortals or gods can receive,

Blest Hygeia! is found in thy train!

Thy smile kindles up the fresh spring,

The glad, verdant bloom of the soul;

Thee absent, our pleasures take wing,

And Sorrow usurps her control.



Hush! her face is chill,

And the summer blossom.

Motionless and still,

Lieth on her bosom.

On her shroud so white,

Like snow in winter weather,

Her marble hands unite,

Quietly together.

How like sleep the spell

On her lids that falleth!

Wake, sweet Isabel!

Lo! the morning calleth.

How like Sleep!—’tis Death!

Sleep’s own gentle brother;

Heaven holds her breath—

She is with her mother!


——My imagination

Carries no favor in it but Bertram’s.

I am undone; there is no living, none,

If Bertram be away.


Should God create another Eve and I

Another rib afford, yet loss of thee

Would never from my heart.


I have this evening, while seated in my lonely chamber, ventured—not, I hope, with profane hands—to draw one inappreciable gem from out of the carcanet of each of the two unrivalled masters of the poetry of our language. I was curious to see the effect to be produced by a close juxtaposition of these two exquisite specimens of the soul’s light; of the revealment of its original genius; of the intense brilliancy of its Truth, falling as it does in one ray upon two objects so diverse in their character as the virgin love of the retired and comparatively humble but devoted Helena, and the married constancy of the Father of our race.

The effect reminds me of an échappée de lumière that I once beheld in the gallery of the Vatican, when a sudden emergence of light brightened with the same gleam the calm face of the Virgin of the clouds, (called di Foligno,) and at the same instant illuminated the whole principal figure in the Transfiguration of Raffaelle; floating as it does, and tending almost with a movement upward, in the air of ‘the high mountain’ where the miracle took place——as these two grand paintings then stood, side by side, in the solemn, in the holy quiet of that lofty and sequestered apartment. O moment! never to be forgotten, never to be obscured by any lapse of after time!

219And thus, although in a less palpable world, do these two passages of immortal verse, wearing each its beam of golden light, stand in their effulgence before the sympathies of the observer alive to the charms and influences of moral beauty! Surely no other poet has the world produced comparable to Shakspeare for the revelation of the love of the yet unwedded girl; and who is there to be named with Milton, in the tenderness and truth with which he has touched upon conjugal relationship; and that necessity, that inappeasable requirement of intercommunion that accompanies, as its immediate consequence, the sacrament of the nuptial rite where there is destined to exist the real, the progressive, the indissoluble intermarriage of soul with soul!

How effectually and with what truth does the dramatic Bard raise the veil and exhibit to us the imagination of this retired girl, bred up in all the deep earnestness of mind that a country life and comparative seclusion could induce, dwelling and brooding over the form of one individual brought into intimate association with her, ‘seeing him every hour’ where she had little else to interest her, nor any thing to contemplate, but, as she says,

‘sit and draw

His archéd brows, his hawking eye, his curls,

In our heart’s table; heart too capable

Of every trick and line of his sweet favour.


——it hurts not him

That he is loved of me: I follow him not

With any token of presumptuous suit.

I know I love in vain, strive against hope,

Yet, in this captious and intenible sieve,

I still pour in the waters of my love

And lack not to love still.’

Behold her as she sits, the beautiful creation!—delighting to magnify the qualities of the idol of her affections and to depreciate herself in the comparison; overlooking, perhaps incapable of once imagining the thought of his harsh and selfish and impracticable nature, and constantly endowing him with all the fresher breathings of her spiritual existence—like the Rainbow of the Waterfall, that clothes, with its own celestial dyes, the dark and shapeless mass of Rock upon whose bosom it appears to dwell! faltering, trembling, quivering, fading, disappearing; returning, resting;—glowing, yet never dazzling; liquid, yet sustained!

‘It were all one

That I should love a bright particular star

And seek to wed it, he is so above me:

In his bright radiance and collateral light

Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.

The hind that would be mated by the lion

Must die for love!

This is the way in which these precious irradiations of joy beam and hover over man; startled and frightened often out of the presence even of his image while they thus adorn and decorate him; and then they love him for what they fondly dream to be the halo of his proper spirit; for the light and tenderness, the purity, the gentleness, the refinement and grace, that have their life and element and colour, only in the deep yet overflowing heart of Woman in her Love!

220But then comes Wedlock; and often, with wedlock, comes marriage; or succeeds it; the marriage that God bestowed on man in Eve, when, according to that scriptural and exquisite conception, they twain become one. When the Rock shall as by a miracle receive into all its crevices, interstices, and pores, the beautiful existence that has played upon it! When the soul of man opens at every noble passion in succession and at every pulse, to embrace, imbibe, absorb, receive, possess, acquire, the being that we call Woman! finds her in every former want, or present wish, or bright, or unfrequented passage of the soul; now all occupied, all satisfied by her; fancies thoughts to be his thoughts which are her thoughts; and blesses himself, when he discovers it, that imaginations in themselves so sweet, should in some visit of her delicate spirit have been breathed into his Essence from a source so pure! is near her, when distant; is present with her, when absent; converses with her, without words; gazes upon her, without sight; listens to her, without sound; watches her, without motion; and has not yet lost her balmy presence when Death shall long have removed forever that precious image from his corporal sense. This is Marriage.

Out of this state descends that profound expression of the soul in Milton, (God make us thankful for him!) when he intends the verb that he escapes in the passage that adorns my Essay, should be supplied by a pulsation in the breast of Eve:

‘yet loss of thee

Would never—from my heart.’

Would never?—would never be torn, out-rooted, obliterated, banished, extinguished, forgotten, diminished, obscured, from his heart. The throb of her spirit is to supply the word, or mould the thought, and vivify the pause so as to satisfy her full affection to its utmost contentment and desire. This is marriage. This is attainment to that state of more perfect existence which terrestrial life procures for the soul of man, never thenceforth in all its future changes to be lost. The incorporeal mingling, the mystical union of two varied emanations of life; as Light and Heat intermarry in their offset and passage from the sun; and Truth and Love from the breast of The Ineffable!

How can I live without thee! how forego

Thy sweet converse and love so dearly join’d

To live again in these wild woods forlorn?

Should God create another Eve and I

Another rib afford, yet loss of thee

Would never from my heart: no, no, I feel

The link of nature draw me.

Bone of my bone thou art and from thy state

Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.

And shall the passage of one such soul across the mere brook of Death dissolve affiances so deep, so latent, and so pure as this? This Life of Life, is it to be so suddenly quenched in man, and man himself continue to exist? Shall the soul that lingers here still retaining its identity lose that which has chiefly formed for it a distinctive being? Or entering into a happier state of existence shall it be dispossessed of all that treasure of recollection and delight on which its joys and hopes have been 221so largely founded? These long remembrances of mutual beneficence and good, these intertwining and interwoven affections, and the unbounded and mingling love of their common offspring, shall these all perish and the soul itself yet be styled immortal? Or,—shall the first-gone spirit meet its arriving mate upon the border of that further shore, bless it with the radiant welcome of celestial companionship and guidance, and lead it on to higher virtue in a happier state, as it hath beamed upon it and in part educated it on Earth?——Doubt this not, my Heart! Doubt this not, my Soul!

John Waters.



Perhaps the World of Spirits

Is the invisible air,

And every soul inherits

Its endless portion there,

When mortal lays its mortal by,

And puts on immortality.

Then round us and above us

Unseen, the souls of those

That hate us and that love us

In motion or repose,

To plan and work our good or ill,

As when on earth, are busy still.

For Enmity surviveth

This transitory life;

Spirit with spirit striveth

In an unending strife;

All roots of evil planted now

Eternally shall live and grow.

So friendship ever liveth

Immortal as the soul,

And purer pleasure giveth

As longer ages roll;

And hope and joy and inward peace

Forever heighten and increase!

Our homes and dwelling-places,

The country of our birth,

The old familiar faces

Endeared to us on earth,

And every source and scene of joy

Our spirits’ senses shall employ.

So shall our true affections,

To earthly objects given,

Form intimate connections

Between our world and heaven;

And all our long existence move

In an unbroken stream of love.




Methinks those who preach up the dignity of human nature, and expatiate upon its original perfections, must look upon it through magic glasses: to some perceptions at least, it presents even in its best estate a picture of such abortive aims, such woful short-comings, such clouded brightness, that even in those better natures, where we feel sure that the sun of virtue does shine, the noxious vapors of human frailty, pride in all its various ramifications, selfishness under its many disguises, prejudice with its endless excuses, etc., etc., do so envelope it that we cannot hope to feel the warmth of its rays until some wholesome trial, some aptly-apportioned cross, clear away these paralyzing influences and force it into action.

What seems at the first glance freer from this dross than the love of man to man? the love of the creature for his fellow; the ordained test of his love to his Creator? What seems more preëminently pure than the affection of the parent for the child, who owes him not only life but the nurture which has maintained and elevated that life? Yet even here, even over this fair garden of peace, the trail of the serpent may be detected. The tyranny of deep affection is seen in every relation of life: we love a cherished object, it may be with every fibre of our heart, ay, even idolatrously; we would willingly spend and be spent to surround the beloved one with materials for enjoyment; but these materials must be of our selection; we would sacrifice ourselves to lead them to happiness, but we must point out the road to them; we will bear every thing, endure every thing, but the mortification of seeing them receive good at other hands than our own. Ah! there are some rare exceptions to this rule, but surely not more than enough to constitute it a rule.

Who that enjoyed the privilege of domestic intercourse with the venerable and venerated father of the lovely Lucy Lee; he the most beloved as well as respected inhabitant of the small town of ——; she not only the prettiest but by far the most winning in her deportment of all the young female circle of the place, of whom she was beyond all question the ornament. Who that witnessed the fond pride with which the good old man gazed upon her, as she glided around him, ministering to his wants with that watchful ingenuity which characterizes woman’s affection; who that heard the tone of tenderness which marked even the most trifling word addressed to her; a tenderness that seemed as if it might by its deep pathos invoke every beneficent spirit to watch over her for good; his early morning greeting, always accompanied by an upward look, which proclaimed a daily aspiration of gratitude to the great Giver for the precious gift; the nightly benediction which ever seemed as if it might grow into a prayer for her welfare during the hours of darkness; who that witnessed all this—and they could not be seen together 223without many such hourly demonstrations of the father’s love for his child shining through his every word and action—but would have felt assured that this love fashioned his every plan, and marked his estimate of the things of life?

Ah! of a certainty, it must have been so; her happiness must have been safe in his keeping; and in truth, happiness had hitherto seemed hers by prescriptive right. But all lanes however long turn at last, and those most richly strewn with flowers are generally alas! by far the shortest. Eighteen summers had flown since that which saw the little Lucy installed sole possessor and sole solace of her bereaved father’s heart; sole pledge of a love which deeply rooted in a breast no longer subject to the changeful fancies of youth, (for he had more than attained the prime of middle-age when the original of the precious little miniature first enchained his affections,) never revived for any other, but spent itself in a doting fondness for this fair image of the lost one. Indeed it seemed that every throb came with a double import from his burdened heart; the parent’s fondness ever mingling a tribute to the memory of her whose life had been the price of the costly gift.

It is not always that the devotion of a parent is so entirely appreciated as in this case; all Mr. Lee’s efforts to promote his daughter’s happiness were crowned with entire success, and until the period mentioned above, no one had ever detected on her lovely brow the semblance of a cloud. But the course of nature cannot be altered; the petted child will one day grow into the wilful woman; and however it may have been only a pleasant task to follow the windings of the childish fancy ingenious in its caprice; and only amusing to submit to the childish tyranny which pursues its own beau-ideal of sport with reckless pertinacity; there sometimes comes a change when the spoiled darling takes her first step upon the threshold of maturity; when, with all the fresh vigor of youth in her untutored will, she begins to assert her privilege, to cater for her own happiness, and fashion her future according to the visions of her own fancy. Then comes in the world with its many and diversified claims; claims so vigorously enforced, but from which it is the first impulse of the young heart to turn with loathing: it cannot bear to believe its happy independence of all such considerations at an end; it does not submit easily to these new trammels. Ah! how differently has passed the previous life! Something holy gathers round a child; it seems to move superior to the base claims of the world and its paltry rewards; and although often, it must be confessed, the young intellect is early impressed with the idea that its best efforts should be devoted to the insuring of worldly approbation, still the little one’s course of life is so distinct from the busy race to which we would train it, that we cannot if we would entirely chain down its thoughts; nay, we shrink before the pure innocence which cannot even understand our weakness; and often yield a tribute to its superior dignity by concealing our own care for such distinctions.

To those too who have seen much of life, and learnt to feel its hollowness, real childishness of thought and feeling is so refreshing, that they love rather to prolong the period than to shorten it. To Mr. Lee the little Lucy seemed so entirely perfect in her infantine simplicity and 224purity, that had he breathed a wish for the future, it would probably have been that she should always continue his little Lucy; he cared for no change, and as it appeared, perceived none in her. Time passed on however, and before he had become well aware that the little fairy whose tiny form must needs so short a while since clamber on his knee to stroke and pat his cheek, had now shot up into a tall girl, who could take his arm in a long walk, or canter beside him all the morning on her well trained pony, there came a change over the course of his quiet household little startling. Visitors began to throng the hall; not those staid personages who had hitherto been wont to gather round the warm hearth in winter, or the sheltered piazza in the hot days of summer, and with feet upreared on mantel-piece or bannister, discuss the affairs of state, and the price of crops; new editions of these respected individuals now appeared; nephews and sons came in their train; young friends, more perhaps than these gentlemen were before aware of possessing, sought an introduction at their hands, or came without any, on the plea perhaps of having met at a tea-party, or some such strong necessity for acquaintanceship with the fair Lucy; while the good Mr. Lee, often to his not very pleased surprise, found on awaking from his afternoon’s nap, that the book whose contents he had purposed should perform their daily office of inspiring his dreams had been laid aside, while the voice which had lulled him to sleep was now charming other and younger ears in merry though perhaps suppressed cadences. The variety in these visitors too grew somewhat annoying; new people came, and Mr. Lee liked not new people. He was a man of warm but very exclusive feelings; he loved but a few, and he liked no others: his prejudices were strong, and having lived a very secluded life, the routine of which presented no very decided obstacle to those prejudices, his estimate of men and things had not altered with the general course of the world around him. Liberal to an extreme in his dealings with men, his intercourse with them, except in matters of business, was confined to a very limited circle. Absolute in his requisitions from such as approached him as intimates, his friendship was given only to those who met his views in every respect; especially whose political opinions coincided with his own. Indeed this seemed to be with him the one grand test. Though never meddling in his own person with public life, he had such an abstract love for its intricacies that he could at all times warm into actual enthusiasm over a newspaper; a single paragraph from the pen one of his own way of thinking sufficing to kindle his feelings into a glow of patriotism, while a civil word of dissent would seem to chill his sympathies for his kind; strong disapprobation blinding his perceptions to any good possible in those differing from his established standard. Now it was not to be expected that the young Lucy’s circle would be modelled according to such restrictions; she loved her kind old father with the clinging fondness of an unweaned infant for its mother; but though again and again she would, to gratify him, toil through a whole pamphlet, its meaning as dark to her perceptions as the close and blurred print to his failing eyes, it may well be imagined that her girlish brain failed to receive any other impression from the contents than of their excessive tedium; certainly if she formed therefrom any opinion regarding his favorite 225party, it was most probably the not very flattering one that its members were all especially tiresome and prolix.

Either from this notion, or a contradiction natural to human nature, it so happened that among the rivals for the lovely Lucy’s smiles, none seemed to possess such power in riveting her attention as a certain young gentleman, who although not only the son of a leading man in the opposition, but holding himself a somewhat prominent place in the ranks of the condemned party, yet continued with a boldness much to be wondered at to engross the young lady’s time by frequent visits of most unfashionable length, in spite of Mr. Lee’s open vituperations of all the manœuvres of the said party. The undaunted aspirant turned a deaf ear however to this, taking every thing that was said in good part, until one day, when suddenly his patience seemed to give out.

News had just been received of the marriage of a former school-mate of Lucy’s, the daughter of an old esteemed comrade, orthodox in all his views, to an individual decidedly in the wrong on the one important point. First, how astonished, next how entirely shocked, was the good old gentleman! ‘What a falling off! to give his child to ——! Pshaw! what would the world come to! Where were his principles? where his wisdom? where his honor?’ etc., etc. Lucy, frightened perhaps at her father’s vehemence, turned pale. Dr. Kent, the friend and physician of the family, who chanced to be present, endeavored to calm him, but with little success; and Mr. Lillburgh, unable as it seemed to join in condemning this ‘mis-alliance,’ left the house somewhat abruptly. Soon after this, however, an opportune influx of papers and pamphlets caused a salutary diversion in Mr. Lee’s irritated feelings; and as Lucy’s most monopolizing visitor seemed quite to have disappeared, he could now enjoy his favorite luxury of drinking in, through the medium of the voice he loved so well, the words of wisdom he honored so highly.

Whether these tiresome lectures proved too burdensome for her young spirits, or some other cause operated to injure her health, did not appear; but just at this time, when Mr. Lee seemed to find his life especially comfortable and pleasant, his hitherto blooming daughter gradually began to droop; her spirits, formerly so even, were now constantly fluctuating: at times she would sit pale and distraite among a gay and laughing circle of her young associates, while at others, a ring at the bell, a step in the hall, would suffice to call the color to her cheek and kindle animation in her eye. It was this variation perhaps, together with certain animating plans of his own, which rendered her father insensible to her condition; for by a strange contradiction in the course of things, he seemed just at this time especially occupied with forming brilliant plans for her future. Fairly aware now of her being no longer a child, he would comment upon her dress, urge her to more ornament, and then with a knowing look speak of his anticipated pleasure in the society of two expected visitors, one staunch old veteran of the true faith, and his son, a worthy descendant, one who deserved the smiles of the fair for the brilliant speech he had made the last session. Poor Lucy at each reference to this subject would look more and more uncomfortable; but her father, thinking that she might be perhaps a little wayward; while he grew daily more enamoured of his plan, redoubled his tenderness, seeking 226to study her whims in every other respect. It is cruel to loose every bond but that which galls most sorely, to pluck away every thorn but that which pricks most sharply: all the perceptions gather to that point, and the suffering is in consequence tenfold more acute. Such were Lucy’s sensations, though she was perhaps scarcely conscious of them herself; while at every demonstration of her father’s tenderness, the feelings which she knew to be rebels to his dearest wishes would seem to spring up and accuse her of ingratitude. This struggle could not last; at length the fond father became suddenly aware that some strange blight had fallen upon his darling, and his whole soul was convulsed at the thought that evil might possibly threaten her; he felt ready to send a proclamation through the world to summon all its skill to spend itself for her restoration. Upon second thoughts he made up his mind that there was but one man in the world to whom he would confide the precious trust; yes, he was fully assured that in the brain of Dr. Kent, the only lineal descendant of Esculapius, were to be found all the best resources of the art of healing; he must always and on all occasions, be more right than any one else. Why? But why ask why, when he had formed this opinion ever since Dr. Kent first assumed the M. D., and had always held it firmly. Dr. Kent was summoned and soon appeared; the startled girl, sorely against her will, was called into the room; all the usual ceremony gone through; the pulse tested, the tongue examined, etc., and then suffered to slip out of the room. Mr. Lee listened with a beating heart for the doctor’s decision: this last did not deny that the young lady’s appearance was strangely altered since he had last seen her, which indeed was not since the evening above alluded to, of Mr. Lee’s violent irritation against his old friend. But the cause; the next thing for the doctor to do was to discover the cause. Now Dr. Kent, although some people did say that he was no student, had a considerable portion of what is called mother-wit; and if he did not possess the stores of learning which might have been amassed by poring over his books, he was at least without the abstraction which much scientific research is thought to occasion; he looked around him with a shrewd eye, and simply by putting two and two together, often made very successful calculations. He hesitated, reflected and recollected; ‘perhaps she wanted excitement,’ he said; ‘perhaps there was too little variety in her life for one so young.’ Mr. Lee assured him that she had always appeared very indifferent to society; that until very lately she had always seemed as happy as the day was long, and to desire no other company than that of the visitors who dropped in upon them occasionally.

‘Well, we must have something more amusing for her than visiting; something more exciting.’ The doctor here mused again for a few moments: ‘You say she has seemed happy until very lately?’

‘Yes, it is only lately that she has seemed to droop.’

‘Well, perhaps she’s been particularly dull lately; now by way of experiment, suppose you at once summon a large party to your house; let it be a very general invitation; all your acquaintances, that is the young ones, her acquaintances; all who have ever visited at the house; and as you may not be able to remember them all, it will be best to direct her to do it in your name; this will of itself furnish her with 227a rather exciting occupation. All this is by way of experiment I say, for it may not be that she needs amusement, but by the effect that company and gayety have upon her, which I shall take care to be by and watch. I have a notion that I shall be enabled to decide upon the character of her indisposition. One thing however; remember you must give me carte-blanche as to the course of treatment to be pursued; your prejudices, you confess you have them, must not hamper me.’

‘My prejudices!’ replied Mr. Lee; ‘why what can they have to do with your prescriptions? You know me well enough to be aware that I do not undertake to meddle with matters I do not understand; the art of medicine for instance, to which I make no pretensions; of course I shall not interfere; only tell me what is to be done for my child, and you may be very sure no difficulty will arise on my part, should it be that I must take her to Egypt or Kamtschatka.’

‘It is not probable that I shall call upon you for any such effort; on the contrary, I have a strong impression that a very simple course will answer; I was afraid you might not like its simplicity.’

‘Really,’ said Mr. Lee, ‘that is too bad; am I that sort of person? Don’t tantalize me, Doctor, but just tell me what ought to be done for my poor child, and you must be assured that I will not object.’

‘Of course, no father would,’ said Dr. Kent.

‘Then why the deuce do you imagine for an instant that I would?’

‘Nay now,’ said the physician, ‘it is only a whim of mine, and every one must be allowed some whims: but good day; remember your promise.’

‘Oh yes, only make up your mind at once.’

Great was Lucy’s surprise, when upon being again summoned by her father, she received from him the commission just determined upon. At one moment to have her pulse felt, and the next to be told that she must prepare for entertaining a large party! What did it mean? The good father, startled at her agitation, assured her that he himself felt the want of a little more society, and that he thought it would do him good to have a company of gay young people about him for an evening. Lucy was afraid she could not recollect all her acquaintances. ‘Well, no matter; only invite all she could remember; he should be satisfied with her arrangement of the affair.’

Whatever may have been the efforts of Lucy’s memory, it is certain that only a moderate number of tickets were sent out for the appointed evening; indeed it might have been feared that the doctor’s experiment could scarcely have a fair scope in so limited a circle; but finding that his patient had had her own way in the whole, he seemed to feel quite assured of success. Before etiquette would have permitted the arrival of any other guest, he had taken his place close beside the fair mistress of the revels, and even after the room began to fill, seemed determined to yield his envied position to no one. Those who said Dr. Kent was no student, should have seen him then; his eye riveted on her fair young countenance, there could be no doubt he was conning that closely. At every fresh arrival, how he watched the eager glance of inquiry! how his gaze followed the course of the eloquent blood as it left the transparent cheek, again to burden the disappointed heart!

228The doctor was still puzzled; the gay company had by no means yet wrought the change he looked for; how was this?—but he held to his watch. And now once more the door was thrown open, and a young gentleman, with a decidedly hesitating air and step, approached the youthful hostess. Ah! now the light no longer flickered in her clear blue eye; it literally danced: the awakened color left her cheek it is true, as before, but how soon it came again! ‘You positively have stood long enough, and must sit down now,’ said Dr. Kent, taking Lucy’s hand; not the tip-ends of her fingers; no, the doctor was not one either to be satisfied with any such superficial plan of action, or to forego his privileges; on the contrary, availing himself of his position of friend of the family, he possessed himself of the whole of the little delicate hand, when, old habit it might be, leading him to measure with some exactness the slender wrist thereto belonging, he pressed it most cordially, and after one or two moments of such demonstration of his affectionate regard, yielded his place beside her to the last comer.

Mr. Lee now joined him as he lounged upon a sofa, with an air of entire inattention to what was going on around him, yet turning from time to time a heedful glance upon Lucy who sat just opposite, replying more by blushes than words to the depressed tones of young Mr. Lillburgh’s voice. ‘Well, Doctor, and how goes on the experiment?’ The anxious father tried to speak calmly, but his voice trembled.

‘I am quite satisfied with my experiment,’ replied Dr. Kent; ‘but I will confess (you know I am a candid man) that the result makes me feel a little serious.’ Dr. Kent knew, as we all have an opportunity of knowing, that a danger, however startling, for which we are at once provided with a remedy, is soon scorned; that it must stare us very decidedly in the face, before we are willing to appreciate the said remedy. ‘Yes,’ continued he. ‘I had no idea of the deep root the disease had taken.’

‘Good heavens! my friend,’ exclaimed Mr. Lee, grasping Dr. Kent’s hand in the utmost agitation; ‘and the remedy you thought of—is the case too serious for it to be available?’

‘I trust not,’ replied the Doctor; ‘I believe indeed that if I can apply the proper remedy in time, all may be well; but as I said just now, I am a candid man, and don’t like to raise false hopes: I tell you frankly this case is not one to be trifled with; it requires nice management: the young lady is delicate, very delicate; her nervous system is now decidedly deranged.’

‘But don’t you think, Doctor, don’t you think, my good friend, that she looks a little better this evening? See how animatedly she is listening to that young man: by-the-by, who is he?’

‘Oh, no matter who he is, so he amuses Miss Lucy. But with regard to her case; I will study it seriously to-night, and tell you what result I have come to to-morrow about noon. I shall give all my mind to it, for I know how precious she must be to you; I know that nothing the world has to give, can make up to you for the most trifling evil that can assail her.’

‘Oh, nothing, nothing; but what tormenting apprehensions you fill me with! Gracious heaven! my dear Sir, she is my all; my past, my 229present, my future are made by her; but you will help me if you can. May Almighty wisdom aid you!’ And the agitated father rushed out of the room, unable any longer to control himself.

Dr. Kent looked after him with something of commiseration in his countenance; but being a decided enemy to homeopathic innovation, he had made up his mind that a strong dose of apprehension was positively necessary; and now, only gratified at its powerful effect, he resumed his surveillance with a heartlessly satisfied air. This was no doubt rendered the more easy to him by Mr. Lee’s continued absence from the room: the young Lucy, thus relieved from the observation which she unconsciously dreaded, growing more and more at her ease, enabled him to settle his opinion regarding her completely.

The evening finished, as all evenings will; the night also took its course as usual; but when on the following morning Dr. Kent appeared according to promise in his friend’s parlor at the appointed hour, he saw at once that it had been passed by both in a manner very different from those lately preceding it. Lucy looked as if some new impetus had been given to her whole being; too much agitated for happiness, yet with animation glowing in every feature, while the poor old father’s care-burdened brow proclaimed that anxious apprehension had completely usurped the hours destined to repose. Dr. Kent really began to fear he had been too violent in his measures; at any rate, feeling sure, as he said to himself, that the instrument had been wound up to the striking point, he took his old friend by the arm, saying he wished to speak to him in the next room on business. Of course Mr. Lee was no sooner out of hearing of his daughter, than he began to question his visitor with the utmost eagerness; upon which the doctor slowly and warily proceeded to unfold his suspicions, or rather his convictions.

It was curious to observe the changes passing over the countenance of the hearer as Dr. Kent made this disclosure. Pleased surprise was evidently the first emotion excited, but painful perplexity soon usurped its place.

‘My good friend,’ said he, as Dr. Kent finished speaking, ‘I am greatly relieved to find that you think the cause of my child’s illness so superficial; but as to the remedy you propose, believe me, I cannot consent to it; I do not believe it necessary.’

‘Believe it or not, as you will; I tell you it is necessary.’

‘But I tell you, Doctor, that my child is a part of myself, my own flesh and blood; and can you counsel me to become an apostate to my own principles? It has been my dearest thought that I should one day enjoy in my own seclusion the reflected lustre of my child’s brilliant position in the world, and that that position should be by the side of one whose course in life my own ripe judgment approves entirely. A man of Mr. Lillburgh’s principles cannot make her happy; I will not believe that he can. No, I have always cared for my daughter’s happiness; I will care for it still, by settling this matter for her as I best know how. No; again I say no; my only child shall not be so sacrificed!’ And Mr. Lee stamped on the floor, as if to add force to his speech.

‘When you are cool,’ said Dr. Kent, looking any thing but cool himself, ‘I will remind you of your promise, your positive promise; there 230is Mr. Lillburgh now approaching the house; ask both your heart and conscience how he ought to be received. Good morning to you.’

Without stopping to consult either of these counsellors, Mr. Lee hastily rang the bell. ‘We are both engaged, and cannot see the gentleman who is now coming to the door,’ said he to the servant. The doorbell was heard at the instant, and the servant hastened to obey his master’s directions.

The doctor was gone. Mr. Lee, pacing the parlor alone, imagined to himself all sorts of arguments to satisfy his conscience that he was in the right. Yet, thought he, my little darling must be made happy; all young girls love trinkets and finery; I will take her out with me this morning, and she shall indulge every caprice of her pretty fancy; pretty in every thing else but fixing itself on that Mr. Lillburgh. ‘Pshaw! he shall not have her; call Miss here,’ he continued to a servant who entered at the moment. The servant returned after a few minutes, saying that he had knocked repeatedly at her door, but received no answer. Vaguely apprehensive of something wrong, Mr. Lee hastened himself to her chamber; but how was he shocked on entering, to find his daughter lying senseless in a swoon near an open window. Ah! what voice whispered him that she had seen and heard at that window what her delicate nerves could not endure! He raised her tenderly in his arms, and having with some difficulty restored her to consciousness, placed her on the bed. ‘Good heavens!’ thought he, ‘can it be indeed so serious!’ But he could not long speculate upon this subject; Lucy’s cheek, but just now so pale and marble-like, soon began to glow with fever; her pulse, but just restored to action, now told with momently increasing hurry that illness had seized the delicate frame; the sudden revulsion from new-born hope to despair had been too much for it. Poor Mr. Lee! what did his heart say now? Did it yet upbraid him? Dr. Kent, who had set out on a course of visits, could not at once be found, and the wretched father sat gazing in agonizing helplessness on his suffering child until the decline of the day. What would he have given to live over again the last few hours! At length the physician appeared: ‘Now,’ said he, on accosting Mr. Lee, ‘do you think I know my own business or not? Do I make mountains of mole-hills or not? I knew what I was about, didn’t I?’

‘Alas, yes!’ replied the other, in a self-accusing tone, ‘and I did not; but oh! merciful Providence! is it too late now?’

‘Too late? Heaven knows, poor young lady! she’d have been better off if she’d been an ugly twelfth daughter, with no one to trouble themselves much about her, instead of a beautiful darling, that must have one particular sort of happiness and no other.’

‘Spare me! spare me, my friend!’ implored Mr. Lee.

‘I wish you had spared yourself,’ grumbled Dr. Kent.

The Doctor was, it must be allowed, a little rough; but he had been so thoroughly annoyed, after having, as he thought, with unparalleled cunning and discretion detected the difficulty and provided a remedy, to find his plans thwarted by an obstinate wilfulness, that he could not help boiling over a little: his kind feelings however soon got the ascendency; the deep contrition of the poor father touched his heart, and the 231lovely girl who had only increased his interest in her by making good his words, received from him the most attentive care; nor could he doubt that at length his advice was appreciated, when he heard Mr. Lee take every opportunity of mentioning Mr. Lillburgh’s name with approbation and kindness, always regretting that he had made such a mistake as to send him away the last time he had called at the house.

But who may venture to choose their own time for showing kindness? Who may, having refused to ‘do good when it was in the power of his hand to do it,’ resume at will the precious privilege? Dr. Kent, satisfied with his friend’s repentance, was willing to take any step which might avail to retrieve the mischief; but when this last would have lured back by civilities the repulsed lover, he was found to have left home the very day after his mortifying dismissal.

Let those who only by looking back can see the road by which misery might have been escaped, while before the vista seems quite closed up, conceive the deep and agonizing perplexity of the anxious father. His daughter, comforted no doubt by his frequent recurrence to the subject near her heart, and the manner in which he treated it, slowly raised her drooping head; but he, (the entire amende being still out of his power) hung over her night and day, oppressed by a constant sensation of guilt, scarcely aware of her partial restoration. For some days this ordeal lasted; there seemed a risk that the lover might in the bitterness of his disappointment prolong his stay indefinitely; what availed it then that the prejudice and ambition which had exiled him were now annihilated? The eagerly coveted-prize for which he would have sacrificed his daughter’s peace, had turned to ashes in his grasp.

But the door to returning happiness was not completely closed. Dr. Kent’s skill, aided no doubt by Lucy’s young confidence in her lover’s steadfastness, kept danger at bay, until one of those opportune accidents of life, which like many of the best things in it look threateningly until time takes off the veil, occurred in the shape of a fire on the premises of the wanderer; which news, forcing him to return, the indefatigable Dr. Kent at once offered to divert his mind from this untoward circumstance, by taking him to join the family dinner of his friend Mr. Lee. The sequel may be imagined; on the strength of this friendly invitation, aided no doubt by sundry blushes and smiles on Lucy’s part, Mr. Lillburgh ventured to resume his visits, and Lucy’s cheek always looked so particularly rosy on such occasions, that Mr. Lee soon became too entirely happy in the result, to cavil any longer at the cause of her renovated health and spirits. Sometimes, also, memory would recall for an instant that terrible period of anxiety, and then he would treat Mr. Lillburgh with such pointed cordiality, that before very long that young gentleman was emboldened to take advantage of his civility, and make some disclosure of his own plans for the fair Lucy’s happiness, according to the liberty of speech young gentlemen generally allow themselves when desirous of securing their own. Mr. Lee had gone too far to recede, and he soon found himself reduced to the necessity of resting all his hopes for the gratification of his favorite fancies and prejudices upon the anticipated course through life of another generation, whose future being happily so distant, promised him a long period of hope.




The following effort of a wild and maddened imagination, rioting in its own unreal world, is by the ‘American Opium-Eater,’ whose remarkable history was given in the Knickerbocker for July, 1842. The MS. is stained in several places with the powerful drug, to the abuse of which the writer was so irresistibly addicted. The subjoined remarks precede the poem: ‘This extravaganza is worthy of preservation only as ‘a psychological curiosity,’ like Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan,’ which was composed under similar circumstances; if that indeed can be called composition, in which all the images rose up before the writer as THINGS, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking, he appeared to have a distinct recollection of the whole: taking his pen, ink and paper, he instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. The state of corporeal sleep but intellectual activity, during the continuance of which the phenomenon above described occurred, was caused by a very large dose of opium, and came upon me while reading the ‘Confession of a Fratricide,’ published by the priest who attended him in his last moments. I should warn the reader that the fratricide, like the author, could not be said to possess the ‘mens sana in corpore sano,’ both having been deranged.’

Ed. Knickerbocker.

The universe shook as the monarch passed

On the way to his northern throne;

His robe of snow around him he cast,

He rode on the wings of the roaring blast,

And beneath him dark clouds were blown.

His furrow’d and hoary brow was wreathed

With a crown of diamond frost;

Even space was chill’d wherever he breathed,

And the last faint smiles which summer bequeathed,

Ere she left the world, were lost.

The leaves which wan Autumn’s breath had seared

Stern Winter swept away;

Dark and dreary all earth appeared—

The very beams of the bright sun feared

To pursue their accustom’d way.

Mirth’s merry laugh at that moment fled,

And Pleasure’s fair cheek grew pale:

The living sat like the stony dead,

The rough torrent froze in its craggy bed,

And Heaven’s dew turned to hail.

The forest trees waved their heads on high,

And shrunk from the storm’s fierce stroke;

The lightning flash’d as from God’s own eye,

The thunderbolt crash’d through the startled sky,

As it split the defying oak.

The proud lion trembled and hush’d his roar,

The tigress crouch’d in fear;

The angry sea beat the shuddering shore,

And the deafening voice of the elements’ war

Burst terribly on the ear.

I stood by the bed where the prisoner lay;

The lamp gave a fitful light:

His soul was struggling to pass away;

Oh, God! how I pray’d for the coming of day!

Death was awful in such a night.

233His cheek was hollow, and sunk, and wan,

And his lips were thin and blue;

The unearthly look of that dying man,

As his tale of horror he thus began,

Sent a chill my warm heart through:

‘The plague-spots of crime have sunk deep in my heart,

And withered my whirling brain;

The deep stamp of murder could never depart

From this brow, where the Angel of Death’s fiery dart

Had graven the curse of Cain.

‘Remorse has oft waved his dusky wings

O’er the path I was doom’d to tread;

Despair has long frozen Hope’s warm springs;

I have felt the soul’s madness which Memory brings,

When she wakes up the murder’d dead.

‘Tell me not now of God’s mercy or love!

All hope of pardon is past:

A brother’s blood cries for vengeance above;

This brand on my brow will my foul crime prove—

My torment for ever must last!

‘Thou needst not tremble; this arm is bound,

And its iron strength is gone;

Despair came down in the hollow sound

Of my fetters, which clank’d on the loathing ground

Where my wearied limbs I had thrown.

‘I snatched the knife from my jailor’s side

And buried it in my breast,

But they cruelly staunched the gushing tide,

And closed the wound, though ’twas deep and wide,

And still I might not rest!

‘Day after day I had gnawed my chain,

Till I sharpened the stubborn link;

But when I had pierced the swollen vein,

And was writhing in death’s last dreadful pain,

While just on eternity’s brink:

‘Even then the leech’s skill prevailed;

I was saved for a darker fate!

My very guards ’neath my stern glance quailed,

And with their cloaks their faces veiled

As they passed the fast-barred grate.

‘I LOVED! Thou know’st not half the power

Of woman’s love-lit eye;

Her voice can soothe death’s gloomy hour,

Her smiles dispel the clouds which lower

When Affliction’s sea rolls high.

‘My heart seemed cold as the frozen snow

Which binds dark Ætna’s form,

But Love raged there with the lava’s flow,

And madden’d my soul with the scorching glow

Of strong passion’s thunder-storm.’

234‘I told my love: O God! even still

I hear the Tempter’s voice,

Which whispered the thought in my mind, to fill

My page of crime with a deed of ill

That made all hell rejoice.

‘I knelt at her feet, and my proud heart burn’d

When she spoke of my brother’s love;

Affection’s warmth to deep hate was turn’d;

His proffered hand in my wrath I spurn’d—

Not all his prayers could move.

‘At dead of night to his room I crept,

As noiseless as the grave;

Disturbed in his dreams, my brother wept,

And softly murmur’d her name while he slept;

That word new fury gave!

‘The sound from his lip had scarcely passed,

When my dagger pierced his heart:

One dying look on me he cast—

That awful look in my soul will last

When body and soul shall part!

‘When the deed was done, in horror I gazed

On the face of the murder’d dead;

His dark and brilliant eye was glazed:

When I thought for a moment his arm he raised,

I hid my face in the bed.

‘I could not move from the spot where I stood;

A chilliness froze my mind:

My clothes were dyed with my brother’s blood,

The body lay in a crimson flood,

Which clotted his hair behind!

‘And over my heart that moment pass’d

A vision of former years,

Ere sin upon my soul had cast

It’s withering blight, it’s poison-blast,

It’s cloud of guilty fears.

‘The home where our youth’s first hours flew by,

In its beauty before me rose;

The holy love of our mother’s eye,

Our childhood’s pure and cloudless sky

And its light and fleeting woes.

‘When our hearts in strong affection’s chain

Were so closely, fondly tied,

That our thoughts and feelings, pleasure and pain,

Were one: why did we not remain

Through life thus side by side?

‘And my brother’s gentle voice then fell

Upon my tortured ear;

Those tones I once had loved so well,

Now wither’d my soul like a flame from hell

With vain remorse and fear!

235‘All, all that memory still had kept

In her hidden and silent reign,

My youth’s warm feelings, which long had slept,

Like a torrent of fire that moment swept

In madness o’er my brain.

‘For before me there his pallid face

In death’s cold stillness lay;

Even murder could not all efface

Its beauty, whose sad and shadowy trace

Still lingered round that clay.

‘Sternly I bent me over the dead,

And strove my breast to steel,

When the dagger from hilt to point blood-red,

Flash’d on my sight, and I madly fled,

The torture of life to feel.

‘Since that dread hour o’er half the earth

My weary path has lain;

I have stood where the mighty Nile has birth,

Where Ganges rolls his blue waves forth

In triumph to the main.

‘In the silent forest’s gloomy shade

I have vainly sought for rest;

My sunless dwelling I have made

Where the hungry tiger nightly stray’d,

And the serpent found a nest.

‘But still, where’er I turn’d, there lay

My brother’s lifeless form;

When I watched the cataract’s giant play

As it flung to the sky its foaming spray,

When I stood ’midst the rushing storm:

‘Still, still that awful face was shown,

That dead and soulless eye;

The breeze’s soft and soothing tone

To me still seemed his parting groan—

A sound I could not fly!

‘In the fearful silence of the night

Still by my couch he stood,

And when morn came forth in splendor bright,

Still there, between me and the light,

Was traced that scene of blood!’


He paused: Death’s icy hand was laid

Upon his burning brow;

That eye, whose fiery glance had made

His sternest guards shrink back afraid,

Was glazed and sightless now.

And o’er his face the grave’s dark hue

Was in fixed shadow cast;

His spasm-drawn lips more fearful grew

In the ghastly shade of their lurid blue;

With a shudder that ran that cold form through,

The murderer’s spirit passed!




We proceed, in another and concluding paper, as promised in the last number of the Knickerbocker, to direct the reader’s attention to the Architectural Antiquities of Sicily, especially those of Grecian structure, which will be described in the order in which they were visited. The first are those of Egesta, or Segeste, as it is sometimes called; a city said to have been built in the remote age of the Siculi, and which was destroyed by Agathocles, the potter’s son, who reduced all Sicily two hundred and eighty years before the Christian era. It lies about forty or fifty miles from Palermo, among the mountains which cluster round the famed Mount Erix, on which once stood a temple dedicated to Venus. On leaving Alcamo, which may be called a city of convents, midway between Palermo and Segeste, the broad slopes of an ample valley lie before the traveller, which though almost treeless, are waving with beans, and grain and grass. In the depth, is a river meandering among fragrant oleanders; on the left, the valley is intersected by a range of distant mountains; on the right is a beautiful bay of the Mediterranean. Across the valley the mountains form a green amphitheatre, and high in its remotest part is seen the Temple of Segeste, but merely as a point of light and shade upon the bosom of the mountain. The next view, if he takes our route, is from the ancient Grecian city of Catafimi, itself perched on a mountain’s top. He looks down a deep luxuriant vale, and on a grassy knoll about three miles distant, lifted from the depths of the valley by precipitous crags, stands the solitary temple; and if seen as we saw it, receiving the last golden rays of the setting sun while all below is wrapped in shade. The next day, would he visit the temple, his road lies through the valley of which I have last spoken. And surely he never passed through such an Arcadian scene as this. Almond and orange trees fill the air with fragrance; his path struggles through the tangled flowers, the cistus and the blue convolvulus, and he disturbs the nightingale in her pleasant haunt. At length, emerging from the valley, and climbing the steep side of a mountain, he stands before the temple. It is a majestic pile, about two hundred feet in length and eighty-eight in breadth, having fourteen columns on each side and six at each end, in all thirty-six columns, of about six feet in diameter; not fluted, as is usual in Grecian Doric temples, but having a very peculiar form. It stands on a platform raised on three gigantic steps. All the columns are standing; the entablatures and pediments are in pretty good preservation, but it is roofless, and flowers and weeds are now waving where once trode the white-robed priests. The breezes from the fragrant mountains and the distant sea, of which it commands a fine view, sigh through it in harmony with its sad and solitary grandeur.

237On a neighboring hill are the vestiges of the ancient city, a few ruined towers, probably of the citadel, and a theatre, the stone seats of which are almost entire; part of the sculptured figure of a faun still remains on the proscenium; wild shrubs shade a great part of the ruin, and where manhood and beauty once sat, listening to the tragedies of an Eschylus or Euripides, the adder and the lizards sun themselves. The next ruins we visited were those of Selinunte, anciently Selinus or Selinuntium, which lies on the southern coast of the island. This city was founded by a colony of Greeks about twenty-five hundred years ago. It was taken during the Carthaginian wars, and in a great measure destroyed by Hannibal the son of Giscon, four hundred and nine years before Christ. The country on approaching Selinunte is a dreary plain covered with the palmetto. On gazing toward the sea, when distant two or three miles, the traveller’s eye catches what he would take for a rocky hill, were it not for a few mutilated columns which rise above the blue horizon. As he approaches, the stupendous scene of ruin strikes him with awe. There in a mighty heap lie column and capital, metope and cornice; and the mind is lost in wonder at the power that raised these giant structures, and the power that overthrew them. Only one complete column, and that without its capital, and several mutilated ones, remain standing of the great temple supposed to be of Neptune; the rest are prostrate; and all lying in one direction, bear evidence that they have been thrown down by an earthquake.

The first temple is Grecian Doric, as are all those of which I shall speak. Its columns are about eleven feet across, and they must have been, including their capitals, more than sixty feet high. Above these lofty columns was placed the architrave, one of the stones of which, that we measured, was twenty-five feet in length, eight in height, and six in thickness; but another is still larger; forty feet long, seven broad, and three deep. To transport these enormous masses of stone from their quarry, which is several miles distant, with a deep valley and river intervening, would trouble the modern engineer; but to poise and place them on the top of the columns, seventy feet from the ground, with our mechanical means, were indeed a great feat. The columns were not of single pieces, but composed of several, and they now lie, to use an unpoetical phrase, like rows of enormous cheeses. The great temple was three hundred and thirty-four feet long, one hundred and fifty-four wide; its porticoes at each end were four columns in depth, eight in width; a double row on the sides of the cella or interior edifice, which in all Grecian temples was the sanctum sanctorum. In all, there must have been eighty columns. There is one remarkable feature about this temple, which is, that none of the columns were fluted except those of the eastern end. About thirty paces from this ruin, which the Sicilians call the Pileri di Giganti, or Pillars of the Giants, are the remains of another temple which was about two hundred feet long: its entablature was supported by thirty-six fluted columns of seven feet in diameter and thirty-five feet long, each of a single piece of stone. Only a few fragments of the columns remain standing in their places. Treading another thirty paces, you come to a temple which is of rather larger dimensions than the one last mentioned. The columns of this were also fluted, 238but no part of the edifice is standing, except a solitary pilaster, which was probably a portion of the cella. These temples were built of a hard but porous stone, of a light color, and were probably covered with a thin coat of cement. They command an extensive view both of sea and land, and in their primal days must, with their tower-like columns, their sculptured entablatures and pediments, have risen above the scene in majestic grandeur.

Three quarters of a mile from these temples was the ancient port, now choked with sand, and near it are the remains of edifices supposed to have been the magazines. On an adjoining hill are remnants of three temples and two towers, in almost undistinguishable ruin. We left Selinunte with a lasting but melancholy impression, and were reminded of the lines:

‘Two or three columns and many a stone,

Marble and granite, with grass o’ergrown:


Remnants of things which have passed away,

Fragments of stone rear’d by creatures of clay!’

Girgenti, anciently called Agragas and Agrigentum, is situated on the southern coast of Sicily, in a delicious country; the modern city was built by the Saracens on the summit of a hill upward of eleven hundred feet above the level of the sea. The site of the ancient city is lower, and about a mile distant. It was probably founded in the eighth century before Christ. In its flourishing state it contained two hundred thousand inhabitants, who were celebrated for their hospitality, their love of the arts and luxurious style of living. Plato was so much struck with the solidity of their buildings and the sumptuousness of their dinners, that he said they ‘built as though they thought themselves immortal, but ate as though they never expected to eat again.’ The horses of Agrigentum were celebrated; and one of the citizens returning from the Olympic games, on entering his native town, was followed by three hundred chariots, each drawn by four white horses sumptuously caparisoned. The government of this little state, whose inhabitants never amounted to more than eight hundred thousand, was at first monarchical, afterward democratic; but neither the forms of its institutions, nor its riches and grandeur, could save it from misfortune: it was besieged several times by the Carthaginians, and at length, after a siege of three years, was taken and sacked by Hannibal, the son of Giscon. In alluding to these misfortunes, the historian says: ‘Yet of all the Sicilian cities, the fate of Agrigentum seemed the most worthy to be deplored, from the striking contrast of its fallen state with its recent splendor and prosperity. The natural beauties of Agrigentum were secured by strength and adorned with elegance; and whoever considered either the innumerable advantages of the city itself, or the gay cultivation of the surrounding territory, which abounded in every luxury of the sea and land, was ready to pronounce the Agrigentines the most favored inhabitants of the earth. The exuberant fertility of the soil, particularly the rich luxuriance of the vines and olives, exceeded every thing that is related of the happiest climates, and furnished the means of lucrative commerce with the populous coast of Africa, which was sparingly provided with those 239valuable plants. The extraordinary wealth of the Agrigentines was displayed in the magnificence of public edifices and in the splendid enjoyment of private fortunes. They had begun and almost completed the celebrated Temple of Jupiter, built in the grandest style of architecture, employed by the Greeks on the greatest and most solemn occasions.’

The ancient city of Agragas stood on an elevated platform or table of land, three sides of which fell off in steep precipices; the fourth side was surmounted by the lofty hill on which the modern city stands. These steep precipices were the natural walls of the city, and were made more available for defence by excavation on the inside, so as to leave a solid wall of rock rising round the city. On the verge of this platform, which gradually sinks from east to west, and on the side next the sea, which is about a mile distant, are seen the remains of no fewer than six temples. They stood in a general line, but at irregular intervals, and must have formed one of the most magnificent spectacles that the art of man has ever presented to the eye. The remains of three other temples exist, but they lie at a distance from this grand range. On the eastern and highest part of the platform, where the natural wall of which I have spoken makes an angle, stood the Temple of Juno Lucina; next came the Temple of Concord; next the Temple of Hercules, near which was the Temple of Jupiter, called of the Giants; next came the Temple of Venus, and lastly that of Castor and Pollux. The approach to the ruins of these temples from the modern city is over the site of the ancient, now shaded by olive, almond, and carruba trees. The Temple of Juno is a picturesque ruin; all the columns on the northern side are standing, also several at the ends, and part of the entablature; the rest of the building, corroded by time or entirely prostrate, lies under an exuberant growth of flowers and shrubs.

Descending from this temple, we pass through a sort of wild garden, with here and there an olive-tree or dark carruba; on the left are the ruins of the ancient rock-wall, huge fragments of which in places have fallen down the precipice; other parts are perforated as with windows or loop-holes, or with deep cell-like excavations: these are the tombs of the ancient Agrigentines, now tenantless and void. Those window-like apertures were evidently made so by the action of the elements or the violence of man; and it is related that in consequence of the Agrigentines having made their tombs in the walls, they were so much weakened that the Carthaginians by means of their engines were enabled to batter them down and obtain an entrance. We now come to the Temple of Concord, one of the most beautiful specimens of Grecian Doric in existence. It is roofless, but otherwise almost perfect. It has twenty-four columns; it is, like the temple of Juno, raised on a platform of several steps, and about one hundred and fifty-four feet in length and fifty-five in breadth. It seems that this temple was used in times past for a Christian church, and the sides of its cella are perforated by arched openings. The next temple is near one of the ancient city gates, and is supposed to have been dedicated to Hercules: it was celebrated in ancient times for having in it a fine picture of Alcmena; but it is now a confused heap of ruin, with only one column standing, which proves it to have been of larger dimensions than the temples just mentioned.

240Turning a little to the right, we come upon the Temple of Jupiter Olympius, commonly called of the Giants, the largest sacred edifice in Sicily, and one of the most stupendous works of the ancients. It was in length three hundred and sixty-eight feet, in breadth one hundred and eighty; the breadth or diameter of its columns at the base thirteen feet four inches; the height of the columns must have been seventy-five feet; above these rose a massive entablature, and the top of the pediments could not have been less than one hundred and twenty feet high! The grandeur of the door and vestibule corresponded to the simple majesty of the whole building, whose sculptured ornaments represented, with the finished elegance and laborious accuracy that distinguished each particular figure, the ‘Defeat of the Giants and the Taking of Troy.’ In the interior ranged twenty-four antæ, or square pillars, of fifty feet in height; on the top of each was a sculptured giant twenty-seven feet in height, which with his hands clasped over his head supported the lofty roof. One can scarcely conceive any thing more noble and majestic than this wonderful edifice, in comparison with which, though covering much more ground, St. Peter’s in Rome is a splendid gew-gaw. But what remains of this great temple? A wide heap of ruin; the interior of which, the columns and walls having fallen outward, is a flowery field, in which lie some fragments of those huge giants that once supported the roof. One of these is tolerably entire: the curls of his hair form a sort of garland: it lies with its face upward, and when I stood by it, my own head scarcely reached as high as the brow of the statue. It is composed of several pieces of stone, as are the columns of this temple, and most of the others of Agrigentum. On every side of this elevated field lie the walls, entablatures, and columns in enormous fragments: the capitals of the columns look like huge rocks that have been hurled there by some violent convulsion of nature.

A short distance from this temple are the ruins of the Temple of Venus, and another of Castor and Pollux, of which two of the columns and part of the entablature are entire, and the thin coat of cement or stucco which covered them is in some parts as perfect as ever. The stone of which the temples were constructed is of a very porous nature, a sort of tufa, full of sea-shells, and when seen in the sunlight, of a golden hue; but they were all covered with stucco, which, judging from what remains, was nearly as hard as porcelain, and gave a beautiful and finished appearance to the otherwise rude material. Of the other remains in Agrigentum, the limits of this article will not allow me to speak. But the reader would ask, how came these temples in such a state of ruin? On this subject there has been some dispute; but their destruction may most reasonably be attributed to a mightier agency than man’s. Earthquake has shattered these gorgeous temples; the time when is not recorded. I am inclined to believe that they were destroyed, as well as those of Selinus, by the dreadful earthquakes that shook Italy and Sicily in the dark age of Valens and Valentinian, three hundred and sixty-five years after Christ.

Let us now proceed to Syracuse, once the capital of Sicily, and the birth-place of the great Archimedes. It was founded by Archias, one of the Heraclidæ, more than seven hundred years before the Christian 241era, and according to some authors contained within its walls at one time, one million two hundred thousand inhabitants; could maintain an army of one hundred thousand foot, ten thousand horse, with a navy of five hundred armed vessels. Little now remains of a place once so populous and so powerful, save the shrunken modern city of Syracusa, containing about nine thousand inhabitants, and a few almost unintelligible ruins scattered among vineyards, olive-groves, and fields of corn, or over the high wastes of the barren Epipole, on the summit of which the curious will find ruined walls and fortresses of massive and beautiful masonry. From these the eye commands the whole site of the ancient city. There lies, at the distance of three miles, the small island of Ortygia, on which is the modern town; on its right is the narrow entrance from the sea, which lies beyond, to the greater harbor, that appears like a beautiful lake, and is about two miles long and one and a half broad. On the left of the island of Ortygia is all that remains of the lesser port of Syracuse. On this side the island is connected with the main land by means of a draw-bridge. In Ortygia is the famous fountain of Arethusa: the spring is yet clear and copious; but the only nymphs I was fortunate enough to see were engaged in the necessary vocation of cleansing the soiled linen of Syracusa. The remains of a beautiful temple of Minerva form a part of the cathedral church. Near the small river Anapus are two columns, the remnants of a temple of Jupiter, which once contained a statue of that god, wearing a robe of gold; but Dionysius the tyrant stripped it off, saying ‘it was too cold for winter and too hot for summer.’ Among the seats of a noble theatre now stands a mill, that is supplied with water diverted from an ancient aqueduct close by: a strange metamorphosis indeed! This aqueduct conveys the water thirty miles. It may have been of Greek construction originally, but that part of it which I have seen is evidently Saracenic. The rocky site of Syracuse is in many parts perforated with tombs; the roads are literally honey-combed with them. There is a street excavated in the limestone rock which on either side is full of cells, and it may indeed be said of Syracuse that it is a great burying-ground. The oranges, vines, and figs of Syracuse are still flourishing, and the earth yet yields its hundred fold; but its glory is departed, and the traveller looks in vain for satisfactory vestiges of that mighty city.

There are many other interesting remains of antiquity in Sicily, but I must hasten to a conclusion. I trust the reader will have found the subject of this article interesting, although treated briefly and imperfectly. The traveller is unworthy of his privilege, and forgetful of duty if he extracts not from the scenes described some moral lesson or religious truth. The reader has accompanied me in imagination through classic Sicily. He has seen the lonely temple of Segeste, standing among the mountains like a widowed thing, mourning in silence the departed. Where is the multitude that once thronged around its walls? Mount Erix still battles with the clouds, as in the days of Agathocles. He has clambered with me among the prostrate columns of Selinunte: once, from beneath those massive porticoes, the Selinuntine, in the pride of his heart, looked upon the crowded port and distant mountains as we look on the Hudson, with its white sails and swift steamers, and the 242neighboring hills. Where and what are they? The distant mountains stand, but the great works which he erected to be a living honor to his name and country, are perished forever. He has lingered with me among the ruins of the splendid Agrigentum. Its numerous temples are dilapidated, or crumbling on the earth; its walls, once its vaunted strength, are strewed in shattered fragments on the steeps around. The dust of its multitudes serves to fertilize the soil of its ancient site! But the stream still flows which gave its name to the city, and the hills around yet produce the oil, the wine, and the grain. We have sojourned for a time among the melancholy vestiges of Syracuse; the scene of battles far more bloody than this land has ever known. The army which the Athenians, inflated with pride and presumption, sent against Syracuse, was here defeated. In yonder land-locked bay the Athenian fleet, the mightiest that republic had ever sent forth, and which they believed invincible, was destroyed. And the Roman orator has eloquently said, that not only the navy of Athens, but the glory and the empire of that republic, suffered shipwreck in the fatal harbor of Syracuse. It was there the wonderful mechanical skill of Archimedes was displayed against the Roman fleet, and those quiet waters have been strewed with the dying and the dead. From this deserted citadel, called of ‘Labdalus,’ the eye embraces the whole site of the once populous Syracuse; and what does it behold? On the distant island of Ortygia, an insignificant town, with a few small craft at anchor in the bay; nearer, a desert of rocky hills, a goat-herd, and a few straggling goats. Turning away from the melancholy scene, we behold afar off the snow-clad Ætna. What a contrast is this to what we have just reviewed in the mind’s eye! That is the work of God! Since its huge pyramid arose, nation after nation has possessed its fertile slopes. The Siculi have labored on its sides; the Greek, the Carthaginian and the Roman; the Norman and the Saracen have struggled for mastery at its foot; but the roar of the battle is past; the chariot and the charioteer are mingled in the dust. Yet yon earth-born giant, fed by continual fires, each century augments, and in all probability will continue to do so until

‘The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, yea the great globe itself

Shall dissolve, and like the baseless fabric

Of a vision, leave not a wreck behind!’

May we not in these things read deep lessons applicable to ourselves? The history of the people whose noble works I have endeavored to describe, should in the first place teach us how noble a thing it is to construct works of beauty and utility, not only for our own gratification, but for the benefit of posterity also. The selfish and unreflecting, even the modern utilitarian, will perhaps laugh at the thought, and say: ‘What folly to undertake such labors for the benefit of posterity! We will labor for ourselves.’ I would ask such persons, what would have been our state if the ancients had entertained such grovelling notions? Do they not know that most of the elegant as well as the useful, is the rich bequest of these ancients whom they affect to despise? There is not in the whole city of New-York a house, however lowly, but in some part of it I could point out a moulding or an ornament that comes from the 243ancients. But there are other points of view perhaps of higher consequence. Their temples were erected to the gods; mistaken as they were in their religious notions, we Christians may be put to shame by the devotion of the pagan. Not to man were their temples erected. Man enjoyed their beauty; gazed with admiration on their exquisite forms, and lingered under their shady porticoes; but the eye of the god to whom each temple was dedicated was supposed to be on the work, and the aim of the builders was perfection in every part; and even that which the eye of the multitude never rested on, was finished with elaborate care. I would ask, is there such a lofty feeling among us? Are we willing to expend toil and cost on that which will never gratify our senses? You will answer no. Is not this then a lesson to us? Another view of the matter: These works of art were the objects of veneration and love; city vied with city in their construction; it was a noble emulation—think you not nobler than the competition for sordid gold? The citizen gazed with pride upon the marble triumphs of his native place; he loved it more than ever, and felt his patriotism kindle as he gazed.

Let us not think that rail-roads and canals are the only works worthy of modern civilization. If we look to intents, (and what ought we to look at?) I doubt much but the ancients rose superior to us. We are in the enjoyment of many advantages of which they knew nothing. The wonder-working press was unknown to them; and above all, the beautiful light of Christianity had not been shed on the world. We have the broad day; they wrought in the twilight gloom. What majestic monuments of art! what enduring legacies of beauty! what objects to make a man love his country more and more, could have been erected with the means expended a few years ago in reckless speculations! Instead of turning with melancholy loathing to those broken bubbles on which the hopes and fortunes of many of us were suspended, we could at least look with admiration on the marble pile, and exclaim, ‘I also can be proud of the genius and taste of my country!’ Another lesson we may learn from the fate of ancient states: it is to beware of presumptuous pride and overweening conceit: these are the result of inconsiderate ignorance. It was through presumptuous pride that Athens fell, as I have before intimated. We have reason to fear there are many, some unconscious of the injury they do, and perhaps with just intentions, who feed this appetite for undue praise. Others, for mere popularity or the applause of the day, minister with adroitness the sweet though poisonous morsel for which our vanity and self-love are open-mouthed; which (to carry on the simile,) puffs us up with the comfortable notion that we are superior in every respect to all other nations, ancient or modern. It would be well to turn a deaf ear to this syren’s song: let us learn if possible to know ourselves; let us remember that there is no perfection, either in men or their institutions; and by avoiding a vain and presumptuous spirit, and scanning with a careful eye the causes of the greatness which under Providence we possess, we shall be most likely to approach the perfection which we all desire. We can have little doubt that the Agrigentine considered the institutions of his country as perfect as we do ours; and the citizens of greater states, Athens, even Rome itself, indulged 244in the same pleasing thought. Our only means of judging of the future is the past. We see that nations have sprung from obscurity, risen to glory, and decayed. Their rise has in general been marked by virtue; their decadence by vice, vanity, and licentiousness. Let us beware!

I would not have the reader censure me for commencing this article as a traveller and ending it with an attempt to moralize. In reviewing in my mind the interesting scenes I have endeavored to describe, I have been led back to the thoughts that arose when I trode among the ruins of prostrate temples, and they were connected in my mind; and I will venture again to say, that he is unworthy of the privilege of travelling who gleans not from the fields he visits some moral lesson or religious truth.

T. C.




In Beverly, the building I sought the other day,

Where forty years ago my sire his infant gave away;

I sought it, for I coveted where he had placed his foot,

My honored, sainted father! mine in filial love to put.


I entered it: most holy appeared the house of prayer;

Yet more than common holiness its beauty seemed to wear;

For there the waters bathed me, and solemn words were said,

And Father, Son, and Paraclete invoked above my head.


Of all the congregation who looked in reverence on,

The elders and the blooming youth, each worshipper was gone;

And he, with hairs of winter, whose office ’twas to lave

My baby brow, and name my name, was hidden in the grave!


What years have passed of sorrow, that hour and this between!

What moments of enjoyment in that interval I’ve seen!

I wept that I had measured the half of being’s track;

I smiled that worlds were poor to bribe the weary pilgrim back.


I sighed that in the journey where blessings are so few

For even the most favored, I but scanty portion knew;

And chiefly in the season of confidence and pride,

My youth was forced the dangerous way, without my earthly guide.


Where is my sainted father, who took me in his arms,

And held me to the minister, and kissed away alarms?

I feel his presence near me! he blesses me once more!

Ay, where he gave me up to God, just forty years before!



Harry Harson.


It was not the failure of his plans, nor the dread of detection, which broke Rust down. He had been prepared for that, and had nerved himself to meet it; but it was a blow coming from a quarter where he had not dreamed of harm, and wounding him where alone he could feel a pang, that crushed him. There was something so abject in the prostration of that iron-willed man, who had often endured what would have wrung the very souls of other men, without exhibiting any other feeling than contempt, that for a moment awed even the hard man who had struck the blow. In proportion as Rust’s control over his emotions had been great, so now the reäction was terrible. He seemed paralyzed in body and mind. No cry escaped him, but his breath rattled as he drew it; his long hair hung loosely over his face, and upon the floor; his eyes were closed; his features livid and distorted; and but for his struggling breath, and the spasmodic jerking of his fingers, he seemed dead.

‘Lift him up, Bill,’ said Grosket, in a subdued tone. ‘It’s been too much for him. Who’d have thought he had a heart?’

Jones smiled grimly, as he said: ‘I’m glad you did it, Mr. Grosket. It was better than murdering him. He wasn’t afeard of dying. Is it a fit he’s got?’

Without waiting for a reply, he placed his arms under him and raised him up. Rust lay heavily against him, his head falling back, and his arms dangling at his side. They carried him to the bench, and placed him on it, Grosket standing behind him, and supporting his back.

‘I guess he’s done for,’ said Jones, pushing the hair from his face; ‘pity it wasn’t three days ago—that’s all.’

‘Get some water, or brandy,’ said Grosket; ‘I suppose we may as well bring him to. It would be an ugly business if he should die on our hands.’

Jones stooped down, and picking up his great coat, commenced fumbling in its pocket, and drew out the bottle from which he and Craig had drank, as they were starting on their expedition on the previous night. He held it up and looked at it, then muttered: ‘It’s no use; it’s no use.’

‘What are you talking about, there?’ demanded Grosket, impatiently: ‘is it empty?’

Jones shook it.

‘No; there’s a drop or two in it. D—n him! I don’t like his 246drinking out of this bottle, I don’t; I use it myself; and blow me, if I don’t think his mouth ’ud p’ison it.’

Grosket cut his scruples short by taking the bottle from him, uncorking it, and pouring its contents in Rust’s mouth.

‘It’s a waste,’ muttered Jones, eyeing his proceedings with a very dissatisfied look. ‘I begrudged it to poor Tim; and cuss him, it’s going down his gullet! I hope it’ll choke him.’

Grosket paid no attention to him, but supported Rust, occasionally shaking him by way of stirring up his ideas. Either the liquor or the shakings had an effect; for the deadly paleness gradually disappeared from Rust’s face; his breath grew less short and gasping; and finally he sat up, and looked about him. His eye was wandering and vacant, and sad and heart-broken indeed was his tone.

‘My own dear child!’ said he, in a voice so mild and winning, and so teeming with fondness, that none would have recognized it as Rust’s. ‘I’ve had a strange dream, my poor little Mary, about you, whom I have garnered up in my heart of hearts.’

His voice sank until his words were unintelligible, and then he laughed feebly, and passed his hand backward and forward in the air, as if caressing the head of a child. ‘Your eyes are very bright, my little girl, but they beam with happiness; and so they shall, always. So they shall—so they shall. Kiss me, my own darling!’ He extended his arms, and drew them toward him, as if they enfolded the child, and then bending down his cheek, rocked to and fro, and sang a song, such as is used in lulling an infant to sleep.

‘My God! He’s clean gone mad!’ said Jones, staring at him with starting eyes. ‘Dished and done up in ten minutes! That’s what I call going to Bedlam by express.’

Although Grosket uttered not a word of comment, his keen gray eye, bright as a diamond; his puckered brows; his compressed lips, and his hands tightly clasped together, showed that he viewed his work with emotions of the most powerful kind. At length he said, in low tone, as if communing with himself rather than addressing the only person who seemed capable of hearing him: ‘If he goes mad he’ll spoil my scheme. He’ll not reap the whole harvest that I have sown for him. He must live; ay, and in his sane mind, to feel its full bitterness. I, I have lived,’ said he, striking his breast; ‘I have borne up against the same curse that now is on him. I have had the same feeling gnawing at my heart, giving me no rest, no peace. He must suffer. He must not take refuge from himself in madness. He shall not,’ said he, savagely. ‘Ha! ha! who would have thought that the flint which the old fellow calls his heart had feeling in it?’

Whether these remarks reached Rust’s ear, or whether it was that his mind, after the first shock of the intelligence was over, was beginning to rally, is a matter of doubt; but from some cause or other, he suddenly discontinued his singing, passed his hand across his forehead, held his long hair back from his face, and stared about him; his eye wandering from Grosket to Jones, and around the room, and then resting on the floor. He sat for some time looking steadfastly down, his face gradually regaining its stern, unbending character; his thin lips compressing 247themselves, until his mouth had assumed its usual expression of bitterness, mingled with resolution.

The two men watched, without speaking, the progress of this metamorphosis. At last he rose, and turning to Grosket, said in a calm voice:

‘You’ve done your worst; yet you see Michael Rust can bear it;’ and then bowing to him, he said: ‘Good bye, Enoch. Whatever may have happened to my child, I am blameless. I never sold her happiness to gratify my avarice. If she has become what Enoch’s child was, the sin does not lie at my door. I don’t know how it is with you.’

Turning to Jones, he said, in the same quiet tone: ‘Murderer of your bosom-friend, good bye.’ The door closed, and he was gone.

A bitter execration from the two men followed him. From Jones, it burst forth in unbridled fury, and he sprang forward to avenge the taunt, but was withheld by Grosket, who grasped his arm, then as suddenly relinquished his hold, and said:

‘Quick! quick! Jones. Drag him back! It concerns your safety and my plans to get him back.’

The man dashed to the door and down the stairs. In a moment he reäppeared:

‘It’s too late. He’s in the street.’

‘Curse it! that was a blunder! We should have searched him. He carries all his papers with him.’

But almost at the same moment he seemed to overcome his vexation, for he said: ‘Well, it can’t be helped, so there’s no use in grumbling about it. And now, Bill Jones,’ said he, turning to the other, ‘you know what you’ve done, and who set you on. So do I. He’s worse than you are. If you were him, I’d arrest you on the spot. As it is, I say you had better make yourself scarce. Your neck is in danger, for although the death of Tim, if the rumor is true, was accidental——’

‘It was, it was, Mr. Grosket,’ interrupted Jones. ‘D—n it, if it was Rust, if it was only him, I wouldn’t mind it. I’d die myself, to see him swing.’

‘Well, hear me,’ continued Grosket. ‘You were committing a felony when you killed Craig, and his death, although accidental, is murder. I’m no lawyer, but I know that. You must run for it.’

‘I’d cuss all danger,’ said Jones, gnawing his lip, ‘if I could only lug Rust in it too.’

‘Well, well,’ returned Grosket, ‘you must take your own course; but remember I’ve warned you. You have some good traits about you, Bill, and that’s more than Rust has. Good bye!’ He extended his hand to the burglar. Jones grasped it eagerly.

‘Thank you! thank you, Mr. Grosket,’ said he, the tears starting to his eyes. ‘If you only knew how I was brought up, how I suffered, what has made me what I am, you wouldn’t think so hard of me as some do. But there is blood on me, now; that’s worse than all. I’ll never get over that. I might, if it wasn’t Tim’s. Good bye, God bless ye, Mr. Grosket! My blessing won’t do you much good, but it can’t hurt you.’

Grosket shook his hand, and left the room; and the desperate man, 248whom he left melted by a transient word of kindness, which had found its way to his rugged heart, buried his face in his hands, and wept.

Once in the street, Rust endeavored to bear up against his fortune. But he could not. His mind was confused, and all his thoughts were strange, fantastic and shadowy. He paused; dashed his hand impatiently against his forehead, and endeavored to shake off the spell. No, no! it would not leave him. Failure in his schemes! dishonor in his child! He could think of them, and of them only. Once on this theme, his mind became more bewildered than ever; and yielding himself to its impulses, he fell into a slow pace, and sauntered on, with his chin bent down on his breast.

From the thickly-settled parts of the town he went on, until he came to streets where the bustle and crowd were less; then to others, which were nearly deserted; then on he went, until he reached a quarter where the houses stood far apart, with vacant lots between them. Still he kept on. Then came fields, and cottages, and farm-houses, surrounded by tall trees. Still on he went, still wading through a mass of chaotic fancies, springing up, and reeling and flitting through his mind; shadows of things that had been, and might be; ghosts of the past; prophets of the future. He had become a very child. At last he stood on the bank of the river; and then for the first time he seemed to awaken from his trance.

It was a glorious day, whose sunshine might have found its way even into his black heart. Oh! how soft, and mellow, and pure, the hurricane of the last night had left it! Not a cloud in the sky, not a breath to ripple the water, or to wave the long trailing locks of the hoary willows, which nodded over its banks.

Rust looked about him, with a bewildered gaze, until his eye became fixed upon the water. ‘It’s very quiet, very quiet,’ said he; ‘I wonder if a man, once engulfed in it, feels peace.’ He pressed his hand to his breast, and muttered: ‘Here it is gone forever!’

He loitered listlessly on, under the trees. His step was feeble; and he stooped and tottered, as if decrepid. He stopped again, shook his head, and went on, looking upon the ground, and at times long and wistfully at the river.

An old man, leaning on a stout cane, who had been watching him, at last came up. Raising his hat, as he did so, he said:

‘You seem, like myself, to be an admirer of this noble river?’

Rust looked up at him sharply, ready to gather in his energies, if necessary. But there was nothing in the mild, dignified face of the speaker to invite suspicion, and he replied in a feeble tone:

‘Yes, yes; it is a noble river.’

‘I’ve seen many, in my long life,’ said the other, ‘and have never met its equal.’

Rust paused, as if he did not hear him, and then continued in a musing tone:

‘How smooth it is! how calm! Many have found peace there, who never found it in life. Drowning’s an easy death, I’m told.’

The stranger replied gravely, and even sternly:

‘They have escaped the troubles of life, and plunged into those of 249eternity;’ and then, as if willing to give Rust an opportunity of explaining away the singular character of the remark, he said: ‘I hope you do not meditate suicide?’

‘No,’ replied Rust, quietly, ‘not at present; but I’ve often thought that many a wrecked spirit will find there what it never found on earth—peace.’

‘The body may,’ returned the other, ‘but not the soul.’

Rust smiled doubtfully, and walked off. The man watched, and even followed him; but seeing him turn from the river, he took another direction, occasionally pausing to look back. Not so Rust. From the time he had parted with the stranger, he had forgotten him, and his thoughts wandered back to their old theme. It was strange that he should believe so implicitly Grosket’s tale, coming as it did from one whom he knew hated him. Yet he did believe it. There was proof of its truth in Grosket’s manner; in his look; in his tone of assured triumph. Yet although Rust brooded over nothing else that livelong day, he could not realize it; he could not appreciate how desolate and lonely he was. He could only fancy how life would be, if what Grosket had told him had happened. ‘This is not all a dream, I suppose,’ muttered he, pausing as he went, and passing his hand across his forehead. ‘No, no; I’m awake—wide awake; and I am Michael Rust; that’s more strange than all.’

After hours of wandering, he found himself at his office. He ascended the stairs, opened the door, and went in. It was dark, for the lights had been twinkling in the shop-windows before he left the street; but he sat down without observing it; and there he remained until Kornicker came in with a light.

Rust made no reply to the salutation which he received. Kornicker placed the light on the table; and after loitering round the room, and busying himself with a few papers which he had arranged on the table, to give it a business-like appearance, he asked:

‘Do you want me any more, to-night?’

‘No; you may go.’

The dismissal and departure of Mr. Kornicker were almost simultaneous. His heavy foot went thumping from step to step, and finally the street-door banged after him. Rust sat without moving, listening to every tramp of his heavy foot, until the door shut it out.

‘So, he’s gone,’ said he, drawing a long breath, and cuddling himself up on his chair. ‘He’ll be in my way no more to-night.’

He shivered slightly; and then got up and drew his chair nearer the grate, although there was no fire in it. ‘And this is then the end of my scheme,’ muttered he; ‘I have gone on for years in the same beaten track, fighting off all who could interfere with me. The affection of those who would have loved me; friends, relatives, those nearest to me, with the same blood in our veins, nursed in the same arms, who drew life from the same source; this cold heart has repulsed, until they have all abandoned me!’

He leaned his head on his hands, and tears, scalding tears, gushed from his eyes. ‘I did it for her. It was to get gold to lavish on her. I would have chained myself for life to that old man’s daughter, to get 250wealth; I would have added the murder of those children to the catalogue of my crimes, that I might have grasped their inheritance, to have showered all that I had gathered by toil and crime upon her. She was my hope, my pride, my own dear darling child; but she is shipwrecked now; she has withered my heart. I would have shed its last blood for her. I would—I would; indeed I would! But it’s useless to think of it. She can never be what she was; the bright, pure-souled, spotless child whom I worshipped. Yes, yes; I did worship her; Why deny it? Better, far better, she had died, for then I might still have cherished her memory. It’s too late. She’s become a castaway now.’

He paused. From a state of deep and querulous despondency, he gradually recovered composure; then his mood grew sterner and sterner; until his compressed lips and flashing eye showed that he had passed from one extreme to the other.

‘Is there nothing left to live for?’ exclaimed he; ‘nothing left? One thing can yet be done. I must ascertain her disgrace beyond a doubt. Then atonement can and shall be made, or he had better never have been born!’

Rust stood up, with an expression of bold, honest indignation, such as he had rarely worn, stamped on every feature. ‘This must be accomplished,’ said he. ‘Everything else must be abandoned: this done, let me die; for I cannot love her as I did, and I might hate her: Better die!’


Richard Holmes, Esq. was sitting in his office, two days after the events narrated in the last chapter, with his nose within a few inches of a law-book which rested on his knees, when he was aroused by the opening of the door, and the entrance of a man. Holmes was so much out of the world, and out of the current of business, that he did what a practitioner at the bar of his age and standing rarely does; that is, he looked up without waiting till he was addressed.

‘Ah, Harson?—it’s you, is it?’ said he, laying aside his book, but without rising.

Harry walked up, shook hands with him, and seated himself.

‘We’ve been hard at work, and have made some progress,’ said he, taking off his hat, and placing it on the table. ‘We’ve got the woman.’

‘What woman?’

‘Blossom,’ replied Harson; ‘I’ve brought her here to answer for herself. She was in Rust’s employ, and received the children from him. She’s below.’

‘What news of the boy?’ inquired Holmes.

‘Grosket is after him. He knows where he is. Would you like to see the woman?’

‘It would be as well,’ said Holmes, drumming on the table. ‘We’ll hear what she has to say. Does she communicate what she knows willingly or under compulsion?’

‘She’s not very talkative;’ answered Harson, ‘and seems terribly afraid of Rust.’

251‘I think we can squeeze the truth out of her,’ replied Holmes. ‘Bring her up.’

Harson went out, and in a few minutes reäppeared with Mrs. Blossom at his heels. The lawyer pointed to a chair, into which the lady sank, apparently in a state of great exhaustion and agitation; for she moaned and rocked to and fro, and wrung her hands.

‘Your name’s Blossom, I think,’ said Holmes, evincing no sympathy whatever with her sufferings.

‘Ah’s me! ah’s me! I’m very old! I’m very old!’ exclaimed the lady, moaning from the very bottom of her lungs, but without making any reply to the question.

‘Hark ye,’ said Holmes, in a stern tone, ‘I have not sent for you, to listen to your moaning, nor to be trifled with in any other way. You have come here to disclose the deeds of a scoundrel; and disclose them you must. You shall answer all my questions, truly, honestly, and without equivocation, or it will be the worse for you. I am aware of offences committed by you, which, if punished as they merit, would send you to prison. I tell you this, that you may know exactly how we stand with reference to each other. If you wish to serve yourself, you will find true and prompt replies to whatever I ask. What’s your name?’

Mrs. Blossom oscillated in her chair, glanced at the wall, replied ‘Blossom,’ and buried her face in a rag of a shawl.

‘Good! Where do you live?’ demanded the lawyer. The woman answered, and Holmes wrote it down.

‘Do you know a man by the name of Michael Rust?’

Mrs. Blossom’s chair became very uneasy, and she was seized with a violent cough. The lawyer waited until her cough was better, and repeated the question, accompanying it by a look which produced an answer in the affirmative.

‘What other name did you ever know him to bear?’

Mrs. Blossom suddenly found her voice, and replied boldly: ‘No other;’ and here she spoke the truth; for Rust had trusted her no farther than was absolutely necessary.

‘How long have you known him?’

Mrs. Blossom again lost her voice, but found it instantly on meeting the eye of Holmes; and she answered bluntly, ‘About four years.’

‘What led to your acquaintance?’

The woman cast a shrewd suspicious glance at him, as if calculating how far she might trifle with impunity; but there was something in his manner that was not encouraging, and she replied, ‘that she could not remember.’

Holmes laid down his pen, and pushing back his chair so that he faced her, said in a quiet but very decided manner:

‘Mrs. Blossom, you have been brought here for the purpose of giving us such information as will enable us to do justice to a person who has been greatly injured by this man Rust. I mention this, not because I suppose the motive will have any great weight with you, but to let you see that the object of our investigation is nothing against yourself. Your answers are important to us; for at present we know no other 252than yourself, of whom we can obtain the information we require. I do not conceal this, nor will I conceal the fact that unless you do answer me, you shall leave this room for a prison. I told you so before; I repeat it now; I will not repeat it a third time. I already know enough of the matter on which I am interrogating you, to be able to detect falsehood in your answers.’

There was something either in the words of the lawyer or in the formation of her chair that caused Mrs. Blossom to move very uneasily; and at the same time to cast a glance behind her, as if there existed a strong connection between her thoughts and the door. She was however used to trying circumstances, and did not lose her presence of mind. She made no reply, but sat with every faculty, which long training had sharpened to a high degree of cunning, on the alert; but she was not a little taken by surprise when Holmes, after taking from the table a packet of papers, selected one, and having spent a few minutes in examining it, said to her:

‘To convince you that we are perfectly acquainted with the nature of your dealings with Rust, I will enter into a few details, which may perhaps enable you to recollect something more. Four years since, on the sixteenth of December, a man by the name of Blossom, with whom you lived, and whose name you bear, although you are not his wife, proposed to you to take charge of two children, a boy and girl. At first you refused, but finally agreed to do it on receiving five hundred dollars, and the assurance that no inquiry would be made as to the treatment they received at your hands, and that whether they lived or died was a matter of indifference to the person who placed them in your charge, and would not be too closely investigated. The children came. They were quite young. You had them for a week, and were then informed that they must go, for a time, to the country. You asked no questions, but gave them up, and they were sent away, the money for their support being furnished by the same hand that threw them upon your mercy. In a year or so they were brought back, and were again entrusted to you, with instructions to break them down, and if possible to send them to their graves; but if their bodies were proof against cruelty, then so to pollute their very souls, and familiarize them with crime, that they should forget what they had been; and that even those who should have loved them best would blush to see what they were. You began your work well, for you had a stern, savage master over you—Michael Rust. Thus much,’ said he, ‘I know; but I must know more. You must identify the children as the same first delivered to you by Rust. You must disclose the names of the persons with whom they lived in the country. You must also give me such information as will enable us to fasten this crime on Rust. Another person could have proved all this—the man Blossom; but you know he is dead.’

He paused, for Mrs. Blossom’s face grew deadly pale as he spoke. It was momentary, however; and might have passed away entirely, had not a strange suspicion fastened itself on his mind. He added in a slow tone: ‘What ailed him, you know best.’

Mrs. Blossom’s thin lips grew perfectly white; and moved as if she were attempting to speak.

253‘Will you give me the information I require? or will you accept the alternative?’ said Holmes, still keeping his eye upon her.

‘Go on; what do you want?’ demanded she, in a quick husky voice.

‘You are acquainted with Michael Rust?’

‘I am,’ replied she, in the same quick, nervous manner.

‘How did you first become acquainted with him?’

‘You know all that,’ was the abrupt reply. ‘Why should I go over it again? It’s all true, as you said it.’

Holmes paused to make a note of it, and then asked:

‘What is the name of the person, in the country, who took charge of the children?’

‘I don’t know,’ replied the woman. ‘Michael Rust sent a man for them, who took them off.’

‘Who was this man?’

‘I don’t know; I never saw him. Mr. Blossom gave the children to him, and never told me his name.’

‘Good,’ said Holmes, in his short, abrupt manner: ‘Where are these children now?’

‘One’s at his house,’ replied she, pointing to Harson. ‘The other, by this time, is with a man named Grosket. He’s been arter him, and I suppose has got him by this time.’

‘Enoch Grosket?’ inquired Holmes.

The woman nodded. ‘I told him where he’d find him. He went straight off to fetch him.’

‘Will you swear that they are the same children brought to you four years since?’ said Holmes, pausing in his writing, and running his eye over the notes which he had made. ‘Do you know them to be the same?’

‘The man said so, who brought ’em back at the end of the year. That’s all I know about it. They never left me arter that.’

‘Who was that man?’

‘Tim Craig,’ replied the woman.

‘And he’s dead. The only person who could reveal their place of concealment during that year, and the name of those who had the care of them. The chain is broken, by which to identify them as the lost children of George Colton. Who can aid us in this?’

‘I CAN!’ said a voice.

All three started, for there, at their very elbow, stood Michael Rust; but Rust, fearfully altered, worn down, wan, haggard, with sunken cheeks, and features rigid and colorless, as if cut from wax, and with an eye of fire. But wrecked as he was, there was still that strange sneering smile on his lip, which seemed as if only parting to utter sarcasm and mockery. But now he was serious in his mood, for he repeated:

‘I can, and without my aid the secret must be hid forever.’

Holmes rose, angrily, from his seat.

‘What brought you here?’ demanded he.

‘Be seated, I beg of you,’ said Rust, bowing, and speaking in a low, mocking tone. ‘What brought me here? You called upon me, I think; it was but civil to return the visit. I have come to do so.’

254‘This is idle, Sir,’ replied Holmes, coldly. ‘You came for some purpose. Name it. The sooner this interview is over, the more agreeable I suppose it will be for both of us.’

‘For me, certainly,’ said Rust, in a manner so constrained and different from his usual one, that the lawyer was in doubt whether he was in jest or earnest. Then he added, in a bitter tone: ‘You ask what brought me here. Destiny, folly, revenge perhaps against my own heart’s blood. Call it what you will; here I am; and ready to assist in the very matter which now perplexes you. What more do you want?’

Holmes replied with a sarcastic smile: ‘The assistance of Michael Rust is likely to be as great as his sincerity. We certainly should place great reliance on it.’

Rust, perfectly unmoved by the taunt, answered in a tone so bitter, so full of hatred to himself, so replete with the outpouring of a cankered heart, so despairing and reckless, that the lawyer felt that even in him there might be some truth:

‘I care not whether you trust me or not; I care not whether you believe me or not. If Michael Rust could ever have been swayed by the opinions of others, it would have been before this; it’s too late to begin now. I came here because I have failed in all I undertook; because I am beginning to hate the one for whom I have toiled, until I grew gray with the wearing away of mind and body; because the soul of life is gone. I do it out of revenge against that person. There is no remorse; no conscience; but it’s revenge. Look at me; that person has blasted me. Do I not show it in every feature and limb? Now you understand me. My schemes are abandoned; and I shall soon be where neither man nor law can reach me. My secret can do me no good; why should I keep it? Perhaps the recollection of past days and of past favors from one whom I have wronged, may have had its weight; perhaps not. I’ve come to tell the truth. If you will hear it, well; if not, I go, and it goes with me.’

Holmes and Harson exchanged looks, and Harson nodded, as if in acquiescence to some proposition which he supposed the looks of the other to indicate.

‘Well, Sir,’ replied Holmes, ‘we will hear what you have to say.’

‘Stop,’ said Rust; ‘before uttering a word, I must have a promise.’

The lawyer looked at him, and then at Harson, as much as to say: ‘I expected it. There’s some trick in it.’

Rust observed it, and said: ‘Spare your suspicions; I have come here to be frank and honest in word and deed; and Michael Rust can be so, when the fancy seizes him. The promise I require is this; whatever I may reveal, no matter what the penalty, you will not set the blood-hounds of the law on my track within forty-eight hours. I have yet one act to perform in the great farce of life. That accomplished, you may do your worst.’

‘This is all very strange,’ said Holmes, eyeing the thin, excited features of his visitor, as if not altogether sure of his sanity; ‘if you fear the punishment of your misdeeds, why reveal them? Why place yourself in our power, or run the risk of our interfering with your future movements?’

255Rust replied bitterly: ‘You shall hear. My whole life has been spent for one person, my own child. Every faculty of mind and body has been devoted to her, and every crime I have committed was for her. Scruples were disregarded; ties of blood set at defiance; every thing that binds man to man, that deters from wrong, were disregarded, if they stood in the way of that one grand aim of life. She forgot all! She has broken me down, heart and spirit. Love and devotion were crushed with them, and revenge has sprung up from their ruins. Ay! revenge against my own child! Should any thing prevent my doing what I have yet to do, and should my brother die, and his children not be found, she would be his heir. I would have labored and succeeded, for one who has disgraced me, and made me what you see me!’

He stretched out his thin hands, displaying the large veins, coursing beneath the skin, and apparently full to bursting. ‘How wasted they are!’ He smiled as he looked at them, and then asked: ‘Will you promise?’

The lawyer turned to Harson, and then said: ‘I promise; do you, Harson?’ Harry nodded.

‘Good!’ said Rust, abruptly. ‘You know my name, and much of my history. All the facts which you detailed to me at my office a short time since are true—true almost to the very letter. Michael Rust and Henry Colton are one. The plodding, scheming, heartless, unprincipled Henry Colton, who could sell his brother’s own flesh and blood for gold; who could forget all the kindnesses heaped upon him, and stab his benefactor, and this wreck of Michael Rust, are one!’

He struck his hand against his chest, and strode up and down the room, biting his lips. ‘He was rich, and I was poor: he gave me the means of living, but I wanted more. I had my eye on his entire wealth, and I wanted him to be in his grave. But he thwarted me in that. Feeble and sickly, so that a breath might have destroyed him, he lived on, and at last, as if to balk me farther, he married. Two children were born; two more obstacles between me and my aim. Two children!—two more of the same blood for me to love. Ho! ho! how Michael Rust loved those babes!’ exclaimed he, clutching his fingers above his head, and gasping as he spoke. He turned, and fastening his glaring eye on the lawyer, griped his fingers together, with his teeth hard set and speaking through them, said in a sharp whisper: ‘I could have strangled them!’

He paused; and then went on: ‘At last came the thought of removing them. At first it was vague: it came like a shadow, and went off; then it came again, more distinct. Then it became stronger, and stronger, until it grew into a passion—a very madness. At last my mind was made up, and my plans formed. I trusted no one, but carried them off myself, and delivered them to the husband of that woman,’ pointing to Mrs. Blossom. ‘I told him nothing of their history: he was paid to take charge of them, and asked no questions. Then came the clamor of pursuit. I daily met and comforted my broken-hearted brother and his wife: I held out hopes which I knew were false; I offered rewards; I turned pursuit in every direction except the right one. They both thanked me, and looked upon me as their best friend; and 256so I was, for I kept up hope; and what is life without it? At last the search approached the neighborhood where the children really were, and they were sent to the country. A man by the name of Craig took them. The only person who was in the secret was Enoch Grosket; but he knew nothing respecting the history of the children, nor where they went.’

‘Where was it?’ inquired Holmes, anxiously, ‘and to whom did you entrust them?’

‘I have prepared it all,’ said Rust; he drew a letter from his pocket and handed it to him. ‘You’ll find it there, and the names of the persons; they know nothing of the children; but they can identify them as those left with them four years ago; and they still have the clothes which they wore at the time; but the girl’s resemblance to her mother will save all that trouble.’

He paused, with his dark eyes fastened on the floor, and his lips working with intense emotion.

‘And is it possible that the love of gold can lead one to crimes like these!’ said Holmes, in a subdued tone.

‘Love of gold!’ exclaimed Rust, fiercely; ‘what cared I for gold? Ho! ho! Michael Rust values gold but as dross; but it is the world; the cringing, obsequious, miser-hearted world, that kisses the very feet of wealth, which set Michael Rust on; it was this that lashed him forward; but not for himself. I married a woman whom I loved,’ said he, in a quick, stern tone; ‘she abandoned me and became an outcast, and paid the penalty by an outcast’s fate: she died in the streets. The love which I bore her I transferred to my child. I was poor, and I resolved that she should be rich. Can you understand my motive now? I loved my own flesh and blood better than my brother’s. I have now relinquished my plans, and have told you why.’

A pause of some moments ensued, and Rust said: ‘Is there any thing more that you want? If so, tell me at once, for after to-day we shall never meet again.’

Holmes ran his eye over the papers, and selecting two letters, handed them to Rust, and said:

‘How do you account for the difference of that hand-writing, if Michael Rust and Henry Colton are one?’

‘Michael Rust wrote one hand, Henry Colton another,’ said Rust; ‘but I wrote both.’ He seized a pen, wrote a few words, signed the names Michael Rust and Henry Colton, and flung it on the table. ‘The game had been well studied before it was played.’

‘Your writing is well disguised indeed,’ said the lawyer, comparing it with the letters; ‘it solves that difficulty.’

‘Any thing else?’ demanded Rust, impatiently; ‘my time is limited.’

Holmes shook his head; but Harson said: ‘A few words about Jacob Rhoneland.’


‘You accuse him of forgery; what does that mean?’

‘He was a fool: I wanted to marry his daughter; I represented myself to him as very rich, to tempt his avarice; that failed. I added 257entreaties; they failed. Then I tried the effect of fear. He was not deaf to that for a long time, but at last he overcame even that.’

‘And the tale?’

‘Was well fabricated, but false.’

‘And Ned Somers?’

‘I had to get rid of him: what could I do while he was dallying round the girl? I did get rid of him: a few lies whispered to the old man sent him adrift. But I’m tired of this; I came to tell what I pleased, and nothing more, and I must be at work. You must respect your promise,’ said he, turning to Holmes.

‘I shall, and I hope your present errand at least is an honest one.’

‘It is,’ said Rust, with a strange smile; ‘it is to punish a criminal.’ He opened the door and went off without another word.


‘To-morrow to fresh fields and pastures new!’


Yes! I have been for many a changeful year,

Studious or sensual, gay or wild, or sad,

An earnest votary of Evening. She

Had something wondrous winning to my eye,

So soft she was, and quiet. Often too,

Absorbed in books, which were perchance a bane,

Perchance a blessing; or in glittering crowds,

Gazing all rapt on woman’s eloquent face,

Nature’s most witching and most treacherous page;

Or high in mirth with those whose senseful wit

Outflashed the rosy wines that warmed its flow,

I’ve held my vigils till the brow of Night

Grew pale and starless, and her solemn pomp,

Out-glared by day, faded in hueless space.

I do repent me of my worship. Night

Was given for rest: who breaks this natural law

Wrongs body and soul alike. One vigorous hour

Of sober day-light thought is worth a night’s

Slow oscitations of a drowsy mind.

’Neath Eve’s pale star the desolate heart reverts

To those far moments, when the sky was blue,

And earth was green, as earth and sky to eyes

Once disenchanted, can appear no more.

We all are mourners. Good men must deplore

Lost hours, lost friends, lost pleasures; and the bad

Are racked by throes of impotent remorse,

Dark, fierce, and bitter; for themselves are lost,

And still neglecting what remains of life,

They strive by backward reachings to redeem

The irredeemable. Why pass the hours,

The fleeting hours, in profitless regrets,

When each regret but lops another bough,

Full of green promise, from the tree of life?

You, who in your bereavement truly feel

This truth, expressed so sadly and so well:

‘Joy’s recollection is no longer joy,

While Sorrow’s memory is sorrow still;’

I counsel to recant your vows, and come

With me to worship at a better shrine,

The shrine of Morning.

Morning is the hour

Of vigorous thought, unconquerable hope,

And high endeavor. All our powers, in sleep

Bathed, nurtured, clad, and strung with nerves of steel,

Rise from their brief oblivion keen with health,

And strong for struggling, and we feel that toil

Is toil’s own recompense. I deem that Man

Is not a retrospective being; for his course

Is on, still on; and never should his eyes

Turn back, but to detect his errors past,

And shun them in his future steps. Too long,

Ah! much too long, O world! and oft I’ve gazed

In awe and wonder on thy midnight sleep,

While magic Memory, singly or in groups,

Upon her faded tablets re-produced

Fair and familiar forms of Love and Joy.

Oh! so familiar were they, and so fair,

Though dim, those blessed faces, that my eyes

Grew tremulous with the dew of unshed tears.

The gaze hath hurt me. It hath taken their rest

And natural joy from body and spirit, and worn

Too fast the wheel-work of this frail machine.

And now, oh! sleeping Nature! while the stars

Smile on thy face, and I in fancy hear

The low pulsations of thy dormant life,

And feel thy mighty bosom heave and fall

With regular breathings; through my little world

I feel Disease advancing on his sure

And stealthy mission. Well I know his step,

The wily traitor! when I mark my short,

Quick respirations; and his call I know,

As, in the hush of night, my ear alarmed

By the heart’s death-march notes, repeats its strange

And audible beatings.

Down! grim spectre, down!

Flap not thy wings across my face, nor let

Thy ghastly visage, horrible shadow! freeze

My staring eye-balls! Let me fly, O Death!

Thy chilling presence, and implore thy soft

And merciful brother,2 dewy Sleep, to drip

Papaverous balsam on my eyes, and lull

My throbbing temples on his lap to rest!


The day-spring reddens: the first few, faint streaks,

Mingling and brightening o’er the eastern skies,

Announce the upward chariot of the Sun.

Light leaps from Darkness! In the grave of Night

Day lays aside his burial-robes, and dons

His regal crown, and Nature smiles to see

His resurrection, shouting, ‘Hail! oh, hail!

Eve’s younger3 brother! and again, all hail!

Thou bright-eyed Morning! fairest among all

Of God’s fair creatures! Rise, bright prince, and shine

O’er this green earth, from brooding Darkness won,

From wild, waste Chaos, and the womb of Night!’

Let me too burst the leaden bands of Sleep,

And while the blinking stars, all faint and pale

With their long watch, recall their courier-rays

To their far orbits; and our earthly stars,

The stars of Fashion, sick and wan as they,

Are wheeling homeward to their feverous rest,

Let me walk forth among the silent groves,

Or through the cool vales snuff the morning air.

How fresh! how breathing! Every draught I take

Seems filled with healthiest life, and sends the blood

Rushing and tingling through my quickened veins,

Like inspiration! How the fluent air,

Fanned into motion by thy breezy wings,

O, fragrant Morning! blows from off the earth

The congregated vapors, dank and foul,

By yesterday coagulate and mixed!

Miasmas steaming up from sunless fens;

The effluvia of vegetable death;

Disease exhaled from pestilential beds,

And Lust’s rank pantings and the fumes of wine;

All these, condensed in one pernicious gas

By Noon’s hot efflux and the reeking Night,

Thy filtering breezes make as fresh and sweet

As infant slumbers; pure as the virgin’s breath

Whispering her first love in the eager ear

Of her heart’s chosen.

On this climbing hill,

While, lost in ecstacy, I stand and gaze

On the fresh beauties of a world disrobed,

How does thy searching breath, oh, infant Day!

Inspire the languid frame with new-born life,

And all its sinking powers rejuvenate,

Freshening the murky hollows of the soul!

Good Heaven! How glorious this morning hour,

Nature’s new birth-time! All her mighty frame,

In lowly vale, on lofty mountain-top,

And wide savannah, stirs, with sprightful life,

Life irrepressible, whose eager thrill

Shoots to her very finger-tips, and makes

Each little flower through all her delicate threads

Each fibrous plant, each blade of corn or grass,

And each tall tree, through all its limbs and leaves,

Quiver and tremble.

The increasing light

Reveals the outlines of the shadowy hills,

And, charm by charm, the landscape all comes forth,

Wood, stream, and valley; while above that green

And waving ocean swells an endless vault

Of blue serenity, and round its verge

Kindles and flashes with rubescent gleams

The far horizon; till the whole appears

A sapphire dome, which, edged with golden rim,

Spans the green surges of an emerald sea.

The Sun is still unseen; yet far before

His chariot-wheels a train of glory marks

His kindling track, and all the air is now

A luminous ocean. Whence these floods of light,

Rich with all hues? Say! have the spheréd stars,

Powdered in shining atoms, fallen and filled

The ambient air with their invisible dews?

Or have the fugitive particles of light,

The Sun’s lost emanations, which all night

Lay hid in hollows of the earth, or slept

In vegetable cells, come forth to greet

Their monarch’s coming? Are they pioneers

Sent to prepare his way, and raise his bright

Victorious banner, that their sovereign’s eye

From his serene pavilion may behold

No lingering shadow from the gloomy host

Of hateful Darkness, who hast westward borne

His routed army and his fading flag?

Alas! proud Science, Fancy’s sneering foe,

Says they are but the Sun’s refracted rays,

And scintillations from his burning wheels.

Earth’s bride-groom rises. Round his glittering head

He shakes his streamy locks, and fast and far

Sheds showers of splendor; and his blushing bride,

Recumbent on her grassy couch, scarce opes

Her bashful eyes to meet his ardent gaze.

While at the advent of her lord, the Earth,

Marking his shining footsteps, with a smile

Remembers the espousals of her youth,

When morning stars rang out the nuptial song4

In jubilant chorus; on her milky breast,

All the green nurslings of his favor raise

Their dewy heads, and welcome his approach

With thankful greetings; and each gentle flower

Turns her fair face to the munificent god

Of her idolatry, and well repays

His warm caresses with her perfumed breath.

But while inanimate nature takes the shows

Of life, and joy, and deep and passionate sense,

The animal kingdom sleeps not; all its tribes

Swell the glad anthem. Birds, that all night long

Slept and dreamed sweetly ’neath their folded wings,

At nature’s summons are awakening now;

Nor unmelodiously; for from their throats,

In many a warbling trill, or mingled gush,

Comes music of such sweet and innocent strength,

As might force tears from the black murderer’s eyes,

And make the sighing captive, while he weeps

His own hard wrongs, lift his chained hands, and pray

For his oppressor more than for himself.

Thou, too, my soul, if wearing years have left

Aught of high feeling in thy wasted powers,

Of gratitude for mercies undeserved,

Or hope of future favors, here and now,

Upon this breezy hill-top, in the eye

Of the bright day-god rising from his sleep,

Perform thine orisons:

‘Father and King,

While here thy quickening breezes round me play,

And yonder comes thy visible delegate

With his bright scutcheon, to diffuse again

All day the rays of thy beneficence

Over this lovely earth, thy six days’ work;

To Thee, Almighty One! thy child would raise

A loud thanksgiving. And if this, my strain

Of joy and thanks, and supplication, be

Or cold, or weak, or insincere in aught,

(As our poor hearts deceive themselves so oft,)

Thou! O Omnipotent! canst make it warm,—

Warm as thy love, strong as thy Son’s strong tears,

And pure as thine own essence. Formed by Thee,

Saved by thy mercy from thy wrath, we all

Are guilty ingrates, and the best of men

Hath sins perchance which might outweigh the worth

Of all the angels. I, at least, have sinned,

Sinned long and deeply; and if still my heart,

Warped by its own bad passions, or allured

By the world’s glitter and the arts of him,

Thy foe and our destroyer, should forget

Its source and destiny, and breathe its vows

Again to idols, yet reject Thou not

This present offering. Let thy Grace surround

My steps as with a muniment of rocks,

And guide me in the uneven paths of life,

A pilgrim shielded by thy hollow hand.

And as the grateful earth sends up all day

Her exhalations through the bibulous air

To the sun, her monarch; and receives them back

Rich, soft, and fertile, in the still small shower,

That falls invisible from the morning’s womb:

So may my fervent heart exhale to Thee

Daily, the breathings of its thankful prayer.

And praise spontaneous; which thy heavenly grace

Shall render back in a perpetual dew

Of benedictions, making all the waste

Green with cool verdure.

Oh! the time hath been,

When thy benighted children lost the creed

Of thy true worship, and to brutes bowed down,

And senseless stones, and, kneeling in sincere

But vain devotion, to the creature gave

The adoration due to Thee alone,

The mighty Maker. Others strove to turn

Thine anger from them, by the streaming blood

Of human victims; and the reverend priest

Stood up, and in the name of people and king,

Prayed Thee, or some vain substitute, to bless

The holy murder. Even thy chosen, thine own

Peculiar nation, did forget that Thou

Lov’st the oblation of a grateful heart,

A holocaust self-sacrificed to God,5

And trusted to the blood of bulls and goats,

And whole burned offerings. And still mankind

Kneel in blind worship. Every heart sets up

Its separate Dagon. Fierce Ambition breathes

His burning vow, and, to secure his prayer,

Makes the dear children of his heart, his own

Sweet home’s affections and delights, pass through

The fire of Moloch: Avarice at the shrine

Of greedy Mammon, gluts his eyes with gold:

Some to Renown bend low the obsequious knee,

Praying to be eternized by a blast

From her shrill trumpet: in the glittering halls

Of sensual Pleasure some sing songs, and bind

Their fair young brows with chaplets steeped in wine;

Though soon the chaplets turn to chains, the wines

To gall and wormwood, and the festal song

To howls and hootings. High above these shrines

The great arch-demon and parental Jove

Of all the Pantheon, a god unknown

But every where adored, omnipotent

And omnipresent to the tribes of men,

Self, rears his temple.

But the day shall come,

When far and wide o’er the regenerate world,

From each green vale and ancient hill, thy sons

Duly to Thee shall bring their evening thanks

And morning homage. Round each cheerful hearth,

Or kneeling in the spreading door-tree’s shade,

Each human heart, brim-full of love and hope,

And holy gratitude, shall send aloft

A pure oblation, and the throbbing earth

Be one great censer, breathing praise to Thee.’




When in the year of Redemption 701, Witizia was elected to the Gothic throne, his reign gave promise of happy days to Spain. He redressed grievances, moderated the tributes of his subjects, and conducted himself with mingled mildness and energy in the administration of the laws. In a little while, however, he threw off the mask and showed himself in his true nature, cruel and luxurious. Considering himself secure upon the throne, he gave the reins to his licentious passions, and soon by his tyranny and sensuality acquired the appellation of Witizia the Wicked. How rare is it to learn wisdom from the misfortunes of others! With the fate of Witizia full before his eyes, Don Roderick was no sooner established as his successor, than he began to indulge in the same pernicious errors, and was doomed in like manner to prepare the way for his own perdition.

As yet the heart of Roderick, occupied by the struggles of his early life, by warlike enterprises, and by the inquietudes of newly-gotten power, had been insensible to the charms of women; but in the first voluptuous calm the amorous propensities of his nature assumed their sway. There are divers accounts of the youthful beauty who first found favor in his eyes, and was elevated by him to the throne. We follow, in our legend, the details of an Arabian chronicler, authenticated by a Spanish poet. Let those who dispute our facts produce better authority for their contradiction.

Among the few fortified places that had not been dismantled by Don Roderick was the ancient city of Denia, situated on the Mediterranean coast, and defended on a rock-built castle that overlooked the sea.

The Alcayde of the castle, with many of the people of Denia, was one day on his knees in the chapel, imploring the Virgin to allay a tempest which was strewing the coast with wrecks, when a sentinel brought word that a Moorish cruiser was standing for the land. The Alcayde gave orders to ring the alarm bells, light signal-fires on the hill tops, and rouse the country; for the coast was subject to cruel maraudings from the Barbary cruisers.

In a little while the horsemen of the neighborhood were seen pricking along the beach, armed with such weapons as they could find; and the Alcayde and his scanty garrison descended from the hill. In the meantime the Moorish bark came rolling and pitching toward the land. As it drew near, the rich carving and gilding with which it was decorated, its silken bandaroles, and banks of crimson oars, showed it to be no warlike vessel, but a sumptuous galleot, destined for state and ceremony. It bore the marks of the tempest: the masts were broken, the oars shattered, 263and fragments of snowy sails and silken awnings were fluttering in the blast.

As the galleot grounded upon the sand, the impatient rabble rushed into the surf to capture and make spoil; but were awed into admiration and respect by the appearance of the illustrious company on board. There were Moors of both sexes sumptuously arrayed, and adorned with precious jewels, bearing the demeanor of persons of lofty rank. Among them shone conspicuous a youthful beauty, magnificently attired, to whom all seemed to pay reverence.

Several of the Moors surrounded her with drawn swords, threatening death to any that approached; others sprang from the bark, and, throwing themselves on their knees before the Alcayde, implored him, by his honor and courtesy as a knight, to protect a royal virgin from injury and insult.

‘You behold before you,’ said they, ‘the only daughter of the King of Algiers, the betrothed bride of the son of the King of Tunis. We were conducting her to the court of her expecting bridegroom, when a tempest drove us from our course, and compelled us to take refuge on your coast. Be not more cruel than the tempest, but deal nobly with that which even sea and storm have spared.’

The Alcayde listened to their prayers. He conducted the princess and her train to the castle, where every honor due to her rank was paid her. Some of her ancient attendants interceded for her liberation, promising countless sums to be paid by her father for her ransom; but the Alcayde turned a deaf ear to all their golden offers. ‘She is a royal captive,’ said he; ‘it belongs to my sovereign alone to dispose of her.’ After she had reposed, therefore, for some days at the castle, and recovered from the fatigue and terror of the seas, he caused her to be conducted, with all her train, in magnificent state to the court of Don Roderick.

The beautiful Elyata entered Toledo more like a triumphant sovereign than a captive. A chosen band of Christian horsemen, splendidly armed, appeared to wait upon her as a mere guard of honor. She was surrounded by the Moorish damsels of her train, and followed by her own Moslem guards, all attired with the magnificence that had been intended to grace her arrival at the court of Tunis. The princess was arrayed in bridal robes, woven in the most costly looms of the orient; her diadem sparkled with diamonds, and was decorated with the rarest plumes of the bird of paradise; and even the silken trappings of her palfrey, which swept the ground, were covered with pearls and precious stones. As this brilliant cavalcade crossed the bridge of the Tagus, all Toledo poured forth to behold it; and nothing was heard throughout the city but praises of the wonderful beauty of the princess of Algiers. King Roderick came forth attended by the chivalry of his court, to receive the royal captive. His recent voluptuous life had disposed him for tender and amorous affections, and, at the first sight of the beautiful Elyata, he was enraptured with her charms. Seeing her face clouded with sorrow and anxiety, he soothed her with gentle and courteous words, and, conducting her to a royal palace, ‘Behold,’ said he, ‘thy habitation where no one shall molest thee; consider thyself at home in the mansion of thy father, and dispose of any thing according to thy will.’

264Here the princess passed her time, with the female attendants who had accompanied her from Algiers; and no one but the king was permitted to visit her, who daily became more and more enamoured of his lovely captive, and sought, by tender assiduity, to gain her affections. The distress of the princess at her captivity was soothed by this gentle treatment. She was of an age when sorrow cannot long hold sway over the heart. Accompanied by her youthful attendants, she ranged the spacious apartments of the palace, and sported among the groves and alleys of its garden. Every day the remembrance of the paternal home grew less and less painful, and the king became more and more amiable in her eyes; and when, at length, he offered to share his heart and throne with her, she listened with downcast looks and kindling blushes, but with an air of resignation.

One obstacle remained to the complete fruition of the monarch’s wishes, and this was the religion of the princess. Roderick forthwith employed the Archbishop of Toledo to instruct the beautiful Elyata in the mysteries of the Christian faith. The female intellect is quick in perceiving the merits of new doctrines: the archbishop, therefore, soon succeeded in converting, not merely the princess, but most of her attendants; and a day was appointed for their public baptism. The ceremony was performed with great pomp and solemnity, in the presence of all the nobility and chivalry of the court. The princess and her damsels, clad in white, walked on foot to the cathedral, while numerous beautiful children, arrayed as angels, strewed the path with flowers; and the archbishop, meeting them at the portal, received them, as it were, into the bosom of the church. The princess abandoned her Moorish appellation of Elyata, and was baptised by the name of Exilona, by which she was thenceforth called, and has generally been known in history.

The nuptials of Roderick and the beautiful convert took place shortly afterward, and were celebrated with great magnificence. There were jousts, and tourneys, and banquets, and other rejoicings, which lasted twenty days, and were attended by the principle nobles from all parts of Spain. After these were over, such of the attendants of the princess as refused to embrace Christianity, and desired to return to Africa, were dismissed with munificent presents; and an embassy was sent to the King of Algiers, to inform him of the nuptials of his daughter, and to proffer him the friendship of King Roderick.

For a time Don Roderick lived happily with his young and beautiful queen, and Toledo was the seat of festivity and splendor. The principal nobles throughout the kingdom repaired to his court to pay him homage, and to receive his commands; and none were more devoted in their reverence than those who were obnoxious to suspicion, from their connection with the late king.

Among the foremost of these was Count Julian, a man destined to be infamously renowned in the dark story of his country’s woes. He was of one of the proudest Gothic families, lord of Consuegra and Algeziras, and connected by marriage with Witizia and the Bishop Oppas; his wife, the Countess Frandina, being their sister. In consequence of this connection, and of his own merits, he had enjoyed the highest dignities and 265commands: being one of the Espatorios, or royal sword-bearers; an office of the greatest confidence about the person of the sovereign. He had, moreover, been intrusted with the military government of the Spanish possessions on the African coast of the strait, which at that time were threatened by the Arabs of the East, the followers of Mahomet, who were advancing their victorious standard to the extremity of Western Africa. Count Julian established his seat of government at Ceuta, the frontier bulwark, and one of the far-famed gates of the Mediterranean Sea. Here he boldly faced, and held in check, the torrent of Moslem invasion.

Don Julian was a man of an active, but irregular genius, and a grasping ambition; he had a love for power and grandeur, in which he was joined by his haughty countess; and they could ill brook the downfall of their house as threatened by the fate of Witizia. They had hastened, therefore, to pay their court to the newly elevated monarch, and to assure him of their fidelity to his interests.

Roderick was readily persuaded of the sincerity of Count Julian; he was aware of his merits as a soldier and a governor, and continued him in his important command; honoring him with many other marks of implicit confidence. Count Julian sought to confirm this confidence by every proof of devotion. It was a custom among the Goths to rear many of the children of the most illustrious families in the royal household. They served as pages to the king, and handmaids and ladies of honor to the queen, and were instructed in all manner of accomplishments befitting their gentle blood. When about to depart for Ceuta, to resume his command, Don Julian brought his daughter Florinda to present her to the sovereigns. She was a beautiful virgin, that had not as yet attained to womanhood. ‘I confide her to your protection,’ said he to the king, ‘to be unto her as a father; and to have her trained in the paths of virtue. I can leave with you no dearer pledge of my loyalty.’

King Roderick received the timid and blushing maiden into his paternal care; promising to watch over her happiness with a parent’s eye, and that she should be enrolled among the most cherished attendants of the queen. With this assurance of the welfare of his child, Count Julian departed, well pleased, for his government at Ceuta.

The beautiful daughter of Count Julian was received with great favor by the queen Exilona, and admitted among the noble damsels that attended upon her person. Here she lived in honor and apparent security, and surrounded by innocent delights. To gratify his queen, Don Roderick had built for her rural recreation, a palace without the walls of Toledo, on the banks of the Tagus. It stood in the midst of a garden, adorned after the luxurious style of the east. The air was perfumed by fragrant shrubs and flowers; the groves resounded with the song of the nightingale; while the gush of fountains and waterfalls, and the distant murmur of the Tagus, made it a delightful retreat during the sultry days of summer. The charm of perfect privacy also reigned throughout the place; for the garden walls were high, and numerous guards kept watch without to protect it from all intrusion.

In this delicious abode, more befitting an oriental voluptuary than a Gothic king, Don Roderick was accustomed to while away much of that 266time which should have been devoted to the toilsome cares of government. The very security and peace which he had produced throughout his dominions, by his precautions to abolish the means and habitudes of war, had effected a disastrous change in his character. The hardy and heroic qualities which had conducted him to the throne, were softened in the lap of indulgence. Surrounded by the pleasures of an idle and effeminate court, and beguiled by the example of his degenerate nobles, he gave way to a fatal sensuality that had lain dormant in his nature during the virtuous days of his adversity. The mere love of female beauty had first enamoured him of Exilona; and the same passion, fostered by voluptuous idleness, now betrayed him into the commission of an act fatal to himself and Spain. The following is the story of his error, as gathered from an old chronicle and legend.

In a remote part of the palace was an apartment devoted to the queen. It was like an eastern harem, shut up from the foot of man, and where the king himself but rarely entered. It had its own courts, and gardens, and fountains, where the queen was wont to recreate herself with her damsels, as she had been accustomed to do in the jealous privacy of her father’s palace.

One sultry day, the king, instead of taking his siesta, or mid-day slumber, repaired to this apartment to seek the society of the queen. In passing through a small oratory, he was drawn by the sound of female voices to a casement overhung with myrtles and jessamines. It looked into an interior garden, or court, set out with orange trees, in the midst of which was a marble fountain, surrounded by a grassy bank, enamelled with flowers.

It was the high noontide of a summer day, when, in sultry Spain, the landscape trembles to the eye, and all nature seeks repose, except the grasshopper, that pipes his lulling note to the herdsman as he sleeps beneath the shade.

Around the fountain were several of the damsels of the queen, who, confident of the sacred privacy of the place, were yielding in that cool retreat to the indulgence prompted by the season and the hour. Some lay asleep on the flowery bank; others sat on the margin of the fountain, talking and laughing, as they bathed their feet in its limpid waters, and King Roderick beheld delicate limbs shining through the wave, that might rival the marble in whiteness.

Among the damsels was one who had come from the Barbary coast with the queen. Her complexion had the dark tinge of Mauritania, but it was clear and transparent, and the deep rich rose blushed through the lovely brown. Her eyes were black and full of fire, and flashed from under long silken eye-lashes.

A sportive contest arose among the maidens, as to the comparative beauty of the Spanish and Moorish forms; but the Mauritanian damsel revealed limbs of voluptuous symmetry that seemed to defy all rivalry.

The Spanish beauties were on the point of giving up the contest, when they bethought themselves of the young Florinda, the daughter of Count Julian, who lay on the grassy bank, abandoned to a summer slumber. The soft glow of youth and health mantled on her cheek; her fringed eyelashes scarcely covered their sleeping orbs; her moist and 267ruby lips were lightly parted, just revealing a gleam of her ivory teeth; while her innocent bosom rose and fell beneath her bodice, like the gentle swelling and sinking of a tranquil sea. There was a breathing tenderness and beauty in the sleeping virgin, that seemed to send forth sweetness like the flowers around her.

‘Behold,’ cried her companions exultingly, ‘the champion of Spanish beauty!’

In their playful eagerness they half disrobed the innocent Florinda before she was aware. She awoke in time, however, to escape from their busy hands; but enough of her charms had been revealed to convince the monarch that they were not to be rivalled by the rarest beauties of Mauritania.

From this day the heart of Roderick was inflamed with a fatal passion. He gazed on the beautiful Florinda with fervid desire, and sought to read in her looks whether there was levity or wantonness in her bosom; but the eye of the damsel ever sunk beneath his gaze, and remained bent on the earth in virgin modesty.

It was in vain he called to mind the sacred trust reposed in him by Count Julian, and the promise he had given to watch over his daughter with paternal care; his heart was vitiated by sensual indulgence, and the consciousness of power had rendered him selfish in his gratifications.

Being one evening in the garden where the queen was diverting herself with her damsels, and coming to the fountain where he had beheld the innocent maidens at their sport, he could no longer restrain the passion that raged within his breast. Seating himself beside the fountain, he called Florinda to him to draw forth a thorn which had pierced his hand. The maiden knelt at his feet to examine his hand, and the touch of her slender fingers thrilled through his veins. As she knelt, too, her amber locks fell in rich ringlets about her beautiful head, her innocent bosom palpitated beneath the crimson boddice, and her timid blushes increased the effulgence of her charms.

Having examined the monarch’s hand in vain, she looked up in his face with artless perplexity.

‘Senior,’ said she, ‘I can find no thorn, nor any sign of wound.’

Don Roderick grasped her hand and pressed it to his heart. ‘It is here, lovely Florinda!’ said he, ‘It is here! and thou alone canst pluck it forth!’

‘My lord!’ exclaimed the blushing and astonished maiden.

‘Florinda!’ said Don Roderick, ‘dost thou love me?’

‘Senior,’ said she, ‘my father taught me to love and reverence you. He confided me to your care as one who would be as a parent to me, when he should be far distant, serving your majesty with life and loyalty. May God incline your majesty ever to protect me as a father.’ So saying, the maiden dropped her eyes to the ground, and continued kneeling; but her countenance had become deadly pale, and as she knelt she trembled.

‘Florinda,’ said the king, ‘either thou dost not or thou wilt not understand me. I would have thee love me, not as a father, nor as a monarch, but as one who adores thee. Why dost thou start? No one shall 268know our loves; and, moreover, the love of a monarch inflicts no degradation like the love of a common man; riches and honors attend upon it. I will advance thee to rank and dignity, and place thee above the proudest females of my court. Thy father, too, shall be more exalted and endowed than any noble in my realm.’

The soft eye of Florinda kindled at these words. ‘Senior,’ said she, ‘the line I spring from can receive no dignity by means so vile; and my father would rather die than purchase rank and power by the dishonor of his child. But I see,’ continued she, ‘that your majesty speaks in this manner only to try me. You may have thought me light and simple and unworthy to attend upon the queen. I pray your majesty to pardon me, that I have taken your pleasantry in such serious part.’

In this way the agitated maiden sought to evade the addresses of the monarch; but still her cheek was blanched, and her lip quivered as she spake.

The king pressed her hand to his lips with fervor. ‘May ruin seize me,’ cried he, ‘if I speak to prove thee! My heart, my kingdom, are at thy command. Only be mine, and thou shalt rule absolute mistress of myself and my domains.’

The damsel rose from the earth where she had hitherto knelt, and her whole countenance glowed with virtuous indignation. ‘My Lord,’ said she, ‘I am your subject, and in your power; take my life if it be your pleasure; but nothing shall tempt me to commit a crime which would be treason to the queen, disgrace to my father, agony to my mother, and perdition to myself.’ With these words she left the garden, and the king, for the moment, was too much awed by her indignant virtue to oppose her departure.

We shall pass briefly over the succeeding events of the story of Florinda, about which so much has been said and sung by chronicler and bard: for the sober page of history should be carefully chastened from all scenes that might inflame a wanton imagination; leaving them to poems and romances, and such-like highly seasoned works of fantasy and recreation.

Let it suffice to say, that Don Roderick pursued his suit to the beautiful Florinda, his passion being more and more inflamed by the resistance of the virtuous damsel. At length, forgetting what was due to helpless beauty, to his own honor as a knight, and his word as a sovereign, he triumphed over her weakness by base and unmanly violence.

There are not wanting those who affirm that the hapless Florinda lent a yielding ear to the solicitations of the monarch, and her name has been treated with opprobrium in several of the ancient chronicles and legendary ballads that have transmitted, from generation to generation, the story of the woes of Spain. In very truth, however, she appears to have been a guiltless victim, resisting, as far as helpless female could resist, the arts and intrigues of a powerful monarch, who had nought to check the indulgence of his will, and bewailing her disgrace with a poignancy that shows how dearly she had prized her honor.

In the first paroxysm of her grief she wrote a letter to her father, blotted with her tears, and almost incoherent from her agitation. ‘Would to God, my father,’ said she, ‘that the earth had opened and 269swallowed me ere I had been reduced to write these lines! I blush to tell thee, what it is not proper to conceal. Alas! my father; thou hast entrusted thy lamb to the guardianship of the lion. Thy daughter has been dishonored, the royal cradle of the Goths polluted, and our lineage insulted and disgraced. Hasten, my father, to rescue your child from the power of the spoiler, and to vindicate the honor of your house!’

When Florinda had written these lines, she summoned a youthful esquire, who had been a page in the service of her father. ‘Saddle thy steed,’ said she, ‘and if thou dost aspire to knightly honor, or hope for lady’s grace—if thou hast fealty for thy lord, or devotion to his daughter—speed swiftly upon my errand. Rest not, halt not, spare not the spur; but hie thee day and night until thou reach the sea; take the first bark, and haste with sail and oar to Ceuta, nor pause until thou give this letter to the count my father.’

The youth put the letter in his bosom. ‘Trust me, lady,’ said he, ‘I will neither halt nor turn aside, nor cast a look behind, until I reach Count Julian.’ He mounted his fleet steed, sped his way across the bridge, and soon left behind him the verdant valley of the Tagus.

The heart of Don Roderick was not so depraved by sensuality, but that the wrong he had been guilty of toward the innocent Florinda, and the disgrace he had inflicted on her house, weighed heavy on his spirits, and a cloud began to gather on his once clear and unwrinkled brow.

Heaven, at this time, say the old Spanish chronicles, permitted a marvellous intimation of the wrath with which it intended to visit the monarch and his people, in punishment of their sins; nor are we, say the same orthodox writers, to startle, and withhold our faith, when we meet in the page of discreet and sober history with these signs and portents, which transcend the probabilities of ordinary life; for the revolutions of empires and the downfall of mighty kings are awful events, that shake the physical as well as the moral world, and are often announced by forerunning marvels and prodigious omens. With such-like cautious preliminaries do the wary but credulous historiographers of yore usher in a marvellous event of prophecy and enchantment, linked in ancient story with the fortunes of Don Roderick, but which modern doubters would fain hold up as an apocryphal tradition of Arabian origin.

Now, so it happened, according to the legend, that about this time, as King Roderick was seated one day on his throne, surrounded by his nobles, in the ancient city of Toledo, two men of venerable appearance entered the hall of audience. Their snowy beards descended to their breasts, and their gray hairs were bound with ivy. They were arrayed in white garments of foreign or antiquated fashion, which swept the ground, and were cinctured with girdles, wrought with the signs of the zodiac, from which were suspended enormous bunches of keys of every variety of form. Having approached the throne and made obeisance: ‘Know, O King,’ said one of the old men, ‘that in days of yore, when Hercules of Libya, surnamed the strong, had set up his pillars at the 270ocean strait, he erected a tower near to this ancient city of Toledo. He built it of prodigious strength, and finished it with magic art, shutting up within it a fearful secret, never to be penetrated without peril and disaster. To protect this terrible mystery he closed the entrance to the edifice with a ponderous door of iron, secured by a great lock of steel; and he left a command that every king who should succeed him should add another lock to the portal; denouncing wo and destruction on him who should eventually unfold the secret of the tower.

‘The guardianship of the portal was given to our ancestors, and has continued in our family, from generation to generation, since the days of Hercules. Several kings, from time to time, have caused the gate to be thrown open, and have attempted to enter, but have paid dearly for their temerity. Some have perished within the threshold, others have been overwhelmed with horror at tremendous sounds, which shook the foundations of the earth, and have hastened to re-close the door, and secure it with its thousand locks. Thus, since the days of Hercules, the inmost recesses of the pile have never been penetrated by mortal man, and a profound mystery continues to prevail over this great enchantment. This, O King, is all we have to relate; and our errand is to entreat thee to repair to the tower and affix thy lock to the portal, as has been done by all thy predecessors.’ Having thus said, the ancient men made a profound reverence and departed from the presence chamber.

Don Roderick remained for some time lost in thought after the departure of the men: he then dismissed all his court, excepting the venerable Urbino, at that time archbishop of Toledo. The long white beard of this prelate bespoke his advanced age, and his overhanging eye-brows showed him a man full of wary counsel.

‘Father,’ said the king, ‘I have an earnest desire to penetrate the mystery of this tower.’ The worthy prelate shook his hoary head: ‘Beware, my son,’ said he; ‘there are secrets hidden from man for his good. Your predecessors for many generations have respected this mystery, and have increased in might and empire. A knowledge of it, therefore, is not material to the welfare of your kingdom. Seek not then to indulge a rash and unprofitable curiosity, which is interdicted under such awful menaces.’

‘Of what importance,’ cried the king, ‘are the menaces of Hercules, the Lybian? Was he not a pagan? and can his enchantments have aught avail against a believer in our holy faith? Doubtless, in this tower are locked up treasures of gold and jewels, amassed in days of old, the spoils of mighty kings, the riches of the pagan world. My coffers are exhausted; I have need of supply; and surely it would be an acceptable act in the eyes of Heaven, to draw forth this wealth which lies buried under profane and necromantic spells, and consecrate it to religious purposes.’

The venerable archbishop still continued to remonstrate, but Don Roderick heeded not his counsel, for he was led on by his malignant star. ‘Father,’ said he, ‘it is in vain you attempt to dissuade me. My resolution is fixed. To-morrow I will explore the hidden mystery, or rather the hidden treasures of this tower.’

271The morning sun shone brightly upon the cliff-built towers of Toledo, when King Roderick issued out of the gate of the city, at the head of a numerous train of courtiers and cavaliers, and crossed the bridge that bestrides the deep rocky bed of the Tagus. The shining cavalcade wound up the road that leads among the mountains, and soon came in sight of the necromantic tower.

Of this renowned edifice marvels are related by the ancient Arabian and Spanish chroniclers; ‘and I doubt much,’ adds the venerable Agpaida, ‘whether many readers will not consider the whole as a cunningly devised fable, sprung from an oriental imagination; but it is not for me to reject a fact which is recorded by all those writers who are the fathers of our national history: a fact, too, which is as well attested as most of the remarkable events in the story of Don Roderick. None but light and inconsiderate minds,’ continues the good friar, ‘do hastily reject the marvellous. To the thinking mind the whole world is enveloped in mystery, and every thing is full of type and portent. To such a mind the necromantic tower of Toledo will appear as one of those wondrous monuments of the olden time; one of those Egyptian and Chaldaic piles, storied with hidden wisdom and mystic prophecy, which have been devised in past ages, when man yet enjoyed an intercourse with high and spiritual natures, and when human foresight partook of divination.’

This singular tower was round, and of great height and grandeur; erected upon a lofty rock, and surrounded by crags and precipices. The foundation was supported by four brazen lions, each taller than a cavalier on horseback. The walls were built of small pieces of jasper, and various colored marbles, not larger than a man’s hand; so subtilely joined, however, that but for their different hues they might be taken for one entire stone. They were arranged with marvellous cunning, so as to represent battles and warlike deeds of times and heroes long since passed away; and the whole surface was so admirably polished that the stones were as lustrous as glass, and reflected the rays of the sun with such resplendent brightness as to dazzle all beholders.7

King Roderick and his courtiers arrived wondering and amazed, at the foot of the rock. Here there was a narrow arched way cut through the living stone; the only entrance to the tower. It was closed by a massive iron gate, covered with rusty locks of divers workmanship, and in the fashion of different centuries, which had been affixed by the predecessors of Don Roderick. On either side of the portal stood the two ancient guardians of the tower, laden with the keys appertaining to the locks.

The king alighted, and, approaching the portals, ordered the guardians to unlock the gate. The hoary-headed men drew back with terror. ‘Alas!’ cried they, ‘what is it your majesty requires of us? Would you have the mischiefs of this tower unbound, and let loose to shake the earth to its foundations?’

The venerable archbishop Urbino likewise implored him not to disturb 272a mystery which had been held sacred from generation to generation, within the memory of man; and which even Cæsar himself, when sovereign of Spain, had not ventured to invade. The youthful cavaliers, however, were eager to pursue the adventure, and encouraged him in his rash curiosity.

‘Come what come may,’ exclaimed Don Roderick, ‘I am resolved to penetrate the mystery of this tower.’ So saying, he again commanded the guardians to unlock the portal. The ancient men obeyed with fear and trembling, but their hands shook with age, and when they applied the keys, the locks were so rusted by time, or of such strange workmanship, that they resisted their feeble efforts; whereupon the young cavaliers pressed forward and lent their aid. Still the locks were so numerous and difficult, that with all their eagerness and strength a great part of the day was exhausted before the whole of them could be mastered.

When the last bolt had yielded to the key, the guardians and the reverend archbishop again entreated the king to pause and reflect. ‘Whatever is within this tower,’ said they, ‘is as yet harmless, and lies bound under a mighty spell: venture not then to open a door which may let forth a flood of evil upon the land.’ But the anger of the king was roused, and he ordered that the portal should be instantly thrown open. In vain, however, did one after another exert his strength; and equally in vain did the cavaliers unite their forces, and apply their shoulders to the gate: though there was neither bar nor bolt remaining, it was perfectly immoveable.

The patience of the king was now exhausted, and he advanced to apply his hand; scarcely, however, did he touch the iron gate, when it swung slowly open, uttering, as it were, a dismal groan, as it turned reluctantly upon its hinges. A cold, damp wind issued forth, accompanied by a tempestuous sound. The hearts of the ancient guardians quaked within them, and their knees smote together; but several of the youthful cavaliers rushed in, eager to gratify their curiosity, or to signalise themselves in this redoubtable enterprise. They had scarcely advanced a few paces, however, when they recoiled, overcome by the baleful air, or by some fearful vision. Upon this, the king ordered that fires should be kindled to dispel the darkness, and to correct the noxious and long imprisoned air: he then led the way into the interior; but, though stout of heart, he advanced with awe and hesitation.

After proceeding a short distance, he entered a hall, or antechamber, on the opposite side of which was a door; and before it, on a pedestal, stood a gigantic figure, of the color of bronze, and of a terrible aspect. It held a huge mace, which it whirled incessantly, giving such cruel and resounding blows upon the earth as to prevent all further entrance.

The king paused at sight of this appalling figure; for whether it were a living being, or a statue of magic artifice, he could not tell. On its breast was a scroll, whereon was inscribed in large letters, ‘I do my duty.’ After a little while Roderick plucked up heart, and addressed it with great solemnity: ‘Whatever thou be,’ said he, ‘know that I come not to violate this sanctuary, but to inquire into the mystery it contains; I conjure thee, therefore, to let me pass in safety.’

273Upon this the figure paused with uplifted mace, and the king and his train passed unmolested through the door.

They now entered a vast chamber, of a rare and sumptuous architecture, difficult to be described. The walls were incrusted with the most precious gems, so joined together as to form one smooth and perfect surface. The lofty dome appeared to be self-supported, and was studded with gems, lustrous as the stars of the firmament. There was neither wood, nor any other common or base material to be seen throughout the edifice. There were no windows or rather openings to admit the day, yet a radiant light was spread throughout the place, which seemed to shine from the walls, and to render every object distinctly visible.

In the centre of this hall stood a table of alabaster, of the rarest workmanship, on which was inscribed in Greek characters, that Hercules Alcides, the Theban Greek, had founded this tower in the year of the world three thousand and six. Upon the table stood a golden casket, richly set round with precious stones, and closed with a lock of mother-of-pearl; and on the lid were inscribed the following words:

‘In this coffer is contained the mystery of the tower. The hand of none but a king can open it; but let him beware! for marvellous events will be revealed to him, which are to take place before his death.’

King Roderick boldly seized upon the casket. The venerable archbishop laid his hand upon his arm, and made a last remonstrance. ‘Forbear, my son!’ said he; ‘desist while there is yet time. Look not into the mysterious decrees of Providence. God has hidden them in mercy from our sight, and it is impious to rend the veil by which they are concealed.’

‘What have I to dread from a knowledge of the future?’ replied Roderick, with an air of haughty presumption. ‘If good be destined me, I shall enjoy it by anticipation: if evil, I shall arm myself to meet it.’ So saying, he rashly broke the lock.

Within the coffer he found nothing but a linen cloth, folded between two tablets of copper. On unfolding it, he beheld painted on it figures of men on horseback, of fierce demeanor, clad in turbans and robes of various colors, after the fashion of the Arabs, with scimetars hanging from their necks, and cross-bows at their saddle backs, and they carried banners and pennons with divers devices. Above them was inscribed in Greek characters, ‘Rash monarch! behold the men who are to hurl thee from thy throne, and subdue thy kingdom!’

At sight of these things the king was troubled in spirit, and dismay fell upon his attendants. While they were yet regarding the paintings, it seemed as if the figures began to move, and a faint sound of warlike tumult arose from the cloth, with the clash of cymbal and bray of trumpet, the neigh of steed and shout of army; but all was heard indistinctly, as if afar off, or in a reverie or dream. The more they gazed, the plainer became the motion, and the louder the noise; and the linen cloth rolled forth, and amplified and spread out, as it were, a mighty banner, and filled the hall, and mingled with the air, until its texture was no longer visible, or appeared as a transparent cloud: and the shadowy figures become all in motion, and the din and uproar 274became fiercer and fiercer; and whether the whole were an animated picture, or a vision, or an array of embodied spirits, conjured up by supernatural power, no one present could tell. They beheld before them a great field of battle, where Christians and Moslems were engaged in deadly conflict. They heard the rush and tramp of steeds, the blast of trump and clarion, the clash of cymbal, and the stormy din of a thousand drums. There was the clash of swords, and maces, and battle-axes, with the whistling of arrows, and the hurling of darts and lances. The Christians quailed before the foe; the infidels pressed upon them and put them to utter rout; the standard of the cross was cast down, the banner of Spain was trodden under foot, the air resounded with shouts of triumph, with yells of fury, and with the groans of dying men. Amidst the flying squadrons, King Roderick beheld a crowned warrior, whose back was turned toward him, but whose armor and device were his own, and who was mounted on a white steed that resembled his own war horse Orelia. In the confusion of the flight, the warrior was dismounted, and was no longer to be seen, and Orelia galloped wildly through the field of battle without a rider.

Roderick stayed to see no more, but rushed from the fatal hall, followed by his terrified attendants. They fled through the outer chamber, where the gigantic figure with the whirling mace had disappeared from his pedestal; and on issuing into the open air, they found the two ancient guardians of the tower lying dead at the portal, as though they had been crushed by some mighty blow. All nature, which had been clear and serene, was now in wild uproar. The heavens were darkened by heavy clouds; loud bursts of thunder rent the air, and the earth was deluged with rain and rattling hail.

The king ordered that the iron portal should be closed; but the door was immoveable, and the cavaliers were dismayed by the tremendous turmoil, and the mingled shouts and groans that continued to prevail within. The king and his train hastened back to Toledo, pursued and pelted by the tempest. The mountains shook and echoed with the thunder, trees were uprooted and blown down, and the Tagus raged and roared and flowed above its banks. It seemed to the affrighted courtiers as if the phantom legions of the tower had issued forth and mingled with the storm; for amidst the claps of thunder and the howling of the wind, they fancied they heard the sound of the drums and trumpets, the shouts of armies and the rush of steeds. Thus beaten by tempest, and overwhelmed with horror, the king and his courtiers arrived at Toledo, clattering across the bridge of the Tagus, and entering the gate in headlong confusion, as though they had been pursued by an enemy.

In the morning the heavens were again serene, and all nature was restored to tranquillity. The king, therefore, issued forth with his cavaliers and took the road to the tower, followed by a great multitude, for he was anxious once more to close the iron door, and shut up those evils that threatened to overwhelm the land. But lo! on coming in sight of the tower, a new wonder met their eyes. An eagle appeared high in the air, seeming to descend from heaven. He bore in his beak a burning brand, and lighting on the summit of the tower, fanned 275the fire with his wings. In a little while the edifice burst forth into a blaze as though it had been built of rosin, and the flames mounted into the air with a brilliancy more dazzling than the sun; nor did they cease until every stone was consumed and the whole was reduced to a heap of ashes. Then there came a vast flight of birds, small of size and sable of hue, darkening the sky like a cloud; and they descended and wheeled in circles round the ashes, causing so great a wind with their wings that the whole was borne up into the air and scattered throughout all Spain, and wherever a particle of those ashes fell it was as a stain of blood. It is furthermore recorded by ancient men and writers of former days, that all those on whom this dust fell were afterwards slain in battle, when the country was conquered by the Arabs, and that the destruction of this necromantic tower was a sign and token of the approaching perdition of Spain.

‘Let all those,’ concludes the cautious friar, ‘who question the verity of this most marvellous occurrence, consult those admirable sources of our history, the chronicle of the Moor Rasis, and the work entitled ‘The Fall of Spain,’ written by the Moor, Abulcasim Tarif Abentarique. Let them consult, moreover, the venerable historian Bleda, and the cloud of other Catholic Spanish writers, who have treated of this event, and they will find I have related nothing that has not been printed and published under the inspection and sanction of our holy mother church. God alone knoweth the truth of these things; I speak nothing but what has been handed down to me from times of old.’


Τὸ δὲ χεὶλος, ούκ ἒτ οίδα

Τινι μοι τροπω ποιήσεις.

Maiden! first did Nature seek

Lilies for thy spotless cheek;

When with roses came she next

Half delighted, yet more vex’d,

For the lilies there, to see

Blushing at their purity!

Since her labor now was lost,

Roses to the wind she tost.

One, a bud of smiling June,

Falling on thy lips, as soon

Left its color, and in death

Willed its fragrance to thy breath!

Then two drops of crystalled dew

From the hyacinth’s deep hue,

Brought she for thine eyes of blue;

And lest they should miss the sun,

Bade thy soul to shine thereon.

Lilies, Nature gave thy face—

Say, thy heart do lilies grace?

St. Paul’s College. G. H. H.



A Christmas Carol, in Prose: Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas. By Charles Dickens. New-York: Harper and Brothers.

If in every alternate work that Mr. Dickens were to send to the London press he should find occasion to indulge in ridicule against alleged American peculiarities, or broad caricatures of our actual vanities, or other follies, we could with the utmost cheerfulness pass them by unnoted and uncondemned, if he would only now and then present us with an intellectual creation so touching and beautiful as the one before us. Indeed, we can with truth say, that in our deliberate judgment, the ‘Christmas Carol’ is the most striking, the most picturesque, the most truthful, of all the limnings which have proceeded from its author’s pen. There is much mirth in the book, says a competent English critic, but more wisdom; wisdom of that kind which men possess who have gazed thoughtfully but kindly on human life, and have pierced deeper than their fellows into all the sunny nooks and dark recesses of the human breast. The barbarous notion has long been exploded, that comic writers were only to be esteemed for their jests, and useful for provoking laughter. Cervantes, first among the moderns, sent it out of fashion, and blessed that union of wit, sense, and pathos, which so many renowned writers have since confirmed; until it has come to be acknowledged, that rich genuine humor is rarely an inmate of the mind, if there be not a corresponding depth of earnestness and feeling in the heart. Many of Dickens’ writings, it is justly claimed, exhibit this fine, healthy, benevolent spirit. ‘His sympathy for human suffering is strong and pure, and he reserves it not for imaginary and fictitious distress, but for the real grinding sorrows of life.’ And this sympathy is more finely displayed in the work under notice, than in any of his previous productions. The design is very fanciful, and there is crowded into it, brief as it is, a world of character and observation. It is truly a reflection of life in miniature. Before proceeding to a few illustrative extracts, we shall avail ourselves in part of a clear synopsis of the inception and progress of the story, from the pen of a London contemporary.

Scrooge is a very rich citizen; a ‘squeezing, grinding, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner.’ He has lost all recollection of what he once was, and what he once felt; is dead to all kindly impulses, and proof against the most moving tale. He is almost as keen and gruff as old Ralph Nickelby, to whom he bears a strong family resemblance, and uses his poor clerk, Bob Cratchit, just as badly, and has as little feeling for his merry-hearted nephew, who has married for love. The ‘carol’ begins on Christmas-eve. Scrooge calls his nephew a lunatic for wishing him ‘A merry Christmas!’ and sends him home, sad as harsh words can make him. He keeps his poor shivering clerk in a small tank-like ground-room till the last minute of his stipulated time, and then dismisses him with an angry growl. He goes to his usual melancholy tavern to eat his melancholy dinner, amuses himself in the evening with his banker’s book, and then retires to his dreary chambers. He had once a partner, a counterpart of himself, who has been dead for many 277a year; and while sitting in his lonely room, over a low fire, the ghost of the deceased partner enters, although the door is double-locked. He wears a heavy chain, forged of keys and safes; and, like Hamlet’s ghost, tells of the heavy penance he is doomed to suffer in spirit for sins committed in the flesh. He has come to warn his partner, and to give him a chance of amendment. He tells him he will be visited by three Spirits, on the three following nights, and bids him mark well what they shall disclose. Scrooge instantly falls asleep, and does not wake till the appointed hour. The three spirits are of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas to Come. The ghost of Christmas Past stands by Scrooge’s bedside, of an uncertain form, though the belt round its body is wondrous light, and a flame shoots up from its head. Yet the figure fluctuates in distinctness, now one part being visible and now another. The spirit seizes the hand of Scrooge, and they float through the air together. The old man is taken to the haunts of his childhood, and he is conscious of ‘a thousand odors floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares long, long forgotten.’ Each circumstance of the time past is restored. The village school; a boy left deserted in the school-room, whom Scrooge recognises as his former self reading ‘Robinson Crusoe;’ till at last a lovely girl, who throws her arms round the boy’s neck, and bids him come home to a ‘merry, merry Christmas.’ Then the scene changes, and Scrooge is once more in the house of the kind-hearted master of his youth, who loved to keep Christmas as it was kept in the olden time, and he recognises himself the most joyous of the joyous group. Then comes the scene of his manhood, when he deserted his betrothed for a wealthier bride; and last, he views the girl he had deserted, the mother of a happy blooming family. This picture is delightfully sketched; it is enough to make a bachelor in love with wedlock. The scene is too affecting for the changed and worldly miser; he implores to be removed from the familiar place; he wrestles with the spirit, and awakened by the struggle, finds himself once more in his own room, and in darkness.

Again he has a long sleep. Christmas Present comes in the shape of a giant, with a holly-green robe. Scrooge perceives him seated in his room, with his noble head crowned with holly wreath studded with icicles, reaching to the ceiling. His throne is a wine-cask and his foot-stool a twelfth-cake. In his hand he bears a blazing torch, from which he sprinkles down gladness upon every threshhold he enters. An immense fire glows and crackles in the grate, the walls and ceiling are hung with living green, and all around are heaped up the choice provisions collected to make Christmas glad. The giant leads Scrooge forth. They pass through streets and lanes, with every house bearing token of rejoicing by its roaring fire or its sprig of holly, till they come to the dwelling of poor Bob Cratchit, old Scrooge’s clerk. And here ensues a picture worthy of Wilkie in his best days:

‘Perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing off his power, or else it was his own kind, generous, hearty nature, and his sympathy with all poor men, that led him straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s; for there he went, and took Scrooge with him, holding to his robe; and on the threshhold of the door the Spirit smiled, and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinkling of his torch. Think of that! Bob had but fifteen ‘Bob’ a week himself; he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name; and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house!

‘Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit’s wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribands, which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribands; while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt-collar (Bob’s private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honor of the day) into his mouth, rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. And now two smaller Cratchits, boy and girl, came tearing in, screaming that outside the baker’s they had smelt the goose, and known it for their own; and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage-and-onions, these young Cratchits danced about the table, and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies, while he (not proud, although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire, until the slow potatoes, bubbling up, knocked proudly at the sauce-pan lid to be let out and peeled.

‘‘What has ever got your precious father, then?’ said Mrs. Cratchit. ‘And your brother, Tiny Tim; and Martha warn’t as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour!’

‘‘Here’s Martha, mother!’ said a girl, appearing as she spoke.

‘‘Here’s Martha, mother!’ cried the two young Cratchits. ‘Hurrah! There’s such a goose, Martha!’

278‘‘Why, bless your heart alive, my dear, how late you are!’ said Mrs. Cratchit, kissing her a dozen times, and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her, with officious zeal.

‘‘We’d a deal of work to finish up last night,’ replied the girl, ‘and had to clear away this morning, mother!’

‘‘Well! Never mind so long as you are come,’ said Mrs. Cratchit. ‘Sit ye down before the fire, my dear, and have a warm, Lord bless ye!’

‘‘No, no! There’s father coming,’ cried the two young Cratchits, who were every where at once. ‘Hide, Martha, hide!’

‘So Martha hid herself, and in came little Bob, the father, with at least three feet of comforter, exclusive of the fringe, hanging down before him; and his thread-bare clothes darned up and brushed, to look seasonable; and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder. Alas for Tiny Tim, he bore a little crutch, and had his limbs supported by an iron frame!

‘‘Why, where’s our Martha?’ cried Bob Cratchit looking round.

‘‘Not coming,’ said Mrs. Cratchit.

‘‘Not coming!’ said Bob, with a sudden declension in his high spirits; for he had been Tim’s blood horse all the way from church, and had come home rampant. ‘Not coming upon Christmas Day!’

‘Martha didn’t like to see him disappointed, if it were only in joke; so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door, and ran into his arms, while the two young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim, and bore him off into the wash-house, that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper.

‘‘And how did little Tim behave?’ asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

‘‘As good as gold,’ said Bob, ‘and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.’

‘Bob’s voice was tremulous when he told them this, and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty.

‘His active little crutch was heard upon the floor, and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken, escorted by his brother and sister to his stool beside the fire; and while Bob, turning up his cuffs, as if, poor fellow, they were capable of being made less shabby, compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons, and stirred it round and round, and put it on the hob to simmer; Master Peter and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose, with which they soon returned in high procession.

‘Such a bustle ensued that you might have thought a goose the rarest of all birds; a feathered phenomenon, to which a black swan was a matter of course: and, in truth, it was something very like it in that house. Mrs. Cratchit made the gravy (ready before-hand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for every body, not forgetting themselves, and, mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped. At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs. Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the board, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah!

‘There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavor, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by the apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs. Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish,) they hadn’t ate it all at last! Yet every one had had enough, and the youngest Cratchits in particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows! But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone—too nervous to bear witnesses—to take the pudding up, and bring it in.

‘Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose: a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid! All sorts of horrors were supposed.

‘Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating house, and a pastry cook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that? That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered: flushed, but smiling proudly: with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

‘‘Oh, a wonderful pudding!’ Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs. Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confide she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

‘At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass; two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle.

‘These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done: and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and crackled noisily. Then Bob proposed:

‘‘A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!’

‘Which all the family re-echoed.

‘‘God bless us every one!’ said Tiny Tim, last of all.

279‘He sat very close to his father’s side, upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.’

Could any thing be more life-like, more beautiful, more touching, than this description? But let us skip the journeyings of Christmas Present for a moment, that we may accompany Christmas to Come to the dwelling of poor Bob Cratchit:

‘The Ghost conducted him through several streets familiar to his feet; and as they went along, Scrooge looked here and there to find himself, but nowhere was he to be seen. They entered poor Bob Cratchit’s house; the dwelling he had visited before; and found the mother and the children seated round the fire.

‘Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner, and sat looking up at Peter, who had a book before him. The mother and her daughters were engaged in sewing. But surely they were very quiet!

‘‘And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them.’

‘Where had Scrooge heard those words? He had not dreamed them. The boy must have read them out, as he and the Spirit crossed the threshhold. Why did he not go on?

‘The mother laid her work upon the table, and put her hand up to her face.

‘‘The color hurts my eyes,’ she said.

‘The color? Ah, poor Tiny Tim!

‘‘They’re better now again,’ said Cratchit’s wife. ‘It makes them weak by candle-light; and I wouldn’t show weak eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world. It must be near his time.’

‘‘Past it, rather,’ Peter answered, shutting up his book. ‘But I think he’s walked a little slower than he used, these few last evenings, mother.’

‘They were very quiet again. At last she said, and in a steady, cheerful voice, that only faltered once:

‘‘I have known him walk with—I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his shoulder, very fast, indeed.’

‘‘And so have I,’ cried Peter. ‘Often.’

‘‘And so have I!’ exclaimed another. So had all.

‘‘But he was very light to carry,’ she resumed, intent upon her work, ‘and his father loved him so, that it was no trouble—no trouble. And there is your father at the door!’

‘She hurried out to meet him; and Bob in his comforter—he had need of it, poor fellow—came in. His tea was ready for him on the hob, and they all tried who should help him to it most. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid, each child a little cheek, against his face, as if they said, ‘Don’t mind it, father. Don’t be grieved!’

‘Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all the family. He looked at the work upon the table, and praised the industry and speed of Mrs. Cratchit and the girls. They would be done long before Sunday, he said.

‘‘Sunday! You went to-day then, Robert?’ said his wife.

‘‘Yes, my dear,’ returned Bob. ‘I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But you’ll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child!’ cried Bob. ‘My little child!’

‘He broke down all at once. He couldn’t help it. If he could have helped it, he and his child would have been further apart, perhaps, than they were.

‘He left the room, and went up stairs into the room above, which was lighted cheerfully, and hung with Christmas. There was a chair set close beside the child, and there were signs of some one having been there lately. Poor Bob sat down in it, and when he had thought a little and composed himself, he kissed the little face. He was reconciled to what had happened, and went down again quite happy.’

‘Let not that man be trusted’ who can read this affecting picture of parental love for a poor little cripple-boy, without feeling the tear-drops swelling to his eyes. But let us return and take one more excursion with the former Spirit. Observe the faithfulness and the range of the writer’s imagination:

‘And now, without a word of warning from the Ghost, they stood upon a bleak and desert moor, where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about, as though it were the burial-place of giants; and water spread itself wheresoever it listed—or would have done so, but for the frost that held it prisoner; and nothing-grew but moss and furze, and coarse, rank grass. Down in the west the setting sun had left a streak of fiery red, which glared upon the desolation for an instant, like a sullen eye, and frowning lower, lower, lower yet, was lost in the thick gloom of darkest night.

‘‘What place is this?’ asked Scrooge.

‘‘A place where Miners live, who labor in the bowels of the earth,’ returned the Spirit. ‘But they know me. See!’

‘A light shone from the window of a hut, and swiftly they advanced toward it. Passing through the wall of mud and stone, they found a cheerful company assembled round a glowing fire. An old, old man and woman, with their children and their children’s children, and another generation beyond that, all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. The old man, in a voice that seldom rose above the howling of the wind upon the barren waste, was singing them a Christmas song; it had been a very old song when he was a boy; and from time to time they all joined in the chorus. So surely as they raised their voices, the old man got quite blithe and loud; and so surely as they stopped, his vigor sank again.

‘The Spirit did not tarry here, but bade Scrooge hold his robe, and passing on above the moor, sped 280whither? Not to sea? To sea. To Scrooge’s horror, looking back, he saw the last of the land, a frightful range of rocks, behind them; and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water, as it rolled, and roared, and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn, and fiercely tried to undermine the earth.

‘Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks, some league or so from the shore, on which the waters chafed and dashed, the wild year through, there stood a solitary lighthouse. Great heaps of seaweed clung to its base, and storm-birds—born of the wind one might suppose, as sea-weed of the water—rose and fell about it, like the waves they skimmed.

‘But even here, two men who watched the light had made a fire, that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat, they wished each other a Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and one of them—the elder, too, with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather, as the figurehead of an old ship might be—struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself.

‘Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea—on, on—until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations: but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities: and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.’

The second of these spirits accompanies Scrooge to a scene that is well worth seeing, and the like of which many of our readers have doubtless often encountered—a regular Christmas frolic; in the present instance at the residence of his nephew, who has a sister, a lovely, plump damsel, with a lace tucker: she was pretty, exceedingly pretty. ‘With a dimpled, surprised-looking, capital face; a ripe little mouth, that seemed made to be kissed, as no doubt it was; all kinds of good little dots about her chin, that melted into one another when she laughed; and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature’s head. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking, you know; but satisfactory, too. Oh, perfectly satisfactory!’ Is not the following a most glowing sketch of a well known pastime?

‘But they didn’t devote the whole evening to music. After a while they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself. Stop! There was first a game at blindman’s buff. Of course there was. And I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his boots. My opinion is, that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge’s nephew; and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. The way he went after that plump sister in the lace tucker, was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. Knocking down the fire-irons, tumbling over the chairs, bumping up against the piano, smothering himself among the curtains, wherever she went, there went he. He always knew where the plump sister was. He wouldn’t catch any body else. If you had fallen up against him, as some of them did, and stood there; he would have made a feint endeavoring to seize you, which would have been an affront to your understanding: and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. She often cried out that it wasn’t fair; and it really was not. But when, at last, he caught her; when, in spite of all her silken rustlings, and her rapid flutterings past him, he got her into a corner whence there was no escape; then his conduct was the most execrable. For his pretending not to know her; his pretending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress, and farther to assure himself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger, and a certain chain about her neck; was vile, monstrous! No doubt she told him her opinion of it, when, another blindman being in office, they were so very confidential together, behind the curtains.’

The Ghost of Christmas to Come is the third spirit. It is a stately figure, surrounded in black and impenetrable drapery. It leads Scrooge into the heart of the city, and he hears his acquaintance talking jestingly of one departed; into the Exchange, and he sees another standing against his peculiar pillar; into a haunt of infamy, where wretches are dividing the spoils and hoardings of the dead; into a wretched room, where a corpse lies shrouded, whose face Scrooge dares not uncover; into dwellings made miserable by the grasping avarice of those who had wealth they could not use; into his nephew’s house, shorn of its comforts, where the inmates, care-worn and weary, are wringing their hands with distress; into poor Bob Cratchit’s abode, made cheerless by death; and lastly, into a sad churchyard, where, on the stone of a neglected grave, is inscribed his own name! He implores the spirit to say whether these shadows may not be changed by an altered life. Its trembling hand seems to give consent. He pleads earnestly for a more decisive sign, and while he does so, the phantom dwindles down into a bed-post, and Scrooge sits upright in his bed. Who cannot imagine the conclusion? It is broad day. He looks out of the window: 281the bells are ringing; the people are going to church; all proclaim it as Christmas Day. The future is yet before him, and he is resolved to make the most of it. The prize turkey is got in haste from the neighboring poulterer’s, and sent by a cab to Bob Cratchit’s; and Scrooge hastens off to his nephew’s to dinner, where he finds the vision of the spirit realized. Scrooge from that hour is another and a better man. We have in conclusion but three words to say to every reader of the Knickerbocker who may peruse our notice of this production: Read the Work.

Wanderings of a Journeyman Tailor Through Europe and the East. Between the years 1824 and 1840. By P. D. Holthaus, Journeyman Tailor, from Werdohl, in Westphalia. Translated from the third German edition, by William Howitt. J. Winchester: ‘New World’ Press.

An air of great simplicity and truth pervades this wander-book of the German schneider. Mr. Howitt tells us, that when in the autumn of 1840 he returned to his native village, a great reputation preceded him, and all came, eager to see the brave traveller, and to listen to the relation of his adventures. He never sought purposely to turn conversation upon the subject of his travels, nor to impress an idea of his own importance; but when he was drawn into discourse, it was speedily found that he had noted and deeply impressed on his mind every thing with a truly admirable interest, and an acute spirit of observation, for one of his rank and education; that he had not merely passed through the countries, but had gleaned valuable matter on his journey; various things which he had brought with him testified this interest, such as different kinds of coin, engravings, plans of cities, etc. We have found, on an examination necessarily cursory, the commendatory remarks of the Berlin Gesellschafter upon this work to be well deserved: ‘We see in the individual expressions almost every where the evidence of its being the production of immediate observation. There prevails through the whole a noble simplicity and singleness of purpose, a genuinely German sound mode of thinking; here and there is not wanting a humorous and pithy remark. The author sees in every place nature and men without spectacles, and thence it arises that we acquire from his book a more living and actual view of foreign countries, especially of Egypt, Palestine, and Turkey, than was the case from the travelled labors of many a learned and celebrated man. Frequently, nay almost always, it is a fact, that the learned are destitute of the opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of the real life of the people, while it is exactly here that the greatest peculiarity of the manners and customs of foreigners is to be found. Our honest hand-worker lived among the people, and therefore possessed the best means to describe them in graphic characters.’ There is something very forcible and comprehensive in the subjoined passage from the author’s preface. It is indeed a sort of compendium of the most interesting portion of the writer’s journeyings:

‘From my youth up, it was my most living desire to see the world. When I heard or read of foreign lands, I became sad at heart, and thought: ‘Wert thou but of years that thou couldst travel!’ Now are all the wishes of my youth fulfilled. I have made the attempt by land and water, and that in three quarters of the world. I have wandered several times through Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Wallachia; I was a long time in Budapest and Constantinople; and undertook, with the money which I had saved there, a pilgrimage through Egypt to the Holy Land. I kneeled at the Birth-Place and the Sepulchre of the Saviour; stood in adoration on the holy Mount Zion, on Tabor, Golgotha, and the Mount of Olives; bathed in Jordan; washed myself in the Lake of Gennesareth; looked in vain around me on the Dead Sea for living objects; was in the workshop of St. Joseph; and in many other holy places of which the sacred Scriptures make mention. Thence I returned to Constantinople, and betook myself through Athens, where I worked nearly a year, and thence through Italy, France, and Belgium, homeward to my Fatherland.’

The first German edition of fifteen hundred copies of the work was at once exhausted; a second speedily followed; a third was soon announced; and the fourth is doubtless ere this before a wide class of German readers. We cheerfully commend the book to the public acceptance.

282Benthamiana: or Select Extracts from the Works of Jeremy Bentham. With an Outline Opinion on the Principal Subjects discussed in his Works. In one volume, pp. 446. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard. New-York: Wiley and Putnam.

This work contains a copious selection of those passages in the works of Jeremy Bentham which appear to be chiefly distinguished for merit of a simply rhetorical character; which, appearing often in the midst of long and arduous processes of reasoning, or in the course of elaborate descriptions of minute practical arrangements, demanding from an active mind severe thought and unflagging attention, have scarcely had their due weight with the general reader, nor secured their just meed of admiration. He was singularly careless, writes his editor, in distributing his pleasing illustrations of playfulness, or pathos, or epigrammatic expression. His ‘mission’ he considered to be that of an instructor and improver; and the flowers which, equally with more substantial things, were the produce of his vigorous intellect, he looked upon as scarcely worthy of passing attention, and deserving of no more notice than to be permitted to grow wherever the more valued objects of his labors left them a little room. The volume comprehends a vast variety of sound opinion, and able though brief argument upon themes which relate to the social, moral and religious well-being of mankind. Touching the style of the writer, as evinced in these selections, we should say that it was formed mainly upon a due avoidance of prolixity, (an observance not always characteristic of Bentham’s writings,) concerning which he himself very justly remarks: ‘Prolixity may be where redundancy is not. Prolixity may arise not only from the multifarious insertion of unnecessary articles, but from the conservation of too many necessary ones in a sentence; as a workman may be overladen not only with rubbish, which is of no use for him to carry, but with materials the most useful and necessary, when heaped up in loads too heavy for him at once.’ A useful hint this, to unpractised writers.

The Correspondence between Burns and Clarinda. With a Memoir of Mrs. M’Lehose, (Clarinda.) Arranged and edited by her Grandson, W. C. M’Lehose. In one volume, pp. 293. New-York: R. P. Bixby and Company.

We have no doubt that the contents of this well-executed little volume are altogether authentic; full particulars relative to the custody and authenticity of the correspondence and the state of preservation of the original manuscripts being given in the preface. But we are very sorry to say so much against the book as this fact implies. It would be far better for the reputation of the immortal Bard of Scotland, if some hereditary friend, chary of his undying fame, were to come before the public with a pamphlet disproving entirely the agency of Burns in this correspondence. To those who are acquainted with previous records in the private history of the world-renowned poet, it is painful to convict him, out of his own mouth, of duplicity in matters of the heart; of insincerity in the profession of simultaneous passion for various lovers; and of other acts which are alike indefensible and disreputable. We must needs marvel too that the ‘Clarinda’ of the correspondence should have been doomed by a near descendant to the exposure inseparable from the revelations of this volume. That the treatment which she received at the hands of one whose duty it was to ‘love, cherish, and protect’ her, was equally undeserved and inexcusable, we can well believe; but that the ‘platonic attachment,’ which sprung up in a night, like the gourd of Jonah, and gradually waxed to ‘passion at fever-heat,’ was justified by these facts, or sanctioned by propriety, or that its history in detail is calculated to elevate the character of woman, or exercise a healthful moral influence, we have just as little reason to doubt. There is a sprinkling of verse in an appendix, which Burns was good enough to praise. It is of that kind ‘which neither gods nor men permit;’ and is conclusive, not of Burns’s judgment, but of his ‘tender’ sycophancy.



Some ‘Sentiments’ on Sonnets, with sundry Specimens.—Thanks to our ever-welcome correspondent, ‘T. W. P.’ for his pleasant, pertinent and improving sentiments on sonnets. Arriving at too late an hour for a place among our guests at the table d’ hôte, perhaps he will not object to sit at our humble side-table, and converse familiarly with the reader; since, as honest Sancho remarked of the Duke, ‘Wherever he sits, there will be the first place.’ Our friend has a fruitful theme. How many borrowed prose-passages have we seen, with their original brightness dimmed or deflected in a sorry sonnet! Nine in ten of our modern examples in this kind, when one comes to analyze them, will be found to consist of stolen ideas, combined with what Southey would call ‘bubble, and bladder, and tympany.’ But perpend the subjoined: ‘Ever since the fatal days of Petrarch and Guido Cavalianti, mankind have suffered more or less from the chronic infliction of Sonnets. With them indeed the complaint was constitutional, and came in the natural way; under so mild and gentle a form withal, that little danger was to be apprehended for Italian temperaments, except a degree of languor, general debility, and a disagreeable singing in the ears. It was only when it worked its way into English blood, that the virus assumed its most baneful character. Shakspeare, among other illustrious victims, was afflicted by it in his youth, but seems to have recovered during his residence in the metropolis. Possibly the favor of the royal hand might have proved more beneficial than that of the Earl of Southampton. Perhaps he was touched for it by Elizabeth, as Johnson was by Queen Anne for the scrofula. However that may be, we know very well that the disorder is now rooted among us, and that every week produces decided cases of Sonnets, sometimes so severe as to be intolerable. In this condition of the mental health of our country, since the evil cannot be cured, it were a work at once philanthropical and patriotic, so to modify it and regulate its attacks, that it may settle down into a moderate degree of annoyance, like the lighter afflictions of mild measles and mumps. We can always calculate upon the duration of each ‘fytte,’ as none ever exceeds the fourteenth spasm. When the just dozen-and-two convulsions are past, the danger is over, and the offensive matter may be removed by a newspaper, or discharged into some appropriate magazine. There is good reason for designating the complaint as a periodical one.

We intend, one of these days, provided our remarks attract sufficient attention, to publish a volume upon this subject. We have the materiel by us and about us; and as soon as we can make arrangements with Mr. Poh for a puff in the ‘North-American Review,’ or the ‘Southern Literary Messenger,’ we shall broach the affair to Mr. Fields, the enterprising publisher. We have moreover desired Mr. Whipple to write to his friend Mr. Macaulay in England, who will doubtless be proud to foster American letters by a hoist in the ‘Edinburgh.’ There is only one other thing absolutely requisite for the success of the book, and that is the appearance of this article in the Knickerbocker. Befriend me then with your fine taste, renowned Herr Diedrich! and give me room. I shall not dive deeply into 284the matter now; but for the good of my young countrymen, the labor of whose brains is incompatible with a fruitful development of whiskers, I wish to put forth a page of advice that may save them a world of fatigue. It is common with those who are far gone in this tuneful disorder to set up late o’ nights and tipple coffee. Under my new system, I will engage that they may retire to bed on mulled-punch nightly, at eleven, and yet effect all that they now perform with the greatest injury to their eyes and complexions. But pocas pallabras—enough of this preface: will not the thing speak for itself? There needs no farther introduction for these brief extracts from the aforesaid work:


A Sonnet (as before stated) consists of fourteen and no more spasms. They are calm, deliberate twinges, however, and upon a homœopathical principle, the great object should be to get over each one in the calmest possible manner; idem cum eodem. The thing cannot be treated too coolly, for its very essence is dull deliberation. The name sonnet is probably derived, through the Italian sonno, from the Latin word for sleep, in allusion to its lethargic quality. The best mode of encouraging the efflux of the peccant humor is for the patient to have a cigar in his mouth. The narcotic fumes of tobacco are highly favorable to its ejection. The first step then is the selection of rhymes. Fourteen of these in their proper order should be written perpendicularly on the right hand of a smooth sheet of white paper. When this is done, it is necessary to read them over, up and down, several times, until some general idea of a subject or a title suggests itself. Great care must be taken, in the selection of rhymes, to get as original ones as possible, and such as shall strike the eye. Still greater should be the precaution not to choose such incongruous rhymes as may not easily be welded together or amalgamated into one whole by the mercury of fancy. For instance, it would be well to avoid coupling such words as moon and spoon, breeze and cheese and sneeze; Jove and stove; hope and soap; all which it might be difficult to bring together harmoniously. Here the artist, the man of true science, will discover himself. Shelley affords a good choice of rhymes; chasm and spasm; rift and drift; ravine and savin, are useful conjunctions. If you have a ravine, it will be very easy to stick in a savin, but you must avoid a spavin, or your verse may halt for it. This we call being artistical. Benissimo! then. Having fixed upon your subject, all you have to do is to fill up the lines to match the ends, and this, in one evening’s practice, will become as easy, the same thing in fact, as the filling up of the blank form of an ordinary receipt.

But the most expeditious and surest way of procuring a good Sonnet is the Division of Labor System. This has often been unconsciously practised by modern poets, but it has never been explicitly set forth till now. Every body knows that even in the fabrication of so small a thing as a needle, the process is facilitated by dividing it among a number of hands; as to one the eye, to another the point, to one the grinding, to another the polishing. In the same way, to render a sonnet pointed and sharp, to polish it and insure it against cutting the thread of its argument, the work should be performed by two or more. Every sonnet, in short, ought to be a translation. I do not say a translation from the German or any other jargon, but a translation from English—from one man’s into another man’s English. It is absurd for one workman to do both rhyming and thinking. In this go-ahead age and country, that were a palpable waste of time. Take any ‘matter-ful’ author, cut out a juicy slice of his thought, and make that your material. Trim it, compress it, turn it and twist it upside down and inside out, vary it any way but the author’s own, and you will be likely to effect a speedy and wholesome operation. What a saving of time is here! Who will be silly enough to manufacture his own thinkings into verse when the world is so full of excellent stuff as yet unwrought in the great mine of letters? Let us not burn up our own native forests while we can fetch coals from Newcastle. What a pleasant prospect for readers too! A man may be sure then, that a sonnet shall contain a thought. He will not be gulled into experiments upon decent-looking, respectable dross and plausible inanity. He 285shall not dig hungrily for an idea, and be filled with volumes of wind. With the fourteenth pang his anxiety shall be over, and he shall drop asleep satisfied; tandem dormitum dimittitur.

Not to anticipate farther our forthcoming book, nor to forestall the critics in any more extracts, we shall lay before the reader two or three samples of work done according to this system. Carlyle has furnished our raw material. His pages are so full of poetry that little time need be expended in selecting a fit piece for working up. See now if these be not sonnets which Bowles might have been proud to claim. Each one is warranted to contain a thought; an hour or so would suffice for the completion of half a dozen such. Observe too, that little deviation is necessary from the original, the words falling naturally into both rhythm and rhyme. We commence with a few translations from Carlyle. The initial specimen is taken from Herr Teufelsdröckh’s remarks on Bonaparte. This is the passage:

The man (Napoleon) was a Divine Missionary, though unconscious of it, and preached through the cannon’s throat this great doctrine: La carrière ouverte aux talens; ‘The Tools to him that can handle them.’ ••• Madly enough he preached, it is true, as Enthusiasts and first Missionaries are wont, with imperfect utterance, amid much frothy rant, yet as articulately perhaps as the case admitted. Or call him, if you will, an American Backwoodsman, who had to fell unpenetrated forests, and battle with innumerable wolves, and did not entirely forbear strong liquor, rioting, and even theft; whom notwithstanding the peaceful Sower will follow, and as he cuts the boundless harvest, bless.’

Sartor Resartus: Book ii., Chap. viii.


Napoleon was a Missionary merely,

Who through the cannon’s throat this truth expressed,

Unconsciously, divinely and sincerely,

The Tools to him that handles ’em the best.

Madly enough, indeed, the man did preach,

Amid much rant, as all Enthusiasts do,

And yet with as articulate a speech

As the strange case, perhaps, allowed him to.

Or call him a Backwoodsman, if you will;

Who, forced to fell unpenetrated woods,

And doomed innumerable wolves to kill,

Got drunk sometimes, and stole his neighbor’s goods;

Whom will the Sower follow ne’ertheless,

And as he cuts the boundless harvest, bless.

Or let us try the following description of the Hotel de Ville in the French Revolution:

O evening sun of July! how at this hour thy beams fall slant on reapers amid peaceful woody fields; on old women spinning in cottages; on ships far out on the silent main; on Balls at the Orangerie of Versailles, where high-rouged dames of the palace are even now dancing with double-jacketted Hussar officers; and also on this roaring Hell-porch of a Hotel de Ville. Babel-tower, with the confusion of tongues, were not Bedlam added with the conflagration of thoughts, was no type of it. One forest of distracted steel bristles endless in front of an Electoral Committee.’

French Revolution: Book v., Chap. vii.


O evening sun of most serene July!

How at this hour thy slant refulgence pours

On reapers working in the open sky,

And women spinning at their cottage doors,

On ships far out upon the silent main,

On gay Versailles, where through the light quadrille

Hussars are leading forth a high-rouged train,

And on the hell-porch-like Hotel de Ville.

Not Babel’s tower with all its million tongues,

Save Bedlam too therewith had added been,

To mingle burning brains with roaring lungs,

Could feebly imitate that dreadful din;

One endless forest of distracted steel

Bristling around that mad Hotel de Ville!

286Or to return to Professor Teufeldröckh’s vast chaos of ideas. Let us try another passage therefrom:

It struck me much as I sat beside the Kuhbach, one silent noontide, and watched it flowing, gurgling, to think how this same streamlet had flowed and gurgled through all changes of weather and of fortune, from beyond the earliest date of history. Yes, probably on the morning when Joshua forded Jordan; even as at the midday when Cæsar, doubtless with difficulty, swam the Nile, yet kept his Commentaries dry; this little Kuhbach, assiduous as Tiber, Eurotas or Siloa, was murmuring on across the wilderness, unnamed, unseen.’

Sartor Resartus: Book II., Chap. iii.


One silent noonday, as I sat beside

The gurgling flow of Kuhbach’s little river,

Methought how, even as I saw it glide,

That stream had flowed and gurgled on forever.

Yes, on the day when Joshua passed the flood

Of ancient Jordan; when across the Nile

Cæsar swam (hardly, doubtless, through the mud,)

Yet kept his Commentaries dry the while,

This little Kuhbach, like Siloa’s rill,

Or Tiber’s Tide, assiduous and serene,

Ev’n then, the same as now, was murmuring still

Across the wilderness, unnamed, unseen.

Art’s but a mushroom—only Nature’s old;

In yon grey crag six thousand years behold!

From the same chapter of the same book we venture one more extract. It is where the Professor is full of grief and reminiscences; where, reflecting on his first experience of wo in the death of Father Andreas, he becomes once more spirit-clad in quite inexpressible melancholy, and says, ‘I have now pitched my tent under a cypress-tree,’ etc.:


Under a cypress-tree I pitch my tent:

The tomb shall be my fortress; at its gate

I sit and watch each hostile armament,

And all the pains and penalties of Fate.

And oh ye loved ones! that already sleep,

Hushed in the noiseless bed of endless rest,

For whom, while living, I could only weep,

But never help in all your sore distress,

And ye who still your lonely burthen bear,

Spilling your blood beneath life’s bitter thrall,

A little while and we shall all meet there,

And one kind Mother’s bosom screen us all;

Oppression’s harness will no longer tire

Or gall us there, nor Sorrow’s whip of fire.

But we are borrowing too much from our embryo volume. Patience, dear Public! until we can find a publisher. In the mean time, examine the specimens we have presented to you. Can any one tell us where to look for sonnets, more satisfactory than these? We congratulate our country on the prospect of our soon having an American literature. Let our industrious young aspirants try a work in which they may succeed in producing something of sterling value. A year or two will suffice to turn half the plodding prose writers of Britain into original poets. Every brilliant article that appears in the Quarterly might here renascent spring forth like Arethusa, in a new and more melodious voice; bubbling up in a pretty epic or stormy lyric. See, for example, how easily Sidney Smith might be done into rhyme:


I never meet at any public dinner

A Pennsylvanian, but my fingers itch

To pluck his borrowed plumage from the sinner,

And with the spoil the company enrich.

His pocket-handkerchief I would bestow

On the poor orphan; and his worsted socks

287Should to the widow in requital go

For having sunk her all in Yankee stocks;

To John the footman I would give his hat,

Which only cost six shillings in Broadway:

As for his diamond ring—I’d speak for that;

His gold watch too my losses might repay:

Himself might home in the next steamer hie,

For who would take him—or his word? Not I.

Legends of the Conquest of Spain.’—Some eighteen years ago, a work in a single volume, entitled as above, and written by the author of the ‘Sketch-Book,’ was issued from the press of Murray, the celebrated London book-seller. It would seem to have been put forth as a kind of avant-courier of ‘The Chronicles of the Conquest of Granada;’ but unlike that elaborate work, was never republished in this country, and has never been included in any of the complete editions of Mr. Irving’s writings. We are indebted to the kind courtesy of a gentleman who has been spending some months with our distinguished countryman and correspondent at Madrid, for a copy of the book, which he obtained at that capital. We have good reason to believe that it has been encountered by few if any readers on this side the Atlantic. A very stirring extract from its pages will be found elsewhere in this Magazine. Mr. Irving introduces the legends to his readers with a few prefatory sentences, in which he states that he has ventured to dip more deeply into the enchanted fountains of old Spanish chronicle than has usually been done by those who have treated of the eventful period of which he writes; but in so doing, he only more fully illustrates the character of the people and the times. He has thrown the records into the form of legends, not claiming for them the authenticity of sober history, yet giving nothing that had not a historical foundation. ‘All the facts herein contained,’ says the writer, ‘however extravagant some of them may be deemed, will be found in the works of sage and reverend chroniclers of yore, growing side by side with long acknowledged truths, and might be supported by learned and imposing references in the margin.’ To discard every thing wild and marvellous in this portion of Spanish history is to discard some of its most beautiful, instructive, and national features; it is to judge of Spain by the standard of probability suited to tamer and more prosaic countries. Spain is virtually a land of poetry and romance, where every-day life partakes of adventure, and where the least agitation or excitement carries every thing up into extravagant enterprise and daring exploit. The Spaniards in all ages have been of swelling and braggart spirit, soaring in thought, and valiant though vainglorious in deed. When the nation had recovered in some degree from the storm of Moslem invasion, and sage men sought to inquire and write the particulars of the tremendous reverses which it produced, it was too late to ascertain them in their exact verity. The gloom and melancholy that had overshadowed the land had given birth to a thousand superstitious fancies; the woes and terrors of the past were clothed with supernatural miracles and portents, and the actors in the fearful drama had already assumed the dubious characteristics of romance. Or if a writer from among the conquerors undertook to touch upon the theme, it was embellished with all the wild extravagances of an oriental imagination, which afterward stole into the graver works of the monkish historians. Hence the chronicles are apt to be tinctured with those saintly miracles which savor of the pious labors of the cloister, or those fanciful fictions that betray their Arabian Authors. Scarce one of their historical facts but has been connected in the original with some romantic fiction, and even in its divorced state, bears traces of its former alliance. The records in preceding pages are ‘illuminated’ by these prefatory remarks of our author, if their truth be not altogether established! How the Count Julian receives the account of the dishonor of his child, and his conduct thereupon; and how Don Roderick hastens, through various tribulation, to his final overthrow; will be matter for another number. Meanwhile the 288reader will not fail to note the great beauty of the descriptions, which in the hands of our great master of the power and beauty of ‘the grand old English tongue,’ assume form and color, and stand out like living pictures to the eye.

American Ptyalism: ‘Quid Rides?’—A pleasant correspondent, whom our readers have long known, and as long admired and esteemed, in a familiar gossip, (by favor of ‘Uncle Samuel’s mail-bag,) with the Editor, gives us the following ‘running account’ of his ruminations over an early-morning quid of that ‘flavorous weed’ so well beloved of our friend Colonel Stone. It is in some sort a defence of American ptyalism, and in the tendency of its inculcations, reminds us of the arguments in favor of the cultivation of a refined style of murder, which should constitute it one of the fine arts, to which we gave a place many months back: ‘After having in my broken dreams perambulated every part and parcel of the universe, and then tossed about for hours on an ocean of bodily discomforts, each a dagger to repose, and mental disquietudes, of which any one was enough to wither all the poppies of Somnus, I rose about four o’ my watch, and commenced chewing the narcotic weed of Virginia. For you must know that in childhood almost, through a precocious mannishness and a desire of experimental knowledge, I commenced the habit of tobacco-chewing, and the vice born of a freak, has ‘grown with my growth,’ till now it holds me as in a ‘vice’ screwed up and secured by a giant. (Please observe that there’s a pun in that last sentence.) Where the conventionalities of society compel me to attidunize my appearance and customs into the stiffness of gentility, I puff the Havana; but when the privacy of my own room or the solitude of the roads and fields permit me to vulgarize to my liking, I thrust a ball of ‘Mrs. Miller’s fine-cut,’ or a fragment of the ‘natural James’ River sweet,’ between the sub-maxillary bone and its carnal casement, and then masticate and expectorate ‘à la Yankee.’ or ‘more Americano.’ Pah! oh! fie! for shame! and all other interjections indicative of horror, or expressive of disgust. ‘Quousque tandem?’ Beg your pardon, Mrs. Trollope. ‘Quamdiu etiam?’ I implore your commiseration, Captain Basil. ‘Oh, tempora! oh, mores!’ Have mercy, illustrious and praise-bespattered, and almost Sir-Waltered Boz. Do not, under the uneasy weight of glory, and in the intoxicating consciousness of a right to the oligarchic exclusiveness of the goose-quill ‘haute volèe,’ strike right and left among your sturdy democratic adorers, because they choose to convert their mandibles into quid-grinders, and their χασματ᾿ ὀδόντων into ceaseless jet d’eaux of saliva. Reflect that the ‘quid’ assists in a philosophic investigation of the ‘quiddities’ of things, and that from this habit alone perhaps we have made such advances in casuistry as to have discovered equity in repudiation, freedom in mobocracy, and the sword of justice in the bowie-knife. Chewing is eminently democratic, since all chewers are ‘pro hâc vice’ on a perfect equality, and a ‘millionaire;’ or, for that matter, a ‘billionaire,’ if we had him, would not hesitate to take out of his mouth a moiety of his last ‘chew’ and give it to an itinerant Lazarus. What can be more admirable than this ‘de bon air’ plebeianism, and universal right-hand of fellowship? Does not he who extends among the people the use of this democratizing weed, emphatically give them a ‘quid pro quo?’ Are not slovenliness and filth the virtues of republics, while neatness and elegance are vices of court-growth, and expand into their most ramified and minute perfectness of polish only in the palaces of kings? Furthermore, oh laurelled and triumphant Pickwick! if expectoration be filthy, it must be because the ‘thing expectorated’ is unclean; and if so, is it not more decent to become rid of the ‘unclean thing’ by the readiest process, than to retain it, making the stomach a receptacle of abominations? And are you, Sir Baronet of the realm imaginary, subject to no gross corporeal needs and operations? And if, as you will say, you perform those foul rites in a state of retiracy, are you not adding the sin of hypocrisy to your preëxistent guilt? If it has succeeded to you, as to few penny-a-liners, to have emerged by the sale of your Attic-salt from the attics of Grub-street 289into the ‘swept and garnished chambers’ of the Regent, and if after quaffing the ale of Bow-street, procured by caricatures of Old Baily reports, you have sipped your hockheimer, while standing, scarce yet unbewildered, in the gas-light splendor reflected from the ‘vis-á-vis’ mirrors of Almack’s, yet do not exalt yourself above all that is fleshly. Reflect that you, so lately unrivalled, can now see a Eugene Sue whose brow is umbraged by laurels of a more luxuriant and lovely green. Cease your expectorations of bile upon a great people; admit that mastication of the ‘odorous vegeble’ is a Spartan virtue; and we will again vote you an Anak in the kingdom of pen and paper. Then again shall we be led to believe that your praises and your vituperations are equally unpurchasable. Then once more shall we think you would swallow no golden pill, nor suffer your throat to be ulcerated by a silver quinsy.’

Gossip With Readers and Correspondents.—If any of our readers are desirous of looking into the rationale of irrationality, to employ a highly ‘unitive’ phrase, let them take up, if they can command it, the ‘Annual Report of the Managers of the New York State Lunatic Asylum,’ one of the clearest and most comprehensive documents in its kind that we have ever perused. It proceeds from the capable pen of A. Brigham, M. D. the superintendent and physician of the institution, and is full upon the definition, causes and classification of insanity; the size and shape of the heads of the patients; the pulse; description of the building; daily routine of business, diet, labor, amusements, religious worship, visitors, suggestions to those who have friends whom they expect to commit to the care of the asylum, etc., etc. The cause of insanity in fifty out of two hundred and seventy-six patients is attributed to religious anxiety, produced by long attendance on protracted religious meetings, etc. Want of sleep is decidedly the most frequent and immediate cause of insanity, and one the most important to guard against. ‘So rarely (says the superintendent) do you see a recent case of insanity that is not preceded by want of sleep, that we regard it as almost the sure precursor of mental derangement.’ As evidences of the difficulty of arranging the insane in classes, founded on symptoms, Dr. Brigham gives us the following synopsis of individual peculiarities noticed among certain of the inmates of the Asylum:

In addition to emperors, queens, prophets and priests, we have one that says he is nobody, a nonentity. One that was never born, and one that was born of her grandmother, and another dropped by the devil flying over the world. One has had the throat cut out and put in wrong, so that what is swallowed passes into the head, and another has his head cut off and replaced every night. One thinks himself a child, and talks and acts like a child. Many appear as if constantly intoxicated. One has the gift of tongues, another deals in magic, several in animal magnetism. One thinks he is a white polar bear. A number have hallucinations of sight, others of hearing. One repeats whatever is said to him, another repeats constantly words of the same sound, as door, floor. One is pursued by the sheriff, many by the devil. One has invented the perpetual motion and is soon to be rich; others have already acquired vast fortunes: scraps of paper, buttons and chips are to them, large amounts of money. Many pilfer continually and without any apparent motive, while others secrete every thing they can find, their own articles as well as those of others. A majority are disposed to hoard up trifling and useless articles, as scraps of tin, leather, strings, nails, buttons, etc., and are much grieved to part with them. One will not eat unless alone, some never wish to eat, while others are always starving. One with a few sticks and straws fills his room with officers and soldiers, ships and sailors, carriages and horses, the management of which occupies all his time and thoughts. Some have good memory as regards most things, and singularly defective as to others. One does not recollect the names of his associates, which he hears every hour, yet his memory is good in other respects. One says he is Thomas Paine, author of the ‘Age of Reason,’ a work he has never read; another calls himself General Washington; and one old lady of diminutive size calls herself General Scott, and is never so good-natured as when thus addressed. One is always in court attending a trial, and wondering and asking when the court is to rise. Another has to eat up the building, drink dry the canal, and swallow the Little Falls village, and is continually telling of the difficulty of the task.’

The superintendent prefers a classification founded upon the faculties of the mind that appear to be disordered; and he thinks he could place all his patients in one of the three following classes: Intellectual Insanity, or disorder of the intellect without noticeable disturbance of the feelings and propensities; Moral Insanity or derangement of the feelings, affections, and passions, without any remarkable disorder of the intellect; and General Insanity, 290in which both the intellectual faculties and the feelings and affections are disordered. The State Asylum is a fine imposing edifice, delightfully situated near the pleasant village of Utica, in Oneida county, and is becoming greatly distinguished for success in the treatment and cure of insanity. ••• We heard a little anecdote at a bal costumé the other evening, (whether from the dignified and stately Helen Macgregor or the beautiful Medora, we ‘cannot well make out,’) which is worth repeating. A retired green-grocer, rejoicing in the euphonious name of Tibbs, living at Hackney, near London, sorely against his will, and after warm remonstrance, finally yielded to his wife’s entreaty that he would go in character to a masquerade-ball, given to the ‘middling interest’ by one of his old neighbors. He went accoutred as a knight, wearing his visor down. What was his surprise on entering the room, to find first one and then another member of the motley company slapping him familiarly on the back, with: ‘Halloa! Tibbs! who thought to see you here! What’s the news at Hackney?’ In dismay that his ridiculous secret was out, he hurried from the scene, and hastened home in a state of great excitement from the mortification to which he had been subjected. ‘I told you I should be known,’ said he to his wife; ‘I knew I should!’ ‘No wonder!’ she replied; ‘you’ve got your name and residence on your steel cap: ‘Mr. Tibbs, Hackney!’’ He had forgotten to remove the address which the London costumer had affixed to it as a direction! ••• How many thousand times, in thinking of the onward career of our glorious and thrice-blessed country, have we felt the emotions to which our esteemed friend and contributor, Polygon, gives forceful expression in the closing lines of a beautiful poem of his, which we have encountered to-day for the first time:

Oh! long through coming ages, born

When we shall slumber cold and still,

The sultry summer will adorn

The verdant vale and hazy hill;

And Autumn walking even and morn

Through bearded wheat and rustling corn,

See Plenty from her streaming horn

His largest wishes fill.

‘Europe’s rich realms will then admire

And emulate our matchless fame,

And Asia burn with fierce desire

To burst her galling bonds of shame!

Greece will resume th’ Aonian lyre,

And Rome again to heaven aspire,

And vestal Freedom’s quenchless fire

From the pyramids shall flame!’

There is a sort of pathetic humor in the following parody by Punch upon the prize exhibitions of cattle in England. A more forcible exposition of the different condition of the human and brute animal in that country could not well be conceived. It must be premised that a large hall is fitted up with pens on either side, and over the head of the occupant paste-board tickets are appended by the Poor Law Commissioners, detailing their names, weights, ages, the regimen to which they have been subjected, and other particulars; as thus: ‘Peter Small. Aged forty. Weight at period of admission twelve stone. Confined three months. Present weight nine stone. Fed principally on water-gruel. Has been separated from his wife and children in the work-house, and occasionally placed in solitary confinement for complaining of hunger. Employment, breaking stones.’ ‘Jane Wells. Aged seventy. Weight five stone; lost two stone since her admission, one month ago. Gruel diet; tea without sugar; potatoes and salt. Has been set to picking opium.’ ‘John Tompkins. Aged eighty-five. Has seen better days. On admission, weighed eleven stone, which has been reduced to eight and three-quarters. Diet, weak soup, with turnips and carrots; dry bread and cheese-parings; a few ounces of meat occasionally, when faint. Came to the work-house with his wife, who is five years younger than himself. Has not been allowed to see her for a month; during which period has lost in weight two ounces on an average per day. Employed in carrying coals.’ Faithful portraits, no doubt, of thousands who crowd the thick-clustering pauper-houses of England, who have

No blessed leisure for love nor hope,

But only time for grief!’

Our umqwhile New-Haven friend, who commented upon our ‘light gossip’ a few months since, will pardon us for quoting, in corroboration of the exculpatory ‘position’ which we 291assumed in alluding to his animadversions, the following remarks by the author of the ‘Charcoal Sketches,’ Joseph C. Neal, Esq.: ‘Gossip, goodly gossip, though sometimes sneered at, is after all the best of our entertainments. We must fall back upon the light web of conversation, upon chit-chat, as our main-stay, our chief reliance; as that corps de reserve on which our scattered and wearied forces are to rally. What is there which will bear comparison as a recreating means, with the free and unstudied interchange of thought, of knowledge, of impression about men and things, and all that varied medley of fact, criticism and conclusion so continually fermenting in the active brain? Be fearful of those who love it not, and banish such as would imbibe its delights yet bring no contribution to the common stock. There are men who seek the reputation of wisdom by dint of never affording a glimpse of their capabilities, and impose upon the world by silent gravity; negative philosophers, who never commit themselves beyond the utterance of a self-evident proposition, or hazard their position by a feat of greater boldness than is to be found in the avowal of the safe truth which has been granted for a thousand years. There is a deception here, which should never be submitted to. Sagacity may be manifest in the nod of Burleigh’s head; but it does not follow that all who nod are Burleighs. He who habitually says nothing, must be content if he be regarded as having nothing to say, and it is only a lack of grace on his part which precludes the confession. In this broad ‘Vienna’ of human effort, the mere ‘looker-on’ cannot be tolerated. It is part of our duty to be nonsensical and ridiculous at times, for the entertainment of the rest of the world. If we are never to open our mouths until the unsealing of the aperture is to give evidence of a present Solomon, and to add something to the Book of Proverbs, we must for the most part, stand like the statue of Harpocrates, with ‘Still your finger on your lips, I pray.’ If we do speak, under such restrictions, it cannot well be, as the world is constituted, more than once or twice in the course of an existence, the rest of the sojourn upon earth being devoted to a sublimation of our thought. But always wise, sensible, sagacious, rational; always in wig and spectacles; always algebraic and mathematical; doctrinal and didactic; ever to sit like Franklin’s portrait, with the index fixed upon ‘causality;’ one might as well be a petrified ‘professor,’ or a William Penn bronzed upon a pedestal. There is nothing so good, either in itself or in its effects, as good nonsense.’ Upon reading the foregoing, we laid Mr. Yellowplush’s ‘flattering function’ to our soul, that after all, we need not greatly distrust the reception of our monthly salmagundi, since one good producer and critic may be held as in some sort an epitome of the public; and especially, since any one subsection of our hurried Gossip, should it chance to be dull, or void of interest, may be soon exhausted, or easily skipped. ••• We observed lately, in the pages of a monthly contemporary, an elaborate notice of the poems of Alfred Tennyson, who has written many somewhat affected and several very heartful and exquisite verses; and were not a little surprised to find no reference to two of the most beautiful poems in his collection; namely, the ‘New-Year’s Eve,’ and its ‘Conclusion.’ The first embodies the reflections of a young maiden, sinking gradually under that fell destroyer, Consumption. It is new-year’s eve, and she implores her mother to ‘call her early,’ that she may see the sun rise upon the glad new year, the last that she shall ever see. How touchingly the associations of nature are depicted in these stanzas:

To-night I saw the sun set: he set and left behind

The good old year, the dear old time, and all my peace of mind;

And the New-year’s coming up, mother, but I shall never see

The blossom on the black thorn, the leaf upon the tree.

There’s not a flower on all the hills: the frost is on the pane:

I only wish to live till the snow-drops come again:

I wish the snow would melt, and the sun come out on high;

I long to see a flower so before the day I die.

The building rook will caw from the windy tall elm-tree,

And the tufted plover pipe along the fallow lea,

And the swallow will come back again with summer o’er the wave.

But I shall lie alone, mother, within the mouldering grave.

292Upon the chancel-casement, and upon that grave of mine,

In the early, early morning the summer sun will shine;

Before the red cock crows from the farm upon the hill,

When you are warm asleep, mother, and all the world is still.

When the flowers shall come again, mother, beneath the waning light,

You’ll never see me more in the long gray fields at night:

When from the dry dark wold the summer airs blow cool,

On the oat-grass and the sword-grass, and the bulrush in the pool.

You’ll bury me, my mother, just beneath the hawthorn shade,

And you’ll come sometimes and see me, where I am lowly laid.

I shall not forget you, mother, I shall hear you when you pass,

With your feet above my head in the long and pleasant grass.

I have been wild and wayward, but you’ll forgive me now;

You’ll kiss me, my own mother, upon my cheek and brow;

Nay, nay, you must not weep, nor let your grief be wild,

You should not fret for me, mother, you have another child.

If I can I’ll come again, mother, from out my resting-place;

Though you’ll not see me, mother, I shall look upon your face;

Though I cannot speak a word, I shall hearken what you say,

And be often, often with you, when you think I’m far away.

Good-night, good-night! when I have said good-night for evermore,

And you see me carried out from the threshold of the door,

Don’t let Effie come to see me till my grave be growing green:

She’ll be a better child to you than ever I have been.

She’ll find my garden-tools upon the granary floor:

Let her take ’em: they are hers: I shall never garden more:

But tell her, when I’m gone, to train the rose-bush that I set

About the parlour-window and the box of mignonette.

The poor girl’s prayer to ‘live to see the snow-drop,’ in the spring-time, is answered. The violets have come forth, and in the fields around she hears the bleating of the young lambs. She is now ready to die, and knows that the time of her departure is at hand, for she has had a ‘warning from heaven.’ The reader should have sat by the bed-side of one slowly fading away by consumption, and have heard the wild March wind wail amidst the boughs of leafless trees without, rightly to appreciate the faithfulness of these lines:

I did not hear the dog howl, mother, nor hear the death-watch beat,

There came a sweeter token when the night and morning meet:

But sit beside my bed, mother, and put your hand in mine,

And Effie on the other side, and I will tell the sign.

All in the wild March-morning I heard the angels call;

It was when the moon was setting, and the dark was over all;

The trees began to whisper, and the wind began to roll,

And in the wild March-morning I heard them call my soul.

For lying broad awake I thought of you and Effie dear;

I saw you sitting in the house, and I no longer here;

With all my strength I pray’d for both, and so I felt resign’d,

And up the valley came a swell of music on the wind.

I thought that it was fancy, and I listen’d in my bed,

And then did something speak to me—I know not what was said;

For great delight and shuddering took hold of all my mind,

And up the valley came again the music on the wind.

But you were sleeping; and I said, ‘It’s not for them: it’s mine.’

And if it comes three times, I thought, I take it for a sign.

And once again it came, and close beside the window-bars,

Then seem’d to go right up to Heaven and die among the stars.’

‘This blessed music,’ she says, ‘went that way my soul will have to go.’ She is reconciled to her inevitable fate; yet still she casts a ‘longing, lingering look behind,’ to the 293beautiful world she is leaving forever. Her reflections are imbued with a deep pathos; the second line of the first stanza, especially, ‘teems with sensation:’

O look! the sun begins to rise, the heavens are in a glow;

He shines upon a hundred fields, and all of them I know:

And there I move no longer now, and there his light may shine,

Wild flowers are in the valley for other hands than mine!

O sweet and strange it seems to me, that ere this day is done

The voice, that now is speaking, may be beyond the sun;

For ever and for ever with those just souls and true:

And what is life, that we should moan? why make we such ado?

For ever and for ever, all in a blessed home,

And there to wait a little while till you and Effie come;

To lie within the light of God, as I lie upon your breast,

Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.

We are indebted to a friend and correspondent at the Phillippine Islands, for two very instructive and amusing volumes, of which we intend the reader shall know more hereafter. The first is entitled ‘Portfolio Chinensis,’ or a collection of authentic Chinese State Papers, in the native language, illustrative of the history of the late important events in China, with a translation by J. Lewis Shuck; the second, a ‘Narrative of the late Proceedings and Events in China,’ by John Slade, editor of the ‘Canton Register.’ In looking over these publications, we are struck with the vigor and pertinacity with which, when once their minds were made up, the Chinese authorities pursued their object of abolishing opium forever from the celestial empire. Edicts against the ‘red-bristled foreigners’ from England, and the people of the American or ‘flower-flag nation,’ who should hoard up the smoking earth or vaporous drug, were enforced by others addressed to the natives, intended to lessen or annihilate the demand. The remonstrances with the opium-smokers themselves are exceedingly pungent. The ‘Great Emperor, quaking with wrath,’ having examined the whole matter, and ‘united the circumstances,’ saturates the High Commissioner Lin with his own bright ‘effulgence of reason,’ who thereupon promulges: ‘Although the opium exists among the outside barbarians, there is not a man of them who is willing to smoke it himself; but the natives of the flowery land are on the contrary with willing hearts led astray by them; and they exhaust their property and brave the prohibitions, by purchasing a commodity which inflicts injury upon their own vitals. Is not this supremely ridiculous! And that you part with your money to poison your own selves, is it not deeply lamentable! How is it that you allow men to befool you? Thus the fish covets the bait and forgets the hook; the miller-fly covets the candle-light, but forgets the fire. Ye bring misfortunes upon yourselves! Habits which are thus disastrous are unchangeable, being like the successive rolling of the waves of the sea. Is not your conduct egregiously strange? We the governor and Fooyuen have three times and five times again and again remonstrated with and exhorted you, giving you lucid warning. Surely, you are indeed dreaming, and snoring in your dreams!’ These multiplied edicts, and the offers of rewards, to ‘encourage repentant and fear-stricken hearts,’ seem to have led to a little trickery on the part of certain cunning mandarins, if we interpret aright this clause in an ensuing ‘lucid warning:’ ‘The opium-pipes which are delivered up must be distinguished clearly as to whether they are real or false. Those having on the outside of them the marks of use, and within the oily residue of the smoke, are the genuine ones; and those which are made of new bamboo, and merely moistened with the smoky oil, are the false ones.’ A ‘spec.’ had evidently been made by means of false ‘smoking-implements.’ But the most amusing portions of these volumes are the vermillion edicts against the ‘outside barbarians,’ who had irritated the sacred wrath to the cutting off of their trade. The estimates of the Fooyuen, it will be seen, are of that vague kind usually designated among us as ‘upward of considerable.’ Alluding to the ‘blithesome profits’ which had accrued from an intercourse with China, he says: ‘I find that during the last 294several tens of years the money out of which you have duped our people, by means of your destructive drug, amounts I know not to how many tens of thousands of myriads. Your ships, which in former years amounted annually to no more than several tens, now exceed a hundred and several tens, which arrive here every year. I would like to ask you if in the wide earth under heaven you can find such another profit-yielding market as this is? Our great Chinese Emperor views all mankind with equal benevolence, and therefore it is that he has thus graciously permitted you to trade, and become as it were steeped to the lips in gain. If this port of Canton, however, were to be shut against you, how could you scheme to reap profit more? Moreover, our tea and rhubarb are articles which ye foreigners from afar cannot preserve your lives without; yet year by year we allow you to export both beyond seas, without the slightest feeling of grudge on our part. Never was imperial goodness greater than this! Formerly, the prohibitions of our empire might still be considered indulgent, and therefore it was that from all our ports the sycee leaked out as the opium rushed in: now, however, the Great Emperor, on hearing of it, actually quivers with indignation, and before he will stay his hand the evil must be completely and entirely done away with.’ But these denunciations are not unmingled with incitements to fear in another direction: ‘You are separated from your homes by several tens of thousands of miles, and a ship which comes and goes is exposed to the perils of the great and boundless ocean, arising from curling waves, contrary tides, thunders and lightnings, and the howling tempest, as well as the jeopardy of crocodiles and whales! Heaven’s chastisements should be regarded with awe. The majesty and virtue of our Great Emperor is the same with that of heaven itself! Our celestial dynasty soothes and tranquillizes the central and foreign lands, and our favor flows most wide. Our central empire is exuberant in all kinds of productions, and needs not in the slightest degree whatever the goods of the outer seas.’ As matters are about proceeding to an open rupture with the ‘red-bristled foreigners,’ and preparations are making to ‘fire upon them with immense guns,’ there ensues a bit of Chinese diplomacy, which is especially rich. After a long interview by a committee with the Chefoo, during which all sorts of arguments are urged upon Snow, the American Consul, and Van Basel, the Netherlands Consul, to induce them to sign a ‘duly-prepared bond,’ that none of their countrymen shall thenceforth bring opium to China, the audience is suddenly closed with: ‘To-morrow the Chefoo will be at the Consoo-house, and wait from nine till night to receive the bonds. Now go home and go to bed!’ But enough for the nonce of John Chinaman. ••• In alluding to Mr. Cole’s graphic account of the Ascent of Mount Ætna, in our last issue, we spoke of its late eruption. While reading the proof of that portion of our ‘Gossip,’ a friend handed us a letter lately received from an American missionary lady at the Sandwich Islands, from which we extract the subjoined vivid description of the great volcano at Hawaii: ‘You know,’ says the writer, ‘something, I suppose, of the geological character of this island. It seems as though a vast crater had boiled over and poured its fiery liquid in every direction. This lava, having cooled and hardened, forms the basis of the island. The district of Kau is a rich, luxuriant spot, surrounded by desolate fields of scoriæ, which renders it difficult of access. We are situated six miles from the sea, sufficiently elevated to give us a commanding view of its vast expanse of waters. We can occasionally spy a sail floating like a speck on its surface. From the shore, the country gradually rises into a range of verdant mountains, whose summits appear to touch the clouds. Proceeding northward toward Hilo, there is a gradual rise, until you reach the Great Volcano, about six miles distant. In making the tour to Hilo, we camped here the second night, on the brink of the burning gulf. Suppose a vast area of earth, as large as the bay of New-York, to have fallen in to the depth of several thousand feet. At the bottom of this great cauldron, you behold the liquid fire boiling and bubbling up, partly covered with a thick black scum. There are two or three inner craters, which have been formed by the lava cooling on its sides while the liquid sunk below. The gentlemen mostly descended into this crater, but I was fully satisfied with a look from above. The earth is cracked all around at the top, and portions 295of it are continually falling in. Steam issues from open places in all the region. This volcano has been in action from time immemorial, as the natives all assert, and has been with them an object of idolatrous worship. The range of mountains continues for some thirty miles beyond this, and terminates in the snow-capped summit of Mounadoa. This mountain is in full sight at Hilo, and about thirty miles distant. Since we have been here it has been the scene of the most wonderful volcanic eruptions ever yet seen on this island. Mr. P——, in company with Mr. C——, visited it a week or two since, and ascended the mountain to the old crater, from whence the flood of lava proceeded. Fire has not been seen in it within the remembrance of the oldest natives. An immense river of burning lava is at this time running down the side of the mountain, in a subterraneous channel, from three to four miles wide. They had a good view of it through air-holes in the lava, over which they were walking, which was like a sea of glass; frequently sinking in different places in consequence of the intense heat below. It will probably yet find its way to the surface somewhere, and, laying prostrate every thing that opposes it, pursue its devastating course to the sea. Truly we live in a world of wonders!’ ••• By the by, speaking of volcanos: it will be remembered that in 1831 an island was thrown up by volcanic eruption in the Mediterranean sea, off the south coast of Sicily. It presented the form of a round hill, about one hundred and twenty feet above the sea’s level, with thick clouds of white smoke issuing from it. As may well be imagined, it excited great wonder and curiosity, and was visited by vast numbers of people. An Austrian, a French and a British vessel met there at the same time. A dispute arose as to what power the island should belong, what it should be named, etc.; when a British sailor leaped on shore, and planted on the topmost peak the union-jack. Nine cheers proclaimed Britannia victorious. On returning shortly after, to take another look at their newly-acquired possession, they found to their dismay that, like Aladdin’s palace, the island had disappeared, leaving the Mediterranean as smooth as if the magic wonder had never reared its head! This circumstance suggested the following lines by a correspondent:

Father Neptune, one day, as he traversed the seas,

Much wanted a spot to recline at his ease:

For long tossed and tired by the billow’s commotion,

‘’Tis a shame,’ cried the god, ‘I’m confined to the ocean.

I’ll have an island!’ To Vulcan he flew,

Saying, ‘Help me this time, and in turn I’ll help you.

To make a new island’s an excellent scheme;

And I think, my dear Vulcan, we’ll raise it by steam.’

‘Agreed!’ cried the god.

Straight to work they repair,

And throw an abundance of smoke in the air.

This mariners saw, and it did them affright;

They straightway concluded all could not be right.

‘We’ll to Sicily repair, and appeal to powers civil,

For certainly this is the work of the devil!’

The Austrians and French came the wonder to view:

Said Britain, in anger, ‘That isle’s not for you!

For us, us alone, did Britannia design it,

And, d’ ye see, we’ll be d——d if we ever resign it!

On that island we’ll land! there our standard we’ll raise!

We will there plant our jack, if the island should blaze!’

The gods, in great wrath, heard all this contention:

‘Dear Neptune,’ said Vul., ‘this has spoiled our invention.’

‘It has,’ said the god, ‘but, I swear by my trident,

The proud sons of Britain shall never abide on ’t!

It was raised for a god, and no vile worthless mortal

On that island shall dwell, to eat oysters and turtle.

Down! down with it, Vul., that will best end the quarrel,

And I’ll be content with my old bed of coral.’

Milk for Babes,’ an elaborately-concocted satire upon a certain class of ‘learned and pious hand-books for urchins of both sexes,’ is not without humor, and ridicules what indeed in some respects deserves animadversion. We affect as little as our correspondent what has been rightly termed ‘a clumsy fumbling for the half-formed intellect, a 296merciless hunting down of the tender and unfledged thought,’ through the means of ‘instructive’ little books, wherein an insipid tale goes feebly wriggling through an unmerciful load of moral, religious and scientific preaching; or an apparently simple dialogue involves subjects of the highest difficulty, which are chattered over between two juvenile prodigies, or delivered to them in mouthfuls, curiously adapted to their powers of swallowing. ‘The minor manners and duties,’ says our correspondent, ‘are quite overlooked by misguided parents now-a-days;’ and this he illustrates by an anecdote: ‘Thomas, my son,’ said a father to a lad in my hearing, the other day, ‘won’t you show the gentleman your last composition?’ ‘I don’t want to,’ said he. ‘I wish you would,’ responded the father. ‘I wont!’ was the reply; ‘I’ll be goy-blamed if I do!’ A sickly, half-approving smile passed over the face of the father, as he said, in extenuation of his son’s brusquerie: ‘Tom don’t lack manners generally; but the fact is, he’s got such a cold, he is almost a fool!’ Kind parent! happy boy! ••• We would counsel such of our readers as can command it, to secure the perusal of ‘Hugh Adamson’s Reply to John Campbell,’ in the matter of international copy-right. Mr. Campbell, being a paper dealer, and greatly benefitted in his business by the increased sale of stock consequent upon the influx of cheap republications, is naturally very anxious to prevent the passage of an international copy-right law. As might be anticipated of such an advocate, his real reasons are all based upon the argumentum ad crumenam, the argument to the purse. Mr. Adamson, in a few satirical, well-reasoned, sententious paragraphs, has fairly demolished the superstructure which Selfishness had reared, and exposed the misrepresentations upon which alone the unsubstantial fabric could have rested. It is quiet and good-natured, but cutting; and will act as an antidote to the elaborate sophistry of Mr. Campbell’s ambitious brochure. ••• We think we shall publish ‘L. D. Q.’sParody;’ but should like him to change the third stanza, which is ‘like a mildewed ear, blasting its wholesome brothers.’ The other verses are capital. One of the cleverest modern parodies which we remember, was written in a Philadelphia journal, and touched upon some exciting city event, before the Court of Sessions. It was in the measure of ‘The Cork Leg,’ and ran somewhat as follows:

The defendant said that it was too bad

To be taken up before Judge Con-rad.


Now Mr. H——, the lawyer, was there,

With a pretty good head, but not very much hair,

So little, in fact, that a wig he must wear,

Ri tu den u-den a!’

The parody had the jogging, jolting air of the original, and was replete, we recollect, with whimsical associations. ••• We shall venture to present here the comments of two most valued friends and contributors, upon the performances of two other esteemed friends and favorite correspondents. Of ‘The Venus of Ille,’ the one writes as follows: ‘I fully sympathise with you in your admiration of this tale, as well as of ‘The Innocence of a Galley-Slave.’ I could not in the perusal of them both but feel the vast superiority of the Grecian over the Gothic style. For in spite of all the humor and wit and nature and pathos of the Dickens and Lever school, there is something more of the Gothic and grotesque in their paintings than in these pure and unforced limnings of the able Frenchman. Where the ground-work of the tale is of sufficiently bold conception, and the incidents offer hooks enough to hang interest upon, there can be no doubt that this cool style is by far the most effectual in the end. The more strained and heated style of some other modern authors will be very effectual for awhile, but the excitement of the reader will flag sooner. The reason is, that too much descriptive and passionate power is expended on minor portions of the tale; and the enthusiasm of the reader is partially exhausted before he comes to the grand catastrophe, where it should be most of all elicited. But writers like Walter Scott, or this Frenchman, are self-possessed and meditative in a great portion of their writings; by skilful touches giving the reader every thing necessary for him 297to know in reference to characters and scenes; and on any great emergency their sudden heat carries the reader away captive.’ The admiration expressed by our other accomplished friend for the chaste and graceful essays of a still more accomplished correspondent (there is nothing like disparagement in this comparison) is widely shared, as we have the best reason to know, by our readers on both sides of the Atlantic: ‘John Waters! There is a drab-coated plainness about the name, which is at the same time liquid and musical; not more liquid and musical, howbeit, than those charming commentaries of his on every variety of quaint topic; full of an amiable grace, tinged with the most delicate hue of a fine humor; a refined ore drawn from no ordinary mine without alloy; like the compositions of Sappho, to which an unerring critic has applied the expression, χρυσειοτερα χρυσου; the very best of gold. Doves never bore choicer billet-doux beneath their wings. A beautiful sentiment always touches the heart, though couched in homely phrase; but when one knows how to cull from our mother-tongue the most expressive words, and has gained that enviable mastery, making them fall into their own places, and thus become inseparable from the idea, the perfection of art is gained. Serve us up these choice morceaux each month, dear Editor; let them not be missed from the generous board, lest the banquet be incomplete. Let me tell you, in passing, that your correspondent Harry Franco’s tale is a caution to dowagers. Never have I encountered such a startling incident on the high seas, out of ‘Don Juan.’ ••• Did it occur to ‘N.’ that the change suggested in the mere inscription of his epigram, ‘Religious Disputation,’ would be entirely out of keeping? ‘Uniting the circumstances,’ as Commissioner Lin would say, would produce such discrepancy as was occasioned lately at a democratic meeting in one of the western States, where a certain resolution in favor of our old friend and correspondent, Gen. Cass, was made to undergo a slight metamorphosis by the substitution of the name of Mr. Van Buren; causing it to read something like this: ‘Whereas Gen. Martin Van Buren emigrated to the west from New-Hampshire in early life with his knapsack on his back, and unsheathed his sword in repelling the Indians and fighting against the British!’ etc. This historical fiction, in the antagonistic excitement of the moment, was carried by an almost unanimous vote! ••• Inversion of mere words, or involution of phrase and syntax, let us whisper in the ear of our Troy correspondent, is not a very great beauty in poetry. His own good thoughts are spoiled by this affectation. It requires an artist to employ frequent inversion successfully. The opening of the ‘Lines on a Bust of Dante’, by Mr. T. W. Parsons, affords a pleasing example in this kind. It is clear and musical:

See from this counterfeit of him

Whom Arno shall remember long,

How stern of lineament, how grim

The father was of Tuscan song.

Inversion should be naturally suggested, not forced. ••• It is to be inferred, we fear, that the late ‘principal editor’ of the ‘Brother Jonathan’ does not take it in good part that the new proprietors of that now popular journal saw fit to arrest its rapid decadence, by a removal of the inevitable cause of such a consummation. Lo! how from his distant down-east ambush, with characteristic phrase, he denounces them as ‘cowards’ and ‘puppies!’ Whereupon, in a response appropriately brief, the ‘brave few’ of the ‘principal editor’s’ old readers who have ‘endured unto the end,’ are informed by the new incumbent, that the tabooed ci-devant functionary ‘seems disturbed because he was not suffered to kill the ‘Brother Jonathan’ as he had killed every journal in which he was permitted to pour out his vapid balderdash. He is a perfect Bluebeard among newspapers. He no sooner slaughters one, than he manages to get hold of another, and butcher that with the same remorseless indifference.’ The editor adds: ‘He once enjoyed the honor of some connection with the ‘New World,’ and would have consigned that well-known sheet to the tomb of the Capulets, had not the publishers foreseen the danger, and escaped in season.’ We merely note these facts, as corroborative of a remark or two of our own, in our last 298issue. •••An Incident in Normandy’, we shrewdly suspect, is not ‘from the French;’ if it be, all that we have to say is, that such pseudo-rhapsodists as the writer could never by any possibility love nature. The thing is altogether over-done. A Frenchman’s opinion, however, Cowell tells us, should never be taken where the beauties of nature are concerned, unless they can be cooked. There is another grave objection to the article; which consists in the undue frequency of Italian and French words and phrases, foisted into the narrative. We have a strong attachment to plain, perspicuous English. Ours is a noble language, a beautiful language; and we hold fully with Southey, who somewhere remarks that he can tolerate a Germanism, for family sake; but he adds: ‘He who uses a Latin or a French phrase where a pure old English word does as well, ought to be hung, drawn and quartered, for high treason against his mother-tongue.’ •••The Song of the New Year, by Mrs. Nichols, in a late number,’ writes a Boston correspondent, ‘is an excellent production, and a fair specimen of the improved style of our occasional American verse. Suppose a book-worm should light on poetry of equal merit among Flatman’s, Falconer’s, Prior’s, or Parsell’s collections? Would it not shine forth, think you? Indeed our lady-writers are wresting the plume from our male pen mongers unco fast.’ ‘That’s a fact.’ Mrs. Nichols has a sister-poet at Louisville, Kentucky, who has a very charming style and a delicious fancy. A late verse of hers in some ‘Lines to a Rainbow,’ signed ‘Amelia,’ which we encountered at a reading-room the other day, have haunted our memory ever since:

‘There are moments, I think, when the spirit receives

Whole volumes of thought on its unwritten leaves;

When the folds of the heart in a moment unclose,

Like the innermost leaves from the heart of a rose.’

Moore never conceived a more beautiful simile than this. ••• Number Two of the ‘Reminiscences of a Dartmoor Prisoner’ will appear in our next issue. We have received from the writer a very interesting and amusing manuscript-volume, filled with patriotic poetry, containing vivid pictures of scenes and events in the daily routine of the prison, as well as sketches of Melville Island Prison, and reminiscences of striking events in the lives of sundry of the prisoners, in the progress of the American war. We shall refer more particularly to this entertaining collection in an ensuing number. ••• The Lines on ‘Niagara Falls at Night’ are entirely too terrific for our pages. They are almost as ‘love-lily dreadful’ as the great scene itself. ‘M.’ must ‘try again,’ that is quite certain; and we are afraid, more than once. ••• Tu Doces! Doubtless many of our young readers, especially in the country, have often pondered over the zig-zag hieroglyphics which covered the tea-chests at the village-store, and marvelled what ‘Howqua,’ which was inseparable from these inscriptions, could mean. It was the name of the great Hong merchant, ‘the friend of Americans,’ who died recently at Canton, at an advanced age, leaving his vast wealth to two sons. Here is an elegy written upon his death by his brother-merchant Tingqua, which is now being sung about Canton to a dolorous air, accompanied by the yeih-pa and the tchung, a curious sort of guitar and harp in common use. The elegy comprises a little outline, together with hints and allusions, prettily conveyed, of the principal biographical events of Howqua’s career, and is entitled


I weep for Howqua. He was the friend of my youth. We often rose before day-break, and gazed together at the soft blue clouds round the retiring moon.

At that time I smiled on Howqua. We both grew old together. We often went to the tombs of our fathers, side by side, and thought tenderly of the loving dead.

Weep friends of the Hong. All friends at home (literally Celestial friends,) and all natives of outside countries weep; weep excessively. For Howqua is no more.

Howqua was a fixed man. He had reason. Loving old laws, old customs, and all things long since established as wise, he therefore hated change.

Howqua was very rich. He had no half-thinkers and third-smokers (meaning no partners,) and no branch-breakers to his universal tea-dealings.

299Also he had lands for rice and pasture, and to play at ball, and villas, and ponds of fish, and fifteen field-bridges of carved wood gilt, and seven domestic bridges inlaid with ivory birds and dragons.

Also he had money in the foreign mysteries (probably meaning the funds.)

Also he had doings with several things of great value, and shares of large ship-loads. But never would he touch the hateful opium-trade, after the recent mad insolences.

Also he had some wives.

Also the Great Emperor loved him, though Howqua was only as the poorest man before that Yellow Illumination of our day and night.

The body of my friend was slight, and easily injured; like the outside of people’s pocket-watch when she walk against the sun (that is, an injured watch that goes wrong.) But my dear friend for whom I shed these tears had a head with many eyes.

Howqua knew what to do with his unnecessary gold. He built a temple to Buddha, and thus made the god a present of 2,000,000 dollars, to the excessive delight of his Essence and Image.

Also, Howqua gave 800,000 dollars to assist the ransom of his beloved Canton from the fangs of the late war; to the excessive delight of the Fighting-minded Barbarians.

Weep, then, for Howqua, even as I weep. He was the friend of my youth. Together we grew old, walking toward our fathers’ tombs. We might have died together; but it is well that one old friend should be left a little while to weep.’

The paper upon ‘American Interior and Exterior Architecture’ we are quite certain would not have the tendency which the writer contemplates. It would discourage rather than foster that better taste which is gaining ground among us. In this city, how great have been the improvements in the exterior and interior decorations of our dwellings, within the last eight years! We remember the time as it were but yesterday, when the beautiful muslin window-shades, first introduced among us by Mr. George Platt, were considered a luxury of interior decoration—as indeed many of them were. But from these small yet promising beginnings, our accomplished artist has gone on, until his extensive establishment is filled with specimens of rich and elaborate architectural decorations, for the various styles of which the reigns of French and English sovereigns have been put under the most liberal contribution. Our wealthy and tasteful citizens have vied with each other in the enriching and beautifying of their mansions; while, also emulous, a kindred class in our sister-cities have laid requisitions upon Mr. Platt’s architectural and decorative genius, (for in him it is genius, and of no intermediate order,) which have convinced him at least, that the ‘laggard taste’ which our correspondent arraigns, is ‘not so slow’ as he seems to imagine. ••• Who was ‘Dandy Jim from Caroline,’ of whom every boy in the street is either whistling or singing, and whom we ‘have heard spoken of’ by musical instruments and that of all sorts, at every party or ball which we have found leisure to attend during the gay season? We are the more anxious to glean some particulars touching the origin and history of this personage, because his fame is rife among our legislators, and the ‘lobby-interest’ at Albany; if we may judge from a quatrain before us, which hints at a verbal peculiarity of our excellent representative, Alderman Varian, whose v always takes the form of a w, especially in his rendering of a foreign tongue; as witness his being ‘just on the qwi-wi-we for the capitol,’ on one occasion, and the subjoined versification of another of his Latin sentences, with cockney ‘wariations:’

Then here’s a health to Wari-an,

That ‘Weni, widi, wici’ man!

He talk de grammar werry fine,

Like Dandy Jim o’ Caroline:

For my ole massa tol’ me so,’ etc.

There is in these humane and benevolent days an increasing sympathy in the public mind for a man condemned to ‘march sorrowfully up to the gallows, there to be noosed up, vibrate his hour, and await the dissecting-knife of the surgeon,’ who fits his bones into a skeleton for medical purposes. ‘There never was a public hanging,’ says a late advocate of the abolition of capital punishment, ‘that was productive of any thing but evil.’ There is an anecdote recorded of Whitfield, however, which seems to refute this position, in at least one instance. This eloquent divine, while at Edinburgh, attended a public execution. His appearance upon the ground drew the eyes of all around him, and raised a variety of opinions as to the motives which led him to join in the crowd. The next day, 300being Sunday, he preached to a large body of men, women and children, in a field near the city. In the course of his sermon, he adverted to the execution which had taken place the preceding day. ‘I know,’ said he, ‘that many of you will find it difficult to reconcile my appearance yesterday with my character. Many of you will say, that my moments would have been better employed in praying with the unhappy man, than in attending him to the fatal tree, and that perhaps curiosity was the only cause that converted me into a spectator on that occasion: but those who ascribe that uncharitable motive to me are under a mistake. I witnessed the conduct of almost every one present on that occasion, and I was highly pleased with it. It has given me a very favorable impression of the Scottish nation. Your sympathy was visible on your countenances, and reflected the greatest honor on your hearts: particularly when the moment arrived in which your unhappy fellow creature was to close his eyes on this world forever, you all, as if moved by one impulse, turned your heads aside and wept. Those tears were precious, and will be held in remembrance. How different was it when the Saviour of mankind was extended on the cross! The Jews, instead of sympathizing in his sorrows, triumphed in them. They reviled him with bitter expressions, with words even more bitter than the gall and vinegar which they gave him to drink. Not one of them all that witnessed his pains, turned the head aside even in the last pang. Yes, there was one; that glorious luminary, (pointing to the sun,) veiled his bright face and sailed on in tenfold night!’ This is eloquence! Would that we could have seen the beaming features, the ‘melting eye, turned toward heaven,’ which indelibly impressed these words upon the heart of every hearer! ••• Many of our readers will doubtless remember the time when Professor J——, the celebrated ‘artist in hair,’ was flourishing in his glory, and when his fame was perhaps as rife in New-York and Boston as that of any man living, in his line of art. His advertisements too, so unique in their grandiloquent phraseology, will not soon be forgotten by those who relish such things. The Professor is not now, as regards worldly prosperity, the man he used to be; but his gentlemanly feeling still clings to him, and his pride in his profession is as enthusiastic as ever. We observe by a Boston journal that he is once more trying his luck in our eastern metropolis; and this reminds us of an anecdote concerning him. A friend tells us that some months since he encountered the professor at a coffee-house, where he was rehearsing to a rather verdant customer the former glories of his professional life. Among other things, ‘At one time,’ said he, ‘I was sent for by express, to go to Philadelphia on professional business.’ ‘To do what?’ asked his listener. ‘To make wigs for the Signers of the Declaration of Independence!’ replied J——, with a pompous air. Now the professor’s comrade was not very quick-witted, as we have already hinted, and it did not occur to him at the moment whether the signers were men only of yesterday, or of the last century; and he rejoined, in a tone of wonder: ‘What! do they all wear wigs?’ ‘All?’ replied the professor, with a look of mingled piety and triumph; ‘why, Sir, did you ever know a wax-figure to wear its own hair? Men of flesh and blood, now-a-days, don’t know any better; but the man of wax, Sir, possesses a truer taste, and always consults the Perruquier!’ The relator says it would be impossible to convey an adequate idea of the superb manner in which the last word was uttered; the full round tone, and the tonsorial flourish of the right hand, as if it still grasped the magic brush and scissors. ••• The reader will have gathered from an incidental allusion in an article by Mr. George Harvey, in our last number, some idea of the fervent enthusiasm with which he has studied and copied Nature, in her every variety of season and changes of the hour, in executing his beautiful Landscape Drawings. We have neither the leisure nor space for an adequate notice of these pictures; but being solicitous that our town readers should participate in the great enjoyment which they have afforded us, we would direct them to Mr. Harvey’s exhibition-room at the old Apollo Gallery, nearly opposite the Hospital, in Broadway. ••• Here is a pleasant specimen of an ‘Unnecessary Disclaimer,’ for which we are indebted to a metropolitan friend: ‘A few evenings since, as a gentleman was walking up Broadway, and just as he was crossing the side-walk at the junction of White-street, his feet suddenly slipped from under him, his hat 301flew forward with the involuntary jerk, and he measured his length on the side-walk, striking his bare head on the hard ice, till all rang again. At the instant it chanced that a lady and gentleman were just emerging from White-street into Broadway, and the prostrate sufferer, lying directly across their path, interrupted for a moment their farther progress. He soon recovered his feet, however, and with one hand on his newly-developed bump, and the other on his breast, he turned to the couple whose passage he had impeded, and exclaimed with cool gravity: ‘Excuse me; I didn’t intend to do it!’ Probably he didn’t; at all events, his word was not disputed. ••• Most likely our readers have not forgotten an admirable satire upon the ‘Songs of the Troubadours,’ from which we extracted some months since the affecting story of ‘The Taylzour’s Daughter.’ Something in the same style is ‘The Doleful Lay of the Honorable I. O. Uwins,’ a gentleman who threw himself away upon a bailiff’s daughter, to escape from the restraints and pungent odors of a sponging-house. The ‘whole course of wooing’ and the result are hinted at in the ensuing lines:

There he sate in grief and sorrow,

Rather drunk than otherwise,

Till the golden gush of morrow

Dawned once more upon his eyes;

Till the spunging bailiff’s daughter,

Lightly tapping at the door,

Brought his draught of soda-water,

Brandy-bottomed as before.

‘Sweet Rebecca! has your father,

Think you, made a deal of brass?’

And she answered: ‘Sir, I rather

Should imagine that he has.’

Uwins, then, his whiskers scratching,

Leer’d upon the maiden’s face;

And her hands with ardor catching,

Folded her in his embrace.

‘La, Sir! let alone—you fright me!’

Said the daughter of the Jew:

‘Dearest! how these eyes delight me!

Let me love thee, darling, do!’

‘Vat is dish?’ the bailiff mutter’d,

Rushing in with fury wild;

‘Ish your muffins so vell butter’d

Dat you darsh insult ma shild?’

‘Honorable my intentions,

Good Abednego, I swear!

And I have some small pretensions,

For I am a Baron’s heir.

If you’ll only clear my credit,

And a thousand give or so,

She’s a peeress; I have said it!

Don’t you twig, Abednego?’

‘Datsh a very different matter!’

Said the bailiff, with a leer;

‘But you musht not cut it fatter

Than ta slish will shtand, ma tear!

If you seeksh ma approbation,

You must quite give up your rigsh;

Alsho, you mosht join our nation,

And renounch ta flesh of pigsh.’


At a meeting of the Rabbis,

Held about the Whitsuntide,

Was this thorough-paced Barabbas

Wedded to his Hebrew bride.

All his former debts compounded,

From the spunging-house he came;

And his father’s feelings wounded

With reflections on the same.’

It is a very dear marriage for Uwins, for on visiting his father the Baron, that incensed nobleman tells the double-dyed apostate never to cross his threshold again, and directs John the porter to kick him into the street. The order is anticipated:

Forth rushed I. O. Uwins, faster

Than all winking, much afraid

That the orders of the master

Would be punctually obeyed;

Sought his club, and there the sentence

Of expulsion first he saw:

No one dared to own acquaintance

With a bailiff’s son-in-law.

Uselessly down Bond-street strutting,

Did he greet his friends of yore;

Such a universal cutting

Never man received before.

Till at last his pride revolted;

Pale, and lean, and stern, he grew;

And his wife Rebecca bolted

With a missionary Jew.

Ye who read this doleful ditty,

Ask ye where is Uwins now?

Wend your way through London city,

Climb to Holborn’s lofty brow;

Near the sign-post of ‘The Nigger,’

Near the baked-potato shed,

You may see a ghastly figure,

With three hats upon his head.

When the evening shades are dusky,

Then the phantom form draws near,

And, with accents low and husky,

Pours effluvia in your ear;

Craving an immediate barter

Of your trousers or surtout,

And you know the Hebrew martyr,

Once the peerless I. O. U.’

A friend, in a recent letter to the Editor, thus alludes to the ‘National Intelligencer,’ one of the ablest and most dignified journals in the country, and to two of its ‘special correspondents:’ ‘Mr. Walsh, who writes from Paris, seems an incorporation of European 302literature and politics; and his articles are, in my belief, the most valuable now contributed to any journal in the world. Willis is the lightest and most mercurial ‘knight of the quill’ in all the tournament. It is astonishing with what dexterity, felicity, and grace he touches off the veriest trifle of the day, investing the trite with originality, and giving the value of wit and poetry to the worthless and the dry. Pity that this brilliant ‘quid nunc’ should degenerate into a mere trifling ‘arbiter elegantiarum,’ and expend his buoyant and ductile genius in the indictment of ephemeral paragraphs. His genius, it is true, has little solidity; but if he would rest two or three years on his oars, he might collect the scatterings of wit and poetry, which would in that time accrue to him from his readings and reflections, into a volume of essays, etc., which would be inferior in brilliancy and piquancy to but few of any nation.’ Possibly; but in the mean time, let us advise our friend, Mr. Willis has the little substantials of every-day life to look after. He ‘pleases to write’ frequently and currente calamo, because he ‘pleases to live.’ Fame is one thing, and can be waited for; there are other things that cannot tarry so well. Mr. Willis has ‘seen the elephant.’ He knows that Kenny Meadows is not far out of the way in his humorous picture of ‘The Man of Fame and the Man of Funds,’ wherein a shadowy hand protrudes from cloud-land, holding a pair of steel-yards, to resolve the comparative weight of an appetizing leg-of-mutton, and a huge laurel-wreath. The mutton ‘has it’ all to nothing, and the wreath ‘kicks the beam! ••• Punch, up to the latest dates, suddenly makes his appearance in our sanctum. Merriest of Merry Andrews, he is ever welcome! His ‘Comic Blackstone,’ must be of great service to legal gentlemen. In it, among other things, we are enlightened as to the ‘Rights of the Clergy.’ We subjoin a few items: ‘An archbishop is a sort of inspector of all the bishops in his province; but he does not call them out as an inspector would so many policemen, to examine their mitres, and see that their lawn sleeves are properly starched, before going on duty in their respective dioceses. An archbishop may call out the bishops, just as a militia colonel may call out the militia.’ ‘A bishop (episcopes) is literally an overseer, instead of which it is notorious that some of them are overlookers of their duties, and blind to the state of their diocese, though they call it their see.’ ‘The duties incumbent on a parson are, first to act as the incumbent, by living in the place where he has his living. Formerly, a clergyman had what is called the benefit of clergy in cases of felony; a privilege which, if a layman had asked for, he would have been told that the authorities would ‘see him hanged first.’ ‘A curate is the lowest grade in the church, for he is a sort of journeyman parson, and several of them meet at a house of call in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, ready to job a pulpit by the day, and being in fact ‘clergyman taken in to bait’ by the landlord of the house alluded to.’ Concerning ‘Subordinate Magistrates,’ as officers of the customs, overseers of the poor, etc., we glean the following information: ‘Tide-waiters are overseers of the customs duties, therefore it is their duty to overlook the customs. Custom is unwritten law, and a practice may be termed a custom when it can be proved to have lasted for a hundred years. Now, can any man doubt that the custom of defrauding the customs has endured more than a hundred years? Then the practice has become a law, and for observing this law, which, it seems, is one of our time-revered institutions, and a profitable proof of the wisdom of our ancestors, landing-waiters and tradesmen are to be prosecuted and punished. Monstrous injustice!’ ‘Overseers of the Poor are functionaries who sometimes literally over-see or over-look the cases of distress requiring assistance. The poor law of Elizabeth has been superseded by a much poorer law of William the Fourth, the one great principle of which is, to afford the luxury of divorce to persons in needy circumstances. It also discountenances relief to the able-bodied, a point which is effected by disabling, as far as possible, any body who comes into the work-house. The Poor Law is administered by three Commissioners, who spend their time in diluting gruel and writing reports; trying experiments how little will suffice to prevent a repeal of the union between the soul and the body.’ We have this information concerning the clock heretofore complained of: ‘Punch has been accused of hitting this clock very hard when it was down; 303and it certainly must be admitted that it was wholly unable to strike in return. We are happy to say that the wound has been followed by the clock being at last wound, and we now offer to take it by the hands in a spirit of friendship. We have been told that the long stagnation has been caused by the absurd scruples of the pendulum, which refused to go from side to side, lest it should be accused of inconsistency.’ Under the different months, ‘Punch’s Almanack’ gives many important directions, one of which is for the proprietors of the public gardens: ‘Now trim your lamps, water your lake, graft new noses on statues, plant your money-taker, and if the season be severe, cut your sticks.’ The following ‘Tavern Measure’ is doubtless authentic: Two ‘goes’ make one gill; two gills one ‘lark;’ two larks one riot; two riots one cell, or station-house, equivalent to five shillings.’ For office-clerks, as follows: Two drams make one ‘go;’ two goes one head-ache; two head-aches one lecture; two lectures ‘the sack.’ To those gentlemen who are lovers of the Virginia weed in its native purity, a list of prices, ‘furnished by one of the first Spanish houses,’ is published. It includes ‘choice high-dried dock-leaf regalias,’ ‘fine old cabbage Cuba’s,’ ‘genuine goss-lettuce Havana’s,’ and ‘full-flavored brown-paper Government Manilla’s!’ Two scraps under the head of ‘University Intelligence’ must close our quotations: ‘Given the force with which your fist is propelled against a cabman, and the angle at which it strikes him; required the area of mud he will cover on reaching the horizontal plane.’ ‘Show the incorrectness of using imaginary quantities, by attempting to put off your creditors with repeated promises to pay them out of your Pennsylvania dividends.’ ••• Many German physicians and surgeons hold that there remains in the brain of a decollated head some degree of thought, and in the nerves something of sensibility. It is stated by his biographer, that in the case of Sir Everard Digby, executed for a participation in the Gunpowder Plot, the tongue pronounced several words after the head was severed from the body. After the execution of Charlotte Corday, also, it is alleged that the executioner held up her lovely head by its beautiful hair, and slapped the pale cheeks, which instantly reddened, and gave to the features such an expression of unequivocal indignation, that the spectators, struck by the change of color, with loud murmurs cried out for vengeance on barbarity so cowardly and atrocious. ‘It could not be said,’ writes Dr. Sue, a physician of the first eminence and authority in Paris, ‘that the redness was caused by the blow, since no blow can ever recall any thing like color to the cheeks of a corpse; beside, this blow was given on one cheek, and the other equally reddened.’ Singular facts. Do they not militate against certain theories of ‘nervous sensation’ recently promulgated in our philosophical circles? ••• Doesn’t it sicken you, reader, to hear a young lady use that common but horrid commercial metaphor, ‘first-rate?’ ‘How did you like Castellan, last evening, Miss Huggins?’ ‘Oh, first-rate!’ ‘When a girl makes use of this expression,’ writes an eastern friend, ‘I mutter inly,’ ‘Your pa’ sells figs and salt-fish, I know he does.’ And it is all very well and proper, if he does; but for the miserable compound itself, pray kill it dead in your Magazine! Hit it hard! By the by, talking of odd phrases, hear this. A young Italian friend of mine, fresh from Sicily as his own oranges, a well-educated, talented person, who has labored hard to get familiar with English letters, and has read our authors, from Chaucer downward, dilated thus on the poets: ‘Po-pe is very mosh like Horace; I like him very mosh; but I tink Bir-ron was very sorry poet.’ ‘What!’ quoth I, ‘Byron a sorry poet! I thought he was a favorite with Italians?’ ‘Oh, yes; I adore him very mosh; I almost do admire him; but he was very sorry poet.’ ‘How so? Byron a sorry bard?’ ‘Oh, yes, very sorry; don’t you think so? molto triste—very mel-an-choly; don’t you find him so? I always feel very sorry when I read him. I think he’s far more sorry than Petrarca; don’t you?’ This will remind the reader of the very strong term used by a Frenchman, who on being asked at a soirée what was the cause of his evident sadness, replied: ‘I av just hear my fader he die: I am ver’ mosh dissatisfied!••• We shall probably find a place for the paper entitled ‘Foreigners in America.’ The writer touches with a trenchant pen upon ‘the social abuses which the first families in the metropolis tolerate at the hands of disreputable exquisites 304and titled rascals.’ Nervous words, but not undeserved. ‘How much more rapidly a fashionable foreigner will move in the high road of preferment than one of your thinking, feeling, complex persons, in whom honor, integrity and reason make such a pother that no step can be taken without consulting them!’ ••• We have indulged in one or two sonorous guffaws, and several of Mr. Cooper’s ‘silent laughs,’ over the following ‘palpable hit’ from a New-Jersey journal: ‘A talking-machine,’ says the ‘Newton Herald,’ ‘which speaks passable French, capital English, and choice Italian, is now to be seen at New-York. It is made of wood, brass, and gum-elastic.’ ‘A similar machine,’ adds the ‘Sussex Register,’ ‘compounded of buckram, brass, and soap-locks, and familiarly called ‘Green Josey,’ is to be seen in Newton, at the Herald office; though we cannot say that it speaks any language ‘passably.’ It frequently makes the attempt, however, and here is one of its last ‘essays:’ ‘Gov. Gilmer is understood to have had a standing cart-balance for any appointment under the present administration, which he might choose to except; but he will not except an appointment of any kind under this administration.’ Isn’t that ‘standing cart-balance’ rich? The usual phrase carte-blanche, which in the sentence quoted might be rendered by ‘unconditional offer,’ is transmogrified into cart-balance! Among all the blunders perpetrated by conceited ignorance in its attempts to parley-voo, this stands unequalled. We have seen hic jacet turned into his jacket, in an obituary; that was a trifle; but cart-balance overcomes our gravity!’ So it does ours. The anecdote, to adopt the reading of a kindred accomplished linguist whom we wot of, is a ‘capital jesus-de-sprit!’ ••• The beginning of ‘L.’sStanzas’ is by no means unpromising; but what a ‘lame and impotent conclusion!’

‘Lord Howe he went out,

And Lord! how he came in!’

The third verse would do credit to Street, so graphic and poetical are the rural images introduced; but it runs into the fourth, a stanza ‘most tolerable, and not to be endured.’ Our young friend may be assured that we shall not ‘regard with indifference’ any thing from his pen that may fulfil the promise of the lines to which we allude. Na’theless, he must ‘squeeze out more of his whey.’ ••• The admirers of one of the most popular contributors that this Magazine ever enjoyed, will be glad to meet with the following announcement:

Burgess, Stringer and Company, corner of Broadway and Ann-street, New-York, have in press the Literary Remains of the late Willis Gaylord Clark, including the Ollapodiana Papers, with several other of his Prose Writings, not less esteemed by the public; including also his ‘Spirit of Life,’ a choice but comprehensive selection from his Poetical Contributions to the Literature of his Country; together with a Memoir: to be edited by his twin-brother, Lewis Gaylord Clark, Editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine. The publishers do not consider it necessary for them to enlarge upon the character of the writings which will compose the above volume. The series of papers under the title of Ollapodiana will be remembered with admiration and pleasure, by readers in every section of the United States. Their rich variety of subject; their alternate humor and pathos; the one natural, quiet, and irresistibly laughable; the other warm from the heart, and touching in its tenderness and beauty; won for them the cordial and unanimous praise of the press throughout the Union, and frequent laudatory notices from the English journals. Reminiscences of early days; expositions of the Ludicrous and the Burlesque, in amusing Anecdote; Limnings from Nature; and ‘Records of the Heart,’ were among their prominent characteristics. It is not too much to say of the other Prose Writings which the volume will contain, that although of a somewhat different character, they are in no respect inferior to the Ollapodiana, in their power to awaken and sustain interest. The Poetical Writings of Mr. Clark are too well known to require comment. They have long been thoroughly established in the national heart, and have secured for the writer an enviable reputation abroad.’

The work will be embraced in four numbers, of ninety-six~pages each, stereotyped upon new types in the best manner, and printed upon fine white paper; and the price will be but twenty-five cents for each number. Need we ask the interest of our friends, of the friends of the Departed, in behalf of the volume in question? ••• The Italian Opera, at Sig. Palmo’s new and beautiful temple in Chambers-street, has taken the town captive. I Puritani was first produced, and to overflowing houses at each representation. Belisario is now running a similar successful career. We shall have occasion in our next to advert more at large to this very popular establishment, and to notice in detail the artists (with 305and without the e) who compose its prominent attractions. ••• Since the direction given by an afflicted widow to some humane persons who had found the body of her husband in a mill-race, full of eels, ‘Take the eels up to the house, and set him again!’ we have seen nothing more affecting than an anecdote of a widower at St. Louis, who, on seeing the remains of his late wife lowered into the grave, exclaimed, with tears in his eyes: ‘Well, I’ve lost sheep, and I’ve lost cows, but I never had any thing to cut me up like this!’ As Carlyle says, ‘his right arm, and spoon, and necessary of life’ had been taken away, and he could not choose but weep. ••• The typographical error to which our Natchez friend alludes was corrected in some two or three thousand sheets; hence we dispense with his trifling errata. ‘I remember a clergyman in New-England,’ once wrote an accomplished contributor to us, ‘that when ‘the rains descended and the floods came and the winds blew,’ carried away in the pulpit in the height of his ardor the wrong house, and left that standing that was built upon the sand. After the service was over I ventured to observe to my uncle, Parson C——, (whose assistant had been preaching) that this seemed to be a new reading to the parable, and that I wondered when Mr. A—— had discovered his error, as he did at the time of re-iteration, that he did not correct it. My uncle defended his curate, and observed that if he had then corrected himself, he would have carried away both houses, which was utterly in opposition to all Scripture. Part of the audience, said he, were asleep; and many of the rest so drowsy that, so long as one of the houses was taken off, the moral was enforced upon their perceptions as well by the one as the other. If he had made a thorough correction, he would have roused the attention of the whole parish, and nothing else would have been talked of for nine days. When a man has made an error he had better let other people make a discovery; and this truth, my lad, said he, you will understand better when you grow up.’ Let us conclude with an expression of great force and newness: ‘Comment is unnecessary.’ •••T.N.P.’s article, as he will perceive, is anticipated by the initial paper in the present number. How does he like the new definition of Transcendentalism: Incomprehensibilityosityivityalityationmentnessism?’ To us, it seems ‘as clear as mud!’ ••• The graceful ‘penciller’ of the ‘New Mirror’ weekly journal copies the beautiful ‘Lines to a Cloud’ from our January number, with the remark: ‘This Bryant-like, finished and high-thoughted (‘a vile phrase’) poetry was written by a young lady of seventeen, and is her first published production. She is the daughter of one of our oldest and best families, resident on the Hudson. If the noon be like the promise of the dawn of this pure intellect, we have here the beginning of a brilliant fame.’ We think ‘The two Pictures,’ from the same pen, in our February issue fully equal to the fair writer’s coup-d’essai. By the by, it would have been but simple courtesy, as it strikes us, to have given the Knickerbocker Magazine credit for the lines in question. ••• Numerous articles in prose and verse are on file for insertion, touching which we shall hope soon to have leisure to advise with the writers by letter.

America Well Defended’ would not be inappropriate as a true designation of a beautifully printed pamphlet before us, from the press of Mr. Benjamin H. Greene, Boston, containing a ‘Letter to a Lady in France on the supposed Failure of a National Bank, the supposed Delinquency of the National Government, the Debts of the several States, and Repudiation: with Answers to Inquiries concerning the Books of Capt. Marryat and Mr. Dickens.’ We have read this production with warm admiration of its calm and dignified style, the grouping and invariable pertinence of its facts and arguments; and the absence of every thing which savors of retaliatory spirit, in its animadversions upon the misrepresentations of the United States by the English press. Expositions are offered of the character of the old United States’ Bank, as contradistinguished from the ‘United States’ Bank of Pennsylvania;’ of the origin and nature of our public debts, national as well as of the separate States, etc. The themes of love of money, gravity of manners, of slavery, lynch-law, mobs, etc., are next considered; and the pamphlet concludes with some remarks upon the strength of our government, general results of our experiment, and our growing attachment to the Union. The author we understand 306to be Mr. Thomas G. Cary, a distinguished merchant, who has brought the observation and knowledge of a practical life in aid of his reasoning, throughout his pamphlet. It has passed, we are glad to learn, to a speedy second edition; and we cannot but hope that it may be re-published in England. It could not fail to produce great good, in the rectification of gross errors in relation to this country.

Parley’s Cabinet Library.—In this work Mr. Goodrich proposes to furnish the public with forty numbers, at twenty-five cents each, of biographical, historical and miscellaneous sketches, designed for the family circle, and especially for youth. The first two numbers consist of the lives of famous men of modern times; as Scott, Byron, Bonaparte, Burns, Burke, Goethe, Johnson, Milton, Shakspeare, Bacon, etc. The next two numbers are devoted to famous men of ancient times; as Cæsar, Hannibal, Cicero, Alexander, Plato, etc. The fifth and sixth numbers contain the ‘Curiosities of Human Nature,’ as Zera Colburn, Caspar Hauser, etc. The seventh and eighth contain the lives of benefactors: as Washington, Franklin, Howard, Fulton, Bowditch, etc. We notice also, in the biographical series, the lives of celebrated Indians and celebrated women. The historical sketches will present a series of striking pictures, illustrative of the history of the four quarters of the globe. The miscellaneous department will embrace arts, sciences, manners and customs of nations, a view of the world and its inhabitants, etc., etc. The intention of the author is to furnish a library of twenty volumes, devoted to the most interesting portions of human knowledge, with the design of rendering their subjects interesting and attractive to the general reader. Several of the numbers are now issued; and judging from these, we are happy to give the work our hearty approbation. The sketches will not be found to be mere sketches, drawn from cyclopedias: the author has evidently gone to the original sources, and culled with care the most interesting points on each subject. A contemporary expresses surprise that he has been able to say so much that is striking, just and new, in so brief a space; a praise in which we fully concur. The work entitled ‘Curiosities of Human Nature’ is one of the deepest interest, and is calculated to suggest profound reflections as to the capacities of the human mind. The two numbers devoted to the American Indians, as well as other volumes, present a good deal of new and curious matter. The life of Jetau, the Indian Voltaire, is very striking. The Benefactors will be read with gratification by every one who loves to dwell upon the actions of those who have been great in doing good. The moral tendency of these works is excellent, and they may be read with pleasure as well as profit by old and young. They are happily adapted to the family as well as the school-library; and we are glad to know that they have been adopted for the latter purpose in some of our principal cities. They will constitute a wholsome check upon, as well as an agreeable substitute for, most of the trashy and pernicious literature that is now so freely poured upon the public. Mr. John Allen, at the office of the Knickerbocker, is the agent for this city.

Wonders of the Heavens.’—A superb large quarto volume has recently been put forth by Messrs. Robert P. Bixby and Company, entitled, ‘The Wonders of the Heavens: being a Popular View of Astronomy, including a full Illustration of the Mechanism of the Heavens; embracing the Sun, Moon, and Stars, with descriptions of the planets, comets, fixed stars, double-stars, the constellations, the galaxy or milky way, the zodiacal light, aurora-borealis or northern-lights, meteors, clouds, falling-stars, aërolites, etc.; illustrated by numerous maps and engravings.’ We cannot too highly commend this volume to our readers. The author, Mr. Duncan Bradford, has kept constantly in view one object, viz: to make his subject plain and interesting to the people. Instead of mingling mathematics with his great theme, to such an extent as to alarm the neophyte at the very threshold of the temple of astronomy, he has with a wise judgment selected from the best works, including the latest, those parts that were least encumbered with the abstruse and the unintelligible; and the illustrations serve to make his sublime teachings still more clear.

Rogers’ Poems.—We have not seen a more beautiful volume for a twelvemonth than the new illustrated edition of ‘Poems by Samuel Rogers, with revisions and additions by the author,’ recently issued by Messrs. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia. It is indeed in all respects an exquisite work; being printed upon the finest drawing-paper, with a large clear type, and illustrated with ten engravings on steel, from paintings by the very first artists in England. The volume opens with the ‘Pleasures of Memory,’ and contains every thing from the author’s pen which his maturest consideration has deemed most worthy of preservation. We cordially commend this admirable work to the attention of every reader of the Knickerbocker to whom it may be accessible.


  1. Return to textMen who are yearly selected by the inhabitants to superintend the business of the town, and who, among other duties, have the charge of managing the poor.

  2. Return to textΕνθα δὲ Νυκτὸς παῖδες ἐρεμνῆς οἰκί' ἔχουσιν, Ὕπνος καὶ Θάνατος, κ. τ. λ. Hes. Theog. 1. 758, etc.

  3. Return to textObserve the order of collocation in Genesis i: 5. ‘And the EVENING and the MORNING were the first day.’

  4. Return to textWhen the morning stars sang together,’ etc. Job: xxxviii., 7. In the same chapter observe the astonishing boldness of scripture personification, and the unequalled pomp of oriental imagery.

  5. Return to textThis line is from one of Grimke’s polished and most scholar-like orations.

  6. Return to textSeeEditor’s Table’ of the present number.

  7. Return to textFrom the minute account of the good friar, drawn from the ancient chronicles, it would appear that the walls of the tower were pictured in mosaic work.